Friday, November 09, 2007

I Kid You Not

Occasionally I have Chinese or Thai food.
Daisy adores broccoli in any sauce and because I usually cook a hunk of protein (my pals at AFG can tell you how wearisome it is to read roast pork or chicken in my daily food day after day), I often get broccoli in something. Garlic sauce. Lemon grass. Basil. I save most of the rice for breakfast -- if you're on a food plan like mine, rice, fat-free ricotta, almond extract and sugar-free strawberry jam is a lovely breakfast, particularly in summer) -- and toss the fortune cookies in a jar to give Daisy another time.
They may be the only cookie in the world, aside from Fig Newtons, that I could care less about.
Lately Daisy has been on a hunger strike. It's not that she's trying to lose weight: she'll eat anything off the street, bite my fingers off for a cookie, try to rip open trash bags for old fish spines. At home, though, given her nutritious, measured kibble, she goes to sleep.
Other owners of Labradors find this to be impossible. They don't call `em "Lardadores" for nothing.
I think she's pouting over so many other dogs invading her space, even though these dogs are good friends.
If I have scraps of my protein, I cut them up and add them toher kibble, stirring well so that to get the last bit of chicken skin she has to eat her way to it. But yesterday morning, after her kibble had sat untouched for 12 hours and not really wanting to handle chicken at an early hour, I decided to lure her into eating by crumbling a fortune cookie into her bowl.
This is always an event because the fortune is then Daisy's, not mine. Sometimes they're so apt I put them on a little bulletin board on my desk. "Life is never more fun than when you're the underdog competing against the giants," reads one, and "Any impatience you show will only create more stress" is another I'm looking at right now.
Yesterday's, just in case you can't enlarge the photo, her fortune read, "Hungry is the man who finds salvation in a cookie".
You coulda knocked me over with a feather.
The irony -- looking for your future in a cookie. The irony -- my dog who looks me straight in the right pocket as we're walking down the street. The irony -- fooling her into eating correctly with a cookie.
The irony -- that this cookie would fall into my bag of lemon grass broccoli on some weary Friday night.
Do I really need to spell out the mirror image Daisy presents me of my own culinary tendencies?
Oh Lord, the irony.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Musing While I Can

My manuscript is due December 1, 2007. I finished the sixth chapter last evening. Today has been kind of a day off except that I did two big loads of laundry, switched two bags of winter clothes for summer clothes, ran some errands & started reading a screed called Fat: A Fate Worse than Death? This is one angry dudette writing one thing over & over: society victimizes (she even uses the word "sodomizes" at one point) women by forcing them to be thin, wear make-up, try to stay youthful, paint & dye & squeeze & tweeze. I nearly put it down -- I have lots to read -- because the second paragraph uses a direct instead of an indirect pronoun.

The author photo shows a comfortably plump-to-large woman in a big cozy fisherman's L.L. Bean sort of sweater. She complains that her doctor won't tell her what obese is but tosses the word "fat" around in a way that only the once-thin (she gained about 40 pounds in her 50's) & at her top weight can. Which is to say, there is fat & then there is fat.

I've been thinking about the definition of fat for a while -- I think I wrote about it. We need some terms here. There is Misses Department Fat, 14 - 18. There is J. Jill Fat, up to 2X. Then there are the other Fats, on beyond Silhouettes & into the pages just after the underwear section of the Lane Bryant catalogue. I'm not good at guessing weights or sizes but I'm thinking she's Misses Department.

I'm thankful as hell to be J. Jill Fat. Really. I've been Muu-muu Fat & being able to wear jeans & not feel like a freak is still so astonishing to me that I sometimes forget that I am, still, fat.

I have six chapters to write in 26 days. There's no way I can do it if I'm in the food. I love this pressure because I get to be very small, very focused. I pray each morning for abstinence first, then being able to write, then the dogs & then productive use of my time. I go to bed as early as possible so that I'll have energy for the next day.

