Monday, February 27, 2012

The Leopard Print Zone

Still haven’t been on the scale. However, there are other means of measuring progress. To wit:

This being Oscar weekend (Yes, it is a big deal in Lala Land. Try getting a hotel room within 50  miles during this weekend), I pulled together a costume for the greatest Oscar party held (Suck it, Vanity Fair. We don’t invite those reality show fame whores). The theme is dress as someone (or something) from a movie released that year (Doesn’t have to be Oscar bait). I’ve had success coming as various inanimate objects (or concepts) that could be successfully worn by a fat woman (225 lbs. 5’7”. Yeah. Fat). I’ve won the contest flat out twice (in 2005 as a wine bottle from “Sideways” and the below picture from 2009. I was Milk. Not Harvey, just Milk).

Yeah, not really pretty or feminine. But I won (and someone vowed “I already know what I’m going to be next year” and won in 2010 as the house from “Up.” I take credit for pioneering “concept” costumes. Damned right I’m proud of it. You should have seen “The Ides of March” this year. It won a prize). Okay, that was 3 years ago.

2011, when I’d just begun the weight loss project, I made a sandwich board and went as “The King’s Speech.” Not as original as you’d think; there was another King’s Speech in a sandwich board. I had a crown, though.

Before I show you the new picture, let me tell you a couple of other things.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I recently switched my strength training workouts from the circuit Nautilus machines to free weights. And you know that they’re kicking my ass. (And you’re sick of hearing about it. Tough noogies).  In terms of building muscle and getting definition, we’ve shifted from incremental improvement to exponential.  Even Dr. Best liked my legs. And my back. And arms.

I got daring enough to wear a “sexy” costume for this year’s party. I saw “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”, a documentary about 35,000 year old cave paintings from Chauvet Cave in France. It was in 3 D at the Arclight (which is the Aston Martin of movie theaters. Reserved seating, no talk/no phone rules enforced, comfy seats and real butter on the popcorn if you eat popcorn. I used to and appreciated this little gem. They have a bar, too. Ahhh). I was blown away and saw it in the theater twice. (I’ve been told that on a standard home setup and in 2 D, it’s kind of boring.  On the other hand, if you own the homes I’ve seen in some loan files that have state of the art home theater (even down to a concession stand), you might want to give it a shot. Just invite an art history major.

Rather than the usual covering myself up as much as possible with clothing and heavy makeup (Cinema Secrets in Toluca Lake. My go-to for the good stuff). I got a “Sexy Cavewoman” costume (and purse. The company initially screwed up and sent me a Flavor Flav clock necklace instead. Customer Service and I had a huge laugh over it).

Not only was it skimpy (bending over was out of the question), but it had a “corset” front. I could hear The Great White Belly laughing already. However, I had said I was sexy eligible this year and by God, I was going to do it. The hostess normally wears something in the sexy chick range (Daisy Duke, the girl from Tron. She double-crossed me and came as a Muppet) and there were 3 Black Swans last year, so I figured I was covered.

Sunday came, I shaved my legs, curled my hair, put on my own makeup and started lacing up the corset.

It closed. I could breathe and the Great White Belly was strapped down. I put on the leopard print beret and sneakers (I know, cavewomen didn’t wear leopard print sneakers but I saw the Payless ad, there was 1 pair delivered to the store and they were my size. Destiny. By the way, cavewomen didn’t wear La Mystere bras, either, but no way the girls were going without a support system).

I got an overwhelmingly positive response:

Big difference from the last costumes (2010, I was working for idiots who not only had me working on Sunday, but also overran into Oscar telecast time so I didn’t get to put on a costume. I had ID badges on a lanyard, so I was a production assistant). Big difference from the body under the other costumes.

My point (and I do have one. Title of a book by Ellen DeGeneres) can be summed up with this picture:

I moved out of my comfort zone and found it rewarding. There are a lot of platitudes out there about doing such things; “You have to lose sight of the shore to discover new worlds”, that kind of thing. There’s truth in them, though. I stepped out of my comfortable kind of gender neutral niche that I’ve occupied for well over twenty years. Nobody laughed at me (except when I told the story about the Flavor Flav clock). Nobody told me I had no business wearing such an outfit: just the opposite. I’ve heard “Hot mama”, “sexy” and (well, it’s kind of a stretch) “You look like you’re in your twenties.” I still see more chin and torso than I’d like to have when I’ve lost “enough” weight. But my arms are a LOT more toned than they were. If I’m in a bathing suit or top, the sides of my body have shrunk noticeably; no bra overhang, back fat is significantly reduced and under the bra band is smaller. Progress without my sacred “between the toes” numbers.

I FELT pretty and feminine. I don’t know about sexy because I was worried about my ass hanging out, but…

There’s another old saying about how “You look as good as you feel’ and yesterday, I was feeling pretty damned good. Enough that I was thinking about headshots and classes and auditions and writing stand up material again. My friends were talking about upcoming projects (of which I am not a part. To be honest, I feel left out but that’s because I’ve been out of the area for extended periods, out of “the biz” for extended periods and too much damned mortgage banking. But it pays the bills. I’d like this blog to start paying some bills. Click on the ads, would ya?) and I was remembering the elation I used to feel walking onto a set to do background work or that great sense of anticipation before hitting the stage for a 3 minute stand up set.

Mr. DeMille, I might be ready for my close-up…

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baby Steps

Nope, still haven’t been on the scale. It’s just killing you, I know.

“The King’s Speech” is playing on TV right now; it’s the scene where Lionel Logue gets the Duke of York to curse a blue string (this scene is what got the film an R rating). The cuss string the Duke lets go sounds a lot like me when I miss my exit off the 210. Or 405. Or 60. (Colin Firth. Sigh).

To all the guys who wear their baseball caps sideways or backwards or somewhere in between: it’s time for that fad to go the way of the Edsel, Tyrannosaurus Rex and dodo bird. You look like douches, especially the half and three quarters look. The cap on backwards or sideways is cute on someone who is of an age when dressing oneself is a skill yet to be mastered. Like this:

Fair warning: if you don’t straighten out the cap, you WILL grow up to look like this:

And yes, that is the same person in both pictures.

Besides, GENTLEMEN (and some ladies), traditionally, it is considered very bad manners to wear a hat indoors unless it’s for religious purposes, like a yarmulke, turban or veil in a Catholic church. Of course, the argument can be made that wearing a Yankees cap at all times marks the wearer as a devil-worshipper.

