Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Those Thinner Feels


As you may know, or hell, as you may not know, Matt’s been doing a lot of biking this past year. Like, a LOT. And to that, I say good for him. He looks good, he feels good – and this weekend, he’s doing a 2-Day, 100+ mile ride to benefit Multiple Sclerosis, for which he raised $320.

I’m proud of him. One of the benefits of all this hard work is that he’s becoming the Incredible Shrinking Husband. While I am inflating faster than the Michelin Man.

So, it occurs to me that I could/should go on a diet.

On Monday, I was training a guy whose wife has lost scads of weight quickly using Atkins. So I started doing a little research, reading up on it and I thought, “Hmm – eggs, bacon, cheese, steak? Yeah, I could do that." And so I started looking at the material, which advocates a foundation of low carb vegetables in addition to the cream-laden, cheesy-topped beefy goods. So, yeah – I could do that.

Problem is – I could do that, but could I subject Matt to that as well? We eat a LOT of pasta. A lot. Like. Tri-weekly. Which, apparently, if you’re biking your ass off is great, but if, like me – you’re eating a boatload of pasta, but not burning it off. Which means, maybe it wasn’t the dryer that shrunk your favorite pants…

So then I thought – well, South Beach isn’t restrictive like that – and I’ve done it, or a version of it before. But…you don’t get much to eat, and it’s time-consuming and expensive. And still, no pasta. Well, I already spend what feels like too much time in the kitchen, and that’s not my bag. Or, it is – given an unlimited supply of money and time.
Of which, I have neither.

So. That leaves me with (and you’ll pardon the pun) the white elephant in the room. Which is to say, Weight Watchers. Now, back before I started blogging, in fact, back in the dark ages of 2001, I joined Weight Watchers. I lost, at my best, about 57 pounds. I then plateaued, crept back up, and I now weigh more than when I started Weight Watchers back in 2001. Soooo.

I know I can survive WW, I know the drill, I have a good idea of the foods I can eat, the ones that work, the ones that don’t.

Plus – pasta isn’t verboten. Nothing, technically, is verboten.

Here’s the rub.

I’ve started Weight Watchers three times since moving to Nashville. It did not stick. And here’s why First time, I met mid-day at a church near our newlywed apartment – lots of little old ladies talking about being derailed by dessert at Cracker Barrel (I’m no expert, but chocolate cobbler sounds nasty). I was working from home, I was eating too much, I was bored, anxious and lonely. And I got a job outside the apartment on the other side of town, so I quit after, what, three meetings?

Second time and third times I lasted a few weeks apiece. I met at the Main Center in Nashville, and I found the group meetings to be annoying and poorly run. Stan was one leader, and he spent lots of time talking about Stan. He also sounded like Mr. Garrison from South Park meets Richard Simmons. Frieda was a fossil who couldn’t understand why we were using convenience foods. She cooked everything on her stove every day. While dinosaurs roamed her back yard.

You see, my success in Atlanta had little to do with me personally, and more to do with my tendencies toward revenge and redemption (at least initially).

I started a meeting at a YMCA (and later moved to a Church) that was led by this lovely, energetic woman named Stacy. She was a suburban housewife with gorgeous hair, great clothes and a Long Island accent. She wasn’t so beautiful that you didn’t relate to her, but she had a nice aura. On my first visit, I found her too perky for words. I went home, followed the first week to the letter. Midweek, I received a postcard from her telling me that she’d missed seeing me at meetings and that I should come back – clearly, she sent the card to the wrong person. It pissed me off. So I thought, “Oh, she’ll start to remember me, alright!” Revenge.

So the next week, I got to the weigh in and had lost 1.8 pounds. After a week of what felt like total suffering. I began sobbing uncontrollably. One of the other ladies, who usually worked the scales table, Carole, was leading the meeting, and she did her best to console me – but I ended up getting a Kleenex from a nice woman who had lost 100 pounds and understood that I was grieving a loss that only the fat can comprehend. Carole, bless her heart, was a kind lady, but losing 15 pounds from her petite frame 15 years prior hadn’t left her totally prepared for a weeping twenty-something foodie.

Of course, I was mortified. I resolved that I had to keep going back to save face for my outburst on Week Two of Weight Watchers. Redemption.

