Thursday, December 31, 2009

Finally coming to an end

I have had lots of time to contemplate things over the last couple of weeks and to make list upon list. Not one of those lists is a list of resolutions though. Because I don't believe in making them. I figure that if you are going to make changes in your life, why wait for January 1 to roll around? That's part of the reason why I embarked upon the weight loss path back in November -- because by doing so then meant to me that I really wanted to make those changes. One of my coworkers had started off on the endeavor with me but said right before Thanksgiving that she would wait until January because it's just too hard during the holiday season. Me? I like a challenge. What's a couple of obstacles like holiday meals? I figure if you can get through something when it's the absolutely hardest to do, then you're ready for anything that life hands you.Other thoughts were around traditions. December has been a bit of a challenge over the last couple of years but I'll get it all figured out. And as the new year approached, I suddenly realized that I have longstanding traditions for the start of the year.

I stopped going out on New Year's Eve long ago. Hey. I'm a professional partier and don't like to mix with the rank amateurs like that. So I prepare a tray of food and hunker in for the evening with a selection of books and DVDs.

This years tray features salad, seafood and cheeses -- some of my usuals. The bacon wrapped scallops came from Trader Joe's but the ramekin contains Baked Oysters with Bacon and Leeks -- something I whipped up once I got home from work. Oh, and the bottle is from Domaine Carneros -- a lovely blanc de noir. And let me perfectly honest. I have survived today on green tea and water just so that I could make this calorie splurge. I haven't really lost any weight since around Thanksgiving, but I have also managed to get through this season without gaining back any of the weight I have loss to date. I call that a win.

Here's to hoping that 2010 is a much better year. For now I must return to my tray and try to decide which movie first, and if it's time to throw another log on the fire. And I hope that wherever you are tonight, you are happy and safe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We all suck

I spent a great portion of last Friday reading this book -- a birthday gift from my friend, Emerald. She knows how much I love all things Denis Leary. Just a warning though -- he is not for the feint of heart. His warning in the prologue boils down to that there is at least one thing in the book guaranteed to piss just about everyone off.

Now a great deal of the book discusses children and our treatment of them in the United States. There is a whole chapter in fact on children and self-esteem. And how parents today seem bent on protecting their child from damage to his/her self-esteem. I don't know if this is everywhere but it certainly seems to occur quite a bit in Berkeley. I give you this passage from the book, describing his experiences at Emerson.

"But instead of cursing the darkness we lit it up -- using the advice of one Dr. James Randall we formed The Emerson Comedy Workshop. Dr. Randall forced the Student Government Association to recognize The Workshop as a legitimate theater group and fund it, thereby allowing us to write all of our own one-act plays, variety shows, mini-musical parodies -- whatever came to mind. We even ended up getting credit for all the creative work as well as the set design, lighting design, tech work et al. We did three to four shows a year. We were almost always last on the list for available theater space, but we would take whatever we were given -- lecture halls, raw square spaces, even -- in my favorite turn of events -- a former church -- and have to outfit it with a stage, lights, backstage area and seating. Our limitations always became a plus. [My emphasis.] Our shows were funny, exciting and always on the cutting edge and what began as what some people thought of as an impossibility became the hardest ticket in town -- we sold out every single production for every show three theater seasons a year for three seasons running. The Workshop still exists a full thirty-two years later. I'm not telling you this a form of braggadocio -- I'm informing you how our generation of kids refused to accept the status quo. We rebelled and it paid off -- big-time.

That's an example of the power of not taking no for an answer. As a matter of fact -- taking no and turning it into a giant gleaming Yes."

This is what is possible when a child is taught that sometimes we all fail. See? That's how I grew up. Well sort of. Because I had one parent who was like this at least. One who let me believe that anything was possible -- within realistic boundaries. (To show how much this parent believes, when I used to do a great deal of handmade crafts, I was asked how much start-up I would need to make this my full-time occupation.) And yes, this parent usually wanted to try to pick up the pieces and make everything better for me. But also respected me enough that when I said, "You know it's OK to say no sometimes. How else will I learn to pick myself up?" Hmmm. Or maybe that was just me parenting myself. Because it seems like I did a lot of that back then.

So in my opinion, in this way he's right. I think that to never teach a child that while sometimes things don't work out the way we plan, we can persevere -- and maybe even achieve -- is to do the child a great disservice. Because isn't the idea to prepare them to one day enter the world and to be equipped to take care of themselves? Yeah, that's right. I, the non-parent, has the audacity to talk about parenting. Because I spent five years dealing with your children in the classroom. And I see them when I go shopping. But more importantly, I know that I am the person I am today because other people -- some who never had children of their own -- helped my parents to parent me.

