We Give Thanks For Many Different Things

Cake made of chocolate mousse.

Cake made of chocolate mousse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am the meanest person on earth, or at least the most honest and outspoken but I give thanks that Thanksgiving is over. Yep, I said it. You can judge me all you want but holidays can be stressful. Family dynamics,  emotional baggage, demons from the past, they all get rattled and those emotions escape. They slip from your unconscious like slithering snakes darting out without your permission. Filters don’t work, the id, ego and superego are all in repair.

Families members regress, the dysfunctional aspects of relationships become unglued, it seems like anything negative that you can rein in for most of the year just gets ignited during holiday celebrations. Forgive me, don’t judge me. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way.

I used to be the person who loved holidays the most, it WAS my favorite time of year. I sang along with every song on the radio, happily. I loved to shop for hours getting just the perfect present for each member of my extended family. Now, I beg my kids to tell me what they want, preferably with a link online. I don’t feel like celebrating, when did I become Scrooge?

I’d rather appreciate my family as I do, every minute of every day instead of on one particular day.  All the work you have done to prep and prepare and cook and bake is finally here; by the time you sit down to eat, you are exhausted and then the meal is over in literally five minutes. Tops.

You take a breather and move to a different room, everyone moaning about how full their tummies are and the tension moves with you like invisible cloaks. The young “adult” children text, the older generation talks about  people who have died or are very sick  and all I want to do is change into my soft flannel polka dot pajama pants and tee-shirt and climb under my blankets and go to sleep.

However, the chocolate cake with the layers of lighter chocolate mousse winks at me and soon we go back to eat dessert. A lot of dessert. That incredibly delicious chocolate cake with edible sugar ornaments, my vegetarian daughter grins as she eats a sugar “turkey.” There is also apple cake, strawberry-rhubarb pie, chocolate rugelach, banana bread, apple pie and assorted cookies. I’m ashamed to say that the fabulous chocolate cake, with an ice-cold glass of milk cheers me up. I can see the women of Weight Watchers “past” shaking their heads at me, tsk- tsking all the way to the scales. Sorry leaders, I haven’t gained any weight, in fact I lost more weight.

My daughter drives her grandmother home, with a care package that will last her at least a week to finish, complete with forbidden dessert since she is a not-so-so-strict-diabetic, it’s a treat for her, one bite or two at a time. The fact that my sister and her family aren’t here was felt by all, it just seemed empty without them. I missed my sister and the “cousins” being together. My husband’s parents are coming tomorrow, does that make any sense to you? Fill me in if you can figure it out, I can’t.

I see myself going away for a few days this year or next. This time I will go someplace different to be alone, to have some space, to smile at the sun and do some thinking.  It’s my turn now. I’m tired,  physically and emotionally. I need to get a good night’s rest and maybe when I wake up tomorrow morning I will feel just more hopeful. I give thanks for my family, my friends, for the food on the table. I give thanks that the holiday is over and for my pretty polka dotted pajamas. I am grateful for the sleep that is sure to come quickly. Good night.

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*Weight Watchers For Dogs?

LexiI brought Lexi, my dog, to the vet a few months ago to get her nails trimmed, something I know I can’t do. She is a very willful and strong dog, I can barely give her a bath. After they were finished, the vet technician came over to me, sat down beside me and said grimly “Lexi needs to lose 2 pounds AGAIN.” My first thought was to laugh heartily and say “Who doesn’t?” but the look on her face prohibited even me, which as my kids can tell you, is very, very hard.

After suppressing my laughter and pretending to look chagrined, she informed me that Lexi needed to start adult food mixed in with her puppy food and go down from 3 meals a day to two. My first thought? Good luck to us! That dog, lives, breathes and does anything for food. She, absolutely, takes after her human parents. I think I will give her less food for lunch time and wean her off it that way. Come on, a girl dog does have to eat and I took her on an extra walk today. It’s so beautiful out that I will take her to the dog park later and she can run and play with the other dogs just like she did yesterday.

