You know me, I’m all about great causes. Abby, from Mutterings from the Moor, is very crafty. Oh, how I envy her craftiness. And she’s come up with an adorable little bear to raffle off, raising money for cancer research. To give please click HERE. And to visit Abby and find out more about her craft and her cause, click HERE. Thanks everyone! And thanks to Abby for your contribution and efforts to such a great cause.
Monthly Archives: April 2010
I love words. I love the sound of certain words. I love the way words string together and mean so many different things. My husband calls me The Queen of Syntax. He complains that I get lost in semantics.
So, sue me. It’s my character flaw.
And I own it.
The other day my husband took a quick break from doing yard work and said to me, “I have Tai Chi class at 7pm. I’m not finished in the yard. Could you yell at me at 6?”
At the appointed hour I stood on our back porch.
“Hey!” I yelled, “I’ve asked you a hundred times to put the suitcases in the basement! And your tools have been sitting on top of the dryer for a month! Put them away NOW, you slob!”
He doubled over in laughter.
(Oh no. What will the neighbors think?)
I watched Supersize Me! and enjoyed it. An interesting documentary on the evils of fast food and their ploy to get you to buy more. But to blame fast food chains for our country’s struggle with obesity?
I don’t buy it.
KFC has recently introduced the Double Down Sandwich. Two fried chicken pieces (you can also choose grilled), two different kinds of cheese, two pieces of bacon and sauce. No bread. An Atkins dream sandwich. Complete with approximately 540 calories and 32 grams of fat.
I won’t buy it.
I’ll say that again.
I won’t buy it.
It’s all about personal choice. It’s about respecting what we put in our bodies on a daily basis. It’s about making an informed decision about what we fuel our bodies with.
There’s even a group, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, that wants a warning label slapped on the wrapper: “WARNING — Eating meat can contribute to obesity in children, and can increase their risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”
Seriously? A warning label on fast food? And focusing on meat? Not fried foods or empty added calories. No, we’re going to vilify meat. Where was the outrage with the Big Mac (540 cal. 29 fat grams)? Or the Whopper (670 calories 39 fat grams)?
And KFC’s own Crispy Twister Sandwich – 670 calories 38 fat grams. Where was the outrage when that sandwich was introduced?
The fast food industry is not responsible for what we put in our mouths. If you believe they are, then I’ve got a mountain in Georgia to sell you. WE are responsible for what we eat and WE are responsible for what our children eat.
You can advertise until you’re blue in the face, choking on your own cigarette but I am never going to smoke. Ever. You can sing the praises of diet this and diet that with your artificial sweeteners but I won’t touch the stuff.
Now, I’m no food saint. I have my addictions and unhealthy cravings. Coke (a-Cola, that is) is my vice. On February 1st, I gave it up. Cold turkey. For the first time in my life. 1. To see if I could do it. 2. Because I knew my habit was out of control. 3. Because I finally put my health before one of my vices.
Now, I’ve had a few Cokes since I gave it up. Yes, I caved. But I can count how many on one hand. I am now treating Coca-Cola as a ……treat. As it should be. Something that can be enjoyed every once in a while – not every day. Just like ice cream. Just like desserts. And yes, just like fast food.
I’m not perfect. I’m going to slip up. I’m going to make unhealthy choices every once in a while. I just hope I can keep my mistakes infrequent. And I won’t be blaming some advertisement or fast food chain for my slip-ups.
Before we blame the fast food industry for our expanding waistlines, riddle me this…who is buying what they sell? Who races to the store after the new ad campaign to fill their bellies with 600 calorie treats?
‘Cause I’m not buyin’ it.
“It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got” – I have a lot. I have a comfortable life. Compared to many, I have an easy life. I have just about anything I could ever want. But I get sucked in sometimes, thinking it’s not enough. And I’m not talking just about material things – I’m talking about another degree, more time to volunteer at the kid’s school, cook more from scratch.
“I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame” – I’d like to blame the economy. It has been extra tough on us this past year. My husband has his own acupuncture practice and insurance doesn’t always cover “voodoo medicine.” People have to pay out-of-pocket. So it’s one of the first “extras” to go. We’re noticing the tight squeeze and it hasn’t been comfortable for us – but we’re managing. So every time I feel lame I try to focus on what we DO have.
