2017 Christmas/Wintry Music Mix

Each year I condense my twelve hours of Christmas/winter music into a playlist of two, for cooking time, etc. If I had to listen only to a few artists for Christmas, I’d choose Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Vince Guaraldi. Probably. But fortunately, that is not required.

This year I decided to do a sort of theme: “definitive” versions of most famous songs. It’s not concrete. I can’t do concrete. But semi-solid, anyway.

I would wish for a really good vocal recording of “Carol of the Bells,” if I were to change one thing. Otherwise, this is a fine compendium of what I’ve got on the ol’ iPod. I chose three different versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” though, because I am very in the mood for that, and because I can’t decide on only one. Usually one voice gets it better than the other. My newest version with Lee Ann Womack and Harry Connick, Jr. is not my favorite arrangement, but it sure is nicely balanced vocally and other ways...


Willie Nelson and Lady Gaga both do it so well, they really ought to record one together. She’s worked with his son, but it isn’t the same sort of thing.

So next, I have to put these in the correct listening order! And if I had infinite energy, I’d make a YouTube playlist of them to share, but I do not. Here I have shown both the album the song is on, and the original recording year for the older ones in case you want to look up a few. Holidays2017


I dreamed about William Holden early this morning

And then forgot about it until I saw this tweet from James Hamblin Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 9.05.51 AM

I dreamed I was walking with a friend in a large park on a warm autumn afternoon, and we saw Bill Holden, who looked a bit worse for wear, but not bad, and I was saying to her, "no, don’t ever get involved with a man who has a drinking problem," but I ended up talking with him, of course, and by the way, I think my brain scrambled some stuff from this movie I watched last night called Battle Circus with June Allyson and Humphrey Bogart; a Korean war story which should have been good but wasn’t,

then later, I was sitting in a big crowd of people, and I saw him appear again a short distance away, looking like a wrung-out mess, but he went into the shower tent run by an old Chinese lady, and came out clean and sharp and wearing a crisp white button-down shirt.

You might know how I feel about a handsome man in a crisp white button-down shirt (and also correctly-tailored trousers and suitable shoes,) but still I tried to ignore him when he caught my eye and grinned that dreamy grin. 

So of course I did not actually ignore him; I followed him through the park as he strode past the crowd, only at one point he disappeared on the other side of a little copse and I thought I lost him, but when I'd made my way through the trees, he was lying face down in a pool! I started to freak out, as one would, when he raised his head and laughed, saying he thought it would be a good joke.

In real life this would not endear me to someone, but in my dream, I carried on as though that was part of the plan, and helped him find something to dry off with. I wish I could remember more of the scenery, because then there was a large bed, not as large as my fabulous Hollywood king, but pretty large, and he asked what my sleep number was (THANKS, BOB AND TOM SHOW,) to which I replied, “no idea, firm, I guess,” and explained how I have a firm waterbed because there's a heater in it, and he told me you can get heaters for beds like this, and then we lay down side by side, but a big lump rose in the middle, as it had turned into a waterbed which needed burping. I lay quiet and still for a moment, wondering what to do next, when he said something like, "This bed shouldn't be so uncomfortable."

So I pulled back the covers and showed him where and how you burp a waterbed. This needs to be done once or twice a year, and then you add a special chemical to it, but anyway, we did that in the dream, and then a friend showed up and asked what was going on, and then I woke up. 

My dreams with men in them usually end up like this, and the world is a strange place right now, so I don't blame that lady with her ghost. 

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Perspective, ritual, and the "plus ça change" of life, baby, when it's cold outside

We're sort of holding our collective breath right now, aren't we?

Before women were seen as independent souls who could live on their own, before reliable birth control for women, before shame-free access to it (you might not know this, but many doctors asked the woman if her husband gave her permission for it, and if she wasn’t even married? Well.) and before this society admitted in my lifetime that even good women desire sex and have climaxes, there was a ritual that had to be followed. Bobandjoan

People were so naive in the previous century. He was taught he had to seduce her. She was taught to say no (but actually also to allow him to think he sometimes won what she also sought, and yes, that’s as messy as it sounds,) and plenty of people, both men and women, knew so little about sex, it boggles the 21st century mind. She had a lot to lose, though, and had to be so careful with whose apartment she might end up in. Yes, there was a whole lot of pretense, but it felt necessary. Montgomery-gaynor-franchot
Of course, there are still people filled with startling levels of ignorance about sex and relationships, and also of course, people willing to believe every new thing they read without critical reasoning or a healthful amount of skepticism.