Were vets always like this? I don’t think so and I know it makes sense to keep them healthy but we’re not talking obesity, we’re talking two pounds. It’s the winter, harder to take her for long walks when it is so cold. Not a good enough excuse? Fine, I will also decrease her food, poor thing.

At least this time it was only two pounds and I didn’t get yelled at like I did last time. When she was a pup, we took Lexi to a (horrible yes, you, Peter)) puppy training class where she learned nothing except how to sit (which she already knew.) The instructor bribed the pups with a huge amount of treats and Lexi gained ten pounds in a month. I am not kidding. When I went to the vet after that, I didn’t say a word but the technician started yelling across the room, standing up and shaking her finger at me saying: “No, no,  no- way, she’s FAT.” I was a little offended on Lexi’s behalf. She may have gained a few pounds but saying it across a crowded room was embarrassing. At least for me. I totally blame that stupid trainer, I knew I should have gotten my money back. Damn.

Now, Lexi looks fine, she looks sleek. I want her weighed this time. We’ll show old Weight Watchers For Dogs what we have done. And we didn’t even count points or calories either. So there. I’m bringing her in tomorrow, I’ll let you know how WE do.

*this has nothing to do with the Weight Watchers Corporation, it’s a parody for dogs.

Emotional Eating With Ben and Jerry

eat it!

Image by Darwin Bell via Flickr

After a very small dinner tonight I ate Ben and Jerry’s half-baked ice cream, with whipped cream. After that I had one purple bunny peep, cheddar Sun chips, a piece of raisin bread and I’m still on the hunt. If  the stores would be open now I would grab my license and run out the door to search for the new M & M’s with coconut that I saw in the stores a week and a half ago. That was my mistake. I should have bought them then, eaten them and have gotten them out of my system. Instead, during a time of stress and emotional eating, I’m raiding the fridge and searching in the cupboards.

When it’s this kind of emotional hunger, I don’t get full. I eat and eat and look for comfort and in the act of eating mindlessly, I, for a few moments push my stress and anxiety and worries away. But, it doesn’t last. I’m full but I’m not; I’m sure there is another victim out there that I can kidnap. If I had jelly belliesI would be happy. That is what I want to eat now, one after the other, slowly, not biting them completely because I do not want to disturb my TMJ, that nasty, sharp-pained nuisance. I’m not supposed to eat the Jelly Bellies but I truly don’t care, I want them anyway preferably now.

I’m not hungry, I tell myself, and physically that’s perfectly true. I am hungry emotionally having had  two days of pure, unadulterated anxiety and sadness and heartbreak and stress, illness and loved ones and more stress.  I hold my hand over my bulging stomach and know I shouldn’t eat more and know that I will. The only decision is what to eat and when to stop.

After searching my son’s room, with his help, he only had empty Starbursts wrappers. No good. His girlfriend offered to do a “jelly belly run” for me which further endeared her to my heart. After tearing the kitchen apart I found a great substitute, cut up pineapple chunks: fruity, juicy, chewy, not jelly beans but the same idea. I ate those thinking I was in the clear. Until I found the Yodels……

I’m not ashamed to write this, this is no hidden blog post, this is for people like me, that once in a while binge eat, grin, and regret it the next day. No matter what a Psychologist would say, I think it’s okay as long as I go back to eating healthfully tomorrow. So there. Yes gain, no shame.

Eat that Weight Watchers.

*I’m Talking Fruit Loops

Going Loopy

Image by terren in Virginia via Flickr

Earlier today I met my friend Sarah for lunch at our local coffee shop.  I nibbled on a small fresh (?) fruit salad and ate a few bites of an egg white omelette. I felt virtuous for about two hours, eating only healthy food and grazing. We talked about everything, our kids, our maladies and the current stomach bug that was circulating through town and through the high school.

Once home, couple of hours later, I felt faint and nauseous. Just hearing the stomach bug going around made me reach for the Saltines. Later that night, for dinner, I had some of my absolutely divine homemade chicken soup, a soft carrot or two floating around, a piece of a turnip and parsnip, ( I have no idea which is which), a couple of crackers crushed into the soup.  I’ve heard of so many people getting some virus or another, ’tis the season, I suspect. So, I decided I must have the stomach bug or I am ABOUT to get the bug because my appetite was teeny-tiny, no more than a red breasted robin would eat at one time.

