Saturday, July 30, 2011

reading can be dangerous (lyn)

I can read while being transported.  I particularly like train reading, but reading on a plane, bus or subway is also good.

I can read while I have a manicure and pedicure.

I can read in a doctor’s office, while waiting to be called.

I can read on a beach.  Especially when there’s a nice breeze and water on my toes.

I can read in bed, except not in my own bed.  So when I’m traveling or on vacation, I can read then.  But of course, I no longer do much of either.

But I can't just read at home.  And I have the perfect set-up.  A comfy leather chair with a nice ottoman.  A great reading light next to it.  And even a cozy blanket to wrap myself in (not that I need that today).  Still, none of this works unless….

well, unless I’m also eating.  It’s a rather new and alarming discovery about myself.  It makes reading slower, and of course provides potential for unnecessary snacking.

Take today, for instance.  Alexander has gone to the Hamptons.  I’ve been to the Farmer’s Market, CVS, and a store to buy some picture frames.  Both Zelia and Robyn have stopped by and have since left.  It’s sunny and hot and if I can’t be beachside, I’d rather stay in. 

I have lunch; a bowl of gazpacho soup with my 400-page book (Fatihful Place).  

A while later, I make some100-calorie no-taste popcorn and read about 10 more pages.  Once the popcorn is gone, my interest in reading goes with it.

So I take a ten minute break, and check emails.  It’s a summer Saturday, not even worth checking.  I go to the refrigerator and cut up some watermelon so I can try reading more.

But now I’m sleepy (the book is good but slow, one of those mysteries with lots of character development and slow builds).  I eat a small bag of WW Chocolate Pretzels to wake me up.  They have the opposite effect.

I take an hour’s nap.  Something I never ever do.  When I wake up, I grab my book and a WW’s English Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Bar.

By 6:30, I’ve read about 70 pages, and have probably eaten half that in points.

Not a good ratio.  Good that I didn't read the whole book today.

Friday, July 29, 2011

some people (lyn)

Wednesday was Karen’s birthday.  I miss the days when seeing her was just a trip down the hall.  On my birthday, or Alexander’s, she would always produce some spectacular cake, themed to an important event in our lives.  This year, Karen and her family moved to Ireland, so even if I wanted to bake her a cake, sending it would not be easy.

Instead, I get her a Cornell hat.  I think she’ll really appreciate it, and maybe even remember her New York days when she wears it.

Today I go to the post office to mail the gift.  The line is about 10-people deep.  I get in it.  In front of me is a dreary-looking older women (I’ll call D), consulting with a cheery-looking women (I’ll call C) in front of her.  D asks, “Do you think I need extra postage on this letter?”  C responds, “No, I don’t."  “But look, feel here, it’s raised.  My grandson is turning seven and the seven on the card is made of wood and is raised.  You don’t think I’ll need extra postage?”  C smiles and again says, “No, I really think it’s fine.”  D continues to ask C more questions about mailing her letter.  Does she think that C is hiding out in line as some kind of undercover postal expert?  After a few more exchanges, D decides to get out of the line completely.  She walks up to a window, consults with a real postal clerk, and receives the same answer.  She comes back to tell us.  “I don’t need additional postage.”

D then begins another series of questions and observations.  “When do you think this will arrive if I mail it today?”  She describes the “almost navy colored envelope” that came with the card and how she had to switch it out for one of her "white leftover holiday card envelopes."  “How could anyone read the address on a dark blue envelope?  Why would anyone even make a dark blue envelope?  These, and other questions, D ponders as C and I continue to stand in line.   Finally, D leaves to mail her card.

But she isn't gone long.  Soon she is back asking more questions.  “What’s in the box you're holding,” she asks me.  I tell her I’m mailing a gift to my friend who lives in Ireland for her birthday.  The following conversation ensues:

Her:  So, what did you get her?
Me: Well, my son just got into Cornell, so I am sending her a vintage Cornell hat.”
Her:  I don’t think she’ll like that.  I know I wouldn’t.
Me:  No, I think she will.
Her:  If it were me, I’d want something more substantial, like jewelry or shoes.

Maybe I should have hand-delivered a cake!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

two slices (lyn)

I go to a screening last night with Alexander.  We don’t have much time for dinner, and so we meet on a street corner near the theater.  The choice I give him is not appealing:  pizza or Subway.  He immediately nixes Subway.

The pizza place we choose, NY Pizza Suprema, is on the SW corner of 30th and 8th.   We chose this place randomly because it’s near the theater, advertises itself as “one of New York’s 10 best,” and is clean and populated.  The selection for slices is a cut above the usual choices.  We each order a slice of the thin-crusted mozzarella and basil.  Maybe it’s the sweet sauce or the fresh mozzarella, but we both agree it’s one of the best pizzas we’ve ever had.  It’s a little greasy, but that’s easily addressed with a few napkin pats on the top.  We devour the first slice and order a second.

We leave the restaurant and an attractive, age-appropriate man on the street smiles at me.  I smile back.  A few minutes later the same man says, “Excuse me?  Aren’t you Valerie’s sister?”  It turns out that this man, Gary, is the ex-husband of my sister’s friend, and moved to Florida about seven years ago.  We walk a few blocks together and do a quick catch up on kids and Florida real-estate.

Gary leaves and Alexander says, “I can’t believe he didn’t notice.”  At first, I don’t know what he’s talking about.  Then he adds, “You know, you should really carry before and after pictures with you.  That way, when you bump into people you haven’t seen in a long time you can show them your transformation.”  My son is so over my losing weight that he loves to tease me about it, whenever a potential opportunity arises.

This morning I get up and step on the scale.  123.2.  That’s it for double pizza slices.  At least for a while.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

my new beach pillow (lyn)

I believe in creature comforts.  I think they make a difference.

A few years ago I splurge and buy Christofle flatware.  It makes the food we eat at home taste better.  Or if not that, it improves the eating experience.

Last week I buy Alexander his bedding for school.  I ignore the $200-includes-everything-package that a friend sends for an online retailer.  Instead, I buy each piece ala carte.  I know it costs more and takes more time, but Alexander’s sleeping shouldn’t be compromised just because he’ll be at school.

I have a closet full of quality clothes.  Skinny quality clothes.  I’d rather have fewer, good pieces, than lots of disposable ones.  This is probably not a good strategy for someone with no job and no money.  But I like to feel good in my clothes, now that I can also look good in them.