I kept it up until I got married, but I really half-assed it for the last maybe 2 years that I went. By then, it was a social thing – I’d become attached to the women in the group who ranged from a Lesbian couple to an 83 year old woman named Margie who once announced to the group that she understood it was hard for me to lose the weight when I wasn’t getting enough sex. This was her getting me back for something I’d said the week before – she’d asked how Matt liked me in all my new clothes, I told her he preferred me out of them! She loved it. I met Lane there, who got me an interview at her company, InView, where I worked and made tons of nice friends before moving to Nashville.

Carole and Becky (a blond, southern cream puff in her 50s) manned the scales and were some of the sweetest most encouraging people I could imagine. Stacy was a cheerleader and drill sergeant rolled into one. The people in our meeting were always fun, kind and encouraging.

How can anything compete with that?

I’m going to try either a new center (there’s one nearish the new office), or online. But the fact is – it’s time.


Starting Monday.

Because right before the holidays is an awesome time to get started, no?


Friday, September 24, 2010

That's about the size of it.

So, I need to find a hobby. Matt and I were talking about it last night, and he thinks I need to be seeking out something that has a social or communal quality to it. I’m not convinced. After spending all day talking with people, being around people and having to think about every word that comes out of my mouth, more time with people seems tiresome. Unless…

There are some burlesque classes that look like fun. I could take a comedy class. But those are fleeting, and I need a hobby that sustains.

That said, this weekend, I’ll be gathering a boatload of flotsam and jetsam and giving it to Goodwill. I really need to get rid of at least a third of the useless stuff in our attic. And now that it’s cool enough to be in the attic without passing out, it’s time.

Moreover, there’s a pile of things downstairs that need to be moved upstairs. I’m starting to plan my family’s visit in October, and as is so often the case, time is getting away from me. It’s all well and good to daydream about my table settings and menu for the Saturday dinner party, but at the end of the day, if I don’t beat the dustbunnies, fruit flies and assorted vermin into submission, I might as well plan to take everyone to the LaQuinta for the weekend, followed by a celebratory dinner at Crackwhore Barehell.

I should admit, that from time to time, I enjoy the impersonal service and carbohydrates that the Cracker Barrel has to offer. I’m also a fan of their store - they have some Halloween things that I’m eyeballing favorably.

Now here’s a question for you. Why is I it that nobody focuses much on Thanksgiving D├ęcor? I think that would be a colossal market. But nooooooo – Target hops straight from Halloween to Christmas in dizzying fashion.

It’s official. I need a hobby.

Peace and chicken grease,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I like potato chips, moonlight and motor trips...

I am so ready for cooler weather. Can I get an amen?

Tonight, my plan – such as it is, involves creating some order out of the chaos that is my front yard. The ivy and rose bush have taken over, there are weeds aplenty and some random large sticks lurking hither and yon.

Let us not even speak of the porch and its debris.

Last night, I hit up Zumba, where I am trying to be friendly with some of the frequent flyers. The girl who tends to dishabille into a semi-nude state every week was there, but I heard her talking with someone after class, and she has an accent – I’d say Slavic or Germanic. I’m not saying that excuses the behavior, but it explains it. There are two nice people that I see and say hello to every week, and another one who patted my arm and said hello last night. So, there’s that.

After I got home I watched the season premiere of How I Met Your Mother – excellent. I love me some sitcoms. Glee starts tonight, and a new one by Mitch Hurwitz. Both are set to record.

I should tell you – I love television. I just do. There’s something about it that offers gratification without being harmful to my health. And yeah, I know, I should be out walking Lola or exterminating my newest litter of dustbunnies, but there’s something about watching the fake lives of others that I find relaxing.

As I was saying earlier today, I need a hobby.

Something creative. My mother has been on my back to write more, and I love doing that, but I feel like I’m blocked. It took me several days and talking with Matt to get enough juice to come up with the press conference transcript I posted last. And that wasn’t very funny – though my co-workers all seemed to like it.

We are currently experiencing a fruit fly infestation at the house. It is making me crazy and angry because whether it’s fair or not, I see it as a referendum as to my ability to keep a clean house. I found a few online methods of killing the little bastards, but what I really want to do is hose down the house in DDT, then scrub every surface with scalding water and a soap/bleach mix.

Meanwhile, I’m dealing with a different kind of pest at the office – in the way of manipulative colleagues. The less said, the better. It’s not all beer and roses, you know.

Anyway – that’s the latest and greatest from Nastyville, Tennis Shoe.

