They cut down a tree on my block.  Not a particularly remarkable tree, just a tree that I used to park my car under.  I remember it, because whenever I parked my car there it would end up filthy!  Bird poo and buds from the tree were littered everywhere and I was always mad at myself for not remembering that parking spot was open for a reason!

Also, Mr Video closed.  Mr Video was a video rental place owned by a family friend of mine.  It was around the corner from my apartment and a constant in my life in Cobble Hill.  If I ever got locked out of my apartment or stuck in the rain I could always find refuge at Mr Video.  My husband even worked there for a year.  During that time, people thought I worked there too!  I was there all the time and even moonlighted there one night.  When they took down the sign last Saturday, the owner’s daughter was crying on the sidewalk.  I felt a twinge in my heart.  I wanted to cry too.  I didn’t want Mr Video to go.  Passing by the naked storefront all week made me sad and nostalgic.

Even our local homeless man, “Drummer”, is gone.  Some called him “Bum on Drums” because he was always drumming on trash cans and light poles on Court Street.  He would sing into an empty cup as if he was a ‘tween singing into a hairbrush at a slumber party.  Drummer was totally harmless and a fixture of life on Court Street.  I only saw him angry once when he knocked down all the newspaper stands (you know the kind where you stick a quarter in to get a paper) on my corner.  That scared me a little.  But where did he go?  I haven’t seen him in months.

Something about this time of year stirs things up within me, uncomfortable things, lonely things.  A crispness in the air brings me back to my childhood on Long Island.  The sun goes down early, I find I need a jacket, and I have no excuse to buy school supplies.  Oh and I start listening to sad music.  But why?  What is my problem?

For most of our lives this change of season leads us to a new school year.  I’ve been off the “school calendar” for 7 fall seasons now, and yet I still miss it.  I still want to go to Staples and pick out fresh paper and new designer pens.  I want a chance to reorganize my study habits and buy new color coded binders.  Maybe all I seek, is a fresh start.  No new school year, so no fresh start.

I just put new furniture in my bedroom and have been shopping wildly at Container Store (perhaps a stand in for Staples?) and organizing my many bottles of lotions and potions and jewelry and hair products I never use.  I think I tried to create my own fresh start by re-doing my bedroom.

All of this starting coming to my while I was walking along Court Street this evening.  I walked down to Barnes and Noble to buy a gift for a friend who is moving away…more change.

Have I changed?  Am I still the same silly girl buying protractors and pencils and blue binders for Social Studies class?  Or have I made some changes in my life since then?  Have I learned anything? Have you?

All this ruminating made me think- “Ohhhh let me eat something, that will feel familiar and good!”  But I didn’t want it.  I wasn’t hungry.  I didn’t have the urge for food as medicine.

I guess I’m still a girl looking for a fresh start, a chance for change, and a good fall jacket.  I’ve made changes.  I measure food now, I snack on dried fruit.  And yet I’m still the same.  Still working hard to keep those changes going – organize – and resist pasta and ‘smores.

The Problem with 90210

September 21, 2009

The way I see it, there are 2 problems with the new 90210.

1) Rob Estes is the hottest guy and he plays THE DAD! No one was lusting after James Eckhouse last go around, am I right?
2) These girls are too. damn. skinny.

Granted, the previous version of 90210 – “Beverly Hills, 90210” had the super skinny Tori Spelling, but there was also Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea Zuckerman) to balance out the mix. This time all the girls look the same. Bean poles with big hair! Do they think the big hair balances out the fact that they are grossly underweight?

It makes me think of Friends, around season 3 or 4 when Jennifer Aniston tried to be as skinny as Courtney Cox and ended up looking like a scarecrow with boobs. As an actress and someone who struggles with weight issues, I can sympathize that watching yourself on screen can be torture. I remember looking at pictures from my engagement party and being MORTIFIED at how big I was. The day of the party I didn’t realize I was so huge, but then the hundreds of pictures showed me (from many angles) looking like a Thanksgiving float! I obsessed over those pictures for weeks. I thought of what I should have done to lose weight before hand. Of course, it was too late. That was in September of 2007…it took me until February of 2008 to join Weight Watchers and get my weight under control. Five months of looking at those horrible pictures and feeling bad about myself. It was horrible, and yet, I kept eating. Unfortunately, the pictures upset me when they should remind me of a very happy day in my life. It’s sad.

Now, I consider myself the “average” American woman. I wear a size 10. I am medically “overweight”. And I worry about my weight every day (which also seems to be a requirement). These women on television are NOT the average woman at all. Which, of course, we know when we watch them. But does it make it any easier to not compare yourselves to them? I look at thos 90210 girls and I shudder to thing at what other 16 year old girls are thinking when they watch. Knowing that in 2009 there are more overweight and obese children THAN EVER, we have to acknowledge that many of the girls watching 90210 are struggling with weight issues. The skinny-ness portrayed by the 90210 cast is so unattainable and unrealistic that any girl watching must feel like a hopeless cow.

How is this helping the obesity problem in America?

I felt like a fat fuck for FIVE MONTHS before taking action because of those damn pictures.  Are these girls going to be able to make the jump from “miserably fat” to “losing weight” like I did?  Or are we just too lazy?

I know this is such a clichè, but wasn’t Marilyn Monroe a size 14?  Can’t we get back a healthy image of an American woman on TV, instead of these ridiculous extremes?  The super skinny and the fat girls.  Who is representing me on tv?  Who is a size 10?

Plus, I’m such a product of the media environment…I just realized I was watching Amy Poehler and judging her for being heavier than she was before her pregnancy.  Shame on me!  She looks fine!  She looks HEALTHY!

