Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Exercise Endorphins

I have weight loss fantasies on a regular basis. They usually occur while I'm at the gym, listening to 90's hip-hop music. I guess it may have something to do with the exercise endorphins that we've all read about. I have always been suspicious of these endorphins. Do they really exist? Is it all just a scam to get us to buy gym memberships and Nike athletic wear? My predominant emotion when I exercise (pre iPod) was anger along with a running dialogue in my head that screamed, "When the hell is this torture going to be over?"

God bless my iPod. It has completely changed my workout attitude. I start jamming to Heavy D & the Boyz and completely forget that I am working out. I know I look like a fool because I do a little white girl dancing on the treadmill from time to time. I can't help it. Who can listen to Toni! Tony! Tone! and NOT sway their hips?

Back to the weight loss fantasies: Apparently exercise endorphins encourage elaborate delusions of beauty and fitness. It is not uncommon for me to imagine my reunion with an old friend after my inevitable dramatic weight loss. I like to imagine what jeans I'll be wearing and what they will say to me when they see the lesser me for the first time. I indulge myself in these fantasies on a regular basis and I usually look like a Barbie doll, complete with perky breasts, a tiny waist and the complete absence of a muffin-top.

Last Friday while on the treadmill, I was feeling great. My mind was going 100 miles an hour. I was thinking about my new body and how much better my life will be when my outside finally matches my inside. It was like watching a movie on fast forward. I couldn't catch all of it but I saw bits and pieces. I had to slam on the breaks when I saw some Mary Lou Retton moves and hit the fantasy rewind button. I slowed down the scenario and had to laugh at myself.

My deluded Barbie doll self was meeting an old friend for lunch. When I arrived at the restaurant to meet her, I walked in the front door and did a back handspring, a round off, a couple cartwheels and some aerial somersaults. I executed a flawless landing directly in front of her and nonchalantly shook her hand. My spry Barbie body not only gives me self-confidence, it also gives me super human gymnastic ability. When was the last time you saw a thirty two year old woman do a back hand spring? I learned two things from this incident:

  1. My expectations about weight loss are not at all based in reality.

  2. Exercise endorphins are not a Nike conspiracy. They exist and they are dangerous.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Femme Fatale

I have learned from experience that
anything on the TV or radio that is within earshot of my son will be heard,
pondered and internalized. This is why we don’t watch the news in my house, or
anything that might be construed as disturbing or scary. My son will hear it
and internalize it. My parents were not aware of the "no news" rule when the kids spent the night with them this weekend.

I’m not sure if he saw the entire news cast or just bits and
pieces but my son has been obsessed with an armed robbery that took place sometime
last weekend near my parent’s house. We have had a crash course in felony theft
in the Hale household this week.

What is armed robbery?

Why would someone rob
a gas station?

I didn’t know girls
could be robbers?

I wonder if that
robber lives near Grandma and Pop-Pop.

They didn’t catch her.
We’re supposed to look for her.

Since his sleepover we have seen the armed robbery suspect
no less than five times. Any woman walking along the street or standing on or
near the road is immediately thought to be the robber.

Son: There she is
Mommy. I think that’s her. Maybe we should call the police.

Me: Why do you think
that’s the robber?

Son: Because she looks
like the lady on the TV.

Me: What did the lady
look like?

Son: That (points to
suspect in question).

I have yet to find any similarities between the women that
we have identified as potential suspects other than the fact that they are all
women and they prefer walking to driving or riding the bus. Walking women of
the world, watch out! My son is onto you and your gun-wielding ways.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Live Active

Anyone seen this product? Is it cheese? Is it a laxative? Who knows? And who, in their right mind, is going to make the connection between
constipation and cheese?

I’m constipated. Hmmm…
I think I’ll head to the dairy aisle.

And why are these products always marketed to women? Are we
the only ones who ever experience irregularity?

Sorry. I'm done now.

Potty Prodigy

What is the most gratifying developmental milestone of early childhood? Potty training. It's an Tp
accomplishment for both child and parents and sets you free from the expense and the hassle of diapers and diaper bags. My daughter, who is not quite 2 and a half, is officially potty trained. I put her in panties last Monday and she has had one accident in the 9 days since. The "training" part of the process took all of 15 minutes. She wanted to wear those panties. She's my little potty prodigy! This whole experience is her little way of apologizing for waiting so long to walk and all of the anxiety it caused me. In your face early walkers!

On a related note, did you know that there is actually a PC term for potty-training? It's now called, "toilet learning." I guess the use of the term, "training" is somehow offensive.

