Sunday, January 29, 2017

Madeleine reviews HIDDEN FIGURES

I gave Madeleine a choice of 4 movies that we could go see today: Sing!, A Dog's Purpose, La La Land, and Hidden Figures.  After watching all four trailers, she decided she wanted to see Hidden Figures (and the feminist in me cheered loudly on the inside).

The following is a transcript of her review of the movie:

Question: What movie did we see?

Madeleine: ahhhhhhhhh Hadden Figures.

Question: What was the story in the movie?

Madeleine: About three women and they... it, it was a-- they made the better world, they made the world a better place because the world wasn't a good place it was just like men thought that people who were black skinned shouldn't go to the same bathroom or drink the same coffee or anything like that.  They were like mad, and then the three women changed the world by being good people, by fighting the badness in the world, and they and they got to be stuff that they wanted to do and the MOVIE WAS AWESOME!!!

Question: Was there anything that you didn't like about the movie?

Madeleine: No.  It was all just great.

Question: What was your favorite part of the movie?

Madeleine: When they changed the world.

Question: Do you think this is a movie that other people should go and see?

Madeleine: Yah!  Because it's GREAT!!

Question: What do you think is important about this movie?

Madeleine: That the girls changed the world.

Question: Who do you think did the best acting?

Madeleine: The three girls: Catherine, Dorothy, and Mary.

Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson, and Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughn 
Question: What was so special about these three women?

Madeleine: They changed the world by being good people and staying resilient and being kind and doing what they could do to fight the bad parts of the world.  They were really really smart.  Katherine was really good at writing the words of goodness to get the rocket ship to blow up -- not to blow up (explode) but to create the trip to outer space.  And Dorothy wanted to be in charge of everybody, she wanted to be a supervisor of the computers.

(incidentally, I agree, I think everyone should go and see this movie!)
I'm saddened to see that Taraji P. Henson was not nominated for an academy award.  I thought this scene was extraordinary and what I would play for a clip at the Oscars. HIDDEN FIGURES clip

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

100 Days

It's been 100 days with a new relationship with sugar.  I actually have had sugar a few times; I had some pumpkin bread with chocolate chips on halloween and the last time I went to Chicago I had a brilliant piece of cheesecake (that I split with my daughter and still we could not finish it!!).  But mostly I don't eat sugar unless it's in fruit.

As of this morning I'm officially down 30 pounds for the year.

It's been strange these past three weeks because I got sick right after halloween and no one knows what's wrong with me (though the best guess they have is Colitis).  I have no appetite and I get sick after eating so I'm not eating very much, so you'd think I'd at least be dropping weight as a bonus for all this trouble, but not so much.  I go in for a colonoscopy in a week (sexaaayyyyyy!) and hopefully will have some answers and go back to feeling healthy soon.

Just wanted to let everyone know it's been 100 days.
I don't really have any time to do more.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

nice milestone

Today a friend who I see on a regular basis but who I haven't been able to chat with in a long time asked me "are you losing weight?"

this is the first person who doesn't know that I'm doing this to ask.

That felt nice!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How to survive Halloween without sugar? ... hide

It's been awhile.  I apologize.  I was directing a show and then it opened and then it closed and since then I've been trying to catch up on all the grading I wasn't doing while the show was getting ready to open, then running, then closing.  Long story short: I'm 70 days sugar free and I've lost almost 15 pounds in the process.

Mostly it's been going very well.
Except now we enter an ominous time of year...

I went to a halloween party this afternoon.  A super adorable party thrown by the mom of one of the other kids in my daughter's daycare.  We got all dressed up:


And we head over to the party.
At first I was really pleased with how I felt.  I was standing there chatting to these moms, I was standing next to a huge plate of cupcakes AND a giant bowl of candy corn and candy pumpkins (which I have always weirdly loved) and I was FINE.  I was standing there thinking how cool it was that I was fine and that i didn't feel hungry and I didn't want any candy at all.

And then, I guess I hit a point where I had stood around people eating sugar for too long.  And suddenly I really really wanted some.  I didn't have any (unless there's sugar in doritos because I had some of those since I couldn't the treats and I didn't check the bag b/c f-that man!)  I made it out in tact.  But I really wanted to have some.

It's been interesting.  Most of the time I don't want sugar.  Except when I suddenly do.  And usually that want is more like I need comfort than any sort of hunger.  I also think there should come a time when I do chose to have sugar as a rare treat and then go back to not having it.  I just don't know when that will be.

