Sunday, July 12, 2009

Anyway, About My Transition...

Yes, I posted about the meds thing and then promptly went off on some other tangents about relaxation and anger management. These are related in a holistic sense. But I meant to update you about what's happening meds-wise.

My naturopath advised me to finish the cleanse before eliminating my antidepressants. This was disheartening to hear, as the cleanse is taking what feels like forever and I want to make my transition before the weather gets dark and gloomy. So I just keep reminding myself that I have to do this right, or I will never know if I really did this right.

I have about two more weeks. I am on the last phase of eliminating potentially irritating foods. This week's irritating food to remove is anything in the nightshade family. That includes potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants and tobacco. Hot peppers and sweet potatoes are not actually in the same family, hence cleanse-legal for me.

I take full advantage of everything that is cleanse-legal. That's probably why I haven't dropped any weight. (Again, not that it matters; I'm just sayin'.)Certainly my newest discovery, Coconut Bliss non-dairy, sugar-free frozen dessert, is keeping my weight, um, stable. It packs a walloping 209 calories per serving, 124 of them from fat. I also snack on a lot of nuts to replace my cheese-cracker habit. This is better for me because it trades empty carbs for protein, but you don't want to know how much FAT nuts are hinding in their innocent little bodies. And avocados? Lord, have mercy.

The very last, superfatty-but-delicious legal food I want to tell you about is halvah. If you're Jewish, you know what it is. If you're not, here's the scoop: halvah is a flaky, dense, chewy stuff made from sesame seeds. You can buy it sweetened with honey or not sweetened at all and marbled with pure cocoa. It has the kind of mouth-feel you're looking for when you reach for a Butterfinger. In terms of avoiding a blood-sugar spike and crash, it's great. In terms of calories, well...let's just say a four-inch bar of it is on par with a piece of cake.

Not drinking alcohol has to cancel some of those calories out, though. That is mostly fine, not drinking alcohol, a lot easier than I thought it would be. Just please don't somebody write me and say pot is a nightshade or that Percocet is derived from cow's milk. I will seriously weep.

I really could go on for pages and pages about the diet and all I have learned from it, but I realize that not everyone has been obsessed with these things most of their lives like I have. So I'll spare you. (Feel free to use the comments section to share your own insights or ask questions, though. I really get a boner over this stuff.)

After I'm done with the elimination, then I start adding things back to see what kind of reaction I have. If my original problem doesn't seem to get worse in this phase, then the doctor says we might have to look at a hormone imbalance. Now, eliminating a food would be much easier than playing around with hormones. However, if I do have some kind of imbalance, what great info to have when I try life meds-free. This is one of the reasons that I have stuck with the diet and not gone to a specialist to fix my original complaint. (This presented as a skin problem.) In naturopathic philosophy, It's All Related, Man. So let's find out what It is.

Two weeks. Two weeks and I get to start cutting pills in half.

Whatever happens, I'll still have my Dark Chocolate Coconut Bliss.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Make Way for the Crazy Lady

Yesterday my kids and my step-mother-in-law strolled through Boston Common in the sun. A vendor roasted peanuts. A young brunette woman stood in flip-flops and played her violin for change. We rode the Swan Boat around the pond as a young Bostonian frantically pedalled us. We found the bronze sculptures of the ducks from "Make Way for Ducklings." We sniffed the freshly cut grass and blooming trees. I felt that, if it weren't for the traffic, we could've been in another time altogether. We were one of a million families who have strolled along the curving paths of that grand park in the last century.

Lost in my thoughts, I followed Gail as she led us toward Boyslton Street and our car. Jonah trailed behind. As we passed a low wall spread with a street artist's half-finished canvasses, I was only vaguely aware that Jonah had hopped upon the wall. He always hops upon walls in parks. I had glanced quickly at the guy's work - crude, amateurish, but he obviously worked hard to produce the dozens of boards that lay spread all over the wall and stacked against a wide, shade-giving tree. I wondered how he made out. I was about to joke to Gail that my artist brother-in-law probably had a low opinion of these artists who sell their work in parks, when I heard a man shout, "HEY!" and turned around to see a tall, greasy man stalking toward Jonah. "Get off of my stuff!" he shouted at Jonah. "You better watch out that you don't touch other people's stuff, or you'll go to hell early!"

