Monthly Archives: February 2008

The Six Month Checkup

 Be warned, this post is one of those boring surgery-related updates, I’ll be back to my usual bullshit later this weekend when I share about the lord telling me exactly how the damn gays are ruining America…….I know, I was pretty shocked to hear it too.  And I’ve never heard the lord say “damn” before, so my guess is he was totally serious.

I just got back home from my six month checkup at the surgeon’s office.  In short, my blood work looks fantastic and I am down a total of 110 pounds.  He told me this is above average, and I was glad to hear it because I have no concept of what “normal” weight loss is anymore.  I was worried that the few times my weight loss has slowed down as I worked through the “things that stall progress” portions of the learning curve may have put me behind.  But, with the holidays jammed in there along with my laziness due to the weather when it comes to physical activity…..I’ll gladly take the 110.  I know many people will react to my attitude like I’m crazy or ungrateful because losing that amount of weight in six months is phenomenal, but to them I say… has still been a hell of a lot of work to get here, the surgery is just one tool in the constantly evolving arsenal. 

I guess everyone who has gastric bypass is paranoid about their vitamin intake, with all of the stories about people ending up in wheelchairs due to B12 deficiency.  With that in mind I grilled my surgeon pretty good to make sure all of my levels were okay.  All of the biggies were well within “normal” range, and even though I’m very conscious of getting them all in every day it was good to hear.  I had some worries about the efficacy of the sublingual B12, but that looked just fine.  Protein levels are great, and my blood pressure has been steady lately around 127 over 74.  My Vitamin D levels were a little low, which was kind of a suprise because I take an extra supplement every day for that.  The doctor wasn’t too worried about it and told me “as soon as you stop being such a gothic queer and get out in the sunshine when the weather improves that will change”.  He kept poking me in the chest as he told me that.  As I rained blows down upon him I thought to myself….”you know, I really do move around much easier now!”. 

Before I shit-hammered my doctor, we did have a good discussion about animal vs. vegetable proteins, satiety and worries about pouch-stretching.  I also told him that about once a week or so, for whatever reason, something just won’t begin digesting quickly enough and the pressure will build until I go to the bathroom and hack it up….then everything is fine.  He chalked it up to the learning curve, and I can’t say that I disagree because it is happening less and less frequently.  Sometimes my stomach is more sensitive than others I guess, and sometimes when I let myself get too hungry I either eat too fast or don’t chew enough.  Using vomiting as a release valve is just a disturbing thing to have to do….and I wouldn’t even call it vomiting, it’s more like deep coughing now.  As far as proteins go, one thing that is becoming extremely obvious is that when I eat animal proteins like eggs, beef, etc., I feel full quicker and I stay full longer.  Then when I eat a vegetarian meal (which I’ve been doing a LOT more lately) like that chickpea mixture or this 13 bean chili that I really like, I notice I can eat quite a bit more of it without getting full.  My concern was that I may be taking in too many calories, and of course the paranoia about stretching the pouch with too much volume was the biggest worry.  He assured me that vegetable proteins are going to digest a little quicker, meaning you can eat more without getting full as quickly, and that if the weight keeps going down then you’re not stretching the pouch.  I’ll monitor how much of the various vegetarian/bean dishes I consume, with his comment in mind that “if you’re eating too much at once you’ll know it”.  I DEFINITELY know what it feels like to eat too much now, this is all just such a big learning curve that I didn’t know if there were any big drawbacks to a more vegetarian lifestyle after surgery.  When I did my last stint with the KU weight loss research project, the protocol we followed was to eat 3 HMR meals per day along with all of the fruits and vegetables (minus potatoes and corn of course) we wanted to eat.  I did lose some weight doing that, even eating HUGE volumes of fruits and vegetables (8-16 servings), so it only stands to reason that using beans as a major protein source won’t hurt me.  Also, the concept of “a lot of” anything is so different now…..when I eat 3/4 of a bowl of vegetarian chili I think of that as “a lot”.   Speaking of that, I get a lot of my stuff from Whole Foods now that I can afford it due to the quantity I need, but most stores do carry “Bob’s Red Mill” items.  Their 13 bean soup mix is excellent, and I don’t have a label here in front of me but I believe it’s very high in protein….something like 12 or 14 grams per serving.  That stuff, plus the greatest product ever invented…New Whey liquid protein, guarantees that a veggie diet can include enough protein to keep you healthy.  Maybe I really am a gothic queer like the doctor said, because beans, tofu and seitan are my favorite things to eat now along with bloody cuts of beef and various entrails (my iron levels are a tiny bit low, so now I can really come out of the offal closet without shame).  No in between there…..I do love seafood a lot, but the hell with poultry….I’m all about vegetarian dishes (I have dreams about the Korean dish Soon Tofu, and the Indian chickpea miracle called Chana Masala) but I’m just as happy to eat straight-up gore foods like liver, tongue and sweetbreads.  Maybe it’s just a subconscious thing that won’t allow me to become too much like hippie scum and go vegan…..all I know is that pieces of animals that processed some type of fluid are magically delicious. 

I guess that’s about it for today.  In all, a great day.  The weather is decent, I’m making good progress with my health, and I don’t have a ton of crap to do for work before this weekend.  I am behind the eightball when it comes to homework, but when am I NOT?  And joy of joys, the “Bodies Revealed” exhibit opens at Union Station this weekend so I’ll be seeing that very soon without having to travel to a different city like I thought I would.  I wonder if the same religious protesters who used to picket in front of my store when I managed a Priscilla’s will be there to greet me…….it will be like old home week! 


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, Blogroll, Christianity, culture, dating, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, religion, Tent Revival, Weight Loss, weight loss surgery

Why I Hate Guys Like Huckabee….

 First of all, other than the fact that I’m much more clear-headed and have more time on my hands since I’m not shoveling in five or eight thousand calories a day……this post has nothing to do with weight loss.  It’s all about religion, and not only THAT but I am using my usual manner of witty genius to get my point across……so if that sort of thing bugs you, THEN READ ON!  Seriously, I’m not going to go through my whole life story, but I will say that the following is based on a lifetime in the midst of evangelical culture.  So I’m not speaking as some random guy with an axe to grind, I’m a guy from the inside with an axe to grind.  This is like that scene in the Godfather where Michael is about to clip McClusky and Sollozzo, and Sollozzo says he’s “going to speak to Michael in Italian”……well, to my heathen friends I’m telling you I’m about to speak to my people in their own language.  I know you don’t hear me use this lingo very often, but you can’t be too shocked to realize that you can take the boy out of the church but that doesn’t mean he totally dismisses his worldview.  I’m going back to the days when I was writing The Yeti and The Intelligentsia at North Central Bible College, and it feels good… your favorite pair of worn out shoes that you can’t bring yourself to throw away…. 

