Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Getting My Way

I was what you would call a rather precocious child. I was anxious around other kids and tended to be more comfortable around adults. I found out early the best way to explain myself to anyone was through writing. I focused this primarily on my parents and primarily as a way to get what I wanted.

The first essay I recall writing was "Why I Deserve to be a Latchkey Kid." I think it focused on me being a whole 11 years old and way too old for daycare, and being really, really responsible and such. I believe I promised to call as soon as I walked in the door, open said door for nobody else, and stay put until a parent came through said door.

I presented the essay to my parents, they conferred, and I was allowed to be a latchkey kid. Let me make one small point of clarification: It was for approximately 30 minutes. But I got a taste of freedom and I went with it.

Essays ensued from there on to include Why I Deserve a Cat (I ended up with a bunny, after being extra manipulative and ending with "I just want something of my own to love"), Why I Deserve a Later Bedtime (I got that one, too) and Why I Deserve my Own Phone (a beautiful dark dusty rose that actually came a few years after the essay, so I guess I was losing my touch).

I've decided this is how I am going to handle things with Wee 'Burb. If she wants something, she has to present a logical argument for it. And accept she may not always get it.

How were your requests handled when you were growing up?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Drive of Shame

All my life, I have wanted to drive a golf cart.

I even tried to convince Scott that we should drive away from our wedding in a golf cart. No sale.

Possibly because we were married in a rather urban area and our reception was like 15 miles away.

Details, people, details!

Anyway, for my birthday I asked Scott to book a golf day, where I could drive a golf cart.

I've never golfed before. EVER.

My roommate and Scott have each golfed a few times. None of us has clubs or any of the other required golf paraphernalia, so we went in early to get costumed.

I told the guy flat out we were all newbies and we needed everything. So he set us up with a golf cart and clubs. We were so shocked by the total at that point, we didn't notice something was missing until we got to the golf cart.

We didn't have balls.

So Scott goes back in and looks kind of green at the cost of the golf balls and I'm beginning to get that "bad idea" feeling.

Then we realize we don't have tees.

This time I go in and get tees, which the manager kindly gives me for free. I think he had the "bad idea" feeling himself.

So I'm tentative with the golf cart at first, but then find it as cool as I imagined. We drive to the first tee and while we wait for the foursome ahead of us, we talk to the ranger. He gives us a few pointers and we kind of smile. I ask him what we're aiming for. He points to a flag faaaar away. I think we BOTH get the "bad idea" feeling.

So it's finally time for us to tee up and I'm getting pointers while watching people behind us pile up. We all hit into different areas, and Scott can't even find his ball (tee hee, does golf terminology make you giggle, too?). We park the cart in the general direction of where we think the ball is and while he searches, I do my next, hits? Swings? I'm not sure. Let's say I was at 6 on a par 3 and I hadn't even met the green yet.

This is when the ranger came down. Did we know that we could bring our golf carts on to the green to aid in the search for Scott's wayward ball? We did not. In fact, we had given up at this point looking for his ball and were working on me getting to the green.

We looked behind us and saw more people following us. So we decided to skip this hole and go to hole 2.

I actually got it on the green and I gave a "woo hoo" which I was cautioned by my roommate was not acceptable golf behavior.

Then the manager came down, with the ranger right behind him. Yup, "bad idea" feeling rearing its ugly head.

The manager reminds us that we need to keep up with the group ahead of us on this course. We said we knew, that's why we skipped the hole.

He says "I'm not here to scold you, you did the right thing skipping the hole. I just wanted to offer you something, if you're open to it. We can refund your money and you guys can take the golf carts to the driving range. We'll give you free tokens to the driving range and you guys can hit balls there."

Through laughs I choked out a "thank you, that's a nice offer. We'll take it."

Then we had to drive the golf carts PAST the people lined up behind us and I truly think golf etiquette was the only thing keeping them from clapping and a rousing round of "na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye."

It's what I would have done.

You guys? That was the most shameful apology tour EVER. We just drove by and waved at all the foursomes behind us, who were all kind enough to wave back and not outwardly laugh at our incompetence.

