Friday, July 16, 2010

Close Encounter of the Drinky Poo Kind

Good morning friends!  Fridays are alright with me :)  (Does anyone know how to put a smiley face or frown or whatever on a post that isn't done with punctuation marks?  Just curious - some people do it a lot and I can't figure it out.  Not that it would add anything to my scintillating ramblings)

As always, I got the best comments from my speedwritten post yesterday.  Thanks all for affirming both the mixed emotions related to being whatever age we are...and claiming youthful attitudes and minds in spite of it all.  Tammy cracked me up noting how I wrote about PF Changs and diarrhea in one post.  Nurses are earthy creatures, I suppose.  I remember going to lunch when I worked on a med-surg floor in a hospital many moon ago and we'd all be discussing the most disgusting things going on back in our unit while simultaneously shoving in the chow! 

I'm glad to report my GI tract seems to be settling down to almost it's usual cast iron status.  PF Changs turned out to be a mixed bag for me.  My friend wanted to pick me up a little after 6, thereby putting our arrival time around 6:30.  I warned her the place would be mobbed and we'd have to wait for awhile if we went that late (I know it's really early but at PFC's it was equivalent to a late arrival), but she was okay with it so it was fine with me.

When we got to the parking lot, we circled for 5 minutes just to find a remote space.  We entered to claw our way through throngs of people already waiting.  The noise level of clanking dishes, talking voices and pinging of glasses was already considerable.  The hostess cheerily welcomed us and when we said "table for 2", she said it would be 30 - 40 minutes for a table but that we could sit at the bar and still get the full service menu.  She glanced back and did a Vanna White sweep with her hand to indicate the beautiful dark wood bar that spanned the entire back of the caverous space, and further noted, "You'll love the bartenders!  They're very entertaining!" 

Recall I'm a recovering alcoholic (like you could forget that if you've read me more than once!)  who never met a bar she didn't love - dives, hole in the walls, sleek jazz piano bars, English pubs, preppie country club bar scenes, garden variety watering holes...think comfort zone of the past.  Schmoozing and making nice with the barkeeps and fellow imbibers.  Think Leslie as boozy broad who came alive when plunked down in any alcohol purveying establishment.  Including my own kitchen.   But Not Anymore.  I gracefully wrinkled my nose at the suggestion of the bar (knowing it would play with my head the entire evening), and my friend would have been more than willing to go somewhere else (neither of us wanted to wait), but it was too much hassle to do anything other that staying, so I just said it would be fine. 

The entertaining bartender assigned to us was the affable and glad-handing Jason - who greeted us by asking our names and shoving the very extensive bar menu into our hands.  2 sided, 8 1/2 x 11 laminated document listing every possible booze conconction available.  I immediately handed it back, noting I wouldn't be needing it (whether or not I was drinking I wouldn't have needed it) and asked for a diet coke and my friend got iced tea.  Jason then inquired as to our history at PFC's, and as it was my friend's first time, he regaled her with a list of what he considered to be "the best of the offerings".   We settled on his #1 recommendation which was the Oolong Sea Bass, along with splitting the lettuce wraps for an appetizer. 

The food was great - honestly it might have been the best sea bass I've ever had.  My friend was swooning over the food, but like me was finding the "ambience" a little challenging.  People seated around us were well on their ways to being 3 sheets to the wind...loud, obnoxious, trying to engage us in conversation when Diana and I were clearly having a deep conversation of our own.  One guy sidled up to the bar carrying a large jar of green olives.?  Not sure why, but apparently it was a hit as many of the bar scene folks were dishing out spoonfuls of the olives to put on their napkins and pop into their pie holes (I hate that term but it fits).  BYO olives?  I guess I've been out of the scene too long.  It was very loud with people leaning against the backs of our stools and Diana got elbowed solidly in her shoulder blade while trying to negotitate a lettuce wrap.

Now given my kneejerk aversion to this whole scenario of loud and tipsy people, just underneath the surface I was also looking at the bottles and glasses, the shiny wood of the bar, the glistening within tall Pilsner glasses of exotic brews, and thinking, "I could totally enter back into this life."!!!  WTF?  See, a bar is no place for this recovering alcoholic, because no matter how long it's been since the last drink the allure is still there and my inner alcoholic inevitably stands to attention when the magic elixir (anything with alcohol) is within arm's length.  I almost never even think of a drink, but when sitting center stage in a bar, what else is a self-respecting alcoholic going to think of?  Which is why I don't go to bars.  Or cocktail parties.  Or out to dinner with people who drink when I'm the only non-drinker.  It feels like I stuck out like a sore thumb back when I was drinking, and I stick out like one now when I'm the only one not partaking.  Best to leave it out.  "When in doubt, leave it out."  Yes.

And how surreal is it that during part of this experience, while I'm talking to my friend at one level while thinking about drinking from a different place in my brain, I was telling my friend about the AA International Convention!  Weird city, man!  And then, on the way home while I'm telling her about 60,000+  recovering alcoholics gathered for this convention, she asks, "So do these people have a drink or 2 with dinner, do you think?"  WHAT???  NO!!! The whole evening became a close encounter with alcohol of the STRANGE kind.

Well here I go turning a perfectly nice little weight loss wannabe blog into a rant about alcohol in society!  Thanks for enduring, if you did.  If you didn't, I understand.  Also, please know I'm not one of those recovering types who thinks everybody that drinks is an alcoholic.  Not at all.  The only person I assess regarding alcohol is myself, and that's how it should be.  I wouldn't give anything for my sober life today and I want to keep it that way.