I go to the new Fairway today which just opened on the Upper East Side last week.  The black and white cookies (which I only eat in moderation) are $3.50 for 10 (compared to $8 for 8 at Agata), but the young clerk tells me, when I ask,  that the same cookies by Delancy for $2 more are better.  I buy those instead.

And in the summer, when I spend a fair amount of time on the beach, I want to be comfortable.  I have an orange Telescope chair, with a hood and cup holders in the arms.  I have great slimming suits, and the perfect float.  I thought I had everything until I saw my friend Barbara’s newest chair addition:  a pillow.  It's a small, fuzzy looking thing that hooks onto the back of her chair.  “Try it,” she says.  I do and have to have one. 

Barbara tells me  she purchased it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $20.  I search the internet, and can't find one anywhere.  But I find the company that makes the pillow, MindsInSync.   I call them yesterday.

A lovely customer service rep named D answers the phone.   I explain my problem.  “Let me see what I can do, “ D says.  A half hour later I get this email:

Dear Lyn,

Thank you for taking the time to call MindsInSync Inc. We appreciate you reaching out to us at MindsInSync with your inquiry.

Unfortunately the Microdry Ultimate Luxury Lounge Pillow is only available in select Bed Bath and Beyond stores at the moment. I know that you really want this item and you seem like a very nice person over the phone, so I searched our office and I found the sample that we used in the photo shoot.

If you are ok with getting the sample I will ship it to the address you provided compliments of Minds In Sync. This isn’t a normal occurrence here but I was able to pull some strings to make this happen for you.

Customer Service Liaison

My pillow arrives today.  DF is remarkable; she’s a customer service rep who actually believes in customer service.  I’m lucky she took my call. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"now I recognize you" (m)

Swim class at noon today.  I get to the pool early and acclimate.  The air is too warm, but the water is cool.  I'll live.

The instructor comes in at 12 sharp.  It's J, the woman who taught the class I took 3 years ago!  That was at the other facility.  She's here now.  I love J.

Hi, J, I say.

She gives me a polite smile and says hello.

I can see no recognition in her eyes.  I explain that I'm Carole's friend and she taught me 3 years ago at the other club pool.  She nods, but I can tell no bells are ringing.

She asks where I've been and I tell her about the knees, physical therapy, etc and that I decided it was time to get back to water aerobics (dorky name...feel like some dink from the 1980s).  I tell her about my weight loss and she is excited about that.  Good for you! she says loudly.

I take my place next to two senior citizens, Connie and Cathy.  I tell them those were the names of my two grandmothers.  They are not happy about this news.

About halfway through the class, we do a manuever with the noodle thingies and I'm a mess.  I can't balance myself and do the leg thing at the same time.  The seniors are perfectly in place.  I'm turning around like a top.

All of a sudden I hear, "Now I recognize you!"  It's, J, the instructor.  She's laughing like a hyena. 

Apparently, I'm the most water-spastic person she ever had in class.

Monday, July 25, 2011

favorite cape foods (lyn)

New York is known worldwide for its cuisine.  But there are a few must-haves when I visit the Cape. 

  • A half sandwich from Dean’s Deli (honey roasted turkey, provolone cheese, a little lettuce, a few onions, cut up pickles, honey mustard and mayo).
  • A $13 lobster roll from Cataumet Fish, where the mayo is perfectly balanced with the fresh lobster meat.
  • A minimum two and a half pound lobster from either The Clam Man or Cataumet Fish (both places steam and crack the lobsters for you… just pick them up and eat them, and at $10.99/pound, it’s, as my mother would say, “A real bah-gin.”
  • A wildberry pie from Dana’s Kitchen.
  • A cinnamon bun from the same place.
  • Fresh herbs from my mother’s garden.
  • Fried Clams from Crabapple’s.
  • A double-scoop SMALL moose track ice-cream from Lazy Sundaes, the perfect small-town neighborhood ice-cream parlor.

I eat all of the above in the five days I am gone (except for the cinnamon bun which I bring home for tomorrow), plus a very large ribeye steak, Jean’s homemade banana bread, a breakfast of eggs, bacon and English muffins, Jean’s double-baked potatoes, and strawberry shortcake.

I leave weighing 122.2  and return weighing 121.8.

There must be magic in the Cape air.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

favorite cape activities (lyn)

There are certain things I enjoy doing on the Cape.  Here are the two obvious ones.

Veg on the beach
I always go before everyone else.  I pack up lunch, bring a book, slather on suntan lotion, get in the golf cart and go. I like to arrive by noon.  I enjoy the first two hours alone.  No one is there to look at me and say, “You should put on a hat.”  Or, “You are getting all burnt on your chest.  Cover up.”  Or, “I don’t like where you are sitting.”  Or, “Your knees are red.  You should put a towel over them.”  It’s just me, enjoying the salty air and beautiful vista. 

But after two hours, I’m ready for others to join me.  Usually, it’s my sister or my mother.  Alexander and his cousins don’t like the beach because, “There’s nothing to do there.”  It takes a lot of cajoling to get them to come down, and soon after they arrive, they want to leave.

If my mom doesn’t come down, she always calls and asks, “Who’s at the beach?”  Not that the answer will sway her in any way at all.  She just likes to know.

Dine with my family
Alexander and I usually eat while watching TV.  So it’s a nice change to sit at a table with others. Dinner at my mother’s is never a quick event.  There’s the prep, the setting of the table, and the cleanup.  Each segment is a major production.  My mom likes to get everything ready in the morning so she doesn’t have to think about it again during the day.  And if at five someone observes, “We don’t have tomatoes for the salad,” my mother will take this casual comment as a personal affront and forbid anyone from making the five-minute drive to the grocers.  Or, she might provide a reason for the absence of tomatoes.  "They'll be on sale all next week at Roche Brothers.  I'll get them then."  As for dessert, if someone asks what we are having, the answer could be, "Corn."   My mother is the only person I know who considers corn a dessert.  She cannot be convinced otherwise.  But dinners are always colorful and conversation never wanes.

There are other things I like to do whenever I visit the Cape that are less obvious:

  • Drive my mom’s car around.
  • Do laundry and not worry about the cost.
  • Stop by Maxwell’s and hope for a big discount on Transit Par-Such clothing.
  • Visit Mashpee Commons and stop in K. M. Hudson's, the perfect lingerie place.
  • Put real life on hold.

