Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I promised not write another boring post about food. I lied.

It has been a bad couple of days for the diet.  First there was Thanksgiving. Kiva cooked and every single dish was so remarkably good, I ate too much.  Turkey, roasted yams, roasted brussel sprouts with garlic, blanched asparagus, my mom's dressing recipe with the cornbread and the biscuits, nut loaf for Sequoia, fresh cooked cranberries, pie, all of it amazing. Then today, the sweet folks of the Tudor Guild, the volunteer organization that supports my employer, put on their annual Christmas tea for the employees. Picture long tables filled with savory little appetizers,  tiny meat tarts, beautiful finger sandwiches, plates and plates of decorated cookies, brownies, chocolates; you get the picture. The lovely little old ladies with their silver hair and trays of cookies reminded me of mother.

Earlier in the day, I went to the salon to get my hair "washed and ironed" as mama used to say.  Actually it was a cut and color, but I always loved that expression. I forgot to make an appointment so the stylist squeezed me in on short notice. She only had a morning appointment available and I had never been there that early. It was amazing to see the procession of little old ladies being dropped off, one by the Dial A Ride van, another by a dutiful son. They all got a wash and set, their silver heads done up up in curlers, sitting under the missile-cone hair dryers with a People Magazine, finally to be teased out into a fluffy corona of silver. That made me think of my mother too.

It being the holidays, the hair stylist gave me a bag nice chocolates as a gift. What was I going to do, say no?  I put them aside for later but, after the array of sins I committed at the Tudor Guild tea, I was feeling the need to atone.  I took them with me on my run tonight, detoured through downtown and predictably found a knot of hippies on a corner, sitting on a concrete ledge. As I walked by I turned to one, said "Would you like some chocolate?" and dropped the bag at his feet. Then I made eye contract. He was much older than the kids around him, at least my age. He was wearing the high hippie gear of an old school rainbow road warrior. It's a different look than run-of-the-mill homeless. He was highly colored in leather, feathers and beads, his hooded cape and long staff bringing to mind a psychedelic Gandalf. The others around him were typical street kids, shapeless and dirty, but he had a presence. For a moment I feared that I had done something disrespectful. "Give alms to those who ask" said Whitman. The rainbow warrior had not asked, but he smiled and said "Thank you young lady" as I retreated down the street.

I like to think that he shared with the street kids, but that's out of my control. The lesson is release. Let it go.

Does that mean I'm back on the diet? Probably not.  Another day, another struggle.  I do what I can and that has to be enough. I can't waste so much energy worrying about it.

In the last few years of her life my mom lost quite a bit of weight, got down to her "skinny pants" size.   I thought she had dieted and looked great. After she died, my cousin remarked that she looked frail and ill to him. Of course he was right. A few years before she died, she had a C-Diff infection after dental surgery and it took months for her to recover. I don't think her digestion was ever completely right after that. All I saw was that she was thinner and, in my mind, thinner is better. Really, thinner is just thinner.

A woman of appetite, no delicate flower, I'm strong, healthy and here to stay. Damn grateful for it, too.