Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween?

Can I make a confession here? There are very few things that I hate, but I'm afraid that I hate Halloween. I hate the candy overload. I hate the scary, spooky, ugly, decaying decorations. I hate that Satan has his own holiday and it's bigger than Christmas. I hate spending hours (and hours) creating costumes so my kids will be as cute as the neighbors' kids, only to have my very cute kids chuck the costumes at the last minute and wear something that was in the dress-up box already.

However, they almost always come up with great ideas from the box, so maybe what I should start doing is this: I'll tell them I've worked for many, many hours perfecting the best family of themed costumes ever and that we're going to be the hit of the season. Then they will get to work fifteen minutes before trick-or-treat time and make themselves dazzling with whatever they find wrinkled up in the basement.

Hey -- I may be on to something here...

So this year, the homemade costume line-up is as follows:
Ellie is a vampire, costume from the dress-ups, teeth $.65, white-face make-up $.75
Katie is a Star-Bellied Sneech, ala Dr. Seuss, costume -- my yellow t-shirt and hoodie, borrowed yellow sweats, paper star and funky hair.
Jana is a princess, wearing Grandma Bolton's gorgeous silvery formal from the '50s and a pair of fake eyelashes $2.99
Matthew is a Newsie, specifically Les, the small cute one. He's wearing his own brown pants and shoes, a long-sleeved shirt, a vest from the dress-up box, and Kate's brown corduroy hat. I didn't even have to buy a newspaper for him to hawk (**cough, cough** "Buy me last pape, lady?") because there was one in the garage.

Happy Halloween, anyway!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I woke this morning from a dream. I was pregnant with twins (a boy and a girl). I had a routine doctor's visit, and he said, "How about we give you an ultrasound?" I asked him why, and he shrugged -- as if everyone got one of those. So we did. And I saw the babies, sitting up, side by side. The technology was far superior to any ultrasound I'd had before. It was like looking at a photograph. I could tell by their faces that one was a boy and one was a girl. I left the doctor's office determined not to let my pregnancy show, as though I could help it. I show at conception, I assure you. And I knew that I couldn't tell Scott yet -- he's just not ready to handle this news.

When I woke up and told him my dream, he said, "You really shouldn't hold other people's babies at parties anymore."

Men. What do they know?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The D-Word

Okay, so I'm trying this new thing. As previously disclosed, I'm a couple inches too short for my pounds. Now I've decided that the height is not likely to change. And it's not like I'm morbidly obese, or even unhealthy. I'm in decent shape, although riding a scooter with Matthew the other day was more terrifying than I was prepared for it to be. And I can run (to rescue a child from traffic). But there's a number on the scale that I'd rather not be over, and I'm totally over. (But by less than 10 pounds, she adds, justifying.)

So I've tried some things. There was a summer that I didn't eat any refined sugar. That meant, among other things, no white bread, no cereal, no spagetti sauce, no ice cream (!) -- and I lost enough pounds to feel great. But there's no such thing as Christmas without Butter Toffee (with or without the chocolate, but don't forget the almonds). And let's not even talk about what bad company I was, where even salad dressing was off The List. No fun at all.

The next summer (I'm sensing a pattern, here) was the Wheat-Free Experiment. A well-meaning dermatologist informed me that my disgusting eczema-hands were most likely a reaction to a food allergy, and that most people who have a food allergy have it toward wheat. So no flour. At all. For three months. No bread. No pasta (whimper). No crackers, no croutons, no pancakes, no waffles. Then I finally got in to see the Very Busy Allergist for a series of pokes up my arms, only to have him tell me that I'm not allergic to anything I'm likely to eat (we didn't really go into the cats-and-ragweed discussion at that time). Except maybe corn. Just a little.

This may not sound like any kind of disaster, but if you'll notice, the things I declined to eat for the previous summers did not include buttered popcorn. So I'm saying that what kept me from shouting with deprivation was good, buttery popcorn, and lots of it. And now, of course, the popcorn habit is rejoined by ice cream, pizza, and the occasional bag of cinnamon bears.

