Thursday, November 29, 2007

Update: Lunch

I was sluggish getting out of bed this morning, so I didn't have time to pack today's lunch. My fallback plan for days like this is to get a simple turkey sub at Subway.

I can't go back to the one around the corner from my office. I don't care for the smell of the bread.

Yep. My first job was as a Subway Sandwich Artist, so 1) I know how the bread should smell; and 2) I know how to build a proper sub.

Let me digress a little here to discuss how Subway's quality has waned since I worked there - gulp - 10 years ago.

  1. Why all the bread options? It just hurts profitability by upping the inventory costs. And everybody just gets white or wheat anyway. Guess what? I'm wheat.

  2. We did the U-Gouge. Remember when the top of the bread was actually separated from the bottom? I miss those days. Now they cut the bread like they're gonna put hot dogs in there. It comes down to this: a sandwich is made from 2 pieces of bread; when I eat it, there should be a bottom and a top. I don't want to maneuver my sub to keep all the contents inside. If I wanted to work that hard, I would have went for tacos.

  3. The sandwich used to be built from the bottom, up. Now they put the meat and cheese on the top half of the bread, and the veggies on the bottom. What the heck? They want to put the sauce on before the veggies, too! I don't want to eat dry lettuce! And I don't want the meat to slide around over the top of those veggies when I bite into it. It's unstable. When they're making mine, I order them to put the meat and cheese on the bottom half, the veggies and sauce on top of that...and they act like it's the craziest thing they ever heard.

Paulie: "Meat underneath the veggies? Are you serious, lady? Cuz' I can't reverse it once I do it. Hey Kwan, get in here! This bird wants me to put the meat on the other side of the bread!"

Kwan: "Say what?"

Paulie: "I said, she wants the meat on the other side of the bread!"

Kwan: "On the outside???"

Paulie: "Nah, she wants the meat on the 'bottom' half of the bread."

Kwan: "You mean the side that's facing her, right?"

Paulie: "Nah, the side that's facing me."

Kwan: "Can you even do that?"

Paulie: "I dunno, but I'm gonna try."

Kwan: "I gotta see this!"

Meanwhile, the other customers start to gather near. A couple of cabbie-capped old guys in the back of the place stop playing chess to come over see what the commotion's about. A little boy in suspenders who had been trying to scam dimes from customers so he could buy a cookie runs to
the door and yells to the kids playing marbles on the street - "Hey Chuckie, Carl, Fist-Lips! You guys gotta see this! They're gonna put the meat on the bottom of this broad's hero sandwich!"

Bottom line: You always put the hamburger first on the hamburger bun, right? Subs aren't any different. Now gimme my Dagwood...tootsweet!

Digression complete.

But this bread just smelled weird. Like old freezer burn mixed with curry and cardboard. Not pleasant.

So there's that,


The Little Banalities of My Day

I've done something I never thought I'd do - I've developed a routine.

When I was a kid, I always wondered how my parents dealt with getting up at the same time every day, going to the same place of work for years and years...and years. Now I know it's just something that comes with an average adult life. I mean, it's not something that people of privelege and such do - it's something their predecessors did so they didn't have to.

For the past few days, I've been noticing the little quirks of my routine. Below is a list.

  • I make my lunch every morning at 7:03. I don't know how; that's just what the microwave clock says every time I go in the kitchen. Also, I get done with that at 7:13, every time. And every morning I get pissed at the time I wasted, because now I have about 10 minutes to put clothes & makeup on, unplug the IPod, pack the purse and get out the door to make a decent bus.

  • There's a commercial for fur coats on during the news. I always laugh at the phrase "soft beaver fur."

  • Even though I get out of the apartment early enough to catch the 148 express bus, the bus is always, always backed up about 20 minutes behind schedule and packed standing-room-only. I don't want to be the person that keeps crowding the bus (seriously, if there are people stuffed to the front door, 10 more people will try and squeeze on with every stop), so I end up walking a couple of blocks to take a bus with a longer route - invariably the 146 or 145. At least I can get a seat on one of those and not fear of falling out the doors as it careens down Lake Shore Drive.

  • I sit in the same seat every day. At the very back of the bus, with the window facing east so I can see the sun over the lake. Plus there's a little place to put my foot up.

  • When it comes time to get off the bus, the automated door always closes on me. As it does, I make this squeeking sound, "Aaheeuhh," as I squeeze out. It's like a little pig squeal. It's probably one of my favorite involuntary quirks.

  • I have to have 1.5 liters of water before I consider breakfast. I feel I'll be thrown off if I don't.

  • Breakfast is always Kashi Good Friends or other high fiber cereal, 2% milk and an orange, unless it's bagel day. Two 16 oz cups of coffee are always consumed. Coffee makes my pee smell like Sugar Smacks cereal.

  • Each day, there is always some person in the bathroom when I fart. Or I'm there when someone else farts. I stifle a giggle. Why is it so funny when someone farts in the bathroom? When it echoes into the toilet bowl, I lose it! If you're ever in a restroom and there is a fart, if you listen closely and hear someone laughing like Ernie on Sesame Street - that' s me.

  • When I wash my hands at work - and this is true of every time I wash - I soap up long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song in my head. After rinsing, I use three paper towels - no more, no less - to dry my hands.

  • If you don't know this about me, I'm a compulsive handwasher. I do it every time I come in from outside, every time I use the bathroom, every time I handle something unclean, and before I eat . At home I scrub my nails too. Likewise when I eat, I use many, many paper napkins so I can have a clean one every time I wipe my hands.