Visiting the Cape is relaxing.  Everything here closes earlier, moves slower, and costs less.  I couldn’t live here 12-months a year, but there is no place I’d rather be in summer.

where everybody knows your name...(m)

I live in a small town.  Yet, because I worked for all but the last three years and my kids did not attend the public schools, I don't feel as though I know that many people.

Today, my husband and I take a bike ride.  As I'm struggling mightily uphill by the nearby college I see two women walking and, as I pass on my bike, I hear "That's M!"  I don't recognize their voices and, if I stop,  I never will finish the hill.

Get home, shower, and take Francesca into Boston to meet some people for dinner.

Get home again and my phone is ringing off the hook.  My neighbor, J, whom my husband calls Gladys Kravitz (the nosy neighbor from Bewitched) is on the line.  "Hey girlfriend, saw you on the bike today.  My husband wouldn't let me call your name because he was afraid you'd be hit by a car....if you cross the street you can ride on the sidewalk next time.  Much safer than the street."

Thank Joan, hang up the phone and play back my messages.  "Hi, M, it's B...was that YOU on the bike today?  I couldn't believe my eyes!"

As I figure it, about 30% of the people I know in this town just happened to be out at the exact same time in the exact same location as I was today.

Maybe I'll buy a lottery ticket.

Francesca does pancakes (m)

Wake up and go to my water aerobics class before I can think of a million excuses not to do so.

Get home at 10 a.m. and our guest, Francesca, is up and sitting at the island in the kitchen, Skyping with her parents in Como, Italy.

Harrison shows Francesca how to use the Keurig.  She's addicted to American coffee.

I wash fresh fruit--strawberries, peaches, blueberries--and make scrambled eggs.

Harrison asks for pancakes.  Francesca tries some.  They don't do pancakes in Italy.

She's addicted. She has them plain and with blueberries.  She drowns them in syrup.  She coats her strawberries in syrup.

I feel like a drug dealer getting a young kid hooked on cocaine.

Good thing she's only here for 10 days or she'd have to buy a ticket for an extra seat home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

too many limoncellos (m)

Recall in March during our trip to Italy when Harrison competed that I got sucked into a limoncello-fest with his coach (who was celebrating his birthday) and the head of the Italian skating federation and two of her coaches.

Somewhere during the haze of limoncellos and the language barrier, I must have promised to host some skaters at my home this summer.

Francesca, a fetching 19 year-old arrived today.  After I showed her to her room, I asked what types of food she likes to eat:  "Fish, fruit, vegetables".  No pasta, no bread, no sweets.

At least I'll stay on plan this week.

Friday, July 22, 2011

the beach (lyn)

Wild Harbor Beach, though beautiful, is small.  And each year it seems to grow smaller.  Either the beach is eroding, or more people are coming.  It's probably a combination of the two.  

In the late 70's, when my parents first moved here, going to the beach was a simple process.  Pack up the golf cart and go.  Not anymore.  Now, people get to the beach early to stake out their locations.  Empty chairs in big circles dot the beach by ten o'clock.  If you want a good spot, you need to arrive early, set up, and then you can leave and come back later.  

You don't want to sit too close to the entrance, because then there's too much foot traffic.  But sitting too far down the beach, where it's less crowded, is difficult if you are carrying a lot of gear.  So somewhere in the middle is ideal.

Then there are certain people you don't want to sit near.  The loud ones, the multi-kid families, the occasional smokers, the phone-talkers, or the eight-month-pregnant-looking obnoxious guy who brings his radio so he can listen to every Red Sox game.

And of course you need to know if the tide is coming in or going out.  If the tide is going out, you can position yourself close to the water.  But if it's coming in, you need to figure out where the water line is, and sit there.  If you are too far back, you run the risk of someone plopping down in front of you and losing your front row seat.  You definitely don't want that to happen.

So today, I arrive at the beach around noon, before the rest of my family who prefer to come around two.  It's sunny, hot, and I am late.  I've packed my usual lunch:  a half sandwich from Dean's, ice tea, 15 Pringle Lights, and some fruit.  I have my new float.  A new book (Faithful Place by Tana French).  And I am wearing a stand-out white, one-piece suit.  No one noticed when I wore this same suit three years ago.  But today I wear it and people comment.

I have a small altercation with a bikini-clad woman who has marked off  half the beach for guests of hers who "may come later."  They never do.  I see old friends and we catch up on our winters.  I go in the water and drift across the beach in my new float.  My lunch (aside from the bread) is healthy and delicious.    My sister Jean comes down and we sit around talking like the good friends we are.

A nice breeze masks the 100 degree heat.  It's a perfect day at little Wild Harbor Beach.. 

weather advisory: check on senior citizens (m)

Record heat today.  103 degrees in Boston.  The Mayor comes on the television to ask us to look out for one another.  Check on those who have no air conditioning. Check on seniors.

The aunts.

 I remember Aunt X has no air conditioning in her upstairs apartment.  Aunt Y has air conditioning downstairs but doesn't turn it on.

I call to invite them to stay at my house.  "No dear, we are fine," says Aunt Y.  Aunt X gets on the extension:  " that you?  It's hot as hell here.  Are you coming over?"

I don't know how my coming over would help the situation but I say I will be there.  First, I make 2 lbs of pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans...their favorite) and a dozen large chocolate chip cookies.  They always have visitors and want to have food on hand.  I lose my appetite just looking at this hot food on this ridiculously hot day.

I get to their house and Aunt Y is sitting on the porch, in the sun, wearing a sweater.  She says she's enjoying the breeze.  I'm soaked with sweat just walking from the short driveway to her porch.  Aunt X is in the house sitting in front of a fan.

I take them out for an ice cream.  We stop at the local Dairy Maid and get the usual...vanilla frostie, kiddie size, in a cone, chopped walnuts, and put it in a cup. Extra napkins, please.  The girl at the counter asks how many and I almost say "3" but remember my mother is no longer with us.  I get a lump in my throat and say "2."

They are eating their ice creams like little kids and ask me to take them for our customary ride in the cemetery.  We stop by my mother's grave.  I really feel her loss today, doing this simple thing we used to do together.  All four of us. 

I turn to look at Aunt Y.  She is covered in chopped walnuts and melted ice cream. 

I mop her up and she says to me: "I know you must be sad, but you have to remember your mother absolutely hated the hot weather."