And speaking of parenting, there's a great chapter in the book on Hollywood kids. Or actually that's the lack of parenting in that case.

Bottom line is that if you like satire and don't mind poking fun at yourself every now and then, you'll probably enjoy this book. Me? I personally plan to buy several more copies to hand out as gifts in the future.

Monday, December 28, 2009


As long as it is not a Spare the Air day, this is the normal view around here. Everyone was upset on the 25th that we were not able to have a fire that day. Well, we could have but then I would have faced a possible $400 fine.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Finding center

When I started this blog, I said that Tuesdays would be about media. And now I'm trying to get back to that place. I think the theme for today comes from these song lyrics...

"Don't matter you're wearin'
It's about the way you wear it"

Really it is. It's about the attitude that you have when you walk in the door. You have to own the place. And to not be afraid of it.

I could do this in college without thinking about it but if anyone complimented me on this, I would pooh-pooh them. This changed after the year I spent in therapy in my post-grad years. (And silly you, thought that this would be all about music.)

During that year, I worked through the exercises in the book pictured. All these years later, I am not completely there but now I am cognizant of my triggers -- and the root of these triggers.

I know that when the ground beneath my feet suddenly feels like it's slipping, I will try to grab control wherever I can -- usually in trying to control my weight. I know that I can find other ways to ask for help instead of destroying myself. I know that I am not alone; I just sometimes choose the wrong people upon whom to depend. But most of all, I know that I am more than the negative voices I heard in my life that I managed to internalize along the way. And contrary to those voices, I am a good person, I am attractive, I am deserving of all the good that comes my way. And when I forget this, I re-read passages in this book.

But before this book, there was another. There was a book that told me that we as individuals can survive almost anything. To me Taoism is about letting it all happen. You are yourself regardless of the events in your life. This has been my go-to book over the last 20-plus years when I feel like I am losing my way, losing myself. I cannot count the number of times I have read this book. It is always one of the first things I unpack when I move.

And why now? Well, there's been lots of crazy going on around here -- family, work, the holiday season. And so I've gone back to my favorite books while I try to figure out how I plan to navigate future holiday seasons.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hello old friend

When I embarked on this weight loss thing seven weeks ago, I gave up red meat. Oh how I have missed it. But as I have become more savvy, I have learned how to reintroduce it into my diet while still sticking to my ever decreasing calorie count.

I started this dish on Saturday right before I started the cioppino since it required more cooking time. I didn't have to worry about removing tomato skins at the end as I had skinned the tomatoes before dropping them into the pot. And I addeda half cup of Parmesan to the polenta. Next time I will dredge the beef first so that I end up with a thicker sauce.

But the best thing of all? Stepped on the scale this morning to discover that I have lost a total of ten pounds to date. I am elated.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


For the last couple of months or so, I have been been trying to think of what tradition means to me. A year ago I would have said that it meant spending holidays with family. When that didn't happen last year, I was very upset -- to say the least.

This year both of my parents stuck around for Thanksgiving and I chose to not spend the day with either of them because I was still so hurt and angry. A strange thing happened though. I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. There was no worrying about making sure to not say the wrong thing. There was no fighting to not show how much it hurts when someone makes a verbal jab at me.

I had a great moment of clarity this past week at work. I was perusing the Poulet holiday menu and jotting down the items on the Hanukkah and Christmas menus that sounded interesting. Then a coworker came over to my desk and upon seeing the list loudly declared something along the lines of, "Who the hell would want Hanukkah food?" Made it really easy for me to send a response to the email later in the day inviting all the office staff to the Christmas celebration to be held on the 24th. I respectfully declined.

Yes, for years I have been doing the Christmas thing -- out of respect for relatives. The last time I attended a church service was way back in the 80s. Christmas at best has been a secular thing because it stopped being a part of my spiritual beliefs a long time ago. (I have never done the Easter thing all these years because that has not felt as secular a day as Christmas has become.) But I continued to celebrate it with relatives because they understood and respected the fact that my beliefs were not the same as theirs. Without these relatives around, it's hard to hold onto something that is not a part of my belief system. And my decision to pass on the office party? That was out of respect as well. Because I'll be damned if I have to sit there and make nice with someone who so clearly has little respect for anything outside of her narrow view of the world.