  • It's a little freakish, I know, but I can't stand having dirty hands. Can't even concentrate. If I go to a restaurant and see people working without gloves, I'll walk out. However, if I don't see the back line, I'll be fine. Out of sight out of mind. But if some little Subway kid tries to bust out my sandwich glove-free, I'll be nauseated. I once had a crush on a guy until one of my male friends told me he didn't wash his hands after going to the restroom. Gross. You can be Brad Pitt, and it's still unforgivable. Like smoking.

  • Do you think I'm weird? Get used to it.

  • I eat lunch at 1:30 every day, after drinking 1.5 liters of water. I sit in the same seat in the back of the cafeteria, reading a book and listening to the IPod so no one will bother me. Lunch time is my time, unless I make plans with someone. If there is someone else in my seat, I have a minor internal freakout, but find a similarly pleasant seat.

  • By the time 3:30 rolls around, I'm anxious to go home. I have 45 minutes left to the day. If I'm not busy, I sometimes do like JT Money and take a moment in the restroom and hope something comes from it. Word.

  • If I go to the gym after work, there's only one good elliptical machine I like. If someone else is on it, I have a little internal freakout again - especially if that person is thin and "doesn't need it as much as I do." I resign myself to the crappy elliptical machine, then when they leave, I switch horses.

  • When I get home, I can't do anything until my bed is made. The thing's right in the middle of the room, so if it's unmade, the whole place looks sloppy. After that, I invariably decide to wash the dishes and pick up around the apartment before I consider further plans.

  • I have food rules. For example, I won't drink Diet Coke unless I can have a wedge of lemon in it. Prissy, no? That little rule just keeps me from overdoing the carbonated beverages. I also won't have popcorn unless I can have a diet soda with it. I like Diet A&W or Fresca. If I find myself in McDonald's I won't get fries unless it looks like they'll come just out of the fryer. However, if I really want fries, I'll request fresh ones. If I don't get fresh ones, I'll take them back. That's the only crappy thing I do as a consumer. I once made my friend Scott stand idle at a busy McD's drive-thru so they would bring me fresh fries. I don't care for chocolate - unless nuts or caramel are involved. It's my personal belief that brownies are worthless without walnuts. I will never eat canned veggies or fruit. My grandma had loads of canned peaches in her pantry over the weekend, and I got all gaggy in there thinking of the syrup and the smushy texture of those things.

  • I like Mexican food when I watch Ugly Betty.

  • My thoughts on strollers: you're the one who chose to have a baby and put it in an enormous stroller. I didn't. You should leave me some room on the sidewalk or in the grocery store. I get really steamed if the kid is big enough to walk (I'm talking 4-5 years old) and you're still carting him around like some invalid. And don't get me started on mommy friends who walk their strollers side-by-side so no one can get through. Just because you can prove you had sex, doesn't mean I have to bow out of your path. Oral herpes is proof of sex, too, but you won't hop off the sidewalk because someone has cold sores. Let's be reasonable.

  • I don't give money to homeless people, and I don't feel guilty. Especially if they take post outside a liquor store. I had a public school education and I did something with it. So can you.

  • I'm heartless.

  • I take a long bath every night. It gives me opportunity to read and relax. I take a shower every morning. I don't have to pay for water.

  • I have to have clean feet before I get into bed.

  • I use all six pillows on my bed. I somehow build a fort throughout the night while I sleep; when I wake up, I'm cradled in pillows.

I'm single, people - I have time to think on these things. Is this sad? Maybe. But it's honest, and it kind of makes me feel good to get some of this off my chest. I encourage you to examine your odd behaviors and let me know how that goes.

So there's that,


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Never Gonna Give You Up

One thing I like about my nutrition plan is that I can eat a bagel and schmear for breakfast and I won't die. It's got my 2 starch & my 1 fat.

Wednesday is bagel day at work. One bagel, fifty cents, "and all the philly steaks you can eat. Back in school we used to dream about this everyday..." Sorry, I drifted off into Motown Philly. But when you're on a diet that can be restrictive, it's nice to be able to "treat" yourself to something that's not really breaking the rules.

Some call it hump day; I call it blueberry-bagel-with-whipped-strawberry-cream-cheese day. And I can't resist it. I get it crispy toasted, pour myself some Wintry Blend coffee from my thermos (oh yeah, I'm one of those now), and go through my work for the day.

With these little office pleasures, some would say I'm living in a Dilbert cartoon. To those I say, "You should try it sometime." Because if Dilbert's wrong, then baby, I don't wanna be right.

So there's that,


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Not Only Is It An All Around Beautiful Name, It Is Also a Living Tribute

At my weigh-in last night, I found I lost SEVEN (7) pounds since starting the nutrition plan last Thursday! I think that's a huge success considering the snacking and drinking I'd done over the 4-day holiday. I'm fairly sure if I get some good excercise in this week, and focus in on my daily food goals, I can lose 10 pounds for next week. Watch me!

So in celebration of this feat, quoted below is a scene from "The Seven" episode of Seinfeld. Enjoy!

GEORGE: I think they really went for that Soda.

SUSAN: What, are you crazy? They hated it. They were just humouring you.

GEORGE: Ah, alright. Believe me, that kid's gonna be called Soda.

SUSAN: I can tell you, I would never name my child Soda.

GEORGE: Oh, no no no. Course not. I got a great name for our kids. A real original. You wanna hear what it is? Huh, you ready?

SUSAN: Yeah.

George uses his finger to draw a number 7 in the air, accompanying the strokes of his digit with a two-tone whistle.

