Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sixty-seven percent of Americans are members of a gym. Less than forty-two percent of those Americans actually go to the gym of which they are a member. This makes it easier to believe that by the year 2018 eighty percent of Americans will be obese. (Statistics courtesy of my head)

OK so maybe my numbers aren’t entirely accurate, but they’re close. And even if they aren’t close, the main idea is right. People pay money to go to a gym but they don’t go to it, yet they continue to pay. That is why Americans are, in essence, big fat tubs of goo.

The point of this blog is not actually to harp on larger American citizens. This is about the gym, or in my case the YMCA. Not the state of the facilities or anything, though that may pop up, but the odd and at times entertaining sights that I see. Walk with me, talk with me.

In the main room there are cardio machines are far as, well, to the wall. There are probably fifteen treadmills or more, seven or eight ellipticals, and about eight stationery bikes, upright and recumbent. There are weight machines peppered around the room’s perimeter. Now if you get bored doing your cardio and your mind starts to wander, that means your eyes have probably already been wandering. That’s when you tend to see the stuff you try hard not to laugh at.

Most of the comical sights I see are people on the treadmills. As I rested between sets on the rowing machine, I looked up to see what I thought was a woman falling off the treadmill. At second glance, I realized that this woman had jacked the incline on the treadmill up as high as it would go and was now hanging for dear life from the handrails on either side of the belt as her feet frantically tried to keep her moving. In my memory, I swear this thing was at a forty-five degree angle, though that may be exaggerating a tad. Then my Asics asked me “Why bother getting on one if you can’t even stay upright on one?” I don’t know, Asics. I don’t know.

Another time, it was a sound that caught my attention. I heard the treadmill turned up to a breakneck speed yet there were very few footfalls to be heard. Turning, I saw a man with the speed set to what must have been fifteen miles an hour. He, too, was clutching the handrails, but he was sort of leaping to keep from being thrown off backward. He was holding himself up with his arms and occasionally putting down a foot. Then my Asics said, around my own feet “I hope he knows that’s not really running.”

Then there was the woman who was not dressed in any kind of fitness attire, but who was on the treadmill. She was holding her keys, walking at a 1.2 mph speed, and talking on her cell phone. This is the same woman who, when she dismounted the treadmill, would go to a weight machine, adjust it to the lightest weight, do one set, and move to another machine—all while talking on the phone.

Just as bad is the woman all decked out in workout clothes, but only walking two miles per hour. She, too, was on the phone. I’m inclined to believe they were talking to each other. My Asics asked “Why bother to come here if you’re not going to work out?” I don’t know, Asics. I don’t know.

My first go on the recumbent bike was fun. Up until someone got on the one beside me. He was a pudgy man, bald and very shiny, wearing glasses and singing audibly along with his mp3 player. He was singing the Pussycat Dolls. It was all I could do not to turn and tell him I think it’s great that he’s here and he’s queer, but please do so more quietly.

Most recently, I encountered a gentleman on a stationery bike. He had been on it for perhaps six minutes and had already worked up a considerable sweat. I chose the recumbent bike beside him. As soon as I had set the program, I realized that perhaps now wasn’t the best time for me to do the bike. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why. The man beside me was emitting such a foul stench of body odor that I had to turn my head to try to breathe without smelling it. I always hoped that if I threw up at the Y it was because I worked out so hard, not because some guy beside me had gone nose-deaf. Luckily he was done before me, but at least he left two pools of sweat on the floor to remember him by. My Asics asked “Shouldn’t someone tell him he stinks?” I don’t know, Asics. I don’t know.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It is a definite sign of the recession when on a Saturday night all the excitement in your life is hinging upon the late night bout of Monopoly. Not just any Monopoly. Lord of the Rings Trilogy Monopoly. Don’t judge me. I actually did read on MSN that some economy expert based his opinion of the recession status on the skyrocketing sales of board games. Some other guy based his on the sales of men’s underwear. These people are getting paid for this?!

Yes, once the babies are tucked away in their beds, the adults get their Monopoly on. I always wondered as a child what happened after I went to bed. You always knew that it was something soooo good and that’s why you wanted to stay up. Turns out, that may not have been the case. Personally, I always envisioned some type of cocktail hour. Of course my parents weren’t big drinkers and it’s also pretty doubtful that they were inviting two dozen people over at 8:30 at night just to have a very quiet evening of imbibing whiskey sours or Harvey Wallbangers or whatever the popular drink was at the time, wearing courdoroy sport coats with elbow patches and nylon tricot dresses. I paint quite a picture, don’t I?

But no, none of that likely happened. Now I know. Dave, Collin (live-in manny), and myself set up the board to continue a game of Monopoly. I had taken a picture of the board on my phone and everybody’s deeds and pieces went into separate bags. Yes, that’s how serious this was. Now somewhere along the way, the instructions and rules were lost. We know the basic rules and all so when a question would come up, we would decide on the answer that made the most sense and benefitted us all the most. Because of this, no one mortgaged anything, but all of a sudden we were all recreational loan sharks. “You can’t pay the $390 rent on my property? Pay me $100 now and I’ll take your next two $200 pass and go.” Apparently interest also mounted in those kind of transactions. No money? What kind of properties do you have that I need? You can keep your houses but give me the deed; put the houses on something else.

When you’re playing with only three people, it can get somewhat brutal. As luck would have it, there’s usually at least one person who ends up owning half the board. Then they put houses and hotels (or strongholds and fortresses, in LOTR Monopoly) all over the place. Next thing you know, you’re paying $785 rent on a space whose rent used to be $26. Wow, just like the real world.

After so many turns with the jacked-up rent payments, you start to get somewhat surly. At least this was the case with us. Dave managed to buy out more than half the board and had plopped fortresses on just about every one of them. My money was running out quickly even though I had a good many properties myself. No one was landing on my stuff, they kept landing on the ones where you have to draw a card. That doesn’t help me. During this particular game I started to get a little miffed that every time I would roll the dice I would have to fork over more of my money to Dave. Seemed like every turn would be more of my money gone to Dave. So I started to be a little less than cordial. Collin was in the same boat as I was. He was down to four deeds and twelve dollars.

Finally Collin and I called the game because we were tired of giving our money to Dave. And he never could figure out why I was looking at him all mean.

Next week it’s ‘80’S Trivial Pursuit.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So sorry for the literary lull in the past few weeks. Again, out of stuff to say. I need to get out more.

Well, in fact, I did happen to get out this past Monday. I had to grocery shop. That’s right. So you know what kind of an adventure that is. Dave was unavoidably detained (practice, ha) so I had to pack up both babies and shop alone. NOW what kind of adventure do you smell? After complaining about it to myself for a little while I decided that I could do it. Then I called The Chicken to accompany me. Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. You try taking an 18 month old and a 5 month old grocery shopping by yourself. Dave swears it’s not hard. He’s never done it, but I’m sure if he did he’d still say how easy it was, even if Sully comes home missing a diaper and Connor is smothered in picante sauce, wearing one shoe, and carrying a kumquat. He’d never admit it if he had trouble. (Not to say that there’s anything wrong with kumquats; I believe my grandfather used to call me one, in fact. That, and a bluejay’s tail.)

That’s one of the ways we differ. If I never admitted to having had trouble, let’s face it, I’d have nothing to write. Well, I don’t have enough to write as it is. My self-deprecation is all I have.

So I saddled up the babies and moseyed along to Kroger. By the time we got there Sully was asleep. I wasn’t about to wake him up just to stuff him in a Snugli. So Connor went in the seat in the cart and Sully, still in the carseat, went in the cargo area. Hmm, not much room for groceries. He may have to hold some tortillas or something. Or a kumquat perhaps. The Chicken and Hannah were waiting in front of the grossly overpriced organic produce, otherwise known as that stuff I can’t afford.

The Chicken had been wise and gotten the cart with a car affixed to the front for little children to sit in. Connor kept leaning over the side of the cart to grin at Hannah and they’d both cackle. So we had to keep the buggies lined up with each other, which the other shoppers just LOVED, I’m sure. Sully was still asleep.

Connor kept trying to climb out of the cart so, since there were two seatbelts in the car, we plunked him in it next to Hannah. Then we made a bet as to how long it would take before he had to be removed from it. The two of them thought it was great fun for a while. It’s always fun until someone gets bitten. We don’t know why it happened, but it did. It could have been unprovoked or Hannah could have poked him in the eye, there’s no way to know.

So I stood at the deli counter and The Chicken wheeled Hannah and Connor to the bakery in search of something for Connor to bite that wouldn’t tell on him for it. I don’t blame her, I’d tell, too. Actually, I’d like to but I have no one to tell. It’s hard to tattle on someone when you’re the one who’s supposed to fix it. They came back holding some kind of lemon doodle muffin top deluxe. Don’t go looking for them; I don’t think that’s what’s printed on the package. Either way, it worked.

Sully woke up while I was getting my turkey sliced. And we continued, picking stuff up and placing it around the carseat. By the time we hit the Canadian bacon Connor had thrown his cookie to the floor of the car and Hannah had stomped it. Then he bit her. Again. Yes, I have THAT kid. That was when he got moved back to the seat in my cart.

