Friday, June 15, 2012


Every other week I go to see Barbara. It's a five or ten minute drive but it takes two buses, which can mean a half an hour or more. And because my balance has gotten so bad I've started taking a cab. The cab companies have SUVs and sedans. The SUVs are kind of hard for me to get in so I ask for a sedan. for weeks now they've sent a SUV. I called the company while we riding over, put the call on speaker and asked what I have to say or do to get the sedan. The dispatcher blamed the cabbie, which made the cabbie mad and he started yelling. Drama.
There are many times when the cab is late. The driver is rude. They won't pull into the driveway and it's harder for me to get in. So many things you don't notice when you don't need help. The weight of the door. The distance from where they let you out.
I am not used to it. I've been independent all of my life. I've walked everywhere. I've gotten on and off buses, trains, cabs. I've done what I needed to do.
Sometimes getting to the healing is an injury.
I got a great night of sleep last night. Really good.
And I got a great adjustment.
I started reading Sag Harbor because reading that piece by Whitehead reminded me how much I like his writing. Cheryl said to read some fiction and I thought it might be good to read something that would get me out of myself.
I feel a bit shut down.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ready for the Battle

I must have looked pretty crazy last night in my recliner with big, chunky ear phones and a rolled up magazine and the light on. The beginning of the night was choppy but no bugs. By one I gave up on all the battle gear, turned off the light and slept until six. Felt good.
Something is going on with me but I haven't named it yet. I have some ideas but I'm not sure about any of them. I was flipping around the TV today and came upon the last few minutes of the new version of the Karate Kid. I teared up immediately. Why? Cant's say. Something about the person who isn't suppose to win, winning.
I tried to listen to Caroline today but first Mom called and then there was an emergency broadcast and then a break. I was hoping she'd say something instructive. I guess there is something about Venus going on. None of of it landed.
Made good dinner tonight and wrote a weak post about it. I don't care if it's weak.
I'm writing. I'm writing when I feel like being curled in a ball somewhere. I'm writing when I have nothing to say. Sometime that's good enough. Or not. But. It's what I'm doing.    

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bug In My Ear

I stayed up a little later than usual finishing the book. I was just so close to the end and knew that I'd be annoyed if I put off finishing. I wasn't ready to let go of my new best friend so I looked up a You Tube video of the Iron Chef on which Gabrielle whooped Bobbie Flay. I saw that show when it aired and talked to Debbie about liking the chef and thinking it was cool that she beat Bobby. I like Bobby but I liked her more. Debbie said something about the memoir and I said something about wanting to read it. At some point later I was walking past the stack of to-be-read books and saw that I had it. Kristina (of course) had sent it to me. I've also read essays by Gabrielle, which I realized as I was reading them in the book and hearing about them in You Tube interviews in which she mentions them. I just never retained the name. Now I will. Because now she's my new best friend.
There are so many things we have in common and so many differences. She's much bolder than I am, or ever will be. I've done some bold things but I am not bold by nature. She told a story about burning her neck while removing a sheet pan from a convection oven that was elevated. I did the same thing. People thought the resulting wound was a hicky.
So I was up later than later than normal and when I finally closed my eyes sleep wasn't waiting for me. Just as I was finally about to drift off a mosquito buzzed my ear. I don't care if they bite me. I don't care if they take all my blood leave me covered in scratchy welts. I just hate when they buzz in my ear. I've had some success getting them to go away if I sleep with a light on but not last night. The stupid thing buzzed me again. I smacked at my ear, which did not feel good. I lay there with my eyes open for awhile. I don't know if the smack hit the bug as well as my head but it was gone.
Morning was not good and by noon I was walking like a halting, janky wind up toy so I got in the recliner and just as I was about to fall into that swoon of exhaustion Mom called. She talked just long enough to wake me up.
I am not feeling the love.
I'm not sure if it's because of my lack of sleep, or finishing the book, or too many You Tube interviews listening to Gabrielle be smart and funny and interesting but I got weepy and depressed mid afternoon. Then I watched one more interview with Anthony Bourdain who praises her and rues his own failings and I. Just. Got. Over. It.
Washed some dishes. Made some dried cherry muffins. Made a salad similar to the one from the other day but with feta instead of tuna.
Bleepin bug better stay outta my house.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


It was hot in SF for a few days. I mean it's never really hot or even cold here. But it was a bit hot and all the heat rises up to my top floor apartment and my apartment is hot. I don't know why but when it's hot I can sleep. I closed my eyes, went right to sleep and woke up five hours later. So lovely. I can't reproduce it with heaters or blankets, which is why it's confusing. Anyway. I slept.
I succeeded in my goal to not finish the book. I was thinking about the connections in my reading. Gabrielle also has a problematic mother narrative. Allison Bechtel used traditional psychoanalytic theory and literature to structure her thinking about the mother/daughter dynamic. Jeannette Winterson used her adoptive mother/birth-mother story as the structure for her own. Gabrielle writes briefly about her mother's influence on her relationship with food and then half a book (and twenty years of her life) later she writes about a reunion. She writes about her internal process and and revelations. She dispatches the whole thing in what would constitute a chapter in either of the other books. Nuff said. Well I still have more book to read but I was struck by this very pragmatic, grounded transition from the adoration of a child to the tension of an adult and then the compartmentalization of it all. Nice. Tidy. Probably easier written and read than done. I've employed all of those strategies. And more.
When I was washing the dishes I noticed I was unconsciously letting the warm water run over my hands. I'm usually too concerned about water usage to do something like that. I realized that it felt good. So maybe there's something about warmth that is soothing my joints. I slept better when Mom was here and I always keep the apartment really warm for her.
It cooled off today but the apartment is still warmish.
And I have more book.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Slow Read

