April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

There's Something About Death That Brings Me to Crisp, Clear Resolution

You're probably thinking that I'm about to say that the death of my cat has led me to some profound conclusions in my latest round of existential angst.

Think again! I may be melodramatic, overly enthusiastic, and easily amused, but I am not tacky. It was bad enough that I pulled on your heartstrings to get you to click on the SENS website. That was a cheap trick, but justified by the cause.

No, this is not about immortality. It's about fashion.

The headline is a paraphrase of a line from one of my favorite books when I was a child, "Puppy Love," by Janice Harrell. Janice was a friend of my mom's, and she wrote teen fiction. The book was about a high school girl who opens a shelter for homeless dogs. Anyway, it was an incredibly funny book, and the line I'm working off of was, "There's something about other people's problems that brings me to crisp, clear resolution." I used that the other day when telling a friend what to do.

While I was in the shower about an hour ago (I often run home between morning writing sessions to take a shower, feed the cat, and drink coffee) it occurred to me just what will cheer me up today: I am going to go buy clothes that fit!

Not many, mind you... I'm a little broke from the recent round of veterinary medicine. But I desperately need a suit that fits, both for work and also for Thanksgiving.

Have I told you about my family's Thanksgiving tradition? I do Thanksgiving with my dad, Christmas with my mom. So I fly to Greensboro, North Carolina, usually the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. On the Wednesday, my father and I go to our favorite amazing gourmet grocery store, A Southern Season www.southernseason.com, in Chapel Hill. This year, now that my step-mother is retired from teaching kindergarten, she can come with us! We have lunch there and shop, usually buying wine and Christmas presents.

Then on Thursday, we pile into the car with my step-brother (and now his wife, and this year, for the first time, my niece!) and drive to Winston-Salem, NC, where my grandparents live. I think I've mentioned them before... they're in their ninties, in excellent health, and extremely active. By active I mean that they go out dancing. A lot. They have more fun than I do. They've been married for 69 years, and every year on their anniversary, my grandfather says, "Well, your grandmother and I have talked it over, and we've decided to give it another year."

My grandparents are very snappy dressers, and occasionally show up in matching suits. I can not remember ever seeing my grandmother in anything other than a skirt suit with a beautiful suit pin and heels. She is not the kind of woman who would ever wear comfortable shoes. Needless to say, I adore her. In April of 2001, in the same week as my then-boyfriend went to trial on felony charges after being arrested and beaten by police officers at the Republican National Convention protests in 2000 (he was acquited of all charges, which was good, as he had done absolutely nothing!), my grandmother beat back an illness that turned out to be colon cancer. She is still 100% cancer free! I share all of these details because early on in my CR journey it occured to me that my grandparents have been practicing moderate CR as long as I've known them, and probably most of their lives. For breakfast, they eat a little yogurt and fruit. For dinner, they usually split a small piece of fish, eat salad and vegetables, and a tiny bit of rice or something like that. My grandmother has always been slim and petite. My grandfather, also thin, says that he weighs himself every morning, and if his weight has gone up a pound, he cuts back on his food that day. They're so cute when they go out to dinner because the eat like little birdies! They could easily pass for people in their 70's.

My grandfather was a painter and later a photographer. He did advertising photographs, society photography, all kinds of things. His house is like a museum. His work was shown at the Chicago Art Institute and other cool places. Of all of his kids and grandkids, only one got his artistic talent. The rest of us can't even draw stick people. My grandmother ran his business and raised two children, my uncle who is a dean at Duke and my dad, who is a retired college professor and ordained minister.

The point being, CR works! You too can go dancing well into your ninties!

Even if we're wrong about The Second If, that's reason enough for me to stick with CR. Except that as a rule I hate going dancing, though I have occasionally been known to go salsa dancing, but only in LA. You don't have to go dancing in your ninties... you could do whatever it is you like to do now. Like fishing. Or whatever.

My grandmother does not cook, so every year for Thanksgiving we go to the Twin City Club, which is an old institution that hosts Sunday brunch, tea dances, and parties, as well as holiday events. They've been members since the dawn of time. It's a super dress up occasion, and when I was a teenager I used to absolutely obsess about what I would wear to the event. My older cousin, Holly, five years my senior, was always the pretty one. (She's still gorgeous, and just had her first child.) I was the smart one. I got good grades and got my picture taken with Jonas Salk at the awards ceremony for kids who did really well on the SAT in seventh grade, Holly was a debutante and got her picture taken in an amazing long white dress. I hated being the smart one, not because I hated being smart, but because I wanted to be the pretty one! So I would pay careful attention to my outfit every year, in a pathetic attempt to compete with my goddess cousin.

The goddess cousin lives in San Francisco now and no longer attends the Thanksgiving, but the need to look right for the occasion has never lost its grip on me.

Last year on Thanksgiving I weighed 33 pounds more than I do now. I looked basically okay, but I was wearing a size eight suit that I have long since given away. My father and step-mother saw me 19 pounds ago at 123, but the rest of the family haven't seen me since Thanksgiving. I talked on the phone to my aunt and uncle and told them about CR, so they know I'm thinner. But still, I think it's going to be a big shock. So there's no way I'm showing up in something that doesn't fit. Spending most of the weekend reading and running errands in lycra leggings that actually fit has really brought to my attention that my body is much smaller than any of the clothes I currently own.

Therefore, today I am going to take a break from writing, cooking, reading de Grey, and doing the laundry (CR, alas, does not make the process of laundry any less tedious) and go out to the King of Prussia Mall, which is truly a monument to American consumerism. There I will buy myself a decent suit in size 0 petite or whatever. Both Ann Taylor and Banana Republic have some awesome stuff out now. I think I'll go with plain black and dress it up with a suit pin. Very high but conservative heels.

It's not quite what Molly would wear, but it'll have to do for now.


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