Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Men and the Boys: Marco

Fate speaks to us sometimes. It was exactly one week.

I lived in a townhouse in the campus village with five roomates. Every night was a party, and weekends were usually a mess of keggers. One was parked in our living room that night and students had filled up every square inch of our house, hands our for brewskis and bopping to some Donna Summer remix.

I'm not a huge beer fan, so I was at the counter making pitchers of Black Russians and Killer Kool-Aid. That might make me an elitist snob but who are we kidding, any kind of alcohol is appreciated at a school party. I handed out a plastic-cupped Russian to a waiting hand, not looking at the face of the taker - too many people - and turned back to make more, but someone had stopped me by slightly pulling on the back of my belt. I turned around.

It was him. He was smiling. And boy, did he look good. Mystery soccer boy leaned in and said, "Is the camera dead yet?"

I was smiling and in complete shock to even be seeing him again. "I buried it after the game. You can pay respects later if you like."

He laughed, we clinked cups and he disappeared into the crowd. He mingled, I mingled and bartended, and we noticed each other until the party thinned out and there was more room to talk.

That's what we did until the sun came up. We talked and we talked and talked. And we talked. He was Persian, had a large family, and wanted to be a cardiologist. He'd joined the school overseas program for one year mainly for a change of pace, and was loving it so far. I told him about my family, writing passions and devotion to Monty Python films, which made him laugh. He had a very nice laugh.

We became great friends. Whenever Marco wasn't busy slicing cadavers or I wasn't out on a story, we discovered the city together, told stupid jokes and made fun of people who dressed weird. Soon enough, we could finish each other's sentences. Over countless lunches Marco and I learned about the places we came from, our likes and dislikes, hopes, fears and dreams. I knew he was worse than a woman when it came to chocolate, that he actually liked shopping despite complaining about it all the time, and that he was pulling my leg when his eyes twinkled. He knew how I took my coffee, my favourite books, and that I couldn't stand mechanical pencils. When you spend so much time with someone and never run out of things to say, is there any surprise when it turns into something more?

I adored Marco as my friend. It almost freaked me out when I started to like him as more than that, because I knew we had no chance. He wasn't here to stay and moreover, his home was ridiculously far away. Not even manageable long distance. We came from very different worlds, very different backgrounds and very, very different upbringing. Religion wasn't important to either one of us, but our contrasts were large enough that even if we didn't mind, our families sure as hell would. We both cared very deeply for our families. That alone, was enough.

With the cards stacked against us, I forced my floodgates shut. That shows just how naive I really was. If I didn't know or want to admit to it then, attraction always finds a way. It always finds a way to take you to that one pivotal, defining moment.

I went to Herbal Magic today. I stood on the scale backwards was told that in a matter of three days, I lost 3.6lbs.

Three point six pounds. Three point six pounds, three point six pounds, three point six.... I LOST THREE POINT SIX POUNDS! IN THREE DAYS!

I celebrate and buy myself sexy underwear. It's a long way to go, but I'm on the road at last.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Men and the Boys: Marco

This didn't start out as a "Men and the Boys" chapter, but now that I've finished and looked back on the whole thing, it couldn't be more fitting.

I promised I would reveal my second-to-third justification for wanting to go to Jordan, and here it is.


Devastatingly sexy, brilliantly smart, sickeningly successful, stupidly goofy Marco. One of my oldest friends, one of my dearest friends, and in life's twisted purposes, the one that got away.

We met at school, nine years ago. I was a cathartic English major, and he was a foreign student in Med school. Foreign meaning, not from here. Foreign meaning, not destined to stay.

Determined to go to Journalism school for my post-grad, I was on the University paper. Being on the paper meant sacrificing many evenings to edit everyone else's mistakes, and the occasional weekend to cover events. That Saturday it was a soccer game between Portugal and Sweden for some international tournament, I don't remember exactly, and I was packed off with a school camera, film and notepad. It was my first photo assignment, and my first sports story too.

It didn't go well, not from the paper's point of view. The coverage wasn't detailed enough, they said. Well of course it wasn't, I love soccer and was too busy jumping up and down in the stands to take notes. The pictures stank, they said. Of course they stank, I had nosebleed seating and the piece of crap school camera kept jamming. The story never made it to print.

