the gregarious homebody

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rated C for Childhood

My son and I recently had a conversation about a video game that he wanted to purchase. The description of the game was fairly tame but I noticed that it was rated , T for Teen. Since my son is 12 I understand that those days of E for Everyone might be long gone but still I needed to know why it got that rating. "Don't worry Mom," said son. "It's only rated like that for some violence." "Okay," I replied. "As long as there's no sex."

HUH?! I thought of this conversation later when I was at the movie theater seeing Rob Zombie's Halloween and was seated behind a girl who was maybe 5 years old. My friend Lynn and I were indignant about the mother's parenting skills. WHO would allow a little kid to see such violence?

I guess the answer is me.

I was watching some English TV interview show (can't remember the name) and the host was saying how funny it was that in America it was totally decadent and immoral to show nudity on TV but it's typical to show violence. So true. Why am I more worried about sex than violence when it comes to my own child?

I guess the easy answer is that *everybody* eventually has sex and that includes (gulp) my son. Wouldn't want him to do that too soon, would I? Wouldn't want to encourage his burgeoning sexuality...But showing him violence, as long as it's not too bad won't influence him. Not my son. He'd never hurt someone as a result. Maybe not. I'm not someone who thinks that lyrics to a song or seeing a violent act turns a normal person into a serial killer. But why would I allow him to see any violence and more than I'd let him see an explicit sex scene?

I don't have any answers. I'd love to keep him in some kind of childhood bubble where everyone is always good, where you can be a kid for a long, long time. But I can't do that. He's on the cusp of mini adulthood and I'm just trying to do my best to help him navigate his way through. Maybe instead of taking him to see *Wanted (like the person in front of me did with her 7 year-old-looking kid) we'll rent Juno instead. And talk about it later.


*By the way, Wanted was highly entertaining if a tad silly (just a tad). And you know I love me a "diminutive Scot."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stuff that Makes Me Giggle

my favorite part of the description is "Ambulatory cadaver."

Know what's really funny? I HAVE a laundry/sex slave! HA!


This handsome boy is Chuck and they are constantly putting stuff on his head! I admit I'm easily amused.

If you are too, check out the Daily Chuck segment on Heather Armstrong's site.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Recipe (sort of)

So I'm doing this cleanse thing and I'm really wanting a bowl of cereal (and not some rice thing...we have Life in the house! Yum!) so I thought I'd go to my beloved standby, oatmeal. I could eat oatmeal every day, twice a day, but I always make it with a half-milk, half-water mixture and I always add more milk and brown sugar when it's done. The idea of oatmeal with no sugar does not appeal and I was sure I would miss the creaminess of the milk.


I substituted Silk soy creamer (and don't tell me there's some residual sweetener in there. I KNOW, but it's residual, NOT substantial, okay?) for the milk and didn't add any after it was cooked. AND since I couldn't dump my usual huge amount of brown sugar on it, I added a chopped apple and a good dose of cinnamon. AND IT WAS DELICIOUS! Making it in the microwave was new too because I love the thick texture I get cooking it on the stove. In the microwave the oats were perfectly cooked but it was soupier than usual, which helped because I didn't want to add any cold creamer (yuck!) after it was cooked.

Right now, right after eating it, I feel satisfied but not too full. But I'm wondering if I'll get the "pancake shakes" an hour from now. My mom and I could never eat pancakes or oatmeal without some kind of big protein or we would feel shaky and weird later (not that something like that would've stopped us if no protein was around!). Since I'm sure the "shakes" had to do with the amount of sugar involved in eating both items, I wonder if it won't happen since I didn't add any real amount of sugar.

So, if I haven't totally lost you by now, and if you have some kind of lactose or sugar issue, here's the recipe:

No -Animal- or Sugar Cane -was -Harmed Oatmeal for One
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup water
1/2 Silk soy creamer
2 pinches kosher salt

Combine in a microwave safe bowl (make sure it's on the big size so there's no ooze-over). Cook on 50% power, for 2 minutes. Take out of oven.
1 apple, diced (I left the peel on)
2 good dashes cinnamon

Put back in micro and cook for 2-3 minutes again on 50% power. Stir and eat (will be very hot!)