I found a lovely snack at the grocery store today.  I got a few things that were only sweetened with dates or coconut sugar (both of which are allowed in IQS/SWEET POISON books) and all of them tasted like ass until I sampled some DANG COCONUT CHIPS.  Super lovely.  So I just need to replace this:

 with this: 

and maybe I will survive halloween.

next stop: thanksgiving!

Oh, ps, fun story... Today at the grocery store I was looking for Kool Aid packets to dye Madeleine's hair for the costume and she saw some containers of Kool Aid juice (not packets) and we had this conversation:

Madeleine: Momma, what is this?
Me: Well, that's a drink that some people like, but it's not very good for you.
Madeleine: No.
Me: yes, honey, it's junk, but it's a drink that's sort of like juice and some people like it.
Madeleine: They like it?  But it's bad for you.  It has sugar.  How can they drink it?
Random Lady Shopping Nearby: You are doing a great job mom!

yes yes, it was a lovely moment of pride for me.  And then she ate 3 mini cupcakes, drank a capri sun juice box, ate a packet of skittles and a lollipop at the party and I still felt like a jerk because I said "no more sugar" when all the other moms were just letting their kids enjoy the treats.

we fight the battles we can fight, right?

Friday, October 2, 2015


I've just entered Tech Week.

For those of you who have not been in a play in awhile (or ever) this means that we are soon to open and all the various elements of production (actors, costumes, scenic, lighting, props, hair/makeup, and sound) all get to come together in one room.
This can be a stressful time.

So far this show (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot) has been amazing to work on.  I have great designers coming up with brilliant ideas; great actors also coming up with brilliant ideas; and a tremendous stage management team who are keeping everything on track.  Rehearsals have been fun and inspiring and production meetings fruitful.
Basically: living the dream!

The reality is, though, that I'm a single parent of a small child who hates to be left behind (read: crying hysterically at the window "JUST ONE MORE HUG!") and there's also the other (more than) full time aspect of my job: the teaching.  So my days have been long, and while everything is great, it's still a lot to stay on top of.
Or, you know, almost stay on top of.

I'm also experiencing some low-grade sickness that seems to be storming through the ranks.  For me that means a sore throat and some chills and an overwhelming desire to lie down (though I pretty much always feel an overwhelming desire to lie down).

pretty much the only way to keep me from the chocolate
was to tie me to the mast
Last night at rehearsal when we were on a break, I walked past the vending machines on my way to fill up my water bottle.  My relationship with the vending machines changed somewhere around week 3 or 4 when I stopped having to turn away so that I wouldn't see the candy inside and thus be tempted by it's siren song.  Now when I walk past it, I look at the stuff inside like it's a wall of shoes or transistors radios; there's absolutely nothing that registers in my brain as it being food.  Or at least, it didn't until last night, when all of a sudden I saw the hydrox cookies sitting there (something I NEVER would have thought about eating 7 weeks ago when I was still living in Sugarlandia (population: almost everyone) and I really wanted them.

This was surprising.  I haven't really wanted any sugar at all in awhile.  I also knew I wasn't hungry.  I was just really tired, about to get sick, and running on fumes and I just wanted some comfort.  Sugar comfort.

Last night I resisted; though I started sort of bargaining with myself whether maybe I could have a real treat once in awhile.  But today I still sort of wanted some cookies (also interesting because with this slight illness I don't really want to eat any food).  When it suddenly dawned on me: surely one of these No Sugar websites will have some cookie recipes!

And lo and behold they did!  (my I QUIT SUGAR book also had recipes, but they were at home and I wanted to know if I needed any new ingredients) I printed out several recipes and made these two different ones tonight, with the help of my lovely daughter:

I made a double batch of the lemon coconut cookies because it called for the juice and zest of one lemon and I wasn't about to zest half a freaking lemon.  Also, I know the kids in my show are curious about this no-sugar thing, so I'll bring them in and let everyone try them.

I don't think anyone who's been eating sugar on a regular basis will think this, but I think they are both WONDERFUL!!  The first bite I took of the lemon cookie I thought "good lord, this doesn't taste like anything!"  But then I chewed and swallowed, and the loveliest taste blossomed in my mouth.  Soft and warm and almost sweet (or maybe sweet, but in the tiniest, least-offensive way).

I was still feeling sick so I just heated up a cup of chicken stock for dinner, then had one lemon cookie.  Then Madeleine (who was RRRRREAALLLLLYYYY excited to be making cookies) tried a bite of the lemon ones and spit them out.  Her palate still has a fair amount of sugar every day (try as I do to shield her, she still gets juice and granola bars and graham crackers at school)(and I let her have yogurt and oatmeal and jelly at home--but her story is another post I'll get into) so I'm sure these cookies tasted like dust to her.  So I finished her little cookie.

