Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Get Physical

In the interest of getting in shape and maybe even a bit toned before the absolute end of swimsuit season, I joined a gym. My interests lie in using the equipment we 1) can't afford to have at home and 2) even if we could afford, don't have room for in our house. Elliptical trainers, treadmills, really zippy reclining bicycles. I love them all. I also use some of the weight machines if I'm not too sweaty and I don't have to wait. I'm not exactly the most regimented exerciser in the world, something I hoped to rectify this go round. So when the perky lady signed me up for the membership, she also convinced me to sign up for a free meeting with a personal trainer. Maybe it was stupidity, maybe it was a last ditch effort to wring value out of the chunk of change I put down for the membership, I signed up to meet with Wendi.

As you might have imagined, it did not go well. Wendi was a slightly rotund, 60-year old, very butch white woman wearing too tight Nike jog shorts and a crooked smile. The smile got wider as she pronounced I would need to lose between 25 and 45 pounds to be "normal" according to her charts. She talked over me, around me, and through me, not really listening to my fitness goals or preferences. She also lingered a little too long on my measurements, cradling my waist as if to say she was willing to let the extra 45 slide if I was.

"How did it go with Sergio?" asked my loving husband with a smile.

"Sergio was a wrinkled, randy, lesbian who acted like I was preparing to audition for the Bolshoi, not feel better in the swimsuit I already have ($20 at the Costco, thank you very much!). If I want to embrace my inner anorexic again, or suddenly decide to switch teams, I know who to call for support." Then I schlepped my gym bag upstairs and took a long hot shower.

Maybe some people really are destined to just be cute and not drop dead gorgeous. For every Mary Anne, there is a Ginger to throw a wrench into the works- for every Betty, a Veronica. But I guess if I had to choose, I would choose cute with a backbone over gorgeous and spineless. After all, thin tastes good, but right tastes fantastic.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Monday, October 26, 2009


8 packing lists.
2 hot pink and leopard-spotted luggage tags.
2 medicine containers- 1 human, 1 canine.
6 new sweaters.
2 sleep masks, one saying, 'Genius At Work."
4 paperback books.
2 umbrellas.
1 journal, 1 crossword puzzle book, 2 ipods.
16 GB of memory between 2 digital cameras and a flip videocamera.

Our vacation begins in 89 hours.

Not that I'm counting.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Alien in the Cereal Aisle

I made braised pork chops with apples and thyme butter sauce for dinner. My own recipe, nowhere near as sophisticated or complicated as it sounds. We ate in front of the television while we caught up on the football games we missed this afternoon.

It seems a little thing now, cooking a meal and sitting down to eat it, but I remember not too long ago when it would have been impossible for me.

Anorexia is knowing you're dying but refusing treatment because you're afraid of the medicine. It's much more complicated than that, I am simplifying, but at the very depths, the brain needs a certain amount of nourishment for any other kind of therapy to be effective. You have to start eating again before you even begin treating the reasons behind your refusal to eat. The truly sad part is most people see the food going in and assume everything is now fine- crisis averted, panic is over, on to the next problem. Really all you're doing is fueling the battle looming on the horizon.

When I was in treatment in Baltimore, the charge nurses took us on "therapeutic trips" to grocery stores and restaurants and held cooking classes and seminars to desensitize us to food. To me, each trip felt like landing on Mars. I didn't feel more normal tagging along behind six other emaciated girls and three nurses, discussing the merits of the different varieties and flavors of Ensure. There was something odd about pretending to be normal and knowing you're failing miserably. At looking at the young mother picking out apples for her daughter and wondering if you could take the rejection if you asked them to please take me with you I don't belong here.

And in the end, it really wasn't that we were afraid of food- or recipes, or cooking- most of us could arrange a four-course dinner party for 12 in 30 minutes flat. Our problem was sitting down to the table we set, eating the food we prepared, then leaving the table and letting ourselves go on with our day.

My parents say I don't give myself enough credit for what I've accomplished. It's probably true. I'm much more apt to punish myself for what I did yesterday than pat myself on the back for what I did ten years ago. The truth is what once was so difficult is pretty easy now. I guess "normal," like everything else, is a sliding scale.

While normal changes, the memories don't. I still remember being the alien in the cereal aisle, unsure of the changes she was seeing, yet knowing going home the same was not an option. And hoping desperately this new world would have a place for her after all.

Strawberry-Flavored Prozac and Rose-Colored Glasses

Got my flu shot yesterday. At Target. Because, really, is there anything you can't get at Target? If Heaven has a symbol, it's a red bullseye.

But I digress.

Waiting in line for the pharamacist to key in my paperwork, I noticed a strange flipchart listing the flavors available for flavoring medicines for kids. Because I have no regard for the pharmacy's sign to "Wait behind the red line and we will call you to the counter when your prescription is ready" and more importantly, I was bored, I picked up the chart and started flipping through. Not only did the chart list the available flavors, but it also gave flavoring suggestions for popular drugs.

Prozac is best with raspberry, banana, or orange. Vicodinitussin (never heard of it, but by God the next time I'm in pain I want some) is best in lemon, cherry, and strawberry. Ritalin, apparently, was good with anything. And on and on and on. Although some flavors were available, like chocolate-covered banana and watermelon, they didn't seem to be recommended for pairing with anything, which leads me to believe they were actually worse than the taste of the medicine itself.

While usually I would worry about a nation more concerned with making its medications more palatable for the privileged than making sure the bad-tasting medications are available to all, I'm trying to see the good side of the situation. The glass half-full, if you will. When I come up with the good side I'll let you know. In the meantime, pass the lime-flavored Tramadol. I think I have a headache.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Jesus Fish

Last weekend, I parked the Barbie Jeep in the grocery store parking lot, looked both ways, and was nearly sideswiped by a blue-haired old lady in a dented Nissan. After the obligatory two-second check to make sure all appendages were still attached, I looked back at the lady, who threw her hands up in the air and, if my rudimentary lipreading was indeed correct, cursed me and the woman that bore me. The Nissan then pealed off, startling a woman maneuvering a stroller out of the store, and landed in a handicapped parking spot. I couldn't help but notice the shiny Jesus fish prominently displayed on the trunk.

I don't profess to know the ways of the Almighty, but vehicular manslaughter is probably not one of the things Jesus Would Do.

Call me jaded, call me (gasp) unChristian, but I've begun to draw distinct relationships between how Christian someone says s/he is and how Christian s/he acts. It seems to me the more someone protests to be godly, the more leeway they allow themselves in actually acting that way. A recent experience on I-95 cemented this theory when a car displaying five Jesus fish--

Really? Does five make you extra-extra-Christian? Faith isn't Kentucky Fried Chicken, folks--

cut my mother-in-law off when we were trying to exit the interstate. Another experience featured a person spouting hate speech about homosexuals peppered with biblical verses taken out of context.

A Jesus fish is not a get-out-of-hell-free card.

Maybe it's just me, but I think the world would be a much better place if people started viewing their faith as a calling rather than celebrating it as a trophy. In the end, it's more about what you take into your heart than what you display on your car.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Eight years later, I'm back in a Highland dance class, hopping, shuffling, and pointing. We haven't gone over the sword yet, but it's coming- I feel it.

It was wonderful.

And my worst fears were completely unfounded- I'm not sore at all today.

So I guess I have no excuse and have to go to work today.

Pog mo thoin, dance class. Pog mo thoin.