The next thing that happened was that I set to cooking yesterday. And while I was stirring things, I realized that I have at least one winter tradition -- a big pot of cioppino. It may not be much but it's a start. And I started thinking that it's time for me to get back in touch with my own spirituality that has taken a back burner to the needs of others over these last few years.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Braving the weather

Now I know that some of y'all in colder climates are saying to yourselves, "Weather? Those Californians are such wimps." Yes, we are. We like our temperate climate. But this is an El Nino year so I see lots of rain and cold in our immediate future. And lots of whining as a result. We are petulant privileged children. (Say that fast three times. I double dog dare you.)

But Friday evening was the start of Hanukkah. And me? I am down with any religious holiday that involves food. (Note to self -- Must research Hindu and Buddhist traditions for ones that involve food as well as I am only versed in the Christian, Jewish and Islamic ones.) So Friday I headed out into the awful rain to Berkeley. Saul's had a latke tent for the weekend. I cannot even begin to describe my love of latkes. OK. It is not as great as my love of blintzes but still.

This weekend was more about this inspiration though. When Maddie and Boy Toy were out here in August, we hit a couple of wineries and I joined their wine clubs. Imagine my surprise at the beginning of November when instead of my usual two bottles, I received this beauty. Yes, it is a magnum. And yes, in this photo it is completely empty. How? Well, I sent out an Evite and cooked up some food.

There was my usual goat cheese with fig and walnut tapenade to start the evening. The main was a salad, bread, moussaka and spinach lasagna (pictured). There were children running around laughing and playing. Adults were busy catching up on one another's lives. Jade said that she had watched Julie and Julia earlier in the day and it made her think of me. For me, it felt like home.

I awoke this morning a bit fuzzy around the edges. And then it hit me. They had eaten everything. There was no food left save the baklava even though they had put a pretty healthy dent in it as well. The remainder will be going to work with me tomorrow as I am sticking true to my weight loss goal. Because -- squeeee! -- I had lost another pound when I got on the scale this morning. I now weigh less than I did back in July. This is real and I can do it. And the fact that I'm doing it during the holiday season and at a time that I am vulnerable to using food as a crutch proves to me that I can do this anytime.

Today I also did a kind of hard thing. I went to meet my mother to go to the movies. I realized on the way there that I have not seen a movie in a theater in over two years. Scary. Five years ago I used to see at least 75 or so movies per year in a theater. With my DVD viewing, I easily watched 200 movies a year. I miss it. Maybe if and when I get my bonus check in January (Yes, my company is still giving those out.), I will rejoin the San Francisco Film Society. Because I do need to take my non-flabby self out to places and all.

I totally survived going to the movies with my mom. While she enjoyed Invictus, she did not like it as much as Blind Side. Me? I would have liked it more if she had not been reciting the poem throughout the movie but I knew it would happen. But how can you not love this?

"I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul."

It tied in beautifully with watching "Dollhouse" Friday night. Here's where I would put in the warning about plot spoilers and all but I suspect that at this point, I'm the only one watching. Echo met up with a previous engagement -- a guy who wanted her to be his dead wife. The guy had finally moved on in his life and was engaged but when he saw Echo, everything came back for him.
"I thought I was past this."

"You never get past it. It becomes a part of who you are."

So true. And me now? It's all about having a home that I can open up to others. And on days in which there is not a Save the Air warning, a fire in the fireplace. By the way, the screen came from my aunt's house. And so a little bit of her will always be with me. Because sometimes we need to see it. But I know that I carry a little bit of the four women I have lost in these last 15 months or so in me. I would not be who I am today if not for them. And I will never forget this. They taught me to cook, to set a pretty table, to be a gracious hostess, to find joy in being around other people's children. They also taught me that bad things happen but we are survivors and so we move on. It is how we react and not these things themselves that define who we are.

And Flufficat, Boris and Natasha would like to thank Teddy and Kiki for their Hanukkah gifts. As you can see, the blue fluffy thing was big hit. Of course after one hour, it no longer exists. Because my cats are all gangsta like that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good morning

I have spent the last week working through with the folks at JS-Kit on the comments issues that have plagued this blog since I converted from Haloscan to JS-Kit. Hopefully they are all solved.

And so I leave you with a photo of a morning ritual around here. Upon awaking, Natasha likes to see what's going on outside.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dance party

So this weekend, I wanted to eat loads of stuff but now I know that if I want to eat like that, I need to have some physical activity to offset the caloric intake. That's how I found myself dancing at home once more on Friday afternoon. And I was feeling this sense of independence so I returned to some of the songs of my teens and 20s.

First on the list is "Institutionalized" by Suidical Tendencies.

"MY best interests?"

That got me thinking. Why is it the people who are the most apt to say that they are doing what is best for you are the least likely to really know what you need?

This is probably the tamer of the Oingo Boingo songs that I used to play when my mom would get mad at me and send me to my room. My response? Blast some Boingo from the stereo. But like I said, this one is pretty innocuous. It was more like a prelude for things to come.