Anyway. If you had to talk in code, why not enjoy it? It was a dance, a game, and both sides knew that the woman was still in control of how it played out. That is, both sides with most people, because most people are not awful. And so we have 1940s romantic comedies to sigh over. They show us what ordinary people hoped to be, what they hoped life would be.  Junebride
(Film noir offered a bleaker view, though.)

We’re hearing so much every day these days about the men who got away with being awful to some degree or another for far too long. They didn’t understand or didn’t/don't even care that the dance has changed or that the music was sometimes only in their own head.

In 2017, we still want to dance, because it makes the walk home more exciting, but we get to set the terms out loud, not through code. If a man thinks her no is a tentative “not yet” or "yeah, keep going," he is hearing a language that hasn’t existed for a long time, but the truth is, it never did quite in the way these creepers think it did.

Even “back then,” the men who are in trouble now for treating women badly were the men Mother warned you about. It wasn’t actually about “nice girls,” at all, but about nice people. A nice mature adult male still knew when no meant no, or at least, “let’s get to know each other better first,” “let me make sure I can trust you with the risk I’ll be taking,” because he would read her body language, her expressions, the tone of her voice. He was also a human who didn’t want to hurt someone he might care about, and he knew she was taking a risk he didn’t fully share. He might push a little, but knew how to recognize a push back. These guys we’re hearing about now never were nice guys, never did care about whether they were being pushy; taking something not freely given, and then tossing it aside when they were done with it.

They were taught, particularly in the era of movie westerns, that men are all head, women are all heart, that men can take what women must give, and that “sensitive men” are weak men. And of course, they are wrong, all wrong. (A sad fact about that is how some of the "sensitive men" thought they had to play a tough or sexist cowboy role that didn't suit them, and it led to a few misunderstandings about who we all are. We are working on fixing that, because it wasn't any good for anybody, and it was bad, bad social science.)

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Sadly, though, there are probably always going to be creepers. It’s high time and good that society is starting to root them out; the ones with a little charm or a lot of power were allowed to get away with it for far too long. But they're not going to be exterminated for awhile yet, if ever. There's a lot more education and head smackings to be done. Cornfield

But, and this is where my thoughts are leading, historical context demands that we don’t confuse them with ordinary hopefulness at the end of a 1949 or 2017 date, which is why I once railed about the misguided ignorant rants over “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Life is complicated, but it has a far, far longer history than you or I, our country, or what we call “modern” civilization. We should keep improving our wheels, but it’s important to remember we didn’t invent them, and the surfaces they run on have changed in every era. Guinan

And, we should be so, so glad many of your grandmother's (my mother's) daily struggles are history now, but it's okay to see the good and great in her time, as well; to see it through her eyes, and not only our own. This makes us smarter and better at creating a strong framework for our lives. Then we can exhale again.
Wave


It keeps me stable for days

The song “Cars” by Gary Numan changed everything for me. At least, that’s how I tell it in my head, looking back over the years. Like everything stopped, looked up, and gasped, and then nothing was quite the same as before, and never would be again. The first time I heard it was a pivotal moment, akin to the first time I walked up the steps at Penn Station and stepped out into the filtered sunlight of 7th Avenue, where the air felt charged with life and possibility to such an overwhelming degree, I needed to stop on the sidewalk to gulp it in and let it begin to settle over my skin.

Okay, to be fair, when I got home later, I did feel I needed to shower away the light filmy grime of the city, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to go back and experience it all over again, as soon as possible. I was a slightly different person forever after that, or just a little more of who I already was, perhaps.

The song gripped me cleanly, but otherwise much the same way. Still after all these years, I hear it each time as though I’m opening a gift. I can’t describe the gift in concrete terms, though. It just somehow made a lot of things okay, made me know I was okay, and as my son so eloquently puts it, “This song sounds like the theme to a 1980’s Chinese movie action montage, and that is a wonderful thing.”

