August 17, 2012

What Price Beauty? About $9.99

 Disclaimer: Of course this is not me.
Sometimes I worry about how easily I’m influenced by other people. Frankly, it depends on who is doing the influencing and what the influencing is about.
For example, yesterday right before dinner (or “supper” as we hicks call it) I received a call from a man who said he was with a major software company.  He said that since I was a registered user, he was privy to my information. Behold – he said – you are about to crash.  You must let me help you.
We went through three or four minutes of dialogue in which I explained that I don’t have any software registered with “Unknown Caller.” 
If he would only give me his number, I would be happy to call him back. (This one always works and really annoys people.)
He said, “I won’t be fixing your computer today!” and slammed down the phone.
This ex-Girl Scout, vigilant for scams, did the right thing.
Today I’m not so certain. On the recommendation of an Open Salon friend who shall remain nameless (let’s just say she’s one of the best writers around and tells us that she resembles Benjamin Franklin but I don't see it) made a recommendation that I lapped up like a newly weaned kitten to milk.
My friend is emptying capsules of activated charcoal (available at most pharmacies over the counter) to make a paste or “slurry” to whiten her teeth. She’s seen progress in just a few days.

As a coffee drinker (and damn don’t take that away from me, I don’t have white sugar or flour or real Coca-Cola anymore) my teeth have seriously yellowed over the past few years. I’m considering getting professional whitening at my dentist (which costs between $300 and $500. 
We don’t have dental insurance, so if on the remote possibility that insurance covered it, I would be up that stinking crick without the paddle.)
I’ve taken my before picture just for a reference point.  No way am I going to publish it here.  Had to take about ten before I got once that eliminated wrinkles and other odd assortments of things on my face.  Can’t bear to look at myself from that angle.  That’s the great thing about getting older: you can’t see how bad you look unless you do an extreme close-up.
So I found the capsules at Walgreens for $9.99.  I’ve never tried to open a capsule before.  Apparently there’s some skill to it that I don’t possess.  I thought, I’ll cut it open with my cuticle scissors. 
What I didn’t anticipate (duh!) was that “activated charcoal” is code for “black crap that sticks to everything.” 
I opened the capsule and immediately this black stuff was everywhere on my white marble countertop.  I poured the remainder of the contents into a paper cup and opened another capsule for enough stuff to make a paste.
I bought a new cheap toothbrush just for this purpose, added a little bit of water (probably too much), and made a goo that resembled tar but more liquid. 
Leaning over the white sink, I put  my brush into the oily ebony substance and rubbed it against my ivories.
Having worn braces most of my childhood (I’ll spar you the photo with the face bow.  It’s just too pitiful.) I learned how to brush really well.

Did you know that if you are brushing with an inky material on your teeth that you may end up with inky material all over the walls, the mirror, the sink and the countertop?  (Yes, I know, I'm a porcine.)

That wasn’t even the most of it.
I looked in the mirror and  saw black teeth, a black tongue and black lips.
 We are supposed to be at the neighbors in forty minutes, and this is an unacceptable look for me.
I brushed a bit and most of it came off.  But I felt compelled to get out my battery-powered toothbrush and really give it a go.
This might be the secret of the activated charcoal.  Maybe you want to brush the black off so badly that you have the cleanest teeth of your lifetime.
Now this wasn’t as stupid as the time my college roommate “Naired” her eyebrows (see Nair.  We made a short visit to the local Emergency Room. Frankly I was going to do it next, but her results weren’t really very good (severe burns near the eyes.)
I’m going to try the activated charcoal  for a month.  It’s cheaper than the dental whitening and doesn’t burn the gums like bleach does.  And activated charcoal is generally used for preventing flatulence, which of course, I’ve never had but might get someday.

An Impromptu Wedding That Changed Us

Sunday's  New York Times offered up a new look at weddings in this Great Recession.  Until your mother happens to be Secretary of State and your father an ex-president, you probably aren't having Le Big Ceremony with All the Trimmings.

