Tuesday, July 25, 2006

No Candy and Me

It's been a week and a half since my birthday, but I wanted to say thanks to everyone who made it a great birthday weekend, even birthday week. I don't actually care too much about my birthday, but then again, it's nice to throw a party, and it's nice to see and hear from family and friends. I used my 2nd annual rooftop birthday party this year to also start raising money for Fred's Team. As I've mentioned, I'm running the NYC marathon this November and am raising money for pediatric cancer research. I'll be starting my big fundraising push after I run the half marathon in NY at the end of August, but in the meantime if you want to help me out by donating, you can do so here. I'm running in honor of Grace Lin's husband Robert, who was also the inspiration for the Robert's Snow fundraiser that raised over $100,000 for the past two years. We're not having that fundraiser this year, so if you want to contribute, please donate for me running over 26 miles!

I raised $431 dollars from having a raffle at my party (thank you to everyone who contributed), and when added to the internet donations, over $600 (raffle money isn't yet online) so far. So I'm closer to my $2500 goal. A great birthday present! And on my actual birthday, Sachin surprised me with tickets to see The Producers and took me to a wonderful dinner at Gramercy Tavern--the perfect cap to the perfect weekend, which started off with a cupcake surprise from Grace.

But all that wasn't what I was intending to post about...what I really wanted to post about is CANDY. Candy, candy, candy. For the past two years, I've eaten tons of candy at my birthday party. Most of my friends know why, but a few asked me, "What's up with all the candy?" Well, here's the story. About five years ago I went home for the Christmas holiday. Whenever I go home to Southern California, my mother inevitably takes me to a new doctor or two she's seeing. It may be reflexology, chiropracy, or accupuncture, etc. At any rate, this trip she took me to see two different doctors, and as they were pushing the pressure points on my feet and measuring my energy levels through my fingers, respectively, both doctors asked, "Do you eat a lot of candy?" "Uhhh, well, no, well, maybe, well..." Well, yes, actually, I do. At that time, up until recently I had been roommates with Grace and Jon, and we all loved candy and sweets. There would be pound bags of Smarties everywhere, chocolate, sour candy, nerds, everything. I also had a candy drawer at work, and would eat candy throughout the day. I've always had a sweet tooth, partially spurred, I think, because my parents never had sweets in the house and forbade me from eating candy. So of course I ate it every chance I had.

Well, even though part of me suspected that my mother had tipped off both doctors, I realized that I really did eat too much candy, and it couldn't be good for me. So I decided to stop. Just like that, cold turkey, as one of my New Year's resolutions. I had guidelines, of course, and I didn't give up sweet things altogether, just candy. Candy was defined mostly by whether or not something was found in the candy section of the supermarket, and also by the intent. For example, mints were okay, because the intent was to freshen my breath. Also, if it was an ingredient in another type of food, it was okay. So, for example, I could eat chocolate chip cookies, or even cookies with M&Ms in them, or ice cream mixed with Butterfingers, because the candy in those examples was secondary to the main ingredient. So for one whole year, I didn't eat any candy. None. And to be honest, to my surprise it wasn't that hard. It was hardest when the candy was free (it's extremely hard for me to resist free food of any kind, even when I'm not hungry), such as in the many candy dishes people had at work. So anyway, because I did so well I decided to continue my resolution the following year, but as a reward (because a lifetime without candy seemed a dark life indeed) I decided I would eat candy one day a year, on my birthday. This proved successful, and for the last three years, for my last three birthdays, that is what I've done. (The picture above is from my birthday last year.) I start eating candy at midnight the night before my birthday, and continue until midnight the night of my birthday. And I enjoy every piece. This year, I started with Grape Heads that my friend Mat bought me (under my specific instructions--I had spied them in a convenient store on the corner of the where he was staying at the time). I also overdosed on Rainbow Nerds, chewy Spree, Bottle Caps, SweetTarts, M&Ms, this funny "make your own ice cream cone" candy (pictured here) that Saho brought me, and more. I think I'll continue this resolution for as a long as I can. I enjoy the candy more that way--I don't take it for granted (although I must say my teeth and sides of my mouth do take a beating). It has been tempting to watch my coworkers eat the candy in front of me (I've been bringing the leftover candy into work--and there's still more!). But I AM STRONG! I AM WOMAN! And I like to abide by the rules of my own making.

On a related note, CANDY AND ME is a book by Hilary Lifton that I read a few years ago. It's a "candy memoir" about her life and the role candy plays in it, and it's funny, poignant, fully enjoyable, and a book I totally related to. I liked it so much that I went to the Web site for it after finishing the book, and even posted a few of my own candy memories. Mine are about Alexander the Grape (now called Grape-Heads), and Sugar and Jello Mix. See them here. The author got my permission to print my Alexander the Grape candy memory in the paperback edition of her book, but I'm a little ashamed to say that I haven't actually bought/seen a copy to check to see if it's there. I will, though!

I'm going up to Boston this weekend to visit with Grace, Anna, Libby, Meghan, and Linda (I hope), and I'm going to overdose on something similar to Alexander the Grape--it's small and round and cute and delicious: blueberries! We're going blueberry picking. Perhaps my next post will be Blueberries for Al.

No comments: