picking things up and putting them down

A print that Liam made for me from a set of photos he shot at the end of last summer. I'm deadlifting 215 pounds. 
It's taken me way too long to get around to the subject of lifting, at least on this blog. If we're friends on facebook, you've probably already noticed me bragging and rhapsodizing--I believe my last related status was "I swear lifting is going to save my life".

Our barbell is set up in the garage. When we finally moved back home after New Year, I was a mess and all I wanted to do was start baking bread and lifting again. I made it out a few times during a false spring in January, but it was April before it warmed up enough for me to get back to any kind of schedule. I don't think I can bear another winter off; luckily, I'm going back to university in September to finish my undergraduate degree and utilize the hell out of my gym privileges.

55 pounds. Overhead press is a bitch. 

The prophetic piece of drywall leaning against the wall in front of the cage.

fancy lifting shoes
I try to go out every other day. I wear shorts or leggings and a t-shirt, canvas shoes or Vibrams. (There was one day in January that I found myself working out in a jersey dress. I went with it.)  I bring a water bottle and sometimes coffee. I unlock the garage, hit the industrial-sized power switch, hard, and squeeze past Tim's bicycle into the half of the garage which does not comprise Tim's workshop, where the barbell keeps the lawnmower and the miscellany company. I put down my drink and my keys and start loading up the bar for deadlifting. I can do all of this even when I can't concentrate on anything else. I can almost always drag myself to the garage and pick up the first plate. Then I'm fine.

garage view

Deadlifting. Always 135 pounds to start. That's the bar with one big plate on each end--it's the lowest weight that puts the bar at a good height to squat behind, grasp, and stand up with. When I started last summer, this was my working weight. Today, if everything goes well, I'll move up through sets of 165, 195, 205, and 215 pounds. And I'll enjoy it--though deadlifting is unquestionably the hardest part, and once I'm done, the other lifts seem less daunting in comparison. Rows: 85 x 5 x 3. Low squats: 85 x 8 x 3. Overhead press: 55 x 5 x 3. Bench press: 65 x 8 x 3.

I have a long way to go (and if I have my way, if I get my hopes up, a very long way to go), but it was with a bit of shock that I realized, late last summer, that I'm pretty good at this. It fits me. I like it. It was with considerably more shock that I realized, yesterday, that at some point I must have rescinded my life-long official superpower wish--invisibility (a classic female)--for strength. I want to be strong. I want to be seen. (That picture that Liam took is my favorite photograph of me, ever.)

plates and tea cup
On the side, I'm working on being able to do pull-ups and chin-ups and handstands. I'm trying to eat properly. I'm biking everywhere and, forgive me, but I have a killer tan. I'm living in a pair of rather short shorts. Oh this summer is delicious.

ETA: Naturally, I have a lifting crush. This is her.


Like Emily, I've spent the past day and a half struggling against my own incapacitated state. Wednesday afternoon, heading home, needing supper right now, I crashed my bike. It's so odd to find oneself crying in a parking lot, a grown adult and it doesn't make a difference. I scraped and bruised my hand badly enough that I've missed two days of work in the cafe--largely two days of work in general, since my hand is swollen, raw, weeping, and swathed in strips of tea towel. I've been able to do very little except read. I'm nearly through Independent People.

Since I was going to be in bed anyway, yesterday seemed like an excellent fast day. I've resumed the intermittent fasting experiment I began two summers ago, combining it with lifting, cycling, mindfulness, L-theanine, and research on stress to try and make further progress on some of the mind/body health issues I've been aware of for some time. The goal is always the same: to be healthy, sane, happy. And wasn't it a severe blood sugar crash that made me unable to keep my balance? Among other things, regular small fasts can help the body learn to self-regulate blood sugar levels. So fasting and resting and nursing my wounds seemed like a good itinerary. But I was miserable all day: exhausted, cold, irritable, unable to concentrate. There was a mountain of work I had to do and I was either unable or unwilling to do any of it. Time was a bitch, sluggishly running away from me. Nothing makes me more angry or more anxious than a "wasted" day.

Today does not seem wildly better. My hand is still swathed. The house is still a mess. I'm eating blueberries and whole milk. I'm reminded of how horrible I felt when I was coming off anti-depressants. I got the flu. I've come such a long way since then. I am so much stronger. I am so much more capable, less embarrassed. Tim wants me to come outside. He says it's beautiful. He's wearing short shorts and a blue t-shirt. He's beautiful. I feel ugly, pale, and reclusive; soft and slimey, a bandaged snail.

