Maybe they’re pretty good. I’m going to try to mellow out. But you haven’t lived if you’ve never tried to conquer a pinball machine.
Here’s a thumbnail sketch of what my day looked like when a new pinball machine was delivered to Marge’s Luncheonette. Marge kept three pinball machines lined up in her store at all times, but when an old one was switched out for a new one, it didn’t take more than twenty-four hours for the buzz to circulate throughout the neighborhood.
So, here’s my perfect Saturday afternoon before video games ever existed.
A couple of my friends and I converged on Marge’s. First stop–the soda fountain. I always ordered a cherry coke; the cherry syrup came straight from the fountain, not a bottle. One of my friends ordered a vanilla coke, the other a chocolate coke.
While we waited for a turn at the new machine, we interrogated anyone who already had taken a stab at it. How much shaking would it tolerate before it blared out the dreaded “TILT” sign and the game ended? Who had high score so far? Did the flippers drag or were they smooth?
The wait wasn’t too long because no one had that much money and each game cost a dime, after all. But in the meantime, if the jukebox wasn’t playing, we’d pool our money and select three of our favorite songs. It cost three for a quarter.
Then our time would come. If we were lucky the darned machine wouldn’t Tilt. But that was rare for a first try. It took time and patience and practice to learn the idiosyncrasies of every pinball machine. But when you did, it was heaven even though in all those years my name never appeared on the readout as the top-scoring player.
Pinball machines were my generation’s video games. If I was forced to admit it–both were pretty cool.
I was reminiscing with a dear old friend today about our childhood days when we were thirteen and fourteen without a care in the world. We had no idea what lied ahead: sorrow, joy, pain, exultation, grief and unexpected happiness and delights.
No, we had other things on our minds–important things. We didn’t waste our hours in front of monitors playing video games or texting people until our fingers wanted to drop. We busied ourselves in front of our mirrors. Meet the first (and best) fashionistas. That word hadn’t even been invented yet.
We experimented with lip colors. There was a shade called Tangee back then that was all the rage. I guess Tangee was a take on tangerine. It was considered the hottest color of the day.
All cosmetics were high on our list of beautification items, but just as important was the sweater we planned to wear to the weekly Friday night dance. And if one of us happened to have enough money to buy a new sweater, we would all troop over to the avenue (malls hadn’t been invented yet either) to lend encouragement and opinions. First and foremost it had to feel soft, it had to be the right color of course, and it had to be snug without being obviously snug, but just snug enough. The amount of snugness was very important.
An entire weekend could be spent on these undertakings. Each one of us endeavored to be the best we could be, We meant to be a smash hit as we walked into the dance.
Jump forward many years and try to imagine my dismay to have two gorgeous daughters who never felt the need to wear any makeup–never tried to enhance their beauty. They belonged to the all-natural group.
I still can’t comprehend a generation who thinks it’s okay to wear plaid with checks.
I can’t believe this, but I’m actually losing about a pound a week on my laid-back diet!
So, I’m going to stick to it for a while and get used to:
- Drinking no soda
- Not taking that detour to pick up a donut
- Eating sugar-free candy and watching the calorie count on them even though they have no sugar
- Making good choices about what I snack on
- Not ordering those oily wraps
- Limiting my cheese intake
- Eating more vegetables and fruits
- Not ordering fried food. This one is the hardest one for me, but I’m trying.
If you have any questions about the diet, see my eight preceding posts and good luck to you.
Okay–this is going to be a problem because I love, love love cheese. All types of cheeses: hard cheese, soft, spreadable, blue cheese dressing and the grated cheese I sprinkle on my spaghetti. (another bad habit I must break.) But first things first. What am I going to do about cheese?
Well, I’ll start with the cheese I don‘t like–any fat-free product. Not only do they taste bad, I can’t believe they’re good for you. So, they’re already banned from my body.
Grated parmesan is only 22 calories a tablespoon. I like the sound of that. One slice of American cheese is 79 calories. Swiss is 70 calories per slice. Gorgonzola is the cheese used in blue cheese dressing–it’s a bad 99 calories per ounce.
