September 10, 2009

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I Might Be Dead By Morning Posted by Kate Flora If the number of people sweating it out at the gym today are any indication, I'm not the only one who has turned the corner into fall and decided to get more serious about health and fitness. That seriousness has already gotten me a trainer--it began as a series of three sessions and has now morphed into a weekly "fitness date." Next week I hope to have some pictures, but suffice it to say that my trainer is young enough to be my son, fit enough to send me into despair, and has enough tattoos to star in a graphic novel. He also has a very sweet way of conning me into lifting more weight, and doing more reps, than I am capable of doing. Then he sits back and grins as I try to do that one last set with deplorable form and shaking arms that make me feel more like Olive Oyl than Popeye. While he is trying to con me, and I'm trying to distract him, we have conversations about the latest research into health and fitness. I send him articles about the risks of sugar and how doing crunches the new way with the back pressed firmly toward the floor may not be best for overall core strength. He threatens to bring in a new program which will, given my measurements, will chart my progress toward that Dallas Cheerleader body I long for. Okay. Here's truth. I have no interest in looking like those silly girls in white shorts. But what I've read is that what makes their figures look so good is not so much largest chests as small waists. And so I'm suffering the tortures of exercise in order to create a nice, small waist. Of course we also talk a lot about eating healthy food, and that reminds me that this summer, despite the availability of fresh food at the local farmer's markets, has not been one for the good nutrition books. Unfortunately, the world's greatest cheeseburger sub is sold at that stand in Brunswick, Maine, which is right next to the organic tomatoes, the fresh baby kale, the small onions and eggplants for roasting, and the bunches of fresh herbs. So it has not been a very well-behaved summer. I've bought boatloads of vegetables. And I've succumbed to Dannys more often than I should have. Today, I vowed reform, yet again. (How often have I said this? Remember that line in Wind in the Willows: Toad Must Reform? Well, Toad is trying.) So, following up on something else that I've read, which is that it takes the stomach twenty minutes to know that you've been eating, so begin a meal with soup and you'll feel fuller faster and eat less, I decided to make some soup tonight to lead into our shrimp and avocado salad and fresh melon. Well, I have this lovely bunch of fresh baby kale, and I have shitake mushrooms, and I'm going to make my famous "power soup," but I like to throw in a bit of beef or chicken. So I go downstairs to the freezer and lo and behold! Something that looks like a wee bit of frozen steak. Yes. This is the point in the narrative where I finally explain the title of this week's blog. I bring the steak upstairs to thaw, and discover that it is buffalo. Now, I have no memory of ever having bought a buffalo steak. I can't imagine that I ever would have bought a buffalo steak. But here it is, in my refrigerator. And it looks quite lean and delicious and is just the right size to cut up and put into my soup. So I do. Then. Later. My husband and I are eating the soup, and I tell him that he's eating buffalo. He gives me the funny look. He knows that I am adventurous with vegetables but not with meat. "Buffalo?" he says. I explain about finding it in the downstairs freezer. And then we both sit back and imagine people going surreptitiously from house to house, leaving plausible, yet slight mysterious, items in the freezer. This would work find with someone as absent-minded as I am. Someone who runs two houses and two kitchens all summer and by September is terminally confused about food, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and clothing. Indeed, by September, you could probably put an entire BUFFALO in my house and I'd just pat it on the hump and dust it. So we shall see. It might be that mysterious, insidious individual who is leaving odd food in people's refrigerators and will be long gone by the time we ingest them and wake up dead. Of course, if I die in the night, you probably won't get to read this. Last week...or some time recently, I promised my mother's bread recipe. My mother was a food writer, and one thing she was always trying to do was find ways to sneak more nutrition into what her children ate. This is a variable recipe which lets you make five different kinds of bread. She created it so that my brother John, my sister Sara, and I could learn to make bread, become invested in our food, and hopefully, be healthy and good bakers. When I was fourteen, and working as an assistant cook at a summer writer's colony, I made this bread and got a standing ovation. Five Bowl Breads for Beginners Cornmeal Bran Wheat Germ Rolled Oats Shredded Wheat Warm water 1 ½ c. 1 ½ c. 1 ½ c. 1 ½ c. 1 ½ c. Sugar ¼ c. **** **** ¼ c. ¼ c. Molassses **** ¼ c. ¼ c. **** **** Grain 1 c. 1 c. 1 c. 1 c. 3 biscuits Yeast 1 pkg. 1 pkg. 1 pkg. 1 pkg. 1 pkg. Salt 2 tsp. 2 tsp. 2 tsp. 2 tsp. 2 tsp. Egg yolks 2 2 2 2 2 Oil 1/3 c. 1/3...
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A Blog About Nothing posted by Leann Sweeney As I pondered what to blog about this week, I realized my brain is empty. My deadline is next week and I have been pouring words onto the page day after day and for the first time ever, I changed a key plot element that I originally thought was pure gold. The characters, however, didn't think quite so highly of my ideas and they took me in a better direction. Thank God for fictional people who can lead you around by the nose. So, this week, we have a show/blog about nothing, as the Seinfeld folks would say. When you live and breathe the novel you are writing while both awake and asleep, there's not much left to say at the end of the day. I am not finished and thus nervous, but I have been there before. I have confidence I will get this done. And there have been a few distractions. Like refinancing the house. Not great timing, husband of mine. Also, we have a trip planned to NYC at the end of the month to see my daughter's one woman show at The Chocolate Factory in Queens. Four nights to see her dance and perform (there is a script, too) and that will be heaven. Thinking about that is a definite distraction. But planning a trip means planning for the fur babies. The husband can plan a refinance, but calling up the Pet Palace or arranging for a petsitter? Well, not so much help there. So I've had to do that, too. My original petsitter moved away, so that means I had to find a new one and meet that person. Yes, you must meet the petsitter. She came yesterday and I must say, she is a delightful person who I might just like better than the original. I mean, my dog hardly barked at her. That's amazing. But that could be because Rosie the ADD labradoodle was too busy smelling her all over. Ah, the aroma of a slew of other pets. Wunderbar! But Rosie won't be staying home for the petsitter to visit. Only the cats get to relax at home. Rosie will be going to the Pet Palace and will then come back home more neurotic than ever. Unbeknowst to the husband, she will be staying in one of the special suites I used to think were ridiculous. However, I know this dog and she needs to at least see other people all day long. She never leaves my side and I believe her last visit to the Pet Palace caused her to be a little too crazy and anxious after being caged in a regular run. Okay, I'm a wuss. She's like a child to me and is probably smarter than a lot of them. If I get this book in on Tuesday, as I should, it will be the first time since my third Yellow Rose book that I have been on schedule. I have been ill and my editor is understanding, but I still felt horribly guilty. I was never one to be late for anything. And then all of a sudden, I was asking for extensions. Is the fact that I am this close to being on time a sign my health is finally improving, that the distractions of everyday life aren't so exhausting that I cannot write? I pray that's the case. And next week, when I write a blog, I will feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders. We'll eat virtual cupcakes to celebrate, okay?

Lorraine Bartlett

Five women, five weekdays, many surprises.

The Typepad Team

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