Definitely the song for pissed off youth.

"They say you lost the ability to even think
That your tiny little brain
Slipped down the kitchen sink"

My absolute favorite.

"Who makes the rules?
Someone else."

Hearing those lines always made me want to reply, "Fuck that."

So yeah, these songs kind of sum of my current state of mind. Don't tell me what I should or shouldn't do because you might not like the response.

And as I continue to figure out who will be in my life and to what extent they will, I am thinking I will add some songs to the mix. Like maybe selections from The Smiths' "Meat Is Murder." And my old theme -- Ministry's "Everyday Is Halloween."

Monday, November 30, 2009


That's what I consider having four days in a row in which I am free to do whatever I please. Now if I can just make it through to Christmas since that will be my next long weekend.

The focus of Thursday was sleep. Lots of sleep. I think with all my naps that I probably slept about a total of 12 hours. Now you may have forgotten but I'm used to getting four to six hours of sleep a night. 12 hours? Just plain crazy.

Friday was about getting out of the house -- on my terms. After I left the zoo, I heard from my mother. She asked, "You had to pay to get into the zoo?" Yeah. Whatever.

Saturday I knew that I would be heading out with Fluffycat. Strange thing is that I awoke in the morning with lots of energy. So much energy that I finally got around to sorting through the boxes of children's books that I have -- still. Hopefully for not longer. And I discovered stuff mixed in the boxes that went straight to the trash. Two boxes full of trash. It felt great.

So great that on Sunday, I decided to conquer more of the crap. Because yes, I moved in April and there are still boxes that I have not unpacked. Nor is there a single thing hanging on the wall. But I don't feel bad about it. Every month when I make the mortgage payment, I know that it is mine.

OK. So maybe the real reason for some of the organizing on Sunday was because I had also done three loads of laundry over the weekend and I thought it might be nice for the first time in months to actually put the stuff away. Because for months, I have been folding the stuff and leaving it in the basket. Until it's empty. Then I start the whole process again. So the laundry is put away and I can walk through my closet without having to worry about tripping over anything.

When I created this blog, I said there would be food and crafts. There's been plenty of food but really no crafts. This weekend I started three knitting projects. (Actually in the last couple of weeks I have completed the good portion of a fourth project as well.) So I present the above to you as proof that there is actually some crafting going on around here.

And the great thing about Sunday is that I told my mother that I could not come to take her to the mall. She needed to return something that she had bought on Saturday. And no, I did not take her to the mall on Saturday; one of her neighbors did. I said no because there were things that I had to take care of for myself, things that no one else was going to do -- like cleaning and knitting. I also figured why ruin a perfectly good weekend. And although she found another way to the mall, I am sure that this is all being recorded on the bad daughter list to be enumerated to me at a later date. Really don't give a flying fuck anymore.

Done with people telling me that if I love them, I will do fill-in-the-blank. Done with the people telling me that I am responsible for someone else's happiness. Tired of being angry because some people just are not reliable. My bad on that one. They are who they are. As such, I'm done with asking them to be there. I am done with the people who only pick up the phone when they need something -- except for coworkers as long as it is work-related. And I really don't care if that doesn't leave a lot of people because I'll just start all over again. This time I'll do it better though.

And so that's what happens when I have the luxury of time for me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dinner and a show

Last night Fluffycat and I headed to Bocanova in Jack London Square for dinner. I had been wanting to check this place out since it opened in September.

The starter had been determined from the first time I saw their menu months ago -- Dungeness Crab Deviled Eggs. As David had pointed out earlier in the week, you really can't go wrong with deviled eggs.

We then decided to add the salad of Avocado, Endive and Hearts of Palm. At this point, Fluffycat realized the patience required when you want to write about food. The food arrives and you want to dive right in but then you think, "Wait. I need to take a photo before it's all gone."

By the time the Mahi Mahi (not on their online menu and to the left in the photo) and the Stuffed Plantains arrived, I had indeed forgotten about the photo thing until I was halfway through my portions.

Luckily there was enough of the Burnt Carrots that I was able to take a fairly representative photo even though some had been removed from the bowl.

At this point we were both pretty full. Portions at Bocanova are not as small as they might have been at other places. But then we saw the dessert menu and suddenly there was room in our stomachs once more.

Fluffycat had the Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding. OK. So when it arrived, it may have been a bit more than warm but that just meant to let the molten chocolate cool on the spoon a bit before placing it in your mouth.