**Addendum: I got the pancake shakes anyway about an hour later. Maybe it's not the amount of sugar I usually put on it but the lack of protein thing. Any ideas? Fakin' Bacon does not appeal to me. Shocking!

***P.P.S. I had a good Cleanse Day and then watched my kids dish out some homemade Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream for themselves to eat while watching Harry Potter. WHY did I make this ice cream THIS WEEK? Well, yes, I had a very small bowl, but I ate it "consciously." Does that count??

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm not sure if my PMS is to blame, or if it's because I haven't had ANY SUGAR or ANIMAL PRODUCTS or GLUTEN all day, but I just boo-hooed my way through Once. I've had this movie from Netflix for a couple weeks, waiting for the right time when I was in *the mood* to watch it. I guess because it was an indie and I'd heard the *story surrounding the movie, I wasn't sure if it would be too indie for me. I mean, I went to a performing arts college and had enough weirdo avante garde stuff to last me a lifetime (never mind that I married a man who lives for that crap!). But I saw the two actors accept the Oscar for the song and they were so genuine that I thought it would probably be good.

Anyhoo, HH is away, kids were in bed and the 46' HD tv was ALL MINE. And it was lovely. The actors were sweet and funny and engaging (and the guy reminded me so much of younger Irisher Hugh Laurie which only added to the enjoyment). The story was simple and real. And the music. Wow. I don't purchase the music in my family, but tomorrow I'm going to our fab CD store (right there on the map!)and buying the soundtrack. It's that good. And even though I cried through most of the movie, it's because it's touching and uplifting. And just....just lovely. See it.

*if you've been under a rock or if you just have a life and don't know the story behind Once, here it is in a nutshell. It was filmed on a shoestring with the actors wearing their real clothes and those "actors" weren't even actors but just musicians who really wrote the music. They had almost no money for distribution but word of mouth carried it along. It ended up getting the Best Song Oscar AND to cap it all off, the two lead characters fell in love FOR REAL while filming the movie. You gotta love that.
**6/24/08-I bought the soundtrack--FABULOUS--and came home and googled Glen Hansard (guy in the movie). Turns out he was in a movie before and it was The Commitments! One of my favorites from my college years. I still wouldn't call him an Actor with a capital A. He's a musician who occasionally acts, I think. And thank goodness he grew into his eyes--check him out on . His character's name was Outspan Foster.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saw The Love Guru yesterday with the family. I'm apparently less concerned about PG-13 ratings with my daughter than I was with my son. Dick jokes just don't freak me out I guess. And it was approached in such a silly, nonsexual way, that I thought Who cares? Her brother's got one, her dad does. And, let's face it, they're funny!!

Anyhoo, we loved it. It was one of those movies where you laugh and laugh and just feel good. Stupid, sweet, visually appealing. Loved it. 4 thumbs up!

A key aspect of the movie that completely went over my kids' head was all the self-help stuff. Mike Meyers totally nailed Deepok Chopra's soothing voice and self-affirming bullet-points. It occurred to me later that anyone born after 1970 doesn't remember a time without this movement. We've become a nation of people who self-analyze, who try to improve, we look inside, while eating more junk and abusing drugs than ever before. And I'm no different. While I laughed my ass off about the silliness of it all, I couldn't help myself from thinking, 'Hmmm...he does have a point' while simultaneously realizing it's being made fun of and laughing at it myself.

And the real kicker is that after enjoying the movie and some Indian food afterwards, I got in my comfy reading chair and started reading my new book by Kathy Freston, 'Quantum Wellness', and I wasn't even being ironic.