Then I went upstairs and started listening and watching You Tube songs on my computer.  “In the Arms Of an Angel” by Sarah Mclaughlin, “Vincent,” by Don Mclean and a beautiful, touching song I had never heard before by Josh Groban called “To Where You Are.” I got fixated on this song I had never heard and I listened to it about 20 times, over and over again.  I started thinking about all the people who I have loved that passed away. Holidays do that to you, you know. My dad, a dear aunt, my friend Janine’s father and mother-in-law, all the people I have lost and people who my friends lost.  I started getting depressed.

It’s the ho-h0-ho of the holiday season and many of us just can’t rejoice like we used to. There are so many factors: the economy, high unemployment, the kids are older, loved ones have passed and the world can be a scary place. I decided I needed something, I needed comforting, I needed…..cereal.

In the last two days by children decided that they loved cereal, not having bothered with it for about 5 years. I saw cereal, thought of cereal, bought cereal and had cereal on my mind. I crept downstairs to have two bowls of cereal. The first was a mixture of Honey Nut Cheerios, Grape Nuts (or as I call them Gravel Nuts) and two or three pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It wasn’t enough. I then came upon an individual box ( and we know those don’t count) of utterly charming, amazingly beautiful sugary Fruit Loops. I didn’t bother with the Mini Shredded Wheat with Bran, or the Flax seed cereal, or the Multi-Grain Mix. Nope, no way. I went straight to the hard stuff. Nothing talks mood elevator like Fruit Loops! How can you be weary and sad after looking at those darling purple, red, yellow, green morsels of edible jewelery.

All of a sudden I felt happier and of course fully distracted from my depressing thoughts and sad memories.  The Fruit Loops were the delightful high of my evening and not only that, I was cured. I was cured physically and emotionally and I felt happier. Cure of all ills, thy name is sugar. Amen.

*This post is not approved by Weight Watchers

Listen to the Josh Groban song, you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uIQp9Dqcrw

Man vs Food #3 (Because You Asked For It)

Subliminal Nachos (Add-A-Note-Festival!)

Image by Lucky Bielka via Flickr

Welcome to Ann Arbor, Michigan home to deli sandwiches, stacked burgers and the University of Michigan. ENORMOUS EATS! That shouldn’t come as a shock since my friend, Adam Richman of Man vs. Food is apparently in town. A stack of greasy burgers is just waiting for him as he tries to bite, gulp, and swallow his way through the massive blimp-style burger. The  burger comes with various toppings, fried eggs, (I kid you not) salami, bacon, cheese, anything that you can think of. But wait, it’s only  1/10 of a lb. of meat so for Adam this must qualify as health food. What? I should have known: in this show you HAVE to stack the burgers. If you didn’t, it would mean you were practically on Weight Watchers! I forgot, It’s Adam’s world, (sounds like Wayne’s World only more gross, grosser?) and there must be a law somewhere about that.  Try bacon, egg and cheese on three burgers (heart attack alert?) Two to five (yes, five) burgers is the general request. However, I believe the record is for 43 patties… I’m sorry I must have misheard. I don’t think I can believe that. There are an enormous amount of burger combinations to keep your imagination alive: grilled items such as bacon and onions, and EVERY kind of cheese. Condiments include: olives, lettuce, tomato, mustard, ketchup. Keep eating these mountains of hamburgers, it’s guaranteed to increase your cholesterol by a good, say 200-300 points.

Then, there’s the Ann Arbor game day tradition, the Maize and Blue deli, huge, special, triple play Rueben sandwich made with two slices of thick sourdough rye, homemade Russian dressing, sauerkraut ( ugh, the smell) Swiss and Jarlsberg cheeses (as if you really needed that extra bit of Jarlsberg’s nutty flavor). Combine that with four ounces each of pastrami and corned beef and  grill, (because it’s not greasy enough.)   Adam talks with his mouth full, we expect nothing less. Yes, you did see the coleslaw fly out of his chubby mouth as he was eating, no trick photography there! And, to think,  he thought the only great rueben sandwich could be found in NY. Silly boy, as they said in SNL, you “kid the public.” Adam, keep your mind and big mouth open and you will discover all the riches of the gastronomical world, all super-sized.

