For many years, I struggled with trying to be a “good” person. I was nice to people I didn’t particularly like; attended baby showers and jewelry parties even though I didn’t care for babies nor wore fancy jewelry; even went to church when all I wanted to do on Sunday was sleep in. Even with these Herculean efforts, I still beat myself up that I wasn’t doing enough. Wasn’t nice enough. Could’ve offered to make the centerpieces for the stupid baby shower. That kind of thing.

I had a revelation last year that changed my life. I was sitting at a friend’s house, watching a wonderfully terrible B movie and taking notes because I had to review it, but losing my place in my notes because I kept laughing, when someone broke out the gourmet cupcakes. These things looked like manna from Heaven: plump, moist cakes in flavors like chocolate coconut chip and peanut butter fudge swirl, topped with perfectly sculpted sugary goodness (“frosting”), and my internal dialogue went haywire. You can’t eat that. There are more calories in one of those cupcakes than the average human being needs to consume in a week . . . but if you don’t have one, the person who brought them will be insulted. YOU should’ve brought them. Shame on you for not being thoughtful enough to bring gourmet cupcakes!

I know it’s stupid. Bear with me here.

As I sat on that couch, beating myself up and almost missing the line in Throg where the father hands the son a giant stone and says “Here’s the rock we found you under,” a new voice piped up in my head. A sane voice. A rational voice. And Rational Voice said: I want a cupcake. Let’s eat.

Negative Voice tried to pipe up. But the calori—

Shut up. The chocolaty wonderfulness that cupcake will infuse in our soul is worth every stinking calorie. I liked the way Rational Voice was thinking.

Are there enough cupcakes for everyone? You shouldn’t have one if there aren--

Negative Voice was drowned out by the sound of me stuffing my face with a cupcake. And it was good.

That was the very moment when I gave up on trying to be a better person. As I licked the chocolate-coconut frosting from my fingers, I realized that the one person who was constantly nagging me to improve on myself was me. Why couldn’t I just accept myself for who I was, flaws and coconut-chocolate smeared face and all? Wasn’t I good enough?

Things changed after that. I was done trying to improve myself. Every morning, I used to beat myself up for drinking too much coffee. Now I know that four cups of coffee a day is a perfectly acceptable. You’re not shooting heroin, Rational Voice says. “Darn tootin’,” I reply. (Here’s the thing about Rational Voice: not only does she make me feel good about myself, she never picks on me for talking to myself, nor for using phrases like “Darn tootin’.”)

I made some other changes, too. I stopped accepting invitations to baby showers and jewelry parties and after-hours networking events and day trips to places that bore me to tears. I didn’t bother with excuses, I just said “No.” I cut some people out of my life that were toxic and parasitic. Whenever someone complains that we don’t talk on the phone or see each other enough, instead of apologizing, now I say “Well, you can visit with me now instead of complaining, or you can not see me at all. How about that?”

Perhaps it’s selfish. The thing is, women are raised in this society to think of everyone else but themselves. I’m tired of acting that way. Someone’s got to put me first. And who better than me?

I no longer try to be a “good” person. I’d rather be a happy person. So if you’ll excuse me (and if you won’t, it doesn’t matter anyway), I’m eating the cupcake.
Wouldn't you?
I put on eight pounds this past winter.

That doesn’t sound like a lot to me—believe me, I’ve done worse—but there are two things I should explain here. One, I say “winter,” but what I mean is “Since mid-February.” I’m averaging a pound a week (or really, two pounds a week during shamrock shake season, and a half a pound a week the other days). The other thing I should explain is that in my family—or specifically, on my mother’s side of the family—eight pounds will quickly turn to sixteen after CVS has one good sale on M&M "pounder" bags. I had to stop this calorie avalanche before it really took hold.

