Monday, October 22, 2012

I Fall to Pieces (Thank God I am a Good Cook)

So every few months the skin around my mouth gets all red and itchy and rashy and sometimes even blisters if I scratch it. It feels like a yeast infection on my face—all burny and itchy and gross. (Any kind of face rash makes me feel like an ogre, it's super unsexy.)

And, this "rash" usually occurs when I eat too much pasta or bread or drink too much beer--also most commonly at the change of the seasons. Do I have a gluten allergy? Or some kind of wheat or yeast “intolerance”?  I can be very intolerant so it wouldn’t be surprising.

I am off to see a dietician and a chiropractor and an herbalist in the next few weeks to find out what’s wrong with me. I'm hoping that I'll find some answers and get my body up and running again. So I can eat right for my body and take this weight off. Seriously people—I look like I ate myself twice or like I washed up on shore—major bloat.

I’m still not eating dairy or meat and that is helping but after a bread-waffle-pasta binge on Sunday, I noticed this rashy weird thing on my face plus my stomach was wowwowwubbzie, and I was making sad groaning noises and holding my belly like a child after Trick-or-Treat. Last night was brutal. Off to find some answers. Please stop offering me candy or bread or anything delicious with wheat, gluten or yeast in it--at least for now unless you want a reenactment of Sandra Bullock in Two Weeks Notice after she ate 3 chili dogs at the company tennis outing. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Different “You” (No, Not You, or You Either)

So this morning on the way to work,  I was listening to a local radio station that plays hard rock and “metal” but not really metal—there’s not really one in NYC like it—anyway the radio DJs were playing a game that made me think of you. I don’t think of you often so when I do I take note (it’s seems slightly heavy when it happens like a sudden cold spot in the ocean or sharp pain somewhere that usually feels like nothing.) The game was “James Hetfield vs. James Taylor.”  I could stop typing--if I were really talking to you, you would immediately pick up the strand and run, run, run with it. But since you don’t really exist, I will go on.

The game is simple; the DJ reads a lyric and the caller has to say if the lyric was sung by James Taylor or by James Hetfield. The first caller didn't know who James Taylor is--so you would have launched into a diatribe about stupid kids these days dotdotdot. Anyway, the DJ hung up on that dude (which would've made you happy) and found another caller who knew both Hetfield and Taylor. 

This was the first one:
Mama, she has taught me well
Told me when I was young
“Son, your life's an open book
Don't close it 'fore it's done”

Chris, the caller, guessed wrong. 

Here was the second one: 
With a holy host of others standing 'round me
Still I'm on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me

Steve, caller numero dos, also guessed wrong.

This is a game that I would have been great at playing. You would have gotten them all right too, if you could have contained your laughter and snickering. We all know that James Hetfield is a sensitive fellow—he was a pioneer Emo after all.

While, I don’t think of you often, I hope you are well and that you’ve found some peace and happiness just like James (Hetfield or Taylor, your choice.) 

Watch out for the whistling Introduction...

Monday, October 15, 2012

How to Be a Vegan for Halloween and Other Truths

For what’s left of October and all of  November, I am changing my diet. It’s time to cleanse. No meat or animal products, I also won’t be eating soy “meat” or other processed foods, just whole foods (with a few exceptions—I will eat cheeseless pizza from Smiths on Fridays.) This means more cooking. Expect recipes.

I am also abstaining from alcohol. No booze, beer, or wine. I will be less fun in some ways but more fun in other ways—think about it, all those veggies….  This will be harder since I only drink in moderation now—it will be less fun to go to happy hour for me, but please invite me anyway.

This is not about the animals  and their animal feelings, although I love love love animals. This is about my body and health and taking it more seriously. It’s a thread that I can no longer ignore.  It’s like an un-funny running joke with me. I feel okay and I want to feel great. Who can help me with that if not me? I know that eating less or no meat and  no dairy will make me feel better. I do not want to go so far that I start to smell like a vegan. We all know that vegans stink a little. Sorry peeps.

I am not going to be strict about the vegan thing, but giving a good shot at eating more whole fruits and vegetables first (before I eat anything else) and making a big effort on the diary front—meat is easy for me to avoid (I just don’t have a taste for it most of the time.)  If you make something with chicken stock, I will eat it. If you put parmesan on something, it’s cool. I won’t pack my own dinner when I come to your house. (This happened to me once, story to follow.)

I have a feeling that we will end up being a flexitarian family here soon enough. All these new words to describe what people eat. How silly.