Confession: I was also a little busy noticing someone, noticing me. He was sitting a few rows back, all dark curly hair and clearly amused with me and the camera; even more amused at my swearing. At first I was determined not to like him because he cheered everytime Portugal scored (hey, I love Vikings), but there was something about that half-smile that got me. Little by little I started looking over my shoulder to see if he was still noticing... and he always was. Even more, he'd now noticed me noticing him, and made silly faces every time I turned around. I forgave him the Portugese error.

Game over, fans throwing game programs and ticket stubs onto the field, hullabaloo everywhere. I went to take a photo but what a shock, it was jammed. Swearing defiantly then dropping some film, out of nowhere came this whisper in my ear:

"Don't throw the camera over, too."

I whipped around, and there was that killer smile, right beside me. Unfortunately some headcase decided to kick my film in another direction at that very moment so I had to go running after it. Film recovered I looked back up, but he was gone.

I capped it off as a good memory, thinking I would never see him again.

Perfect Western Hemisphere-ized Hummus

No pictures. I don't yet know how.

And before you start, please realize that when I cook or make anything in the kitchen, I operate largely by taste and not what the book tells me. You will need:

A food processor
Two giant cans chickpeas
2-3 tablespoons Tahini
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Crushed Garlic (if you like to stink)

Use the attachment with the dual curved blades.

Open and drain the cans of chickpeas; dump in the processor. Top with your tablespoons tahini. How much exactly is up to you; I find the more tahini, the thicker the hummus. Swirl around some olive oil, I like a good 5-8 tablespoons in mine. Then lemon juice, again, mine has about 4-6 tablespoons. Salt to taste, some pepper for fun, and yay or nay on the crushed garlic is all up to you. Lid on, power away, and mix until you've reached desired consistency. Personally I like mine a bit lumpier and coarse, it's more fun to discover chickpea bits throughout than just a uniform, smooth paste. Tastes more homemade that way.

Most people eat this with grilled pita, but don't let that stop you. It can be a sandwich spread, dinner side dish, and if you feel the need to just eat it straight with a spoon, no one is watching :).
After texting Raj and thinking about where he was, I started getting a craving for hummus. It's easy enough to make: chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon & salt, so I lugged my ultra-shiny red food procesor upstairs to whip up a batch. Moms walked into the kitchen. "What are you doing, love?"

I was assembling all my ingredients and outfitting the proper blade attachment. "Making hummus. Want some?"

She gave me one of those mother-looks. "Why are you making hummus? In a couple of weeks you'll be rolling in it."

Hmph. Of course she was right. Why are mothers (almost!) always right? I lugged the processor back down.

Text Message from Raj:


My reply:








Oli is getting married in a brewery. In handing over the deposit for the place, she's convinced she's become every man's dream. Who else but the perfect woman and fantasy wife would want to get married in a brewery? A hockey arena would probably have been Corey's first choice, but needless to say, he's ecstatic.

When she mentioned it, I had my doubts. A brewery? But when she brought me there for the first time, I could see the charm. It used to be a railway station over a hundred years ago, and the company has kept all the historic stuff in place. And when in the early stages of beer production, the place smells like ginger snaps.

The ceremony will take place outside on the large patio, and the reception indoors, next to the plant. The room is gorgeous, really, and two big windows overlook the factory and production while the other side is a spectacular view of the city.

Late September, come what may, my sister will marry the love of her life in said historic brewery, smelling like cookies. And in between ceremony and reception, when we are off posing for pictures, their guests will be privy to free brewery tours. At least no one will be bored.

I still don't know how much I weigh. Like all fatties of the world, I'm terrified to look at the numbers on the scale. Herbal Magic insists on weekly weighings and I do my best to comply... backwards. It's stupid and childish, but hey, that's me. So I actually step on the scale backwards, away from dreaded numbers while Daria, my counsellor there, holds a file and ticks things off with her pen. She has promised not to tell me what the numbers are until I'm good and ready.