I'll go outside though.

ETA: How could I forget how great boredom and restlessness can be for creative output? I spent my entire childhood waiting for something to happen. I never really made anything happen--I didn't know how. I failed a lot. But I also got into this little habit of writing about the fine-grained and torturous in life and boredom and relationships, and it really has served me well.

All to say: two new poems this afternoon and a sketch for a bit of graphic design I'll be needing soon . . . 

July 19, 2013

It's only taken 22 years to get here, but: tonight, my own body is a pretty good place to be.

Today, like a lot of days, I spent about an hour cycling. I restocked the fridge at work carrying 24 litres of milk at a time. I ate lentils and drank rose-water soda-water. I slept outside wearing very little clothing. I squatted with an 85-pound barbell on my back, and I deadlifted more than my own body weight.

I swear I felt older when I was 13 than I do now. When I was 13, my body seemed to be breaking down--I was a disintegrating pile of angry red stretch marks and excess weight that had only brought an uncomfortable, overblown femininity and no new stamina or ability to speak of. The only salvation I saw was in shrinking myself down, becoming impossibly small and slight.

A few weeks ago, I saw a picture on a fashion blog of a tiny, gorgeous woman who was about the size and shape I'd always wanted to be. She wrote that she wanted to bulk up, become healthier because she couldn't lift a frying pan. 

it is summer

These shoots came up two months ago in place of the slender, weak-kneed peony stems I bought and planted last year. Now they are big-boned shrubs; they have tens of heads. The green is the oregano that was supposed to be an annual and nevertheless returned.

The garden beds look nothing like this any more. I do not need to crouch down to look for plants--by now they wave around my knees. It is already high, unstoppable summer, somehow only exacerbated by two weeks of rain, and I wonder how we got here.

It's been a difficult start. Life demands that I take myself in hand: if I am to survive and if we are to be happy, I must be stronger and saner than ever before. So Tim and I continue to talk. I've been lifting weights, like I said I wanted to. I've been tallying up the number of  panic attacks I've been having in horror and shame. I am healthier now than I've been in a long time, but now there is much more responsibility and much less allowance for fear, panic, anger, paralysis. I am an adult. I want to be an adult. The great, progressive change this summer is that I am not inventing difficulties out of perverse boredom or self-destructive instinct. These challenges are blessedly real: money, the house, the tenants, Simpkin, the health of my body, mind, marriage. And the solution is simply to work, so I will.

Resolutions in March

- learn to make my own happiness (because it is not Tim's job, and because circumstances will not always be peachy)
This month, this has meant reading quite a lot on emotional eating, giving myself permission to stop eating food I'm not enjoying, buying a bracelet, sleeping when I'm tired, showering in the middle of the afternoon, baking myself a birthday cake, having little conversations with the Simps, buying tulips, starting Guns, Germs, and Steel in the middle of the semester. 

- complete one wearable sewn garment (hello brown paisley dress)

- master fair isle knitting (in order to make things such as this)
Finally! Progress. This is a Kate Davies cowl pattern called 'Hazelhurst'.

- remove makeup every night (this has never, ever been a habit--now that flossing is down, it's time)
I would say I'm at something like 60%?

- reach goal weight once and for all (140 pounds)
See first item above.

- pay back money owed Tim (so very close)

- pay off student loan (not so close)

- repair book cubes (damaged in the move last spring)

- further improve backyard (especially firepit, but also hope for fruit trees, removal of gravel, chopping of hoary huge evergreen)

- write something (anything) every day (this should be at the top of the list)

- learn more about math and computing (calculus, number theory, Python)

- publish in at least one magazine (which means submitting)
The Blue Hour came out with their first print edition, and were kind enough to include my poem from January.

- give excellent presents (better than last year)

- apply for at least one "real" job (something outside the service industry, something challenging, something that utilizes my skills)

- properly repair bathroom ceiling and baseboards (and begin to learn about renovating a house)
We have a plan. Now to buy supplies.

- play the violin again (Vivaldi's "Winter")

- learn more about baking bread (to begin: read the lovely book Laura got me for Christmas)
Rye sourdough is proving a challenge. I have a live starter, but my first two loaves did not rise well. I bought some whole rye flour, since I suspect that part of the problem is the dark rye I've been using. We'll have another go this weekend. 

