Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Insatiable Appetite

The other night I was watching one of the early Seinfeld episodes where Jerry would do a stand up bit first. This one hit me like a ton of bricks:

You know, I tell ya, I gotta say that I'm enjoying adulthood. For a lot of reasons. And, I'll tell you reason number one: as an adult, if I want a cookie, I have a cookie, okay? I have three cookies or four cookies, or eleven cookies if I want. Many times I will intentionally ruin my entire appetite. Just ruin it. And then, I call my mother up right after to tell her that I did it. "Hello, Mom? yeah, I just ruined my entire appetite...cookies." So what if you ruin it. See, because as an adult, we understand even if you ruin an appetite, there's another appetite coming right behind it. There's no danger in running out of appetites. I've got millions of them, I'll ruin them whenever I want!

The large, bolded part got me thinking. Why do I binge eat? Why do I insist on gorging as though it's my last meal? I'm going to have another appetite and another opportunity to eat several hours later. Unless I get hit by a truck or my pie hole disappears, I'm going to eat again. I'd really like to understand the psychology behind overeating.

Today, my friend and I ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Mi Cocina*. They have the BEST grilled chicken with sour cream sauce. It's a pretty good sized breast, grilled and smoked. Accompanying that is a huge dollop of guacamole, rice, and pico de gallo. Oh, and the chips and hot sauce sit there on the table ganging up on us, taunting us to eat even more.

All of this food is really too much for me to consume all in one sitting. If I had any self control, I would eat half and take the other half home. But I can't stop until I have eaten every last grain of rice on my plate. Afterwards, I'm miserable.

Yes, I'm sitting here so uncomfortable that I want to get rid of what I just ate. I just spent $21 for lunch and all I can think about is regurgitation. I immediately came here to my blog, miserably typing, seeking answers as to why I would eat to the point of being uncomfortable. Why? Anyone have any suggestions?

*I tried to take my own photo, but the restaurant was too dark. This one is courtesy of Tengo Hambre NYC.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Mom and the Wii

This was my mother around 1959 - the same year she married my father. Isn't she a beauty? When she married she had a 19" waist. There was no way I was wearing that dress for my wedding in 1980. Even if I wasn't 4 months "along", it wouldn't have happened. I was small-boned and petite, but not that petite.

Fast forward to 2010. After 20+ years of living with Parkinson's Disease (PD), my mother had pretty much given up hope on any kind of medication helping her. The first prescription they gave her, called Requip, made her hallucinate terribly and do some crazy things. Each day she imagined certain relatives and friends sitting in her living room. She'd ask them questions, but they wouldn't respond — just sit there like zombies. She'd call and ask me why my cousin was in her living room refusing to speak to her. The answer was, my cousin wasn't there. Although she was aware of the possible side effects, it was still unnerving.

Requip also caused her to microwave a couple of TV remote controls. Another day she spread peanut butter on all the burners of her stove and turned on the heat. The burning smell of peanut butter snapped her back to reality. Then late one night she found herself wandering outside her apartment complex. She realized something had to be done. All these scary scenarios were worse than the PD.

Her doctor then prescribed Stalevo. It doesn't cause hallucinations, but it does make her nauseous. Not every day, but most days.

A couple of years ago we were hopeful when her neurology specialist convinced her to try a patch which would deliver the medication slowly, over the course of the day. She tolerated the patches very well, but after several months they were recalled by the manufacturer and she was forced to go back to Stalevo. Since she can't take a strong dosage, her mobility wasn't that great. She still stumbled and had trouble performing the simplest of tasks, like bathing and brushing her teeth. And then there were the bouts of nausea that would set her back for days at a time.

So when my mother saw a news piece on CNN about Parkinson's patients having more mobility after using the Wii, she told me about it. She sounded excited and hopeful. I hadn't heard that kind of excitement in her voice in a long time. It was right before Christmas and I had been agonizing over what to get her. I researched it online and found that studies did indeed suggest that the Wii could be extremely helpful for these patients. I was on board immediately. The Wii came just in time for Christmas, but there wasn't anyone available to help her set it up.

Finally, her sister, J, came over to set up her "Mii" last Sunday and show her how to use it. J called me that night and said how quickly my mom caught on to the game. She said my mom's face lit up and she looked like an 18 year old swinging the remote. Her favorite is the bowling game, and after only 6 days she is playing up to an hour at a time. She's been getting strikes and spares! She is moving around much better, getting compliments from people who haven't seen her in a while. They are astounded at the improvement in her gait and the lack of shaking in her hands.

I must give thanks to God for answered prayer. Many prayers have been lifted on her behalf and I'm convinced that His answer is the Wii. I would never have dreamed that my mother, at 71 years old, with PD, would be into video games. And that the games could help her. That is a true miracle.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Forth Worth Stockyards

Had such a grand day in Ft. Worth yesterday! We went to see the daily cattle drive and it was awesome. Fun, fun day!

Happy prisoner

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Double D took this picture of Izzy and me today. I imported the image into my software program for processing knowing I would need help. I enlarged it on my screen and had an immediate urge to bolt to the bathroom and shout, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, surely you do lie. Mirror, mirror on the wall, we don't see eye to eye." (rest of poem here) Lordy, where have these hard lines come from?! I hadn't noticed them before. My skin is tired and parched. When did that happen? Can I blame the camera?

