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No money in my pocket…

The job I do which comes with money, insurance, sick and vacation days-

Will Never Define Me.

If I left tomorrow, another would take my place and yesterday’s trash would hold my memory.  I work for an organization that bears no ownership from me but seeks to own me 9-5 five days a week, 52 weeks of the year.

Not my circus, not my monkeys and,

still I work.

For the pitiful salary that allows me to live paycheck to paycheck.

I work.

Twenty-three dollars of green and cream coloured paper can pay for a NYRR race so yes, I

work.

Some money is better than no money.

Before 9am I am the person who owns myself, running 4-6 miles through Ppark alleviating all the knots and kinks required for the introvert in me to go forth into the wonderful office space world where, annoying can’t be alone extroverts, rule.

After 5pm, I revert to being me, in my apartment, wearing the jammies, with the furbabies, two glasses of wine and a good book or SVU on the tube. The introvert in me welcomes my non-inclusive space.

Non-inclusive means space for me and surely not you.

Lord have mercy…

for the extroverts and their lonely selves cannot exist without the attention sucked from introverts who long for the private office the extroverts occupy.

Still I work.

Money is earned not given in my case.

I work…

not for the accolades which are reserved for those who make the most and work the least.

Work,

because it pays the endless bills left always in arrears.

Some money is better than no money so

I work and will keep working until the bills ride off into the sunset or I win mega millions and with my middle finger held high, I ride off into the sunset.

***images from the web…

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Food, Glorious food…

I absolutely adore food.

Food does not adore me. Actually nutritious food does adore me, junk food…well…

I have problems with portion control.

Food has no problems with control.

I gravitate towards food when I’m depressed, stressed, or bored.

Food gravitates towards me when I’m depressed, stressed and not bored.

Food turns into a hip hugger. 20130605_184357

I turn into a ‘clothes don’t fit’ bugger.

Food can be soft, warm and cuddly.

I prefer not to be soft, but I can be warm and cuddly.

Food is my nemesis, my savior and salvation.

I am my worst nemesis, definitely not a savior and salvation has been quite iffy lately.

I joined Nutrisystem and received my first box of food.

I quit Nutrisystem and returned my first box of food.

I thought I put food in its place, portion wise, with that initial order.

The food from Nutrisystem obviously put me in my place when the preservatives in the food wreaked havoc on my digestive system in a very public place.

I give up.

Food does not give up, go away or stretch for two days’ worth of servings.

I give in.

Food wins.

Who are the people in my neighbourhood…

I was born, raised, moved away, moved back, moved away again but returned to live in my neigbourhood of the most gentrified kind.

The ‘hood’, as it was once known during my childhood, had an unsavory cultural characteristics of the almost ghetto kind, not yet there, but oh so close and that classification depended on whose perspective you cared to seriously consider-those who lived there and those who took one look and passed through quickly. But to me and my posse of friends the ‘hood’ was our world!

Winters were cold, idle and desolate while summers were muggy, alive and sizzling, riding the waves of the so-called “pulse of the city”.  At night, I slept the sleep of dreams on my twin mattress because during the summer days, the ‘hood’ was an interactive playground and as a young participant, I was constantly moving and socializing!

The rents were cheap and the living was easy if you were part of the ‘hood’.  Being part of the hood was to know the gangbangers by their real names, not their tags. Being part of the hood was having an extended family of misfit friends who played double-dutch, stoopball and red rover on demand. Being part of the hood was hanging on the stoops, sitting at the windowsills, yelling from rooftops and letting the water from an open hydrant stream into an open car window after you promised the driver you’d hold the water down as he drove through.

The ‘hood’ was comforting and predictable. Everyone knew everyone or some dark secret about him or her or them. We knew who would be on the rooftop at night trying to throw bottles on the heads of the women who flirted with her man on that day. Only later did we find out the woman on top of the roof throwing the bottles was not a woman.

We knew who to grub cigarettes off during Fourth of July in order to light our firecrackers-he was usually too stoned to noticed when we sneaked off with his pack. We loved Uncle Willie, a retired gentle person who lived in the block’s only wood frame home. He got the city to provide breakfast and lunches for the ‘hood’ kids and permits for street closings so we could run around like maniacs. We loved our neighbours who took an interest in us kids and in particular one couple who treated us to an excursion to Long Island for trick o’treating. We returned home with mounds of candy to last for a month.

Who would want to live here back in the days of: gang warfare, Molotov cocktails with police riots, drugs, racial mayhem, broken streetlights, abandon buildings, dilapidated playgrounds, Congo players drumming well past midnight and fake candy stores with bulletproof glass around the counter that sold weed. Not the garden ‘weed be gone’. Although you can have a garden of weed but I am not writing about the pest control kind of weed although weed can control some pests while unleashing others.

The more you put in, the more you got out. My friends were many and enemies did not exist. Familiarity can often bring contempt but the familiarity with my neighbours brought me protection. I was part of the ‘hood’,  my family was not.  Mom paid the bills, so when she said we had to move, we didn’t sell the house but moved to a new neighbourhood in Queens.

Almost thirty plus years have passed since my childhood days of living in the ‘hood’.  The ‘hood’ resides in the past, referred to nostalgically at times glorified by the few originals left who are lucky to be in rent-controlled housing.

