Thursday, June 20, 2013


It is past midnight as I write this, and I am writing it in an attempt to clear something from my mind so that I might get a few precious hours of sleep before 5:00AM rolls around.

I had intended on naming this post "Secrecy", but in the spirit of true honesty, I think "Disappointment" is a more accurate label for the feelings jumbling around inside of me right now.

If we look back in history at failed events, failed persons or failed governments or organizations, it seems that secrets - whether they be well-kept or ill-kept - have played a part in many an unraveling.   Going back to the beginning of time, in Biblical terms anyway, Man's first failure occurred in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and then tried to hide their mistake from God.   Since then, how many times have the bonds of trust been broken because of secrets?

Here's the trouble with secrets:  The best-case scenario is that the secret is revealed as planned, but there are always people who are smart enough to put two and two together and figure out that something was in the works that most likely could have and should have been revealed much sooner or included a wider circle of participants.  The worst-case scenario is when a secret is leaked out unintentionally, usually because of the influence of alcohol or false bravado.  It has been my experience that the worst-case scenario is usually the scenario that happens most often.

I think that people rarely intend to be conniving nor are they are plotting or circumventing someone.  In fact, many times they genuinely believe that they are doing the right thing or "doing what's best for everyone in the end."   In their minds, there are not any secrets at all, but merely facts and circumstances that will be revealed at the optimal time and place.   The trouble with this "big picture" approach is that there is no way to anticipate the reactions of the receivers of the" news".  Are they to feel exciting about this turn of events?  Should they feel a sense of gratitude that the "big reveal" was sprung on them and that they didn't have to be bothered with the decision-making process?    Or, will some people have dissenting opinions that, if voiced, will be too little, too late?  Will some people feel excluded or belittled?  My guess and my experience tell me that in any random group of people who are supposed to be working together for a common cause,  there will be a mixture of all of these reactions.   My experience also tells me that if there is even one person who feels betrayed or marginalized when they "come in at the tail end of the story", then that is a problem.

Transparency should be the goal of any group of people working toward a common cause.  If you are proposing something that is in the best interest of all and does not fly in the face of earlier commitments, what do you have to fear from disclosing it to all parties?  If there are dissenting opinions, is it not better to hear them before making the commitment?  If you have no ulterior motives and you aren't trying to circumvent something, then you should not fear dissension.

Too many times in my life I have been on the outside looking in.  Yes, I will admit that I have been a keeper of secrets quite a few times, so I can say that it feels much better to be a secret-keeper than to be the one in the dark.  After all, what does it say to the person kept out of the loop.... that they can't be trusted?  That their opinion is not wanted or isn't important?       Or more likely, that their opinion would be a roadblock or a hindrance.  When I have years of experience with something, I often find myself playing devil's advocate.  I have this annoying habit of raining on peoples' parades by reminding them of past mistakes and expressing my desire not to repeat them.   This is a quality that is not always prized by everyone... I realize that.      Since I don't see myself changing anytime soon, I guess I will have to learn to live with the disappointment of rarely being in on the ground floor of much of anything.

"Secret" is an ugly word.   Better words would be "Plans" or "Something in the Works".  These words are so much more positive and can be attributed to true acts of altruism -  surprise parties, for example.  In the end, only the initiating person really knows the difference.   And in the end, that difference means everything.

These words represent the prattling of someone who has been awake for 18 hours and who found something out this evening in what I feel to be a most unfortunate manner.   I felt blindsided, frankly.  I will admit that I don't know all of the facts, so it may be entirely premature for me to be venting in this fashion... but, one does what one must to try to clear the brain and steal some sleep.

The End.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What I've learned so far....

There is a world of nutritional data out there.  It is almost overwhelming.  Thanks to the internet, you can find nutritional data on just about any edible item.  What I've learned so far....          

Polenta is naturally low carb and sugar free.  Fry it up in a touch of olive oil and drip a tiny bit of hot sauce on it and you'll almost forget that you aren't eating rice, potatoes, bread or pasta.

Perry's no fat, no sugar added butterscotch swirl is really delicious.  The baby cone portion at Canalside Creamery appears to be about half a cup which equates to only 90 calories and a bonus of 4 grams of protein.  The cone itself is problematic but not excessively so.  I, of course, prefer the sugar cone, which -as the name indicates - is not the healthier choice.  40 calories vs 17 calories for the wafer-type cone, and twice as many grams of carb.  I know I should chuck the cone altogether and ask for the stuff in a dish....... but somehow a half a cup of ice cream would just look so pathetic and sad in a dish.  So, from now on... wafer cones for me!

I bought the Good Seasons cruet to make my own olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture.  The cruet came with 2 packages of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix.  Guess what the #1 ingredient was?  You guessed it..... SUGAR!   I promptly dumped them in the trash.

I learned that my associate at work loves pita bread.  I gave her the pita that came with my souvlaki salad last week.  Today I ordered souvlaki salad again, (from a different place), and - again - it came with a pita.  I IM'd her :"want a pita?".  No lie, she was at my door in 20 seconds flat from the other side of the office.   Symbiosis at its finest.