Now rarely having taken my children shopping without Dave, there are some things that had not yet occurred to me. For example, as I was picking out bread I pushed the buggy to the side out of the way. When I turned back around, Connor had raked three boxes of Little Debbie football shaped brownies into the seat with him and was holding S’Mores. Remember: Do not place child too near shelves or you will end up with things you didn’t know you bought, ie, cornichons, capers, cocktail onions, and little bottles of ketchup. I did let him keep one box of brownies, though.

After I stacked as much as I could around Sully, stuff started to fall on him. So we unearthed him from my cart and transplanted him in The Chicken’s cart; all of her groceries came to my buggy. Soon, The Chicken was both holding Sully and pushing the cart. No simple task, I might add.

We were about three quarters of the way done, all the way to the cheese. I picked up some Monterrey and Pepper Jack and tossed them in. I was edging toward the eggs when The Chicken got my attention. Connor had reached back, grabbed one of the blocks of cheese, and bitten through the wrapper into the cheese. The Pepper Jack. I snatched it from him and went to get a fresh one, all the while he made faces and said “Hot!”

Perhaps this is a good time to add that Connor has a habit of grabbing whatever he can from where he is sitting and chewing on it. Wedge of cheese, bag of frozen crinkle fries, Hot Pockets, what have you. Packaging means nothing to him except a little extra chewy bland taste.

About that time Nonnie showed up and found her brother, my uncle Mike, so she dragged him over. The Chicken deposited Sully with Mike. We talked for a little while as Connor pointed at the drinks and said “Dink” and “Co-Co”. (Co-Co is Coke.) It was getting late and he was getting ornery and whiny. So much so that I wanted to just smack upside the head with a Fresca. But I didn’t.

I needed something on the next aisle so I left Sully and everyone else to finish up. As I reached for a container of almonds, I turned to see that Connor had purloined the bottle of Dawn and had a sip. Not a second later, he erupted. He threw up twice right there in the salty snack aisle, Aisle 13. That’s what you get for drinking dish soap!

Now as an interesting aside here, before I had children the thought never crossed my mind to instinctually catch anyone’s vomit. The reflex was to back up always. Having kids has now made that reflex to lurch forward, which I did. I can’t say that I’m fond of it. Now that I think about it, why catch it? What will it help? What are you going to do with it? I have no idea.

I asked a lady nearby if she would just stand and watch Connor, still shuddering from the taste of regurgitated Goldfish and Mountain Spring Dawn. I trotted to the next aisle and enlisted help of The Chicken, who went to the customer service desk for a clean-up team. I grabbed Sully’s spit-up cloth and wiped Connor down, and also the cart handle, and the diaper bag that was under him and in the line of fire. Then I backed up the cart and got out of the puddle of yuck. The second eww factor here: Some other guy shopping didn’t notice it and rolled right through it, never looked down.

So vomiting soap seemed to quiet him down. Not that I want to start using it as an actual remedy, but at that time it worked. I kept waiting on him to start burping foam. It never happened, but there were a few little bubbles on his tongue. After that I went to get in line to check-out. There were two lines open and about three people in each line. I waited and waited and waited. I had to grab a pack of Reese’s to give to Connor to pacify him, oh, and to get the taste out of his mouth.

Finally, Nonnie, The Chicken, Hannah, and Sully joined me. It was taking so long they got Connor and went outside. Ah, precious alone time. I don’t care if I was standing in line at Kroger, to me it was quiet. I kept waiting on the women in front of me to be done unloading her groceries. I swear her cart must have had a false bottom. She bought, like, $600 worth of stuff.

Eventually it was my turn. Mr. Checkout Dude had scanned enough stuff so that there was no more room behind him and also no bagger. I offered to bag my own groceries just to keep it moving. So that’s what I did. I started bagging stuff and slapping Kroger stickers on the big stuff, moving pretty quick. He was impressed apparently. How hard is it, really?

So at least I know that if the Board of Education ever goes under, I’ll have a good paying job at Kroger.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Last Saturday I was a tagalong. Not a luscious peanut butter cookie, though you may call me that if you would like. I went along with Nonnie and Chicken for breakfast and toga shopping. Yeah, you read it right. I eat breakfast. It’s true. We ate at the Chik-Fil-A along with the rest of the town apparently. They offer a breakfast buffet, though I was the only one to partake, as Nonnie and Chicken were having a Thrive breakfast. The Thrive breakfast at CFA consists of scrambled egg whites, Double Fiber wheat bread toast, grits, and tomato. I’m not sure where that tomato came from.

We all ordered and waited. I didn’t realize that having ordered the buffet I could pretty much go eat at any time. Then the food arrived accompanied by the waitress and I kept waiting for the buffet line to go down. I finally realized that the line was never going to be completely empty so I had to go. There weren’t a whole lot of options but what they had was surprisingly good.

Afterwards we journeyed to the fabric store. This is the part where I prepare you to enter a fabric store. Leave your humor at the door. Put it in the coat check with your energy. Both are highly frowned upon, quite literally, in this store. We were there to seek out white fabric with which to fashion togas. Togas for Rome’s upcoming 175th anniversary, which apparently is a banner year of sorts because they’re also going for a world record. That would be for the most people in togas, I guess.

We walk in and see a lovely white satin type stuff. It’s something like $11.00 a yard. We need six yards per person. There are three of us. Even without doing the exact math I can tell that is more than we want to spend. Especially when only one of us is paying. So we walked up and down the rows of cloth bolts going straight for every white we found. Somehow along the way I managed to completely unravel an entire bolt of white polyester-like material. Luckily, there was only about a yard on it. I stuffed it between some brocades and kept walking.

Nonnie went to discover that the lock on the bathroom door was somewhat poorly affixed, having been nailed to the wrong side of the door. Meanwhile, The Chicken and myself looked at rickrack and the other absurd types of trim. What is the trim with the little pompoms on it for, I ask you? I continued on while The Chicken went to roll in what appeared to be genuine Muppet skin hung up in a big bunch. Again, what are these things for?

By the time Nonnie found us we were wearing a pink foam rubber visor (me) and a little princess tiara (Chicken). Needless to say, the other shoppers and employees were none too thrilled with us. Then we took a picture. We removed our hats and kept looking for a white fabric that wouldn’t make us or our (Nonnie’s) wallet chafe. There weren’t many. However, I did find a lovely white leather but if $11 is too pricey you can bet $18 is as well.

We moved around the other side of the store to the d├ęcor/clearance section where we found ceramic birds. Then there were the clearance chickens. They were what they sound like. Little ceramic chickens that were about a foot tall, and on clearance. Christmas is just around the corner. Don’t you wish you knew whose name I drew?

While Nonnie was getting the chosen fabric cut and explaining 43 times to the octogenarian clerk what it was for, The Chicken and I perused patterns and decided that we are going to learn how to sew. Even though it was said lightly, I think it was serious. Then we saw the $899 price tag on the sewing machine. Ha! $18 a yard doesn’t sound so bad now does it? Either way, be prepared in the coming weeks for pictures of amateur couture. That rhymes.

In hindsight, I’m not really very sure what was so funny. Perhaps it was me. I am the human equivalent of a two drink minimum. And it was good.

Next we went to Paula’s on Broad Street. I don’t know what we were looking for, but The Chicken got new sunglasses. Then we went to a place called Ginger’s Dollings and Caddywags. Now, I’m not sure what a Caddywag is and no one there is eager to tell you. I was hoping someone would point me to one in the hopes that it might be what I was looking for. Alas, no. But there is an extra creepy baby sounds/yowling cat soundtrack being played on a loop through the sound system. It is disturbing.

We ate at Harvest Moon who has a Thrive menu and then went to look in Honeymoon Bakery who does not have a Thrive menu. Actually they do, but I prefer all the stuff that is not on it. So with cream horns in hand we left.

The whole day went from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. That’s a lot of time to look for toga gear.

And I still don’t know what the crap a Caddywag is.
I am by no means an expert on writing. I have my opinion and my opinion, to me, is right. That’s what I go by. Surely, you have noticed that there really is no theme to this blog. And despite the catchy title, yodeling has not, as of yet, made its debut. Sorry about that. I don’t know that I want to confine myself to a subject. But I’m pretty sure that I don’t. Because what happens when I want to share about my expedition to Trader Joe’s or proclaim my love of fried pickles in a predetermined Mommy theme blog? Both you and I are out of luck. Though it does kinda seem that pickles and Mommy do go together.

My point in this case is not actually about my blog. It is about the blogs that I personally like to read. First up is one Mr. Neal Pollack, author of Alternadad: The True Story of One Family’s Struggle to Raise a Cool Kid in America (yes, that’s the actual title). Neal Pollack is an urban hipster kind of guy who digs Star Wars and has a serious aversion for sweets that feature cartoon characters. I stumbled upon Alternadad as I was perusing the Epi-log on Epicurious.com. Between the post about some Bacon Festival and Retro Food Nostalgia there was Pollack’s amusing entry detailing his son Elijah’s affection for frozen green beans. From then on I checked back daily to see what was new.

