Thursday, November 5, 2009

That's All, Folks . . .

So - this is my last post on this blog. I'm turning in my "Journey" rights and moving on.

Stop crying. It is okay. Really, it is.

I'm not going far away - just a click actually.

Yep. That's right. I've started a new blog. You can read it, obsess over it and make it your very own by simply clicking here (and then updating your bookmarks).

THANK YOU - so very, very much to the Danbury Hospital for asking me to do this blog two years ago. You have no idea how important the blog has been to me as I worked through all the crap of life after surgery and THANKS to all the friends that I have made (and who only really exist to me) through this blog.

I HOPE we can stay connected. I wish you all the very best in your own "journeys" and I hope you will come on over and stay a reader of my blog at the new place!

Peace and love, peace and love!

- Sean

Monday, November 2, 2009

BREAKING NEWS - Junk Food is Addictive . . .

I hope you are sitting down for this. Really - this is bigger than a sale at JCPenney! It turns out (drum roll please) that junk food is ADDICTIVE.

Yep. It is true. According to some crack-pot researcher in Jolly Old England your brain, over time, can find fatty, salty, junky foods to be as addictive if not MORE addictive than drugs.

I just read this article. Anyone surprised? ANY ONE?!

Nah - me neither. Let's be honest . . . there is no reason food can NOT be as addictive as drugs. Both are full of complex (or overly simple) ingredients and both are priced to move. Both play a chemical role in the body and the brain. Both are not priced in a way that really limits access or usage. Both are things that can/should be talked about in the context of moderation (except crack - as Whitney once pointed out "Crack is whack!"). Both are things that will quite literally kill you (or lead to your demise at least - after all guns don't kill people . . . people who hold the gun, point it at another person and pull the trigger while maintaining focus/aim).

Anywho - read the article. Have a giggle. Put the fork done. Enjoy your life and your food in moderation . . . you addict you!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

We Live in America . . .

It's been a while since I posted any good Ava stuff but - in the spirit of Halloween - I have a treat for you (if you, like me, think my daughter being "her" is a treat). Hope you enjoyed your extra hour of sleep last night!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or Treat . . .

NOT that I condone overeating and the taking on of empty calories in a post-surgery life but - every now and again - a person's gotta' have a little sweetness in their life and that "now" and "again" happens to be Halloween, the weenest day of the year.

Here are my Top Ten Trick-or-Treat suggestions for GBers (in a not-so-particular order) . . .

10 - Sugar Free "hard" Caramel Apple Candy ordered from the World Wide Web.

9 - A nice cup of no-sugar added Mott's Granny Smith apple sauce with a few dashes of cinnamon that has been put in the freezer for 15 minutes before you eat it.

8 - Sugar Free Tootsie Rolls. No special instructions needed.

7 - Murray Sugar Free cookies. Pick a flavor. They are all delicious but PLEASE don't misunderstand. These things are not at ALL low-calorie. One serving. ONE serving. ONE SERVING!

6 - Sugar Free Baskin Robbins Hard Candy (Mint Chocolate Chip is my personal favorite)!

5 - A nice mug of warm, fat free milk with a few squirts of either sugar free B-52 or Peanut Butter or any other sugar free flavored syrup of your choice (the Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce syrup is a personal favorite if I'm in the world's largest (and fastest shrinking) coffee chain).

4 - Sugar Free Pudding. Specifically the Cinnamon Roll or the Chocolate Vanilla Swirl.
Yuhhhmay! You can also sub in sugar free Jello here but I was never really a jello person unless we are (were) talking Jello shots at which point . . . that is a whole other story.

3 - Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups. It has been almost three years since I had any real quantity of sugar (incidental sugar is all I'll ever really allow myself) so I've forgotten what a lot of "real" sweet foods taste like but one taste that I know is not "right" is sugar free peanut butter cups. The sugar free chocolate just doesn't taste right against the peanut butter. And that is PERFECT because I'm not tempted to eat more than one sugar free peanut butter cup every blue moon (or so).

2 - A sliver of Sugar Free angel food cake with 1/3 of a banana, three (hundred) shakes of cinnamon, a squeeze of sugar free caramel sauce and a mini-dallop of light cool whip. I've never crunched the math on the calories (I'm sure it is not low-calorie and I don't know that I want to know how bad it really is). It is really decadent and delicious though.

1 - A handful of bing cherries. There is a new crop of research showing that cherries are the ultimate food (move over acai fruit, look out pomegranates, eat it soy, etc.) because of the anti-oxidants, the vitamins and the soothing qualities of the fruit (Joy is not a great sleeper and she settles better and gets more "quality" sleep when she has some cherry juice before bed). I never liked cherries. HATED them, actually but I've come to appreciate them in the last few months.

Please limit yourself to just one serving/portion of sugar free goodness this Halloween and please don't confuse this post as empowerment/enablement! There is little to no protein and some to lots of fat in some of these so they are largely "empty" calories and the levels of sugar alcohols can/will leave some of you feeling a little, uh, crampity down below. And there is no treat in that trick!