On the more linear track briefly, it’s funny how many young people don’t even bother to drive cars now. We cloistered ourselves in them for decades, for good and for ill, and now they are cloistered in their bedrooms with a phone or a tablet, instead, the world at their fingertips, to both experience and to shun. Me, I still like to drive, my car is still my tiny kingdom. I’m no more or less alone than I ever was, wherever I am.

The movie Blade Runner 2049 addresses that to a degree. One thing that struck me about it was the profound loneliness of every character. And the replicants who were inadvertently made to feel special through true memory enhancement were a great parallel to a growing segment of our current society, and our increasingly internal natures.

I’ve always been alone, even in tiny crowds of my own delightful offspring, and so I’ve rarely thought about loneliness. I think maybe it requires a desire for something on the outside that could repair something on the inside. But I’ve never really liked having other people meddle with my design.

Anyway, it’s not as deep as all that. It was just new music, for my new generation, and the electronic tune and rhythm runs through my blood like fuel created specifically for my operating system. It’s not a complex composition; I just feel more alive when I hear it.

Have you ever heard this particular remix? It's sort of my favorite, though my brain tends to not let me have those, and Numan himself has recorded it a dozen different ways. It's perfect driving music.

PS: in case anyone reads this who feels like a deep sort of person. I like pretty much everything he's ever recorded for release. But part of me will always be 14, and I hope the same is true for you.

Living in Zenith

“Being a man given to oratory and high principles, he enjoyed the sound of his own vocabulary and the warmth of his own virtue.”
 
Half an hour spent with “social media” this morning was enough to renew the simmering and dismissive rage of three or four Sinclair Lewis novels, but it does no good. I have neither the talent nor the tenacity to do what he did 80 and 90 years ago, and what if I did? People rarely recognize their own folly; preferring to focus on that of others. I railed for months last year about Buzz Windrip, but I have a tiny voice and this is a real big world.
 
Along a more pleasant train track of thought, it’s symphony season, so I have a reason to be at interesting restaurants once a month for the next few. First up was Zula, my personal favorite, a rare treat, and just diagonally across Washington Park from the reopened Music Hall. I took pictures of our shared dinner, not to impress anyone, but to reenjoy later as I like. He goes out to eat as a matter of course and told me I should order whatever I like since I don’t, so I chose the yellowfin tuna crudo, haricots vert with escarole and this and that, romaine hearts with a very nice dressing, beef tartare, and duck breast with sweet potatoes and French lentils. LdfkgjLdfkgjLdfkgj
 And I had two Corpse Revivers #2, as well. A sumptuous treat.  Ldfkgj
Over at Music Hall, the symphony played Pelléas et Mélisande, with a dreamy minimalist setting for the singers.
 
We both needed a touch more from that set and the singers’ movement, to be honest, to make a point or two more clear. But the music was lovely, the reconstruction of the building is lovely, and it was just a lovely evening all around. I sigh with pleasure at the memory of my beef tartare, breaking the lovely golden yolk on top, and the giddy sensation of swallowing a perfect food. Here is a filtered photo I took in honor of my old cookbooks with their creepy attempts at elegance. 20171021_191744_Film4
Back to the real world online, this month’s particular demand for social justice is taking a new ugly turn. And the people who don’t take it seriously will never take you seriously if you employ tactics you decry in others.
 
All of them perceived that American Democracy did not imply any equality of wealth, but did demand a wholesome sameness of thought, dress, painting, morals, and vocabulary.
 
Oh, but you think the pressure to conform to society comes only from people who can’t see things your way? The new stereotyping is driving me mad, personally. It’s more rigid than ever through the machinations of people who purport to be freeing us from it all. For one example among several: we don’t need sixteen more labels than we had before. We just need people to stop narrowly defining the ones we already have. That includes both you and the people you think are wrong. History and anthropology would teach you that a few other cultures worked this out a long time ago, if you’d take the time to learn some of it.
 
The demand for equality for everybody and the recognition that we are not all the same, but that’s really okay, will not be met as long as Smugness and Ignorance battle each other on top of messy straw heaps. “She did her work with the thoroughness of a mind which reveres details and never quite understands them.”
 
