Monday, July 29, 2013

The Babies = Weight Loss Theory

Where did this past week go?  It's like a big blur to me.  I know stuff happened, but I can't remember much beyond talking to furry beings for a good part of my day.  Oh, wait!  I do recall some nice weather.  Thank you Mother Nature for showing some mercy.

Operation Fattypants is still in effect.  Eight pounds gone.  I'd say "lost" but I'm not planning on looking for them.  This isn't a cat.  8lbs have vacated the premises and no one is in hot pursuit.  No one is going to be putting a photo of those 8lbs on the side of a milk carton with MISSING and REWARD IF FOUND printed near them.  (Do they even do that "missing persons on a milk carton" thing anymore?)

For the first time since I was pregnant, I got on the scale and the second number has changed to a rarely seen digit.  Prior to that, I hadn't seen that number since 1997.  A whole other century ago!  Way way back in the olden days.

Now, some of you might be scratching your heads.  That last paragraph was confusing in regards to the timeline.  I can explain.

26 years ago I weighed ABC.  After that, I "blossomed" up to ADC.  There was this whole Every Diet Known To Man experiment that I had going on for about 23 years where.... um... nothing happened.  Stationary/static fatness.

Then I got pregnant.  

I was determined that I was not going to be a woman who had a baby, gained 80lbs, and then spent the next 10 years blaming pregnancy and birth for being a chubster.  The doctor gave me one speech about weight.  ONE.  He said, "This is not an excuse to eat everything under the sun.  You're eating for one pregnant woman.  NOT two people.  One. pregnant. woman.  I'm not going to mention your weight to you again unless there's a problem.  If I don't say anything, consider yourself within healthy limits."  That was all I needed to hear.

This is where my occupation began working with me physically.  (It took long enough!)  I was walking all day while carrying this little package I couldn't put down.  To boot, this additional human being was sucking up 500 of my calories by just existing.

I gained twenty-one pounds.  For the first time in my life, my doctor was telling me that I was the poster child for healthy weight.  With a BMI of seven trillion for the past two decades, I sucked up every one of those pats on the back and beamed like a beacon.  I was so damn proud of myself.

Allie was born and a month later I got on that scale and saw a number I hadn't seen since I was twenty-five!  What followed was what any other woman in disbelief would do after weighing herself. 

I got off of the scale, shook it, put it back on the floor and got on it again.  Same number.

I took the scale into another room, stood on it and stared at the number.  Then I stepped off, flipped the scale over, took the batteries out to reset it, and tried weighing myself again.  Hot damn!  Could it be?

It was a joyous moment!  

It didn't last.  

Why?  I have no idea!  If I knew why it didn't last, you would be reading my New York Times Best Seller book on weight loss right now instead of my One-in-a-sea-of-a-kajillion-blogs ramblings.  

I can confirm that eating was involved.  That definitely contributed to the weight gain.  (Imagine that.)  I just don't know what happened between the joyous scale moment and me stuffing my face with reckless abandon.  Whatever occurred was a trigger to make me go from happy to porky ASAP.  That trigger is my enemy.  It does not want me to be healthy.

But my Little Peanut does.

Considering that one of the driving forces behind creating and implementing Operation Fattypants has been Allie, as well as the fact that she also helped me achieve this weight three years ago, I have come to the conclusion that babies contribute to weight loss.  Yup.... babies equal weight loss.

Can you imagine trying to prove that crazy theory?  REAL scientific conclusions get destroyed all of the time, and those ones actually have diagnostic information and endless experiments to back them up.  I'm just taking a shot in the dark with this one.  It's my own personal theory.  I'm nuts, so it's only fitting that my theory is as bonkers as I am.

Before I wrap this up, I wanted to share two photos.  After wondering what in the hell I actually did last week, I picked up my phone and tried to find some evidence.  Here's what I came up with....

Apparently my love of shoes has been passed down to the next generation.  I wasn't paying attention to what was going on behind me while getting ready one morning.  Suddenly, I hear "Mummm! Rook!" (that's what Mom, look! sounds like with that stupid binky in her mouth) I turned around and there was Allie wearing a pair of my strappy cork-wedge sandals.  She took two beautifully graceful steps..... and then face planted into the wall.  But those two steps were clearly indicative of someone with a natural love for cute, yet uncomfortable foot apparel!  I AM PROUD.

Last but not least, I found this (above) hanging on the wall at a customer's house this weekend.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I took a moment to read it and think about it.  As I walked down the stairs, I thought, 'What a great world it would be if things like that were hung in random places all over the place.'  We would walk around corners and find words of wisdom about all sorts of things.  

