Friday, January 20, 2012

Can You Heal Me Now?

I'm the anti-Ziggy-- I can't function well with any kind of black cloud hanging over my head. A parking ticket at a (reported) broken meter? I have to drive straight to the police station to deal with it. An unacceptable Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company? I must immediately call the doctor's billing department to ensure that the proper codes are being resent.

If I can't fix (or at least try to fix) a problem it weighs on me, the noise of it filling my head like I've held my ear to a conch shell (*cough* Mental! *cough*). One Saturday last fall I received a jury summons to appear on a date that was unworkable and nearly ground my teeth to bits waiting for the court to open on Monday so I could talk to somebody about changing it...

... which explains why I simply had to call Verizon last night as soon as I realized that my blackberry was no longer able to send emails-- even though it was 5:30pm, the most consistently chaotic time of day in our house. Last night was no different. Worse even.

There was no quick fix for my phone, unfortunately, so while the Verizon Guy (VG) and I ran through diagnostic tests, I started to make dinner. Test email #1: Fail

One of my son's friends was an unexpected addition to our table and I was psyched that the meal I had planned was not only quick and easy to make but also picky-kid-friendly: BBQ chicken, garlic bread and salad. While VG walked me through the initial steps, I took out two baking sheets, lined them with foil, threw the marinated chicken under the broiler and spread garlic butter on the french bread. Smooth.

While I removed the battery and waited for the phone to reboot, I flipped the chicken and prepared the salad. Multitasking Master. Test email #2: Fail.

VG needed me to log in to the email settings function on my blackberry. I asked him to hold on a second while I gave the kids the five minute warning. Chicken out. Bread in.

What's my password? I took a stab at it and failed so VG had to reset the password as I typed it. That was tricky. Oh crap! The bread!

Keeping my cool with VG, I grabbed the charred bread and put it out on the porch so it wouldn't set off the smoke alarm. Two hungry boys materialized in the kitchen. Time to wash hands, I pantomimed, gesturing that my son should tell his sister to do the same. Test email #3: Fail.

VG decided that we should delete and reset the whole email account. I started to boil water for mac & cheese (to replace the bread), plated the chicken and salad, and poured three glasses of water. The kids took their seats and started to eat. Then my son's friend realized that my dog, who he is scared of, had escaped my room. I tried to entice the dog out from under the table. No dice. VG was amused. I finally managed to get her outside. Where I had put the burnt baguette. Whoops! I quickly went back outside and grabbed the (now cold) bread before her old nose could sniff it out.

While my blackberry started to synchronize, I threw in the mac and cheese. The dog barked to be let in. Holding the landline and the blackberry I went out on the porch, scooped up the dog and carried her back to my room. Still synchronizing....

The mac and cheese was ready just as VG wanted me to try another test. I needed a colander first. As I was about to pour out the pot I realized that I shouldn't use my usual colander because my son's friend is allergic to strawberries and there could be some risk of cross-contamination. Whew. That was a close one.

I doled out the pasta, dropping some on the still-hot burner where it sizzled menacingly, as VG and I waited for Test email#4: SUCCESS!

No more black cloud. And the kids all cleaned their plates. Sweet.

Clear Skies, Full Bellies, Can't Lose.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Public (Dis)Service Announcement

I remember the day, all those years ago, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest's Nutrition Action Healthletter ruined movie theater popcorn for everyone by revealing just how mind-blowingly bad for us it is. A day's worth of calories! Enough saturated fat for a family of four!

Total bummer.

For at least a year after the popcorn bombshell, I used to sneak air-popped popcorn in a plastic grocery bag into the movie theater (a concept that seems borderline insane to me now). Eventually I dropped popcorn altogether and switched over to Twizzlers, which I would eat like a chainsmoker until they were gone. Which was usually by the end of the previews.

Now that the majority of movies I see are animated and/or Rated G, the only thing I can count on enjoying at the theater is whatever I'm eating while watching the movie. So I'm back to movie popcorn. Size small. With peanut m&ms mixed in.

Thing is, I'd prefer not to know how bad I'm being. I like to think you suffer the consequences of bad eating only if you knowingly engage in the bad behavior. So, exactly the opposite of the old axiom "Ignorance of the law is no excuse." The barrista pours my latte with 2% when I clearly asked for skim? The bad fat calories in that decadently creamy drink are on him, not me. Because I ordered skim. See how that works?

I unfortunately stumbled upon some new intel today. Bad, bad information that I wish I could unlearn: the Eat This, Not That people have determined that the fat in a large cup of Cosi's Tomato Basil soup is the equivalent of a Burger King Triple Whopper. Or a whole medium-sized pepperoni pizza from Domino's.

Sigh. No wonder I love that stuff. If you see me sneaking grocery bags full of Healthy Request soup into Cosi please call the men in white coats.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chalk It Up To Old Age

As further proof that Weaselsnark and I are morphing into one person, I too had a physical right after New Year's. I went to my doctor with a list of concerns straight out of a Shel Silverstein poem, determined to uncover the mystery ailment that is preventing me from having the girlish figure I enjoyed at 16.

Alas, she found that everything was within the normal range. Not even an under active thyroid to blame. In fact, she consoled me by saying that not being Kate Moss, I was at low risk for osteoporosis which would have had more weight (ha ha) had I not already got osteoarthritis. What's one more osteo?!

