Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I got a coffee again today not so much for the thrill of the bean, but for the thrill of being the only leather jacket, cargo pants Matt ‘n Nat bag customer at the executive Starbucks in the financial district.

And, for being the only customer with a full head of hair. It’s amazing how 40-ish MBA’s have receding hairlines to match their black suits and charcoal trench coats. Not to mention their pallor complexions, and the same way they all seem to order their coffee. Or in the words of the barker: “Grande latte, no fat, grande latte, no fat, one espresso, grande latte, no fat, tall maple latte no whip, two espressos, venti Ethiopian roast, black.” Guess which one was mine?

I was about to berate myself for getting coffee at all – I’m supposed to quit, remember – when I arrived at work only to find that math had been cancelled, and I was going back to the special class.

Now I wish I had gotten three coffees, king sized. I’m already awake enough, I just feel I should drug myself into complete stupefaction before walking through that door. In the least, my shaking hands and saucer eyes would convince them all that I am indeed a psycho and to stay the hell away from me, or, it will help me displace the blame when I burst out laughing at their early morning aerobics. “Really, it’s not me. It’s the coffee.”

That behaviour will either get me out of the special class forever, or worse, put me into it.

I’m a little hard on the special class, and sometimes, I think I have good reason. For one, I think they are spoon-fed for the most part. When you were suffering through term papers, resume updates and dead end paths did anyone ever sit you down and ask, “Do you feel safe here?” When the only job you could get after school was at McDonalds, when a dear friend passed away or you couldn’t afford to eat for a week, did anyone care if you didn’t or didn’t feel good? No, because that was a part of life that you were expected to suffer through. Chin up, eye on the prize, keep forging ahead, right?

When you gained a few extra pounds, when your family was getting on your case, whenever you were stressed out beyond belief was there a course you could take, for extra credit, no less, designed to make you feel better about it all?

I’m guessing no, and I’m guessing that your alternative was to see a high-priced therapist instead. Emphasis on “high price.”

There is one good thing about the special class though, and I have to give them credit for that much. Imagine how wonderful it would be to assume aerobics is normal for every class, everywhere, and that we are able to make the world a safe and happy place for everyone, including ourselves.

Wouldn't that be simple. And wouldn't that be nice.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Calorie Chronicles: Herbal Magic

This is my latest, and I hope to make it the greatest. Remember last week's panic about going back to the program? Well, I did. Was too chicken to get weighed and haven't exactly started following the rules to the letter, but my waistline is thanking me. As is my waistband, which has eased up on its neediness. Nothing miraculous of course, it's just nice to not have to suck in every morning.

I found Herbal Magic in the phone book early into the year and called up for some information. The woman I spoke to sold me on the “I lost 135 pounds on this system,” which thrilled me to no end, and I ran in to join.

I know, I know. They’re all used car salesmen, dangling the carrot of hope at our noses. Women spend far too much on the promise of outer beauty, but I can’t do this on my own just yet. No matter what Dr. Phil says.

To make a long story short, Herbal Magic is named so for the herbs you take that will get you “magical” results. I figured that out myself. My current status is hungry, eagerly waiting with eyes closed and arms out for the magic to cuff me over the head.

So thrice a day I get to take a little white capsule from a bottle labeled Chromagic, and three blue capsules from another bottle called WM-2000. Chromagic has pretty sounding ingredients like brindall berry, dandelion & Siberian ginseng, while the WM-2000 is a blend of this and that to help support weight management. And, twice per week I go to their Village location, have a weigh-in and get some bonus vitamins on the side. Calcium, potassium and all that jazz apparently most needed for a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Oh yes, I also follow a very sensible meal plan containing all four food groups. Clap Clap.

My Herbal Magic history has been rocky at best. Like I said, I called earlier this year and attended for a bit, then stopped going. Then attended, then stopped going. Then attended and then stopped going… I think there could be one or two more times in there… and here I am.