We had a great time at the driving range, where it's OK to suck.

And they did indeed refund all of our money.

The funny thing? I would totally golf again. We picked a pro course, which was a huge mistake. My roommate suggests golfing as early in the morning as possible under cover of darkness. SOLD!

Have you ever been kicked out of a sporting event?

Friday, June 24, 2011

All Mine

My first real apartment was about 600 square feet. All mine. It was considered desirable because it was a two-room studio, which meant there was a wall between the living room/kitchen portion and the bedroom/bathroom portion. No door, but a wall.

All mine.

For the first few months I was there, I would get up early and sip my coffee from my newly purchased yellow coffee mugs (Corelle outlet). I would sit in my alcove on my inherited chairs in front of my inherited teeny-tiny table pushed up against my bay window. That was my favorite feature of the apartment. Other than it being all mine.

I think about this apartment a lot lately. While I love my little chaotic home life, some days I am wistful about being ALONE. Sipping a cup of coffee, watching what I want on TV, cooking for one and hand-washing the dishes afterward.

Mornings now are spent listening to Wee 'Burb's chatting get more and more insistent until I know she has to be removed from the crib. I get her dressed, and we brush our teeth and hair. Then she plays a little game where she says "where daddy?" until he comes and gets her. He plays with her a little bit while I throw on some clothes to take her across the street to daycare. I come home and either take the dog for a walk if I have a lighter deadline week, or pour myself a cup of coffee (out of my wedding present, a set of glass coffee mugs from William Sonoma) and log in to work.

This chaos? Also all mine. In a different way. In a wonderful way. But in a different way. For now? I am never alone. Also? I am never lonely.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How I Plan to Stop Grocery Terrorists

Hey hey! Go check me out on Tenaciously Yours today where I talk about how I actively fight against Grocery Terrorism.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Post-Posting Thoughts and I'm Blogworthy!

After thinking more on my post Is Optimism Good and reading Amanda at It's Blogworthy's advice to interns on how to approach internships without a sense of entitlement, I have just a few more observations.

1. Thanks so much to Amanda for giving me this awesome award! Seriously, she has inspired me so much with my blog, it's a total honor to get something like this.

2. I think my post seemed more wistful than I intended. There is no day where I am sad that I am not running a magazine. There are some days, maybe, where I wish I could be published. But a lot of you pointed out that this blog is some form of that, and for now other than freelance work, it's what I have the time and patience for.

3. If my post interested you at all, you really should go read the comments. I really loved each and every one I got, and did my best to respond to those I could. But some of my favorites included:
  • Erica and Pine Lakes Redhead who explained: I feel that my parents gave me the confidence that I could take on any challenge I wanted. But at the same time, I was raised to be practical. I know where my strengths and weakness lie. It must work because I don't feel limited in what I do.
  • Sam from Life as a Wife says:  I was raised being told I could do anything I wanted but also was taught that dreams require hard work and time.
  • Serena at the Bewildered Bug quotes:  A friend of mine from high school aptly put it - reach up for the moon because if you miss, you'll be among the stars.
  • Ixy over at Illusion tells it like it is:  I feel really strongly about this - you're not doing your child (or the world) a favour by pretending they can do anything they want. That said, the world is so cruel and parents should be the support kids can always count on. I think our job is to guide our kids about the consequences of their decisions, and encourage them to ask questions that will get them thinking realistically. For example, "what else would you like to do if becoming a rock star is taking longer than expected"?
  • Mama Spaghetti spells it out: I am a Gen-Y-er, but I am constantly frustrated by my peers and how entitled they feel about, well, pretty much everything. Somewhere along the way it was like building self-esteem steam-rolled right over realism, and it's left a lot of people I know floundering.

The more I think about it, I think it comes down to confidence and then the real-world application. Bottom line: it's about rolling with the punches. Maybe a big dream can be broken down into smaller dreams, right? So while I am certainly not going to be starting my own magazine, I did start this blog, and I did go for freelance jobs outside of my day-to-day work that allow me to write what I like.

Maybe I will never publish a book, but my name is out there in bylines. I've published work before.

