Thursday, August 29, 2013

Anonymous, you charmer, you!

Today when I checked my blog, I found the following comment awaiting moderation. This was in response to my blog about cheap toilet paper, which you can read here to refresh your memory, if you like. The comment, copied and pasted in full was this:

maybe if your fat mommyblogging ass didn't spew out 80 children and you all didn't gorge yourselves on processed meatfoods 24/7 you wouldn't blow through your institutional-american-fatass-family-sized costco supersize pack so fast. 

After I laughed out loud, and re-read it several times, I laughed some more. I mean, for starters, it was signed "anonymous" but hey, maybe it's someone I know? Which makes it even funnier. I know it's supposed to be mean and condescending, but it's just so damn funny (and sounds like something I might say, albeit not on a blog comment - more like over coffee with my best friend when we're bashing someone), but the fact that: 1. Someone I don't know read my blog and felt compelled to comment on my post about toilet paper and 2. That they were so prolific in their use of adjectives to express their disgust with the rate at which my family uses toilet paper, is just hysterical.

And how did they know I have a fat mommyblogging ass anyway? Lucky guess? Sadly, though, I do not have 80 children, I have four, and none of them were "spewed" forth.I worked hard for those chillins. Also, for the record, we do not gorge ourselves on processed meatfoods (meatfoods? What are meatfoods? Is that what meat eats?) 24/7. My limited understanding of Anonymous' culinary vocabulary leads me to believe that processed meatfoods might be items like bologna, ham and turkey with the name "Oscar Mayer" on the label. But I'm just guessin'.

I wonder - DOES the consumption of bologna increase the output of bodily substances necessitating more toilet paper than usual? I would go with prunes or oat bran myself, but Anonymous may not be acquainted with such foods, considering they haven't even mastered capital letters.

Ah well, you can't feel the love all the time. Sometimes you get a little hate. But that doesn't mean you can't sit on your fat mommyblogging ass and write about it! Thanks, Anon. You made me laugh!

Friday, August 23, 2013

How to eat yogurt and why it's ok not to........

When I first discovered yogurt, I thought it was some weird health food that my friends' parents ate. Certainly no one in MY family ate yogurt - it was never in the fridge and so it just wasn't an option. When the first "frozen yogurt" experience came to my town (hello, TCBY), I thought it was kind of nasty. Who were they trying to trick with their ice cream-like substance that had a distinctly sour aftertaste? Yuck!

When I had my own children, I read up on all things nutritious and decided that yogurt would be one of those things. They liked it! But they never knew any different because it was served regularly. Except that one time I gave my first born two containers in one day which resulted in the most horrific diaper rash I'd ever seen. (Side note: did you know you can TREAT a diaper rash with yogurt? Just more evidence on why you probably shouldn't eat it!).

But then one day I was feeling sick. I skipped a school carnival with the kids and sent them off with their dad while I lay on the couch trying to figure out why I felt so icky. I was hungry, but nauseous. And for some inexplicable reason, the only thing that "sounded" good was a small container of strawberry Activia yogurt we had in the fridge. I ate it in tiny bites - it took some getting used to with the sour taste mixed with surprising sweetness. I carefully avoided the gloppy fruit at the bottom and only ate the top layer (do NOT stir!). And I survived. And I actually felt a little better. 

Thus began my eating of yogurt. I went through a phase of eating vanilla Activia but only once I'd mixed in some chopped pecans and a little brown sugar. My tolerance of yogurt waxed and waned over the years to where I am currently in my relationship with yogurt: I will eat it, but it's never my first choice, and usually only vanilla, and usually only if I have fresh strawberries or a banana or some nuts to go with it. I've even learned to skip the brown sugar! Victory!

Today, however, I consumed an entire container of Greek yogurt. I had tried it in the past and could NOT get past the horrific taste and texture. A couple of days ago, my son was eating this same yogurt and I tried a tiny bite. It wasn't horrible so I thought maybe, in the next century, I might actually eat some of it. And today was that day. 

It was blueberry, and there were exactly two small blueberries mixed in with whatever blueberry puree they put in fruity yogurt (along with, apparently, the scales of red beetles for color??? Gross! It's called carmine and you can read more about it here, omg, I just realized I was eating Dannon yogurt so I just ate bugs! Ew!). I actually stirred this yogurt and ate those two nasty blueberries. I'm not against blueberries, don't get me wrong. I just prefer them normal-sized and fresh, not cooked, smashed, or reconstituted in yogurt. 

