Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Today I bought a package of  Mission figs.  I didn't even know if I liked figs, I just knew that my sweet tooth needed to be fed and it was a healthy choice.  

That's the thing about eating healthier, every purchase must be well planned out.  When you look at them though, they're not very appealing. That's another thing about healthy things... they are not always eye-pleasing.
Turns out, I like figs.  When I looked at the plump brown seed shaped fruit, I was hesitant to take that first bite. What if I found out I was allergic and had to be rushed to Urgent Care?  What if they made me sick to my stomach or caused hallucinations?  ( this is the way I freak out in my head ).  After I finished "rationalizing" in my head, I held my breath and sank my teeth in.

"Oh my gosh! Fig Newtons!"   The memory came hard and fast. Me, six years old, sitting in the kitchen of a farm house that had been in the family for generations.  Grandma pouring me a glass of milk and scooting the crinkling yellow package over to me and my brother. It was a time long before any other varieties of the Newton cookie was available;  no apple, no raspberry, no strawberry, no fat free.. just the plain old fig kind.    Ah, how I adored Fig Newtons!  It was the "fig" part I liked the best, sweet and just the tiny bit crunchy. I recalled trying to get all the cookie part off just so I could have that fig filling.

I'm not allergic, obviously. Figs are awesome!  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Placing the Blame

Dear Society,
                        I honestly want to lay all the blame on you for the battle I must face each day.  I want someone to blame… anyone to blame but the one who is truly responsible for this.  
You did exactly as I asked.  I wanted food, but not just any food.  I wanted something easy, something quick and something reasonable.  You granted me microwave meals, an array of fast-food restaurants, convenience store munchies, five-minute side dishes, mouth-watering desserts and a grand selection of carbonated beverages.  You gave my milk flavors, offered me sweet cream for my coffee, provided energy in a handy chocolate bar and took the pulp out of my orange juice.  It wasn’t enough, I wanted more.  I wanted comfort food as well.  You offered me fat and juicy cheeseburgers with crunchy bacon, crisp, salted French fries, and ice cream with a variety of yummy toppings.
                However, Society, in granting my requests, you were terribly quiet in your warnings. You did tell me, however, you didn’t shout it out like you did when you were informing me about all these things.  You didn’t post pretty pictures or hit me with subliminal messages in your advertising about the dangers I was facing by indulging in all these tasty foods.  So I didn’t pay attention.  I didn’t worry about the high calories, I blatantly ignored the sodium content and the fat and gave in to the addiction to these processed treats.  You weren’t very loud about telling me I wasn’t getting my daily recommended nutritional value in all the food groups, or that continually indulging would wreak havoc on my body. In all fairness, though, when I did hear you, I ignored it.   After all, everyone had cheeseburgers, pizza, sodas and other wonderful fried food goodness all the time.  I was going to buy it anyway because it was cheap and it curbed the hunger for the time. 
                Yes, I could blame you, Society.  That would be the easiest way to cope.  Blame you and demand the government step in and start doing something to change your ways, to stop you from giving me exactly what I demanded of you.  Or I could simply accept that I am responsible for myself.  You did not force me fill my cart with pre-processed goodies, chips and simple meals. You did not take me into the kitchen every time I was sad, lonely, or bored. No… that was me making that decision all along. 
                See, I like food.  It’s always been my comfort, and my downfall. Thankfully, Society, you know about people like me and you spin it both ways.  You cater to what I demand, even though it’s not good for me, and you offer me a way out, that’s harder and not near as comforting as a good piece of cheesecake drizzled with cherry sauce.  You now offer countless online sites to guide me in a quest to be healthier, to eat like I should be eating.   You label nutritional values ( and let’s face it, you always did ) and you are now making it easier to see those same values when I do go into a fast-food place.  Support groups are now plentiful and let’s be honest, those healthy foods may seem expensive, but they really aren’t when you realize you don’t eat near as much of them.  You are doing much better at educating me and leading me in the direction I need to follow.  It is a hard road to travel,  after living on the fast and easy for so long, and I admittedly stumble quite often.  This road is not lonely though, more and more are merging in and that makes it even better. 
                Society, I still blame you a little, but ultimately, I know this is up to me. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Talking to Strangers

                I have a friend who is an introvert.  Let’s call her “Emma”.  I never saw this characteristic about  Emma until she pointed it out to me.  As an extrovert, I suppose I just chalked it up to her being shy since the day I met her in third grade.  I’m a mixed bag of introvert and extrovert with more of the extrovert that leads the way.  It made life as a single parent  challenging only in the aspect that my son was even more extroverted than I am.  We were constantly doing new things and venturing into unknown territories. There were times, I admit, that I counted on him to lead the way.  In his own right, he brought out more confidence in me than I realized was there because he forced me into situations in which I truly needed to lead the way. Emma, also a single parent, has two young children. One is very much like her, shy and cautious.  The other is outgoing and confident, very much an extrovert.  This provides a very challenging dilemma for Emma.  She wants to provide the best parenting for both her children and still must battle her own personal challenges of being an introvert.  It’s not an easy road for her and I applaud each effort she makes.   
                Emma and I keep in touch via e-mail and Facebook.  We’ve been friends forever and my moving eight hundred miles away was never going to change that.  I mentioned to her about people I have met in my day to day life and she came back and said,  “You sure talk to a lot of strangers.”    I thought about that statement, curious where she had gotten such an idea.  Apparently, in my correspondence, I’ve told her about chance meetings with people.  The guys I met at the laundry mat, the folks I conversed with at the grocery store and the list goes on.  Emma was right.  I talk to strangers.   That’s the thought that went through my head while standing in line at Wal-mart last night.   The line was long and not moving very fast so I struck up a conversation with the guys behind me.  Turns out they were from out of town and we ended up discussing the differences of living here verses where we were each originally from.  When I left the store I walked to my car, smiling at the door greeter and wishing them a goodnight as I left.  I was driving away and mentally calculating how many people I had struck up conversations with just that day that wasn’t related to me doing my job.    Yesterday I clocked in at five that I can think of right away.  
               For Emma… this is not normal behavior.  For me though, this seems to be just who I am.