Why, why do I keep doing this to myself? Well, I lose ten pounds and I get cocky, what can I say. I give into a few whims, get sucked into the vortex that is my life, gain a couple of pounds and get ashamed to go back. Yep, ashamed. So I stew for awhile before finally coming to my senses, and kowtow my way back.

I’ve gained, I’ve stewed, I’ve come to my senses (ha!) and I’ve definitely kowtowed. Day by day, right? Keep the determination and don’t let the growlies bite. I can do this. I’ve done bigger things, so I can definitely do this.

I am woman, hear me roar. And right now I’m roaring, I think I'm going to be sick.

Once again, breathe.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I took Home Ec (now known as Family Studies) in the ninth grade, majorly striking lucky by making a friend whose mother was a seamstress. I got a B+ on my sweatshirt and have managed to elude legitimately learning how to sew to this day.

One of the things we learned in that class was the HOAX theory. While this sounds for all the world that we were learning to be smooth talking con-artists, what HOAX really suggests is that there are four body types in this world, one for each letter.

The H people are more rectangular in structure; even fabulously thin H’s don’t have much waist to go on. Think Angelina Jolie.

The O’s are small at the extreme top and bottom, rounding out and being thickest in their middles. Nell Carter, RIP, was the perfect O.

The A’s are harder to find; smaller head and shoulders, more to them as you travel downwards. I have a cousin that’s the epitome of the A folk, but since you can’t see her, think Drew Carrey just because he has such a ridiculously small head, and Quentin Tarantino during the “Kill Bill” promo tour.

The X was the ideal hourglass shape of the 50’s: full shoulders, voluptuous rear and thighs, small waist. Or as we better know her, Marilyn Monroe.

If you’re dismayed that out of all the people in the world we’ve been narrowed down to a mere four types, I think that number can taken down even more, and sliced in half. If you look really carefully, there really are only two kinds of people in the world, the Frontals and the Sideways.

Frontal and Sideways work together. If your pounds go directly to your stomach and chest when you gain them, you are a Frontal. If you’re a hips and butt sufferer, you are a Sideways. When the Frontal weight gainers look at themselves in the mirror, their front view is best, whereas all the bad points come out when they stand sideways. Vice Versa for the Sideways gainer – look at yourself in the mirror, and the side view is much preferred to the front.

I am a Sideways. I have ample extras on my butt, while my chest will always be flat. My mother tells me the small chest part will change should I have children, but I’m not sure I believe her. My upper body is at least one dress size smaller than the rest of me, and I find straight leg pants even me out better than any other cut.

Going back to she who gave birth to me, mummy is a Frontal. Never had hips a day in her life, and big butt be damned. Chest and a little spare belly though, that’s her bane. But then because she’s had kids, and of course because she's my mom, she’s entitled.

Fat Fashion Tip #1: To detract attention from your behind, wear something colourful higher up. For instance, this morning I pulled out my brand new fall-not-quite-winter jacket. Three-quarter length for warmth’s sake, fitting beautifully on my shoulders and torso, but a bit of a squeeze down below. Nothing major, but until I get a wee smaller, it makes me a tad conscious. What a perfect time to pull out my raging plaid blue and orange German cashmere scarf, fringed not just on the ends but all around. Voila. No one’s going to notice my butt with that thing at my neck.

It’s only fair to offer a fashion tip to the Frontals, but since I’m not experienced in their department I can offer only one sound, somewhat biased bit of advice:

Fat Fashion Tip #2: If you have boobs, show them. Think of all us chest-less girls and make the most of that décolletage. March on, sister.

Didn't have to sleep on it after all.

No new thoughts. Women are suckered in by the media because we want to be what we see, and we believe men want us to be what's out there.

Least I do. How about you?

Today I had an, “I was meant to be somewhere else, but why?” kind of day.

I’ll explain. In the movie Sliding Doors, Gwyneth is running for her train, and misses it at the last minute. We are offered a parallel view of what would have happened if she had caught the train, in that case, arriving home early enough to catch her scum boyfriend cheating on her.