I bring the aunts back to their house.  Convince Aunt Y to turn the air conditioning on and convince Aunt X to stay downstairs.

I leave feeling a little better.

cancer sucks (m)

Several years ago, when Sam was in high school, he came home with a proposal for our family: "Let's go on vacation with a couple of families from school.  It'll be fun!"

Fun.  Stuffing myself into my Land's End plus-size swimsuit and sitting on a beach with skinny mothers who work out for a living.  Not my idea of fun.

We ended up going.  I don't remember how that happened.  One minute I was adamant about not going, the next minute I was told we're all set.

Harrison conveniently got strep throat and ran a fever of 103 degrees.  He and I did not leave with the others which was fine with me.  One less day of humiliation.

A day later, we arrived.  The other families are gathered at the poolside bar.  I don't even know the other families so I don't know whom to look for.

All of a sudden I hear "Okaaaay.  Now I get it!"  I look up and see a woman sitting at the bar in a Lily Pulitzer sundress, tanned, white teeth, fresh manicure and pedicure.  It's one of the mothers in our group.  She was normal sized, but she later told me she fought her weight everyday.

She looks at me and says:  "You know.  I've been staring at Sam and at your husband.  They look nothing alike.  One's tan and has brown eyes and the other is sunburned and blonde with blue eyes.  Sam looks like you.  Now I get it."

She was fun.  Upbeat.  Hilarious.  I laughed all week even though I never took my cover-up off.  I have a vivid memory of her sitting on a golf cart, dressed for dinner, arms over her head.  I distinctly remember thinking to myself this woman is on top of the world.

We became friends over the next year.  We became better friends the year after that when our boys were seniors, co-captains of the baseball team, and I retired from a full-time job.  She helped me settle into my role as full-time mother.  She was my mentor in that regard.

We hosted team dinners together.  Once we polled the group of parents to see what each planned to bring to the cook-out and one family responded "panzanella." We had a good laugh over that as we both had to Google "panzanella" (like bruschetta).

Two years ago, my friend had the hiccups.  They didn't go away after a month.  It was a large tumor.  The biopsy revealed cancer.  The cancer had spread to other sites.

All of us were shocked.  Here's someone who never smoked, and ate and drank in moderation.  Exercised daily.  Laughed regularly and she gets hit with an aggressive form of cancer.  Incomprehensible.

For the past two years, she's been fighting this like crazy. 

She is losing the battle.

Yesterday, I accompanied her to her chemotherapy session.  She's bald as an eagle and her once-thin stomach is distended from all the fluids.  I had to choke back tears when I saw her.  She's much worse than when I last saw her.

I bought her every trashy magazine and fashion magazine.  I had stories and jokes planned to keep her laughing throughout the 2-hour session. 

That didn't happen.  Instead, she wanted to talk about life. This life.  The afterlife.  It was an intense conversation and her blue eyes never teared up.  I went through a box of Kleenex.

I told her I feel my mother's presence every day and her kids will feel hers.  I am convinced the dead are with us in spirit.  I know because I feel it.  I don't have to see it.

About halfway through the session, a woman comes with a food cart.  Sandwiches, Doritos, chips, soft drinks.

We looked at the cart and burst out laughing.

How ironic that at the time in your life when you don't have to worry about your weight, you have no appetite.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

weighing the merits of a day (lyn)

Day one begins and ends with a feast of unhealthy foods.

The senior breakfast began the day; fried clams and french fries end it. Nothing in-between. Not even one fruit or vegetable.

My sister and brother-in-law have gone off to Chatham for a few days.  My other sister and her family start arriving tomorrow.  So today it's just my parents, Alexander and me. Between meals, my mom and I go to the beach and catch up on life.  We talk about things we usually don't discuss.  It's a warm, comfortable conversation.  I feel closer to her than I have for a long time. She's a much stronger woman than I've previously thought.

My dad goes out to a restaurant for both breakfast and dinner today. That's more than he's probably dined out in the past month.  Getting in and out of cars has become very difficult for him. Three years ago he was playing tennis regularly; today he struggles to move from room to room.  Once a strong man, he is now frail and without energy.  It is sad to see this once vibrant man become old. But yet I've never seen him so in love. My dad looks at my mom as if seeing her for the first time.   He is once again the 25 year-old Brockton boy, enamored with the 18-year old Boston beauty.  He embarrasses her with his adulation.  At dinner, apropos of nothing, he rhetorically asks me and Alexander, "Isn't she beautiful? I've never seen her look bad."

So today I eat poorly. But in all other ways, it's a very good day.

a special breakfast (lyn)

Yesterday I buy nova thinking that this morning I will make a quick breakfast to take on the road.  That doesn't happen. Instead, four hours after going to sleep, my alarm goes off.  It's 5:15 am and Alexander and I are taking a 6:23 train to meet Val and Abbey in Stamford, and from there, driving to the Cape.  We barely have enough time to get dressed.

We meet Val and Abbey as planned.  Two hours into our trip we stop at a Dunkin Donuts.  Valerie reminds me how bad donuts are and so I watch Alexander eat his, and have only coffee.

We meet my parents at an IHOP not far from their house.  I cannot remember the last time I was in one.  We arrive at an odd time...10:30--too late for the breakfast crowd and too early for the lunch one.  It's about 90 degrees outside and 40 inside.  We are all freezing.  We ask the manager if he could please lower the AC (there is only one other group of diners in the restaurant) and he says, "I'll try," as if adjusting the AC requires approval from corporate headquarters.  But a few minutes later, the air is noticeably warmer. And a few minutes after that, we are all sweating. We say nothing.

The menus arrive and my mother excitedly points out an unanticipated surprise. "Hey everyone, look." She's found a section on the menu called 55+ SPECIALTY ENTREES. Under that heading are listed items like Senior Sampler, Senior French Toast, Simple and Fit Senior Buttermilk Pancakes (I wonder what qualifies these particular pancakes as healthy?) and something called Senior Rooty (we have no idea what this is and no one asks).  We all settle on the Senior Rise and Shine: two eggs, hash browns (which I give to my mother), bacon (which I probably haven't had since starting WeightWatchers almost two years ago), and a buttered English Muffin. The eggs are runny and the English Muffin is under-toasted.

The quality of our breakfast is not very good, but the pricing is. That's what makes it special.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the doggie diet (lyn)

A couple of months ago a friend of mine got a dog.  It was not an easy process.