On the way out she took a final look at the little white bumps that have appeared on the skin under my eyes and declared that they weren't milia after all, but calcium deposits, which is the same diagnosis I got from my last mammogram. I am now concerned that I am turning into a piece of chalk. Possibly (I didn't do so well in chemistry) this make no sense whatsoever. Either way, I am calcifying inside and out.

My doctor suggested getting tested for food allergies (I think to get rid of me) so I went and did that. Twelve little drops were applied to my forearm, then the skin underneath was broken. Imagine my excitement when #12 started to form a nice hive and itch like crazy! I have an allergy! This could explain EVERYTHING!!! Sadly, it was the test sample, given to make sure you haven't taken antihistamines in the past 48 hours and thereby, skewed the results.

Alas, it's back to sensible eating and exercise. WAH-wah.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why I Overtip the School Bus Driver: Reason #437

I'm trying to break my son of a bad habit: he's starting to preface things with "No offense, but..." I first took note of this little verbal crutch while driving him and a couple of his friends to practice the other night.

"At recess I scored the winning touchdown because [the quarterback] saw that I was being covered by [another one of his classmates]. No offense, but he stinks and so I was basically wide open."

and then,

"No offense, but he's a total liar. He was definitely tagged."

On the spectrum of bad habits, this new one is not as disfiguring as nail biting (which he dabbles in) or as disgusting as nose picking (which, thankfully, to my knowledge, he does not) but it is way up there in terms of being-- for lack of a better word-- offensive.

I explained to my son and the other boys that saying "no offense" doesn't get you off the hook for whatever follows. In searching for an example that would illustrate the lesson without singling any one of them out, the best I could come up with was "What if I said to Lady Gaga 'No offense, but I don't think you are very pretty.'?"

Missing my point completely, one of the boys piped up "But she isn't pretty." He then started singing along to the radio, loudly changing the words of the Maroon 5 hit to "Boobs like Jagger." Hilarity ensued.

Third grade boys are so painfully lowbrow. No offense. (Ha! None taken. As if! They revel in it. Little buggers.)

We could be (high strung) sisters!

Beginning to see similarities everywhere! Monica Potter from Parenthood and Elizabeth Hasselbeck??? (Also potentially androids). And don't you think that if they make a Lifetime original movie about John Huntsman, the title role should go to Ralph Macchio? Oh, you know I'm right.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oh, show me the way to go home ...

I'm tired and I want to go to bed. I had a little drink about an hour ago and it went right to my head. Sorry, I was thinking of a good way to segue into my latest "Hello, Cupcake!' fiasco - in which the theme, for unknown reasons, was "Shark Attack" - and the little ditty from 'Jaws' came to mind. It was a true labor of love, involving many, many types of candy and snack foods, the remainder of which is now sitting provocatively in my pantry.

Btw, Twinkies (the shark) are GROSS although my son assures me they taste better with icing. Hmm ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset

Another milestone I wasn't prepared for...

Back in 2002, early on in my first pregnancy, I went on the internet to search for information about what exactly was happening inside my uterus. I think I was just trying to justify why I was absolutely ravenous and craving buttered bagels at six weeks. I signed up with to get weekly updates on "my baby."

I liked receiving those emails. They were informative and served as mile markers for the pregnancy (they always reminded me what week I was in-- I had "mommy brain" before I ever had kids).

After our son was born, the emails kept coming every week (or so. I stopped reading them faithfully). Your baby is three months old. Your toddler is two years old. Your big kid this week... Of course by then I was receiving two emails a week-- one tied to my son's age and one to my daughter's age.

I delete the emails immediately most of the time. Unless it's a list of the top baby names. But I got one yesterday that caught my eye: "Your 8-Year Old: Wow, where did the time go?"

Ever the sentimentalist, I opened it and learned that I'm being cut off!!!

"Can you believe your child is almost 9? It's been an amazing journey, and we're so glad to have shared it with you. And though you've reached the end of our age-by-age newsletters and articles, our door is still open.... We wish you the best as you parent your tween and teen!"

How will I fill the hole in my life? Okay... the hole in my inbox? Buttered bagels?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Weight for It....

Happy New Year!

In one of the more dunderheaded moves of 2011, I booked my physical for January 3, 2012. What better way to ring in the new year than by worrying about all the sugar and alcohol you consumed non-stop for the last two weeks of the old one?!

"We got your bloodwork back, Weaselsnark. I'm afraid there has been a mistake at the lab. The numbers they've sent appear to be a recipe for hard sauce."

My doctor isn't one to beat around the bush either. Even though I'm relatively fit and thin, she always pushes me on how I need to do more work with weights. She basically calls me out on being a skinny fat person.

So, it being the time of the year for resolutions and all that, I came home and Amazon'ed the book she wants me to follow. It hasn't come yet but my doctor promises me that if I actually do the exercises I will see and feel real results in just 28 days. We'll see.....

What I really need is to resolve to stop spending so much money on Amazon.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I am SUCH a nerd. We needed some new place mats and the one which displayed all the US presidents was on sale so ... James Buchanan/Anthony Hopkins, right?!

Suddenly, I'm craving fava beans and a nice Chianti. Tit for tat, Clarice.