I tested several of the black and white presets thinking that might help. The one that looked the best was called, of all things, "Aged Photo". It was as if my own software program was mocking me. I came to the grim realization that there is no Photoshop program in the world that can soften this hard face.
So far, I've rather enjoyed aging. I have more confidence, I have a 21+ year job history, a little money in the bank, and a more settled life. The closer I get to retirement, the more excited I get about all the things I'm going to be able to do. But with this face? I don't know. I guess I'll survive it. :/

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crazy Heart

I've always been a huge fan of Jeff Bridges. His performances linger in my mind long after the movie is over. His acting is powerful. No matter what kind of role it is, I'm drawn in like the proverbial moth to a flame. Days after his mesmerizing portrayal of Bad Blake, the down and out country music star in Crazy Heart, I am once again reliving scenes and trying to analyze his character.

I won't give away too much of the film, but Bad Blake is about as repulsive as a man can get when immersed deeply in addiction. Driving from one dirty bar to the next in his beat up Silverado, Bad is one sorry, downtrodden has-been. The first scene, Bad arrives at a small town bowling alley where he is to perform that night. As he gets out of the truck he pours urine out of a plastic milk jug right there in the parking lot, grumbles obscenities, and enters the bowling alley to meet with management, hoping to start a bar tab, which is immediately denied.

During the first half hour, Bad was so dirty I found myself wanting to take a shower. That's how believable Jeff Bridges' acting is; his filth palpably rubbed off on me. Is that a good thing? Not when there's vomit involved. :/

Bad Blake is difficult to watch as his deplorable state is quickly unveiled and the scope of his alcoholism revealed. If someone you know in real life has sunk to the depths of despair due to addiction, this film may be too uncomfortable to sit though. For myself, I've never personally witnessed this type of addiction, so watching it unfold onscreen provided a safe vantage point. I'm sure it was but a tiny glimpse into the world of alcoholism. It certainly opened my eyes, giving me compassion for those poor souls trapped in the evils of their weaknesses.

Bad's romance with Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is riddled with problems, yet the sweet, tender moments they share manage to push those glaring issues aside. In fact, somewhere along the way I forgot how dirty Bad made me feel and I found myself becoming somewhat attracted to him in a weird, "here, let me help drag you out of your alcoholic pit" kind of way. For a 60 year old man (57 in the film), Jeff Bridges can still rock the romantic lead. There's something about that rugged look that makes me swoon every time.

I am no fan of country music, but I was completely taken with the songs in this movie. I even purchased the theme song for my iPod, The Weary Kind by Ryan Bingham. Bingham is a newcomer with a whiskey-soaked voice that belies his young age of 28.

I'm afraid of giving any more away, so I'll end with the theme song. Now go see the movie!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ten Sleep

This afternoon I plunked down in my home office recliner, finally ready to read the book my daughter got me for Christmas: The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton. It was going to happen — I was determined not to put it off another day.

I had spent the previous hour cleaning, and organizing the wires and cables behind the desk in my office. The tangled mass had been shouting at me for quite some time to unravel them and make them neat again. The sight of those wires paralleled my state of mind. Maybe if I could straighten them out, my nerves would follow suit.

With my chore completed it took some time and effort to relax. I kept fidgeting and shaking my foot as though impatient about something. I even made a couple of phone calls in an effort to delay reading. With no one else to call, I kept peering over the top of the book seeing objects that looked askew, and getting up from my chair to fix them. Why that was so important I'll never know. Sometimes my own mind doesn't explain itself to me.

Sparky nestled into my lap, helping to ease my restlessness. Who needs a valium when you've got this?
Once I finally settled down and began reading I soon drifted off to another world — a place completely different from the hustle and bustle of working 40 hours a week, cursing at rush hour traffic, and muttering obscenities under my breath to mean people. I was quickly transported to a place where folks in the community take time for one another, help each other. Where there's space to move around, and land that is breathtaking to behold. I didn't think a place like that existed in the United States, and neither did Shreve Stockton, until she stumbled on it while taking a very brave and exciting cross country journey on her Vespa.

About 10 pages in, I was ready to sell the house and all our belongings, and move to Ten Sleep, Wyoming. Shreve brilliantly weaves a story of a slower paced life with a real connection to the land and animals. Although I don't know if I could rough it the way she has, in a 12' x 12' cabin with few amenities, I'd like to try. Any price seems worth it to have some scenery for my eyes to fall on and a variety of animals around me. City life with all its chaos is sucking out my soul, leaving me dry, parched, and desolate.

Look at this photo of Ten Sleep. It refreshes my spirit.
I was looking down at my sweater tonight with two buttons struggling to hang on and thought, 'You know, you should mend this.' But knowing me, I'll wear it until the buttons eventually fall off, where it will then go neglected in a closet for several seasons before I finally throw it out or donate it.

