Tell Me Now

Mr. Wu's tomatoes are full of flavor-- even in the winter.

Who knows where it comes from, whether it is part of our collective mentality or if it emanates from my own peculiar corner of the universe, but introspection has taught me that the flip side of being strong in the face of adversity often involves  a denial of the pain.

It’s a truth–one that is relevant and one that I’ve got to at least recognize so that I can factor it into the equation of the Wu Food Project. The changes I’ve made toward a healthier diet have as much to do with how I live as what I eat.

On NPR’s Fresh Air, this evening, an author was discussing the fact that folks (she was talking about women, but men are just the same)  who feel unhappy or who do not feel a sense of worth and satisfaction where their lives are  concerned will seek to “fill the vacuum” with inappropriate liaisons. I’m being delicate here.

In my case, looking back,  it was not dangerous liaisons but caloric soupcons that were the sandbags between me and a flood of  emotions. This is something I simply did not think I was doing, but now I realize I was eating to absorb the stress caused by my feelings.  It was easy to become distracted by desirable things of a delectable nature. Like buttered popcorn. Gobs of melted cheese. Rich sauces. Egg salad redolent with mayonnaise. And there is a societal mass aiding and abetting the obsession through programming like the Food Network and advertisements and magazines.

But here is where it gets really tricky. Tonight I am overjoyed. Filled with glee and happiness and satisfaction. And although I am not hungry–I had a wonderful dinner, thanks to Mr. Wu–I find that I am still thinking to myself, “Hmmmm, what do I want?”

What is this all about? It seems that it does not matter which way my emotional see saw tips–it is the extremes of emotion  that may be the issue. And that is why blackberry cobbler (!) is inexplicably on my appetite’s play list tonight.

The more I think about it, I do believe that it is not so much  the “agony of defeat or the ecstasy of victory”, but the lack of a means to absorb those feelings.

Some physical activity would be a terrific first step, but sheeesh, I am having a heckuva time getting outside when it is warm enough to walk, and it is so late when I leave the office that all I want to do is head for the barn–that is, when I  get to head for the barn instead of the playhouse.

The good news though is that I am holding my own, and  for that I am so happy. I haven’t lost any more pounds, but I have not gained any, and heaven knows, I am not getting any exercise.It’s very very hard for me not to beat myself up over this. Not exercising feels an awful lot like failure.Thank goodness the days are getting longer and the weather will eventually get warmer.

Last night, in an effort to put a little extra vroom in my step, I asked Mr. Wu for a side order of his Best Spinach on the Planet. If you love spinach, go fall in love with it all over again at the Royal Panda.

Also, I ordered the beef with tomatoes–I am going for the gusto of  vitamins and antioxidants! The bright coral/orange tomatoes in this dish are exuberantly tomato-esque with  a remarkable flavor that is almost like a burnt sugar flavor. Yum! If there is a food that seems to harbor summer in its juices, it is the tomato.

I dreamed about Adrienne last night. There was something, I am not sure what, but it was like a switch or lever of some kind that was in a little closet at the top of the stairs that seemed to control something very important. She knew the secret of how it worked, and I told her that she needed to tell me how to turn it on and off, because there might come a time when I needed to, and she would not be around any more  to provide the answer. What an odd thing to say to a child.

It makes me think of how our children believe that we have the answers, when so many times, it is our children who hold the key to the questions that we have about life.

What did Adrienne know?

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye.

Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Can you hear and do you care and
Cant you see we must be free to
Teach your children what you believe in.
Make a world that we can live in.

Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

—Graham Nash

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