“I’m gonna soak up the sun
While it’s still free
I’m gonna soak up the sun
Before it goes out on me” – The weather this week is going to be gorgeous. Low 80′s. Sunny. Spring is in full swing. So today, I’m gonna soak up the sun. Lay any money worries aside and just relax and enjoy this moment. Right now.
(Thank you for your patience. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.)
My kids had 12 days off for spring break. And my husband had to work. After the first 5 days I was ready to pull my hair out. They had played with every toy they owned, re-discovered lost toys and now chanted “I’m bored” over and over in their sleep.
Hey! Why not visit my friends in Savannah? Fun for me AND the kids!
Three moms. One dressed to the nines because she just got off work. Mom #2 is in your standard mom wear of slacks and a pretty t-shirt. Me? Wrinkled vacation wear because I don’t iron while on vacation (ok, I don’t iron when I’m not on vacation) and a dried cheerio stuck to my butt. (Sorry for the visual but dry cereal is our standard snack fare while traveling. At least it wasn’t a Snak-Pak pudding top.)
Seven kids. Yes, seven. Who have been cooped up all day, playing indoors because the pollen was causing asthma attacks and eyes to swell shut.
Two of the three moms (yes, I’m included in this pair) decide that it would be a great idea to take the kids out to eat. It takes about an hour to decide on a kid-friendly restaurant. Committed to our choice we call the other mom at work (We’re “watching” her two girls. In all actuality our kids are entertaining her girls. My friend and I are chatting between playing referee to wrestling matches and cleaning the kitchen from yet another snack. ) We agree on a time to meet and tell her which restaurant. She’ll meet us there.
Thirty minutes before the appointed hour the two moms load seven kids into two cars without incident. The two-car-caravan sets off to said restaurant.
We arrive before Working Mom and herd the children into the restaurant. On the way in one child pipes up, “83? That’s not a very good grade. In MY school anything below an 85 is a C!”
She’s referring, of course, to the health inspection score. Hmmm. 83. Now, I’ve had food poisoning twice in my life and I’m not keen on having it again or sharing the experience with 7 children and my 2 closest girlfriends. We’re not THAT close.
One mom scans the reasons for the low score. She gets to “Food not cooked to the proper temperature” and stops looking. We herd the kids out.
On to our second choice restaurant. We call Working Mom and she’s closer than we are. She’ll get a table for our crew.
We arrive and she’s waiting for us at the door. “I’m not sure you’ll like this either,” she smiles wryly.
79. We don’t even bother to check the list.
There’s a pizza joint up the street that her family loves. And it’s right across from the hospital. Convenient if things go south. We load the kids back into the car.
A half a mile later we arrive at our destination. Seven kids and three moms burst onto the scene, starving. There are doctors, in scrubs, chowing on pizza. Good sign.
The kids are situated at a table and the moms go to the counter to order. Health inspection score? 83.
We look at each other and laugh. “Maybe 83 is the new 93?” one mom says. ”Well,” I say, “At least the hospital is right across the street.” We decide to take our chances.
The meal goes without incident. The kids have a blast and the moms don’t have to clean another dirty kitchen. Twenty four hours later, we’re still standing. Thank goodness.
The next day we decide another meal out is a good idea. This time at my favorite place, Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House (at least, that’s what it was called when I lived there.) I first discovered Mrs. Wilkes by the smell. Every day, around 10 am, I’d start smelling the most wonderful aromas. I asked our neighbors where they were coming from. Just around the corner, they said, from Mrs. Wilkes. No sign. Just a line down the street of people waiting to get in. Served family style around giant tables.
“Family style, ” my friend reminded me, “You DO know they got in trouble once for re-serving food?”
“But it’s SOOOOO good,” I whine, “I LOVE Mrs. Wilkes!”
“Okay,” my friend says doubtfully.
We arrived at 10:30 (which used to be adequate time to line up) for the first seating of the day at 11am. Curious, I asked the first people in line how early they had arrived. 9am was the reply. Oh, how times have changed.
The kids were amazing, coloring pictures, chatting with other children. We had a chance to visit with other people in line. Finally, we were seated at 11:30am.
A table spread with the most mouth-watering, amazing Southern dishes imaginable. Fried chicken, beef stew, collard greens, squash casserole, rutabaga, mashed potatoes, rice, gravy, green beans, creamed corn, shredded bar-b-que pork, biscuits and cornbread, butter beans, sweet potato casserole, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, okra & tomatoes, red rice and cabbage. In all we counted 20 bowls or plates of piping hot food. It was delicious.
