On Unrealistic Meal Plans

My friend Katie was visiting a few weeks ago and she left behind a book and a dress when she went back to Boston. I promised, as any good friend would, to mail the dress back as soon as I was finished reading the book. The book was this-

JIAM38Basically, we’re all going to die. Not because I read a diet book after swearing never to do so ever ever again. But because Jillian Michaels thinks the world is trying to kill us (pesticides, artificial flavorings and plastic- WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.) and after reading this, I’m convinced she’s right. But whatever. I’m not going to sell you on the book or this whole metabolism-hormone business. That’s her job.

I’m going right to the meal plan. Because really, Jillian, what the hell were you thinking? Just ONCE I would like to see a realistic meal plan that doesn’t involve seven days of completely unique meals (3 times a day, that’s 21 unique meals), so that the writer is bearing in mind that unlike some people, not all of us can afford to buy all of this stuff for a WEEK’S WORTH OF GROCERIES.

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I’ve come across this kind of ludicrous thinking in diet books before but Jillian’s takes the cake. She helpfully supplied a shopping list for all the things you’d need for a week- the shopping list took up THREE SOLID PAGES. If you actually were to buy all of that stuff, not only would the majority of it be wasted and go bad by the time you got to it (that’s the price we pay for eating “whole foods”), but you probably wouldn’t even manage to get it all to your car in one go. Not to mention that the list must’ve added up to at least $250. I think I was so irritated by the lack of conscientiousness on that point that it soured the book for me a little. And it’s a good book (HORRIFYING but good).

One last point and then I’ll shut up about it (it’s been an unbearable day and it’s only 3. Oh my God)- she actually addresses someone who is all, “Hey, Jillian Michaels, maybe not everyone could afford to buy organic everything including household cleaners” and says that if you’re already spending a $100 a week (A WEEK) on food, then you shouldn’t have a problem. $100. That’s more than my budget for two weeks. So basically I’m going to die. Yo might as well inject me with pesticides and mate me with a hormonal cow. (Also, Jillian, that thing about how you shouldn’t eat out as much anymore because you don’t know where the food is coming from and then you said you cut down and now you only go out to eat five times a week(!!!) was hilarious. And then it occurred to me that, unlike me, most people can probably remember the last time they’d stepped foot inside a restaurant. As I said, it’s been an unbearable day.)

Posted in Fitness, Food | 2 Comments

Happy Anniversary

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Tomorrow is my parents’ anniversary. I would tell you how long they’ve been married but I’m not exactly sure (which isn’t so much a testament to my love for them as much a testament to my terrible memory). All I know is that it’s been almost forty years and I want what they have.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Etc. | 1 Comment

These Things That I’m Learning

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I never really thought about it this way. Never really considered that this was how it was going to be- this is where the hardship lies and this is what they don’t tell you in all those books about writing.

The hard part is not the rejection slips, the hastily written replies that read, “No thanks.” Two words that shrink three years of work into nothing. That I was anticipating. I was waiting for them. Rejection is a well-armed ship and I was standing on the hill, ready for it. Expecting it. I had a sword and everything.

But this was never mentioned. The fact that after I got one of these little numbers, I’d have to keep writing. (Which, I mean, it’s obvious that this is how it would be. I’m silly to have imagined otherwise.) Still, I was ill-prepared for how to do it. I was not ready for what it would take to shake it off and keep going, all in the same day, in the same morning. Day after day after day.

In theory, it’s easy. You just do it. And if there was a pair of Nike sneakers in my vicinity right now, I’d throw them through a window. Because you can’t just do it. Your nasty inner critic has a name now. It has multiple names and multiple places of business, where it gets paid to do this, to say no, to echo your inner-most fears about what you can and can’t do. Learning to shut that voice up was hard enough when it was just me, alone at my computer, willing myself to finish something that possibly no one would read. hide_me

But no one ever warned me that the voice would come back and it would bring friends. And that not only would I have to shut them ALL up, I’d have to do it fast and dive right back into a pile of empty pages. I have to learn how to do this now. I have to learn so I’ll learn.

I’m open to suggestions.

Posted in Books, Writing | 2 Comments

In the Kitchen

Crab cakes!

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And eating at Alinea! Oh, my! (Note: I make fun of people who don’t eat fish in my review, completely forgetting Lindsey’s line about how her boy is… one of those people. My apologies for everyone else who is too chicken to eat fish. Love ya.)

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Settings

When I was in New York visiting my parents, I had a lot of time to roam around their neighborhood in Amityville. Lest you think a writer is ever not working, I came up with the idea for The Witches Sib when I was there for Christmas of last year, characters popping into my head as I wandered past these old, Victorian and Colonial-style homes that dot the tree-lined streets. I always came back to this one in particular.

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Something about the peeling paint, the wraparound porch, the way a house like this seems to watch you… there’s something witchy about it to me. When I went back last month, I snapped a few pictures of other houses that will create the setting for the story.

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Posted in Art/Photography, Books, Real Estate | 2 Comments

Chairs and Stares

I’m thinking of doing a little redecorating and I need an armchair.

I’m thinking yellow. Fun, cheerful, a burst of sun.

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Or red. Yes, definitely red. Fun, cheerful, a burst of… something RED.

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Oooh, black and fuzzy.

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A cool, olive-like green?

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Or maybe brown. Yes? No? Oh, fake decisions… How you mock me so.

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Images collected by design is mine. Cookie: Raya Carlisle, LivingEtc, flickr: dottieangel, Chris Everard, LivingEtc.

Posted in Interior Design | Leave a comment

Hurdle

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I jumped over a big one today- my first literary agent submissions. And while I’m expecting nothing more than polite, “No thank you” emails in return, I’m trying to be ok with the sheer ACT of submitting my first book. This process is notoriously slow, painful and my odds are about as good as that lottery ticket in your pocket. So let’s take our props where we can get them, shall we? If I don’t keep my talking myself up about every infinitesimal step, I might never take another one.

Posted in Books | 2 Comments