Coffee heat rising

Found: Lost Gadget. Found: Food!

As suspected, simply waiting for enough time to pass caused the missing two-cup Pyrex measuring cup to reappear. To say that nascent senility is much like gazing into a Magic 8-ball is…well, no exaggeration. Things go missing. They disappear into the air. They stay gone for awhile. And then one day they surface, as if by magic, in some perfectly reasonable spot where, no doubt, they have been residing all along.

So where was the damn thing?

Where else? In the dish drainer, in the kitchen sink. Exactly where anyone who had recently filled a measuring cup with water would place it to drip dry.

Why could I not find it? NO idea. I must have looked right at it at least four times while thrashing around searching for the damn thing.

In defense of my idiot self, I will say that it was sitting beneath a sieve-type colander made of steel mesh. One could argue that this object was a bit of a distraction. After all, I was looking for a glass container, not a screen bowl. But still…it’s not what you’d call “opaque.”

All that thrashing around for… what?

Ohhh well.

To my delight, I discovered that the recovered glass measure is indeed the OLD version, made in the USofA, not the cheesey product that is pawned off on US consumers today. That is, if you believe the remarks of Amazon customer reviewers, who claim that the original Pyrex can be recognized by the type font used for the painted on brand name. The genuine original was marked PYREX — in all caps. The knock-off is marked in lower-case type, as the one in the image above: pyrex. Yes! Mine IS all caps. 😀

Also found this morning: breakfast.

Lightheaded with hunger, as dawn cracks I stumble into the kitchen behind the dog. I’m fuckin’ starved…and realize i have got to eat! must have FOOD!

None of the rather vile and flavorless items I’ve decided to substitute for the cheese and fruit that I usually eat in the morning is working. I just can’t gag that stuff down — I mean, the various fine dishes I’ve imagined might take the place of my favorite chow. Let us be honest: if it doesn’t have cholesterol in it, it just freaking doesn’t taste very good!

The result is, I go hungry all day because I feel awful from the bronchitis, and because I’m not eating I’m getting sicker and sicker. By noon I can hardly drag myself out of bed, and I certainly don’t feel like fixing a full meal. Or any meal.

So this morning I decided it doesn’t much matter whether I die of a heart attack or of malnutrition. Fuck it! And broke out a slab of fine Leicestershire cheese.

Breakfast, then:

  • Suicidal cheese
  • Toast
  • An apple
  • Coffee

Interestingly, I haven’t died yet. Felt noticeably better most of the day — even managed to walk the dog about 3/4 of our usual route (she hasn’t been out more than twice since this fiasco started four weeks ago!). Still spent many, many hours in bed, but felt like I might live to one day clean house again.

A day or two ago, I bought a package of free-range chicken thighs. Put those on the grill this afternoon, along with some asparagus and a package of rice to reheat. Not too inedible. This little feast is still sitting on my stomach like a rock…but at least I’m not hungry, for a change.

My poor little pooch must think the globe has stopped rotating on its axis and revolving around the sun. About the only exercise she’s getting entails luring the Human out of bed and out to the treat jar in the kitchen. This, of course, is making her fat. The Human’s not exactly getting skinny, either, come to think of it.

Beer Substitute!

Yeah, I know: “beer substitute” is a kind of oxymoron—brings to mind those watery “lite” brews and the horrid, pointless alcohol-free concoctions. Hear me out, though.

The other afternoon a great craving a cold, refreshing, and not sweet drink came over me. Normally I’d respond to that with a beer laid on ice for twenty or thirty minutes. But no. The new ur-Atkins diet prohibits booze of all kinds.

The fridge, however, happened to be harboring three of those long seedless cucumbers. {click!} Why not make a cucumber fresca?

Hey. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 😉

So I peeled about half of a cuke, cut it up, tossed it in the blender. Added the juice of half a large Meyer lemon (because that’s what grows in the backyard) and a dash of cold water. Dosed it with a little salt and a generous sprinkle of fresh-ground pepper. Then puréed it into submission!

This created a nice, smooth purée. Poured about a half-glass of this over some ice, filled the glass to the top with more cold water, stirred gently, and garnished with a spring of mint.

AWESOME! This stuff is an admirable substitute for the beloved afternoon beer! But instead of loading in empty carbs and calories, it’s actually good for you. It would stand up to the rigors of a full-out Atkins regimen. It tastes wonderful, doesn’t leave you feeling bloated. Perfect for a hot day!

Cucumber beer

Time for a retread!