How old is old enough to say "in my day?"
 I voted and decided it is fifty-five, so here goes: in my day weddings that had three or four bridesmaids were considered appropriately grandiose.  Of course I grew up in a area of 1,200 people and my husband grew up in a rural area, so it is not like we had access to the Rainbow Room and Lester Lanin and his Orchestra.
 While I'm grateful to my parents who paid for our typical and lovely Hoosier hoedown nuptials, I always harbored a secret desire to be married by an Elvis impersonator or while jumping out of an airplane.
What I was getting at before I so rudely interrupted myself was that I want to tell you about the funkiest wedding I ever attended.
 My Beloved and I had been engaged for about six months, and our own wedding was three months away. We were invited to a party in one of those high rises that dot Sand Key south of Clearwater Beach, Florida.
 The hosts were our friends John and Libby.  This was during the period of time I like to refer to as "The Bad Judgment." 
For example, Libby had a white Porsche Carrera that she liked to drive really, really fast.  As in, "Let's go to the liquor store and buy more vodka and then run up and down Gulf Boulevard as fast as we can and see if we can evade the cops."
Nothing bad  happened to Libby, even after she chased the vodka with prescription drugs and made what she liked to call "peach shit."
 John and Libby usually invited us over for holidays and one Thanksgiving asked my elderly grandmother. She had a lovely time and a great deal of peach shit (sans the prescription drugs.)
On another not-so-memorable night (meaning I can not remember much), Libby and I decided to pretend like we were Jennifer Jones at the end of "Portrait of Jennie" and walk straight into the Gulf of Mexico without stopping. We had been to several comedy clubs and about four bars that night.  It was long past time to go home.
 This is another exceptionally good example of Bad Judgment. 
 We stopped in the cold Gulf when we got about to our hips.  Yes, it was a dark and stormy night and the Menfolk sat on the beach, laughing themselves silly, not really caring whether we came back or not.
One August night John and Libby hosted a party at a company condo on the beach, eight flights up with a spectacular Gulf of Mexico view.   
Libby asked us to bring  records, because "in my day" (there it is again) listening to records was something one did when drinking peach shit or eating those special brownies she sometimes made. 
That night we selected a few albums from our extensive collection, Bob Segar, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson and Leon Redbone, Fleetwood Mac, yada yada yada.
 When we got there, Libby yelled at me and said I made miserable selections with the music.  Whatever. 
I poured myself a drink at their well-stocked bar and headed out to the balcony with my Beloved. 
The crowd inside the condo didn't look too fun.  What a mixed-up group it was.  There were mutual friends as Libby and I worked together, John's adult kids were there, a bunch of people we didn't know who looked like stiffs, and one decidedly strange guy in a black suit who kept to himself in a corner. 
He looked like a preacher at a hanging in an old western.
 I remember distinctly the conversation my Beloved and I had on that balcony, nursing our drinks and taking in the spectacular view that preceded sunset.   Directly next to us were some of Libby and John's friends we didn't know who were enjoying the "special" without the "brownies" part.
That setting made us think about our upcoming marriage. We both agreed right there on that balcony that we were going to start acting like adults.  We had both been out of college for five years, and the Bad Judgment had to stop.  No more drinking for hours and driving with people of dubious sobriety.  No more walking into the ocean for effect.  Absolutely no more association with anyone who bought, sold or ate the special brownies.  Time to clean up the act.  Too much to lose.
 We went back into the condo in time to hear John say, "I have an  announcement.  This is not just any party; it's an engagement party!  Libby and I are engaged."
 Rounds of applause, and an easing up of the overall mood.
John's adult son made three champagne toasts to the happy couple.  This would be a second marriage for both, but they seemed a lovely pair and we were all happy about it. At least it made some sense as to why this eclectic group was brought together.
 After the third toast, John said, "I have another announcement.  The engagement party is over.  Welcome to our wedding party."
 Libby's daughter went into the kitchen and pulled out a large wedding cake out of a mysteriously small cabinet, like a rabbit from a magical hat.
 Libby came out of the bedroom dressed in an elegant dress and John put on a suit coat.  Libby's daughter put "Willie and Leon" on the stereo because with its standards it came the closest to wedding music that she was going to get out of my Nightmare Collection of Seventies Rock.
 The odd-looking man in the corner was indeed a preacher. 
He pulled his Holy Book from inside his dark suit jacket and invited everyone at the party back to the balcony, where the sun was just about to dip below the Gulf.
 After the brief ceremony, we all raised our plastic glasses of peach shit and toasted the happy couple.
 My Beloved and I were married three months later, and never again ate any special brownies (though I do have glaucoma now, so its always a possibility.)
John and Libby were only married for ten years -- her constant state of inebriation didn't help their relationship much. She totalled the Porsche and like many alcoholics lived to tell the tale.  Thank God she didn't kill anyone.
 We didn't stay in touch with them. They found us too tedious. Somehow, we've made living without Bad Judgment work for us. 

