Betty Duffy

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quick Takes!

Thanks Jen for hosting.

We live across the street from a park--sort of a ball diamonds and soccer field park with a woods and a creek and a couple walking trails. Truly, it has increased the value of our real estate, and I feel very safe, for the most part, going walking there any time of the day or night (with my dog).

Yesterday, we ran into a coyote, a hungry one, who was scouring the corn fields for remaining cobs, and digging in the frozen ground for rodents. We met him on our return, and there was no way around him, and my dog wanted to play, and I thought he might get killed. But I had on a BIG coat, and I did what you're supposed to do in the woods if you meet a bear or a cougar, and I put my arms up holding a stick and made deep noises that sounded pretty threatening. And the thing ran off--totally scared of me. I need to try that move on my kids.

My home schooler wants to learn the guitar, so I called about lessons and they're so cheap, I signed myself up too. First lesson tomorrow. Somehow I missed that phase in college where people sit around strumming on guitars, learning chords, so now I'm going to pay for it. I do happen to have a guitar that someone left in the sorority house after graduation long long ago. I probably should have tried harder to find the owner.

Not long ago I wrote about giving up sugar, and that hasn't been going well for me. My kids have all become interested in cooking--as in they want to come home from school and mix up some cookie dough and eat it. In the planning stages, I'm all for it--as three o'clock is my witching hour, when nothing satisfies but raw sweetness, and I'll eat ten things in search of that one truly satisfying sugary thing. Also, I remember my pre-adolescence, coming home from school and clandestinely eating a bowl of sugar and butter. It was terrible and wonderful at once.

I'm all too happy to relive my lost youth these days, what with guitar lessons and sugar-butter combos. I'm not all that happy that I've gained back ten of the forty pounds I lost two years ago after most recent baby. I'm just so bored with counting calories, tired of it, tired of salad and yogurt and lo fat bread, and not drinking milk, and I can't seem to get back in the "zone."

Anyone have tips for revamping a boring diet?

Reading has been going well. Reading lots and lots of books, while eating sugar-butter combos. Most recently, "Comedy in a Minor Key" by Hans Keilson, "Beg, Borrow, Steal" by Michael Greenberg, "Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi" by Geoff Dyer, "Parched" by Heather King. Now taking up "Quo Vadis," and short stories by Saul Bellow.

Last night my husband said I was going about my reading all wrong, that I should not have three or four books going at once, that I could not possibly keep all of those story lines straight, that there's no way that once finished, I could remember them or have appreciated them to their fullest extent. This from the man who reads one half of a book every two years. There's a man who knows how to read.

He also hates sugar. Prefers hot sauce. Weird.

We have finally almost finished our bathroom project. My husband had tiled the floor, and was ready to install toilet, but discovered as the grout dried that our boxes of tile were from two different lots, and that there was a distinct line in the middle of the floor demarcated by a slight variation in hue. This would not do, because my husband is a perfectionist, and he had the tile company from which we purchased this inferior product come out and rip up the tile and redo it.

There was, however, a lag time between the first register of my husband's complaint at the tile store, and their arrival at our house to correct the problem. During this lag, I had difficulty submitting my will to my husband and tried numerous times to talk him out of his perfectionism--because we live in a pretty messy house, and the bathroom is one of the most highly used rooms, and as soon as it's functional again, we're not even going to see that floor anymore. But he remained determined, made repeated calls to the tile store, and on Monday of this week, the tile store finally delivered their best tile guy at our door, who demolished and replaced our bathroom tile in a period of about five hours. I'm sure he did a very thorough job.

I'm done. I need to get dressed. I need to start my day. This blog has been annoying me lately, and I fear it may be on its last legs.

oh yeah...Just to end on a positive note...I believe I have finally and for all given up recreational smoking. Had a cig in Chicago, just one, and my husband was like, "I'm surprised you're not smoking more since the kids aren't here."--but I didn't want it for some reason. Put unused pack in vice cabinet for future visitors, I suppose. They're here if you want them.


Anonymous said...

Be careful with the sugar substitutes. They didn't tell me they were poison to the dog and she ate everything we did. I killed the dog with liver desiease!
It was expensive and we really miss her. Now days they usually don't take sugar away from diabetics but count total carbs. So much has changed.

Young Mom said...

I don't do diets, so I suppose I am not much help advising. BUt something that has helped us, is to not buy anything ready made. If I want a snack, I have to make it from scratch. It cut back our grocery budget and it got rid of eating out of boredom! (Am I really going to make a yogurt blueberry smoothie and mess up my blender if I'm not really even that hungry?) My easy snack is a piece of fruit. Anything more elaborate, I have to make.

Peter and Nancy said...

I've read that when you crave sugar, your body is actually wanting protein . . . so a handful of almonds or something might work. But then, I'm a total sugar addict, so I haven't tested the theory myself.

Wish I could've seen the coyote standoff!

Karen LH said...

One thing that's worked well for me (I didn't invent it) is to save out part of your daily calorie allocation and throw it into a weekly pool that you can spend any way you like. It allows you to have the occasional splurge without messing up the diet.

MDiskin said...

Your blog is my first read -- please don't stop blogging!

I lost 15 lbs in a very, very short time just by 1) trading (most) desserts for hot chocolate every night. But I used good Valhrona cocoa and made it from scratch and it really was fabulous. And 2) I started cooking from the Cooking Light cookbook/magazine/site.

More recently and lazily I just try to eat 2 veggies or fruits with every meal, and that helps a lot too.

TS said...