I really have no idea what possessed me to eat this yogurt. I mean, it did have only 80 calories, and 12 grams of protein guaranteed to keep me feeling full longer (bullshit, I already want some Lucky Charms!). But what about all the other stuff? Like the fructose, sucralose and acesulfame potassium? As a general rule, I avoid artificial sweeteners because I can taste them and they're gross. Don't believe me? Fine. But I WILL notice if you try to swap out a diet soda for a regular one. I can actually taste the artificially amplified sweetness of all those fake sugars and I'd rather have my beloved white sugar, thank you. I also love brown sugar. I'm an equal opportunity sugar lova, my friend!

So, once in a while, I might indulge in some (healthy?) yogurt, maybe even the Greek variety (and, hello, how did the Greeks corner the market on this one?). But I am not going to feel bad one tiny bit if I also eschew yogurt from time to time and neither should you! For one thing, I am of the firm belief that all dairy products in any form other than milk are just some sort of curdled/spoiled/fermented milk. Cheese? Mold. Cottage cheese? Curdled milk. Yogurt? Really, really spoiled milk. Sure, I eat them, but I'm no dummy. I know they are essentially spoiled food. 

Go ahead and eat your gloppy fruit mixed with fermented milk! I, for one, would like my fruity-flavored yogurt completely strained of all pieces of identifiable fruit. I like just the hint of the fruit flavor, much like I like pie - the crust, tainted just slightly with the fruit filling, sans any "pieces." But let's not get started on pie. That is just a horrible abomination of perfectly good crust. 

Enjoy your breakfast! :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pardon, your Midwest is showing..........

Recently, there was a "blue moon" that adorned the night sky. A blue moon is technically when there is a second full moon in a month. Except sometimes not, as in this particular August. Confused? Me too. You can enlighten yourself here. But that's not what this post is about. Well, sort of.

The blue moon reminded me of a time in junior high when I said to a boy "Well, that only happens once in a blue moon" and he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. Because he didn't get the saying. And then he teased me for being "from Ohio" because I used a phrase that, to him, was clearly indicative of a Midwest heritage. And that got me to thinking.........

I've always been amused at the different words we use for different things, depending on where we were raised, or how our parents always said it, or our cultural make-up. For example, I grew up calling the thing you drag around the house cleaning the carpets a "sweeper" until I realized that most of the population called it a "vaccum" or "vacuum cleaner." Whaaattt? Now I call it a vacuum like everyone else, but my mom still refers to "running the sweeper."

In high school, I had a good friend from New Jersey (Hi, Danielle!). She carried a "pocketbook" while I carried a "purse." I sit on a "couch" at my house, while you might sit upon a "sofa." Don't even call it a "davenport" unless you're 90 or a pretentious bitch. Growing up, I drank "pop" while some of my friends drank "soda." I found myself at Panera the other day saying "I'll just have a fountain drink." Say what?

Any vehicle I drive is a "car" while my husband sometimes drives "the truck" or "the van" or even more specifically "the Honda" (for some reason, our Toyota and Ford do not get the same honor of being called by their brand names). When he's in the yard, he uses what I call a "weed whacker" and what he might call a "trimmer."

I carry my money in a "wallet" while my dad always carried his in his "billfold." My mom always liked to bug me by saying that a recipe called for "oleo" which is margarine. And don't even get me started on pronunciations. My sister sleeps on a "pellow" while I enjoy a "pillow." When I moved to Washington state, I realized that people here put their groceries in "begs" instead of "bags" and they "may-sured" things instead of "measured" them.

The other day, we spent an inordinate amount of time trying to research the meaning of the phrase "leaning towards fishers" but never could come up with a clear answer. I did find out that "three sheets to the wind" refers not to sails on a boat, as I thought, but the ropes that hold the sails, which, when not secured properly, cause the boat to lurch about like a drunken sailor. Hence, when you are "three sheets to the wind" you are very drunk. I'm so glad I have that stored in my memory now. Because one day, when I can't remember my debit card password and I'm stuck in the checkout line in front of several impatient customers, I'll still be able to recall what "three sheets to the wind" means.

What are some of your regional, family or "weird" sayings, words or phrases? And if you know what "leaning towards fishers" means, please enlighten me!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wake up! It's still summer!

Today is a glorious day in the PNW. Blue, cloudless sky, birds chirping, sun shining as only the sun shines in our drizzly state. It's a day with nothing on the calendar (shocker!) and full of promise. We can do something fun! We can go places! We have the whole, luxuriant day ahead of us, just waiting to be seized!

But........I have teenagers. And they're still sleeping. Well, one of them is. The other showed his face briefly around 11 a.m. saying something about how it was "too early to get up." What? It's almost lunch time! I've already scrolled through my entire Facebook feed - twice - eaten a big bowl of Lucky Charms, read all my email, researched vacations, hotel reservations, joining AAA, and signed up for a trial of Amazon Prime. I also did two loads of laundry and hand-washed two shirts. And I didn't wake up till 9 a.m!