Where has all my self-sufficiency gone? The bigger question: Did I ever have any? My grandfather built his own house with his bare hands. My grandmother made meals from scratch. They worked the fields, slaughtered cows, wrung the necks of chickens for dinner, and hung clothes out to dry. They patched, repaired, and reused things. In those days there was no running out to buy something on a whim.

Shreve wove her own rugs by cutting strips from wool coats purchased at a second hand store. She carved her own curtain rods out of tree branches. She got a cat to take care of her mice problem. A wood stove was her only source of heat in winter. Could I do that? Do I even have the capacity to think these kinds of things? Knowing me, I'd get to Wyoming and freeze to death. I'd be bitten in the night by rabid rats. I might starve.

Reading about the new life she has made for herself has obviously got me thinking about a different kind of life. I've grown extremely weary of our "shop 'til you drop" mentality. Lord knows, I have more stuff than I know what to do with. Maybe I should start by seeing if I can mend my own sweater. :/

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm a Widow

I really dread this time of year, and by the photo, I think you can guess why. FOOTBALL! It's televised constantly! OMG. If I watched HGTV as much as Double D watches football, I would probably be served divorce papers before the next season of Design Star. He even watches high school football!

I will watch LSU play, and if I am in the mood, the New Orleans Saints. Beyond that, I've HAD IT UP TO HERE ALREADY!

Everything about it inflames me, setting my nerves on edge. The boring announcers, the beer commercials, the penalties, time-outs, replays, etc. In my mind these are simply delays which keep a game on the air for an agonizing THREE HOURS at a time! And that's just ONE game!

Let's discuss the penalties for a moment because they annoy me the most. I maintain that Congress was somehow involved in the development of this game because there is a penalty for every frickin' thing! I understand why many of them are in place, but some of these refs throw a flag down if a player farts. And in college, you can't celebrate a touchdown. Not even with a finger pointed toward heaven, or there's a penalty. What's that about? For tough guys they sure are sensitive if they can't take it when the other team scores. What a crock of BS!

Sorry for all the exclamation points. I had to get that off my chest. Do I feel any better? No, because I can hear the annoying sounds wafting upstairs to my office as I type this.

We have three HDTVs in the house, but the biggest, best one is downstairs in the living room, which is where Double D wants to park himself from August to the end of January. Enormous guilt comes over me if I want to watch something else when there's a game on. And when isn't there one on? With 200+ channels, there is a game being played somewhere. Sometimes Double D will sense my fuse about to blow and will watch upstairs on the 36" screen, but the whole time I'm feeling terrible because I know he is not getting the full effect as he would with the 52" Samsung. The very TV I convinced him we needed last year in order to ditch the other 55" dinosaur model that took up half the living room.

Is this my punishment? Six months of football? Seems a steep price to pay. Well, I only have a few more weeks to go. Will my nerves survive? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Can Cook!

Armed and dangerous with The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook, I am determined to stick to my resolution of cooking twice a week.

I had already tried Ree's (we're on a first-name basis now) Eggs in a Hole Saturday morning. YUM! Even Double D raved about it, and it's hard to get him enthusiastic about my cooking. But he picked up his pom-poms and cheered me on. Rah rah rah. Go Belle. Go Belle. I begged him to stop, but he couldn't help himself. Who knew eggs in a hole could excite a man so much? Ew, that sounds really strange.

I'll stop the hyperbole now.

Perhaps all that's been missing from my kitchen are Ree's magical recipes.

Feeling pretty confident after wowing hubby over with Eggs in a Hole, I geared up the next day choosing two recipes from my new of cowgirl tricks: Simple, Perfect Chili and Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf.

Last night I made the chili and I had TWO bowls. Two bowls, people! I'm afraid this cookbook is not going to help me with the other part of my New Year's resolution: eating less. :/

Friday, January 1, 2010

Farewell 2009

Here it is, 1:45 in the afternoon, and I'm still in my robe, reflecting on the last year. (With a 3 day vacation, I can afford to be somewhat lazy).

The older I get, the more I realize how little control I have over what the universe, or God, decides to throw at me. Bracing myself in the cockpit of my life, completely insecure about current world conditions, but with some controls at my disposal, I'm going to list what I want out of 2010:

  • To enjoy every day with my daughter while she is still living in close proximity
  • To not sob like there has been a death when she moves to Portland, even though it will feel that way (tears are already forming, so this exercise will not be easy)
  • To be more present in my grandchildren and stepchildren's lives
  • Donate regularly to The Humane Society and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • Pay more attention while Jay is teaching me Dreamweaver and Photoshop before he leaves for Portland
  • Walk and move more; eat less
  • Cook at least two times a week
  • Prepare lunches in advance to avoid fast food temptations
  • Walk the dogs more
  • Take more photos
  • Blog more, and blog positively
  • Comment routinely on other bloggers' blogs
  • Call, write, and email my friends on a more regular basis
  • Be less judgmental, less critical of others (this will be a hard one :/)
  • Work on my fear of social situations
  • Read a good book and finish it
  • Pray more
  • Forgive more
Happy New Year to all my family and friends, including my blogger friends. I learn so much from each of you. You enrich my life in ways you don't even realize. May you be blessed in 2010.

Peace and love,
Louisiana Belle