When will I be good and ready? When I've officially gone down a size, of course. When will that happen? If Harry Potter was my boyfriend and I could borrow his wand for just a sec it would happen right this very minute. All six to eight sizes less would happen this very minute, but alas, Harry Potter isn't real (and is cradle meat for a woman my age, what could I be thinking), so I'm gunning to be a whole size less by the end of next week. End of next week is also when I leave for Jordan.

Out of curiosity though, what would Harry Potter's weight-inducing spell be?

Disappearus Poundigia!
Slimensia Inducta!
Smallicus right this Minitus!

Or better yet, the All is Well for All Time spell: Everythingis Perfectus!

Lovely, though. But then if Harry could use "Everythingis Perfectus," I suppose Voldemort wouldn't constantly be on his ass, and after butchering his parents, no less. What does it say about the rest of us when a fictional character with super powers can't even have what he wants?

I shall be ready when I am officially one size less. I want that to be soon.
My gym workout to this point consists of time on the Elliptical, the Dipper and the Weighted Swivel thing. Of course they are not called the Dipper and the Weighted Swivel thing, I just call them that because I don't know what their real names are.

The Precor Elliptical is a cross between a stairmaster, which I hate, and a treadmill, which I also hate. I hate climbing on the spot because it makes my bad knees crack repeatedly, and because I feel I'm getting nowhere. I hate the treadmill because I know I'm getting nowhere. I can walk and run outside all I like, why on earth would I need a machine or a gym membership to do it?

Me and the Elliptical are a perfect match. I don't walk or step, I do these circle step things that work my butt and bring out the Niagara Falls of sweat, baby. Better yet, and this is where I do a little Yee-Haw, when I started going to the gym and first tried out the machine, the best I could do was three lousy minutes. Three minutes of gut-wrenching misery that left me grumpy and pissed off. Determined not to be defeated, I stuck it out and eventually worked my way up to 45 minutes... and then I left the gym and didn't show my miserable face there gain for two plus years.

When I started up again last week though, I did a strong half hour! I am woman, hear me roar! Well, hear me gasp is more like it, but I'm definitely elliptisizing my way to a roar.

The Dipper is this bolted-to-the-floor contraption with leather padding in the shape of a V. That makes no sense whatsoever. Okay, you sorta step into this thing and it keeps you standing at a tilt, your abdomen in the V, and one by one you dip your abs into submission, dammit. That probably makes less sense, but it's a killer, and you feel it bitching at you the next day when every step leaves you wheezing for air. In other words: don't drop the soap.

The Weighted Swivel thing you sit at, put the key at your desired level of weights (I started at 40lbs.), wrap your arms around the swivel part, which is hooked up to the weights, and swivel away. Again that makes no sense, but your abs and arms thank you. Not the next morning when you can't pick up the toothbrush or your bra straps when they're sliding off your shoulders underneath your work clothes. But a few hours later, they are.

I expected to be in sickening amounts of pain the morning after my first visit back to the gym, and I was. Ironically enough not from working out, but from sleeping wrong. I was so exhausted after my "Return to Wonder Woman" episode, I passed out on Oli's guest futon with my mouth wide open and head lolling off the pillow. Didn't matter one bit that I could barely sit down the next day, so stretched were my muscles from squats, what DID matter was I couldn't turn left.

So it's been a week, I can turn my head both ways again without wincing or looking stupid, I've been eating right, worked out at the gym three times and every night at home. And according to Herbal Magic, I've lost two whole pounds. Right now, life is good.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The only worse thing than being fat, is being fat and remembering when you were thin. Some times hit you more than others.

So I'm looking through the stack of family luggage in the basement, thinking that the big red one is best for Jordan and I haul it out. Heavier than an empty suitcase should be. I take it to my room, lay it on the floor and unzip.

Clothes. Of course. I'd forgotten this was the suitcase I'd taken to Prague for my internship. Thin clothes. A suitcase full of unfolded, tossed about clothes with the feel, the scent of days gone by. Clothes full of memories that, one by one, slapped me with the blows and frustration of the person I'd forgotten.