I went with a seasonal dessert, also not on the online menu, of Pumpkin Pound Cake topped with Eggnog Ice Cream and served with a little Pecan Macaroon. It was like the best of the holiday season in a bowl.

By now you're probably wondering why I mentioned "show" in the title of this post. We arrived at the restaurant without a reservation. The host said that we could have immediate seating at the bar by their open kitchen. Sounded good to us. And we had the good fortune to be seated near the meat/seafood section of the kitchen. So the show was watching the expediter call in orders to the kitchen and seeing the various dishes take shape. At one point one of the guys in the kitchen started singing. And there was a bit of good-natured banter between the group. This vantage point also let us clearly see dishes that we didn't order but might want to try on future trips to the restaurant. By the end of the evening, Fluffycat and I decided that these were, in our opinion, the best seats in the house. Why sit at a table so removed from all the action?

I will definitely be returning. And will probably make reservations the next time -- as long as I can reserve those seats by the kitchen.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

For the birds

So yesterday after sleeping for a total of 12 hours the previous day, I had all this energy. Go figure. While I did various house work, a plan started to form. I would leave my secret lair and go out to see the world. (Yes, I showered and put on something other than my yoga pants for this endeavor.)

The original plan was that I would walk to the zoo even though I could tell without looking out the windows that it was overcast outside. Then I exited and saw that everything was wet. As in it had recently been raining kind of wet. Scratch the walk to the zoo. It would be enough to simply walk around the zoo. So I hopped in the car. Next time I'll choose a day with better weather. And I'll leave out early enough that I won't have to worry about having to walk back in the dark. Along a street that has no sidewalks. Upon which folks are usually cruising at 40 or so.

Now the highlight for me is usually the big cats. But it was cold and kind of damp. I thought as I looked at them, "If I wanted to see some cats lounging around all day, I could have stayed at home." And that last photo? That's right. The bobcat couldn't even be bothered with sleeping in the open.

Now onto some of the other animals...

A dromedary.





An eland.

A chimp.

Malaysian Sun Bear

And now I have new favorites. The gibbons absolutely rock. Although it was so annoying to hear kids run up to their enclosure repeatedly proclaiming, "Look! Monkeys!" Finally an intelligent parent came along and responded to his kids, "Do you see tails? Because monkeys have tails. Primates don't."

If my fingers hadn't started going numb, I could have spent all day watching the gibbons.

And finally I will leave you with this lovely earworm that has plaguing me since I first decided to go to the zoo. Enjoy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

One day down

The other day David asked for photos of everyone's Thanksgiving table. Silly boy. When you're a solo diner, I suppose you could go through the bother of it all but to me it just made sense to make the plate of food and to plop down in front of the TV.

The food in a repeat of last year came from Poulet. No cooking necessary, just reheating. I was a bit disappointed that they were not offering green beans this year and instead had brussel sprouts. Even though I am not particularly thrilled with them, I ordered them anyway because one must have something green on one's plate. And I suppose that I could have cooked something else but really? What would be the point of ordering pre-prepared food if I actually had to cook? They weren't all that bad. Probably would have been better with more butter. But even on Thanksgiving, I was still logging the calories.

I said I was logging them. That doesn't mean that I was denying myself any kind of food. Notice the sea of gravy. Because it's all about the gravy. And the giblet madeira gravy from Poulet is so good that I could eat alone, straight from the container. But I didn't. Instead I let the turkey and stuffing swim in a sea of it. And their stuffing -- foccacia bread, chard and sage -- is the perfect place for it. The stuffing just absorbs that stuff. Not like the heavy cornbread dressing of my childhood -- which is still good but just doesn't seem to absorb the gravy in the same way. (Oh, and every time I think of the word "gravy," I hear Monk telling Natalie, "They make their own gravy.")

As for TV viewing, I haven't watched the Macy's parade since childhood. Actually I have stopped most parade viewing. Parades are like baseball -- much more enjoyable in person than on TV.

I did find lots of wonderful marathons as well. Universal has been showing "That's Life" most of the week -- because what's not to love about a show that includes Ellen Burstyn, Paul Sorvino, and Debi Mazur? And BBC America was running a marathon of "Don't Tell the Bride." Personally I think the show is kind of twisted. "Hi. We're going to give you lots of money for your wedding but only the groom can do the planning and he cannot have any contact with the bride until the wedding day." I'm sorry but most brides seem anxious enough without the added stress of not having any input into the wedding.

This morning I'll be having some of this with my tea. It's apple cranberry ginger with a streusel topping. Sounds like heaven to me. And more TV viewing. And perhaps some DVDs. And maybe some of the various unread books I have around here. And knitting. Because I don't head out for Black Friday as well. Too many people.

