Thursday, March 26, 2009

Confessions of a nerd

I confess: I am a nerd. A word nerd, actually, and it is my professional job to use words and gather words and edit words and mix them up and add punctuation until something comprehensible comes out. Officially, I am a technical writer, but really I am a professional comma remover. I am your grammar NINJA, and I will hack your sentences and your dangling participles and steal all of your commas, and I will hold hostage all of your double negatives! I will take your apostrophes away if you are unworthy! Beware! those who cannot tell the difference between "it's" and "its" will be doomed to a life with no access to punctuation, or even running water.

That's why it's been pretty easy and fun for me to keep up with the blog -- the only reason I don't post is because I don't have time. If I had plenty of time, I'd happily bore everybody with my jaunty phrases and hokey anecdotes. And you would be FORCED to read along, ha ha ha, since Chris has given me a forum, and part of the Project is to keep up the blog. If I could lose weight as fast as I write, I'd be a size zero already.

Of course there is a catch to all this writing, and the truth is I write because it's so much easier for me to write than to speak, especially in a group. I much prefer to listen and observe. I also don't like joining groups, which is why one of the particular challenges for me is to attend the group meetings on Saturdays. I did have a lot of scheduling conflicts in the beginning due to my daughter's basketball games being on Saturdays, but that's over now. I really have no reason not to attend the meetings - I just can never think of much to say. And if I do, it tends to come out as garbled up nonsense because my mind works so much faster than my mouth. So I end up sounding incredibly stupid and inarticulate, like I was just released from a Remedial Speaking for Hermits seminar. "Hel-lo. I am Ter-ri. I like yo-ga. Thank. You."

I love listening to the group, though. It's amazing, the sense of community that has been building in just 10 short weeks. You can feel the energy flow throughout the room. It's unusual for me to be able to participate in that since I derive so much more energy from being alone. I do believe that people are inherently either introverted or extroverted, i.e., they get their energy from being alone, or from being with other people. I happen to be a person who finds it exhausting to be in a group setting -- it just wears me out psychologically because I tend to want to hear and observe and take in everything around me and the signals can get mixed up. It's sensory overload. When I'm alone again, I can slow my mind down and process the information.

So the next time you see me at a meeting, forgive me for being quiet. I'll be the one hiding in the corner, listening carefully, maybe taking notes. Careful - you might end up as a character in my book.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How to explain injuries in Sanskrit

Oof. After Chris's Saturday yoga class I was beat. I limped home and my husband looked at me cautiously.

"Are you OK?" he asked, looking sympathetic. I collapsed on the couch. How to explain?

I thought about telling him that I was having difficulty with the sixth chaturanga in a row, or that my half-moon pose was more like a quarter-moon verging on an eclipse. Or maybe telling him that my trikonasana had collapsed onto my sacroiliac and my uttkanasana was a tad wobbly. Or maybe I'd get some sympathy if he knew that I'd lost the key to my root lock, and that my ileus and my coleus and everything else including my varigated euyonomous was knotted up like a garden hose. I swear, at one point during class I was sure I'd torn a hole in my mula bandha.

"I'm OK," I said to him. "I'm just sore from all the vinyasas."

"Poor baby, that sounds terrible. I'll get you some advil."

I thanked him and smiled. Everything sounds so much more painful in Sanskrit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Food fight

One of the challenges in this Project has been getting the other people living in my house to get onboard with the healthier food program. This is not easy. I have two kids at home who would happily eat ice cream three times a day if I didn't nag them about eating healthier. And they are thin and athletic, the little devils, so I can't make the excuse that they need to watch their calories and fat. They are tweens and teens in their prime competitive eating years, with metabolisms that blow through food like mutant hummingbirds.

Over the weekend I put a bowl of grapes out on the kitchen counter for them to snack on. My daughter absent-mindedly eats them while she yaks on her phone, which is good -- kind of stealth-health attack on mom's part. My son, the observant one, does not.

He picks up a grape from the bowl and looks at it closely. "Ew. It looks gross. It's sticky and there's a little HOLE in the end that's leaking." This complaint is from the boy who once ate a desiccated gummy bear off the floor of the car.

I say, "Yes, that's because it's fresh off the stem. Eat it, it won't kill you." He wrinkles up his nose and says "Gross, mom. Don't we have any M&Ms?"

Here we go: the debate.

I said, "No, we do not have M&Ms. I can't have them, and they're not really good for you guys either. You need to eat more fruit if you want something sweet, or you can have some fat-free chocolate pudding."

"But aren't we having dinner? What are we having?"

"We are having grilled chicken and rice with veggies and spinach."

He makes a gagging sound and his eyes roll back in his head. You'd have thought I electrocuted him.

"OHMYGOD mom WHY do we have to have spinach? I HATE spinach and it's GROSS and I WON'T EAT IT."

I say to him, through my clenched teeth, "You WILL eat it. At least a bite."

He flops his arms disgustedly and wanders out of the kitchen, muttering under his breath about the unfairness of life.

At dinner we all managed to sit down and eat together, and everybody ate the rice with veggies and spinach, even my crabby but obedient son. For my kids dinner is more like a snack, followed by another small dinner of peanut butter sandwiches, then maybe some popcorn, followed by ice cream and a couple of glasses of juice or milk with Girl Scout cookies, after which they open the refrigerator door and say "MOM! Don't we have ANYTHING decent to EAT?" as I slice an almond into six pieces so I can stretch out my evening snack without overdoing the calories. If they weren't my kids, I'd hate them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A quick tasty recipe

Not much to blog about today, but I have been thinking about posting a favorite recipe of mine. It's very rich-tasting but lowfat. And don't freak out about the alcohol; most of it burns off during cooking. Bon Appetit!

Mushrooms in Red Wine

1 pound sliced mushrooms (white, cremini, baby portabellos or any mixture you like)
Chopped shallots and/or garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
3/4 to 1 cup of dry red wine (I like a Rioja or a Cabernet Sauvignon)
Dash worcestershire sauce

Saute the shallots/garlic and the mushrooms in the olive oil until they have given off most of their liquid and are slightly browned. You can add a bit of salt at this point. Pour in the red wine and let simmer until the wine has reduced by about half. Season with a dash of worcestershire sauce and freshly ground pepper. Chopped parsley on top will really bring out the flavor. These are great with steak, of course, but for a meatless entree would be excellent with polenta, brown rice, or even couscous.

Enjoy and let me know how you like it.