A blouse, size small. A fitted white blouse that went with these low-rise brown cords that I wore to work with boots and a black leather jacket. How many times did I wait for the morning tram dressed in this outfit, Gucci sunglasses, leather shoulder bag housing my laptop, one of these lacy nude bras and thongs underneath it all, also size small. Lingerie that just an hour before my wait on the platform had thrilled Jess to no end.

Lingerie in that suitcase there was plenty of, each with its own time and place. And Jess had loved all of it. Black stockings we'd bought in London. The mauve corset we'd picked up in Greece. The white ensemble I'd worn underneath cargo pants and a baby tee on the three hour drive from L.A. to San Diego. All the windows open and drunk on California air, every radio station on earth blaring "Yellow". Finally getting into that cheap motel room and feverishly undressing each other. The beach would wait.

Your skin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
D'you know, you know I love you so
You know I love you so

It really hits home, holding up something so small that used to fit you, that used to flatter and make you feel desirable. Holding it up thinking not "This is you," but rather, "This was you."

It's a harsh reality. I wanted to cry. I didn't. Instead, I took a deep breath, zipped the red suitcase back up, and put it in the corner. I would unpack it later. Instead, there was another bag that needed packing.

My gym bag. I worked out like a woman on fire.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Or lots of it. Lots and lots of miserable, straining, vein-popping sweat. I have gone back to the gym.

Long story short, I used to be a gym-aholic until "surrounding tension" (November archives) stepped in, and I instead became the couch potato-holic you see before you. It took a long (really long) time for me to be comfortable with working out, or even kinda sorta liking it, but me and gym have made our peace. I owe this to three things:

1) Rick

2) Late hours

3) Television

4) Gay town

Rick is the proprietor of Legends Fitness in the city, and one of the nicest people in the whole world. Oli still goes to Legends and sees Rick almost every night, and says he asks about me often. So often that he offered me a free membership for three months because he knows that me beautiful-er, will make me feel a whole lot better.

I am a night person. Legends is open until midnight, every night. Need I say more?

Legends also has television sets everywhere, dangling from metal rods on the ceiling. This may sound all modern and lazy, but I truly don't think there's such a thing as willpower when it comes to the Stairmaster.

Television can be that comfort zone you forget yourself with, and when you forget yourself, you don't think about the voices in your head prodding you with, "Oh man, I can't do this anymore, I'll just stop." Honey, believe you me, there's nothing better to take your mind off the sweat running into your eyeballs than reruns of "The X-Files". If I can't force myself into better shape, Mulder and Scully will.

Legends is in gay town. I talk a lot about gays & gayness, but I am definitely not a fag hag. Okay, maybe just a little. Fuckit, maybe a lot. But put it this way: not only do I live in one of North America's largest cities, but this city also happens to have one of the largest gay populations in the world. Thus, it is next to impossible to live in or frequent the downtown area without having a few homosexual accessories, no? And while you're at it, ponder this too: how nice it is to work out not a single man looking at you "that way." No meat market, sister, just you busting your ass on top notch equipment.

It's a comfort. Small comfort, but after frequenting suburbian gyms full of raging steroid athletes, it's a nice one.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Life's got a funny way of being ironic, don't you think? My original tagline for this blog, "One Loft, Two Weddings, Sixty Odd Pounds, Love and a Cookbook at the bottom of the Corporate Barrel" morphed into one wedding and two home renovations, after my pretty princess Raj decided to buy and renovate his very own home. Apparently this is all going very well, I have yet to set foot on premises out of raw, blinding fear.

Second wedding is back in effect, as one of my cousins has popped the question to his longtime girlfriend, and they are also getting married. In September. Three weeks before Oli. Meaning I have three weeks less to fit into a bejewelled ecstasy that will make me, you got it, the goddess of the evening.

No sweat!

Monday, March 20, 2006


Me: "You've had this rental car forever, what gives?"

Raj: "We got used to having a car, darling, and it's nice to be able to drive everywhere. But it goes back next week."

Me: "So will this be the end of our adventures, as we know it?"

Raj: "My goodness honey, no, we're buying a car after we all get back from our trip, and the trip will be the biggest adventure of all!"

James: "We should discuss that, by the way."

