Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Diet Pepsi Withdrawal - Week 2

The jitters are gone, but the headaches remain as I plunge into Week 2 of caffeine and aspartame withdrawal. Some helpful folks have suggested I drink coffee or tea, but if I do that, I might as well go back to drinking Diet Pepsi! After all, caffeine is caffeine.

There are some things I’ve noticed since I got off the “sauce.”

I’m definitely less hungry.
I’m satisfied with much less.
I’m not eating anything at night.
And, I’ve lost several pounds since I quit the Diet Pepsi.

I’m hoping the trend continues on that score. Considering I’ve been relatively sedate for 5 weeks (since I broke my tailbone), losing any weight is like a little miracle. Tomorrow morning, if I get up early enough, I’m going to attempt a little rebounding before work.

On the downside, the withdrawal headaches are putting a real stranglehold on my writing time. Having your head pounding tends to make thinking or concentrating almost impossible. Fortunately, I only seem to have the pounding in the evenings, so at least I’m able to work effectively at the day job.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More Flowers, Less Withdrawal

On the flower front, I put out part of the mulch the other night, before the bugs and the sweat sent me running into the AC. We’ll try for the rest tonight before dark…if I get home before dark. The mulch I laid down the other night looks fabulous. When I’m done, I’ll take a picture or two and post them up.

On the Pepsi withdrawal front, the jitters have departed, but the headaches remain, even though they are somewhat less severe. The tailbone is improving, but it will be weeks before I get back to 100%. I can tell you from first-hand experience that spreading mulch, digging dirt, and planting lilies are no picnic with a broken bum!

Last night, I took Mom and met my cousins Betsi and Suzie at Bass Lake Tavern in Chardon for dinner. It was tasty fare! Betsi and Suzie had sea scallops with berry-rum sauce over a bed of rice. I had a pan-seared tilapia with asparagus and other veggies over rice. Mom opted for even lighter fare, a bowl of tomato basil soup and a side of butternut squash with maple butter. Betsi and Suzie split a decadent chocolate brownie desert with Bailey’s Irish Cream Ice Cream and Mom had a yummy bread pudding. I opted for liquid calories and by-passed the desert menu for a second glass of a tasty Piesporter Reisling.

All in all, not bad!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sorely Tempted...

"Betsy, oh Betsy." Can you hear the pure, unadulterated, undiluted, 24-oz bottles of Diet Pepsi calling my name? I can! Adding insult to injury, almost every ad in the Sunday paper practically screamed with sales on Pepsi products.

I now know why the sailors went mad and crushed their ships on the rocks when the Sirens sang their alluring songs - they all had pounding headaches from cold caffeine withdrawal.

You're probably wondering what would possess me to chose this time out of all possible times to attack my Pepsi addiction head-on. In my ever multitasking mode, it seemed expedient to make the Tylenol I'm downing for the broken tailbone serve dual duty. I knew that severe headaches would be a major symptom of withdrawal. It also seemed a prudent time to save the cash involved in constantly having a Pepsi at hand. You've probably heard of the "Latte Factor." I consider this to be the "Pepsi Factor."

Other than the blinding headaches, I've noticed I have considerable fidgeting, nervousness, and incredible thirst. I've downed about two gallons of water today alone. If I don't float away, I'll update you all on the great withdrawal later this week.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Flowers and Withdrawal!

Much was accomplished on the “while the cat’s away” plan. Hanging pots are gracing my front porch, and I have some of the most beautiful Asiatic Lilies now planted in my front garden. The look is nicely dramatic with the row of bright yellow blooming day lilies now backed by deep blood red Asiatic lilies, backed by deep green holly bushes. The hanging pots are filled with small yellow flowers with red centers. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the mulch put out today. But I will attend to that over the course of the week.

My two biggest hurdles have been the broken tailbone and my deliberate lack of Pepsi. Yes folks, I’m attempting to get the Pepsi monkey off my back. The last pure unadulterated bottle was Friday night. I did get a slight charge by drinking an ice-filled diluted fountain Pepsi that I left half filled on the table when we left Panini’s. Since then it has been water, water, and more water followed by Tylenol for the withdrawal headaches. Hopefully I will make it through the caffeine withdrawal. I will update the blog with my progress.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You can have Summer Camp...

I’ll take Manhattan. Well I would take Manhattan if I had the time. The Boy Scout Troop is heading off for their annual week of summer camp, this year to be held at Camp Davey Crockett in Tennessee. Because of the long commute to and from old Davey Crockett, I have two extra days to accomplish the things I have added to my “plan” for the week. It is amazing what I can manage to do while the other half is away.

Once again, my main focus will be the front garden. Last year I tilled it up, dug out and repositioned 9 holly bushes, put in a front border of bright yellow daylilies, planted the in-between space with a variety of perennials, and mulched everything into a lovely landscaped look. The daylilies and holly bushes are thriving, but the in-between perennials didn’t fare quite as well. So I will, dig out the dead stuff and replant the in-between area with new, colorful flowers. Then I will weed, rake, and refresh the mulch with the bags left over from last year’s efforts.

I’ll likely purchase some nice hanging pots for the front porch as well. I seriously thought about staining and sealing the front porch, but with the broken tailbone, that may be a little too much for me to handle as a solo job.

If I can finish the gardening on Saturday and Sunday, I will have the rest of the week to sew-up the baby project. I may even have time to blow up the quilt pattern for that king-sized bed topper.

The other two projects for the week are 1) cleaning out my closet, putting away the winter clothes, and seeing if I have anything that still fits for the summer and 2) cleaning and purging the stuff in my office.