Best diet advice I've heard is to allow one day a week to eat whatever you want in whatever quantity you like. This keeps the metabolism from slowly down. But don't do what I do and extend it to 3, 4, 5 or more days a week.

karyn said...

Ahhhh, don't stop writing! That's not what I wanted to read before going to bed....

Since I have put on 10 pounds for each pregnancy (at four pregnancies) I have no advice. I have heard that sugar cravings end in a week but I haven't made it past three days, so I wouldn't know.

I, too, just mysteriously stopped wanting to smoke (and drink)...I wish that would happen with sugar.

BettyDuffy said...

I know that if I can make it past two weeks without sugar, I'll quit craving it--but two weeks from now is Christmas--so that would be a dumb time to give up sugar. Afterwards, I guess.

I'm not going to quit writing. I just am not convinced that I have much else to say that's within the scope of this blog. I could be surprised though. Something always comes up.

Hope said...

I haven't had any sugar, or sugar substitutes, honey etc. in 18 months or so and don't miss it.

I follow a program for sugar addicts you find at

It is not a quick fix but it works in a very gradual way to be free from sugar addiction. They have a great online community for support, too.

Because of being an alcoholic (and basically alcohol is like mainlining sugar), eating sugar just primes my cells for more. I think I've actually heard them clamouring "me, me, me, me," in annoying high pitched voices trying to get my attention so I'd feed the little buggers. It's like they used to jab me on the shoulder with pointed fingers until I gave in to their demands. Sometimes they just had to pretend to touch me and I'd roll over and give in.

It wasn't because I had no self control or didn't pray hard enough or such guilt trips we can send ourselves on. Sugar addiction is biochemistry at work. Following the program heals the biochemistry.

I was a champion sugar eater - prone to hiding in the bathroom eating all manner of things. One of my kids had a nose on him like a blood hound though and used to sniff the air and say, "Were you eating chocolate?"

Tonight my husband asked me, after watching a commercial for them, why sugar cookies were called that. I told him it was because they were made of mostly sugar and that sugar cookie dough was the best raw cookie dough imaginable.

I cannot imagine though, how I would feel if I ate any these days. Probably like I was hungover.

Anonymous said...

darn. I just threw away Quo Vadis. I bought it, liked it enough to finish reading it, but had no inclination to ever read it again. Put it in my yardsale pile but no one wanted it.

Amber said...

It always amazing me that till the day we die we will always come up with something to write about x Your todays blog didn't have its usual spirit, and the fact that you are craving sugar means you need a little pampering x Im a health trainer! First you are a lady so be kind and gentle and nurturing to yourself, a bath with candles, a hot chocolate before bedtime. Tomorrow make a little tray of fresh ham and beautiful fresh fruit, melon, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, pineapple, tangerines etc etc, a few biscuits, a little cheese. And then sit in a sunshiny spot behind glass, shut your eyes and soak up the energy. By the next blog you'll be feeling better. If we eat sunshine rich food we shine from the inside out, and they are naturally sweet so replenish that sugar craving xxx God be at your table fellow scribe xxx

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly said...

My blog has been annoying me lately, too.

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly said...

And I've been eating way too much sugar.

Emily said...

I'm on the same page with you as far as keeping several books at once. I generally have one current events, one spiritual feeding, one fiction, while going through a book of the bible any given week. Sometimes I'll just focus and blaze through one book at a time, but that's rare.

Anonymous said...

Oh please don't quit blogging. I never comment, but I read every entry and pass most on to other people. You aren't annoying us- I promise!!!

mrsdarwin said...

My copy of Parched ought to be arriving any day now -- I'm raring to get started, though this is definitely not the best week for me to get caught up in a "can't put down" book.

My brothers learned to play guitar in high school, and spent hours practicing each day. I wish I'd done that -- now they can play like rock gods, and I can barely remember which string is which. However, I can still sight-read music at the piano, and they have to play chords unless they put in some serious deciphering time, so maybe I've won in the long-term?

Don't give up blogging. It's the end of year -- everything is sucky right now. Ride it out until spring.

The Cottage Child said...

I suspect the lo-fat everything is making you crave sugar (I've so been you're sab twin eating sugar/butter after school - why were those the days my mom always got home early?).
And bread in general might be the culprit, as is my case. I'm not going to suggest it's exciting, but eliminating all bread/pasta products and otherwise processed foods finally crushed the head of that snake. Dark chocolate and good red wine now rule the day. Somehow it took away the fixation on food, and now I just eat? Anyway, fwiw...

So, good for you with the coyote - yes, by all means, try it on the kids and let us know how it works out.

Anonymous said...

I deal with the sugar by doing the following:

after lunch if I'm home I have 3 or 4 Hershey Select Milk chocolate pieces.

1-2 glasses of wine, preferably one during meal prep and one with the dinner.

I don't snack at all. I've been roughly the same weight for most of adult life - I walk the dog a few miles 4-5 times per week and do one hour of weight training/stretching/ ballet type exercise a week.

For me, the sweet after a meal cuts out the "never ending meal" - it signals to my body that I'm done eating.

I worked so hard to quit smoking that I could never do it again!

BettyDuffy said...

Hope! Thank you for that link! That's me all over.

Hope said...

Glad it was helfpul. It describes me to a "T", too.

Lana said...

#6: NOooo!!!!!!!

I, too, suspect this has to do with sugar overload and the weather. Those always make me crabby or at least less satisfied and at peace.

Aimee said...

All the smart people read more than one book at a time. :)