Monday, June 25, 2012

If I Didn't Talk to You Today, Here's Why

This post may get me a Nastygram from someone who can’t be bothered with me except to bitch at me.

Fuck you and if you have the temerity to e-scream at me, I WILL forward your email address to people who will “go full on Redneck” on you. And various other things from other folks.

If you’re not a friend on Facebook, you haven’t seen my most recent post about feeling fragile today. If you are a regular here or know me in “real” life, then you know that a) my father, Clifford R. Thatcher, Jr. passed away December 16,2011 and b) (you may correctly surmise) that I had a complicated relationship with same.
Picture of paternal DNA source with a counted cross-stitch I spent MONTHS completely that he decided looked best in the bathroom:

I never needed to marry my father as women are said to do. I AM my father. It’s not an attractive personality as far as men are concerned.

One of my friends recently (like within the last month) lost her dad (with whom she was far closer than I was with mine). And we had Father’s  Day last week. Not that CRT, Jr. was a big fan, but he did appreciate the gifts when we got inspired. And there was a legendary Father’s Day when he gave HIS dad (Gramp) a very nice (expensive) woodworking tool and we gave Dad an expensive gift (I forget what). My grandmother, KLH Thatcher was somewhat jealous (although, while she was on this plane, going and genuflecting on Mother’s Day was required unless you wanted to be frozen out). Over the dinner table, she made the comment a couple of times that “I wish I was a father. You get such nice gifts.” MY father, her only son (begotten or otherwise. He could have been Jesus: as far as we knew, my grandmother never lost her virginity), looked at her (after several martinis) and said, “You may not be a father, but you certainly are a mother.”

You could hear the sphincters snap shut around the table.

What got me today was the thought that I would never again hear him snoring from down the hall. Oh, we raise Olympic level snoring champs in our family.  Gold medalists, all.

That sound (lucky for me, from down the hall) was the sound that gave me comfort. If I heard it, I knew Dad was home and everything was okay (for the most part). I didn’t need to concern myself with household security, paying the bills or any of that stuff.  That snore meant that if I got sick in the night (and you had to barf to get out of school), there would be someone to help me get back to bed and check on me the next day. I didn’t have to be responsible; someone else had it covered.
I stayed pretty tightly wrapped for most of the day. I focused as much as I could on my work and ignored people so that I wouldn’t cry. Yeah. I was that close.

I’ve been in Shark Mode for 6 months: keep swimming forward or else you’ll die (or end up as a metaphor in a Woody Allen movie).

Those of you who have something CONSTRUCTIVE to contribute, please do so.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Turn, Turn, Turn Part 2

Long delayed, perhaps the wait is worth it.

One of the biggest surprises of this blog has been the popularity of one post: Turn, Turn, Turn ( ) from January 1 of this year (2012). In it, I described the practice of walking meditation using a labyrinth and included pictures from the Prince of Peace Episcopal (I think it’s Episcopal) Church in West Hills, CA (off Shoup).

As a follow up (who knows? Maybe people are looking for pictures of the Minotaur. Sorry. Not here), I offer the Bellflower Library Gardens of Bellflower, CA. I went back there a few weeks ago because the first time I hit the place, I was thoroughly charmed by the park and its theme. If you go, I would recommend going in at least pairs as there were a couple of homeless man hanging around. I am not anti-homeless, but one never knows how unknown people will behave and in this situation, there is safety in numbers.
The pictures that follow show why I love this place:

 The sculpture and fountain are most charming.
The labyrinth

And the tiles donated around it...C'mon, meditation and Yoda (and this is so true)...

And a little encouragement from a local boy for the "X Files" fans...

Friday, June 15, 2012

You Want a Side of Slaw With That Hubris?

For right now, screw the scale.

