Saturday Hodge-Podge

December 17, 2011

A few eclectic thoughts for your Saturday (and mine):

1) Enlightened. I’ve been watching “Enlightened” on HBO, and I love it. Have you watched? I’m waaaay behind – they aired the finale last week, but I’ve been TiVo-ing and I just watched the fourth episode. The show, about a woman (Laura Dern) rebuilding her life after a nervous-breakdown-esque incident, is touching, honest and isn’t afraid of awkward or uncomfortable situations, which provide a good deal of the humor. (I know, I know, this review is coming weeks and weeks late, but if you subscribe to HBO, you can watch full episodes online here.)

In the episode I just watched, Amy realizes that her relationship with her ex-husband has forever changed, and the events that led to their splitting up can’t be undone. The episode ends with Amy summing up what she’s learned, in a voice-over:

“You can try to escape the story of your life, but you can’t. It happened… Mine isn’t the one I would have chosen in the beginning, but I’ll take it. It is my story. Only mine. And it’s not over. There’s time. There is time. There’s so much time.”

I disagree in the sense that I probably wouldn’t choose a different story of my life, but I connected to all the rest, especially the idea that the only direction worth facing is forward. Whether it’s a relatively small infraction, like eating too many cookies at a holiday party, or a major life decision that didn’t turn out the way you wanted, it’s in the past, and there is time (so much time!) to keep writing your story, adding pages and chapters that will get you closer to the ending that you want and deserve. I try not to live in the past (which is often easier said than done), and “Enlightened” helped remind me, tonight, to keep that up.

2) A Little Holiday Humor. Check out this music video for a song called “Drink My Way Through Christmas.” Karen Kilgariff, a friend that I used to work with a few years back, is the singer and songwriter, and the video looks awesome, and makes me laugh every time I watch it.

Hear more of Karen Kilgariff’s music here.

3) Encouragement. A few days ago marked the one-year anniversary of me reaching a major weight-related goal: weighing under 250 pounds for the first time in my adult life. What’s completely awesome is that I’ve kept off the 153 pounds that I lost to reach that goal, and since then, I’ve lost 13 more. I’m still 16 pounds away from my next weight-loss goal, but I’ll get there.

The blog post that I wrote about reaching that goal (which you can read here) ended up being one of my all-time favorites, and I just re-read it for the first time in months. What I love about that post is that is captures an enthusiasm and energy that, to be honest, has since fizzled. My pride hasn’t diminished – I’ll always be nothing but proud of my weight loss and all the related successes – but my enthusiasm about it has. The moments where I get lost in my own sense of accomplishment come less frequently now, and that should probably change, and that sensation has, in the past, been a huge motivator. Starting each day with, at minimum, a celebratory glance in the mirror and pat on the back would be a good thing.

Keep it up, David.


Comfort Food

January 19, 2011

A death in the family is one of those occasions where people like to help out by feeding you.  It’s a well-intentioned, lovely gesture, and quite practical, as we all need to eat, and with so many other things on our minds, it’s nice to have something there, home-cooked, to heat up and enjoy.

Tons of my parents’ friends fired up their stoves and ovens to help out this week, and I was quite impressed with how health-conscious they were, especially since comfort food, generally speaking, can so easily be a greasy, saucy, cheesy affair (I think it helped that most of my parents’ friends saw me on Ellen just days earlier).  The first pot to show up on the front porch was full of low-fat broccoli and rice soup.  No cream, only a little oil used to saute the garlic, and a little cheese.  It came with a tupperware full of chopped-up fruit.

The next day some more friends stopped by with, if I had to guess, about 2-3 gallons of turkey barley soup, another healthy dish, and these fantastic muffins where most of the oil is replaced with applesauce.  Then came a minestrone soup, full of tons of vegetables, and a big bowl of salad (with croutons, dressing, and parmesan on the side).  There was another delivery of chicken pot pie (which I tried, in moderation) and teriyaki chicken wings (I only ate one).  I know there’s a few things I’m forgetting, but at this point, I was able to eat quite well, under the circumstances, without ever really having to think about where my next meal was coming from.