And that’s all I have to say about that except here's something personal. I have a neighbor with a 40 foot flag pole atop of which waves a fading American flag. He never lowers it, but never mind about that for now. Beneath it for months last year waved a big black Trump flag. I shuddered every time I went outside.
 
He also had a beautiful maple tree in the front corner of his lawn, which he maintains to a heightened perfection the likes of which only a Toro ad man could conceive of, and earlier this summer during a storm, a limb broke off that tree and it was cut up and removed. A week later, the entire tree was gone. I was so sad, wondering whether euthanization was truly necessary or if he just couldn’t bear the imperfection of it.
 
Or maybe he just liked the excuse that he wouldn’t have to vacuum leaves as often. I don’t know. I haven’t asked him.
 
He’s got a whole life story, you know. He isn’t just a Trumper, and we are all made up of much more than our individual parts can ever suggest. Maybe his ideas about society are all rotten, but he always waves if we’re both out getting the mail at the same time, so he’s also a person, like I am, who likes to acknowledge other persons around him, and maybe someday we’ll exchange something more than pretty politenesses. These days, a black POW/MIA flag that we used to see pretty commonly sits beneath the weather-worn American flag. 
 
This final quotation is from Walt Kelly instead of Sinclair Lewis. I can imagine my neighbor, as a young man back from performing his Service to Our Country, reading Pogo and wondering how to get back to the halcyon world of his childhood.
 
Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly…Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.

To the Ends of the Sea

Resharing a post I wrote two years about "degrees of separation" to the big event we remember today.

Because of the hurricanes. They are affecting very many people, but me, I'm in the tertiary class. Gas went up for a few days last week. MSNBC is broadcasting weather non-stop and I watch while making dinner. People are retweeting videos and I look at them sometimes. That's about it. I have some friends who are getting rained on a whole lot and whose incomes will be affected by the interruptions. That's the secondary group. And then there are people whose worlds are filled with water and will soon be left covered in mud, some of it salvagable, much of it ruined.

I was filling the car with fuel the other day thinking I could just do that, you know, anywhere I liked. Any time of the day I liked. And that is something a whole lot of people could not take for granted last week and the week before.

While Houston was being covered over in water, there was a great flood in Bangladesh and also Nepal, harming many people, displacing a tremendous number. Some people complained we didn't care about that. Well, we do. We simply cannot care about each event to the same degree at the same time. So we cared about what was going on here a little more than what was going on there. We aren't terrible, just human. No matter how connected we all are via contemporary transportation and communication means, we're still all mostly part of a small group here on the ground where we stand and make our livings.

Sometimes, though, we want very much to be connected to the larger event, and strive to find ways of feeling a part of what's going on. Our everyday lives, for most of us, are not interesting or all that challenging. And we know instinctively that challenges cause us to grow, create, and assess what's really important about life. We avoid the seemingly mundane ones, but are curious about the big events that would test us. Also, we want to feel things. We want to feel strong passions and important sensations, and so we talk of a person we know who is right in the thick of things, as though it puts us closer to the center of the picture, right there meeting the challenge alongside a compatriot.

At the end of the day, though, when it's time for rest and relaxation, mostly it feels pretty good to not have to be tested as others are forced to be just now. Knowing that, I think we ought to appreciate it a whole lot, and also offer assistance in whichever way we can and however it will be best received.

Anyway, here. It has pictures. We Traced the Skyline


the politics of shopping

I’ve been feeling overloaded with media choices lately. I want to enjoy so many different things, I can’t choose between anything, and end up choosing nearly nothing. But that’s not very satisfying.

Anyway, as now isn’t quite working out in terms of “time to deal with that,” I decided to work on the kitchen, instead. I was telling my brother the other day I’ve gotten a lot of kitchen items from thrift shops, and it occurred to me today that those are most of my favorite things.

Long past are the days when I needed enough of everything for eight people and then some. And it’s good to have a wide variety of baking dishes and pans, but there’s plenty else I have that seems a little redundant now, so I'm going to streamline the collection, and keep only what I love and use often or regularly.

Here are pictures of purchases from thrift shops, mostly over the past six years. It’s not all inclusive; there’s a set of Pfaltzgraff stoneware mugs and saucers, and lots of books and records, and some other things.

