Dreaming of Ice Cream, and other Diet Disasters

 

Chocolate-Toffee

I dreamt that I was walking through the store eating chocolate ice cream out of a half gallon carton. I walked blindly through the produce department, oblivious to all the healthy foods, the ones I’ve been centering my diet around for the last four months. Head bent, I furiously scooped the melted deliciousness from the edges of the big hunk in the center, as I made my way to the checkout. It was downright heavenly.

And then it hit me. The carton was 3/4 empty. I couldn’t bring it home this way and have Jim see the evidence of my binge! Oh, the shame of it! I considered throwing the remains away, but that would be worse. Such waste! There was really only one solution…

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.

Thank goodness it was only a dream. I have this fear, that if I break down and give in to dessert, the 12 pounds so recently departed, will instantly reappear. Intellectually, I know it doesn’t work that way. It’s more likely to be a slow slide… that starts with a spoonful of melty, gooey, chocolate… No! I must remain strong.

I feel so much better when I’m eating only healthy, unprocessed, food. More energetic, more focused, less moody. Better.

A compromise for the holiday? One piece of pie on Thanksgiving? That’s reasonable, right?

 

 

Bra Shopping: A Mystery

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Has this ever happened to you? You try on a bra, and it fits fine and feels comfortable—until you get home. Or worse, until you get to work. And find yourself twisting around in awkward positions, resisting the constant need to adjust it. And when you do finally manage to duck down out of sight and make the adjustment, it doesn’t do a bit of good. No matter how many times you contort your body and tug on the straps, it just isn’t right. It might even make you wonder if the clerk pulled a fast one and switched bras while you were focused on the card reader.

Or, as in my case, she might have made the switcheroo while engaging me in an asinine conversation about how many times one should wear the same bra before washing it. Only once, according to her boyfriend, who can’t stand to see her wearing the same bra two days in a row because it’s ‘gross’ like wearing the same underwear again. To this, I replied that no, it really isn’t the same. Only later, did I wish I’d suggested it might be less hassle to find a new boyfriend than to go through the whole process of trying on and purchasing, new bras. But maybe she doesn’t try them on. Maybe it’s all a part of the conspiracy. She keeps the good bras, the ones her customers tried on, for herself. Yes, I think that must be it.

I must get revenge. I know, I’ll find out the name of her boyfriend and tell him she’s wearing pre-worn bras, which, is, of course, far grosser than the wearing her own two days in a row…

Or maybe I’ll use her boyfriend in a story. He could be one of my protagonist’s odd, ex-boyfriends. Yeah, that’s it. Now, I’d better head back to my fictional world, where I belong…

 

 

 

Strange Things Indeed

I’m kind of hooked on Netflix now. With my work schedule being wonky I’ve never been able to follow a show from week to week. Watching a continuing show is almost as fun as getting lost in a particularly good novel.

We just finished Season One of Stranger Things. I’m glad I waited to watch it. This way it will be fresh in my mind when Season Two Starts. My favorite part was the boys, who, it seemed to me, actually talked and acted like real middle -school- age boys. I just read in the Oregonian that they’re older than they look, which makes their acting, even more impressive. Or maybe not. I guess 16 is not too old to remember what it was like to be 13 again. But in the eighties. Those high-waisted jeans bring back all kinds of bad memories! Those of us without waists could never find any jeans that fit properly. I had to buy boy jeans, which wasn’t all bad. I have fond memories of my shrink-to-fit 501’s. I can’t say I miss eighties hair. The Mom in Stranger Things is a good example of some strange hair…

Oh, No! Not Another Health Nut!

When we moved a year ago, I got rid of the old bathroom scale. It wasn’t accurate, took up too much space, and collected a whole lot of hair on the bathroom floor. I was tired of cleaning around and under it. That was my excuse. I also got rid of the full -length mirror. It had been in my daughter’s room and had stickers on it, not to mention a layer of grime, from me never bothering to clean it. Both choices seemed logical at the time. No scale, no mirror, and a long dreary winter spent watching Netflix in the new leather recliner while drinking screwdrivers was not exactly a recipe for good health.

I could ignore the weight gain—no mirror, no scale remember—but an increase in forgetful moments and general spaciness began affecting my writing, as well as my real life. “Why yes, Honey, I did put the trash in the recycle and the recycling in the trash. Oops. Sorry.” So I decided to make some changes. Better food. Less food. More exercise. I even gave up my nightly glass of red wine with dinner. I know about the studies that claim red wine is good for you, but I think cutting it out is making a difference. Fewer incidents of saying the wrong word, or walking into a room and drawing a complete blank as to why I’m there. My brain is important to me. I’ve decided to take better care of it.

