Foggy Non-London Town

A fog has rolled in to my little town, so tonight my view from the treadmill was of my wooded area in the back yard covered in fog and backlit by streetlights. It was very London and dramatic, and I kept looking for Ichabod Crane to come throw a head at me.

Here's a little tip: just get on the treadmill in what you had on that day. I have done it before, and if you are just going to walk briskly and not run at a breakneck pace, you'll be fine. I mean, I put on my running shoes. But sometimes your excuse is that you don't want to change clothes. You really don't have to. That's why there's Maytag appliances.

So my friend Sleeping Beauty and I are officially going to train together for a half-marathon, which is 13.1 miles of running, in case you didn't know. When I ran that marathon, so many people asked me, "So is that one of those 26-mile marathons?" Fortunately I was in very good shape and not at all able to get tense or I would have punched about 70 people. ALL MARATHONS are 26.2 miles. Yes, there are ultra-marathons which are like 100 miles or some nonsense, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, Sleeping Beauty lives on the East Coast and I live in the South, so we're running in Virginia Beach at the end of August.

Perhaps you're wondering why I have decided to name her Sleeping Beauty. That is her real name. Her parents were the Brothers Grimm.

No, no. It is actually a stupid story.

Okay, I'll tell it. We worked together at a museum circa 1989-1991 and technically I was her boss. At said job, we had a really. REALLY. weird secretary. Something was wrong with her. So my friend comes in to work one day really tired, and curls on the Papasan chair in our office to take a nap. The secretary said, "Whatcha doin'? Takin' a nap?"

The secretary had an annoying habit of asking really obvious questions.

So my friend tries to ignore her, but the secretary just said, "Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty" ad nauseum.

I reminded old Sleeping Beauty of this story today, because I am the kind of person who remembers crap like that from 19 years ago, and she said, "What about the part where I was sleeping at work? Why did we tell this story over and over to make fun of the secretary when no one was concerned that I was taking a nap DURING WORK?"

Good bossing on my part.

Also, tonight I had a turkey sandwich from Subway, so I am totally being Jerrod right now.

That's all I have to say about that. Good night. Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping…

Good night, Detroit!

I am back from Funeral Tour 2008. Did you miss me? We flew out of Charlotte on Monday, only to land in Detroit and learn of ANOTHER death as soon as we got there, so we went to two funerals in a 24-hour period.

Marvin Gardensalad's grandmother's funeral was really very nice. They captured her perfectly in her eulogy, and it was good to see everyone. One of my nieces is a genius, and I do not say that in a she-is-my-relative-and-I-have-an-inflated-view-of-her way. Seriously, she is scary smart.

The grownups, which frighteningly includes me, were talking one night and every time we couldn't think of something we'd call her in. She is nine, and we kept looking to her for the answers to life. She is like human Google.

"Emma? What's the difference between alligators and crocodiles?" She totally knew. "Emma, where are the Galapagos Islands?" She not only knew, she knew about the Galapagos Islands being famous turtle islands. (Don't even act like you knew that.)

Anyway, the thing about funerals? And all the funeral activity after? Eating. People eat eat eat. Why is that, do you think? And Marvin's family have all these traditional Jewish-y things that they eat, which includes red meat and MANY ding-dang sweets.

But I want you to know I did pretty well. I did have two bites of seven-layer cake, which would make it 14-layer cake, and I had lamb chops, which I have no idea if they are fattening or not. But I really ate a lot of the vegetables, one single slice of cheese, and decaf coffee or water instead of soda most of the time.

We didn't do a lot of exercising, unless you include the 46 times I walked from Marvin's parents' house to his aunt's, which are a block apart. So I have to catch up on the exercising.

Which brings me to another point. One of my commentors, who shall remain nameless but whose initials are Nancy Donnelly, suggested I train for the Iron Man triathlon or something so I can be more inspirational. First of all, Nan, I've got two words for you and they ain't "let's dance." I think I have to know how to ride a bike before I can train for a triathlon. However, I was reading Oprah Magazine again on the plane ride home (because I continue to be not cool at all), and there was an ad for one of those breast cancer walks, so I am thinking of training for that.

