Saturday, February 07, 2009

An Award with a Meme!

Thanks to Spartacus for this lovely award! I am honored to receive it and will do my best to pass it on. Because not only is it an award, it is also a meme!

It comes at a good time for me as I am really fed up with thinking about the three-ring circus that is our Congress these days, which is unable to pass a stimulus bill without either loading it up with pork (the Democrats) or insisting nothing will do but more tax breaks (the Republicans); and as a result, nothing is getting done and the final version will be a watered-down thing that is "neither fish nor foul nor good red herring" as the old saying goes.

But I digress.

So, the meme:

Those who receive this award are required to talk about five addictions they have, and then of course bequeath the award to five other bloggers.

This is very easy for me because I tend to be a rather addictive personality. In the past I have smoked cigarettes (gave it up in 1981 after about 9 years of smoking a pack and a half a day); drunk a lot of wine (as well as other alcoholic beverages) - gave that up four years ago when I was diagnosed with a very early case of tongue cancer; and I struggle with my weight (unfortunately I can't just give up food completely; quitting an addiction is much easier than cutting down).

Luckily for me, blogging came along just about the same time I quit drinking, so I was able to channel my wish for wine into something else which is a lot more mentally constructive!

So, without further ado, here are my current addictions:

1) Blogging. Like many of you, I'm sure, I find blogging (including posting, reading and commenting) to be very addictive. When I am away from a computer for any length of time I feel bereft and at loose ends until I can get on-line again.

I first discovered the whole world of blogging when, at our annual neighborhood block party, a new neighbor told me she had a blog. I was fascinated. I had heard of this blogging phenomenon but hadn't even read any blogs, let alone thought of writing one.

So I checked out her blog (which is Finslippy) and was highly impressed. It was funny, it was poignant, it was well-written, and she got tons of comments on it. (She has also been written up in the newspapers and been featured on TV).

I had always loved to write - I was a journalism major in college and kept journals for quite a few years - and here was a new medium to write in. So I started this blog, and then in a fit of irrational exuberence, my medical blog Medicana and my travel blog that so far only has one real entry in it.

I discovered the hard way that the easiest thing to do is have a general blog where I can just express opinions and whatever else I want to write about. Writing about subjects that require research and actual work take up a little too much time for me right now! So I've been pretty much sticking to this blog for now, but someday when work doesn't get in the way I will try to go back to the other two as well.

2) Food. Yes, food is necessary for life. But there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who eat to live and those who live to eat. I seem to fall into the latter category.

I wasn't always this way. When I was a kid, I really couldn't care less if I ever ate anything. My family worried that I didn't get enough nourishment and I was required to sit at the table until I finished my dinner. It was a battle of wills with my mother, since I would sit there for two hours dawdling over my meal well after she and my father had left the table. It didn't help that she let me read while I ate dinner. Finally I would get tired of the whole thing, shovel in the stone-cold food and get up from the table.

I was also a very picky eater. I didn't like anything mixed together. The meat, the potato and vegetable had to be separate on the plate, not touching, or I'd be grossed out. I didn't like fish, certain vegetables (like anything but green beans, really) or lima beans, which I consider in a class of their own (still don't like those). I'd eat chicken or beef and baked potatoes. That was about it. I did have certain odd exceptions. My mother used to make beef tongue in her pressure cooker and I liked it. I liked it because I had no idea it was a real tongue; I thought that was just what they called it.

We seldom had any ethnic food, not even Italian. My mother grew up in New England and cooked plain stuff. Her idea of eating Italian food was to get one of those packets of Spatini spaghetti sauce mix (which apparently has been discontinued by its manufacturer, Lawry's, I discovered when Googling it), and follow the directions to make the sauce, mix it with browned ground beef and serve it over spaghetti. It was tasty and was my only exposure to "Italian food" until I was much older. I didn't even eat pizza until I was about 13. We lived in upstate New York at that time and unlike here in Northern New Jersey, Italian food was not as prevalent.

Then when I was in college (in Boston) and in my early 20s I started to really like food, food of all kinds. I always liked a good steak, or lobster with drawn butter; but then I began to eat Italian food, stews and chowders and other things that were mixed together.

I learned to like Indian food on DH's and my first trip to London in 1983 when we discovered a little hole-in-the-wall place called Motijheel, which serves up fragrant, spicy curries and is still there today. It serves until late at night and is a haven for the local London University students, who come in and have a beer while they're waiting for their takeout food. We ate there last time we were in London a few years ago and it is as good as ever.

Sushi didn't come until a bit later, but once I tried that it became another addiction. Thai food came next; there are several excellent restaurants in my immediate area and we go to them regularly.

I could go on, but you get the picture. And of course since DH and I both work full-time, we tend to go out to eat a lot. When we cook at home, we try to make it fish (we love salmon, tuna and swordfish in particular) to make up for all the fattening and less healthy stuff we tend to eat when we go out.