First, I want to say that the unsaved aren’t the pharisees……the politically motivated Christians are.  People who keep their twisted brand of Christianity and their politics in lockstep are the ones who would put him right back up on the cross if he were walking around today preaching the same message that he did 2000 years ago.  The world is doing what the world is supposed to do… aren’t.  Please hear me when I say, this isn’t an indictment against Christianity, it’s simply my thoughts on a very specific breed of poser who is more worried about image than the message.  It’s about people who take advantage of the political system by pretending that a high-ranking politician can serve both the machine and God.  The biggest problem with a religious candidate is that they serve as the “savior” for a dying belief system, and then when he loses he becomes the “martyr” that everyone rallies around and in some perverted way they actually believe that it’s all a sign of the end times.  They project that martyrdom onto themselves, and bitch and moan for the next four years about that evil, liberal media and its father Satan.  When I use the word “dying” in reference to that belief system I am referring to the specific part of evangelical culture that exists to serve itself and protect its growth rather than fulfill the great commission and allow people to come to it as they are.  This culture, for the most part, is closed off to outsiders. Unless you already “get it”, you’re not going to get in.  This culture uses a certain type of jargon that is based on poorly translated scripture, and after a generation or two of people grow up in that type of environment, then the jargon and the catchphrases actually become the scriptural basis by which they live.  THAT is when the sacred is no longer any different than the secular……and the image that the church portrays isn’t anything more than another section of popular culture.  The uniqueness is gone, the spirit (so to speak) is gone, and there are no more revelations to be had because the language and direction of the church can only thrive within the confines of the groupthink.  It can’t break out.  It can’t touch the world.  It’s just another tv show or weekly magazine marketed to those who are already a part of it… is sound bite theology where people pick and choose the parts of the book they think are applicable and ignore concepts like context and the cultural traditions of the time.  The shallow understanding and the misuse of scripture squash any hope of that church providing a viable alternative for people…..people who aren’t stupid and see it all for what it is, no matter how much you want to believe what they are saying to you is just the misguided rambling of the unsaved.  Soon you aren’t selling salvation, you’re just selling a friendly, safe building where likeminded people can get together and view the shadow of what the New Testament was supposed to provide for you.  Miracles don’t happen in these places, you just hear urban folktales about miracles that happened to someone else at another church at one point in time. You never actually meet the recipients of the miracles, but a friend of a friend did.  And you use the energy created from overselling those myths to build up your numbers……and as we all know “numbers are important, God wrote a whole book about them!”.  It’s THAT culture that props up a politician who they think can get into the White House, but what they don’t realize is faith has nothing to do with it.  A guy like that is proof of the death of faith.  I say that because if you truly based your belief on a personal revelation, you would realize how sad and how limited it is to view getting your guy into office as progress for Christians.  It isn’t progress, you’ve just sold your dream and you are begging for scraps….and you are doing it on the secular world’s terms.  So don’t be proud of that.  You’re like an animal that has grown up in captivity and has no knowledge of what life could be like beyond that cage…..but you have a higher consciousness than an animal, so you worship the cage. 

So what PRACTICAL application could I apply to this diatribe?  Because as you armchair theologians/dittoheads have probably already spiritually discerned by NOW……..that whole first paragraph is nothing but a reprobate mind tellin’ you to VOTE CLOBAMA ’08!  But seriously, if I could wave my magic wand and have the following points be the sermon you hear next Sunday morning, I’d do it.  Not because I hate you, I really don’t.  As crazy as I am, I can never escape the fact that I have a Christian worldview, and until someone can convince me that there is a better belief for which there is no logical explanation or proof, I’ll stick with it.  And if I believe that a homosexual can be a Christian, then I most certainly believe you are covered as well.  Doesn’t it make you feel good and warm all over to know that?  I should probably qualify all of this a little better…if you’re one of those people who really believes the earth is only 6,000 years old, well then I guess I do hate YOU.  You’re just some random idiot who has gone WAY too far in order go get prayer back into schools, and we don’t have any connection whatsoever.  In fact, you can just stop reading now and go do whatever the hell it is you do during the other 23 hours of the day.  For THE REST OF YOU, I have the following bullet points that will insure you are on the right track to breaking out of that bizarre and hypocritical cage….

And these are in no particular order…..

#1- All forms of Christian entertainment pale in comparison to the secular counterparts that they ripped off, and really serve as nothing more than entertainment for Christians….not tools for ministry.  So stop using them to try and get your point across…..nobody outside of the insulated, closed culture of evangelical America thinks any of that stuff is cool, so you end up spending more time looking stupid than you do promoting any real message.  I know it makes you FEEL like you’re doing something, and all of that shit is totally safe for your kids, but you’re just spinning your wheels there.  It all sucks.  Seriously, all of it.  What God do you serve?  The creator of the universe, or one big celestial brand of “Always Save” knockoffs?  If you were REALLY in touch with your savior, you could come up with much better stuff.   You’re here to reach the lost, remember?  Not just to make sure your homeschooled rugrats have Jesus-themed coffeehouses where the kids don’t have tattoos and smoke cigarettes.  When they finally leave the nest and have to go out and LIVE in that evil world, you are really going to wish you had equipped them a little better. Trust me on that, I went to Bible College with those kids and I’m telling you….it’s like a Girls Gone Wild video once they taste a little freedom. 

#2- The incessant fascination with homosexuals and abortion.  Using the same scriptures you do to justify your stance, all of the fat Christians who have died of heart attacks or strokes and are tearfully lauded at their funerals by the remaining faithful are burning in the same hell that you believe is reserved for the queers and the babykillers.  You always preach that a sin is a sin, and they died in their sin, whether it was a totally avoidable death from a life of gluttony or a life of promiscuous sex.  You don’t admit things like that to your congregations because it would be bad for business……you may not have any “out” homosexuals in your church (but you HAVE homos, trust me. And just as many of your kids are bangin’ away as the unsaved kids…you’re not talking to an outsider here, I’ve run those youth groups), but you definitely have a plethora of the overweight, gossipers, backbiters, those who have looked at someone with lust in their hearts, liars, masturbators, the envious, covetous, etc.  How about focusing some of your politics on THEM for a change…..I know, you can’t, because you actually know those people and think of them as human beings.  Plus, you’re more about numbers than ministry, and you may lose them to the church down the road if you piss them off too badly.  The phrase “love the sinner but hate the sin” is the most ignorant cop out of all time….you just use it as an excuse to hate the sinner and feel okay about it.  You KNOW I’M RIGHT, you just surround yourself with people who think like you do in order to shield yourself from the truth….it’s just like when you get a bunch of white people together and they feel each other out to know who they can use the “N” word around….it’s an ugly secret and I’m letting it out. 