Sort of the same thing happened to me. While I was spared the London Underground and scum boyfriend deal, when I got to work I found out that math had been cancelled, and I was being sent somewhere else.

At my job, when your class is cancelled you either A) luck out and get that time off, with pay, or B) have to cover another class at no extra $$. It's easy to see how option A is preferable.

And so today, being out of luck and having my own Sliding Doors kind of day, I was sent to the special class.

It's really called Adult Development; I call it, the bunch the nature left behind. For all kinds of reasons, these are the people that need to go back in time and do some re-structuring to become more… okay I’m at a loss for words… “profound” members of society? That’s definitely not what I was looking for, but it’ll spare me the food fight of political incorrectness, should I go on.

But to give you a better idea of what I was dealing with, this is the third time I’ve covered the special class, and each so far has had it’s own memorable query. I’ll enlighten you.

Class #1: after a brief introduction of light aerobisizing to classical music, the topic of the day was, "Do we all really feel safe here?"

Class #2: actual question asked by student: “How many of you here have been involuntarily committed to a mental health care facility?” Of about 20 people in the room, only one hand did not go up. Mine.

And today, Class #3: “You don’t need to have sex with other people when you can have sex with yourself. It’s the same thing.”

Whoa, Nelly. It’s not in my job description to participate in lectures, but I’m sure the sudden grimace on my face was more than enough. Not that I don’t enjoy the fine and subtle arts of self-love, but I’m most positive that sex with others vs. sex with yourself are most definitely separate and individual experiences.

You’ve pretty much gotten the picture that I don’t like going to the special class. But back to the original reason that I was “supposed” to be there, my Sliding Doors moment, was that the major topic of the day was, "Why do the pressures of adolescence affect women stronger than men?" Or, to be specific, girls more so than boys.

Go figure I start a blog with weight and said issues being important, and see what the special class offers me. I can play with this.

So, why DO the pressures of adolescence affect women stronger than men? Very simply, we want to be what we see. We believe men want us to be what they see (and they often do), and also, we’re suckers for marketing.

Don’t shake your head, love. When’s the last time you heard a man say, “I’d DIE for Arnold’s arms,” or, “I just LOVE Keanu’s jacket.” Meh. If he’s straight, it’s not happening.

I don’t know where our path of wrong-ness begins, but I do know that it starts young. Pretty much everything that screw us up starts young, no? Some blame Barbie, others blame the Fisher Price toy kitchen set, feminists blame it all.

I can’t figure out who to blame, so I’m going to sleep on it. Stay tuned tomorrow, same fat time, same fat channel.

Mummy made Minestrone soup, and it was fabulous. I wasn’t expecting it to taste so good, since she didn’t have a recipe or an Italian heritage, so colour me surprised.

I should have known better, since back in the day my mom was an apprentice chef in Europe. I had my doubts though, when she asked me to get her a recipe online, and go through the ingredients to see if she had it all.

Tomatoes? “Check.”

Onions? “Check.”

Carrots? “Of course!”

Celery? “Yes, but I won't use too much because I know you don't like it.” (thanks Mom)

Macaroni? “I like the little shells more.”

White Beans? “I’ll just use the ones I have.”

Basil? “Parsley, same thing.”

Beef stock? “Chicken is better. And I have some nice leeks, too.”

Talk about your bastardized version. I took my dog Bluetooth for a walk in the first snow of the year; she was chopping. I come in a half hour later to a hot bowl, ready and waiting. Commercial bound, I tell you, all it needed was an mm mmm reaction from me, which I happily gave. It was marvelous, stick to your ribs food, perfect when your cheeks are still pink from outside.

I started writing a cookbook over two years ago. Soup and sandwiches was the jist, and Mom’s Miraculous Minestrone reminded me of how much I still want to do it. We all start projects and set them aside from time to time, but this one is on my mind everyday.

