Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Getting Personal

I secretly like being tagged. I do, because it gives me an excuse to tell you random things about myself. Obviously, I like telling stories about myself. I mean, I have two blogs, I'm working on a memoir, and I like to talk. Sometimes, when I see that my friends post a meme, I check to see that they've tagged me. They rarely do. Except for Ryan. Ryan always tags me. And also Jaime. And so, for your voyeuristic pleasure, here are five absurdly candid anecdotes about me. The real meme calls for ten, but these are so juicy, I'm allowing myself five. I’m serious—you’re about to get the goods here…

(You can thank Ryan and Jaime later.)

1.) I brush my teeth in the shower. I've done this my entire life because it's the way my mom taught my brother and me. I always assumed that everyone did this and that teeth brushing, like hair washing, was just something you did in the shower (usually after applying, but before rinsing, hair conditioner). I later learned that most people brush at the sink, and that the only reason my mom taught us this way was because she hated when my dad, brother, and I left toothpaste all over the basin. Before you ask, please note that said anal mom also trained brother and me to shower twice a day--sometimes more in the summer. Not quite as anal dad long-ago gave up complaining about water bills.

Over the years, my shower brushing habit has confused overnight guests who can't ever seem to locate my toothpaste. "It's in the shower!" I always shout, followed by a pause while I wait for them to ask me why. In college, when BFF Matt and I were dating and I would occasionally surprise him by poking my head in the shower curtain (‘cause I'm fun like that), I discovered that he also brushed in the shower. He explained to me, however, that his motives had nothing to do with messy toothpaste spots on the mirror; his motives were entirely environmental.

2.) I hate my psychiatrist. I have a separate therapist who is brilliant, but who can’t prescribe the medicine I take to manage my adult ADD (with which I was diagnosed about a year ago). So in comes Dr. X. I chose him from a list provided by my HMO because his specialties listed attention and learning disabilities and because his office is literally around the corner from mine. He’s basically a grumpy pill pusher who lets me make my own diagnosis and does little more than write me a scrip once a month. Were I a different type of person I could very likely get him to prescribe me anything that I wanted—fortunately for both of us, I am not. I’m the daughter of a (scrupulous) psychologist and have researched enough to know how to use the medicine as a tool (only on weekdays, and only during working hours unless I have a lot of writing to catch up on at night), combined with modified (high protein, slow carbs, no refined wheat or sugar) diet and other tricks (labels, alarms, little morning chants: “keys, iPod, Treo, wallet”) meant to kickstart my slightly sluggish frontal lobe into working like everybody else's. Dr. X has no idea about any of this, of course. Nor does he seem to care.

The appointments with Dr. X rarely last longer than eleven minutes, the first five of which are spent with me recapping who I am, what I have, and what medicine he has me on. He occasionally makes snarky, inappropriate comments, such as last week when a stalled subway car caused me to be 10 minutes late for my appointment. “You’re cutting it close,” he said gruffly as I ran into his office located in the back of a swank condominium on Central Park South. I apologized, explaining that I was stuck underground on the A for 15 minutes and he brushed it off with a scoff about how “pretty girls always think they can get away with everything.” I smiled when he said that, my eyes bright with the realization that Dr. X will someday make for a spectacular chapter in my future bestselling roman à clef.

But I kept my mouth shut for another reason: Around minute seven of each appointment, Dr. X asks me to “rate the effectiveness of the medicine” on my “condition” using a completely arbitrary percentage scale that he never even bothered to define. I usually say something random like “it’s about 77% effective.” He’ll then note this in his scrawly legal pad and follow it up with that look that means he’s ready for me to hand him my $35 co-pay. And this is it. This is when I take my silent revenge. Every month I hand Dr. X two crisp twenty dollar bills, and every month Dr. X hands me back $15 dollars change. I tried saying something about it the first time, but he didn't understand me so I gave up. I figure that when you prorate the eleven minutes from the full hour I should be getting, it works out more than fairly.

