Wait, Why Is This In My Mouth?

Apple with a Tape Measure - Dieting

Okay, so, at this very moment I am eating a “dessert,” and also trying to get the taste of said “dessert” out of my mouth. I am doing this because a) I’m on a low-carb/no-sugar/stop-eating-crap-like-it’s-good-for-you diet and b) crappy dessert is better than no dessert. Possibly. Possibly not. I’ll let you know.

Everyone is dieting right now because “bikini season” is coming (why is this a thing?!) and because our society has weird values. I’m not dieting with any desire for jamming my body into 3 ounces of fabric. Rather, I am dieting because I had a kid, came out of it 15 pounds heavier, then added 5 pounds of chocolate, wine and cheese to that and now 2 years later it’s probably a good idea to trim back my eating habits.

It’s not like I take care of my body and eat right, but my gut is full of unjust fat dictators that take over anyway. It’s like I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, I don’t exercise, and then I gain weight. Big surprise. You really can’t be upset about that. (Well, actually, I am a little upset about it, but I have lofty goals for my laziness and wine consumption.)

I started exercising, and I’m still doing that (much to my own dismay), but it’s time for the big guns. I need to actually limit the amount of food that goes in my face. Just a little. And perhaps try things other than chocolate, alcohol and bread products. Perhaps.

Plus, did you know that stomping around, dripping with sweat, frightening your neighbors with your grimaced face only burns 150 calories in 30 minutes? That’s a glass and a half of juice. It’s less than half an order of french fries. It’s a glass and a half of Pinot Noir (who’s the dummy that drank juice instead?). 150 calories in my day is like plankton in a whale’s mouth. It just flies right in there without so much as a blink of the eye. (And then I SHOOT IT OUT MY BLOWHOLE! Just kidding. I don’t have a blowhole. I just wanted to carry the analogy a little further. And say blowhole.)

At any rate, I’m on a diet. And holy mother, is some diet food gross. Well, actually, I think the gross part comes in when you try to recreate the experience of “bad” foods with sugar substitutes and other man-made demon poop.

Take, for example, “Stevia in the Raw” which I have paid money for and put in my mouth. It’s yucky. Super yucky. The capital of Yuckistan. I keep waiting to get used to it, but no. The box says that it has a delicious natural sweetness, but this, friends, is not true. It has an initial lack of sweetness, followed by a very aggressive sweet-like sensation that appears in your mouth after you’ve swallowed, and hangs around until it damn well feels like leaving. Well, isn’t that peculiar? And thoroughly unenjoyable.

Yesterday, I tried putting canned white kidney beans in my salad because one of the recipes said to and—ick. I also put in low-fat feta cheese, which just kind of tastes like ground up packing peanuts in watery milk. With salt. It was the grossest salad of all time.

But because I’m more tenacious than reasonable, I keep trying these recipes. I should just decide that a no-sugar, low-fat diet doesn’t involve sweets or elaborate salads with delicious cheeses, and be on my way. Stick to veggies in their God-given form. But I don’t. I think, “Maybe this is the recipe that changes my mind about this diet.” [Spoiler alert: it isn’t.]

Which brings me to now, eating a “mousse” of some kind made of low-fat ricotta cheese, Stevia, cocoa powder and decaffeinated coffee crystals. Oh, and vanilla.

It is unpleasant.

I just realized, though, that perhaps the diet people have a brilliant plan. If the idea is to get me off sweets, they’re totally Clockwork Oranging me. Like, every time I think of dessert now, I’ll think of this mealy, suspiciously sweet, mocha-flavored disaster and my lips will snap together like a clam making pearls for a wholesaler in the mafia. And it’s totally effing working.

Nice move, diet people. Nice move.

Things I Don’t Understand

Not Too Bright

Photo by JD Hancock @ Flickr.

Most of the time, I’m pretty with it. I go around doing things, giving high-fives and fist-bumps like a champ. I can bake like a freaking wizard. I’m decent on the guitar. I taught myself how to write Applescripts. I also framed out and installed a jet tub with my husband.

I’m just saying…I’m no slouch. Yes, I’m supremely lazy, but I actually learn and do stuff on a daily basis. I’m a functioning adult (mostly).

So, that’s why I’m so frustrated (and a little embarrassed) by the following things I don’t understand. They’re not even complicated. I mean, I should be able to just figure this stuff out. Nonetheless, here they are.