Raj: "Okay so this is how it's going to work. I'm off to Egypt for my friend's wedding, and I'll be there for two weeks. Then I go to Jordan to spend some time with my family, and after a few days the two of you will arrive."

Me: "How exciting monkey, we get to travel together!"

James: "Yes, it's very exciting."

Me: "You don't sound excited."

Raj: "That's just the way he is, honey."

Me: "The best part of all is that we have an 11 hour stopover in Amsterdam! City of fashion, cheese, and stimulants! AND the travel agent even got us a hotel voucher for TWO free rooms to dump our luggage off while we enjoy the fashion, cheese and stimulants!"

James: "Two rooms? Rats, I wanted to share a room."

Me: "Whatever the hell for, darling?"

James: "For my first opportunity to see a naked woman."

Me: "Ha! You are not worthy to view the goddess."

James: "Come on, I'll show you my thing if you show me yours."

Me: "Sweetheart, you ain't got nothing I haven't seen before, bigger and better at that."

James: (to Raj) "Aren't you going to correct her?"

Raj: "I'm not getting involved in this, honey."

Me: "I figure that we'll have an amazing time and travel together well as long as you agree to do absolutely everything I tell you."

James: "Bitch."

Me: "Language! This will be my third time in Ams darling, keep it up and I'll desert you after the hash brownie kicks in. By the way, I thought we agreed that next time you would be driving?"

James: "LOOK OUT."

(car swerves)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Men and the Boys: My First Boyfriend

I don't remember my first boyfriend because I was two years old. Yes I know it's a bit of a stretch to refer to him as "boyfriend," but strangely, this is the one I compare every other man to.

Put the prescription pad away and hear me out. My sister and I didn't have a stay at home mom, so we were shuffled off to babysitters. Oli is five years older than me and was already in school when I was still being a pain in the ass to non-English speaking women who were paid to take it. Mrs. Maria had taken care of Oli, she had taken care of our cousins, and she was now taking care of me. Babysitting was her day job, so while she was taking care of me she was also the charge of six or seven other little terrors whose parents, including mine, she had met during holiday masses at Church. You know, the Brat Pack.

I have brief recollections of my few years in Mrs. Maria's house, and only one of the little boy my mother always told me about. Zack was four years old and the first kid to arrive at the big house near the lake every morning; I was last. Moms tells me that every day without fail, Zack would be waiting at Mrs. Maria's door for me to arrive, fighting off all the other kids for his handful of candy that was my present. When I did get there, Zack would take me over to the couch, help me up, and we would sit there holding hands and sharing the candy.

I remember none of this. The one brief memory I do have of Zack is a little fair-haired boy singing to me, so I wouldn't be alone when I fell asleep.

Men of the world, listen up. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "What do women want? What do women want?" from friends and lovers alike, so my head spins into a Linda Blair. Read the above and pound it into your thick skulls this very valuable child's lesson, because this is what the hell women want: we want someone to fight for us, to appreciate us, to have eyes and smiles for us. Something as small as a Hershey bar will be cherished when done with love, and holding hands is a gift from the heart. We want for you to be glad when we're home, and we want to feel safe with you.

If you're saying, but I've DONE all that, I'm saying that if your love and actions are true and you're confident you've gone the distance and she still couldn't care less, then she's the wrong girl.

We women are not saints. There are manipulative bitches and gold diggers aplenty tainting our breed, but there are also many, many genuine articles. If your woman loves you and you make her your princess, she will treat you like the king that you are. End of story.

Of course later on all those grown up things like career, common goals, individuality yadda yadda come into play, but if you have the base, it's more than half the battle. In fact, it puts you an inch before the tape at the finish line.

I never saw the little boy from my childhood ever again, so the story remains pure nostalgia. Zack, I don't know what kind of peron you are or the man you've become, but I sincerely hope little has changed. You had a hell of a head start.

Monday, March 13, 2006

To Be or Not to Be? That is the Question.

I e-mailed him. I shouldn't have. All of you advised me against it, in fact. So did "It's called a Breakup because it's Broken," but the freaky demon in me was doing the typing against my will. Alright, that didn't work... it was all me. It just got to a point where it felt like my head was constantly in a juicer with all the good parts being sucked out and... okay, no lame excuses. I just had to. Don't ask why.