So no matter how you spent your Turkey Day, I hope it was wonderful. Mine was.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For David

So tonight I was getting my groove on and then a song dropped that made me think of David. Strange because this will always be a song that I associate with summer school in England. In fact I thought of digging out one of the photos from that summer but then I remembered that I had already posted photos from that summer.

And then as the tunes continued, I thought of David -- and perhaps Maddie -- once more. This song dates from when I lived in the Mission District of San Francisco -- at the beginning of the hardcore partygirl days. Because I still kind of miss that person. Especially when I grab something out of the closet since that person was 20 pounds lighter than my current self.

Monday, November 23, 2009

On a happier note

This morning I decided to increase my weight loss goal by five pounds. While my previous goal was a weight with which I could probably live, I wasn't really happy at that weight either. I decided that I should shoot for the new goal after this morning's weigh in. Three weeks, six pounds. I can already feel the difference. And when I went to get my hair done on Saturday, the salon owner told me that she could see it as well.

Another thing. I just realized that Lose It has slowly been lowering my net calories as I have been losing weight. And I've been sticking with it pretty much. So while other things have been sucking, there has been at least one really good thing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tis the season

There was supposed to be a photo of a lovely Dungeness crab here. But I forgot to take it. I guess I could post a photo of the pieces of shell...

So yeah, it's crab season now here in the San Francisco area. For me it is the unofficial start to that hideous time of year -- the holiday season. I didn't always think that it was hideous. This is something that developed over the last couple of years. Shocker.

This year I'm trying something different -- saying "Fuck you" to all the crap. Well, I will still get gifts for my parents. And I'm still hard at work on the various craft things. Because little people should not share my view of the season.

Things will kick off this week with Thanksgiving. I placed my order with Poulet a couple of weeks ago and will pick it up Wednesday night after work. My plan is to spend Thursday at home with the yummy food, the cats, some books, some videos, and my craft stuff.

This year my dad has decided to stay in town. Probably has something to do with the new girlfriend. And my mom is in town as well since she is recovering from her surgery. They have both expressed repeatedly their desire for me to join them. Know what I have to say to them? Screw you. It's been about their moods and schedules for too many years. I'm hopping off the ride. Done.

There will be no holiday luncheon at work this year. Instead all of the office staff have been invited to that fabulous dinner at the Fairmont that I attended last year. I said no to that as well. Why? Because I decided I was really tired of the asinine question, "Why don't you have a date?" Ummm. Maybe because for the last year so many people have been sucking me dry that I am not in a healthy place to be dating. (And please. If I have to hear another coworker ask, "How are your parents doing?" I may stop censoring myself. Hello. They're not the only people who lost someone. Why not try asking how I'm doing? No, don't. Because you really don't care anyway.) In my current emotional state, I am almost guaranteed to make extremely bad choices. So yeah, they can bite me as well.

As soon as Thanksgiving has passed, I will start getting pestered about Christmas. I plan to place another order at Poulet and to spend the day at home. Gifts to folks? That's why there is mail order and shipping. And yeah, I don't have to spend it with family but I'm also tired of pretending that other people are my family.

I am a family of one -- three if you count the cats. And it would all be really cool if I didn't have to hear other people's stupid questions that reflect their expectations of it all.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why I am losing weight

I like to think that a great deal of my wardrobe is pretty timeless. And I'd like to be able to wear it all again.

Your Fashion Style is Classic

Some people may argue that those with a classic style like yours don't care about fashion, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

The key to having a effective classic look is making sure all your classic items are well tailored and look modern.

No one can rock a basic suit or white buttoned shirt with jeans like you can. You have the confidence it takes to avoid trends completely.

And by sticking to what has or what will stand the test of time, you always can find something to wear. It's very rare that anything in your closet has fallen out of fashion.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Still here

Yes, I am still alive. No exciting food around here these days. Mostly I've been exploring how to stay on track with my calorie count while dining out. And yes, it can be done.

Last week I beat myself up a few times because I slipped and overindulged. But then I realized that on my "bad" days, I had a net calorie count of 1500-1600 calories. And that was a vast improvement over what I used to consume. So now I'm cutting myself a little slack because at that net calorie amount, I should still lose weight albeit a little slower. And like I said previously, it took me two years to put on the weight so I shouldn't expect it to all melt off over night. It's going to take some time and patience. (And yes, I realize that some of you who know me want to slap me at this point because on the BMI, I am at the low end of "normal" currently. I'm just not comfortable here.)

