Tag Archives: overeating

Lame Adventure 443: Test Time

Last month I had an annual checkup. I was wondering if my doctor might notice my fifteen-pound weight loss. She did:

My Doctor: You’ve lost seventeen pounds from a year ago!

Me (thinking): I was seventeen pounds heavier last year? That’s like packing a terrier!

My Doctor: This is terrific. For someone your age, it’s not an easy thing to do. What made you do it?

Me (thinking): Feeling like crap and looking like crap.

Me (saying): I thought things were going in the wrong direction.

I didn’t mention that my gastroenterologist had read me the riot act about my weight, prompting me to invest in a spin bike that I strenuously ride four times a week for forty minutes a session. In addition, I eat significantly healthier and do something highly un-American: practice portion control. I steer clear of processed foods. I am no longer on eating terms with cookies, chips and bread.

On my Do Not Eat list: beer flavored jelly beans.

Coincidentally on my Do Not Eat list: beer flavored jelly beans.

All year I have been predominantly eating organic: mountains of whole grain, acres of leafy greens and fields of fresh fruit. Gone are the days when I’d slap together a sandwich in twenty seconds and toss a banana in my satchel for lunch at The Grind. Now I spend over an hour preparing cous cous, sautéing tofu and steaming vegetables for a low calorie, nutritious mid-day meal.

Mid-day meal now: organic cous cous, mushrooms, kale and black beans.

Mid-day meal now: organic cous cous, mushrooms, kale and black beans.

As much as I hate cooking (and the subsequent clean-up), I hate feeling like flab on feet even more. Home cooking fresh ingredients is not only a cheap and healthy way to eat well but it keeps the lost weight off. My formula for staying fit is simple: eat less, eat well and exercise.

But now it is holiday season, a.k.a. eating season. My self-control will be sorely tested. I am not going to be eating less. That pimp, Trader Joe, has brought back one of my favorite seasonal indulgences: Brandy Beans.

Crummy iPhone photo (was not drunk when taking this image at The Grind).

Crummy iPhone photo (was not drunk when taking this image at The Grind).

I bought those the second I saw them — and brought them straight to The Grind. Sharing them with The Boss and my colleague, Godsend, allows me to eat them, but not inhaled in a single sitting, something that could happen if I were alone with them in my sanctum sanctorum.

I will be spending Thanksgiving in New Jersey with my long-time friend, Martini Max. With a name like that, he’s not the type who guzzles sarsaparilla. Max and I spend Thanksgiving Eve at his man-cave and Thanksgiving Day at his sister’s house. She makes a superb turkey basted in bourbon and butter. I am not much of a turkey fan. I think it’s rather bland, but turkey basted in bourbon and butter is quite tasty. If tradition prevails, Max and I will stuff ourselves royally on alcoholic beverages and appetizers. One year we ate so many deviled eggs, by the time dinner was served, they had expanded so exponentially they completely filled our intestinal cavities. I can say with authority that I know exactly what it feels like to be a hen. This coming Wednesday and Thursday are two days that I intend to thoroughly indulge, but I will practice restraint around those eggs.

In the weeks ahead, there will be more occasions when I will ditch my diet in favor of holiday conviviality, but I will still be riding my spin bike regularly, possibly closer to six times a week at five hour stretches. Come Christmas, my spin bike will remain in New York, cooling off, and I will be with my family. My sister, Dovima, who loathes kale, knocks herself out preparing food. She has some great holiday dining traditions.

Kale ready for steaming: nowhere to be found at Casa Dovima.

Kale ready for steaming: nowhere to be found at Casa Dovima.

On Christmas Eve, she bakes a spiral cut ham on the bone. She uses the bone to make a terrific split pea soup. Christmas morning, she prepares pancakes and bacon. Christmas dinner, we have Chicken Marsala, a dish she hit on several years ago that everyone likes. There’s usually a night when she serves fresh cracked crab with incredible San Francisco sourdough bread. She also always has a stash of Brandy Beans on site as well as other candy and a bottle of port we quaff together. When I visit, Dovima gets great wine. My niece, Sweet Pea, bakes her brains out. Her specialty: cookies.

This is one test I am destined to fail, but I don’t mind. This is why I time seeing my doctor before holiday season. The masochism of my healthy habits will resume after the New Year.

New Year's Day breakfast.

New Year’s Day breakfast.

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Lame Adventure 401: Regaining Track of Time

Even though the iPhone is the greatest invention this side of stretch fabric and its close second, indoor plumbing, one or two of you amongst my anemic swarm of followers, may have noticed that I loosened my death-grip on technology during my recent hiatus in California. While I was freeloading off my sister, Dovima, and brother-in-law, Herb (with a silent h), I entered sloth mode and completely lost track of time. It was one of those vacations where I barely knew what day of the week it was, but every day was Massive Eating Day. I liberally scarfed copious amounts of artery clogging foodstuffs I normally avoid.