In the “liquor cabinet,” all the glassware on the top inside shelf and the blue cocktail glasses above it are from thrift shops, mostly St. Vincent de Paul, though the nice wine glasses are from Salvation Army.

The baking dishes are from St. Vincent de Paul and Goodwill. The stereo components, also. The couch is from Goodwill and the loveseat from Salvation Army. They were perfect when I bought them, but a cat hurt them, annoyingly. They sanitize these things, by the way, by law.

As you look at these few pictures, you will see I have launched into an adjacent personal concern in the midst of them. Bakeware

Some years ago I was discussing this with a friend, and I said, “I buy plenty of things used; why encourage them to make more?” And he said that was very non-conservative of me; the idea of reducing production. Teacupsthere are two more saucers in use elsewhere; also a few crystal bowls I keep perfume and makeup samples in, and things like that.

I’m kind of literal about language, though. If I say I’m “conservative,” I mean it. I’m conserving here, and I do also mean I am personally slow to change. But it is only sensible to understand when old ways and means and things are best, and when it’s better to make some changes or embrace new technology. I conserve, and embrace conservation, at home and in nature, in whichever ways I am able to. I am conservative about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater in terms of new patterns of life, but at the same time, there’s no reason to keep the river polluted just to serve people unwilling to sacrifice a little profit in exchange for the betterment of us all. Mostly I’m driven by logic, rather than by heightened emotion, which always gets people gnashing their teeth at each other, and usually gets nothing done. Antiquedishesjapanese dishes produced in 1912

Thinking other stuff like “all the people matter,” “let’s pool our resources specifically where it can work well to do so,” and “let people decide for themselves the life they are best fitted to live,” I know that’s all been politicized into awkward sports teams that spend all their time arguing with each other. But team sports are not my thing, and dogma is dreary, at best. Glasses

My views are kind of like how our country was set up. When the large group working together can do the best job, okay. When a smaller group works better for some of the jobs, okay. When new is safer and cleaner, okay. When old is still good and serviceable and frugal, okay. What my neighbors do inside their house doesn’t harm me; what they spray on their lawn might. Messyroom

Social justice demands personal context, and that’s so often missing; it’s no wonder people think they disagree even more often than they actually do. It also demands that people stop looking at everything as though we’re in a stadium cheering or booing the other side. We have to live life on the playing fields, not shouting across them from the stands.

For example, I dislike the term "privilege" and how it's tossed out all over the place, but lately I've been noticing that many people who use it completely ignore their own levels of it, and would be surprised if you pointed it out. They are so certain of the issues they tweet about or make “memes” for, they sometimes disregard other concerns right in front of their faces.

Yesterday, this "ironic" Goodwill date thing popped into my Facebook stream again. Maybe you've heard of it. The couple gives each other a $10 limit to buy ugly clothes at Goodwill that they then wear on their date. This particular couple wore late 80s-looking attire and gave each other fake names to maximize their amusement.

I don't exactly think it's such a terrible idea. But I go into Goodwill now and then to look for books or old dishes, and I'll poke through the clothes, also St. Vincent de Paul, where all my household/clothing offerings go, and I watch many women spending a long time going through all the clothes, and I know that they are not doing it to be hilarious, but because they need to spend as little as possible.

Thus, I cannot be amused at the idea of people entertaining themselves with poor people clothing. I feel maybe we have a different idea about liberal hearts and minds. Very many of us have had financial troubles. Fewer of us have desperately hoped to find something to fit for a job interview that won't cost the kids' supper tonight, which wasn't going to be all that great anyway. There is a grim anxiety to poverty that clings to a person like air pollution on a humid day. It should hurt you to witness it or even think of it, if you are as liberal as you say.


Notes on a hundred things

The annual landlord visit came and went, rather painlessly. I always get super worked up about it, though, and then need a few days to decompress.

