January 30, 2012

No Sugar, No Spice: Not So Nice

The Wise Woman (as I will ever after refer to my therapist) said that sugar was masking my emotions, and I wondered how much more emotional I could possibly be. I tear up several times a day while listening to my iPod, and then again in the evening while reading bedtime stories to Buckaroo and Sweet P. Cynthia Rylant's The Old Woman who Named Things gets me every damn time.

I often let my dream life show me where I'm going, or where I've been, and my first sugarless week I dreamed of sweet things, lamenting a half-licked lollipop, or arguing with friends about the merits of Rocky Road. Obvious enough.

It's been twelve days now, and last night I dreamed I was in China. I walked the streets and photographed everything. I couldn't wait to edit the photos, and then to put it all into words. I woke and wanted to run away from home, and since I couldn't run, I wanted to pull the covers over my head and huddle the day away.

I used to pity people who had no desire to travel, people who've always lived in the town where they grew up. I used to look at them as if they were from another planet. Now I think that must be the planet of contentment, and I feel only envy. How must it be to be completely fulfilled with where you are right now? I have glimpses of that, when I'm snuggled up with R and Buckaroo on Saturday mornings or when Sweet P and I are giggling at Glee, when we're all skating on the lake at sunset. Even in those moments, though, I know the morning will come when I want to grab my passport and flee.

I've felt that travel tug while high on Twinkies, though, so I'm guessing the sugar was not deadening that desire so much.

Then as I spread peanut butter and honey on bread for the kids' lunches, I found myself asking: What is wrong with me? It's certainly not the first time I've asked myself that question, but in the past I've always silenced it with a nice hot mocha and a cream puff.

Well, I didn't eat those things, and I still don't have the answer. All I know is that I've hit the crankypants stage of Discovery, as the Wise Woman said I would. I hope it blows over quickly or I may be divorced and friendless by the time it's done.

January 24, 2012

No Sugar Dip of Chocolatey Goodness

Tomorrow will mark one week of my being sugarless. Woo hoo!

I'm trying not to replace refined sugars with naturally occurring sugars because that doesn't seem right, but I'm not being a total stickler, either. I did add a half jigger of honey to the batch of soup I brewed the other day, and I had a bottle of bubbly juice at friend's party, but nothing that's sent me into relapse so far.

However, before I swore myself off the sweet stuff a friend invited me for lunch, and I promised to bring dessert. I've been in a bit of a conundrum about it. I searched the Internet for sugarless treats, but continually bumped against recipes calling for agave syrup or Splenda.

I decided to see what I could come up with on my own. And here it is:

No Sugar Dip of Chocolatey Goodness

8 Dates, chopped
1 Jar of Clotted Cream (6 oz.) (mascarpone would probably work, too).
1/4 Cup-ish of Baking Cocoa. (I prefer Dean's Beans. It's organic and it's fair trade.)

Blend dates in the food processor until they are a ball of mush. Add clotted cream and mix until well blended. Add baking cocoa and mix until well blended.

Serve with whatever you like: bananas, apples, celery, crackers, etc.

* Dates have a very high sugar content and are not a good choice for diabetics, but they are also quite nutritious.

** If you try a low-fat version of this dip, let me know how it turns out!

*** I didn't post a photo because it's not very attractive, but imagine chocolate frosting. 

January 12, 2012

Lessons with Snow Shovel

I've shoveled the entire driveway for the first time after living in New England for more than three years, and here are a few rules I've created for myself:

Never fling where you scoop. There's a similar, equally important, saying about going potty.

Shoveling in a snowstorm is a Sisyphean feat. Get zen with it or become a recluse 'til spring.

You may think you hear the snowplow coming down your road. The sound is something akin to a desert mirage; it will never arrive.

Always wear a belt while shoveling, otherwise your pants will fall down and your bum will be snowflaked. However sexy that may sound, it is not.

Never move to a place where it snows if you do not have, or are not in hopes of possessing, flat abs and Popeye-like biceps.

