Monday, April 27, 2015

Mondaze and Rain

It's still overcast today and perhaps we'll get some rain later in the afternoon. I know the saying is that April showers bring May flowers, but I'm more worried about April showers bringing May weeds.

The hummingbirds seem to love the cool weather. They zoom around chirping at one another and visit the feeder frequently. We planted a red salvia near the feeder as a kind of second, natural feeder, and a couple of days ago, Dave saw one of them visit the enormous purple salvia that is growing in the same pot as one of our cottonwood trees. I love those little birds.

I had an early therapy session this morning and I have to say that I like this new therapist, but I'm still not convinced that she's worth the asking price. I don't know. I may just hang on for a couple of months rather than trying to find a new therapist, a daunting proposition any time, much less when I'm already feeling down.

Oh! And while I was getting ready to leave the house this morning, I got a call from the doctor's office. They've come up with a diagnosis that is supported by lab tests (the last one wasn't) and the doctor had called in a prescription to the nearby pharmacy. So that's good. I picked up the medication on the way home from the therapist's office (along with a couple of cheap Jordana lipsticks and a $2 pack of colorful Bic pens as a kind of post-therapy reward).

I came home and had a burger for lunch and then got a big pot of bolita beans going on the stove. If we don't have them tonight (I'm thinking tacos for tonight), I'll make bean soup for dinner tomorrow.

The diet is going well. I did a sneaky mid-week weigh-in just to see how things are progressing and I'm down a little more than two pounds since my last weigh in. I also added in a few more calories (points, actually) to my daily intake, which made things a bit easier on me. When I first started, I sat down and went through and wrote out an idealized "schedule," how many pounds I expected to lose per week, when I would step down points-wise, and so on. It's been almost a month and so far things have progressed according to plan--though of course I expect bumps down the road from time to time.

Dinner did turn out to be tacos. I made them with tempeh and a relatively low-salt spice mix (red chile powder, cayenne, Tabasco sauce, black pepper, minced garlic, oregano, cumin, ketchup, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, and a bit of Better than Bouillon). We had that with blue corn taco shells, shredded cabbage, salsa fresca (tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, garlic, salt and pepper), cheddar cheese, and a bit of plain yogurt (since we were out of sour cream). I had a small bowl of the bolita beans on the side, too. I don't know that I would make tempeh tacos again, but it was nice to try something new with tempeh (since it is a low-sodium vegetarian source of protein).

After dinner, we went out and did a bit more work on the patio. There are still plants that need to be put into pots, but we did get a few in before the rain started. My big excitement: I was leaning over, planting in one of the beds, and got an awful cramp in my abdomen. I have no idea what prompted it, but, man, it was painful enough to take my breath away. I had to come in and lay across the bed to stretch out before it calmed down. Maybe it was the ghost of Joseph Pilates come to remind me to get back to class. (That's tomorrow.)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

How Went The Weekend

It's a gray and rainy Sunday, a nice change from our usual weather. It's supposed to go on like this through very early Tuesday morning. I love this kind of weather. It is, however, making me want to stay in bed all day and watch Netflix.

Saturday Went Like This:

I had a bit of a rough morning. I even yelled at poor Gray Kitty and poor Dave. I was super stressed out by trying to figure out if I was going to take the medication that the urgent care doctor prescribed for me and which I don't actually think I need. Even if I did need it, it's so stressful, given the reactions to medications that I've had in the past, to take any new medications. So I don't know. For now, I've decided to hold off and see if I can talk to my new primary care doctor about it.

I've been relatively stressed out recently anyway. Some of it is PMS, I'm sure. Some of it is dieting and trying to figure out what and when to eat. (And PMS makes me ridiculously sensitive to low blood sugar which also affects my mood.) Some of it is the continual disruption of my sleep schedule. Some of it is the return of my allergy symptoms (which are also curiously made worse by PMS). Some of it is the usual craziness that seems to infect me around this time every year.

Last Thursday I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with the same expensive therapist that I saw in the early part of the month. I'm supposed to see her again on Monday morning. I'm still not convinced and, for what I'm paying, I feel like I should already be convinced. We'll see.

After my morning meltdown, I got into the shower and then got dressed. Dave had gone off to his clarinet lesson, so while I waited for him to come home, I sat and watched cake decorating videos on youtube. I don't know what it is about watching cake and cookie decorating videos that is a good, calming distraction for me, but it works.

When Dave came home, we went out to run some errands. First things first, we stopped for coffee. Then we went to check out food processors at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I kind of love and kind of hate that place. (I definitely love looking at all the kitchen gadgets that I'll never need and never use, thinks like electric quesadilla makers (we just use a pan on the stove) and carpet shampooers.) We mostly just checked out the sizes of the food processors that I've been looking at online because BB&B charges full retail price for everything (the thing I hate!). I'm not paying $20 to $100 more for a food processor from there. We can get it for much cheaper from Amazon and they'll ship it right to us.

We also had to go to Target. Well, I mean, no one ever really has to go to Target, but we did go. We picked up cat food and litter, which we needed, and then about thirty things that we didn't need, strictly speaking. I don't know how I ended up with a new lipstick in the cart, but there you are.

We decided to have lunch out, at Thai Vegan. We shared an order of their "freshy rolls" (which are really just salad rolls), then had red curry and Chinese broccoli, both with tofu. Dave had a Thai iced tea and I just had water, lots and lots of water. I've been eating way too much salt and so I have to start flushing it out of my system.

We came home after and put everything away. Then we put on our little hats and Dave slathered himself in sunscreen and we went outside to do a little work on the patio. We have a ton of new plants to put in pots and we still haven't put any seeds in the garden. The wind kicked up a little, so we didn't get to the garden, but we did transplant some of our new darlings into pots. Though actually Dave did all of the transplanting. I spent time cleaning up the patio, raking and sweeping and rearranging and fertilizing and emptying pots that held last year's long-dead annuals. I mean, I kept myself busy, but I finally came in when the sun got to be a little too much. After a bit, Dave came in too. There are still plants to be potted, but we'll have to put in more time another day.

Gray Kitty had forgiven me by then, so he came to sit in my lap while I watched a few more cake decorating videos and ate a couple of bananas (for the potassium) and drank a few huge glasses of water.

The electricity went out last night for about an hour. Who knows why? I got to sleep relatively early and slept through the night, another kind of miracle.

Sunday's Going Like This, So Far

I've really been mostly vegging today. We had lunch--we planned omelets and then realized we didn't have enough eggs for both of us to have omelets, so I had an omelet and Dave had a veggie cheeseburger. We sauteed some dino kale and made a tomato and cucumber salad. We cut into four of our six avocados to find a good one (which, grrr) to have with our lunch.

We have pilates tonight, but that's not for a few hours. I don't know what we'll get up to this afternoon.

I filled up our hummingbird feeder. I can hear the hummingbirds zooming around out there, chasing each other everywhere. They seem to like this weather, too.

It's actively raining again now, raining quite hard. (Dave just went to look out and said, "It's hail!") I've got the front door open and the cats are snuggling up with me, listening.

Later

Back at the urgent care again in the afternoon. Ugh. One doctor, one nurse practitioner, two completely different opinions. But! It turns out that I didn't need the medication that the doctor prescribed for me after all--and someone was supposed to have called to tell me that and never did. I'm so not surprised.  I'm going to call my new primary care doctor tomorrow to see if I can get an appointment sooner than July. Let's have a third opinion, I guess.

We came home via Whole Foods, where I bought stuff to make myself a salt-free burger for my late lunch/early dinner.

I'm just going to go ahead and get back into my pajamas and go to bed now!

Oh! This is funny though: While I was looking for a book to take with me to urgent care, I picked up Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. We have two copies, one hardback, one paper. I picked up the paperback and found that it had an interesting bookmark: Two sheets of coupons from a bar that I used to drink in in Tokyo, Kachi-kachi-yama. That's TEN free beers that I passed up! Grrr!

Friday, April 24, 2015

T.G.I.F.

It started raining shortly after I got up this morning. Yay, rain! It's been awhile since we had rain--and best of all, it's supposed to stick around today and on and off through the weekend. Even as I write this (at about 1:30 in the afternoon), more dark clouds are rolling in and I can hear thunder in the distance. I love rain like only someone from the desert can love rain. Water falling from the sky is a happy kind of miracle.

I actually slept all night, if you can believe it. I went to bed around 11:00 and only got up once in the night. And I actually got out of the house today, too.  I met Lu Ann for lunch today at Kokoro, where I haven't been in a long time. We sat and chatted over our lunches (maguro-don for her and kara-age-don for me).

On the way home, I went by the co-op to pick up a few things. I've been in a shopping mood lately, but I resisted the urge to buy things just to buy them. I passed up an eyeshadow palette and didn't even get near the skin-care stuff. (They do have something I want there, but it's almost $10 more there than if I buy it from Amazon or Sephora.) Anyway, I've been doing a bit more decluttering recently, inspired by Marie Kondo's book, so I'd hate to turn around and just start re-cluttering as I'm de-cluttering.

Whoa! It just now started hailing!

I'm back at home now, sitting with the door open, listening to the booming thunder, watching the hail and rain come down. A hummingbird just came 'round the feeder and right up to the door and looked in. I wonder where they shelter when it hails; they seem like such small creatures to be making their way in such a big world. I suppose it's why they're so tough and fearless.