I hung my head in shame as I reached out to the one being who has consistently been my weight-loss advocate even when I threaten to smother her with my pasty arm flaps; my cheerleader even when I’m shouting colorful epithets; the only one who can listen to me liken the taste of cauliflower mashed potatoes to what I imagine Bigfoot’s rancid turds smell like, and still urge me to take another spoonful: my Weight Watchers points tracking app.

I didn’t want to open up the app, you realize. Even though I just said all those nice things about it, I actually kind of hate the Weight Watchers app. But I had no choice. Eight pounds is sixteen pounds.

My first day was okay. I loaded up on fruit and rice cakes, and grilled some chicken for dinner. I stayed within my points. But I was cranky.

Day two was harder. Work was stressful, and I had a ton of editing to do after I got home. I gamely stuffed Popchips in my mouth as I pawed through the Chicago Manual of Style to determine if it was ever acceptable to use a comma splice. I crunched another rice cake as I decided that it was not.

On day three, it hailed. In late April. Hail! Are you kidding? Then my computer crashed, and I lost all of the changes on the document I was editing. I stubbed my toe on an escalator. And a bird pooped on my car window, right in my line of vision. When I tried to clean it off, I discovered that my car was out of wiper fluid, and my wipers left a white smear all over the windshield. I used some of my flex points that night and ate an entire package of stale Peeps. I did not feel better.

The next morning, I woke up to a story rejection email waiting in my inbox. I’d had it. “I quit!” I shouted at my stupid points-tracking app. “Life is too hard for all this exercising and eating healthy nonsense!” But that Weight Watchers, she’s a clever girl. I never said you had to eat healthy, she reminded me gently. Just stay within your points.

This was . . . true. She might have encouraged me to eat more fruits and vegetables, but really, all she’d promised was that if I stayed within my points, I’d lose weight. I’d been the one who made it all about cauliflower and crap.

Day four: the day I discovered I could eat 160 Tootsie Roll Mini Chews in one day, and still lose weight. This dieting thing isn’t so hard after all.
If you look closely, you can see my smiling face under all that chewy chocolaty goodness.
I've tried hard to not mention my most recent dieting excursion too much, just because I suspect readers get tired of my whining after a while. However, I think it’s important to study the different stages of food consumption, if only to gain valuable insight into one of the most basic needs of human survival. Plus, I didn't have anything else to write about this week.

First, at any given point in my life, I am always doing one of two things. No matter if you catch me at 2 a.m. on the morning on January 6, 1994, or on a lazy afternoon on September 29, 2013, you will find me in one of the following states. Either:

1.    I am on a diet; or
2.    I am gaining weight.

There is no other possible situation that I might be in. I’ve heard rumor that some people have a third state of being, some sort of made-up term called “maintaining the same healthy weight over a prolonged period of time,” but I’m pretty sure that’s a myth, like unicorns or dragons.

Now that we’ve established the two possible states of being, let’s look at the sub-groups of dieting.

1.    The “I’ve Just Started My Diet” Phase

This is when you’ve just made the mental and financial commitment to follow a regimented eating plan. Already doesn’t sound fun, right? You will turn in to a whiny brat during this phase. You will always be hungry. You will develop homicidal feelings towards those who eat real food in front of you, and start making serious plans to end their French-fry-filled lives. You suspect that if you bury them in the back yard, it would count as exercise, and will get you closer to your goal. You will stare at your plate heaped with boneless chicken breast grilled in a garlic mustard sauce, fresh steamed cauliflower, and a half-cup of savory rice pilaf, and think “That’s it? That’s ALL I get?” You will weep. Copiously.

2.     The “Thanks, But No Thanks” Phase

This is the stage at which your stomach has shrunk a little from starvation, and you’re starting to get in the groove of things. You turn down cake at work or cookies at your mother’s house because you can tell just by looking at these fabulous, sugary drops of heaven that they're not worth the calories. You smugly measure out your eleven Doritos (yup, that’s how much one serving is) and pretend to be satisfied. You are not.