Since cutting out processed food I’ve discovered just how good ‘real’ food can taste. I’ve been cooking from scratch and while it can be time -consuming, I’ve been enjoying the process. I’m not naturally a good cook. I’ve always been lazy about dinner, rotating between a few favorite meals that don’t require a recipe or buying premade stuff. Now I’m looking up recipes, trying new things, and enjoying it. My daughter is a good cook. I’ll happily wash the dishes after she’s fed me. For Christmas, Heidi gave me a copy of her favorite cookbook, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It’s far more than a collection of recipes. It’s about how to eat, and why. Sally never fell for the low- fat diet craze, not even when our government endorsed it.  (Yes, margarine is low in fat, but it’s not real food!)

I’ve found that I can eat delicious, satisfying food, not starve, and still lose weight. Yay! I even bought a full-length mirror. And a scale. The scale is light and compact and fits in a cupboard—very cool.

Here is a link to the cookbook:   https://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735

(Not an affiliate link, just me sharing.)

 

Strange Dreams Indeed

So, a few nights ago I dreamt that I was having one of those home parties, the kind I vowed to never have again because I’m not into the whole ‘persuade your friends to buy stuff’ thing, only this party was a bit different. The woman who came to my house was selling baby food and fancy marijuana joints, that looked like jewelry. I selected the blue and silver joint, but passed on the baby food—it wasn’t organic.

And then there’s last night’s dream. I was working, though it didn’t resemble my store, and Flo from Progressive was supposed to be making a delivery but no -one would open the back door for her so she left a dozen fifty -pound bags of granulated sugar outside. I was assigned the job of bringing them inside. It was about this time that I woke up with a deep ache in my lower back. I’m thinking there was a connection. It should also be noted that five weeks ago I gave up processed sugar. Do those bags represent all the sugar I would have eaten in the last month? If so, my subconscious mind was exaggerating a bit. I’m not that bad of a sugar addict! As for Flo, that explanation is simple; we watch too much television in the evenings.

It occurs to me that the mind is a strange place. Mine might be a little stranger than most. Lately, it has needed a whole lot of rest and relaxation. I’ve eased up on computer time and even on writing time, in the last month or so to focus on taking better care of myself. I think we can all benefit from unplugging now and then and spending more time in nature.  A walk in the woods can greatly improve your outlook on life. Same goes for reading a good book, or two, or ten.

Happy Eclipse-apocalypse everyone! And remember, don’t look directly into the sun. It will make you go blind and grow hair on your palms. Or was that something else? Um, nevermind.

The Cool Thing To Do

So, I’ve been reading a book of short stories by B.J. Novak. It’s called One More Thing. I’d never heard of the guy before I picked up his book in one of the free library boxes in my neighborhood. Turns out, he wrote, directed and produced The Office, which I’ve never actually watched. I’ve been enjoying his stories, though. Well, most of them anyway. A few have had me scratching my head thinking, “Huh?” My favorites have made me laugh out loud. Julie and the Warlord, was funny. It was a different story that really got me thinking.

This one is about the mathematician who came up with a story problem about trains that was then used in every math book in every math class all over the country. Math is not my favorite subject, by any means, but the idea of the story is that most everyone is known for something in their lifetime. According to the author, it really is only one, or maybe two things in our life. For some reason this made me think of a girl I went to grade school with. Her name was Jackie Crapser. She was an ordinary looking girl with blonde hair. We weren’t close friends and if it wasn’t for the ‘one thing’ she did, I doubt I’d remember her at all. (Though such an unfortunate last name is hard for a child to forget.)

This was back in the days when the kids who were differently abled or mentally challenged, were all thrown into a class and labeled simply as, retarded. On the playground, these children either went off alone or stuck together. They had to, as they were either targeted for teasing and tormenting or else, simply ignored. One day, by the tetherball, Jackie changed everything. She started a game of tag with the kids from the special class. It was a daring move, or so I believed at the time. Wasn’t she afraid the other kids would make fun or her? Obviously, she wasn’t. It didn’t take long for others to see that Jackie was having a good time. Pretty soon, other kids joined in. Our playground, for a time, became a place where inclusion, rather than exclusion, was the ‘cool’ thing to do. All because one little girl dared to be kind.

That’s how I remember it anyway.

If you’re still out there somewhere Jackie, I want you to know that at least one person remembers you for something positive. (I sincerely hope you are alive and well, and will be remembered for many other good things.)

As for me, I’m writing about a schoolyard bully who grew up to be a sociopath and is seeking revenge on his favorite victims— the ones who once dared to fight back. Now, I’d better get back to torturing my imaginary friends… um, I meant writing.