And you?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Transcript - Pepper Jelly Press Conference

Transcript from Press Conference:
Allison Breyer Everett - JellyGate
September 19, 2010
Nashville, TN

First, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to attend today. I'll be addressing some of the rumors and allegations surrounding my Second Place win at this year's Fair.

Now, there has been some very public discussion as to my feelings on Mr. and Mrs. Chambers of Cumberland Furnace, TN. I would like to state for the record that on several occasions, I made disparaging remarks as to the validity of their entries into the Tennessee State Fair. After having met them at the Agriculture Building on drop-off day, I can now say unequivocally that even if they are double dipping with their entries, they are two of the hardest working canners in all of Tennessee, and I harbor no grudge against them. Henceforth, I will be making no further unkind or scurrilous commentary on these lovely people.

I would like to address the rumors that I purchased supplemental peppers at the Nashville Farmers Market due to shortcomings in my small garden. I can tell you without apology that these rumors are true. It was a rough year for growing, and while I did utilize jalapenos from my backyard, I had to purchase materials from local growers to complete my undertaking. I am proud to support my fellow Tennesseans, and respect their agri-craft greatly.

Speaking to the controversy surrounding my inability to produce a claim check when picking up my jelly this afternoon, I want to thank the Ag Extension Team for their reluctant flexibility in this matter. I honestly do not know the whereabouts of the claim check, as the day I received it, I was rushing to a veterinary appointment for my dog, Lola and likely mislaid it. Thankfully, I was able to produce a state-issued drivers license which successfully confirmed my identity. Please rest assured that I will be working to enact claim check reform so that others in my situation will not suffer the same indignities.

Finally, there are just so many people to thank. The Ball Jar Company, the Certo Pectin Company. My fellow pepper enthusiasts at the Nashville Farmers Market for assisting me in both plant and vegetable form. I am grateful to my family - from my ancestor Julius Breyer, of the late Delited Jams and Jellies who clearly gave me the good DNA, to my parents, sister, brother-in-law and nephew for their unyielding support and advice. I would like to thank my friends for their kindness in my darkest hours. Many thanks go to Lola - canine, therapist, sous chef, friend. I would be utterly lost without my husband, Matt, who not only celebrates my successes, but loves me despite my failures. He has stood by me through this canning season, and I know I can count on him for many Fairs to come.

I thank you again for your time today. There will be no Q&A session to follow.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ain’t a that good news?

So, long time…again.

Lots to catch you up on.  For starters, we’ve been dealing with having an aging dog.  Last Thursday, after several days of Lola acting puny, matters came to a head.  She didn’t eat, didn’t get up when we came home, and was clearly in pain.

One trip to the Emergency Vet and $200 later, we had an answer – neck/back pain.  We also had an answer to a question we never asked.   Dr. Hamm, who used to work at Berry Hill was checking on Lola and said, “Now has Lola always had this heart murmur?”  I'll take questions you never wanted your vet to ask you for $400, Alex.

Although her back/neck problem seems to have healed, or close to it, we’re still going to the vet today to see if we can determine the underlying cause.  And, we need to talk about her heart.

Matt and I have already decided that surgery is off the table.  She’s eleven, she’s frail enough as it is – plus, that’s a lot of expense that we simply cannot afford.

My goal at this point is to give Lola as much comfort and care as I can for whatever life she has left – and if that’s months or years, I don’t know.  I also have pledged that if I have to make difficult decisions about the end of her life, I will make them based on what is best for her.  I haven’t given up on Lola, but I also know that I don’t have endless resources to prolong her life.  And that prolonging may not even be what’s best at that time.

I haven’t given up on Lola.  She’s my girl.  I just want to take the best care of her I can.

In other, happier news…  JELLY.

It goes in for judging today.  I’m stoked.  And nervous.  It’s milder this year, thanks to my stunted habanero crop.   It’s pretty, though.  That has to count for something.  We’ll see.

We spent Labor Day with my Parents and the Pugs.  Delightful.  I got to see Connie, Jason and their new baby, Jack.  He’s awesome. 

This weekend, we’ll go check up on my jelly at the fair, pet some goats and generally enjoy the good life.  Next week,  I have an on-site training.

Laura sent me an early birthday present.  A new purse.  Faux alligator – orange with cheetah print lining.  It’s gorgeous and fun.

That’s the latest from here.

Updates on Lola and Jelly…soon.