Archive | September, 2012

The Only Non-School Book I’ve Read in Months.

I have a list of books that I want to read. I want to read them based on y’all, because y’all are a literary kind of people who actually read books and then remark about how awesome they are. Books like Gone Girl and In the Woods and the sequels to Graceling. (I actually read Graceling! While stuck in Austin airport.) I want to read all of these books, and actually even have most of them in my Kindle queue.

But .. time, it is a rarity.

For my birthday, Bryan and I took a roadtrip for an evening and while we were strolling in a Barnes & Noble (waiting for Cheesecake Factory to open, honestly), and I noticed a book. It would be far more notable if I hadn’t have noticed this book, as the title is clearly meant to catch attention.

(To be fair, my copy was in neon pink and neon green, so I was doubly entranced by it.)

Now, in most cases, I pick up a book like this, crack it open, and the first few paragraphs clues me in as to what the book is really about. (I really have read far too many diet books.) So I glanced at the back cover, prepared myself to write it off as an Atkins Diet knock-off, and then cracked it open.

What I opened it to was something I’d never, ever heard before. So I was intrigued. And it was my birthday and I had successfully avoided buying anything in the Lululemon store, so I thought I deserved this book. I picked it up and poured through it on the way home.

Now. This book? Is pretty poorly written. I found myself cringing at the lack of editing and writing style quite often. It is also, at times, entirely sexist. Which I thought was interesting, and I wondered if maybe the author’s first language was not english. Sadly, I really did think these things.

But there were a couple of things in this book that I’ve adapted since reading it that .. are .. kind of working for me? Oddly enough? I know. Bear with me.

Don’t eat breakfast. This was groundbreaking for me. I have never, ever been a breakfast person. The occasional big breakfast on a weekend morning? Sure, okay. But in general, I hate eating before noon. I just don’t feel like I need to. This book advocates what my body was already telling me. Breakfast is for the expressed purpose of breaking your fast (overnight, right?), and why do that? Your body is already in a prime position to burn fat! Let it run! So that was nice.

In fact, the author suggests just having a cup of black coffee. Admittedly, I am not a coffee fan. ESPECIALLY black coffee. But I’ve managed. I take a travel mug of black coffee to work and sip on it until it’s gone. (To take it a step further, I’ve taken to putting a small spoonful of coconut oil in there.. this both takes the edge off the coffee and gives me a bit of caloric umph.)(Also, coconut oil is crazy good for you.)

Take a cold bath or shower. This was actually what I opened the book to at the bookstore and I had never, ever heard of such. The author outlines the process to do this safely, and those without bathtubs (MOI!) are not exempt. He claims that this gets your metabolism revved up for the day. I don’t know if there’s any science behind that, but you know? I’ve pretty much just started making the last three minutes of my normal shower time devoid of any warm water. It takes some getting used to, but .. I like it. I really do feel energized and ready to go.

These changes, obviously, are not quite dietary. Or exercise-driven. Which is why I think they’ve been easier to stick to. In a coincidence, the author also advocates cleansing your diet of any artificial sweetners, which I had decided to do anyway. For the most part, I’ve stuck to that – having the occasional diet drink when we’re out at dinner. (Although I’m more than likely to just have unsweet tea and leave it unsweet.)

The rest of the book is an interesting read, as it dances between being Atkins-like and South Beach-like, with a dose of Paleo thrown in there. There’s definitely some unique ideas in there, and while I can’t say that I’m now a Size 6 — let’s be realistic here; I’d look REALLY WEIRD as a Size 6 — I can say that I haven’t gained any weight since I stopped running. In fact, I’ve lost weight. (To be fair, I’ve probably lost strength and endurance as well, but again, it’s a TIME issue.)

So if you’re looking for a unique viewpoint in the often-repetitive diet market, this isn’t a bad read.

(And if you already like black coffee? You’re GOLDEN.)

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I’m So Sorry, Y’all.

I couldn’t even REMEMBER what my last post was. Or when I’d written it. Life has been hopping lately. And not even in a bad way – although there have been plenty of times when I’d love to just have a serious sobfest, but WHO HAS THE TIME? – just in a ERMAGHERD WITH THE CHAOS! kind of way. Bryan was out of town the majority of last week, which initially made me think that I’d get serious, uninterrupted sleep. Instead, it meant I did classwork and work-work until midnight or later every night. This week, he’s home, but it hasn’t been a whole lot better.

Here are bullets because I cannot put a complete post together and I’M SO SORRY, Y’ALL.