The pool is still leaking, but we can call for that and have done whatever needs doing. 20170704_211625

I’m on Day…24 of this 28 day eating plan. The purpose of it renders it no longer a necessity, but if I stopped, my family would be all, “ooh, you didn’t do it right.” Whatever. Here’s the thing. I wanted to reset my eating thinking, and I have largely done that. So that purpose has been met. At the same time, I have fouled up my enjoyment of simple pleasures in the kitchen, I have no more energy than before, am still sleepy after lunch, have lost no weight and have seen no skin improvement. The book assured me everyone sees all that happening, and it is true in most cases; a no sugar diet will cause you to gain or lose weight as needed. But it has not been true in my case, though I have eaten many fewer calories and exercised more. At the same time, I was supposed to have withdrawal symptoms, headaches, etc., and I had none of that. I was in a bad mood only in regard to having little to enjoy the first few days, and not from sugar deprivation itself.

Looked at that way, I think 24 days has been enough to move forward to “maintenance.” But I’m not going to just eat cake today or anything like that. I’m still going to eat an apple most days; I like their thinking there, though every single day might be too much apple for me. I’m still going to drink a pitcher of water every day, sometimes with a green tea bag in it. I’m still going to do better at snacking when I can, and I might retain their notion of eating a little dark chocolate every day, though I still don’t love it. I have rediscovered my taste for freshly-ground peanuts, however. The red wine recommendation, meh. I’ll try to remember to have some sometimes, and I’ll also think very carefully about what else I’ve eaten in my day before having dessert, which is something I already do before I decide whether it’s a cocktail evening or not. 20170626_120731

I never craved dessert these past few weeks except sort of once. I really wanted rice pudding the other day, for a reason I just cannot say. When do I ever eat rice pudding? And I can’t say I’ve craved bread, but I’ve missed it a lot. Like to have a little with my olives and ricotta, or to put bread crumbs on top of the baked eggplant. And to eat noodles with eggs for lunch now and then. A natural part of the day, not an overwhelming part. I want that back.

In other areas, I’ve been sewing lots of things. I made a baby quilt top a couple days ago, and yesterday I made this log cabin block with some of the scraps. 20170704_103538

The garden isn’t good at all this year, but is not fully hopeless. There will be a fair number of hot peppers, cherry tomatoes, and lemon cucumbers. A few pickling sized cucumbers, some amount of snap beans, three delicata squash, and a few other tomato varieties, including black prince and…I forget which golden variety. But the Brandywines, which I grew from seed, are sick, and I might have to pull them out later this week. Something ate my meatball eggplant plants, but the baby eggplants on the deck seem okay. I’ll have some carrots soon, and at least a few sweet peppers. I have about twenty garlic bulbs curing in my paint room. 20170704_091241
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I’m so in love with Twin Peaks: The Return, I can’t always think about anything else.

The kitten staying here is doing very well. Blood tests next week when she’s old enough for them. 20170628_174341

Yesterday I took some accidentally-purchased "lightly sweetened" peach cups (who thinks peaches need sweetening? this is our problem, people,) and turned them into popsicles.
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20170704_132539please to ignore background laundry, etc.

And I made frozen yogurt thusly: one large container Greek Gods plain yogurt into the food processor with an entire cup of sugar (this amount will be reconsidered later,) juice lazily squeezed from two lemons, 2 tbs amaretto, and a touch of salt. I whirred it and then put it into a large ziploc bag in the freezer. Later after it started to freeze, I squished it around every hour for a few, then put it into a container to enjoy…in a few days, I guess. Same with a popsicle. It can wait.
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Finally, here is the pictorial saga of my frozen vegetable dumplings and the sauce that would never end. 20170704_144203
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20170704_151011Enough apple already. Wouldn't a piece of flat bread have tasted good with that sauce?


Getting sidetracked by food irony. Plus pictures.