3.    The “People Are Starting to Notice” Phase

Probably the best phase of the dieting cycle, this is when your family and coworkers will start to notice your weight loss efforts. Your skinny friends (if you didn't kill and bury them in Phase 1) may start to offer you their hand-me-downs. It will feel good. You will start to believe you could possibly maintain this healthy eating lifestyle change for the rest of your life. That’s right: you will begin to tell yourself outrageous lies.

4.    The “I’ve Had Just About Enough of This Lettuce Crap” Phase

You know this feeling. You’ve been dieting for months, and sure, you look good, but do you feel good? No. You feel like the only thing that will ever truly make you happy again is a Reese’s peanut butter cup sundae. Sure, your pants fit better, but your soul needs fat. It’s withering away. You have to—you must—feed it. Chocolate. Now.

Sadly, I’m in this fourth phase right now. I’m only four pounds away from my goal, but I must admit, I’ve had just about enough of this lettuce crap. I managed to stay on my diet today, but only because the vending machine at work is temporarily out of order. I can’t promise I’ll still be on it tonight. I pass at least two Friendly’s restaurants on my drive home from work, and the siren call of a peanut butter cup sundae might be too strong to resist. Today, I am on a diet. Tomorrow, I’ll  be gaining weight again.

Yup, I want one. Or ten. Whatever.

My Life in Food


Why do I have such a dysfunctional relationship with food? No, seriously, God, why?

Some people are stress eaters; others eat when they're bored. Some reward themselves with food; others punish themselves by eating a rice cake when there is chocolate cake to be enjoyed. Personally, I eat when I'm feeling hungry, tired, happy, bored, sad, vaguely irritated, irrationally ecstatic, sluggish, manic, and/or completely satiated. Yup, I'm an eater.

Who do I blame for this? Who do you think? Of course it's my mother's fault, and she will indignantly tell you that it's her mother's fault, and she's probably right. I remember going on trips with Grandma during which she took pictures of waiters, buffet tables, dessert trays, and deli platters. Never mind that we were at the Grand Canyon; it was the sparkling glaze on the honey ham that attracted Grandma's eye. And, I'll admit, I found this not completely insane, but kind of endearing. Thus, a lifelong weight battle was born.

In our family, we defined our vacations by what we ate on the trip. In California, Mom and I found a fabulous candy shop hidden midway through the wax museum. (Plymouth, Massachusetts and Orlando, Florida also have some lovely candy stores.) There were sugar cookies in Maine, cinnamon sticks in Virginia, and sticky buns in Pennsylvania that all still bring back fond memories. Not all of these trips were winners, though. My mother and I remember a vegetable lasagna on one trip to D.C. that still brings about a shudder when it's mentioned (in hushed, somber tones).

Having someone else in the family who understands what it's like to get a stomach bug and still gain four pounds is nice, particularly since my father and sister have no such woes. It's a Longo gene or something, because I also have a cousin on my father's side, Tina, who eats whatever she likes and never gains an ounce. My father and sister only eat when they're hungry, simply eat until they're full, and get on with their day. It's like my mother and I lived in a house with two aliens. I remember how bizarre lunchtime always was in our house. Dad would eat a sandwich, and then shake his head when Mom would gesture towards him with an open bag of Doritos®. "Nope, I'm full. I think I'll go chop several hundred cords of wood now," Dad would say, waving off the chips. (Apparently, in another life, my father was Abraham Lincoln.) Mom would look across the table towards me, eyes filled with puzzlement. I'd smile, and, looking at the Dorito® crumb stuck to her cheek, ask her if she was going to eat that. Hey, it's not my fault she married a weirdo.

