Today is probably the one-billionth time I’ve started a diet/life style change in my life. Not a diet as in ‘I have to lose 50 lbs’ but a diet in that ‘I have to stop eating burgers and French fries every night and feeling like poop every day.’ I exaggerate; I don’t really eat burgers and French fries every day. It just feels like I do. And since our move to Nashville, the odds of my eating crap daily – albeit delicious crap – have gotten greater.
I’ve narrowed my excuses for bad diet down to three:
I can’t cook. Well, I can cook but I can’t cook well. My mother was never much of a cook. She wasn't very interested in food and, as a single parent with a 60+ hour work week, she didn't have time. Unfortunately, I inherited her disinterest. Add to that my lack of talent in the kitchen, my ability to burn or over cook everything and a tiny kitchen with an oven that only cooks on one side, you can see why we eat out most every night right now
It doesn't help that husband is so dang picky, and has so many food issues. The dude can't eat in other people’s homes. He can't swallow so if he manages to get food into his mouth, he just chews and chews and chews. It's an awkward issue to have. We can't go dinner parties - I can't cook and he can't eat. A few years back, we were in Scotland. He at all manner of weird fried unhealthy stuff from a food truck parked on the side of a hill, served by a man, who was smoking while cooking
and yet, when visiting a friend of his for tea, he could not eat one thing from this lovely display.
I’m lazy. When given the option to eat random things from the fridge that should really never be combined into a meal instead of heading to the grocery store for something healthy and grown-up meal like, you know I’m having the leftover junk from the fridge. Or, when given the option to stay in or go out and eat, I’ll go out and eat. And, when faced with a menu of various weird things or burgers, I’ll pick the burger and fries every time. I’m just lazy.
Let’s just agree I have failed as a healthy eater. The other day, I burned banana bread in the stupid oven that only cooks on one side - and then ate it anyway. With a large scoop - okay three scoops - of ice cream on top and a side dish of potato chips. I later had a packet of seaweed and a big cup of mint tea. That was my lunch and my dinner. That counts as a fruit and three veggies, right?
This isn’t something new to me, after performing on stage; I used to get a hot chocolate and fries at the diner after-parties. It has always been my go to treat. In fact, once after a show in NYC, I ordered my hot chocolate and fries and a waiter working another section came out to find me. Turns out, she had worked summer stock with me years before, recognized my order and knew I was the only one who could have placed the order. Not the best endorsement but a solid one.
I’m also up against my love of the potato - usually in French fry form. I always said, if I became famous enough to have a restaurant, it would be everything potatoes. There would be a toppings bar with all kinds of weird toppings - spicy and sweet like salted chocolate milkshake and sweet chili pepper and mustard. You would order your potato fried or baked and then add a plethora of toppings as a garnish. It’s a brilliant idea… Sadly, I'm sure my body isn’t able support that type of diet anymore – and I would have been its best customer.
And so, that is why, husband and I are embarking on a life style change today. I’m completely unsure what the hell we’re going to eat but it will be healthier than the loaded fries with gooey cheese, pulled pork, bacon, and bourbon onions I had for lunch and dinner last night. This is what we’re up against folks. Belcourt Taps Menu - a perfect sample of what we're choosing from in all the restaurants out here. We’re doomed!
I’ve always been a pessimist optimistic. I plan for the worse and am pleasantly surprised by the best. Always.
What the heck does that mean? Well, I imagine the worst outcome of every situation which means I will be pleasantly surprised with anything other than the worst outcome.
What is wrong with you, and how does one plan for the worst, you ask? Well, by imagining the worst possible situation - the death of someone you love for example - and then figuring out, step by step how you would handle it.
Yup. I do that. All the time.
I’ve killed off my mother, my husband, my brother millions of times. Sometimes a car will hit them. Sometimes it’s a heart attack or a random robbery gone bad. My husband gets it most often – not, as he would lead you to believe, because I’m mad at him but because I live with him and his death would affect me most. (And by most, mother and brother, I mean in the day-to-day stuff.) (And by "day-to-day stuff" husband, I mean you are everything to me.) (And by "everything" mother and brother - oh heck, let's just say I would be crushed if any of you died!)