- get a tattoo (at last at last)
Progress here too. Now to scrounge up several hundred dollars. Tips.

- put more of myself into relationships (especially that relationship with one Tim Put)

- use my nice things (and remember that I have many)
It was jam our friends made last summer (thanks Mel and Jessie!), my own chocolate mint tea, marzipan which had been sitting in the freezer for a year, cloth napkins from Emily, Christmas shower gel, a hand-wound clock unearthed from the "keepsake" box and set ticking.

- make and repair more, and buy better and less (I need a darning egg)
The keepsake box contained another clock, an Alice in Wonderland clock my parents gave me when I wasn't even a year old. The battery-powered mechanism wasn't working, so Tim ordered me another one, and new clock hands. They arrived today. Also, five years later, we ordered a  Blendtec.  No more semi-disposable 30-dollar affairs.

Quagmire Rules

That horrible season is already upon us, again. There are three weeks left in the semester proper, and nothing looks pretty--not me, not our apartment, not Edmonton, not our treacherous sidewalks. The late March blizzard  breaks me every year. After two weeks of sun (you forget that a ray of sun can feel warm) and rivulets, we have wind and over a foot of new snow.

It occurred to me last week that while my ordinary-time eating habits are actually quite good, the quality and quantity of food I consume during days or weeks of extraordinary stress is probably enough to account for at least half of the weight I would like to permanently lose. Also, no matter what I tell myself to the contrary in the woe and frenzy of the moment, drinking powdered hot chocolate and eating toast and cereal every two hours does nothing for my research essays. These end-of-the-semester bouts of emotional eating must stop. 

Here, then, are some Quagmire Rules. 

1. 1 L cold water first thing in the morning (before coffee, before breakfast) 
2. Black tea with milk and sugar = reviving treat, not default liquid
3. If not hungry for proper meal (vegetables, protein, nicely prepared), not hungry
4. Three meals + afternoon tea, not eaten in bed or at desk
5. Powdered hot chocolate will never taste like it did fifteen years ago (save the calories to make real cocoa)
6. General feeling-gross and depression better solved by shower or nap than sugar 
7. Eat off of a plate, drink out of a nice cup
8. Time does actually exist to cook supper and exercise
9. Save sweet things (ahem, banana muffins) for afternoon tea (not breakfast, not out of the pan)
10. Eating right before bed or to stay awake = not fun
11. Vitamins

ETA: I turned 22 last week. On my birthday morning, I was in the middle of a plank when I looked up and saw myself in the mirror. I looked strong. I looked attractive. I looked fine. I am reminded that I've come a long way since I spent my sixteenth birthday making myself vomit in the shower. I'm also reminded that some of the things I'm still dealing with are the residual effects of having had an eating disorder, and that I need to keep addressing these issues (at first I wrote 'working through this shit')--gently, but conscientiously. 


Everyone seems resolutely set against resolutions. I am not. I love them; as my friend Deanna said yesterday, "And I am always waiting for natural spaces to start things or change things, so I relish the thought of a fresh new year." I am starting with a long list:

- learn to make my own happiness (because it is not Tim's job, and because circumstances will not always be peachy)
- complete one wearable sewn garment (hello brown paisley dress)
- master fair isle knitting (in order to make things such as this)
- remove makeup every night (this has never, ever been a habit--now that flossing is down, it's time)
- reach goal weight once and for all (140 pounds)
- pay back money owed Tim (so very close)
- pay off student loan (not so close)
- repair book cubes (damaged in the move last spring)
- further improve backyard (especially firepit, but also hope for fruit trees, removal of gravel, chopping of hoary huge evergreen)
- write something (anything) every day (this should be at the top of the list)
- learn more about math and computing (calculus, number theory, Python)
- publish in at least one magazine (which means submitting)
- give excellent presents (better than last year)
- apply for at least one "real" job (something outside the service industry, something challenging, something that utilizes my skills)
- properly repair bathroom ceiling and baseboards (and begin to learn about renovating a house)
- play the violin again (Vivaldi's "Winter")
- learn more about baking bread (to begin: read the lovely book Laura got me for Christmas)
- get a tattoo (at last at last)
- put more of myself into relationships (especially that relationship with one Tim Put)
- use my nice things (and remember that I have many)
- make and repair more, and buy better and less (I need a darning egg)

Because, like all resolutions, they are mostly long-term, requiring sustained effort and the taking of many small steps, I am planning to recap on progress made at the end of every month this year. If 2012 lacked anything, it was pause. This year, I must have appointments to halt, think about what has happened and what should happen next. Who I am. What I want. What is right. Hopefully, you won't mind if I do some of my ruminating in this space. Thanks, ever so much, all of you, for listening and responding to my rambling. Happy New Year!

more on the fasting thing

I've done four or five fast-days now. In many ways, the first one was the easiest, but I am slowly figuring out what works and what doesn't.