The thing is, I'm so happy with my life. I CHOSE this life, and chose which items of my list were no longer important. At some point, my priorities shifted and I realized that I wanted to focus on my family. I woke up one day and said "my job is not going to keep me warm at night" and that was that.

Because my parents taught me to trust my gut and make my own decisions, I was able to decide to go in a direction that makes me happiest. I had the confidence to reset my goals. I used to see this as settling. I settled for this blog instead of a magazine, or settled for small freelance assignments rather than a published book.

But now I realize it's not settling. It's simply rolling with life's punches. Truly, we all need to evaluate our lists every few years, and focus on what's important now. And have the confidence to say "it's okay, I didn't complete that. I have something better."

As something better goes, how can you beat this?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wilma, Get Me Off of This Thing Called...CARTOONS

I am entering the world of cartoon obsession slowly with Wee 'Burb. At 19 months, she doesn't have much of an attention span, though she will come crawling as fast as she can when any of the following theme songs come on: Elmo's World, Bubble Guppies, and The Simpsons (what? She doesn't know the difference). And since my roommate introduced her to Elmo on YouTube, she just shouts "ELMO" at every computer she sees. So I can see the obsession building.

Recently, Shine waxed nostalgic about the best and worst cartoon heroines for our daughters.

Thankfully, one of my FAVORITES made the good girl list. Jem! Jem! She's truly outrageous, truly truly outrageous!

Source: Wikipedia

Here's what Shine says about our girl Jem:

If your daughters have never seen Jem, she may be worth an introduction. For a cartoon, she's one heck of a woman. Not only does Jem front an arena rock band, she's a big-time music producer—a rarity in the real-life male dominated industry. Jem also runs a non-profit foundation that supports foster kids, 12 of whom live with her and the Holograms at their sweet pad.

So who made the worst list? Wilma from The Flinstones was billed as an abuse survivor. Tinkerbell was written off as the nymph she is. And did you guys know this about Smurfette??!!

Totally true cartoon backstory of how the only lady Smurf (until 2008) came into being: evil Gargamel created her from clay to sabotage the pleasant, woman-free (they probably call it 'smurfy') way of life in Smurf Village. When she was found out as nothing but a two-bit seductress, she was shamed in Smurf court. Papa Smurf, kind-hearted leader or lecherous, racist tyrant depending on your outlook, took pity on her and broke the spell Gargamel used to create her. Here's where she gets even worse: once Papa removed her dark powers, her brown, frizzy her turned to blond, wavy locks. Also her flats became heels. And her white dress got embellishments.

I thought she was just slightly slutty in her smurfy way! I had no idea she came with a back story.

So let's talk cartoons, people. What should I allow my kiddo to watch? What do you remember about your childhood cartoons? I recently introduced Wee 'Burb to Fraggle Rock and she loves it. I'm scared to find out the back stories of some of those! Especially since I am convinced Trash Heap is Edna Garrett in trash form. Do you even care about role models, or is it just a good way to keep them quiet for a few mintues so you can pee?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Beary Happy Birthday to Me

So the roommate got me an early birthday present of a trip to her boss’ cabin in Wisconsin. My expertise on cabins and cabin travel is limited to my sister-in-law’s awesomely tricked out house on like a billion acres. Complete with hot tub.

Oh, and bears.

Her dog, fondly called Frankendog for awhile, still bears (pun intended) the scars of her run-in with a bear mommy who was less than thrilled with the pup for deciding her cub was her new playmate. And later, the bear (or one of its relatives) took out their frustration on their hot tub cover, completely annihilating it not 10 feet from their door.

People? I don’t do nature. I’m sorry if this makes me a princess. It’s just how I roll. So my first question to the roommate and her boss was if they had bears.

While I was waiting for an answer, my husband stepped in. He decided he wanted me to be prepared in case I came face-to-face with a cranky bear. I decided to share this with you because a) it’s freaking hilarious and b) it may just save your life.

“The most important thing is to not run away from the bear. Because if you run, you’re prey.”

I’m pretty sure if you’re there, you’re prey, right? Like it’s not like the Terminator where the bear is all assessing me to see if I am THE ONE. Or if he can steal my clothes. I’m fairly confident they bite first, ask questions later. Yes?

