Friday, September 30, 2011

Writers Workshop - Yuck! Food Poisoning

That I know of, I've only had food poisoning once. 

And honestly? Once was a gracious plenty.

Defying my entire family and some would say even my southern heritage, I've never cared for mayonnaise. When I was younger, I wouldn't choose to put it on something, but I would eat things that had mayo in them - deviled eggs, chicken salad, pimento cheese.

My freshman year at college, I was home for the weekend. My boyfriend and I were out goofing around and stopped at this German cafe place for lunch. We each ordered a sandwich, mine with no mayo. When they arrived at the table, I took a bite and mayo oozed out. 


A normal person would have politely pointed out the error and asked for a mayo free sandwich. But not me. I scraped as much of it off as I could and then ate the sandwich. Because nothing says carefree and go with the flow like eating something you specifically asked not to have. 

Two hours later, I was sitting on the toilet with my head hanging in a trash can. My body was trying really hard to expel anything and everything it could all at once. Not so pleasant, as it turns out. 

Stupid mayonnaise.

But the worst was the next day, when there was nothing left to throw up and I was still trying.  

Stupid mayonnaise.

Three days later, and I still couldn't keep water down.  I spent a lot of time curled up on the bathroom floor, begging for holy intervention. Also because that way all I had to do was sit up to try and vomit. 

So much fun!

Stupid mayonnaise.

By day five I don't remember if I called my friends or if they called me, but someone me brought some ginger ale. Even though I didn't really like ginger ale, it was like nectar from heaven. A gift from the gods. Bliss in a tumbler. One itty bitty little baby sip at a time.

Stupid mayonnaise.

I have no idea if it really was the mayo or something else that caused me to be so sick, but I choose to blame the mayo since I never really liked it anyway. And that way, when I follow up my 'no mayo' request with "I got food poisoning once" I get less looks suggesting that I'm an alien or had asked for puppy liver pate. 

And, interestingly enough, that little cafe closed down not long after my week long toilet salute. 

Coincidence? I dunno......

Technological fail

Oh the mighty have fallen.

The mighty, in case you weren't sure, is me.

Today, I dropped Tucker off at school and headed for the gym all pumped and movitated to have a great workout with lots of sweating and silent, internal swearing. I have no idea why swearing at the poor, innocent cardio equipment makes me work out better, but it does. It's a little sick, I know. But I used to say all sorts of hateful things to Jillian "don't phone it in" Michaels and Gilad when I did their workout tapes.

But I'm getting off topic. Again.

So I hop up on the elliptical, all self motivated and ready to go and start elliptical-ing to nowhere. Since they changed out the gym equipment in August, I swear it feels more difficult.  My iPod completes the first song on my playlist....and then plays it again.

Darn you, auto repeat! I pick up my iPod and look at it. The little symbol for repeating is nowhere to be seen. You know what this means, right? It means that my four year old knows more about how to work my iPod than I do.

Frankly, that's just embarrassing. Especially since I used to work in IT/IS. Hahaaahaaa I used to work in 'it is"....anyone else laughing at that? No? Okay then..moving on.....

So, I'm so distracted by trying to figure out how to undo the auto repeat that I cut my speed in half on the elliptical. Seven minutes later, I still don't have it figured out even though I turned it off and back on, which was pretty much the fix for everything when I worked in IT.


I decide to get off the elliptical since I am apparently incapable of messing with an iPod, spinning my feet in a circle, and keeping my balance all at once. The poor lady beside me looked awfully worried that I was going to fall and take her out.

Onto the treadmill then.

Ugh. It's hot over here. I'm walking at a pokey pace (2.5 mph) trying to figure this out. After another 20 minutes, I give up. Fine. I admit temporary defeat. When I go home I am going to look up the solution online. And somehow I manage to clear one of my playlists completely. I hope it returns when I re-sync.

I decide to do crunches. I manage to do around 200 while obsessing about technology and how completely hopeless I've become. So tomorrow when it hurts to move or breathe, I'll have something to distract me in case I can't fix the auto repeat.

After more sit-ups and some stretching, I head home. I immediately look up how "iPod stuck on auto repeat".

Awesome! Yahoo answers has the solution...located in the iPod guide I should have around here somewhere on page 27.


All I had to do was tap the album cover to make the repeat symbol re-appear!?!?!?!?

For the love of Pete. SMH!

Technology - 2,345.....Brooke.... 3


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The re-discovery of manners

I grew up in an area where people said please, thank you, excuse me, and you're welcome without prompting and without sarcasm.

I expect my kids to be polite and kind to everyone and to use good manners.  I hope that R and I model the behavior we expect.

This weekend, though, it was like I stepped off the regular planet and right into Mannerville.