Why DID the chicken cross my road?


We bought groceries earlier in the week so today we had the luxury of sleeping in.  Finally the heat wave in this Flyover State has broken and last night the temperature dipped into the fifties.  A very welcome change, and I opened all the windows.  
As a friend of mine who does fung shui said "Opening the windows gets all the bad qi (chi) out of the house."
Aside from the bad qi of a very hot s ummer, we have allergies and rarely open the windows.  Now stoked with antihistamine we open every window and screen door, and let all the air circulate all night.  A wonderful feeling until very early this morning when something other than the light wind whispering through the surrounding trees disturbed our peaceful slumber.
 Squawk.  Squawk.
Louder Squawk.
Whatever this torment was seemed to be coming from our roof. 
Since The Great Recession began, most of our neighbors have started gardens and some are even in the "Suburban Chicken Movement."  I'm a farm girl, but I'm still stunned to see flocks of chickens in the manicured yards of this neighborhood.  
To each her own--must be great to have fresh eggs daily.  
We hear the randy rooster about 24/7 but this morning it was unbearable.  Saturday morning, sixty-thirty a.m.
Squawk.  Squawk. Squawk.
With each reverberation of that red gullet, I felt he was saying, "Get up.  Get up.  Time's a wastin'." 
Apparently our local rooster is a member of the Red Team, because we turned on the TV even before getting out of bed and "Breaking News" was everywhere -- Romney To Choose Paul Ryan.
 Husband crawled out of bed and looked out the front door.
"You have to come and see this," he said, dragging my sorry Saturday morning ass out of bed.
There on our tiny brick porch was Mr. Rooster and his two hens, making a little symphony of their own about three feet from our bedroom window.
We debated what to do.  We're not anti-chicken, we're just anti-chicken on our front porch at six in the morning.
BB gun perhaps?  Maybe banging some aluminum pans together?
As the other non-chicken farm stood staring at me in his "Stewie" pajama pants, I slammed the front door, hoping to jar them back to their coop five houses down.  
They were unimpressed and stood there looking at us, then continued their cacophony of crowing. 
At their leisure, they slowly turned and walked away, down the hill and into the neighbor's yard -- not even looking back.
I asked the husband, "What drew them here?"
This started about a half an hour of chicken puns from my Beloved.
The chickens have come home to roost
They didn't want to cross the road
Our neighbors chickens weren't all in one basket 
We shouldn't count our chickens before they are hatched
This madness must stop, so I'll end with one old chicken saying that says it all, "The rooster may make all the noise, but everyone knows it is the hen who rules the roost."
Enjoy today.  No need to be cooped up on a beautiful day like this one.
Henny Penny.