When the Real World and the Fictional One Collide

Every once in a while I’ll see someone, usually a customer, and think, hey, he/she looks exactly like so and so. And then I’ll remember that so and so is a figment of my imagination, and worry that maybe I’m not normal. Then I remember that normal is boring and go back to daydreaming about my story and my imaginary friends.

Recently, I had another experience where my imaginary world collided with the real one. I’m working on a series of suspense/psychological thrillers that take place in the fictional town of Grandville. The town is modeled after my hometown in Oregon. We lived a few miles out of town on a country road and some of my friends owned horses. While my attempts at horseback riding usually involved me hanging on for dear life with my eyes shut I still enjoyed being around the beautiful animals.

One of the two main characters in my work in progress (Current title: A Convincing Accident) works as a Ferrier. While I knew it was the perfect occupation for him, I also knew I should do a bit more research on the subject. So, what happens? Only weeks before visiting our daughter in Colorado, she tells me about her new friend, who happens to be a Ferrier. Not only was he willing to talk about his job, and answer questions, he invited us to come along and watch him shoe a horse. (Thanks again Isaac!)

The experience helped me to know my character better. When you write about someone who is quite a bit different than yourself, you need to know as much about them as possible. I’m a firm believer that what a person does for money does not define them, but obviously, it does matter. It’s also important for plotting purposes. I now know that if he’s late for a job, no one will be shocked. (Of course, no one is shocked when I’m late for work either, but that’s a different story. Smiles sheepishly.) Waiting for the Ferrier is kind of like waiting for the cable guy or the plumber—you’d better leave the whole day open. (On the positive side, there will be no visible butt cracks for your viewing displeasure. A Ferrier is likely going to be wearing Wrangler jeans, which actually fit properly.  Admission: I may have had a crush on a cute wrangler-wearer once upon a time, but he never did ask me out. Hm. Maybe this where my cowboy character originated.) Anyway, I also learned that the job is even more physically demanding than I suspected. Muscles required. (Always good to have a reason to put muscle on a male character. Not like those romance heroes who have them for no particular and not once is it even hinted they might actually go to the gym and work out.)

There was another, even stranger, almost spooky coincidence during my trip to Colorado. We spent one night at the ranch where my daughter did a work-trade the summer before. It was a fun experience (we slept in a yurt, my daughter in a teepee.) We were invited to dinner by our hosts. Not only was the food delicious, the conversation was interesting, even when they discussed religion. I kept my opinions to myself, not surprisingly. When there are more than three people in a room I tend to go into listening mode. (In the eighth grade my homeroom teacher named me “The Silent Observer.” It’s still appropriate in certain situations.) Anyway, one of the women who works on the ranch told a story about her son. When he was fourteen he got into a fight with another boy. Unlike the movies where pounding the bully to a pulp will earn you praise from everyone—including the adults— in the real world, (at least in modern times) it gets you assault charges and possibly a conviction that can hang on and haunt you for years.

Well, it just so happens that this is exactly what happens in my book, to my Ferrier guy. In fact, the whole story is hinged on this event. A fight, at fourteen, has a profound effect on the rest of his life. Turns out, the bully who received the (arguably) well-deserved beating is not the forgetting or forgiving type. He’s seeking revenge, many years later, in the form of inflicting “emotional destruction,” on the boy who hurt him, and the girl he was defending. So, there you have it, the premise for A Convincing Accident. Does it sound intriguing?

Why did you let me go on for so long anyway? I should be writing the book!

Oh, and by the way. (Imagine me smiling modestly.) My Tammy J. Palmer books received a glowing mention from Sarah Raplee, on a popular romance blog. Her Amazon page and books are here: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Raplee/e/B014XDP5NG

Thanks again Sarah!

You can read it here: https://romancingthegenres.blogspot.com/

Have a great weekend!

Insults, Airlines, and our need to Conform. In other words: A rambling post about nothing in particular.

So, I’m waiting on a ‘gentleman’ and one of his coupons vanishes into thin air. He tells me it was for the eggs so I grab an ad to find the coupon. I don’t see it right away because I’m looking at the strip on the edge of the ad where the coupons usually are, but this one was in the middle.

The crusty old geezer, er, I mean gentleman, spots it first and says to me, “you should read more.”

Now, I’m pretty sure this was meant to be an insult. It’s not the worst I’ve heard, as far as customer insults go. Not by a long shot. I pretended not to hear him and kept on scanning because I am a professional. I do not respond to rude comments with other rude comments. I only think about it. I think real loud sometimes, willing them to hear my thoughts, but I don’t say it.

This is what I wish I’d said, “Sir, you are absolutely right, I’m going home right now to read the suspense novel I’m in the middle of.”

I would then tear off my apron, and throw it at him on my way out.