Right in front of me you can see his swollen, greasy upper lip. The next  competion and challenge? Nachos: I had a small dinner so I was able to watch Man vs Food without actually gagging. I want to know this dude’s cholesterol numbers. Even mine are high and I don’t eat one percent of what this guy eats. This show is the only time I feel that I could possibly turn into a vegetarian, easily.

Next up: a 5 lb nacho challenge. Yes, read my lips, 5 POUNDS of NACHOS at Tio’s Mexican Cafe. Apparently they run on wolverine spirit ( as in school spirit) and eat like wolverines to boot. It’s game time: “Eat Adam, eat!!” At Tio’s mexican cafe, the epic 5 lb. nachos include:  blue cheese, (can he substitute?) coleslaw, pork, beef,  chicken, and cheese, (volcano style )and more cheese. First there is a giant layer of chips, and an elephant portion of refried beans. Refried, as if frying them once was not enough. This is followed by Jack and Cheddar cheese. We’re only on the first floor of the nachos tower so we need to go to the second floor which includes: more chips, beef, chicken, pulled pork, garlic and lavender (lavender? that seems so delicate for this monstrosity, I’m sure they said hamburger. After that another layer of…well everything.  It melts perfectly in the oven and is then served with gushers of sour cream, guacamole, onions, olives, tomatoes, and to top it off (TADA!) a kiddie pool of melted cheese. It looks like the kind you can get in a jar (just saying it looks like it, didn’t say it was), the ultimate in “queso.”  In 45 minutes,  Adam has to try to eat the “whole thing” in order to get into the hall of fame where he could win a T-shirt (I’m guessing extra-large) and his picture on the wall. If he loses (gasp!) he will join others in the  hall of shame. At this point I seriously hope he busts a gut, on camera, up close and personal. Before him sits 5 pounds of nachos, the ultimate challenge (aren’t all his challenges called ultimate?) There are crowds of people cheering this dodo on. Can he do it? Will he make it? Of course he does. I can rest easy tonight knowing that he made it through five lbs. of greasy nachos and came out of it a winner, a champion. Oh Adam….you have done it again. My hero. Not.

The Brownie Smuggler (A Foodie Blog)

I knew that I would snack at 10:45pm. I wish I could say I tried to stop myself but that would be really lame. Sometimes, you just have to eat. This was one of those times. I started off my “snack”, okay, second meal with the leftover piece of barbecued chicken I didn’t finish for dinner. I can totally justify that, I had half the portion at dinner. What I can’t rationalize are the brown rice, sea salt crackers to go along with it.  Or the watermelon that followed. I am ashamed and I am not. Now I am nibbling on a brownie in my bedroom and no-one is supposed to know. No one DOES know except for my dog, Callie and now you. She sits up in perfect form, her warm brown eyes staring at me, begging to be fed. “I can’t” I say to her out loud, you are not allowed to have chocolate.” She lies down on the carpet as if she understood what I was saying; maybe she did. It isn’t even a really good brownie, it’s the type that you pack in your kids’ lunches, pre-made and wrapped individually. But still, I had to have it and I am not sure that I am done eating and I am okay with that.

So, tomorrow I will try to be better, making healthier food choices but I will not beat myself up about tonight. Tonight, after a stressful day, this made me feel better, comforted me. I know it’s not a healthy living style but either is denying yourself everything. If anyone at Weight Watchers reads this, please don’t write me, I’m not interested.

I watched the show “Huge” for the first time today on Hulu. I think it’s a great show and will do for overweight people what Glee did to EVERY kind of person. It’s called validation. Finally. People come in different shapes and as my daughter showed me on an episode of “One Tree Hill” a woman (not a model) walked the runway with a tee-shirt that said “zero is not a size.” Hallelujah.

