Category Archives: Living the disaster

The immune system of a canary

Ok, so everybody makes fun of how crazy paranoid I get when I fly. It’s not just the whole “tons of metal flying through the air” thing, it’s also being crammed into a cabin with a bunch of strangers, breathing re-circulated air. Gross. I also get freaked out from sitting so long – can’t you get blood clots that way?  Yup, I’m crazy.  Before I fly, I usually down vitamins, a bottle of water (I hate being dehydrated), and a couple of aspirin. In all honesty, I should probably just be sedated to spare me and whoever is unfortunate enough to sit next to me my frequent flying anxiety attacks.

I might be crazy, but all I know is that I didn’t take vitamins before my flight on Friday and now look at me. My head feels like it weighs a million pounds my ears feel like they’ve been stuffed with cotton balls. I’ll spare you more graphic details, but I’ve got a wicked head cold/sinus infection. I was hoping the worst of it was on Monday, and then hoped the same thing on Tuesday… same on Wednesday… and now it’s Thursday and it’s the worst day so far. So maybe, just maybe, today is the worst day? Maybe this bug has finally run its course?  Is it just coincidence that I got sick right after I flew with out vitamins?  Maybe…  But come on!  I KNEW that airplane air smelled funny…  It’s probably “the swine…”

I’ve quarantined myself on my couch in my apartment, wishing I had enough energy to walk 2 blocks to the video store because daytime TV is crap (except Ellen, gotta love Ellen). Looks like I didn’t need that juice diet a few weeks ago since I’m currently living on chicken broth, grapefruit juice, and tea. I keep thinking about my favorite line from The Devil Wears Prada: “I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.”  Even if I do lose any weight from this, I’ll pack it back on pretty quickly – all I can think about is being hungry enough for a cheese burger.  Isn’t that weird?  I’m not craving a cheeseburger, I’m craving the craving of a cheeseburger.

Of course, I crave ramen right now, which is making me even angrier about the fact that Ippudo doesn’t do takeout.  So now I’m locked in my apartment, living off of juice, cursing Ippudo every time my stomach growls.

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Don’t write and post at midnight when you’re exhausted…

 

REBECCA Lando's delicious, award-winning, scrumdidiliumptious beeramisu.

REBECCA Lando's delicious, award-winning, scrumdidiliumptious beeramisu.

…unless you WANT to accidentally call the fabulous chef who created Johnny Iuzzini’s pick for Best Dessert at the Brooklyn Beer Cookoff Rachel, when her name is actually REBECCA!!!

 

Thankfully, Rebecca Lando (aka Beeramisu Goddess), is just as lovely as her confections and left a very nice comment, delicately letting me know about my gaff.  File her under “people better than me” as she not only is an award-winning cook, but she’s also not a spiteful “bloggist” as my husband has now labeled me.  “Blogger” just sounded a little too nice in his eyes, so he throws around “bloggist” at me now when I’m cranky.  I’ll take it if I can Frenchify it into “Bloggiste” – c’est plus jolie.

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Unfortunate Cookie

The other night, my husband and I took my friend, Keiko, out for Chinese food to thank her for juicing her arms off for 5 hours.  Keiko’s petite, but my girl’s got guns.  Oh, and Keiko only volunteered to help me juice after 8 hours of eating and drinking… mostly drinking…  which explains why in the world she volunteered at all.  I don’t think she follows my blog because she asked a mutual friend, who works with her, whether or not I was still on the juice…  No doubt hoping that I hadn’t broken after she had juiced for hours.  So nobody tell her…

Well, after a delicious meal of soup dumplings (I’ll post on how to eat them without burning your lips off next week), Japanese eggplant (although they called it Chinese eggplant and I call it Vietnamese eggplant), and sautéed pea shoots, it was fortune cookie time!  We didn’t even get to play the game where you put the words “in bed” after each fortune when Keiko opened hers and said, “Uhhh, I think there’s something wrong with my fortune…”  She read the fortune out loud: “If it seems fates are against you today, they probably are.”

unfortunate cookie
I couldn’t stop laughing, not only because of the odd, fortune-cookie-grammar, but also because this was my fault in one of two ways: 1) I had given her the fortune cookie, which probably meant that this “fortune” was meant for me or 2) This referred to the fact that she was stuck with me ALL DAY and that I made her juice beets in her sundress.  Either way, she laughed through her frown and no one ate the cookie after I insisted on placing it on the table to take a picture.  So not only did I make her juice all day, I deprived her of dessert.  Before you all start shaking your heads at how terrible of a friend I am (which is true), I did buy her an ice cream.