I Don’t Understand How to Recycle

OMG. Help me.

Now, we didn’t even have a recycling bin for the first few years we lived in San Diego, and someone told me that when you throw recyclables in the trash, someone sorts it later and it all gets recycled anyway. So I decided I wasn’t lazy or stupid, I was CARING. About the ECONOMY. Yeesh.

But now, we DO have a recycling bin. It has pictures on the outside of what you should put in it. For some inexplicable reason, this is not enough for me. Do I put all kinds of bottles in there? And what about the caps? Where do the caps go? And plastic? It has a 1 and a 2 recycle symbol on the bin. Does that mean the other plastics can’t go in there? What happens if I DO put a 3 plastic in there? Is the recycling person going to fashion it into a shiv and come to my house to gut me like a recycling-ignorant fish? Because that’s basically what I think is going to happen.

So, potential recyclable in hand, my mind flips through these thoughts like a Rolodex of absurdity, then I panic and just put the thing in the trash. And close the cabinet door. Quickly. And pretend it never happened.

I do this multiple times a day.

I Don’t Understand How to Freeze Things

Now, I’m not saying I don’t understand that when you put something in the freezer, it gets frozen. I get that part. Check. The trouble arises when I think about what should be frozen and what shouldn’t. I mean, raw, uncooked chicken, straight from the store? Got it. Yes. Water in the form of ice cubes? Yes. Coffee in the form of ice cubes? Yes. (If there’s anything to be done with coffee, I’ll figure it out. I’m highly motivated there.) Old 35mm film? Yes. And anything you bought from the store already frozen? Yes. Into the freezer it goes.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention, that means that my freezer has ice cubes, coffee ice cubes, chicken, frozen peas and old 35mm film. That is it. Nothing else. Because when I think about putting anything else in there, the aforementioned panic sets in and I just can’t follow through.

What happens when you freeze cooked chicken? Does it develop Ebola or something? Or turn into dust? What about cheese? Can you freeze cheese? Is there a good reason to do that? I DON’T KNOW!

There are all kinds of thrifty masterminds out there that cook a month’s worth of food in one day and then freeze it. So then—all high and mighty—they have a month’s worth of home-cooked meals that appear magically like the rainbow out of a Care Bear’s belly. Clearly, those people are better than me. I mean—clearly.

I Don’t Understand Skin Care

Everyone has skin, so it stands to reason that everyone would know how to take care of their skin. Nope. Not me. I just…it’s a lost cause. I wash my face in the shower. That’s it. I know. I KNOW! Sigh. I am who I am. And until they make microscopic robots that clean your pores while you sleep, that’s the way it’s gonna be.

I Don’t Understand Reddit

Do you know what Reddit is? A lot of people do. A lot of people use it. It’s like a link sharing website of some fashion or another and, as an even partially decent blogger, I should know how to Reddit things. (Is is even a verb? Like Google? Or Xerox?) I’m sorry to put this out there Reddit…ers, but the Reddit community is slightly terrifying.

I’ve posted a few of links on there, some of which have been ignored entirely as if they have leprosy. A couple have gotten significant numbers of clicks, as if they have leprosy, but leprosy is really in this season. It feels like sometimes I anger the Reddit gods and sometimes I please them. I dance around every time I share a link, just in case that makes a difference. I use a lot of hip action. It might be making things worse.

The worst part about the whole Reddit thing is that I read a couple of articles on using Reddit and it seems that there is STRICT and very SERIOUS etiquette to be observed. Holy crap. I’m relatively confidant that I’m not observing those things. I mean, I’m reading the sub-reddit rules and stuff (if this is gibberish to you, it’s fine. It’s mostly gibberish to me, and I’m writing it.) but I’m pretty sure I’m effing things up. And if you don’t observe the rules? They excommunicate you! But they don’t even tell you! They just stop allowing you to post any links. And I’m pretty sure they go through your recycling and make shivs of number 5 bottles and then cut out your innards. At least, I think that’s what I read.

If any of you splendid readers understand any of these things, please share. Clearly, I’m not only a danger to myself, but to others. Don’t let me walk around, dirty-faced like a spunky hobo, trying to recycle frozen magazines whilst angering the Reddit hoards.

Please, it’s for all of us.

Somebody Bring Me Some Ham

Ham

Photo by Steven Lilley @ Flickr

You all.

