Thursday, May 31, 2012

Me and Jessica Simpson

Finally, a famous person who rocked pregnancy like a normal person.
I love food. 
I’m sure that doesn’t come as a shock even if you are reading my blog for the first time. I’ve featured recipes, tips, obsessions with Food Network Stars and even a food-diary from a trip to Charleston.
Decadence breeds consequences. Consequences like back-fat, excessive sweating and every pair of pants feeling like a corset.
I gained weight.
You wouldn’t know it to look at me. Surprisingly, I wear the excess 25 pounds pretty well. But when I realized that even my watch was cutting off my circulation, it was time for a change.
I thought running would be enough. But with Dr. T traveling so much, I don't have time to run very regularly. I still don't own a jogging stroller and apparently you're not supposed to leave your kid unattended when you go on a drug bender or when you exercise. Hey, I don't make the rules...
I made the impulsive decision to join Weight Watchers online late Monday night. What better time to start dieting than the beginning of summer? I've been on the program before and even attended meetings. I've been fortunate to have previously worked for a large company that provided meetings on-site. I thought they were the worst part. You'd sit in a room full of insecure women and a few miserable men who got dragged along. Most of the women had zero intention of losing weight. I didn't go to the cafeteria very often but when I did, these same women would be there with a huge pile of bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy. There is no way they could have recorded the 19 Points for that meal every single day. I wondered why they even signed up.
Weight Watchers finally got smart and developed an online program and mobile app. I'm very thankful I don't have to suffer the humiliation of having to be weighed in a room full of people. As I said, I carry the excess weight well so I got the same evil glares from the women in Weight Watchers meetings as I did that one time I had to look for my friend in Lane Bryant. 
So I'm holding myself accountable instead of a roomful of sullen ladies who would rather be binging on KFC. Since I always have my phone on me, I can just type in what I've eaten and the WW app will tally the Points for me. Now is the hard part: being honest with the app. If I scarf down 6 of L.E.'s goldfish, I have to count them. One of the old Weight Watchers mantras was "If you bite it, write it." I'm afraid that I'll think it doesn't matter because nobody saw me and I won't write it. 
For the record, it takes 8 goldfish to equal 1 Point so I think I'm ok for now. Eating only 8 goldfish is ridiculous, though, when you can eat up to 23(!) and still have them equal 1 Point.
I haven't felt comfortable in my own skin for a really long time. But I haven't really complained about it, either. I know that eating with reckless abandon is wonderful but it can't be sustained over a long period of time. I know that when I was in my 20s, I could live on cheeseburgers and pizza and never gain an ounce. I guess I just thought I would always be like that. I don't know what's more depressing, the fact that I stare at cheesecake and it sticks to my thighs or that I'm no longer young. I've never been an emotional eater but as I've aged, I've become an emotional-everything. 
The way I feel about food while on WW is the same way a drug addict entering court-ordered rehab feels: like I'm saying good-bye forever to my best friend, only in this case it's Buffalo Wings and not Oxycontin.
Now seems to be a better time than any to join Weight Watchers. It's in the forefront of everyone's pop-culture radar, with Betty Draper on Mad Men going to one of the original meetings back in the late 60s. (Is that when they gave out these?) and Jennifer Hudson's dramatic transformation. 
Today, Jessica Simpson tweeted that she is so excited to get back into pre-baby form by being WW's new spokesperson, with a $4 million dollar payday to boot. (Full disclosure: they only offered me $2 million. We're still negotiating). I gave Jess a lot of credit while she was pregnant. She was the only famous person who gained pregnancy weight like a normal person. But now I just feel badly for her; she faces such extraordinary pressure to lose the weight F-A-S-T. I wish I could call her up and give her some advice: take care of baby Maxwell. The weight can wait. And if anyone gives you trouble, just pummel them with one of your hot pink platform shoes you have lying around. Actually, it would be pretty cool to just call her up. We could be besties and our girls could have playdates together! Maybe she'll be jealous of me because here I am 2+ years later and I'm still playing the "I just had a baby" card. But I digress...
I don't know if I'll succeed on WW. I feel like a diet plan that isn't restrictive could completely backfire. Or maybe I'll be starving all the time and pretty horrible to be around. Is it worth it? Yes, because I don't want my daughter to ever look at her body the way I look at mine. I want to have a better self-image that I can pass onto her.
I doubt I'll lose the full 25 pounds. Maybe I should just set small goals first like being able to fit back into my dressy muumuu before my birthday.