Then I went on maternity leave. When I came back. Neal Pollack was no longer writing for the Epi-log but his previous posts remain on the site. Luckily, I then found him writing a blog for Parents.com. No longer food related, his writing was now primarily about Elijah. So Parents.com replaced Epicurious.com in my website rotation.

Then I went on maternity leave. Again. Can you guess what’s coming? That’s right. When I came back Pollack was no longer writing his Parents.com blog. He does have a website, but the steel bear trap that is this firewall won’t let me see it, filing it under ‘Web Logs/Personal Pages’. God forbid. You can probably see it on your computer. Easy to remember NealPollack.com. I like it, I think. It would help if I could see it, but I like Neal Pollack and his writing so I’m pretty sure it’s a winner.

My very favorite blog writer, though, is Christine Coppa. And not just because she keeps her writing in one place so I don’t have to chase it through the blogosphere. Christine Coppa is the creator of the blog Storked! which is found on the Glamour.com website. I found her blog while I was pregnant with Connor. She herself was also pregnant, hence the blog title Storked!. Her baby daddy ran out on her and left her to navigate the choppy waters of single motherhood. Luckily, though, she has a slew of family and friends supporting her.

I love the way Christine writes. She parlayed her blog into a book and named it Rattled!. It is available on Amazon and was recently made named a Breakout Book at Target.

See how excited she is about it here http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/blogs/storked/2009/08/target-names-rattled-a-breakou.html

There is a new post to her blog just about every week day, chronicling her life as single mother to the two-year-old Jack Domenic (J.D.) who is an absolute doll. Coppa has a new post almost every day and as a mother and the writer of a blog, I can say, that is no easy feat. Sometimes I think she’s doing a better job as a single parent than I am as a non-single parent. She seems like she’d be a lot of fun to be friends with. Check out her blog on the Glamour.com blog page.

I know I usually don’t review things, but this was more of a check-this-out-cause-I-like-it kind of thing. My initial paragraph was my way to segue into that. I know I took a brief break from the funny, but stay tuned and there will be more. While you’re waiting go check out the aforementioned blogs!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Have you ever been to a Mary Kay party? Well, I can now say that I have. Mary Kay and Avon are the sell-it-yourself-companies for bored yet enterprising housewives. Mary Kay has the pink stuff (well, all that’s pink now is the Cadillac you aspire to, but the cases used to be pink) and Avon has, well, “Avon calling!” I don’t know if Avon has parties or not, but I’ve never heard of someone going to one. Mary Kay parties are my topic at hand, though. My sister, the Chicken, sells the Mary Kay. That was the party I went to.

I don’t know if one could really label this a party. There’s no dancing, cocktails, or pin the tail on the donkey. At least not at this one. My family has had a few Mary Kay parties over the years, one of which yielded at least one picture. Nothing says ‘buy this cleanser’ quite like a bow-bedecked 80’s headband, right Susan? (I can’t guarantee that the picture won’t be posted.)

This party was the first for Mary Kay Super Seller Chicken. We were not only consumerist prey, but cosmetic test bunnies of sorts. Someone alert PETA! Now you would think, the pitch would be pretty easy; “Hey, buy this makeup stuff. It’s good.” But the good people at Mary Kay don’t trust you to be able to say much more than your name so they provide you a script. It even includes such helpful hints as ‘point to your hostess’ and ‘entice with promise of a free gift.’ That last one’s kind of unwritten, though.

Also in this script is the life and times of Mary Kay...Ash. I had to look it up on the website. The only name coming to mind was Schnitzel and I was doubtful that it was right. If you are selling the Mary Kay and are a by-the-book type of person, by all means go ahead and tell everyone about the company’s founder. If you are normal, however, maybe pick out a few highlights, otherwise, skip it. If you haven’t inferred yet, the script is really goofy. I say goofy because stupid may be a bit too harsh. It almost seems like there should be a skit involved. Though, thankfully, there’s not.

So the seller, in this case The Chicken, has all the makeup and the master containers of the face goosh (moisturizers, makeup remover, and such). You have a lovely little palette and mirror before you and everyone gets a squirt of stuff. At this time I think it’s best to say that you’d be better off not wearing any makeup to a Mary Kay party. I say this because while it works well for some, the eye makeup remover sizzled and smoked upon my lids and I would have cried if my tear ducts had not already been protesting from the chemicals. I’m just saying. Perhaps I have overly sensitive corneas, who knows. Well, they’re sensitive now.

So everyone (Nonnie, aunts Dodie and Donna, and myself) has to determine what shade of foundation they are. Everybody had a pretty normal color...until it got to me.

This may be a good time to mention that my skin has not seen prolonged sunlight in twelve years or so if not longer. So you can imagine just how pale I am. When each of my kids were born they were darker than me already. I’m so pale I am almost see through. Not only am I avoiding skin cancer as best I can, I think that classic old Hollywood look is better than the crispy St. Tropez burnt sienna skin tone of people today. An entire generation whose spokesperson is George Hamilton. So long story short, I’m white.

Now, back to foundation shades. When my time came to find my shade, I couldn’t find one. I had to resort to the palest color they have because there isn’t anything lighter. I feel so unrepresented. It’s almost like Mary Kay doesn’t want to sell to vampires. Not that I’m a vampire but that’s the closest skin tone to mine.

So then we all do our best to apply makeup samples with our fingers. Finger painting for adults. There were the little cards with sample eyeshadows on them that are supposed to coordinate. Most of them did. But let me just say that NAVY and BROWN do not go together! Oh, it was terrible.

Everyone picked out something to order and it was on to the food. Conversation touched on several things, including Nonnie’s flower garden, as we were at her house. Nonnie informed us all that her peonies are enormous. Well, now we know. Don’t ask. It was dark already but she wanted someone to go and look, to confirm.

Dodie and Donna, having eaten their fill of Mary Kay food, said goodbye and departed. As I was polishing off the last of the cookies and such, Donna called. Before they left she had gone to peruse the garden. She was calling to agree that Nonnie’s peonies were, in fact, enormous.
This entry was purloined from my Runner’s World blog. This happened in May but it should enhance the humor of my falling at the Y.

This is a public service announcement for anyone who may end up running near me.
If you happen to run near me, do be careful. Here's why.
Walking home from work yesterday afternoon I had an incident (accident?). I was walking along, bag over my shoulder, sunglasses on. The sidewalk I was treading was apparently uneven. It wasn't so apparent at the time. One minute I'm walking and the next I'm sprawled all over the sidewalk, aviators slid down perched on the end of my nose. I quickly assessed the damage as I put myself upright. My jeans were torn at the knee and I had already bled through the fabric. There was rocks and dirt embedded under the skin of my palms. Luckily no one saw so I got up and continued as though nothing had happened.
When I got home I changed into shorts to discover I was missing the skin that previously covered my left knee. Hmm. Perhaps I should check the inside of my jeans? Well, it wasn't there. It must've slipped out through the new hole in my jeans. Maybe I left it on the sidewalk. Oh well, it's probably stripped and sold for parts by now.
To add insult to injury, my husband told me if I did all that just walking then I probably didn't need to run, as my one year old gleefully slapped my bloody knees. Thanks, kid.
So I am evidently not coordinated enough to be trusted holding a bag while I walk. God knows what might happen if I had a fuel belt. So beware running near me; I don't wanna take you down with me.
I drove to work today.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I am like you. It’s true. Like so many of you, I have family. In fact, a select few of you actually ARE my family. And like so many families we celebrate birthdays as we did this past weekend. (This is the part where my actual family is saying “Oh, no” because they’re afraid they did something I can make into funny.)

(Aren’t ya?)

The standard practice for the celebration of family birthdays consists of a meal at a restaurant and piling up at Granny’s house where we have cake and do our best to bribe someone into turning down the thermostat before one of us spontaneously combusts. It’s a little warm. When you have to go OUTSIDE in August to cool off, it may be time to bump down the temp a notch or two. Anyway, that’s what we do for adult birthdays. Kid birthdays usually involve a few hyperactive hours at the bowling alley or some establishment that specializes in blow-up playgrounds. Then of course the adults will accompany the children to the top of the massive bouncy, rubbery slide under the guise of helping them. However, in my family that ends up being my father, aka Great Uncle Pow-Pow aka PeePaw, and my uncle Dean ever-so-gently knocking the kids at the top down the slide as they line up one by one to be pushed. That’s also my mother, Nonnie, bouncing down the slide with one solitary yip, not unlike a Chihuahua, as she hits the surface the first time. Every time she slides.

This birthday, though, was an adult birthday. My aunt Dodie was turning 34*. We opted out of the meal, but did make a cameo afterwards at Granny’s. As soon as we got there Sully got passed off and Connor went in search of the bowl of cat food and/or Daniel, which could be either of his cousins. (To his credit, though, one of them is actually named Daniel; David is the other one, but we think Connor is calling for David when he says Daniel.)

Ordinarily, most of the men break off to watch whatever sport may be on. Everyone else, which I guess would be the women in this case, sit and chatter about whatever comes up. Some of our topics this past Saturday included but were not limited to who’s pregnant, the inappropriate words we may have inadvertently taught our children, class reunions, local goings-on (this time, Rome’s 175th anniversary/toga party), and the occasional bawdy topic that may sneak in. (I don’t wanna say.)