I’m happy to report that with the shift from the circuit machines to the free weights (and keep in mind that I’ve been working in some free weight exercises for the triceps for a couple of months), things are starting to pop in a good way. I have detectable triceps under both arms. The back boobs, although never really enormous (I’ve seen men with bigger ones) are almost GONE (for that, I’m thinking that working the core muscles on the Roman chair). The Great White Belly will be the last to go (and that’s normal according to all the sources), but like the Soviet Union and its satellite states, once the Wall comes down, it’s pretty much over (See “World Events: 1989”. Berlin Wall reference. As a teenager when the Cold War was raging I would wonder if that thing would come down in my lifetime. It did). I would call the vanishing back fat Hungary and Czechoslovakia saying “Buh bye” to the Warsaw Pact.

I hear from people who want to work out and exercise but don’t have the time or place. Or, in some cases, the ambition to start. Like me, their jobs have them sitting for hours in front of a computer and the most active body parts are the hands and fingers as we type away furiously at a keyboard, keeping the free market rolling along. And if the office environment is stressful enough, by the time you get home, all you have the energy to do is make microwave nachos (heavy cheese) and watch whatever’s on TV.

If you can find the time, space and energy to do some pushups or sit-ups, that’s great.  They’re resistance moves using your own body weight.

My friend, Run, is fond of the movie “What About Bob?” (Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss) and especially the psychologist’s philosophy: baby steps. Gotta do it in baby steps. With respect to starting an exercise program, you don’t need to join a gym, invest in a lot of equipment (or clothing, no matter how cute. And by the way, leg warmers have been out of style since 1983. “Flashdance” sucked. I said it, I mean it. I’ll stand by it) or even clear a big space to do it.


Isometrics (noun): A system of physical exercises in which muscles are caused to act against each other or against a fixed object.

You can exercise your muscles with small movements. Contract, count to ten (“One Mississippi, two Mississippi…”) and release. Try it right now as you’re sitting and reading this. Clench your butt muscles as hard as you can (Pretend you’re in the middle of a silent religious service and that burrito you ate 2 hours ago is threatening to make itself known). Count to ten. Release. Repeat (Thirty times).

Or let’s go to the abdominal muscles. Same idea: pretend the newest Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl, Kate Upton is walking past you:

 (That suit on the cover probably cost north of $150, but it looks like a reject from “Blue Crush”).

And you’re male. Or lesbian. Whatever, you want to make a good impression. Contract your abdominal muscles (aka suck in that gut). Imagine you’re pulling your belly button back towards your spine. Hold for ten seconds. Release. Quick! She’s coming back! Suck it in again! And she walks past another 28 times.

And for the gays and women:

Any voluntary muscle in your body can be contracted and released at will. That’s their work, that’s their purpose. Even the small contractions are making them work.

And if you get ambitious, try a plank:

That's a full body contraction, my friend. Butt, gut and everything attached.

Not quite up to that? Baby steps: start with the butt.

Hey, it’s a start. Now turn that hat around the right way.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Free Your Weights

Still haven’t been on the scale. Maybe tomorrow.

“Free your weights and the strength will follow”  - En Vogue, badly paraphrased

For the record, “Free Your Mind” is a great song and an important part of my workout tunes, along with “Never Gonna Get It” by En Vogue (whom, when I forget the actual name of the group, I think of as the Funky Divas which is the title of their album that I actually own. Or owned. I’m not sure if I still have it in storage or if I sold it to a second hand CD shop during a cash crunch. Anyway, it’s a DAMNED GOOD album).

Right now, my shoulders, back and arms are aching, groaning and complaining (“We thought you loved us. Why? Why did you make us work?”). I’ve altered my workout routine again and shifted from the Nautilus machines (for the most part. More on that in a minute) to the free weights.

6 (No. It’s 2012. 7 years ago. Damn. Time is FLY-ING) years ago, when I worked out with “The King,” he had me skip the circuit training machines and hit the free weights, telling me that it was a better workout because maintaining form and balance provided additional work to the muscles that they didn’t get from pulley systems. The Nerd Fitness Rebellion ( If you haven’t signed up for the free newsletter, do it. It’s the most entertaining fitness blog I’ve ever seen. And helpful, too. Suck it, Dr. Oz) is of the same mind: do exercises that use your body weight (pushups, crunches, pullups) and free weights for more bang for the exercise buck. Since The King had a degree in kinesiology, I was inclined to listen to him. The man knows his stuff.

Free weights are not barbells and dumbbells and the big dumbbells who sling them around. Well, not just. There are some machines that look similar to the Nautilus types except that there are no pulleys and one uses the weight plates that go on barbells to increase resistance. Without the pulley systems, even though the movement is the same as the Nautilus, it’s tougher to move them because there are no pulleys to take off some of the load (Get a copy of “The Way Things Work” by David Macauley. It explains machines from screws and levers, past  pulleys all the way  up to CD players, cars and computers using  woolly mammoths. ABC had a fantastic Saturday morning cartoon called “Cro” that was based on this book. They dumped it in favor of a cartoon version of “Dumb and Dumber.” Oh, the irony).  For instance, on the circuit machines, specifically the chest press, I had been able to 50 lbs. Today, I loaded up that weight on the free weight machine, started to push and got “Who are you kidding?” I had to move it down to 20 lbs. (And before anyone starts snickering, you’re not only moving whatever weight plates you put on there, you’re also moving a big, steel framework, too. Without pulley assist).

Like I said, my shoulders, arms and back are achy (it’s just lactic acid from the work, no damage) like they haven’t been in months. Due to the traitorous right knee, I’m sticking to the circuit machines for some of the leg moves so that I don’t put too much stress on the joint. I had one of the trainers explain the “Burpee” move to me (and it’s not a packet of seeds. See “OC Freedom Garden” blog to learn how to run your own organic garden. Stick it to Archer Daniels Midland and Betty Crocker). It’s a jump straight up in the air, come down to all fours, kick backwards with both feet, draw them back in and do it all over again. After a demonstration that had my right knee telling me “Bitch, don’t even THINK about it”, she chirped, “Now you try it.” Nuh uh. To quote a former one-term President (whose coke addict, spoiled rich kid son ran 3 oil companies and one super power into the ground), “Not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent.”