SUSAN: What is that? Sign language?

GEORGE: No, Seven.

SUSAN: Seven Costanza? You're serious?

GEORGE: Yeah. It's a beautiful name for a boy or a girl...

Susan scoffs.

GEORGE: ...especially a girl. Or a boy.

SUSAN: I don't think so.

GEORGE: What, you don't like the name?

SUSAN: It's not a name. It's a number.

GEORGE: I know. It's Mickey Mantle's number. So not only is it an all around beautiful name, it is also a living tribute.

SUSAN: It's awful. I hate it!

GEORGE: (angry) Well, that's the name!

SUSAN: (also angry) Oh no it is not! No child of mine is ever going to be named Seven!

GEORGE: (yelling) Awright, let's just stay calm here! Don't get all crazy on me!

So there's that,


Monday, November 26, 2007

Update: Pantyhose

Last week I complained about my thighs tearing holes into new pantyhose. I ordered the largest sizes offered by and, and so far the Avenue tights have arrived. Both pairs fit beautifully, with the crotch in the right place. They're actually a little big!

I think I soon may be an addict; problem is, I have to get them online when I used to be able to run to Walgreen's in a pinch. Oh well.

So there's that,


Thanksgiving Highlights

In order of occurrence:

Thursday 11/22

  • 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Enjoyed a blissful ride with Uncle Bill and Aunt Paula from Chicago to Jasper, IN. Discussed my new job, why I left the old job, dieting, and general hilarity. My Brussels sprout dish leaked a little on the backseat of their new Jeep.
  • 12:30 p.m. - In my rush to drop off my dishes in Grandma's kitchen and run out to clean the Jeep's upholstery of sprout evidence, I snuck in a hurried hug with Grandma Kavanaugh who was seated in the kitchen. In response to her "Tyrannosaurus Rex" arms that hung limply against my chest as I hugged her, I said, "Grandma you've got to hug me better than that!" To which she replied, "Oh well honey, I can barely get my arms around you." As I rushed out of the room to get to the car I said, "That's because I'm obese!" The subtle weight criticism begins.
  • 1:30 p.m. - In a rare Norman Rockwell episode, all the women in the house - Me, Mom, Sally & Paula - gather around for what could be one of the last times we can watch, help, and learn how Grandma makes her homemade yeast rolls from a recipe she has memorized all her life. Moment is ruined when Micromanager Sally gets anxious and flustered when Grandma strays from the recipe that Sally transcribed from years past. Mom and I share knowing glances.
  • 3:20 p.m. - I put my green bean casserole in the oven to warm up.
  • 3:40 p.m. - I add the fried onions to the top of the casserole and crank the heat up on the oven so everything will be done by dinner at 4:00.
  • 3:55 p.m. - As I approach the oven to remove the casserole, Mom says, "I think it's a goner." I open the door to see the burnt onions, but the casserole is still moist and tasty. I note that even though she was at the oven minutes before me, she didn't remove the "goner" dish. Bitch.
  • 3:58 p.m. - As I'm bringing the large casserole upstairs to the kitchen, Aunt Sally micromanages me by directing me away from where I was going to put the hot pan (on the pullout woodblock underneath grandma's microwave) to a tiny burner-sized space on the kitchen stovetop. I say, "Why don't I put it where I intended to put it - on this wood block. Pull it out for me if you want to be helpful." She does. Upperhand obtained.
  • 4:00 p.m. - Cousin Anne arrives just in time for dinner. She's nice but she comes from freeloader stock, and she has a mullet. She's had the same haircut all my life. She has a teenage daughter and I always wondered who would bed such a woman. I'm awful.
  • 4:10 p.m. - Everybody is seated at the table with their food. Sally is martyring herself in the kitchen, removing rolls from their pans even though nobody has room on their plates for them.
  • 4:25 p.m. - Sally finally joins the table, and even though we've already begun eating, grace is prayed.
  • I get to see my Meyer cousins and a couple of crazy pictures are taken.
  • Michelle rushes out of the room to take a dump, as we all suspected. We laugh.
  • After Gavin and Kennedy get baths, all us girl cousins take them to the bedroom to change them and goof off with them. I rub a towel over my head over and over again, exclaiming "I just got out of the shower!" Cassie and I do the "Brrr, It's Cold in Here" cheer for the babies.
  • Beck tells me she has read my blog and it has made her cry.
  • Dad and I go home and have good driving conversation.

Friday, 11/23

  • I spend the entire day at Manda's house visiting and playing with Cody & Ella. I learn that Cody couldn't go to Hooters for his birthday because one friend's mom didn't like the idea. I ask him if he went to "Balls" instead.
  • We put up Manda's tree and Christmas decorations while Ella naps. When she wakes up we tell her there's a surprise in the living room for her. She runs to the stairs and says, "OooooOOOOOooooh! Ah Pretty!" when she sees the tree. We show her all the "pretties" in the house.
  • I make Oatmeal Scotchies (oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips and walnuts) for the decorating day.
  • Cody calls me a Jew when I keep winning at Connect Four. I tell him, "You know what's funny about the Jews? Six Million of them were murdered during the Holocaust." The lesson being that he shouldn't make fun of Jews, and I get to make a joke in bad taste to make my point.