August 8, 2012

My kitty has dementia

Anyone with a pet understands how they  fill your heart when nothing else will.
The day before our son’s 8th birthday we took him to the local rescue center to select a cat.
That’s a misnomer, of course, anyone who knows felines know that they chose you. You can’t possibly choose them.  They are too independent and  make up their own minds.
A black and white female came right to my husband.  For the next 12 years she was his constant companion. She adored him and sat with him while he read, and especially when he watched football.  Her name was Sisy (sic) Renee (named by our son).
She was a Diva with a capitol D
Sisy did not like me.  When she was younger I traveled a lot for work and she loved that because she hated sharing “their” bed with me.  She loved nothing better than sprawling out on my side, and gave me this look of quiet disdain when I pulled in late nights with my overnight bag in tow.
She died two years ago in February.  Even the day before her death she stood as she always did  at the back door waiting for her daddy, the love of her life.
My husband lost his mother within ten days of Sisy’s passing and it was a rough spring.
Sisy has a brother whose name is Fala Jo Renaldo (son named him as well, for Roosevelt’s dog, in part.) 
At the rescue kennel that day in 1998, I spied the gray six-month-old male against a back wall in a large cage, hiding from all the other cats that had loped up to the front bars to see the three of us.  Fala hid his face and wouldn’t come out. I always love a challenge.
He is a beautiful gray cat, reminiscent of the Russian blue breed.  I’ve always had a fondness for gray cats.  That day the family decided we could take two cats home. 
Sisy was comfortable with the family in about three seconds; while Fala had to be dragged out of the back of the cage and reluctantly came home with us.
They were a pair.  She was in charge, and he was, clearly her bitch.  He groomed her constantly, and they had feeding rituals. When it was chow time, Sisy pushed him out of the way and ate all of her food in the double bowl, and then ate most of his food.  He got what was left and sometimes I would add more when she was sleeping it off.
She pushed him around and he followed her like a little lost puppy.
Over time, it was clear that he was “my” cat.  He preferred my company and while he tolerated others, it is clear that I’m his person.
Yet he would sleep next to her, always nudging up to her and wanting to support her. 
He has suffered since Sisy passed. We literally could not say her name for months or he would search the house.  We still speak of her but in code as “Princess” or simply “Her” or “She.”
During the past two years, Fala's mental health has deteriorated and he often stands alone crying as if he has lost his way.  We’ve been talking to our vet for months and the vet thinks Fala has something called Feline Cognitive Disease.
Yes, that’s what I said, Kitty dementia.
I’m the last person in the world to joke about this.  Many of you know my mother passed away after a difficult decade of suffering with dementia.
But you’ve got to see the irony in this.  He behaves as many older people do in the last stages of life, complaining about his food, uncertain of time and place, and clinging to those things he holds precious. I know he misses "Her" and I know that has made him closer to me. He grooms me constantly and sometimes I'll wake up in the middle of the night and find his neck and head stretched over my head, and his loud happy purring.
He is very rigid about time.  Our routine here is fairly simple. My husband comes home from work between five-thirty and six and we eat dinner.
Now I have a new West Coast client, so my husband brings dinner home on Thursdays, a day  dedicated to this client. Last week I was having a meeting with the client around six p.m.  My husband came home with two salads from O’Charleys and put mine in the fridge for when the meeting was finished.  Then he sat down to eat his dinner.
Fala was extremely upset by this and stood in my office door, yelling loudly.  He sounds like a screaming baby, and it was hard to explain to the client that I have a demented cat. My husband came and got him several times, and reassured him that it was all okay.  Fala doesnt speak English, so that did no good.
I took this situation back to our vet, because I don’t think the animal should be that unhappy, but we also can’t resolve our work lives around his needs.
Doc suggested a  product called FeliWay that is a diffuser of of stress-reducing hormones that will calm the cat down. (Of course this is something I crave, perhaps a alprazolam saltlick  in my office, one that offer that little daily respite needed to battle anxiety caused by a screaming cat  Perhaps I should just make some of those special brownies from college?)
So the vet ordered this product and I’ve plugged it in near where Fala aka Lumpy sleeps all day. His whining and crying and getting lost mostly happens in the evening.  Amazingly, my mother had “sundowners” also and we had all kinds of strategies to combat that. 
Truth is often stranger than fiction.
So far, the product is working great.  I just wonder what affects it will have on the husband and me. 

August 5, 2012

Hearing the schoolbell from the empty nest

For the first time in 17 years, I’m not buying school supplies. There’s no graphing calculator needed this year. We have long forgotten the new pack of Crayola 64, the big box with the pencil sharpener.  No color-coordinated 1-inch notebooks, no extra-long twin bed sheets, no green and gold gym shorts.

I returned something to a store recently and saw a young woman and her mother ahead of me in the checkout line. Both wore red and white Ball State University shirts. The daughter held a list, and mom pushed a cart full of the usual paraphernalia for college rookies.

The ringing of the school bell makes me reflect. My parents, both teachers, hyped going to school for weeks before I started kindergarten in 1962.

“When you are five,” my parents said, “You get to go to school.”

 On my fifth birthday, six weeks before the official first day, I was utterly indignant that I had apparently been misled.

All dressed in my red gingham “first day of school dress” from Montgomery Wards, I threw an absolute fit. I had been had.

My father walked me to the nearby elementary school.

Pointing to the empty parking lot, row of unfilled bike racks and playground equipment, he said, “You can see there are no little boys and girls here.”

Somehow I felt cheated and duped, having to wait more than a month for this glorious, awe-inspiring event.

I retained the same enthusiasm for school every year, excitement about new friends, clothing, activities, and excitement about everything except the actual work. Well, don’t we all know that enthusiasm is at least part of the battle?

My parents took the requisite first day of school pictures, and we did the same with our son.  We moved into our current home the summer before our son started first grade. What fun to look at pictures in progression the years.

Looking back, I noted the increasing contempt in his expression.  By the time he was a senior one could  almost hear, “Mom, why do I have to do this again?” as he raced out the door for school.

When our son started kindergarten we lived in another house.  It was all I could do not to chase the bus around the corner.  Could I follow the bus to Chandler Elementary School? 