Half this cookie platter is now sculpted onto my hips.

Half this cookie platter is now sculpted onto my hips.

I primarily perused my iPhone while parked in the living room. I checked email and fielded texts. But I limited my web searching only to matters of extreme urgency such as where James Brown is buried. My discussions with Herb were consistently deep as our thoughts strayed in the direction of Soul Brother No. 1 who, some of you may recall, bought his rainbow on Christmas Day 2006 (possibly from scarfing copious amounts of artery clogging foodstuffs). For almost seven years the Godfather of Soul has been temporarily buried in his daughter’s back yard providing a new twist to saying, “Dad lives with me.”

My flight west was just the way I like it: uneventful. A millennial of the female persuasion with a pelvis no wider than my wrist sat next to me. She was so svelte that whenever she got up, I barely noticed that she had slipped out of her seat and slithered past my knees. Inside my head I called her “Houdini”. According to my grand powers of perception inside her head she referred to me as “Immobile Obstacle My Mother’s Age”.

My flight east was the red eye. It was almost uneventful until someone cut a silent fart so lethal I thought I was succumbing to the effects of a poison gas attack. There’s been a longtime ban on smoking in planes. If any government official promotes a law prohibiting flatulence in a confined space, that candidate owns my vote. In fact, I might even do the unthinkable and give a campaign contribution.

I adopted Thurber, the family dog’s mantra, as my own.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

"Let's boycott bed making. Too  much exertion."

“Let’s boycott bed making. Too much exertion.”

"It's been a hard day's night and I've been sleeping like a dog."

“It’s been a hard day’s night and I’ve been sleeping like a dog.”

"I'm Fred the fish; I'm 8 and a year older than Thurber. Show me some love!"

“I’m Fred the fish; I’m 8 and a year older than Thurber. Show me some love!”

"I'd like to show you my dinner dish, Fred."

“I’d like to show you my dinner dish, Fred.”

"What! More gifts to open? I thought we were Jewish!"

“What! More gifts to open? I thought we were Jewish!”

A few times I was motivated to rise and go to a place other than the kitchen. This included visiting the Napa Valley to quaff Pinot Noir with Bat Pat, my best friend from college. I highly recommend Etude vineyard’s 2010 private reserve. Unfortunately, this is a Pinot Noir that is not available on their web site. Consider it a good excuse to visit them. We also ventured over to Artesa Winery, a vineyard located high on a hilltop with lovely views, not necessarily apparent in these crummy images I took with my phone.

Artesa's peeing fountains when we arrived.

Artesa’s peeing fountains when we arrived.

Artesa's peed out fountains at dusk when we left.

Artesa’s peed out fountains at dusk when we left.

Bat Pat's office wild life, Cisco and Rosie with a message for Thurber and Fred: "We're pushing 35. Perch on that!"

Bat Pat’s office wild life, Cisco and Rosie with a message for Thurber and Fred: “We’re pushing 35. Perch on that!”

Dovima roused me out of my food coma to see a San Francisco institution: Beach Blanket Babylon.

Precious BBB front cabaret ducat.

Precious BBB front cabaret ducat.

This is a madcap cabaret show that has been running at Club Fugazi in Baghdad by the Bay’s North Beach district since 1974. The section of Green Street where this, the longest running musical revue in the country is staged, has been renamed Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard.

I am not making that up.

I am not making that up.

The line for BBB extending almost to a legendary eatery, Capp's Corner.

The line for BBB extending almost to a legendary eatery, Capp’s Corner.

The jokes are updated almost hourly to reflect the news of the day. Aside from the irreverent humor, its other trademark is the outrageous headwear the performers don with the assistance of a hydraulic lift and some strategically located stagehands. The grand finale includes a diva doffing a version of San Francisco atop her head; a chapeau outfitted with all the city’s landmarks that looks about half a football field wide and three stories tall give or take an inch.

The bar across the street from BBB calling out my name.

The bar across the street from BBB calling out my name.

BBB is utterly ridiculous, and the narrative makes little sense, but it is crowd-pleasing fun. I’m surprised that it took me nearly forty years to get around to seeing it. Even though I’ve been a New Yorker my entire adult life, this show is an energetic reminder that I was born and raised in a city that is a loud and proud anything goes type of place. As I reflect, San Francisco was the perfect training ground for a life lived in Gotham City. Even though New York owns (or has trampled) my mind, as the Tony Bennett song goes, especially when one is foggy on the schmaltzy lyrics, San Francisco forever owns a piece of my heart.

