Friday, May 30, 2008

Life is Not Fair

Greetings on this fine Friday evening, Loyal Readers. Your BloomingtonGirl is slowly coming back from a rough bout with either a stomach flu or some kind of food sensitivity. It came on Wednesday night after a dinner with quite a bit too much raw garlic, something that has upset my system in the past, although never to this extent. This evening, I am just starting to feel like myself. I guess I must define "myself" as having an appetite, which, I have for the first time since yesterday morning. Life would be missing a large dimension for me if I didn't feel like eating. Food is so central to my existence, for better or worse. I just cannot understand these people who are indifferent to food. When I am trying to lose weight (almost constantly), I envy them. But, I never understand them.  

In other news, I finally have someone in my life who "calls me on all of my shit", so to speak. This, for most people, is really a good thing. In theory, it can help one be more honest with one's self and prompt one to launch any number of self improvement efforts. Unfortunately, in my case, the person is my seven and a half year old son.   I realize that I don't really have any right to complain about this.  After all, it is most likely my lack of proper parenting that has helped create this little upstart.  But, since it is my blog and you aren't being forced to read it, I am going to complain.  And even whine.  

Why-oh-why, must my son argue with me about almost everything?  And, why-oh-why must his bratty little sass-backs be spot-on logical?   Admittedly, even with his logic, he isn't "right".  After all, the only "right" answer to a kid's "why can't I do that?"  or "why not?" is  BECAUSE I SAID SO.  But, even though I do know this, his logic often trips me up enough to prompt me to argue with him.   Invariably, an unproductive back and forth ensues, at the end of which I am exhausted and haven't accomplished my goal.  Or, who the hell knows?  Maybe I have.  Because by then, I can't even remember what it is I wanted him to do or not do.  I am too distracted thinking about what a lame parent I am for letting him manipulate me in this fashion.    

I have come to realize that my kid is quite motivated to marshal his considerable brain powers in order to make his case, get his way, get a new toy or just plain torture his mother and make her feel incredibly defeated and incompetent.  I have also come to realize that what makes this especially hard to take (besides my lamentable inability to put my foot down and keep it there), is the contrast between my kid's reasoning power (big) and his emotional maturity (let's just say, not as big, okay?).  

My mother says - please read this in your version of a mother's voice - " Oh, Joni!  It's just a stage.  They all go through stages.  He'll grow out of it.  They all do."

I don't know exactly who "They" are in her mind. But  she sure must not be including me in "They", because it wasn't a stage for me, not a short lived one, anyway.  I argued about EVERYTHING with my mother until I was in my late 20s.  I was awful.  I was, I hate to say it, just like Jack.  And, my Mother is very kind not to point that out to me.    If I were in her shoes, I'd have all I can do not to say, "What comes around goes around, baby."

The best that I can hope for is that this defiance is indeed a stage and that I step up to the task of showing him who is boss.  (Funny, but his dad doesn't seem to have the same daughter suggested I trot out the "I'm going to tell your father" threat more.)  But, all the evidence points to this kind of disposition being hardwired, passed down, as in from mother to son.  

As I tell my son,  Life is not Fair.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

BloomingtonGirl Goes on a Diet and Buys a New Bra

Catchy title, isn't it? The two aren't really related, though I suppose if I stay on a diet long enough, I might have to buy all new bras.  

Training bras, probably.  (Training bras?  Who thought of that concept, anyway?  Training for what? )

First, The Diet  

Your BloomingtonGirl has gone on a diet, something she has not done since abandoning her long love affair with the Atkins Diet a couple of years back. 

Soon after moving to Bloomington, I adopted a no diet policy. I decided that dieting was silly and rather than diet,  I would just eat healthy foods and exercise.  You know, move more & eat less.  To be honest with my Loyal Readers, this approach made me feel a bit smug.  I wasn't one of those people that needed to "diet".  I was above all that.  I was a healthy lifestyle person.  

Well, here the healthy lifestyle person is four years and ten Hoosier pounds later. And guess what?  I am not feeling so smug.  Your BloomingtonGirl must have gotten confused about the program and must have eaten a little more and moved a little less.  To be fair, I have had a healthy diet for these four years. However, along the way, I began to relax my standards and started supplementing  said healthy diet with an unhealthy one.  For instance, on a given day I would have a perfectly healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner.  But, then, I'd throw in a bag of cheetos or chips in the late afternoon for good measure.  (Yes, a whole bag.  That would be "eight servings".  Who eats one serving of chips?  Who, I ask you?  E-mail me proof that someone who isn't anorexic does this and  I will pay you ten dollars.)  

Anyway, do you get the picture? And, while I kept up my "moving more" in the cardio area, I stopped lifting weights.  The resulting decrease in muscle mass was quickly offset by an increase in body fat. In Hans & Franz parlance, I became a bit of  a "Flabalanche".  And, since muscle burns more calories than fat, I found it much easier to gain even more weight. Not something I wanted.