It’s just really hard to make up recipes and experiment with food when you’re always telling yourself you have to lose weight first. Make sense?

But I want to hang onto the good things, meaning that there’s work to be done. And for one of my first soup recipes, Mom’s going to teach me how to make Minestrone.

Friday, November 25, 2005

When was the first time you realized you were fat?

I don’t know if this is a factor in a boy’s life, but I’m pretty sure it’s a rite of passage for girls. Sure you always knew you looked different from your friends, since the life lesson that we are each and every one unique on this earth has already been taught. But if you are fat, hell, even if you’re thin, there’s that one defining moment that changes your life forever.

I was 13, and just returning home from a summer in Europe. My parents were firm believers that their daughters should know where they came from, and so my sister and I were packed off to relatives in the Croatian Islands. That and the fact that it had been one year since major surgery for me, and a year without mishap to boot. The trip was a sigh of relief.

Besides the family politics that no one can ever avoid, life there was very good. It was foreign, it was summer, it was days at the beach. It was salami sandwiches and swimming and Fanta. I certainly wasn’t trying to lose weight (i.e. see “salami”), but did have to buy some new pairs of shorts when the ones I had packed decided to fly south. Even then, I didn’t notice a change in myself, and no one in my family ever said a word. I was having too much fun to care.

When I got back though, everyone noticed. People saw me, and the shock would register. Friends I hadn’t seen in over two months would wave at me from across the street and come running over, mouths falling open as they got a closer view. I got Oh my God’s every hour of every day those first weeks home, and the phrase that did it all: “I can’t believe how good you look now!”

Maybe if the Now hadn’t been there, I would have been spared reality for at least another few months. You look so good…. NOW. This didn’t get me thinking about now at all, but enforced in my mind, very clearly, that if everyone was so amazed at how good I looked now, how bad did I look then?

Every girl might not remember her moment exactly, but I do believe that every girl has one. This is important, because this is when it all starts to change. If you weren’t fashion conscious before, you certainly are now. Even if you want to be unique, you also want to look just like everyone else, for the sake of fitting in, and how your butt looks in jeans becomes huge priority. Teen Beat, trash, welcome Cosmo. Eye liner, lipstick and mascara replaces the flavoured lip smacker, and you invest in the first bottle of hair spray. Sure your hair is crunchy, but everyone else is doing it, right?

It’s not about what goes, goes, anymore Gone are the days of not thinking about it; you didn’t think about it then because you didn’t realize “it” existed. Now you can’t stop thinking about it, and the neverending battle for better, better, BETTER than what you have and what you are, begins.

Has anyone ever won this battle before? I don’t really know. Some people say they have, but I’m not sure if I believe them. What I do know is that it’s absolute torture getting there, and that it’s far from over.

I find it terribly ironic that I spent an entire summer with bottles of pop in hand, eating salami, smoked meats, desserts dripping with custard and just about everything else I turn away now, and I thinned out without even noticing.

I’m not going to adopt this diet in attempt for a repeat. I’m not on the islands, and I’m not thirteen. I’m also not in that mindset anymore. I have a million things to do, a million people to see, and there’s no such thing as lazing on the beach for a solid eight weeks, perfectly happy that there is nothing else to do.

Point being that maybe if we all stopped fucking obsessing so much, if I stopped fucking obsessing so much, there would be much less to fret over. No?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Kim Cattrall won’t talk to me.

Of course Kim Cattrall has no idea who the hell I am, so it’s no sweat to her at all. But to me, it’s akin to having every single hair picked off my head, one by one.

I freelance write on the side. Not only does this keep my sanity balanced with my typing job, but I hope to make the “on the side” into “all the time” as soon as humanly possible.

So imagine my surprise when the quarterly, 8x4 inch, full colour but not fully glossy body enhancement magazine I work for assigned me a story on sex and beauty based on the erotic picture book Sexual Intelligence, written by none other than Samantha Jones herself.