3) I’ve lost nearly thirty pounds since Thanksgiving following a sort of modified Atkins plan. I’m probably the only person in the world who can start (and stick to) a diet during the holidays, but it’s actually quite easy when you’re the one that does all the cooking. My dad actually raved about my Thanksgiving mashed “potatoes” (actually cauliflower) and nobody at work has noticed that I replace sugar with Splenda in 90 percent of the treats I bring in to share.

4) The diet wasn’t supposed to be a weight loss thing; it started out as a means of dealing with the aforementioned ADD, based on the research and writings of Dr. Edward Hallowell http://www.adhdnewyork.com/), who recommends a high-protein, low carb diet rich in whole foods and absent of refined sugar and flour. My focus has in fact gotten a lot better and I have a great deal more energy than I used to. I’m basically bouncing off the walls these days, sometimes spontaneously throwing on a pair of sneakers and running around the block a few times (much to the entertainment of the local bums; this is Harlem after all. It’s not really a jogging part of town). It seems kind of ironic given the fact that I keep my carb intake at under 30 grams a day, but I swear that it’s the truth.

The loose clothing and positive reactions I’ve received from everyone from my boss to the cleaning lady who cornered me in the bathroom to aske me “what my secret is” have really kept me going, though. The strangest part of it all is that I’m just not really used to it. This has resulted mostly in confusion in the dressing room, where I’m often forced to send clothing back two or three times for a smaller size. My brain is so used to immediately grabbing the large or the size 12/14, that suddenly I’m weirded out by the fact that an 8 fits comfortably on me. Also, it’s expensive to lose weight. None of my jeans fit me, my formerly tailored winter coats have taken on a kind of saggy appearance, and I have entered what I affectionately like to call the “Bermuda Triangle of Bra Sizes,” meaning that while my cup has stayed at the ever so impressive triple D (it’s less ridiculous to write it out), my band is now a 30/32. I challenge you to try and find a 30DDD bra in an actual store that is actually attractive and doesn’t cost a week’s worth of groceries. Most have to be purchased online, usually imported from the UK, the land of busty women.

(For real, look it up, it’s not just fish & chips over there…)

5.) Blogging might be dorky, but it can also be a great way to meet boys.

Case in point: A couple weeks ago I wrote a post on my other blog about my budding crush on a sexy French sommelier named Olivier who runs a private tasting company in Paris and keeps a video blog about wine. On a whim, I sent him the link, along with a completely ridiculous line or two about how “adorable” I think he is and how it’s a shame he’s “so far away in Paris” as I’d love to attend a “private tasting” at his loft. I know…I know…I’m cringing even as I type this. I’m blaming the brazenness on the wine I’d been drinking and my belief that I would never see this man in real life.

Or so I thought!

Guess who happened to be landing in New York that very same day? That’s right… I met him and a few of his friends at a tapas bar downtown for dinner a couple nights later and I was incredibly pleased to discover that he was even more attractive in person. We entered into a lively conversation about American vs. France in terms of food, women, sex, politics, just about everything, really. It reminded me a lot of the debates my roommates and I would have with the Italian boys we brought home in Florence. Dinner (which really just consisted of olives and several pitchers of sangria) was followed by copious glasses of wine at a nearby bar as the friends gradually excused themselves until it was just us.

The rules of this game demand that I tag five others and so I choose Amy of Tales from the Higby Gang, Moe of Garden State of Euphoria, Erin of One Thousand Words or Less, Alaina of Laina Down Under, and DC, who never ever updates his blog.

Tag! You're it!


Jaime said...

so glad you decided to participate! :) it was fun learning more about you :) my co-workers say that if anyone could do it, i could probably sneak in some splenda instead of sugar in my sweets and no one would be the wiser...i have yet to test this hypothesis!

Velvet said...

You live in NY now...on bras, you should check out this store.

