Tag Archives: Food

August Break: Day One

theaugustbreak_redThis will be my third year doing August Break with Susannah Conway. She describes it this way, “This is a community project that has no real rules –  the idea is to simply take a photograph every day for the whole of August. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Live inside each moment. Pay attention to what’s there.” I love the way this project has always transitioned me from summer to fall, from vacation back to work, helps me to slow down and notice the shift in seasons. Here’s what the schedule of prompts looks like this year.

theaugustbreaklist_redToday, I made myself a chicken salad sandwich for lunch. Last night Eric barbequed a whole bunch of chicken breast for the dogs and had already chopped it up, so it was easy. He picked some basil from our garden, and I mixed it with our favorite mustard, the vegan mayonnaise I use (mixing chicken with vegan spread, a contradiction of sorts I know, but I can live with it), dried cranberries, and walnuts. I put that and some spinach between two slices of Dave’s Killer Bread, the Good Seed variety. I really wish I’d had some purple grapes because they are in season and so delicious right now, so I made sure to add them to the grocery list. May you be well fed today, kind and gentle reader.

lunch

Gratitude Friday

samhiking041. Lemon Poppyseed Scones from Whole Foods.

2. Found recipe for Tomato Rhubarb Chutney. I can’t wait until we have fresh tomatoes again, for eating and to try this recipe. Our friends had a jar of tomato chutney on Christmas, served with cheese and crackers, and I could have eaten it straight out of the jar with a spoon. It was so good.

3. The Great Clear Out. I’ve been working for close to two weeks on clearing out my office space, which led to cleaning the garage, the front closet and dresser, and the “dog cabinet.” It feels so good to clear out some space, let go of things that no longer serve me, clean up and make room.

journalshelves

new shelves in the closet for my journals

4. Meditation practice. I’ve been having some horrible anxiety lately, as we try to figure out what’s up with Sam, determine how to help him, keep him comfortable (he has some sort of nerve issue in his lower jaw), and meditating is one of the only things that helps me to calm down.

5. Being on break with Eric. He’s one of the other things that helps me calm down. It’s good to get to spend some extra time with him right now.

Bonus Joy: The way Sam sometimes curls his feet under when he sleeps. This morning, he got on this bed under my writing desk because Eric had started the dryer and Sam has decided he doesn’t like laundry. He digs himself a little nest in the corner and tries not to think about it.

samcurledfeet

Gratitude Friday

I know that yesterday, Thanksgiving in the U.S., is when most bloggers make these sort of posts, but I skipped it yesterday, because gratitude for me isn’t just one day a year, it’s a regular practice — although, as such, it was really really hard not to post yesterday.

1. Humans of New York, especially the new book, which I’ve been savoring. This morning, I was looking at one image that had the most amazing caption, “She had the most beautiful awkwardness.”

2. Food of the season, things like apple pie, sweet potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts. Although, I am still missing fresh tomatoes.

3. A clean house. We always say one of the best things about having people over is how clean the house gets in preparation. I mean, I even dusted.

4. Sleeping in. I’ve been doing a lot of that this week, and Sam has been joining me. He gets up at 4:30 like we normally do, eats breakfast, goes potty, and runs back to bed with me.

5. Support, connection, companionship, and guidance. Family, friends, my Intuitive Eating book group, the Open Heart Project — Susan Piver did a beautiful video and meditation instruction about gratitude yesterday, talked about how the best way to show gratitude is to live a really good life.

foot stool or dog bed, whatever

foot stool, dog bed, whatever

Bonus Joy: Sam. On our walk yesterday, he did the cutest thing. He was tracking squirrels and I accidentally dropped his leash. I decided to let him keep going, see how far he would get. He was so intent on following the scent trail that he didn’t realize I wasn’t holding him. We were on campus (CSU) so I trusted he wouldn’t get too far or in too much trouble. Even if he found an actual squirrel to chase, they go up a tree pretty quickly. So he went maybe 25 feet, and then stopped to check in with the humans, only to realize they were way behind him. I gave him the hands out shoulder shrug that means “what are you doing?” and he gave me the head down ears back sign for “sorry, my bad” and hurried back to us, waiting for me to pick up his leash once he got close enough.