What works:

- being distracted by work
- drinking as much water as possible
- Pepto-Bismol in the morning
- moderate exercise
- scheduling well in advance

What doesn't work:

- Gravol
- cooking for other people
- fasting on extremely stressful or tiring days
- no exercise
- too much exercise
- too much sleep

The most difficult part is not the experience of fasting itself, but scheduling the best days to fast, and then keeping to that schedule. It's irksome to spend several days at work, eating poorly because I'm tired and stressed out, and then spend my first day off fasting, when I really just want to be cooking delicious, slow, healthy food. So fasting at work is preferable. Fasting on Saturdays, however, while working in a cafe that maintains a line-out-the-door all weekend, is hellish. Luckily, my fall semester schedule is to spend Tuesdays and Thursdays in class all day, Wednesdays and Fridays at work all day, and Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays doing homework/housework, writing, making things, etc. Making a habit of fasting on my work days should be fairly straightforward.

As for the actual not-eating, the resulting lethargy is much harder to deal with than the resulting hunger. Everything I've read or that Tim has passed on to me says that my body should be getting better and better at regulating my blood sugar, and that I shouldn't be experiencing chill or sleepiness for much longer. Already, having fasted two (separate) days without taking any stupor-inducing Gravol, I think the lethargy is abating a bit. Getting enough water is also a challenge. I hadn't realized how much the body depends on liquid present in food.

I am planning to continue with the experiment. Overall, I'm feeling healthier, and (conveniently) less panicked if I can't fit a meal in every three hours. I'm also paying more attention to nutrition on feast-days, wanting to provide my body with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibre, protein, water--not just the right number of calories. I've realized that I simply can't afford empty calories. For too long, I've been paying the price in excess weight, stomach aches, vitamin deficencies . . . (Though it's far, far better than it was. Did I ever tell you about the time I was 16 and developed scurvy from living off free Starbucks? Oh yes. Scurvy. In a big city in North America in 2008. I've come miles from that point, but there is still room for improvement.)

Finally, you're probably curious, but I can't tell you whether or not I have lost any weight. I've not been weighing myself these past few months; I've been struggling on towards maintaining a healthy weight through good habits, and I think I'm on the right track. 

fast day

7:09 am - Got up about an hour ago with Tim, but decided not to bike to Transcend with him before my shift at Duchess starts. I'm not sure how I'll be feeling as the day progresses, and adding 10 hilly km to my commute probably wouldn't be particularly wise. I've decided to skip breakfast; it seems possible that eating a small meal might be more difficult to manage psychologically than eating nothing, but I haven't ruled out a bowl of soup after my shift ends at 2:00 pm. I've taken my vitamins with water and a cup of tea. For the moment, I'm dealing with a slight bit of nausea and headache, but otherwise I feel fine. Curious about how the day will pan out.

8:25 am - Off to work on a gravol tablet and two pepto-bismol--the nausea was getting more insistent. I'm surprised and wonder how much is psychosomatic, how much is nerves. I usually eat as soon as I get up, but not always, and it's only been 2.5 hours.

1:48 pm - Home from work. (It was slow, and they let me leave half an hour early.) Since I had my last meal around 7 pm last night, I've now been fasting for 19 hours. After taking the nausea medication this morning, I felt fine, if a little slow, on my bike to work. Similarly, my shift was not particularly difficult, though I was at times cold, zoned out, and more irritable than usual. I'm not feeling hungry at the moment. Time for some water, tea, and maybe a short nap.

6:37 pm - Stomach rumbling, craving cherries, coffee cake, and black bean burritos. But I'm doing well. 23.5 hours down. This hasn't been so bad.