I guess the closer you are to the grave, the more you want to make the most out of every day. Because I work for the school district, this is my summer vacation, too. And, like any kid dreading "back to school," I, too, am dreading the return to work. The alarm clock. The lunch packing. The errand-running after I get off work and the endless driving kids to and from things. Thinking about what to make for dinner and actually having to DO something about it by a certain time. Lamenting that I cannot just go out of town or on a spontaneous trip because I now have to be accountable to a job M-F. Yeah, I know, I'm lucky I have the summers off. And I do appreciate it, which is why I want to make the most of it.

We've had a pretty good summer so far. But I have not done so many things I wished I had. Here is a short list: photographed the sunset (last summer I did this on so many nights it became a ritual - this summer, not at all!), waded in the river (just because), gone camping (not once! But we are going over Labor Day. To a campground about twenty minutes from home and we're in the last available spot that was open so it's the farthest from the lake, but STILL. We're going camping!), spent the whole day at the lake/beach (we've gone only once or twice this whole summer!), cooked s'mores over the fire pit in the backyard (I think we've only lit the fire pit once this summer), spent a day in downtown Seattle visiting the Market and riding the Great Wheel, taken a ferry ride somewhere, had a BBQ (last time we used the BBQ it caught on fire!).

Still, we have lots of time left. Well, two weeks. And next week I already have to go back to work a couple of days. But there's always September, which, around here, is just like summer, only with work and school thrown in.

Despite all that, I still don't get how my kids can sleep in half the day and "waste" a beautiful (rare) sunny day. Sure, I could do all these things by myself, but where's the fun in that? I want to take the kids with me, watch them frolic on the beach, hike in the woods, paddle the kayaks, have some friends over. But they're not little any more. Only two of them are currently home - heck, one of them lives on her own now and I'm still wondering where she is half the time, and expecting her to walk in the door. What am I going to do when they're all grown and gone? I better have a grandkid or two by then. No pressure, kids!

So, instead of frolicking in the perfect day outside, I'm sitting in my jammies, blogging at 11:24 a.m. I should just relish in the fact that today we don't have anywhere to be or anything to do. What a treat. I can seize this day! Even if it's from a lounge chair on the deck with a cold drink in my hand and nothing to do but read magazines. Ah, summer!

Monday, August 19, 2013

How to tell if you've been napping or sleeping...........

Sleeping is awesome. Who doesn't love a good night's sleep? But napping is a step above awesome. Napping is luxurious, indulgent, and just plain needed some days. Like today. I had two crappy nights' sleep in a row and I slept through my alarm this morning (note: I never do this!). I had a physical therapy appointment at 8:30 a.m. (which, for those of us lucky enough to have summers off, is horribly early!) and I woke at 7:57 a.m. I rushed through a shower, skipped makeup and hair and made it in time. I had plans through the afternoon but visions of a nap kept dancing in my head throughout the day, and I never did shake my "just got up" feeling.

Finally, around 4 p.m. I took a nap. A glorious two-hour nap snuggled under my most favorite soft blanket. At one point, I woke, saw some light in the room, and decided I was just up too early, so I fell back to sleep.

When I woke up "for real" I had that sudden confusion and had to get my whereabouts before I knew what was going on. That's the difference between a nap and sleeping.

Sleeping: you wake up, grumble that it's morning already and drag your sorry ass out of bed.
Nap: you wake up confused as to where you are, what time it is, and who you are. When the jumble clears, you drift back to sleep or wake slowly, because, really, there's no hurry.

Sleeping: you wake up with horrific hair and deep wrinkles that will need to be ironed away with a shower (and the hair will need to be soaked in water for a "do over" - so much for evening showers!)
Nap: You wake with your hair molded into a comical shape, with pillowcase wrinkles on your face, and one eye smeared with mascara.

Sleeping: You wake tangled in multiple covers - sheet, blanket, comforter and have to remove them layer by layer before you can extract yourself from the bed.
Nap: You wake covered by your most favorite soft blanket because you slept on top of all the other covers and you immediately snuggle down again because, really, why would you leave that poof of happiness?

Sleeping: You wake with a laundry list of things you need to do that day and start making mental checklists.
Nap: You wake up and think "Crap! Now I have to make dinner!" and decide it's cereal and/or pizza delivery night.

Sleeping: You wish you could keep sleeping "just a little bit longer" when you wake up.
Nap: You CAN sleep just a little bit longer, because you had the luxury of napping so really, what's more pressing?

