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The right time and the right place.

They will become apparent when we see them.

Are we to chase? Laid back, opportunities pass. A madman pursues the wind. Grasped, he sings. Lost, he crys. We sit and wait.

I recall an answer and the smug face that told it. Like square pegs in an ever changing hole, the dance of the mind has no place for the static.

Returning to the source is not the goal just yet. That answer suffices for those who need none, want none and will leave us.

I know what you're saying and you're making more sense than I'll realise for a very long time.

You grabbed my hand, and we fell into it. Like a daydream. Or a fever.

Every Saturday morning Xiao Yang squeezes fresh orange juice for all takers. He's kind enough to also bring coffee and some sort of breadstuff (he uses the purchase of fresh bagels or muffins as an excuse to drive the car, which he enjoys very much). But my favorite part; the fresh O.J. with plenty of vodka and a little Galliano added has changed. No more "eye opener" for me after each Friday night's mayhem. For two weeks now, Yang has sat with me and enjoys his own coffee and glazed donut while I partake of my breakfast. He wants to know why I've been so quiet lately (usually I'm rather loquacious).

I haven't bothered to look up the Chinese for "manic." Yang used to enjoy my manic antics when I'd have had a few too many glasses of whatever it was I was having of an evening. Yang can't understand why all of a sudden I've gone from being a lush to a tea-totaler. Yang doesn't drink much; a cold beer on a hot day, or maybe a good snifter of Cognac at the end of dinners out.

These days political correctness dictates that we no longer find humor in the excess consumption of alcohol. Joe E. Lewis, Dean Martin, and Foster Brooks are all now ancient relics whose humor must be enjoyed in private, in no small part thanks to the efforts of MADD. I remember the days long before MADD when cops used to drink at bars, in uniform. When cocktails at 12:00 noon were de rigeur. When I'd enjoy the looks of sheer horror on the faces of other drivers on the Hutchinson River Parkway when they'd spot me taking a good swig off of my bottle of scotch, behind the wheel at about 75 miles per hour, happily heading for the country house in Connecticut.

Don't get me wrong, there's a place in this world for MADD, until people stop underestimating the degree of their intoxication and killing others with their motor vehicles. Heck, I've engaged in irresponsible behavior with regard to drinking and driving and I'm ashamed to admit it.

The Chinese still get a laugh out of drunken humor, or humor at the expense of a drunk. I can't tell you how many times, for fun, I've summoned the staff of the restaurant into the bar for lessons in "drink making". I'd always end up filling the blender with cracked ice and "booze" (in this case water poured into an empty vodka bottle) and switching the machine on "high" with the cover off, intentionally dousing myself and my surroundings with the imaginary "cocktail" within. Then, emoting sheer frustration, I'd grab the nearest bottle of (real) booze and drink heartily.

There's irony in being a notorious boozer and suddenly not having a glass in one's hand all the time. It's normally been my habit when arriving at a favorite watering hole to buy a round of drinks for those who're known to me. Often, the gesture is returned; but it's not expected on my part. Well, about five times lately in my own restaurant these same kind folks, noticing that my glass is either empty or there's no glass at all, order a drink for me from the waitress and have her send it over.

The wine salesmen have all been coming around with sample bottles of wines and spirits. Perhaps it's my imagination, but this seems to be happening much more frequently than when I was buzzed all the time.

The restaurant we frequent on our once-weekly visits to New York City makes a wonderful martini. The bartender was astounded, after he'd chilled the glass and got ready to pour, that I declined, politely. I had him open a nice bottle of white wine and told him to send it to our table when our guest got there. I drank about a third of the bottle (a Gruner Veltliner from Austria) and it was like nectar. On my way to use the washroom mid-meal, the bartender asked me if my health was okay and I told him yes. Then he asked if my wife was reining in my martini consumption - "you can always have a quick one in here with me." I told him no. I just said that I think I'd had enough gin for the time being and left it at that.

