Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Most Important Meal of the Day

How bad can your day be when you start off with Wham! and Irish Oatmeal with pumpkin and raisins?

One of my many transformative projects is getting my eating under control.  It's not so much about weight control -although saying adios to 10 pounds wouldn't kill me - as it is about sanity and health.  I binge at work because I fluctuate between despair, boredom and stress every fifteen minutes.  Thank goodness that I don't work for a posh corporation with well stocked mini-kitchens every ten feet.  I visited a friend at Google once, I gained ten pounds just walking through the building.  I can readily admit to having no self-control.  Me and unlimited fro-yo would be a bad combination.

A few weeks ago I felt this incredible need to shop, but no dinero.  Luckily we had a stack of gift cards that have been floating around for years.  I took the kid on a shopping spree at Gap Kids (thanks Grammy), hit Barns and Noble and Williams-Sonoma.

I have to admit to being overwhelmed at W-S.  I am a total gadget whore, but geez, there it was too much.  I ultimately decided to buy a cookbook.  The kid and I narrowed down the choices to French Cooking and Eating Well.  In her infinite 4 year-old wisdom she choose the cookbook Eat Well.

It's a basic cookbook.  Lots of olive oil, kosher salt and roasted things, but it has gorgeous photos and gave me lots of good ideas for meals - especially breakfast.  Is it weird that I am 35 years old and I don't really know how to feed myself?  I mean, know how to feed myself, but I don't feel like I'm in charge of what I eat.

I grew up in a household where every meal was the same...but just a little bit different.  Every meal had a piece of meat, frozen veggies, a starch and an iceberg lettuce salad with carrot and hard boiled egg (With the yolks removed, thank you very much!).   I thought that eating fresh veggies was something that required a lot of time and effort.  I thought that broccoli was supposed to be that sickly puke green color.  We didn't blanch, we boiled the shit out of everything.

I went to college and ate in the dining hall.  When I was 23 and living with roommates, I certainly  never thought about eating well, and then I lived with Wifey.  She is the cook in the family.  She takes the time to make herself a meal.  If I'm at home and I'm hungry I will go the the refrigerator ten separate times for individual slices of lunch meat rather than make myself a sandwich.   So I never feel truly full, I never feel that I've taken a break, and I end up over eating.

The thing is, I don't necessarily want to eat the way I did in my mid-western childhood, but I feel like I still need my own food identity.  Weird, right?  Seriously, though, how you feed yourself is intensely personal and totally subjective. (Just try and convince me that bleu cheese does not taste like dirty feet.) How can we ever feel satisfied if we don't take some time to figure that kind of stuff out.  What does my body like?  What makes me happy?  What will make me healthy?  I think that the answers to these questions are different for every person.  I think that part of my journey is taking more responsibility for myself.  The core stuff - my health and emotional well being.  I can't believe that I am about to quote an animated movie in connection to my mental health, but as Chef Gusteau says, "Anyone can cook."

Anyway, inspired by my new cookbook and with a rare opportunity to go grocery shopping in the early afternoon I decided to make three dishes - butternut squash soup, a gratin of winter root vegetables, a bean and pancetta dish and pumpkin oatmeal.

Have you ever tried to peel a butternut squash?  Did you know that one, not THREE, butternut squashes will yield nine cups?  A lesson learned without losing a finger.  I'll call that a success.

I'm also thankful that the kid's highly flammable Cinderella costume that she has taken to putting on everyday after school did not catch fire when she stirred the coconut milk and curry paste into the soup. 

My last project of the evening was the oatmeal.  I made myself an omelet on Monday morning and took the time to eat it, even though it made me late to leave the house, and I felt good all morning.  What? Eating real food, not sugar, gives you energy???  I made breakfast, portioned it in to-go containers and had it ready to go...ahead of time!  Oatmeal with pumpkin (canned), cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins is awesome ten ways until Sunday.  Seriously.  It was such an awesome breakfast.

I feel a little teary just thinking about it.

Looking forward to breakfast,

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm trying, but...

What do I do now?  I've posted all the things that need to be sold like a good little to-do lister, but after the initial rush of selling the dryer, we've hit a dry patch.  I'm ready to just donate everything to have the satisfaction of having it finished.  Garage empty.  Game over.

This week was strange.  I feel oddly at peace, but unable to focus.  I feel like I've made some major decisions, but don't know where I'm headed.

In therapy, I asked my therapist (whose name I had forgotten!), "how exactly does one do therapy?"  Yeah, you talk, I know, but what do you talk about?  Do you propose a question and then discuss?  Do I need to prepare notes before I go?  My therapist's answer (whose name I now know) didn't help.  Apparently, it's up to me.


Off to prepare a therapeutic Powerpoint,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Project Updates and More!