Now, Loyal Readers, I do fully realize that I am not anywhere near to being a fatso, so you can spare yourself the effort of getting  all testy about BloomingtonGirl complaining about her weight.   I would be almost content to tote around these extra ten pounds, as long as I don't have to run into any old boyfriends at a beach somewhere.  (One benefit to living in Indiana is that it is land locked and there is, to my knowledge,  only one of my ex-boyfriends here and he is four hours away and far too mature to concern himself with BloomingtonGirl's weight gain.)  

But the pressing problem isn't my appearance.  No, indeed.  It is economically driven.  Nothing fits and  I do not want to go out and buy all new clothes for summer.   Or, more accurately, all new shorts and skirts.  My shirts, for the most part, are large enough to cover the newer, bigger me.   

 In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I can get my shorts on.  However, it isn't an easy process and the resulting look is a huge Glamour Don't.  I look like a BLIVET -- 10 pounds of manure in a 5-pound bag.   Not a good look on anyone, especially a middle aged girl.

So, I guess I am getting around to saying that I have started an actual DIET.  One that has a book and lots of hype.  (When I purchased the book at the bookstore, I was embarrassed about it.  I felt like one of those silly people who believe all the claims of every latest wacko diet.  This one's claim is that you will be able to see your Abs in six weeks.  Just for the record, Loyal Readers, I want you to know that your BloomingtonGirl does NOT believe this.  AT ALL.)

The diet I am on is  Abs Diet for Women.  Today is day seven for me, though I did cheat a bit while my parents were visiting.  I won't say much about the actual 'diet' other than it is full of all healthy foods and mandates smoothies and snacks.  I actually like it.  When I began, I weighed myself and measured my waist and hips and did the BMI and body fat percentage calculations.  In another week, I will repeat my measurements and see how I am doing.  So far, I feel really good but I don't appear to be losing any weight.  And, I am certainly not at all close to seeing any of my abs.   I intend to stick with it because it is so healthy and makes so much sense to me.  It is not as restrictive as Weight Watchers and not as wacky as the Atkins plan.  I'll keep my Loyal Ones posted.  I realize that you are keen to know what happens.   When I fit into my shorts without a muffin top or  a creep-up-the-butt thing going on, I will consider it a success.

Now, the NEW BRA!

When she last visited, my mother-in-law mentioned that the Target house brand bra (Gilligan & O'Malley)  had beaten out the Victoria's Secret Ipex model in a Consumer Reports Study.   As my longer tenured readers know, I am a Victoria's Secret bra wearer.  But, if the folks at Consumer's rated the Target Bra over the VS Ipex Bra, I figured I might want to consider making a change.  (If you read the little study, you will see that the Target Bra beat out the the swanky and costly La Perla model as well!)

So, a couple of weeks ago, I was in Target and saw a Gilligan O-Malley plain old bra for $7.99.  It looked almost exactly the same as the much more expensive VS model I was wearing.  I picked out my size and without trying it on, I brought it home.  

I am here to report, Loyal Readers,  that after one washing (I use a lingerie bag and don't put it (or any bra) in the dryer of course) it appears to be undaunted.  It fits well and is every bit as supportive (okay, not a big deal for us A cups)  and flattering (an accomplishment for your BloomingtonGirl) as the VS model for eight times the cost.    So, even if the Target Brand held up half as well, I would still save a bunch of money.

Count me in, Target.  Count me in!

A Link for My Loyal Readers

I really enjoyed the sanity of this article.
Oh, if this election year could only be this reasonable.

Bob Herbert

Friday, May 16, 2008

BloomingtonGirl's Guy Plants a Garden

Check it out, Loyal Readers!  Here is the finest man I know out in our back forty (back two or three, actually) showing off his garden.  Our neighbors call it the Denver Airport.  (See photo below for comparison).  

We had our first harvest this week - Spinach!  It was tender and tasty and just perfect.  Since it was so lovely, we didn't cook it and ate it in salad form.   There is one more batch of Spinach to harvest and I am going to try my hand at it a little later.  

I am really happy for my husband, who seems to be getting quite a bit of satisfaction from his farming efforts.  He is growing almost everything from seed.  He has been doing this in a little growing lab in our basement, complete with grow lights and heating pads.  Since your BloomingtonGirl is no gardener (an understatement if there ever was one), I will be helping my husband by freezing and canning his garden fresh produce all summer long.  I am truly not good for much else.  I do like the concept of gardening.  It's the reality that doesn't agree with me.  Much like I like the concept of doing abdominal workouts.   

I am going to go now and harvest the last of our little spinach crop.  Since one can only eat so much raw spinach - there is just so much metallic after taste I can tolerate, anyway -  I am planning to prepare some spinach risotto for dinner tonight and a some spinach ricotta gnocchi for tomorrow's dinner.

Stay tuned for more harvest news.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Some thoughts on Love and on Racism and more thoughts on Love

I got home yesterday from Maine where long time friends and family gathered for the funeral of Barbara Perkins, a friend I have known since grade school. Barbara was a vibrant, enthusiastic woman who laughed easily and whose energy was an inspiration to anyone around her. She was stricken with MS in her mid twenties and endured twenty years of punishing cruelty from that disease. She died peacefully at home last week. Everyone who knew her loved her. Everyone.