And possibly owning a piece of my future heart attack: looking up a typical San Francisco hill.

And possibly owning a piece of my heart attack: looking up a typical San Francisco hill.

Now I’m here on my East Coast home turf where I got a chilly and prickly Big Apple  welcome back.

Yeah, yeah, welcome back and watch your step: Christmas is kaput for 2013.

Yeah, yeah, welcome back and watch your step: Christmas is kaput for 2013. Get over it.

Lame Adventure 397: Pass on the Appetizers

When I stepped out to run an errand, much to my surprise what did I see lying on the sidewalk but a nose. Upon closer inspection I realized my eyes were playing tricks on me because I had actually mistaken three carrots angled funny in a sandwich bag for a proboscis.

These carrots looked a lot less orange without the flash.

These carrots looked a lot less orange without the flash.

An obvious mistake anyone not anticipating an encounter with stray carrots would have made.

On the topic of food, eating season starts this Thursday,  that time of year between Thanksgiving, or for readers who prefer, Thanksgivakkah (since this holiday coincides with the first day of Hanukkah), and New Years. Due to my gastroenterologist’s recommendation, I’m assigned to start losing the equivalent of a bowling ball and seven bananas in flab. The timing of this advised weight loss goal during the most food-filled weeks of the year creates a conflict for me. But, this Turkey Day, I am determined to practice self-control. I will consciously refrain from duplicating the year when I was a barnacle to the appetizer table where I inhaled a dozen deviled eggs and a glut of prawns washed down with a liter of martinis, prior to entering a coma during the main course, but reviving in time for pie. Forgive me for waxing sentimental.

This is also the season when one has to start thinking about gift giving. I am of modest means so I can afford more thinking than giving, but I have ticked one important Christmas gift off my list for a very dear relation. While shopping in my local Duane Reade for twine I could not locate, possibly because I was wandering aimfully in the pet toy section, I saw a talking Mr. Magoo — the perfect present for my sister’s pooch, Thurber.

"Hello Thurber!"

“Hello Thurber!”

As for everyone else in my family, if I cannot get whatever I’m giving them via the Internet, they’re not getting it from me. This is the time of year when my shopping standards kick in ferociously and I am solidly adhered. You could sooner move the George Washington Bridge with a feather than could you sooner dislodge me from my spending season policy. I only enter brick and mortar stores for the basic tools of survival: food, alcohol and flavored lubricant.

Back to this pressure to de-flab myself sooner than later, it is something I am taking extremely seriously. So seriously that I was compelled to finally remove my spin bike from the shipping box I received it in four weeks ago Tuesday. It was such a surgical procedure; it took one sixth of a day to complete.

Tightly packed.

Tightly packed.

Muscling out heavy duty staplers. Hit self in head twice, but only suffered a single concussion.

Muscling out heavy duty staples. Hit self in head twice, but only suffered a loss of consciousness once.

Sliced open box.

Sliced open box.

Supplied wrench that temporarily went AWOL.

Supplied wrench that temporarily went AWOL.

Three hours later, finally getting somewhere.

An eight of a day later, finally getting somewhere.

End result.

End result.

With my newfound experience extricating such a cumbersome and heavy object, I have likely attained the prowess to dissect an elephant with an X-Acto knife. If that pays better than what I’m currently making labeling tile, sign me up.

Putting my spin bike together took about a quarter hour including the five minutes I spent looking for and cursing at the wrench that went missing when it slipped under my bed.  Later that evening I met Milton.

Milton: You’ve started spinning?

Me: No. But I finally took my bike out of that box the size of Texas and I assembled it. That was a workout and a half.

Milton: It shows.

That compliment bolstered my confidence. In fact it got me through the next three days when every muscle in my body ached horrifically. The pain during my recovery from removing my spin bike from its box also caused a seismic shift in my fantasizing. Gone were the Technicolor dreams of intimacy with blind-folded vixens willing to pick up the tab. My thoughts went completely decadent and I dreamed of being chauffeured to and from The Grind in an ambulance, an expense that was fully covered by my crummy health insurance.

Soon, the spin shoes and cleats I recently ordered from Zappos should arrive. Then I will no longer have any excuses left to delay jump starting my sole New Years’ resolution in December. In preparation, I have read all of my spin bike’s how-to manuals cover to cover. They’re multi-purpose; they also put me to sleep. I suppose there’s no way to get around actually riding the spin bike to achieve the dual goals of weight loss and “ultimate energy”. Cutting back on ultimate eating this holiday season is probably a good starting point.

Spin bike manuals and DVDs. Cookies sold separately.

Spin bike manuals and DVDs. Dark Chocolate star cookies sold separately.