My late father was fond of saying to me, “Judge not lest ye be judged yourself.” Of course, this was usually followed by a list of my shortcomings, but that’s beside the point. As you know from reading this, I have been working on improving my health since last year and cleaning up/improving the diet has been a huge component of that. In fact, according to various sources, a healthy diet of nutritious food is more important than exercise (although you do need to get off your butt every now and then.  (Give your couch the day off).  To this end, I have adopted the Paleo way of eating: meats, fruits, veggies, nuts. No sugar, no grains, no processed foods.
Got it? Okay.
Now, I work at a job with assigned seating and fairly close quarters. We are allowed to snack at our desks and, as previously stated, I have gotten comments about the bags  of baby carrots and raw almonds and grapes I bring to work. I have also commented on the breakfast potluck that happens every Friday. And I have commented that I like bacon.
Got that? You’re still with me. Good.
The company has been  providing lunch for us for the past three weeks on Fridays. I’ve worked around the sugar and grain components pretty successfully (trading cookies for fruit. I get melon; I win).
I discussed the bacon briefly yesterday with one of my seatmates who said that he didn’t eat pork “because of what pigs eat.” I tried to tell him that there is organic, pasture-fed pork as there is organic, pasture-fed beef but he wasn’t interested. Fine.
Today, the company brought in Panda Express for us today and the choices were orange chicken or beef with broccoli. I collected my beef with broccoli and sat at my desk to eat it (I picked around the fried rice and lo mein noodles for the beef and vegetables. Okay, I ate the egg roll. My scalp is all broken out, so I’m paying for that particular sin). The seatmate looks over.
“Did you get chicken?”
“No, I took the beef.” (Chicken in orange sauce is 1) coated in a flour-based batter, 2) deep-fried and 3) drowned in orange-flavored sugar syrup).
He looked disapproving. “Beef is bad for you.”
WHAT? “No, it isn’t.”
“It causes problems. You should have gotten the chicken.”
(Jaw clenched) “No, there is nothing wrong with the beef.”
He wouldn’t back down. “It takes your body longer to break it down. You should have gotten the checkn.”
Let me clue you in on the food cop here:
He is a nice man and knows the job we’re doing forwards, backwards and sideways. Since A) I sit next to him and that isn’t going to change and B) I do need his expertise, I was not about to tear him a new asshole.
Unfortunately, even the nicest of people need the social equivalent of one of those shock collar and invisible fence combinations every now and then.  I hope this doesn’t turn into one of those cases.
For starters, Judge Fed is about 6’ 2” and weighs over 300 lbs. himself. I bring in snacks. He brings in snacks. That’s where the similarities end.
Understand: this guy is telling me how I should eat. This morning’s potluck breakfast (which I didn’t eat) was fried chicken and waffles (as well as scrambled eggs with cheese and other additives). He had waffles, eggs and doubled down on large hunks of fried chicken.
As I said, I pull out carrots, raw almonds, cucumber pieces, dried or fresh fruit for snacks. He has: Nature Valley granola bars (loaded with sugar), crackers and Jif peanut butter, fruit roll-ups. Oh yeah: his morning ritual is a small cup of oatmeal, but during his morning break, he usually heads down to the café for a breakfast wrap with a side of tater tots.
I drink coffee, tea or water (mostly water). He downs a large Gatorade: not the sugar-free kind (regular Gatorade is loaded with high fructose corn syrup).  And soda.
This guy is sedentary. In addition to the large body, he has no muscle tone to indicate that he exercises.
And he feels free to pass judgment on what I’m eating and whether I should be eating it.
Oh, I forgot: he gets in on the afternoon root beer floats that get distributed to the potluck participants.
Running side by side with “Judge not lest ye be judged” is “live and let live.” Now, I have watched this guy shovel quantities of crappy processed food into his “overfed pie hole” (a Facebook commenter) and held my tongue except to offer to share my snacks with him (I did try one of his Blue Diamond habanero barbecue almonds. Tasty, but loaded with sugar and other stuff I don’t want to eat).  He feels hot most of the time; I know because he constantly needs to fan himself. According to another Facebook commenter, this is common with larger people due to additional insulation. I get hot, but that’s menopause.
And he got the orange chicken. That was two meals in one day of battered, deep-fried chicken with ample side starch. I haven’t seen dining like that since Morgan Spurlock and “Super Size Me.”
Like I said, this is a nice man and I need to get along with him because we sit and work together. That’s why he didn’t go home with his still-beating heart in his lunchbox.
Look, if you want to criticize what I’m eating, you’d better look like this before you open your gob:

