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My Dog the Magician


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Mary Jo Fay

Can your dog do magic? Perhaps…

Move over Harry Potter – my dog has apparently taken up magic! Perhaps I should enter her in America’s Got Talent! See if you can solve this because I haven’t figured it out yet …

I had been out shopping the other day and when I came home I opened the door, as usual, expecting my little, white Schnauzer Larkin, to greet me exuberantly as always. Nope. No excited pup visible anywhere, bouncing with joy that Mommy’s home!  Something was definitely wrong. She never disappears.

So I figured that perhaps I hadn’t closed the bathroom door and she’d gotten in there and then accidentally locked herself in, which happens occasionally. But no. Bathroom door had remained tightly shut and when I opened it the room was just as I had left it. (If I do forget and leave the door opened, she considers it fair game to spew the contents of the bathroom wastebasket everywhere. Needless to say, it’s a rare day that I forget to close the bathroom door!)

All this time I continued to call her, but no sound of an excited fuzzy canine could be heard! I was starting to worry just a bit by then, as she never disappears. Was she hurt and unable to communicate? Had she keeled over dead while I was out?

My mind was racing by then. Perhaps someone had broken in and stolen my dog? Or something else? I glanced over to my dining room table where I do most of my work and saw the computer, (my most valuable possession as it holds all my works) was still where I had left it. Whew!

Then, I glanced over to the flat screen TV. Not a huge one, mind you. Several years old by now. But the only TV I had. Thankfully, it was still perched on the shelf above the fireplace. Apparently untouched. By this time I was beginning to panic.I live in a very small house and my possibilities were quickly running out. Where the hell was my dog? Did aliens “beam her up, Scotty?”

For a while when I first moved into my 100-year-old house, I thought it might be haunted, based upon some odd things that had happened. (I’d come home to find broken photo frames and shattered glass that had no explanation.Things like that.) And the dog hadn’t even been home to be labeled a suspect. But I hadn’t even experienced those for a while. Did my ghost suddenly return and decide to haunt poor Little Larkin to death?

Then, to my surprise, as I turn towards the next room to search, I find a pint of Halo Top low cal ice cream on the living room floor. (In the spot where Larkin usually lays to consumer bones and other precious commodities.) Aha! The first clue appeared.

The pint of Peanut Butter Cup flavor didn’t appear to be opened despite several dents I assumed to be bite marks and there wasn’t even a dribble of my sweet addictive food on the floor! (Thank God for small favors.) Yet, still no sign of the suspect.

As I studied the unopened container it struck me that it didn’t feel as heavy as usual. So, the next step was to open it. I pried the lid off and then- the aluminum foil layer after that; tightly sealed, although a bit soggy. It had apparently been out of the freezer for some time. However, the amount of ice cream in the container indeed seemed to be less than usual. Where did the rest of it go since the container was obviously still sealed? It was about half melted but even as such I didn’t see how it would take up substantially less space in its liquid state, would it?

Which begs me to ask the question – how the hell did my little Houdini get it out of the freezer in the first place?

Which takes me to investigate the freezer – firmly shut, as I know I had left it. It’s one of those doors that automatically closes itself! But how on Earth did she get it open? Sure, it’s a side-by-side fridge/freezer but she’s only about 17 pounds and I certainly have to pull pretty firmly on it to get it to open, myself.

My curiosity was growing by leaps and bounds. What had happened here with my dog at the helm?

And all this time, I have been calling and calling her as I had made all of these discoveries. Still no sight of her.

Finally, as a very last resort, I said the magic words: “Larkin, want a COOKIE?,” and slowly but surely Little Larkin showed up in the kitchen, looking VERY sheepish. And very guilty. I just wasn’t sure what laws she had broken or what to charge her with! Yet!

She hung her head for about ten seconds as I was scolding her (only with my words used cautiously, as she’s such a sensitive soul) and she went right back into the bedroom, where I watched her slide herself under the bed – much like a badly behaving child has to sit in the corner for punishment. To add to everything, the space under the bed has only about an inch of extra headroom. I said my prayers and hoped that she didn’t get herself stuck which would have only complicated the situation further. I wouldn’t have been able to lift the bed by myself, should I need to and as it was the middle of the day, there weren’t many neighbors nearby who could help either.