#3- An addendum to #2… aren’t Jewish, so stop using the Torah as ammunition to back up whatever cause you happen to be championing at the time….whether it’s Levitical fertility laws or Sodom and Gomorrah you are rambling about, you’re still a gentile.  We’re under grace now, that was kind of the whole point of the New Testament.  I’m not saying ANYTHING GOES, like I’m some libertine, so don’t shit yourself, just think about how similar you are to the people you cast stones at rather than how different or superior you might be.  Believe me, I’ve been where you’re at, and once you let it go it takes so much of the pressure off of you to be self-righteous…then you can actually start having a DIALOGUE with people. 

#4- The “unsaved” are not enemies to be avoided, why don’t you really think about W.W.J.D. the next time you put on some stupid piece of jewelry or a bumper sticker that has absolutely no internalized meaning for you.  And when you are talking to them, stop quoting scripture…..that is not common ground that you share with them, so focus on the things you DO have in common.  Being an effective witness goes beyond the “wham-bam” tracts and catchphrases that don’t really do anything besides come off as smug.  Just be YOU…..and if you’re really living the life that you should be, then the discrete charms of the gospel will just naturally begin to rub off on them.  People who AREN’T walking the walk….THEY are the ones who have to bang on people with scripture.

#5- Prosperity doctrine….there really isn’t a better example of the incestuous relationship between politics and religion than this garbage.  Who does this really work for?  Do you really think that if you took a cross-section of unsaved people and compared it to a similar cross-section of this doctrine’s devotees, that the median income of the believers would be ANY higher than that of the unsaved?  Again, I go back to the “Always Save” version of God….if this doctrine were true, wouldn’t there be a LOT more people who benefitted from it?  If God were REALLY behind this thing, wouldn’t he be raining down the blessings to the point where the legitimacy could not be denied?  Oh, I know, it’s probably happening all over but the LIBERAL MEDIA is keeping it under wraps.  Give me a break.  The only people benefitting from this “Jesus Was A Republican” phenomenon are the ones selling it to you.  Believe that.  I guess penniless Christians just don’t have enough faith, or God just wants THEM to suffer…….at least that’s how you come across…like assholes. 

I’m sure I’ll think of things to add to this later, I just happened to get on a roll and I’d like to have a weekend where I didn’t obsess over what to put in my blog.  To the saved and unsaved alike, I hope you’ve gotten a little something from today’s sermon.  I’m not telling you that you HAVE to cough up a love offering, but I’ll trust you to do as the spirit leads.  Spirit, please lead them to feel guilty enough to send me their money so that I can reinvest it in fancy cookware and credit card debt. 

And now back to your completely unfounded pre-tribulation rapture belief systems…….this is your Unsaved Loved One signing off until next time.  Shik-a-moe-shy, and pass the apple pie! 


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, Blogroll, Christianity, culture, dating, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, howard stern, Recovery, religion, Tent Revival, Weight Loss, weight loss surgery

Recipe Time!

 Okay, I’m going to cheese-out and be lazy with this post…I’m working on a very relevant piece on that sonofaBITCH Huckabee, who represents so much of what is wrong with America, and I don’t know how much angst and energy it’s going to take out of me.  So this is a nice little interim thought while I trudge through the quagmire that is lazy, evangelical pop culture, which is of course the absolute antithesis of anything suggested in that lovin’ tome we call the New Testament….

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve gotten much more serious about my cooking since surgery.  Part of this stems from the fact that the food-crazed energy has to go SOMEWHERE, as well as the fact that I’m “safe” when I cook now because I can’t (and don’t really have a desire to) over-indulge.  So I’ve been reading cookbooks like yo’ mama reads all of that Harlequin romance shite.  Obviously, there is the Sopranos cookbook that I used as an inspiration for my dinner party.  That’s a pretty light, fun, easy read with recipes that aren’t complicated.  Slightly more involved, but still not overly complicated, is the literary miracle known as The Babbo Cookbook from Mario Batali (from which I will share my favorite easy recipe here shortly).  Reading that thing is like smelling a woman’s hair and saying….”where in the hell have you been all of my life?”.  It is a great read, and what makes it so fantastic is that other than a few obscure ingredients here and there, the recipes are totally approachable for anyone with “fair to middlin” cooking skills.  My meal at Babbo was definitely in the top five favorite meals of my life, so to see some of these amazing dishes broken down for me was truly inspiring.  Now, I’m not a cookbook NERD, so all of you uber-foodies who like to wax poetic about the shortcomings of such inauthentic Italian recipes can email or call me, and I’ll be more than happy to send you a list of all of the creative ways in which you can service me….this book and me, we’re very close.  So there you have it, buy the damn thing.

 So TODAY I was blessed with a delivery from… was none other than Fergus Henderson’s “The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating” (I also got Marvin Weisbord’s “Future Search” for school, but I will spare you).  If you’ve watched Tony Bourdain’s shows, you’ve undoubtedly seen Henderson’s St. John restaurant featured in all of its glory.  I haven’t had the opportunity to travel abroad and dine there, but if you know anything about me you know I’m a big fan of offal.  Sweetbreads are like popcorn to me.  Seriously, other than foie gras they represent the very top of my foodie pyramid.  I’m not a huge fan of kidneys, but when it comes to tongue, tripe, brains, bone marrow, liver, tail, stomach, cheeks, head……I’m sure there are some preparations I wouldn’t be too crazy about, but in general it’s all good eating if done well.  I don’t try convincing people that my way of thinking is cool or superior, because honestly, I don’t want the yuppies latching onto anything else like they did oxtails and shanks and drive the prices right through the roof.  Yeah, in fact, all of the stuff I just mentioned is really shitty, so steer clear of it. 