It took her months to find the right one.  She scoured sites from across the nation.  She visited local rescue agencies.  She filled out forms.  She drove out of state to meet dogs.  She was interviewed.  I was even interviewed as a reference.   

The process was an exhausting one.  But finally, the perfect dog came along.  A little mixed breed with an adorable face, and demeanor to match.  Though she initially wanted an older dog, she settled on a precious puppy and named him Bode.

After the first week of living with Bode, my friend questioned her decision.  She knew it would be work, but she wasn’t prepared for the puppy’s neediness.  She worried that maybe she wasn’t cut out for owning a pet.  I said, “Just wait a bit and you’ll see.  You’ll fall in love.  It always happens.”

And of course it did.

She doesn’t like to leave Bode for long; he misses her too much.  She set up his bed in her large kitchen, and got a nice little gate to keep him there at night.  He now sleeps in her room.  The kitchen gate is gone.   My friend is totally smitten.

A few months ago, before Bode, my friend wanted to lose some weight.  She is not heavy, maybe 10-15 pounds more than she wants to be.  Her clothes, not her friends, know the difference.  So rather than go on a formal diet of any kind, she became more observant of what she ate.  Over the course of a few months, she lost a pound or two

Then along comes Bode and her plan to lose weight gets lost in all the excitement of having a new housemate and new routines.

Soon, she is walking five or more miles a day.  A dog, even a small one, needs to exercise.  She isn’t  home as much, so there isn’t a lot of time to sneak snacks. Or even think about food.

Today she calls and guess what?  She’s lost ten pounds in the two months she’s had Bode.

I am sure that when my friend thought of getting a dog, she didn’t consider the collateral benefits. But I know she is enjoying them.

"out there" (m)

In one of my favorite scenes in a Seinfeld show, the hapless George is sitting in the local restaurant with his crazy mother who is newly separated from her crazier husband.  She tells George she's thinking of getting an eyelift now that she's "out there," meaning on the dating scene.

George, horrified, screams: You're not out there.  You can't be out there because I am out there.  And if I see you out there, there's not enough voltage in this world to electro-shock me back into coherence!

Last night, I went to a surprise birthday party for my dear friend, Susan.  We've been friends for 50 years.  Also at the party were three women, friends of Susan's, whom I didn't really know, a third friend we'll call P and our other childhood friend, M.

The dinner was great...nice venue, nice food, nice service.  The conversation was great, too.  We spent  most of the time learning about each other--kids, schools, sports etc.  I fielded a text from Lyn as to where to buy the best hangars for a college dorm (TJ Maxx was the unanimous decision).

Then it got interesting.

I commented that our friend, M, looked fantastic.  She had some "fillers" done to her face which made her lines disappear.  She looks at least 10 years younger and "fresh."  This led to a conversation about cosmetic treatments...non surgical, surgical, etc.

Most of us agreed we would do some of the non-surgical procedures.  One woman, L, a social worker at a mental health facility, held back.  I could tell she thought we were a little shallow even discussing cosmetic enhancements.

Then someone explained to L: "You're not out there.  Pam and M (my friend, M) are out there.  They have to look good if they are trying to meet men."

When viewed as psychological enhancements, L the Social Worker was on board and joined in the conversation.

I looked at the women at the table.  All thin and attractive.  If they had to go out there on the dating scene, their fixes would be easy.  A little filler here, a little Botox there.  No major issues.  Maybe hair highlights.  They weren't even afraid of their bodies being seen by someone.

Meanwhile, I'm so glad I'm not out there for more reasons than I can count.  Recently, for example, I tried to get my famed dermatologist to do something about my racoon circles under my eyes.  He shook his head and said, "Genetics.  Mediterranean pigmentation.  Nothing I can do for that."

This guy can do a face transplant but he can't fix my dark circles.

Thankfully, I'm not out there.

Monday, July 18, 2011

musings (m)

Spent 3 hours behind an ironing board today.  The joys of coming home to a room full of laundry.  To pass the time and break the tedium, I chew sugarless bubble gum, direct a fan at my face, and blast the radio.  Even Michael Jackson's songs can't keep me motivated.

Harrison comes home at 2:30 p.m. and asks to switch from the radio to the television.  He finds some lame sitcom, the one with Jim Belushi and the blond woman.  I don't know the name of this show, but I've seen it before.

I tell him to change the channel and we catch a glimpse of Kevin James who is married to the cute little brunette.

Then it hits me.  Why are all these chubby losers married to such pretty women who seem to have their acts together?  It's not just that they are fat; these guys are stuck in adolescence and have dead-end jobs.  Yet, these women are portrayed as adoring wives.

I try to think of the reverse situation. Do I know of any shows where the wife is overweight and the husband attractive?  None come to mind.  There's Roseanne, but she's married to that mess, played by John Goodman whose pants sit below his waist and, I imagine,  whose butt crack shows when he bends over to get a beer out of the fridge.

So here's the question: why are women more accepting of physical imperfections in their men, especially when it comes to weight?

just two years away (lyn)

“A 62-year old Florida woman is found safe, after spending four days in a swamp.” 

This is the news that greets me this morning.  My back is to the TV and so I turn to watch.  I see  a smiling, elderly woman, safe in the studios of NBC.

The story goes on to describe Kathy Shino, grandmother of eight, and her harrowing four days stuck in a Florida swamp, with only her head above the muddy, alligator-infested water.    What amazes me most about the story isn’t that she survived, but rather how she looks.  Old. 

In two years, I too, will be sixty-two.  I’ll be a senior, proven by the fact that I’ll be able to purchase discounted movie tickets.  But I don’t look at all like Ms. Shino.  I feel more like her daughter than her peer.  Losing 40 pounds helped a lot in my perception of self.  But other factors also contributed.  Being a mother of an 18-year old keeps me current; some of my son's biggest laughs come from my mispronunciation of current pop culture names.  My friends are all young (if not chronologically, than certainly in all other ways).  By most standards, I have an active lifestyle.  I’m not afraid of the computer; in fact, I am probably more fluent on it than my son.  I consider those 10 years younger, more or less around the same age as I am, while those ten years older seem more like my parents.  

Being fit (which I’m not) and thin (which I am) help in staying young.  I really need to work on the former. 

