Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh, bloody hell!

"Blood will tell, but often it tells too much." -Don Marquis

This perfectly adorable LA type recently told me that I had to try the "eat for your blood type" diet. She claims it "totally works" and now she knows that she is supposed to have red wine as opposed to her normal dry martini. Now I have always maintained that I don't have a "type". I prefer to apply this to everything; men, art, movies, boats, pastries, etc. I like to stay multi-faceted. But I can't deny that when it comes to blood, I have a type. And if this blood type that everyone keeps talking about holds a magical combination of food that will make me look as perfectly adorable as this LA lady, sign me up.

Now I am wishing I was british so I could walk around talking about my "bloody diet". I won't though, because I am not british and most of my attempts at humor get berated with comments likened to, "you're not really that funny, Sarah". I also suppose that if I talked about being on a bloody diet people might think I had lost my mind and was living in a fantasy world where I was in a love affair with a vampire. However, if I was living in a place where Robert Pattinson was my main squeeze, I would skip the Valium.

Anyway, I don't know my blood type but I do know that I am the queazy type. I get weak in the knees over needles or anything even slightly invasive. Even typing about blood right now makes my eyes roll back in my head a little. I have to be brave, though. In order to find out if I was on the right track with the four scones and bottle of wine that I had last night for dinner, I need to do this.

That is the truth... I am secretly hoping that I will have the blood type that encourages copious amounts of cheese, wine and bread. Would that be french blood? If so, I could add french toast and croissants to the list. Hell, I might as well add french fries while I am at it. Or maybe granulated sugar is actually good for me and I will find myself with a diet of chocolate chip cookies and mojitos. I haven't gotten the book yet and I have already decided that one lucky winner (me) won't have to eat healthy for the rest of her life. I have actually turned a diet book into a scratch ticket, shrouded in mystery and promising the possibility of hitting the jackpot.

So, in order to find out my blood type (and get an HIV test to boot) I am going to donate blood. Is that bad? Or maybe I should say, is that bad blood? Is giving blood in order to find out if I should be ordering a burger with or without cheese asking for bad kharma? Hopefully the fact that I am giving blood will balance out the selfish reasons behind it.

Either way, I hope you all join me. Giving blood, that is. I won't force you to follow me through another one of my diet debacles. If you go with me to donate blood, though, I will force you to hold my hand and tell me funny stories the entire time. Maybe a british story.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Food Court

"I've been on a diet for two weeks and all I've lost is two weeks."
- Totie Fields

A fairly typical Sunday. I talked on the phone for most of the morning, one call to my mom to check in. Then I picked up Amelia and headed for the ferry. We were off to see Harry Potter. I wasn’t dressed like Hermione or anything, but I was nerdy enough to be really excited about the evening ahead.

We made a detour to the mall on our way to the theater. With a burgeoning zit on my face and one threatening to make an appearance at any second from under the surface, I needed to stop at one of those classy kiosks and get face wash. I have been a Proactiv girl for seven years and, at this rate, I plan on being Proactiv grandma. Jessica Simpson, a longtime Proactiv rep, landed a Dallas Cowboy and that is enough for me. Even if Romo did break up with her two days before her birthday (an all too familiar feeling) she still has her skin. And her hair (her bff is Ken Paves, hair stylist to the stars). If you have your skin and hair, what more do you need? Love? If I had to choose between love and turning my hormonally temperamental skin into a flawless palette, I am not going to lie, I would be hard-pressed. The point being that, even after having several dermatologists tell me otherwise, Proactiv is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I am a junkie.

I am also a junkie for really shitty food. For the most part I lean toward organic and fresh, but sometimes a genetically modified zucchini that has been drenched in beer batter and fried in old canola oil is too irresistible for me to deny. So with time to kill, we went to one of those terrible restaurants that puts quantity over quality and doesn’t have an item on its menu that does not come with a side of ranch. I should have asked if I could also get a side of Crisco with my 600-calorie margarita.

