I believe three things in life need to be chunky. One is peanut butter. The second is babies. And the third is chocolate chip cookies. I feel so strongly about plump, chewy cookies that I’ve dedicated years to trying to find the perfect recipe. Granted, this is not important enough work to grant me a Pulitzer Prize, although it has successfully given me full-itzer thighs.
So it’s the middle of the day, and I’m trying to silently unpack the dishwasher. Have you ever tried that? It’s impossible. Clanging bowls, thunking glasses, clinking plates. If this was 1973 and every dish I owned was Tupperware, it might be possible. If I moved with the measured and meditative mindfulness of Mr. Miyagi, it could be done. Instead, I am an absent-minded, slightly klutzy, middle-aged lady who was the first member of the family to successfully shatter Mom’s new Corelle dinnerware. I am the proverbial bull in the china shop.
So a few weeks ago, I finally broke down and got one. A Fitbit. The must-have accessory for anyone who desires a fancy watch with nagging and shaming capabilities. I don’t really know why. I think I would do better with a Napbit, a Snackbit or, best of all, a Baconbit. But I do know that I like to walk. Heck, I’ve been doing it for most of my life, and I can perambulate with the best of them. It relaxes me.
For as long as I can remember, I have been trying to catch up. I was the youngest of four girls, so I was never as wily, fast or smart as my big sisters. I started first grade at 5, so I always felt like I was emotionally behind my classmates. I was a type B person at heart, but I could never move quickly or efficiently enough to satisfy my type A family. A long-undiagnosed case of ADHD made it hard to get things done on time. I saw projects as giant, indefinable glaciers of endless tasks, rather than clearly prioritized stepping stones to a final destination.
Imagine walking through a mall with a small child. He has a big, wide grin and hasn’t yet learned of the potential threats of life. Everyone is a friend to him. He greets each new person as if he’s genuinely happy to meet them — as if it’s a joyful moment shared with another human being, and he’s not afraid to connect. “Hello!” he says. “How are you? It’s Thursday today!”
Those crazy Danes. They seem to have it all figured out. One of the greatest foods in the world — the Danish — is named after them. They give moms and dads a combined total of 52 WEEKS of maternity leave. They invented Legos, and they eat an average of 42 sausages a year. No wonder they routinely rank near the top in global polls that measure things like happiness and quality of life.
The online sale site was full of them. “Dog for giveaway. Great dog, but I moved to a new apartment and landlord doesn’t allow him.” “$500 for beautiful puppy. I bought him at a pet store and realized I can’t afford him.” And the most heart wrenching: “Father-in-law found this dog while fishing down at Beaver Bay. Found the old girl and a pile of dog food by a toilet vault. We know nobody is looking for her, especially being found with a pile of food.
You can lead a dog to a pill, but you can’t make her eat. If the past year has taught me anything, it is this. As Kita has grown older, so have her ailments. She has needed more and more medications and supplements for the arthrite-y, the bursite-y, the bum elbow, the crickety back and her two wonky knees. Just like her mom, her vital systems are running like a steam engine. It’s her caboose that needs help.
I walked around the corner. There he was, waiting for me so patiently. I couldn’t believe he was mine. I wanted everything in our future to be perfect. I longed to cherish him and lavish him with attention. I imagined all the wonderful trips we would take together. He would always be this: My prince in a slick, black jacket. My knight in shining Armour-all. That’s right. I bought a new car.
It was four or five years ago when I first heard the term “clean eating.” My first thought was that this meant completing a meal without spilling on your shirt. But the person who was trying it — a rabidly enthused health nut — talked ad nauseam about its principles: eliminate processed foods, drastically reduce white flours and sugars, eat smaller meals throughout the day to rev up metabolism, cook at home as much as possible and always, always opt for whole foods.