I am very happy to report that the garage project is coming along. I reported last week that Wifey went in and gave the garage a 2am ass kicking. She got all of the junk better organized and consolidated. Then on Saturday after freaking out about how overwhelmed the garage was making me, I proceeded to load up my car and take a huge load of stuff to the East Bay Creative Re-Use Depot. It was weird to let some of the stuff go - like the Balinese xylophone (It looked like #7 in the photo to the left, but much more beautiful.  It had an ornate frame with red and gold lacquer paint.).  Gone is our seldom used picnic backpack, the fish bowl (R.I.P, Raspberry) and a stack of board games that we will never, ever play again.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel and and the train is not coming.

In other news, we're continuing on our journey for baby #2. The most difficult and humbling aspect of the whole process for me is that it is COMPLETELY OUT OF MY HANDS - to a certain extent. You can obsess over your fertile mucus, pee on a stick (POAS) for days on end, and still when the time comes to...deliver the goods, you could still not get it right. Maybe we'll do everything perfectly and it won't happen the first time, or the third or even the fifth, but then again, maybe it will. Also, you can't rush things.

I want to rush things.

Can I just be pregnant right now and skip the anxious waiting and the uncertainty?


Trying to be patient like the grasshopper,

P.S. I found this video of the Balinese Rindik!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Boss Lady Takes Care of Business

It is a time for epiphanies and getting down to business. A few nights ago Wifey stayed up until some ungodly hour organizing the garage.  It looks much, much better, but in the end, it's still just a bunch of our crap only presented in a much more palatable way.  What is it that we're holing onto in there?

This was Wifey's take on the situation....
We pursued these dreams with our whole hearts. But then we moved on, and it's time for the garage to reflect that. I know deep down that we won't be returning to those pursuits (no more catering in my future, or beta fish, for that matter), simply because our dreams are bigger now. Our life experiences have broadened our capacity to pursue all our grand ideas, but unless I unload the remnants of dreams already lived, we won't have room for them.

I just started a new book this morning called, London Calling by Edward Bloor.  The main character's observation of his mother hit me like a ton of bricks:

Mom doesn't live in the present at all.  She lives in the past and in the future, but not in the present.  She hates the present.  The present is all bad for her; it is a punishment time that she has to endure.

Whoa.   Here is something that I never want my kid to say about me, but I can see it happening.  I can feel myself doing it.  I'm not necessarily one to glorify the past, but I am always waiting for some glorious future.  The future where I am a published author.  The future where I am a successful photographer.  The future in which I have a thriving community built on fully realized relationships.

I feel like I can see the problem, and now comes the business of fixing it.  Oh thank goodness I have a therapy appointment today.

Open for business,

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Project Update: The Backyard

I'm making progress! 

Of course looking at it in the photo, it's not so impressive, but it is, in fact, progress. 

I finally put in the rock border and moved around a couple of plants.   From left to right we have a fern (that was a gift three years ago from friends), an impatient (started from a cutting that the kid received at her birthday party), a rabbit ear and a red hot poker plant (also from cuttings from her birthday party).  I need some sort of ground cover, I am realizing, but I think that once the plants bulk up, they will fill up the space nicely. 

This is the other side of the yard.  In the back corner we've got a bamboo that I'm hoping will eventually fill up the entire back wall.  We got the plant about three years ago and it was a single stalk.  Next to it, on the left, is a begonia that just keeps on growing.  We moved it from our last house and it never stops blooming.  We've got two elephant ear plants that we thought were not going to make it there, but are really taking off and in the middle of them a blueberry plant.  Yes, the blueberry plant is a little out of place, but it was a gift from the kid's birthday party and I really didn't know where else to put it. 

The vine that is snaking off the the right is a dying pumpkin plant.  Two weeks ago that thing had taken over our ENTIRE backyard.  I cut it back like crazy because I just couldn't stand it any longer and I don't know if our two pumpkins are ever going to ripen, but so be it.  The wifey hates the broken planter thing on the right. 

Don't tell her I said so, but from this angle, I get her point. 

Ho, ho, ho, green giant,

Happy (belated) Halloween!

Thank you, little blog

I feel like something profound is going to happen.  Something good and I think that my little blog, the blog that no one reads (and that's ok!!!), that is just sitting out there in the internets giving me some small space in which to express myself, has helped.

This has also been, for me, a results oriented blog.  There is a task that I wish to accomplish - moving to New York - and there specific steps that I need to take in order to get there. Many of those steps are not straight forward, but they at least involve forward movement.  It is such a positive outlook.  It is positively un-me.

Maybe that's why it's working.

Yesterday I took, what I think at least, is the biggest step of all.  I made an appointment with a therapist.  I said some words out loud that i never thought I could: childhood trauma, sexual abuse, an incarcerated parent.  I feel so much lighter just for having said those things over the phone to the woman doing the intake, I can't imagine how talking to the actual therapist will feel.

I've always felt like I have been operating at about a third of my full capacity.  I feel like I have the potential for greatness if I could just tap into that part of me that has been inaccesseble. 

Ready to get the party started,