It’s Simple Math


I have a visitor and as long as I keep feeding it, it will continue to stay.   It came unexpectantly, slowing creeping into my life and refusing to leave.   It goes into hiding and only comes out when I’m sitting.  It’s favourite snack is Liquorice Allsorts and it loves it when I devour a whole bag in one sitting.  1000 screaming calories cheering me on.

So I came up with a game plan to get rid of my visitor.   This unopened bag has been sitting on my desk for approximately a month.  It is a symbol that represents all the junk food that I have been devouring to bring my visitor to me.   My visitor’s name is “Muffin Top” a.k.a. “Spare Tire” and “Love Handles”, and it will have to deal with my non-commitment to any calorie intake that exceeds my limit of 1200 to lose weight and reach my goal.

This is how it works.  During my grocery shopping, I use to grab a bag of Liquorice Allsorts or Swedish Berries to snack on while I work.  Unfortunately, this habit is a failure as I will consume the whole bag in one afternoon.  So now, I can refrain from buying a bag as I already have one at home.  However, when I see the bag on my desk, I choose not to open it.  As long as that bag remains unopened, it gives me the willpower to continue with my weight loss program.

When I started counting calories, I realized that I have been consuming more than the 1900 calories allowed to maintain my current weight.  Thus, the weight gain.

A typical day’s worth of food would include:

For breakfast – one cup of coffee w/1% milk and sugar & yogurt w/pineapple pieces and hemp seeds

Lunch – Bagel w/margarine

Afternoon snack – one cup of coffee w/1% milk and sugar

Dinner – A meat protein with a side dish

This totals just over 1800 calories.  That leaves me 100 calories left for snacking.  I was grabbing handfuls of nuts, chips, Swedish Berries and Liquorice Allsorts throughout the day.  Trust me, these handfuls represents at least another 1000 calories.  No wonder my visitor came into my life.  It’s okay if I performed some type of exercise during the day that would have burned up the excess calories, but that wasn’t always the case.

It’s simple math.  It’s what we learned in elementary school.  1900 calories per day – 2500 calories consumed = negative 600.  Yes, that’s a negative which equals “not good”.

This whole blog entry may backfire on me and I may end up ripping open that bag of Liquorice Allsorts.  Hopefully, it will be long enough down the road that they will be too stale to eat.


The longest relationship I’ve had with a non-living entity would be with “Mug”.

Purchased in the summer of 1974 in Edmonton, Alberta, it has been by my side ever since.  Certainly, there are other possessions that have been with me longer.  However, they sit hidden in cupboards, drawers, boxes, and places where they will probably remain until the day I die.  I don’t have a day to day relationship with these things.

It is the relationship I have with “Mug”.  It is fiercely loyal.  It is there every morning waiting to hold my coffee when I read the morning paper.  It has been there when I may not been feeling good and need a shot of NeoCitron.  It has been there when I want a cup of hot chocolate or tea to ward off the cold prairie winters.

There is an understanding in my household that I’m the only one that uses “Mug”.  It sits amongst all the other mugs in the cupboard, but Rod will always bypass it and use another one.

“Mug” has been there when I met Rod,  when we got married, when we bought our first house, when Amber was born.  I would use it everyday during those times.

Me and “Mug”, BFF.

Zone Out

Madison Square Park, 8:00 PM

New York City

An evening walk in New York City to see the Flatiron Building led us to Madison Square Park.  We decided to take a break and sit on one of the many benches.

The park was bustling with people.  Everyone was taking advantage of the beautiful evening with a treat from the Shake Shack.  Since the line-up was too long, we abstained to what would have been a memorable ice cream sundae.

In the midst of the crowds, sat a young man who was completely oblivious to his surroundings.  I watched him in the same pose for a lengthy period of time and wondered what he was doing.  Was it some sort of meditation or was he was getting prepared for some yoga?  I admired the fellow’s trust in his surroundings and how he could zone out whatever was happening around him.

Joani’s Kitchen

My current cooking interests are about par with ironing clothes.  I know I need to iron that cotton shirt before I can wear it.  However, I’ll look in my closet for something else to wear.

If I serve baked beans as part of an evening meal.  I question whether I need to heat the beans while I open the can.