Muffin Mission #2

Just yesterday, I had to explain what a muffin top was to my
husband. He was clueless and very skeptical of this new term. He contends with
gusto that I do NOT have a muffin top. Can’t you see why the home fires are still burning strong after 10 years
of marriage? He might be completely deluded but he’s a keeper. It’s clear from
my husband’s cluelessness that we have work to do.

Muffin Toppers of the world, it’s time to gain muffmentum
(is it me or does this sound a little dirty?). We’ve got to spread our message
of flattering fashion for all. If you’ve accomplished last
week’s mission
of tossing out an old pair of ill-fitting jeans, you are
ready to move on to mission number two. If you haven’t made it there yet, don’t
worry. You can cling to those jeans as long as you want. Just know that when
you are ready, we will be waiting for you in the wonderful world of clothes
that fit and flatter.

Here’s mission number two:

Community Service:
Seek out unsuspecting muffin toppers in your community and give your testimony
to them. You don’t have to insult them to make an impact. Take a friend along
and print two or three pamphlets out so that the unenlightened muffin topper thinks
you are community servants (you are!) and does not feel targeted. Take her
aside, explain your mission and tell her what the movement is all about.
Remember, you are doing her a service, one that she desperately needs whether
she knows it or not. Make sure you wear attractive, age-appropriate clothing to
ensure maximum effectiveness. We want people to see results, not just hear
about them. Keep in mind that it is quite possible that the muffin topper may
have no idea what a muffin top is, despite the fact that she could be a poster
child for the movement. We must be sensitive to this possibility. Some visual
aids might be just the ticket to bring the message home for the
as-yet-to-be-converted muffin toppers among us. Show her some before and after
pictures of yourself or someone else. Encourage her to spread the muffmentum by
telling her friends. Before you know it, muffin tops will be a thing of the past (or the small majority--we all know there are hopeless MT-ers out there).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Delicious Drama

If you haven’t been sipping mojitos under a rock somewhere
for the past few weeks, you know about Jessica Seinfeld’s new book, Deceptively Delicious. She’s made the
rounds on the talk show circuit, hitting the mother load (quite literally) with
her appearance on Oprah on October 8. Her book, which has been touted as borderline
revolutionary by some pretty powerful people, offers sneaky recipes that slip broccoli
and squash in under the radar in such dishes as chicken nuggets and brownies.

This is hardly a new idea to most moms out there. We’ve all
tried sneaking veggies in our kids’ food. I throw broccoli in my spaghetti
sauce and mix carrots with my rice, hoping beyond hope that my kids don’t
notice it and accidently slip some nutrients into their high-fructose corn
syrup-lined mouths. It has never crossed my mind to put vegetables in sweets so
I will give Mrs. Seinfeld props for that one. But should I?

Several days ago I was perusing my favorite blogs when I
read about the Amazon.com drama surrounding Deceptively
on Moving
Mama’s Blog
. The drama has elevated to a national level. Check out this
. Apparently a very similar cookbook entitled, The Sneaky Chef by a lesser-known Mary Chase Lapine, was released 6
months earlier. It appears Mrs. Seinfeld’s book was hardly revolutionary. It
was a redo, a second act. Deceptively
has topped the New York Times bestseller list and is on a sales
roll, hardly a surprise given Jessica Seinfeld’s coveted Oprah appearance.
Lapine’s fans are not happy. They feel slighted by
Oprah’s move to back Seinfeld’s book without giving any credit to it’s
predecessor.  Does anyone really think
that Jessica would have appeared on the show if her last name wasn’t Seinfeld?
Come on.

This isn’t Oprah’s first time down this road. Anyone
remember James
This is a much less sensitive situation but it still relates to
readers and their acute sense of justice and loyalty for the craft and
consumption of writing. I wonder if Oprah will address the controversy by
having both mom chefs on her show. Maybe they could have a kid cook-off. The
chef that sneaks the most veggies into an unsuspecting panel of toddlers wins
the bragging rights. Now that’s a show I’d watch!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Muffin Toppers Unite

I was talking to my friend Jacquelyn this afternoon and had an epiphany. Actually, she had the epiphany first and was kind enough to pass it on to me. Here it is:

We are not 21 years old anymore.

Sure, it sounds simple enough but it is quite profound. One look in my closet will reveal why: I have every conceivable shade of Old Navy T-shirts, several  graphic Tees, a couple thermal printed tops and a few button-downs that are just a little too snug to wear in public. Open up my pants drawer and you'll find a couple pairs of jeans that are low-riders with a couple flashy embellishments, some black stretchy pants and a few pairs of gouchos. I'm a thirty-two year-old mama with a muffin top living in the wardrobe of an impoverished college student. And it's not even a cool wardrobe for a college kid.

We've started a movement, Jacquelyn and I. It's the "Surrender the Fantasy" movement.