Later in the afternoon, I watched a couple of episodes of Louis, Louis C.K.'s show. I can't binge watch that show. I have to space them out because they are devastating. I think it has quietly grown into some of the best television I've ever seen. But you kind of have to be into a kind of strange, messy, pseudo-existentialism-in-action television to think that, I'm sure.

The wind kicked up in the afternoon, blowing things around the patio. What strange weather!

When Dave came home, I made him a grilled cheese sandwich while he steamed some broccoli. I had a few baby carrots while he ate; I wasn't very hungry as my lunch had been huge and, craving sugar in the afternoon, I had snacked on some watermelon and a banana.

We planned a week's worth of dinner menus while we ate. Our CSA harvest box is coming again tomorrow (we get one every other week) and then we'll start the mad dash to eat as many vegetables as we can before they go bad. We're getting kale and salad greens this week, a bunch of avocados, tomatoes, zucchini, lemons, and I don't remember what all else. We plan out a basic menu with no set days to anything and usually we stick to it about 75-80% of the time.

Let's see what else happened today? Hmmm. Not much. Just your basic day.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throw Down Your Truth

I haven't updated since Sunday night; not a whole lot has been going on.  But a few things have happened:

Monday & Tuesday

We put some of our starter plants into the garden, eight tomatoes (we saved two to put in pots on the patio), six peppers, and two eggplants. We are so incredibly late on getting any seeds into the ground, but it's always worth planting radish and beets, I think, so we'll do that some night this week.

Tuesday Slid into Wednesday

We went to pilates last night (Tuesday) and I was really tired after. We worked our little legs off!  We came home via the pharmacy and the co-op. We didn't get much at the co-op, but we did need some bread and such.

Late Tuesday night, I had a little bit of a freak out over what I think are side-effects from my otherwise demonstrably ineffective blood pressure medication. (Poor Dave. I woke him up in the middle of the night to talk me down from a panic attack, and then he got up early to take me to the doctor's office. Then he had to go to work.) I've got some symptoms that the doctor I saw at the urgent care center today thinks are unrelated, but I'm not convinced. I mean, you don't just out of the blue develop the symptoms I have. Anyway, I've got an appointment to see my new, as-of-yet-unmet primary care physician--in JULY. So, we'll see. In the meantime, I'm going to stop taking the medication and I'll try not to drop dead. So that should be fun.

I went back to the pharmacy--yay--and then came home and did a bit of yardwork. I thought I'd try to get a nap in, but the postman knocked on the door to deliver a package. Saba didn't like that at all, but she went out to the door with me to see who it was. She's like a little dog that can't bark. She does growl, though, as does Gray Kitty. But he's a scaredy cat and runs away when people come to the door.

Today--Wednesday--is the third week anniversary of my diet. I don't weigh myself on Wednesday, but I do get a weekly reward for sticking to my diet. (I mean, mostly sticking to my diet, because there was BBQ and Chinese food this past weekend, but I did get right back on the program as soon as that was over--and I'm blaming it on PMS, as you do.) Anyway, I'm thinking of getting a small food processor (like a 3-cup sized one) as a reward. I've always been a hands on kind of cook, eschewing most small appliances, but now I'm thinking that I'd like to have one. They range in price from $13 to $40, so I'm doing a little comparison shopping on Amazon right now.

Wednesday Evening

After pilates on Wednesday evening (yes, we went Tuesday and Wednesday!), we came home via the co-op. We hadn't planned anything for dinner, so we came up with a bean soup idea on the fly. At the co-op, we picked up an extra can of black beans, a single jalapeno, a lime, and some watermelon (which I just realized we never ate). We also picked up some probiotics. Little pills filled with bacteria are expensive!

At home, Dave went out to feed the wormies while I started on dinner.

The bean soup I made ended up being: one onion, chopped up and sauteed in olive oil with three large cloves of garlic, a big spoonful of ketchup (which sounds odd, but I've been using it as a cooking ingredient in chili for awhile when I don't have any tomato paste), two cans of black beans, Better than Bouillon vegetable broth, oregano, cumin, red chile powder, and black pepper. After it simmered for a bit, I blended it with the stick blender (but left it a bit chunky).  We ate it topped with with toasted corn tortillas, plain yogurt, and chopped tomatoes, avocado, and jalapeno. It was quite tasty. (I had some of the leftovers this morning for breakfast on top of a baked sweet potato with some plain yogurt.)

After dinner, I was really exhausted. I was practically falling asleep at the dinner table, so even though it was only about 8:30, I changed into my pajamas and got into bed. David practiced his clarinet for awhile though it didn't keep me awake. I fell asleep listening to an episode of Bob's Burgers.

Wednesday Slid Into Thursday

Of course I got up again at 2:30. I took my pill and had a big glass of water. (I've been trying to drink a lot more water recently. My goal is 32 ounces per meal, so 96 ounces per day at least.) Just before breakfast, I had my weekly weigh in. (Despite its being that time of the month (which always adds a pound or four) and my weekend run of over-the-top restaurant cheat meals, I was still down one and a half pounds for the week.) I made a cup of coffee and my breakfast and ate a bit before 4:00 a.m.

Lately while I've been having breakfast, I've been journaling and reading my daily affirmation. This morning I wrote a bit about dreams, not the sleeping kind, but the waking kind. I need a new one. I've also been drawing or sketching a bit as part of my journaling. Yesterday, I was reading the website of an artist I like very much, Elsa Mora. She was answering a question from one of her readers about how to get unstuck when you think your creativity has dried up. Her advice was to pick the thing that worried you the most and draw it. I tried that and came up with a new sculpture idea.

After that I was still tired, so I went back to bed.

Lots of Good Things On the Internet


I found a list of fourteen things ("every single thing I know") that Anne Lamott wrote on the eve of her 61st birthday. Here's an excerpt:
1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it is filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.

...

5. Chocolate with 70% cacao is not actually a food. It's best use is as bait in snake traps.

...

10. Grace: Spiritual WD-40. Water wings. The mystery of grace is that God loves Dick Cheney and me exactly as much as He or She loves your grandchild. Go figure. The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, "Help!" and then buckle up. Grace won't look like Casper the Friendly Ghost, but the phone will ring, the mail will come, and then against all odds, you will get your sense of humor about yourself back. Laughter really is carbonated holiness, even if you are sick of me saying it.
And then this morning the internet wasn't working, so I was listening to some music on iTunes. One of my favorite songs that I forget all the time is one of my favorite songs is The Next Voice You Hear by Jackson Browne:

Gather your deeds and your possessions,
Whatever certainty you know,
Forget your heroes,
You don't really need those last few lessons.
Stand in the open.
The next voice you hear will be your own.
...
Throw down your truth and check your weapon.
Don't look to see if you're alone.
Just stand your ground,
Don't turn around whatever happens.
Don't ask directions.
The next voice you hear will be your own.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend Highlights (Mostly Food Related, Of Course)

Friday

I was sick on Friday, starting in the late morning. I think it was something I ate, but you almost never know with these things. My stomach finally felt a little better yesterday afternoon.

Saturday

We ordered Chinese take-out from Chopstix. We ordered so much food (rice, house tofu, spicy green beans, baby bok choi, vegetable egg rolls) that the restaurant included four fortune cookies with our order. Nope, it was just dinner for the two of us. This morning, I finished up the leftover tofu for breakfast along with a bit of the spicy green beans and baby bok choi. I also had a bit of white rice with it. Yum.

I slept most of the day, trying to make up for so many days of broken and little sleep. I fell asleep around 1:30 in the afternoon and, except for dinner and a few bathroom trips, I slept until 1:30 in the morning. So that was my exciting day.

Sunday

I woke up Sunday morning with a pain in my left shoulder from sleeping on it funny. It was one of those strange pains that seems like it's better until you move wrong and then it hurts all over again. I ended up skipping pilates because I didn't want to exacerbate the problem.  While Dave went off to class, I had a nap.

After that, we went to the studio for a short time. We loaded a bisque kiln, chatted with Paul, took Crunch for a walk.

Then it was time for dinner. We met my mom and brother at Rudy's BBQ. We snuck Dave's dinner (Quorn "chick'n nuggets," which he douses in Rudy's BBQ sauce) in and I ordered a half-rack of baby back ribs for myself. We shared orders of potato salad, bean salad, and coleslaw. My brother had smoked turkey. My mom had ribs. We chatted for a little while and then I went ahead and had a rice crispy treat for dessert. (Those things are my weakness. I love rice crispy treats.)

After dinner, Dave and I came home via the co-op. We have lots of fruits and vegetables at home, but no protein besides eggs and cheese. So we bought some tofu, tempeh, beans, and more Quorn nuggets. I also picked up some hibiscus tea.

We had planned to do a little planting in the garden, but after such a big dinner, Dave was reluctant to spend time bending over planting, so we bagged that plan!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday's Child

It's Thursday already?!

It was freaking cold today. It only got up to 64 degrees, and the wind blew pretty continuously all day. It even blew over one of the laundry racks outside. When that happened, two of the clothes pins on the laundry hanger broke off, which sucks. I brought that thing home with me from the Muji in NYC because hangers like that are completely unavailable here and, back when I bought it, Muji had yet to open their online store in the US. I could order a replacement from Muji, but it would cost $25, not including shipping. I only paid $15 for mine. (Well, $15 plus a trip to New York City.)

Thursday Things:

I was doing laundry and dishes when the postman came to the door today. He's a friendly guy, but he's never done that before. Unfortunately, I was still in my pajamas, hadn't even put on a bra yet (which, ugh). So that was my fun surprise for the day. Yay.