Long story short, he's very sorry. I expected this. What I didn't expect was for him to want to make it better, want to do right by me, cry, tell me that he would work at gaining my trust back, day by day, for as long as it took, and even call my parents to apologize for his behaviour.

Curveball, baby. Big one. This was the Jess I'd started out with, and the Jess I thought was buried for good. In my mad dash away from him, it made me slow down. And it made me turn my head.

Berate me all you like, but let's make one thing very, very clear: I'm not his girlfriend, nor do I refer to myself as that. I don't know what he refers me to, and I'm not going to think about it. Jess is a big boy, and it's time I let what happens, happen. I have myself to worry about and there is plenty of work to be done.

One day at a time, that's our new motto. We talk. It's nice. I've even been difficult and pushed his buttons plenty of times just to see his reaction. Calm so far, which needless to say has shocked the fuck out of me. By all rationalities that should've turned him into Mr. Human Torch Hyde long ago.

Do I love him? Yes. Will I tell him that? No. Not for a very, very long time, if ever again, depending on how things go. I trusted him with my heart once, and he threw it away. He acknowledges this, and it's something I can appreciate. But it will be a long time before my heart comes out again for him, and he knows that.

Am I scared? Weirdly enough, no. I think I'll just let fate run its course on this one.
It's official. My sister is engaged. And in the words of 90% of well wishers and friends alike, "It's about damn time!"

Communist Corey, fiancee of the hour, had us tensely running for the better part of two weeks to give Oli the shock of her life, which is exactly what she got. Popping the question was a private affair, as it should be, but we heard the story many times that night. She rushed home from work to find that he wasn't sick at all, it'd just been a ruse to get her there on time and to the flowers on her entrance steps. Eleven stairs, eleven flowers, eleven cards for the eleven months they had been together.

By the time she had gotten to the top of the stairs, weepy from the heartfelt messages in those cards and arms full of flowers, there he was on bended knee, with her custom made ring. And then, after persuading her to come to our parents' house to surprise us with the news, she instead was surprised again by his family and ours waiting with dinner, gifts, and all the love in the world.

My sister sat across from me at the table, resting her chin on her hands, newly adorned by diamonds, platinum and a clear blue sapphire. She was smiling, leaning against Corey and chatting about wedding details. And to pardon the fucking cliche, she was glowing.

I am very happy for Oli. She has waited a long time for love, and I do believe she's finally found it. And what a far, far cry this was from her engagement of years past. Five years ago, in our tiny first apartment in the city, she jumped on my futon while I was still in it, wearing sweats and a rock worth 20 grand. She wasn't glowing. She was blank. And being the idiot that I am, I tried to divert. "'That thing's huge."

Faint smile. No happiness yet. "What do I do, sis?"

"If you're asking me what to do, doesn't that mean you already know the answer?"

She stuck her hand out and studied the monstrosity on her fourth finger. "It doesn't suit me."

"No. Not really."

With that she flopped back down on top of me and my blanket, where we both did our best to ignore the diamond and the light patterns it was making on the wall.

But this ring does suit her. And on the matters of doubt and certainty, there are no questions to be asked.

Eleven cards, eleven flowers, a man down on one knee proposing to his soulmate. His words, too. And with all this I can't help but wonder that will something like this ever happen to me, is there a man out there who would even consider, even contemplate doing something at that level, for me? Is there such a thing in my universe as loving, and being loved, that much?

And in the immortal words of Jerry Springer, for one final thought... is he even capable of doing any of this, the man I have now?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friends, Bloggers and Countrymen, Lend me your Eyes:

It's been a hell of a week, and I continuously thank you for your continued patience, tolerance, remembrance, perchance?

No excuse, no excuse at all for being away for so long, especially not since Oli is getting engaged tomorrow night, has no idea, and participating families (ie. mine) are throwing a tasty little shindig. And no excuse, no excuse at all in being away for so long especially since I've talked to Jess, and he wants back.

Refer to February 21 post, and I quote, "So is the meteor in space that just might hit you and shake your brain around a bit..." etc.