I was filled with love by the gathering for her in Maine, astonished by the connections made between those who did not previously know each other and re-made by those who have known each other for many years. There was so much love in this group of people that I couldn't help going away from it feeling hopeful about humanity. I want to write more about the experience but I can't find the right words today that will do it justice. Perhaps later, I will be able to find them. Perhaps not. I hope to carry that feeling with me, though.

On the second leg of my flight home, I sat next to a woman in her mid-twenties who was newly pregnant and very sick. She was flying from New York where she lives with her fiance to see her parents in Indianapolis. I asked if she was going home to tell her parents the news. She said that they already knew and were unhappy about it. "It's because my fiance is black," she said. She went on to say that when they became engaged, her parents were very upset. It had blown over for awhile but now that she was pregnant, it was all coming up again. She said that this man was good to her, loved her and had a good career and was the best man she had ever had a relationship with. Despite those things, her parents can't get past his skin color. His family, on the other hand, had been fine with it.

Talking to this woman made me think about the comments Anonymous 12:12 wrote in response my post on May 5 telling of my intent to vote for Obama in the Indiana primary. (If you have not read them, just click on "Comments" under the May 5 post. You might want to read the post as well for context.)

I haven't commented on Anonymous 12:12's words until now, but many others have. Some did it publicly on the blog and some have sent emails to me. Several people approached me in person here in Bloomington and during my trip to Maine. Anonymous 12:12's words stirred up quite a fuss. Everyone who said or wrote something was astonished at the comment and disturbed by the hateful racism of it.

I have been reluctant to respond to it here because I don't want to get into an unpleasant back and forth on my blog about it or about any other issue. (That isn't why I write.) I thought I would just let it go and ask Anonymous 12:12 to not post to my blog again. I thought about deleting the comment, but I thought it was important to let it stay so that the people reading my blog can be reminded that this kind of toxic thinking is alive and well in our country.

For the record, in case it isn't obvious, I do NOT share the views of Anonymous 12:12. They represent, to me, one of the darkest sides of the American spirit. I can barely understand how anyone in this day and age can think that way, much less post those thoughts for others to read. Even if the comment was meant to be funny (and I truly think that it was far too hostile to have been meant in that manner), it is not okay to spout such vitriol here, or anywhere for that matter.

Dear Anonymous 12:12,
Please don't post here again.

Enough said on that.


This morning, my son and husband served me breakfast in bed, where I still am at 10:22! It was really wonderful. Eggs over easy, toast with homemade preserves, fresh strawberries and a cup of coffee that could grow hair on a bald man (just the way I like it). Jack presented me with a huge card filled with drawings of his latest obsessions (Pokemon figures) and three Lego Pokemon's that he built himself. It was delightful. Meg called to wish me a happy Mother's Day and I am sure that Kate will call later.

Lucky, lucky, lucky me.

And now, I must get my lucky self out of bed so that I can make some cookies. I plan to send out lots of them this week.

More later from the grateful and lucky BloomingtonGirl.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Scenes of Great Beauty

Good Evening, Loyal Readers. I promised yesterday that I would catch you all up and tell all today. Alas, things did not go as I planned and I will not be writing about my closet cleaning or the reason why I voted for Obama today.

This morning, I received news that my friend Barb passed away last night in her sleep. She had a horrible and cruel form of MS for the past twenty years.

Suddenly, blogging about my closet and the elections seemed painfully trivial, so I put it on hold. Instead, I have put up some "Scenes of Great Beauty", if I may borrow the words of the wonderful playwright, Glen Berger. It is important, I think, to always have these things at the ready to remind us of the richness and deliciousness of life, even in the midst of the inevitable tragic things that happen.

The first picture is of my perfect granddaughter, Betsy. The second, of beautiful Jack receiving a carnation after a piano recital. The third is your BloomingtonGirl holding Betsy's little sister, the entirely squeezable Norah.

I am off to bed, Loyal Readers.

Monday, May 05, 2008

BloomingtonGirl Weighs In in Indiana

A loyal reader and long time (best-est) friend has asked me to weigh in on Obama in Indiana.  Your BloomingtonGirl has been remiss on this topics and many others including the annual BloomingtonGirl spring cleaning fest, which this year has included an entire set of new hangers for her master closet! 

Alas, I have been meaning to post on these and many other topics, but have not had the time. Tomorrow, I shall brew myself a big cup of locally roasted coffee and sit down and tell all to my patient Loyal Ones.  In the mean time, however, since it is nearing my bed time, I shall simply say a few words about Obama.

I will be casting my vote for Senator Obama in tomorrow's Indiana primary, the only one that has mattered here since 1968 I am told.  My arrival at this decision was not a hasty one and was not the result of going to any rallies for either Obama or Clinton.  (I cannot abide crowds unless I can be assured of essentially no time waiting in line and a good seat at an event.)  Having made my decision, I am steadfast and feel good about my vote.  

After all,  my vote tomorrow will be the only one I will cast that makes any difference at all in the 2008 elections.  In this REDREDREDRED state, my vote won't count in November one bit.  

Stay tuned for further analysis of the state of the election and the state of my spring cleaning.