The neighbourhood formerly known as the ‘hood’ is now, of the most unfavourable kind, depending on whose viewpoint you hear-those who pass through shopping at numerous upscale shops and those overwhelmed by the flood of crying babies and dogs. The ‘hood’ has moved on up, with most of the old occupants displaced and the abandon buildings turned into upscale luxury housing, some with swimming pools and most with concierge service. Restaurants of every fare occupy every square inch of a block. Thai, American, Classic diner fare, Vegan, Japanese Fusion, Campo de Flora Pizza made with real olive oil and Chinese fast food with brown rice, organic peas and carrots. Order take out or saunter up to the outdoor seating and people watch, the new people in the neighbourhood.

Today

Today is the day I regain my body back.

The body, my body was kidnapped three years ago by the stress of two shoulder operations, the disintegration of yet another career and a family member’s illness. Once in isolation and infused with depression and chemical toxins, the body, my body, sought refuge and comfort in food.  Not just any old food but food of the most dangerous kind: White Castle burgers with onion rings, Pringle’s ultra stack, Jones’ sausages, and French bread pizza with pepperoni, Press’s version of the Cuban sandwich as well as the cheese and black bean dip with multi grain taco chips downed with fresh Margherita’s at the local Tex-Mex restaurant.

My body, the body descended into a madness of the most unfavorable kind: erratic blood pressure readings, thyroid issues, vitamin deficiencies and the dreaded numbers from the doctor’s scale for which I arguably state is out of whack. Crack is whack and so is that damn scale that reveals the truth behind the cover-ups that no longer justify the existence of my muffin top middle supported by thunder thighs of cellulite.

The Ann Taylor Loft and J.Jill clothing of days gone by sit in my closet refusing to be cast away into the large plastic bin of discarded clothes in the basement. I long, they long to be back on the body, my body that I’ve neglected and allowed to fall off the food wagon into an abyss of false food gratification binges.

Today is the day I regain my body back.

The jogging is progressing-finally made it to 35 minutes! But the amount of calories consumed overshadows the amount exercised off and a different approach is necessary in order to get my body to where it needs to be, weight and health wise.

So today, I begin.

To begin is to acknowledge I have an unhealthy choice of foods to eat disorder.  I own it, I do. The albatross will no longer circle above my head as I waddle down the street for I have armed myself with a just released book from Amazon that unleashes the diet secrets of all French women.  All, French, women? Imagine that. “White Castle burgers and a side of onion rings will touch my lips no more!”

So today, this morning, I began.

They Come Up Sometimes

Baby Bottle from the hospital

Crying, wrinkled and 6 lbs, I entered the world at 11:48pm within the delivery room at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital on January 11, 1964. As I emerged headfirst into a sterile fluorescent lit room, who can speculate if the forced expulsion from a warm human swim tank was the motive behind the crying? On the other hand, did hunger pangs, craving for food, stimulate the response? My steadfast rejection of mom’s humongous milk-filled breast confirmed that food was not the reason for the tears. I wanted nothing to do with food and after hours of coaxing and belly rubs, I gave in to the bottle.

Mom’s strict pregnancy diet, administered by Dr. Katz, resulted in little weight gain and assuming this affected the fetus, my eating habits became cemented in the womb. I emerged with an eating disorder while mom returned easily to her pre-pregnancy weight of 125 lbs.

I refused to eat during the formative years of 1-7 and inherited the label of “fussy eater”.  Processed food was gaining preference and Lipton Tea with Pep milk (condense milk in a can) and spoonfuls of Domino sugar were my staples. In the morning, in the afternoon, Lipton Tea was the main course but not before bed. By then the sugar highs of the day had worn off and sleep was eminent. Mom could not get me to eat. Breakfast was the biggest battle, as I abhorred the usual milk and cereal course, unless it was loaded with mounds of white sugar. This battle I won continuously until Mom started to think.

“Elenita, turn off the TV and eat your cereal.”

“Where’s the sugar?”

“We don’t have any left.”

“I can’t eat it then.”

“Bubie, come here I have something very important to tell you. You’re old enough to know   this and it’s important to know.”

“Sure mommy, what is it? Did J***y do something again? I saw her do it. She did it on purpose too.”

“Oh no Elenita, this is about the worms.”

“In the backyard?”

“No, in the stomach.”

“What?!!!!”

“Little one, did you know that you have worms in your stomach?”

“Really?”

“Oh yes hunny. Did you ever wonder why your stomach growls? It’s the worms and when your stomach growls it’s them telling you that they are hungry.”

“Mommy, is that true?”

“Oh yes. And you know what happens if you don’t feed them?”

“No, what happens?”

“Well if you don’t feed them they eventually crawl up your stomach to your throat and choke you!”

My eating disorder miraculously disappeared. Food was no longer a problem. Forget refined sugar. I ate my Kellogg’s cereal and milk without it as if it were caviar and crackers.

I grew older and my tastes became refined. Chef Boyardee, Spam, Vienna sausages, pizza, hot dogs, bologna, made its way into my mouth while broccoli, spinach, lettuce, peas and just about any vegetable, made its way behind the radiators. Going to the bathroom with a mouthful of food to spit into the toilet was so cliché, a typical thing to do and not worth the trouble of concealment. I had to make a statement and disposing of the unwanted food in this manner was my “dirty little secret” which worked well, until the rotten, decomposed ordour, with the flock of roaches underneath, led to discovery, by mom.

T o say Mom was amused would be inappropriate. She was perplexed and unsure what the crime warranted in terms of punishment. The brown belt would have been severe. While Mom thought through the options, she also sought relief by informing everyone in the immediate family of my crimes against vegetables. Of course, she didn’t realize the family’s laughter and ridicule for a month would be sufficient punishment in itself. Eventually the need to punish faded but the memory of the food behind the radiator was a constant source of laughter especially around Thanksgiving when food was the focal point.

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