The question is, would we stop to read them?  Probably not here in New York.  Someone would steal 'em.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Survival and Surveillance

I survived Hell Week.  Survived.

It was a gazillion degrees out there.  I think God was having a little fun with me by matching the temperatures to my nom de la semaine (name of the week).

(That one year of French in high school paid off right there, didn't it?)

And The Big Guy Upstairs didn't let up.  Oh no.  The boiling temps hung around right up until my work schedule let up on Sunday afternoon.   Suddenly, it was positively delightful at 80 degrees with clouds and breezes.

I managed to stick with my little dietary change through it all..... despite the ice cream place at the top of the mountain calling my name every time I drove past..... which happened to be six times each day.  Six times of me yelling "I DON'T WANT ICE CREAM SO PLEASE STOP!" at the top of my lungs to nobody.

Unfortunately, I had a tiny taste of heat stroke due to a drop in blood sugar on two separate occasions (because I like to make sure that I learn my lessons well by repeating them until I'm 100% that I've f*cked up).  The weather people stressed high water consumption, but failed to mention that eating enough food was a skoatch important as well.  Things got yucky.  Dizziness, nausea, headache, etc. 

One afternoon I couldn't remember an entire hour spent outside.  It was as if i had been asleep the whole time.  I was completely freaked out.  I was in the middle of filing a phone claim (because that's what you should do when all of your faculties aren't workin' up to par) when I realized I was speaking English, but wasn't making sense.  I remember the fella saying, "Ohhhh!  Now I get it!" about 10 minutes into the call. ( I gave him a big fat Excellent rating in the survey at the end of our call.  He earned it.)
So, despite my little food faux pas, I walked over 75,000 steps, almost 38 miles, and lost 5lbs.  Operation Fattypants is still in effect.  Slow but steady wins the race, right?

Every time I look across the street I'm so grateful for the pool.  Even the kiddie pool that's heated by baby piddle.  A few days last week, we found time to schlep on over to cool our stuff off and let Allie splash around.  I love watching her with her little floaty thing on,  swimming around all willy nilly with no purpose or direction..... just like a baby duck.
The other day we had a genetic A-HA! moment at the pool.  The photo below was taken right after we had that.
On patrol
Let me preface this by saying that my mother should've been a private detective.  She would tell you that it's her ADD, but I think that her observation skills have been honed partially by her love of people watching, her natural curiosity about the unknown, and then maybe a little ADD mixed in with a sprinkle of OCD.

If a stranger drives past our area, conversation ceases, she'll get a kinda squinty, snap into PI mode and start with the questions.  Observational questions.  Many questions.  There's no distracting her.

"Who is that?  Do you know that person?  I've never seen them before.  Which way are they going?  Is that a friend of (insert neighbor name here)? They were going pretty fast, don't you think?"

We tease her about it, but I do find it endearing.  Not to mention that we shouldn't mock her considering this skill could be quite beneficial should there be a crime within 300 feet of my mother's existence.  She will be watching, getting the deets, and writing them down in a little notebook somewhere for the police to refer to.

Back to the story.

We were in the pool and the lifeguard got up and started doing his thing and then BAM!  The P.I. genetics kicked in.   For some reason, she was very suspicious about the life guard and every single one of his actions.  Allie got all squinty-eyed, honed in on the poor guy and, suddenly, she was my mother.

"What he doing?"  (he was putting away discarded pool noodles)

"He's cleaning up."

"Why?"  (what a surprise that question is.  not.)

"Because that's his job."

"Why he doing THAT?" (now he was moving an umbrella)

"To block the sun."

"Why?"  (again.  love that question.  ugh.)

"Because it's hot and he should be in the shade."

She just dead on stared at him.  He sat back in his chair looking everywhere but at her.  He knew she was watching.  You could see that he found it amusing... and creepy at the same time.

"Now what he doing?"  (he was getting the net to skim the baby pool)

"He's getting a net to get bugs out of the pool."

"Why are there bugs in the pool?"  (I feel my chest tightening)

"Because they like the pool water, I guess."

"What is he checking that white thing for?"  (the cover to the filter)

"To see what's in the filter."

"**I** want to see what's in the filter!"  (starts splashing toward the stairs)

Oh.  My.  God.