This is no doubt why all of the women on my mother's side of the family (except, of course, my sister Kim, who doesn't even own a scale) are experienced dieters. For every diet out there, someone in my maternal line has tried it. Atkins, South Beach, the Cabbage Soup Diet, eDiets, the Carbohydrates Addict's Diet, Scarsdale, the Grapefruit Diet, Jenny Craig, the 3-Hour Diet, the Blood Type Diet . . . you get the picture. A family portrait of my mom's side will reveal no less than eighteen Weight Watchers lifetime members (of which I am one). The same picture will show all of us beaming as we stand around a perfectly glazed honey ham, with a side of rice pilaf to add texture to the portrait. I'm going to chalk it up to genetics.

You know how they say that you should never judge a person until you've walked in their shoes? In our family, you'll inevitably find those shoes are hiking it to the Hickory Farms kiosk, where free samples are known to abound.
Photo purloined from Grandma would be proud.
There is some etiquette involved in working in a cubicle. Believe it or not, this is my first cubicle experience, having worked in the past in my own office; a shared, open office; or behind a cash register. The cubicle is a whole new experience for me. I’ve decorated it with pictures and magnets, trinkets and toiletries. Apparently, toiletries are inappropriate, and my mouthwash and makeup were banished on Day Three. But I do get to keep my all-seeing Truman up ( a photo of Capote from Gerald Clarke's biography of him, with eyes that follow you wherever you are in the office) so I’m happy. My officemates are a little creeped out (honestly, he’s always watching) but if they don’t like it, they can stay out of my cube.

I have some cubicle neighbors. To my left is a woman I’ve spotted once or twice. She’s super-quiet and moves like a snake slithering through sand. Honestly, she makes me incredibly paranoid about my own noisemaking activities (like typing, or breathing). I never hear her, which is weird, because the whole floor is like a library. I ought to hear her burp or sigh once in a while. Not like my neighbor on the other side, whom I like to call “Sneezy.” Sneezy had a cold this week, which I can empathize with, but I was so grateful, because her hacking and coughing covered up all of my boisterous activities (honestly, there’s got to be a quieter way to click a mouse button).

I’ve learned the importance of quiet food. On my first day, I bought a bag of chips from the vending machine. When I opened the bag, it sounded like a shuttle was launching from my cubicle. My neighbor, the silent wraith, quietly rose, glared at me with murderous intent, and slunk off to the bathroom until I was finished with my snack. Never again. I stopped at the grocery store after work to find some more restrained munchies.

I quickly realized that a lot of quiet food was also healthy. Score! Maybe I could lose a few pounds while being respectful of my neighbors. Bananas, grapes, marshmallows (hey, they're low calorie) . . . all silent snacks. I embarked on my new, healthier lifestyle the next day. I felt smug. Truman seemed to approve. All was well until lunchtime. Guess what? Salad is decidedly NOT quiet. The wraith drew a silent slice across her neck after my first bite. Plus, by 2 p.m., I was so hungry I was licking what I thought was a chocolate stain off of my lunch bag. (It turned out to be soy sauce. I didnt care.) I gave up my diet and contributed to the Pop Tart™ fund. It turns out Pop Tarts™ are very quiet, so everyone was happy.

Phone etiquette is pretty important, too. My new company apparently has no problem with making personal phone calls during the day, as long as you get your work done. I found this out by eavesdropping on everyone else’s (hey, it’s like a tomb in that office. I can’t impress enough upon you how deathly silent it is.) The woman three cubicles down had problems on Tuesday because the school nurse called to say her kid was sick. The Wraith is having an issue with her satellite dish company; Sneezy’s doctor won’t call in a prescription unless she goes in to see the nurse. Feeling emboldened, I called Jason from my desk phone.

“Hey, what’s up?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I admitted.
“Why’re you calling during the work day? Is something wrong?”
“I just wanted to talk to someone,” I said. “Never mind. Truman’s staring at me; I gotta go.”

The office cubicle: it can be a lonely place.