Saturday 11/24

  • We celebrate Grandma's 90th birthday at the VFW in Jasper. We arrive early and the conversation is painful. I make the excuse to run to Walgreens for a disposable camera, taking Cody with me. I yell at a woman who takes up 2 parking spaces, calling her "big-titted."
  • I order a gin and tonic and am pleasantly surprised to learn it costs only 2 dollars. "I love coming home!" I exclaim to the bartender.
  • I spend most of the party with Manda and her family, as I don't know the exact names of most of my cousins. They all have T-names - Tammy, Theresa, Tracy, Tina, etc. I can't keep them straight, so it's best not to strike up conversation.
  • Mom shows signs of being crazy. When she introduces Manda to her aunt, she mentions "The thing I remember about Atz is that she made a chocolate cake and put pecans all around it for so-and-so's birthday." Atz looks confused and says, "I don't remember ever making such a thing," and Mom's eyes glaze over and she says, "Oh, you did, and it was the best cake ever." Manda's eyes bulge out and she turns to me as if to say, "Bitch is crazy!" Mom also made the comment, "She's so beautiful," to the father of a long-haired child. He corrected her that the child was a boy.
  • Aunt Marlene won't get in the family photo because Mom is in it. They had a big fight earlier this year. Uncle Pat, Aunt Sally and Aunt Paula keep trying to convince her in the back of the room, but she just says, "No!" There's a little scene. Meanwhile Mom is standing with some of her brothers while waiting for the photo and she starts acting like a child, putting bunny ears on people and laughing. Manda turns to me and says, "Marlene is being a baby about this picture, and Mom's up there acting like a retard. I don't know which is worse." The picture is taken without Marlene. Manda says that was kind of out of line, but she can't blame her.
  • Later when recounting the story to Dad, he says, "I can't blame her."
  • When I come home, Dad makes coffee and tells me to add a touch of Bailey's to it; apparently it's his new favorite thing. Gift Idea! We have one of those great stand-around-the-kitchen chats.
  • The subject turns to the question, "If someone cheats to win a prize, how can that make them feel good?" Dad shows me a Field and Stream editorial about a man who took an easy shot at a doe and ended up reconsdering his stance on hunting. Dad got to talking about how he could never hunt because he would be afraid of wounding the animal and having to put it out of its misery. He starts to get weepy when he talks about a guy who had to shoot a buck in the heart to finally kill it. He gets choked up about it, says "Goddamnit," and has to leave the room to compose himself.
  • We decide to watch Hairspray, but Mom comes home just as I start to load the DVD. Dad says, "Well you can forget about that." We tried to watch it while she babbled drunkly. She exclaimed, "I never drank so much in my life!" and from the looks we exchanged, both Dad and I found that hard to believe.

Sunday 11/25

  • I left at 7 a.m. to ride back to Chicago with Uncle Wally. We discussed our new jobs, why we left the old ones, bad management.
  • I introduced him to the McGriddle. He introduced me to the Sausage Burrito. I still like my McGriddle.
  • We pass a billboard in Indiana advertising Scrementi's Italian Restaurant. I comment that the name sounds like a bowel movement. For 5 minutes, Wally and I bust each other up talking like Italians: "What is-a this steaming pile of pasta?" "Is Scrementi's!" "Is this marinara?" "Is Scrementi's!" "Is Family, Is Fun, Is Scrementi's!" Let me tell you about it sometime.

So there's that,


This Week's Recipes

In following my new nutrition plan, I've decided to develop two new recipes every week to enjoy for lunch and dinner.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

3/4 Jar, Alessi Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Handful of Fresh Basil
1/2 c Shredded /Grated Parmesan Cheese
The Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp Tomato Packing Oil
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Chicken Broth as needed
1 box whole wheat pasta, preferably textured such as rotini, fusilli or bowtie.

Cook pasta according to package directions. In food processor, combine tomatoes (separated from oil), garlic, basil, & cheese. Pulse to combine. Add oil, lemon juice, salt/pepper & chicken broth as needed to help combine the mixture. It should hold together in a loose ball. Toss with hot whole wheat pasta. Add torn basil leavs & quartered grape tomatoes & serve.

Hot Potatoes for One

5 Baby Red Potatoes, whole
1 Clove Smashed Garlic
1 - 2 tsp of Concentrated Crab Boil (you can find it in the spice section or the seafood counter, near Old Bay Seasoning)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Lite Butter (optional)

In a small pot combine potatoes, garlic & crab boil; cover with water and boil until potatoes are tender. Drain and return to hot pot on stovetop. Toss with salt (or garlic salt), pepper and a little lite butter (optional). Serve hot, with hot sauce on the side.

So there's that,


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What I'm Bringing to Thanksgiving Dinner

Since I'm riding home with my aunt and uncle tomorrow morning, I won't have time to make all my dishes at Grandma's like I'm used to. I'll get there just in time to make oyster stuffing and bread, but that's about it. Here are the dishes I'm prepping up tonight in my studio kitchen.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts
Fresh Brussels Sprouts flash-boiled then sauteed with Crisp Bacon, Leeks, and Home-Roasted Chestnuts; made tart and sweet in a Maple-Cider Vinegar Reduction
Campbell's Wishes You Wouldn't Make This Green Bean Casserole
Fresh Haricot Verts flash-boiled and combined with a rich Homemade Mushroom Bechamel Sauce spiced with Black Pepper and a touch of Hot Sauce
Amply crusted with French-Fried Onions and Parmesan
Autumn Succotash
Roasted Corn, Shelled Edamame and Navy Beans combine in this classic comfort dish. With the flavors of Crisp Turkey Bacon, Lemon Juice and a touch of Cayenne Pepper, this dish will keep you warm - even in the cold stares of your judgmental extended family.
The trick will be getting this all safely to Indiana - and finding room in my fridge in the meantime!
So there's that,

Thanksgiving Emails with Justin

It began with Justin...

i want you to come up with a spiel about thanksgiving so you can go "hey,
joe are you celebrating thanksgiving? that's a shame. i don't participate
in the annual slaughter of the native fowl of this country in order to
quench my thirst for bloodshed in which this country was founded and the
first slight of hand from our european ancestors was dealt to the
indigenous people of this nation."