It’s necessary to rest a bit longer in between sets. I was standing aside, breathing hard when a gentleman on the next apparatus told me, “You can’t just think about it. You’ve got to get on there and do it.” True, but, as I told him, my heart was saying, “Bitch (yeah, my body parts think they’re street. It explains the Eminem, House of Pain, Flo Rida and Public Enemy in the workout mix. And Morris Day, “Jungle Love.” Really. I’m the whitest person I know), you wait a minute or that knee is least of your worries. I will fuck you up.” (And the stomach was threatening to reverse gears. Since the left arm wasn’t numb, I knew it wasn’t a heart attack, just a really good workout).

I’ve shifted the upper body from machines to the barbells and dumbbells. Again, the added work of maintaining form and balance. In the quest to master pushups by December 31, 2012 (unless the Mayans are right), I shifted from doing pushups against the wall to incline pushups today. MUCH  harder (I was using one of the benches in the free weight area). Same with tricep dips: simple, hard to do.

I have found that the real body builders tend to be pretty kind, see the above-mentioned conversation. If asked, they’ll answer questions (if you’re a hot blonde, they’ll help whether you want it or not. I’ve got the blonde part, not so much the hot) and show you a move.

Today’s shift in exercise strategy felt like a graduation to something that’s going to be a tremendous benefit. I’ve got definition in places (everywhere but the Great White Belly. However, heh heh, that’s getting worked pretty hard, too).

The free weights don’t seem to have as much traffic as the cardio or circuit training sections, which suits me just fine.

Just leave me in peace with Morris Day. Oh ee oh ee oh.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Scales? We don’t need no stinking scales…Well, not today, anyway.

The “between the toes” number, which has been my focus for over a year now has lost some of its importance lately. Part of not getting on the scale is the idea of not letting the number get to me if it’s not to my liking.

 There are other means of measuring progress.

For instance, on Saturday night, I dressed up for a party and wore one of my favorite garments: a silk blazer (size 13) I’d gotten from Limited Express nearly 20 years ago. It’s been sitting untouched for at least 10 years because, even if I could get my arms into the sleeves, I couldn’t move them for fear of ripping the jacket from the strain. Saturday, it fit and I could move freely in it. All the planks in yoga, the skull crushers with the free weights and working on pushups is paying off. Far less jiggle around the arms.  I’m still doing pushups against the wall, but I’m still doing 3 sets of 15 every other day. Next step: incline pushups.

While getting adjusted last week, Dr. Best noticed that I have “the beginnings of a vee” along my spine. This means the lower back muscles are developing. He also checked the development of the triceps and pronounced it “coming along.”

I’m wearing size 13 and size 12 Calvin Klein jeans. For years, I’ve worn “stretch denim” jeans with elastic waists. I’m wearing the standard denim and the waists are unforgiving. But they’re fitting.

Nerd Fitness promises that by cleaning up your diet (No processed food, no dairy, no sugar, no grain. Okay, well, if you insist on dairy, make it grass-fed) and weight training, you’ll be able to increase your strength. I’ve begun shifting my workout from the Nautilus type machines to free weights and using my body weight which are less forgiving and greater resistance (you don’t have a bunch of pulleys making it easier for you). I took a reconnaissance tour of the various free weight devices (The kind you add weight plates to, rather than just moving a pin in an enclosed stack) and I can do them. Of course, with the wonky right knee, I’m not going to be busting out like Ms. Olympia, but I can work with very light weights and a lot of repetitions (There seems to be a lot of bad knees going around in my circle). Lunges may be great for the lower body and the glutes, but the right knee clears its throat, so to speak, if I attempt anything high impact or that puts pressure behind the kneecap. Even though I’m not pushing big weights, I think the legs are pretty good. You tell me.

 (Actual leg)

Still, the Great White Belly is not changing as quickly as other body parts. However, it’s cooperating in the strength department. The muscles aren’t shaking nearly as much as they did when I finally “got it” on how to properly hold a plank (and even though you’re not moving, those things will work you). When I started focusing on the oblique muscles (those are the gems down your sides that allow you to twist) I had to mentally focus on the muscles and will them to contract. As  I have continued to practice, it’s become easier to command them to move and have them respond. I can hold the Boat pose (balance on your butt with your body in the shape of a V. Not easy) for (relatively) longer periods.

(Not actual me)

It’s progress. And, unless you're Rick Santorum, progress is a good thing.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Three Faces of Love

Not on the scale today. And, for the record, I haven’t hit the gym in a couple of days BUT I did go day hiking yesterday: steep hillsides and working on coordination by dodging all the dog poop that the citizens of Hollywood leave lying around (near Runyon Canyon Park) on the sidewalks. Under signs describing the fines for not cleaning up after your dog. Draw your own conclusions. “Beautiful pigs” comes to mind.

I saw some friends last night that I literally (a word I do not sling casually) have not seen for years (face to face). I was greeted with “Hello, Sexy” and “Oh my God, you look so great!”. My heart was warmed. Another friend told me I “looked younger and less stressed” than I have in years. “Good,” I told him, “I feel like I wasted about 25 years of my life giving too much energy to my employers and those around me.”

When I was student teaching, the observer from the University of Vermont (UVM. Groovy UV. Go, Cats Go!) made the comment that I was “spendthrift with my energy” and this would ultimately cost me by leaving me with nothing for myself. Clearly, I didn’t listen. However, I am taking steps to undo it.

It’s Valentine’s Day in a couple of days, we just lost Whitney Houston (and yeah, that was a BIG loss) and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show kicks off tomorrow night (GO, MINIATURE SCHNAUZERS!).  Love is all over the place, sort of like those piles of dog poop on the sidewalks in the Hollywood Hills (Jesus, the only place I’ve seen filthier sidewalks was Paris).  And like those piles, it comes in a bunch of different forms: romantic love, love of a performer and unconditional love (from someone that leaves the piles of poop).

Wikipedia: “an algorithm ælɡərɪðəm/ (from Algoritmi, the Latin form of Al-Khwārizmī) is a step-by-step procedure for calculations. More precisely, it is an effective method expressed as a finite list[1] of well-defined instructions[2] for calculating a function.[

CBS Sunday Morning just ran a piece on math and science of online matchmaking, going to a mathematician to explain the algorithm: specific attributes are assigned values and the binary code (even THAT’S paired up) merrily skips along a field of daisies bringing two hearts together.

I now know why I’m alone: I’m a prime number.

