Running. With Crystal Light.

sugar

Whether you snort white powder, or you shovel crystals down your gullet, the consequences are…

June-ish, 2016.  It was the last leg of the morning commute, on I-287. The heart starts to race, this followed by a pinch, with its roots pushing outward like the tail of a lightning strike.

Doctor’s diagnosis: High Cholesterol. Root cause? Diet, with any 3 or 4 of following occurring on any given day:

  • Yogurt. Fruit on the Bottom. Jacked up with two heaping tablespoons of Smucker’s Strawberry Jam.
  • Fruit.  Sliced bananas. Floating in Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. Sliced strawberries, same. Blueberries, melon, raspberries, same.
  • Hotcakes. With Canadian Maple Syrup, and a dollop of Raspberry jam.
  • Drinks. Orange Gatorade. Florida Orange Juice from the carton. Artificially sweetened Lipton’s Green Tea, 2 bottles at a time.  Diet Coke(s). Cranberry Juice, swigged from a 1 gallon jug.  And oh let’s not forget, Welch’s Grape Juice, one could bathe in it.
  • Ice Cream. Pint of creamy Chocolate Haggen Daz in a single sitting.  Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream, topped with chopped nuts, chocolate sauce and several shots of Reddi Wip Cream.
  • Coffee. Spiked with 2.0 (yes, two) packets of Nutrasweet or its brethren.
  • Hot Tea. Golden Bee Honey from a squeeze bottle swirls to and coats the bottom.
  • Snacks. Semi-sweet chocolate chips (in pantry for cooking) by the handful. Entenmann’s glazed donuts. Mini Snicker Bars by the handfuls.
  • Sandwich. PBJ, mostly with J, oozing on all sides of enriched and wholesome white bread.
  • Cereal. Including Raisin Bran, supplemented with a handful of California golden raisins and hopped up with a heaping teaspoon of white sugar crystals sweetening the 2%.

And the pre-bed-time sedative…which warrants its own paragraph, not a mere bullet. Grape Jelly trembles as it waits for the tablespoon to dig deep and scar its surface. Jelly coats the teeth and slides smoothly down the throat. A trace lingers on the lips. The body settles in, calm now, with its fix. Bed time. [Read more…]

2:38 am: A little closer to the edge

gif-screens-technology-sleep-insomnia

1:14 a.m.

The digital fluorescent clock leaves its reflection on the night stand. What a pretty color! What is wrong with you?

Turn pillow. Adjust. Hot. I skootch Zeke over.  I get up. Cup hands, slurp water. Then to Toilet.

Switch on iPhone. And then there was Light.  I flip through emails. Blog posts. Morning papers.

1:43 a.m.

Close eyes.

Replay Message on answering machine from a week ago: “Tests good, But”…and a long pause. But, What? “Cholesterol a problem.” Cholesterol a problem. WTH is that? [Read more…]

If I like something, I like it a lot. (Simpatico)

color-hands-portrait-paint

My friend Denise tells me somebody told her, “Shopping is despair,” but my daughter Jennifer says, “Shopping is hope.” Hope gets out of hand. One turquoise ring from eBay is not enough. I must have five. A single secondhand Coach bag is not satisfying – I bid on seven. As I have implied, one is not a concept I understand. When I smoked I smoked three packs a day, when I drank, well, let’s not get into that. If your psyche is a balloon animal and you squeeze to eliminate the cigarettes and whiskey, the crazy has to go somewhere. A friend’s mother ate nothing but clams for six months. Morning, noon, and night, nothing but clams for six months.  “I don’t know what it is – I can’t seem to get enough of them,” she told her son. He shakes his head, but i understand. I eat nothing but broccoli for a month, then yogurt for six days, then (for one glorious week) lamb chops. One day I roasted a chicken and had seven chicken sandwiches before nightfall. If I like something, I like it a lot. Just one doesn’t cut it. I don’t know what it is I can’t get enough of. At least I don’t have shopping bags full of duck sauce.

~ Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir


Photo Source: weheartit

David Carr: Try harder. Create something with your own dirty little hands.

david-carr

David Carr died last week. He overcame drug addiction, survived cancer and struggled with alcoholism. He was a best selling author, a top media columnist at The New York Times and a member of the faculty at Boston University’s communications school.  He was a “mentor to young reports and a blunt critic of those who didn’t measure up.” Here’s a excerpt from today’s paper:

NY Times: David Carr’s Last Word on Journalism, Aimed at Students:

David was interested in people, not their résumés. He didn’t care where someone went to college or who their parents were. So instead of giving his students a standard biographical blurb…David told them this, under the heading “Not need to know, but nice to know”:

“Your professor is a terrible singer and a decent dancer. He is a movie crier but stone-faced in real life. He never laughs even when he is actually amused. He hates suck-ups, people who treat waitresses and cab drivers poorly and anybody who thinks diversity is just an academic conceit. He is a big sucker for the hard worker and is rarely dazzled by brilliance. He has little patience for people who pretend to ask questions when all they really want to do is make a speech…Your professor is fair, fundamentally friendly, a little odd, but not very mysterious. If you want to know where you stand, just ask.”

He encouraged teamwork. “While writing, shooting, and editing are often solitary activities, great work emerges in the spaces between people,” David wrote, adding, “Evaluations will be based not just on your efforts, but on your ability to bring excellence out of the people around you…”

Mikaela Lefrak, 26, was his teaching assistant his first semester. “He didn’t want us to sound like everyone else,” she wrote in an email. “He wanted us to sound better. Extended metaphors should be indulged and encouraged — the stranger, the better. And clichés were poison. ‘Try harder,’ he told me constantly. ‘Create something with your own dirty little hands…’ ”

David warned there would be a heavy reading list. “I’m not sliming you with a bunch of textbooks, so please know I am dead serious about these readings,” he wrote. “Skip or skim at your peril.”

I encourage you to read the entire article. You can find it here:  David Carr’s Last Word on Journalism, Aimed at Students.

His best selling book, “The Night of the Gun,” is a memoir of addiction and recovery. I highly recommend it.  Maria Popova at Brain Pickings shared some excellent excerpts from the book in her post: Addiction to Truth.

And here are links to some of my favorite quotes by Carr:

Carr lived in New Jersey with Jill Rooney Carr and their three children. He was 58. As Scott Peck would say, he took the road less traveled and many of us are better for it.

RIP.


Credits: Photograph of David Carr in 2008 –  NY Times

 

(Truth) The junkie’s temporary relief at the fleeting fix

lab-rat

For most of my adult life, I have read, like E. I. Lonoff in Roth’s The Ghost Writer, primarily at night: a hundred or so pages every evening once Rae and the kids have gone to bed. These days, after spending hours on the computer, I pick up a book and read a paragraph; then my mind wanders and I check my e-mail, drift onto the Internet, pace the house before returning to the page. Or I want to do these things but don’t, force myself to remain still, to follow what I’m reading until I give myself over to the flow. What I’m struggling with is the encroachment of the buzz, the sense that there is something out there that merits my attention, when in fact it’s mostly just a series of disconnected riffs, quick takes and fragments, that add up to the anxiety of the age. How did this happen? Perhaps it’s easier to pinpoint when. Certainly, it began after the fall of 2006, when I first got high-speed Internet, which I had previously resisted because I understood my tendency to lose myself in the instant gratifications of the information stream. […] It all felt so immensely freighted that to look back now is to recall little more than the frantic blur of stimulation, the lab rat’s manipulated jolt at pressing the proper button, the junkie’s temporary relief at the fleeting fix.

~ David L. Ulin. The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time.


Related David L. Ulin Post: We immerse, slow down. Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk

Crave Ice cream? Like no other man. Addicted? Not!

Craving an ice cream fix - Food Addiction - New York Times Magazine

Join me in taking the NY Times Magazine Quiz: Are You Addicted to Food?

Part A: Answer 0 for never; 1 for once a month; 2 for two to four times a month; 3 for two to three times a week; and 4 for more than 4 times a week.

  1. I find myself consuming certain foods even though I am no longer hungry.  (DK Score: 4.  Actually 4×4=16, if we are asked to uphold a Monk-level integrity standard here.  I could eat ice cream 3 meals a day.)
  2. I feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.  (DK Score: 2.  Shocking actually.  I think I have built up a gorging stamina.)
  3. I have had physical withdrawal symptoms like agitation and anxiety when I cut down on certain foods (not including caffeinated drinks). (DK Score: Hmmmm. What if your normal condition is being agitated and anxious?  Let’s split the baby here and give me a 2.)
  4. My behavior with respect to food and eating causes me significant distress. (DK Score: 1. I’m should get “negative” points here.  Eating actually brings me incredible joy and peace.  That is, until my pants begin to snug up.  Then we’re talking sirens.)

[Read more…]

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