I am reading a good book. It’s by Sophie Hannah, a  new author for me. I had to buy a new book yesterday because the only thing worse than being stuck in an airport for half a day longer than expected is being stuck in an airport with nothing to read. Or in this case, nothing fun to read. The book I brought along turned out to be too depressing. After a very fun weekend with my daughter, meeting her friends and seeing the sites in beautiful Colorado, I did not want a sad story bringing me down. I also didn’t want to be in the Denver airport for an extra five hours. It would have been closer to eight hours if we hadn’t been on stand-by and gotten lucky. And all because a certain airline, whose name I will not mention (United) can’t seem to keep to their schedule, which makes the whole connecting flight thing a bit difficult. The only flights they got right were the two that I ran, full speed, huffing and puffing, through the airport to catch, only to find a closed gate. I am proud to say I did not scream obscenities at the gatekeeper. I only muttered them, and politely complained to customer service. Actually, I might not have been real polite the second time it happened, but seriously? Twice in one trip?

I know the United employees are just doing what they are told to do because they need a paycheck and health insurance, like everyone else. I know what it’s like to be the one dealing with angry or annoyed customers over one thing or another, things that ultimately are the fault of higher ups. (Maybe not my inability to spot a coupon, but, um, other things). It’s the big guys who should be on the receiving end of our wrath, but they hide in their offices behind big desks and leave their employees to deal with the crap. It is the way of big business everywhere.

It’s enough to make me dream of escaping the rat-race altogether. It isn’t just Alaskan Bush people who choose to live off grid, and do things their own way. I don’t know about all of Colorado but in the county where my daughter lives there are few restrictions on the kind of house you can build.  Tiny houses, teepees, tents, or even one of these:

My daughter’s friend built this. It’s a Hogan, modeled after the kind the Navaho lived in. I think it’s pretty cool. While I may not be ready to live without electricity, or indoor plumbing, I get why some people choose to escape the daily grind and live by their own rules. I think, as a society, we accept too much, and think too little. We believe we have to live a certain way, simply because it’s what everyone else is doing. Most people never get beyond middle school mentality. Must fit in at all costs! There are other ways of doing things.

We don’t have to conform.

 

Life in the Express Lane: Potty Talk

So, I was ringing up an order yesterday and the woman said to me, “I hate buying toilet paper, it’s like, so embarrassing.”

Pretty sure I gave her this look:

What I wish I had said:

“Oh, my God that is so true. I mean what could be more embarrassing than having a complete stranger know that I—gasp— wipe!”

It has since occurred to me that her comment derives from a far more serious issue. Our economy relies heavily on selling people products that they don’t actually need. (No, I’m not including toilet paper on this list, so bear with me.) To get us to buy personal care items they must first convince us that there is something horribly wrong with our bodies in their natural state. For example, we should never, ever emit any odor that has not been created in a laboratory, packaged in plastic, and put on a store shelf for purchase. Well, not unless we naturally smell like this:

Before the beauty industry existed people were far more accepting of their natural odors. I recently read that in Elizabethan times women would place a peeled apple under their arm- pit, and after it had fully absorbed their odor, share it with their suitor. Yum. (Please understand, I’m not suggesting we return to this practice.)

And then there’s the subject of hair. If you are a woman it is no longer acceptable to have hair anywhere other than the top of your head.

Unless of course, it’s here:

Arm -pit hair bad. Eyelashes good.

“What? You still have hair down there? Oh, my God that is so disgusting! I know a nice woman who will gladly apply a wax strip and tear that shit right off! Here’s her card, don’t forget to mention my name, I get a discount for every hairy crotch I send her.”

Done? Great. Now we are one step closer to everyone looking like this:

Of course, we have heads. And if you’re female you’d better being using a whole lot of this:

And if you are male you should look like this:

Oh wait, that’s Johnny. How did he get in here? Sorry, guys.

So, um, moving on, my point is that we are constantly being bombarded with the message that we must do this:

So that we will never return to the days of this:

And a result, some people have become so detached from their own bodies, and all the ‘gross’ stuff that goes on in it every day, that they can’t even admit to doing this:

It’s not that I think we should freely discuss our bathroom habits at the dinner table, or in the checkout line (God no, please don’t do that) but I do think people should be more aware of the messages we receive hundreds of times a day, and where they come from. The beauty industry, the porn industry, etc. We should stop letting marketers shame us into despising our own bodies.

We all pee, people. (Some of us far too often, but that’s another story.) And poop. Yes, even you dear customer buying the jumbo pack of TP. And we all know you do it. (Insert evil laugh here.)

So, it’s Wednesday again, and you all know what means.

Happy Hump Day Everyone!

(Unless you work in one of those industries where days of the week mean nothing, and this is actually your Monday or your Friday, and there is no hump to be getting over, in which case I’m wishing you a happy whatever day.)

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