My very own blog was also mentioned. (Tell your friends.) Shortly thereafter, the lightbulb popped up over a few heads that anything good that was discussed may just make it to the internet. So even with the knowledge that no one wants to tell me anything interesting now, I continue to write. Damn you. See, I can even write about what you DIDN’T say to me! Ha ha! You’ll never keep me down. (Link to my blog.)

Two things remain true at these gatherings. Even with so many conversations going on at one time, you can still hear your name if it’s said across the house. And then you will yell and ask what is being said. The other thing is, again with so many conversations going, if two people lower their voices in an attempt to speak privately, everyone else will stop talking, look, and try to hear what is being said. If you’re lucky, you’ll notice in time and stop yourself from continuing. How my family can notice the quietest conversation amidst the chicken coop’s worth of talking, cluckery if you will, is beyond me. For the record, that was me and Kelli, and trust me, you don’t want to know.

We also began the Christmas season. We start early so we can get done early, but we don’t. Everyone buys for the kids, the adults draw names. It is a time-honored tradition. Forgetting whose name you have is another part of the tradition. It’s supposed to be a secret whose name you’ve drawn, but we pretty much all have it figured out by Thanksgiving. Just in time for the day after Thanksgiving shopping trip. Yes, we’re one of those families. We are not, however, one of those families who gets neon yellow shirts printed up saying “The Jablonsky Family Black Friday 2007.” I hate those people.

Yes, the day after Thanksgiving we trek to a shopping mall, usually Town Center, before daylight to buy three presents before noon and eat at whatever generic restaurant is in the mall, only to find out that they don’t have the quiche that I like. Man, why do we always eat there? Outback, for once, I’m just saying. We are not a ‘bistro’ type family; we don’t wear berets.

If you find yourself at Town Center this year, ask for Tomasi. And remind my aunt Diane that’s the name we’re under; she’ll be the one standing there looking around for someone she knows.

Also attending the birthday soirez was a dude that I don’t personally know, as it was his family debut at Granny’s. He was quiet, he was sitting, he was my cousin Sarah’s boyfriend. Now, I never caught his name and I believe he may be a mute, but for all intents and purposes I’m going to refer to him as Ace. Ace learned a very important lesson that day; my family is loud and intimidating. He also learned that from now on he needs to reciprocate when someone waves at him. It’s all right; my husband had a panic attack when he met the whole family.

So that’s how we roll. And to whoever got my name, don’t let this blog sway your purchases in any way.

* I don’t know how old she actually is, but I thought 34 was a good number to go with. Unless you’re actually younger than that.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Body modification has become a popular and mainstream concept. Where once only bikers, sailors, and ex-cons had tattoos (though, often, those were all the same people) now it’s not unheard of for grandparents to sport them. Body modification is, of course, tattoos and piercings mainly.

I’ve had my fair share of piercings, though I have no ink at present. Recently I decided that it was time for a new piercing or two. I loaded up the boys and met my mother, Nonnie, and sister, the Illustrious Chicken, at the local mod shop, Body Canvas. Incidentally, I highly recommend Body Canvas over other similar businesses, if you’re looking here in Rome. You can tell immediately upon entering Body Canvas that it is a quality establishment and doesn’t have a three-person-per-needle policy. Ew. Now, I’m not saying that other places are unclean, but I will say that it is definitely off-putting to go into a tattoo parlor that smells like blood and rubbing alcohol. I’m just saying.

Moving on...

I invited Nonnie and The Chicken to my piercing party so that they could cull the babies for me. As we walked in we were met with a whole herd of people in the waiting area. The girl behind the counter stuck her head around them to ask what I was wanting done. I told her and she gave me a waiver to sign as she took one of the flock into the back for a tongue piercing. I signed the paper, declaring that I was not a hemophiliac nor had I had hepatitis in the last 12 months, and left it on the counter.

So we all waited in this room. Looking around we noticed that all the people ricocheting from one counter to another were children. Big children, but children. The Chicken, who was holding four month old Sully, was perusing the tattoo pictures when one of these kids informs her that she shouldn’t be letting him look at such things. Now, as I was not standing there, I could not comment, but seriously? This child is doing good to know what an arm is, let alone a drawing on one.

Then it registered that there were no adults with these kids. The only two adults had meandered down the hall, one to be pierced and one to watch. Perhaps it’s just my opinion but I’m pretty sure that that woman’s tongue would take care of itself; the baker’s dozen of children would not. As it was I had to tackle Connor twice as he was making a break for the hallway. Then he started walking in circles around a counter and I had to chase him back out one side. Then a couple of the heathen kids started to kind of follow him and once I swear they were trying to pen him behind the counter. I guess parenting really is overrated.

I think I may have made this sound somewhat calmer than it was. To me, it had the ambiance of an ant bed that had been stomped.

Shortly thereafter, though not shortly enough, the two adults emerged and all the kids began to file out of the shop. Connor almost went right along with them, but I caught him and stuck him with Nonnie. The piercer girl came back to the front and took the form, asking for my driver’s license. I told her not to get too jealous of the picture. She laughed when she saw it. The best way I can describe the look on my face is a disgusted smirk. She said all I was missing was the finger. I was six months pregnant when it was taken, not looking my best let’s say. She gave it back to me and told me to follow her. Yes, Connor could have come back but I don’t know how he would react to seeing a needle shoved through his mother’s flesh. So Nonnie and Connor went for a walk while Sully and The Chicken accompanied me to the room.

Sitting on the table, I asked if it would hurt. I have had two kids and I’m asking if a piercing would hurt. She said not really. All I could do was take her word for it. I laid down and gazed at all the posters plastered on the walls. And, no, it didn’t really hurt but for a second. Although, the second one hurt more than the first. It’s always like that when you get a pair. I wonder why that is. Piercer Girl didn’t know why either. So it was done and I laid there a minute before attempting to get up, because passing out after a piercing is not what I would call the height of cool.

I successfully got up and headed for the door. Nonnie and Connor were just coming back in. So, with my new piercings, we left the building. We all loaded back up in the cars to leave.

At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what it was I got pierced. I could keep it a secret, but it’ll be seen eventually. I have a new set of...earrings. Yeah, boring, isn’t it? But I’ll bet now you know of all the pairs of body parts you can pierce, just from wondering.

I had my ears pierced once when I was eight, at some place in the mall called the Earring Tree. It’s not a real tree, I checked. They used a piercing gun. Later on, with another piercing that I am not going to elaborate on, I was informed that no self-respecting piercer would ever use a gun. It’s needles or nothing. So I have adhered to that ever since, not that I am a piercer or anything.

Earrings at eight weren’t right for me. There’s photographic evidence. Apparently I had a penchant for long, dangly earrings. With anything. Even contrasting striped outfits. Somehow in my mind a shirt with wide blue and purple horizontal stripes paired well with red and gray pinstripe shorts, especially with the blue and silver feather earrings. Dear God. Add in that bowl cut and you’ve got a fashion hangover, my friend.

I wonder where those earrings are.
Any one with children can tell you precisely how difficult it is to take them to a restaurant. Before you have kids it’s different. Some people, if there are kids dining nearby, turn a blind eye. Some roll their eyes and act disgusted in general. Then you have things and kids change. You can no longer order margaritas to go with your steak. Because the kids might think it’s juice, insist on having some, get told no and a tantrum ensues. Also due to the fact that you can’t order steak anymore because you have to order chicken fingers or something else that your child won’t spit out half-chewed.

If you aren’t watchful, when you redirect your gaze, you will turn back to find a naked salad because your child has managed to suck the dressing off of all the lettuce and thoughtfully replace that lettuce. You really have to pay close attention. If you don’t, you may end up battling for control of the fork that your kid swiped from your plate, inevitably getting stabbed in the arm.

Regardless of all the pitfalls of taking kids out to eat, it could be worse. It could be near bedtime and they could be tired. Then it really gets fun. That’s what happened the last time my family went out.

We went to eat at your ordinary bucolic steakhouse. While we were waiting we realized that it was about 15 minutes until Connor (16 months) was to go to bed. I wanted to leave but Dave insisted that we stay and eat. He did regret saying this, mind you.

Once we were seated, Connor began voicing his dissatisfaction with the high chair. While I would have liked to have heard “Mother, I am not comfortable sitting on this stool being restrained by a seat belt. I would like to run and frolic”, that’s not what came out. What came out was not English, but whatever he said he definitely meant it. He then proceeded to try to snatch the tablecloth off the table.

Desperate for a distraction, I opened the child’s menu/coloring book. I pulled out the crayons and handed one to him. At this point I disregard the fact that Connor has never come in contact with a crayon before. I place the red crayon in his hand and curl his chubby little digits around it, moving it back and forth on the paper, scribbling. And true to form, he promptly took a chunk out of it and proceeded to chew. Dave stuck a finger in Connor’s mouth and raked out the wax.