The book has all the regular lines: Look inside, Act consciously, Exercise (and I'm already doing that!) blah blah blah, but I've got to say that if Heather Armstrong, who is probably one of the most delightfully cynical people in the blogosphere (I've ALWAYS wanted to use that word), thinks it might be valid, it's probably worth giving a whirl. I've recently gone on an antidepressant that's supposed to, in conjunction with my anxiety medicine, help me with my OCD issues with eating. So far, and I'm a month into it, all it's done for me is give me dry mouth and take away the Big O. And they call this an *anti*depressant!

So if there's a chance of me getting a handle on things through *detoxification* and a 21-day *cleanse*, why the hell not? I'm usually the first to say OH MY GOD COME ON, but I think I've reached some kind of tipping point. I want to look better. I want to feel better. Maybe giving up alcohol (easy), caffeine (easy), dairy (easy), gluten (uh-oh), sugar (!), and animal products (GASP!) for 3 weeks will help me get over some kind of hurtle and into a better place.

And eating 24 peanut butter-filled Hershey kisses, shockingly, hasn't worked so far.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paddling my own canoe (with a little help from my friends)

I like to think of myself as someone who doesn't necessarily follow the crowd in the decisions I make, whether it be the Big Life Choices or the itty bitty ones like the clothes I wear or the music I listen to. While I'm no renegade (my daring does are more of the small kinds rather than the big fuck-yous), those who know me well tell me they admire my swagger and the fact that my opinions may not always be popular but they're always mine.

And then sometimes I realize I'm full of shit.

There are people who I know who make me feel small, that make me second-guess what I'm wearing, what I'm saying, who I am. When I'm with them I think that if I were more like them, I would be happier...cooler...someone who people would point at and say, "She's awesome!" And I hate them a little even though they're usually perfectly nice people, completely unaware of my feelings because they aren't doing anything, really, to make me feel this way. They're just bopping along, being themselves.

Some people bring out the worst in ourselves, some by making us act in a way that isn't us at all, and some by making us feel things that we thought we had gotten rid of in middle school, or at least buried down deep deep inside.

And then there are the people who make us shine. I have a few of them in my life and when I'm with them, I feel great. Cared for, loved, and comfortable enough to say if I'm feeling insecure. Safe enough to know that if I act like a jerk, they'll be there when I get over myself. Confident enough to realize that, if they tell me I'm being a jerk, it's most likely because they're worried about why I'm being such an asshole.

Thank god there are still those feelings of Best Friends Forever along with all those other middle school ones. I worried that those kind of strong friendships didn't happen in adulthood, that everyone was supposed to be too grown up to need them. They may not have the everyday drama of those years (thank god!), but they are often the stuff that holds me up and keeps me believing in myself.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I did it!

Well, sort of...

Okay, almost.


Okay, maybe half of it.

No amount of motivational thinking ("RUN, fat ass, RUN!") could keep me running the whole way. I just plain old got tired. The humidity really got to me and I had to walk 3 times. BUT, I am really really proud to say that I did NOT take a short cut (oh bridge, how you tempted me...) and I finished running at my best speed.

I am also proud that even though I was dog-tired, I was not totally out of breath. Now that may sound strange, like, if you weren't out of breath, obviously you could've kept running. But my thinking is that I was not out of breath too badly because, oh my god, maybe I'm actually getting into shape!!! This is amazing in itself because even when I was swimming 40 laps 3 times a week, other forms of exercise (like the extremely strenuous Walking Up Stairs event) used to make me get out of breath.

So I'm calling this a SUCCESS.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wish Me Luck (or at least clean underwear)

Tomorrow's the day! My first 5K. I am hope hope hoping I get a burst of energy and actually run the whole thing. Stacy says I'll see all the other fat asses running and that'll spur me on. A girl can hope....

B and P

I've been absent awhile because, frankly, there's been nothing interesting or engaging to write about. Needless to say, the kids are home for the summer! My days consist of throwing food to the savages, cleaning up after the savages, and yelling at the savages. I love my kids, but there really should be a halfway house between school and home when the summer starts. They need to get used to having no structure and I need to gear up to have them here. ALL THE TIME.