  • So, school. Yeah, that’s happening. And I was fulfilling an assignment last week when I stopped and actually did an Academic Advising plan to get me through to graduation. And then I cried, because I’d have to take (at least) 12 hours in every semester (including summers) to graduate by FALL 2015. That’s three freakin’ years, y’all. AS A FULL TIME STUDENT. I .. am dubious.
  • So then I had this reality check with myself. Is taking 12 hours a semester really SO important that I need to kill myself for three years over it? Or can I just admit defeat and only take three classes a semester? Because, y’all. I am in the easy, core classes right now. Twelve hours is kicking my ass.
  • KIDS, GO TO COLLEGE WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG. THERE’S A REASON THEY RECRUIT YOU WHEN YOU’RE EIGHTEEN. YOU DON’T HAVE SHIT ELSE TO DO.
  • So, work. I suddenly long for the days when my biggest commitment was work. But it helps that I really do love my job, and I like the people I work with, and things could be WAY worse there. I just know I’ve hit a ceiling (ironically, due to my lack of education) that I can’t get past until I have a degree. Which is fueling my insane course-load.
  • After I posted last time about not having any time, my fabulous sister Gee offered to pick Tony up two afternoons a week. It should not make that much of a difference, but just being able to focus until 5:45 or later without feeling guilty about Tony made SUCH A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE. I studied, got caught up on work, and took a test.
  • One night last week, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed that I decided to take a night off. I wasn’t going to work or study or anything. I was going to sit and watch a movie. (Cabin in the Woods, which I OH SO HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Freaking amazing, that flick.) So I watched that movie, and enjoyed the hell out of myself, and then I went to bed. And woke up the next morning and realized I had missed the deadline on an assignment. BECAUSE I TOOK A BREAK. (I cried.)
  • I have a whole other post to write about exercise and weight. I KNOW, YOU’RE ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT.
  • I got moved to a new office at work, which was for no other reason than to consolidate and maximize available space, but my new office has a window, and it’s SO FREAKING AMAZING.
  • My employer has a yearly incentive program that supplies us with a pedometer, and if we log so many steps every day for a month, we get a giftcard for new shoes. Check these babies out.

  • On Sunday, after I’d finished two hours of homework, and before I started another three hours of homework, we all went off to our local pumpkin patch. It was a gorgeous day and I needed the fresh air, and even though we got lost in a corn maze for ALMOST AN HOUR, it was totally the best part of my weekend.

  • I leave you with a completely unrelated picture of Mabel after she was groomed last week. Mabel is now thirteen years old, and they have never ever put a bow on her. Ever. I squeeeeed like a fangirl when I picked her up. (The bow lasted all of ten minutes, but when you only have boys.. you’ll take what you can get!)

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When Momma’s the One With Homework.

If you were to ask me what the biggest challenge about school has been thus far, I’d say immature online platforms but if you dig further, I’d say: it forces me to take time for me.

Until I had to do this, until I had something that could not be done simultaneously, I never realized how hard it is for me to carve out time for me.

I always thought, “Oh, well, I run! That’s Me-Time!” Yeeaaaah.. okay, I got up early, before anyone was even awake, to run. Most times, I returned home before anyone was awake. That’s.. not really taking time for me. That’s using my own time in a different way.

But I don’t have that luxury any more. (Well, I mean, I haven’t run in weeks. I’m working a new gig at work that has me there by 6:30 a.m. three mornings a week and..) If I get up early, it’s around 4:30 a.m., so I can have dinner prepped (and cooking, in some cases) before I leave, and I leave before anyone else is awake.

Um, I think I need not explain how useless it is to try and get any schoolwork done in the afternoons. Rush to daycare before they close, hurry home, throw a snack at Tony, feed the many many animals, get dinner finished up, plate everyone.. yeah, it’s useless.

So evenings, then, right?

I try to wait until Tony is in bed, so that I’m not depriving him of parental time. But he usually hits the sack around 8:30 p.m. .. the first time. Then he’s up until 9:00, sometimes 9:15, trying to stall having to go to sleep.

Then he’s finally asleep. I could stay up and get some work done, but .. honestly, by 9:45, I am struggling to stay awake. And I need some time to unwind with my husband. It’s how I clear my head at the end of the day.

So the latest I can stay up is 10:30 p.m., but 1) I am not at my best by that point and 2) it kills me the next morning when the alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. Rinse and repeat, five times over.

All of this is to say that I’m having to ask for help, and man oh man, am I bad at that.

My parents graciously offered to take Tony on Friday night, which was AWESOME, and just what I needed. Bryan and I went and had an adult dinner (one without chicken fingers on the menu), and then we came home and chilled out in front of a movie. Then I hopped online and studied before taking a quiz.

WOO HOO, PARTAAAAY! But I needed that. I needed time that I didn’t feel was taking me away from someone else.

Sunday, Bryan took Tony swimming. For two hours. It was AMAZING. I worked for about an hour, and then caught up on my school planning for the week while running laundry circles.

These things feel downright luxurious when they happen, which .. which makes me think I am too hard on myself. I should ask for help when I need it. I should utilize my resources around me. I should share the joy that is The Boys. Also, Bryan is an AMAZING dad to his boys. I should let him do that.

I should not keep putting off Girls’ Nights Out because I feel guilty. Or hell, I should read a book that’s not a college requirement because I want to. While in the room with other people. I should not check my phone during my hair appointment; I schedule it midday so I have plenty of time to get Tony and no one should have a fire alarm while I’m there.

I should take time to do my homework and know that the world will not crumble around me if I do.