Empire State of Mind . . .

I could care less about the World Series (but I am secretly cheering for the Phillies if only to lash out at Yankee Nation) but I simply can't get too much of this song!

Love the Statue of Liberty on the top of the piano. Love Jay-Z tipping his Yankee cap in the middle of Yankee Stadium. Love that even the Phillies are bopping along too . . . no detail too small for my guy S-dot-Carter!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vote for Chris Christie . . .

I am not a Republican (I know, you are all shocked) and I am not from nor do I live in New Jersey (I know you are all, like me, thankful for that. VERY thankful) and I don't know much about John Corzine (and I don't much care to know) but - this crap makes me want to vote for Chris Christie.

I get it. Politics is never as professional as it is personal and never personal so much as it is professional. One of my grad school professors told me that and - as much as it makes my head hurt it actually does make sense. I get that you have to get nutty to win in politics. ESPECIALLY in New Jersey. Look at the history of New Jersey politics and you will shake your head in disgust and agreement (and then look just East to New York City politics and realize that New Jersey is just a lovely place to run for office). I get all that.

But to put footage of an obese man getting out of a car and say he "throws his weight around" is clearly . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . SIZISM! You would not say that a black candidate was a "dark cloud" for their positions. You would not say that an American Indian "sent smoke signals" to his supporters. You wouldn't show a female opponent and say she "bent over backwards for favors." You wouldn't show an Irish candidate and call them drunk. Well - you might do that (it is okay, I'm like 60% Irish - I'm allowed to make that joke).

Long story long you meant it, Governor. You went for the easy, cheap shot and . . . frankly . . . you wasted your time. Anyone that looks at Mr. Christie knows he's got "a few to lose" and the fact that he's been as successful as he has shows that, despite his weight (and the assumptions you want people to make behind it) he is neither lazy, nor stupid, nor simple, nor a pariah.

You meant it. You should just apologize for it and do the right thing.

And SHAME on any voter in the state of New Jersey that would fall for this sort of crap and think less of a candidate because of their weight. If he was running for Mr. Perfect Body or if he was up for President of Fit Personsland I would get it. He's running for Governor. Of New Jersey. The scandalous allegations, if true, simply prove that he has connections and is willing to use them. His weight, if it was important at all, would simply showcase that the guy does not currently put enough time and emphasis to his own health. That might be a good thing for the people of New Jersey - at least in the short term.

PS - Mom and Dad Christie . . . naming your son Christopher Christie is not cute, fun or appropriate. Leave that to the Eileen Dovers, Richard Head and Amanda Hugenskweezs of the world. PLEASE! No repetitive or cutsey names for kids anymore. I'd totally vote for THAT!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big Gamble in Asia . . .

We were sort of hard up for a late dinner tonight in St. Louis. NOT that there are not probably hundreds of great places to eat but we were all tired from a long day of travel and just wanted something easy so - despite not being gamblers or people that particularly enjoy patterned carpets and women in ill-fitting cocktail waitress uniforms/polyester mini-dresses, we went over to the casino figuring they would have a few restaurants for us to choose from.

We chose Asia. The continent, apparently. I saw the continent because, like the large, large land mass the menu at Asia had some Chinese, some Japanese, some Vietnamese, some Thai and some French options. Yes. French options.

What DIDN'T the restaurant have? Wait staff that knew the menu or the process of cooking that went in behind the scenes.

Here's my BIGGEST fear in life after gastric bypass surgery . . . showing up at work naked. Here's my SECOND biggest fear in life after gastric bypass surgery . . . not knowing what I'm eating.

I am SO afraid of this that I rarely eat food I don't prepare first-hand and I even more rarely eat anything that someone else makes without asking several questions. That goes (especially) for food made by my dear, dear Mother and it goes for food made even by people, like my friend Brandi, who totally get the restrictions I am up against after surgery. I just won't do it and I TOTALLY suggest that any of you who have gone through - or might go through GB be the same way.

It is just not worth it to find out, once you have a plate in front of you, that the food is cooked in, stuffed with and topped with butter or that the chicken quesadilla is made with chicken marinated in sugary, sugary barbecue sauce or that the steak you ordered is "dry rubbed" with a spice blend that includes sugar ALL THREE of which have happened to me.

SO - I did my normal thing. Asked questions. LOTS of them. The waitress was NO help. She assured me that the LEAST sweet dish on the menu was the sweet and sour chicken. She was all but sure that the plum steak was not sweetened and she, after telling me that it was "impossible" to order just a protein with no sauce and no rice or noodles she pointed me to the vegetarian section . . . BOTH options. BOTH of which came with sauce.

I ended out enjoying a bowl of steamed edamame while my colleagues whooped up some sushi, lo mein and shrimp and chicken pad thai. I popped the soy from the pod and vowed to never, ever eat at Asia again. Now eating IN Asia is something I'm planning to some day do for sure.