sometimes he gets into Dexter's bed and sleeps, it breaks my heart a little every time

sometimes he gets into Dexter’s bed and sleeps, it breaks my heart a little every time

Any moment like that which reinforces that we can trust each other is so good. Underneath his reactivity, his struggle to control his impulses, his surges of adrenaline and anxiety, his sometimes too muchness, Sam is the sweetest and most gentle of dogs. As I was with Dexter when we lost Obi, I’m glad to have this brief moment of time with just him, so I can really see, know him before another dog with its own needs comes to distract me.

Day of Rest

softdexterConfession: Even though I don’t talk about it as much as I did, I am still missing Dexter something awful. I was looking through my archive of journals this morning for something specific I wanted to write more about, stumbled across my entry from the day Dexter died, and maybe partly because Sam and Eric were gone on a walk and I was alone and knew no one would hear me or be upset by it, I started sobbing. It seems harder to “get over” this loss because I still wasn’t really over losing Obi or Kelly when “it” happened again. And to be quite honest, since I’m confessing, coming clean, in the past five or six years really awful stuff has happened, much of which I didn’t talk about here, either because it was someone else’s stuff or because the consequences of speaking out were too great. Add that to the fact I’m an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person who is easily overwhelmed and it’s a toxic mess.

Stress, suffering comes from resisting what is happening, when things aren’t going the way we wanted, and no matter how evolved we might be, how able we are to stay with, cope with the hard stuff, no one wants to see those they love suffer, get sick, or die. My delusion that I should be able to help, to fix it, and smashing myself to bits if I can’t, only adds more suffering.

Continuing in the spirit of confession, yesterday I ate an entire bag of Smart Puffs. They are all natural, gluten and trans fat free with no preservatives, and an entire bag is 630 calories, which is less than a Big Mac or a Peanut Buster Parfait, but still it was a deliberate binge. I was tired, frustrated that my energy wasn’t keeping up with everything I wanted to do, so I took a break to watch TV, a really good show from Mike Birbiglia, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. I finished off the tail end of a bag, less than 10 puffs, could have stopped right there, but made the decision to open a new bag. Multiple times I made the decision to keep going, keep eating, and eventually finished the whole bag.

(This video has been helping me to be gentle with myself when I eat something I think I shouldn’t, I remember his sweet little voice listing off everything he’d eaten, groan about how it was too much, and it makes me smile, have a sense of humor about it rather than beating myself up)

Underneath any binge is always the collection of all the other hard stuff I haven’t quite been able to deal with, all the bad stuff that’s happened, the things I’m sad or worried about, what’s been lost, the various times and ways I’ve abandoned or denied myself.

The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable. Of dying slowly rather than coming to terms with your messy, magnificent, and very, very short—even at a hundred years—life. The means to these ends happens to be food, but it could be alcohol, it could be work, it could be sex, it could be cocaine. Surfing the Internet. Talking on the phone.

For a variety of reasons we don’t fully understand (genetics, temperament, environment), those of us who are compulsive eaters choose food. Not because of its taste. Not because of its texture or its color. We want quantity, volume, bulk. We need it—a lot of it—to go unconscious. To wipe out what’s going on. The unconsciousness is what’s important, not the food. ~Geneen Roth, Women Food and God.

whatareyouhungryforI am rereading Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God. You already know, if you’ve been reading, that I am working with a therapist who specializes in dis-ordered eating. I’m also starting a book group with the book Intuitive Eating led by Rachel Cole. I’m making an effort, but in other ways I am surrendering, letting go of effort, letting go of pushing and trying and forcing. I also am back to weighing the most I’ve ever weighed, after losing this same 20 pounds six years ago, having hired a trainer and started yoga and even running and going on yet another diet, starving myself down to what seemed acceptable. Slowly the weight came back — some due to more food less movement, some because of the shame I felt being called obese by someone who was supposed to be helping me, some of it because my body is changing and my metabolism and energy levels just aren’t what they were — but mostly because I wasn’t dealing with the underlying issues.