Back to weight loss...rather weight stagnation.  As I predicted, a 2 pound gain showed up on the scale this morning from the PFC food, but I know it will flush away quickly.  I'm dousing my innards with water in hopes of mobilizing the dampness within, thereby rendering my weight back to where it was the day prior.
Any my overall take on PF Changs - not that you asked - is that the food is good, esp. the sea bass.  The lettuce wraps were rife with fat and chemicals...I could taste them.  They tasted great, but I just know they're a caloric and health seeker's nightmare...other than the lettuce!  The bass was awesome but also tasted quite salty and seasoned.  Given the noise, the crowd, the bar and the whole atmosphere, I think it'll be a long time before I go back.  Just not a good fit for Leslie today.


  1. I think you are talking about a smiley face like over at Waisting Time or at Fit to the Finish, right? (two links there)

    That is because they use wordpress instead of blogger. See on your blogroll? Mine has an orange 'B' while debby has a 'W'? Wordpress automatically does that in their comments. FYI.

    I'll shut up now like the nerd I am.

  2. Gosh, I so need a glass of wine now! :-)

  3. I find the whole issue of alcohol in society interesting. I never really considered it much until just this year. While I don't feel I've ever had any issue with alcohol, I made the decision to drop it from my life earlier in the year. It AMAZES me how pervasive alcohol consumption is in our culture. How often is it assumed that everyone drinks? I don't have a problem being the only non-drinker in a group, but my tolerance for obnoxious drunks it pretty darned low :-)

    I think your restaurant "review" is spot on. Vastly overrated, imho.

    Have a wonderful weekend and I hope you say goodbye to sodium bump!

  4. You did very well- and you are right about the weight flushing out.

    The Olives ??? Very strange ! I am totally out of that world as well so this is a new and weird thing to me .

    I used to be a very heavy drinker ( and drug user) and one day i simply decided it was not for me in any way any more. These days even a mouthful of wine gives me horrible heartburn and beer an instant head ache- anything stronger I cannot even tolerate the smell for some reason.Bars and any kind of environment that even looks like a bar scares the heck out of me for some reason , and for that reason i don't go to any kind of restaurant with any kind of bar.Once i went to a Chilis and got freaked out by the bar there and left. Same with TGI Friday's for some reason. I have never been to a PF Changs, and knowing that they have a bar is enough to keep me from going to one. Nothing against those who drink, but rather just a real weird quirk I have for reasons I don't understand.

  5. Anonymous16 July, 2010

    I don't know if this will help with the smiles,

    Be sure and scroll down and see them all!


  6. Anonymous16 July, 2010

    Looks like it didn't work, they do work on other sites though! ♥

  7. Anonymous16 July, 2010

    Hey, the heart worked... that is : hearts ; no spaces! Now I want to try them all....

  8. So where are the parallel places (of bars) that you stay away from as a healthy eater?

    I have had several - one was a 5000 calorie breakfast put on for youngest's school's faculty and staff. Instead of steering clear - I volunteered to organize it and I put REAL food on the buffet.

    I went to a party expecting there to be NO real food last weekend. I was pleasantly surprised when there was a very large fruit, veggie selection. And there was also a veggie/cabbage/spaghetti sauce casserole that was a sort of an option. in view of people who hosted the party - this was a BIG improvement over the last one.

  9. BYO olives how strange! I found your story about last nights adventure so interesting.

    I rarely have an alchoholic drink, I am usually the designated driver. My dad was an alcoholic so I have choosen not to take a risk of becoming one I guess.

    It is strange to be the only one not drinking in most social situations. People give you a questioning look, some come right out and ask if I ever drink and so on. I think they feel better about drinking if everyone else is doing the same. There are now two other people in our social circle who no longer drink, one is a recovering alcoholic and the other can not do to medical issues and meds. I feel better not being the lone ranger.

    I think you are amazing and so honest. I love that about you!

  10. Good work, Leslie. And it IS work, sometimes. I don't drink at all. Don't particularly like the taste and certainly don't need any extra caloric vices in my repertoire. I do have near and dear ones who flirt with alcoholism. It scares me to be with them when they drink. Like Vickie, I think my years of overeating are quite similar and equate my own past overindulgence in the wrong sorts of foods to an alcoholic's overindulgence in alcohol. I do notice what others are eating in restaurants. Sometimes I'm sort of tempted, but mostly I see the obvious downsides to that kind of eating and am able to keep myself on plan. I'm happy for you that you escaped with just the normal Chinese Food two day surplus weight gain!

  11. Anonymous16 July, 2010

    Ack! I would have HATED that bar event. In fact, Lesle, I wouldn't have done it. That's not even a guess--I have been in that situation and it has been decades since I agreed to eat in the bar. I gave up even trying to sit at the corner table.

    But, you know, as I was reading your account, I kept waiting for the analogy about putting yourself in danger r/t eating.

    It's harder with food, isn't it? I mean skipping a cocktail party is one thing, but how do you skip a banquet for a dear friend? Or Thanksgiving dinner? What do I say? "I'm sorry, but you know I'm a recovering binge-eater and will not attend."

    If you come up with that analogy, I'd love to hear it. I just have a fuzzy thing mooshing around in my head that I can't get into words. I think my brain is impaired by the inner cringing I did as I read about your bar experience. Ack!

    But you held tough, girlfriend. Good for you!


  12. Quite an experience that you had at Chang's! Who knew it would take you and your mind to those places? Aren't you glad that you aren't a participant in that scene anymore?