Then it was off to the world of witches and wizards, complete with popcorn and chocolate. About twenty minutes into the movie I realized I overdid it. Again. In a matter of minutes I was going to bloat out of my jeans. So I unbuttoned my pants and thanked God I was in a long sweater. It was there, in that dark theater, watching the raging hormones of teenagers a decade younger than me, that I realized the irony of my day.

I talked on the phone all day, like I have been doing my whole life. I checked in with my mom so she wouldn’t worry about me, went to the mall with my childhood friend to buy acne face wash, flirted with a young waiter while I ate disgustingly unhealthy food to the point of distention and here I was: sitting in a movie theater with my pants unbuttoned, watching a teen movie, hoping that we would make he ferry in order to be home by eleven. It was a school night after all. Had nothing changed? I am exactly the same as my teenage self?

I can’t be the same. For instance, I am pretty sure my 16 year-old self would never had unbuttoned her pants in the middle of a movie theater. She would have suffered through it. And my 29 year old self has a budget. That budget does not include shopping for bigger pants. That means it's time to add another budget: a food budget.

I, like most young women, have done it all. I did a 30 day detox after my psychic told me that I had a sugar addiction; no sugar, animal products, caffeine, alcohol, gluten or dairy for an entire month. I was a raging bitch. I was a server at the time and being surrounded by all the food and gluttony was torture. Fed up with my relentless grumpiness the bartenders would pass me shots of orange juice in attempt to raise my spirits (and my blood sugar). I also went through the vegetarian phase, trying to be skinny like my older, also vegetarian sister, Phoebe. I caved one summer night to a bacon cheeseburger and never looked back. I have done the, “I am not going to eat today”, only to find myself sitting on the kitchen floor surrounded by the remains of whatever carb I could get my hands on.

The most success I have found when I am trying to be a little less “swollen”? Stress and anxiety that kicks me so hard in the stomach that the idea of food makes me ill and also makes me not be able to stop moving (so I just start running). While it is has had proven results with me in the past, my new grown up self is looking for a formula that has a little more longevity and a little less time with the therapist.

So here we go, the new plan:

  • Four litres of water a day. Scientists say humans should drink half their body weight in ounces every day. Jennifer Aniston says she drinks four litres of SmartWater a day. Four litres it is.

  • LESS SUGAR, at least the refined kind. Notice I did not say “no”, just less. That means I don’t want to hear about it should you witness me eat an entire pan of brownies. Judgment is not good for my skin.

  • Jogging two miles, 5 days a week. Ugh. Fine.

  • Breakfast is going to be a tablespoon of Vitamineral powder mixed with flax oil and a bunch of other healthy shit. I got the recipe off of Jason Mraz’s blog. His music isn’t my all time favorite, but his surfer-one-love lifestyle is enviable. The Vitamineral is supposed to be amazing and give results in all facets of health. It has to be better than a breakfast of coffee and worrying about the day ahead. Here is the link:

I think that should be a good start. I am also going to try and enjoy what I do ingest… more local, fresh meals with the people I love. In savoring some Pacific Northwest summer meals, I am hoping I will love me a little more when fall rolls around. My teenage self would approve, I think.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Frank Sinatra

I move fast. I am a girl on the go, go, go. Sometimes, while on the go, I have the tendency to take it too far, far, far.

I like red wine. I find it pairs well with… everything. I also like greyhounds, the pink kind made with fresh grapefruit, lots of ice, no straw. Bubbly has a place in my heart (and liver), usually during brunch with the girls. I must be growing up, because lately I have just lost interest in waking up with a throbbing headache and cotton-mouth.

I call it one and one. For every glass of wine or cocktail I have, I have one glass of water (the sparkling variety to make it a little more fun). Here is the key: put the water in the glass you are already drinking out of. It’s super easy to ask for a glass of water and watch it sit patiently as you continue to reach for the far tastier choice. It is not super easy staring at the Pelligrino in your wine glass knowing that you have to get through it to get back to the good stuff.

