Thursday, 3 June 2010

Word of the day: Ugnula

According to Ms.6, a "ugnula" (pronounced "you-NEW-lah") is a camel penis. This is the first thing she told me when I asked, "How was school today?" Apparently her best friend learned that a camel penis is called a "ugnula". Her friend supposedly acquired this fact during her travels to Cuba. Puzzling, because I wasn't aware that Cuba had a desert full of horny, wandering camels.

Now Ms. 6 has been known to embellish the truth somewhat. This has been a fairly recent development. First indication of said embellishments was a few weeks ago when she proceeded to tell me about her science excursion with her senior kindergarten class. They explored various plants & flowers in a field. During this trip, Ms.6 tells me a few birds landed on her shoulders, head, and hands. The birds began to sing a merry song. It appears she was channelling St. Francis of Assisi. When I asked if she was the only child partial to the phenomenon of the friendly animals reminiscent of a Disney movie, she replied that her friend (the one who rode camels in the Cuban desert) also had a few birds chatting her up.

So what to do? Crush her imagination? I have to give her credit - she's making up some entertaining stories. She convinced me to the point where I just had to google "ugnula" in various spelling versions, as well as "camel + penis". Imagine the results on THAT search! Perhaps I'll see how it rides out... I just don't want it to be a case of the girl who cried camel penis one too many times.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Coffee = Happiness

After 2 long weeks of detox, my first sip of espresso was indescribably...divine. Really, that's the only term that comes to mind. DIVINE!

But why is coffee so precious to me? Truth be told, I'm able to manage without it. The first days of detox left me with horrific symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. I don't care if people think it's psychological, but I can tell you that the stabbing pain behind my left eye was very very real. And yet, I'm here to tell my tale.

So I can manage without coffee, but I don't want to. Why? Because! Because coffee is good. Coffee is home. Coffee is friendship. Coffee is happiness!!!

I grew up with coffee playing a huge part in my life. Every morning, I'd awaken to the glorious scent of espresso brewing in the kitchen. Even as a young child, espresso found its' way into my breakfast routine: latte e caffe con biscottini (biscuits/cookies with a latte). Such sweetness! Eventually, I graduated to drinking espresso straight up with only a hint of sugar. I was 13 & it was my great-aunt, Zia Michellina, who said she felt I was mature enough to handle it.

Guests were never allowed to leave without the mandatory "caffe tra amici". Friendship = Coffee. In fact, my mother always said "Il caffe freddo si offre agli amici" (iced coffee is always offered to friends), so we always made sure we had some on hand.

As for the sugar? It's a matter of preference. My mom's friend, "Maria La Romana" would say, "la vita e' gia' abbastanza amare per non prendere lo zucchero nel caffe" (life is already bitter enough to not take sugar in one's coffee).

And so, I've learned that I need not depend on my vice. However, I will continue my reverence & appreciation for the "liquid gold". It's far too good to pass up.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Detox days 12 & 13

This is getting tiring now... I'm near the end of my cleanse & I believe it's done what it was meant to do. Yes, it's put a slight spring in my step. Yes, I'm feeling more energetic & "on", without the help of caffeine. But... I'm getting tired of it. I really really really want an espresso in the biggest, baddest way possible.

I did 2 mini-cheats. Once you're at the end of the second week, I think mini-cheats are inevitable. I mean, I've been so very good, so why not! Plus, one of my cheats was for the purpose of job security - a piece of birthday cake in honour of my branch manager.

Day 12
Breakfast: oatmeal, banana & hemp seeds
snack: grapes
lunch: salad w/ tuna
cheat: teeny weeny piece of birthday cake... again,for my branch manager - and I couldn't risk losing my job by not eating the cake.
snack: applesauce & almonds
dinner: butternut squash soup & rice cakes w/ apple butter
snack: apple & some pistachio nuts

Day 13
breakfast: oatmeal, banana & hemp seeds (yawn)
lunch: a McDonald's Happy Meal - in honour of McHappy Day to benefit local charities.... BUT I had chicken nuggets (batter peeled off lovingly by moi), apple slices & water. So, technically, it was a half-cheat
snack: 1 rice cake w/ apple butter
snack: 1 apple & a handful of pistachios
dinner: chili c/o my mamma-in-law & a nice big salad
snack... to be determined... maybe another rice cake....and definitely an herbal tea