Spending two weeks with my friend, Joan, gave me an idea of what I was lacking…enthusiasm.  Joani’s the type of person that when I hover over the supermarket cooler to decide which cheesecake to get for dessert, she would say “Why buy, when we can make it?”

Joani’s kitchen doesn’t allow a lot of room for baking and/or cooking.  The working counter space is what you see between the sink and the bread maker.  The atmosphere is homey and comfortable.  She works that kitchen like Dario Franchitti driving the Indy 500…with speedy precision and accuracy.

She introduced me to Boursin Cheese.  She told me how to make brown sugar and spreadable butter.

After two weeks of incredible cooking, I thought I would get that enthusiasm back.  But alas, I didn’t.

As I open my can of beans, I wonder if I should heat them up.

The Coke Box

In the Chinese tradition, it is expected for family members to pitch in and work at the family business.  As with many Asian families, this was the cafe.

At our cafe, we were always well-stocked with all the chocolate bars, potato chips, pop, and cigarettes.  It was my job to work at the cash register and handle the sales of these well-stocked items.

I was very proficient in making change for these purchased items.  If you gave me a one dollar bill for items totaling thirty-five cents, I knew exactly what change to give back without having to use a calculator.  35 cents, one nickel = 40 cents, one dime = 50 cents, two quarters = 1 dollar.  Easy Peasy!  Why I failed miserably in math?…I have no idea.

In those days, 35 cents could get you a bottle of pop, a bag of chips and a bag of jelly beans.  A large pack of cigarettes was 25 cents and the small pack was 20 cents.   You can guess by now that I’m going back to the early 60s.  I would have been about seven or eight years old.  Too short behind the cash machine my chin could touch the top of the counter.  Therefore, I used a wooden Coke Box  exactly like the one you see at the bottom of the pile in this picture.

Flipped over, I stood on the bottom of the box.  From there, I could reach behind me for any pack of smokes and hand them to the buyer.  The gentlemen who made the purchases were so confident in me, they didn’t even have to tell me what type of cigarettes they wanted.  I would have the pack in their hands before they could say “Boo”.  What a hustler!

Americano? or Espresso and Hot Water?

New York, NY

April 25, 2011  7:47 AM

In search of the perfect cup of Americano.  A challenge we presented ourselves in our recent trip to Boston and New York.

At home we indulge in our own version of the Americano.  First thing in the morning with my newspaper and another mid-afternoon with a tasty treat.  It’s not a wake me up or pick me up.  It’s a habit just like brushing your teeth.  I could have one of these suckers and fall asleep within minutes.  Caffeine just doesn’t seem to affect me.

In Boston, we stuck with Starbucks and purchased colorful gift cards for each of us.  However, we found the Boston Starbucks Americano wasn’t strong enough.  With a Starbucks on every second block, there wasn’t an opportunity to try something new.

When, we got to New York, it was the same thing.  We stayed with Starbucks for the convenience.  To our delight, the New York version was stronger.

However, it was in the “Tick Tock Diner” located in our hotel “The New Yorker” (which is sometimes featured on the David Letterman Show) that we found our perfect cup of Americano.   They call it the “double espresso with water” and it’s not on the menu.  You would order it by description.

It comes in a mismatched diner style cup and saucer.  It’s so sloppy coming out of the espresso maker, the coffee droplets are all over cup.  It was good!

Our Starbucks card was put to rest and we indulged in our new found treasure for the remaining week.

A couple of days after our return home, our Espresso Machine committed suicide.  Because I had an early dentist appointment, I had my first cup of coffee without reading the paper.  I decided to have a second cup in the morning with the paper and that’s when the poor little guy exploded.  At 11:00 AM my habit was being compromised.  I became desperate.  I dashed out the door to Sears in hopes to find my replacement Breville on sale.  At the store, I started looking at the Pod version coffee makers and then my desperation turned into exasperation.  I gave up and headed to the nearest Starbucks for my Americano.

A Kijiji search ended up with a $700.00 Breville “the Barista Express” for $400.00.  This beautiful piece of equipment replaces my dead espresso maker and coffee grinder.  I feel like a Barista.  Maybe I should invest in one of those green Starbucks aprons to complete the look.