Was this guy kidding? I moved toward Jonah, who had already jumped off the wall and stood frozen. I folded Jonah in toward my body with my hand on his knobby spine and led him away from the crazy man. I did not even stop to look at the man's face. These things happen from time to time when you live in the city, and the golden rule is just to walk away. I would console Jonah as soon as we were out of this man's orbit.

You never, ever provoke the crazy people.

I looked at Gail. "He didn't step on the guy's paintings, did he?" I would've been shocked if he had, but if he had, I did want to at least apologize to the guy and be on our way.


"No," said Gail. "He didn't even come close."

I drew the children like ducklings under my mama wings and began walking away. "Jonah, please don't worry about this guy. You did not do anything wrong."

"I know," Jonah said, shivering.

"You should raise your children better!" the man called after us, still amped and indignant. "You need to teach them not to mess with other people's stuff, you know!"

Without a thought, I reached behind me and held up my favorite hand signal to show the fellow my opinion of his parenting advice. It was dumb. It was crass. It was far from yogic.

I got the response I expected.

"Hey fuck you, Lady! You're going to hell early, too!"

Everyone was silent as we walked away. The atmosphere still buzzed around us with baby strollers and little kids eating giant pretzels. We, however, were all sunk in our bad feeling about the man. I needed to say something to break the tension, to let the kids know that they were okay, that nobody had done anything wrong (except, secretly, me), that the man wasn't really mad at us, he was sick and probably couldn't help the things he said. Gail came to the rescue.

"Sometimes when someone yells at us it's really hard not to let some of it get into your heart," she said.

"Yeah, said Audrey quietly.

I thought for the whole drive back to shady Belmont about why I had done what I had done. I have had other such incidents where my anger management was very weak or nonexistent, all of which I came to regret. In fact, what my husband and I joked morbidly about as my "rage" was one of the main things that led me to quit teaching school. I could not be trusted to handle things well when the rage took over. I didn't know how to change myself or fix the problem. Even with the children, I have these moments that are sheer tantrums. They typically come when I feel I've been insulted, kicked, or taken advantage of one too many times.

I have some notions, thinking about it now, where this comes from. But I don't have the notion how to change.

Someone gave me a little jokey notepad that says across the top, "I meditate, I drink green tea, and I still want to smack someone." There is a reason that person gave it to me.

I am a flawed woman.

But I do raise my children right.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Unexpected Grace

Among my friends with children, it is widely acknowledged that "vacations" to visit one's family are not vacations at all. This is usually the case for us when we fly to Boston to be with Matt's family. It's not that there's anything horrible happening, or that we have to sleep on dirty floors next to the cat box, it's just negotiating the days with tiny kids and their issues and equipment can feel like scaling the mountain of Sisyphus. Add to that a couple divorces, a variety of jealousies, and New England reserve. Tensions - kept under wrap in company, exploded behind closed doors - can run high.

For whatever reason - the summer skies, the beauty of my father-in-law's rose garden spilling over with fluffy white blossoms, the Siamese cats who tolerate the children's attentions - everyone is relaxed. We spend our time drifing from the pool to the patio to the cool, open living room. We snack on the FIL's wife's phenomenal cooking. We lounge on the humongous Roche Borbois sofa and - readers, brace yourselves - we read.

I have read an an entire novel in four days, much of it during daylight hours. Do I need to tell those of you with children what a rarity that is? I have even had time to write long, luscious entries in my journal. I believe the reading and the writing and the time all bond together to create a perfect mental environment for even more elevated reading and writing. And thinking long thoughts.

This is Summer. This is Grace.