I don't think we ran into a single rude person. People held doors for us. I heard 'excuse me' if someone walked in front of me if I was looking at something. No one was ill-tempered or snide or bitchy (including me, btw). We had the most lovely conversations with perfect strangers. One shop keeper even marked shops he thought we'd like on his map and gave it to us.

It's the first time in ages I've felt like hugging people I didn't know well.

We didn't have a single negative experience the entire weekend. Even when traffic was horrid and we weren't sure where we were heading, and that's saying something.

Isn't it amazing how far a few basic manners will take you? The best part for me? I'm recharged enough to start paying it forward and now I know where to go for a refill when I need one.

And hey - thanks for taking the time to read this!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Maybe I should make it motivational Tuesday...

In my defense, I was on the road this yesterday returning from a much needed girls weekend with one of the most awesome women I know - my friend Chris. 

So I didn't weigh in until this morning. 

Down two pounds, for a total of 8 so far. I'm really happy with that, mostly because I really indulged this weekend. I also have no idea how that happened.

Dinner at The Melting Pot? Yes, please - and that absolutely included dessert of chocolate fondue. 

Sample of fudge? Uh, heck yeah! 

And I had the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life at a tiny little bakery/cafe shop in Gatlinburg, TN called The Picnic Basket. Wheatberry bread and cheddar, in case you were curious. If you are within a 50 mile radius, for the love of all that is holy, go and try it. It was so good, we went back the next day and ate there again, only we mixed American and Cheddar for round number two. And it was just as good. They also sell various butters - pumpkin, sweet potato, apple... and all sorts of jams, jellies, and marmalade. This is in addition to the cookies and chocolate goodies they offered. 

Seriously, if you EVER get the chance...go by there. And don't forget The Melting Pot in Gatlinburg. It's recently built, the staff is amazing, and the food...oh. my. goodness. So, so yummy. 

I'd love to tell you that I spent all last week working off my anticipated weekend calorie intake, but I didn't. To be honest, I can't even remember my workouts last week other than Thursday when Kristine and I did an upper body workout (including pull ups) that reminded me of itself for a couple of days afterwards - but in a very good way. Didn't do a lick of hiking in the mountains last weekend. We did some walking, if you consider walking from shop to shop a valid form of exercise walking. 

Next week - my goal is four pounds.  And about the weekly picture? Our camera is non-operational at the moment. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In search of.....

Tucker's birthday is coming up soon. Like, next month soon.

Last year we did the Chuck E. Cheese thing, which was a lot of fun but also a little crazy.

One of the great things about where we live are the options available if you have a fall birthday:
    Lots of indoor pools so you could have a pool party
    Kiddie cooking class
    Apple or pumpkin picking trip with hayride
    Bonfire (okay, not such a good idea for a bunch of sugared up first graders, but it would be fun for me)
    The zoo
    The Little Gym
    Monkey Joe's
The list goes on and on....

So when we asked Tucker what he wanted to do for his birthday this year, of course he said, "Chuck E. Cheese!"

It took some convincing, but we eventually talked him into not having his party at Chuck E. Cheese.  So what did he decide he wanted to do?  His actual decision was to play video games with his friends. The only thing about that is that to Tucker, it would be the most fun ever to have everyone watch him play, which wouldn't be fun for anyone else after about three minutes. Plus, he's a little too competitive and not such a good sport and I really don't want anyone (birthday boy or otherwise) to end up upset or in tears.

What we eventually talked him into is a Super Mario Brothers themed party.  We are going to rent the community center in our neighborhood and have food, games, and cake.

I started looking for ideas online and I found some great ones. But time and money are a factor, so Robert and I have been burning up the internet looking for the supplies we need at the best prices.  Let's hope this whole things comes together like we are hoping. We are taking it old school with the games, too. I hope the kids have as much fun as I'm going to have. It's hard to tell these days what will work and what will flop.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Motivation Monday

I actually wrote this post on Monday, but forgot to post it. Hey, it was season premiere night of  2 1/2 Men and Hawaii 5-0. I was distracted.

Good news first - I'm down six pounds this week, and I ate like a frat boy this weekend, so I feel pretty certain I could have done better.

I tried a new Zumba class, but I also found out my favorite Zumba instructor is teaching more classes at the Y than she has in the past. AWESOME! Also, Sunday afternoon Zumba should be starting again soon, which means I should be able to go to a Zumba class every single day. I am SO excited about that!

I've backed off the weights for the last few weeks because I was happy with the amount of muscle I had developed in the last year or so. But I really miss weight lifting, so I'm going to start it back up this week.

Cardio wise, it's like I'm starting over. Part of that is that my iron is lower than it should be and I'm dragging in general. The other part is that I hadn't been pushing myself. So, I'm back in the game.

I know I promised a picture, but I don't have one yet. I'll update the entry when I remember to ask Robert to take one.

My weight goal for next week is four pounds.

Happy healthy living, everyone!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Party Time!

This weekend, Sara got an invitation to a birthday party on October 1st.