Now, Body Enhancement means I’ve gotten to write stories on Botox, laser hair removal, and fat arms. Wonderful though they were, I’ve been craving something a little more oh, I don’t know, satisfying?

So just imagine my adrenaline rush and screams of happiness (in the middle of a crowded bookstore on a Tuesday) when my editor calls with the surprise news: I get to do a story about sex, with the celebrity sex icon of our times.

I’m thinking, what gigantic penny fell from the sky and hit me on the head today? It’s my lucky day, this is going to be incredible, this is going to make things happen!

A few weeks, dozens of phone calls to her PR firm and endless frustration later, I have gotten the confirmation that Kim will not be doing this interview. And I should understand, because she’s tired from touring Europe for two weeks.

Being a typist for the deaf and wanting to make changes in my life, ten minutes of Kim Cattrall would have been heaven sent. It’s the part where you’re sending samples of your work to bigger, better places and you put the A-list interview right on top. It was supposed to make things happen.

I don’t know if Kimmy herself refused this or her publicist, but what really pisses me off about the whole thing is, girlfriend, don’t you remember what it was like to be at the bottom? When you were acting for food, and just eye candy on Porky's? Don’t you remember what it was like to hunger for more?

I’m trying to make myself feel better about all of this, but only one of two things will do it. Either I have to accept that this wasn’t my brass ring and wait for the next one, or, I call her people back and harass them ‘til they’re blue in the face.

Hey, you never know until you try, right?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Google up “Fat Jokes.” Go on. Notice how the internet is suddenly awash with Yo Mama?

Not that I generally allude myself to such bullshit, but here are a few tasties:

Yo mama’s so fat she was born with a silver shovel in her mouth.

Yo mama’s so fat she was in the middle of the highway I tried to swerve but ran out of gas.

Yo mama’s so fat, her blood type is Ragu.

Yo mama’s so fat, she bungee jumped and fell straight to Hell.

… and etc. Now, google Yo Daddy. Lo and behold! Not much. Really, what we have here is a lacking fusion of pish and posh, since men don’t seem to be targeted towards anything specific, at least in this case.

Now, here’s my beef: there are just as many testosterone-ridden waddlers, a.k.a. fat men, on our great (pun intended) planet, so what the hell? I’m totally tempted to raise anarchy over this whole thing, but my approved by the Chiropractic Association of America mattress is looking mighty tempting right now, and my flight to the Land of Nod is about to take off. So, I’ll just leave you with this interesting little tidbit that I found on http://www.basicjokes.com/

Fat Theology

And God populated the earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow vegetable of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

And Satan created McDonald's. And McDonald's brought forth the 99-cent double-cheeseburger. And Satan said to Man, "You want fries with that?"

And Man said, "Super size them." And Man gained pounds.

And God created the healthful yogurt, that woman might keep her figure that man found so fair.

And Satan brought forth chocolate. And woman gained pounds.

And God said, "Try my crispy fresh salad."

And Satan brought forth ice cream. And woman gained pounds.

And God said, "I have sent your heart healthy vegetables and olive oil with which to cook them."

And Satan brought forth chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter.

And Man gained pounds and his bad cholesterol went through the roof.

And God brought forth running shoes and Man resolved to lose those extra pounds.

And Satan brought forth cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil to change channels between ESPN and ESPN2.

And Man gained pounds.

And God said, "You're running up the score, Devil."

And God brought forth the potato, a vegetable naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition.

And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fat fried them. And he created sour cream dip also.

And Man clutched his remote control and ate the potato chips swaddled in cholesterol.

And Satan saw and said, "It is good."

And Man went into cardiac arrest.

And God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

And Satan created HMOs.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Insult to injury, anyone? I sprained my ankle.

It was 10pm I was walking my dog. I was also on the phone, and certainly not paying attention to large bumps on the road that had the audacity to be in my way. It’s going to take me a long, long time to forget that crunching sound.