“Do not try to climb trees.”

Is this a common instinct? I guess I don’t know what I would do, besides pee my pants and lay down and play dead (incidentally, also ill-advised). But I would think attempting to climb a tree would be low on the list. I don’t do trees, either. Though apparently I was an expert tree climber as a youth. Someday we can discuss the multiple complaints my mother had as I ruined the handmade dresses…and, you know, climbed trees in a dress. Flashing neighbors early, that’s how I roll.

“Never sneak up on a bear.”

Like, is this really a common thing? Does he seriously think I’d be stalking some bear like “bwaahaha, I’ve got you know, Grizzly!” I have no words for this one.

“Make yourself a bigger force than the bear.”

So this was the crux of the advice. I’m 5 foot 4. So is my roommate. Somehow I was picturing her like boosting me up on her shoulders so we look like one really tall person?

In all seriousness, apparently you are supposed to wear something called bear spray (I am imagining it has to do with pee of some sort of animal, and I just am too traumatized to look it up) and make a lot of noise when approaching anywhere with potential bear-like creatures.

Fortunately, her boss’ cabin did not have bears. But she did cite ticks, so we didn’t do any venturing around the property.

I should ask Scott what to do with ticks.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Why We Should All Have a Sister Wife

When Wee 'Burb was a few months old, one of my closest friends came to live with us from Boston. Having had enough of living in her parents' basement and going from job to job, she moved into our basement for a little reprieve.

She is one of the few people I could ever live with, other than my husband. She's someone I can flat out say "I need my space" to and she would not take offense, and would thank me for letting her know.

Which is why over a year later, she's still here. It works for us, and while it's not permanent, we're in no rush to see her go.

Scott jokingly calls her the non-sexual sister wife. And in many ways, this is what she is.

In addition to being my friend, she is now Scott's friend, and one of Wee Burb's favorite people (Cous Cous, too). In fact, when I tell her no, she often goes running to our roommate for comfort. "She" being both Wee 'Burb AND Cous Cous in this scenario, sadly.

Frankly, I think the whole polygamy thing gets a bad rap. Having an extra person around to help with cleaning, diapering, and just overall amusing my kid is like a dream come true. I will be the first to admit I have a completely skewed version of motherhood as a result. Scott has a week-long work trip? That's cool, enter Sister Wife to help me with dinner while I give Wee 'Burb a bath. Scott's not excited about going to the zoo and a craft fair? Come on, Sister Wife, grab the keys!

Her mother has thanked me approximately 400 times for taking her daughter in and welcoming her. The truth? I want to thank HER every day because sometimes I think cheap rent and her own bathroom isn't nearly equal to all the help she provides.

Now naturally, the whole issue of sharing a man doesn't come into play here. Being firmly in the kindly brother/sister camp, there's no risk of hanky panky going on with the roommate and the husband. So I get the help without the uncomfortable sex scheduling thing.

I recently read an article on 10 reasons why Tina Fey would be a great sister wife.  What celebrity would you love to have as your sister wife?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Defensive Driving

This past weekend was a beautiful one here in Minnesota, and we haven't seen that since, oh, last summer. It begged for time spent outdoors. So, I packed up Wee 'Burb and my roommate and we went off to the zoo.

We were having a lovely drive, rocking out to 80s music and getting Wee 'Burb to dance to Abba, when all of a sudden, life slowed down.

I saw a bolt in the air, so tiny I feel I couldn't have seen it. Except I did.

Followed closely and quickly, but still in slow motion, by a bicycle. Heading directly at me.

I gasped and swore and the whole time I remember thinking to myself "do NOT drive into the ditch, just drive. The bike is going to hit you, but you just need to drive" and I did, and the bike hit and I kept driving until I could safely pull over to the side of the road.

To discover despite the bicycle ricocheting off the side of my car, all I had was a scratch by my driver's side mirror.

A scratch. A bicycle over 2 lanes of traffic and all I had was a scratch on my car.

Naturally, the rest of the ride I thought of all the horrible things that could have happened. I grabbed Wee 'Burb extra tight and tried to shake it off.