I’ve worked in corporate America, variations in the financial services industry, for my entire adult life. Valentine’s Day would roll around and I’d see the bouquets being delivered. The rule seemed to be that the meanest, bitchiest women in the office were the ones who got the biggest, more expensive flowers which were prominently displayed for all to see. Of course, the overheard conversations running up to this big day “Oh, he’d BETTER send me flowers” so I guess this was a form of self-defense for their men. (Why is it that the good, decent guys are with the evil, bitchy women? You’d think they’d say to themselves, “I deserve someone who treats me better.”) I’d get a few “Oh, no boyfriend? That’s so sad, well, maybe next year” followed by snickers when they thought I was out of earshot (High school bullshit never ends, does it?). Okay. So, a couple of times (random days of the year), I went to the best florist on my lunch hour, ordered a dozen mixed roses (I love roses, especially if they have a great scent), filled out a card and went back to work. The bitch queens would be sullen for days afterward (more so than usual).

On a temp job up in Portland, OR, I had one boss who got a gorgeous bouquet for Valentine’s (I think it was Valentine’s) whose reaction still makes me smile. The surprise seemed genuine and she smiled, blushed and giggled the rest of the day (Disclosure: she’s an actress, too, but this was genuine).  Instead of tribute paid out of demand and  self-preservation, this was a gift given and received with affection, as it should be.

My favorite Valentine’s Day card of all time came not from a suitor, but from someone who had the other half of my brain; my late soul sister, Nancy Kurrelmeyer. I forget what the message was that came printed on the card but she wrote: “Be my Un-Valentine! Fuck them all! (Don’t we wish).”

And boxes of pretty good chocolate go on deep discount  (Although, I’m not eating that much sugar anymore. Dammit).

Whitney Houston: Here was someone who had the love (from a distance) of millions who wished her well and wanted nothing more for her than to be happy and to continue to sing because of what that voice brought to them. It wasn’t enough to counteract whatever demons tormented her. Right now Jane Velez Mitchell (aka Nancy Grace’s henchman. Both of these harpies need to be completely and permanently discredited, especially Nancy DisGrace. If someone were to exploit her grief as she exploits that of others, she’d never stop screaming about it) is on HLN foaming at the mouth and trying to build a scandal out of 1 unconfirmed “fact”: two loud thumps. The vultures are already picking the carcass. I enjoyed Ms. Houston’s voice, felt sadness over her multiple miscarriages, some joy when she became a mother, sorrow with her fall and hope when she seemed to be getting back on track. From now on, when they need someone to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl, the NFL should just show the video of her 1991 performance.

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show:  Puppy love. Unconditional love. A dog doesn’t care if you bring it flowers or candy (although chocolate + dog = not good. Our Schnauzer, Lily, got into a triple chocolate cake when she was about 9 months old and barfed it up all over the white carpet in my parents’ bedroom. Her son, Max, cleaned out my Easter basket one year. He didn’t get sick, but his life was in danger for a couple of days from an angry 10 year old).  You never hear “Oh, he BETTER scratch my belly” when two dogs talk to each other.  When men, women, employers, political parties, sports teams and the decline of general intelligence all let you down, a dog will still love you. Even Hitler’s dog liked him (which while it speaks to canine unconditional love, indicates that dogs come up short on current events). And (I kid you not), her name was “Blondie.” God bless their “humans are great” hard-wiring. It takes a helluva lot to overcome that; sadly, the world is full of assholes who work very hard at it. Luckily, there are groups of people willing to dedicate their time and efforts to overcome the damage done by the assholes.

I’ve gotten the pained looks and the snickers when I’ve expressed my  eagerness to watch the dog show, but I don’t care. I like critters (and yes, I prefer cats. If you can show me a dog that can purr, you’ll have my attention) and I get to see a bunch of great dogs in action, including the time, about 10 years ago, give or take, when the judge said, “Go around” and the bull terrier she was examining jumped into the air and spun around. I am not making this up. Toulouse used to hang out on the couch and watch with me. Loosey liked dogs, especially Kodiak Kurrelmeyer. 

 Now that the first week of February is in the rear view mirror (too many losses in one week and we may have to extend that a bit now), the dog show presents an opportunity to put the bad memories and sad feelings behind and look forward to good things coming in the rest of the year.

In the meantime, a little something to start off the week. If you need to hold it as a Monday antidote, go ahead

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You Can't Spell Bozo Without OZ

178.8 lbs. But it’s more muscle than it used to be.

Yoga kicked my ass today, BUT with the work I’ve been doing on my triceps and core (all the way around: abdominals, obliques and whatever you call the muscles in the lower back), I’m getting closer to a complete yoga pushup.

This is what I’m using to work the core. It’s called a Roman chair.

You use your own body weight and gravity to do the moves. When that gets to be too easy, you can clutch a weight to your chest as you do the moves.

I listen to the Savage Love podcast and #275 had a caller who was attracted to larger, curvy women, but hid this from his friends and family because they had tried to steer him away from them in the past. Dan tore him a new asshole, calling him a coward for letting those around him shame him in this manner. You love whom you love (and thanks to the 9th Circuit of the Court of Appeals, today it’s official. I don’t benefit from the ruling, but I have some friends who are utterly joyous) and those around you can’t handle it, you don’t need them in your life. Dan said women should be allowed to be a size 12 or 14 as long as they eat properly and exercise and this guy should tell his friends to “Fuck off. More skinny bitches for you!”

I heart you, Dan Savage.

Okay, I watched “The Dr. Oz Show” today because the promos showed him “confronting” a group of super-obese (at least 400 lbs.) women. And I’m infuriated. If you see spittle on this post, it’s because I’m nearly rabid. This guy needs to be discredited.

For starters, THERE WERE NO SUPER OBESE MEN as part of the show. There were 8 individuals on the stage and 1 via remote hookup (The World’s Fattest Woman. We’ll get to her later), all women. Oh, excuse me: there were 2 men on stage, Dr. Oz and a Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist.

The first four women were shown in little “slice of life” clips talking about their weight, their eating, their lives. At least two of these ladies make a living from the “feeder” fetish: people will pay money to watch them eat over the Internet. They said that business is good. When it was time for them to come onstage, you could have heard a padded pin drop in that studio. Usually, when guests come on, there’s applause and support. Not these ladies. The camera showed some disapproving head shakes in the audience.

Let the gang-shaming begin.

Oz started right out of the gate with attempting to verbally arm-twist these women into admitting to self-loathing. NONE of them budged and one flat-out called him a “fat basher.” (Yeah, I agree) Three of the ladies said they’d had recent checkups and their health was good; blood chemistry was healthy, etc. In fact, the slice of life clips showed them walking, doing sit-ups, swimming and carrying on like “healthy” people. He couldn’t budge them. Each of the four stated that she liked herself AS IS; one went so far as to say she wanted the record of the World’s Fattest Woman.