Drinks were ordered, drinks arrived followed by bread. Dave is touchy about Connor drinking from his glass, even though he has mastered the straw. The issue here is a little phenomenon we refer to as baby backwash. This is not normal backwash. With children this can contain entire bites of food and, in Connor’s case, usually does. This makes Dave squeamish apparently. It doesn’t bother me so I have to share my drink. Not to say that I enjoy getting grains of rice mixed in with my tea, but I won’t make a big deal of it.

I pulled off little bites from the bread and rubbed them on the accompanying ramekin of butter. Connor’s mouth was open before it had even gotten to him, bits of red crayon still stuck in his teeth. After putting the bread in his mouth, I perused the crayon wrapper looking for the magic words ‘non-toxic’, which I found.

It was about this time that Sully, previously quiet and docile in his car seat, decided that he wanted to be held. Right then. Dave picked him up as he started to cry. Connor then began to get upset. He no longer wanted anything to do with bread or tasty crayons, and began to come unhinged. We had already ordered but the food had not yet come. Dave, Sully in hand, trekked back to the kitchen to find our waitress to tell her to box up the food. On the way, he passed the guy carrying our food. So we had to try to keep everybody happy as we waited for the boxes.

Half an hour past his bedtime, Connor was freaking out. Then Dave started to lose it. I told him to load up the babies and I would take care of everything else. So Dave, with Sully and Connor in hand, exited the building, somewhat relieved. The boxes and check came at the same time. I sent the payment with her before she could even leave the table. I scraped all the food into the boxes, eradicating the plating and sighing. Oh, to eat a whole meal in a restaurant with no crayon appetizers or baby backwash.

The things we take for granted.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

(This was written while I was pregnant with my first kid. I am going to update in italics after each statement, just to see how we’re doing.)

As a burgeoning mother-to-be I find myself reflecting on parenting and the many nuances thereof. Occasionally something will pop into my head and I tell myself how I will handle it when it applies to me and my newest littl’un. So I have composed the following to help myself remember what I am and am not supposed to do as a parent…or as a good laugh when I realize that I do none of this.

I vow never to use the phrase “Because I said so” if a rational and understandable answer exists or at least only to resort to it if the real answer backfires. (So far, so good but he is only 18 months)

I vow to still be a person and be capable of speaking of things other than my family and not to only ever speak of what is spewing forth from one end or another of my child. (I think I’m pretty oblivious to this one, although I did talk about the news yesterday.)

I vow to never give unsolicited advice to a deer-in-the-headlights pregnant woman as I truly hate it when they do it to me now. (None have really talked to me; I seem to always be the pregnant one.)

I vow never to intentionally scare a pregnant woman with highly exaggerated pregnancy/labor stories of my own as it seems others are doing to me now. (Granted, I was on a mood acid trip for a good part of that first pregnancy and was pretty sure everyone was out to get me somehow. In hindsight, though, it did seem like mother-people were just trying to say the worst things they could think of.)

I vow to not rule out the possibility of using formula especially if I end up stuck in the bathroom at work for hours on end trying to pump only to find out that I had it backwards or something. (I did and do pump in the bathroom at work, and it’s hard to get it backwards but somehow...I did.)

I vow to try and refer to my disobedient child as sparingly as possible as “your child” to my husband. (Ooooh...moving on)

I vow not to use television as a last resort for entertaining my child…depending upon what’s on. (He likes Blue’s Clues and the Wonder Pets, though I hardly see it as using the TV as a babysitter because I’m sitting there watching it with him. And singing.)

I vow to consider having another baby even though this is no picnic and I’d rather be on a diet. On some level, at least. (I did consider it and now I have Sully, too. Although while pregnant with him I desperately wanted to go running.)

I vow not to succumb to my picky eater’s not so finely tuned palate and serve him only hot dogs, chicken fingers, and macaroni and cheese. Even if that’s what Daddy is eating. (Connor eats all kinds of things regardless of where they are. I caught him recently with his head on the floor, chewing something out of the carpet.)

I vow not to try to force my child to eat olive tapenade or pesto in an attempt to be a modern up-to-date mother of a would-be foodie child. Sometimes hot dogs aren’t so bad. (You will not find tapenade or pesto on my grocery receipts. That’s mostly because I won’t eat it. I guess I’m the picky one)

I vow not to give my child a mohawk if he genuinely likes his normal, everyday, boring haircut even though Angelina Jolie’s kid can pull it off. Not to mention some two year old I saw at the market the other day, but I think his mom just got distracted with the clippers at home. Not so much intentional. (He still doesn’t have a whole lot of hair, but what he has is blonde and curly. I’m not cutting that.)

I vow to try never to leave the car seat on top of the car with the baby still in it while I’m driving. (Even through two kids, I have yet to do this.)

(To leave the carseat on the car.)

I vow not to make myself feel bad by reminding myself that as much as I want to scrapbook, I have nothing to put in one. (I didn’t feel bad until I just re-read it.)

I vow to take enough pictures of my child so that I remember what he looks like later on when he is no longer bald. Maybe that shouldn’t be a vow. Yes, that’s just an “I’ll try”. (I did. Mission accomplished.)

I vow not to let myself go broke because I refuse to give my child any baby food that isn’t organic (which probably tastes like the kid’s already eaten it). (No worries there. I did buy some but he spit it out just like he would the cheap stuff. I’d rather he spit out the cheap stuff.)

I vow not to be afraid to give my child refined sugar before he’s a teenager. There’s a lot of it out there; gotta get ‘em ready somehow. Like the Spartans training their kids for war when they’re toddlers. It’s out there so ya gotta be prepared. (Unfortunately, Connor was introduced to Coke at an early age by someone who shall remain nameless. So now every time we pass a McDonald’s I hear from the backseat “Co-Co”. Great. He’s also a big fan of ice cream, cookies, and chocolate. Always keep a firm grasp on your dessert, or it will be gone.)

(‘Nameless’ is spelled D-A-V-E)

I tried to make these resolutions sensible and some even doable. I know, though, that in a few years on Christmas morning my tow-headed toddler will be bouncing around the living room full of milk chocolate and candy canes, wearing a bow on his head, clutching the box to a new toy as the toy lies forgotten, and my husband will be laughing, and I will not remember this list at all. It won’t even matter.

(That Christmas thing hasn’t quite happened yet as he was too young to really understand what was going on. But he did have a bow on his tushie.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Like so many before me, I love food. I love everything about it. For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed reading cookbooks, menus, even passages in books that describe food. I even find that a little weird myself.

I also tend to float more towards the finer things in life. I have always wanted to be one of those wives who throw fabulous dinner parties for all of the couple friends, full of wines and platters heaped with exotic cheeses and grapes and then finally some monstrous crown rack of lamb.

One thing stands in my way.

(Well, actually more than one, but only one is relevant to this story.)

I am alcoholically challenged. Either that or liquorly retarded.

There I said it. I’m Darci and I am alcoholically challenged.

Hi, Darci.

I know certain wines are supposed to pair with certain dishes. I know all sorts of wine names; Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir. I even know how to pronounce them, which is something to boast about if you live where I live. I know of cities famous for winemaking. I know, if not just have a good idea, what a sommelier does.

Unfortunately, I just can’t manage to bring myself to pair wine at home or even drink it at a restaurant. Shamefully, in public I prefer something classic or one of those brazenly slutty mixed drinks that are so colorful and tasty. The kind that men are tormented for ordering, and, perhaps equally shamefully for my husband, the kind that he now enjoys because of me.

I have always wanted an excuse to buy wine glass charms. I guess that’s so my imaginary dinner party guests won’t get their imaginary glasses of Chardonnay mixed up while they’re mingling and eating shards of Stilton.

I know that different wines require different glasses in polite society. I even have both kinds of said stemware, albeit fewer since I moved in with my husband and he started washing dishes. And oddly, when the first glass broke, with it shattered my heart. Partially because now I had an odd number of glasses, but also because I just love my wine glasses.

I subscribe to Food and Wine magazine and feel I’m somehow cheating not only myself but F&W and their staff. The reason for this is that I simply cannot bring myself to read the articles about wine or, as the magazine’s website home touts today, America’s Best Regional Beers. And if I do give in to my guilt and begin reading one of these articles it somehow just won’t appeal to me and then I feel even worse.

When speaking out loud of my problem I blame it on the disappointing wine selection in this region of the country. Or that I can’t afford to go around buying multiple bottles of wine all the time. I could not use that as a reason, though, if I actually drank the wine; it would seem worth it.

My husband is the Master of Meat Grilling. He knows all there is to know about beef and the cooking thereof. We cannot even bring ourselves to order steak in restaurants because they just aren’t as good as what my honey can do at home. Once that gorgeously browned piece of meat, complete with the accompanying much sought after diamond shaped grill marks, is placed on the table I can’t help but wonder what wine is supposed to go with it. Even if I did know it wouldn’t matter because we will not have it at hand. I, then with shoulders slumped, opt for whatever might be in the refrigerator.

As my husband polishes off a can of Coke, I pour my own beverage into my glass.

Mountain Dew in a champagne flute.

What can I say? I’m pregnant. I can’t even HAVE alcohol right now.