In two years I’ll be as old as the woman stuck in the swamp.  But three things I am fairly certain will be true: 
  1. I will be more fit than I am now.
  2. I will still be thin.
  3. I will not be a grandmother of eight, and hopefully not even of one!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

group grope (m)

A big part of the success of any diet is Control with a capital C. Controlling what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat.

Being away from home is not difficult. In fact, that part is easier. There is no food in my hotel room except water and diet Snapple and cut up veggies. There are no meals to cook for other people. I can eat the hard boiled egg and cantaloupe for breakfast or the oatmeal and then walk away.

Sounds good, right?

Except for one thing: group dinners with the other families.

The other night, after Harrison competed (he did well given his injury, made finals), I was ready for dinner. Harrison wants to stay to see some of his friends compete. "Okay, just a few," I say. We watch the Junior Ladies event.

Then the Junior Pairs.

Then the Senior Pairs.

Now it's 9 p.m. and I'm ready to faint. Harrison says some of the kids and their parents want to join us for dinner. Where should we go?

Now I'm a party planner, catering to everyone's tastes. Who doesn't want to go to Bertucci's, who doesn't like Japanese, who just ate at the steak house, etc. You know the drill.

We settle on Carabba's even though I had what I think was a gall bladder attack there last January when we were in Greensboro, North Caroline at Nationals. My right side started to hurt just thinking about it.

Get to Carabba's at 9:45 p.m. Do they have a table for 12? The hostess looks at me as if I'm setting her up for an episode of Punk'd.

We sit down, peruse the menu and someone's cell phone rings. Some of the senior skaters just finished a critique session with the judges....they will join us right afterwards. WAIT FOR US they say.

We add more chairs to the table.

The bread comes. It's piping hot. I'm trying to avoid it, but really, it's like putting a piece of steak in front of a lion at this point. I inhale a piece.

The menu comes and everything looks good to me. I order the thing I'm least interested in...grilled chicken with steamed broccoli, but I'm so hungry I'm looking forward to it.

A cell phone goes off somewhere at the end of the table..."Oh, you'll be here in ten minutes? Yes, we'll wait for you."

No, we won't I say. We will bring two more chairs to the table, but we're ordering and, when our food arrives, we're eating it right then and there.

As you can tell, I was cranky. It's 10:30 at night and we haven't eaten since noon. Where do these people think they are? Spain? Dinners there start at 9 p.m. Not in Pennsylvania.

If I didn't have to watch my language in this blog, I would have titled this entry "Cluster F--k".

14 people eating a meal at 11 p.m.

At that point, even I almost lost interest in eating.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

dinner in the heights (lyn)

It’s another hot day.  Most people escape the summer heat and run off to the Hamptons, or some other nice beachy place.  I wish I were one of them.  Instead, I catch a delicious two-person play at the Irish Rep called Tryst.  I go alone as I can only get one $3.50 ticket.  But I’m meeting Jill afterwards for dinner. 

Jill lives in DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a developing neighborhood of Brooklyn.  She lives in a gorgeous converted loft, with a view of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and New York skyline. Jill moved there from Manhattan six years ago, and it has since become one of the most coveted places to live.  Parks are springing to life  everywhere.  A new, 15-mile bike path has been opened.  And inexpensive, but good, little restaurants are sprouting up all over the place.  There's even a little beach a short walk from Jill’s home. 

A typical night with Jill goes like this.  We decide on a movie or play (never more than two days in advance).  We then meet in our seats.  We talk for the five or ten minutes before the movie/play begins.  We talk again for another few minutes as we walk to the subway.  

Tonight is an exception.  In typical fashion we make our plans yesterday.  Very impromptu.  But instead of a movie or play, we decide on dinner.   And, we decide to meet in Brooklyn, not Manhattan.

I arrive early and we spent time at Jill’s apartment and then walking around.  We end up at a hip little restaurant called Heights CafĂ©.  It’s perfect.  Jill is a healthy eater, so I follow her lead and choose the individual, thin-crusted pizza, mine with plum tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, and caramelized onions.  It arrives and is big enough to easily feed two.  I figure that I’ll take half home.

But once we start talking, I get lost in conversation.  The real nourishment comes from the stories we tell and the laughs we share.  And besides, carrying half a pizza from borough to borough on a steamy summer New York night is not appealing.  

I eat the whole thing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

the mind of an 18-year old boy (lyn)

Try as I do, it is difficult to understand how an 18-year old boy thinks.  My son is smart, yet he does the stupidest things.  Take today, for example.

Incident #1
I was supposed to receive the bill from Cornell on July 8th.  I still haven’t received it, and today is July 14th.  I call.  “We did post them on July 18th.  Your son should have received an email from us telling him that.  He needs to authorize you as an alternate payer on his account, and then you’ll be able to see the bill.”

This is all new to me.  My son receives the college mail?  Not me?   Do I confess to the school, “But my son doesn’t check his email?”  No, of course not.  So I call Alexander at work, and tell him to log in to his Cornell account, add me as a payee, and do it now, please.

I then get an email. 

I need the payee bank number, routing number, account number, and payee bank branch location.

Huh?  I call the school.  “No, ma’am.  We only need that if you are getting a credit and want it directly deposited.”

So now I’ve gotten Alexander to read his email.  At least for today.  If only he’d read the forms too.

Incident #2
I see a quilt that I am thinking of getting for Alexander’s bed at school.  Since he’ll be living with this for the next four years (assuming it doesn’t get ruined or lost), I ask him to stop by PB Teen to take a look at it.  He says he will.  He passes directly by the store (about 10 blocks from our home) on his way home from work.  I call him around 6.  "I am almost there.”  Great, I think.

I get home from my BAFTA meeting late. “So, what did you think of the quilt?” I ask him.  “I didn’t see it.  By the time I got to the store, it was closed?”  “What do you mean closed?  When I spoke to you at 6, you were right near the store.”  “Well, I was near the store, but didn’t go in.”  “What do you mean you didn’t go in?”  “I decided to come home first.  And then I got involved in other things, and when I went back to the store around 7, it was closed.” 

I can’t begin to process this.

1.    He passes the store that is10 blocks from our home and decides to not stop in then, but will come back in an hour?
2.    Does he just assume the store will be open all night?

