Jenny: The Power of Un-Positive Thinking

Lani and I were in the living room the other day:


ME: I’m getting discouraged.  I can’t eat anything, I can’t smell anything, and pretty soon I’m not going to be able to see anything.  This sucks.

LANI: You don’t know that.  You can do anything.  I bet you don’t lose your sight at all.  And you can eat lots of stuff, you’re making all those new recipes–

ME: Oh, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.  Are you ever not chipper?  Is there ever a time you’re not upbeat and happy?  DOES THE CHIPPERNESS NEVER END?

ALASTAIR (on the other side of the living room giving sub-q to our terminal dog): Snerk.



LANI: Oh.  That does work better.

ME: Yeah.  I”m not sure what that says about me, though.

ALASTAIR (still on the other side of the living room giving sub-q to our terminal dog): Snerk.


Thank God I have sisters.  And Alastair.

56 thoughts on “Jenny: The Power of Un-Positive Thinking

  1. German Chocolate Betty says:


    This is sooooo familiar. My dad successfully used that tactic on me when I was a kid. He’d tell me, naw, you can’t do that, and I’d show him, yes, I could. (In 9th grade, he bet me $100 I couldn’t graduate as valedictorian — I sure did love that crispy new bill at graduation. Of course, it was back when $100 actually was worth something, haha).

    Of course you’re Jennifer-Crusie-I-can-do-anything …! We depend on you to do just that.

    (Although I am not sure why I think someone as WHINY as you should be a good role model. I have to think on that a while. Maybe it’s my antidepressants speaking…)

  2. stephanie says:

    that’s the same tactic that was used on me and I ended pushing a kid into the pool during break time when I was 5. I swear I haven’t ever done anything bad since then. I swear. really.

  3. Tracey says:

    Did Alastair know what he was getting into? Never mind. You’ve survived divorce and cancer, you can do diabetes and macular degeneration. And moving. ‘Cause you’re Jennifer Crusie and you can do anything!

  4. Can you eat unsweetened chocolate chips? And while you might not be able to do “anything” I will wager good money that you do “everything” you want to do when you want to do it.

    I have read the cinnamon helps the body properly process sugars in addition to anti-clotting blood and other healthy stuff. I sprinkle it on just about anything from oatmeal to porkchops. And I find that if I put it on sweet stuff in particular I do not get sleepy after eating. I don’t get that sugar high or crash. Can also be bought in capsules.

  5. The problem with this type of motivation is that it only works when someone else employs it! I am gung-ho to prove other people wrong, but I can easily succumb to my own negative thoughts. I may have to learn to get sneaky with myself.

    Again with the dirty-sounding…well, whatever works, I guess!

  6. Tracey says:

    Jenny- over in Jezebel they’re reporting that Judy Dench has macular degeneration…people read scrips to her. So you’re not alone.

  7. McB says:

    Yep, a good vent among friends is very therapeutic. Sometimes much more beneficial than tea and sympathy.

    And I’m thinking that your name for this next book, as an inside joke, should read: Jennifer G. Cruisie.

  8. You know, maybe it’s a good thing that the cottage isn’t finished yet. You need Chipper Rich and Alastair around while you’re adjusting to these health changes and, at least, until you finish the damn book. Either that or you’ll have to install a portrait-sized monitor on a wall in the cottage so you and Lani can Skype all of the time and provide the illusion that you’re still living together in the same house. Otherwise, these useful convos won’t take place.

    Maybe for a couple of years you should maintain Ohio as your primary residence but do frequent retreats to Squalor in New Jersey to visit with Mollie and grandbabies. (Glaring at anyone tempted to call that redundant. I’m a bred/born/raised Jersey girl and love my home state.)

  9. There’s a saying around my house–Tofu is not chicken.

    It dates back to the 80s when hubby and I became vegetarian. We spent almost two years transitioning while we learned the new way of life. During that time we cut out red meat but still ate chicken and fish. But here’s the thing, a lot of vegetarian recipes attempted to simulate meat-based dishes. And they can’t. Because tofu is not chicken.