(This was not written recently, just so you know. Just in case, some of you out there have a pool going to see when I’ll announce my next pregnancy.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

In keeping with Phobia Tuesday’s reference to gravity and as an encore to my Runner’s World blog, I present to you Don’t Hurry In Your Mother’s Flip Flops.

Ever have the Murphy’s Law of days? Let me make you feel better about yours. I had planned a kickboxing class at 5:15 AM one Friday. Planned to go to it, not to teach it. So in order to get there in time, I set my alarm for 4:30. I know it seems awfully early just to go and sweat for an hour. Like I don’t do that at work as it is. Well, my alarm went off and I hit snooze. I didn’t hear it again and by the time I woke up on my own the class was just about over. I still had to get a shower so I began gathering towels and various other shower accoutrement. Then I noticed that I was out of shampoo. So I had to borrow my husband’s. I insist on washing my hair at the gym because the house that we live in now doesn’t have a shower, only a claw foot bathtub. Plus, the water pressure there is great and it’s always hot. It really isn’t easy to wash uber-long hair in a tub anyway. So I pulled all my workout stuff out of my bag and loaded it up with shampoo and conditioner, clothes, and my hair dryer. There are two dryers mounted in the locker room, but they’re similar to the ones in hotel rooms now. So really it would be faster if I were to get someone to blow on my head themselves. That’s why I bring my own hair dryer. I drove to the gym. I was about to get out of the car when I noticed my lotion was missing. It had been in the car. Now it was gone. Of course. I hurried up the steps wearing my purple floral flip-flops (previously my mother’s and now the only pair I own) which double as my shower shoes. The last three steps left and my shoe gets caught on a step and I go crashing down onto my knee. Half the contents of my bag go flying and now I understand my husband’s obsession with zipping bags. So I start laughing. A gym staff member was coming up behind me, luckily the only person in sight, and starts freaking out. “Oh, are you ok?! You skinned your knee! You’re bleeding!!” You would’ve thought my arm had flown off and splattered against the glass door the way this woman was carrying on. Only a flesh wound, though. I kept laughing and saying I was fine, that this happens pretty regularly as of late. Then she started crowing about Neosporin and I told her I was about to go take a shower anyway. I’m fine. So still laughing I made my way to the locker room. I don’t know whose idea it was to smother the women in the locker room with a cloying strawberry scent. That’s every day though. The locker I usually use was already taken so I had to find another one. I tried to get organized and then I changed. Luckily nothing bad happened as I showered, like the entire stall falling in or me being blinded by the complimentary soap dispenser having gone terribly awry. I dried off and went to get dressed. Now the last time I got dressed in that locker room I was stung on the toe by a wasp that happened to be crawling around on the floor, as wasps so commonly do (note sarcasm). So needless to say I was stepping more than gingerly. I hung my towels on the locker door to dry; they fell off. I put the shampoo and conditioner bottles on top of the lockers; they fell off. I pulled my shirt off the shelf in the locker; my keys fell out. I am still laughing, but it’s starting to sound a little maniacal in my head now. I dried my hair and put my make-up on uneventfully. So I went to work bleeding and smelling like man shampoo. Awesome.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

In this day and age it is very en vogue to eat healthy. If your healthy food is also stamped ‘ORGANIC’ then you are that much more in style. That also means that you are well off enough to be able to afford organic food. Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah. No, sorry, this was not supposed to be my rant on organic food. I’ll get to that later.

As anyone with children in their house knows, it is not easy to eat healthy with kid snacks in your kitchen. Kid snacks are near to impossible to avoid. That is, unless you are one of those militant vegan mothers who scare me. A carrot stick does not always hit the spot. Nor does bulgur. I don’t think in my childhood I ever said or thought “Man, what I wouldn’t give for a handful of barley.” Hell, I don’t even say it now! Why? Because it tastes like a combination of cardboard and dirt, that’s why.

I have a 15 month old son. I also have a 2 and a half month old son, but he doesn’t qualify for this story because he has no teeth. Anyway, my 15 month old dearly loves to snack. So much so that it is extremely difficult to get him to eat a sit-down meal because he has been grazing all day. He’ll accept a few bites and he’ll swallow a few, but then he chews the bite, opens his mouth, and just lets it fall out to land where ever it may. The most common places are the floor, the high chair, and my foot. And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of partially chewed French toast between your toes. Ask anyone.

At any given time, there can be found in my kitchen any or all of the following: Teddy Grahams, Nilla Wafers, Animal Crackers, Goldfish Crackers, Mini Lorna Doone cookies, and Cheez-Its. Makes Connor happy, but tempts Mommy to no end. It is not easy to try and lose weight with a toddler buffet all over the house. And you KNOW he won’t eat the entire packet, and you don’t want to waste food, so what happens? You eat it yourself. Of course. Then you stop giving him the chance to not finish the pack and go ahead and ration yourself some chocolate Teddies. “He’ll never know the difference” you tell yourself. Now it’s simply a question of who you’re lying to, your toddler or yourself. But you really already know the answer to that one.

I admit that on occasion I share what Connor is eating under the guise of ‘Connor wanted it’. For example, recently I decided to offer him a treat of ice cream. Not a lot, just a few spoonfuls. Since it was that small an amount we didn’t need a bowl. You can already see where this is going, can’t you? So I take the half gallon of Blue Bell Peaches and Homemade Vanilla out of the freezer. By this time, Connor is already stamping his little feet and waving his hands, a very small Flashdance impression. I give him a bite and he makes the face signaling that what’s in his mouth is very cold. He runs to the dryer and begins to clean out the lint trap then comes back for another bite. So I dig out a hunk of frozen peach and agree with Connor that it is, in fact, very cold. He gets another bite. About this time, I zone out with my own thoughts eating ice cream. Ten minutes or so goes by and the child I am supposed to be feeding this ice cream is nowhere in sight, but I am still eating ice cream. Somewhat embarrassed, I put the ice cream back in the freezer.

I know that I’m not the only mother who has ever done this. If it wasn’t ice cream, then you ate the last two chicken nuggets from the happy meal and the scattering of fries that went with it. Perhaps it was the half eaten sandwich, still imprinted with Cheeto dust fingerprints. We do it so that we aren’t wasting food, right? Cookies are a terrible thing to waste. I think we can all agree with that.

I do wish it were easier to feed my children food that is good for them. I mean, let’s face it, there’s a reason why one of Connor’s first words was cookie and not eggplant. It could’ve been eggplant, but the chocolate chips are hard to get in there. Connor can say cookie, cracker, teddy (graham, not bear), and doggy. We don’t eat doggies but he does say it. He likes apples, too, though. We have a video of him gnawing on an apple at Panera. It was taken away and he commenced to howling, so we gave it back. Luckily the video time ran out because shortly thereafter he got a piece lodged in his windpipe. Healthy food is dangerous. It’s all that fiber.


The first part of this was written two months ago. Since that time Connor’s food vocabulary has increased greatly and Sully still has no teeth. Connor now eats bananas and strawberries and is surprisingly fond of green beans, having hated them in jar form. But when it comes to snacking, it just isn’t feasible to crack open a can of French cut green beans. Can’t you just see it? I’m getting ready to go to work and Connor is settling in to watch Blue’s Clues (hopefully with Steve and not that retard Joe) and on my way out the door I hand him a bag of frozen green beans. Yeah, I can’t see it.

Even though Connor’s appetite has expanded, for some reason, he still likes to open his mouth and let all the food fall out. Now when I make him a peanut butter sandwich he pries it apart and eats the peanut butter off the bread. Some kids don’t like the crusts, my kid doesn’t even like the bread. It’s easier to give him a spoonful of peanut butter, and almost as easy to wipe the peanut butter off your knees or wash it out of your hair where he was thoughtful enough to give you a kiss on the back of your head. You laugh, but it’s happened. And when he’s not in the mood for a peanut butter sandwich, what does he do? He turns around and hands it to his little brother, sitting in his little Bumbo seat staring at his right hand because no one’s told him yet that he has a left. Luckily his grab reflexes are still a little slow. I’d hate to learn about a peanut allergy with a four month old. But, hey, at least he’s sharing.

The most convenient snacks are not the healthiest. That’s pretty much a given now. To me, though, the big mystery with little kids and eating is why, when you give a kid chocolate, does it always end up streaming out of the corners of their mouths? It’s almost as if it expands in there and their little mouths can’t contain it. All the issues with the childhood obesity epidemic and I’m worried that the chocolate won’t stay in my kid’s mouth.

But all in all, if a handful of carob covered raisins does it for your kid, consider yourself lucky. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Google ‘carob’.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Realistically, every woman in this country wants to tweak some part of her body. Whether it be losing weight or the tip of your nose, that much is true. Some go about it in a more financial way, paying professionals to sculpt their problem areas or in some cases to attach an Oreck 8-pound to their midsections. And we all wondered what that round brush attachment was for.

For those of us who can’t shell out thousands on our looks, there is the old-fashioned approach. Exercise and dieting. The words that strike fear into the hearts of many. We are a culture of we want what we want when we want it. We want instant gratification. But, again, unless you go the Hoover route, it ain’t gonna happen that way.