He sees you when you're sleeping . . .
We’ve all heard it time and time again: calories in, calories out. (I like to imagine it being said in a high, shrieky voice, like an obnoxious personal fitness trainer is browbeating me to death.) But let me tell you another story: last night, I weighed myself for the first time in months, simply because I had no idea where I was at. Great news: I’d lost five pounds since the last time I’d stepped on the scale o' doom. Excited, I decided to try it again in the morning, because every Weight Watchers lifer knows that you weigh the least first thing in the morning.  For the first time in months, I had something to look forward to in the morning. Imagine my surprise when the scale registered that I'd gained three additional pounds overnight! And my anger! And my despondency! And the reason why I ate half a german chocolate cake for breakfast to make myself feel better!

(Side note: I do not normally keep half a german chocolate cake in my house for emergencies. But Dan Foley brought a whole german chocolate cake to writers' group this week. After we all had a taste, I whined about how I was the birthday girl and should take the rest of the cake home to share with my husband. So I got the cake, and when Jason went to try a piece, I stabbed him with a fork.)

But back to the evidence at hand: If it really is “calories in, calories out,” then please explain to me how I gained three pounds doing nothing but sleeping. Plus, I grind my teeth at night, which could technically constitute exercise. There is NO WAY that by following the traditional model, I could consume zero calories, burn calories with all that tooth-grinding, and still gain weight.

Clearly, we are all being lied to. It’s a conspiracy by the dieting industry and possibly Richard Simmons to keep us all fat, miserable, and shelling out our hard-earned cash for weight loss products that don’t work. I, for one, refuse to stand for it. (In a few months, at this rate, I won’t even be able to stand, in which case, I will refuse to roll for it.) Clearly, eating less and exercising more is just a stupid fairy tale. I am an adult. I demand to know what the secret to weight loss really is. And don’t give me this “calories in, calories out” crap. I would be more likely to believe that magical elves come out at night and use their pretty purple wands to determine who will gain and who will lose weight overnight. Wait? Is that it? Are there magical weight elves?

That’s something to ponder as I drive to the store to buy new batteries for my bathroom scale. It flashed me a low battery alert this morning.

But I really think I’m on to something with these magical elves.

The truth is out there.

2013 Highlights


Another year has passed, and you're probably wondering how my 2013 was. Wonder no more: Here are my highlights from the past year!

January: January 23rd came and went without any injuries to my knees. Since it was January 23, 2011, that I fell while ice skating and tore my MCL and chipped my knee cap, I tend to dread this date now. Also, I turned 40 this month. My family and friends plied me with lots of chocolate cake, so it wasn't so bad.

February: This was the month that I failed miserably at my attempt to follow the Atkins Diet in what will forever be known as "The Great Chocolate Mousse Cake Intervention." After recovering from my sugar withdrawal, I decided it would be healthier and safer for all involved if I ditched the diet and just bought bigger pants.

March: A low point in my year. Yes, I ate chocolate cake on my sister's birthday, but I had a sinus infection for most of the month. This was the month when I discovered home remedies for illness don't work that well. Also, if you chug apple cider vinegar, it will make you vomit.

April: This was the month we filed our taxes. Also, we realized we could no longer afford chocolate cake. I thought March was bad? Hah!

May: My addiction to Downton Abbey began in May. My mother and sister forced me to start watching this series (by mentioning that it was good) and my life was changed forever. Side effects have included talking in a mangled British accent and dressing like the Dowager Countess. Withdrawal symptoms can be easily managed by re-watching seasons over and over again on Netflix.

June: This month, I wrote an introspective letter to my teenage self. Highlights: I still love Duran Duran, and I have turned into my mother.

July: I went to see Stephen King at the Bushnell. He failed to acknowledge my existence. Hack.

August: This month, I listed the top ten sexiest actors ever. People universally hailed my list as "shallow" and "ridiculous."

September: Jason and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary by watching Sharknado and eating chocolate cake. Mmm, cake.

October: My book, Secret Things, came out this month. Hooray! This enabled me to brag that I had a book out, and meant that 3/4 of my Christmas shopping list was done. Didn't get a copy of Secret Things for Christmas? When's your birthday?