    As soon as we made the connection and stopped experimenting with those kinds of recipes and instead made good, balanced vegetarian meals that didn’t try to be anything else, we started loving the new flavours and textures for their own sake. Once we stopped comparing, everything clicked. And instead of feeling like something was missing, we realized we had plenty of new foods in our lives. Never felt deprived either.

    And being vegetarian also meant cutting out regular sugar, btw. I haven’t had white or brown sugar in my house since. I use small amounts of maple syrup for baking and such (although I do keep a bowl of pure cane sugar on hand for guests). But I wouldn’t be able to stand something sweetened with sugar now. Haven’t been able to for years because the palette changes. A couple years from now, you’ll wonder how you ever ate the stuff.

    But transitioning is hard. I’ve since had to make other changes like going gluten and dairy free that are also hard. I feel for you. But just know that it gets better and you won’t feel deprived. Nowadays, there are lots of vegetarian food that still tries to simulate meat–can’t stand any on them. The only thing that I make that in any way tries to recreate a meat-based dish is a lentil-based tortiere once a year–because when you’re raised in Quebec, Christmas is not Christmas without tortiere:)

    Sorry for the long post. But reverse psychology aside, you really do have the power to deal with this. Just like Dorothy and her red shoes. It’s been there all along.

  10. Ylva Hedin says:

    Love it! 🙂 I have a friend who is diabetic and I create all kind of desserts for him! 🙂 Mousses with berries is wildly popular and some dark chocolate!

  11. Hi Jenny – I was thinking of you and your chocolate cookie dilemma last night(really! Too over the top to mention that you are one of my favourite authors ever?) I posted my favourite recipe for a nut/fruit/seed bar that can be made without extra sweetner on my blog. They contain cacao nibs which provide that intense chocolate taste but have no sugar – apparently they also have great health benefits. Maybe you could try them in your cookies – likely available at any good chocolate store. Or you could try the bars – Mistheword12.wordpress (shameless self promotion).

  12. JulieB says:

    Oh, the cinnamon thing does appear to be cool. And curries can use cinnamon with a bunch of other really healthy spices.

  13. I’ve been having a hell of a time with my blood sugar (not diabetic, just sensitive). Always crashing (I think my fender-bender was the result of a sugar-crash). I remembered the cinnamon thing and that I have cinnamon capsules, which I now take two of every day. And more if necessary. I also have cinnamon sticks so can break one into bits and chews on it for a bit. I haven’t had any major crashes, but I’ve also been watching my sugary baked goods, too. I’ll have to include the cinnamon the next time I eat cookies or whatever, and give it a real try.

  14. Ylva, if you are making diabetic-friendly mousse with berries, you absolutely need to share the recipe! I’m trying to go sugar-free for awhile to break lose of my sugar addiction and could certainly use a good form of chocolate and dessert.

  15. Jenny,
    Cinnamon capsules really work. Take them after every meal. Two or three. I bet you notice your blood sugar readings are better after meals with the cinnamon.

  16. You know, you TRY to be supportive… 🙂

    The thing that Jenny and I learned years ago is that we need different things. I need chipper support, and that’s what I would give her, and she’d hate it. She needs a kick in the ass, and that’s what she gave to me, and I’d cry. Now, she’s gotten much better at being supportive and bright-sidey with my problems, but I just can’t seem to be tough on her. It goes against my very nature. I. Just. Can’t. Do. It.

    Sigh. At least it’s amusing.

  17. I got us T-shirts for Christmas.
    Mine said, “I”m not mean, you’re just a sissy.”
    Hers said, “I’m not sensitive, you’re just a jerk.”

  18. Ylva Hedin says:

    500 grams of berries (perferebly raspberries they taste the most)
    3 gelatinleafs
    4 decilitres of wipping cream

    Heat a pan and put the berries in it. stir until it boils. Take of the heat and put in the gelatin stir and the strain the berries (if you use other berries you mix or blend them and then strain them). leave to cool until roomtemperature.