I have come to the conclusion that in order to eat right and/or exercise, you must become obsessed with it. At least that’s true for me. If I am not constantly thinking about it, I don’t do it. I can be getting ready to go eat at a restaurant and thinking to myself, OK I need to have something healthy, something grilled, something with fiber. Then I get to the restaurant and I think, Mmm, fried, breaded bits of tasty. Just like that. In the time it takes to speak to someone or drive three and a half miles, my healthy focus goes poof. So it must be in the forefront of my mind.

Similarly, if I don’t constantly tell myself that I have to go to the gym, I won’t. Sometimes even though I am telling myself I have to go, I don’t. Time constraints and all. There’s always something going on that I have to schedule around. I’m pretty sure just about everyone has the same excuses.

But I have started taking cardio classes at the gym. I say cardio because I can’t bring myself to say aerobics. I mean, technically, I’m not taking aerobics. Aerobics, to me, just presents an image of a room full of women in leotards and leg warmers. Or more specifically Olivia Newton John’s video for ‘Let’s Get Physical’. I am not taking aerobics. I’m not!!

So far I have attended Pilates, so I can say I do Pilates, and Cardio Kick-boxing, so I can beat stuff up that won’t object. I would like to recount for you how one of each of these classes went.

I took my first Pilates class on a Saturday morning, knowing it was a 45 minute class. I thought it was going to be like yoga. Heh, yeah, it’s not. Whenever I take a class I feel stupid, like other people in the class are looking at me and thinking that I’m not doing it right or I’m on the wrong foot. I never think that perhaps they are like me and are too busy judging themselves and being paranoid to judge someone else. Then I notice the woman facing the wrong way and I relax a little.

I thought I had arrived a little late. When I got to the studio there was a bunch of people already spaced out everywhere with steps in front of some of them. Crap. Having never done Pilates before, I didn’t know what kind of equipment was needed. I saw one step unattended and scurried to stand behind it, ready to start. Then the woman who was using it walked back up. Crap some more. She told me I could use it, though. That was nice, albeit a little odd. Didn’t she need one? Turned out that, no, she didn’t need a step because for the next ten minutes no one needed it. That’s when I realized that I had bounded in and done the cool down of the previous cardio class (not aerobics). Awkward.

So half the people cleared out and the steps disappeared. Then we had to go retrieve the mats for the next class. As I picked a spot near the back I surveyed the rest of the class. I always look around to make sure I’m not the biggest person there. I wasn’t. Whew.

Little did I know, Pilates is a lot of ab work. I was not prepared, but I did it anyway. Mostly just to save face. Then we did something called a V-sit. Yeah, that was all kinds of fun. I don’t know how it’s possible for one’s ass to be both fat and bony, but mine is. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of your tailbone grinding against the floor. Basically, it’s sitting with your legs in the air and your body forming a letter V.

Luckily time flies when you’re cringing with pain from the burning in your abs and thighs. I think that’s how that saying goes. By the time I got around to saying in my head, If this isn’t over soon I’m going to snap the waify instructor in half, the class was just about over. Then I went and introduced myself to the tiny blonde girl who had lead the class, because I was new and she was calling everyone else by name. She asked if I was doing the spin class next. I asked her if she was delusional.

For some reason I didn’t think I had had enough punishment that day. Then I proceeded to the treadmill and slogged out 3.1 miles in anticipation for the 5K I had signed up for the following week. Shortly thereafter, I was clinically dead for 4 minutes.

The 5K is a whole other story.

The kick-boxing class appealed to me because it allowed me to wail on a punching bag without being looked at funny. Well, the cardio part of the class name was lost on me. That is, until we were told to do imaginary jump rope for what seemed like about 12 minutes. I thought about greatly exaggerating that number for emphasis, but let’s face it 12 minutes of jump rope is hard enough.

My typical class anxiety made an appearance but was justified this time. We had to wear boxing wraps, fished out of a cabinet where they were thrown pell-mell. I actually was late to this class so I grabbed the first two I saw. They were both for the left hand. I made it work because I was too embarrassed to go back and dig around to find a right hand glove since the class had started already. Then I wrapped them wrong, which I actually did not realize until the next class so that really wasn’t a problem yet.

I broke almost every nail I had and renewed my hatred of jumping jacks. It was a good class. I also realized that I can only raise my leg to kick just so many times in rapid succession. After that, it’s just dead weight, man. It’s not happening.

I did enjoy the class, though. Probably because I was hitting and kicking harder than everyone else. I managed to move the free-standing heavy bag halfway across the room just from punching and kicking it.

My second kick-boxing class involved all manner of insanity associated with a medicine ball. I thought medicine was supposed to make you better. This kind just makes you hurt more. Damn false advertising. This time, though, I ducked out to get water when the instructor girl started her imaginary jump rope montage. Water beats jumping any day.

I had taken the time to find both the left and right hand wrap this time, but then realized I had wrapped them wrong. Ah, whatever. I did what was comfortable and it worked for me.

This class instilled in me a new reason to have anxiety, vertigo. Not so much dizziness, as lack of balance. Evidently, I have terrible balance. This was brought to my attention by all the kicking. It probably doesn’t look good when after you do a roundhouse kick you go stumbling about for a few seconds, making you late to get the next kick in.

I also now believe that the instructors are honor-bound to lie to you if it will encourage you at all. One of the other instructors joined in the class halfway through. At the end of class I was taking off my wraps when he spoke up and said “What’s up?” I replied with “My blood pressure.” He laughed and said that I had done great and I didn’t quit. This much was true. Then he hit me with “Don’t worry, though. You’re losing weight.” I said thanks because at the time I hadn’t analyzed what had just been said.

This guy had never seen me before. How did he know if I was losing weight? Moreover, who said I was trying to lose weight? Did that guy just call me fat? Aw, hell.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It never fails. When you know you have to write something, you totally blank. I can’t think of a thing to write about so here I am rambling in text hoping that something will hit me. Not like a projectile or anything, just something. Then again, if something random came sailing through the air and struck me, removing an eyebrow and my left earlobe, that would definitely be something to write about.

The fourth of July was this past weekend. Instead of having a cookout with my family or at home, we had to go to my mother-in-law’s house. She’d been sure to tell us way in advance that she was having a party and that we just HAD to come. Truth be told, she didn’t care if her son or myself were there, but her grandchildren can’t exactly drive just yet. Not counting the Fisher Price Cozy Coupe that runs on Flintstone unleaded (feet). (No pun intended) She invited people from her work and her square-dancing buddies. And, yes, I make fun of that every chance I get. There’s nothing quite like a pal who’ll hook arms with you to the tune of Turkey in the Straw.

Day of, I talked to her on the phone because my husband, her son, refused. Such a doting son. She said it was to start at four o’clock and last until the fireworks were over. Now, the way I understand it, fireworks don’t begin until it’s dark. I should add here that we have to drive an hour to get to the old lady’s house. I told her we may attend but that we couldn’t stay for the fireworks. Naturally, she inquired as to why. I replied that dark is not until like 9:30; Connor’s bedtime is 8:00. Well, then she had the best solution (in her opinion)! We could all just stay the night!

Here’s a little background on that. Ever since Dave and I were married she has asked us to come stay the night, come stay the night. She even told us we should stay the night Christmas Eve a few times. Call me crazy or selfish, what have you, but I would rather spend my first Christmas married with my husband. And I want to have my son’s first Christmas just with us. She apparently doesn’t understand that.

Now I’m not saying that being invited to stay with family is unacceptable. I’m not saying that it’s wrong. It may be totally normal for some people. Her family, for instance. Then again, a big reason her family members ended up staying the night after a visit is because they were too hammered to keep it between the lines. Drunk as a bicycle, as my father would say. My family never did that and we all live within 20 minutes of each other, save one aunt who, incidentally, I wish would move closer.

So, to sum up, not a fan of the in-law slumber party.

Anyway, I repeated that we may show up but we would not be staying until dark. I had to firmly repeat myself because if I don’t, she thinks she can nag at me until I give in just to shut her up. She is slowly realizing that I can find more fun ways to shut her up.

Fast forward. We pull up and see that there are cars parked out into the street at her house. We didn’t actually think anyone would show. As soon as we came in the door with the boys, I hear a woman shriek “Oh, good, something for me to play with!” My eyebrow went up and if I had seen who had said it, I would have laid into them. What kind of person thinks that a total stranger’s children are there for his/her personal amusement? But I was still out on the stoop and couldn’t see, luckily for her.

As we got into the house, I immediately went downstairs to feed the baby. That was just my own little way of boycotting the situation for as long as I could. It still wasn’t long enough. Dave and Connor were upstairs, jumping through hoops probably. Perhaps it’s just me, but I am somewhat more than reluctant to surrender my new infant to someone I don’t know who expects me to hand him over without incident. I don’t go to a restaurant and demand that people give me their babies. Something tells me that this woman does.

I slogged up the stairs and, upon entering the living room, realized there must have been a 2 World War minimum requirement on the invite. The median age of this crowd must have been 83. And some of them were serious talkers. One gentleman in particular, who loudly touted his love of trivia more than once and proceeded to quiz the rest of the octogenarians. He wasn’t obnoxious to a fault but I wouldn’t have a problem locking him in a closet. If only I were as lucky as half the guests and could turn my hearing aid down, beaming obliviously.