Years ago, when I trained for a marathon, I got in the best shape of my life simply because I was too horrified not to. Run 26.2 miles? Yeesch! I'd better go practice. It was the perfect incentive, or incenative, as my grandmother would have said.

And finally, in closing, I do have to tell you that today was not what you'd call a healthy eating day. We left Detroit early and headed to a small town called Essexville, where a good friend's father's funeral was today. I am so glad we got to go to this other funeral, as my friend spoke eloquently about his dad and it made me wish I had known the guy better, and also? Essexville? Either I have changed dramatically since I moved out of Michigan 15 years ago, or that town got really cute while I was out of the office.  Heart Essexville! Am I crazy? Michiganders? Your thoughts?

Anyway, we left in the a.m. without eating, went straight to the funeral, and then had to dash back to Detroit for the airport. So I am sorry to tell you that I had Taco Bell somewhere in there. And then? When we landed in Charlotte? We went to Barbecue King, which was absolutely delish.

But have I mentioned that I was going to let myself have one day a month to eat badly, just so I wouldn't lose my mind? My IDEA was that I was going to let myself eat badly the third Sunday of every month. I have no idea why. But I thought it'd be better to schedule it, or else I'd start off every day thinking, "Today will be my screwup day!" So I didn't plan today, but there is no way to deny it was screwup day for sure.

Okay, getting out of these black clothes, finally. Been doing my Johnny Cash impression all week.  Hello. I'm June GonnaEatThat.

Walking through town in down

Yesterday I took a long walk. No, not off a short pier, but you are funny for thinking that.

I wore my mother's white puffy down jacket that she ended up giving me. I was with her when she bought it the day after Thanksgiving, and she looked cute in it (you should have seen the first one she tried on. It was criss-crossy in the front, and it totally looked like a straight jacket. I kept calling her Frances Farmer until she took it off), and I have no idea why she gave it to me. But I'm not complaining, since I have no real winter coats due to the whole living in Los Angeles for the last 10 years thing.

Anyway, so I wore the white coat, and my magenta gloves I got for Christmas, and my iPod, which is white, and my new iPod headphones, which are magenta.

Who was cute as a button in her white and hot pink getup? Naturally, I saw absolutely no one because we live in the country now. But maybe someone was staring out their window and briefly thought, "Wow, she looks cute."

Once I had to give a speech and unbeknownst to me, Anthony Keidis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers was in the crowd. I have always hoped that for just half a second, he thought, man, is she ever hot. It would make up for the hundreds of hours I have thought it about him.

I am going to take another long walk today, this time up my dreadful hill in my neighborhood, to go to the church where I work. I am going to get some stuff done before I get on a plane to Marvin Gardensalad's grandmother's funeral. I figured this was a good way to get in my exercise for the day: walk to and from work. It is less than a mile, so it is something of a travesty that I don't walk there every day.

I don't know if I will be able to post from Detroit. Seems kind of inappropriate to ask if I can use the computer at the funeral home. But when I return, I will tell you if I ate unhealthy food or not.

Sad news

Today is a sad day over at the Gardensalad/GonnaEatThat household.  Marvin Gardensalad's grandmother died.

She was approximately 797 years old. Seriously, girlfriend was old, and if her pictures from her youth are any indication, it seems like she had a full, fun life. But no one wanted to see her go.

Grandma Sophie was about five feet tall, with a flaming head of red hair. Every time she saw me, she'd say, "Did you get taller? Why are you so tall?" I never told her she was a Shrinky-Dink and that was why I seemed like such a giant.

She had one of those "I'm old and I'll say what I want" kinds of attitudes that I admire and can't wait to have. There was little politeness filter going on with her, and every single time I saw her, she had me in stitches. She was hysterically funny, and oh-so-blunt.

Once we were at a funeral, Grandma Sophie and me, and the funeral director asked her how she was. She said, "I'm standing. In this place, that means I'm doing pretty good."

So, goodbye, Grandma Sophie. You were one of my favorite people on earth. You told me over and over that you had the soul of a cat. I think you lived your nine lives, and then some, with humor, grace and vivid red hair.