Life since has gone a little like this:

Sara: I'm going to M's birthday party..WHEEEEEEEEE!

Parental unit: No, not until October first. It's two Saturday's away, but you'll see M at school this week and next week.

Sara: NO. I'm going to her party RIGHT NOW. Mommy! Curl my hair! I want to wear my fruit dress and my fancy shoes and I'm going to take her a present and we are going to play and eat cake and have FUN! LET'S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Parental unit: Ummmm.... 1) you ASK if Mommy will curl your hair, you don't demand it, Cinderella's wicked stepsister.  2) The party is not today.  3) You will not be the only person there besides M so you may want to prepare yourself.


Parental unit: Wine? Xanex? Nyquil? Where are you, my friends?

Sara: (still wailing) IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We experienced this Friday afternoon, off and on Saturday and on Sunday. This morning, Sara announces that she'll be going to the party after school today.

I mean, really?!?! Is she that stubborn or that obtuse?

I pick her up from AM preschool and we happen to walk out the door behind M. Sara's all skipping and happy, having announced LOUDLY to both preschool classes that SHE IS GOING TO M's BIRTHDAY PARTY.

Oh. my. goodness. That poor teacher. Those poor kids. Poor M and her mom, who are probably sincerely reconsidering that invite right about now!

As we walk to the car Sara says, "YAY!!! I get to go to M's party now. Did you bring the present?"

I explain rather calmly that the party is not today it's in two weeks. Not this coming Saturday, but the next one.

And so begins the wailing. And all I can do, being that I'm mother of the year and all, is laugh helplessly. Really loud HAHAHA laughter that I can't seem to control. And yes, we were getting some strange looks. Sara gets really angry, pulls away from me and goes running, whilst still wailing, through the parking lot to our car. I'm laughing so hard that the tears coming out of my eyes blur my vision so I have no idea if Sara is about to get splattered like a pancake.

Between laughing fits, I try to convince Sara, who is safely crying and snotting all over my car door, to come talk to M and her mom so she can see that I'm not lying to her or trying to ruin her life. M's Mom, God bless her (and not in the southern bless-you-but-really-curse-you way), walks over with me to Sara, really concerned that Sara is having a mental breakdown over this.

No wait, that's not right. She was concerned that I was having the mental breakdown - and rightly so - and was concerned that Sara was genuinely, deeply upset. However, when we walked up to Sara, the faucet stopped in an instant and she was all smiles and excitement guessed it....she was going to go to M's birthday party.

M's Mom says to me, laughing now as well, "You really have your hands full, don't you?"

Yes. Yes, I do.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Tonight for dinner I made chicken and dumplings. Except that I didn't make the dumplings. Or add the suggested potatoes. A friend of mine posted the recipe and it seemed perfect for a cool, rainy day like today. But at 710 calories a serving...that's just too much. So I made some adaptions. I finely chopped some celery, sliced some carrots, and tossed them into a 50/50 mix of low sodium chicken stock and water. Then I added chicken tenderloin strips and cooked them on medium high for about 40 minutes. I diced up the chicken once it was cooked, tossed it back in the pot, added some black pepper and some frozen peas. Then I made a roux with about 1/2 a cup of flour and a cup of water, poured it in, and let it cook for about 25 more minutes.

I'm not going to lie, it would have been better with dumplings and probably potatoes, but it was still really, really good. The best part? As the kids smelled it they came in the kitchen to look at it and gave me the old 'EWWWWWWW..That's YUCKY!" I came back with "There is nothing in here that you won't eat separately."

And people? It WORKED. They both tried it with a minimum of complaints. Tucker had two bowls and Sara almost ate her entire bowl. Of course, it could also have been because they were really hungry. Either way, they ate it and liked it. Success!!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

CSI - Illinois

Today was my morning to volunteer in Sara's morning preschool classroom.

Oh em geeeeeee...I love these kids already. Some of them I know already because they were in the same class as Sara last year. This year, the curriculum seems more educationally structured than last year, but that could also be because I'm paying more attention.

When you volunteer, you help the teacher with a variety of classroom activities. Today we talked about the importance of handwashing. I got to read the kids a story about germs and how not to spread them (verrrry important) including the correct way to wash your hands.

The activity I was in charge of was demonstrating this. So we got to use 'fake' germs (which was a lotion like substance that you rub all over your hands), then wash our hands, then use a special black light to see how well we did.

I don't know who loved it more...the kids or me. I have often made snarky comments about the CSI shows (especially Vegas and Miami) because in cities full of bright sunlight the majority of the year, those technicians are walking around in the dark with their black light flashlights finding all kinds of crime solving clues. Turn on the light or open the curtains and I betcha find more. Just sayin'....

So even though all the kids had to wash their hands more than once because of missed fake germ removal, we had so much fun. You know what was also fun? Seeing what else that little black light would pick up in a dark room.