Imogen said...

First of all, I do hope Mr. X doesn't really know about this blog. It would be a real pity ;)

Then I have to say: cudos on losing weight. I've been on a diet too and have managed to lose nearly 16 pounds, so far. Need twice as much of course, but what the hell? Just have to keep trying.

Not a big fan of Atkins anymore, though. I used to be, in fact lost quite some weight on it once. Only problem was I then started eating "normally" again (which translated to twice the ammount of weight gained at the end of the day :( ) Oh well...A funny post about Atkins, can be found in my related blog entry

As for the clothes' sizes, I'm beyond worrying. I've been yo-yo dieting for so long, I now have sizes in my wardrobe for any eventuality :P

Keep it safe with the jogging & good luck with the bra hunting ;)

freckledk said...

I do the modified Atkins, too....have for years. It really is good for you. No sugar, no refined flour, lots of greens. And I cook with Splenda, too. I'm going to check out your online recipes and see if I can find a few that are easily converted to my plan.

Alejandra said...

It was fun to write, Jamie. Thanks for the tag!

I'll check it out Velvet---looks promising!

Thanks for your support, Imogen. I've been doing really well. I think the key has been to not be so strict with myself. I fully allow myself a splurge every now and then, just making sure to prepare for it before and then account for it after. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to keep it going into the "lifetime maintenence." Wish me luck!

Freckled: I agree that it's so much healthier. I can even tell the difference when I overdo it on the good stuff--I still never feel that bloated, heavy feeling of previous meals. From my recipes, I would recommend the flourless tortes (the chocolate is my favorite and the lemon coconut one is good too). Just replace the sugar with splenda--neither one has wheat flour (just hazelnut meal and coconut flour) but you'd never guess it... Oh! And the ice cream recipes--i use only heavy cream and splenda in mine...

freckledk said...

Don't you do something with Ricotta? That was the one that grabbed me.

Momma-of-5 said...

Hope I did this right...

BFF Matt said...

Ok... I thought this was supposed to be random tidbits about your eccentricities. How did my brushing habits make it into your post?!?!

Regardless, I would recommend it to anyone!

Imogen said...

"Break a leg" girl ;)

Zen Chef said...

If I was your psychiatrist I would prescribe myself some ADD medication - holy Jesus a 30DDD? I hope he's blind! :-)
And you did WHAT with the Frenchie wine geek!??? WTF! :-) I'm sending you a bottle of holy water to purify yourself. I almost sound like a priest today, don't I? Haha. Well, you've been a bad bad girl! Now bake me some muffins to redeem yourself! :-)

fiorella said...

lol. Good point Zen Chef.. I sometimes can't help myself when I'm with her and I just randomly reach out and ((grab grab)). Its impulsive.

Alejandra said...

Zen: Hmmm...perhaps you ought to keep the holy water to cool yourself down... As for the Frenchie--je ne regrette rien!!

Now what kind of muffins did you want...?

Moe said...

I'm a bit slow. I just realized I've been tagged. Maybe this will be a good excuse to actually start writing again?

stay tuned...

ZenDenizen said...

No way, I refuse to believe that size even exists!

But I will keep in mind that you like memes. Why not do my latest Broadway one if you're interested?

Ryan Placchetti said...

In response to your delayed realization of tagging, I have in turn retarded my realization of you answering the tag.

Great post as usual. You have a way of pushing out words, your five tidbits are easily worth twenty. That's why I ALWAYS tag you. ALWAYS.

Anyway, brushing in the shower is good. I don't do it, but I understand it. I've always somehow held on to the irrational belief that shower water is dirtier than sink water, and so I don't put it in my mouth. I know it comes from the same pipes... but, well, strange... I know.

Ryan Placchetti said...

In fact, I should do another post about my views on the relative cleanliness of various bathroom fixtures. I could also throw in my obsessive compulsive habits regarding the coordination of colors.

My underwear match my socks.