Following up on suspicious activities
This behavior continued the entire time we were at the pool.  We always thank the life guard on duty when we leave, and as we approached him, we told Allie to say thank you.  She held my hand and walked by, never losing eye contact, mumbling "Thank you" quietly.  I was waiting to see her do the two fingered gesture that says, "I'm watching you. These eyes are watching you."
(Just in case you weren't sure what I was talking about)
If anyone is looking for someone to do surveillance or back ground checks on people in about 16 years, please give me a call.  I imagine my daughter will be highly skilled in this area by then.  Until then, if you live in my neighborhood, between my mom and Allie, you should sleep well at night.  Things are under control.  You're safe.  (wink)

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cactus Day Helpers Cool Off the Northeast

This is our very disturbing local forecast for a part of this week:

The rest of the week pretty much looks the same. Mudder

Why do I find this disturbing?

Please look at the little icon between Wed Day and 93 degrees.  Do you see
it?  It's not so big so you may have to get close to the screen to really see the problem.

The picture is a blazing hot sun with a cactus.   I live in the Northeast.

Cacti are NOT indigenous to our area!  That is NOT a good sign.

If it's going to be so hot that we are going to have cacti sprouting up all over the place, I'm so totally screwed! 

I suppose the cactus is appropriate considering it's my own personal Hell Week.  Maybe cacti will be flying up out of the ground.  Perhaps it's a side effect of hell freezing over; all of that cold air is pushing Hell's cacti up?  I've been watching the forecast since last week, fretting as each Regular Summer Day gets upgraded to Sunny Cactus Day.

Today, at the peak of the hot weather, I got locked out of a house.  The dog is panting, I have sweat rolling from the top of my head down, the dog just wants to lay down, I feel lightheaded, and as I reach for the doorknob, it's not budging.

A thought hit me like a sickening ton of bricks.  'My car key is inside with the key to the house and my phone is in my car.' Ugh.

I try the door again.  It's still not budging.  Damn persistent locked door!

Oh. My. God.  Really?  Now?!  It's skatey-eight kajillion degrees, for cripes sake!!

(Im working on curbing my foul language by substituting it with other less effective words since Allie has started repeating everything we say.)

A neighbor was home, thank God, so I borrowed their phone to call Justin.  I explained my drama and Mr. Don't Worry Everything Will Be Fine says, "Give me a few minutes.  I'll be there."

I sat under a tree with the dog and just stared at the ground, feeling driplets of sweat rolling down my everywhere!  As gross as I felt, at least I'm not walking around with a full length fur coat on like the poor girl laying at my feet was.

I hear the car pull up and two doors shut.  I hear Justin say, "C'mon, Al.  Do you have your tool box?"

"Yes, Daddy.  I can help Mommy too!"

And from around the corner comes Mr. Hear I Come To Save The Day and his trusty assistant with her tools.  It was so precious that it took by breath away.

She's my own kid, who I see perform cute acts on a regular basis, and I still couldn't get over it.  I had to take pictures with Justin's phone.  As I took this one, she said very seriously, "It's not funny."  She was NOT fooling around!

She got her toolbox from her Grandma (Justin's mom) and it's one of her favorite things.  I guess since it's in the blood (tool man's daughter) I should not be surprised.  Her little hammer, saw, screwdriver, wrench, nuts and bolts are in there.  The ultimate tool as in her other hand.

A spaghetti measurer.

That was the one that had me giggling.  I don't know what she thinks it is, but she thinks it's entirely necessary to get me back in the house.  And she doesn't think it's a laughing matter.

In the midst of my day, in what could easily be Hell's Bathroom, this sweet little ray of sunshine appeared.  Getting locked out of the house, sweating like a pig, feeling helpless.....none of it mattered and it was all washed away, leaving me smiling from ear to ear. The drama ain't got nothing on Daddy's Little Helper.  

May your Hellacious Cactus Days be filled with Refreshing Handyman Assistants too!

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Non-Serious Sirius

Day three of Operation Fattypants is complete.  I walked 13,461 steps (just under 6 miles) and did 26 flights of stairs from when I woke up to just before plopping my ass in bed.  I burned 2302 calories being me today.  And you know what?

I'm really tired....and I'm freakin' hungry!

OMG, I want to eat waffles and eggs benedict and a heaping bowl of pasta and chocolate and cake.  Lots of cake.  I want to bake a whole cake, put it on a plate, frost it, grab a fork and eat it straight from the cake!  No slicing crap.

But I'm not going to.  Not today.  Hopefully not tomorrow either, but definitely not today.  

Today started what I refer to as Hell Week.  July is usually a very busy month, but every July there is at least one week packed with appointments from when I wake up clear thru until my Serta Perfect Sleeper calls me back home. This occurs due to two reasons: #1 - I hate to say no to people AND #2 - I say "yes" before I check to see if I blocked time to eat and stare at my family.  Every year I call myself a moron and swear it wont happen again, and clearly, every following year I do it again.