3) Coffee. Yes, this is a definite addiction, complete with withdrawal symptoms. I once tried to give up caffeinated coffee because I was having some heart palpitations and thought it might be from the caffeine. I discovered that going to decaf meant I got a terrible headache for three solid days after my last cup of caffeinated coffee. Nothing would help it. And then when the headache went away, I still felt as if I never completely woke up. This went on for six months, until I finally decided it didn't really make any difference in my heart palpitations (which were harmless ones anyway) and I really hated not drinking real coffee.

So I threw out my decaf and went back to regular coffee. I have at least 3 cups a day and feel great about it, especially since the medical world keeps finding that caffeinated coffee actually is good for you.

I like espresso and cappuccino but there is nothing like a good cup of strong coffee with one spoonful of sugar and half-and-half. Yes, it has to be half-and-half. Milk is tolerable but anything less is not. I'd rather drink it black than with skim milk or even 2%.

4) Ice Cream. This is a fairly recent addiction for me. I used to be sipping my red wine after dinner and feel satisfied. Now when I finish dinner I want a little something sweet. In the summer this means ice cream. My favorite flavor is coffee but I also love mango ice cream (which is not easy to find) and even pistachio now and then. When we go out for sushi I have to have the green tea ice cream afterward but I haven't found one at the supermarket that is as good as the one we have at our favorite sushi restaurant.

I don't need a lot. I'm not one of these people who will get out the container and just eat it from there. I put my little half-cup serving in the bowl and savor it, a little at a time, until it's gone.

In the winter I stop eating the ice cream - it's cold enough without eating that! Instead I'll have one piece of high quality chocolate or a truffle from Whole Foods.

5) Discovery Health. The Discovery Health TV channel. It has such wonderful shows as "Mystery Diagnosis," "Diagnosis X," "Dr. G, Medical Examiner" and a whole bunch of shows about plastic surgery and other fascinating and ghoulish subjects. I bypass the ones about people giving birth to large numbers of babies and following their lives, and have no interest in the lives and times of the Duggars and their 18 kids.

But I love watching the medical ones and trying to figure out the proper diagnosis. Sometimes I find myself yelling at the screen "Will you PLEASE go see a neurologist!" (or an endocrinologist, or gastroenterologist, as the case may be) to some of these people who keep going back to the same general practitioner despite tons of horrible symptoms that refuse to get better. Other times I yell at the program "Check your vitamin B12, you moron!"

I am always gratified when I pick the right diagnosis. Of course sometimes it's some rare genetic anomaly that no one has ever had before so I can be excused for not figuring it out.

My husband gets tired of watching these shows so I usually only inflict them on him occasionally; or I switch to one after he falls asleep. It's my guilty little secret.

So those are five of my addictions. I'm sure I could come up with more if I gave it further thought but I only need five, so I'm done.

Now, who can I pass this award - and this meme - on to next? How about:

Sue J at Nailing Jello to the Wall
Katie Schwartz
Comrade Kevin.



Annette said...

How neat... but thank you for bypassing me...this

Mauigirl said...

LOL, you were on my mind, Annette, but I thought I should also pick a couple of guys so you don't have to do the meme this time! ;-)

themom said...

I see we share the same addicitons: blogging and caffeine. I'm afraid the cigarettes are still in my life (after 40 years) and the hardest to give up.

Tom Harper said...

Interesting post. That caffeine addiction is a real bitch. I've quit coffee a few times in the past, but it's a gradual process, because there's only one cure for that splitting no-caffeine headache -- several super-strong cups of coffee.

Nowadays I let myself get blitzed on coffee in the morning, and then I don't have any more caffeine (not even tea or soft drinks) for the rest of the day. It used to take a lot less than 24 hours to get that no-caffeine headache, and I never get that any more, so this seems to be a good balance.

Suzi Riot said...

I loved reading about your addictions and the stories behind them! I have a very severe coffee addiction. I gave it up for 6 months because I was worried that it was causing my migraines. But I eased myself back onto it and I've been able to have one cup only every other day. It takes a lot of discipline!

lisahgolden said...

Oh no! I wonder if I need to move up north again so that I can quit eating ice cream in the winter?

Your blog is fabulous.

Comrade Kevin said...

I couldn't live without my coffee, either.

Anonymous said...

We're on par with the blogging and the coffee, and now that I know that caffeinated coffee is good for me, I'll likely be taking that jones to my grave. Well done here...MG. You really are a fabulous blogger. Tell you friend over at Finslippy I said so.

Unknown said...

Neat award.

I can identify will all of your addiction except Discovery Health. I am, however, addicted to the History Channel.

Mauigirl said...

Thanks everybody for all your nice comments! It seems we are all coffee addicts, which to me seems like a good thing given it can prevent dementia among other things, so we can be blogging well into our dotage, LOL!

Randal Graves said...

Coffee is safer than booze at work!