Finally, it's summer party time. That's tough. Far be it from me, however, to allow peer pressure to get the best of me. I have my couple of seltzers and when the party gets too boozy I leave. End of story.

My doctor says that 1-2 cocktails a day for a male my age is just fine. He's leaving it up to me to decide if I can moderate my intake (as do many of his patients, he says, who're in a similar predicament). Should I not be able to, there'll be meetings to go to and new friends to be made. Let's see what happens.

UPDATE 07/30/07: Hyphenated articulated my predicament well: "It's so hard when the thing you want to stay away from makes you feel so good on so many levels. Then too, you work in food and entertainment. You're required by the force of your job to be the life of the party. I hope everyone around you can get used to the new you and support you." I love that woman and I've never even met her in person. What would I do without her, and the other noders who've offered kind, supporting words?

In one delicious swirling realization, my brain has delivered itself of a hearty "Ta HELL with this crap." Ta hell with it indeed, Brainy. Hell in its eternal burning longing for what it cannot have may help itself to this particular steaming load of crap with my goodwill.

This particular pile of crap began to coalesce more than two years ago when a scale hit me in the face with reality. I was quite overweight, and I didn't wear it well. So I did what any woman would do: I went out to TGI Friday's and had one last sumptuous meal, and then checked myself in to my local Weight Watchers.

The walls of any dedicated Weight Watchers location will be lined with boxes of expensive food-like substances. Many of the products will pretend to be chocolate, pretzels, cake, or iced tea, but will in fact be pale immitations of the aforementioned. Most of the food is laced with preservatives, textures and flavors are simulated with chemicals, and all of it will join Twinkies in mocking us hundreds of years from now when we're all corpses and they're all still "fresh" and edible. You can be assured that if you eat the boxed food, you will know how many calories, grams of fat and grams of fiber you are consuming.

However Weight Watchers, unlike other diet programs, doesn't actually advocate that you live on their boxed food-like products. I heard my leader telling a woman, "We usually say 'don't eat more than two of our complete meals in a week.' Frozen dinners are so full of salt and preservatives, so you can actually do more harm than good if you eat too much of that." I blinked. That was brutally frank, I thought. My leader will occasionally advocate a certain Weight Watchers product, but she will also advocate the products of other companies, certain local restaurants, and certain fruits and vegetables. During meetings, we share ideas on how to fool ourselves into thinking we're feasting on rare delights, but in reality we're putting fake crap down our throats, and in reality, our leader doesn't want us to do that.

So here I sit, after more than two rather unsuccessful years of trying to rid myself of all these unwanted pounds, and I have made a "ta hell with that crap" decision: I'm going to stop eating pretend food and eat real food.

So, when I was at the store tonight I didn't get another loaf of lite oatmeal bread. I bought whole wheat flour and a packet of yeast and I've just punched down the dough for the first time. I bought mascarpone cheese instead of Philly Fat-free and a bag of white nectarines, and a small bag of 60% cacao squares to enjoy one at a time. This morning I made guacamole which was mostly tomato and red pepper with one avocado holding it all together, and a bruschetta mixture that had real olive oil and real basil to provide it with seasoning and a reason for being. I have the makings for a week of eating such as I have not enjoyed for a long -- way too long -- time.

I've watched as several of these "scientific" diets have been exploded one after another. The Atkins diet will kill your kidneys slowly, and the low-fat diets leave you fatter and infertile. Vegetarianism becomes worse for your health and the environment as you choose processed packaged foods for convenience and fail to support the smaller farms that raise meat in a responsible way. The glycemic index diets don't really make you lose weight any faster than any other sensible diets and don't do much more for your health than any other sensible diets. Slowly but surely, the smart people doing the research pull us back around to the same inevitable conclusion.