But I'm giving extra thanks.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Is Optimism Good?

I was going to do the following by the time I was 25 years old, according to my 18-year-old self:
  1. Be an editor of a magazine
  2. Look into starting my own magazine
  3. Married (of course)
  4. Starting a family (because, you know, that is totally conducive to #s 1 and 2)
  5. Publish a book
I did exactly none of those. Instead, between the age of 21 and 25 I had 4 jobs in as many years, and finally gave up on Boston and moved back with my tail between my legs to Minnesota.

I still haven't done 1, 2, and 5. I've accepted I probably never will, largely because of 2 and 3.

The Huffington Post featured a piece by a self-proclaimed Gen-Y Expert saying that Generation Y has what she calls Expectation Hangovers. I should probably absolve myself now because I'm totally Gen X.  But I was also raised with the expectation that I could do anything, because I was great, we all get trophies for showing up, and gosh darnit, people like me.

The author illuminates the crisis I faced around age 25, and that I think a lot of my younger friends are facing now:

Some 20-somethings are less willing to take or stay at a job that they don't like since they believe they are supposed to -- dare I say... entitled to -- love their job because that is what was "promised." Moreover, many prefer not to make a lot of lifestyle sacrifices, and now that moving back to the Hotel of Mom and Dad has become more of a trend than an embarrassment, they don't have to.

So the question is, as a parent, what do we do here? How do we manage expectations without raining on our precious child's parade? Are successful people coddled like this, or did folks like Obama and Oprah grow up seeing the harsh realities, and just overcome them?

Is telling our kids "you can be anything, yes anything" realistic? What do we do, then, when they return to us, empty wallets open, saying "you said I can be anything, but NASA isn't hiring, can I stay on the couch?"

I have always been a big believer in the fact that my main job is to prepare my child for the REAL world. I just don't want to do so while crushing their hopeful spirit.

The fact that my parents raised me to think I could run the world if I wanted to gave me the confidence to reach for the university I wanted to (and did) attend, and the courage to leave home and go out on my own. I would never want to deny my child that, but I also don't want them going in to things with rose-colored glasses and then giving up when they realize their big dreams may need to be minimized some to fit in with real life.

The author does go on to give a few tips to the younger set still bent on ruling the world...or at least working on it (and frankly, this is good advice for anyone not in a job or on a career path now):
  • Get fiscally fit
  • Stop using the economy as a scapegoat
  • Get a job. Any job. Don't wait for a career
  • Get off your parents' payroll
  • Increase your financial IQ
 So, tell me your thoughts, readers. Did your parents raise you to think you can do anything? Are you raising your kids like that? When do you start talking about the reality of what they CAN do versus what they WANT to do? Or is figuring it out on your own part of the battle?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Guest Post: Lola Putting the “Cure” in Manicure

You guys, Lola is leaving me for the Motherland this weekend. She'll be gone for two weeks. We chat daily...hourly, in fact. Minutely, mostly. And here you'll see what exactly it is we chat about. I promised her we'll start a fund for her bail if for any reason she's detained in Russia and not allowed back.

 I don’t know if many of you know this, but Stephanie and I love to waste company time. Really, slacking off is never quite so much fun at home, when you’re at your leisure and free to wallow in your own crapulence – i.e., check Facebook, catch up on your favorite blogs, visit stupid sites and Google random things. Personally, I always feel like I’m wasting precious time – I could be vacuuming! And hey, the car needs a wash.

But at work, things are different. You’re not going anywhere, not for the next 8 hours anyway, so you might as well make the most of it. I think this is how people who were stupid and/or lazy enough to go into crime end up getting law degrees and writing best-selling books while in prison. Back on the outside, there are convenience stores to rob! But here, it’s just you and the bunk! So why not attend Harvard Law by correspondence? The prison return address alone makes your admission essay a shoo-in.

So on a lazy Thursday in prison…I mean the office, Stephanie and I got to talking. Strictly girl talking – nail polish, to be exact. And we both love and adore OPI, not least of all because of their colorful (no pun intended) shade names.