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Yup, you can all start saying, “I told you so.”

Well, I’m out. I’m off the juice. I didn’t even make it 2 days. At about 9pm last night, I crashed. My head, a little foggy all day, felt both like it was floating away AND like someone was chiseling at it.  Then I felt nauseous and freezing cold. Right about then, all I could think was, “Mindy, this is the worst freaking idea that you have ever had.”. And trust me, I’ve had a LOT of bad ideas.

Luckily, my friends Annette and Angela were watching me and immediately sprung into action when, as Annette said, I turned green. Angela watched me as Annette ran and grabbed me some hot vegetable soup with lardons of bacon in it. Awesome. I had dreamed of breaking my diet with bacon and those dreams were coming true.

Unfortunately, I then ran and grabbed some pad thai. Delicious, but maybe not the best idea for someone to down after 1.85 days on a juice cleanse. My stomach cramped and my jaw started to hurt. And my head started to hurt like crazy.

What have I learned?  If you can juice cleanse, good for you. If you’re me – screw it.

my last "meal" before jumping the juice ship

my last "meal" before jumping the juice ship

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Day 2 on the juice: why am I doing this?

It’s really not that bad…  but as I sit and sip my first batch of green juice for the day, I can’t help but wish I had a cheeseburger.  One thing that being on this extreme diet has taught me is how incredibly addicted to food I actually am.  It literally consumes not only my waking thoughts, but my dreams as well.  Last night, I dreamed of eating macaroni and cheese with hot dogs sliced into it – something my babysitter used to make me as a kid for lunch.  We’re talking blue box mac & cheese at that.  For some reason, I loved it and to this day, just the thought of it is comforting.

That must be a sign of how disturbing this diet is for me to be dreaming about something that makes me feel comforted and carefree.  The hunger pangs aren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be, but just thinking about all the different types of food that I want right now and can’t have is like mental and emotional torture!  Garlic mashed potatoes and crispy fried chicken would be amazing right now, not to mention that biscuit on the side…  Last night, I could swear that one of the storerooms at work smelled like pizza, only to have an intern look at me like I was crazy and say, “Maybe it’s because you’ve had nothing but juice because I don’t smell anything.”  And as I’m sitting here typing, I swear I can smell brioche dough proofing.

I think about abandoning the juice-ship every other minute, but I’m more convinced than ever that I NEED to make it 5 days.  The fact that I’m not as hungry as I thought I would be just goes to show how much extra food I put into my body because I WANT to, not because I need to.  Will that help me practice moderation once I’m off this thing next week?  Probably not.  This whole diet just makes me realize how much food means to me.  It’s my friend.  It’s my hobby.  It’s the meaning of life – to make food, enjoy food, share food with others.  I’m reclaiming a greater appreciation for food that only comes with restriction.  It’s thinking about how decadent and delicious that first piece of food is going to taste, how it’s going to feel to chew or crunch it, that’s allowing me to slowly sip my swamp water and actually enjoy it.

I will say this, I feel extremely alert, have never slept better, and my sinuses are completely clear.  My sense of smell is either improving or is delusional, smelling what it wants to smell, not what it actually smells.  And my vision seems to be improving as I can see every, leftover crumb in the couch cushions… Yeah, I actually considered eating a dirty crumb for a split-second.  But I didn’t, ok!  So don’t judge!