What saves my sanity is the Sirius radio in my car that Justin gave me.  Originally, I wanted it so I could listen to Howard Stern every day, but eventually I strayed to other channels and discovered..... the comedy channels.  Yayyyyy!

On more than one occasion, I've had to pull over on the side of the road because I couldn't see from laughing so hard.  This is usually followed by calling my mother or Justin to tell them what I just heard (they are the only ones who will laugh with me when I try to repeat the stories) and then I'm laughing  all over again.  

Recently, Sirius added the Comedy Central channel to the lot and I flip back and forth between that, Blue Collar Radio and Raw Dog Comedy.  Tonight there was an interview with Kathleen Madigan, my favorite, on Raw Dog and it was so awesome that I had to pause it and leave my car running while doing my work so I wouldn't miss any of it.  For an hour I was hanging out with her and Tom Papa instead of wishing I was putting Allie to bed, all jammed up in that toddler bed with her and the seven thousand stuffed animals she piles around herself.  Oh, how I wished I was there instead.

A hilarious take on why Kathleen thinks our economy is in the crapper

Her thoughts on Vegetarians 

 This is audio only, but if you were Catholic at any point in your life (or made fun of Catholics) you should enjoy this.... I wish I had a Bob to do my talking.

When the interview with Tom Papa was over, I realized that today my thoughts up until that point had consisted mainly of two things.... and one of these two things left me a little concerned about my sanity.

First thing - I just wanted to spend whatever free time I had with Allie, so when I had a small break I dashed home.  She's been very "entertaining/TWO" lately so you really never know what you're going to get. 

Yesterday, when I asked her to pick one of two outfits to wear for the day, she said, "Come with me.  Lets ask Daddy which one he thinks is cuter."  Excuse me?  Suddenly her father is her fashion coordinator?  The man who I fought with for years about wearing navy blue t-shirts with black shorts?  The guy who still holds up clothes and says, "Are these acceptable? Do they go together?" before we get dressed to leave the house for an event?

The evening prior to that, we were getting ready for bed and she said, "Please turn that thing off," as she pointed at the fax machine that's still in her room.  "Why?" I asked.  "I don't like it.  I didn't like it when I was an angel and I don't like it now."

Angel?  Talk about giving me goose bumps.  Immediately I thought of the Nun who looked at Allie when she was a day old and said, "She's a very old soul."  When a Nun says it, there's a bit of credibility attached.  Enough credibility that family members started saying she was their favorite deceased relatives reincarnated.  

When I told my mother what Allie had said, she gasped and gave me the wide eyed look that says "ooooooo....spooky!"  And then she gave me the squinty eyed, judgey, tell-me-the-truth look and said, "Is your father still in that damn room???!!!!"

(She's referring to my father's ashes.  This is a bone of contention with my mother that I will reserve for a later time.  It'll probably come up when I mention Justin driving around for over a week with dead people that he found in a dumpster in boxes.)

Speaking of dead people....

Second thing - One of the most hilarious comedy routines I ever heard was played on Raw Dog Comedy Channel about 2 years ago.  It was an older, african-american comedian with a deep voice and for the life of me I can't remember his name.  I'm continuously checking the channel in hopes that he will pop up so I can check him out on YouTube.

Anyway, he was talking about how our government wastes money on crap like research that determines how many holes cheese has to have to qualify as Swiss.  And he brought up Jeffrey Dahmer.  I'll try to repeat it as close to verbatim as I can remember.

"The government spent a fortune on determining if Jeffrey Dahmer was insane.  Why?  Because he was pleading Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity.  Multiple psychologists were brought in and many months were spent analyzing this guy!   
I think I could save them a whole lot of time and money.  Why don't we have a law that says:  If you eat two or more're insane.  And guilty too!  Because after you ate the first one, you KNEW you were wrong!"

The "if you eat two or more people" thing slayed me.  If you only eat one person, I guess you are a-OK in the mental department.  lol.

And what he said made so much sense, but I spent a good portion of my day trying to wrap my mind around this: Jeffrey Dahmer was trying to prove that he was insane to prove that he was NOT GUILTY.  So, if he's insane, he's not guilty?  Well, I think we all pretty much know that the guy was a few fries short of a Happy Meal.  Does that mean that our government would give someone who eats people a pass because he was nuts???