After I put her to bed I got a little plate out and put one of each cookie on them and carried them into the living room with some (whole) milk to write this.  And I couldn't finish the second cookie.  Or the milk.  They sit on the coffee table to my left waiting to go back to the kitchen, their snack destiny left unfulfilled.

And the thing is: these cookies are lovely!  I'm so glad I made them.  I am excited to eat them again sometime.  But I don't want any more now.
Said me before this NEVER!

not gonna lie: feeling a little Obama-y

oh yeahhhhhh!
ps. wish me luck on tech week :)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"A Sunday Trip to the Grocery Store" AKA "...Are You F*cking Kidding Me?!?!?"

About two weeks into this sugar-free world, I cleaned out my pantry.  It became a thing of order and beauty:
That hot chocolate tin now holds sugar free dutch cocoa and that "natural" (*eye roll*) peanut butter is almost gone and has only been eaten by the 3 year old.
I had been meaning to do this ever since we moved in two years ago and I just threw everything up there while unpacking, but now I had a reason to do it: get rid of the sugar!

And I did.
I got rid of everything except the Vermont maple syrup and a few "chinese" food options that have sugar in them, and those went in the shelf over the sink that never gets opened (hoisin sauce and mirin cooking wine, I am sad I've had to hide you).

And that was that.

except, I just found out that was not fucking that.

After I finished reading Sarah Wilson's book I Quit Sugar, my dad told me about a book he'd read called Year of No Sugar.  This book chronicles a woman (and her family) as they spend a year not eating added sugar of any kind.  I bought it.  I'm reading it.  La-la-la.  Suddenly she starts talking about how she and her husband can't eat out anywhere because everything has added sugar.  I got a little sniffy and thought "surely you can just have non-sweet things like meat and vegetables and cheese and bread, etc."
Here's the thing this book has just opened my eyes to: ALL THAT STUFF HAS SUGAR IN IT.

I know, right George?!?!

(Me reading the sugar book)
Still I think, ok, sure there probably some crap brands out there that add sugar to bread or mayo, but that can't be all of them.

welcome to my sunday at the grocery store...
We arrive and luckily find the magic purple cart (which means Madeleine will be happy).  We go through the produce section and get what we need.  Then I move on to the bakery.  I pick up several loaves of bread to find that they all have honey, sugar, molasses or some combination of the three.  Fortunately they have some "artisinal" french bread that has no sugar so I get some of that and think I'll get a loaf of one of the organic/uber healthy options.  Except when I get to the bread section there are literally ZERO loaves of bread that do not have sugar in them.  Even the so-called healthy/organic ones.  Everything has added sugar.  The same is true for all the mayonnaise jars for sale.  And the sandwich meats.  And the freaking bacon.  THE BACON.

I found sugar in chicken stock (not like we should buy commercial chicken stock anyway since it doesn't taste like anything), sugar in the organic veggie chips (!?!?), pretty much anything that has a sauce in it (especially tomato sauce), salad dressing, it just went on and on.

this was me at the grocery story 

So a deeper level of sugar purging went on today.
I was pleased to find a brand of bread (Ezekiel) in the frozen organic section that didn't have sugar.  I can make bread (I can even make mayonnaise) but I'm not sure how to find time for that sort of activity now when I'm supposed to be in rehearsal till the middle of the night every night.

Anyway.  It was frustrating, but I guess I'm glad I know.  Helps me in the future.

This is the label for Wonder Bread (which I wouldn't have bought before hand) but it honestly
wasn't that different from the rest of the store brands :(

oh well. bring on week seven.

Friday, September 25, 2015

40 days and 40 nights

40 days and 40 nights of rain
(this is pretty genius)

Today is day 40 of not eating any sugar.

I'm almost through week 6 of the I Quit Sugar 8 week plan to detox from sugar.  This is the week where you're supposed to add back in some fruits.  I had some grapes on Wednesday.  They were lovely but I haven't really wanted any more.

I miss the idea of sugar sometimes, but I feel very differently about the junk food packaging I walk past every day.  I see a candy bar or cake or ice cream or whatever and there is no kind of pull whatsoever.  I'm more likely to get sad about not having baked beans than cookies.

So this continues to work for me.

I haven't been losing weight at the same speed as I did in the beginning, just creeping down ounce by ounce.  But this morning I did hit a fun milestone... I've been working with two different sets of numbers.  The first is how much weight I've lost in these past 40 days (today the total is 11 pounds), but the second is the amount of weight I've lost since the year began (this includes the weight I lost at weight watchers in the spring).  So today I've officially lost 25 pounds this year :)

so that's cool

yeah, that's cool!