Brave Belly

When you believe without knowing you believe that you are damaged at your core, you also believe that you need to hide that damage for anyone to love you. You walk around ashamed of being yourself. You try hard to make up for the way you look, walk, feel. Decisions are agonizing because if you, the person who makes the decision, is damaged, then how can you trust what you decide? You doubt your own impulses so you become masterful at looking outside yourself for comfort. You become an expert at finding experts and programs, at striving and trying hard and then harder to change yourself, but this process only reaffirms what you already believe about yourself — that your needs and choices cannot be trusted, and left to your own devices you are out of control. ~Geneen Roth

I don’t want to keep doing this, cycling through restriction and binging, punishment and control followed by rebellion, shame and smashing myself to bits. I’ve lost all sense of what my authentic body might be and I want to discover it, that point at which I am both happy and well, sane and healthy. I want to reach the point where I can stay open to what is happening, show up for what is exactly as I am, to feel the full weight of how sad I am, how much I have lost, allowing how much it’s going to hurt. And the one thing I know for sure – it’s not about the food.

Gratitude Friday

firstsnow20131. First snow of the season. Although, it did make me a little sad, reminding me as it did of how much Dexter loved playing in the snow. His favorite game was “oh no, where’s my toy?!” where he would bury a toy, then pretend he’d lost it, and then dig it out and celebrate finding it. That dog was so full of joy.

2. The golden, shifting season of Fall, which may have been cut short, interrupted by the snow — we went directly from our first freeze (and thus, the end of our garden, *sob*), from picking the last tomatoes and first orange pumpkins, to the first snow only a few days later.

csutree03seasonsconfused3. The final bloom of the season. She is sitting on my writing desk this morning, open and full after being a closed bud only yesterday. I’m so glad I brought her in, otherwise she would have frozen in that tight moment just before bloom, and she has such a sweet face, the golden bridge between summer and fall/winter.

lastroseofsummer034. Grapefruit Juice, and Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadillas.

sweetpotatoandblackbean5. Being cold, sweaters and socks and down jackets and hats. Although I love a garden, the bees and the blooms and the fruit, and prefer being barefoot, I am otherwise not a girl of summer.

Bonus Joy: The texts Eric sends me. Yesterday, my favorites were “Love love love you” and this picture of Sam hiking.

hikingsam02

Gratitude Friday

1. So many tomatoes and peaches and so much watermelon I am almost sick of them. In our abundance, the other day I was eating some cherry tomatoes and thought to myself, “I don’t know if I can eat another one of these,” but I know come October or November, I’ll bite into one from the grocery store and its lack of flavor will make me want to cry.

2. The opportunity to start a new project at my CSU work. I’ll admit, I get bored easily in that position because I don’t just get to do whatever I want (I know, “wah, get over yourself”), so new stuff gives me a little bump of excitement and energy.

3. Teach assisting for Mondo Beyondo. This is my second time, and I love, love, love helping Andrea and getting to be there as the amazing students in that class spark and pop.

4. Open Heart Project. This is such a gift, every week, every day, every moment, every breath.

5. Spit & Polish with Laurie Wagner and Jennifer Louden. I am so excited about this! A whole weekend with two of my favorite teachers, writers, women, writing and working with a whole group of what I am sure will be equally amazing women.

I finally get to meet Sherry in person!

Bonus Joy: Because the Spit & Polish workshop is in CA, located very close to other women I love and adore, I get to meet and hang out with some other extra super special women as well. Lucky me!

Gratitude Friday

1. Lunch with good friends, wise conversation and joyful laughter.

2. Brene’ Brown on Oprah’s Lifeclass. I stumbled on the live streaming version of the first two sessions the other day. So good.

3. Plenty from our garden. We are in the sweet spot where we pick this many tomatoes e v e r y day.

harvest4. Three day weekend AND payday, falling on the same weekend.

5. Making reservations for a month in Waldport. Maybe it seems too early to be making firm plans for next summer already, but I didn’t want to risk someone else getting “our” house.

Bonus Joy: my little family.

napsortof