 So Henderson’s book is one fun read.  I can’t wait until I can find enough non-squeamish members of The Mutual Admiration Society and host “Blood Feast” in the fall so that I can use some of these recipes.  Yeah, I know Michael Alig used that title back in the club kid days, but it was a Herschell Gordon Lewis movie way before that, so I’m going with it. It just sounds cool.  Who wouldn’t want to come over for the Blood Feast right before Halloween?  Anyway, The Whole Beast is not only a joy to read because of recipes like “Pea and Pig’s Ear Soup” and “Tongue and Beets”, but also VERY imaginative and inviting with the use of language.  Whimsical imagery such as “Now add the stock, enough so that you end up with an Arctic Sea of soup with icebergs of pumpkin bobbing about in your broth”  is found throughout, and I for one truly appreciate it.  When I get a good book like this I tend to sit down and read it from cover to cover, just like yo’ mama does with the latest issue of Cosmo once the Harlequin well runs dry.  Mmmmm good…now to go and get even friendlier with some local butchers so that they’ll provide me with the porcine and bovine sustenance that I require. 

Okay, I promised a RECIPE, so that I can be one of those bariatric patients who throws some actual RELEVANT information out there for others to use…….don’t get used to it.  I’m only doing this because I love this simple dish.  It’s tasty, easy to digest, healthy, and has a decent dose of plant based protein.  Yeah, I’d eat Bambi’s mother right in front of her children without thinking twice, but I have come to appreciate good vegetarian fare.  In fact, I’d say that at this point I get more excited about the prospect of vegetarian dishes when I dine out than anything else….unless it’s that tongue, oxtail and Humboldt Fog pseudo-French onion soup at Bluestem, because I’d tie off and put that shit straight into my mainline if I could find a way to cook it down enough.  Yes, it is tasty enough to deserve its own illicit drug use imagery. 

So this recipe is what went on top of my “Ceci Bruschetta” dish that I made for the Sopranos party.  The secret is to use good olive oil and fresh basil…..if you don’t do that then don’t make it.  Trust me, I tried dried basil when the store was out of fresh, and it was not a good thing.  I’ve got some sitting in my fridge that is about to get tossed, it makes THAT much of a difference.

I’m not going to format this all “FAINCY” for you, it’s too simple of a recipe to worry about all of that.  It’s totally scaleable, I usually make a double batch, but here is the one-batch version……take one cup of drained chickpeas, 4 tablespoons of GOOD olive oil, 2 tablespoons of olive paste (or just chopped/minced black olives….I use kalamata), 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (you can go cheap with this, Colavita is fine), 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary (I actually use dried since it’s winter), 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil leaves (once again, I stress FRESH), 1 thinly sliced garlic clove (you can bump this up some, but do not use one of those garlic presses or you’ll kill the dish), kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.   You just MIX ALL OF THAT in a bowl…..and I find that if you leave it overnight it’s a lot better, kind of like potato salad.   If you want, cut back on the oil (I usually do, especially if you use a good, flavorful and fruity variety), use more of one thing and less of another, it’s all to taste.  But I seriously love having this onhand for a quick lunch, or for the rare moments when I have some crazy craving at night…..I know we’re not supposed to snack, but I’m a realist.  Remember the days when a “snack” was an entire St. Louis style pizza?  Well I do.  So this I can live with. 

Really, give it a shot.  I love this stuff.  No quippy little closing statement, just eat your veggies. 

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Filed under Bariatric Surgery, Blogroll, culture, dating, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, religion, Tent Revival, Weight Loss, weight loss surgery

Don’t Tell ME I Don’t Know What Vietnam Was Like…

 So this is the point in the life of a blog, and I’m just assuming here because this is my first one, where you start getting traffic beyond just your friends that stop by and the few blogs that link to yours.  For whatever reason, my “On Dating” post has gotten exponentially more traffic than anything else, and from looking at the data dashboard the majority of daily hits isn’t traceable to another blog, website or some poor soul who Googles “nick manning droppin’ loads” and ends up here.  So maybe I’m getting repeat customers, and if that is the case I thank you for making it a point to stop by.  If you happen to be Zooey Deschanel, Gabby Glaser from Luscious Jackson  (and you like guys now), or Kate Winslet (the “Quills”/”Holy Smoke” Winslet, not the really skinny one), then by all means be sure to say hello.  I’ve got a million different things I could write about, and for a brief moment I actually thought about trying to appeal to more people for the sake of traffic.  But fuck all that, I’ve always preferred dogs over people, so I’m sticking with what I’m feeling at any given time.  And what I’m feeling usually revolves around women, food, the dismal failure known as evangelical American culture, and whatever quirky and sometimes offensive concepts that happen to be rolling around in my bean.  Now, if I ever get the kind of traffic that could somehow make me some money, I’m not above going buns-up to corporate wastemongers.

So the thing that has been on my mind all week long is something, other than drinking, that came up at my therapy appointment this week.  I was doing my best to communicate a thought that dawned on me whenever I was writing about online dating.  It was something along the lines of…”After I lose as much weight as I can, I would like to get turned down by the same types of women who turned me down when I was at my heaviest, because then I will truly know my limitations”.  That is not it exactly, but you get the general meaning.  My therapist looked at me a little quizzically and asked, “Would you rather be judged by your weight than your character”?  I immediately looked back at HER quizzically and said, “Are you joking?  Of course. There is no question.  I’ve never liked my weight, but I’ve always LOVED my character”.  All of the self-image insecurities aside, I really do like the person that I am.  Now the ironic thing is, those same insecurities have helped sharpen all of the strongest elements of my personality….the extreme sense of humor, cynicism, outgoing nature, devil’s advocate, etc.  I think of it in terms of the old cliche about how a blind person’s other senses become much stronger to make up for the lack of sight.  My habit of over-compensating for what I’ve always thought of as a debilitating handicap has helped to create the “character” that I feel I shouldn’t have to defend or explain…..pigeon-hole me as “the fat guy” and the biggest reaction you’ll get out of me is mock horror, but if you constantly make me explain when I’m joking or you never catch on to my deadpan sarcasm, I really start to doubt myself.  Eventually I’ll convince myself that the problem is with YOU and be on my way, but not before going through a mental inventory to fix the issue.  I’ve never been into sports, or been very competitive at all for that matter, so fortunately (or sadly) I’ve found other avenues through which I can channel all of that primal “dude” energy and become an extremely charismatic person who holds court.  That’s what I do.  I hold court.  That is MY Superbowl.  Granted, I only hold court with people I really care about, so they’re probably just being nice…”he’s kind of cute in that retarded Corky from Life Goes On kind of way, just let him do his thing, he’ll wear himself out eventually”…but it is COURT nonetheless, goddammit. 

