Look Ma, I’m Cleansing

Is there anybody on the planet who has not heard of the ‘Master Cleanse’? Is there anybody on the planet who has not tried it? Is there anybody that has tried it and not found it to be the life altering experience that it promises to be? If so, will somebody stop me.

For readers who are not in the United States, we have a holiday that is centered around a sacrificial turkey. The fact that it is customary for the turkey to be ‘stuffed’ should give you some indication as to the prime directive of this event which is known as, “Thanks Giving”. It always takes place on the last Thursday of November, when we gather around a huge table laden with more food than most people are expected to eat in a week, much less, a day. This also serves to kick off the Winter holiday season in the form of ‘Black Friday’ when people don riot helmets, and go shopping for once in a lifetime ridiculous bargains, but that would be a whole other post. Needless to say, there is nothing that would entice me to join them.

This year my husband and I didn’t host the feast, but my brother and his lovely wife did. We were joined by their two daughters and my mother. The company was wonderful, the mood joyous and the food was exquisite. The great part is, we had no leftovers to contend with like you do when you host the party. My sister-in-law tried to send us home with some, but we managed to escape with only a bag of dinner rolls. That way, we are not tempted to extend the feast until the leftovers run out, thus pack on a few more pounds of fat, which is needful to keep you warm in the cold days ahead should you find yourself stranded on a glacier.

Since my husband and I have four days off as the perk of the whole thing, we find ourselves with more meals to prepare and share. This is a departure from our having separate meals, due to conflicting schedules, Monday through Friday, with the weekend being the only two days a week that we make ‘linner’ a joint effort. ‘Linner’ is the only main meal that we consume together. I get up at my usual time, around 3 AM and have breakfast in the vicinity of 5 ish. He gets up when the day is half over, like ‘normal’ people….you know, when it’s light out. This means that his breakfast takes place when I’m ready for lunch. However, I usually bypass that and we combine lunch and dinner around 3 in the afternoon. This is when we exercise our culinary muscles and have fun making something adventurous and luscious.

However, with the extended weekend that included Friday, we also extended the feasting. This had me wide awake at 2 AM this morning, still full from last night’s chicken alfredo and garlic bread. If I mention that I also enjoyed ‘cocktail hour’, before dinner, which consisted of two saucer sized martini glasses full of ‘salad’…an array of pickled things and olives marinated in about 5 ounces of dry vermouth and gin, will you think me to be deserving of a belly ache? What’s a drink without a ‘noche’ so a plate of crackers, sausage, cheese and a tablespoon or three of caviar filled that requirement. Thank goodness my generous husband shared his box of donuts with me for dessert or I’d have gone to bed hungry.

Is it any wonder I felt the need to ‘lighten up’? I had read about the ‘Master Cleanse’ but didn’t really have the desire to actually give it a go. It consists of consuming nothing but a concoction of water, fresh lemon juice, real maple syrup and a dash of cayenne pepper. Served hot or cold, you are supposed to drink this throughout the day in lieu of food. It is recommended that you do this for 10 days.  There is  also something called  a ‘salt flush’ that is supposed to blow out your colon of ‘toxic waste’. Considering that this mixture of sea salt and water is also used to induce vomiting, I am not going to test its effectiveness.

So, I’m 12 hours into this and I’ve had two mugs of hot ‘lemonade’. I’m not hungry in spite of making the fried chicken wings that my husband requested for his ‘linner’. Apparently, I have the fortitude of a ‘grand’ master cleanser because I love chicken wings and would have dug in faster than you can say, “ranch dressing”. The only other thing more difficult to abstain from would be the half mile long sushi bar at my favorite Asian buffet.

Considering that tomorrow is a work day and my job requires me to be able to think clearly, I will be doing this only until  Tuesday evening. Besides, stealing food from coworkers is a  crime. If I am not sufficiently ‘detoxed’ in three days I will just have to remain a biohazard. My main objective is to break the cycle of holiday over indulgence and jump start a return to healthy eating. I’m starting to feel a  bit self-righteous over having made it this far without postponing this until I complete my bucket list or find some other excuse like,”I’ll  wait until  after New Year’s Day when my system will be really toxic”.

Time for another dose of ‘lemonade’ and a heapin’ helpin’ of determination.

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Mac, Hmandu, And Ridley Too

After the hissing subsided and Hmandu figured out that he was not being replaced, he decided that, “the kid is ok”. Just as we had hoped, Mac and Hmandu are best buds.

We decided to get a Kitten for our Kitten when our two older Cats insisted that something had to be done. Also known as ‘the ‘ladies who nap’, seventeen year old Rhiannon and fifteen year old Astarte are no longer amused by getting chased, swatted at or being put in a random headlock by an adolescent male Cat with a testosterone problem. There was much growling, hissing and ear flattening, not to mention that the ladies’ stress level was at the point that I was going to ask the vet for Xanax…for them and for me.

