Who’s your edamame?

For dinner tonight, I had a veggie burger patty and two microwave pancakes with syrup; made a yum sandwich, I did.  Not sure if I mentioned it here, but I stopped eating meat a few months ago.  I still eat eggs and cheese, and a little milk in the coffee (Milk makes me say,”blech,” except if it’s in coffee), and I’m working on eating more fruits, vegetables, and grains. Here’s the vegetarian food pyramid:

I am a bit lazy when it comes to nutrition, and I know that I need to drill down a bit for more fruits and vegetables, but it’s a process (and by “it’s a process,” pretty sure I mean, “I don’t really like doing it, but I’ll get to it when I can.”)

This is the second time I’ve done this in about five years, and it’s mainly for health reasons; Mom had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and triple bypass surgery, as well as peripheral vascular disease.  None of this sounds like anything that I want to experience, so I’m looking at my diet as a way to avoid all of it if possible.

I know this will be terribly incorrect of me to say, but I always seem to live for disapproval, so here goes: I love animals, and I really miss eating them.  Some days I don’t think about it at all, and then there are days like the one I had this week – while in the office in the middle of the day, I said to no one in particular: ” I  have a craving for horseradish.” This statement received a few funny looks, until I added, “mixed with sour cream and on top of a center cut of prime rib.” Sigh.

I also have driven by KFC and wondered how I could make tofu taste like original recipe, but then I forget about it (at least, until I write about it, that is; my sense of smell seems to have been heightened since giving up meat – weird little side observation).  It is easier to forget about eating meat when I’m having fantastic mushroom and zucchini tacos at Lola’s on 4th street in Long Beach, or a hand-made veggie burger at the Alcove in Los Angeles. I think it’s time for a proper good-bye, although it does tear at my heart a bit:

Dear Meat –

I’m sorry it had to end this way.  We had a long relationship, but it’s time for me to say goodbye.  It’s not you – I just need to concentrate on myself for a while.  You are wonderful, and deserve to be with someone who will treat you with tenderness and warmth, and give you the flavor that you need.  I will miss you every day, and will always remember the good times – mushroom gravy over pot roast, lemon chicken with capers, sirloin burgers with red onion and tomatoes, and pasta with sweet Italian sausage. I love you, and I will never forget you.

Au revoir,

Julie

(P.S.  And if I ever have to eat my words, I will start with these: “Bacon-wrapped hot dogs, please.”)

Irritable me

I’m in a mood; I’ve had this week off, and spent the first three days with back and stomach issues – today has been the first day that I haven’t felt like total dirt, and now I’m just in a state of perpetual boredom, which just makes me grumpy; it’s the heart of the summer, I’m off work, and I can’t engage in anything that pleases me, except…

The one bright spot this week was seeing Eddie Izzard last night at the Hollywood Bowl. The man is a brilliant stand-up comedian, but more than that, he has the gift of improv, and looks great in sequins (last night he performed in jeans and tails, which took nothing away from his act).  If you haven’t been to the Hollywood Bowl in a while, or ever, go – set into the serenity of the Hollywood Hills (or very nearly, as Eddie would say), picnics and drinks are allowed, and the crowds seem to be civilized whenever I’ve been there, except for the guy who yelled,  “F*** you!” during the encore – nice manners, babe. As we used to say (back in the Stone Age), “I remember when I had my first beer…”

Tomorrow will be our trip to LACMA to see the Tim Burton exhibit. Heading out to L.A. with my girl Tischel – this will also be my first time to visit LACMA, so I’m doubly jazzed; cue the muted trumpet and the scratchy sax…

I’m a little peeved at the retailers who are already starting their back-to-school promotions, and I’m not even in school – I can just imagine what students must be thinking.  It seems counter-productive to me; who wants to think about going back to school, when the Fourth of July was just about two weeks ago?  Maybe parents, I don’t know; when I was a kid, my parents were planning our vacation in July, and we didn’t even take it until August, every year. I’ve done a lot of thinking about our family vacations, and here’s what I’ve come up with: my parents were both born during the Depression, and they were constantly thinking about money;  since they both belonged to unions, they were under constant threat of being laid off, or going on strike.  Both my mother and father walked picket lines, although thankfully not for long periods of time.  Consequently, our vacations were usually of the low-budget variety, and always close to home.

For the two weeks that my parents were off (and how they always managed to get two weeks off at the same time, I’ll never know), we  would go to Disneyland (still a fairly new phenomenon at the time; I wouldn’t leave without a red Mickey Mouse balloon), Knott’s Berry Farm, and Marineland.  We would also take a weekend to go to San Diego, and go to the zoo and Sea World.  When I was 14, we did get to San Francisco, which was an eye-opener for me.  I knew instantly that I wanted to live there – it was historic, poetic, rhythmic, and sexy, and even though I was only 14, I knew I liked it. Never lived there, but it’s always in my heart (or maybe I left my heart there…hey, wait a minute! Paging Tony Bennett! Time for another musical interlude…)

I remember always looking forward to August, even if we went to the same places every year; before my brother and I realized that we knew everything and our parents didn’t know anything, being together as a family was nice.  Kinda like I said before – we may have been a loud, opinionated, argumentative family, but we stuck together for as long as we had each other.  Time tends to glaze over the dissonance, and turns it into smooth interludes, and that’s how my brain remembers when…

So Time goes, so shall I – losing the prickly, and adding the happyhappyjoyjoy; I know it’s around here somewhere…