So in all seriousness, there is obviously some kind of irrational fear involved with no longer having the weight to fall back on when women go “what an asshole”.  I’ve still got a ways to go before I cross THAT bridge, but I’m always eager to make my therapist earn her money.  And now that alcohol (thankfully) has become “boring” to me like cheese did when I’d already stockpiled a ton of it, I have to keep her on her toes.  Now I know there are a LOT of people who espouse the theory that “looks don’t matter, it’s what is in your heart that counts”.  To those people I say…whatever works for you, but I live in this place we call “the real world”.  I can’t tell you how mind-numbingly surreal it is when some famous model-type chick is doing a TV interview and they say, “really, I’m just looking for a nice guy who can make me laugh, looks aren’t that important to me”.  But do any of them pair off with the Danny DeVito’s of the world?  Christ no.  And don’t go throwing that Julia Roberts/Lyle Lovett anomaly at me.  I know I’m a cynical prick, but people generally breed with their own kind….they don’t usually go outside of their class (yes, we have a very strict class system in America) and they don’t venture too far outside the family’s DNA structure.  That is the way it is and the way it always shall be.  Even if I’m wrong, those are the pieces of our sociological puzzle that keep me sharp, so I’m sticking with my story. 

So how much do looks really matter?  As much as I hammer on the dreamers, I do appreciate the counterpoint they bring to the argument.  I truly do.  It’s like people who have always had money and say it isn’t that important….they don’t have to worry about it because they’ve always had it.  Someone with a dreamer worldview who has made it work for them is truly fortunate.  I don’t say that as if I think they are ignorant of anything, everyone has their own pain and their own issues, I’m sure I’ve “always had” some kind of emotional capital that many of THEM can point back at me and tell me that ignorance is bliss.  That aside, if I’m one shallow motherfucker for my belief in how much looks really do count and I’ve just never found “the right person” to make me quit believing that, then this is one old dog who can exist without the new tricks.  I’m also a guy who is more than happy to give up all of the secrets about how (most) guys think.  Looks matter to us.  A lot.  And oh yeah, no matter how much we may tell you we don’t care about porn, we’re only saying that to shut you up or make you feel better.  We like porn.  All of those times when you are suspicious about whether we’re looking at porn or not……..we’re looking at porn.  We just don’t like to be called on it, so when we lie about it, it’s not so much the porn as it is getting called out.  And when YOU like porn, on some level that scares the shit out of us because we lose some aspect of our control.  Also, when you make us do things like go shopping or hold your purse while you try on clothes…..whether we realize it consciously or not, it is the reason for the next several days of passive aggressive hell we put you through.  There are, of course, some exceptions to all of these things….plenty of couples like porn, and some guys love to clothes shop with their significant others.  Either that, or these guys have evolved into a new breed of beautiful liar that I can only aspire to become.  Well played gentlemen.  Well played.

So back to the looks thing…..fortunately, not all guys like the same kind of woman (or women, men), so to some degree the whole discussion really is relative.  For example, during those rare moments when I’m actually having lunch with co-workers and they are checking out women they find attractive, I often wonder to myself “so judging by her…is he really saying he likes ten year old boys?”.  I’ve just never liked the classical blonde beauty that is the cornerstone of media-driven female insecurity in America; there’s  nothing unique about them.  Even as a teenager, when the SI Swimsuit issue came out I never really “got it”.  But in my own way I’ve always been a slave to the looks/character conundrum that inspired this post.  By society’s standards I’ve been the guy who always tried dating out of his class, so to speak, and in my twenties I would heap endless attention upon a specific breed of polyamorous, polytheistic little bundle of extreme  contradictions…..and it would all end in tears (or worse….”friendship”).  Then up until now in my late thirties I went too far the OTHER direction and went with what Bukowski referred to as the “quiet clean girls in gingham dresses”, supressing my core sense of humor and love for all things bizarre and politically incorrect in order to make them happy by being someone that I wasn’t……and it would all end in tears. 

In my last relationship I was shocked and saddened to look in the mirror one morning and realize I had become the most heinous and unoriginal male stereotype…….the guy who “just doesn’t listen to her” and “never wants to talk about her day” or “never just hugs her for for no reason at all”.  I wasn’t there for her unconditionally, and even though I knew this there was nothing I could do to make myself care enough to fix it.  So when I think of all of those stereotypes that have made so many people rich with books about Mars and Venus and witty little catchphrases like “he’s just not that into you”, I believe the whole thing is much simpler than we give it credit for.  Human beings like to make things more complicated in order to give simple events more significance….yet at the same time they want catchy, simple answers to life’s biggest questions.  With the divorce rate in America being at least 50%, I think the following theory is at least worth considering……..all of the male and female stereotypes are bullshit.  When you find yourself constantly speaking to the back of your husband’s head because he doesn’t want to talk to you, or you wonder when your wife will EVER stop beating you over the head with crap you did ten years ago…..maybe the simple answer is you never belonged together, and taking the easy route in order to be with someone has finally reached its logical conclusion.  Sure, you should try and work to make things better because you’ve built a life around one another with the kids, the house, etc., but at its core the relationship just wasn’t a good match.  So instead of beating your head against the wall by trying to “fix” them or yourself with the plethora of self-help marketing that is only meant to sell more books based on stereotypes, why not just see the situation as it really is, and try to accept them for who they are.  And if you want to make things work go and find a professional that didn’t go to the school of Dr. Phil, so that you can start making sense of where you are at and work towards some level of happiness and equality.  If that’s not a reasonable option, then either try to learn how to live in your misery or cowboy-up and go live a life that is not dependent on the acceptance of someone else.  See what I mean?  And THAT didn’t cost you one penny. 

I guess I’ve stuck to KIND OF a theme with all of this.  Or at least the looks/character topic was the springboard for all of it.  I’ve never gotten very good at closing something out with one of those quippy little “….and so the moral of the story is” phrases that reuses a line from the first paragraph in a slightly different way for effect…..oh man I hate those, and if you are a writer who does that I hate YOU.  Yes, I’m talking to YOU Charles Ferruzza from Pitch magazine.  I’m not saying I have all of this self-image and relationship stuff figured out, I’m just a mildly literate rambler.  And while I’m in love with my cynicism I do keep a few embers burning for a reality that may or may not exist, where I channel Bukowski in his final happily married years.

