Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grumpy Birthday

Today is my birthday and I'm grumpy.

I really need to turn this attitude around, because it looks like a promising day ahead, with warm sunny weather and a Dental visit for Elliot (normally that would be a drag, but it means at least an hour of sitting in lush furniture with good things to read, hot gourmet coffee, and full control of the cable television if I choose.) 

Recently, as in yesterday, I made the mistake of stepping on the scale.  It looks like I've put on the freshman fifteen.  The added weight has arrived with regular back pain.  I told myself not to worry about it, because soon I will be hiking 83 miles at the beach.  But then I thought, why wait?  Instead of anticipating my recovery from this pattern of sitting too much and enjoying big meals, I can turn the ship around right now.  So I went crazy and ran 10 miles yesterday and plan to do ten a day until I feel better.  Five in the morning, and five at night.

It must have helped because today I don't feel nearly as much pain. 

There is a shift in my thinking now that I'm heading deeper into the forties.  I used to look outside myself for answers, like a helpless maid needing someone else to help me fix all the messes and disappointments and frustrating challenges that loom large in my imagination.  I intend to minimize this problem, right now, today.

Part of the problem of having more birthdays is that we become more skilled as we grow.  I'm getting better at shopping for groceries and preparing good meals.  I've stopped buying junk that is partially prepared in boxes or in the freezer aisle, and developed a taste for more interesting dishes with fresh ingredients.  The final result is that I eat more, and actually enjoy mealtime.  My palate has developed also as a result of being farther away from my ex smoking date.  I have changed from being the mom who dreaded preparing meals as daily drudgery, to a mom who enjoys cooking.  My father would be proud.

I love French, Greek, and Italian cuisine.   I used to think that cooking those types of meals would be hard on the budget, but actually many of those dishes are simpler and more affordable than some of the classic American fare that I grew up on.  I think I could live on bread, olives and cheese.  Or some fresh veggies with a side of pita chips and hummus.  Or pasta with wine sauce and capers.

It is a sign of growth that I now appreciate different foods.  I used to be heartily committed to the standards of my childhood.  Yet with so many recipes to choose from around the world, and so many new foods appearing at the grocery store, the standard doesn't seem as appealing and comforting as it once was.

I've decided to keep eating and cooking while managing the scale.  I've decided that deprivation is not going to be an option.

New running shoes are in order.

Please pass a piece of that chocolate birthday cake!


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