I actually frustrated myself looking for something last night to the point that I almost did a desk-clearing sweep of the arm…like they always do in dramatic movie scenes! If I had a super powerful fan, I would just blow all the clutter away…it would be gone with the wind. You will not, however, find me at the bottom of the staircase, swooning, sobbing, and saying “I know what to do…I’ll go back to Tara!” I’m far less dramatic than that!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Only Six Good Hours Left...

...then it’s back to the 5-day work week! Time has passed in a bit of a blur since I posted on Wednesday night. Thursday was work, the farmers market in Painesville where I bought two loaves of Alex Bevan’s brick-oven-baked bread and a jar of his Skinny Pickles Bread and Butter slices. They taste exactly like Mom’s! Then I had a meeting and a run to my aunt’s house to pick up my mother, who had been visiting her for a couple days, followed by the trip home to do laundry and other mundane household tasks before dragging the busted bum to bed.

Friday was another blur of work, dinner, errands and a brief stop at the Vine to listen to the marvelous Larry Smith crooning the oldies, followed by cranking out a thousand words on the new novel. The normal Saturday morning activities were followed by a fast run out to Ashtabula for a meeting of the committee organizing my class reunion (thanks, Tim, for the lunch and the hospitality). Saturday night was much less hectic as I indulged in liquid anesthetic (while cranking out another thousand plus words on the novel).

I would like to enthusiastically thank and compliment Colleen and Regis; it is incredible Amarone! And to think that I was an Amarone virgin until yesterday…what a waste! I’m not generally fond of dry reds, but this was fabulous. I only hope the bottles of my White Cranberry Pinot Grigio and Pomegranate Zinfandel I traded for your two Amarone taste as good to you as this one did to me. I’m saving the second bottle for an occasion.

Today the choir sang two services, one at 9 a.m. (during which Laurie and I performed an รก cappella duet of the Anima Christi) and a second at 11 a.m., followed by a rather lengthy procession around the outside of the church for the feast of Corpus Christi. Each service was followed by a donut social, and by the time I get home I was throat sore, foot tired, and it was almost 2 p.m.

Since then I have read a magazine article on the Eat-Clean Diet, updated the class reunion website with some additions, unintentionally reorganized the chest freezer looking for a non-existent whole chicken, and ended up starting a rump roast for dinner in its stead. After this blog goes to post, I’ll be running two more loads of laundry, attempting to make headway in my office reorganization and purging, and cranking out another thousand words or two for the novel.

I have set a very doable minimum of writing a thousand words per day. In a perfect world, this novel will be ready for copy edit in 81 more days! For those who think that’s a lot, most people can type around 40 or 50 words per minute. A thousand words translates into 20 minutes of typing at 50 w.p.m.

Off to start the laundry. Hope you all get off to a great start this week!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I bit the bullet and had my hair permed yesterday. It desperately needed help. The lovely Lori Cooper of In-Style at the Cottage in Painesville does a great job, especially considering how thin my hair has become (succumbing over the years to various medications, past surgical anesthetics and old health conditions).

I’ve never been one to do much fussing about my appearance. What you see is generally what you get. I simply don’t have time for those things I consider mundane and unnecessary, though I will splash on a bit of lip stick and mascara for an occasion or event (weddings, funerals, corporate functions). I have been told that I clean up nicely! Unfortunately, I know quite a few women who do the hair and make-up thing every morning, touch-up in the afternoon and look fabulous, but catch them “au natural” and they can be downright scary!

I remember as kids, my sister and I getting Toni Home Perms at the hands of my mother. We looked like escapees from “The Little Rascals” television show with big puffy plastic bonnets covering our heads full of perm rods. Of course, nothing could stem the malodorous sulfur stench of the perm chemicals! Later, when my father snapped photos of our new “coifs” we looked like the cherubic, round-faced Campbell Soup Kids that used to adorn their advertisements back in the old days!

The smell of the perm brings back those memories, because, quite frankly, the smell hasn’t improved much over the years. Lori lit a lovely cinnamon candle to help mask it, which did help and made the time under the stench seem a bit more pleasant.

In the hope that the perm would last a while, I insisted that she roll it “small, tight, and to the scalp,” and she complied. The perm worked like a charm. Although I know in a week or two it will relax to a softer, more natural style, right now I’m not sure whether I look more like Fifi the poodle or Bert the wire-haired terrier!

I am only sure of one thing…it will grow out – eventually!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

It's still the first day of the work week, nomenclature not withstanding!

The hour a day I've sworn to devote to actual writing (this blog not included) appears to have produced a new project. I'm delving into it feet first, having penned about two thousand words so far and creating the two main characters for my newest novel. I hope to have the lion's share written and ready for review before I head up to Middle Bass in October for that writer's retreat I impulsively signed up to attend. Perhaps the soothing Lake Erie breezes and comforting sounds of water rolling into the shore will inspire a big finish for the story.

On a completely different topic, I spent a couple hours this evening at Jim Snively's open mic at Rider's Inn on Route 20 in Painesville. If you haven't stopped by on a Tuesday night for this event, it is always new, fresh and endlessly entertaining. Jim is wonderful host and a talented songwriter and singer. I was equally delighted by the appearance and participation of the venerable Charlie Brown. Inn owner Elaine Crane provides tasty snacks for those in attendance. Tonight was a spicy jambalaya. Don't tell me you have something better to do on a Tuesday night...just remember it starts at 8 p.m.