Then say, "Can I offer you a smallpox blanket?"


or just put red paint on your hand and smear it on their backs. and go
"this is blood on your hands..."


This makes me think of the ladies who stand outside of Andriana Furs - - handing out sale flyers to
passers-by. I always want to scream "Fur is Murder!!" just for kicks,
though I don't really care. Shoot, if mafia brides and black women don't
buy fur, someone else in the world will. You can't police that stuff. Fur

was the foundation of Canada and the Mississippi - how dare they try to
disown our heritage???


amen. what if we killed rodents as a solution for fuel? and burned them?
or the animals that they kill for fur...i mean, what's the rest being used
for? burn that shit. (or do they send it to popeyes?)



So there's that,


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What I'm Having for Lunch

I might make this a regular entry, so bear with me. I'm trying to look forward to my food creations so I don't bow out and go to Chipotle at the last minute. Plus I used to write this stuff for a living, so it's fun to stretch my creative muscles again.

Baby Salad
Featuring Fresh Baby Spinach and Halved Baby Cucumbers

Tuscan Chicken Sandwich
Featuring Mustard-Marinated Chicken Breast, Baby Spinach,
Quartered Grape Tomatoes and Sundried Tomato-Basil Mayo on Whole Wheat Bread

Two Whole Kosher Dill Pickles

Guiltless Raspberry Yogurt Trifle
Frozen Raspberries layered with Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Dusted with Splenda

There. That sounds better than a Burrito Bol, doesn't it?

So there's that,


Monday, November 19, 2007

What I'm Having for Dinner Tonight

4 oz. Shrimp sauteed in chili flake & garlic

1/3 c Whole Wheat Couscous, steamed in 2/3 c Chicken Broth & Tossed with Baby Peas, Chopped Asparagus, 1 tsp Olive Oil, salt, pepper, sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese

Spinach Salad with Cucumbers, Pomegranate Seeds and fat free Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Frozen Raspberry & Pineapple Slush made with Fresca

TV Snack: Rainbow Popcorn popped in chili and toasted sesame oils, dusted with salt and Wasabi Powder

See, I can be creative with a diet plan. It's just getting the energy to make something for myself that's the problem these days.

So there's that,


Little Pleasures

After spending a very cozy weekend at home alone, I came up with some
little pleasures that I get out of this time of year:
  • The Cold Mist from the Lake in the Morning. When I wake up on a weekend morning and it's foggy and dark outside, there's nothing more I like to do than snuggle up on the couch with some coffee and a good book. On weekdays like today, I get a lovely spritz on my way to the bus.
  • Fresh-Brewed Coffee. I made several cups of it over the weekend, much to the detriment of my nerves. I bought Trader Joe's Wintry Blend - the melange of spices including nutmeg, clove and peppercorns can be a bit overpowering, but blended with Safari Blend, it's magnificent. Oh, and if you don't have a coffee press, you need one. It takes up less space on the counter, and it makes the coffee ritual much more enjoyable.
  • The Mist from an Orange Skin as It's Peeled. If I could arrange the perfect Christmas card photo, it would be of me effortlessly peeling a bright orange laughing at someone off to the sides, while the orange mist is captured. It's the best smell & feeling.
  • The Smell of Coffee and Oranges. This smell really reminds me of my dad on Christmas morning. He would open the windows in the dining room to cool down the house, brew some coffee, and pick through the leftover Christmas Eve buffet, which invariably included oranges. He would also make baby reuben sandwiches out of the leftover cocktail rye. Everyone would be asleep us, and together we would talk, watch the bird feeder and listen to the music we got for Christmas.
  • The Smell of Exhaust on a Cold Winter Morning. This makes me think of Manda and I getting into Dad's truck in the morning dark to head over to Gram's before school. Manda and I would crawl back to sleep under Gram's electric blanket, and Dad would read the paper and drink coffee while Gram cooked breakfast and offered to put together egg sandwiches for his lunch, which he would always reluctantly accept.
  • Cold Sheets on Cold Feet. I love warming up the sheets with my body heat, even if I'm cold. I used to run barefoot in snow before bedtime, just to get colder!
  • Wet Winter Wool. There's something about the smell and appearance of snow melting on a wool coat that makes me feel all oozy. I think of the way my Mom's twill dress coat smelled after coming home at night from work or parties or weddings, when she used to go out. A mix of powdery perfume, hairspray, smoke and cold air mingled with her own original scent to make it one of the most comforting perfumes of my memory.
  • Holiday Lights. I've already put my tree up because I can't wait to see them. I noticed this morning that the trees on Michigan Avenue are delicately lit, too. One of my favorite Chicago memory is coming here for Thanksgiving when I was a kid and going downtown to Bloomingdales. As we drove down Lake Shore and Michigan Ave, I felt so rich to be moving along next to an unrolling view of white lighted trees in the snow.