I spoke to my mom & a friend today & both of them were asking things about the Book that they might ask about my "diet". Are you working? Can you do it? Is it too hard on you?

Deja vu.

But today is a loose-sweater day, a phrase from The Rooms that, in its entirety, is a prayer & intention to wear the day like a loose sweater. No fretting. No having to take a Klonopin because I'm so anxious about dogs & writing that I'm having diahrrea. I don't have the time to get all the winter clothes but I have enough time to get out some.

I had to force myself to go grocery shopping, however. One of the problems I'm facing is dinner & cold weather. I want hot food. I'm tired from the day & don't want to make hot food. I don't have the time, even in today's loose sweater (or flannel shirt & sweat pants), to make a lot of food ahead of time. My freezer doesn't freeze & I don't have a microwave. I had to do some thinking about the simplest food I could make & I made the produce man laugh because he was ready to restock Brussels sprouts & I kept scooping them out. I left him a nice empty bin to replenish.

The grocery stores in the Heights on a Sunday night are frightful. All the yups have been with their kids or shopping, & the students have all been studying or getting over hang-overs (we have an enormous dorm for spill-over housing for Pace & NYU). Suddenly it's getting dark & there's nothing for breakfast! A mass exodus begins & you're taking your chances on getting those Brussels sprouts. The crowd was bad enough that I gave up after I had a couple of day's worth of fixings but interestingly (there is a point to this), the crowd was made much bigger by three people. I believe they were Dutch, who are now the tallest nationality in the world. Very blonde, buying Gatorade in, like, a 12-pack & Nutella. That was all I saw as I paid for my own groceries. They were conferring on every item & took up a HUGE amount of room.

The man maybe had some weight to lose; the women didn't. He had to be 6'4" & the women must have been nearly 6 feet tall. The blondest was wearing a leather jacket that nipped in at the waist. They were the personification of the K.D. Lang lyric about a "big-boned really couldn't call her small".

Thin people can be a voluminous as fat people. In fact, maybe more. They didn't move through the store with the self-consciousness that a lot of Us have about taking up room, or even that New Yorkers in general have a sensitivity about.

There's another side to this, I'm seeing. Because I'm so conscious, I have all these rules in the store. Put my cart some place out of the way while I gather up yams & apples, usually in front of the cake & cheese cooler where not many people are apt to brouse. Snatch-&-dash. No browsing. Get my groceries on the belt as neatly & tightly as possible so that the cashier doesn't have to search out the bar codes & the person behind me can begin unloading his/her cart, too. Push all the loose carts together in front of the fancy soap display -- out of the way, ready for the stock guys -- & stack the baskets with the handles in place. Pay by debit or in cash -- no signing credit chits that takes up more time.

I get pissy when other people don't play by my rules, when they dawdle over which flavor of Gatorade to pick up or sort through the yogurts without putting the strawberries back with the strawberries.

I'm in a pretty relaxed mood tonight so my pissiness was at a minimum. I'm abstinent & was wearing an L.L. Bean jacket so I wasn't lumbering down the aisles like the Stay-Puff Man.

But it was interesting to see these Olympians in their lack of...what? urban manners...& how much room they took up at every sharp turn of the aisles.

It's like how the skinniest women wear too much perfume, I guess.


Here's an oddity, & then I'll stop & take the chicken out of the oven. A friend & I want to make a gingerbread house for Christmas. I saw a mold & thought I'd get it cheaper at eBay. I probably will. But in scrolling through the cake molds, I came across a lamb mold that we had when I was a kid. It was a killer cake to make my mother said & it was paired with a Santa mold that was impossible.

The lamb was in a heated auction for $41. I grinned & looked for the Santa.


It occured to me that eBay is my den of inequity, next to the bakery shelf. & what I want most from it is my childhood. I didn't buy the Chatty Cathy doll I saw the other night that was said to be haunted & I haven't found the right Mary Poppins doll that I adored. But I have a Francie doll from eBay, dressed in an outfit I still had, & I browse Chatty & Mary every once in a while.

Go figure.