Incident #3
My BAFTA Screening meeting drags on and on, finally ending around 9.  A few of us decide to walk the 2.5 miles home (and in challenging shoes, yet).  On the way, I call.  Alexander is at his friend Sam’s house (Shari’s son).  “Hi, I’m just leaving Sam’s,” he says.  “Have you eaten yet?”  Well, no, I haven’t, but I reasonably assume he has.  “Great, we can eat together.  I’ll pick up some Chinese food."

Not only has Alexander not eaten yet, he’s been offered dinner.  Shari is an amazing cook, and has offered Alexander numerous options.  He politely declines, preferring instead to buy chicken and broccoli to eat at 10:30!

In the end, Alexander and I have dinner together.  I re-heat the very small portion of creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and steak from the other night.  Alexander has his Chinese food.  We watch some recorded Modern Family.

How will he survive without me there to remind him to do all the things he is supposed to do? 

He’ll probably be like the millions of other 18-year old boys going to college.  He’ll do just fine.

And if he forgets to do something he is supposed to do?  Well, I won’t even know.

dear diary (m)

If I were to track what I ate and enter it into a diary, here's what today would look like:

Dear Diary,

Today was Harrison's first event of the competition. He and I got up around 9 a.m. and went down to the breakfast "buffet" at this hotel. I was very mindful of my choices, trying to stay on plan. I walked around the buffet a couple of times. I passed bacon, hash browns, bagels, cream cheese, cinnamon rolls, oatmeal and brown sugar. I settled on some scrambled eggs and cantaloupe. The eggs were ridiculously salty so I didn't finish them. I ate a lot of cantaloupe which, on the Points Plus program, is considered to be a free food. You would have been so proud of me, Diary.

I went back to the room and did my physical therapy exercises on the new floor mat I bought at Marshall's here on Monday night. I think the warm weather agrees with my arthritis as my knees feel better. Is this why old people with crippling arthritis move to Arizona? I sure hope I don't have to move there someday. I don't even play golf!

Anyway, Diary, I took Harrison to practice but got lost on the way. My kid thinks I'm an idiot with no sense of direction. I can't argue with him on that front. I dropped him off and went in to sign him up for more practice ice for tomorrow. When I was in the office with the lady who books the practice ice, there was a whole bowl of candy. M&M's (plain and peanut, Kit Kats, and Milky Ways)...all my favorites. You'd be so proud of me, Diary, as I only took a wintergreen mint (that's because I inadvertently ate a whole clove of garlic at Bertucci's last night with my grilled Tuscan vegetables. Who grills garlic?)

At one p.m., Harrison finished his practice and the coach told him to go back to the hotel to rest before the competition. I used my OnStar navigation device to find my way back as everything looks the same to me around this area.

I dropped Harrison off at the hotel and went to get gas and cash from the ATM. My stomach was rumbling but all I saw were TGI Friday's, Ruby Tuesdays, PF Changs, Carraba's and places like that. Then I saw a Dunkin' Donuts. I got an unsweetened ice tea and an egg and cheese wrap. Can you believe 6 whole points for that lousy wrap? I was hungrier after I ate it.

I brought Harrison back to the rink for his event. He wasn't nervous at all, but my stomach was churning. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was hunger. All I know was that I was looking forward to an early dinner!

But, Harrison had other plans for me. After his event, he wanted to watch a friend skate...two friends skate. Then he wanted to go back to the hotel to change for dinner. I dropped him off. By now, it's 6 p.m. and I'm running on cantaloupe and an egg/cheese wrap. I'm cranky.

I saw a Fresh Market. You would love it here, Diary. Think Whole Foods on steroids! Just like a European market. Fresh produces, exotic spices, cheeses, yoghourts (that's the European way of spelling them). And barrels of nuts. Oh, and candy. I got a couple of little bags of candy...dark chocolate-covered raisins, honey roasted peanuts, dark chocolate covered malt balls. For Harrison.

Diary, I'm so ashamed to tell you this, but I ate all the candy before I picked Harrison back up at the hotel. I brought him back to the rink to watch his girlfriend skate. I started to feel sick to my stomach from all the candy.

After his girlfriend skated, Harrison told me we had to take 4 kids out to dinner as the coach who was taking care of the girls was going to dinner with her daughter. I had a headache from all the sugar and was in a bitchy mood. I dropped the kids off at Bertucci's and sat in the car in the parking lot having eater's remorse. A nice mother called me to go to dinner with her but I was punishing myself for eating $8.00 worth of candy and nuts. By the way, Diary, can you believe how much they charge for those loose candies and nuts?

Instead of going out with people and being sociable, I went into the HomeGoods/Marshall's here and bought wrought iron planters for the cemetery, two lamps for my screened porch, body butter for my legs, ceramic plates to put my toiletries on for the master bathroom and a bike helmet for the guy who drives the Zamboni at the rink back home since we are giving him T's old bike.  It cost over $200 for all this crap that I didn't think I even needed.

Anyway, picked the kids up at Bertucci's and drove them back to their hotel on the other side of town.

Got into my hotel and had a bottle of water and Tums.

Diary, I hope to do better tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

a conversation with my aunts (m)

I am in Pennsylvania with Harrison. Before I left home, I promised the aunties that I would call them everyday to check on them. Aunt Y is recovering from a bad fall. Aunt X, the caretaker, is wiped out and has a bad cold. They need a little TLC. My cousins and I make them several meals each week and alternate  turns taking them for rides.

I dread the phone calls because Aunt Y has some hearing loss, but there is an even bigger issue. She doesn't know how to work the phones. My cousins and I have bought them all sorts of cordless, those corded phones with the big-ass numbers. Phones with amplified hearing, phones with speakers. Nothing has helped.

Here's how the conversation today goes:

Me: Hello, Aunt X, how are you feeling?
Aunt X: Oh, okay. I'm still coughing like crazy but the doctor doesn't think I have ammonia.
Me: Well, that's good. How is Aunt Y?
Aunt X: Wait a minute, I'll let her tell you herself. Here...Y...pick up the phone, it's M.
Aunt Y: Hello? Hello? Hello?
Me:Hello, Aunt Y.
Aunt Y: Hello? HELLO? (to Aunt X) I can't hear her.
Aunt Y: (again, to Aunt X) I think we got disconnected.
Aunt X picks up the extension: Hello, M?
Me: AUNT Y--CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? (I know the other hotel guests in the next room can hear me).
Aunt Y: (again to Aunt X) X, pick up the phone and see if you can hear her.
Aunt X: Y, for Cripes Sakes, I'm on the phone!
Aunt Y: (to Aunt X since this is the only 2-way conversation that is being had at this point).  Then where is M????
Me: I'M HERE!!!!!!!!!
Me: Love you, too.