So there's that,


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Top 5 Most Uncomfortable

In no particular order:

  1. Making Bathroom Smalltalk. At work or play, I hate running into people I don't really know very well in the public restroom. There's always awkward shuffling around the sink and towel area, forced small talk about "how it's going" or "[mad/glad/ambivalent] it's [day of the week]." If I'm in the stall and I hear someone come in, I will wait until they do their business, wash and leave before I get out (that is, if I don't estimate that I can finish before them). If someone's in a stall when I enter, then I will hurry hurry hurry to bolt myself in before they come out. If I'm on my way to the restroom and I see that someone else is too, I will turn around or walk by and make like I have to go somewhere else. I hate that fucking smalltalk.
  2. Making Elevator Smalltalk. Same reasons apply for this cramped space. I pray every day that I get on the elevator by myself. If I'm waiting for the elevator and somebody else walks up, I'll either take the stairs or pretend to have forgotten something at my desk. This often happens when I'm leaving work and end up walking to the elevator with a coworker in close pursuit. If I don't know the person that well, I'm outta there. I ain't ridin' down 25 floors trying to think of ways to discuss the awesomeness of the end of the day. And that's not to mention the possibility of picking up more people on the 24th-18th floors, before the elevator runs express.
  3. Spending the Night at Your Friend's House and Witnessing Them Get Chewed Out by Their Parents. You don't know who's side to be on - your friend who knows you make your Barbies have rough sex, or your friend's mom/dad who believes you to be a saintly example of childhood innocence and perfection.
  4. Holes in the Inside-Thigh of Your Pantyhose. If I step out in a skirt and hose for work, this little bitch of an annoyance always blights me by the day's end. I feel cute, slim and sexy in hose - my legs are deceptively smoothed and even-toned - I am a goddess in fresh hose. But when my thigh fat busts through the sausage casings by lunch time, I'm begging to take them off by 2 pm. The ripped nylon look might work for fetishists, but when it chokes the herniated fat bulging through, I'll have to wear Desitin all week to heal it. To leave work without them on would be like some awful walk of shame - my skirt wouldn't look right, my legs would be stubbled, and I'd have that general look of being violated between my legs. And a note to Just My Size: Make taller 4x hose. Not all fat people are short, and I'm pretty sure the reason they rip is because the crotch hits about 6 inches below my actual crevasse. Fuck you.
  5. Being the Mama Spoon to Someone You Don't Care About. On a recent VeryBad date, this guy wanted to spoon, noting specifically in a baby voice, "But I wanna be the baby spoon!" Fuck you.

So there's that,


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nuts, Whip and a Cherry.

Every time I go out to lunch or dinner by myself, I always think people are going to judge me if I'm not eating a salad. I went to Corner Bakery yesterday and got some Chicken Carbonara - a rare treat - and as I huddled over my plate and my book, I kept waiting for someone to openly stare at me.

I'll stop here because I have to explain how I "wait for people" to do stuff. For example, if I leave my purse at the table to refill my drink 5 ft or more away, I keep my eye on it, while rehearsing this phrase in my mind - "Hey! Get your damn hands off that!" - just in case someone tries something. Or if I'm on the bus or in any kind of crowded situation, I'm ready to shout, "Get you're fucking hands off me," should anybody cross that line.
  • I was once felt up by a boozy sweaty homeless man on the bus, and I didn't have the guts to say it; instead, I moved shamefully and shakily to the back of the bus until my stop. I looked like the crazy person! And unfortunately the other time I hesitated to use this phrase was last year when this cute rich guy offered me a ride home (just around the block) after he saw that I was struggling with packages on the street. When he went in for the boobs in mid-drive, I was too surprised to speak for a minute. And no one would have heard me.

Now I speak up and decline rides from strangers. And I mentally rehearse my vocal aggression - I haven't used it yet and thank God for that.

Anyway...when I was busy gorging on cream sauce, I kept one eye alert, just waiting for some physically fit douchebag or trim bitch to offer me an eye of disgust. If I happened to see one, I'd say something. "You got a problem?" "Can I help you?" "I'm sorry, am I eating your food?" To which they would respond by jerking their eyes away from me (like any normal person), or saying something like, "you're disgusting. I couldn't help noticing your choice of food, and I think it's the source of all your problems. Fat bitch." Or something along those lines. Then I would get vocal and argue with them, maybe tell the guy I'm not interested in attracting frat guy date rapists, or just cry because I started it. But that's me - I'll judge myself before giving others the satisfaction. And I'll call the others date rapists.

OR - I imagine that a physically fit man will pound his fists on my table, startling me and spilling my Diet Coke with lemon, and yell, "You're disgusting! What are you doing to yourself?! You're what's wrong with America! God, you freak, eat a salad." Then he spits on me or kicks the legs of my chair out from under me, or flips the hot pasta onto my lap.

I think of this every time I go out to eat, which is often. Much of my time is spent divided between comprehending the words in whatever book I'm reading, trying to look inconspicuous in the back of the place, and keeping my eye out for some jerk staring me down.

I don't really need the jerk to make me feel bad. That guy who I imagine pounding on the table is only doing what I do to myself with every bite. I'm disgusting. Why am I doing this to myself? I'm what's wrong with America. God, I'm a freak. I should eat a salad. Oh well, I can always chug laxatives.

Then afterward I duck into Baskin Robbins for a small strawberry sundae to eat at my desk because, fuck him.

So there's that,


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

American Girls

I got an email today from my cousin Michelle, who shares similar attitudes and experiences with me regarding weight. This is the response I sent her regarding how pressure from family can lead to direct defiance.