ANYWAY, one of them dies – in my mind - and I have to figure out what I do next.
It’s a very macabre way to function, I know. But this, my dear people, is how I put myself to sleep at night.
I’ll lie there and stress about all the little things I can’t fix or need to fix or should fix and then I’ll stop and take a breath and wonder, right, if my husband was hit by a car on the way home from a gig, what would I do first? After confirming his death, calling his father, etc. etc. blah blah blah.
Well, I think, I make peanuts at work and live in a house that is in no shape to sell and I don’t have the abilities to fix it up myself – can you imagine me, accident prone me, trying to do electrical wiring? So, first step, after I’ve dealt with the funeral stuff, I’ll have to hire someone to do all that work, the wiring, the sheet rock, the kitchen etc. That takes cash. I have no easy cash so I’'ll have to sell his cars.
I should jump in here and say; my husband knows I do this to relax. He thinks it weird, and it took a few years to get him past the point he thought I was trying to actively wish him dead but, he knows. He also knows I’m selling his cars if he karks it. He’s more than pissed about my heartless solution to this imaginary situation because his cars are his babies. In our last house, he remodeled the garage so that there was nothing in it but a fancy floor and pretty lights to show off his cars. He was nice enough to let me park my car in the garage but it hurt. Anyway, it would kill him to have me sell his cars but he’d be dead so he can suck it.
With the cars sold, there should be enough money to finish the sections of the house that are currently the worst off – the kitchen with the oven that only cooks half of the food, the pastel pink master bath that’s slightly bigger than a foyer bathroom, the carpet that has millions of stains of questionable origin… but once the house is done, I can start to plan my life without him. But what would that be?
We moved to Nashville for his music. And for a chance to live our lives instead of work for our paychecks in an area no one can afford to really live. I love it here in Nashville. It’s got a pace and an energy that is so different from Silicon Valley. Folks are friendly and we have an owl family in our yard but husband is the only person I really know here, who really knows me. It would be hard to start over without him.
At this point in my ‘planning’, I usually drift off to sleep. I’m sure it’s my brain choosing not to move onto the next step, what I’d do here next. This is possibly because I can’t really contemplate life without husband. Or, for that matter, life without my mother or brother – even if I don’t see them or talk to them every day. I am truly a pessimistic optimist – I am imagining the worst and very happy with the best my life currently is. And yes, I know that might not be the exact definition of a pessimistic optimist but it sure is mine. And yes, I know my wonky childhood probably contributed to my bizarre night ritual of killing off a loved one before I sleep but it’s a therapy that works for me – and is a hell of a lot cheaper than pills or a therapist so…
If my husband weren’t sleeping next door, if he was lying there dead, what would I do first…?
My mornings start the same way lately: I get up, let the dog out, make a cup of tea and slowly wake up in front of the computer reading random stories that make me feel superior about myself. Or make me cry.
My number one site page to start with is SFGate.com. I still use it for my local news – even thought I don’t live in California anymore. SFGate tempers it’s local news with stories of nationwide and international news in a pretty dry form, giving me just enough to feel smart in a conversation but not too much to confuse and depress me when I’m still mostly asleep.
After that, I then click over to the web pages for Channel 5 and/or WSMV4 here in Nashville. News there is all car crashes and fires. I exaggerate, they do cover the world and the USA but the top stories are all car crashes and fires. Seriously, there was a period this past spring where every single day brought a story of a lawnmower death. I didn’t realize lawnmower death was a thing – well more than a random thing – but there are actual statistics on lawnmower deaths. I don’t know what they are, it’s too early and I’m too lazy to look them up but there were at least 10 deaths by lawnmower this spring.
Anyway, after I peruse the many ways a lawnmower can kill someone or the dozen car wrecks that happened overnight and read about the 8yr old that saved folks from a house fire, I hit up BBC for the news of the world.
And get totally depressed.
The world is falling apart people. Folks are killing and maiming and bulling and generally being total asses to each other. And total asses to the environment. And total asses to animals.