How could this little boy navigate the hallways of a large elementary school?  Half his day was spent with typically developing students, while the other half was spent in developmental kindergarten.  What would happen to him at lunch? Could he carry his own tray?

I wanted to go to the school and stalk him during the day, but I was convinced the Chandler police would arrest me if I trespassed on school grounds. 

Things got easier.  By second grade, our son was in a classroom with typically developing students.

By high school he was a pro and drove himself to school the last two years.

Then came college. When we dropped our son off at college in the wicked city, I’m not sure who was more anxious.

When it was time to go, our son walked us halfway to the parking garage, and posed for a picture next to the front gate of his university. I lingered and hugged him again, and finally my husband said, “We really need to go.”  He didn’t  want to leave him, either.  He was being strong, with a stiff upper lip.

We drove out of the city and west to Indiana, not speaking a word for hours until we got to the hotel.  A few tears were shed that day.

The turmoil that accompanies each school year is  a hassle. Like everything else in life, it is temporal and to be savored. 

Now our son is in a different stage, and so are we, as freewheeling empty nesters.  The house is quieter, and we are getting used to the solitude.  We miss our son every day, yet he is happy with a full life of his own.

As corny as it sounds, I think about an old episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” where Opie raised abandoned baby birds and lets them fly free.  Opie tells his dad he misses the birds.  Andy notices the happy sounds of birds chirping and tells Opie, “My how the trees are full.”

May you appreciate your baby birds, and then know the fullness of the trees.  © 2012

August 2, 2012

The Prepper Next Door

Last week I learned that a good friend is a prepper.  Her family of four believes that our government is going to collapse and there will be martial law. They are preparing to leave on a moment's notice.
Bonnie and I became friends 20 years ago because our children were around the same age and we attended the same church.  She has since left the progressive Protestant mainstream congregation for a more conservative evangelical church.
Bonnie and another friend, Victoria, came to dinner Monday.   I was talking about  reading apocalyptic-fiction all summer.  In addition to some old favorites, “Alas, Babylon,” “On the Beach,” “Failsafe”, and “Lucifer’s Hammer,” I’ve read “The Leftovers” and “The Age of Miracles.”  These types of books have been favorites of mine since I was a child, and was exposed to "The Late Great Planet Earth."
“Alas, Babylon” is one of my favorite books.  Spoiler alert: I love how the library in this fictional central Florida town has greater importance after the grid, even a 1959 Cold War-era grid, disappears.
Turns out my friend and her family are very afraid of disaster.  She  asked Victoria and I if we watched “Doomsday Prepper” or any of those shows.  
Sometimes I do watch, but it is more from the observer's perspective. I've actually been working on a short story about life in Boston after a long-term power outage.  Started this story before all of India went dark for a couple days last week due to failing infrastructure.
That's about as far as I go. I don’t believe I want to survive a nuclear war or a comet smashing into my neighborhood. I will admit to buying a kerosene lantern and a hatchet before Y2K, too influenced by all these books I love.  And our family does have an emergency preparedness kit from the Red Cross as well as a wind-up radio.
My friend and her family are very prepared for any eventuality. She talked about her family’s “bug-out” bags.  They have heavy packs with food, water, medicine, etc., to survive for 72 hours in the wilderness. Even their thirteen-year-old daughter has her own bag.
I asked her where they would go.  She didn’t answer, but referenced friends in Colorado who are doing the same thing.
She told us that they have three generators, a wealth of ammunition (well, this is Indiana, everybody and his brother has red Chevy trucks with gun racks and pole barns full of ammo). She referred to their property as the “compound.”
I asked her what she thought would happen.  She said, “You’ll have to ask my husband, I’m not sure.”  I pressed her a little further.  “Well, he thinks with prices going up that the government is going to collapse and it is going to be every man for himself.”
She also told me that they carry a lot of money with them in the “bugout bags.”  They are also working to amass a year’s worth of food storage, primarily rice and beans.  And water.
What I know from my LDS friends is that there’s an art and a science to food storage.  It must be rotated and you can’t contain water in plastic too long without the plastic eroding. As I understand it, most LDS folks give their supplies to the poor before it expires, and then load up again. 
(If Mitt Romney is our next President, will there be food storage in the White House?   One of our recent presidents built a bowling alley.  But this is a different beast.)
What impressed me the most, or rather distressed me, about my friend is that she seems to lack any hope at all.  I am not often bullish on our country right now; I often wake up not sure what country I live in.  (Yesterday my town experienced huge traffic jams because of the volume of people trying to get to Chik Fil A for Mike Huckabee’s barn dance and chicken fry.  If the public expression of hate disguised as support wasn't enough, we had a Congressman compare yesterday's affirmation of more preventative health measures available to women with the horrors of Pearl Harbor and 9/11.)
In both cases, freedom of speech means that we all get to express our opinions. 
At this point in my life, I want to focus on love, not hate.   If this makes me a damned fool, then so be it.
Maybe I don’t have a survival ethos, though in my faith tradition I don't believe this is the end of it all. I don't want to live out of a bag in the woods.  I believe in preparing for disasters; I've through tornadoes, floods and hurricanes.  But I’m not certain if a nuclear blast hit our town that I would stay inside. 
Living off the grid, I guess we would survive just as our ancestors did. My father lived without electricity until 1946. 
What kind of life is there with a canvas bag, hiding in the woods?

