Category Archives: Slightly off topic…

The Cleanse

There’s nothing more annoying than a person on a cleanse. Or even just a person who wants to talk about their diet: what they’re eating, what they’re not eating, what they have eaten but are not likely to eat again. A recent conversation with a man who was in the middle of a month of eating nothing but soup made me take tiny, imperceptible steps backwards until I was forced to fake an injury. Yet in the spirit of “I’m destined to do everything I said I’d never do,” here I am, eager to report on my cleanse. (I wont be offended if you click delete or go back to Facebook scrolling. In fact, I’ll respect you more for having done so.)

It probably started with the ice cream sandwiches. Friends invited Tom and me for dinner and I brought homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with vanilla Haagen Daaz sandwiched between. They were delicious, so delicious in fact that when I woke up the next morning I’d been transformed into a different person. This person was slow moving, cranky and headed dangerously toward a pregnancy weight. Okay, to be honest, it might have started before the ice cream sandwiches.

So in a rock bottom moment I convinced Tom that we should start the Whole 30 – thirty days without grains, dairy, sugar or alcohol. Yes, we could have coffee. I’m not insane.

Week 1 was shameful. I was in agony over the amount of creative food prep it takes to make a delicious meal without anything delicious in it. It was seven full days with no easy outs like pizza delivery or Chinese food, while trying to convince people that there’s anything rice-like about cauliflower rice.

But mostly it was the wine. I had been having a glass of wine every night for at least a decade. Its absence made me really look at its purpose. That glass of wine marked the end of the workday, which I would argue is particularly critical when you work from home. That glass of wine was there to spice up the evening routine, to make quizzing my middle schooler for his social studies test feel like a party. I began to brave the hours between 6 and 8pm with a glass of seltzer water instead, and let me just say: it’s not the same.

During that week, one of my favorite students noted that I was kind of cranky. “Am I?” I replied with a steady smile. I hate you, I thought.

On the first day of Week 2, everything changed. I opened my eyes and leapt out of bed before my alarm went off. I drank my delicious and Whole 30 sanctioned black coffee and wrote something. I loved this thing I wrote. I loved it so dearly, this product of my clear mind, that I sent it to the New York Times. Of course I should be writing for the New York Times, I thought, I’m Super Me! Interestingly, the New York Times did not pick up my article. It makes me think they’re all sitting around eating chips and drinking beer, obviously not seeing things as clearly as I do.

My irrational exuberance and delusions of grandeur lasted the rest of the week, while my body rebelled. I got sick in multiple ways, as my body begged me to re-tox. I was was wiped out yet found the energy to Google “are there people who need wine and tortilla chips to survive?”

Week 3 was the week that I realized my home was suddenly the place where fun goes to die. All conversation centered around food, which I happen to think is the most boring topic in the world besides leaf blowers. Specifically, we debated what foods were Whole 30 sanctioned and conducted extensive research on bacon that is prepared without nitrates, sulfites or sugar. We concluded that that particular bacon is called “sliced turkey.” Don’t bother.

At this printing I will be done, and the promise of miraculous results will manifest. I actually have no clue what those things are. But as I round out Week 4, I’ve come to understand why it’s impossible to quit something for 30 days but possible to quit something for one day, thirty days in a row. I’ve sort of lost my taste for cheese and crackers, but I’m looking forward to a glass of red wine. That, and talking about something else.

The Headshot Decision

A single friend of mine just joined a dating site and showed me, with much hilarity, a string of guys who have expressed interest in her. There was nothing really wrong with these guys on the surface; they seemed normal enough. But it was the profile photos they’d chosen that cracked me up – three… Continue Reading

The Untold History of Thanksgiving

It’s important to remember the genesis of Thanksgiving, lest we all just start to see it as a stomach-stretching warm up for the actual holidays. The first Thanksgiving was a shared meal between the pilgrims and the Native Americans, one where they gave thanks for all they had and set the tone for who we… Continue Reading

Other People’s Problems

Sometimes, when I’m busy not writing my novel, I daydream about finishing my students’ novels. My mind floods with ideas to fill in their story gaps. I dream up surprise endings and pages of snappy dialog. While driving the other day, I decided that one of my student’s characters should have a heavy suitcase at the… Continue Reading

Never Say Never

I’ve come to accept the fact that I should never say never. In fact, as I get older, it seems that every time I shun some activity with the words “I’d never,” I immediately go ahead and do it. Examples include getting my fourth grader his own phone, leaving my kids alone overnight and buying… Continue Reading

Wake Me Up When The Election’s Over

We’re almost there, people. The election is just over the hump of the weekend, and the end is actually in sight. I tend to like a salacious and horrifying story, the inner-workings of human drama. But there’s no thrill in this election. It just feels prickly and uncomfortable, like the angora sweater my grandmother bought… Continue Reading

Local Woman Gets Angry in Person

The other day I was stopped at an intersection, looking both ways as I’ve been told to do, when the woman in the car behind me started honking repeatedly to encourage me to take the plunge. I wasn’t in the mood for a fiery death, so I waited for the traffic to clear in both… Continue Reading

High School Commencement Speech – First Draft

It’s kind of weird how Rye High School hasn’t asked me to deliver this year’s commencement address yet. I mean it’s a month away and these kinds of speeches don’t write themselves. I’m local, I’m verbose, the price is right. And heck, I’m going to be there anyway. Assuming they’ve been calling my landline or… Continue Reading

When It Comes to Neighbors, Be Lucky

As published in The Rye Record on February 5, 2016 When I was a new mom, we lived in an apartment on 57th Street across the hall from an elderly man who smelled like soup. I remember him because of the soup, and also because of the wisdom he passed along to me on the… Continue Reading

They’re not Thoughtless. They’re Astronauts.

It’s funny when your kids start driving and noticing how frequently the adults around them don’t obey the traffic laws. Look, Mom, that guy didn’t signal. Look, Mom, that lady ran the stop sign. Again, I need to fill them in. I explain to my kids that it’s because these people are just a bunch… Continue Reading

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