I've found that I can go long without chocolate, even though I'm capable of telling the difference between good chocolate and the other kind (meaning, of course, really great chocolate). But when I need comfort food, bring on the hot, buttered, white starch. Homemade rolls. Soft pretzels. Rice. Mashed potatoes. And plenty of popcorn. Bagels, biscuits, breadsticks, english muffins, crepes, even scones (but only once or twice a year -- a girl has to have some limits).

But it is time to change some things around here. Above all, I need to be a good example to my kids. My girls need to see me being healthy, happy and strong (as opposed to anorexic or can't-get-off-the-couch heavy). And so I've started this new thing. I'm not really calling it a diet, because that's sort of a bad word to me. I am eating (for three days) very lean proteins and an unbelievable amount of raw vegetables. It only took one day for me to get sick of baby carrots. I'm making great salads, though.

And then, after the three days, I will follow a simple plan (not so much diet) that lets me eat almost anything that's real (meaning fairly close to its natural state) food. Except butter. And cream. And pretty much anything else that's white. So I'm not saying that it's going to be easy, but it is simple. Plan ahead. Buy real food, mostly plants. Eat at home. Prepare to say no. Fill up on garden food. As the pounds go down, reward with stashing money away for good pants (and shoes, and maybe a new purse -- not that I need to have smaller thighs for that, but I can dream).

I'm not really planning to ever be a skinny woman. I have great, healthy bones (bigger than some women's whole selves), and I don't need to be skinny. Fit, yes. In the safe numbers, definitely. Satisfied -- well, soon.

Who needs Butter Toffee, anyway?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Do you ever have days when you just KNOW that you should do it all yourself and save the hassle of fielding telephone calls all afternoon? Yeah -- delegating is not my strong suit. Apparently I lack the ability to give details concrete enough to get the easy jobs done. How much time/effort/energy did I actually save by NOT doing my own -- let's just say, hypothetically -- carpool? Hmmm. Maybe there's something to learn here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What did I think I would be?

If Life As I Live It isn't quite what I had planned, what was I expecting? What did I honestly think would be my lot? There was a time in the eighties that I was convinced I would marry someone who played the saxophone. Instead I got the guy with the world's greatest talent for buying good music online. I always knew I wanted to be a wife and a mom (in that order, thank you very much). But somehow I was pretty sure I'd get a basketball team of five boys. Hmmm. My first three kids are girls, and that is so absolutely the perfect way for it to be (not what I planned, but wonderful despite me). Then I prayed Matthew here. I tell him that regularly -- that I had a little talk with God and told Him I'd be perfectly happy to do this (motherhood thing) again as long as I got a boy for it. And he is being raised by the three cutest mothers anywhere -- his sisters. They are doing their best to make him a sensitive, gentle, smart Jedi/Ninja/Gunfighter.

Which leads me to another thing I planned -- no weapons in our home. Yeah. That's gonna work. Everything becomes a weapon in the hands of a kid who desires a weapon. Such as (and I am not making any of these up): clothes hangers, paper towel rolls, knitting needles (the girls', I don't knit), staplers, markers, kitchen utensils in all shapes and sizes, fingers, phones, carrots, bouncy balls, scarves, remote controls, marbles and (shudder) books. So we gave in and now own a full arsenal of all the finest plastic instruments of death and torture.

I always thought I'd have a headboard, but that (among other things) falls firmly under the budget category of Furniture We Don't Need.

I planned to reach 5'10" and finally be tall enough for all my pounds. (But I have to say, when the sun's behind me and my shadow is 15 feet long, I look GREAT!)

I'd pretty much assured myself that I would be competent at maintaing a savings account. Oops.

But on the other hand, I always thought I'd have a sweet, handsome, supportive husband. CHECK.
I planned on brilliant children. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.
I figured I'd write books, get them published, and hear people telling me I'm fabulous. CHECK. CHECK. (Always waiting on that last part.)
I thought I'd be the mom who makes bread and ice cream and grows tomatoes in the summer. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.
I just knew that my kids would love to be obedient. (Can we put a check on three out of four? That's still WAY above the curve.)

So I will probably always make plans. And someone, watching benignly from The Universe, will shake his head and chuckle. But the things that matter, the ones that will bring real happiness, they come through. Every day. CHECK.