I know exactly what you're talking about. My big weight loss started with I lived in BFE Montana for 3 months and got a 60 lb leg up on the school year, then it was easy to lose 40 more. I didn't have to worry about others, just myself, and that helped a lot. Now, I just fall prey to all the good food available in Chicago. Growing up, eating out was always a treat and a rarity. Now it's not so rare for me to make it a treat on a daily basis. The same thing happened to me when I started driving. Mom never let sweets or sugar cereal in the house, let alone let me have a birthday cake for all of my teen years, so what did I do when I could get out on my own? I bought boxes of Cookie Crisp, Fruit Rollups and stowed some Werther's Originals in my car ashtray.

You know how the American Girl brand is really popular with little girls these days? There's a store near my office, and all these families walk in and out of it constantly; it's the place everyone wants to be when they travel to the city. When I was a kid, I used to read all the American Girl books. I sent away for a catalog when they started making the doll sets, and I would daydream about getting a Samantha or a Kirsten doll. I would lie across my bed and calculate just how much it would cost to get what I wanted from the magazine, and I hoped that I would have enough money for it. I would show Mom some of my dogeared pages, and she would say how pretty they were, and would relate with Samantha, the girl from the Victorian Era, because she admired that time period the most. I guess I wanted her to want the dolls, too, so that she would cave in and get them for me. But she always promised that if I lost weight, she would get me just what I wanted out of the catalog, within reason. I never did lose the weight when I was a kid, so I never got a doll. Now every time I look at that stuff, I think about that deal. Some days, I think that I'd probably still get one of those dolls just to finally have one - because I can afford it, not because I need it. But it would be undoubtedly difficult to explain to a gentleman caller why I have a Samantha doll on display in my apartment.

Same thing goes with clothes. She always promised that if I lost weight, she would take me on a $1000 shopping spree. This often manifested itself in my having to wear ragged clothes to school; though I was promised a shopping spree, I would still have to wait to get new clothes until I lost weight. She didn't want to invest in something that wouldn't fit me after my metamorphosis. My dread of PE class pretty much centered on having to hide the holes in the crotches & thighs of my jeans and leggings. Now what I don't spend on food I spend on clothes. Or as I say, when I'm not eating, I'm shopping. This year, I've gone to Lane Bryant once, if not twice or three times each month to get new clothes. I work in defiance of what I was always denied.

And I know about the doctor thing. I went to a doctor when I first moved here, who suggested I spend more time in the sun to enhance my mood. Good gravy. My new doctor is really cool. I cried every time I would visit him and talk about weight, and he only talks about it when I bring it up. He readily prescribed anti-depressants because I was clearly a basketcase in general. I used to not believe in them, but man, Michelle, I haven't cried since last December. And that includes during breakups, sappy TV and TLC miracle shows. I stopped biting my nails, too.

So there's that,


Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Am I crazy to think on day three that I can tell a difference? I feel like I fit better in my office chair and my stomach's not poking out as much. I looked in the bathroom mirror for awhile, and I think my face even looks slimmer.

Whatev. If it's just positive thinking, I'll take it!

Other things:

I'm afraid my breath is gonna stink from all this protein. Wasn't that one of the pitfalls of the Atkins diet?

This is gross, but my poop is already rock hard. I'm a girl who prides herself on a high-fiber BM, but since I'm not getting the fibe, I'm not getting the goods on the throne. I seriously thought I was going to tear a fissure during my ritual quittin-time-countdown poop sesh.

My farts smell like my grandma's farts. Yeah, elderly have distinct fart smells; it's almost always likened in my mind to filet-o-fish. Maybe they eat a lot of protein - definitely a lot of eggs. And no, I don't make a practice of smelling my grandma's farts, but old people can't really control their farting. They practically fall out. Anyway, I smell my dutch ovens and I think of Grandma Kavanaugh's bathroom.

She has a big white booster potty seat.

She also turns 90 this month - Happy Birthday Millie!

So there's that,


Day Three

Good Morning,

I checked my email early yesterday morning to find that my neighborhood Curves was going to be closed all day. Great. Just on the day that I wanted to start working out again.

I left the gym clothes at home, promising myself to get in some walking or other good cardio in place of my workout - a promise I intended to keep, for once.

My first day at work with the liquid diet was not without its challenges. First, I had to pack a double batch of hummus to submit to the office dip competition that applied to last month. That meant I had to go to Trader Joe's later in the morning to pick up pita chips and veggies. While I usually eat my hummus by the fistful, and spend money at Trader Joe's by the Hamiltons, I had to abstain. And I did.

But then the dip competition began. I had to set my dip up by 1:30 pm, and being in the presence of all the other creamy concoctions nearly brought me to my knees. Buffalo Chicken Dip. Baked Potato Dip. Asiago Dip. Chocolate Chip Dip. C'MON! Why did this have to come today? I promised my coworker Lyzz that I would try her hummus to "check out the competition," and I did, consuming only one teaspoon of dip on a small pita chip. No other dips got my blessing, and I left for "lunch."

Because I couldn't be in a place like our office cafeteria where the smells of reheated meals would send me into craving fits, I decided to take my book and my shake to a local hotel lobby to snuggle in a comfy chair and read for my allotted 45 minutes. My friend Justin commented that doing so makes it look like I'm having an illicit affair. I can handle that, the naughty mystique. And who knows, I might meet a swarthy businessman.

I went home and decided to rest for a couple of minutes in front of the tv. I started watching Food Network, my default channel, and Rachael Ray was making a Meximeal. I kept thinking, "yeah, I could go for black beans. Yeah, I could go for corn tortillas..." I was on dangerous grounds. After 5 minutes of this torture, I flipped on the Playstation for a rousing game of Dance Dance Revolution - purchased purely for its cardio workout. I played for an hour and a half, until my muscles started cramping. This was very good.