The arm-twisting included inquiries about meds: only one woman was taking anything – 1 blood pressure med. Doesn’t it cost a lot to maintain the eating/weight? Like I said, two ladies are operating feeder fetish websites and business is good.

Okay, Oz brings on a second group of women (Yeah, this REALLY burns me. For God’s sake: WHY ISN’T THIS DIPLOMATE DOOFUS ATTACKING MEN, TOO??????) who are also super-obese (it is a technical term) who do not like themselves at the big size. THIS group was applauded when they came on. Some had been part of the feeder/gainer fetish scene and weren’t happy with it any more. Okay. This got applause. One lady had previously been on the show when he’d attempted to shame her into losing weight: the Fat Acceptance/Health At Every Size community had made its presence known.  She said that where it had required one seatbelt extender the last time she’d been on, this time, she needed 2. Dead silence.

Okay, here’s the deal: I’ve been in studio audiences for sitcoms and for a health talk show with the Berman sisters (they’re both doctors. One is a gynecologist, I think and the other is a urologist. I know that for sure). The audience gets HEAVILY cued as to when to applaud, when to keep silent and that “we’re going to take some close up shots, so look ______.” Nothing is left to chance.  

Then we get to the remote of the World’s Fattest Woman. She talked about she’d been 400 lbs. when she met her husband, gained even more during marriage (and he was okay with all this), now at 1,200 lbs., her life has become very limited and she needs help doing damned near everything. “I wouldn’t wish this title on anyone.” Cue sad face and wild studio applause at the end of the video interview.

Okay, we have 10 people on stage: 8 large women and 2 men who are there to dispense shame/approval as they see fit. Again: this was men telling women how they should feel. Not a woman psychologist talking about these issues, not men on the receiving end. Patriarchy is alive and well.

Still, some of the larger women wouldn’t budge on their self-acceptance. Okay, Oz goes to one of his favorite tricks to break down people and make them agree with him: Let’s trot out the diseased organs. His favorite refrain is “I’ve spent years fixing bad hearts in people’s chests so you need to listen to me.”  Two of the women refused to handle the hearts.

We go back and sit down and the relief pitcher, Dr. Ablow, takes the mound. He immediately went to bad childhood/child molestation/absent father to explain. .   Oz jumps in with “So who was the first person to tell you you’re worthless?”

You should have seen the stunned looks on the  faces.

Of the 4 women who were the first guests, they went 4 for 4 saying, “I have a great support system. Nobody ever molested me. Yeah, my dad left, but I got a great stepfather who loves and supports me.” Well, that knocked some of the wind out of Dr. Ablow.

Undeterred, Dr. Ablow took a different tack. "Well, then they're in DENIAL." Again, they didn't budge. (Dear Dr. Ablow, when you're in a hole, stop digging). You go, Girls. IF YOU ARE HAPPY WITH WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE, DO NOT LET ANYBODY UNDERMINE YOU.

Oz, cardiac surgeon, offers to help the women “change their lives and change their health” and if they didn’t want it, leave the stage. 2 of the original 4 left. Silent audience.

And Dr. Ablow congratulated everyone left on the stage for taking this first, brave step and
“how to get the train rolling.” About then, I turned off the show. Enough.

For starters, this is America: if you want to be of a particular size and shape and have the power to do so, go for it. The Wiccan tradition (I am a Congregationalist – low-key Protestant. My Pilgrim ancestors invented the Unitarian church. We’re cool with people who are cool with each other) says “As it harms none, do as ye will.” Okay, so if you’re not hurting anyone, knock yourself out. These women weren’t hurting anyone but Oz couldn’t stand it. Don’t judge. I’ve had people treat me pretty badly based on what they thought of my appearance. I have no use for tiny-minded idiots. Some have found this out the hard way.

If you can support yourself in a particular lifestyle, it’s not illegal and harms no one, have at it.

Expertise in a specific field of medicine does not carry over to other specialties. You may be the ace of heart surgeons, but I don’t want you spelunking inside my brain (I’m very fond of it). You’re not trained for neurosurgery. Furthermore, the host of a TV talk show doesn’t do his own research; he has staff and interns. I doubt any of them are endocrinologists, gynecologists or have any expertise in the medical field other than applying a Band-Aid. They’re in the ENTERTAINMENT business, not medicine. The bent is going to be “What’s going to keep the audience tuned in?” not “What are the facts?” I took an advertising class in college and the teacher told us that that purpose of a TV show is to “keep the audience in place for commercials” (This was before the invention of Tivo).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Oz’s big sponsor is Weight Watchers. OF COURSE, his programming is going to be geared to keeping them happy and herding customers to them.

Self-loathing is the key to a consumer economy. By making us hate ourselves then promising that this product or that one will make everything instantly all better and bring about Cosmic Harmony and the Music of the Spheres, it’s the Pennzoil in the capitalist engine.  It especially fuels the fashion, cosmetic  and diet industries.  

If there isn’t  a good “Law & Order” rerun from now on, I think I’ll just turn off the TV. I’ve certainly been turned off Dr. Oz

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How To Defeat The Flash

Don’t ask. Not telling.

I’m about to discuss a situation that will use language inappropriate for small ears (although, truth be told, if you hang around any playground, you are likely to hear more than a few F bombs. Blame daddies and football). If you are a regular visitor to this space, you know that I signed up for E Harmony for 3 months. And you know it was a complete bust. I awoke to a VERY unpleasant surprise yesterday: a cheerful announcement from those motherfuckers telling me that they’d “auto-renewed” my account and had charged me for 3 months at once (I had been paying 1 month at a time). Want to guess how long it took me to close it and file for a refund? Yeah. They’re denying saying that “auto-renew” is their policy so that communications won’t be interrupted (COMMUNICATIONS WITH WHOM, FER CRISSAKES??? THERE WERE NO TAKERS!!!!) and that this was more than 3 months after I’d bought in.

Oh, please.

Shaking the rust off my legal education, I countered that I had signed up for 3 months and 3 months only, there was no mention of auto-renew at the time of sign-up and no warning provided prior to hitting my account without my knowledge or consent. So far, they’ve offered 1. A discounted rate to keep the account  open. Oh, HELL no. Half the money back and keep the account open for 3 months. I told them that they’ve insulted my intelligence and furthermore, IF I’D WANTED TO KEEP THE FUCKING ACCOUNT, I WOULDN’T HAVE FUCKING CLOSED IT. As I am (pissed off is an overused term) ready to go full-on lawyer on their ass, I think their offer is inadequate as it does not undo the damage caused. Since someone just beat Honda in Cali Small Claims Court over hybrid mileage, I’m feeling my oats (except that I’m not eating grains these days).