What a beautiful few days we’ve had! Incredible weather in the 60s and 70s, peace and quiet, and now an unexpected holiday (the State of Arizona, because of the legislature’s deep and abiding resentment at being forced to approve Martin Luther King Day, took President’s Day away from its employees, but the County abides no such scantily veiled bigotry). The young classmates and I don’t have to reconvene until Wednesday, o mirabilis!

Now that the racket of the three-ring circus that is the COBRA, Social Security, and Medicare bureaucracies has died down for a while, I’ve finally had a chance to relax, unwind, catch my breath, and think a few thoughts.

And here is what I think:

My face is beginning to show my age. This is not surprising, since I was born in the early Pleistocene.

My face is showing the effects of too much ultraviolet light. Also not surprising: born in an early Pleistocene desert, I grew up in one of the harshest deserts on the planet during a time when sunshine was supposed to be good for you (can anyone else remember the phrase “a healthy tan”?), and then I spent my entire adulthood in one of the most biologically diverse deserts on the planet. I am, in short, a creature of the sun.

I am fat.

I am boring as Hell. This is probably because…

I am stuck in a rut.

There’s gotta be some changes made.

First, I need to get out from in front of the computer and put my body in motion. More exercise…lots more exercise! In addition to meeting La Maya whenever we can get together on weekday mornings for an hour’s walk, I need to walk the dog at least a mile a day, and I must get off my fanny and onto the mountain! There’s a very fine mountain with several quarter-mile vertical hikes just to the north of my house. Need to go there and do that. Ideally, every day; as a practical matter, no less than three times a week.

I have a gaudy pink beach cruiser of a bicycle. It sits in the garage while its tires decompose in the heat. I need to get on the bicycle every day and explore my neighborhood and nearby enclaves.

I have a perfectly fine, athletic little sheep dog. I need to let her take me for a run every day. Not a walk: a run.

At the age of 65, dear friend Garnett Beckman (scroll down that page!) started hiking Phonix’s North Mountain Park several times a week. Just retired from a lifetime of teaching, she decided that no grass would grow under her feet. She was 84 the last time I walked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with her. And yes, I’m afraid she did get out before I did. She’s 102 now. She still has all her marbles, and she’s still going strong.

Role model! Listen: can you hear that voice saying, “What are you waiting for, dear?” That would be, yes, Garnett.

A close second: I need to lose about ten or fifteen pounds. It should come naturally if I manage to drag myself away from the endlessly fascinating Internet and start walking. But I also need to eat better. I eat too much pasta, too many sugary treats, too few green and orange veggies. And, let’s face it: I drink wayyy too much for an old lady: two beers a day, down from half a bottle of wine. A day.

Yesh. Sixteen years of working at ASU earned me a mighty fine drinking habit. If it’s any excuse (it’s not), I’m not alone: hardly any of my friends and former colleagues arrive home from a day at that place without craving a drink or two or three. Some of them crave a lot more booze than I can ingest, and that is plenty. One recently lapsed from AA; the others…don’t ask.

I must stop drinking. Really stop drinking. Not reduce drinking. Knock it off.

After a day of gallivanting with M’hito, in which we visited many venues and spent not very  much money, I came home not even faintly interested in a drink. Clearly, one thing that will help is to fill my days with something other than counting shekels and clicking on Web sites until my eyes glaze over. I think more exercise and an organized diet program will help a lot.

Other strategies: Use the neat new refrigerator-door-sized glass bottles to make sun tea. Prepare a lot of ginger-pinapple drinks and frescas. Have plenty of pleasing things on hand to drink other than wine, beer, or whiskey.

In the horrible face department: it’s time to get serious about maintenance. Tomorrow it’s off to Costco to buy some “mineral” makeup. Not that I expect any miracles, certainly not on sagging jowls and hide as convoluted as the surface of Mars, but I’m beginning to suspect L’Oréal liquid foundation is a bit passé. Time to try something new, develop a few fresh techniques.

And it doesn’t take much reading of Une femme d’un certain age to get the clue that it’s time to update the wardrobe. I’m starting with red and red. I’m also going to follow Frugal Scholar‘s and SDXB’s advice to shop in thrift stores by way of upgrading the wardrobe. At the very least, I must have some new tops to disguise the Costco jeans. New tops, new sweaters, new jackets, new vests, new skirts, new dresses, new whatever else that comes along. I have got to start dressing better!

New (to me) clothes, fresh make-up, more exercise, better food: these should jump-start the project to get a life. Who knows? Maybe once a little momentum builds up, I’ll have the nerve to do what Mary has done; drop it all and embark on a whole new existence.