Be careful what you wish for. Be even more careful of forecasts predicting meteor showers.

Ah yes, it's been a hell of a week.

Friday, March 03, 2006

It's official. My sister is getting married in a brewery.

Now if only the engagement was official too.

The Calorie Chronicles: Slim-Fast

If you're not a fan of Oprah, if you've never seen a show, you still know about her size 10 Calvin Klein jeans, the Radio Flyer wagon and garbage bag of fat. 67 pounds of fat, equivalent to the amount Oprah had lost in record time to fit into those jeans. The secret to her success? Powdered shakes.

The year was 1988. Benazir Bhutto becamse Islam's first female leader, and the Ford Escort was a top selling car. The powdered shake meal replacement program wasn't new but the phenomenon was taking over: a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, a healthy dinner and voila. You are slim. Fast.

A few months after Oprah's fabulous coming out, I started the ninth grade at a Catholic high school. Uniforms weren't new to me but the kilt was, and the concept of looking as slutty as possible. Rule of thumb for the Catholic high school girl: purchase kilt at least a week before school starts to ensure time for alterations, and therefore proper ass-hangage. See, your kilt is longest on the day that you get it, three inches below the knee fresh out of the box. Keep it that way and wind up in a locker or at the cafeteria dork table.

I'm convinced that the school girl look becoming candy for fetishists and porn started at my school. Priests and nuns won't like this, but a lot of those girls were the trampiest around, and their kilts said it all. After hemming my kilt was about three to six inches above my knee, properly innocent and pure compared to the 90% of "young ladies" who transformed theirs into belts and ruffles. No gust of wind needed to see some butt cheek, it was all there from the get go.

Ah, peer pressure. I'm already nostalgic. Nerdy l'il me with a hip full of books, navigating around scores of girls with stick legs and heavy eyeliner flouncing "barely there" kilts and tonguing gino boyfriends. I hadn't even kissed a boy yet, never mind dry hump in the chapel, so you can see how all this was a bit unnerving for me. Especially when girls my age were joining right on in, like Carlotta Antonioli.

Carlotta Antonioli, legs to die for and spite to spare. With the exception of her honking Calabrese nose, Carlotta was a gorgeous girl with a gorgeous body, and the heart of a snake. She'd blown every cool boy in the ninth grade, and had been caught with plenty of them in broom closets. More than once I saw Carlotta whispering amongst her follower skanks, casting glances and smiling mockingly my way. I didn't let it bother me, I figured she'd end up in night school someday, but I wanted those stick legs. I was 14 and don't remember what the scale was reading, but I thought that 15, 20 pounds less would do me and my kilt a world of good.

Slim-Fast was easy enough to get, since it's sold in every grocery and convenience store in the universe. And it wasn't a hard plan to follow, remember, shake for breakfast, shake for lunch, then a light dinner. Sure enough, before long, I did see a difference.

Some time after Oprah had shown off her Calvins, I remember reading a letter a woman had written to some magazine about how she herself had lost 90 pounds on the powdered shake miracle. More than Oprah. She'd also gained it back, and then some. Her letter's parting lines were something like, "I gained all my weight back, and Oprah will too."

Oprah did gain her weight back. And so did I. Very quickly. No surprise really, of course you're going to lose weight when you starve, and of course the numbers will rack up the minute you start to eat again. Maybe we should have known better.

Oprah has called that incident her "biggest, fattest mistake." Which was the mistake, the wagon of fat or the entire diet? If I ever talk to Oprah about this, I'd tell her that the fat wagon wasn't a mistake. Ratings went through the roof and probably contributed to her being a household name today.

As for the entire diet, I like to think it wasn't so much a mistake as the lesson that needed to be learned. Whatever your neurosis, it can't be sunk in a powdered shake.

As for Carlotta Antonioli, I saw her a few months ago. She works at the Photo Hut.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

FEBRUARY IS OVER! IT'S MARCH! And with the beginning of March ends one of the worst months of my life. Zippity Doo-dah!

Sunny, springtime, promising March. We shall celebrate with tea and and good grace. Biscuit, anyone?