 Autumnal Truths:
-       Hubbard squash is scary looking but very wonderful tasting. Go get yourself one and hack it up and roast it or make a pie or something. Hubbard squash used to be very popular and I would like to bring it back. So do your part.
-       You can put pumpkin in anything. I made pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin bread and I am thinking about making pumpkin and black bean enchiladas for dinner tonight.
-       Black beans: soak overnight, slow-cook with onion, garlic, a little bit of cumin, even-less cinnamon, stock or water, add cilantro and salt at the end. Cook for about 8 hours. Freeze some, eat some, take some to your hungry neighbors.
-       Soup is good food. (Okay, that’s not mine, but it’s totally true.) On Sundays I empty out the fridge of leftovers and we eat them, or throw them out. Then, I make soup with all the little bits of veggies and stuff left in the fridge. This week was a mushroom, onion veggie soup. Delish, btw.

The Vegan Story
Once many moons ago, I invited a potential date over for dinner with my friends. He and I had met a few times and I thought it would be a good test of sorts. I’m a good cook and always cooked for my roommates/friends on Sunday night (kind of a lifetime running theme, no?) It was a relaxed event and well rehearsed since we did it every week. So, I carefully planned a meal (and had asked him if there were any dietary restrictions to which he said “nope.”)  I was all excited to show off my cooking prowess and see if this guy could be a friend or more to me.  

In my small apartment with my 3 friends gathered around the “table”, he went for his backpack and opened it, and pulled out some totally gross looking eggplant slop and ask for a fork. Could I stab him with it? Maybe. He brought a brown-bag dinner to my dinner party. He was strictly vegan.

In the proximity of my tiny apartment, peppered with disappointment and the shock of his rudeness, in the breath of his request for a fork (why do vegans need silverware?) I could smell his ancient veganess—an acrid stink that mixes an old man from Sri Lanka and an old bum from the mental ward with some bitter herbs and rancid asparagus—there it was: the vegan stench. We soldiered on through the meal, my friends in shock and us drinking too much wine to compensate (I was too young to kick his ass out and move forward, which is what I would do now if the same situation presented itself.)  Needless to say, he and I did not date or become friends, we never shared so much as a meal (not the same meal anyway.) And when he left, I ate a big piece of homemade chocolate mayonnaise cake with ice cream and I swore that I would never almost-date a vegan again.

In hindsight that vegan was rude (not all vegan’s are) and he probably thought he was being polite and saving me the trouble but ended up hurting my feelings anyway and he and I would never have made it because he couldn’t be honest or up-front---shit, how long can you hide being a vegan when you’re dating?  I hope he found some nice stinky girl to hang out with and I am so glad it wasn’t me.

Anyway, off to get my hubbard squash out of the oven. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Mother

 “We are unusual and tragic and alive.”

All the mothers I know that have 2 year olds want to have another baby. What is it about age 2 that gives us a new desire to make more?  Is it the child’s new found independence? Is it that a 2-year-old’s favorite word “no!” is repeated over and over like a mantra making us want to say yes, yes, yes!? Do we fear the loss of the baby and the onslaught of the teenager? I fear that No will become popular again with S in about 10 years.

Is it something else? Maybe that I am getting old, older and there isn’t much time left to make more? Maybe the other mom’s are getting older too. We see the end of our eggs as a reason to rejoice and reason to sink into a great depression. It’s the end of our youth and womanhood; the end of our usefulness; the end of our productivity; the end of a reason to desire us. Why would a man want a woman if she was unable to make babies? That’s what my mind says. This whole train of thought is irrational, I know, but it’s also heavily biological.  Why are babies so important?

I am not happier now that I have a child. Sure, my kid is amazing. And she is funny. And wonderful and spicy and sassy and totally smart and weird. But she doesn’t make me happier. Am I a better person? Maybe, but only because I have learned more compassion and patience (which I may have learned eventually without having a child.)  I keep thinking about that horrible article from NYT: It’s horrible because its so bleak and so true. Having more kids doesn’t make anyone happier. It may even have the opposite effect. More kids means, more money problems (the leading cause for divorce in this country.) Kids do not equal happiness. I know this. So, why do I want more?

Do I really want another baby? No. So what’s going on?  Is it a way for me to feel relevant?  Do I just want a bigger family later in the future? Will I feel less alone if I have two kids instead of one? Will I feel more loved? Is this all some brilliant plot to make me feel better about myself?  What a load of horseshit.

I am working through it. I love my kid. She is perfect for me. What if another kid is not? What if we get a bratty, crappy kid that whines all the time and acts like an asshole?  Don't we have enough assholes on the planet?  I think so.