Since I know it would be fruitless to even attempt to give up cheese entirely, I’m going to try modifying. For instance, I won’t slather an entire ounce of dressing on my salad and I’ll only use one slice of cheese in a sandwich.
And now to the ace up my sleeve–lately I’ve been eating Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Original. One wedge of this delicious cheese is only 50 calories.
Breaking habits is a process. I’m doing my best.
Eat more vegetables. Ordinarily I would turn up my nose to this statement, but I have discovered “Steam In Bag” veggies.
The truth is I don’t mind eating vegetables, but opening up a frozen bag of veggies and then preparing them in a pot or in a microwave-safe container–well some days that’s just too much darn work. But now enter Steam In Bag vegetables. (If only they would make them in single packets for those of us who eat alone.) I suppose that’s too much to wish for.
Anyway, last night I had a homemade burger (no bun) and I surrounded it with vegetables: green beans, broccoli and mixed. It was good, but most of all it was filling. And with no carbs.
Then I retired early (with no snacking before bedtime).
Mistakes that are easy to make:
- I’ve suggested in one of my earlier posts that diet sodas must be cut out, but I’ve just learned something that you should know in case you are having a hard time cutting them out of your diet–here it is. The food coloring in diet soda comes from coal-tar. Ugh!
- Here’s something I would’ve never guessed. Those wraps that I order thinking they’re less calories and therefore good for me. Do you know why they are so easy to wrap? Because they’re loaded with oil to make them pliable.
So, my step #6 is stop ordering those wraps! (I’ve already cut out the diet soda.)
This is something I learned from my doctor. Some people, no matter how hard they try, cannot completely stop eating at nighttime–that’s me. Once I sit down to watch TV, the munching commences. Here’s what he suggested.
It’s probably the crunch that I like, so instead of something like pretzels, try eating dill gherkin pickles–0 calories. I can eat as many as I want. Add to that midget carrots and the crunch should be satisfied. It sounds like a pretty good idea to me except I know I’m still going to want some pretzels. Here’s my solution. I put about four pretzels alongside the plate. I count them out so that I don’t eat out of the bag.
Therefore, I’m cutting back on the carbs, and I’m eating things that are good for me.
Also, I’ve been going to bed a little earlier than usual. Less time for eating. So far I’m doing pretty good.
Okay, I feel we have come to a crucial point in our diet–“Real Food.”
I’m not going to pussyfoot around any longer. I’m going to face the fact that I eat too many fried foods: French fries, Southern fried chicken, fried okra. Whaaaaat? You don’t like fried okra? Well, whatever. Fried foods is one habit I most definitely must break.
But, as always, this is going to remain a laid-back diet, therefore, although I’m going to swear off fried foods, I’m leaving the door open a smidge. If I can manage to forgo fried food for an entire week, I’ll allow myself one serving at the end of a triumphant week. That way I won’t feel like I’m totally denying myself food that I love; but I must remember this is also food that is bad for me.
Gosh, I can feel the pounds melting off me already.
Okay, it’s time to take a good look at my candy obsession. Obviously, the sugar-free candy idea took a nosedive (see earlier post dated 9/1/14), so it’s time to get serious.
First, if you’re really into candy like I am, you already know this is going to be painful, definitely not easy. But I promised myself this diet would be stress-free, so here’s my new approach to the situation. I will give up candy BUT I will allow myself to eat a portion of dark chocolate every day.
Why dark chocolate? Kristin Kirkpatrick, manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, recommends that:
… her clients eat one ounce of dark chocolate a day, since that’s an amount proven to show benefits but not big enough to load you down with sugar and fat. One ounce is roughly one square of a thick bar or one-and-a-half squares of a thin bar. Chocolate has been associated with heart health, with earlier studies suggesting it helps to lower blood pressure and reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Well, if Ms. Kirkpatrick says it’s okay then I’m good. It’s gonna be hard but I’m putting Mary Janes and my Mike & Ikes on the “no-no list.”