So here’s my call to action to Hollywood, the media, casting directors and everyone who judges celebrities:  “Bring back the average size woman on TV/Film.  We need to see her so we can rebuild a healthy America.”

Pastis, was it worth it?

September 9, 2009

SATC at PastisPastis is one of those super trendy restaurants that I hear about and see on Sex and the City, but never think I’ll actually go to. First, can I even get a table? Second, is it super expensive? Third, is it just plain-old-lame to go somewhere so trendy?

Well, my husband and I found ourselves hungry and in the Meat Packing District on Labor Day and started walking around looking for a table. The Standard Grill, nope – they don’t serve food from 4-5:30. Ditto for three other places. So finally, we landed at Pastis out of desperation!

It was a weird time of day to be eating dinner, but we got a table, so we had to make the most of it.

For an appetizer, I had the Fresh Arugala Salad with Parmesan and Lemon(!)

arugala salad

It was a hefty portion for $11 and I plowed through the entire thing. Any green partnered with cheese, is a-ok-by me! It was very light, had very little oil olive dressing and was entirely refreshing. I added a little salt and pepper to it – perhaps it could have used a bit more dressing. Though, I admit, it was healthier without it. A+

Ran had a less healthy choice (God love him!) with the Onion Soup Gratinée. Onion Soup Gratinée<img alt=”” Which he allowed me to take a few bites of, and it was probably the best french onion soup I’ve ever tasted. It had a little bit of oil on the top of it, not sure if it was released from the cheese or what? But, it was very decadent and tasty. The bread inside was also soaked with the broth and very tender. A+

For main entrees we decided on Homemade Fennel Ravioli for me and Steak Frites for Ran. fennel ravioli
The ravioli were stuffed with a green filling and I found them to be pretty interesting, but not the most amazing ravioli in the world. The roasted tomato that accompanied it and the parmesan cheese around the ravioli were the highlight of the dish. B

steak fritesThe steak of the Steak Frites was a hanger steak. The frites were very crunchy fries that soaked up all the juices from the steak and became wonderful vehicles for steak drippings, thus, making it ok to eat steak drippings! A (the Steak Frites at Pomme de Terre in Brooklyn is just as good)

Finally, dessert. Chocolate Mousse. chocolate mousse

So light and fluffy and filled with a deep chocolate flavor. It was buttery almost, the texture being so creamy and smooth. I wanted desperately to finish the entire thing, but couldn’t, it was just a tad too rich. Hands down, the best chocolate mousse I’ve ever had. A++

And of course, Creme Brulee.
creme brulee

I didn’t try any of Ran’s Creme Brulee (I had the best chocolate mousse ever in front of me!). Ran says “It’s up there with the best Creme Brulee I’ve ever had.” A+

So, was it worth it?

The check was over $100 (with the tip) and considering we had a 3 course meal (but no drinks) I think it was standard pricing for the Meat Packing District.

I think it was worth it. Great food, definitely would go back. And hell, I’m going to just write in my food journal “Pastis” and leave it at that. No need to figure out how many points were in the two bites of Onion Soup Gratineé. I’m going to file this one under “great meals that I enjoyed, and moved on from!”

I need to eat cheese

September 7, 2009

This may sound shocking, especially since my blog is called “My Love Affair With Cheese”, but I haven’t been eating cheese for quite some time. Well, not “eating” cheese means not buying it from the grocery store. Of course I eat cheese, but only when I’m out. Then it seems like an indulgence, and maybe like something I can control.

I went to Fairway recently and decided it was time for my once annual purchase of Cambozola cheese. I picked up a wedge and gladly dropped it in my cart. I proceeded to enjoy it over the next several days and remembered why I love it so damn much. It’s smooth and tangy. The bite of the gorgonzola excites my tastebuds in amazing ways. After the cheese was devoured and gone, I got to thinking… (how very Carrie Bradshaw of me!).

I don’t buy cheese (or Oreos for that matter) because I truly don’t think I can control myself around it. I know if I buy it, I will eat it. Probably with lots of bread. And not in portions that are human. So normally, I buy my once annual wedge of cheese, devoure it, and then move on. This time, I decided that giving up one of my favortie foods is not only foolish, it’s not in the spirit of Weight Watchers!

The whole idea behind WW is that you still eat what you want (in moderation) and you DON’T ELIMINATE FOODS FROM YOUR DIET. So basically, I’m “allowed” to eat cheese. So, I’m going to!

I bought another chunk of Cambozola and this time, I cut a chunk off and slapped it on my trusty WW food scale. I weighed it, 1 ounce equals 3 points. I toasted one 3 point pita. And I went to town! I enjoyed that ounce of cheese and pita and really felt in control of my cheese addiction.

I realize this sounds a bit simple. Like, “duh, Marie, just friggin buy the cheese, count the points and eat it.” Seemingly, this is not a hard concept. But in reality, it is. I had developed a habit way back in 2001 for eating cheese by the brick. To let go of that behavior, to give up the supreme indulgence of eating cheese this way, was to admit that I had a problem to begin with. To admit the problem, is to admit that I am not the type of person who can eat cheese by the brick, who can eat without worrying about it, who can eat it PERIOD. That’s why I bought it so infrequently. I didn’t think I deserved it.

Maybe I could have been enjoying many chunks of cheese since I started my journey in February 2008 if I had figured this out earlier. Perhaps, I wasn’t ready to admit that I CAN eat cheese — in 1 ounce portions.

I do love cheese, and I intend to continue eating it. Because my weight loss journey isn’t about being on a diet. It’s about uncovering the person inside of me who is longing to get out. It’s about letting go of the previous bad behavior that made me so unhappy (but was so comfortable). It’s about changing what I am, so I can become who I am. It’s about eating cheese, in sensible portions, and enjoying every minute of it.

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