Homer Simpson in a muumuu. No relation to Jessica.
I just like muumuus.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Deviled Eggs

Happy Memorial Weekend!
It's officially barbecue season. I love cold foods in the summertime and one of my favorite things to make is deviled eggs. I don't really like to eat them, but I find something very therapeutic about the whole process of peeling, scooping and mashing.
My mom would never let me help her make them and I'm positive it was because she saw it as food-therapy, too.
This isn't a set recipe. You know the drill: boil the eggs, peel off the shell, scoop out the yolks and mix mayo, spices and herbs. I included a bunch of finely-shredded cheese in the mix. I'm pretty sure they were the best deviled eggs I've ever had and as I said before, I don't even like them normally. I can't imagine how good they would have been if I'd added crumbled bacon to them. Next time...
So for your next party or picnic, I highly recommend this good old-fashioned comfort food.
I documented my egg-making using the billion-dollar Instagram app. Neat, huh?






Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Life's Unwritten Rules

We all have our own little rules of life. Those little factoids and tips that make your life easier, yet you don't learn them in school. You learn them just by living and growing up.
I'm sharing not only my unwritten rules, but those of my friends who were nice enough to respond when I asked for them. 
Feel free to share your unwritten rules in the comments!
All rules are mine unless otherwise noted.

Always tip 20%. If the service is truly terrible tip 15%.

A Facebook happy birthday is ok for acquaintances. If you consider the person a friend, pick up the phone and call or text. If you see the person every day, you need to wish them a happy birthday in-person.

Don’t drink alcohol if you wear braces. – J. H.

To properly exit a car while wearing a dress, hold both legs together bent at the knees and “spin” them towards the car door. Don’t open your knees until your feet touch the ground.

Never stand right next to a guy if there is another urinal open. And NEVER start a conversation there. – J. B.

You are obligated to get the mother of your children a Mother’s Day gift and card.

You are obligated to get the father of your children a Father’s Day gift and card.

When someone says, "watch this," back away quickly. – K. M.

Never wear white socks with black pants and black shoes.

Never wear socks with sandals. Ever. Even when you’re camping. And Crocs totally count as sandals.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them. The first time. – L. R.

Make everyday a celebration! – S. D.

A black cardigan is a must-have in your wardrobe. Find one you like and buy four of them.

Poke it with a stick. – A. M.

Dawn dishwashing detergent will remove any grease stain.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Women in magazines are airbrushed; the mom who is always on top of everything most likely has therapy bills and even the coolest-sounding jobs are still jobs.

Be your own best friend. – B. G.

Don't avoid the storm. Learn to dance in the rain. – P. C.

No matter how many "demos" you see on Pinterest, there still is no easy way to fold a fitted sheet. (The pictures lie!)

If you're throwing a party, double the amount of food you originally planned to serve. – S. M.

Go home by different routes often. You see more of the world and it's harder for them to set up an ambush. – G. H.

Never use more than one space after a period.

If you wouldn't want to read it in someone else's status update, then don't post it.

Business up front. Par-tay in the back! – C. Y.

The best things in life...aren't things. – D. F.

Call your grandparents just to say hello. Even better, go visit them.

It's OK to be a little dirty. – L. E.

There is no such thing has having too many baby wipes.

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. – M. M.

Your parents will embarrass you even when you’re in your 30s.

Never be afraid to say "I love you." – S. G.

It's like wiping before you poop...just doesn't make sense. – L. S.

Most people in the world are underpaid. Be nice to everyone. The workers at your grocery store, the teachers in your child’s school…just be nice and say “thank you.”

When all else! – S. C.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Promises Part Deux

Last year on Mother's Day, I made a list of promises that I have been pretty good about keeping. So here is this year's. Enjoy!

I promise to enjoy the little things more and not stress about what's out of my control.

I promise to exhibit patience with L.E. as we try to potty-train her.

I promise not to complain about watching Toy Story or Finding Nemo for the millionth time. But I will do everything in my power to not watch Hop again. Ever.

I promise not to get upset when L.E. prefers her daddy to me.

I promise to let go of my mom-guilt more and more.

I promise to keep running, not because I'm training for something specific but because I'm training for not dying young.

I promise to wear a bathing suit this summer and not be reduced to a pool of self-loathing.

I promise to be the best mom and wife I can be because my family deserves the very best of me.

I promise L.E. will be an only child. And I promise to not be apologetic about it

I promise to try to eat more salads and less french fries.

I promise to not brag about the super awesome amazing bracelet I got for Mother's Day from T.
(OK, I can't keep ALL of these, right?)

Happy Mother's Day, everyone. Thank you for continuing to read this and share. Love you all.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thank you, Teachers

Mother's Day card
I wish I could take credit for this idea but I borrowed it from a HuffPo Parents blog. She said to feel free to copy and paste and share. So this is my version which I gave to L.E.'s pre-school teachers yesterday.