So, technically, I owe CSI Miami and Vegas a bit of an apology for my black light doubting. Horatio and Catherine, I'm sorry. I stand corrected.  But watch out because today I taught 14 preschoolers some pretty awesome evidence removal hand washing techniques.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writers Workshop Thursday - Locked Out

Between my first marriage and my current marriage I dated a guy named Jerry. As it turns out, pretty much everything Jerry told me was a big, fat lie but he did come in handy when I got locked out.

He had shown up with very little notice...supposedly he traveled a lot for work (snort and also eye roll)...and since this was before I had gotten suspicious, I was so excited that I left the house with him without my keys. My brother and my friend Tina were living with me, so I wasn't too worried about getting back into my house when I got home. I had to work the next day, he never had more than a few hours free when I saw him, so we weren't out very late.

He pulled into my driveway and the house was dark.


My brother was living in the bedroom to the left of the front door and was constantly complaining about how he couldn't sleep: the streetlight outside was too bright, someone was walking around in the kitchen, my work pager would go off (which was fair..that thing went off all the time at all hours), because there were too many cars going up and down the name it.

So I figured that the doorbell and some pretty doggone insistent knocking would wake him up. It wasn't even 11 pm, after all, and he was such a 'light sleeper'.

Well, until I locked myself out and needed him to wake up and let me in.

After about 15 minutes of trying to rouse someone, anyone, we started looking for another way in.

All my windows had screens on them and I really didn't want to destroy a screen or break a window to get in.   We tried the credit card to jimmy the lock, but that didn't work either. Especially since whomever locked up had thrown the deadbolt. I would have called, but my cell phone was in the house...with my keys, my id, and the garage door opener.


Finally, Jerry was like, " you want me to get you in the house?" And of course I was all, "well, yeah!" and expecting a rock or a boot to meet one of my windows. He bends over to look at the living room window. There was a rubber strip that pressed the screen into the metal frame. Jerry took his car key out and dug the rubber strip out and peeled back the screen.

Well, holy breaking and entering Batman! That took all of six seconds. Then he took his credit card and slid it in the very tiny space where the upper and lower window met. A quick flick of the wrist and then a repeat on the second lock and voila! The window was unlocked and we slid it right up.

I took off my shoes and threw them as loudly as I could into the living room, still plenty ticked off that two people were in my house and wouldn't/couldn't wake up to let me in. Not that my shoe throwing had any effect at all in the rousing sleeping residents arena.  Then I hiked up the dress I was wearing like the lady I am and climbed through my window.


Getting into my well-locked house took Jerry less than 3 minutes and with the exception of my dramatic shoe throwing, door pounding, window knocking, doorbell ringing and some pretty creative cursing, was entirely silent.

Sobering, isn't it?

And yes, I still bring up this night whenever my brother dares to mention that he's a light sleeper.

Mama's Losin' It

Monday, September 12, 2011

Holding myself accountable

It's time to get serious about taking the rest of this weight off. The last few months I've really been eating more and working out less, no thanks to the row of deliciousness in the commissary that consists of bags and bags and bags of Halloween candy. They've been out since right around the 4th of July. If there's no line, I can just zip past it, blinders on. If there's a line, it's a bit more difficult. Especially with those $1.00 off coupons plastered everywhere. 

Sigh..... About a week and a half ago I hopped onto the scale at the Y and was amazed that my weight was about five pounds less than I expected. So I continued eating like a teenager left alone in a convenience store for about a week. Last Friday, I weighed myself before I got in the shower. I was 10 pounds heavier than I had been the previous Friday, which puts me well above my comfort range. After being fairly careful this weekend, I had yet to lose a pound as of this morning. That's not a good sign, usually that first five pounds comes off fairly easily and then things slow way down. 

I am unwilling to backslide any further than I already have. Not minding about five pounds turns into not minding about 10 pounds which turns into gaining back all the weight that I've worked SO hard to get off. And even worse than that, I feel like a giant blob. My cardio workouts have been getting more and more feeble. Last week, even though I went to the Y fairly regularly, I felt like I was plodding through quicksand. And I haven't been to a Zumba class in over a month, I think. I can tell a huge difference in the way I feel, in the way my clothes fit, in my general attitude. 

This is not the life I want. Nor is it the example I want to set for the kids. 

So! Starting today - no more excuses. I hauled my out of shape, jiggly ass to Zumba, started back on my healthy eating plan with the mindset of one day at a time. If that proves too difficult, I'll focus on one mealtime at a time.  After school today, I insisted that the kids play outside even though it was back in the 90's. Worst case scenario, maybe the rays of the sun will melt some of the fat off my upper arms or thighs.  

I don't want my kids to be without their Mom when they graduate from high school or college, get married, have babies. I owe them and myself more than that. I owe myself more than that. 