I should.

(.. I probably won’t.)

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Skulls & Stripes

Every year, around this time (but I think it might have been later last year), I sit down at my browser window and completely outfit the boys for the winter.

I do it one fell swoop, because it seems my boys grow at a rate of speed in perfect alignment with the seasons: come a new weather pattern, and they’ve grown a size. (Silly growing boys.)

In fact, even now, we’ve started pulling out our long-sleeved or long-pants pajamas and noticing that they’re a bit .. tight on Tony. His belly is on prominent display, even. (Oh, to be four again and not care that your belly is exposed! Or, to be my husband and not care that your belly is exposed! So, then, to be a man and not care that ..)

And while I will NEVER buy clothes for myself from this place, I do it all at Old Navy. Every year. I’ve spent more money on their boys departments than I have on cable in the last year. Here’s why I do it:

THEY HAVE NON-LOGO CLOTHING.

Logos are a personal pet-peeve of mine, because I remember growing up and being envious of Timberlands or Gap or whatever, because I? Was wearing KMart clothes. (Kathy Ireland line, if you MUST know.) And in the grand scheme of things, I really didn’t spend evenings agonizing over it or whatever, but it is something I remember.

(In fact, I remember when I was 18, my mom bought me a pair of Lucky jeans. I haven’t been able to wear them since I was .. probably 19, but NO KIDDING I just got rid of them LAST WEEK.)

So I am not really big into clothing being a loud-and-proud walking billboard for my kids.

Not only that, but Jack attends a private school where they 1) need to dress “church appropriate” once a week and 2) cannot wear anything with skulls on it. I don’t know if you’ve checked the boys’ section OH ANYWHERE lately, but the skulls? Overrun the clothes. (Along with dirt and bugs. They are on EVERYTHING.) In fact, I was just filling my car with the boys’ winter selections and I thought this pair of pants looked nice:

But then I happened to (luckily!) click on an alternate view and:

SOOPER SEKRET SKULLZ.

Also, I seem to have this obsession with stripes. I LOVE THE BOYS IN STRIPES. Well, it also makes everything look so much more pulled-together, you know what I mean? If I buy a shirt that’s got a couple of colors of stripes in it, chances are they can pair pretty much any pair of pants with it and it looks nice. That’s a nice reassurance when I have a four-year old who’s hellbent on matching.

My obsession is pretty obvious whenever we have family portraits done, isn’t it?

Courtesy Diana Klingler Photography

Courtesy Miss Zoot

Also, it is SO CUTE when THEY match. (Accidentally, on purpose.)

(I’m joining in on the stripey action here.)

I was telling someone this morning that while, sure, obviously, I’d love a daughter to play dress up with, I LOVE boys because they just wear whatever I buy for them! There’s no fighting or ego or anything (because I make them look GOOOOOOD), and then it’s just DONE.

I really had no point to any of this other than, Honey, expect some packages on the doorstep soon.

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To Every Morning Show Host, Everywhere.

Hi. I’m Sarah. In most cases, I’m your target demographic.

Let me tell you a little something.

I appreciate that you have a female co-host because, hey, I’m a woman and you’re trying to earn my drive time. I appreciate that you consider her the yin to your yang, the estrogen to your testosterone. I appreciate these things.

But you know? Women are, in general, pretty smart creatures. I feel comfortable making that generalization. Sure, we have the exceptions – OctoMom and Tanning Mom are a few recent not-so-stellar examples – but on the whole, we’re okay. I worked in radio for years and I feel comfortable saying that women in radio are pretty smart too.

So you should let them be that way.

It is a particular thorn in my side that every local morning show I have access to here has a female cohost. And that’s not the rub. The problem lies in the fact that her job is 1) to tell the time and weather after every break, 2) to laugh uproariously at her host and 3) to titter and giggle about “womanly” things.

I was scanning through on a drive to work this week and I heard the host slam another show – the syndicated show which his morning show replaced – and his version of slamming it included mocking their female cohost.

Um, sweetheart. Bob & Sheri may have not been local, but Sheri was a GODSEND to radio. She is quick, funny, admittedly dysfunctional, and (LORD FORBID) female. She talks about sex. She is open about her failures in life. She has kids and tells funny stories about them. She is AWESOME.

And by the way – new LOCAL morning show – prank calling folks for two hours is very 1985. You know why that format didn’t stick around? Because it purposefully makes someone the butt of your jokes. That’s a really shitty way to start someone’s day. It’s uncomfortable for the listener. It’s downright mean.

Oh, also. Say what you will about Sheri, but she does more than obnoxiously laugh and then hock diet drugs three times every commercial break.

So, guys. Us women? We came equipped with more than ovaries and boobs. We have brains too. And it doesn’t lessen your manhood to let a woman spar with you. And if she can’t hold her own in a spar with you? It’s not a good fit. And it’s not fun to listen to. Move her to the afternoon shift and try another cohost.

And for PETE’S SAKE. Stop the stupid prank calls. They weren’t even funny in ’85.

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