    Wip the cream and put the strained berries in bit by bit while wipping. Place in the fridge for 2 hours. Serve with non sugerd dark chocolate (70% cocoa)

    its really fresh and light and yummy! 😉

  19. Jane F says:

    My mom really fits the “prove them wrong” “don’t tell me I can’t” model. It got her out of Sicily and to the top of her field. I’m not much like that myself. I believe people/myself too much when they tell me I can’t. I working in being fighter, because, you know what, I’m worth it. But it’ hard.. Maybe it should be a Monday goal : )

  20. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Great recipe! I have had this too at friends’ here in Germany and the berries do all the sweetening.

    (For those of you back in the States, it’s the whipping cream out of the dairy case — of course the down side is, real whipping cream is something like 50% fat, which is what makes it “hold” the whip. But ooooh, yummy!)

  21. Ais says:

    There’s a new chocolate mousse recipe floating around the ‘net that was created by a molecular gastronomist named Herve This. It’s equal parts chocolate and *water*. That’s it. If you use a fabulous dark chocolate that isn’t too sweet you won’t have any blood sugar issues and you’ll satisfy that chocolate urge. Plus it requires hand-whipping so you don’t over-whip, so it doubles as exercise. 😉

    Here’s a link to an article about it, but you can find it all over the place currently:

  22. Maine Betty says:

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I do eat (and like)tofu. You’re right, prepare the food you eat on its own terms, and you find yourself eating some amazingly tasty and satifying meals.

  23. Ylva Hedin says:

    It acually works with a lesser fat content due to the gelatin… so if you are going light you can do it with cream with less fat in it! 😉

    you can probebly do 50/50 with cream and stiffly beaten eggwhites too… I have never done it my self so I cant recomend it but one can try! 😉

  24. Yes you will eat chocolate and not go blind because you deserve to see the sweetness melt forever!

    (meant to be encouraging, if not confusing…hmm studying tact as I’m typing this)

  25. Micki says:

    My sister gave me the best b-day gift a couple of years ago — three different cinnamons from Penzey’s. It was so much fun taste-testing them on apples and such; I think Vietnamese cinnamon is really nice when you are eating it without mixing it. It’s got a sweet flavor and is very clean, while the other cinnamons were more earthy, and would be good with meat or stuffing or tomato sauce.

    I’m taking tumeric by the quarter-teaspoon now when I remember it. Not sure if it is working (-:. But I know when I don’t get my season salt (and I have to make my own, whine, but it’s tastier, Yay!) I feel a little more sluggish. That has garlic, and red-hot-peppers as well as tumeric.

  26. Micki says:

    (-: Oh, that’s strawberry fluff! I made something very similar last week, and used it to “frost” cupcakes for my FIL’s birthday (I did use a little sugar, but my family hates ultra-sweet frosting, so I used very little). I agree it is GREAT!

    500 g = 1 pint, and 400 ml of whipping cream is about 1 2/3 US cups. How much is a gelatin leaf? Do you use gelatin powder in Sweden? I don’t know how plain gelatin is measured in the States . . . . (Can’t wait for spring . . . and berry season!)

  27. cleo says:

    My husband and I have a thing like that. He doesn’t really do sympathy. And sometimes I just want sympathy – not advice, not encouragement, not ass kicking, just an “oh honey, I’m sorry it’s so hard” and he can’t say that – it goes against his nature. I keep trying to feed him his lines, but he doesn’t say them very convincingly.

  28. I’ma start feeding these to Stephen. He’s had sugar crashes so bad his legs give out and he hits the floor. Really pissed me off the first time I saw that.

  29. Hey, anger is a powerful motivating force, when it’s turned outward and channeled at the Thing Which Must Die, be that a medical condition or an aggro meter maid.

    It’s when it remains turned inward that depression and all kinds of other bad Eeyore things go on. This is why I insist that KILL IT! is an empowering battly cry 😉

    Jenny, I think you’re wired like me in that. I wish I could figure out how to motivate The Prince, as he doesn’t respond well to that kind of input. Any tips?

  30. Thanks! I adore berries, especially raspberries, and will try this as soon as I find some good berries to use. We’re now getting some decent blueberries from south/latin america. Good raspberries (rather than mediocre ones) should come next. It’s amazing living this close to the tropics and getting all kinds of good fresh out-of-season-here produce nearly year-round.

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