Okay, happier stuff.

 It is not a secret that I hit the half-century mark in June and, I swear, within 72 hours, I started feeling hot flashes. Any man who looks down on women as “the weaker sex” or second-class citizens needs to experience the joys of womanhood, from those first menstrual cramps and vomiting  from same up through  labor and delivery (Fanny Brice from Funny Lady “Ever tried pushing a piano through a porthole?”) on to sweating through two or three blouses a day in full-on air conditioning. It’s bad enough to have the sweat machine engage during the daylight hours, but this is interfering with my sleep. Kick off the covers and within minutes, wake up to grope and pull them back up. Lather, rinse, repeat. You know why middle-aged women are cranky? Right there: we’re sleep-deprived.

 Mortgage loan files are not the object of my desire and I resent like hell panting and sweating while staring at them with a thundering heartbeat.

On top of the nonsense with E Harmony yesterday (and today), I’d fucking had it. I was also still irritated with Dr. Oz’s treatment of Rosie O’Donnell (who, a year younger than me, is experiencing the same joy and was discussing a “bio-identical hormone cream.” Gentlemen, there are substantial risks to hormone replacement therapy, like cancer and heart disease. Since you think you’re so damned much smarter than we are, come up with something better that won’t kill us in the process).

I’ve heard of black cohosh as a remedy and red clover extract. However, I have none of those in the house and, as previously stated, E Fucking Harmony thought they could better use my money than I could (Yeah, right).

I hit the Internet and…Apple Cider Vinegar? No shit, really?

Yeah, really:

According to this website and, apple cider vinegar is a safe and effective remedy for hot flashes. Dosage varies from person to person, but I read a couple of contributions from readers and they’d settled on 2-3 tablespoons. And it has to be organic apple cider vinegar with the “mother” (or “veil of the mother” in the bottle). It’s cloudy and has a big wad of gunk at the bottom of the bottle. Bragg’s brand, Whole Foods (365, I think), Trader Joe’s, but look for the “mother.”

“What the hell, “ I figured. I mixed 2 tablespoons with a shot (didn’t measure) of agave nectar (sweetener without the glycemic impact of sugar) in a coffee mug and filled the mug with hot tap water. I got that down and went to bed (with sleep mask).

Had it not been for the dimbo (dumb + bimbo) in the next unit making a racket  in the middle of the night, I would have slept for 8 hours straight. Nary a flash.

This morning, I used 3 tablespoons + maple syrup (In a word: yucky) and that was great for about 8 hours, but I just had to down another tablespoon as I felt another coming on. Stopped it dead.

I have been asked if apple cider vinegar works for other menopause symptoms and I found that it addresses a pantsload of human ailments (click on the links) INCLUDING weight loss (bet you were wondering when I was going to tie it back to the primary focus of this blog, huh?):

“Apple Cider Vinegar, that wonderful old-timers home remedy, cures more ailments than any other folk remedy -- we're convinced! From the extensive feedback we've received over the past 8 years, the reported cures from drinking Apple Cider Vinegar are numerous. They include cures for allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, and gout. Apple Cider Vinegar also breaks down fat and is widely used to lose weight. It has also been reported that a daily dose of apple cider vinegar in water has high blood pressure under control in two weeks!

Apple Cider Vinegar is also wonderful for pets, including dogs, cats, and horses. It helps them with arthritic conditions, controls fleas & barn flies, and gives a beautiful shine to their coats!”

About that shiny coat:

My hair has darkened over the years; right now it’s a fairly dark shade of blonde and I’m not in love with the amount of hair I have to clean out of the brush every week. If you’d ever seen the men in my family (one of my nieces having described my late father’s hair color as “pink”), you’d understand why I’d be concerned about the grip my hair follicles have on my scalp. Rogaine: it’s not just for men. A few days ago, I’d been researching ways of lightening my hair color in a natural and inexpensive way. In addition to chamomile (box of tea bags from Fresh & Easy, $2.98. Fill a 1 quart Tupperware or Cool Whip container with warm water, put in 6 bags and let those puppies steep overnight. It’ll look like chicken stock in the morning), one site recommended apple cider vinegar (and honey) to gradually lighten hair color. I’ve been rinsing my hair with about a cup of the chamomile tea, leaving it in and it’s gradually lightening. I’ve added some of the Bragg’s to the tea and will proceed and report back.

Today, to answer the query about other symptoms of menopause, I was doing some Internet research and found out that rinsing your hair with cider vinegar will stop/reverse hair loss. (And, apparently, prevent fleas and barn flies).

(And if you have long hair, braid it before bedtime to prevent pillow damage. It worked for Ma Ingalls).

As soon as I get those thieves at E Harmony sorted out, I will investigate maca root: also recommended by a trusted source for addressing the issues of female aging. I think it’s available in capsules.

And by the way, E Harmony just caved.


And please, if you try the apple cider vinegar or other remedies, please share your comments here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Nope. Still haven’t been on the scale. Don’t feel bad about it, either.

Okay, big bold BRAVE step: I’m posting pictures (no snickering at the quality, please. It’s the best I can do on my own).  

I have two long-sleeved T shirts from the Sanitary Fish Market in Morehead City, NC (No, I don’t eat fish, but I know quality hush puppies and chicken when I find them). For years, they were too tight. I am pleased to be swimming in them today.

I cop to watching Dr. Oz at least 2-3 days per week. If you don’t know this guy, Mehmet Oz is the co-author of the “You: The Owner’s Manual, You: On a Diet, You: Staying Young, Me and You: And A Dog Named Boo” (okay, so that was a radio hit in the 70s, but it’s a fun song). Dr. Oz is a cardiac surgeon.  He, like Dr. Phil and Nate Berkus, is a protégé of Oprah, so his career had a turbo boost. And like Dr. Phil and Nate Berkus, Dr. Oz has a syndicated afternoon talk/information show that is supposed to be about health. Okay.

“The Dr. Oz Show” has been on the air since September 14,2009. According to Wikipedia, as of November 18,2011, he has recorded 400 episodes. (I haven’t done the math on how many since then). I’ve been tuning in since September 2011, usually with a notebook in hand.

Using his training and experience as a cardiac surgeon, Dr. Oz talks about a range of health issues and comes across as quite the authority.

