Anne Notations

Monday, February 21, 2005

Fear and bloating

RIP, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who died yesterday by suicide. His writing was not my cup of Wild Turkey, but I suppose it's the end of an era.

As for fear: How I gnashed my teeth at having to attend my second Weight Watchers meeting today! How thrilling to see that my eleventh-hour panicky eating this past week resulted in a gain of two pounds. (groan)

I am trying to practice positive thinking. Several of my friends are in my group, including dear Peter who has lost nearly 54 pounds since this fall. I have plenty of support and good role models. Tonight I ate baked fresh Coho salmon with olive oil and lemon juice, and a salad with fat-free dressing. Dessert: a cup of sugar-free Jell-o. Alas, I keep wanting to lunge at the fridge for some cheese. Those habits die hard.

On a cheerier note, our two oldest kids got dressed up for their high school's Winter Ball on Feb. 4. It was Melinda's first formal dance, and we had fun doing the mother-daughter shopping-and-accessory thing. She went with friends, and Andrés with girlfriend Robyn, who endeared herself to me by buying pink flats so she wouldn't look taller.

Melinda (right) with her friend Torey before the dance, at our house.

Robyn and Andrés, good to go.

One more, because my daughter has such a sweet profile.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

My big fat moment of truth

Listen, I have nothing against salad. I love the stuff -- it's a basic food group all by itself at Casa Diff. But I have this bad habit of associating the word "diet" with rabbit food ad nauseam, and it depresses me. Because I love to eat.

Once I was skinny. So skinny that in high school, a guy nicknamed me "Twiggy." I could eat a house, or two, and not gain weight. I was tall and athletic and active, and I loved to eat.

I still love to eat, but now my metabolism is on the far side of middle-aged and I'm sedentary, except for walks with the dog. A few years ago my thyroid went on strike, and although I now take thyroid replacement meds, my body wants to hang onto every fat cell and to nurture and grow them lovingly, so it can brag to all the model-thin bodies, "Look what I can do! I can store fat so I won't starve in a famine -- nyah nyah."

"Fat Actress" Kirstie Alley and I have a few things in common.

Between bouts of serious self-loathing, I fool myself into thinking that I'm basically pretty and essentially in good health, so what's the big deal? I'm just ... "curvaceous." But candid photos, clothing sizes, and rear-view glimpses in dressing-room mirrors are telling me something else. So is the scale.

The truth is that I'm a Fat Editor. Fat Mom and Wife. Fat Unhappy Woman.

So, on Monday I joined Weight Watchers and brought my bad attitude along for the ride. Having to watch what I eat annoys the crap out of me and turns me into a petulant six-year-old. I start a diet with the depressing assumption that I'll fail either in losing weight or in maintaining the loss. My experience as a human yo-yo is long and replete with angst.

Still. I will do this. I will do it because I hate the way I look. I'll do it because I'm 53 and menopausal and at risk for type 2 diabetes. I'll do it because my hips ache with bursitis, and I'd love to lace on my hockey skates and hit the rink again before I die. I'll do it because I want be around a REALLY LONG time to see our kids grown up and working and married, and maybe have a couple of grandchildren to dote on, and do some traveling when I'm retired.

Send a prayer, wish me luck, cheer me on. I'll need all the help I can get.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Have you heard the one...

... about the 76-year friendship between two hot-stuff old ladies? OK, maybe that's not funny, but it's true.

Alma was my mother-in-law Sally's oldest friend. They met at age 12 when Mom moved into the Bronx. They graduated from Washington Irving High School together. They were charming - small and feisty and fun. In their old age, both widows, Mom would cook dinner for Alma and they'd go out shopping together.


Alma came to Mom's wake on Tuesday and was the life of the party. She brought old photos. She told girlhood stories about bunking school and making cornstalk cigarettes. She told jokes ... and more jokes. Henny Youngman had nothing on Alma.

"There were two girls who were arguing about how to pronounce 'Hawaii,'" Alma said. "They walked into a store and asked the man behind the counter, 'Do you say "Hah-WHY-ee" or "Hah-VYE-ee?"'

"'Hah-VYE-ee,' he said.

"'Thank you very much!'

"'You're velcome!'"

Michael walks Alma to her car after the wake in Yonkers.

The wake and funeral were packed with people, young and old, who loved Mom. Her four sons and 10 of her 13 grandchildren were there, sharing funny stories and tears.

Not to get all "Sunrise, Sunset" on you, but my greatest comfort as we mourned the loss of this wonderful woman was seeing those grandchildren together. Quite a legacy.

Some of the cousins after Mom's funeral: Kevin, Melinda, Andrés, Eric, Jared, and James

Now we return to our regularly scheduled lives.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


A great lady died this afternoon: my mother-in-law, Sally.

This photo was taken in November in her apartment. The blue prayer shawl was knitted for her by women in our church.

Mom was 88 years old, 4'11", 85 pounds. She lived alone and took care of herself (and watched over all of us) until the cancer was everywhere in her tiny body.

How blessed I was in having such a vibrant, loving "second mother."

Below is the e.e. cummings poem I included in my tribute to Mom on her 85th birthday. Her marriage was a fairy-tale love affair until Dad died in 1992. Black-red roses would suit her perfectly.

if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaven of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of blackred roses

my father will be(deep like a rose
tall like a rose)

standing near my

(swaying over her
with eyes which are really petals and see

nothing with the face of a poet really which
is a flower and not a face with
which whisper
This is my beloved my

(suddenly in sunlight
he will bow,

& the whole garden will bow)

– e. e. cummings

Life after SRV

My favorite band will always be Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.

But Stevie has been gone for nearly 15 years now, and while his music will live forever in the hearts of fans and in my CD player, this past year I was thrilled to discover his rightful heirs -- three amazing young men from San Angelo, Texas:

A little bit Stevie, a little bit Santana, a little bit Hendrix, and a lot of Chicano family harmony. Man, I have been WAITING for these Garza brothers! Talent to spare, and they can rock, play the blues, sing a purty ballad, and bring the house down. Not to mention that Henry is cute. :-)

The rock gods are good to us.