The Sacred and the Profane

Mr. E sent me this article from Salon last week and it got me thinking.

It’s an interview with Barry Glassner, who just wrote a book called “The Gospel of Food”. In the article he touches on all sorts of the dieting and food ideas and issues going on today, but the part that jumped out at me most was this:

I think that one way that the food industry is brilliant is in picking up on the bipolar approach to food that we have in this country where we think that certain foods are good or bad, or sacred or profane.

I’ve become fairly successful at reworking my life so I have a healthy attitude towards food. I eat about half of what I used to and I know what a normal portion of something is and I mostly stay away from fast food and I exercise and I eat vegetables instead of chips and I get a small non fat latte every once in a while instead of a grande mocha with whip every morning. But as I’ve learned all this and lost sixty pounds and become a runner, I’ve also gotten worse at separating myself from what I eat, I’ve also become convinced I don’t do enough and I always feel like I could be eating better and that if I did, I’d be a better person.

Inherent in any diet or lifestyle where you’re making yourself do something that doesn’t come naturally, like eating carrots instead of ice cream, there’s always a level of self flagellation. It’s how you lose weight. If you didn’t want to change, to be “better”, you wouldn’t have the motivation necessary to get off your ass and put down the spoon. But at the same time I can’t help but wonder if it’s gone too far when I always feel judged and when I never feel like what I’m eating is the right thing. Is it really normal to feel so defensive because I don’t eat whole wheat pasta? I don’t like whole wheat pasta, but I still feel like I would be a better person if made myself eat it. At every meal there’s a little voice in the back of my head telling me I should be eating kale instead of macaroni and cheese and I can’t help but wonder if I need to tell that little voice to shut the hell up. Also, I have no idea how to do that.

The worst part of it all is I don’t feel like a “good” person when I eat “the right foods”. I just feel like a bad person when I don’t.

I can’t figure out I feel this way because the lot in life of a perfectionist is to be stuck forever trying harder to do better, or if it’s because society’s anti fat stance is so strong that we apply it to whatever we think of as scary fattening foods as well. Maybe it’s a little of both.

All I know is that deep down I really do know that eating kale won’t make me a better person. But at the same time, in the same head space, I also know that I’m a bad person, because I’m not eating kale for dinner.

Nightmare Updated

Seriously? God hates me.
Our dryer broke last night, right in the middle of the 70,000 loads of ringworm related laundry.

But today I am TRYING to look on the bright side. It’s not raining, and so everything is drying outside on a clothesline. And just think of how much money we’ll save on electricity this way!

Probably almost enough to buy a new dryer.

Complete Nightmare

Can I just stop here for a minute and say?

I am having some issues.

First of all, we just had our roof replaced. It was annoying, but whatever, it was before the baby arrived and I didn’t expect it to be silent. It was all arranged by our landlords and while I am happy that I’m not paying for someone to put a roof on the house and all that, some communication more than what’s gone on would have been nice. The roofers just show up, do their (very noise) thing for awhile, and then disappear. I thought they were finished on Monday because the roof look finished, although they left a giant leaf blower in the middle of our sidewalk. We put it in our garage so it wouldn’t get stolen, told our landlord to let them know they had left it here and they could come get it, and never heard from them again, until lo and behold, someone is RIGHT NOW walking around on my roof, when I thought it was finished. Seeing as how no one has been here for days and the roof appears to be finished, that was a natural assumption, I think. Maybe for the rest of my life they’ll just show up wherever I am and walk around on my roof for fifteen minutes. Preferably right when I’m about to take a nap. They still haven’t asked for their fucking leaf blower. For all I know I’m the proud new owner of one, despite my total moral objections.

Meanwhile it turns out I have ringworm. Which is almost as disgusting as it sounds. I didn’t know what it was at first and then Mr. E informed me “oh, that’s ringworm” which really pissed me off, because of course I didn’t have ringworm. I would never have something so disgusting. Last time I was at the doctor I asked her what it was and she promptly informed me that it was ringworm (of course!!!) and to treat it with Selsun Blue. It’s not actually worms, thank god, or I really would have had to cut off my leg due to the extreme grossness of that whole scenario, my doctor didn’t in fact know what it was and so Mr. E had to inform her that it’s a fungus. How annoying is that? The doctor did say that I got it from one my disgusting pets and to treat it with Selsun Blue and it’s totally not going away, so today I did what all people with weird skin ailments should always do first and I googled “treatment of ringworm” and it turns out I haven’t taken it anywhere near seriously enough and so now it’s a total nightmare. I have to find out which of my disgusting animals has it (I’m thinking the dog) and then wash everything the stupid dog and my stupid leg have touched and I have to treat it twice a day with antifungal cream and wash my hands a billion times before and after touching it and I can’t scratch it and did I mention that my electricity bill was $315 dollars last month? So I am obviously thrilled about having to do seventy thousand loads of laundry and I can’t wait to give birth with a giant patch of ringworm on my leg and also to bring a baby home into a teeming cesspool of disgusting dirty animals and their various spreading funguses. Fungi. Whatever. It’s a total nightmare.