Better yet, (and don't worry, I'm almost done with this) our laws indirectly conclude that sane people can also be cannibals!  Why?  Because they did NOT find him insane.  The following is from
As far as 'clinically insane', this was and still is a constant debate among professionals. While he was quite clearly mentally ill, there are several differences between mentally ill, clinically insane and legally insane. The purpose of his trial was to determine weather or not he fit the legal definition of insanity. He may VERY WELL have been clinically insane. However, one can be clinically insane and still not be able to prove LEGAL insanity or, even if they are able to prove legal insanity, the jury could STILL find them to be legally sane. Which was the case with Jeffrey Dahmer. All the psychiatrists that evaluated him agreed that he had serious mental illness but, they held different opinions as to weather or not he was legally insane.   
So, these people can't decide if eating people and then making furniture out of their parts constitutes insanity??  If he was not legally insane and ate humans and it was proven wrong, it's normal to eat humans?  He was crazy!  He was guilty!  Me and my 15-credits-short-of-a-degree-in-psychology can assess and confirm this.  No doubt about it, peeps.

I had to come to a conclusion on this debate in my head, and I decided after reading the above paragraph...... that no one knows what the fluck they are talking about.

And our government is so complicated that they can't even figure their own shit out.  It's like trying to nail Jello to a wall.  Keep hammering and if you're lucky, something will stick!

Welcome, all, to July's Hell Week.  It's going to be long ride!


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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fatty Boom-a-Latty

Well, there's nothing that says, "Time to diet, fat ass!" like your two-year old pointing to your stomach while you are in the tub and saying, "Daddy has a big one of those.  But yours is big too!"

There was a moment of confusion there at the beginning.  When she pointed and said "Daddy has a big one of those" I started freaking, thinking 'What in the hell is she looking at down in that area that looks like something her father has????'

I kinda panicked.  "What are you talking about, Al?"

She pointing again toward my lower mid-section.  "Dat!"

"My stomach?"  For once I was hoping someone was talking about my big gut.

"Yep!" she answered, as she giggled.  "Daddy's is bigger but you has a big one too!"

I realized at that moment that she was the only person in this entire world that could say this to me where I wouldn't want to haul off and beat them firmly about the cranial region with a shampoo bottle.

Instead, I was disappointed in myself.  And a bit grateful for her honesty.
Honest Allie from Toddler Tubby Time
There's something about honesty from children that is excusable.  No matter who you are, if a child says something to you that's blatantly true, you can't get angry with them.  You just kind of have to suck it up and say, "You might have something there, kid."  And chances are, their observation is right on the money.

It's when we get older that there is a problem with honesty.  Sometimes, you REALLY need to use that inner filter that you (hopefully) developed when you (hopefully) learned about social sense.  I'm always shocked by people who don't use the filter, but that is usually accompanied by zero social sense..... and the fact is that they don't have a filter.  These tend to be the same people who blame everyone else for why they don't have friends.  They just don't know any better.

Soon the teenage years will kick in, and while the filter is still under construction, Allie will say oodles of Stupid Honest stuff.  You know, the things that kids are going to learn real fast that aren't at all appropriate and may cost you an ass whoopin later if you don't figure out how to stifle it.  I'm sure a lot of it will be directed at me.  She's just warming up right now.

As I watched Allie playing in the tub with her toys, I started to think about my mom and how amazing it is that I'm still alive with some of the Stupid Honest things that I've said to her.  There was one particular moment that I may have inadvertently tested her ability to not murder a human being.

Right now, she's reading this and knowing exactly where I'm going with this and what moment I'm referring to.  

I was a teenager and she was giving me hell for something that I had done.  I probably hadn't cleaned my room despite her seven million requests to do so, hadn't done my homework again, or I had gone somewhere with someone that I was forbidden to be with.  Whatever it was, I'm sure that she was freaking out with good reason.

However, Stupid Honest kicked in and what happened next was driven entirely by a teenage hormonal inability to sense right from wrong.  I looked at her as she took a moment to catch her breath mid-freak-out, and said something to the effect of: 

"You have no idea how ridiculous you look right now."  

And, as I'm sure you've guessed, I wasn't saying this in a proactive, concerned fashion.  It was full of arrogance and obnoxiousness.

Let me pause here a moment to say that my mother is one of the most loving, sensitive, non-violent, caring people I know.  Everything good about me came from her.

She is ALSO a warrior.  She was selling a home, going through an ugly divorce, teaching fifth grade full time, going to college at night to get her Masters Degree, had a son on a ship in the Persian Gulf during a war, and had a daughter graduating high school all at the same time. SIMULTANEOUSLY, people.  No consecutive crap.  All at once.  This was not a woman to get sassy with.

I can't say exactly how things went down after that because I remember being reeeeeeeally scared because I knew I screwed up.  Inside, my synapses were firing like mad and my brain cells were yelling, "Retreat!  Retreat!"  From her words alone, the fear of God was instilled and social sense was developed so that I may never make such a horrific, verbal error again.  I was no longer Stupid Honest.