8:12 pm - Since I've been sleepy all day, I'm going to sleep.

duly reported, if a bit late (and an experiment)

Last week: I got strength training in four days out of seven, water in six days out of seven, garden harvest in two days out of seven (though we did eat our own produce almost every day--straight from the fridge), vitamins six days, 3 proper meals (well, I did my best) seven days, fun exercise 5 days, bedtime routine 6 days. Overall, not so bad. We spent the long weekend at Tim's parents' place, keeping Tim's little sister company, and I always find it difficult to maintain healthy habits while away from home. I made a concerted effort to reduce sugar while increasing fruits, vegetables, and protein, and I think I definitely improved on the status quo. There was homemade hummus, pears, bowls and bowls of berries, peanuts, cucumbers, borscht, roast chicken, raw pumpkin seeds, cherries, tanniny black tea, pesto, wholegrain bread, butter lettuce, Liberte yogurt . . .

However, it is time for a new list, an update on perspective, another BBC video. (After blogging for four years and posting one or two videos the entire time, I realize that three out of the last twelve posts end with some youtube gem. Odd.)

But allow me to digress. Tim enjoys keeping up with the cutting edge of research on ageing, and has been talking for a couple of months about the large body of evidence supporting the benefits of intermittent fasting. As someone recovered from an eating disorder, who has fought long and hard to be able to eat regularly, I was suspicious. I said to Tim, Isn't this what they used to call a starve-and-binge cycle? Apparently not.

Intermittent fasting can be practiced on a wide variety of schedules, ranging from daily 18-hour fasts (you fit all of your meals into a 6-hour period), to bi-monthly (that's once every two months) four-day fasts. The benefits for general health seem pretty considerable, but the point of it all is to allow your body  "time off" from metabolizing food, halting the compulsion to constantly produce new cells, giving it time to repair itself, and thus slowing down bodily decay. The anti-ageing effects of keeping mice's metabolisms out of overdrive by keeping the mice on a very low-calorie diet have been well-documented for decades, but intermittent fasting takes a different approach. Far from being the newest manifestation of glorified anorexia (like some diets I could mention), intermittent fasting is not necessarily associated with caloric restriction, as this article explains. Nor does this kind of fasting involve avoiding food for as long as possible, only to overeat later. Recommended calorie intake remains recommended calorie intake.

After watching Michael Mosely's take on it last night (while finishing the first sock! but more on that later), I was very intrigued. Thus, and by now probably not surprisingly, my goals for the upcoming week include an experiment. Like Mosely, I am most attracted to the five-two schedule, and have decided that this week on Saturday and Wednesday (two of the days I'll be spending at work), I will eat a small meal at breakfast and abstain from food the rest of the day. Sunday, Monday, etc., I will eat normally, whenever I feel hungry. I'll blog my observations both "fast" days, and if things go well, I may try another several weeks.

As for other goals, I would like to continue with strength training, water, vitamins, a bedtime routine--and add a daily walk.

a few specific and achievable goals

I haven't forgotten about this post, or all that underlies it. (Not for a minute.) I have been eating more vegetables, more protein, drinking more water. I've cooked a whole salmon and made a gorgeous meal out of yellow wax beans with a bit of butter. It's a start. But it feels tenuous, and I need to feel strong again.

To that end, a few specific and achievable daily goals for the next 7 days, to be duly reported on next Tuesday:

- strength training/isometrics (core, arms, or legs)
- 3 litres water
- some small garden harvest
- vitamins
- 3 proper, sit-down meals; no more than one snack
- a form of fun exercise: jumping rope, hooping, walking, etc.
- bedtime routine: teeth and face cleaning (no going to sleep with mascara on), lotion, benzyl peroxide, herbal tea, etc.


So. When was the last time I talked about my health? Ah yes, you're right. I've complained about it frequently over the past several months. I feel fat, I feel tired, and round and round we go.

More to the point, when was the last time I put in some sustained effort? Two summers ago I was discovering the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for the first time, and I felt great. Although I'm a lot stronger than I was then, and make a small handful of "good choices" regularly and automatically, I have definitely stopped being as deliberate about eating, sleep, exercise, breathing . . .  My mood has suffered. I've become more difficult to live with. My self-esteem is at quite an ebb. And this post is as relevant as ever.

Throughout this recent era of slackery, I have managed to do some serious thinking. I've read some books, I've watched myself, and I've drawn some conclusions. Number one: I do know how to care for my body; it's just that ninety-percent of the time, I am unwilling to do what needs to be done. Not unable, but, for various reasons, unwilling.

So. What needs to be done? I will get rid of the passive. What do I need to do? Starting now?

~ Drink more water--between three and four litres in total every day.

~ Consume far less sugar. If I've learned anything about what my body wants, it's that it almost never wants sugar. I feel nauseous and lethargic every time.