Seriously, it's easier just to cook and bring the food to their home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

eating out with Alexander (lyn)

Three things:

  1. Alexander likes steak.
  2. This is Restaurant Week.
  3. I want Alexander to have some good memories of the two of us eating out together at a nice restaurant (which is something we almost never do).
That is why I make a reservation at Capital Grille for dinner tonight.  I ate there twice in February to celebrate with friends (once for a birthday and once as a thank-you).  I promised Alexander that the two of us would go during the next Restaurant Week, which is now here.  Normally, the kona-crusted steak and salad would cost $55.  Tonight, though, the same steak (well actually, it’s only 14 ounces vs. the normal-sized 18 ounces) and salad, plus two sides and dessert are $35 total.  It’s a great deal.  Even with the bone-in four-ounce smaller-but still gigantic-steak.

Throughout the day, I save my appetite, eating only the leftover broccoli dish from last night.  I add some lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber and the resulting salad is perfect.

Alexander is arriving the same time I am.  It is brutally hot, and I notice the back of his shirt is wet.  But still, he looks handsome in a dress shirt and tie.  We have the requisite steak (I take some home), salad (Caesar for Alexander, greens-only for me), mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and flourless chocolate cake for dessert.  Dinner is great, but not exceptional, and while our server (Adam) is nice, he would probably do better in another type of job.

We get home and separate….me in my room to watch TV and read the paper, Alexander in the living room to watch more episodes of South Park via Apple TV.  Around 11, I hear activity in the kitchen.  Dishes are being moved about, the refrigerator is opened, and food is being prepared.  Just some toast, but still.

As mature as he may look, Alexander is like a baby that needs to be fed every few hours.  I wish he were.  Then I’d get to live with him another 18 years.

bike ride with T (m)

My husband and I decide on a bike ride. We'll just go from our house into the next town and back. 10-mile round trip. Mostly flat terrain but a few "gentle hills" here and there.

We start out and he shoots ahead of me. Out of sight. Every now and then, I catch up with him. He's sitting on his bike, one foot on the ground, looking frustrated.

Now remember, I ride with Sam who is a two-sport collegiate athlete and is very fast. I'm sure Sam could go much faster on our rides, but he keeps pace with me and never complains that I'm going too slowly. In fact, he comments that he is surprised I keep a good pace.

Anyway, on this day with my husband (July 3rd), I'm struggling. There's something wrong with my 22-year old bike. When we go downhill, I can't get any traction. The wheels spin like crazy.

When we go uphill, the gears shift on their own and lock into the first position...the one with the most tension. I push and push until I think I could have a stroke.

Since that bike ride, three things have happened:

1. My knees kill more than ever.
2. I have developed plantar fasciitis on my right heel.
3. The bike went in for service--the chain is "80% gone."

So, I have to give up bike riding for the next week until the bike comes back from the shop and my knees settle down.

Meanwhile, I go to a Marshall's here in Pennsylvania last night and buy another pair of walking poles.

These, however, light up at night.

Now I can walk even when the moon's not out.

priority status (m)

Drove for six straight hours to get to our hotel. It's hot, I'm cranky. Harrison's long legs couldn't get comfortable in the car. My plantar fasciitis in my right heel is throbbing.

Get to the hotel and there's no clerk at check-in. I'm waiting and waiting at the front desk. No bell to ring. I call out, "Hello?" Nothing.

Five minutes later, a young woman comes to the front desk. She is wiping her hands on a paper towel. Ewww.

She welcomes me and asks me to approve the room rate on the reservation. I offer my AAA card for proof. She waves it off. She says I'm a Priority Club member. I don't recall having signed up for this "club" but she says I get "perks."

She hands me a paper bag with a small bottle of room-temperature Dasani water and a trick-or-treat sized bag of Cheetos.

There was a time when I would have ripped into the Cheetos. Now, I just give them to someone.

I took comfort in knowing this was progress for me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

the right to bare arms (m)

My friend, V, is in great shape. She works out daily. I met her for lunch the other day and she was wearing a long white, sleeveless linen tunic with black slacks. She looked like something out of the Eileen Fisher catalogue.

Me? I was sweating bullets in my blazer with a sleeveless tank top underneath.

Went home, took off my jacket and flopped my arms in the mirror. I looked like Totie Fields.

I took my rubber bands out and started exercising my arms.

a home cooked meal with mixed results (lyn)

Alexander recently commented that my cooking is improving.  Rather, he means, my cooking choices.  He prefers that I not be experimental.  He doesn’t care (nor should he) how fattening a meal is.  He just doesn’t want any mislabeled surprises (like the spaghetti squash lasagna disaster from last winter).

So here’s tonight’s menu (both found on

Main Course:
Baked scallops with butter and garlic.  (I’m splurging on the butter since scallops, at 25 calories per ounce,  are waistline friendly).

Broccoli florets and red pepper marinated in an oil-vinegar-honey dressing.

The prep time on the broccoli says 15 minutes.  It takes me two hours.  I get a little sidetracked. 

I take a step stool out to get something.  Once I can reach my high cabinets, I look in them and decide to re-organize.  In one of them I keep my never-used Waterford crystal (Lismore pattern) from a  brief marriage in 1977.  I really should unpack them from their yellowing boxes.

Next I come across a Presto Electric FryBaby (circa mid-70’s), still in a sealed box.  I’m surprised by the spelling of FryBaby as I thought the one word-two caps was a more recent phenomenon.  Maybe Presto was the one who started this trend. There was a time when I liked to make French Fries, but that ended when I was living in Boston and almost burned down my apartment kitchen.  I won’t keep this item, as I don’t need a French Fry maker tempting me at home.

While I’m in the kitchen, I also organize the cabinet with my pots and pans.  That’s where I discover two tops for springform pans, but no bottoms.  I throw these out, but not before remembering the cakes I used to make.  That period of my life was short-lived.

Alexander comes home from work.  “What’s for dinner?” he asks.  I tell him and he is excited about the broccoli but more restrained in his enthusiasm for the scallops.  “I don’t love scallops.  I like shrimp better.” But both turn out looking pretty good.

I love the scallops, but when Alexander doesn’t request seconds, I know I won’t be making them again.