I really don't want to finish Bones, Blood and Butter. It's too good. I wrote a really short muse about it on the much neglected food blog.
A weird thing keeps happening. I keep thinking about the writing as I know my workshop in the MFA program might. I hated the workshop way of reading. I don't know why I'm doing it. I love the writing. It's so straight forward. But there was a moment when she had just seen the place that would become her restaurant. It was an abandoned restaurant and it was filthy. She jumps from that to a long section about an underfunded trip through Europe and Turkey and Greece. All I could think about was how she was going to clean the kitchen. I knew she'd do it herself. I enjoyed the stories about the trip but I was desperate to hear about the cleaning. How weird am I? When she got back to it I was enormously relieved. Someone (maybe even me) would have told her to reorganize it. I'm glad no one did.
I'm going to keep reading as slowly as I possible can.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How We Talk About Health

I was listening to Wait Wait yesterday morning as I usually do on Saturdays and I usually enjoy it. They do make fat jokes from time to time. I suppose, to be (cough) fair, they make jokes about a variety of physical things and are often at the brunt of their own jokes. And they aren't always scathingly cruel jokes. Which is actually almost worse for me. If you're going to make a joke at my expense go on and let your meanness show. The jokes were being made because the White House chef was on to play Not My Job and for the most part it was fun. The fat jokes were weak by any standard.
For example, Mo Rocca asks if the chef wouldn't rather cook for Chris Christie because then he could cook anything, like "Zebra." Huh? So I guess fat people will eat anything? And then Peter Sagal says, "an entire one." Because fat people eat anything and lots of it? Weak. When Chef Kass talked about the First Lady's healthy food initiative he used words like heath and well being. All right. And then Rocca says, "They should make chubby kids mow the White House lawn. To get in shape"
More fat jokes once they started playing.
I was remembering a time when I took a friend's son to a movie on a day when he was off school and she had to work. When we bought our tickets they gave us a coupon for the snack bar. He got a soda and some fries. He grabbed a handful of ketchup packets and slathered each fry. Half way through the basket he went back for more ketchup. His mouth was ringed with red, his fingers were coated. He went through a stack of napkins. There was something so charming about it. He took such pleasure in the eating.
As I remember the coupon was for the largest soda, which was shockingly large but when he told me they were refillable, for free, I'm sure my reaction was bad. I know I was kind of freaked out by the idea. I just don't find myself in Big Gulp world very often. I didn't want to embarrass him and I wanted him to have uninhibited fun but I was genuinely shocked. I don't really remember how it went but I think I remember him getting water. I think he would have been considered fat. It's hard for me to tell anymore but he was round and so sweet, crowned with curls that would have inspired Botticelli. I remember him as an active kid. Always in motion.
This morning I caught the end of Chris Hayes. He was talking about "big food" and Bloomberg's (stupid) soda edict and ohlordygawd the number of time the word obesity got tossed around was itself epidemic. Chris made one barely formed attempt to note that the link between soda and obesity wasn't clear but the link between soda and blood sugar problems was clear. It got swept away like so much dross.
There was a really great guy with a great project on the show. He said something about a school in Harlem (I think) where they have a This Is A Sugar Free Zone sign. So. No apples? No carrots? There is sugar in both.
The intersection of race and obesity blather is crazy making for me. I love the idea that this guy is helping farmers and communities of color and bringing great food into areas where there isn't much available. I LOVE it. But the anti sugar, anti fat people thing makes me wanna holler. Can we please have some balance? Can we talk about fruit and vegetables and not also have to throw out cupcakes?
There's sugar in ketchup. And, unless it's home made or made by a hippie company it's the worst kind of sugar.  Sugar in that huge glass of soda. I get it. There's a problem. But there's also pleasure. Pleasure matters.
There was some report this week about exercise being "less effective" for African American women in terms of preventing obesity. Studies like this always seem dubious to me but it does support something I hammer on. Eat less/exercise more is not a one size all solution for people who want to be thin. I think eating healthy food and exercising might be effective in terms of general heath and well being. But it's not really about heath and well being. It's about hate.
I think it's almost never good to talk about a kid's weight. I say almost because there may be times when a sudden change in weight might signal something going wrong but how often? We don't know?  We don't know because we only talk about fat people. We talk about the badness of corporate food as if the ill effects are nothing to thin people.
I was listening to the part of Chris I'd missed on the computer in the afternoon while I shelled peas. If you know me you know how I feel about peas. And peaches. And watercress. All of which Debbie brought me from the farmer's market yesterday. And kale, cherries, spring onions, raspberries. I'm in foodie paradise. When the section on the food thing came up I tried to listen again but it was too annoying. It makes me sad because I really do love the farm project. And I really am put off by huge cups of soda. I'm also put off by politicians who try to make a name for themselves with meaningless gestures.
I listen to people who I think are smart. I listen to learn. I listen to people who know that language matters. Who know how hate is constructed. And then they participate in the national contempt for the size of my ass in the guise of health.
Eat this.