November: On November 2nd, I fulfilled a lifelong dream (or at least a dream I've had since the first season of Survivor aired) and met Richard Hatch. Now, besides bragging about having a book out, I could brag about meeting Richard Hatch. Life is good.

December: With every good thing that happens (see: meeting Richard Hatch) life has to throw a few dirty snowballs at you to keep things even. I had to sit through no less than seven crappy holiday specials this month, including Santa Claus is Coming to Town (insipid), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (wishy-washy), and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (nauseating). Also, because of all the cookies, there was no chocolate cake. But at least I got to meet Richard Hatch. 

Here's hoping for a fabulous 2014! And more Richard Hatch!
I love this man. Oh, and Jason too.
I have a closet in my office where I store my off-season clothes. See, in my family, the women have a full wardrobe for each season. Since it was an alarming 35 degrees out when I got up this morning, I figured it was time to break out the winter clothes.
This isn't simply a matter of pulling out everything in the office closet and switching it with everything in the bedroom. No, a change of seasons means that each item of clothing must be gone through to see if it still fits, remains fashionable, and is free of stains and/or  holes. Join me on this adventure, won't you?

Pants: I have seven pairs of winter pants that don't fit, and two that do. See, on my mother's side of the family, if we're not on a diet or undergoing major dental work, we're gaining weight. Since I take after Mom, it was no surprise that my pants seem to have shrunk while in storage.

Toss the pants that don't fit? Heck no. There's a chance I could weigh less next year. Plus, I have long legs, so finding slacks that reach the bottom of my ankle is difficult. They can live in the bottom drawer of my dresser all winter.

Sweaters: I found several sweaters that still fit, mostly because I tend to shop in the menswear section for these items (women's sweaters are made for fashion, not warmth, and I like to be warm). However, I did find a few that got shorter over the summer.

Toss the sweaters that fall just above my belly button? Absolutely not. While I won't be baring my midriff in the dead of winter, they're too cute to toss, and they might magically grow longer in a few months. (What? It could happen.)

Turtlenecks: Nobody looks good in a turtleneck. I'm serious. If you think you do, you're lying to yourself. Even Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson looks like a doofus in a turtleneck, and you know I love me some Dwayne Johnson.

Toss the turtlenecks? Sadly, no. I have some sweaters that are loose-knit (read: see-through) and the only thing I have that offers warmth and complete torso coverage are these stupid turtlenecks. Keep.

Suits: I still have several sharp-looking suits from my "have to go to a board meeting" days. Now I run a bookstore, where the standard office attire is "not a sweatshirt." When will I wear these things again?

Toss the suits? Nope. If I toss the suits, my store will go bankrupt and I'll need the stupid things for job interviews. I'm too superstitious to jinx myself like that. They'll live in the closet all winter.

Dresses and skirts: Also a little too fancy for work, but they're good for holidays and funerals. Plus, when I'm feeling lazy, there's nothing like a dress to quickly pull on so I'm not walking around naked. However, I may need to invest in some more control-top pantyhose. 

Toss the dresses and skirts? Nope. Too handy for lazy days.

See how tiring and time-consuming this can be? It also explains why I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. Going to be a long winter, folks.
Why is this picture here when it has nothing to do with this blog entry? Because Jason and I met Dee Snider and I want to brag about it.