Our mothers were right. Eat your oatmeal or your eggs for breakfast, for you'll need fuel for a long day ahead. Don't forget your own lunch, you've got a little sandwich, some fruit, and some nice regular milk. You can have a small treat after you've had your dinner. A little bit is okay, but enough is enough. Eat your vegetables. Have an apple if you're hungry around three. Go call a friend and play outside.

When we questioned the wisdom of our grandmothers, the women who had raised generations of healthy children on fresh food in moderate quantities separated by periods of vigorous activity, we floundered. Food tasted worse, and made us heavy and tired. We forgot how to feed ourselves and trusted to people who felt more concern for profit than for our good health and pleasure.

So, ta hell with that. I want real food, dammit. Fresh baked bread carries with it the extra benefit of all the exercize you get kneading the dough. Full-fat cream cheese satisfies you after a small portion. Sustainably raised vegetables pack a flavor punch that must be experienced to be understood, and create good lives for small farmers who feel a committment to the true plant, and not to the engineered herbiage designed more for making it to market unscathed than for anything else. Real food will wither and die if you don't eat it. You have to commit to a certain lifestyle to enjoy real food.

And here's hoping that committing to that lifestyle will get me the results I want, and which eating fake food couldn't get me in more than two years of trying. Anyway, I'll enjoy being heavy more if I can eat tasty food, rather than getting fat on pretend crap. And I'm going to call my friends and go play outside.

A prison of her own making

Ah, yes, the usual disclaimers... Let me think. Okay: this is a snapshot, see? A little piece of my day, or rather of my thoughts on this particular day. It's not important. It's a daylog. These are much more important - or, at any rate, a lot more fun to read. Go and do so.

My boyfriend has a lot of friends, male as well as female. He goes out with them, they socialise, and they - especially the female ones - talk with him about anything and everything. The way I do with my friends. It is as we feel it should be, and it works fine.

At the moment, though, my bf is a bit saddened by the fact that he is losing a friend. A girl he has known for almost as long as he has known me, and one who has always been very close to him. They have been playing live RPG, going to concerts, helping eachother with different Medieval Reenactment stuff... all in all very much liking being together. Close friends.

And then she went and got herself a boyfriend.

We found out the implications of her having a bf when she told him that she and her new beau had been fighting for three days. The fight was caused by her catching dinner and a movie with my bf. They have been doing that now and then for like forever, and she didn't realise there would be a need to stop now.

But her new bf did not like it. He suffers from jealousy.

He does not want her to meet with my bf. He does not want them to talk alone at all. Well, at first it seems to be a rather reasonable request; I mean, the two guys don't know each other, and so it's only natural that he'd want to find out what kind of guy my guy is. But, it turns out, he also doesn't want her to go out with her girlfriends.

On the other hand he thinks it's quite okay that he goes out with his friends. And so we see a pattern.

It's quite a sad situation, as far as I can see. She is now more or less confined to her home, and to her place of work. Unless he goes with her, she cannot go out to see her friends - not without facing days of quarreling and fighting. She also sits alone at home while he goes out with his friends. They don't fight over this, because she thinks he should have the freedom to go out. Too bad he doesn't feel the same about her. She thinks he will, given time. She thinks she can change him. She thinks she can make his jealousy go away, once he learns to trust her. I don't believe it will happen like that. Of course that's just my opinion.

And now he has asked her to marry him, and she has said yes.

Oh well... I wish them lots of luck.

Thank you for your time.

I fell in love again yesterday,
In a resturant with the waiter
who made me want to sing
the lines from the Bob Dylan song,
"Your loyalty is not to me,
But, to the stars above,
one more cup of coffee for the road,
one more cup of coffee, 'fore I go,
to the valley below.
Until my mouth was dry.
His name is Alex,
and when his shift was over he sat with me,
and drank an iced tea,
and we talked about
christmas cards, of all things,
which he is staunchly against,
and I am strongly for.
He asked me to come by again and chat.
And I think I will.
Girly Sigh

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