Remember how I said that I hate to exercise? Remember? Well, I do. Just take my word for it. Or read all this stuff I wrote about how I hate to exercise.

Anyway, I hate to exercise. It’s one of my least favorite things to do. But, you know…I’m an adult, dammit, and exercise is a thing that adults do, so I made a decision: I was going to exercise for 30 minutes a day, 30 days in a row. Yes indeedie. It’s a pretty lofty goal, considering that to accomplish it I have to get up early—which is my second least favorite thing to do.

That’s right, I made a commitment to do two things I hate, first thing in the morning, every morning, for 30 days.

Guess what day today is?

It’s day freaking 30, you all. DAY. THIRTY. Holy bleeptown. In the immortal words of Liz Lemon, “I’m a star. I’m on top. Somebody bring me some ham.”

p.s. – to help me with my goal I’ve been using that website that I mentioned before called SuperBetter. I think it’s awesome. You should check it out if you’ve got some changes you want to make in your life and you’re also a little bit of a nerd. I also used Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” technique, where you mark the days you’ve completed on a calendar, then you focus on not breaking the chain. Super handy.

There. Be bedazzled with knowledge, readers. She-zam.

Keepin’ It Real for Mother’s Day

As we all know, kids are a little nutty and being a parent is crazy hard. When Mother’s Day rolls around, we thank our mothers for being kind, or for “raising us right” (whatever that means), or for always being there.

The truth is, though, the thing you should be most thankful for is that your mother never threw you in a river, gave you to the mafia, or sent you packing on a hot air balloon never to return. Basically, if you survived your childhood at the hands of an exhausted, tried, worn out mother—she wins. She wins a million points forever.

So, I made a card for all you kids to send out if you wanna keep it real this Mother’s Day.

Wishing all you mothers a happy, insanity-free day.

someecards.com - Dear Mom, Thanks for not feeding me to a shark or selling me to the circus. I know it was a real possibility. Happy Mother's Day!

The Parent’s Survival Guide to Theme Parks

Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be a Long, Long Time)

Photo by Paul Sapiano @ Flickr

I had the super fun opportunity to go to some of the coolest theme parks in Orlando this past week. (We’ve got people watchin’ our stuff, robbers, so don’t think you can break into our crappy apartment and steal our…um…Ikea cheese grater, okay?)

We had a GREAT time. We spent a load of time with my in-laws who are the best in-laws on the planet. Good people to the last drop. You know those kind? They’re awesome.

Anyway, as I was saying, we had an amazing time. Theme parks can be really cool and fun and exciting…all the adjectives you would want out of a vacay. I realized a few days into the deal, though, that your chances of having a good theme park vacation and having a bad theme park vacation are about 50/50. And man, hell hath no fury like a parent who shelled out a pile of money to amuse their children, only to find said children throwing a fit over whatever is upsetting them at the moment. I can’t tell you how many bug-eyed parents I saw genuinely losing their crap at their tiny, glitter-dusted, sugar-fueled tyrant cruise directors. It was…intense.

So, as I am wont to do, I thought I’d put together some tips for theme park survival. I know, I know—I’m just so danged helpful.

#1 – Don’t Forget Who Your Children Are

No matter how magical the destination, your children are still the same people you interact with at home. Whatever limits or frustrations or shortcomings they have at home will still be there at whatever theme park you’ve sold your blood to. And let’s face it, kids are 10 parts cute, 90 parts insane, and remembering that is just about the only way to make it as a parent. So when they’re all angry and unimpressed and tired and needy and full of sugar-rage, don’t be surprised. Be prepared. In fact, make a pact that when your kid melts down, you get a cookie or a beer or whatever your vice is (you’re on vacation, right?). That way, their negative means a positive for you. Yay! (But not too many beers, okay? Don’t be that guy. Drunken parent guy is…disturbing.)

#2 – Don’t Let Those Commercials Fool You

All the commercials for theme parks are filled with slow-mo scenes of parents and children laughing and running and staring doe-eyed at the wonder of life while fireworks burst and genteel birds float down to grace their shoulders as the sun sets in the distance. That crap does NOT happen. Like, to anyone. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 1.5 minutes of awesome, never-want-to-forget moments and the rest will be a combination of exhaustion, frustration, bewilderment and sugar withdrawals (why is there so much freaking sugar around?!). That’s fine. It’s totally fine. Hunt for those 1.5 minutes like Cap’n Jack looking for the Black Pearl. And when you find them, hold on to them tight. Loving the good moments will get you through the mediocre-to-pitiful moments. And, you know what? Just lower the bar. Be okay having a low-key pleasant vacation. Don’t make big, elaborate plans for milking the park for every penny you gave them. What’s that saying? Making plans is the surest way to hear God laugh? Or the surest way to give yourself an aneurism? Whatever it is, the point is—don’t have crazy expectations. Just chill out.