So Mondays are going to be my diet and exercise posts. A blog I used to read dubbed Mondays as McFatty Mondays. heh. I think I'm going with Motivating Mondays. And starting next week, I'll be snapping a picture of myself every week and posting it online to track my progress. Why am I not starting with the pictures today? Because I've spent all day either working out, running around, or chasing kids around outside and I'm too dang tired to find the camera. Sad, but completely honest. I feel certain by next Monday I will feel much better without all the preservative, sugar, fat, and salt laden food bogging down my system. I'm giving myself one year to lose the rest of the weight - around 70 more pounds. Maybe 80.  Join me on my journey, won't you? Should be entertaining at the very least. 

I will always remember

So many personal stories in the news and as blog topics today....

Should I add mine to the mix? As stories go, it's unremarkable. I rescued no one. I didn't go into or toward a burning, collapsing building. I simply sat in horror as the news came through - first the North Tower was hit, then the South Tower, then the Pentagon. The Pentagon? That can't be right! What next? Then the towers collapsed and confirmation came of the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.

I have friends and family in the Northeast, and the company I worked for had an office in the Empire State Building and offices in NJ. But I had no direct connection to anyone in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon at the time.

R had recently quit the Army reserves, having separated from active duty less than a year prior. I was terrified he'd be recalled immediately since his military experience was all infantry. When I reached him by phone and asked him what he thought would happen, he was utterly direct and I can't repeat exactly what he said.

I had spent Labor Day weekend in New York City with my mom and two friends. I had pictures of the Twin Towers from our Gray Line bus tour, from Ellis Island, from the Statue of Liberty...I didn't have a digital camera yet, so I had just gotten the film of our trip back a couple of days before 9/11. I lent the negatives to a friend and never picked them up. I'm not sure today where my copies of the pictures are.

Eight days separated me from complete safety versus potential tragedy, even though it is unlikely I would have been anywhere near the Twin Towers if I had been in NYC. I haven't had the opportunity to go back to NYC since, but I wouldn't hesitate given the chance.

That day forever changed me in ways I'm probably not even aware of. All the stories from that day and the days following touch me deeply and profoundly. Such horrible loss. Such incredible bravery. So many families left to pick up the pieces of the aftermath...

I will always remember that morning. I remember how different life seemed before and after. I remember.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Romeo, Romeo...

Confession: When Tucker was really little, I thought it would be hilarious - simply hilarious - to teach him how to say "How yooooouuuuuu doin'" just like Joey Tribbiani.

Then, of course, it turned out he had a pretty significant speech delay. And I probably didn't think about Joey Tribbiani or his pickup lines for a couple years.

Last night, I was tucking him into bed and he said, "Hey Mom....guess what I can do?"

Me: Ummmmmm....I'm a little afraid to know.
T: No really, guess.
Me: I have no idea. Just go ahead and tell me.
T: ::finger guns with a wink and the finger gun noise::

Me: ::laughing:: Oh my! That's really....something.
T: Yeah, I know!
Me: Did you do that at school today?
T: Yeah (said like well, duh, yeeeaaaahhhhhhhhhhh)
Me: To whom?
T: What's toom?
Me: What?
T: You said toom.
Me: No, I said to whom. Meaning, who did you ::finger guns with sound effects::
T: (with a huge grin) all the pretty girls.
Me: ::giggling::  You did?
T: Yeah ::giggles::
Me: What about the girls that weren't pretty?
T: No, they're alllllllllllllllll pretty.
Me: Tucker, you are going to be trouble...
T: I'm in trouble?
Me: No, honey. You are going to break some hearts.
T: I won't break them Mom. I'll be really, really gentle.

Parents - lock up your daughters!

Friday, September 9, 2011

People are people...

For any of you that, like me, still love 80's music - allow me to lead off this post with some Depeche Mode lyrics. I am quoting from memory the parts of the song that are stuck in my head today, so forgive me if the verses aren't word for word or slightly out of order.

People are people
So why should it be
You and I must get along 
So awfully

So we're different colors and we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me though I've done nothing wrong
I've never even met you so what could I have done?

People are people
So why should it be
You and I must get along 
So awfully

Now you're punching and you're kicking and you're shouting at me
I'm relying on your common decency
So far it hasn't surfaced, but I'm sure exists
It just takes a while to travel from your head to your fists

So, Brooke you may be wondering, why on earth are you posting Depeche Mode lyrics today? And what in the heck are you talking about anyway? 

Here's my thought:  Can we all just work on being slightly more tolerant and less judgmental?

Between all the debate on sexual orientation, religion, how best to parent your kids, and even food allergies in schools, it makes me sad that so many of these discussions turn into personal attacks. There's no need for that. If people would work just a little harder to be understanding and tolerant, I am firmly convinced that the world would be a better place to live. It's okay not to agree with someone else's lifestyle or point of view. Just agree to disagree, and if it still bugs you, don't spend time around them.