There will be some new content soon though because I've been getting crafty over the last couple of weeks. That's right. I once more have knitting needles in hand -- something I haven't done in some time -- and have all kinds of projects in the works. So stay tuned.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

No retake necessary

Yes, it's quiz time again.

Your Reputation Is: Wild Girl

You love to give people something (and someone) to gossip about

As far as you're concerned, all gossip is good gossip

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall back

I was thrilled beyond belief to step on the scale yesterday morning to discover that I had lost three pounds. Of course, then my mind started racing. Could it be still possible? Could I drop easily as long as I was focused like in those days of yore? We'll see. In the meantime, I thought I'd like to give thanks to the folks who made those three pounds possible -- the folks to whom I listened while walking or while dancing around in my living room. The cats really love the latter -- especially when I tell Boris that I could work in some weights by holding him while I'm dancing.

This is Jade's theme song. And while I was walking last Friday, I finally understood why. I was starting to drag until this came on my iPod playlist. Suddenly there was a little more pep in my step.

Lose It likes to differentiate between dancing and aerobic dancing. My mindset is that if you have an accelerated heart rate and your breathing is a little quicker, then it counts as aerobic.

I was feeling pretty good during this song. And near the end when Too $hort takes the lead, I found myself thinking, "Well hell. I've been down around 67th and Foothill. I used to work in the area when area when I was teaching. And I had no fear when I worked in the area." Too $hort was probably the first person to pronounce the word "bitch" as "beyotch." That's some straight out Oakland stuff.

And then the Republica kicked in. It was on then. Even if I was at the 20 minute or so mark.

How do you wrap this up? With the song that I think should be the official song for the state of California. I really don't understand why it's not already. And I mean that whole, "Shake shake it baby," section? If that doesn't get you all aerobic, then I don't know what will. The only improvement they could make is to mention Richmond. Richmond's a hell of lot tougher than Oakland. (Ignore last year's stats on the most dangerous cities in the U.S.) People in Oakland are afraid of folks from Richmond. Really. Well folks who look like me from Richmond that is. And who are willing to say things like, "Bitch please."

And wish me luck in maintaining my sanity over these next few days. My mother had her surgery today. That means that she will be needier than even. Fucking shame my well is dry. Dry to the point that I had a mini-meltdown at work on Monday. The reason why I said that I can't do whining people is because of this. I'm treading water here and whining people will just drag me down.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This is going to be fun

When I bought the lobster tails on Saturday, there were two in the package. I just figured that I would have both in the same manner as Saturday's meal. But then I started doing research. There's this lovely light alfredo sauce in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. So I combined it with some of the fettucine I had in the cabinet as well as the lobster and asparagus. I had previously thought that I'd have to avoid all pasta and dairy-based things. Silly me. I just have to be careful of portions. (Another weird thing has happened. I'm actually measuring stuff these days.) I served this with a salad of romaine, tomato and sherry vinegar -- no oil. (Salad plus pasta was approximately 570 calories.) Delicious and filling. So filling that I was barely hungry by dinnertime. So I ate extra light and once more had no problem staying within my net calories for the day thanks to extra physical activity earlier in the day.

And then I realized something. I've been dialing it in for quite some time as far as food is concerned. For the first time in quite some time, I'm actually excited about cooking. So watch out. I've got lots of ideas brewing.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


The first week of calorie watching had some mixed results. Yes, I lost at least one pound -- quite possibly two -- but by Friday I was feeling rather beat up. I had been aiming for net calories of 1380 per day. And had failed every day.

Lunch has been one of my biggest challenges. The food choices near my office are less than desirable -- that is if one is trying to lose weight. I realized that means that I once more should be bringing lunch from home. But I had few options in the fridge to do this. And so by Thursday, I found myself skipping meals just to bring my calorie count down. Yeah, me the person who extols the necessity of having three meals a day.

Fortunately I had a good night's sleep Saturday night and decided to come at it all again. Because it suddenly clicked that while red meat is mostly a no-no these days, fish and shellfish were perfectly acceptable. And do you know how happy that made me? Suddenly I had endless ideas and so after my hair appointment, I headed to the store for a few items.

Saturday for lunch I had a lovely Shrimp Louie. And dinner was asparagus with lobster tail. And you know what? I didn't go over my net calories for the day. (I also burned some calories by doing some much needed housework.) For the last 24 hours I have been busy plugging recipes into Lose It to see if the calories per serving are within my guidelines. And most of them were. So most of my meat choices will be seafood with occasional chicken or turkey. (Hello. Thanksgiving.)

This has been really important because I also realize that it's going to take me about three months to lose the amount of weight I'd ideally like to. To last for that many months means that the food cannot be boring. And so now I think I really can make the commitment to finally lose the weight. And three months? Not so bad considering it took me about 2-3 years to put it on.