(Dear Mom, thank you for letting me live past that day.  Love you, Vic)

Right now, Allie is full of innocent honesty and I feel like I should take it to heart.  She says I have a big belly with no malicious intent.  She couldn't care less about my weight.  It's just an observation.

But I don't want to be a mother who can't keep up with her kid.  I don't want Allie to be embarassed because her mom is overweight.  I don't want to set a bad example of what is or is not acceptable health.  

Fortunately, she has two grandmothers who are naturally thin and she appears to have inherited those genes so hopefully she wont spend 25+ years of her life obsessing over her weight like I did.  Hopefully we can keep each other active and fit.  God knows she is well on her way to that, since every day she runs around our yard, all willy-nilly, yelling, "Mommy, run with me!  Chase me!"  And true to my chubbiness, I groan and go, "How about if I just watch?"

At forty I promised myself that I would no longer let the battle of the bulge rule my life.  At forty-one, I feel like I've got a good start with that as I'm not nearly as obsessed as I used to be. And, to be perfectly honest, I have no excuses because there's really no more "diet knowledge" to be found that I haven't already acquired.  So, I'm turning a new corner with a new plan.... and it may or may not work out.  

I'm not putting any specific name to it like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem.  I'm calling it Operation Fattypants.  It starts Thursday.  No pressure.  No expectations.  Just trying to be a good example for Allie.  I want to be Queen Skinnypants, but I'll settle for Mom Who Keeps Up.

Game on, flab..... cuz I don't ever want to hear that I've got something bigger than my husband ever again unless she's talking about my boobs!

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 237th Birthday, America!

Happy Independence Day, everyone!  It's July 4th and everywhere I turn there are pool parties, barbecues and bevericues (parties with hosts who love to get shnockered and hate to ruin a good drunken stupor by providing food for their guests' stomachs).

I wonder if our forefathers did the same thing each year.  Did they celebrate their freedom from the laws of another country by hanging out near the closest swimming hole (did rich people have some kind of swimming structure back then?), tossing back a few mugs of moonshine and torching up a bonfire to cook some sort of burger (venison?) and corn for everyone to eat?  

That last question made me realize that I did not pay enough attention in history class because I have no clue what colonial life was like beyond covered wagons and corsets.  I know they had corn though because there was that whole thing with the Native Americans teaching them about maize and stuff before the greedier settlers stole the land and murdered some of them.

Moving on....

This marks the end of my fifth year with no holidays.  Whoo hoo!  Next month I start my sixth year of business and I think I might be a rebel and actually take some holidays off.  Holidays are business booming events for people like me, but I really do miss having Thanksgiving dinner without thinking "I should've blocked off more than three hours to driver here, celebrate, eat and get back to work out there."

Last winter I officially became disgruntled when my daughter had to wait until I got home at 11am to open her Christmas gifts.  That's when I stomped my foot (after I cried like a big baby) and said, "NO MORE!"  I'm missing events that I can never relive.... because I'm working?

I'm not looking for a pity party here, so you can put your tiny little violins back in their cases. For the previous four years I really didn't mind working on holidays at all.  But once Allie started to participate in them, I loathed going to work on those days.  Suddenly things aren't as "routine" as they used to be.  I get to see the magic in the holidays all over again.  Before Allie, the magic was a little more "rabbit in a hat" and less "saw the lady in half and see her move around while her top half was away from her bottom half."

However, this Independence Day I was a-OK with working.  

Why, you ask?  (just pretend that you asked)

Because I live in a town where they "celebrate" July 4th on the Saturday BEFORE the holiday.  My town doesn't let the rest of the United States boss it around!  It celebrates when it's convenient and it's damn well ready to get its independence on!  Back off USA.

Seriously, we have our little celebration the Saturday prior to the actual holiday. The whole week before that, the firemen have a carnival and then on that Saturday they give us a lovely fireworks display to conclude the week long celebration.

Why they don't do it the same week of the 4th, I cannot say.  These are the people who will save my family and pets while putting out a fire if it happens in my house, so they can do whatever they want on whatever day they want and I will be very compliant and cheerful about it.  

My home is a 5 minute walk from the park where they have the carnival and fireworks display, which works out quite nicely. Every year  I make Justin drag lawn chairs out on the lawn by our patio, light citronella candles, grab a drink and we plop our asses down to enjoy the show.  My parents live across the street and usually come over to watch with us, too.

