Friday, January 27, 2012

Groupon Valentine deals for the addict

I subscribe to Groupon because about every six months, the spa I use has a deal and I treat myself or a good friend to a facial or hand/foot treatments. Most of the offers I can pass right by. They're very often not in my neighborhood and I'm not going to buy a coupon for coffee or tacos if I have to drive 20 miles to try the place out. But I read them from time to time to see what's being offered or if they're about a new restaurant or shop in my part of town.

Today in the Valentine's specials, this one appeared:

 Wine-Infused Whipped Cream Party Pack with Three Flavors from Clubs of America 

Vanilla, cocoa, and "plain" whipped cream with 20-proof alcohol in a product coyly called "Whipsy."

I just had to laugh. Next to ice cream, whipped cream is my favorite sweet food. I've often said I could eat dog biscuits with whipped cream. One of my earliest favorite desserts was called "Chocolate Refrigerator Cake." It was made with chocolate wafer cookies layered and slathered with fresh whipped cream. My mother taught me to make it when I was 8 or so because it was a dessert that didn't require the stove or an electrical tool, just an egg beater and a bowl and a knife. 

And any cake or pudding I want to eat is doubly, triply delicious with a huge mound of whipped cream on it.

Now someone has put this together, in an aerosol can, with liquor. Liquored whipped cream doesn't sound really good to me but it got me craving there just for a second.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

A provocative post from

January 23, 2012
Shedding Light on Ourselves
Parts that Don’t Want to Heal
When we choose that which is not best for us, there can be a deep seated part of us that does not want to heal.

In almost every case, we know what is best for us in our lives, from the relationships we create to the food we eat. Still, somewhat mysteriously, it is often difficult to make the right choices for ourselves. We find ourselves hanging out with someone who leaves us feeling drained or choosing to eat fast food over a salad. We go through phases where we stop doing yoga or taking vitamins, even though we feel so much better when we do. Often we have no idea why we continue to make the less enlightened choice, but it is important that we inquire into ourselves to find out.

When we choose that which is not best for us, the truth can be that there is a deep seated part of us that does not want to heal. We may say it’s because we don’t have the time or the energy or the resources, but the real truth is that when we don’t take care of ourselves we are falling prey to self-sabotage. Self-sabotage happens unconsciously, which is why it’s so difficult to see that we are doing it. The important thing to realize is that this very part of us that resists our healing is the part that most needs our attention and love. Even as it appears to be working against us, if we can simply bring it into the light of our consciousness, it can become our greatest ally. It carries the information we need to move to the next level in our healing process.

When we recognize that we are not making healthy choices, we might even say out loud, “I am not taking care of myself.” Sometimes this is the jolt we need to wake up to what is actually happening. Next we can sit ourselves down in meditation, with a journal, or with a trusted friend to explore the matter more thoroughly. Just shining the light of our awareness on the source of our resistance is sometimes enough to dispel its power. At other times, further effort is required. Either way, we need not fear these parts that do not want to heal. We only need to take them under our wing and bring them with us into the light.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The devil is in the individual serving.

Two weeks ago, I was returning from a writing retreat with my friend Jan. It got to be lunch time and we stopped at a Safeway for food. Jan has a diet that precludes most restaurant food, especially the kind you can find easily on the road, so she wanted deli meat and an apple. I got a ham-and-cheese panini to go.

While I waited for Jan to get her lunch and for my panini to heat up, I looked at other things in the "Grab and Go" section. There was a big barrel of packages of chips and Cheetos and I was tempted but let that go. There was a basket of bananas and apples and I wasn't interested. There was a display of individually wrapped cookies and other pastries but I just passed them right by.

And then I wandered over to a futuristic-looking round bin with a domed glass top. Inside was ice cream. Not fudgesicles and HagenDaz bars or even frozen Snickers but little 1-cup containers of Dreyer's Twice-Churned Ice Cream, my vote for the best ice cream ever. And what was sitting right on top but Caramel Delight!

If you've been a reader of this blog for a while, you'll know that this was the last of my sugar obsessions. That the last 15 or 20 extra pounds I carry are directly related to this perfect food. And there it was, tempting me, taunting me in a Safeway in Centralia, Washington. There was even a little dispenser attached to the outside of the bin with plastic-wrapped spoons. This was liking selling crack at a booth at the county fair.