FedEx, tacos and Britney’s gurney

My doctor's office called today. Before I started this blog, I went to the doctor and had him check all my levels of everything to see if I was dying or turning into a man or anything, and to see if any of my numbers improve as I eat better, McDonald's yesterday notwithstanding.

My charming cholesterol is 217! Am I a longshoreman?! I eat like one. My bad cholesterol is 117. He said he thinks if I really eat better, it will go down. I go back in six months anyway, so I guess I'll find out then.

In case you are not a medical professional or hypochondriac, cholesterol over 200 is bad. And your LDL should be less than 100, I think it is. So it's not like they're gonna take me out on a gurney like Britney (seriously, what is WITH that girl?) anytime soon, but I am not at a healthy level.

Today I was work work worky pants. In case you are new, I will give you the scintillating information that I am a freelance proofreader, and then Monday through Thursday mornings, I am secretary at the local Episcopal church, which is funny because I never went to church, but I live in the Bible Belt now and everybody goes to church and besides they are nice there and have women ministers and are accepting of gay people, so I can hang with it. The end.

Anyway, it was my day off from my glamorous church secretary job, and I woke up thinking, "I just have an hour or two of proofreading to finish up, then I'll call FedEx and have them take that work to Los Angeles, and I can go on with my day."

Who opened her door to the FedEx guy at 4 p.m., unshowered, wearing what she'd slept in, completely zombie-like in her exhaustion, telling him, "It's not ready yet. Can you come back?" (And by the way, that'd be "no.")

Turns out what I thought would be easy took ALL. DING. DANG. DAY. Now, I know two proofreaders who read this blog, and that is the only type of person this will be interesting to, so please skip over this following bracketed part if you are a normal person:

[There was a glossary at the end of the book. Last pass, I asked the author, did you want me to go through the book and make sure the glossary terms are always in bold? Cause I am seeing some instances where they aren't, always. And the author said, oh yes yes, please do that. Well, it's eight chapters and seven appendices. I didn't think it'd be any big deal. Was I wrong. And each chapter and appendix was its own Word file. So I'd have to open Chapter 1, type in each glossary term to make sure they always appeared bold, then open chapter 2 etc. Oh, it was a proofreader's nightmare. Four other proofers read the book, and THEY never thought to ask such a cloying thing. What a maroon. What an embezzle.]

The point of my story is that I ate pretty well anyway, even though every second of this day was spent at this very desk, hunched over the computer and a red pen. I had oatmeal, then tuna with fat-free mayonnaise on whole-wheat crackers, and a sandwich for dinner. I will have an apple tonight and any baby carrots left lying around, because I know I had no vegetables today.

I had to scream scream scream down to Monroe to the FedEx Kinkos with this stupid work, and I made it with six minutes to spare. I would make a terrible emergency room physician. On the drive back, Marvin Gardensalad (who inexplicably came with me. Sometimes he wants to come along on the dumbest errands) kept wanting to stop at every Chili's and deli and Taco Bell we saw, but we did not. Now we are home and he is having a Lean Cuisine. Okay, not so great. But better than a Burrito Supreme.

The Hamburglar Stole My Soul

So, I went to McDonald's today. I blame it on my genes. You see, here's the problem. I was born skinny. Waterkaren_2 

I was a teeny tiny kid no matter what I ate or drank.

Dogkaren_3 

As I got older, I never got that chubby preteen thing. I did get a big neckerchief fetish, though.

Castkaren_2   

I was a rail-thin, if clumsy, teenager. And you should have SEEN my skinny arse at college!

Nice_hair

I know. We need to discuss this hair. And those socks. And I think I actually have on two watches. So I can see when I'm looking this stupid in various time zones.

Loungekaren

I ate anything I wanted all through my twenties.

Drinkkaren_2

Drank whatever I wanted, as well. Nice.

So that is why I did not grow up learning to eat well. There were no CONsequences until, like, now. When all of a sudden I am chubby.

And you know what? The chubby thing isn't bugging me that much, probably because in my mind, I have always been a rail, so I often forget I am no longer one. The reason I am being healthier this year is because I feel like crap. I wake up in the middle of the night. I grind my teeth something fierce. I have nine migraines a month. I am anxious and get rashes and feel allergic to everything. It is not pretty.