I’m thinking this whole ankle thing was a sign to force me to sit still and look at the design magazines that paper my bedroom floor. I have to face reality, after all, because there’s a job to be done.

I own a loft. Better put, I own a two-floor 962 square foot box that the developers called “Loft” because they knew it would make me drool and want one. Three years and several delays later, I closed on my itty bitty “loft concept” space, several features left incomplete by said idiot contractors.

I have decided to find it charming.

The job in question is to work with what I have, and make it magnificent. I have limited space, a budget, and if I may so, spectacular taste. I also have a tenant until spring, but she’s a good friend and is all for improvement.

So now I get to bury myself in House & Home, Living and Elle Maison, rip out all kinds of pictures, get a gray hair or two (or 58), and secretly hate every designer in these magazines because I know they can do it much better than I can.

Projects, colours, creative chaos, I love it all! Or at least until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they are so sick of something about themselves, they work hard for change.

Or, there comes a time in everyone’s life where something happens beyond their control, and change happens whether they want it to or not.

For example, my teeth. I had a filling put in a couple of days ago, nothing big, but a few hours after I got home, the damn thing cracked and sunk like a crater. The dentist could only see me this morning, so in between then and now I was on an involuntary liquid diet. Water, smoothies, occasional juice. Chewing just hurt too much, and gave me nasty visuals of mercury imbedded in my gums.

So naturally, my pants are just wee bit looser today.

For all you healthy freaks out there, I am NOT starving myself, and I am NOT condoning starving yourself. But then, this feels really nice. I’d like to keep doing it.

Not drinking smoothies all day, but making my pants looser. You get my drift.

And so, in continued support of the “new me,” I am going back to the program. Whenever I start a program - and I have many tales - I always tell myself it’s one last shot. Right now, speaking from my heart, today, I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment anymore. Besides wanting to help my body out in every way possible, I want to give myself the benefit of the doubt.

Not that it’s okay to fail. But it’s definitely okay to keep trying.

Monday it is. I’m spending the rest of the weekend working up the nerve.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Wedding #2 belongs to my very best friend, Raj.

We went to school together and found one another in the party hearty world that is the haven of the university student. Scores of fresh-from-home teenagers were boogie woogie-ing the stench of the suburbs away, when the crowd parted, and first I beheld the glory that was Raj. He was foreign and naïve; I was political and drunk. We hit it off.

It didn’t take long for us to be thick as thieves. Through the ups, downs and passport stamps of our eleven years and counting friendship, we have managed to stay blissfully close and immature in a way that only the closest of people can understand.

Raj is sinfully sweet and painfully exotic. Raj is also fabulously gay. He flew out of the closet about a year after we’d met and never looked back. Of course this made him better than ever; now I have a pinch date AND a pedicure buddy. He, in turn, adopted my cycle and got sympathy cramps.

Raj is also in love, engaged, and like most Bridezillas, raking himself over the proverbial coals for the perfect Martha Stewart wedding. A wedding that he is determined I will plan.

Being a girl, I love parties. I even love to plan parties. Being a girl without a biological clock, I don’t like weddings. I mean, how many 300 guest sweet table bouquet toss garter throwing first dance fiascos do you really have to go through before losing your marbles?

But I do love my Raj, so I’ll bite my tongue, and better common sense. I’m going to help him through this no matter how many times he bothers me. No matter how often he tosses “Hor d’Oeuvres for Dummies,” or “The Art of Napkin Folding” at me. No matter how much he pesters, whines, or calls me hyperventilating at 4am – which he will – I will be there, I will be ready, I will be a friend.

I need a drink.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let us venture away from the fat lands for just a little bit, and talk about other pressing matters on the list of General Repairs.

My sister is engaged. For the third time. To a younger man she’s known for all of seven months.