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Going on the juice

Remember way back when I started this blog?  I mentioned that I was on a diet, which I subsequently broke 1 post later.  The situation is getting a little out-of-control now.  Somehow I went from being on a diet to gobbling mass quantities of cheese when I’m not on the all-carb diet, and then washing it all down with copious amounts of cocktails and wine.  How bad is it?  Well the skin on my hip bones is now chaffed from being stuffed into my jeans like the muffin-topped, walking-sausage that I now am.

Drastic times call for drastic measures, and those measures go by one name: JUICE.  Yup, I’ve decided to go on a juice cleanse.  Nothing but juice for 5 days.  Being cheap, I’ve decided to make my own juices vs. spending the $70/day.  I’ve also enlisted the help of my friend and library-master, Kim.  We will be using her willpower to push us through this week as I don’t know what that word means.  I’ve only used it in phrases such as: “I will power my way through the rest of this fried chicken even if it kills me.”

Kim and I stopped by the green market yesterday to pick up the necessary “greens” for our core drink.  After we were each carrying a giant bag of Kale, Swiss Chard, and Spinach, we both exchanged the “look.”  I have a feeling that we will be swapping “the look” many times over the next week – a mixture of, “are you sure we want to do this?” and “this is a LOT of ruffage…”

Actually, I’ve gotten a lot of “looks” and “comments” after telling people about my idea.  My husband laughed and said that he gives me a half a day before I down a cheeseburger.  Yummmm, cheeseburger…  Nils said that I’m already cranky now, so why would I want to do something that makes me worse.  Dave said that if I get snappy, he’s going to get help and then feed me until I’m human again.  There were some other comments in there that I won’t mention, but let’s file them under “potty humor.”  With my history of flying into hypoglycemic rage if I haven’t eaten in 20 minutes, people are… nervous.  I don’t blame them.  I think I may dim the lights in the library all next week and put signs up that say, “Beware.  Librarians on juice cleanse.”

So if my posts seem a little angry next week, it’s just because I’m hungry…

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MR4D Survival Guide

I’ve decided that I need a crazy number letter combo nickname à la swine flu’s H1N1. I’m just as dangerous, so I felt this was justified. Not to mention that I, too, want to be viral and highly contagious!  So please spread the word and share my blog so that you can keep me safely quarantined in my apartment vs. out on the streets, handling your food. No, that’s not a threat…

Henceforth, I want to be known as MR4D – an anacronym for my blog title (and title of my life). Coming from a finance and corporate background, I think anacronyms are great. In my experience, if you fill your brain with anacronyms and spout them regularly, all that pesky “thinking” goes away.  Thinking is so tedious, after all. Just ask any member of the GOP – j/k…

Today’s survival tip: carry Salonpas strips. These analgesic strips make all the pain that comes with being a disaster fade away.  Oh, and they’re CHEAP!  Recurring theme with me:). For about $3+change in chinatown, I get 40 strips that for some reason work better than icy hot, bengay, and tiger balm combined. I use them every Sunday after standing and bumping into things with my knee all day during brunch service.

Salonpas strips
They also make these giant, perforated strips meant for large, flexible areas like your back and knees.  My mom actually got me some to try as she knows what a klutz I am.  Well, if I were talented enough to use these damn strips, I wouldn’t need them in the first place!  Right before bed, I ripped open the patch and pulled the giant bandage off the plastic backing. First tip: don’t do that. It immediately stuck to itself and bunched into a ball. Damnit. So I tried to pull the edges apart, but ended up making it stick together even more. I kept trying and it kept mocking me by balling up into a wrinkled, mentholy mess.  Eventually, there were no sticky surfaces left and I ran out of curses.  I threw it out and pulled out another one.

This time, I just pulled off the top part of the bandage and then attached it to my leg.  I repeated this method of sticking part of the bandage first, then pulling off more backing, until my knee was covered.  Usually, I can feel the smaller, non-perforated strips working immediately, but I felt nothing at first.  I could smell it, though, and so could my husband.  He hates these strips because he says I smell like an old, Asian man…  I could see how that would be unattractive.  I went to sleep, unconvinced at how effective this larger, hole-punched sheet would be.