Sometimes I get ravenous and all my common sense, my willpower goes swirling down the drain like a tornado. I am the eye of the storm, and I can’t be stopped; no, I will not allow myself to stop until it’s over. Hopefully it will be months before this little extravaganza comes around again. If it does, I will deal with it, eat it and then the next day go back to being…better.

This is why I cannot watch the Food Network at night. I see the food, I want the food and then I hurl myself down the stairs for something to eat. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk always does the trick (with baked potato chips on the side).  Tonight while I was watching “Huge”, I saw a plate of fries and a double chocolate milkshake and it made me hungry. Perhaps I should switch and watch game shows or old movies. It would keep me grounded. Literally.

I am dreaming now of a cheeseburger and sharing a plate of fries with my husband at a local little pub. They have killer (sorry vegetarians and vegans) burgers, inexpensive and made of incredible quality, moist, pink and thick. I am salivating just thinking about it.

Lesson to learn? Do what you have to do, don’t beat yourself up afterwards and start fresh the next day. It isn’t an easy process, for those of us with food or weight issues but it works.

Food Fantasy

I want to eat fattening foods like chocolate cake and tons of frosting with a large glass of milk, egg rolls that are crisp and greasy and amazing. Thick vanilla milkshakes that I can barely sip through a straw. I want pupu platters served to me with a little bit of everything fried. Prawns and cocktail sauce, sweet and sour meatballs, pigs in blankets; it’s beginning to sound like I want my Bat Mitzvah at the age of 53… I also want potato pancakes crisp and brown, with applesauce that has a lot of added sugar in it.  I want surf and turf, a dish of melted butter for the lobster, Béarnaise sauce for the steak, Hollandaise sauce for the asparagus and I will add my own additional salt, thank you. And, I want the thick, steak cut French Fries that I saw yesterday when I was eating my meager salad, drinking ice water with lemon.  I want to sit down for a 6 course meal at a restaurant where I don’t have to get up and out of my chair every 5 minutes to get someone something they want from the refrigerator.  A napkin, soft drink, pasta, tomato sauce, knife, fork, jelly (ok,that’s for me) ketchup, steak sauce, spritzy red salad dressing and food for the dog with gravy from the turkey we roasted two days ago.

I want to not even have heard of the words calorie, carbs, obesity, camps for overweight kids (in the NY Times Magazine section) and plus sizes. And, I want that new company Pajama Jeans to buck up and make these for people larger than a size 0-2 or 10-12, same thing.  I don’t want to join a gym or power walk or use a treadmill, stair master, rowing machine, and do free weights. I want to obliterate the word weight and the doctors in this country that are so obsessed with it. Give me a very large internist and sign me up for my physical. Not the skinny cold bitch internist that I have now whose “if- I- can- go- the- gym -at -5am- and- have -Dr. hours -and- be- a- single- parent- than- you- can -do- it -too.” Shut up you condescending bitch, I hate you, with your petite figure and dyed hair and expensive ensembles and the bedside manner of a tray of over-frozen ice cubes with freezer burn.

I want to stop denying myself all the GOOD food and screw you Weight Watchers you know you can’t eat everything on your meal plan. You want vanilla, coconut cake? Sure, have a crumb of coconut, that’s all you are entitled to, that will be 537 points, but it’s okay, you can have it. Enjoy. Enjoy, my ass.

I also don’t want to worry about every little thing that comes into my brain, every which way.  I want to go to the Asian Fusion restaurant in my neighborhood for lunch with my friend that will last 3 hours and share jasmine tea that costs a small fortune. After that, I want dessert,  lots of different types of desserts that I can savor for as long as I want.  Strong, Starbucks coffee with a lot of steamed milk and Sweet N Low. This is my fantasy and that’s how I want it.

I will not walk off my meals nor will I exercise.  I will go home and take a 3 hour nap and then wake up and the two feet of snow that has come down in the last day will be over and I will not see it again until I want to. Which might be never because I am sick and tired of cold weather that makes my bones ache and my mind feel claustrophobic. I will burrow under a down blanket, worn with age, and two more blankets on top of it and not come up until Spring.