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Filed under Bariatric Surgery, Blogroll, culture, dating, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, religion, Tent Revival, Weight Loss, weight loss surgery

The Mutual Admiration Society: Sopranos Style

Before I review the minutes of the very first meeting of “The Mutual Admiration Society”, I’ll do my best to make it relevant to my situation.  Many people would ask “Why in THE HELL would someone who can’t eat 90% of the food at their own dinner party take all of the time to plan and execute such an enviable event?”.  Well, the answers are pretty simple actually… #1- Pure ego and the need to impress others, and #2- To feed the monster.  The monster…that compulsion over food that drives someone like me to the point where the only way they’ll make it past 40 or 45 is to have someone reconfigure their insides.  Yes, after surgery you do find other things to spend your time on…school, singing, exercise, blogging, etc.  However, there is still a connection to food that is rooted so deeply that it has to come out in some way.  The study of technique, seasonality, experimentation, playing host….just because you can’t eat all of the stuff anymore doesn’t mean that shit just disappears.  So I spent the past several weeks dreaming up the menu, sourcing ingredients, practicing on pastas, homemade sausage, etc.  I wouldn’t do it if it caused me angst, I really wouldn’t.  I can honestly say that the entire time I was doing all of this it just felt so fun.  For the first time in my life I was able to put a laser-focus onto my cooking without the compulsion to hurry up and get it done so that I could gorge on it (or spend so much money on my daily intake that I could never afford to throw a dinner party).  I can’t really describe that paradigm shift effectively enough, and if at some point it all backfires on me I’ll cross that bridge then.  For right now though, the fascination with cooking is coupled with what seems like endless patience in regard to the execution, because the creativity and preparation are both feeding the monster.  In all seriousness, last night I had one bite of a rice ball, about three bites of lasagne, one bite of dessert and one big glass of wine.  Leftovers either went out the door with my guests or will soon be at a family member’s house.  Not because I’m afraid of the food (like I would be if I were on a diet), but because I’m more connected to making it now than I am with eating it……if that can even possibly make any sense to anyone but me.  If I keep the food, it’s going to get thrown away because I just won’t eat it.  I get bored so easily with any food that my attention span will make it totally uninteresting, or I know that starches and sugars aren’t worth the possible uncomfortable side effects.   I am experiencing a freedom that I guess most “normal” people take for granted, and for the sake of the newly founded Mutual Admiration Society, I hope it lasts.

Anyway, enough of the existential mumbo jumbo……on to the food.  In order to get some practice when it comes to feeding more than two people at a time, I picked some great friends and what sounded like a fun dinner party theme…… with (almost) all recipes coming straight from The Sopranos Cookbook.  The thought was that I’d cut my teeth on this party, and then take it to seasonal or thematic extremes like an all-offal dinner later on.  When the farmer’s markets start rolling, I will see my enemies driven before me and hear the lamentation of their women…I will conquer.

I went super-homemade with everything….from the pesto to the pasta, the ground beef to the sausage, and I trekked about town to get exactly the right and the BEST ingredients (for example, Carollo’s for the San Marzano tomatoes and prosciutto).  In keeping with the spirit of the food of the Sopranos, I thought this was the only way to go.  Do it right and do it big. 

Caprese Amuse

 Caprese Amuse

I just came up with this little bite of food so that I had an excuse to say “amuse bouche”…it’s just a grape tomato, cube of fresh mozzarella, slice of fresh basil and good prosciutto, finished with a couple of drops of quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Unfortunately, we’re as far away from tomato season as we can get and I had to actually BUY the damn basil, but it was a nice start to the meal. 

 Mushroom Soup with Ceci Bruschetta

Mushroom SoupCeci Bruschetta

This course had absolutely NOTHING to do with the Sopranos cookbook…I just felt like adding it into the lineup.  The soup is a recipe from Top Chef Season 2, and it is one of the easiest and greatest things I like to make.  You basically simmer a pound of mushrooms in a cream/broth mixture, strain out the mushrooms and then add freshly sauteed mushrooms before serving.  It is a winner of a dish, and got the first “oh wow’s” of the evening.  The Ceci Bruschetta is from the Babbo Cookbook.  The chickpea/olive paste/olive oil/basil/red pepper flake/garlic mixture is something I’ll keep onhand just to have as a handy little protein source when I’m not in the mood for meat.



Second round of “oh wow’s” went to these little fried rice balls….and I’m glad because they were a pain in the ass to make.  Something needs to be adjusted in the recipe in order for the arborio rice mixture to be thick enough to shape around the filling.  It’s basically just a simple risotto….cooked arborio rice finished with butter, pecorino and parmesan cheeses, then filled with a mixture of chuck steak that I ground fresh, chopped tomatoes, garlic and peas.  Once you manage to successfully form a ball, it’s dredged in flour, egg white, bread crumbs, and deep fried.  To provide a nice counterpoint to the richness I put them on  a bed of mixed greens dressed with simple Italian dressing and red onion, then finished it all with freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano.  This dish was a huge hit. Even I had to take a bite of one, and I will tell you they were not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted.  How can you go wrong with stuffed and deep fried risotto? 

Fettucine Aglio e Olio “Deconstructed Pesto”


I thought this simple dish would be a relatively “light” pasta course to include between two heavy hitters.  Plus, it would highlight my ability (or inability) to successfully make homemade pasta.  I started with the basic preparation…olive oil, garlic and fettucine, but then added my own “deconstructed pesto” addition by throwing in toasted pine nuts, chopped basil and a ton of Parmesano Reggiano.   The Sopranos cookbook is great and everything, but I’m big on artistic license.  Everyone dug it, I think it provided the intended intermezzo moment between two killer courses. 

Lasagne made with “Sunday Gravy”


I can’t really say this got the third rousing round of “oh wow’s”…..the reaction was much more primordial than that.  It was more like a “silently chewing with head back and eyes closed, tapping both feet on the floor and one fist on the table” phenomenon.  I ate about 1/4 of a piece myself, and I will say….son-of-a-BITCH this was some good lasagne.  The ONLY issue was the structural integrity…once the first piece came out of the pot, many of the surrounding pieces deflated and pooled.  But this isn’t something you want to let cool long enough to come out in a solid square…it’s all about the ooozy goodness.  I will say the preparation, if you do it like I did, is not something to go into lightly.  With the exception of canned tomatoes (good, imported San Marzanos), this was as homemade as it gets….freshly made pasta, a pound and a half of meatballs made with fresh ground beef, a pound of homemade Italian sausage, a pound and a half of whole milk ricotta, tons of freshly grated pecorino and parmesano.  And of course, the “Sunday Gravy” which served as the base was made prior to that…slow cooked with pork neckbones and the sausage for a few hours.  I played with the recipe a bit, boosting up the amount of ingredients, so I guess it’s my own fault that it was still too big to fit ALL of the layers the recipe called for into my extra-deep cast iron Mario Batali pan (the whole thing weighed 23 pounds total).  I filled that thing to the top and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to get everything melded together.  THIS DISH was absolutely stellar….with doggie bags and dreams both sufficiently filled.  I put some in the freezer to take over to my family later, even though I was rarely tempted while cooking and serving, this stuff has “danger” written all over it. It’s TOO good.