Dear L.E.’s Teachers,
I follow a lot of mom-bloggers. (Heck, I even consider myself one of them – insert shameless plug here: Moms need to help each other out and if you don’t have a lot of friends who are moms, the internet becomes your confidant.
My point is that mom-blogs have lots of info. Like sharing it’s Teacher Appreciation Week. One of them even wrote a letter to her daughters’ preschool teachers. She encouraged her readers to do the same. Some of this is borrowed from her but most of it is from me.
Although there are many people that love L.E., the care and affection that you bring to her every day is beyond words. However, since I am too lazy to drive a mile to the flower store where she will “design” a bouquet stripped of Tulip petals, I thought that I would give words a try.
Thank you for always smiling and offering a hug when L.E. walks in the door. You make her feel welcomed, loved and safe (especially on days when Mommy is feeling guilty about working and is trying to avoid her own meltdown in the car.) Knowing that she’s happy all day makes it that much easier for me.
Thank you for appropriately oohing and aahing L.E.’s outfits. I put a lot of energy into her wardrobe and even though she doesn’t appreciate it yet, I’m thankful you notice.
Similarly, thank you for not judging me when L.E. arrives wearing black sweatpants and a stained Elmo t-shirt. Your eyes never hesitate in expressing just pure happiness in her entrance -- is it the contacts?
Thank you for providing a safe, contained place for L.E. to play with paint, glitter, markers, Play-Doh and glue. Because you do this, I have an excuse to say "no, that’s only school-time art. You can play with your crayons" when she starts drawing on the walls at home.
Thank you for teaching L.E. how to count and say her ABCs. Your work isn’t for nothing because we practice letters and numbers with her a lot.
Thank you for teaching L.E. songs. My favorite thing in the world is hearing her sing!
Thank you for never turning on the television. I know that there are days that you are absolutely frazzled, and the last thing you want to do is manage a bunch of pre-schoolers running amok around a small enclosed space threatening to dump every bin of toys onto the train-track rug. Still, you never throw your hands in the air and sit them all in front of Toy Story. Because you don't do this, I feel less guilty when I do.
Thank you for providing a variety of gender-neutral toys for my daughter to play with. I’m so glad she hasn’t been seduced by the Cult of Disney Princesses. Yet.
Thank you for telling me that "it is just a normal phase," when L.E. throws a tantrum or refuses to eat or looks at you like you’re crazy when you suggest using a potty. While part of me knew that this, as with all things in childhood, was just another stage, a larger portion of me was truly worried that I was raising a child that would one day turn my basement into a meth lab. However, you were right, it was just a phase. I am now more confident that she will stick to making bootleg liquor in abandoned bathtubs.
But most importantly, thank you for loving L.E. between the hours of 8:30 to 5:30. Because you do this, you are helping us nurture her into the wonderful and smart little girl that she is. Not a day goes by where she doesn’t amaze me with things she says and does. T and I can’t take credit for all of it.
So thank you.
Thank you, a thousand times, thank you!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Beastie Boy Dies. And So Does My Youth.

The title of tonight's blog is what my friend texted me to tell me Adam Yauch, aka MCA, passed away today. The Beastie Boys are one of those bands that has been with me for as long as I can remember. When I was in 5th grade, I had my first "real" dance. It was a roller skating party in my school's gymnasium. My dad was selling cars at the time and borrowed a red Porsche 944 to drive me to the dance. It was the first time I'd ever made "an entrance" anywhere.
At the dance, I asked the DJ to please play Brass Monkey. He asked me if I knew what the song was about. I really didn't but I liked it anyway and he played it. License to Ill was in my tape player non-stop then. I'm lucky that my mom was really cool and didn't care what music I listened to. Any time the Fight For Your Right video came on, I was giddy. To me, it was the greatest video to ever be shown on MTV. (We can invite all of our friends. And have soda and pie. I hope no bad people show up...)
I have so many memories associated with MCA, King Ad Rock and Mike D. My first trip to Santa Cruz while listening to Ill Communication. Riding in my friend's jeep in high school while being introduced to Paul's Boutique. Making sure The Sounds of Science was part of our wedding registry (which we got.) Trying to convince my cheerleading squad that we should do a routine to Hey Ladies. Seeing them perform live at Lollapalooza the summer I graduated high school. T renting Roadside Prophets on one of our first at-home movie nights because Adam Horovitz was in it. Discovering the merits of Hello Nasty and Check Your Head. And most recently, watching the Fight For Your Right (Revisited) video non-stop, with its never-ending cameos.
I don't normally get upset when celebrities die, but Adam Yauch is hitting me pretty hard. He was way too young to die from cancer. Cancer sucks.
He was the coolest Buddhist out there.
I'm sad.