This year we waited on the damn lawn for about a half hour until the firemen decided that there was an appropriate amount of darkness to bust out their lighters and get things going.  About 5 minutes before that, my mother looked at us and asked the question that you frequently ask and/or hear when you have a two year old.  "Did she poop?  I smell something."

How appropriate!  Perfect timing to push out a pooper!  I'll chalk it up to the excitement of anticipation.

I leaned over and took a whiff and said, "No.  I don't smell anything.  Allie, did you poop?"

"No," she answered, straight faced lying to me.  And I was feeling lazy so I believed a two year old over my mother who has the sniffer of a bloodhound.

This is a conversation I never imagined having on an every day basis before I had kids.  It just wasn't something I considered when the topic of having children popped in my head.  "I'd like to have kids someday.  I wonder how much time I'll spend discussing poop when that happens?"

The answer to that question is A FREAKIN' LOT.  Anyway....

About 2 minutes before the show began, the smell hit me like a ton of bricks.  Allie was sitting right next to me and you would've thought she was standing on the chair with her butt pushed up against my head.  Yowzers.

There was no denying that someone had pooped and that person was 3 feet tall and insisting that she had a clean diaper.   Knowing that time was limited, I jumped up and whisked her out of the seat and ran for the house, with her yelling, "Mommy where we going???  Why you running inside????"

I think I freaked her out by moving so briskly.  She thought she was in trouble and was on the verge of tears.  But I had a mission.  Shoes off.  Pants down. One diaper tape ripped off.


"Mommy!!!!  It started!!!"

I have never changed a diaper so fast in my life.  Even Sadie, who is terrified of fireworks and was hiding in the bathroom with her head behind the toilet, peeked out to see what the commotion was all about.  Diaper off, wipe, new diaper, fasten tape, pants on, shoes on, whip child up in my arms, run back through house, toss diaper into garbage with NBA-like precision as I pass by, out the door without smacking into the screen, thru the patio, to the lawn chairs, plop her on Mom's lap... and then I sat down, gasping and panting.  Cuz fireworks are big doin's, you know!
The festivities begin
The best part of it was that Allie spent over half of the time that the fireworks were going on telling my mother, "I almost missed fireworks cuz I pooped!  I almost missed it!"  She announced this about every ten seconds, very loudly.  Loud enough that my neighbors could hear it over and over again too...and then tell me about it the next day.  Yay.

Mom and Allie watching the fireworks.  This have been one of her announcement moments since her  mouth is open....either that or she was in awe of the show.

Justin and I spent the second half of the show cracking ourselves up with our weirdo imaginations.  People used to tell me that I "see in cartoon" and I kind of think there's some truth in that.  I take situations and imagine funny outcomes.  One of the reasons why I married Justin is that he can take those dreamed up outcomes and run like a mudder flucker with it.

This particular situation was a pause in fireworks.

Justin leans over, "What's going on?  That's not it, is it?  Cuz that's a shitty display if that's it."

Me: "No.  That's not it.  They do a finale.  We haven't had that yet."

Justin: "So, what are we waiting for."

Pause as I start seeing in cartoon and begin giggling.

Me: "What's happening is that there are two guys back there fighting over who is going to light the next one cuz they both think it's their turn."

Justin (deadpan): "I'm sure you're right."

More giggling.

Justin: "What now?"

Me: "I was just thinking that if that was you and me we'd be back there yelling at each other and blowing each other's flame out:

  • "It's my turn! (blow)" 
  • "No, it's not! You just did the last one! (blow)" 
  • "I did not!  That was YOU!  (blow)" 
  • "Oh my gawd!  What are you fucking smoking?? (blow)" 
  • "YOU are the one with the shitty memory here! (blow)" 
  • "If you blow out my lighter one more time I'm going to bitch slap you."
  •  pause. 
  • "(blow) Now what, BITCH?!"
(for the record, that would be me starting the fight and then finishing it by calling him a bitch)

Justin: "And then we start pushing each other, throw down the lighters, drop to the ground and start beating the crap out of each other."

Me: "MMA fighting on the lawn at the park."

Justin: "Rolling down the hill into the crowd."

Allie, from two chairs away: "I almost missed the fireworks cuz I pooped!"

We giggle.  The fireworks start up again.

Me: "I'd totally kick your ass."

Justin: "Nice.  Beat up a cripple.  Very nice."

On that happy note, I will leave you with a photo from earlier that day.  This is one of my favorites.  Allie loves her "little Sadie"stuffed animal, and when we let Sadie near it, she gently cleans it like it's her puppy.  It's adorable.

We were on the pack porch when our neighbor lit a bottle rocket. I'm surprised there wasn't a Sadie-shaped hole in the screen door right after this.  Two minutes later, however, Sadie could be found in the bathroom trying to fit behind the toilet.  She's 80 pounds.  Our toilet isn't that big.