The cats and I went in and out a million times today. I was taking out our little plants after their night indoors, then I was bringing in yesterday's laundry in three trips. Then I was taking out today's laundry in three trips. The cats are never on the right side of the door either. They follow me out, then don't want to come in right away. They want to come in a minute after I close the door. Then they want to go out again. Saba has taught Gray Kitty the trick of coming inside to use the litter box. When they scratch at the door to be let in and then run immediately to the box, I'm always, like, you were outdoors! You could pee anywhere out there! But no, given their druthers, they'd prefer to come inside and use the box I have to clean.

Thursday Foods:

Here's what I ate today, not necessarily in this order:

Two egg whites, four slices of Ezekiel low-sodium bread, and 1.8 ounces of cheddar cheese.

I also ate two crimini mushrooms, a bit of onion, a bit of bell pepper, a bit of avocado, two and a half small tomatoes, and a big heap of broccoli.

I also ate a pear, a banana, frozen blueberries, fresh blueberries, one cup of Greek yogurt, baby carrots, cucumber, and celery.

I also ate a small handful of raisins and a cup of milk.

I'm forgetting something. Oh! I also had two cups of coffee and a big spoonful of flax oil for the omegas.

I had a sugar crash about halfway through pilates tonight, which is why I downed the handful of raisins. I finished the workout though, so that's good. Then I came home and drank some milk while we made dinner. (Dave had a quesadilla, I had a grilled cheese with onion and tomato. We both had a broccoli.)

I hate that low-blood sugar feeling, like the tide is going out and leaving me stranded. I have to remember to have a more substantial snack before we go to class.

Thursday Dreaming:

I had a long, long nap in the morning and early afternoon and had another one of my strange dreams. I was supposed to have an exam (I was in school) and I hadn't started to study yet--or even make up any study cards. I looked at the stack of cards and was reminded of how many things I had to memorize and then promptly forget back when I was in school. It was a very strong memory. In the dream, I had to go to the bathroom. I went in and the light was off. I knew before I turned on the light in the bathroom, that one of the people from an earlier part of the dream, a young man, was going to be in the bathtub, dead or nearly so. And then I turned on the light and there he was, in the tub, barely breathing.

That was not the end of the dream, but it's the part I remember most strongly.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I'm Molting! I'm Molting!

Wednesday was yet another laundry day. Surprise, surprise. I'm almost finished. I may throw in the towel, though--throw it into the washing machine with our other towels. Our towels definitely need it!

My allergies are back, too, dragging their old friends sneezy and lethargy with them. I'm staying off the antihistamines until I get desperate, but between the pollen and the wind, it has not been fun.

The weather has been very unsettled and unsettling. It climbs into the upper 70s during the day and drops into the 30s at night, an unusually precipitous drop, even here in the desert. The days start out sunny then the clouds roll in in the late morning or early afternoon. We haven't had any rain, it's just the wind pushing the dark clouds around the sky. I don't think any of it is atypical for this time of year, but I'm wanting more sunshine. (Remind me I said this when, in June, the sun is beating down and it gets into the 90s and 100s.)

I've been having the craziest dreams too, like, really dense and lifelike. Last night, I dreamt I was in a kind of control room while someone demonstrated the newest cell phone technology to me. When I napped in the afternoon, I dreamt about talking with someone about some kind of bond issue--I think. The dreams feel like I'm not at the center of them, but part of a larger dream that I am only seeing and participating in a small part of. It's a strange feeling, even in the dream.

I've been having trouble eating enough, even on--or especially on--my diet. (I know it seems weird to complain about dropping weight too quickly, but that is precisely what I'm complaining about. Thirteen pounds in two weeks is too fast.) In an effort to eat a bit more, we went out for dinner last night with my brother to the excellent and no frills Chinese place. (It is seriously no frills. They serve everything in styrofoam take-out containers.) I shared an order of spicy broccoli and one of tofu and vegetables with Dave. My brother had sweet and sour chicken. Yes, it was mostly rice and vegetables, but I was so stuffed after we ate that I felt soporific, lulled into submission by white rice.

After dinner, we all wandered around Costco in a daze. Dave and I loaded up our basket with lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. We brought home strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cucumbers, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, bananas, and D'Anjou pears. We also bought lots of Greek yogurt, three big six-serving containers. I also picked up a three-pack of fuzzy socks to wear to pilates.

At home, we put everything away and I did a bit of cleaning and rearranging in the kitchen. While I was doing that, I did another load of laundry and then made Dave's lunch for Thursday.

In anticipation of tonight's freezing temperatures, Dave brought our little transplants inside.

What else? Oh! Today I got my shipment of the CeraVe moisturizer, eye cream, and face lotion and the verdict after using them once is: Wow. My face feels amazing! It is much, much better than a week ago, when my skin was so dry that it hurt and I looked like I was molting.

And with that image, I bid you good night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ugh, Tuesday!

Ugh, today.

I got up last night around 1:00 a.m. and instead of going back to bed around 5:30, I stayed up to give my mom a ride to a doctor's appointment. (Yes, she's perfectly capable of taking herself, but the parking situation near the doctor's office is atrocious. It's easier to drop her off and then go sit in a nearby park for awhile and pick her up again.) Today, instead of going to sit in the park, I went to Satellite Coffee and got what was one of the worst iced coffees I've ever had. It was like they served me the rinse water from the caustic cleanser they use on the urns, poured over ice. I suppose there's a reason this place went Chapter 11 a couple of months ago. So much for supporting local coffeshops.

But, the terrible coffee was my ticket to sit at a table and read some of my book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I have to say that in the past I've done what she advocates (basically getting rid of everything) and it's great! Until you slide right back into your old cluttered existence. It's like dieting. You drop a bunch and then it comes right back. Same old, same old. It's an endless fight against the accumulation of baggage in every form, I think.  Although I do like her idea of expressing gratitude to one's possessions. I like that idea very much. So when I accidentally dropped my post-it notes on the floor this morning, I apologized to them.

Anyway, following the Kondo method, I tossed about 90% of my coffee in the garbage when my mom texted me to come pick her up.

I got back home a little before 10:00 a.m. Something I had eaten or drunk was causing an allergic reaction and my face was turning red and puffy. The inside of my nose was beginning to swell up and I could feel it moving into the back of my throat. I took some Benadryl, jumped in a cool shower to wash off any pollen that was stuck to me, and called Dave. He came home from work for awhile to make sure things didn't get out of hand. I don't know what prompted the allergic reaction, but I suspect it's a pollen allergy that ramps up my immune system to the point where I react to things that would normally not prompt a reaction. Thank god for antihistamines.

Dave went back to work around noon and I went back to bed for a few hours. I got up again around 3:30 and took a quarter dose of Benadryl as my face was still a bit red and itchy. I had some cheese toast with tomato as a late lunch and finished up another load of laundry.

In the afternoon, I took another quick run through a cool shower (my hair was crazy from having slept on it while it was wet) and texted to ask Dave if he was going to want dinner before our pilates class. He didn't, so I made myself a cup of coffee.

Around that time, the wind kicked up and big, dark clouds started rolling in from the west. I checked online and saw that the 20% chance of rain had risen to 40% and was headed up to 60%. All this and it isn't even monsoon season yet!

Pilates was interesting tonight. Judi is out of town, so it was just David and me. The instructor was very, very chatty tonight. We talked mainly about cheating spouses, which she says is very Argentinian; she had several examples from her own extended family. When she's chatty, it usually goes one of two ways: She either loses count in the middle of an exercise and lets us go on with the exercise forever or she stops us to chat and chat without going on to the next exercise. Tonight was the former. Both Dave and I walked out on shaky legs with taxed abdominal muscles. I know I'm getting stronger with each class--but, man, I am earning it!

We stopped at Walgreens on the way home to buy batteries and I ended up in the "As Seen on TV" section of the store. I love all those fakarkte tchotchkes, useful and not, and tonight my will power was nil so I came home with a Veggetti. As soon as we got home, Dave took it out of the package and immediately started to try it. He veggettied (is that a word even?) a carrot and then a bit of cucumber. He tried to veggetti some red pepper, but that didn't work out. While he was doing all this, I was making the main part of our dinner.

Tonight for dinner we had Quorn vegetarian "meatball" sandwiches (well, Dave had a sandwich, I had meatballs in sauce) and salad.  When we finished dinner, I was still hungry, so I checked my food journal and realized that I was something like 500 calories under my day's allotment. Yikes! So I had a bowl of Greek yogurt with some Kashi 7 Grain cereal and a few raisins thrown in. I'm still a little under, but the dark chocolate in the kitchen is calling my name.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Garden Countdown

Today was Laundry Day! Hooray!

Actually, I dislike laundry enough that Laundry Day is really Laundry Half-Week because I never do laundry so it piles up to the point where it takes several days to get through it.  So it's Laudry Day Two, actually. That's how I spent my afternoon, washing and hanging and folding laundry. Fun, right?

While I did laundry, I also soaked the garden beds again. I feel like we're getting a late start to planting, but the plant nurseries are still filled with early cool season plants like chard and kale. They have tomatoes, of course, because people who garden are crazy and would probably buy tomato plants in the dead of winter if they could find them for sale.  So of course, that's what Dave and I mostly bought on our jaunt to the nursery today: tomato plants. We bought maybe six kinds of tomato plants? And we also bought peppers, lots of types of peppers, including one variety of jalapeno with a name that Dave thought was funny, "Mucho Nacho." We also picked up a six pack of Italian basil and a bunch of other single pots of herbs like cilantro, lemon verbena, pineapple mint, and who knows what else.