You may quite happily move to a snowy land if you are wealthy enough to hire someone with the afore mentioned qualities-- and then you may have the added joy of watching that person's pants fall down.


Next time perhaps my thoughts will be more poetic. In the meantime, here's a link to Billy Collins's poem, "Shoveling Snow with Buddha."

January 7, 2012

Update from The Woods

Hello from the land of 50 degrees in January! While my family laments that there's no fun to be had in a snowless January, I rejoice. It certainly is easier to take out the garbage, and drive, and walk without falling on my arse. This is the first January since we moved to The Woods that I have not felt like feeding myself to the bears (they're asleep, I know, but they'd find me in the spring). My improved mood may also be due to my daily increase of Vitamin D; whatever the reason, here I am with a smile on mi boca. Tra la.

The dog, however, seems to have absorbed the sadness I no longer feel. R says he'd rather have a depressed dog than a depressed wife, but it is worrisome when she sleeps until 10 a.m. and won't eat her food. We boarded her during the holidays, and we're fairly certain they fed her McDonald's hamburgers for every meal, so now she doesn't want the doggie version of twigs and berries we feed her, and she's protesting with a hunger strike.

Sweet P spent her holidays in California and is now forlorn about its location on the other side of the country. Fortunately, when she's low she guzzles literature instead of booze, and I'm enjoying the literary conversations. Sweet P has been attached to the Harry Potter books so fervently since we began reading them, lo, those many years ago, and was resistant to any other offering I brought from the library.

However, I read an article recently which suggests that knowing the end of a story increases one's satisfaction in reading it. I'm not sure this is true for me, but it seems to be true for Sweet P. Each time she hears a snippet of my audio book in the car she is enticed to read more, and she does. She sat through the entire UU discussion of The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussenknows the tale's end, and now wants to read that, too. It's also true for Obo, as he read the Harry Potter books, Deathly Hallows first. Hey, whatever works. Sweet P just finished reading The Help and My Name is Memory, which leads me to believe that she may have moved beyond my YA library offerings.  She is almost 15 after all. Yikes. She's planning her birthday soiree as I write this.

Buckaroo is as bucky as ever and growing buckier by the minute. We've begun the Harry Potter journey with him, and it's strange to be starting anew. I struggled through the opening pages of The Sorcerer's Stone, all choked up with the knowledge of what's to come. With Sweet P, we made slow progress through the series, forced to wait for the release of each new book. Buckaroo doesn't have that hindrance, but because he's only four, I think we're going to impose an intermission between books four and five. I often find myself editing some of the language as I read, replacing "stupid" with "silly" and "kill" with "get." That doesn't stop him from calling me a mudblood-- ever an opportunity for conversation.

Obo is dissatisfied with his English hairdressing school. Last summer we vacationed in New York City, and he was quite smitten. He's decided to attend community college stateside this fall with the goal of attending a university and working his way cityward. (Can I get a hallelujah?) He's also the happy recipient of a brand new laptop and Skype-able. He looks just the same, in case you were wondering. Oh, but how will he ever find a suitable American stylist? It will be an adventure.

R and I are in the midst of updating the kitchen. I never knew it would be so time consuming. Oh, the woes of luxury. I am looking forward to having a home that feels like mine. It's been a long-time waiting. We're also still contemplating the kindergarten conundrum with Buckaroo. Well, it's more about my blabbing and R nodding. You've probably heard that tale before.

I have a recurring fantasy of opening a bookstore, which would make us about as much money as my fantasy to run a poetry camp or become a librarian. I daydream about naming my bookstore the way I used to daydream about naming my children. But in my bookstore fantasy, I lounge around the store reading all day with a literary cat in my lap, occasionally looking up to chat with a customer. You know, some people have porn. This is mine. Let me suspend my disbelief.

R still tends to his bees (they're enjoying the weather as much as I am), plans his garden, and is learning how to tile. We went for a hike last weekend and actually found frozen mushrooms among the ice. He was so pleased.

That's it for now. I must tend to a second attempt at dumplings. 

Happy New Year, Lovelies!