I feel the need for a Frappucino coming over me. Even though last time I drank one of those it immediately made me so cold it was as though my nipples had been lit on fire and I had to put on two down vests and run around the house screaming.

Meanwhile the only positions I can sleep in (on my side) cause my hands to fall asleep and turn numb. If this doesn’t happen I wake up with heartburn or acid reflux so terrible it makes me wish I were dead. This morning I resorted to sitting upright on (ringworm infested) pillows staring at the wall wondering when my library books were due and if I would ever get to sleep again. When Mr. E came in to get dressed I gloomily announced “I feel like I’m falling apart. I have heartburn and ringworm and numb hands and my feet itch.”

Meanwhile my pants are getting tighter and tighter, I can no longer wear my wedding band, a double chin has arrived out of nowhere, I just feel gross. Sigh. Will try to get in a better mood tomorrow. Thanks for listening to my deluded rantings.

Butter Yuck

Last night for dinner I made butternut squash ravioli, from scratch. I was thrilled because it was my first attempt at making pasta dough by hand and it all worked out – I didn’t use a pasta machine (which I don’t have) and the raviolis didn’t burst open in the water like I thought they would. However, I was unthrilled because it turns out I hate butternut squash ravioli…the filling tasted way too much like dessert. I don’t think it was my recipe either, I think that the flavor of squash in pasta is just not for me. Yuck.
But now that I know how easy it is to make ravioli yourself I’m excited to try some other fillings – less disgusting ones, preferable. I was thinking maybe crab? Does anyone else have any other good ideas? Otherwise I shall throw myself on the mercy of the highest starred recipe on All Recipes. Will let you know how it goes.

PS For the pasta dough I just used a basic Ravioli Dough recipe from

Me and the Stroller the Size of Texas

Yes, We Have a Theme

Although the theme for the bug’s room should probably be “nowhere close to finished, get your ass in gear, lazies” it is actually children’s books and ABC’s. There’s nothing I love more than books, especially the ones I read as a kid, and I can’t wait to pass that onto my child, so we’re starting early. There’s ABC’s on the crib bedding and the light switch cover and we’ve got some wooden blocks in a jar and a Goodnight Moon poster for the wall and we’ve got a stuffed Madeline and a stuffed Paddington Bear and the Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Goodnight Moon bunny. But no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find Babar anywhere, the Babar market in this country has dried up, but after all Babar IS from France, so he might not want to spend a lot of time slumming here in America, especially with our current international reputation and all.

Right before my mom made her most recent trip to France I asked her to keep her eye out for Babar and see what she could find, and that’s how she came to spend a whole day in a toy store somewhere in some small french town choosing a Babar from one of many many many varieties on display. She called me from the store and told me all about animatronic Babar and the interactive Babar and Celestes and all the other crazy Babars on offering. Over all the toy noises and the jabbering away in French going on in the background my mom asked me if maybe I wanted the talking Babar, and because I hate noise and I’ve ordered one of those noise free children and I’m therefore generally a huge hater of toys that make noise, I immediately said no, but then my mom did the right thing and put talking Babar on the phone, and it was truly the best thing I’ve ever heard. It sounded like nothing so much as the MOST POMPOUS French man you’ve ever heard, lecturing you condescendingly on something you have clearly fucked up very very badly. I loved it, every pompous and truly hilarious minute of it, as my mom clearly knew that I would. Talking Babar was tres awesome.

Two days later my mom emailed me a short note from her Blackberry to say that her luggage and the package containing Talking Babar were the first items safely off the baggage carousel in Ohare, and how relieved she was that her luggage had made it safely because she had barely made her flight. I was happy for her and all that because no one likes losing luggage, but I think this is one of those times when it’s ok to revise what you know because another way makes a nicer story. Instead of Babar spitting his way out of the Ohare baggage carousel in a cardboard box, I like to think of my mother, sitting in her window seat on the plane, wending her way across the Atlantic, towards home, towards her grandson, with Talking Babar on her lap, safe.

(I also bought Oreos, and they are delicious)

Last night at the grocery store the check out guy told us that we were buying the most vegetables he’d ever seen anyone in our generation buy. Mr. E pointed at me and said “You just made her day.” He did, too.