Oh! And we bought a couple of six-packs of pansies, including a kind of dark maroon pansy with frilly petals. I'd never seen those before. And we got snapdragons and impatiens, too, I think. I forget.

We also picked up a new rake and a sprinkler. It's gardening season!

After our little nursery run, we came home and immediately began dinner. We had planned on tacos tonight, so while Dave made salsa with our onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, and cilantro, I cooked up some Quorn crumbles with a mix of things intended to recreate a low-salt taco seasoning. (Tonight, I tossed in onion, garlic, roasted garlic powder, oregano, cumin, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, pepper, smoked paprika, celery seed, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and Better than Bouillon low-sodium vegetable broth. It was not bad, though I wish I could just buy a low- or no-sodium packet of taco seasoning instead of having to go all mad scientist.) I shredded some cabbage, grated some cheddar cheese, Dave set the table, and we were in business!  The taco business!

After dinner, I did some dishes and started another load of laundry. (Our tiny washing machine hooks up to the kitchen sink, so it gets to be a little bit of a dance, water-wise.) Then I went and sat outside for awhile, chatting with Dave about what and when we should start planting. (We have some nights in the low 30s coming up this week, and I don't want to risk a frost getting our little babies.) When we came in, Dave got out his clarinet and I sat down to watch an episode of Bob's Burgers. We paused to sort through our old seeds. Why in the world did we ever think we'd need so many packets of radish and beet seeds? Ay yi yi.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Abbreviated Sunday

I was up in the middle of the night anyway, so I read for a little while and then went ahead and did the dishes. I had took my meds, had breakfast, spent some time online, wrote in my journal. All the things you do in the middle of the night.

I fell asleep again around 8:00 a.m. and slept until around 1:30 in the afternoon. When I woke up, Dave had just finished lunch and had slathered himself in sunscreen because he was on his way out to work in the garden. He borrowed Kevin's baby electric tiller and tilled both raised beds. While he worked on that, I cleaned the bathroom and did a few loads of laundry. We had a pilates class at 4:15, so at 3:00, we stopped what we were doing, ate a quick snack of yogurt and strawberries, then had showers and got dressed for class.

Our pilates instructor was not terribly hard on us today, thankfully. We did a lot of ab work, as usual, and some awful thing called The Grasshopper on the high ladder barrel that was awful enough that I only managed to do it twice. (The worst part was balancing head downward while the barrel pressed into my stomach, which was horribly uncomfortable.) The rest of the workout was routine. I feel like I'm getting stronger with each lesson.

After pilates, we stopped at Whole Foods and picked up a few things. We bought lots of strawberries and blueberries, cat food, and fixings to make tacos for dinner tomorrow night. I'm going to make some salsa fresca to go on the tacos, so we bought tomatoes, cilantro, and a jalapeno. (The CSA box had onions in it this week, so we didn't need any.) Whole Foods was crawling with people--and I don't know if it's just me, but the Whole Foods crowd really seems to excel at being annoying and clueless--so we didn't linger. That, and we were both pretty hungry and I wanted to get dinner made right away.

At home, I started cooking while Dave put away the groceries and helped wash and prep vegetables. For dinner, we had omelets stuffed with sauteed spinach, big bowls of green salad, and steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and broccolette. Dave put a ton of cheddar on his omelet, and I had a bit of chevre on mine.

After dinner, we fed the worms, did more laundry, raked the garden soil to even it out, and started the hose running to wet things down. The topsoil we have is practically water-repellent, so it takes a couple of days to get it soaked enough to plant in.

Dave is practicing his clarinet now, and I'm watching a couple of episodes of Bob's Burgers. I have to get up in a few minutes and turn off the hose.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Kind of a nothing day, but with errands.

I was up all night and got to bed around 7:30 in the morning. Dave woke me up at 10:30. I started in on the coffee immediately.

We wanted to go to the plant nursery to buy some bedding plants for the garden but when we got there, it was ridiculously crowded. I knew it was not going to be a good idea to mix being so tired with being around so many people, so we left there and drove to a second nursery. That nursery was equally crowded, so we went instead to the pet store to pick up some cat food and treats.

Before we left the house, we had eaten a snack of berries and yogurt, but that wasn't enough, so I suggested lunch at Dion's. We shared a salad and each had a six-inch veggie and green chile sub. I got fruit salad on the side, but gave it to Dave. I also recommitted to my caffeine intake program with a giant iced tea.

I felt better after eating, less melt-down-y, so we went back to one of the nurseries. They had plants, of course, but they were mostly flowering and landscaping plants and we wanted starter plants for the vegetable garden. We did end up buying lavender for the bees and a kind of salvia (I think) for the hummingbirds.

At home, we checked the worms and dampened down their bin. Then I started cleaning up the patio. It's in pretty poor shape right now and I want to rearrange the and replant a lot of the pots. I clipped back some of the dead branches on the cottonwoods, trimmed up the silverlace, and cleaned out two of the tiny beds in the corner, one of which had grass planted in it. The cats had tramped down last year's dead, dry grass, turning it into a kind of cat nest that they've been napping in for a couple of weeks now. I'll bet they were pretty sad to find that I had pulled it up, wrecking their nest.

When Dave went off to his clarinet lesson, I came in to get out of the sun and try to take a nap. Didn't work.

When Dave got home from his clarinet lesson, we chatted for awhile and then I got in the shower. It was getting late and we had plans to go out for dinner.

But first: I've complained about my dry skin problems endlessly, I know. I did a bunch of research online, looking at reviews on MakeupAlley and Amazon, and found that CeraVe was my best bet for what to try next. Yesterday at Target, I bought CeraVe hydrating cleanser and I used it for the first time today. It is awesome! I washed my face, put on some Aquaphor, and my flaking, reptilian skin was completely gone. I was so happy that I got online and ordered their moisturizing cream, eye cream, and facial lotion. (Of course that means that tomorrow I'll wake up covered in zits or something, but for now, I just want to dream about not being dry and itchy and flaky!)

So dinner: We went to a place that Judi and Paul like, called Cool Water Fusion (terrible name). I had checked the online reviews and they were legit terrible, like bad food and surly service terrible, so I didn't have very high expectations. When I looked at their online menu, I noticed that it had points values listed next to several items. It turns out that they're right next to a Weight Watchers and, yes, they were points values for the program. It didn't keep me from going way over my allotted daily points, but at least I have some idea how far over I went with my shared order of onion rings, Chef's burger (burger with pulled pork and an egg on top) and fries, shared order of creme brulee, and diet Coke. And the food was surprisingly good, I thought. (Especially considering that sometimes Judi and Paul like a place because the owner fawns over them and not because the food is exceptional.)

After dinner we walked to the Dollar Tree near the restaurant and bought a random assortment of things, including a pool noodle, Eric Carle Hungry Caterpillar stickers, foam-core board, and a red handkerchief. On the way home, we stopped by the co-op and picked up some tomatoes and a few plants, too, including eggplant, and four-packs of basil and yellow pear tomatoes. Our first garden transplants!  I still want to get peppers and jalapenos, maybe a cucumber (even though we've never ever had luck with cucumbers), and then of course we'll plant corn, radishes, and beets from seed.  It's fun to garden--and so long as we keep our CSA harvest box on order, we'll have fresh vegetables all summer!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Out of Boundaries

I got up around midnight last night, just as Dave was falling asleep. I wanted to get back to sleep but couldn't, so I spent some time on the internet and watched some Netflix. After an hour or so, I got up to take my meds. I thought I might go back to sleep again after that--I even felt sleepy!--but just after 2:00 in the morning, the wind pushed open the gate and it slammed against the wall, scaring me half to death. Of course I was awake after that. I got up to make sure it was the wind (we've had lots of middle of the night activity in the neighborhood recently), and then I put away the idea of sleep.

I got up and had breakfast, my usual egg whites on a slice of toast. This time, I had a bit of the leftover quinoa tabouli on the side. I followed up with some strawberries, blueberries, and yogurt.

For the past couple of weeks while I have breakfast, I have been journaling and going through a small book of daily affirmations. I've never really considered myself a daily affirmation type of person, but I think it's helping to focus. Otherwise, it's easy to push difficult things that I want to deal with out of my head.

I didn't fall asleep again until after Dave had left for work. I slept until about 1:00 in the afternoon, a kind of long and glorified nap from which I woke wanting more. But no, there were things to be done.

First, we had to pick up our little car from the mechanic. (The wheel bearing on the front driver's side had been repaired and the batteries in the keys changed.) After we did that, we went for haircuts.  Dave got a really short cut that, with his overgrown beard, makes him look very hipstery, like one of the Mast Brothers. Me, I got my A-line bob trimmed up.

It was very late afternoon by now and I was starting to get a little hungry, but there were still more errands to do. I had a yogurt and fruit drink that I keep in my purse to stave off the hangry feeling. We brought the old car home then went right back out. We stopped first at the gas station, then went to Target.

We had a short list of things to get, but of course we never stick to the list so we came home with all kinds of stuff.  I couldn't find the face cream that I wanted, but I bought another tube of Aquaphor to use in its stead. (I've been using it since I read a dermatologist say in an interview that she uses it on her patients who have had laser treatments because she's never seen it cause an allergic reaction. I wonder about that since it contains lanolin, which some people are sensitive to, but it's working to help alleviate my ridiculously dry skin for now.) We also found that Target is now carrying Pacifica makeup which I could only find at Whole Foods before (as in, before they stopped carrying it). They make a great mascara that doesn't irritate my eyes, so I picked up a tube of that.