If I wanted this kind of hypocritical bullshit, there is a small group of people with whom I’d reconnect. Hell, they’ve got a forty year head start on trying to make me feel small, bad and guilty over my appearance and health habits while indulging in alcohol, tobacco, over-eating and sedentary lifestyles themselves.
And, as a corollary to my “If you’re not going to make changes, do not bitch to me about how shitty you feel” rule, there is the “deeds, not words” rule aka “talk is cheap.”  You’d better be looking and living the part before you tell me how wrong I am in my approach to health.
Or you may get a hunk of fried chicken up your nose.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crossing the Minefields

No, I’m still here.

I am actually living in a house (renting a room), working a good job that I like and have blazing Internet access. Life is good.

New job means working among other human beings again and facing the pitfalls of office work. There is the obvious “hours at a desk” issue, but that’s dealt with by getting self to gym after work (my day ends early enough that  I avoid most of the rush). And if you turn to (Like I keep telling you to…), you’ll see that gyms are not necessary to getting exercise (they are for me. I can’t play outdoors for too long. I should be a theoretical physicist like Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory”)

No, the big challenge has been avoiding temptation and sticking with the Paleo plan. This particular workplace has a potluck every Friday morning and I can smell the bacon (ooh, lovely) and see the big poofy croissants coming in. And in the afternoons, there are other treats.

In addition to the above challenge, there are the desk treats,  like a Sam’s Club sized jar of peanut butter pretzel nuggets available to all and one of my co-workers is married to a Mars (as in Snickers, M&Ms and Kit Kats) employee and he frequently brings in full-sized candy bars to share. He’s nice guy.
People will look askance at my bags of raw almonds or grapes or baby carrots. “Oh, you’re eating healthy,” as if I had just shut down a party or announced that I was going to vote for Nixon (yes, I know he’s dead).

Time to put on the armor.

Actually, if you’re eating Paleo, it looks more like this:

Well, maybe it looks more like this.Let’s slay these Komodo dragons one at a time (Steve Kamb, if you’re reading this, I’m stealing a little from you. Only a little. These are small dragons but you have to get past them to get to the big guys):
1) The potluck. I eat before I leave the house and come with lunch (generally grilled chicken and salad greens) and snacks aplenty. I remind myself that if I eat the big poofy croissants, I will have oozy blisters on my hands and scalp the next day as well as goopy sinuses and ears (yes, gluten does that to me). One of the ladies lectured me on eating turkey bacon (“You know, for some people it’s going to save their lives”)instead of the real deal when I commented on how pork bacon smells better and I bit my tongue to keep from replying “Yeah, it’s a highly processed food. All yours.”  For the record: pig tastes good.

2) The desk treats: they can be tough to ignore. BUT, if you have an adequate (and then some) supply of good stuff like almonds, carrots, grapes,etc., temptation is reduced by 90%. The “and then some” comes in handy to share. Carrots seem,  to be received more readily than almonds.

3) “Oh, you’re eating healthy.” Yeah, I am. Of course, this can lead to the following conversation: “What are you doing?”

“I’m eating Paleo/Caveman.”

 “What’s that?”

“No sugar, no processed food, no grains, grass-fed meats, no dairy (well, I get organic grass-fed dairy when I do indulge).”

 “That’s Atkins.”

“No, it’s not Atkins. You can knock yourself out with vegetables and fruit (well, be reasonable with fruit).”

 ”Don’t you go crazy with no sugar and no bread?”

“No, I have fruit. Look, check out this website: It’s funny and informative.”

“How long do you have to eat like that?”

“It’s lifetime. It’s like someone allergic to strawberries not eating them.”

“Yeah, I could never do that.”

 And then, I get to listen to ongoing whining about how the person who inquired just can’t lose weight no matter what. Usually, this is between pulls on a straw inserted into a Subway or McDonald’s super-sized cup of Coke or Diet Coke. No comment.

We all chart our own paths. Mine seems to be through a minefield and requires the occasional tap dance. Lucky for me, I have the map, thanks to Nerd Fitness.