But then things changed.  My parents, who both work in the same office, were told to expect a food delivery a day before the visitation, on behalf of the entire staff of the office.  A couple of their office friends stopped by, and started unloading their car.  Catering tray after catering tray emerged, which soon covered practically every counter in the kitchen.  I snapped a quick pic of one of them – this is a Greek salad, with my phone off to the left for a size comparison:

The layer of feta cheese is obscuring lots of components: tomatoes, cucumber, onion, beets, olives, pepperoncinis, and absurd amounts of lettuce.  It’s hard to tell from that picture, but the trays are 5-6″ deep.  And we got two of these Greek salads.  I ate a lot of it, being careful to not eat much of the cheese, because it was by far the healthiest option in this delivery:  We also got 2 trays of fried chicken, 2 trays of fried potatoes, and 1 tray of ribs – 7 heaping trays total!  It could easily feed, I don’t know, 30 people? 40? Maybe more?  And there were 12 of us staying at the house, and 4 of them (my nephews and niece) were under 6 years old.  I’m not being critical, because it’s a very kind thing to do, and, ultimately, I’m the only one responsible for what I put in my mouth, it’s just a LOT of food!

The day of the visitation, I overate.  I’ll come right out and say it.  I ate way, way, way too much, and I ate poorly.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  It happened.  It’s over.  I’m not going to dwell on it.  I’m just going to get back on track and move on.  And so far, that’s what I’ve been doing.

I’ve gone to the gym 5 times in Michigan, 4 times before the funeral, which was yesterday, and again this morning.  I went this morning with my sister to a gym I’ve never been to before, that’s not too far from the house.  It’s called Fitness 19:

Does it look familiar?  It might, because scenes from the HBO show Hung were shot there last year (the episode aired over the summer; you can read about it here).  It’s in a strip mall, next to an bar/restaurant called Rusty Bucket (which reminds me of the sort of places Blanche would talk about picking sailors up in on episodes of The Golden Girls), and it’s a totally fine, no frills gym.  According to their website, it’s actually a nationwide chain with gyms in 27 states, with an emphasis on family-friendly facilities and affordable prices, but I’ve never heard of it before.  I snapped a couple pics of the inside:

Lots of cardio, lots of weight machines.  It looks like a gym, huh?  This was the conversation my sister and the woman at the front desk had as we were signing in:

  • Sister:  “Do you offer any classes here?”
  • Staffer: “We have yoga classes!”
  • Sister: “Have you been to one?  Are they good?”
  • Staffer:  “We just started them on Tuesday.”  (which is yesterday)
  • Sister:  “So, you haven’t been to one?”
  • Staffer:  “No, they’re kinda early for me.  They’re at, like, 7:45.”

Way to sell those yoga classes, woman at the front desk!  They also had this poster up in a couple places that I thought was interesting:

I love the idea of getting offers and coupons through my gym membership, but Domino’s? Taco Bell? Baskin Robbins?  Hopefully there are more offers on the website for companies and products that fit a little better into a healthy lifestyle.  The things that excite me most on that poster are Subway (I love me a turkey breast or veggie delight on wheat) and Dunham’s, which is a fantastic Michigan-based sporting goods store.

My sister and I were craving a healthy lunch after the gym (I did 50 minutes on the recumbent bike), so when we got home we made an egg scramble.  We used Egg Beaters (25 calories a serving, and no fat), and we wanted to add some veggies, but there’s no veggies in the house, so we pulled tomatoes, red onions, and olives off the giant Greek salad above, rinsed off the cheese, chopped them up with some garlic, and sauteed them in Pam before adding the eggs.  We toasted whole wheat English muffins (100 calories each), no butter, and dug in:

Some honeydew, strawberries, and blueberries finished the meal.

Keep it up, David!