Yeah, that’s how I feel too. Mind you, there are always exceptions; with her other engagements, one was official and the other unofficial, meaning no ring or formal proposal, just a newbie-couple skirting around the M word. The engagement that was official lasted about six weeks (thank God, he was such a bozo), and even though I’ve played the “younger man” card with fiancé elect, he is only three years her junior.

It’s just that she has this tendency to get, oh, carried away. She’s five years older than me and either gets into forever relationships with no sense of direction, or falls flat on her face and is planning the rest of their lives within the month. That is, the month they met.

So it’s safe to say that sometimes I worry about her. Fancy that, the younger one worrying over the older one. I think she was supposed to be uptight and responsible and guide her directionless, unfocused sister down the proper path, right?

I really do know that she’s old enough to make her own decisions, her own mistakes and her own happiness… it’s just that its been the two of us for so long. Boyfriends came and boyfriends went, but my sister and I were always a pair.

And now she’s going to be a Mrs. And eventually, a mother. Hopefully without a minivan, but while I’m wallowing please let me go all the way.

Well, he’s nice enough at least. The wedding is next October-ish, so I’m hoping that any and all kinks will be worked out by then. And I do have to admit that there’s one absolutely huge perk in all of this for me – when she changes her last name, I can finally use her a as job reference. Vive la difference!

Oh and before I forget to mention, I’m the Maid of Honour. Most Honourable Maid to the Bride. Meaning that within the year I will need to fit into a slinky creation that will make me the goddess of the evening. Yee-haw.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It is early in the morning, and I am at work with my cup of drugs. I’ve never been a substances girl, but then coffee is just so supremely hard to give up.

I love coffee. I worship coffee. It tingles my fingers and buzzes my senses. It fires my synapses and I can take on the world.

Coffee has carried me through two degrees, two internships and twenty countries. While many prefer to hoity toity through Europe with a glass of Bordeaux, I found the underground café scene much more fascinating. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can stomp on grapes. The art is in the roast.

This morning’s addiction of choice: one tall maple latte, regular milk no whip, not quite courtesy of Starbucks. And my justification for having it is that today is the only day I start work at 8am, and I hate my job.

I am a Computerized Note Taker for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students, which is a nice and shiny way of saying I stalk students who can't hear too good to their classes, and type out everything the professor says. The money is great. The hours, laptop lugging and promise of carpal tunnel are not. It’s not a terribly challenging job either and, when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder in this case, I’ve gone as far as I can go.

It is my second year at this job and while I know I shouldn’t complain, I’m really craving a job in my field (writing & journalism), and something infinitely more stimulating. So if I can’t have a stimulating career just yet, I have to make do with the stimulants Starbucks is selling.

Coffee and the healthier lifestyle, da da dum, don't exactly go hand in hand. Unless you like it black, which I don't, the stuff raises your blood pressure, isn’t great for your cholesterol, works against vitamins B6 & B12, causes anxiety, heart palpitations if you drink too much, and etc.

Even worse, coffee (and my current Maple Latte) is usually full of milk and sugar, and those are deadly in the “newer lifestyle” world. Well, sugar anyway. I recently found a list by Dr. Nancy Appleton, author of “Lick the Sugar Habit” stating no less than 76 ways that sugar can ruin your health. That’s just a teensy bit more than a top ten. My personal favorites are that sugar causes brittle tendons, and impairs your DNA structure. Whoever said the genes you were born with was fixed? Does that mean my firstborn will have coffee beans lodged in his nostrils?

Truthfully, it’s not the sugar alone I crave. Very thankfully, I don’t have a sweet tooth. It’s the sugar in the coffee that I crave since it makes it taste that much better. I can’t have my coffee without the teensiest bit of sugar, and if that’s the case, then the whole lot has to go.

Big, big sigh, lowering my head in defeat, total acceptance & all other associated dramas. In the big picture, it’s small sacrifice for a newer, more gorgeous me. But then that will be really, really hard to remember the next time I’m up before the sun.