We took a stab at coming up with some potential ones, which this is where we discovered that we may have a great career ahead of us in marketing. And so, I bring you The 10 Greatest Nail Polish Names OPI Will Never Go For. (Just so you know, these are mainly on the subject of animal noises – Wee ‘Burb has been rebelliously learning them in French to annoy her mother. But hey, that’s a whole separate blog topic.) So here we go:

#10. “Pre-MOO-nition pink”
#9. “RIBBIT-tickling red”
#8. “WOOF-it-down grey”
#7. “Can I BAA-row a Feeling white” (Kirk Van Houten, you’re our homeboy)
#6. “You bel-OINK to me blue”

#5. Then, an obligatory PSA: “NEIGH-borhood watch black”

#4. While we’re on the subject of horses: “after-NEIGH-n delight”

#3. A big of magic: “Occult-it like I see it lavender”

#2. “MEOW, that's lovely pink”

#1. And, the ultimate, the Numero Uno (drum roll please): Growl-and-Eat-Humans Green (bears). Stephanie, I can’t take the credit for that one, it was all yours!

Any other gems we’re missing? (P.S. if any OPI execs are reading this, my resume and portfolio of other brilliant ideas are available upon request. Lola loves OPI, y’all!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

It Amounted to a Hill of Beans

In reading the Baconista's post on Memorial Day Baked Beans, I wrote a rather snarky comment back about my husband.

My husband, since I have known him, has created much ado about his mother’s baked beans recipe. They called them “funeral beans” because apparently everyone in their family (and all around Minnesota, actually) brought this type of bean casserole type thing to funerals. Other events, too, but they were just known as “funeral beans.”

There’s really nothing less appetizing to me than sugary beans right up until you put “funeral” in front of them. I’m about as interested in sampling those as I am attending an open-casket wake, which is to say not at all.

But my husband has had something of a rough year and so this year when he once again brought up the funeral beans, I agreed we should get the recipe.

Then I came down with what is known around these parts as “The Baby Plague,” which any mother with a child in daycare or school will know all too well.

For those not familiar, The Baby Plague is when your child brings home some sort of Rhesius Monkey Transplant bubonic nonsense every other kid has at school.

One of us ALWAYS fall victim to The Baby Plague…typically whoever it would be most inopportune for. My roommate’s experience with The Baby Plague came when she was about to take the bar exam. My husband’s came right before a week-long trip for work. And mine came right before our week-long baby-less vacation. And apparently the universe thought it would be my turn again.

This has little to do with anything other than that I was in no condition to make funeral beans for Memorial Day. Or anything.

So he gets the recipe and sets to work, and his mother calls repeatedly to second-guess the recipe, until she goes to Target and assures him the measurements are right. And I am delirious and trying to keep the toddler entertained while simultaneously coughing so hard I throw up, and so I’m just not overly interested in the whole endeavor.

So the beans are made and he seems happy and Wee ‘Burb ingests, oh, approximately 100 pounds of beans.

And this is when I sort of become alert because I’m thinking “oh the hell that will be this diaper” and already touching my nose for the universal sign of “not it” when I kind of giggle.

Because my husband was distracted by my threats of divorce if he thought for ONE SECOND I was changing the diaper when HE was the one who made this child eat BEANS for Pete’s sake, he did not notice my chuckle. .

The super secret mystery Funeral Beans recipe? Was basically a couple cans of Bush’s baked beans, some hamburger, and a buttload of sugar.

Now some of you who enjoy the kind of comical banter I enjoy with my husband are waiting now for the punchline of what I said and how I got him to confess that this mystery was kind of a letdown.

I said nothing.

And here’s why.

Growing up, my mom baked twice a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. We savored EVERY treat that woman made because we knew once the holidays were over, so were the cookies and bars and peanut butter balls. And most important to me growing up: The Jello Pudding Pie.

You guys, I still salivate like a Pavlovian dog at a dinner bell when I see the box of Jello.

I thought my mother did something magic with that box, you see, because we’d had the jiggly fruit Jello and ain’t no pie coming from THAT! And because she made it but twice a year, I was sure there was some magic in that old black box she found.