Cross posted from Open Salon, awarded Editor's Pick.

July 28, 2012

Stuck in the Middle

Our big life change started at the beginning of February.  The Husband and I  decided  to lose weight. It has been a long time coming, and there never was a perfect time.  Turns out we started a week before my mother died, which was perhaps the worst time anyone could choose. 

It has been almost six months now, long enough that we’ve developed healthy habits.  I just made sugar-free orange Jell-O with mandarin oranges, and tomorrow I’ll make parfaits with the Jell-O and some fat-free Kool-Whip. 

I told my husband I was going to do this, and he said, “Yummy!”  Six months ago, we both would have turned up our noses and headed straight to Dairy Queen for candy bar Blizzards.

Husband appears to be more diligent than I am.  I suppose he is.  I suspect that he does not stray, and I suspect he has a great deal more personal discipline that I do.  Not that he wouldn’t eat five Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in a row if a gun was put to his head right now.  That’s not what I’m saying.  He lives by the 95% rule, meaning you eat healthy and well and appropriate portions all but five percent of the time.

 He was wearing waist size 44 jeans, now he’s at 38. I can’t tell you how much weight he’s lost because he won’t weigh himself.  I'm guessing maybe fifty.

I’ve lost about 35 lbs. and I don’t look much different than I did in February. 

Except from behind.  There once was a behind and now there’s just a flat place with clothing hanging over it. 

Do you think people would be offended if our Christmas card picture showed me from the rear, featuring my tiny fanny?

The obnoxious belly fat that I blame on my child (what mother doesn’t?) is still there. 

I can now buy normal sized clothing, but I’m still at the large end of the rack.

And I’m stuck at my “set point,” a weight I haven’t been able to get under in a very long time.  Not that I don’t want to.  You see, I want to weigh what it says on my driver’s license.  (And I also want to be a brunette again, and let’s throw in I want amore with George Clooney.)'

Why does it seem easier for men?

I am exercising; the husband is not.  I am in the world’s oldest synchronized swimming class at a local rehabilitation center.  I’m just kidding about the synchronized swimming, just wanted to put in an Olympics reference. (If you are watching the class from the side or say, the roof, you would find elements similar to synchronized swimming.)

Swimming helps and I believe if I continue to do what I’m doing--increase my walking, really watch my carbs--that I will get over the hump.  I guess I mean, get rid of the hump of obnoxious belly fat that circles my  middle.

I want to lose another 35 lbs. and I would be perfectly happy.  Still would be 25 lbs. over what Weight Watchers want me to weigh, but they can go, well, you know, themselves.)

I miss cheese, especially fancy, expensive cheese.  I miss bread, especially fancy, expensive bread.  I miss ice cream, especially fancy, expensive ice cream.  I miss cucumber, cream cheese, and white bread sandwiches with the crusts cut off that I used to eat all summer.  I miss pork chops.  I miss pasta and most white foods that are bad for me.

But let me tell you what I’ve gained.  Poor word choice.  Let me tell you what I now appreciate.  My favorite black raincoat fits me again. I feel good all the time.  I never have heartburn. I never feel sluggish in the morning. I sleep better. My knee rarely hurts anymore. My shoes fit better.  

While people don’t notice I’ve lost weight, they will say, “You look different.  Did you change your hair?”  I haven’t changed my hair style since Dorothy Hamill went through puberty.

All of this is good, and I’m sure I’ll get past this plateau.  

There are rewards. Somewhere, out there,  in a refrigerator not far from here is a bowl of orange Jell-O setting up for tomorrow.