I treat my depression by reading Daily Mail. It is a plethora of ‘news’ and trash that can make me feel very intelligent at the same time as bringing me to tears - usually in the same article. The editing is horrific – there are spelling errors and grammar errors and paragraphs repeated in the same article, sometimes more than twice. But unlike SFGate and BBC, they have pictures of everything – lots and lots of pictures of every possible angle of a shooting or celebrity or animal. And the pictures are often good – even though the topic is often horrible.
This past week with the Kenya hostage situation, Daily Mail had photos I found nowhere else online. I spent hours scrolling slowly through each picture looking for relatives. I haven’t been in Kenya in 30 years and wouldn’t recognize a relative if I saw one, but because of the wonder of Daily Mail, I could look. And I did look. Feeling the terror I could see on their faces. The horror and pain as they ran past bodies of folks that had just been gunned down just because. The poor woman and her two children playing dead until they could be rescued and then she was too terrified to actually move and the security guy had to grab her daughter to convince her to move. The two kids standing next to the dead man on the steps, holding Mars bars that the bad guys gave them and crying… phew.
When my sobbing becomes audible and the tears running down my face obscures my vision, I can click over to a story that’s so far from the senseless violence, a story about Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2432879/Goldie-Hawn-Kurt-Russell-hands--dating-20-years.html Although there is really nothing in the ‘story’ but the pictures, it’s a welcome salve – albeit one that can make me feel worse about my self because I haven’t accomplished nearly one third of the things she’s accomplished, I don’t look that stunning at my age and I can be totally sure I won’t at her age.
So I click off Goldie and onto the link about the National Geographic 125 years of images. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2432914/125-years-iconic-images-National-Geographic-magazine-commemorates-history-anniversary-issue-celebrating-power-photography.html Freaking cool images. The world can be a beautiful place. My uncle has had pictures in NatGeo – not in this article – but in the magazine. How could is that? And I’m back to feeling useless again so off NatGeo and onto the woman suing Coca-Cola after finding a dead RAT in her lemonade. And O.J.Simpson who has been caught stealing COOKIES from prison cafeteria. I love how they capitalize the "important" part of the article. COOKIES! RAT! And that in O.J.'s article, it's not stealing, it's COOKIES!
Around and around the Daily Mail site I hop, clicking on one thing that depresses me and the next that makes me giggle until it brings me to this harmless article about a self-ironing contraption: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2433038/Hate-laundry-Worlds-HANDS-FREE-iron-make-thing-past--youre-willing-shell-850.html
My favorite part about this article is the sentence: 'Our Tubie is bought by normal people who do not like the idea of ironing. Huh? I do not like to iron, most people don’t, but why specify ‘normal people’? Could this be used as something else, something ‘normal people’ wouldn’t think of?
And that is when I decide to get off line. Because I don’t want to start my day coming up with ways not ‘normal’ people could use the Tubie contraption. Because just in writing this down, I’ve come up with three…
The good news: I'm no longer depressed. Amused and slightly grossed out, but not depressed. Thank you Daily Mail?
My mother is an interesting mix of brains and humor. She is absolutely brilliant – like graduated high school at 16y and would have graduated earlier but they wouldn’t let her. Like remodeling her house, fixing her car, and making computer programs while solving the world’s problems brilliant. Like read the dictionary because it’s fun kind of brilliant. In fact, growing up I’d rarely look things up, I’d just ask her and she knows. She’s so smart, so very matter of fact about so many things that in this day and age, she’d likely have been diagnosed with Aspergers or something – not that she can’t deal with people, she just doesn’t deal with fools easily. As she’s gotten older, she’s quit holding her opinion of them, of anything really, to herself.
As a result, she has these wonderful one-line responses to things that just put me on the floor. Like the time I told her my brother was selling his house and moving to LA and that I thought it was kind of connected to this girl he’d met and mom said. “Well, she must be good in bed.” Brother didn’t believe me but I got her to say it to his face, which became an amazing moment that just sums up our family. (FYI: My brother would probably like me to state that the girl is not why he moved to LA. Actually, my brother would probably like me to leave this whole part out but that's not happening...)