Napping is a treat! Enjoy it!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Make it a double!

Tonight Jeff and I went to retrieve his newly-painted truck. He was so excited. He and the painter talked and talked and talked. I was just hungry. And I wanted my "free Tavern Double burger from Red Robin because the Seahawks scored a touchdown in the Red Zone at their last game." That's what the email said, anyway, and who am I to turn down a free burger and bottomless steak fries?

We finally got to Red Robin and ordered. The "deal" required that you order another entree and two drinks (ha! I could have ordered two Sand in Your Shorts for myself, but I let Jeff order a boring diet lemonade). Jeff didn't want the burger (Yay! More for me!) and ordered a salad. We waited and watched the game. Kidding. He watched the game and I played on my phone.

So, the drinks came and I sucked down sipped mine while I waited for the food. When it arrived the waitress immediately started to give the burger to Jeff. WHAT THE HELL? This is the second time we've experienced this. The waitress tries to give the man the burger and the woman the salad. DISCRIMINATION! This exact scenario played out one other time when we ordered similar items. Jeff got a kick out of it and laughed and I found it humorous too. I mean, I get it. That might be the "normal" order of things. But guys eat salads, too. Girls eat burgers!

Still, I felt like a Fatty McFattypants eating the burger while Jeff enjoyed his salad, especially after the food delivery discrimination. I would like to point out that he immediately started eating MY fries when the food was delivered so he's no saint! In fact, the fry order was pretty paltry. And they did promise BOTTOMLESS fries. So, we decided to get some more.

The waitress asked what else she could get us and Jeff said "Another round of fries (glances at me and points) for HER!"


He's in so much trouble. Right after I lick the campfire sauce off my fingers.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A helping hand.............

Today we had an hour to kill. Hannah had a counseling appointment and I was just planning on dropping her off, then browsing at Target or some other store during the hour I had to wait. But Harrison wanted to come along to "get out of the house." So, he did. And after we dropped her off, we drove toward the stores. 

We saw a homeless man on the street. There is typically a homeless man on this corner, panhandling, day in and day out. Sometimes it's an older man, sometimes another man who's not as old. Both hold signs, both appear to be disabled. Sometimes, one of them talks on a cell phone. Of course my mind immediately goes to "if he can afford a cell phone, he can afford food!" I don't know. Judgement probably has no place in the matter because whether he is mentally ill, or a drunk, or a drug addict, the point is, he still has basic needs. 

A little further down the road we saw a young couple with two dogs. The man held a sign saying "Traveling. Anything helps." All I had in the car was a bottle of water. Harrison handed it to the man who thanked him and gave me a wave and a slight smile. I told Harrison I read somewhere about people who make up bags of things for the homeless and keep them in the car to hand out in situations like this one. Some call them "blessing bags." 

We pulled into a parking lot to go browse in a store, when Harrison said "Why can't we go make up some of those bags?" And I thought, why not? So we headed to Dollar Tree, where I knew we could get everything we needed to make up some blessing bags. 

I told Harrison we first needed big zip top bags to hold everything. I found a package of 15. He said why couldn't we make 100? I said "We're not rich!" and a man walking by said "Yeah, man, these are hard times!" Harrison mentioned that he had his own money. I told him I'd pay, but was happy that he was willing to spend his own money. We settled on the package of 15 bags and set about finding things to fill them. We got bottled water, granola bars, packages of cheese and crackers, peanuts, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, toothbrushes, and gum. 

When we purchased the items the cashier said "Oh, some snacks!" and we told her what we were planning to do. She said some very nice words to Harrison about his generosity and said "Most kids your age would rather have the money than spend it on others!" 

We paid less than $35 for all of it. 

We set up a little assembly station in the car and set to filling the bags. We had about ten minutes left until we needed to pick up Hannah. We filled all 15 bags and then drove back to the couple we'd given the water to. We handed them two bags and they were very thankful. We then went back to the disabled man. Harrison jumped out of the car and asked him if he wanted a bag and he said yes and to put it by his backpack. So, Harrison did. 

Then, we picked up Hannah and kept the rest of the bags in the car to hand out some other time when we see someone who needs a little help. 

But the real blessing today was seeing what a generous, thoughtful son I have. We could have browsed in a store, and spent money on things we don't need to kill an hour. But he had a better idea. And I loved it! 

Water and toothbrushes

 Harrison holding one of the completed bags

The staging area in the back of the car! 

Harrison offering a bag to the disabled man (mom spying through the car window to take the picture!) 

Kids these days.........sometimes they surprise you! :) The whole thing took less than an hour of our time and cost less than $35. It was so easy. It's not hard to spread a little sunshine.