Monday, October 26, 2009

One Size Doesn't Fit All . . .

Thanks to loyal reader, good friend I've never met and fellow GBer, Jen, I got to read this article today.

The article, if you don't want to read the whole thing, is about the idea that the obese could/should be charged more for emergency medical care because of their size and the added challenges to serving the obese in the field.

I'm about to say something "controversial" . . . I totally agree that the obese should be charged more for ambulance care NOT as a way to punish them or to discourage obesity or to improve profit margins for medical providers but, more importantly, because fair is simply fair.

When I first went to work for IBM and we moved to Connecticut I went to Rochester Big and Tall on my first day trip on to the island of Manhattan. I was a size 68 suit and a 22x36 dress shirt. I wanted a new suit for my new job. And I almost dropped $1,438 on a Ralph Lauren suit (before taxes, alterations and whatever other fees found their way on to my tab). I thought better of it. I went home and got online. The same suit for a size 42 regular was only (ONLY?!?!) $1,125. $300 cheaper. And WHY? Perhaps (just perhaps) because of the four or five square feet of fabric that Mr. Lauren saved between the two suits. PERHAPS it was because if you are silly enough to spend over $1,000 on a suit the rest of it is all just pops and buzzes. MORE likely it is because they wanted me to pay a premium as a morbidly obese man to have access to designer clothes in an upscale store on the island of Manhattan even thought it was technically the same suit.

Apply the same general rule/attitude to ambulance service. It is not just a stretcher - it is a stretcher that has to be stronger and bigger. It is not just a hoist in to the "truck" - it is hoisting a bigger load in to the "truck" - it is not just medical experts doing their job - it is medical experts doing their job in an already confined space while working around a larger patient.

This is not, to be clear, the same thing as the post a few months ago where the guy suggested the obese person go to the ZOO for an x-ray (that was just medical ignorance on their part). This is not, for the record, the same thing as mandating the obese buy an extra seat on the plane even if the plane is not at capacity. This is not, obviously enough, the same thing as saying that hospitals MUST make surgical gowns bigger so that my large, large butt is not exposed as I patter down the hallway after my gastric bypass surgery (that, to be clear, is why God gave us sweatpants and/or two gowns you can wear in opposite directions).

Nope. This is more about the idea that we obese folks have to pay more sometimes for the "same" things that our skinnier friends, family and fellow humans get at standard pricing.

Besides - if you are in medical crisis and need an ambulance does it really matter how much it costs to get you out of harm's way and to medical safety anyway? ESPECIALLY if you are obese?! I say charge me a premium but make sure that the gurney will hold me, the EMTs can adequately serve me and the ambulance can drive fast, fast, fast when I need it to.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ben Folds Live . . .

Thrill of thrills. I just got home from seeing my guy, my main man, my musical favorite, my Ben Folds live in concert! And the most trilling part of the thrill was that it was Ben like I've only seen him one other time in concert . . . just him and his piano.

I'm a very happy man right now. Two SOLID hours of Ben Folds music - new stuff, classics, personal favorites - and an encore that included The Luckiest.

I would have been even happier if Joy had been with me but . . . sometimes this whole parent thing gets in the way of a Sunday night date. I ran home to kiss both Ava and Joy though and was once again reminded that I (and I alone) and THE luckiest!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fat Tax Talk is Back . . .

They are talking about this again in New York and I'm alllll for it.

Consider me a supporter! Let's make this federal (as many are suggesting in this debate over health care reform) and let's make it broad reaching (NOT just on soda but on allllll sorts of things).

It will NOT destroy the food industry (any one seen "big tobacco" begging for change on the corner recently?) but it will help show people where "junk foods" are (it is like the skull and crossbones they wanted to put on cigarette packs).

More importantly it might just encourage more THOUGHT in the grocery store (or anywhere food is purchased/consumed) and it WILL lead to more revenue for the governments on the local, state and federal level that will have to care for all these obese people we are becoming and raising. The facts show that the obese DO cost more to care for, long term, and that is something that fuels anti-obesity sentiment (something I am OPPOSED to) so if we stop the growth and if we strengthen the coffers than we might just level the perspective and move this towards EDUCATION (where it should be).

The argument that this is just a revenue builder for the state is likely TRUE. Who cares? It might just trickle down the right way. The argument that this is the state "stealing" money through excess tax is NOT true. You do not, for the record, have to buy soda or any other "fat" food. We CHOOSE to. They CHOOSE to tax the CHOICES of those of us that partake. Again - look at tobacco. Look at alcohol. Look at car ownership. Home ownership. Carrying a gun. It is the same thing. SAME. EXACT. THING.

This (the tax on food (NOT premiums for insurance, NOT higher costs for buses and subways, NOT eliminating services and access)) is a GOOD thing. Trust me.