Now I'm off to the farmer's market. I have shopping to do so that I can start restocking the freezer with all kinds of yumminess.

Friday, November 6, 2009


... or perhaps this should be title "Non Sequitur." Because I have a lot of thoughts in my head.

First of all, let me treat you to what may be the last food photo you may see around these parts for some time -- my dinner at JFK last Thursday night. Because now I'm dealing with my depression weight. And the actual food that I consume? Boring. I have gained seven pounds since July. In July I wanted to lose weight. Every time I look in the mirror these days, I get a little depressed. Yeah, I know that in everyone else's book, I'm thin. Not in mine. Because in my current state, I would never wear a bathing suit. This realization earlier this week made me want to crawl back into bed and pull the comforter over my head. Instead I started monitoring my intake. That's the regression. Because now my net intake is down to about 1300 calories a day. Even if I sit on my ass all day. And today I know my coworkers have started questioning my sanity since my lunch for the last two days has consisted of liquids. I swear that things will get more balanced in the coming weeks once I deal with the stuff in the fridge. (And hey. I'm shooting for 1300 and not the 1100 I had thought of earlier this week.)

So now I bury myself in music and TV when I get home. I have little patience with folks who say, "You know what? This show really sucks." Well, why the hell did you watch it if you didn't like it? If you could not find one redeeming quality in it? What? You had to write about it online? Is someone paying you to do such? If not, then turn the damn channel or else shut the fuck up. Because I just have no patience for anyone who wants to whine about shit -- including their own lives. You don't like where your life is going? Then do something about it and tell me about that stuff. Otherwise? Yeah, you guessed it. Shut the fuck up.

Here's the thing. I have lost four close relatives in the last 15 months. Two of these deaths were completely unexpected. The other two? In my mind I was sure they were terminal -- including my aunt who died last summer. And here's the thing. My aunt? She was DYING. But she never showed this to the rest of us. Now I'm sorry but I think that if you're dying, you have the right to whine away. But she didn't. And now I'm subjected to folks whining about shit that is so much less. Yep. Suck it up and shut up. I don't want to hear about your trivial ass shit. If you're in doubt, start whining and if I'm not being the polite person my mama raised me to be, I will tell you that your shit is trivial and all.

And so I leave you with a favorite from my childhood. Sly has a way of making me forget all the bullshit in the world.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lost Home Part 3

Saturday as we were approaching Yorktown, my mother announced that she was hungry. Easy enough. It was a no-brainer for me -- the Yorktown Pub. Just like Smitty's this place has been a fave of mine for years. My mother was a bit off put by all the hogs parked out front. Me? Not so much. Of course, I'm the kind who will decide that a resyaurant is OK while on a road trip if there are a large number of big rigs parked out front.

While we waited for our table, the owner chatted with us. At one point he told us that he is Greek. Not really surprising. One of the things I learned during my time in Williamsburg was that most of the restaurants around there were Greek-owned regardless of the cuisine being served.

When my crabcake sandwich arrived, I remembered why this place has always been a fave. This was after all my excitement in having a real crabcake in way too many years. And that sucker was huge. I saved half of it for dinner.

And in more happy news, it was decided today that one of my aunts will be moving into my grandmother's house so that those of us who live outside of the area -- currently three of us -- will always have a home to which we can return. Remind me to tell y'all about this aunt one day and the time that I lived with her.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lost home Part 2

The plan for Saturday was to drive around to a few places to snap some photos. Unfortunately when I was ready to leave, my mother asked to tag along. I knew she wanted to get out and so stupid me said yes.

The first stop was Buckroe Beach. Apparently Donald Trump is now planning on putting highrises along it and turning more of it into a private beach. The community does not seem thrilled to say the least. Buckroe is a part of Phoebus -- where my grandmother's home is. Also in Phoebus is Fort Monroe. I would have gone there as well if my mother had not been tagging along. Because she wanted to walk Buckroe and we had other places to see.

Next stop was Yorktown, a place I have always loved.

After lunch there, we hit the Colonial Parkway to Williamsburg.

My favorite buildings have always been Bruton Parish,

the Governor's Palace,

and the Wren Building.

From Williamsburg, I had planned to continue on to Hopewell but around Charles City, my mother started whining. So instead of going to Hopewell, I looped back around through Providence Forge to get to Lightfoot and the Williamsburg Pottery. I was quite disappointed to find out that they no longer carry the lovely black velvet paintings.

So while I didn't get to do all that I had planned, there were definitely some highlights. But six hours is way too long to spend on the road with my mom these days.