Coffee that tasted delicious when loaded with cream and sugar doesn't taste so good black.... and vice versa.  Our favorite breakfast joint had what I would call mediocre coffee.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover this past Saturday that it was delicious when consumed black.  Man, that is some strange chemistry.  

So, I've only been at this for a little over a week.  I have to admit I'm actually looking forward to more of these little discoveries.  Cue the headline that reads "Diet Secrets that Skinny People Know".....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bread and Wine am not blogging about a Communion Service.  This title represents the final hurdle that I must jump when I am dining out.  And dining out is an activity that I enjoy and indulge in frequently.

Dinner yesterday took place in the very gourmet Rue Franklin.  In my previous life, I would have ordered the onion ravioli appetizer (sounded divine) and the Lobster Salad entree (which was a plethora of lobster, pasta, potatoes and creamy dressing), and God knows what for dessert.  Last night, I ordered a salad appetizer that smelled and tasted like it was plucked right from the backyard garden.  When I was a small child, I was babysat by a woman who, with her husband, managed to plant a huge vegetable garden in her backyard ... in Tonawanda.  It was sort of a miracle.  Her salads always had a certain fresh aroma.  Last night was the first time I've inhaled that particular perfume since I was a child.  Sublime.   My entree was "bronzini en croute with beurre blanc and tourneed vegetables".  Sea bass.  It was served in a merengue crust that was delicious.  I know what beurre blanc is (a decadent butter sauce) and thanks to my daughter, I know that if it's done properly, it will be light and unobtrusive.    And it was done well.  The beurre blanc was a sparingly light enhancement, not the center of attention.  It was my first experience with sea bass and probably not my last.  For dessert, I chose the fresh fruit sorbet.  A trio of juicy flavors - cantaloupe, strawberry, and apricot.  Very yummy and refreshing.

Where the wheels came off the bus were - of course - with the bread.  It was placed on my bread plate. I ate it.   The restaurant had gewurztraminer on the wine menu.  I ordered it.  I drank it.

I am going to put this dinner in the "success" column, because it was such an improvement over what I might have ordered only 2 weeks ago.  The interesting observation that I came away with is that you have to pay a lot more money in order to be served portions of food that would not feed half the defensive line on the Buffalo Bills.  It's not hard to understand why there are so many of us who struggle with our weight and why people on the lower end of the income spectrum are not going to automatically be thinner because they can't afford to eat well.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I have a lot of issues with food.  In my adult life, I have probably lost and gained a total of 200 pounds.  Right now, I don't feel as though I'm ingesting huge quantities of food -yet, my weight has reached an all time high.  My summer wardrobe is a nightmare to navigate when I'm like this.  A year ago, I did what would previously been the unthinkable.  I began shopping in the plus sizes for tops.

I know what my demon is.  I am a classic carboholic.  In particular, I am addicted to sugar and white flour products.  One time in my youth, I was bored during summer vacation and I ate an entire loaf of white bread.  No butter, no jam, no peanut butter.  Just bread.   I rarely butter a dinner roll, because I don't want anything masking the wonderful, yeasty taste of white bread.  Mmmmm...

I have come to the conclusion that this addiction is really no different than any other.  I can't eat just one dinner roll or just a half a cup of breakfast cereal.  I absolutely must eat the entire basket or half the box of cereal in a single sitting.  Don't get me started on pasta.   If I force myself to eat what, for most people, would be a normal serving, I am not proud of myself.  It is impossible to feel proud when you are battling a craving that makes your blood sugar go bazurk while your brain is screaming "a little more won't hurt.   just a little more....".  Meanwhile, the rest of the food on my plate tastes like swill, no matter how well it's prepared, because I can't stop thinking about the rolls or the pasta.....  or what bakery confection might be waiting for me on the dessert menu.  In the pizza restaurant, I am the person eating everyone's unwanted pizza crusts.  Pizza Hut deep dish crusts are divine.  At home, Digiorno and Wegmans pizzas have unbelievable crusts.  Italian restaurants that serve bread sticks might as well not even give me a menu.  Just pass the basket my way and leave me to my devices.

I must quit cold turkey.  This (I'm told) will eventually cause my ridiculous cravings to go away.  Flour and sugar are officially out.  I simply can't handle them in any quantity.

Almost every diet I've tried has recommended keeping a food journal.  I find this idea to be .... what? ....... well, basically, something that I have no desire to do, ever, and a waste of time.  What does appeal to me is the idea of a diet blog.  So here I go.  I have already started drinking black coffee - yes, I was that person in line ahead of you at Tim Horton's ordering the Extra Large Triple-Triple.  No more of that!  I have also decided that I am not going to weigh myself at home.  Ever.  I will be going to the doctor for a checkup in January.  I am determined to change my eating habits and make the change a permanent one, so I will let the doctor's scale and my blood tests do the talking.

Finally, I know that it is no longer politically correct to refer to this as "dieting" and that we are good little soldiers who are aiming for a "lifestyle change."  Indulge me on this, readers, and allow me to save keystrokes by using the words "diet" and "dieting".  I promise you, I know what the real goal is.

Onward and upward ....