Well, I woke up in the middle of the night like someone had stabbed me.  My knee was on FIRE.  I literally shot up from the bed and grabbed at the blankets until I could expose my legs.  I was only half-awake, so my hands were about as effective as if I were wearing oven mitts.  I kept trying to roll up my pant leg, but it kept getting caught on a corner of the sticky bandage on my knee and my mitten-like hand would slip and the pant leg would roll back down.  Finally, I got my opposable thumbs in gear, got to my knee, and ripped off the lava-like strip from my knee.  Um… OUCH.  In my blurry-eyed, basically useless state, I forgot that ripping off something sticky might ALSO burn.  I then tried to pull the strip from my hands, but like a ridiculous cartoon, every time I pulled it off one hand, it would stick to the other.  Finally, I shook it off and laid back down, exhausted.

I might try these strips again when I’m not sleeping so that the burning heat won’t take me by surprise.  And I definitely won’t throw it onto the floor, sticky-side down next time, either.

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Damnit, Wednesday – why won’t you end already?

Here’s a late post to celebrate surviving “hump day,” and what a day it’s been. Long and complicated story short, I had to drive my boss to the Jerz to pick up an old centrifuge that was being donated to us. Why? The simple explanation: 1) It was free and 2) Dave (boss) wanted it.

Well, Dave warned me NOT to rent a truck from U-Haul, but I thought he was just being dramatic. It was a bit more than dramatic – he basically went straight to his dark place and raged about rude service, ridiculous wait time, broken trucks, etc. The last time he was there, he basically told them that he was going to leave their truck abandoned on the side of the road to be stolen.

I didn’t listen and reserved a truck anyway. Well, I should have freaking listened. I got there at 9 and there were only 2 people in front of me. No problem, right? Yeah… Little did I know that even though I could clearly see 4 people behind the counter, that only one of them apparently felt like helping customers.  And then there was one…  Unfortunately, I’m not sure if the gentleman in front of me in line was renting a truck or negotiating world peace, but whatever it was, it… took… for… ever…  An hour later, I finally got my truck!  Unfortunately, I must have forgotten to tell them that I planned on driving the truck off the lot because they couldn’t seem to find the key.  Great – no really, I have all the time in the world, don’t worry about it.  After 1 hour and 20 minutes, I finally had a different truck, with a key, and the urge to egg U-Haul on my way out of the parking lot.  Oh, and they gave me a truck that had a huge dent on the front driver’s side, making it impossible to open the door all the way.  Being me, I kept forgetting that fact and tried to swing open the door every time I got in or out of the truck, meaning that it would open a foot before bouncing against the dent and flying back at me to hit me in the hip, arm, knee, etc.  Know this, U-Haul – you suck.  Big time.

After my crazy, bruise-filled trip to the Jerz, I still had to work my shift in the library.  I needed a coffee fix if I was going to make it through work and then through wine class afterwards.  Kim told me that the best place to get caffeinated in the school was in Student Services, where they take their coffee very seriously.  This posed a little bit of a dilemma for me.  On the one hand, I adore coffee and the chance to drink delicious and FREE coffee appeals to both my palate and cheap-gene.  On the other hand, I’m a little afraid of going one floor down to Student Services.  It’s very quiet and serious there – very adult.  Even though I’m almost 30 (shudder), I’m the type of person who’d rather be seated at the children’s table at Thanksgiving.  If you haven’t met me or already guessed from this blog, I’m a little… boisterous… and clumsy…  Poise is a much enviable, but foreign concept.