As we left Target, we shared a bag of Snap Pea Crisps and talked about what to have for dinner. That led to a stop at the co-op for vegetables for a stir fry. Yes, dinner was a big stir fry (tofu, broccoli and broccolette, cauliflower, onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger) on top of shirataki noodles with chile oil. Yum.

Otherwise, it was a very quiet night. Dave practiced his clarinet for awhile and I watched an episode of Begin Japanology about ikebana and then tempered that with few episodes of Bob's Burgers on Netflix. Yawn.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursdazed

Time and I have never been friends, really. But the new battleground is the alarm function on my phone. Yesterday I had to pick up Dave at 4:45, so I set my alarm for 3:45--and I woke up at 4:23. I realized today that I had never actually set the alarm, I just entered the time I wanted to set it for but never hit the set button, so the alarm never went off. Today, I made sure that I set my alarm for 10:30 since my mom was picking me up at 12:30 and I wanted time to have a cup of coffee and a shower. When I woke up at 11:34, I was a bit surprised. I thought I had slept through my alarm, but when I checked, no. No, I had set it to go off at 10:30 on Saturday.

The Brain is not usually so careless about things like that. I think I'm just overtired from my weird sleep pattern, sleeping for a couple of hours, then getting up in the middle of the night for hours and hours, then falling asleep again in the morning. It's not fun.

I got up and there was no time for a shower of course (my mother is always early, so 12:30 really means 12:15 at the latest). I had a big cup of coffee and washed my face and did my hair. About that time I began to realize that a big cup of coffee on an empty stomach was not a good idea, so I had one of the Bartlett pears we picked up at the co-op. I did my makeup and let the cats out for a little patio time. They came in when I left, thankfully.

For lunch, my mother and I went to Five Guys and had burgers. I've never been there before, but I checked their menu online ahead of time so I knew what to expect. They've got a good set up, good burgers and fries, but unfortunately they don't have much vegetarian fare. I ended up having a Little Cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mustard. My mom and I shared a regular order of fries and I had a diet Coke then some iced tea.

After lunch, we drove out to my aunt's place and had a visit. We stayed quite awhile and I didn't get home until 4:30 or so.

I had planned to make dinner, so I got started. I made some red quinoa to use in quinoa tabbouleh. I made the lemon, garlic, and olive oil dressing for the tabbouleh and then made a batch of hummus. I fried up some tempeh and made a Greek yogurt and baharat sauce to go on top. I chopped up the veggies for the tabbouleh (cucumbers, onions, tomato, parsley) and put everything together.

We sat down to dinner when Dave got home.

That brings us up to now, just about. I'm pretty exhausted, so I put on my pajamas and climbed into bed with my computer to watch an episode of The Blacklist.

A Frustrating, Rewarding Day

Tuesday night was another strange night of helicopters and police cars in our neighborhood. It went on for hours, but there was nothing on the news about it Wednesday morning. Our neighborhood is all Blade Runner all of a sudden. Makes me wonder if we have some new neighbors. Weird.

I only got a couple of hours of sleep Tuesday night before waking up. This pattern has been going on for too long and it's starting to wear on me. Unfortunately, instead of getting a long nap in the morning, I had to get up and be productive. The old car had to go to the mechanics and then I had an appointment later.

But all that was ahead of me when I got up a little before 1:00 a.m. I watched a few videos on youtube, took my meds, had a middle of the night breakfast of egg whites on toast, the last of the beet slaw from last night, and some berries with yogurt.  I didn't start on the coffee until it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep.

At 6:00, I got up, packed Dave's lunch and got dressed. We left the house a bit before 7:00--Dave drove the old car, I drove the new--to have the car at the mechanics by 7:30. I dropped Dave off at his office after that and came home. I thought I'd take a short nap, but that didn't happen. I was having trouble falling asleep. I got up, had half a cheese sandwich and took a shower, did my hair and makeup, all that fun stuff. I had another cup of coffee, I guess because I enjoy that jittery but exhausted feeling.

I went to my appointment, which was with a new therapist.

Here's a couple of things that annoyed me:

One is that she has a PhD--which, great--but she bills herself as a doctor--which, no. You're a therapist, not a psychiatrist. Second, she was four minutes late. Doesn't seem so important, but any amount of late infuriates me and four minutes late is late. Period. And when I'm paying $200 an hour--yes, you read that correctly, the initial visit was $200--I am not happy to sit and wait. Four minutes worth of her being late cost me $13. That's for a sixty minute hour. But since her "hours" are 45 minutes, her being four minutes late actually cost me almost $18. That's more than twice as much as people making minimum wage make in two hours.

Then there was the inept receptionist in the front. She's not specific to my therapist but works for all the people in the building, many of whom are therapists. I don't know what it is, but I can almost guarantee you that when a therapist has a receptionist, that receptionist is going to be the most inept person you could possibly hire to do anything. It's some kind of rule, I think. I've even heard therapists complain about it. They complain about their own receptionists! It's always struck me as darkly humorous, that therapists can't even manage their relationships with their employees such that they don't get stepped on by them at every turn. And I'm supposed to take advice from a therapist who can't meet an interpersonal problem head on and set boundaries?

Anyway, annoying.

The visit was fine. We went over some initial paperwork that I filled out and talked about why I had come to see her. I liked her in the end, and we got on well otherwise. She said she felt like we would be a good fit and she gave me her card and said that if I decided to come back, to give her a call.

I haven't decided yet about going back.

I came home and sent Dave a text that I was going to try to get a nap. I had to pick him up at 4:45 so I set my alarm for 3:45 and, after a time, managed to fall asleep.

Of course I overslept. When I looked at clock, it was 4:23. I sent Dave a text to let him know that I might be late and then threw on some clothes, grabbed an apple (I hadn't eaten anything since I had my half cheese sandwich six hours earlier) and I ran out the door. I made it to his office only a few minutes late which was surprising considering the traffic during rush hour.

Despite the apple, I was still pretty hungry. I hadn't had the energy or time to stop at the grocery store, which meant that our dinner choices at home were pretty limited. We decided to have dinner at Thai Vegan. We shared an order of salad rolls (they call them "freshy rolls" there) to start. I put tons of chile on mine instead of the sweet sauce they serve with the rolls. We followed up with shared orders of Chinese broccoli (kai-lan) and pad woon sen (mung bean noodles stir fried with tofu, zucchini, onion, bean sprouts, and a few other things, I'm sure). It was all very yummy and best of all, we didn't have to cook.

Over dinner, I told Dave about my therapy appointment, asked him his opinion of the matter. I told him that I was undecided about whether or not to go back. While we were talking, I suddenly remembered that one of Dave's co-workers (and a guy who goes to the old studio) had perhaps mentioned that he used to see this therapist. I wonder if I'm remembering correctly. I'm curious, but I don't know if I should have Dave ask him or not. That might be a tricky subject to bring up at work, so I'd probably better not.

We were home a little before six, which gave us an hour to putz around before our third pilates class this week. (Yes, we did two days in a row. No, that was not a good idea.) Dave got in a little practice time on his clarinet. I spent some time on the internet. Then we changed clothes and left the house.

Our class was at 7:15. We don't really have a set time each week; the teacher just lets us know at the end what time the next class is going to be. We have had a couple of mix ups, unfortunately, like tonight. We started at 7:15, but Judi wasn't there at 7:15. I figured she thought class was at 7:30, which she did. She showed up late and then got pissed off at me! She came in and saw we had started and said in a really pissy, accusatory way that I had told her the class was at 7:30. I got pissed right back and told her that I wasn't her personal assistant so if she didn't know the time that class started then that was on her, not on me. The instructor was a little freaked out by the exchange. She apologized to Judi and said she would text her the time from now on. I said sarcastically, well, I'm sad to lose my job as Judi's personal assistant, but I didn't think I'd shed any tears over it. At the end of class, Judi was still pissed off and she drove away without saying anything to me.

That whole thing really burned me. I was still fuming about it later as we came home, so I talked to Dave about it. I have become the de facto point of contact for everyone in the class when we need to communicate with the instructor about class time and so on. By that, I mean that I had become the person who arranged classes via text and then made sure that everyone knew the right times and so on. I don't know how it happened that I got that job, considering it was Judi's idea to take the class in the first place! So to be blamed for being responsible for Judi being late to class under those circumstances really chapped my ass.  I know she was embarrassed to be late, but that's not my fault and not my responsibility and I'm not going to play nice and pretend it is. So, whatever.

Another strange thing happened during the class: Something I did or said made the instructor ask Dave if I was always happy. Dave said something like, she's always angry actually. That's true. I agree with that statement one hundred percent. The instructor said to me, but you're always laughing. I think I even laughed when she said that. I laughed because the one secret that most people don't know about funny people, about people who are always joking and laughing, is that much of that is motivated by a tremendous anger. The joking and laughing is an attempt to circumvent the anger. The funnier a person is, the angrier she or he is. Most people either don't know that or don't want to believe that. But it's true.

After pilates, we came home via the co-op where we picked up some things for Dave's lunch and our dinner. Thursday I get to have lunch with my mother. When we were texting back and forth, trying to figure out where to go, she said she didn't want to ruin my diet so we should go someplace "nutritious." But, man, I can eat salad at home anytime, so we decided to go out for burgers! Yum. I haven't had a burger in awhile, so I'll call that my cheat meal for this week.