So, it is sort of ironic that today, three days into eating well, I felt just awful. I felt dizzy, tired, and shaky. I think I just wasn't eating enough, but the answer was not to head to McDonald's. But that is what I did.

Fortunately, tomorrow is another day. I am going to make a dress out of curtains and carry on.

Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood

First of all, some smart, computery friend of mine said people will want to know this so they can do something called RSS. This means nothing to me. Am I helping y'all do something dirty? http://byebyepie.typepad.com/bye_bye_pie/atom.xml

Two hundred and seventy-ninth, today was kind of a run-around-y kind of a day. When that alarm went off at 6:50, I thought it had to be wrong. Don't you hate that? Marvin, who should have been a fireman, LEAPED out of bed and left the room, even though he is still on Christmas vacation. I dozed until 7:20.

When I finally got up, I grabbed a banana, half an avocado and several whole-wheat crackers. I ate these during the four hours that I work, along with 47,000 cups of black coffee, which is my life sustenance. Nothing makes me happier than that french roast in a cup. Do not take it from me. Not yet.

Anyway, as soon as work ended, I had to run errands then scream on over to Charlotte, where I had a doctor's appointment. I had to go to a dermatologist, because I have had this mysterious rash.

I am not one of those people who can go, "Oh, a rash. I'm sure it's nothing." No. I have to look up yellow fever online. I have to read about anaphylactic shock symptoms. I have to keep thinking the lights are going out and this is it.

Saw the doctor and hi, I'm stressed. Got some cream and drove back to TinyTown, where I live.

I want you to know my banana and half an avocado and several whole-wheat crackers kept me relatively happy from 8:00 until about 2:00, when I was in the midst of driving back home. Do you have any idea how many fast-food restaurants there are between my house and Charlotte, North Carolina? Seven hundred and twenty-six million, that's how many. And between them? Billboards offering more fast food just ahead.

Oh, and didn't a Big Mac sound good. But you know what? I persevered, and got home and ate leftover potatoes and carrots from the pot roast I made for new year's eve. Is that bad? I mean, are vegetables left over from pot roast just full of fat?

So that was my day. Marvin is making spaghetti and I am soon to get on the treadmill again, but before I go, I wanted to run down for you what my healthy friends say that they eat. So if that bores you, you can go now. Bye! See ya!

Smell ya!

Back at ya!

Don't let the door hit ya, and all those other phrases that end in "ya"!

As I said before, these women do not know each other, but the way they eat is startlingly similar.

It's nothing we haven't heard before, but keep in mind both these women have kids and full lives and still find time to eat well.

Both say they eat more than three times a day, and try to eat a protein and a carb each time.

For breakfast, one friend has 1 cup of cereal with 1/2 cup skim milk and half an apple. (HALF an apple!? I've never eaten half of anything in my life!) The other friend runs out the door with coffee and a banana.

Both eat just a few hours later, having snacks such as apples and peanut butter, or peanut butter and Triscuits, baby carrots and hummus, cheese and almonds. (Okay, no, they don't eat ALL of these, which is what I'd do.) (And one says she eats the full-fat cheese. She buys nothing low fat.)

For lunch, they both said the big salad. It includes 80 million vegetables and a protein like avocado or turkey or hard-boiled eggs. They both said they could also have turkey or tuna sandwiches and a small salad, or sliced tomato and mozzarella cheese, or a taco with avocado and black beans. Sometimes one will add a piece of fruit and baked chips.

Then they have afternoon snacks! Now, you see, I am liking this. And it's way more than I ate today, actually. The afternoon snack is yogurt with Grape Nuts or low-fat granola, or chips and salsa. If you are starved, have a protein rather than a carb.

When my one friend gets home from work, she'll have fruit and milk as she makes dinner. Both friends eat a lean protein for dinner, such as chicken, fish, burritos with beans, and also spaghetti. They both serve many vegetables and both make good stir fry, as well. One said she just puts a plate of carrots and orange slices and cheese cubes on the table for everyone as a side dish.