Hydration is not the only trick that I use in an attempt to be a slightly more sophisticated twenty-something socialite:

  • The only shots I am taking at the bar are verbal and usually aimed at belligerent bar flies.
  • When red wine is my poison (about 95% of the time) I rub unflavored lib balm on my front teeth; an old beauty pageant secret that keeps my teeth from turning a lovely shade of grey.
  • I eat. I eat before, I eat during and I don’t feel girl-guilt for hollering at a grilled cheese after (even if it is three in the morning).
  • I caffeine it up before the night begins. It keeps the blood flowing and my eyes open. Droopy lids are not attractive on anyone, let alone someone with eyes the size of salad plates.
  • On the subject of eyes, I wear waterproof mascara, skip anything on my bottom lids and I always carry Visine. The eyes are the first to go, and like I said, that is not attractive.
  • I keep my hair and outfit simple. The last thing I want to be doing throughout the night is making sure my skirt is pulled down and my hair is pulled back.
  • I carry flip-flops in my purse. My early twenties taught me that no matter how skanky the floor/road/gravel driveway was, if my shoes sucked, they were coming off. And, even though we probably all have been, none of us wants to be that girl dancing barefoot in puddles of spilled cocktails and God knows what else.
  • I don’t drink beer. I would rather waste the calories on the earlier mentioned grilled cheese and belching just isn’t my thing.
  • I NEVER start a tab. Well, almost never. It just makes it too easy.
  • Portion control: if the wine is happening early in the afternoon, the ladies in my family call it a “taster” and we drink Italian style: cute little glasses in place of huge Reidel stemware.
  • Gum. Mints. Anything. Yes, I am standing closer to you than you than normal, up on my tiptoes so I can be right in your ear, rambling way too loud and way too fast. I can’t seem to change that. The gum will help.

All this being said, I learned most of these “rules” the hard way. A lot of you have the pictures to prove it. I can try and avoid it but chances are there will be a fateful evening that has me on my knees, curled around a toilet, somehow in the men’s bathroom. That evening will lead to a morning that has me swearing to the heavens that I will never drink again. When I do drink again, let’s hope I take my own advice.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Freedom Fighter

"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you."

John Paul Sartre

Today, as we celebrate our lovely Lady Liberty, I am declaring my own independence. This little firecracker is no longer a slave. If America can fight for freedom, so can I. However, While this great country of ours goes up against other countries, I am going to battle with myself. I am refusing to be held down by my past, daunted by my present and scared of the future.

I turned my head once to the left and when I looked back my white knight was gone. In his place was a massive white truck driven by a ghost. A ghost that haunts me everywhere I go on my tiny little island. I have been alive 59.5 times longer than the time we spent together and yet I can’t seem to get back that place. I ache to find the place I was, before I stood barefoot in the falling snow, kissing him for the very first time, my face in his hands. But just like those who came before him, I am changed. The surface of my heart is different. There are deep plum bruises where our heavy talks used to be and etched lines where our evening strolls wandered. I can stand here, where I am now, and be baffled at how is it humanly possible to move on that fast. I have taken longer getting over cold than it took him to get over me. I can sit there, where I was, and weep. I could scream into the dark night. But I won’t. I’m not mad anymore. I accept it. Freedom from what was so I can see what is.

I am edging toward thirty and it can be very hard to accept where I am. I get frustrated, comparing myself to my friends, who all seem to have aced the "how to get your shit together before you are thirty" course. I must have missed that class. I am trying not to be so hard on myself for where I am right now, and for the first time I am starting to know what I want. I want a family. I want to feel a tiny beating heart on my skin as I sit on the porch swing, rocking my baby to sleep. I want a husband. I want to be near the water. I want to come home and love the space I am in, physically and mentally. I want people who make me laugh to stay close by. I want a bookshelf that begs to be browsed, a hammock that beckons to be napped in and a garden that whispers to be watered. I want to open my eyes in the morning and feel tickles of contentment on the bottoms of my feet. I want to find peace in forgiveness. I want to nurture my domestic side while never sacrificing my work. I want to breathe deeply and love madly. I want to be the first choice, not the fallback girl. I have spent my whole life fighting the urge to give in to my own authenticity. Freedom from what is so I can believe in what will be.

From now on, I am going to trust the girl inside me (who rarely gets heard) and start making decisions the old-fashioned way: with my gut.

Happy Independence Day, may we all be brave enough to fight for our own freedom.