#3 – Realize a Lot of it is For You

If you have a teeny tiny one like I do…the ENTIRE experience is lost on them. Yep. The whole freaking kit n’ caboodle means absolutely nothing to them, they won’t ever remember it, and many of the fun things are, to them, terrifying. If you’ve set it up in your mind that your kid should be wowed by all the stuff you’re paying for, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed when the stairs and a seriously over-zealous squirrel steal the show.

No biggie. The truth is, kids can’t appreciate it all the way you can. You’re older. You’re wiser. You can soak in the wonder of fireworks in the sky, and new technology infused into the rides, and how they can make an ice cream snack taste so good you’d punch a stranger in the nuts for one. You can appreciate it all, and you should.

#4 – Hit the Park Kid-less if You Can

Due to the aforementioned amazing in-laws, we were able to go back to the park for about 2 hours after the kiddo went to sleep. It was…Uh-mazing. We sprinted around the park and went on all the adult rides and got in more park fun in those 2 hours than we could have all day with the kids. We laughed maniacally at all the parents saddled with strollers full of screaming children (what were they doing up, anyway?). You can’t always swing it if you’re not traveling with friends or family, but if you can, do it. It’s fun to feel like a kid sometimes. Well, a kid who has enough perspective on life to know exactly how fun it all really is.

#5 – Try to Love Your People

The bottom line is that parenting is tough, and it doesn’t get easier just because you go to a cool place. So, remind yourself that a BIG part of being a parent is practicing loving other people. So when they scream for a toy or refuse to stop chasing that bird or complain that they didn’t see whatever the stink they wanted to see, take a big, big breath and remind yourself that you love that little person, even when they drive you nuts. Then, get yourself a really big cookie. Or a beer. God bless beer.

A Very, Truly, Fantastic Day

Happy birthday!

Today is my daughter’s birthday. Now, not to knock the kids you know and love, but she’s better than those kids. She’s better than all kids. She’s amazing. That might also just be genetics talking, ensuring that I don’t eat my young. I don’t know how all the science works.

Regardless of her ranking on the awesome kid list, I love her to bits and bits. She’s funny and smart and she has these little blue eyes that she will likely use to manipulate her way out of (and into) all kinds of crap. And it’ll work. Yeesh. This little person with unbridled laughter, unrestrained desire, and a growing, She-Ra-like will, is turning 2 today (the big aught-two!) and the last year has been really, really fun.

For any new parents out there, I highly recommend the 1-2 age. Kids are learning all kinds of things, and they say new stuff every day…it’s very entertaining. It’s also a bit infuriating because they start to do things you didn’t think they could do, and thus didn’t safeguard against. Like the time that I learned she could screw tops off by discovering that she had eaten a bunch of mascara. (When this happens to you, the number for poison control in the US is 1-800-222-1222. You’re welcome.)

In celebration of my favorite child ever, I thought I’d re-share my series on kids. I wrote this last year and it all still holds true. Having kids is the best and the worst, all at once. If you didn’t catch it the first time around, I hope you enjoy it.

The Truth About Kids, Part 1: Having Kids Is Not The Best Thing Ever

Some people will tell you all kinds of unbelievably gooey stories about how great kids are, and how they didn’t know the meaning of life until they had kids, and how everything else pales in comparison, et cetera. People say, “I can’t even remember what life was like before we had children!” Oh, really? I do. It was awesome. (Continue reading…)

The Truth About Kids, Part 2: Having Kids Is Not The Worst Thing Ever

True, being a parent is a continual gauntlet of shame, confusion, guilt and frustration. But just when you think you should just let yourself get disemboweled by a swinging battle-axe, you get hit with an unexpected bundle of sweet, amazing, adorable love and ridiculousness. That’s how they get you. (Continue reading…)

The Truth About Kids, Part 3: Is It Worth It?

And now it’s time for the big question…

Is having kids worth it?

No.

Just kidding. The real answer is…

maybe. (Continue reading…)

Happy Birthday, Miss Crutchfield!

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