My urge to blog about this intensified this week after I read a couple of blog posts and a Facebook exchange.

Blog post: A mom wrote about deciding to ask for help battling her depression.

This touched me because while I'm still not sure I'm depressed (more than likely I'm hormonally imbalanced or just flat out bitchy - sorry but it's true), I recognized myself in a lot of the issues she described. It concerns me enough that I'll be mentioning it to my doctor on my next visit. Better safe than sorry.  However, the reason that this blog entry really resonated with me was because not too long ago, a blog I used to follow put up a post that was a deal breaker for me. The topic was - basically - how sick that Mommy blogger was about reading other Mommy blogs where Moms admitted mistakes or fears or what amounted to anything less than sunshine-y mommy perfection. Which, you know, is totally within her right to feel that way, but I know how sometimes those blog entries kept me from being convinced I was the worst mother ever to birth a child. Life isn't always perfect, no matter  how sunny your personality. So when I read that berating post, I knew that this wasn't a blog I wanted anything to do with. Hello, delete button. Thank you for being my friend.

Blog post: Food allergies.

I am so, so, so lucky. My kids don't have food allergies. But I would never, ever be annoyed or irritated that I had to be careful about what I sent them for lunch or for treats because a kid in their class had food allergies. I was appalled to learn that not only is this pretty common, but that other parents actually make nasty comments about it. To those parents I say, please remove your head from in betwixt your glutes and stomp on your own foot. Really, really hard.

Facebook posts: homosexuality or bisexuality.

Apparently my sister in law is bi. So what? She's still a rock star. (thank you Pink)

Last time I saw a picture of her,(which was TODAY) she hadn't changed skin colors, grown a tail,  sprouted non-photoshopped horns, or started spreading mayhem. But I guess to some of her and my brother's friends this is a big deal.  And it's possible I didn't read all the posts in the tone which the writer intended, but somewhere Jesus got thrown into it, and honestly...just stop. I'm tired of people hiding behind the Bible or God or Jesus to denounce whatever. If you believe something and much of your beliefs are tied directly into your religion, fine. But jeez.

If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, okay. I'm fine with that. I don't agree, but guess what? I can live the rest of my life knowing we differ in opinions on that topic without it changing my opinion of you....unless you act like an ass. That holds true for religion, child rearing, birth control, and gay marriage.  But I am sick to death of ignorance and intolerance. I just re-read Hardly Silenced by Wendy Anderson-Spencer. It's a collection of quotes from people on the subject of homosexuality. I'm stunned by some of the quotes. People are saying these things and it's 2011, people. Not 1950, not 1802. I'm appalled. Appalled that there is so much hate and intolerance in the world.

So for my part, I announce loudly these things:
I think gays should be able to get married and share the same benefits as heterosexuals do.
I think writing about your struggles in a blog post helps more people than you'd imagine.
I think religion is great, but not a substitute for using your brain.
I think mixed raced marriages should not even be an issue anymore.
I think bad parents should not be allowed to be parents anymore.
I think people who do little other than judge others should simply shut up.
I think members of Westboro Baptist Church need a come to Jesus chat...preferably with God himself.
And most of all, I think the rules apply to me AND to you.

::stepping off my soapbox::

Now, let's discuss this civilly and respectfully, shall we?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I love it when a plan comes together!

Check this out!

The kids and I made cookies after school yesterday.

I wasn't sure at all how yesterday would go. Sara is attending two different preschools at the moment. The morning one meets three times a week, the afternoon one meets every day. I was worried about getting her from one to the other, mainly because she wants to ride the bus. While we have plenty of time to get her from school one to home in order to meet the bus, it doesn't leave a lot of time for her to eat lunch.

The easy solution (and I'm sure Sara's preferred one) would be to grab something quick. However, as a mom who struggles every day with weight and issues, I prefer a healthy lunch. She has a busy schedule she needs fuel, not fat and salt and sugar disguised as food in brightly colored bags or boxes. I readily admit that I give my kids fast food. I hope that by teaching them how to eat all sorts of food, they can avoid the struggles that I have when they get older. And that basically boils down to portion control and moderation.  So while I don't mind the occasional kids meal, at least one part of it needs to be somewhat nutritious. Chicken nuggets with apple fries? Do-able. Grilled chicken sandwich with fries? Manageable. Tucker can actually eat an adult sized meal with no problem. He has the metabolism to burn it off right now, but he won't always. So it's worth the battle to keep him at a kids sized meal (which is plenty big) and then let him supplement with additional fruits or vegetables.

Yesterday, Sara had a bean burrito for lunch...well, what she'd eat of it. She was too excited to eat much and was worried that she's miss her bus. As she was (literally) hopping on the bus, she asked me if we could make cookies that afternoon.