Speaking of The Diet

I had decided to weigh myself once a week and I set an initial goal of a loss of two pounds per week. This week when I stepped on the scale, I was down five pounds from last week's weigh in. I'm happy to see a loss of course, (though I had decided already to reward myself for just doing the weigh in, whether I had gained or lost!), but that is definitely too much, too fast. I'm going to start eating a bit more on a daily basis.

Eating more means adding in a few more points to my daily allotment. I'm in the 24-33 range, more depending on whether I decide to add in all my activity points. I've probably been sticking to the lower end of that range too often. In fact, I know I have. I don't feel like my diet is lacking in any given area. I still eat bread daily, at least one and sometimes up to five slices. I eat lots of fruit (this week mainly bananas, berries, and apples) and vegetables (too many to list). I use milk in my coffee and eat a bit of 2% Greek yogurt everyday. For protein, I've been having egg whites, beans, Quorn, and cheese. (Yay, cheese!) I've been having some dark chocolate from time to time. Honestly, I haven't really changed what I usually eat when I'm not dieting, I've just started watching portion sizes on everything. So what can I add in? I'm guess it would be easiest to add a bit more fat. I've been using some canola and olive oil (in homemade salad dressings, for example, and to cook my eggs and saute vegetables in), but I should probably have a bit more from time to time. I might throw in another weekly cheat meal, too. We'll see.

I mentioned rewards. Trust me, I'm usually a big "virtue is its own reward" person. That is, I don't think people deserve rewards or praise for doing the right thing. But when it comes to dieting, I'm a big fan of non-food rewards for even the littlest triumph. So this week, I get two rewards! I get one for sticking to my diet for a week--yay, me!--and I get another one for doing my weekly weigh in. My first reward is--drum roll please--some new skin care cream. I'm going to look for it here first and, if I can't find it, I'll order it online. My second reward, I don't know about yet. I'm thinking I might either go and pick up one of those calavera pieces from Masks y Mas or I might get a steam mop. Or a pair of earrings that I saw at Whole Foods last week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

That Was Tuesday

I woke up very early again last night, sometime before 1:00 a.m. I had breakfast (egg whites, toast, some kale left over from dinner, strawberries and blueberries, yogurt) just before 4:00 a.m.

A little after 5:00 a.m., I went back to bed and slept until 7:30.

I was having a terrible dream and I woke myself up from it. I woke up exhausted. I hate that awful, overwhelming exhausted feeling, that deep physical ache mixed with mental dullness. Even my eyes hurt. I wanted to get back to bed right away, but ended up staying awake for several hours before I finally fell asleep again.

When I finally woke up, it was late. I got up and had a banana and some coffee while I watched an episode of Begin Japanology.

Today's episode was about Tokyo Skytree, the world's tallest tower, which opened three years ago in my old neighborhood, Sumida, in Tokyo.  I had only been in Tokyo a few months when plans were revealed to build it there and even then I felt insulted that people joked about putting the new tower in such an ugly, old part of the city. That was my home! Sumida-ku had the last laugh though; the neighborhood seems to have been given new life from the influx of tourists who come to visit Tokyo Skytree.

After the episode, I took a shower and got dressed.

While I had lunch (red cabbage, carrots, and jicama, sliced up, alongside the last of the taco leftovers, beans and quorn mixed together with some sour cream, salsa, and a crumbled taco shell), I read a bit of the Laura Ingalls Wilder biography Pioneer Girl. I started it and then put down awhile ago. It's an interesting read. I'm so familiar with the books that it's easy to see where and how the story was changed to adapt it to child readers (rather than the adults it was originally intended for). The book is full of copious footnotes though (it would have made David Foster Wallace's head spin even). There are several runs of pages that are nothing but footnotes, devoid of the main text, so it can be a bit of a slog.

I did get a big laugh out of the book when Laura writes about how, at the end of the long winter, one of the first trains to get through to the cold and starving settlers held nothing but telegraph poles. The men in the crowd wanted to buy them to use as firewood (they had been burning hay to stay alive during the run of blizzards) and were told no. They went and took them anyway and chopped them up and burned them. Laura reports one man said as they were unloading the poles, "The man that won't steal from a railroad company isn't honest."

In the afternoon, I prepped dinner (vegetable soup, cheese sandwiches to be grilled, beet slaw with a garlic and ginger dressing) to have after pilates.

Pilates was okay today. I felt very tired before we even began, so I went through the motions and came out the other side just fine. Sometimes the victory is in the showing up.

We took the very long way home, driving up to the heights to check out where my new therapists office is. I have an appointment with her tomorrow at 11:00. I am not really looking forward to it, but I know it's time.

We came home and had a late (for us) dinner while we watched the last episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

And that was Tuesday.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Wild, Wild Life

We Got Some Wild, Wild Life

Kelly called this evening to tell us that Kevin has spotted hummingbirds in the neighborhood! It's a bit early, but we filled up our hummingbird feeder (we only had some organic, barely processed sugar from the co-op, so our nectar is a bit brown) and hung it outside in its customary place beside the front door. We always get a few hummingbirds who come consistently once they start mating and raising their babies. I keep the feeder full all summer and they like to come and, even if they're not hungry, dive bomb the cats from time to time.

I like to watch them at the feeder. They're among my favorite wild creatures.

My other favorite creature also came to call a few days ago, a tiny jumping spider who appeared on the front door. She was a fearless little thing, smaller than a whole clove. We put her outside with a wish that she find lots of good things to eat and have a long, happy life.

I remember when we were kids, I didn't used to see many spiders--I wasn't so interested in them then, so I wasn't really looking--but I used to see a lot of other kinds of insects in our yard. I used to love to turn over rocks to look at all the wriggly craziness underneath and I don't know how many pill bugs I annoyed by rolling them around and around in the palm of my hand. We used to find crazy beetles everywhere and my brothers would put them in jars, which I hated doing. We used to see walking sticks in our fruit trees even, and those delicate creatures have been absent from the landscape for a long time. I haven't seen one in the wild in decades. People do dearly love their insecticides.

Oh! And this evening we also fed our worms for the first time. When we took the cover off the worm bin, a few were sitting up on top, happy as could be. Of course when the light hit them, they started wriggling down into the compost, but I'm convinced that they like their new home just fine. We mixed some chopped up vegetable matter and some shredded paper into their bin and closed everything up again. In a couple more days, we'll check them and feed them again. Maybe start naming one or two hundred of them.

We had some more visiting wildlife last night, too: About 2:00 a.m., the car alarm on the old car went off. I was awake, but I had my headphones on and didn't hear it. It woke Dave up and he went to check it out. Looks like someone opened the driver's side door (which doesn't lock even though the alarm is engaged) and closed it when the alarm went off.  So that was fun. It's happened once before, but nothing was taken then either. Not that there's anything to take in that old car. It's mostly a junkmobile at this point, so unless they want a few reusable shopping bags and some old newspapers from the trunk, they'd get a whole lot of nothing. Although there is a small plastic container of change and a few dollar bills that we keep on hand for parking meters and panhandlers. No more than five or six dollars. I suppose they could have made off with that. But they didn't.

Food Stuff

I had my usual breakfast this morning, egg whites on whole wheat, low-sodium toast. I also had some blueberries and a bit of yogurt along with my cup of coffee.  Just now, I ordered some non-fat milk in our CSA box for my coffee. I'd like to break the milk habit completely, but it's so tasty in coffee!

For lunch I had some leftover taco fixings (Quorn crumbles, sour cream, salsa, chopped tomato) with some pinto beans added and a taco shell crumbled up and sprinkled over the top. It was very tasty! With it, I had a bunch of veggies (red cabbage, carrots, jicama) and another cup of coffee. (Allergies are kicking my butt! Making me feel like a zombie again. I know caffeine doesn't work, but I guess I don't care. I still love it even if it doesn't love me.)

For dinner, we had omelets. Dave had his with whole eggs (one had a double yolk!) and cheddar cheese and I had mine with egg whites and a bit of goat cheese. We both had onions and peppers (which are very good with eggs, just ask any Italian). We made some toast, sliced a tomato, and sauteed a bunch of kale in some garlic and olive oil to have on the side. We finished off the last of the gorgeous strawberries for dessert--and just now I had a square of dark chocolate, too. Very tasty.

Other Business

Here's what kind of neighbor we'd be: We (as in Dave) took our Christmas wreath off the front door today! (Yes, it was a green wreath--at one time--but it had long since dried out and turned a kind of greenish brown.) I tried a few weeks ago to take it off the door, but Dave had wired it on and when I pulled on it, I got a face full of pollen-y dust that triggered an allergy attack. Fun. So I finally asked Dave to take it down today.

I don't think we set any kind of record, but taking the Christmas wreath down the day after Easter is kind of a personal best around here.  Next week we'll talk about taking down the Christmas lights.

A Lazy Sunday

It was a lazy day. We did a lot of sleeping and internet surfing.

I got up several hours before Dave (my usual middle of the night rising time) and had a breakfast of egg whites on toast, with a side of blueberries and Greek yogurt. I also had a big cup of coffee with milk. After breakfast, I read a bit and watched a few more episodes of Begin Japanology.

Dave slept on.

After a few hours I was hungry again, so I had a cup of soup and some cheddar cheese on a slice of toast. Dave got up while I was making my lunch, so I offered to fix him something. All he wanted was coffee (he never eats when he first wakes up, I always eat as soon as I wake up) so we both had coffee.