Carmela’s Ricotta Pie

Carmela’s Ricotta Pie

I was going to make my famous signature dessert, “Satan’s Glorious Victory” (several rings of flourless chocolate torte and Nutella HELL), but opted for something “light”…relatively speaking of course.  This is an easy dessert to make, even easier than the soup, but one adjustment to the recipe was a longer cooking time to get it to really set up.  It reminds me of a good version of one of those frozen Sara Lee desserts.  I think everyone took a good 45 minute break after the behemoth lasagne, but they all came back to the table and wolfed it down.  Happy eating by one and all.

Biscotti Regina and Sumatra Lintong

Biscotti Regina

In order to REALLY go above and beyond, I baked up the Biscotti Regina recipe…a tender, almost cake-y biscotti rolled in unhulled sesame seeds.  Then I home roasted some good Sumatra Lintong beans.  I made a nice little to-go gift bag (a la Gary Danko) for everyone to take with them and have for breakfast the next morning.  It’s those little touches that make me “the coolest”.  At least that’s what I hear.

My Cool Friends and a Tired Chef (and yeah, I hate the stemless wine glasses too)

The GangYours Truly

 So in the end…….bada-BING that fuckin’ Soprano’s Dinner was a bigger and better hit than when Pussy took all of that lead to the chest in the “Funhouse” season two ending (“do I get to keep my eyes Tony, can you give me that?”).  Seriously, this was one hell of a good time, especially for me.  I got to feel like a chef…timing the courses, cooking on all burners, and happily listening to the oohs and aaahs from my spot in the kitchen.  The company was 100% pure A-List, and from the reactions the food was top shelf.  With the evening’s soundtrack including the band X, Las Vegas Grind and Gnarls Barkley, it was a full sensory experience.  There were a few smoke breaks, time to stretch the legs, but everyone made it through like a trooper.  I must say that the Mutual Admiration Society is off to a rollicking start. 

As I close out this epic tribute to “some friends of ours” from The Boot, I should of course throw in a gratuitous sex reference.  Not really THAT gratuitous, I’m no Paulie Walnuts, it just dawned on me the other night as I was contemplating the emotional connection to food.  When you manage to illicit an “oh my GOD” response, whether it is during sex or during a meal, it is impossible to keep from smiling.  At some point you have crossed over into some beautiful chemical and neural mystery.  In regard to food, I realize I have very rarely, if ever, been able to truly experience an “oh my GOD” moment for myself…because up until now everything has been about consumption and thinking about the NEXT meal even during an event like a magical 24 course tasting menu at Manresa.   Connecting with the pure enjoyment has escaped me for the most part.  Most people can’t understand that disconnect.  So I guess I’m just happy now to be a cook who can get that response from people at my dinner table, and I’m even happier to be able to SLOW DOWN enough to focus on the execution and then go back to my meager daily intake without the anxiety.  Unfortunately, some of us have to take extreme measures to reign in the monster.  But once he’s got a leash on him, then the orchestration and the appreciation can begin. 


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, Blogroll, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss, weight loss surgery

On Drinking…

 I love wine.  I really, really love it.  I love it like I love a beautiful, dark haired woman from one of the many Russ Meyer classics….the way it overloads the senses, the pursuit of that “perfect” combination of dusky sarcasm and biting, tannic wit.  I guess it’s the same way that I always felt about bourbon, but as I’ve matured I find bourbon to be more of an unforgiving mistress.  I still love her, but it’s more of a casual fling enjoyed best in moderation and among friends.  My addled mind and heart just don’t heal as quickly after a night on the town with her.  You really need to practice safe sex when it comes to THAT tawdry little hooker. 

As many bariatric surgery patients have probably experienced, alcohol consumption was a topic (along with chocolate/dessert….but they’ve never been my thing anyway) presented with a “skull and crossbones” warning when I went to my pre-surgery nutritional education meetings.  Drinking was to be “for special occasions only”, and even then just one drink.  I totally respect that and I COMPLETELY understand how alcohol consumption can slow down weight loss…not just because of the calories but because of the “munchie” factor after a couple of drinks.  However, if you are anything like me, Friday night is a pretty special occasion and it’s great to kick back with friends and a couple of glasses of affordable wine……House Wine from The Magnificent Wine Company, Goats Do Roam In Villages, Melville Pinot Noir, Sokol Blosser’s Meditrina, Qupe Syrah, Torres “Sangre de Toro”, even all that Yellowtail/Little Penguin/Alice White grocery store fodder……the list of good, casual grape is endless.  But it can also, like food, be an obsession for anyone with an addictive personality and a need to “collect stuff”.  One good and bad thing worth mentioning as well is that I’m one CHEAP date now….two hefty glasses and I’m done for the evening.  I’m too embarassed to even say how much of it I could burn through in an evening six months ago….

Anyway, I don’t have the time, money or stamina to let it become an “issue” for me, but recently I started hearing all of these scary statistics about weight loss surgery patients becoming alcoholics.  First, my ex mentioned it to me a couple of months ago, but I thought she was just trying to rile me.  THEN one night I was watching a really good John Popper interview on HowardTV….he has had great success with his surgery and they were discussing it at length.  John mentioned at one point how much he is drinking and smoking now that he can’t eat hardly anything, and that it probably was becoming an issue (his guitarist heartily agreed with him).  Then he went on to say how alchoholism was a common problem among WLS folks.  So that got my attention….a freaky musician type guy who I can relate to giving me this information via an unimpeachable forum like the Howard Stern show.  But it gets even better…..I was heading out for dinner the other evening with a couple of friends (who are a lot of fun to drink with) and mentioned the Popper interview and how I really need to be aware of this issue.  My friend in the back seat goes “yeah, that’s true, I saw a whole thing about that on Oprah”.  Weelllll shit my pants and call me Mayella……..if it’s on fucking OPRAH then who can question it?  I mean OPRAH….she’s no Howard Stern, but apparently she has some pull in this little place we call “the earth”.  Unlike Dr. Phil, who anyone with even a passing familiarity with the psychological profession would like to see DIE a painful, screaming death, I really do think that Oprah is going to pass along some relevant information.  I’m pretty sure I’d rather have a kidney stone than watch her show, but you get my point……Bariatric Surgery + Booze = WATCH IT!