At night, these heifers snack AGAIN (seriously, they both look really really good. I cannot believe they get to eat this much) with treats like mini bagels and peanut butter, an English muffin and low-fat cheese, sliced bananas in skim milk, hummus on pita bread, cottage cheese, yogurt or half-fat ice cream.

They also both said they make lots of soups, and one friend said buy every bean you like, as they are filling and good for you. They also both mentioned that they sort of pace it out; like they won't have a more fattening snack if they had something higher-fat that day, or they will eat carefully that day if they know they are going out with friends that night.

Okay, yes, we  know all this already, so why do we feast on Pop-Tarts and pizza rolls? Or is that just me? Everything I mentioned  above is a food I like, except for the glass of milk part. Bluuuh. So it is just a matter of planning what I'm going to eat and being prepared. I could have made a sandwich for my drive to Charlotte. Having gone a whole year without spending, I know making lunch takes two minutes once you get it down.

All right. Enough rambling. See you tomorrow!

Something in the Way She Moves

I just got off the treadmill for my first 30-minute exercise of 2008. What are the symptoms of a heart attack? Can you actually sweat to death?

Thirty-five minutes ago, I was so full of hope. Of life. Where did it all go wrong?

To begin, I kept on my sock monkey pajamas as sweatpants (for those of you just tuning in, I went all of 2007 without shopping. Therefore I have no workout clothes yet. Don't worry, things will get more socially acceptable as I begin jogging outdoors and such), my sports bra from 2000 and a long-sleeve wicking kind of runner's shirt my aunt sent me that I forgot I had.

Our treadmill is at the back of the house, in our laundry room. This room was clearly once a back porch, and the good news is — as I stand on our treadmill for the first time since we moved here five months ago — I have a nice view. At our old house, the treadmill faced the wall and a 1940s framed ad for speedboats. I got so tired of that speedboat and the bikini-clad woman on said speedboat. Nice diaper bikini. Want to cover up any more, burka gal? Yeesch.

So I turned on my iPod and began.

Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash.

I love this song. Start off going three miles an hour to warm up.

But those people keep a'movin/and that's what tortures me.

Don't Think Twice, it's Alright – Bob Dylan

I can see Winston playing in the woodsy part of our backyard. Ponder that Winston burns calories just chasing leaves, with no need for an iPod. Wonder why Bob Dylan was so annoyed with this woman he is singing about. Wonder why I like this song even though he uses the word "if'n."

Turn treadmill up to four miles an hour. A blistering fifteen-minute mile. Woo! I'm Kenyan! Somebody stop me!

Raspberry Beret – Prince

Well, it is simply impossible to be sad during this song. Turn treadmill up to 4.3. Discover I have been on for less than 10 minutes. Seriously? Turn treadmill back down to 4.0.

Praise God I'm Satisfied – Blind Willie Johnson

Wonder why I am so white. Wonder why I am so thirsty. The stupid treadmill's "Stop" button does not actually work. Grab sides of treadmill and leap off, run into kitchen and grab giant bottle of Pellegrino. Remember that all I have had to drink today is black coffee. Oops.

Helpless – Neil Young

Completely identify with this song right now. Hips are actually sweating. Consider increasing incline on treadmill and quickly dismiss idea, as hair is sweating.

Something – The Beatles

Ruminate that I don't have any songs from after 1985 on my iPod. Think of George Harrison singing "Something in the way she moves/attracts me like no other lover" about me and my galumping, sock-monkey self on this treadmill. Imagine the sight of pretty self on treadmill in a movie, with that song as the soundtrack. Start giggling uncontrollably.

Age of Consent – New Order

Again, impossible to be sad during this song. Turn treadmill back up to 4.3, and to survive, begin imagining my friend Lisa dancing across from me. She and I must have danced to this song at various bars in our hometown maybe 250 times. Bring friend Cindy in as well, then Donna and Marc. Start giggling, seeing them all dancing in 1989. Get misty, realizing how much I miss dancing with these friends. Begin really crying, realizing we are all of us grown up and will never go dancing together again. Realize you can get sad during this song.