But of all the things I find remarkable in my mom, the thing I find so freaking cool is that she communicates in comic strips. How wonderfully awesome is that? Growing up, she’d mention ones to look for in the paper that were in line with my current life status or she’d send them to me in the mail. I’d get whole series of comics related to my hair issues or my boyfriend issues or my “what is the meaning of my life” issues. I got a packet of them just the other day – an envelope filled with comic strips and a post-it note saying – Thought you might enjoy these. There was nothing else in the envelope and no sentiment on the note just comic strips and a post-it. I love her.
Anyway, this link will lead you to a brilliant strip done by Gavin Aung Than in homage to the master of all comic strips: Bill Watterson. It's actually an illustrated quote from a speech given by Bill Watterson's in 1990.
I think it perfectly sums up our last year of transition, why Husband and I made the move here to Nashville and the happiness we hope to find. And I know, if my mom had seen it in the paper, she’d have cut it out and sent it to me in the mail because she loves me and this is how she’d say it.
Despite what my previous posts may have led you to believe, bugs and the like don't bother me. I even find them fascinating, beautiful even - just not ON me or NEAR me. But, I got a lot of comments about my bug squeamishness - mostly from my family. You see, I come from a family of non-squeamish folks. Well, on my mothers side. My father's side is a whole other therapy session/blog post - or more.
My mother's brother, My Uncle, is a pretty neat guy. He’s a Professor of Biology at a big university and he also happens to be the world’s foremost authority on the aerobic capacity of small mammals. The world’s foremost authority! That’s a pretty big place for folks to consider you number one in something. And this isn’t like the Oscars or the Emmy’s where voting for your favorite comes into play. The aerobic capacity is all about facts. I’m the foremost authority on nothing. Not even myself. I can claim not one thing that I am an absolute expert in.
My Aunt is pretty neat too. She travels along with my Uncle and manages to make whatever hut they end up in a home while still doing her writing. She’ll bring her coffee maker and enough fruits and veggies for the stay, make sure he’s got on warm socks and, and this might be the most important part, keep the family up to date on all that’s going on in their lives. He’s the world’s foremost authority on small mammals and she handles the big ones. (wink, wink) I am kidding. He’s good with big mammals too. He just prefers to communicate by sending the most magnificent photos of everything they see – well, mostly of birds and bugs and beasts and skies - everything but people. People aren’t as pretty of his photos of the bugs and birds and beasts and skies. His photos are awesome - it’s as if you’re eyeball to bug!
My Uncle and Aunt trot all over the world to study things like little brown birds and elusive chicken's that folks only see once a year. Sometime we get to go visit - Australia was really cool. But some places, I have no interest in ever visiting. I am a fan of my Uncle and my Aunt but I am a bigger fan of in door plumbing with flushing toilets and a reliable transportation system to get out of where ever we are. Like read the transportation to get in/out of this place: http://cochacashu.sandiegozooglobal.org/transport-transporte/ Not. For. Me.
I don’t love anyone or anything that much. Hence me not being a world’s foremost authority on anything.
But my Uncle is. Which is awesome when I see a bug or a bird and I don’t know what it is, I can take a picture and send it to him. Not only will he tell me what it is, but he’ll also fill me up with amazing factoids about said animal.
Like the time I sent him an email that I’d just seen the Bard owls in our yard ‘do it’! I was pretty excited. I also wanted confirmation that it was them 'doing it' and not fighting in mid air.
His response: Nice, if voyeuristic. A possible item of conversation at parties: most birds do not have what we coyly call 'intermittent organs' -- they just press cloacal openings together and hope for the best. But male ducks have quite impressive ones. In fact, the longest penis of any vertebrate (as a fraction of body length) is owned by the male Argentine lake duck:
WITH THIS PICTURE ATTACHED:
I LOVE MY FAMILY!
Wanna see more, check out the blog to see other weird animal parts. Seriously, go look! The Argonaut's penis detaches and goes looking for lady parts!!! http://blog.chinadaily.com.cn/thread-851118-1-1.html
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me