Then I went back to bed.  I slept for a few hours while Dave did his thing, whatever that thing was. When I woke up again, I was ready for second lunch. Dave had eaten while I was sleeping, so I offered to fix up a glorified snack of fruit and/or yogurt. I had a small fruit salad made with banana, Bartlett pear, and strawberries. Dave had a bowl of mango, strawberries, pear, and yogurt. He also snacked on some garbanzo bean crunchies that I had made the night before.

The recipe for the crunchies is simple: Rehydrate dried garbanzo beans in water, then mix with a bit of olive oil and spice(s), and bake at 400 degrees until they're crunchy. They're very tasty, have lots of protein, and I can make them without salt, so I don't have to worry about having to devote any of my miniscule daily sodium budget to a crunchy snack. For the spices this time, I used a couple of salt-free spice blends that Kelly gave me, one called baharat--a spice blend common to Middle Eastern cooking--and one called something like Barrier Reef Caribbean Style Seasoning, which had a bit of brown sugar along with things like citrus peels and chiles. Both are very tasty. I upped the spiciness level by adding a bit of cayenne to the Barrier Reef seasoning. The cayenne we have now is ridiculously hot. We bought a jar of it at Trader Joe's a couple of years ago and I think we'll both be dead and gone before we finish this jar. It is so spicy that often an eighth of a teaspoon will be enough to amp up the spiciness level of a huge pot of chile to near unbearable. (I only made that mistake once!)

After our snack, we took showers, changed into studio clothes, and headed up to the studio. While Dave trimmed the bowls he threw yesterday, I worked on underglazing and glazing a couple of sculptures. We want to fire a cone 06 (bisque) kiln next weekend and something has to be in it.

Paul and Judi came out to chat for awhile. Paul recited several Ogden Nash poems--I don't recall what set him off--and we talked about the visit they're expecting from Paul's daughter and granddaughter later in the summer.  We talked until it was time to leave for pilates. While Dave changed into his pilates clothes, I quickly ate an apple. Then I changed into my pilates clothes.

Class was not terribly strenuous today. My back gives me trouble from time to time during class, so I do modified versions of some of the exercises, but overall, it is getting better. After class, we made arrangements to come twice more in the coming week.

We came home via Whole Foods, where we wandered around in a bit of a daze and filled our basket with lots of fruits and vegetables. We came home and quickly cooked dinner. Tonight we had tacos made with Quorn grounds, cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, red cabbage, and tomatoes. I sliced up some jicama to have on the side. I wanted to squeeze lime over it, but our lime turned out to be a juiceless bust.

While we ate, we watched an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

After dinner, Dave put together a burrito to take for lunch tomorrow and we put away all the leftovers. I sat down to watch an episode of Bob's Burgers (yay! Netflix has season four up now!) and Dave practiced his clarinet for awhile.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Saturdaze

Breakfast this morning was my new usual: an egg white omelet on toasted low-sodium, whole wheat bread and a bowl of salad that had to be eaten sooner rather than later. I followed that up with a cup of coffee and a bowl of absolutely gorgeous strawberries, the best strawberries I've had in years.

I watched a few episodes of Begin Japanology while I waited for Dave to rouse himself. The most interesting episode was about Japanese hot water bottles, some of them made of clay. Of course now I have to make myself one for winter, when Dave wants the casita to be cold as it is outside and I want the casita to feel like we're growing orchids. Anyway, I always forget that hot water bottles exist. I guess it's my desert upbringing.

After we were both up and caffeinated, I suggested vegan sushi for lunch. We ended up at a place on Central called Loving Vegan where we shared an order of tofu and vegetables then a bunch of vegetable sushi. We had four rolls, one each of avocado, cucumber, takuan (pickled daikon), and ume (pickled plum). Then we had some crazy concoction made with vegan salmon, vegan crab, green chile tempura, avocado, cucumber and some kind of spicy mayo on top. It was very tasty. Of course this was my "cheat" meal for the week. Now I have to make it to Wednesday before I get another one.

After lunch, we took a walk down Central to do some window shopping. We stopped in at a place called Astrozombies and looked at their toys. I was tempted by a Yellow Submarine figurine, but in the end decided against it. We walked further down and checked out Masks y Mas, a shop that sells mainly Day of the Dead stuff. I bought a pair of dangling earrings there, cartoonish flaming hearts wrapped in barbed wire, made by a local artist out of polymer clay. I was tempted by a large, unframed print of two skeletons and a framed image of a skull made of dried flowers and leaves. If I'm still thinking about them next weekend, I'll probably go back and buy them.

On our way back to the car, we walked past a place called Chocolate Dude. I asked Dave if he wanted to go in and have a coffee. We ordered decaf Americanos and a chocolate-covered graham cracker, then we sat on an orange sofa and watched a young woman dip chocolates in between helping customers. I took a picture on my phone of their display of caramel apples, but didn't succumb to the temptation.  It's a nice, cozy place (albeit a little strangely decorated with a mixture of antique-ish wood furniture and Grateful Dead era memorabilia, including tie-dyed bunting and two lava lamps housed in wooden display cases). If parking were more readily available, I might make it a regular coffee stop.

We stopped by the studio after leaving the coffee shop. I worked for awhile on underglazing various pieces, including the sculpture I finished up last week. Here's a bit of a blurry view of her:
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What do you think? Her proportions are a bit off, but I'm still working on getting that right. I like the butterfly motif, though I'm not sure about the blue of the dress versus the blue of the underskirt. Also, the gloves started out white but that made the hands look too large, so I switched to a very pale Dreamsicle orange. In this photo, they appear to be almost flesh colored, which I don't want. I may end up making them blue also--or dove gray.

We chatted with Judi and Paul for a bit, then I got a call from a friend of mine so I chatted with him for a bit. He's someone we met years ago, when we first started at the old studio. He's an interesting guy, in his late 40s, works in the entertainment industry (mainly television and movies), and is the least lucky in love person I think I've ever met in my life. His last girlfriend was a bar girl in Thailand. He thought it was true love, she saw a walking wallet. The girlfriend before that was nuts and it was one of those awful get together, break up, get back together again kind of things where you just want to shake both people and tell them to snap out of it. Today he told me about a woman he met online recently. They dated for about eight weeks, then she dumped him on his birthday. Ay yi yi.

When we hung up, it was time to take Crunch on a walk. Poor Crunchie has recently developed arthritis in his shoulder, so he's limping. He's still got plenty of energy, but I don't think he's terribly comfortable, poor thing.

Dinner was vegetable soup and strawberries and an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fri- and Weigh- Day

I stepped on my home scale this morning--though 3:00 a.m. would be more middle of the night than morning--before having breakfast. I was pleasantly surprised. This is my first at-home weigh-in and I'm down about six pounds from my last doctor's weigh in. I don't think it's the diet, actually; it's only day three and I'm not doing any crazy cabbage-soup, lose 10 pounds in two days kind of diet. I expect it's more about having been working the pilates angle for the last two and a half months. Anyway, I'll take success where I can find it, diet-wise.

After I had my breakfast (a cup of last night's vegetable soup and an egg white omelet sandwich on whole wheat toast with tomatoes), I fixed some Greek yogurt and straw- and blueberries for Dave to take for his lunch. After that exhausting task, I went back to bed (I had been up all night) and fell asleep just as Dave's alarm was going off. I slept for a couple of hours, waking at 7:30 a.m.

I got up and made a cup of coffee. I thought I might try to caffeine my way through the day in an effort to make it to a more "normal" bedtime and right my sleeping schedule, but after having my coffee and a bowl of strawberries and Greek yogurt, I went back to bed for a couple more hours.

Kelly called a little after noon to announce the arrival of our worms! She was acting as worm fairy (or worm ferry, really), bringing worms from one of her co-workers and my former biology instructor (from when I was in my early 20s, so about eighty years ago, give or take a half-dozen decades), Shawn. In the last few years, Shawn has become the Johnny Appleseed of worms, so he sent along a bag of red wrigglers for us to put in our newly established worm composter.

Of course I waited until Dave got home to retrieve the worms. (He's talked about nothing else since we set up our worm composter.) While I waited, I had a shower, did my makeup, got dressed. I also had some fruit (a banana and a Bartlett pear) as a snack and another cup of coffee.

I had started watching another episode of Begin Japanology on youtube, this one about sumo.

When I lived in Tokyo, I lived in a neighborhood (Higashi Mukojima) near Ryogoku which is commonly called Sumo Town because the stables (yes, they call them that) where the sumo wrestlers live and train are concentrated there. There is a huge arena in Ryogoku called the Kokugikan where the Tokyo sumo matches are held each year. (The others are held in Kyoto.)

It wasn't unusual for me to see sumo around, either on the train near my neighborhood or while they were out and about in the city traveling, picking up fast food, or even viewing the cherry blossoms in spring.  Sumo wrestlers are easy to spot because, yes, they are often enormous and of course they dress traditionally in yukata (the robe-like clothes as in the photo below). But even when they're in Western-style street clothes, they have that distinctive and unmistakable sumo topknot.

They're Not That Big Close Up
Yes, that's me in the center! (Kokugikan, Sumo Town, Tokyo)
So, yes, there were sumo out and about in the city. But I don't think I ever told you about the time I saw one of the most famous sumo wrestlers, did I?