Sugar Addict


None of my pants fit any more, except for one pair that I think were my sister's maternity jeans from 2000. No, I'm not pregnant - just a little, teeny bit tubby. I needed to lose weight, fast!
We have a lot of diet books in the shop, so I started poking through a few. Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution  promised that during its Induction phase, followers would lose weight, fast. Dr. Atkins warned that it absolutely, positively should not be used as a crash diet for a few weeks just to lose 10 or 15 pounds. The effects on one's health could be devastating and irreversible. Since I just wanted to go on a crash diet for a few weeks to drop about 15 pounds, it sounded like the perfect fit. Goodbye, carbs, hello, size 10 corduroys that have been giving me uncomfortable wedgies for months now!
Day 1 of Induction went fine. I ate eggs for breakfast, chicken on a bed of greens with oil and vinegar for lunch, and tuna salad for dinner. I'd picked up some Atkins caramel chocolate mousse bars for a snack, but they kind of tasted like dirt, with snail mucus dribbled on top. No problem, I had a few slices of bacon instead.
Day 2, I woke up with a massive headache. I recognized this pain - it was the same headache I get when I don't have enough caffeine. But I'd had my usual four cups of coffee yesterday - what was the meaning of this?
I was an absolute bear all morning. I yelled at Jason for driving too fast, driving too slow, driving medium speed, driving while talking, driving while listening to the radio too loudly, and for driving while breathing too loudly. (Turns out the last one was because he was fuming over my helpful driving tips, thus the breathing like an enraged bull.) I hadn't been this cranky since the first time I'd quit smoking. (The second time, I had some wonderful drugs.) I flipped through the Atkins book to find out what was wrong with me.
Dr. Atkins gently suggested that I might be going through withdrawal from my sugar addiction. This was crazy, of course. I have no such addiction, and Dr. Atkins was a LOUSY QUACK WHO WOULDN'T KNOW A SUGAR ADDICT IF IT HIT HIM IN THE FACE WITH A BANANA CREAM PIE!!!! Okay, maybe he was on to something. After all, I've eaten cake every day for the past two weeks as one or two or all three of my major meals. I often followed this with frosting straight out of the can for dessert. Maybe - just maybe - I had a problem.
I stuffed an Atkins caramel mousse bar in my mouth to see if it would help. Suddenly, on Day 2, it tasted like silky smooth chocolatey goodness. It helped for a little while, but then Jason started LAUGHING AT A PICTURE OF A FROWNY CAT ON FACEBOOK WHICH WAS JUST DUMB!!! Clearly, more Atkins bars were needed, ASAP.
I'm now on Day 3, and I'm happy to say the headache wasn't as bad today. There is a STUPID @!!@$! blizzard going on, and Jason and I are trapped in the house together all day. Gotta run - Jason's trying to force-feed me Hershey's kisses and cake. What's HIS problem?

Dinner for Two


Whenever somebody asks me when Jason and I are going to have children, I like to ask them about their anal warts. Because really, neither topic is appropriate. However, what I do wish people would ask me is how I come up with such fabulous dinners for two on a limited budget, considering that the supermarket is filled with anti-two person household portions. You know, "family size."

It takes some creativity to come up with tasty dinners in healthy portions for two. I'm pretty proud of some of the meals that I've come up with, and I'd like to share:

1.  Ben & Jerry's Bonanza: Take two spoons and one pint of Cherry Garcia's. (Any flavor may be substituted.) Voila! A healthy meal with all the food groups: dairy, fruit, and chocolate!

2.  Spaghetti Surprise: Cook one box of spaghetti and one jar of Paul Newman's Sockarooni spaghetti sauce. I know the portions turn out to be huge, but I sure do like my pasta. Surprise! You've gained five pounds in one sitting!

3. Eggs a la Betty C: Start with two eggs. Add flour, butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, vanilla extract, and bake at 350 for 50 minutes. You now have a fine chocolate cake—oops! quiche—that you and your dining partner can enjoy.

4. Taco Bell: It's just cheaper and easier to swing by Taco Bell on 89 cent taco night than to whip these up yourself, especially if it's just you, your hubby, and two sour-cream-stealing cats.

There you have it. It's not easy feeding a family of two adults, one Wednesday, and one Pugsley, but we manage. I only hope that some of my childless friends out there will find inspiration in these treasured recipes. Also, I wouldn't recommend any of these before a Weight Watchers meeting. On those nights, we eat rice cakes for supper.