Heck yeah! I LOVE to bake. Everything about it is soothing to me. The kids are at the perfect age for helping me bake too, and I love having stuff to do that doesn't involve spending tons of money, watching TV, or eating crap. I love that you can work in a math lesson or two without it sounding like you are trying to work in a math lesson or two.

By the time the kids' bus was due, I was excited to hear about their days and to get started with the baking. I heard the bus coming, and went outside to meet them......only to find out that Sara would be on the second bus drop off about thirty five minutes later. Oooops. Parental fail. I assumed the school would put the preschoolers on the same bus as K-2. But they didn't.

So, 35 minutes later, Tucker and I were hanging at the bus stop waiting for Sara. This is going to work out beautifully! Every day I'm going to get 35 minutes with just me and Tucker. He's a great sport (most of the time) about not getting tons of one on one attention. So the fact that we can have this time every day makes me incredibly, blissfully happy. I still have two mornings a week with just Sara, so she is in no way being left out.

Sara got off the bus, no worse for the wear. I was concerned that she would be upset that Tucker wasn't on her bus, but she was with the big kids, so she was in hog heaven. They all think she's so cute, and I'm not going to say or do a thing to ruin that image.  ::snort!::

We walked back home, got right to the cookie making, and finished up right as R was walking in the door. I was pleased that this recipe for oatmeal cookies turned out so well, because the recipe has changed on the oatmeal container since the last time  made them. Guess I should have written the old one down, huh? But I pretty much remembered it, so all was well in the end (and yes, I wrote it down this time.)

I wish that smell-o-vision and taste-o-vision were available because these bad boys turned out as well as I've ever had cookies turn out.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Days!

School started today!

They were really good sports. It was cooler and windy, and the sun (as you can probably tell) was in their eyes for this picture. But they stood there anyway.

You'd never know they bickered the entire way to school, only to stop and become something akin to the Wonder Twins once we had to brave the gauntlet parking lot. Some of those parents are nuts! I thought people were going to get shot over parking spaces today.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm not above letting the fairy tale teach the lesson

So! Lately we've been having some issues with the resident diva thinking that the entire world exists just to serve her every need. While she is awfully cute, that's not how we roll here in the Dahl house.

At dinner the other night, she thought it would be hilarious to splatter stuff all over the floor. R and I? We were not nearly as amused.

The solution we used this time was to make like Cinderella and have her scrub the floor. Yes, with a toothbrush.

The giant arm? That's me being helpful and showing her she missed a spot.  She was welcome.

She is a cutie pie, though, right?!? Now if can just teach her to use her powers for good.....

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day, indeed.

Every now and then, between furniture re-arranging sessions and feeble attempts to de-clutter our clutter prone house, R and I will talk about stuff we could do 'out there'.

Of course, 'out there' refers to yardwork in excess of weed pulling and mowing. Last year we planted some monkey grass and a bunch of pansies. Most of which has, of course, died.  Sigh.

This year, we've been talking about more of an all-around overhaul. When housing maintenance came to 'fix' (and by 'fix' I mean paint over) the water damage in the corner of the kitchen, the maintenance worker suggested that we try using a drainage hose to divert water coming out of the downspout at that corner. R and I agreed that we would much rather bury the hose, even though to do it correctly would mean digging a trench from the back wall of our house to the fence. When he measured the distance, it was 28 feet. That's a pretty good amount of digging, but worth it to not have to deal with the drainage hose when we are actually using the back yard or when R is mowing the grass.

But hey, since we'd be digging, I suggested installing a drainage hose at the front of the house as well. I wanted to rearrange some of the landscaping in the front, and if we were going to be digging up and replanting bushes, we might as well fix the front drain as well. Then, perhaps, I could keep my mulch in the flower bed instead of it washing onto the sidewalk and entryway.

I have big dreams like that.

Today was amazingly pleasant. After almost a solid week of temps in the high 90's with high humidity, today the temperature wasn't expected to reach 80. My kind of weather!

We agreed this morning that today was the day. After we went to the Y, we dropped by Lowe's to pick up some edging for the tree in the front, the drainage hose, and some weed killer.

We get home and R immediately starts to dig in the backyard.  We haven't had a lot of rain here lately so the ground was really hard. About halfway through, we got smart and watered the area so that we would dig it up easier. While we waited for the water to soak in, we moved around to the front of the house.

There we moved a couple of bushes around, but mostly made a huge mess, helped along by our resident diva's free hand with the water hose. A preschooler + hose + lots of dirt = a huge, muddy mess. But hey, everyone was happy, and dirt can be cleaned off. R and I were being productive, S had our full attention all to herself, and T was getting a much needed break from little sister annoyance. Everybody wins!

After we finished the front, I went inside and R, God bless him, went around to the back and finished digging and burying the drainage hose with a little assistance from T.