Note to any moms out there who are actually hot: go ahead and skip this paragraph. It was written specifically for the muffin-toppers among us.

We're throwing in our low-rise, muffin-top-encouraging jeans for some high-quality flattering alternatives. We're not talking Mom-jeans here (at least I'm not—Jacquelyn may be another story), just jeans with a reasonable waist line. Is that too much to ask? Also, we're trading our Old Navy T's (I can't part with mine yet but I'm going to make a concerted effort not to wear them 24 hours a day) for some blouses that might draw the attention away from the midsection rather than right to it.

The Surrender the Fantasy movement won't be easy but it will be rewarding. Join us!

Our goal for this week: pick one pair of jeans that you hold onto because they remind you of the body you used to have and donate them to Goodwill. I guarantee that it will be a liberating experience.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Announcements Announcements Announcements

I've got a few random musings today. First, my Halloween article was published and I am quite proud of it. It's the type of writing that I would like to do on a regular basis.

Second, I have been working on my personal website for the past few days and have published it. Check it out:


Please send me some feedback if you have any thoughts. My friends have informed me that I need more color.

Finally, my friend, Bianca Pierce, took some pictures of my kids this morning and managed to capture this shot:


Isn't it fabulous? The girl's got talent! Here's her website:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

There Oughta Be a Leash Law

So my friend Laura puts her kid on a leash. I told her that if I ever saw her out in public with her son attached to that stuffed-monkey-backpack-cleverly-disguised-as-a-leash I would judge her harshly. And I will. As long as she can keep the jerking-the-leash-to-make-the-kid-stop business to a minimum, I'll love her anyway. She's a great Mom and a good friend and I promised her I'd blog about her tonight. So, Laura, this one's for you.

Just don't be surprised if I give you a shock collar for a baby shower gift :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Conscientious Consumer

I was introduced to a new blogging term yesterday, meme. Wikipedia, the very pinnacle of reliable information, defines a meme as follows:

At its most basic, an Internet meme is simply the propagation of a digital file or hyperlink from one person to others using methods available through the Internet (for example, email, blogs, social networking sites, instant messaging, etc.). The content often consists of a saying or joke, a rumor, an altered or original image, a complete website, a video clip or animation, or an offbeat news story, among many other possibilities. An Internet meme may stay the same or may evolve over time, by chance or through commentary, imitations, and parody versions, or even by collecting news accounts about itself. It is spread organically and voluntarily on a peer-to-peer basis rather than by trickery, compulsion, predetermined path, or completely automated means.

Jennifer Neisslein posted this meme on her blog yesterday:

Here's how it works: post the directions on your blog, tell everyone who tagged you, answer the questions, and tag five or more people. That's it!

The purpose of this meme is to inspire some reflection about how we shop and what we purchase. The idea isn't that consumption itself is somehow bad, but that we all could probably stand to put a little bit more thought into what we buy. And, of course, it's supposed to be fun.

So here goes! Pick a recent shopping trip -- for clothes, shoes, groceries, doesn't matter. The only guideline is that it will be easier to play if you purchased at least a few things.

Now tell us, about your purchases:
1. What are you proud of?
2. What are you embarrassed by?
3. What do think you couldn't live without?
4. What did you most enjoy purchasing?
5. What were you most tempted by?
(This last one may or may not be an actual purchase!)

Given my recent obsession with my family's uncontrollable accumulation of stuff, I thought this would be a good exercise. The best version of myself is a conscientious consumer. I'm not the best version of myself yet but I hope to be soon. Here goes:

About my purchases:

  1. What are you proud of? The toys and clothes that I bought at yard sales last weekend. I put them in a storage bin and am saving them for Christmas.

  2. What are you embarrassed by? The number of Polo shirts hanging in my son's closet (why do I care so much about that damn horse?) To my credit, though, every one of them was bought at a consignment store or yard sale. I don't buy them new. It's still shameful. If I care then my son is going to care and I don't want that.

  3. What do you think you couldn't live without? My food processor. I love that thing.

  4. What did you most enjoy purchasing? The ingredients for a vanilla caramel cake that I made recently.

  5. What are you most tempted by? Anything with the word, "Clearance" written on it.

My grand conscientious consumer plans include more shopping at yard sales, doing my best to buy American made products—a REAL challenge, reusing and recycling everything and anything I can, purging myself and my family of wearable advertising (polos, GAP shirts, etc…), and shopping less at large retail chains. I have a long, LONG way to go.

Now, tell me about your purchases…

Monday, October 8, 2007

How to Prepare for a Yard Sale When Your Husband is a Pack Rat

  1. One
    word: roofies. If your husband is asleep, he can’t protest the fact that you
    are selling his pewter flask from the 1992 wedding he was in, despite the fact
    that the couple is now divorced.