Short of intravenous drug use, I’m not someone who ever says “oh I’d NEVER [fill in the blank]”.  So I’m not having a Saul on the road to Damascus paradigm shift here…I never say never, but I really do feel at this point that the responsible thing to do is keep an eye on it, because a couple of drinks after a long week is something that is SO easy to rationalize.  I’ve never been an AA candidate (unless of course I’m in that famous state of denial they use to sell you on the program), but if you are reading this and you have partied with me “back in the day”, you have at least one story from my well stocked resume of “antics” that you still tell.  With that in mind, combined with the limited capacity for food, the elation over feeling and looking better, the prospect of nice clothes and even nicer women…..I’d be a complete FOOL if I didn’t admit that it is, at the very least, something to monitor closely and always make it a point to bring it up during my therapy visits.  Enough said.  Now let’s go buy one of those Jaeger machines and get shitfaced!!!

Speaking of festivities, I recently had the sincere honor of being asked to officiate a very, very good friend’s wedding in May (the same day I graduate from grad school as a matter of fact).  If you know me, you know my history and that in my late teens through my early twenties I was a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God (the inspiration for my “Unsaved Loved Ones” domain name).  What happened between then and now you ask?  The answer is…..quite a bit, actually.  Anyway, I’m obviously no longer affiliated with the AG, so I’ll probably just get one of those fake licenses online before the wedding, but this event is a huge deal for me (and oh yeah, the bride and groom) and I’m excited that I’ll get to go and buy a new suit in a couple of months that will actually look good.  And this is going to be a wedding that I really WANT to attend…not just because one of my oldest friends is getting married, but because it’s going to kick ass in general, with everyone who is anyone in the Kansas City rockabilly/goth/tattoo/general misanthrope scene in attendance. 

Just like anytime I’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the past, good things start to happen.  I look better, I feel better, I get around more, I can fit into an airline seat, and in general the glass is always half full.  So now that I think about it, THOSE are the things to fill the focus that food (and wine) have taken up in my life to this point. 


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, Blogroll, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss, weight loss surgery

The Century Mark

 My weight can fluctuate three to four pounds on any given day, but in the end it keeps making its way down.  So with that in mind I waited to make sure it didn’t bump up a pound or so for a couple of days before celebrating the fact that I just hit the century mark… hundred pounds lost so far. Overall, I feel really great, but my OCD nature already has me anxious to lose the final hundred.  This topic brings up an argument (one out of many) my ex girlfriend and I would have on the weight topic…just like ladies don’t generally announce their age, maybe guys like me just have trouble discussing their actual weight with anyone but their doctor.  Every other discussion is in terms of how much I’ve lost or am supposed to lose, and this would drive her nuts because it made her feel like I was afraid of divulging something sensitive in front of my significant other.  She had a really good point.  I mean, what is the big deal REALLY when it comes to putting a number on it?  I guess since I’ve been overweight my whole life, it becomes this monster I deal with daily and unsuccessfully try to ignore.  Your self worth is constantly measured against how much you weigh, how much you USED to weigh, how much you SHOULD weigh, “if I’d just stayed on that diet during that one year I’d be so much happier now…..I’d be married, I’d have a better job, I would have traveled more…”, and all of the losses and gains that continue to cripple your self image decade after decade. 

So the week before my surgery I weighed in at 426 pounds.  As of thirty seconds ago when I stepped on the scale, I am down to 325 pounds.  I’m 38 years old, and I probably haven’t seen 325 in at least ten years.  The highest it ever got was 438 pounds, right before I did the KU weight loss research study four years ago.  I lost about a hundred pounds that year, and the rest is, as the cliche goes….history.  One funny little coincidence happened as I began this paragraph…my surgeon’s office called me because they needed to reschedule my 6 month checkup to February 27th.  It just so happens that February 27th would have been my younger brother’s 34th birthday.  I don’t really look for any hidden meaning or message in the timing of this post and the phone call, it’s simply something that connects the happiness of today’s achievement with the reality that this is life (the one you get, so go and have a ball Bonnie Franklin). 

So the weight loss is nice indeed.  A couple of other noteworthy things include the fact that I finally found a great use for those indestructable test tubes from my New Whey protein supplements that continue to pile up.  Spice storage!  I went down to Al Habashi market this week to stock up on spices, and there are just some things that you want to have on hand but don’t use every day….cardamom pods, star anise, whole nutmeg, whole coriander seeds, etc. These tubes are PERFECT for storage. Airtight as it gets, no chance of enough light getting through to degrade spices over time, you literally cannot break them, and they’re just handy to label and stick in the cabinet until you need them.  While they’re not as fancy as those cumbersome test tube spice racks from Dean and Deluca, it makes me (a pretty loathsome non-recycler) feel like I’m giving something back to dear old mother earth by reusing them. 

Lastly, I went ahead and emailed my voice teacher last night to talk about taking up lessons again.  I stopped studying voice about two years ago…I had just bought my house and money was extremely tight, and I was just starting grad school.  I’ll be graduating in May, and although it’s not like money is growing on trees for me these days I can depend on the reserves from my new food budget to take a couple of lessons per month.  When I was in the chorus of Falstaff three years ago, that was such a memorable experience that I figure it’s time to branch out again and see what happens.  The KC Opera is doing a new opera based on “Our Town” in June, and who knows, if things work out I’ll hopefully get to be in the chorus and rub elbows with REAL vocalists.  I’ve been knocking the rust out of the pipes the last couple of days by practicing on Andrea Bocelli’s “Con Te Partiro”…..which I realize in the opera world is probably akin to singing Britney Spears “Oops, I Did It Again”.  But my teacher will get me straightened out and I’ll have some new type of education to obsess over once grad school is over and I have no idea what to do with all of the extra time that normally would have been spent studying or writing papers…..or six months ago, eating about 8000 calories worth of greasy goodness. 

Usually I would celebrate any kind of milestone with a huge meal. Tonight I’ll have some Campbell’s Chunky Chicken and Wild Rice Soup…..I’m a wild man with wildly shifting priorities now.  360 calories is a satisfying meal, and it feels good for that to be my new reality.


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Weight Loss