Therefore, we totally deserved the Reeses' peanut butter pumpkins we had after dinner.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Writers Workshop Thursday - 10 Dos and Don'ts of Airplane Etiquette

1) DO - actually check to make sure your carry on bag fits appropriately inside the sample size metal thingy at check in. That's what it's there for, the rules do indeed apply to you too, and I don't want your approved TSA sized bottle of horrible smelling lotion/cologne/perfume/shampoo/hairspray dripping on my head, soaking into my bag, or stinking up the plane because you or someone else had to shove your over sized bag into too small a space. 

2) DON'T - be a jacka$$ to the flight attendant. Planes are over-crowded, on tight schedules, understaffed, and full of impatient, demanding people. If the FA tells you that you need to check your bag, just check it. If the FA says they can't serve you another drink, let. it. go. If the FA asks you to get your seat out of the lap of the person behind you, make like the Nike slogan and just do it. 

3) DO - have your boarding pass and ID ready before you get in line to board the plane. Those of us who have this ready will thank you profusely - if not out loud, then definitely mentally. 

4) DON'T - take your shoes off. Especially if your feet stink. If you aren't sure/weren't aware, the people sitting beside you will give you some pretty reliable cues. And if you have gas, for the love of God, take some tums, pepto, or bean-o. Just because we didn't hear it doesn't mean we don't smell you and and yes, we can indeed tell that it's coming from you. 

5) DO - have some sympathy for people with kids on your flight. If you are annoyed by restless/cranky/crying kids for an hour or two, imagine being in a car with them for six or more hours. That's probably why they are flying. And do you really want a distracted, distressed, exhausted parent barreling down a highway you or someone you love also occupies at 65 mph or more? Nuh-uh!

6) DON'T - look at porn during the flight. Seriously - what are you planning on doing about it in that tiny little seat anyway?!?

7) DO - use common courtesies: please, thank you and excuse me when appropriate, don't throw your trash on the floor, clean up after yourself if you spill something (or you know, pee on the seat or on the floor of the bathroom.) 

8) DON'T - treat your row mates like a captive audience. Some people like to talk, some people don't. Know which one is which. 

9) DO - keep cell phone conversations at a reasonable volume level and appropriate for the people around you. It's the same with all electronic devices..your seat mate may not have the same appreciation for Yanni that you do. Nor do toddlers need to hear the f-bomb or the details about your drunk hook-up last night. 

10) DON'T - for heaven's sake do not make jokes about bombs, terrorists, crashing planes, or anything else of that nature. Not funny. 

Thanks for the prompt Mama Kat! Mama's Losin' It

Pickled spaghetti

Last Friday, I made zucchini parmigiana as a way to sneak some more veggies into dinner.

Or so I thought.

Apparently, the days of being able to put tomato sauce and cheese on things to get the kids to try it are long gone.

T takes one look at it, sniffs and announces, "Gross! Spaghetti with pickles? NO WAY!"

::helpless giggling::

It never occurred to me that he'd think sliced zucchini = pickles. But honestly, I could see how he arrived at that conclusion and why he refused to try it.

No matter. R and I ate the zucchini and loved every bite.

I keep having this image in my head of T trying to impress a girl with his cooking by throwing pickles, ketchup, and cheese in a bowl and heating it, saying that his mom used to make it... Ahhahahahaaaaaaaa.

Anyway, today we were headed to the commissary after the Y and I asked him what he wanted for dinner.

T: I want spaghetti and meatballs, but not the pickled spaghetti you made the other night. Just regular spaghetti and meatballs, okay. NO PICKLES.

Pickled spaghetti. It's what's for dinner.

Sinus infection Monday

Last week I felt like I'd been invaded by seasonal allergies. Attack of the killer mold spores!!! Seriously, I think this geographical area is poisoned or polluted or toxic or something as much as the fam and I have been sick in the past year or so. I think it's all the corn fields. Maybe in Field of Dreams KCos built the baseball field in an allergy fueled delirium. It's totes possible....

Saturday morning I woke up and realized my sinuses had hijacked my entire body. By hijacked, I mean felt like they'd been belted with  a hammer. My teeth even hurt. Yeech. The only thing that even remotely helped was to stand in a very hot shower. Unfortunately, I couldn't spend 24/7 in a very hot shower.  So it was pretty miserable. With the medication I'm on, I can't take certain over the counter medications - ibuprofen and most cold medicines/decongestants among them. Boo!!!!!!

So today I woke up and didn't feel any better. I dragged myself to the Y hoping that some low impact sweating would help relieve the pressure. For whatever reason, it did. I felt almost normal. WOOOHOO! It took a few hours for the effect to wear off, so between exercise and hot showers, which work well together anyway, I think I've got this thing licked.  Take that shelves full of chemically induced relief. I found my own remedy. HAHA! And no one will mistakenly think I'm trying to manufacture meth. Bonus!