The doctor told me if I was ever famished (and I should never be starving, he said), I could eat some hardboiled eggs or a small piece of chicken. I didn't have either handy, so I ate a pouch of tuna mixed with some diced cornichons and dijon mustard. It was a treat.

Then I started feeling like a junkie. By this time it was only 7:30, and I was aching for a food fix. I kept flipping between Family Guy and Food Network, which was hosting The Secret Life of Bagels. C'MON! Little thoughts kept creeping into my head like, "Wednesday is Office Bagel Day. I can probably get away with a blueberry bagel and some light cream cheese. Ooooh, those look so good. I can get away with a crispy chewy treat." It was then I decided that Food Network had to be off-limits in my home.

To avoid further cravings, I tucked myself into bed and fell asleep to the sounds of Family Guy around 8:30 pm.

I'm young, single and disease-free. This is how I spend my nights. Momma needs a hobby.

So there's that,


Monday, November 5, 2007


Welcome Back!

The last time I wrote in this blog, I was gung-ho about a 3-month weight-loss challenge started by my fat sketch comedy group. I had officially started my diet in January, and by June I had lost 20 lbs. I was pretty ticked off at the rate of my weight loss; in years past, I would usually lose 5 lbs per week. In all fairness, however, I was working in catering at the time, with a good deal of enabling brought on by coworkers...and I'm pretty weak-willed.

I stopped going to Weight Watchers around Labor Day, continuing my old "Tomorrow is Another Day" diet philosophy: If I crashed my diet one day, I would promise to start again the next day; if it was a Wednesday, though, I would promise to start again the following Monday. The bad thing was, I would use the next few days to eat every kind of food I would have to spare myself - fried goods, pastas, and ethnic cuisine from all my favorite Chicago restaurants. Every weekend found me in this cycle.

Well, I'm fed up now - literally. I gained back all the weight I lost at the beginning of the year. I stopped going out. I would get involved with men, and when things went sour or fizzled, I would eat more and more. I don't think I have any friends left in the city anymore; I just didn't keep up with people, and I got overprotective of myself and thus highly sensitized to any form of judgment on another's part - real or imaginary. I suck.

I want to rebuild. I want to ignore myself when I question if it's too late for that.

I'm well-versed in all forms of diet quackery, so I know better than to give into miracle cures. However, I have chosen to do something drastic; at least, it's the most drastic thing next to bariatric surgery, which I've seriously considered.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a weight loss clinic to go over my options. When I researched the place, I liked that they offered options such as nutrition plans, prescription drugs, and the more restrictive meal replacement therapy. I thought I'd go to see if they can give me a good grocery list and some appetite suppressants. I wasn't really prepared for what happened.

I was weighed in on one of those fancy scales that also measures BMI, fat free mass, fat mass, etc. They have one of these scales at my Curves, and they are a great tool for measuring progress. However, at this point I hadn't been to Curves for close to 2 months, promising I would continue to go once I was settled in my new job. Same old Laura.

My BMI this time around was an astounding 54%. More than half of me is fat. Pure fat. What's shocking was that it wasn't very shocking to me. WTF? How could I just sit there in my greasy walk-of-shame hair (late night with a new beau) and too-tight hoodie and take that? A review of my BMI:

2004: 39 (First BMI measurement, taken after losing 100 lbs)
2005: 40
2006: 45
2007: 49 (January)

How could I do this to myself? I had yet to meet the doctor at this clinic, so here are my first thoughts of what he told me:

Dr: You have an addiction to food.
Me: I'm an expert dieter. I lost 1--
Dr: You are severely obese.
Me: I've been on Weight Watchers since 2001.
Dr: People of your size need to lose weight quickly to get you in a healthy BMI range. I will put you on a liquid diet to begin.
Me: But aren't there other methods?
Dr: You have a problem. We must break you of your addiction.
Me: Okay. I like a good salad every now and then, can I eat salads, too.
Dr: No, you will ruin the effect. Pure protein, pure liquid. You will lose a ton of weight.

To be honest, I felt very rushed, and pretty pissed off. This guy sits in a bare office with just a bottle of powdered beverage on his desk and my case file, and he doesn't even discuss with me my past successes in dieting or how I feel about making healthy food. His breath smells like Turkish coffee and he keeps repeating in his Eastern dialect, "You will lose a ton of weight." I ask how people normally deal with such a huge change - going from solid foods to liquid - and he brushes me off by saying there is no big difference. Umm? I can't get a word in edgewise, I can't fight my case. I can only feel like crap. I shake his hand and smile, not planning to return when I book a second appointment (so I can have time to think about it).

And think I did. I got defensive because I am addicted to food. I eat meals that a normal person could spread out over a week, and it only takes me 10 - 20 minutes. When I order delivery or take out, I get two entrees because I can't decide, then I eat them both (and appetizer) in one sitting without even thinking about it.

I think the turning point came on Halloween night, when I blew off a fundraising party for my friend's sketch group to stay home with my Thai Aroma takeout. In the course of the evening, I watched a TLC documentary titled I Eat 33,000 Calories a Day. I listened to these 1,000 pound people talk about food, and I kept repeating to myself over and over: I can easily be just like these people someday soon.

I went back to that doctor on Saturday. I began my all liquid diet on Sunday. I guess you just reach a point where you have to stop kidding yourself and commit to something.

I don't have the energy to fight myself anymore.

So there's that,