I was drinking in Ginza one night with a group of people. The bar where we used to drink was one of those little hole-in-the-wall places, ubiquitous in Tokyo. The bar was about halfway down a long, very narrow alleyway, too narrow to drive a car down. The wide glass doors at the front of the bar were thrown open that night and several of us were sitting at a table just inside. The place was crowded and it was just late enough that people were starting to get red-faced and a bit loud from drink. All at once the bar went quiet. Usually when that happens, the next thing you see is people looking around for something--a hanging plant or lamp--to check for swaying. Once spotted, they'd announce to each other, "Jishin" (earthquake). But that night, there was no swaying. It was not jishin. Everyone's attention was drawn by something coming down the alleyway. People at the back of the bar rushed forward toward the doors. The entire bar was silent except for excited whispering, "O-sumo-san! O-sumo-san!"

Coming down the alley, in a dark, sharply tailored (and strictly verboten) Western suit, was Asashōryū Akinori. He was followed by his tiny, Chanel-clad wife or girlfriend (make no mistake, he had both) and a small entourage of traditionally-dressed men. They walked past the bar and turned in at the door of a tiny boutique hotel across the alleyway. Even after he was gone from sight, people sat there, stunned.

Of course I had no idea who Asashoryu was, but later I came to realize that he was the sumo wrestler, the only yozukuna at the time, in Japan. He was the first sumo wrestler in history to win all six of the big tournaments in a single year and, beyond that, everyone believed there would be greater accomplishments still. But Asashoryu was also a trouble-maker. Not only was he so rude as to wear Western clothing in public, over the years he also drank in public, brawled with civilians in restaurants, and defied his coaches. He skipped matches and left the country without permission. He was even accused of fixing matches for financial gain and, though the charge was ultimately found to be libelous, the damage to his reputation had already been done. His bad behavior, true and false, was widely reported in the press. The Japanese have their idols, yes, but they expect a certain behavior in return for their idolatry. Asashoryu ended up retiring early, dishonor nipping at his heels--though many felt he had been forced out of sumo before he could become the greatest sumo wrestler in history. Why? Asashoryu was not Japanese at all, he was Mongolian.

So that was my daily trip down memory lane, courtesy of Begin Japanology.

As far as the rest of the day: Dave came home from work really early. He was going to Seder dinner with his mother (she's not Jewish, but one of her good friends is), so he had to get ready. He was home early enough though, that we could retrieve our worms and run a couple of errands before he had to leave.

First, the worms!
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Sorry it's a bit blurry, but with all the excitement, I couldn't keep the camera still!
Some of them anyway, clumped together and already wriggling their way down into the compost. And, even better: Baby worms!
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Baby Worms!
Look! You can see the cork-screwy digestive tract of that little on in the lower left. These little babies stuck to plastic bag they were in and had to be coaxed to join the others.

We put them in the bin, took a few pictures, admired them a bit, then put the cover back on the worm bin because they don't like light and we wanted them to feel welcome in their new home.

Yay, worms!

After greeting our new worm friends, we decided to make a run to a nearby local nursery to see what they had in stock. It's been warm enough that we were hoping for some vegetable transplants, but they had nothing except catnip and some walking onions, both of which we already have.  We ended up with a couple of perennials for our patio.

We came home via Flying Star Cafe, where we ordered lattes to go and I picked up a salad (mixed greens, jicama, tomato, onion, mushrooms, carrot, avocado, egg, and blue cheese) for my own dinner. I also got an iced sugar cookie for dessert.

Dave went off to pick up his mother and I sat down to eat my dinner and write for a bit.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Without Understanding or Awakening

Here's how you begin a Thursday: Let's go see the dentist!

I had an appointment with the new dentist this morning at 8:00 a.m. I arrived a bit early to fill out the paperwork, then ended up waiting for about 15 minutes until I got called back. I had a full mouth of x-rays taken, then the dentist--mid-50s-ish, tall, a bit grizzled--came in, introduced himself, and went over the x-rays with me. Then he checked my teeth and gums and did an oral cancer check. (Turns out that the procedure that my old dentist was trying to push on me is not even remotely necessary--and, even better, my gums are in much better shape than the hygienist at the old dentist was reporting. Grrr.) He suggested that I start using my water pik (yes, I know) daily. Then we were done. I have an appointment for a cleaning in June.

The worst thing about the appointment? The super-duper friendly, hyperkinetic receptionist. She seems smart and efficient, but my god. Remind me not to make any appointments for Monday morning.

After that was done, I went out to the car, texted Dave, and ate an apple. I had planned on stopping at Target on the way home but the car was making a funny noise, kind of like a scraping sound that gets worse when I press on the brakes. It doesn't seem to affect the function of the brakes and it doesn't feel anything like what happens when you go through a brake drum, so I don't know. The mechanic is going to get a new jetski or something by the time he's done with this old car. (That's a joke and not remotely true. We're lucky enough to have nearly compulsively honest mechanics. I have no idea how they stay in business except that they only work on German cars which means that a lot of their customers don't drive fifteen-year-old, beat-up hoopty VWs, but instead have bright, shiny new Porsches, Mercedes, Audis, and BMWs. It's always funny to see our old car--which has parts that are held on with duct tape--parked next to all those snooty things.)

Anyway, I put the trip to Target to one side and instead came home via the nearby non-co-op grocery store where I picked up some eggs (jumbo, since all the large were sold out in anticipation of Easter Sunday), vinegar, and a couple of potatoes. While I was standing in line to pay, a drooling little one year old (being held by his older brother) flashed his little dimples at me. So cute. His mother commented on what a good baby he is.

I came home, had lunch (salad, Greek yogurt with strawberries and blueberries), and then took a quick nap. It was one of those mistake naps where you wake up feeling worse than when you lay down. 

It was still early in the afternoon when I got up. I wanted to make vegetable soup for dinner, so I pulled out all our wayward little veggies and made a big pot of soup. It ended up being root vegetable heavy, with lots of sweet potatoes, beets, and red potatoes. There are also lots of onions (yellow and spring), garlic, celery, red cabbage, and zucchini. In addition to all that, I threw in the last of the green beans from the CSA box, and the tail ends of bags of frozen peas and lima beans. I put in most of a jar of tomato paste and a carton of crushed tomatoes, both salt free. Then I added some vegetarian bouillon, soy sauce, granulated garlic, dried thyme, oregano, and a couple of bay leaves. And. And. And. And I always start out intending to make a reasonable amount of soup, but soup apparently has its own logic because somehow I always end up with the stock pot pretty much full to the brim.

When the soup was finished, I had a cup for a late second lunch (and for quality testing purposes). While I was finishing it up, Dave texted that he was coming home early. Yay!

That's how second lunch ended up bleeding right into dinner. I made a slice of toast for myself and a grilled cheese for Dave. I served up a couple of big bowls of soup and grated Parmesan cheese over the top. While we ate, we watched the next episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

After dinner, we went out to run some errands. We had to pick up some cat food and various things from Target. While Dave was checking out, I went over to buy a fountain drink. When I came back, Dave and the cashier were talking about self-cleaning fish tanks. (We don't have a fish tank. We have never, in all our time together, had a fish tank. Decades of time spent without a fish tank.)

After Target, we stopped by a home goods store called, appropriately enough, Home Goods. We bought a small bronze-y container to put Q-tips in. It must be the day for hyperkinetically chirpy people, because the cashier was either hopped up on a half-dozen espressos or that was just her everyday personality. I don't know which.

Our final stop was Whole Foods, where we walked in intending to pick up a few things and walked out with two bags full of...stuff. As we were walking out, I was reminded of something that happened many, many years ago. Seriously, almost thirty years ago.  Dave and I were living with my step-grandparents, Boss and Grenkle, the nicest people in the world. We were in high school at the time, very alternative little teenagers, as you can imagine. It was near Halloween and the supermarket near the house had a display of pumpkins out front. For some reason, we decided to steal pumpkins. Not just one or two, but many. Many, many. Every time we stopped by the store (every other day or so), we'd steal a pumpkin, just pick one up on the way out of the store. I think we stole 13 or 14...maybe more? I don't remember. We would bring them back to Boss and Grenkle's house and put them on the front steps.

I went through a shoplifting phase for awhile in high school. I stole all those pumpkins. I stole a pair of shoes once from a department store, the ugliest pair of shoes you've ever seen, pinkish suede driving moccasins. (I never wore them.) From the same department store, I stole earrings. I stole soap and toothpaste from a grocery store and gave it all away. I stole CDs and videos. I stole books from bookstores and libraries. My friends and I stole bottles of liquor from their parents' liquor cabinets. Another friend whose parents were both lawyers, used to steal makeup and records. A different friend, whose parents were a judge and a police detective, used to break into vintage clothing stores. He stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, clothing, furs, you name it. They never got caught. Neither did I. I gave no thought to what would happen if I got caught.

Then one day, I just gave it up. I stopped stealing.

As far as I was concerned when I was in high school, none of my own petty thefts rivaled those of a group of athletes I knew, a bunch of uppity white girls who all ran track. They were pros at shoplifting. They would wear their warm-up outfits (loose fitting sweats) to the mall and take a bunch of clothes into a changing room. They'd make a huge mess in the changing room (so the attendant couldn't tell which clothes had been put back) and walk out wearing some of the clothes under their warm-up outfits. They would steal hundreds of dollars worth of clothes each time they went to the mall. No one ever suspected them of being anything other than clueless, entitled white girls, which they were. Certainly no one thought they were stealing. (Only brown and black people steal, right?)

So that was my little trip down memory lane.

Would I steal now? Probably if I had a good reason to; not for kicks anymore.