So, if this is going to be the last Thursday in awhile that I allow myself coffee, you’ll have to excuse me. I want to savor what’s left in my cup.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Okay, let us begin. I am a fat girl. How did I become a fat girl?

I ate myself into her. Trust me when I say that I don’t like admitting it and it’s nothing to be proud of, but it is what it is.

Fat is unoriginal. Unless genetics is seriously jonesing you, if you are fat the chances are you ate your way to being fat. WHY you have done so is the unique part.

So, why did I eat myself into being fat? Here’s the nickel version, and feel free to tune out. Let’s call it “surrounding tension.” I was around 11, 12 at the "beginning of the end," bad health but bookish and smart; not well liked in school for above reasons. Older, seemingly perfect sister, emotionally detached parents, some bad emotional experiences of my own, and an open access fridge to make it all go away.

Or in other words, all the crap we tell ourselves is the reason we are unhappy.

The ironic thing is that at the time I also went through a crazy growth spurt and therefore all the promise of a supermodel figure, but I let all that surrounding tension get in the way. It really sucks when you’re one of the more sensitive people that really has to white knuckle your way through life, no?

I became borderline obese, but luckily thinned out a bit as I got older. Then lost some and gained it back, lost some and gained it back, lost some and gained it back, lost a whole lot…. and after a couple years, gained most of it back.

What happened? Ah yes. My old nemesis, Surrounding Tension. Which brings me here.

I could say all the usual stuff; I hate it, I’m sick of it, I don’t to feel this way anymore, bla bla bla, but chances are it’s nothing you haven’t heard or read before. Even if it is true.

Hence the beginning of project General Repairs, or assignment “Hold Your Head Up High Again.” And don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I can’t hold my head up high as a fat girl. It’s just that making my peace with her is something I have to do.

In retrospect, I’ll let someone far smarter and undeniably brilliant close off for today:

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, November 14, 2005

I am a Fat Girl. I am also a bridesmaid, involuntary wedding planner, impromptu interior designer, writer, amateur cook and emotionally challenged typist for the deaf. To slam the fucker that once said “all writing is fiction,” let me assure you that all of the above is, most hilariously, true.

The writer and cook part aren’t so bad, but since my budget isn’t quite allowing me to fiat around Europe to experience & write about the culinary wonders of the universe, I’m more or less screwed. This in turn doesn’t quite go with the amateur cook part; I’m dead convinced that no one will buy a cookbook from someone who’s had a) no professional kitchen skills whatsoever, and is b) nowhere near as sultry as Nigella.

As for the rest of my list/sorrows, I have gone as far as I can go at my job and would like another. My sister is unofficially engaged to a communist rebel and will marry him within weeks of my best gay friend’s wedding, and he is coercing me into planning the entire event. At the very least I will be his sounding board, and let me assure you that’s not much difference. I have a miniscule, empty loft to make beautiful, my relationship is in emotional hell and wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, I have to go on a diet. Wait, let me rephrase that: lifestyle change. I do believe that’s the more modern method of choice. It sounds less German, anyway.

Welcome to the freak show that is my life. While it has become apparent to me that I am in extreme need of martinis and a shrink, I have opted for the cheaper option that is Active Writing Therapy. The Writing part is in inspiration of my pretty literary friends who have been endlessly telling me to “get a fucking blog already”; the Active part is in honour of the great and noble Julie Powell who gave herself a project and a time limit, and the Therapy part is to keep myself from going completely bonkers.

And so, I am dedicating the next year of my life, more or less, to General Repairs. My pre-New Year’s Resolution List of the Damned, in no particular order:

1) get a new job

2) lose 60 (odd) pounds

3) decorate my loft without Debbie Travis

4) survive my sister’s wedding

5) plan & survive my best friend’s wedding

6) finish the cookbook that has been idling for 1148 days (and counting)

7) achieve emotional and romantic peace, if there is such a thing

… all while living in my parent’s basement. After all, if I have you to face at the end of every day, things will start to happen… right?

Oyvey. Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.