Sunday, October 02, 2005


I am a label-whore. Not in the conventional sense. I could care less who designed my clothes, as long a I look great in them. No, I devoutly read food labels. I can’t get enough. I believe it began in my early mornings of childhood when I fondly read over all six sides of the cereal box. To know what that box was all about – contents measure by weight not volume, prize inside, part of a complete breakfast, for more information much reading to be had. This was my unintentional preparation for my foray into the nutritional content of all my future food purchases.

I love to grocery shop. Perhaps it stems from a past filled with hand-me-down clothing donated from my cousins as being the extent of my back-to-school shopping, whereas I identify with the grocery store as the place where one can actually SHOP. As I inevitably moved away from home and began to wander those hallowed aisles on my own, my label reading had not taken full hold yet. I still practiced it as a passing fancy at the dinner table, just to keep meals interesting. It wasn’t until I began to pay attention to nutrition that my hobby turned into a full-fledged obsession. Suddenly, label-reading became a necessary tool against the enemy in the war against whatever new thing I had learned was bad for me. It began with sodium. I would do double takes of canned soup if the sodium content was too high. It was soon followed by sugar. Who knew ketchup was so evil? In the food wars, adversary was everywhere, especially when it tasted good. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, it turned out that there were actually good fats. And then I found out that the bad fats were extra bad. Goodbye processed food. Farewell sucrose-fructose-glucose, corn syrup, inverted liquid sugar heaven. Insert more time spent in the kitchen preparing food from scratch to control the sodium/sugar/fat levels. Such is the price a label-whore has to pay for her obsession.

It’s a miracle I can purchase food at all with my newfound knowledge. It directly affects my shopping lists. It filters what I do and do not purchase and or put into my mouth. At the very least, it increases my guilt levels when I inevidebly succum to temptation. Fortunetly, being a label-whore also aids in curtailing temptation. I have lost any and all desire to consume products which I feel are made with the WRONG ingredients. For example, cheap ice cream is made with oil. It’s called ice cream; is it really to much to expect it to be made with ice and cream? Yet sometimes, all my hard work and dedication really pays off. Last night I finally found tortillas made with healthy oil instead of shortening (trans-fat free!). I nearly shouted for joy as I snatched up my find, smirked at my shopping savvy, and strutted all the way to the check-out lane.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Disturbing contemplations on the (non)existance of love.

This occurred on November 06,2003:

Last night I met a woman who said she didn’t believe in love. “It’s just a word,” she said, “It doesn’t mean anything”. She confessed to me her dismay at the thought of mothers telling their children that they love them and asking them to say it back, as though this expression of emotion were some vile form of brainwashing.

I was at the hospital. As a health care employee, I'm eligible for free flu vaccinations. And, so it was that I entered the Children’s Hospital with the express purpose of being injected. After the simple procedure, the request was made to stay in the vicinity for ten minutes, as a health precaution, in case of adverse reactions. I cracked open my latest book and prepared to settle in. However, I was immediately interrupted by the lady in charge of paperwork for the vaccination.

“What’s that you got there? What’s that novel?”

Startled, I turned the cover towards her so that she could read “Cutting” displayed across the top. I explained that I was interested in learning why people resort to self mutilation. She shook her head in disapproval.

“I always wonder, what makes someone do that kind of thing? Why do these people gotta do that? Cut themselves. If they’re stuck in a bad place, whether there is abuse or not, why would they want to hurt themselves like that? If you’re gonna be stuck, why not use that time to study physics or be a better person and wait it out, don’t go start cutting yourself. It doesn't make any sense.”

I replied my belief that it has a lot to do with deep-seated psychological issues and self-harm is sometimes the only way that the victims can numb their emotional pain.

Unfazed, she continued “That’s just the problem. They waste their time hurting themselves. Why? it’s just a waste. Its like that movie I saw on tv the other night. This kid wants his friend to come and do a drive by shooting with him, and his friend says ‘No, you can be anything, you don’t have to do this’. But the kid goes off anyways, and the next scene the police are there, and you see him being hauled off for good. And I just think to myself...I just want to take him and drown him, ya know? Sometimes I just want to poison the drinking water and kill all the babies. 'Cause it’s just stupid, these people.”

At this point, I was seriously disturbed, considering we were in a children’s hospital and an employee had just shared a flippant remark about mass infanticide. I wondered about her deep-seated psychological issues, this elegant looking, middle-aged woman that dismissed love as a lie. What stories did her chilling remarks hint at? Who was she? Why did she seem so polished on the surface, yet so jagged underneath? I felt compelled to tell her something profound.

“I know that you think love doesn't exist, but I promise you that it does” I proclaimed, standing up. Not the philosophical idiom I was anticipating, but somehow appropriate nonetheless. She looked mildly surprised.

“Well, sometimes I think about humanitarianism, and I think that that can exist” she said.

“I believe in humanitarianism too, but I also believe in love. I love people in general and there are people in my life specifically that I love, and that’s how I know that it exists”. A fleeting expression of perhaps crossed her face. “I know it’s easy to see all the negative in the world, but there are good people too. I just wanted you to tell you that love is real. I promise. Thanks for talking to me.”

With those departing words, I left her with, i suppose, something to hope for. She left me feeling apprehension and fascination, as well as dread and compassion.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I obviously needed lip gloss.

I hate rural-bordering urban living. The scenic country surroundings lull me into believing I'm outside city limits where wide open spaces allow for cruising down the highway at fast, yet perfectly safe speeds (in my not-so-humble opinion). Such was this particular morning, whereupon I, with nary a care in the world, had the misfortune to stumble into the proverbial police force cash-cow - the speed trap.

I obviously should have spent considerably more time on my appearance this morning. One quick glance in the rear-view mirror told me that I should not even consider the eye-batting routine, as I didn't stand a chance. I couldn't even manage to well up any pity-tears. Not at the right time anyways. Oh no, not until after the officer handed me my (Gasp! I can't believe it's that much) ticket and sent me on my ever-so-slow way. *sniff*

Let this be an important lesson for all drivers...always look hot.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Procrastinate now.

Yikes. I'm actually accomplishing something. Scary. I have so much creativity swirling about my brain, yet very little motivation. The truth is, I'm one of those sad perfectionists. Not the perfect kind that gets everything done perfectly, or else has a nervous breakdown. No, alas, I am the apathetic cousin of the perfect perfectionist. If I cannot do something perfectly the first time, then I see no point exuding the necessary energy (which will only lead to failure of course), thereby leaving me paralyzed in a brain-freeze stupor. Or, something like that.

So, folks, the astounding-yet-previously-repressed remarks spewing forth from my typing fingers and be amazed that I actually ever got around to it.