Thursday, January 29, 2009

twigs and bird seed

Instead of having a toasted raisin bagel with cream cheese, I had a bowl of whole grain cereal with fat-free milk. Instead of a yummy plate of penne alla vodka, I had eight spears of steamed asparagus and half a chicken breast. Instead of a glass of crisp, chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I drank water. Instead of a dab of chocolate mousse for dessert, I had six sesame seeds.

Farewell, the pleasures of the flesh. I miss food.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I was really anxious to do the meditation part of the Project. I have never had a problem sitting still - no manic bursts of activity for me. Put me on a beach and I will happily loll on my beach chair all day, watching nature and the world go by. I am friendly with entropy.

So since I've got kids at home, and the usual stresses of a job and zillions of kid activities -- driving back and forth to basketball practice, Boy Scouts, shopping at Michael's at the last minute to get supplies for the African tribal mask that MUST be created for school tomorrow or the teacher will haul my kid into the room where they keep the furnace and make her scrub the floor with a sponge held in her teeth -- I was really looking forward to shutting my door and meditating for as long as I could to release the stress in a healthy way. I told my kids that this was part of my Project and to please respect my effort by not disturbing me for at least fifteen minutes.

So I go up to my bedroom and prepare. Put my pillow on the floor, light a candle, and assume the meditation position. Very comfortable, egg under the armpit, rice paper between the thumbs.

The first minute is bliss. I am repeating a phrase in my mind - "Mindful - Peaceful - Loving." I relax into it and begin the process of emptying my mind of random thoughts when I hear the first slammed door. A tiny burst of tension causes my left eyelid to twitch.

I continue with the phrase, keeping my eyes closed, and remember the advice of letting thoughts or interruptions be as a leaf floating away on a river. Mindful, mindful, mindful, peace, peace, peace.....

I hear my son yelp, then a muffled thud. Then another sound like a dog scratching the floor and finally they both erupt into yelling at each other -- "You stole the remote from me you little nutloaf! I hate you and you're STUPID!" "Yeah well Mom said I could have it and you're just OW OW OW stop kicking me! OWWW!!!" The dog is now barking at them. I hear my daughter scream at my son to shut up because "Mom's meditating you're gonna get me in trouble!"

OK, they have successfully negotiated a truce. I have not moved, or broken my breathing pattern, but my blood pressure is up and I feel myself becoming annoyed. I am aware. Yes. I am very, very aware, and I am ANNOYED.

Five more minutes. I have almost reached the calm sensation I was working for and can feel my body lighten when I hear my daughter screeching "GIVE ME BACK MY PHONE!! YOU PSYCH you better not read my messages or I'll KILL YOU!!" and finally "Mom! Mom!MoooooOOOOOMMMM!!"

Now my teeth are grinding and my mantra has changed from "mindful, peaceful, loving," to "SHUT THE FUCK UP I'm trying to be MINDFUL AND PEACEFUL!"

My ten minutes was up. I blew out my candle, relaxed my shoulders, and decided that the next meditation would be in a much more appropriate location, like a gas station bathroom or maybe Canada.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Food diary entry: Hair with a side of lice

I really don't have a problem with eating healthier. I love salads -- but the problem is, I used to reward myself for eating 8 calories in a cup of romaine lettuce by following it with 298 calories in two chocolate truffles. More lettuce, veggies, fruit = more chocolate!

I got used to eating salads in college, when the only thing that looked reasonably petroleum-free was the salad bar. There were certain things I wouldn't try, but when you order a salad in a restaurant you don't always have a choice of what to include or leave out.

Once I was having lunch with a friend and we both ordered an interesting looking Asian salad. I had no idea what was Asian about it, but I was more interested in chatting with my friend than in what we were eating. The plate was plopped down in front of me and the first thing that caught my eye was the cloud of what I assumed to be vegetable matter. My friend said "they're alfalfa sprouts, try them."

I stuck my fork into what looked like a pile of bleached pubic hair with tiny green lice clinging onto the ends. I picked up a few shreds of the stuff and brought it to my nose to sniff it out -- it had a weird vegetative smell sort of like... mold. I politely moved as much of the cloud of hair with lice off my plate and plowed forth through the rest of my salad. Thank God there was chicken on it.

I have since learned to like alfalfa sprouts in small doses, but my first exposure was a shock. Personally I still think the texture is just like pubic hair but I know the fiber is good for me, so I'll cheerfully eat it whenever it presents itself, as long as there's enough dressing.

I still can't eat garbanzo beans. Why anyone would eat something that looks like a tumor is beyond me -- I look at those gnarled yellowish things and imagine them being plunked into a stainless steel pan and rushed off to the pathology lab. Ick. Why can't they devote those acres of land to growing something more palatable?

One cup alfalfa sprouts = 10 calories. Enough dressing to choke them down = 100 calories. Faithfully recorded in my daily food diary.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I am so sore

Third day of getting up at 5:30 a.m. to get my workout done. I hate my alarm clock even more than I used to, and that's saying a lot. The only good thing about doing the workout in the morning is I am usually too sleepy to be in a terrible mood about it -- but not today.

5:30 a.m. Get up. Stumble into closet. Put workout pants on, discover they are on backwards when I go to tie the drawstring. Curse. Put on shoes, T-shirt, limp downstairs to basement where the treadmill stands waiting. Evil thing blinks its lights at me mockingly.

Trip over the damn cat. Give her a nasty look, which she ignores. Do cats laugh?

5:45 a.m. Halfway through aerobic conditioning and am ready to die. Curse even louder at myself for actually paying for this abuse. Attempt to pull my ego out of my ass. Turn up Beck's "Loser" on my iPod and sing along.

6:10 a.m. Finally done and am stretching. My thighs are so sore from doing squats yesterday that I contemplate bathing in Ben-Gay.

6:15 a.m. Stumble back upstairs to the kitchen and guzzle water. Pour my six ounces of coffee with four ounces of skim milk and put in a forbidden packet of Splenda. The guilt overwhelms me for a second. Wonder if Gandhi ever got pissed at giving up orange juice. Realize that I am closer to Buddha than Gandhi, at least physically. No wonder Buddha was always smiling.

81 days to go.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day one of 84 days....

And this is supposed to go on for 12 weeks? I don't know if I can get through the next 12 MINUTES.

Honestly, I barely made it through the testing portion. I had no idea that a human female such as myself could be almost 100% body fat. You would have thought my bones at least would take up some space, but I appear to be like those floating people in "Wall-E" who whirled around in hoverchairs sipping on milkshakes - tiny bones, all fat. Kind of like those great ribs at Squealers, uhhhhh.....

OK. No food discussions of What I Used to Eat. This morning I drank my six ounces of coffee with four ounces of skim milk, and I am sure I lost three pounds doing it.

I got up at 5:30 (!) and did my aerobic conditioning. All my joints protested loudly - I cracked and popped and groaned so much, you'd have thought I was a hundred-year old ship caught in a storm. My joints sounded so much like cracking glass I half expected to set off the burglar alarm.

Wow. Looking forward to my bowl of greens for lunch! 83 more days of sheer bliss!