He is Oz, the Great and Powerful.

Yesterday, I watched him, iron fist in velvet glove, beat up on Rosie O’Donnell about her weight. I have liked Rosie since I knew who she was. I loved her Stand-Up Spotlight on VH-1, her afternoon talk show was a lot of fun and she had some great stand-up. I made the mistake of paying to see “Exit to Eden” (and Rosie? I want a damned refund), but she was great in two of my favorites: “Sleepless in Seattle” and “A League of Their Own.” Even after the dust-ups over the Rosie magazine, the end of her show, the nasty comment by Donald Trump (because, apparently, he left his sense of humor in one of his international hotels), I still like Rosie. And she can still kill it with the Betty Rubble laugh.  Rosie has a new show on the OWN network and must have made a deal with the devil to come onto Oz’s show to promote it. I didn’t take notes, but there were leading questions, twisted answers and everything was geared toward making Rosie confess her “sins” of eating and how she’s changed everything due to her new girlfriend (after all the crap she went through to adopt kids and marry her first wife, it was a shame to see that the union didn’t stand).

He did something similar to Paula Deen last week, when she revealed that she has Type 2 diabetes.

A couple of months ago, he was high-fiving and encouraging Jennifer Hudson who has dropped a significant amount of weight and is happy as hell about it. She is the face of Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers is a “partner” with Dr. Oz. Interesting.

According to the good doctor today, he has done over 400 shows about weight loss. Also interesting. Probably includes his appearances on Oprah’s show.

And today’s magnum opus (“Great Work.” Not what you get when you cross Tom Selleck with a penguin): “Fat-urday: Cheat On Your Diet.”

Okay, I tuned in because I’d heard from him on the Mark & Brian radio program on this topic. The conventional wisdom is that reducing calorie intake causes your body to go into famine mode and slow down the metabolism. A couple of months ago, he’d said that a cheat day every now and then caused the body to get out of survivalist mode and turn the engines back on. Since I hadn’t taken notes while listening to the radio show (mostly because I’m working my day job during Mark & Brian), I figured I’d get some good info to share in this space.

What I got was pissed.

Right off the bat, he walks on stage and says “I GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO CHEAT.”

Say what, Turkey?  I am American, 21 and nobody’s property, particularly yours. This is MY body and I don’t need NOBODY’S permission to do what I want with it; including abortions (for now).  

We have crossed the line from informational talk show to propaganda platform. Had he come out and said, “Good news: cheating on your diet can actually be good for you,” that would be a different matter. But nope, HE’S giving PERMISSION.

He had three women that cameras followed on their cheat day and their only guideline was “This day. Eat up and focus on your favorite stuff.” However, as they were indulging in their cheats, there was a calorie counter recording what they ate. This is your basic mixed message: eat what you want, but we’re going to keep track.

Apparently, their cheating wasn’t within the rules because he laid out a whole day’s worth of “appropriate” cheats with turkey bacon and other pale substitutes that only added up to 1400 calories and were consumed in a particular order. Really? On a day where the rules are supposed to be suspended, this seems particularly anal.  If I had been watching on my own TV set, I might have gone Elvis on his smug mug (The King was notorious for shooting TV sets).

Okay, fine, have a cheat day, but be smart about it and don’t binge.  And don’t have more than 1 per week.  There is a way to provide this information without granting permission or approval.

When he’s not talking about how overweight will kill you and therefore, Dr. Oz won’t love you anymore, he’s hawking anti-aging treatments. One of them today was for Argiriline cream as an alternative to Botox. He never mentioned the side effects: it reduces the movement of the muscles in your face and causes sagging. Even a link on his website (a Q & A section with input from other doctors) contradicted his endorsement of the cream.

Dr. Oz is as bad as any women’s magazine at increasing and exploiting female self-loathing for purposes of sales. In his case, Weight Watchers, various exercise gizmos and cosmetic dermatological procedures (not covered by insurance).  To me, this is bolstered that he was taking a “deprivation” approach to dieting. Suffer and sacrifice for the big man’s approval.
You're a mean one, Dr. Oz.

About a month ago, the advertising for a show was “the most under-performed surgical procedure” and “it cures Type II diabetes overnight.” Yes, I tuned in. I was curious. I thought it might be some kind of cutting edge (surgical pun) procedure involving the pancreas. No.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiac surgeon, was pushing gastric bypass surgery. With both hands. Again, nothing about side effects and risks, which you can find pretty easily on the Web. Again, not so much an informational show about health as it is promoting an agenda. Neutrality: he would have presented some of the risks as well.

I suppose it would behoove myself to stop watching the show (and if there’s a particularly good “Law & Order” repeat, I don’t watch him) because it is dawning on me that he’s promoting an agenda, selling books and products and fronting for Weight Watchers. He does provide some useful information: I’ve added some supplements to my diet that I believe have helped me feel better (argenine to promote the body’s production of Human Growth Hormone) and started using a sleep mask at night (So has my friend, Star and she’s told me it has made a great difference for her. We have the same day job, different companies and need good sleep so our brains can function properly).

Okay, so I have gotten SOME good from him, but I’m getting better info from

This Oz is actually about as great and powerful as the Wizard turned out to be.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Girl's Best Friend Is Her Crock Pot

Nope, still haven’t been on the scale in a couple of days. Deal with it.

To the “gentleman” following me around on the circuit today: grunting and wheezing like an asthmatic water buffalo is not appealing. Neither is smelling like one. Please have the courtesy to at least rub a dryer sheet on yourself or hang a pine tree air freshener around your neck  if you’re allergic to bathing/laundry. For the good of mankind.

I think we can all agree that ads for food are coming at us from all angles all the time. TV, the sides of buses, signs along the road, radio, pretty much anywhere you can fit the message. Mostly, it is for processed food and I include fast food in that category (it’s been processed when you get to it). The ads that bug me are ones for frozen or “just add water and some meat” dinners or takeout that basically promise to heal your fractured family just by all of you sitting down over a steaming hot dish of hydrogenated oil, chemical preservatives, modified food starch and high fructose corn syrup.  And sodium. LOTS of sodium.

There’s also an ad for car insurance where the announcer describes a young woman driving a new car (and checking herself out in the rear view mirror) as being on a “ramen noodle every night budget.” You know, if you have to cut your food budget like that to accommodate the costs of maintaining a car, you can’t afford the car. Do yourself a favor: turn in the car, get yourself sneakers and a bus pass and stop poisoning yourself with the crappy food. You can always make more money, but it’s a long, hard, rocky road to rebuild ruined health. You can trust me:  I’m doing the legwork.