I guess the low-cal Halo Top ice cream had been calling her. She sees me eat it all the time and of course, I let her lick the spoon for all the drippings. So, apparently my addiction had apparently become her addiction!

In fact, I bet she’s had this plan in the works for some time! Just waiting for the right moment.
But, still, I ask you –
How did my little Magic Girl pull all this off? Should I sign her up for America’s Got Talent? Stay tuned for future mysteries. And if you have a dog in your house and you’re a Halo Top Ice cream addict like I am, you might just want to buy a lock for your freezer!

KLONDIKE BARS … MY NO KISS-AND-TELL LOVERS!


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klondikebaroriginal

This is an excerpt from NO CHEATIN’, JUST EATIN’, a short insight into the crazy world of food and my junk food junkie lifestyle. This excerpt is taken from Chapter 10, Love or Lust. It takes place just as I was getting my feet back under me after going through divorce.

***

The first thing I did was put the house on the market. That was tough. I’d spent 16 years there, had made many memories there. It had been the dream I’d had for years. Suddenly it was different. Now it was just a house, not a home anymore. I also sold the last two horses, which actually broke my heart more. I just knew I couldn’t keep up a place that size any more. Not by myself.

I was in transition, not knowing what the next journey would be. And so after the house sold (and that took nearly a year), I sought out a temporary living arrangement to keep myself flexible. I ended up in a roommate situation in the mountains just west of Denver. The guy who owned the house, Patrick, was gone 90 percent of the time. He got on a plane every Monday morning and returned every Friday night. And if it was snow skiing season, he left the house Saturday morning to go work on ski patrol, then returned Sunday late afternoon, paid his bills, did his laundry, and packed to leave again the next morning.

It was a perfect situation for both of us. He got rent and I got a house essentially to myself. I only mention this brief living situation because it was where I gained back so much of my weight. And looking back at it, I have to laugh. It was truly one of my greatest excuses of all the great excuses I’ve used over the years. Since Patrick and I were nothing more than roommates, that also meant we bought our own food as well. However, since the grocery store was a good 20 minutes each way, it was considered fair game to borrow something from each other, then replace it the next time either of us went shopping.

Living alone like I was, food did its great job of being a filler of emptiness, as always. And so, when my hunger (stomach or emotional) started working its way with me, I’d start searching first, through my stuff, seeking something sweet and satisfying. But because I refused to buy any junk in bulk to bring home, I was usually pretty good about not going overboard too often. I’d buy whatever junk I could when I went to town, something yummy at the bakery perhaps, then eat it in the car on the way home. (Yep, I never quit that habit, even after 7-Eleven!)

However, on nights when a good snow storm had settled over the house and I couldn’t get out to procure my fix, I would start searching through Patrick’s goodies. Mind you, he was about 5 foot 10 inches tall and not an ounce of fat on him. Ate healthy all the time too. But he did like an occasional Klondike bar. It didn’t take me long to find his stash and I took the first one, thinking he’d understand if one was missing. It wouldn’t be that big a deal. So, I’d eat one, despite the fact that ice cream bars really weren’t on my favorites list. I gobbled it up right quick. Hmmmm … I thought. Not so bad after all. I even licked the stick until the last traces of chocolate were gone.

Well, I said to myself, maybe just this one time, I’ll allow myself two. Surely I’ll have time to get to the store before he comes home and I can refill his supply. He’ll never know the difference.

Made perfect sense to me. But that was before I realized that I would be house bound due to the snow for two and a half days. The Klondike bars barely made it past the first night.

By the time Patrick was due home, I’d been to the store and back and reloaded the freezer, just as he’d left it. I even pushed the wrappers to the bottom of the trash can to hide the evidence. It worked! He never knew a thing. And I – well, now I had a Plan B in the event of another snow-in. Which of course happens quite often in the mountains.

My “Plan C” came quickly on the tails of Plan B. Only this time it was one of those tubs of ready-made cake icing. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why he would have cake icing on the shelf. He certainly didn’t bake and he certainly wasn’t a sugar junkie. The Klondikes seemed to be his only weakness and even those he only ate on a rare occasion.