  2.  If
    you have an ethical problem with number one, consider turning on one of his
    favorite television shows. For my husband, this would be the History Channel or
    the World Series of Poker. If he is in visual range of either of these
    programs, he falls into a trance-like state. This creates the perfect
    opportunity to slip his Dwight Shrute-esque short-sleeved dress shirts out the
    front door and throw a price sticker on them.

  3. Give
    him choices. Tell him that he has to choose between one of two items to sell.
    The choice between his dress shoes from 6 years ago (“All they need is a little
    polish.”) and the darth vader carrying case from his childhood might be a
    difficult one but at least you can bid farewell to one thing.

  4. Use
    reason. Sure, a non-working avocado green refrigerator might be difficult to
    part with but if you can tout the virtues of a
    faux-stainless-steel working refrigerator, perhaps you can convince your husband to haul
    the old one out of the garage.

  5. When
    all else fails, bribe him. We all have a price and men’s seems to be fairly
    universal. It might just be worth a little bartering to get rid of the 5 x 8
    watercolor he painted in his college dorm room during his long hair hippie

Friday, October 5, 2007

Faux Potatoes

Whose bright idea was it to create “healthy mashed
potatoes?” Isn’t that an oxymoron? Anyone who tells you that, when blended to
the right consistency, cauliflower is a dead ringer for good ol’ fashion
russets is a liar.

Mashed potatoes are a delicacy that should not be forsaken.
They are usually the first sampling of “real food” that babies have the pleasure of tasting. They are a
Thanksgiving staple and they can be made an infinite number of ways dependant
upon the herbs and spices added, the variety of potato, the presence of skin,
texture and the ratio of milk and butter. No matter how you make them, mashed
potatoes are magically delicious.

Low-carbers of the world take notice: feel free to eat
mashed cauliflower to your hearts’ content, just spare us the diet-speak. You and
I both know that no matter how much cream cheese and garlic you throw in the
mix, blended cauliflower tastes like cauliflower. God help the poor soul who
serves me mashed cauliflower with my Thanksgiving turkey.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Po Po Zow!

It’s official. Britney lost custody of her kids. They will
now be placed in the capable hands of Kevin Federline. Here’s a man who has
fathered four children (that we know of) with two different women (that we know
of). He frequents strip clubs and wears a fedora on a regular basis. What is
the world coming to?

We can all learn something from Britney’s mistakes:

  1. Don’t marry a man whose ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant with his second child.

  2. Don’t immediately have children with said man.

  3. Never add the name, “Paris Hilton” to your list of friends. If you do, seek counseling immediately.

  4. Never talk to a man in a fedora. Really, what good can come of it?

  5. Listen to your Mama.

  6. If the man you are slated to marry shows up at the rehearsal in a shirt with the word, “PIMP” embroidered on it, call off the wedding immediately.

  7. Stay away from the Hennessy and wacky weed after you pop out your first kid.

  8. Always wear panties. No exceptions.

This is, by the way, the speech that I plan to give my
daughter when she reaches adulthood. I should probably copyright it but I have
decided, out of the goodness of my heart, to offer it to each of you. Feel free
to copy and paste it and use it for your own family’s needs.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Delusions of Craftiness

In a rare moment of crafty mom energy, I helped my kids put
together a “Happy Halloween” banner. Don’t give me too much credit. It came
from one of those foam cut out kits and took very little creativity. My kids
love that stuff though and making things with them provides me with the pleasant
illusion that I am, in fact, a crafty mom. We got out our glue and attached the
ghosts, pumpkins and witches to the ribbon. Once it dried, we ceremoniously
hung the banner on our living room mantle.

It greets us in all of its Halloween splendor each morning.
Normally, this would be a pleasant experience but my son has a meltdown every
morning when he finds out how far away Halloween is.

Five weeks? But that’s a long time. Halloween’s NEVER
going to get here.

32 Days? Mommy, why did we put the decorations up? It
never gets any closer.

Every day it is the same reaction. I do my best to ignore
his dramatic body movements. He typically falls to his knees and drops his
hands by his side in an exasperated way as if I just told him that Santa Claus
didn’t exist. The banner has been up for one week today and I tried to tell him
the good news this morning that Halloween was seven days closer than it was a
week ago. It didn’t go over very well.

I’ve considered taking the banner down to avoid confrontation but I really like it.
I feel like giving myself a pat on the back every time I walk by it. What a
good Mom I am! What a crafty lady! I’m going to have to suck it up and take the
good with the bad, completely ignore my son’s ridiculous tantrums and seriously
consider putting up the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. If he’s this excited
about trick or treating I can only imagine how he’s going to react when he’s
greeted by the Christmas tree every morning.