I hope you all had a fun-filled, safe 4th of July!

(A little something for those of you who didn't know how old our country's okay....THESE people were WAY OFF *click here*.  Feel better now?)


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Monday, July 1, 2013

Selfish Selfies

'The term "selfie" is new to me because....well, I'm old.  For those of you who are not in the know, a selfie is a photo of yourself taken by yourself.

There are two kinds of selfies.  There's the Spontaneous Selfie where the person has their arm extended as far as they can, trying to look very casual, while attempting to balance their phone so they can get a clear photo.  The photo is supposed to seem as if someone else had taken it because the person looked so fabulous at that exact moment that it deserved a Wilhelmina head and/or body shot for all to gaze upon in jealousy and awe.....even if it's obvious that they took it on their own.

Then there is the Blatant Selfie where people stand in front of the mirror and you can see them holding their phone to take a photo of themselves, not even pretending that someone else took the photo.  They are coming right out there saying, "look at me".  No bullshit there.

Selfies have become so popular that everyone knows when it's a Spontaneous Selfie or if someone else actually took the photo of them.....and most people don't really care if you know or not.  

There are also two sub-levels of selfies.   (Yes, I'm still going on about this....I've been educated and want to share.)

First, we have the Solo Selfie where the individual clearly doesn't care what's in the background because the photo is all about "Look at MEEEEE.  Just me.  I'm sooooo interesting.  And (lovely/handsome/charming/trendy) too."  Their surroundings are irrelevant.  However, if you visit Happy Place dot com, you can see how things can go terribly wrong if you forget to scan your environment real quick before clickin'...... zoinks, Scooby!

We also have the Purposeful Selfie.  This is either the person doing something interesting, visiting  some place special, or being a part of a group of people who are doing.... whatever.  There is a reason why they are taking the photo and it goes beyond just their appearance. These photos say "Here I am driving" or "We all are hanging out tonight without you" or "I'm at the beach and the view is awesome".  

IMHO,  the only one that doesn't make the word "Narcissist" pop into every one's mind is the Purposeful Selfie.  That one is about bragging rights or just plain old excitement.  And it's interesting.  I give a pass to Purposeful Selfies and I actually like them.  If it's a group, you know those people had a blast taking a gazillion photos to try and get a shot where no one looks like an ass.  I've taken a few Purposeful Selfies to memorialize events, especially with family members.

A recent family selfie after a day at the zoo....all tuckered out
Another family selfie, one of my favorites.... after an awesome day at the local beach
(BTW, IMHO means In My Humble Opinion if you didn't know.  And BTW means By The Way.  And yes, I know that I have a lot of nerve claiming my opinion is humble when I write things and put them on the internet because I think someone somewhere finds it interesting.  My mommy does, as well as strangers in other countries, so therefore, I keep writing)

Wondering what my point is here?

The past few weeks I've been seeing a lot of Solo Selfies pop up and I wonder 'what did the parents of those people do right to make their kids so self confident?  What did they say to make their children feel like people want to see photos where they are the main subject?'  I want to know.

I would like my daughter to grow up and feel like she's interesting and beautiful.   It's one thing to be told that, it's another to believe it.  I had a mother who did nothing but tell me how wonderful I was (in HER humble opinion) and yet, I didn't feel like I was.  I was only able to see the parts of me that needed improvement, despite the fact that she never once ever mentioned them or criticized me.  

So, what was the little secret that parents (especially those of the Millennium Generation) knew that made their children secure and self-assured?  You never see those shy kids from high school post selfies.  They are living outside of their own little worlds and post photos of their kids/pets (if they have them) or family vacations or amazing landscapes.  Sometimes I get annoyed and think, 'What the would be nice to see YOU for a change!'

Maybe that's their deal.  The ole supply and demand theory.  Hmmmmm......verrrrry impressive, shy peeps.

Anyway, I have plenty of years before Allie figures out how to use a camera to take photos of herself.  She got a kids camera for Christmas from her aunt and uncle, and we have a lot of amazing shots of the carpet, furniture corners, and the dog's ass.  Selfies do not appear to be in her near future.

I have time to work on this self-esteem/confidence/assurance thing with her.  I hope Allie thinks she's photo worthy at every moment.  If she takes a million selfies and posts them on whatever Instagram or Facebook become then, I will keep my fat trap shut and instead tell her  how awesome she looks.  

Unless she does that popular "duck lips" thing.  That's just stupid.  Who told kids that duck lips equal sexy face?  

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