Thursday, December 29, 2011


Let's talk about sugar for a moment.

A few years ago, my friend Lauren would preface social gatherings (and I use that term loosely, as most of such events were nights at my apartment where I'd make dinners and boxed cake mix cupcakes for a handful of friends once a week where we'd watch Alias together--like I said, this was years ago) by announcing whether she was on or off sugar. And true to form, if she was on sugar that week, the indulgence of one or five cupcakes would result in such a dizzying display of ridiculous fun that by merely witnessing her frosting-laden binges, I maybe felt a bit hungover the next day on more than one occasion. (Perhaps it's worth mentioning that this was despite the fact that none of my friends drank.)

There are some rather amusing photos on my MySpace from this period in my life. Did I mention that this was years ago?

At the time, I thought that Lauren was super sensitive to sugar. At the very least, her being "on" or "off" it dictated whether she would dip into the proverbial opium den of carbs nestled in pastel papery hugs. Or, what you might call cupcake wrappers. And honestly, despite her "off sugar" weeks ending in deeply philosophical talks on my balcony about life, relationships, direction, and how each of us were fumbling toward a hazy horizon (we all hoped it meant things were headed in a vaguely positive direction, despite that overwhelming feeling of impending doom familiar I'm sure to most single late-20s folk), somehow I ended up answering my doorbell always kinda hoping Lauren would be on sugar that week.

Fast forward to present. Scratch that. Fast forward to last night, and me scrounging on about a pound and a half of leftover sugar cookies. It felt pretty great, at least that whole emotional eating quadrant of my brain thought it felt pretty great. The portion of my body that was forced to process the butter, sugar, and so-called happiness I'd ingested didn't take it nearly as well. I felt like poo warmed over. Let's keep it real here, guys. I'm talking zero energy, hard to get up this morning, stomach hurting. It seems I have angered my body. I stand by the statement that even my cramps today were a direct result of my flippant cookie indulgence last night.

I now recognize that Lauren wasn't ultra-sensitive. She recognized sugar's allure and at least attempted to fend it off. I have spent much of my life in the same boat. Attempts to eat healthfully were often thwarted by dastardly bowls of ice cream (giving up and eating in the bathtub, for shame!), glaring contests with bags of candy I'd eventually devour (thankfully these were mostly reserved to post-holidays, having dragged a small child's body weight in sweets home from my family's), and oh yes, more pies and cakes quickly disappearing than I can count (I have no excuse for this, however you should know that I gave an entire pumpkin pie to my mail delivery person just to get it out my face one particularly difficult year).

So certainly I have fought the pull of sugar, but in the past couple years, felt I had overcome it. Eating mostly vegan, focusing on nutrient-dense whole foods, and curbing my incessant nature to snack constantly, I felt most unhealthy cravings fall to the wayside. And it wasn't until I quit eating sweets regularly that I realized how much sugar affected me. I had used sugar as an anti-depressant, albeit a rather inefficient one. But I was plant-strong now! If I have a cookie, I can have one once in awhile and I don't want another one! Or eight!

Right... Hello, holidays! It took exactly four days staying with my family, eating what was available (including, well, anything in sight), eating perhaps out of stress, to re-addict myself to my old friend, sugar. Not that I didn't eat plenty of good stuff. My mom had asked me for a shopping list prior to my visit to make sure she had things I could eat. So I had my fill of hummus, olive tapenade, certainly a few vegetables and even a Tofurkey. But pile a tiered serving tray full of sugar cookies and apparently I am no match, especially after a few glasses of wine.

And that's how first night I came back home to reality after the holiday, I ate cookies for dinner. That's cookies, plural, not as in two, as in about two dozen. I may not have spun into a sugar-induced frenzy, but I did fall asleep on the couch watching tv.

So now I'm attempting to remedy my poor spiky blood sugar with kale. Spinach. Leafy greens my body wants to reject, as they contain precious little amounts of butter, sugar... you know, holiday crack. But I will persevere. I won't even get up after I post this to have a cookie. Promise.

I'm off sugar.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


In my fridge, there is usually a container I keep my scraps in. The bits that some people might whirl down the disposal or throw in the compost bin--onion ends, root vegetable peels, the stalks of greens, mushroom stems, tomato guts and seeds, produce that had perhaps gone a bit too past its prime to eat on its own. These are gold. After a week or so, I have collected enough endly goodness (along with a couple smashed garlic cloves, bay leaf, peppercorns, and whatever herbs I have lying around) to make a giant pot of broth. Just add water and boil for 15 minutes. Yayyyyy. Look ma, I just turned trash into scratch.

Yep, making broth from basically nothing, what I normally may have tossed in the garbage, really excites me. It's kind of like finding money on the sidewalk. Okay, it's not like that at all, except you really are saving between two to four bucks for every four cups produced. And this, people, is fun for me! Then there's the added bonus of having complete control over sodium content (the only time I add "salt" is when I add a strip of kombu for flavor) and the flavor of your broth. I freeze it in ice cube trays for later (aren't I just clever as hell?). When you've got broth with loads of flavor and no added salt, you can use it as a base in so many recipes, replace the water in dishes, lube up your cooking pans with it instead of oil.

Guess what? You can still compost the boiled veggie guts after you strain your broth from the pot. Amazeballs.

There is beauty in this process. It is salvage, green, nourishing. It is as much an art form as baking a loaf of bread (we'll get to that later). It's sustainable living, and when you subsist on a plant-based diet, you're truly missing out if you don't take advantage of all parts possible.

If you are lucky enough to have a vegetable garden, you really are closing the circle. I don't. I would try it if we had a patio larger than a matchbook, or a backyard, but alas even then it would be highly likely that I might kill any plants if I touched them. I have a black thumb. But that's also another story...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 1

I had a lofty goal of starting a blog and writing daily in it. As starting projects often go in my life... here I am two days later, fumbling for words to say. And I suppose it's too late for my first post to be on November 1, but I did create the blog on that date. Score one for me!

It's a mystery to me why my need to write and self-publish suddenly dried up in the midst of my twenties, but in recollections it does feel it was quite sudden. I attempted to start several projects, including a distro that fizzled out after two or three years, and a music zine to accompany a friend's album release, but I couldn't quite get it together enough to really make good on them. And logging into Livejournal every week or so turned into once or twice a year once Facebook really took hold.... yeah, perhaps the new social media has eaten my brain. At any rate, I stopped writing and for the larger part of things, reading as well.

So here's me, the former author of such zines as Satan's Panties and The Fog of Clarity, former proprietress of Gluestick Distro, coming clean after years of hiding out, and inking up my ribbon.

I have been living my life quite well. I just haven't been recording and reflecting. Words fall without meaning. Art has not been made. Maybe some passion has also fizzled out. Many things must be corrected.

What I HAVE done is become an adult, on paper anyway... getting my legal lesbian marriage on, buying a home, raising two beautiful dogs (30 Rock holla!). I'm proud of my life and I am mostly happy, on most days. But yes, corrections can only be done through action, and I'm back to reignite my life as a recording. So I am taking the now and zapping it with a little bit of touchscreen magic though this iPhone keyboard of mine. I'd prefer a typewriter, but they're so hard to get through the screen.

Thanks for stopping by my party.