Jan bought her Braeburn apple and her organic ham and my panini came out of that weird hot press they make them in and it got wrapped into too much packaging and we it made out the door. But I was only too aware that I'd just had a brush with the devil, and he was dressed in a tiny and very cute cardboard carton.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A food coma does not constitute relaxation

I've two intentions for 2012. One of them is to learn to relax. I used to think that I knew how to relax as a child and then some traumas occurred and I forgot how or my need for hypervigilance took over and pushed the knowledge aside. But now I'm not so sure. Maybe I have never really known.

There are a number of things I want out of this intention. I want to sleep better, to let go when I sleep, to trust that I will be all right. I don't have a conscious sense of holding tension but I know that I do. It was one of the big reasons alcohol was so appealing. After a couple of drunks, something in me relaxed, let go, didn't worry so much, didn't have to pay attention, didn't have to be afraid. It was also why tranquilizers, like Valium, were dangerous for me. I loved that sense of physical ease.

Since I got sober, I've been trying to to find that sense of ease through eating. But I've come to the realization that the kind of food coma I go into isn't relaxation, not in a true sense. It is an emotional coma I go into, not a   physical state of well-being.

I don't seem to know how to do that on my own, find that state of well-being. For some reason, that may be related to physical hypervigilance, I have a lot of sore tissue in my arms and legs. This makes massage problematic as deep tissue work is too painful to be pleasurable. Exercise, which is relaxing to people, makes some difference but it creates more muscle tension as well.

I also want to stop giving over so much of my life energy to worry, whether conscious or habitual. I want to take it easy in all realms of my life and I am hopingthat  learning to relax can help me do that.

So I'm on a quest to find some things that relax me. Maybe a different look at meditation. Maybe a look at doing nothing. Maybe an attitude adjustment. I can see how this is also related to developing a wider sense of pleasure. I'm looking forward to learning.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aging and running out of time--when it's you

I didn't think so much about my birthday as it came upon me last month. I held my annual holiday openhouse early in the month and then decided to give myself a 65th party. But other than acknowledging that it was a milestone, in the way we tend to think about those birthdays that end in 0 and 5, I didn't think about it. I had a wonderful party, then a wonderful Christmas, then headed off on my annual retreat for silence and writing and good company with women friends. An increasing lovely way to usher in the new year.

On the retreat, we spend our days in silence and I took some long walks and sat quietly in my room in the mid-afternoons as the sun set behind the alders and thought about how much I love writing fiction and being on retreat with friends and I started to wonder how many more of these trips were in my future. Joy, the wonderful visionary who owns the retreat center is in her 80s. She is an amazingly hale and hearty individual with a busy, active life but she is aging and will not be there forever. And neither will I.

On retreat, it really struck me that 65 is no joke. That it is a long time since I was born. That I've already lived a long life. It's just that it doesn't seem that way to me, for in many ways, my conscious life started in 1989, when I got sober. That's a mere 22 years ago and I find myself greedy to have another young adulthood, another middle age with a healthy body and a sharp mind and the wisdom I have now to apply to its use and development.

I won't spend any amount of my precious time yearning for that but I have found myself melancholy and thoughtful about what may remain to me. Maybe 5 years, maybe 10 or 15 or 20. My father lived to be 85 even with health issues, my mother's mother lived to be 101, so there is some longevity in the family. I have a good exercise program and pets and a lovely support circle of family and friends--all things that count for a better old age. And I have enough money, barring catastrophe. But I can no longer believe that I will live forever.

It's one thing, I find, to have theoretical conversations about the fact that we all get old (if we're lucky) and we all die. But it is another thing to be getting old yourself and running out of time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The New Year's resolution about losing weight

I spent an afternoon recently talking with a friend who is sad and angry that she can't lose the weight she wants to. Last summer, she did a very low calorie diet and lost the 15 pounds that she'd been wanting to get off. Then she had some family difficulties and other issues and within a month, she had those pounds back. Another friend reads widely in obesity research and she forwarded several articles about the brain changes that seem to happen to people who lose weight under starvation circumstances and how they almost always gain it back. And I thought about what torture that is for us--to starve ourselves to look differently and a great sadness came over me.

What if the inability to lose weight and keep it off (with normal amounts of effort) just isn't possible for some of us? What if it is a physical limitation like inflexibility or one leg shorter than the other or nearsightedness or hearing loss? What might happen if we just accepted it as that? Could we give up the sense of failure that so many of us carry around? Could we accept that we might still go on longing to be thinner and accept that too, the way I still long to drink alcohol sometimes and I just accept the fact that that longing will come and go.

What might happen if we showered ourselves with acceptance instead of more discipline, more strategies, more resolve?

So as a step in that direction, I did not put weight loss on my list of goals or wishes for 2012. I put being healthier instead.