So cut to YEEEEARS later when I am going over to Scott’s sister’s house for one of the first times, possibly the first. You need to know before I tell the rest of this that his sister is like super insane gourmet girl. We should just call them The Foodie Family and we should just all bow to their superior food knowledge and culinary skills.

I thought: I will wow them, I will make my mom’s super famous delicious Jello Pudding Pie.

But it was last minute and I was racing through the aisles trying to figure out what I would need so I could call my mom and get the recipe on the fly. And Scott, he was so good, he was so quiet. And finally he could take no more and he showed me the back of the box, where the recipe for Jello Pudding Pie was.

But…surely that couldn’t be my Mom’s Jello Pudding Pie. Because…well, no, because this had approximately 3 steps and required ingredients everyone has at home.

I think you guys can guess how this ended. I went to his sister’s house with a Jello Pudding Pie of SHAME and they were nice enough not to mock me incessantly, and Scott married me anyway, and his sister is the sister I never had…

And this is why I could not put the fun in “funeral beans.”

Where were you when you first demystified a super secret family recipe? It reminds me of the episode of Friends where Phoebe discovers the cookies she grew up were not from Nestlay Toolhauz, but rather Nestle Tollhouse.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Veggie Tales: What I Learned This Month

Today I'm also blogging over at Imperfect Home where you can witness organization gone wild when I tackle how to organize meat. Yup, you heard me, MEAT. I also give away a great recipe for sweet potato cottage pie. And if that doesn't tempt you, Kristin's amazing ideas of working with small spaces and organizing a home with the ptitter patter of dirty feet surely will!

Last week I completed another meeting with my dietitian. I'm still not happy with the way the scale is going. But I do notice I am almost down an entire size of pants and my bathing suit fits significantly better. Also, my energy levels are AMAZING! Since I've cut out caffeine and focused on eating cleaner, I am finding I don't have that 3:00 crash I used to have.

Don't worry if you don't believe me, I didn't either until I experienced it.

Because she is looking to distract me from my uber-focus on the scale, this meeting we focused on two things: water and veggies.

The focus on water was brief. She had previously recommended I get 70 ounces of water because of how much I work out. You guys, I TRIED! I did. But as I put it to my very amused dietitian: "I'd have to quit my job." I told her the second I hit 60 ounces, I have to move in to the bathroom. So we agreed 60-64 would be sufficient. And not require that I usurp Wee 'Burb's potty chair for my office.

So the veggies. I struggle a bit to get the right amounts of fruits and veggies. Fruit I like to snack on. I have switched one snack a day to either apples with cheese or a smoothie. So fruit and I are simpatico.

Veggies? Well that's a bit tougher. I'm good at getting them in at dinner time as a side dish. But throughout the day, it's just not that exciting. So we discussed at least making half my dish (versus a quarter) veggies to at least get what I can in.

The benefit to doing this at dinner is also that it would reduce portions of other food. Filling up on veggies would mean less of whatever the main entree was, ultimately reducing calories.

I told her this would be simple pimple because we've been hitting the farmer's market lately. She asked what we get and I ruminated on the pretty zucchini and corn. I bragged about this sweet potato cottage pie I had made full of corn and peas. And she's kind of coughing and going "That's...great. Only those are starches, not really vegetables."

Mind? BLOWN!

I had been slipping corn and peas (frozen) into a ton of dishes recently. These are also starches. Add to that list any potato, parsnip, pumpkin and other assorted squash.

Now it's not that they're bad, necessarily. I mean a starch like these are better than pasta or bread. But still, a bit of a heartbreaker. Especially because Scott has been giving me the eye when I serve spinach of late, an expression that clearly says "We are going to review our marriage contract if you serve me wilted spinach with lemon juice ONE MORE TIME, Woman."

So because I haven't been doing well with weight loss goals, I'm switching it out and focusing on what I eat. This month's decision was made for me: we'll be focusing on veggies. Specifically, how to dress up the sides so we can eat non-starchy veggies and meet the recommended servings.

Do you love veggies? Did you know the difference between starches and veggies? How do you dress up your veg and still keep it healthy?