That being said, I was looking forward to the only tiny little vacation we had planned this year. M is horse-crazy and I am always stoking my dreams of living on a little farm, so we decided to go to Lancaster County and stay at horse farm B & B. Friends of ours had stayed at an Amish farm (in some pretty nice modern digs, not attached to the family's farmhouse) and had a great time helping out with some light chores--collecting eggs, feeding the animals--and eating a traditional country breakfast in the family's home. I love this kind of experience because you get all the good stuff about a rural life with none of the heavy lifting.

Anyway, we left on the hottest day of the year so far, with M about to burst with excitement about seeing the foals that had just been born a few weeks before and S, though he's nursing a pretty yucky cough, excited about going to Hershey Park the next day. Handsome Husband was just glad to not be at work.

What we found when we got there was a lovely but extremely cluttered farm with poorly cared-for horses and a house that smelled like cat pee.

It was horrible. We walked into the kitchen (which was about 100 degrees with fans blowing around) and a wall of cat stink hit us. Did I mention that the owners also breed Himalayans?

Thank god the owners weren't there (we were greeted by someone I guess was the chambermaid--who knows? She never introduced herself) because there was NO mistaking my HOLY SHIT expression. All I could think of was that we were paying $175 a night for CAT PISS?!

We decided to walk around a local CVS until the owner gets back so we can check in (a completely charmless corporate hotel is sounding better and better, isn't it?) and I am freaking out inside. Where do I start? All I could think was it's 98 fucking degrees and, walking past some of the guest cottages they have on the property, I noticed some windows open. Why is this bad? Because it's 98 fucking degrees outside and windows should be closed if there is air conditioning on. OH. MY. GOD. Not only is there a cat pee smell that could peel wallpaper, THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING!

Shockingly (if you know him), HH was the picture of calm. I'm all "should we go back?! WHAT are WE GOING TO DO?? and he just says "Let's just see."

Thankfully, the room was lovely and yes, it was air conditioned with a window unit. The bathroom, although carpetted, was nice and everything was very clean. Jesus was EVERYWHERE in the room, but hey, the owner is a Mennonite minister, so who am I to judge?

So we all breathe a sigh of relief and S and I lie down on our beds. His cough seems to have gotten progressively worse and he falls asleep almost immediately. S NEVER naps. He's 12 years old and, even when dog-tired, he figures he's missing out on something if he's sleeping. But maybe a nap will make it better. So I fall asleep too because, after all, I am The Grand Napmaster. M goes outside to see the horses and HH reads. All is good.

Then I wake up. My leg on the side that I have been sleeping is covered in little tiny itchy bumps. S is coughing his head off, M is telling us that the horses aren't cleaned up after properly so they eat their own poop, and HH is looking concerned about S's cough. And I swear I smell cat pee.

LONG story short, we enjoyed a nice dinner at a Philly chain called Iron Hill Brewery (highly recommend!), went to see the new Adam Sandler movie (stoopid but funny--sort of recommend), went back to the B & P. We left the next morning to come home because poor S now had a fever AND a nasty cough and I can smell cat pee. No Hershey Park. No gathering of eggs. No rural bliss. Not even a fucking breakfast because who can eat in a dining room that smells like cat pee?

As M said on the ride back home,

"Best vacation EVER."

Sunday, June 1, 2008


My running morale is at an all-time low. I've gotten to the 5-minute mark--hell, I've even run for 7 minutes straight--but I'm having trouble consistently completing a 2 1/2 mile run. How am I ever going to run for the whole 5K?

Today I felt like I was going to barf after I got to my halfway mark so I walked. I started to run again but I think I had comvinced myself that I was indeed going to barf so I stopped again. Maybe it's time I got a running buddy. I've been quick to stop lately and if I'm honest with myself, I'm not sure if I'm really needing to stop or if I'm just being a baby. While I was running today I was even entertaining the idea of just not showing up for the 5K since there's no way I can do it. How's that for motivational thinking??

Nieghbor Bob said he'd run the 5K with me. Maybe the thought of me looking like a dork in front of him by walking some if it will spur me on to do it that day. I think I need some peer pressure.


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