My Dogs Are Barking

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So, I am mid way through my August journey, my month-long juice fast, and, oh, my dogs are barking.

Which is to say:  Juice fasts, no easy thing.  Not that you are hungry.  If you do it right, you are never hungry.  Or, at least, that is not the word for what you are.  If you do it right, you literally flood your system with so many nutrients, juiced and ready for the simplest act of digestion (which is to the usual act of digesting a large fried clam dinner as flicking away a housefly is to tossing aside an elephant) that you can never get hungry.  Getting hungry is death to the juice fast.  Those who want to go the distance know to keep yourself sloshy-full at all times, so that your stomach feels next to bursting with “food” and you therefore never yield to cravings.

So it is not eating exactly that you miss.  It is, instead, the sensual aspects of food, the smell of it, the taste of it, the chewing of it.  Think about it:  chewing is something that almost exclusively linked to one thing–eating.  Other than chewing gum, there is no other reason to work that particular set of muscles than eating. So when you are not eating, you are not chewing.  And something inside your brain notices this and fixates on it.  That something is a little voice that tries to get you to gnaw on the corner of books, on magazines, on doorjambs, on anything that will let you.

Last time I did the full 30, as we juicers call it, I could not have anyone in the house eating, including the dog.  As there was active rebellion on this particular point this time around, I have had to learn to live with a refrigerator filled with food and with the full knowledge that, just outside my bedroom door (where I retreat after each juice to let others have their meals in peace), they are all chewing chewing chewing, including that little dog Django, who loves me, but who has his limits.

I wonder if they were to all stop chewing a once and if they listened very, very carefully, if they could hear me quietly gnawing on my bathrobe on the other side of the door?


Toward a New Vocabulary


I’ve read that the majority of us have a working vocabulary of about 10,000 words.  This seems pitifully small to me, give the many, many more thousands of perfectly good words that could be ours at no charge, were be but to go and harvest them from time to time.  But as that would likely involve opening a dictionary or some other word farm (word a day calendars, etc) it seems unlikely that many of us, save those who were the unlucky recipients of said calendars from Secret Santas at the office holiday party last December, will ever get to 10,001.

So I thought that I could be of help here.  I recently came upon a nice shiny new word on the second page of a mystery novel (I always appreciate when authors of popular fiction go the extra mile in terms of word selection–something that is all too often left to “literary” novelists and the know-it-all poets) written by an internet acquaintance of mine, Steven M. Thomas.  In his new book, Criminal Karma, he writes, “The hills reminded me of an oil painting I’d seen while casing a Santa Barbara museum a couple of weeks before–a plein air vision of SoCal’s vanishing rural past worth $30,000, more than the rolling expanse of portrayed acreage was worth when the painter committed it to canvas in the 1920s.”

My built-in Mac dictionary defines plein-air (and yes, Steven, there should be a hyphen) as “denoting or in the manner of a 19th century style of painting outdoors, or with a strong sense of open air, that became a central feature of French Impressionism.”

Thus, we all have something new to say at the next dinner party we attend, the next new neighbor’s house we visit, “Such a splendid plein-air painting in the solarium.”  Or, “There is such a sense of open air and light in here, that one might venture to call it plein-air!”  After the first sentence, one should punctuate with a slight nod.  After the second a little tinkling “ha ha ha” laugh might be just the thing.

Either was, we are now, indeed, up to 10,001.