Mac’s arrival was greatly anticipated and did not fail to live up to our expectations of producing a high level of fun. Exploring the house, playing with a large assortment of toys and the joy of discovering the never empty food dishes had him bouncing around like a furry super ball. Hmandu watched all of this with a mixture displeasure and caution that, when thrown to the wind, would result in a Gorilla Glue kind of bond.

Mac had no reservations what so ever. He was used to being accepted solely on his masterful skill of being adorable. Encountering not only one, but three ‘tough sells’ was a totally new experience for him. The ladies made attempts at filling a tandem mothering role of keeping him in line and spit taming any tufts of unruly fur as most mothers do. Hmandu soon dispensed with his posturing and allowed his inner frat boy free reign. That was when the real fun began and I had to make peace with having a few cherished possessions smashed beyond repair. Boys will, indeed, be boys. Everything was just as we had anticipated and expected. What we didn’t plan on was Ridley.

I had actually wanted a polydactyl. We would have had one when we began the adoption process for Mac if we had not lost Millie to pneumonia. Lauren, who runs Underdog Rescue, and I tearfully dealt with her loss. It was unexpected, painful and fast. One day we were making plans to pick her up and the next, things were delayed due to Millie having pneumonia and then the phone call to say that the measures that were taken to save her had failed. However, when Lauren sent me a picture of a male poly, who was considerably older than the ‘Kitten’ we were looking for, we decided to take Ridley too. After all, how could I say, “he’s too old and not the right color.” We wanted a very young black Kitten, but orange and white six year old Ridley needed a home.

He had to get neutered and had a few dental issues and excessive ear wax, but after seeing the rescue’s vet for all of those things, he was ready to come home. I, again, had an image of everyone settling in without mishap. Introducing an adult male Cat into a household that already had one, was not going to be without issues I know, but I wanted so desperately for Ridley to be happy. He had been through a lot between coming from a distant humane society and a foster home and I was eager to assure him that he had found his ‘forever home’.

For the first two days Ridley hid under the bed in the guest room and any amount of coaxing him out resulted in his being bullied by Hmandu. This really upset me. I can’t handle seeing any animal cower in fear and it broke my heart. By the third day, he came out and sprawled on the sofa demanding, “what’s for dinner?”.  Hmandu found himself on the receiving end of a number of well placed swats and, even though they still have that macho dominance thing from time to time, there is peace in the valley.

In the midst of the chaos and frenetic energy that bounces off the walls most days, we celebrate what has become life in this house of joy. My husband and I agree that a house is only a home to us when it is shared with multiple felines. When we had lost four of the six we had, some for twenty something years, there was a void. The pain of grieving runs deep and sometimes, you just don’t feel that you can go through it again so you think, ‘no more’. Having animal companions, except when you adopt those who will outlive you, comes with a knowing that at some point they will leave you. However, the attempt to protect your heart from pain by denying that which brings you joy is no way to live.

So, we are owned by five Cats and for the most part, they keep us in line, spit tame any stubborn tufts of ‘fur’ on us and each other, and allow us to spoil them rotten. We laugh and smile a lot and pretty much fashion our lives around their needs. Rhiannon was recently diagnosed with diabetes so she needs injections twice a day, but considering that a month ago she was badly dehydrated and near death due to a bladder infection, it’s what we have to do to keep her healthy and alive. We nursed her back with IV fluids and antibiotics and celebrated every bit of food or water she’d take in. Now, at seventeen years old, she looks great and is thriving.

When you open your home to animals it requires that you also open your heart. Then the love flows in and out. Somehow, we always find room for one more.

Break It Up

Lifestyles are remodeled one habit at a time. The urge to take on too much, too fast can be so overwhelming that the whole process is soon abandoned entirely. Most patterns are actually comprised of various components that have a domino effect. If we attempt to eliminate the pattern without examining how it is constructed we might miss something. Deconstructing a pattern begins with the last domino that fell and ends with the main trigger. Working our way back to the starting point and discovering the trigger is the only way to create a lasting change.

A trigger is born of the senses, so it can be visual, auditory or kinesthetic, but some people are literally lead by their noses. Have you ever suddenly caught the scent of pit smoked barbeque and found yourself sitting at a table, up to your ears in sauce? If the impulse was intense enough you might not even remember how you got there.

The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a real eye opener, in that when asked, the children that delayed immediate gratification and held off devouring the marshmallow replied that they didn’t look at it. They distracted themselves in various ways until the 20 minutes were up and they were rewarded with a second marshmallow. That concept has saved me from the compulsion to react to impulses on many occasions. Having the ability to delay gratification is the key.

Once we excavate and discover the root cause, we can find a way to distract ourselves and stop automatically reacting by reinforcing a habit that has become an ingrained pattern. Start with one pattern, one habit and one change. Keep at it and you will have that newly renovated lifestyle.

 

It Ain’t No Big Thing

But, in reality, it is SO big. Today, just for today…let’s do one thing that will move us in the direction of a goal. We’ll write it down, because a goal that is not put to paper, is just a fantasy. Then we will accomplish it…and…wait for it….CELEBRATE. We might enjoy the process SO much that we will want to do it again tomorrow…and the day after that…and the day after that…OH DE JOY!!!