On the “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” DVD, there is an “extra” called the “10 Minute Cooking School” where Robert Rodriguez demonstrates making coquinita pibil, a slow cooked pork dish that Johnny Depp’s character loved. Mr. Rodriguez makes the point that you are going to be eating the rest of your life; it makes sense to learn how to cook so you can feed yourself.

By the time I was 13, I could prepare baked chicken, a salad (Mom made the homemade French dressing) and dump frozen vegetables into water to reheat them for dinner (hence my lifelong aversion to mushy broccoli).

We live in challenging times and while we’re overworked, overscheduled and stressed, the smart play is to prepare meals at home. “But,” you say, “I don’t have time.  I’m too tired when I get home, I can’t even think.” And, just because you think you have me stumped, “I don’t know how to cook.”

Oh, really? Can’t cook. Hmm. Wouldn’t it be great if there were resources available to walk you through the process? Those big, paper things called “books” or websites that had recipes or…  Tony Rocco Spatafora (I love the fact that his middle name is Rocco) can show you how to make easy, great food. In fact, he’s got a series of videos on YouTube (that you can get to through the upper right hand side of his blog) that teach you how to prepare fish, lamb (with special guest star Charlene Tilton) and working with garlic (I am one of garlic’s biggest fans). He’ll  also entertain you in the process.                

“Okay, great for the weekends,” you say. “But what about the rest of the week?”

If you can measure ingredients, you can make soup. And with a Crock Pot (what so proudly I hail), you can SAFELY start your dinner before you leave for work and have it ready when you come home brain dead. Don’t like soup? How about chili? Spaghetti sauce? Chicken cacciatore (the little booklet that comes with a Rival crock pot has great recipes in it)? Pot roast?  I have made that coquinita pibil in the crock pot (once, not  completely successfully, but now that I know where to get sour orange juice, I may have another go at it). The beauty part is that you can make enough to have leftovers for a couple of days or even take a really good lunch (pretty much every workplace has a kitchenette with a microwave or two. Have Lysol wipes handy because, for some reason I’ve yet to discover, American workers seem to think their moms have followed them to work and are on hand to clean up after them) and SAVE MONEY. Crock Pots were introduced during the 1970s and part of the initial pitch, during a time of inflation and energy crisis, was that it only cost “pennies a day” to make meals with a Crock Pot (in terms of the electricity they use).  So you have to chop up some vegetables (unless you cheat and use the frozen mixed vegetables – carrots, peas, lima beans, corn – that every grocery store carries in the Green Giant and Birdseye brands as well as their house label. And more and more places have the aromatic veggies: carrots, celery and onions, pre-diced so you don’t even have to do that) and open a couple of cans of tomatoes to dump in the pot. Cost benefit analysis? For the “cost” (a little planning, some chopping, remembering to plug in the Crock Pot – don’t laugh), the benefit is off the hook: healthy food, seasoned to your taste and enough of it to stretch over a couple of meals if you share, or days if you don’t . You can’t amortize a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese like that ($1.69 for powdered chemicals and “processed cheese food.” What IS that?) like that and the mac & cheese doesn’t have the same spectrum of nutrients that a pot of homemade soup would (Beef, veggies, seasonings or chicken, veggies, beans, seasoning).

You could roast a chicken on Sunday and stretch that into sandwiches, chicken salad and have a carcass to make chicken stock (which freezes BEAUTIFULLY and is so useful to have in the kitchen. Save the $2.99 it costs for a container of Swanson’s chicken stock). Here’s your first cooking lesson: stock comes from bones, broth comes from meat.  Make a note.

Lasagne: again a “make on Sunday and have leftovers” dish. Put it to you this way: would you rather  shell out  $7 or $8 for a pan of Stouffer’s lasagne or would you rather warm up something that you made with your own hands from fresh ingredients, no weird unpronounceable chemicals and it’s shaded to your tastes? (Lasagna is a single noodle. Lasagne is the whole pan. Make a note).

What you get from preparing your own food, besides better food and more money in your pocket, is a sense of accomplishment that you don’t get from browning beef, dumping a packet of “flavoring” on it, adding dehydrated potatoes and water and simmering for 20 minutes. Losing yourself in the preparation of a dish can actually be a great stress reliever and a great opportunity to bond if you’re working with someone else. That’s what the instant meals are promising, but not quite delivering: the shared experience of fulfilling a basic need as a team.

In my current living situation, I don’t have a full-on kitchen. I have a microwave, two burner stovetop (for Brussels Sprouts because I can only eat those fuckers if I’ve pan roasted them with bacon), Crock Pot and George Foreman grill. (Luckily, I have a full-sized fridge). I just baked a couple of sweet potatoes in the microwave: you pierce them all over with a fork or a knife (take out some of the anger that your idiot boss caused you. For the record, I do not have an idiot boss on my present job. Previously, though, I could tell you a tale…) and toss them in the microwave for 10 minutes. They will be cooked all the way through and internally fluffy (You heard me: “fluffy”) and you can then dress them up as you wish and eat. The only effort was punching holes in them.  Low glycemic food, healthy flavonoids, high fiber and in the yellow spectrum of vegetables. Throw some pumpkin pie spice on them and you get the added benefits from cinnamon (blood sugar control). Actually, if you’re making coffee, throw some pumpkin pie spice in with the grounds before brewing. You’re welcome.

If you can master a few basic techniques: roasting, chopping, sautéing , grilling for example, you have opened up a world of possibilities to not only feed yourself to your satisfaction, but to also impress other people. Think about it: your office is throwing a potluck. What gets the better reception: the sandwiches that someone picked up from the deli or the pot of homemade chili that someone brought in? Or having your friends over for a backyard grilling fest? (I did not say barbecue as there are pros who have worked hard to teach me the difference between grilling and barbecue)

You’ve begun dating someone; it’s always VERY impressive if you prepare a meal for the two of you (and it’s certainly cheaper than dining out. Think government is too big? How deeply does it reach into your pocket every time you dine out? Restaurant taxes tend to be higher than sales tax), especially if it’s your sweetie’s favorite. Let’s say things progress to meeting families: if you can prove to potential in-laws that you are capable of feeding your significant other (and willing to do so), it goes a long way towards acceptance.

So, check out “Dish It Out!” I don’t know if Tony takes requests (“Hey, Spats, can you teach us how to…?”) but it certainly can’t hurt to ask.