Q. Hamburger
I started this 31 day sugar detox two weeks ago. Right away I decided I’d do best if I made it four weeks, instead, but otherwise, I followed the plan in the book I got, strictly. I did the three day super detox, then began on week one. After a few days, though, I noticed I was growing paranoid about food, what I was eating, when I was eating it, and I spent a great deal more time thinking about food than felt healthy. Eyeball
I read the book carefully, a few pages each day, going back over pertinent sections and thinking about them. I have spent most of my life studying nutrition in food in a casual but dedicated sense, and know enough to say it is a good plan, healthful and carefully constructed. But it took me awhile to realize the writers’ goal was more about weight loss and improved skin appearance than anything else. And while I wanted to lose ten pounds, my main personal concern was that I’d been trading healthful calories for unhealthful ones, by putting off eating until I was too hungry, then eating too much of foods I know will ultimately drag me down, just to not feel hungry. Threshhold
I started the plan hoping to reset that problem, by constructing daily eating habits that included too much of the right food to bother with the wrong food. Well, avoiding the wrong food has been pretty easy. But eating enough of the right foods has been as difficult as ever, more so because I could have no starch or grain at first. Scream
And at first that seemed appropriate. A lot of what’s in those foods converts to sugar in our bodies. But now after two weeks, I have no more energy or drive to eat better than I did before; that is, I have the drive to continue to battle the problem simply because I know I must, and am a grownup about that, but I have gained nearly no ground. I’d still rather not eat than worry about food groups all day. I’m also a little annoyed that people tend to (I know this from extensive reading since 1978) drop a lot of weight right at first when eliminating sugar, and I have not done so. The three pounds I’ve lost has been more from calorie deprivation than sugar elimination. That's no good at all. Frustrated
But those other people tend to be breaking daily sweetened coffee and diet soda habits. I rarely sweeten my one daily mug of coffee and almost never drink soda of any kind. Mostly all I did in that problem area was have too many cookies in the afternoon or evening. I thought that was huge, and for me it was, but apparently it’s nothing compared to what a lot of other people get up to.
Mcmahon
I don’t sweeten my salad dressings, I rarely eat french fries or bagels or mac and cheese, etc. I already knew the delightful sweetness of cooked onion. And I miss oatmeal, which I can enjoy readily without adding sugar or syrup, though that’s nice, too. If you think about it, oatmeal can be your buttered toast, to enjoy with an egg or a little fruit. That is, the porridgey kind that is freshly milled or steel cut. Those flakes need a lot of outside help. Pleasesir
Anyway, this is a long-winded monologue to say that I was following the letter of that plan, but losing the intent of having started it. Mostly, I just need to consistently eat breakfast, choose healthier snacks, and eat a lot more servings of fruits and vegetables. The fruit part will be the bigger challenge. For some reason, I love having fruit around, but don’t really enjoy eating it. Except cherries. Maybe because they are like olives, but fruit. Same with late summer plums. I don't know. Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 9.24.56 AM
So I am continuing two more weeks of sugar detox, but I am going to skip ahead to the fourth week guidelines and do that for two weeks (minus a really irritating amount of red wine,) while working on my own daily eating plan that suits my tastes and needs better going forward. Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.39.46 AM
More than anything else, I’ve got to mother myself through each day so I get all I need with much less of what I don’t need. I’m super terrible at forming habits; it’s an aversion borne of growing up with a delightful but alcoholic father. I used to even feel anything you do as a ritual might not be good for you, because you’re maybe relying on it. But in my mellower mid-years, I have come to understand and embrace personal ritual a little bit, and I can embrace breakfast in the same way.
Cooper

A. 60


Dance


a strange calm day: birthday countdown sunshine

My 20 year-old son and I spent the morning preparing to open the pool, which we work hard to care for as though it's our own, though this place is a rental. But it has a terrible old porous cover, and if winter isn't super cold, it opens green, no matter how carefully we close it. This year, opening it a month late, it was green with the first signs of some new species of life developing on the surface. 20170603_113450_HDR
Well, he's in charge of the mechanics, I do the chemistry. But the pump wouldn't start! Signs indicate it must be replaced. So green the water will remain for now.

It is a sunny, sunny day, the kind of sunny day this area is not at all known for. And it's 85 degrees, but a nice 85, with a light breeze instead of a heavy stillness. 20170603_083538-EFFECTS
He wanted to take me to see Wonder Woman tonight. I felt excited at the idea, then demurred after several hours of expense leading to futility. We will go on Monday. But I sent him with another brother to see it tonight, anyway. I feel like being quiet and comfortable and reflective. With The Mary Tyler Moore show for background.

Isn't perspective a funny thing? Set in the background this way, the green pool is kinda pretty, isn't it? 20170603_175849

But not as pretty as my birthday lily. Birthdaylily