Indian Summer – The Doors

Really, a wonderful cool-down song. Stop weeping and commence wishing I were at The Whiskey in 1968, tripping out on peyote and swaying to this song. Wonder if peyote makes you throw up. If it does, forget the peyote part.

Total time working out? Thirty minutes and 20 seconds. Pace? Fifteen-minute mile. Emotions felt? Seven-hundred sixty-two.

See you tomorrow!

How I am Going to get Healthy in 2008

I have no inkling.

Wouldn't that be hilARious? If I had no plan whatsoever? If I just made a nice pie blog, the end?

However, I do have some rules and regulations for myself. What a surprise. Cause I'm usually so devil-may-care.

First of all, I am not going to be weird. I'm not gonna give up wheat, or eat based on my sun sign or whatever. Here is my master plan: If it's junk, I don't eat it. If it's healthy, I will.

That's it. I am not going to weigh or measure anything. I am not going to count calories. And I am NOT going to get hungry. There is nothing worse than starting a diet and being ready to eat the cats by noon.

Also in my plan? No nutritious shakes. I will not name names. But I could drink about 50 of them because they're delicious, which I think negates the point.

I used to work next to a gas station that also served food. Now that right there should tell you a little something about my eating habits, because Mo? the guy who worked there in the day shift? He and I became really good friends. And he used to crack up because I would get chili cheese fries (from the GAS STATION) and one of those slimming shakes. "Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah!" he would laugh. That's how he laughed. Like the 7-Up Uncola guy. "Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah! You are getting diet shake and chili fries again! Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah!"

So anyway, the whole "if it's junk" plan sounded good, until I really started trying to decide on groceries. Is fruit juice junk? Are Baked Lay's? I decided to consult two friends whose eating habits I admire: one friend is Kellie, who I only know from her blog, and the other is Donna, who has been my friend since the first day of 10th grade. They put us in group 3 in gym class, along with the asthmatic kids. We were inseparable from then on.

The point of this story is that Kellie and Donna, who do not know each other from beans, came up with almost identical eating plans.

Here's where I pause. Do you really want me to bore you with the exact details of how they eat? Do you want the whole kit and caboodle? If so, I will write about it next time.

The other thing I am going to do to start off is 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week. I have a treadmill, a yoga DVD, and this whole medicine ball/weight/something strenuous kit with a DVD that I got from my bank. I am not making that up. So I have plenty of options for exercise. Next time I write, I will not only bore you with that menu if you want, but I will tell you how my 30 minutes on the treadmill went today. I am a slow, slow runner. Molasses called. It's January, and it wants its pace back.

My four food groups: sugar, fat, caffeine and cuticles

This all started because of a magazine article. So many things in my life start that way, which technically is pathetic.

One day in October, at my mother's place in the woods, I went to a grocery store to stock up on food for my brush with wilderness. Naturally I bought cream soda, potato chips that were supposed to taste like a twice-baked potato, and some Orange Milano cookies. I also bought an Oprah Magazine.

Oh, poke fun at me all you want. Oprah Magazine rocks. I know this makes me middle-aged and middle-American. Sue me. Will it make you feel better if I pierce something and buy Spin instead? (Do they still make Spin?)

At any rate, there was a health article in there by Dr. Oz, who apparently not only lives on the yellow brick road, but also on Oprah's payroll. He had many tests to determine if you are physically fit.

Let's just say I took the tests and I am no whoever-that-guy-is-who-rides-a-bike-and-everyone-has-a-yellow-bracelet-of-to-honor-him. You know who I mean. He dated Sheryl Crow.

Anyway, I am not that guy. Sheryl Crow won't even meet me for coffee.

Therefore, I was inspired to live better for all of 2008. And naturally I have to blog about it, because I need attention all the time.

Next time you'll get the dirty details of this blog. They are not actually very dirty. I just wanted to entice you.

Along with eating better and exercising, every month I'll try something else healthy. I'll drink green tea instead of 75 pots of coffee. Or I'll do chi-gong. I will get it on and bang a gong. Now see? That sounded vaguely dirty.

Meanwhile, if you want to see my sad physical condition as I start, click on "Progress a la Mode" at right.

Mmmm. A la mode.