And so one night, when I’d either already wiped out the Klondike supply or had gotten bored with them, I did it; I broke into the frosting! Just me, a spoon, and Pillsbury’s Best Chocolate Frosting. What else could any God-fearing sugar junkie need? So, for the next 24 hours, I gorged on that stuff.

Then, of course I had to replace it, in case he might miss that little goodie on his pantry shelf next time he was home. I didn’t find out until much later that it wasn’t even his! It had been left there months before by an earlier roommate. So I’d gone through all those antics for nothing!

As it turned out, I was only there for about five months. He ended up meeting some gal and despite the fact he was barely ever home, she wasn’t too keen on me being there, roommate or not.

It was time for me to go. All those Klondike bars and the Pillsbury’s Best Frosting had landed me at 185 pounds!

Yep, the evidence was clear; whether I had no love or no lust, I always turned to my reliable standby, food, as my no kiss-and-tell lover.

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WHY YOU SHOULDN’T WAIT ‘TIL JANUARY TO DIET!


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Ok, so Halloween is here and if you haven’t been around candy and goodies yet, you likely will be soon! They’re everywhere! Every office you go into. Every neighbor you visit. Every social gathering you attend. You simply can’t escape it! Then, of course, there’s the candy you buy to give out to the Trick or Treaters … I always buy something I don’t like to minimize my wolfing them down myself. (I always buy Whoppers – don’t like them much. Yet last year there were quite a few left and I polished them all off anyway!)

Next, Thanksgiving is only a few weeks after that with its mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey and dressing, sweet potato casserole, cranberries, dinner roles, appetizers and of course – ALL THOSE DESSERTS!

Then, come all the Xmas parties that usually start about the first week of December. Just how many of those are you planning on attending? PLUS Xmas Eve and Xmas itself… the big family gigs and God knows you don’t want to make your mother feel bad by not having seconds (of everything) since she slaved all day making your favorite dishes for you!

Then New Year’s Eve celebrating and New Year’s Day football eating all day long.

Why am I bringing this up? Because I hear so many folks say they’re going to wait until the first of the year to start their diet. AFTER all the celebrating and over-indulging is over. In the meantime, they give themselves permission to pig out until Jan 1, when they’ll likely hit the scales like most of us, and groan at what they see.

On the other hand, what about if you put some serious focus on food NOW – lose a couple of lbs now, BEFORE ALL THE HOLIDAY OVER EATING ONLY ADDS TO YOUR WEIGHT. That way when the big feast come around, you’ve got a little wiggle room to spare. Then, if you want to get seriously into losing some weight when January comes, you’re already one step ahead of the game.
Oh yea – and don’t forget that Valentine’s Day is right after Xmas, with its chocolate in every shape and size. Then there’s Easter and all the Easter hams and Cadbury eggs. (LOVE those!) Then Memorial Day and the 4th of July cookouts with those awesome summer burgers! And then …

As you can see, there’s never a good time. You just have to start.

The other thing to consider with all these parties, is planning ahead. For example, if I have a party to attend on Saturday, I cut my calories back the day before the party, the morning and afternoon of the party, as well as the day after the party.

I also do things like bring a dish to pass that I know will be safe for me. I bring the fruit or veggie tray. Maybe a nice, big salad. (Other folks could benefit from some non-fat options as well, you know!)

Lastly, under absolutely NO conditions, should you take leftovers home! (Despite how much grief Aunt Mable is giving you!) It’s one thing to pig out once – why would you set yourself up to fail twice? Just say NO! She’ll get over it!

These are just a few tips to help you avoid gaining over the holidays like I did several years ago. (I put on 8 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas! Yikes!) Believe me, you don’t want to do that!

Sure – there are so many pitfalls of the busy holiday season but if you put a plan into place now and look ahead for the best way to navigate the food minefield this several weeks, you shouldn’t be sobbing over your scales come January 1!

http://www.http://nocheatinjusteatin.com

Mary Jo Fay is the founder and author of No Cheatin’, Just Eatin’,, the memoir of 40 years of yo-yo dieting that reads like a novel and has just enough “how to” advice for folks who want to lose weight but refuse to give up their favorite foods and eat healthy!    cvr_nocheatin

Available soon on Amazon.