While one mom corralled all of the children and helped them clear their plates to bring to the kitchen (a Mrs. Wilkes requirement) I went up to pay.
Standing there, waiting for my change, I glanced up.
The health inspection notice.
With her score.
Looks like we’ll be back!
Thank you, Mrs. Wilkes. I’m honored to have met you and so glad you were my neighbor during my stay in Savannah.
My kids have been on spring break for the past week. Only 6 more days to go! And they’ve been running me ragged. With them home 24/7 I’ve had so little time to myself – let alone time to comment/post.
I give up.
Hope you all are enjoying some beautiful spring weather!
See you all next week!
(This Hey! That Reminds Me! edition was inspired by Elastamom’s post Holland Sucks Sometimes)
In college, taking classes on child development – if my professors were talking about little knee grabbers (anyone under the age of 10)? I tuned out. I was never going to teach the itty bitties. Ever.
In my Adolescent Psych classes I was mesmerized by theory on the development of the brain and how certain areas were still not developed in a teen. The areas that control perceptions of permanence and danger.
Why I couldn’t understand that this would apply to my own children? At every stage of development? I don’t know. Major disconnect.
I breezed through parenting with my daughter. She was easy. Obedient. (Most of the time.) An angel. (Much of the time.)
Then I had boys.
Tiffany, at Elastamom, was sharing some struggles with her daughter. The phrase that struck me was, “She KNOWS better.” How many times have I repeated that phrase in my brain? Countless times. Biting my tongue, so as not to let it escape.
And then? An epiphany.
I read an article in a parenting magazine about impulse control in toddlers. Wait. Scratch that. It was about the LACK of impulse control in toddlers. How their tiny little brains simply could not resist temptation. The logical part of me nodded in agreement. The emotional side of me thought, “But they KNOW better.”
How many times had I asked the boys not to put their hands on the television screen? How many times did we warn them about climbing the furniture? How many times did we say: “Sit on your bottom,” “Don’t run in the house,” “Chairs are for sitting” ?
One afternoon, folding laundry on our breakfast room table, I had a clear view to the family room. My toddler son was watching TV and playing with his cars. His favorite character, Ernie from Sesame Street, was on. Showing his favorite toy, Rubber Ducky. He was talking about how much he loved his toy, how much he loved its squeak, the way it fit in his hand.
My son wanted to touch Rubber Ducky. You could see it in his eyes. He walked over to the television and started to reach out for Rubber Ducky. He saw his right hand reaching for the television screen. He took his left hand and grabbed his right wrist. I could see the tortured look of frustration in his eyes. His left hand trying in a futile attempt to pull back his right hand. And then, his shoulders slumped. Resignation. He let go. And allowed his hand to touch the television screen in an attempt to touch Rubber Ducky.
Then, he remembered I was close by. He looked at me with sad eyes.
He knew better. But he couldn’t help himself. That sweet little part of his brain wasn’t fully developed yet. One part understood the 100 times we had asked him not to touch the television screen. The other part simply wanted to touch Rubber Ducky.
I scooped him up in my arms and hugged him close. I whispered, “Sometimes it’s hard.” I felt his shoulders slump again, this time in relief.
Tiffany is dealing with something much bigger. Her child has Cri du Chat syndrome. But her struggle is real for all of us.
Our children know better. Yet they still fail. They still make mistakes. They struggle, just like us.
What is important, what is critical — is how we choose to respond.
My daughter is currently between boyfriends. The other day, I asked her a question…
“So, any crushes you want to share with your old mom?”
“No. Not really,” she mused.
“Not really? Ooooo, sounds like there’s someone!” I said, smiling.
“Well, I suppose there’s always Taylor Lautner but there’s no chance of THAT ever happening,” she answered.
“Why not? Don’t sell yourself short! You are a beautiful, intelligent, wise, amazing young woman. Taylor would be lucky to have you! Why wouldn’t he be interested in you?”
“Well, geography for one thing,” she grinned.
“Your dad and I had a long distance relationship for a while and it worked out just fine,” I replied.
“Mom,” she laughed, “Do you even know who Taylor Lautner is?”
“Oh,” I chuckled, “I see. Well, you’re probably right.”
And now we’re both in a fit of uncontrollable giggles.
(So I suppose my self-deprecating comment earlier about being her “old mom” is absolutely spot on. Oh, I am so out of touch!)