~ Consume far less everything. I'm becoming convinced that my constant stomach aches are the result of too much food, and that even my most conservative portions over-estimate my hunger levels.

~ Stretch, do isometrics, breath deeply, walk quietly, use lavender lotion, smell the rain--in short, concentrate on all sorts of sensory pleasures.

~ Stop eating breakfast for lunch and supper. Stop eating bread at every meal. Substitute protein and vegetables.

~ Start blogging (again) about struggles, thoughts, progress. This journey is worth my considerable attention, and I suspect I need public accountability.

Dear Lizzie: rules for today

- don't stew in your juices. the things to be done-eventually are clear-cut (you know they are), or will be when you actually need to do them. meanwhile, what is clear-cut right now? this morning, you've got coyote-scattered trash all over the driveway (pick it up), a carpet to dry out (leave the space heater right where it is, even though it drives you crazy), new petrol-coloured nailpolish (paint your fingernails, even though your face is broken out, even though there's a hole in your leggings, even though you are not yet thin-and-pretty), Sokal's Fashionable Nonsense at page 132 (finish it), and a "personal essay" in shameless imitation of Annie Dillard outlined (start it).

- listen to your body. chances are, it's not hungry, it's scared. remember? you just dropped a house and tenants on it. but it's stronger than it thinks; the cake in the fridge is not a source of impending destruction. not even a job in the service industry or a wet basement floor need be your undoing. maybe you need a nap. maybe water. maybe a hot shower, maybe chocolate, maybe a walk in yellow boots--almost certainly, ballet class tonight.

false spring

Happy New Year! Is it even winter?

Some resolutions:

- floss!

- run the 5k in April--officially, this time

- finish a new story

- tend a proper garden come spring (tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, rainbow carrots, beets, kale)

- save 4000 dollars

- lose 9 pounds (I've maintained the same weight and size for about a year now, which means that I'm at a net 15-pound loss from the 164 I started at during the summer of 2010. I still don't feel totally comfortable, or pretty, or healthy, and would like to get down to 140.)

- work through a math text (Zorich)

- work on becoming a better cook (Indian and Thai food, especially)

- finish sewing first dress (brown paisley)

- drink champagne for 21st birthday

I am getting stronger again. Push-ups, planks, pike crunches, free weights, running, stairs.

I started painting the second book cube this evening. Whipped-cream white. It's only taken me six months--what of it?

And the rough shape of a new poem today. Something novel and important, slightly shocking; the crucial thing is to treat it naturally.

I would like to give away a couple of felt books. How to go about it? I am not good at creating hype. If you want one, speak your piece. (I will post anywhere.)

Time to

quit being an urchin
buckle down
be a lady
drink coffee
stay up late
get good posture
attend every class
bite my tongue
take notes
take photographs
take responsibility
straighten my hair
memorize poems
taste wine
wear a dress
lose more weight
finish the book
develop some penmanship
shave my legs
save my money
study math
assert myself
make a list
cross it off

French Women Don't Get Fat

I was brought up to shift uncomfortably in the face of pleasure. There was no place in my parents' house for small, frequent doses of sensuality.

As a child I did not relish my food because I did not relish anything. I was trained to fixate on credit card debt, hated jobs, calories, clutter, splurges, regimens, money, gadgets, junk food, excess weight--not fresh flowers, dark chocolate, cotton sheets, a signature perfume, the flex of my leg muscles, a perfect tomato, a hot bath.

Over and over, I plonked myself down to watch Amelie .

I don't think I realized that at the root of her charmed life was a deep appreciation of everything under the sun I had been taught to ignore or abuse. I did realize that whatever it was that I craved, French women had it. It was all over the pages of Victoria magazine, a constant feature in cinema, and the main attraction of Peter Mayle's Provence books (which I got ahold of when I was nine or ten). I had a persistent feeling that the world could be cracked open like a coconut. If only I could act French enough to become French, I would be given the right hammer.

Now I am reading a book called French Women Don't Get Fat. It is a revelation. I do not need a hammer, after all.


I promised 7 days of photos, didn't I?

Though I'm sure you're all sick of reading about every morsel I consume, I have been finding the photography (the preparation, the set-up, the slow-down, the attention, the detail, the accountability to the internet) helpful. A couple days of not-photographing my food convinced me. I'll post one more day of meals, then possibly just set up a second blog, where I can document the repetitive and mundane to my heart's content.