I quietly tried to sneak into Student Services.  No luck, I was forced to confront “sophisticates” – well-dressed, quietly-confident, career-oriented coworkers.  I was awkward and uncomfortable, trying to fill every pause with nonsensical words, while they stared at me, praying for silence.  We quickly parted company and I ran into the coffee room, amazed by the room that I never knew existed.  There was not one, but TWO coffee devices in this magical caffeine cave: an illy capsule espresso machine and a drip-coffee machine that grinds beans to order when brewing every insulated carafe.  I love espresso, but most of the time I just want the largest cup of dark coffee that I can find… for free…

So I grabbed the carafe and began to pour, but there was only a small trickle.  Ok, just unscrew the lid a little to allow more flow, right?  Well, that’s what I did, but still, just a trickle.  You know where this is going and so did I, somewhere so deep inside that my natural inclination towards self-destruction suppressed and muffled it.  I put down my ID badge and keys, which also holds my 2G jump drive where I house a lot of photos and posts for Cooking Issues, unscrewed the top a little more and tried to pour again.  Ok, just tilt the pot a little more, right?  Right?  Well, the lid fell off AND landed on my cup, blocking, no DEFLECTING the flow of coffee into it.  Coffee everywhere.  All over the table.  All over my badge.  All over my 2G jump drive.  Flowing right under both of the coffee machines.  I looked down and then just let my head drop down and shake back and forth as I asked the empty room, “Really?  Really?  Come on.”

I took the lid off my cup and noticed it was only half full.  I shrugged, debated whether I should clean up first or fill the cup the rest of the way.  Yup, I filled my cup first, put it to the side, then struggled to quickly pull paper towels off the roll.  Mid-cleanup, a sophisticate walked by and I froze.  He paused, surveying the mess as I looked up guiltily.  I grinned like an idiot and just went back to cleaning as he walked a way, shaking his head.  Some of us are graceful, and then there’s always me…

On the plus-side, the day’s almost over.  Stupid hump day.

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Disaster advice: wear black… most of the time…

When I used to work at Goldman Sachs, an ex-boss told me that I needed to wear more color.  He said that I wore too much black, and sometimes a little gray.  I looked at him, wanted to say that the reason was because working for him was like constantly attending my own funeral, but just swallowed the urge and walked away in silence.  Yeah, that guy was a turd.  Actually, from what I hear, he’s still a turd.  But at least remembering this story gave me a quick idea for a post.

If you are a disaster, maybe you should try wearing LOTS of black.  No, not in the alternative, trench-wearing, angst-filled teenager sort of way.  If you, like me, come home tired, lie down on the couch, and use your stomach as a table on which to rest your plate while eating a reclining dinner, then wearing black will definitely keep you from having to scrub tomato stains out over the sink.  Ditto for most other colored, watery foods.  Unfortunately, as we learned from Sunday’s post, wearing black doesn’t help if you drop chalky, opaque foods on yourself… like liquid nacho cheese.  Added bonus – especially if you like to burn as little calories as possible while eating like I do – black is slimming.

Just remember to dust yourself off after eating.  Black is great to conceal stains, but sadly, crumbs stand out like crazy.  Oh, and after you dust off crumbs from your torso, shake out the cuffs of your pants if they are indeed cuffed.  Cuffed pants are like little depositories for shaken-off torso crumbs, and it’s embarrassing to shake them out in the laundry room in front of people.  Trust me.

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I’d see Star Trek again, even without Nachos

I’m a dork.  Not a geek or a nerd, which seem to imply intelligence, I’m just a dork.  My brother and I grew up watching Star Wars, Star Trek, basically anything with the word “star” in it – what’s up Last Starfighter!  You’d think that would have made me more astute when it came to Physics AP, but to this day, I still cannot remember 1 single moment of that class.  Perhaps Mr. Cowing should have related our problem sets to how it would have impacted the trajectory of the USS Enterprise…  alright, alright, shutting up now.

So yeah, I was excited to see this movie.  So was my brother.  I think my husband, Chris, and his wonderful brother, Alex, were amused, but nowhere near as ridiculous as my brother and me.  We would have gone opening weekend, but my brother locked himself in his room all last semester and wouldn’t come out until Finals were over.  We all agreed that today would be the day.  I picked up my brother from Penn Station (he had to come in all the way from Jersey) and we met up with Chris and Alex at the theater.  Lights dimmed, previews started (by the way, the Transformers & GI Joe previews played back-to-back and BOTH featured shots of the Eiffel Tower being destroyed… what does that say about Hollywood’s love of the French?), and then “Space, the final frontier…” Continue reading

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