I tried to tune it out, but then someone insisted everyone play Name That Tune and began to bang the piano keys. Some of the winners of that game included “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”, “Way Down Upon the Suwannee River”, and “Crazy.” And in case you’re curious, that last one was not the track by Aerosmith, but the late great Patsy Cline.

Luckily I heard someone say ‘daiquiri’ and I sincerely hoped it was the kind that had alcohol in it. It was, but only just. You would get a stronger buzz drinking NyQuil. But it was all there was, so bottom’s up.

People kept piling in, including one noticeably younger woman with a self-righteous attitude and a voice that carried. I would almost rather have listened to the old fogey asking inane trivia questions (“Who was nicknamed The Man In Black?”) to her squealing about how she had participated in the Peachtree Road Race that morning.

This dragged on for what seemed like hours with nothing to dull the pain of boredom. When they started trying to coerce Dave and me to join their square dance tribe, I knew it was time to shag ass out of there. Luckily, other people had left as well so it didn’t look so bad. One more plea for us to stay the night and we were gone.
Water is vital to the survival of all living things, even camels. I, myself, am not fond of water, though I am fond of camels. Magazines are always telling you that drinking water will cure all your ills. You want clear skin free of breakouts? Water! Do you want skin that glows? Water! Do you want to lose weight? Water! Want to free yourself of headaches? Surely you can sense where I’m going with this.

Now once and for all, how much is the right amount of water you are supposed to quaff a day? No one can seem to agree on this. Some say 64 ounces, the equivalent of eight eight ounce glasses. Some say eighty ounces, ten glasses. Another says you can never drink too much water, which is just not true because somewhere along there you can end up with a quaint little condition called hyponatremia which is water poisoning. How do you like that? You drink water to get rid of your acne, and what do you get? Dead, that’s what. You get dead. Not quite as pretty as you were hoping for.

I know you’re supposed to drink water and everything, but I have to force myself. To me, water tastes awful. Now, I’m sure many of you are saying “That’s silly. Water doesn’t have a taste.” At least, that’s probably what you’re saying if you’re my mother. That’s what she always told me. Well, I taste it. I can even tell you which brand of bottled water I’m drinking without seeing the label.

Luckily, the good people at...well, a bunch of places, have devised a tastier way to consume your requisite water ration. If it wasn’t for drop-ins I probably would not drink water. I drink Crystal Light White Peach Tea. Even my 18 month old likes it. And yes, I realize that Crystal Light is probably not the best thing for a toddler to drink, but it’s one of the few things that won’t come dribbling back out of his mouth.

Yes, water has in recent years become a very en vogue trend, just like adult rompers and being gay. Drinking water, however, does not require a serious lifestyle decision and probably won’t go out of style within the year. Unless you count disposable water bottles but I won’t get into that now. Look for it in a later post entitled It’s Not Easy Beating Someone Who’s ‘Green.’

There are several companies who put out water. It’s not like a Coke vs Pepsi thing here; it actually is the same product. Even though Coke does make a water. Is that the right vernacular? I don’t think a company can make water. Unless God owns a beverage conglomerate. Holy Trinity H20: Start your day the Holy way! I suppose it should be ‘put out’. Coke puts out a water. That’s Dasani. Then there’s Aquafina, Pepsi’s water, which tastes metallic to me. Would you like a refreshing treat that tastes like you just licked a lead pipe? Sure, who wouldn’t!

There’s also Fiji, the cutest little cube of water there is. Next is a misleading brand. How man of you were disappointed when you eagerly took a swig of Nestle water only to get a mouthful of water that was in no way chocolate flavored? Perhaps that’s why Hershey doesn’t put out water. Up next in the domestic waters is Deer Park. Does that name disturb anyone else? Water from a place with a whole lot of deer running around. It makes me hesitant.
Evian. One of my favorite bottled waters. It was even before that whole Roller Babies commercial. Go to the website and see it; it’s cute. Evian, French for water. Actually, French for water is l’eau. At the Whole Foods market there is a wall dedicated to water, with all types of fun bottles. Voss, Glaceau, and other brands I can’t pronounce.

My other favorite bottled water is Smart Water and not just because the ads have Jennifer Anniston in them. At home we call is Cloud Water because the bottle talks about clouds and...and...something about clouds. It’s good, though. As good as a water can really be. At least it doesn’t taste like a mouthful of pennies.

There was a period when I was drinking a lot of water every day. The only thing I really got out of it was exercise from walking to and from the water cooler and the bathroom. My skin was no clearer. I was no lighter. And I still didn’t like the taste. I fell out of that habit. Nothing has changed. I got the same amount of exercise when I was seven months pregnant. Not that I’m implying pregnancy is a good substitute for water consumption.

I hate cold water. I can’t drink it as fast. When it comes to me and water, the faster you get it down the faster it’s gone.

But then you have to go fill up the bottle again. You just can’t win.
Today is Tuesday. Every Tuesday here on DeathMetalMommy Yodels the Blues will henceforth be Phobia Tuesday. Why? Because it isn’t always easy to think of something to write and in this case boundaries are liberating. That, and some of this stuff is just begging to be made fun of. Not that fear is funny...well, some fear is.

Our phobia for the day, children, is BAROPHOBIA. No, this is not a fear of drinking or of public watering holes. Nor is it a fear of ballet studios or prison. Barophobia is a fear of...gravity. That’s right. Somewhere out there is someone who is terrified of the thought that something invisible is pulling them down.

Perhaps these people would be more comfortable floating about. This is a good example and proof that not all fears are rational. (My apologies to any and all barophobics, but if you are one, please email me)

Monday, July 27, 2009

I hate introductions.

I greatly dislike having to introduce myself. That includes that space in every Internet profile form entitled ‘About Me’. It’s even worse if it involves going around a circle and ‘saying a little bit about yourself.’ What are you supposed to say? “Hi, I’m Gloria. I’m a vegetarian. I am a part-time taxidermist and mechanic. My blood type is AB positive and my greatest ambition is to live my whole life without contracting Mad Cow disease.” Is some of that appropriate? None of it?

Honestly, I do know the basic stuff you’re supposed to include, marital status, name, number of kids, job, etc... I just don’t like it. It feels like a mix between the Mickey Mouse Club and Alcoholics Anonymous. So if you ever stumble upon a profile of mine on some random website that I may or may not have forgotten about, chances are the ‘About Me’ section is blank. What can I say, I like mystery.

Sometimes, though, I do get a good kick out of reading what other people think you ought to know about them. One ‘About Me’ is a picture of the alma mater, a picture of the boyfriend’s dorm room window (the outside of the building), and the school football stadium. Talk about being true to your school. That profile was on a site that had nothing to do with schools at all, for the record. That individual either really likes her school or just can’t think of anything else to write so she took up as much space as possible with pics.

Another profile lists all of their ‘furbabies’, which I believe are known to the rest of us as pets. Either that or this person mated with a yeti. It also refers to the author as a ‘furmommy’. Maybe she was the yeti.

In this case, I suppose I should outline what this blog is about. There is no one topic that I cover. Having small children comes up a lot lately in my life so expect to see a good bit about that. I am a mother but no kind of typical one, as my blog title states. Whatever sparks my interest at the time is what I will write about. I also take requests.

I don’t get down with any Jon and Kate updates or laments. The only thing I have to say about any of that is that Jon character is a douchebag and, frankly, looks as though there may be something mentally or developmentally wrong with him. Just my opinion. But I may from time to time comment. Just for fun. Wait, no...just to make fun.

Topics may surface include but are not limited to babies, children, drinking water, weight loss, food, wine, death metal, Chickens, parenting, pregnancy, clothes, fashion, complaining, marriage or a better idea, money, books, other blogs, Lewis Grizzard, spelling bees, Runner’s World, photography, modeling, crazy kids shows, Hungry Girl, Storked!, Neal Pollack, baby food, shoes, Sex and the City, kids who bite, and reading a pregnancy test: a tutorial.

I will do my best to post every few days or so, but until I get a computer that weighs less than fifteen pounds, I’m doing my writing and internet perusing during stolen moments at work. And unfortunately, there is a firewall that won’t allow sites with horoscopes (considered ‘paranormal’, we all know how dangerous THAT could be), the magazine site for Food & Wine (‘alcohol’, although you can go to the Anheuser Busch site all day long; apparently we’re telling children that you can drink beer all the livelong day but a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau with dinner may kill you instantly), or anything with contemporary music news (I don’t know). Also included are Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and any site that happens to contain the word ‘blog’. So until such a time as I have a better means of blogging, consider my words contraband for they are not what I am supposed to be doing right now.

But as this is the opening of my blog, I guess at least the basics should be stated.

Hi, I’m Darci, aka DeathMetalMommy. I am married to Dave, a death metal bassist/faithful househusband. We have two boys, Connor, 17 months, who says awesome and frequently dances to the riffs of Between the Buried and Me and other such metal bands and the Wonder Pets theme song, and Sully, 4 months, who sports a baby mohawk and is happy just to be, and lately I was informed looks sort of like a cartoon frog.

Tune in next time!