Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

What comes to mind when you think of the term ‘Stepmother’? I’ll tell you what comes to my mind…younger woman who replaces an aging mother and wife; breaking apart the happy family and stealing the husband and father away. Evil. Home wrecker. Unfair. Rules with an iron fist. Unloving. Caustic.


I became a step mom at a young age; 23 years old to be exact. My stepdaughter was 7 and my stepson was 5 years old. The Detective was 31 at the time were married and that made me the younger woman. He was reeling from a failed marriage and the guilt he felt was still fresh when it came to his 2 young children. I was in college, just learning to be independent and barely out of my own parents house. I had gone from living alone in an apartment, going out whenever and where ever I wanted to being a wife and a mother figure to boot. I had no clue what I was doing. Far from the picture of evil maliciousness; I was just a kid myself. It was like Smurfette trying to fit in with the cast from Guiding Light. I was outnumbered and quite frankly; outwitted.

Over the course of 4 or 5 years we gradually became a bonded family. We adjusted at what seemed at the time to be a ridiculously slow rate but looking back it was pretty average. I had moments of intense happiness when I would get a hug from one of the kids to moments of incredibly dark sadness when one of them would scream at me that “You aren’t my mom!” or “I hate you!”. I hated myself sometimes too. I hated that I had thought for one second that I was smart enough or confident enough to be a step mom.

When we would go somewhere as a family and people would refer to me as the kids “mom” it was inevitable that someone would correct them. I look nothing like the rest of my family anyhow, they being blond and light and me, being brunette and dark. After a few years, I was able to joke around and say that people took me for their nanny. When people would find out that I was their step mom they sometimes struggled to hide their surprise. I could practically hear the thoughts running through some women’s heads as they stepped back and clutched their own children and husband to their side; like I was some temptress that had come to steal away their families if they looked away for 5 seconds.

It was hard enough to have outsiders react that way when they found out what my title was. I felt like I was an afterthought within my own family too. It was years before I felt that I actually belonged. I had to make a conscious decision to become part of my family. There were many times I built walls up that harmed me, my husband and my stepchildren. It’s hard to love someone else’s children as if they were your own because you are reminded everyday that they are not yours. You have no power to make decisions for them. You have no right to them in any way. You can sacrifice everything and give your entire self to them and you will never be anything more than their “other mother”. The other woman. The home wrecker. No matter how incorrect that assumption might be; it seems to always be the first thought for the average person.

I’ll tell you what though…I wouldn’t change a thing. I love my step kids. They have helped form who I am as a person and as a parent.

Bonus: I haven’t given either of them a poison apple OR enchanted them so that they pricked their finger on a deadly spinning wheel on their 16th birthday. Then again, my youngest stepchild is only 15 so I still have time to live up to that “Evil Stepmother” title.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Love And Marriage

Today is October 27th, 2010. That's 9 years since the day that The Detective and I were married.

In the last 9 years so much has happened. We went from being 23 and 31 year olds to a 32 and 40 year old. In between the years passing we bought our first home together, dealt with a job change and then a lay off and then another job with terrible hours, we met new friends and said good-bye too early to some...we created a beautiful little girl together, and we learned what it was like to co-parent a young man and a young lady who grew up too fast and left us hoping that we gave them just enough freedom balanced with just enough boundries to keep them feeling secure in themselves and in us.

The Detective went from only knowing how to cook Hamburger Helper to knowing how to cook Hamburger Helper AND tacos. I went from having to kill spiders myself to having HIM kill spiders...while I run screaming from the room, of course.

Oh, how we've grown! *sigh*

Happy Anniversary to the man that annoys me the least...most of the time. *grin*

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Be Yourself. Those Who Mind Don't Matter And Those Who Matter Won't Mind.

A conversation with an old friend today got me thinking about how very difficult it is to just be myself. you read that right: It's hard sometimes to just be me. Plain old me. As I get older though, I've found that it's become easier and easier to be myself. As I chatted back and forth with my friend about some insecurities he was having; I found myself telling him to just be himself.

"Just be yourself. You're great."

It sounds so simple but in reality it's as easy as trying to put a 2 year old down for a nap after you've fed him a chocolate bar and a gallon of Mountain Dew. Almost impossible. Unless you have patience and accept that it's not always smooth sailing.

I have some close friends who love me and my quirks. Like the fact that I laugh too loud, make strange Tourettes pterodactyl sounds, and support me through every single one of my strange obsessions. These are the people who have been with me long enough to see the real me...the me that I keep under wraps upon meeting new people for fear that they won't like who I truly am.

I was recently slapped in the face , hypothetically of course, with the fact that I don't come off as a friendly person. ME?! I always thought that I was friendly, polite...but I was told by someone that I just recently met that I come off as stand-offish...mean, even. They rushed on to tell me that that couldn't have been farther from the truth but the damage was already done.

Wow. I  have to admit...my feelings were hurt. I wasn't upset with this person in any way but I was upset with myself. It had taken me 32 years to get to a point where I felt confident and comfortable with myself and it took 30 seconds to destroy that foundation that I struggled to build. I know that the person telling me this wasn't trying to hurt me but...it stung. I obsessed over this for days. I asked The Detective over and over again what I had done to make that impression on people....

"Maybe it's because it takes you a while to really open up to new people?"

I don't know the answer to that, I don't know if I ever will. What I do understand now is how wrong a first impression of someone can be and how insecurities about revealing your true self can be such burdens. It brings to mind the old saying: "Don't judge a book by it's cover."

I can't change my "cover" but I have a pretty good story to tell if you just give me a chance. This experience has taught me that I need to slow down with my assumptions about other people....everyone should.

Above all else: "Be yourself! Those who mind don't matter and those who matter won't mind!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sushi, Shenanigans, and Surprises

While I was out on the beautiful East coast, I was surprised by some of my wonderful, supportive, and beautiful friends. This group of friends is very special to me. We met just a mere 1 year or so ago on a fitness website called My Fitness Pal. It was then that I was invited to joint their private and very privileged email list. We go back and forth during the day about a plethora....yes, I just used the word 'plethora'...of subjects ranging from the serious to the not-even-close-to-serious. These girls have been my lifeline and my confidants. The one catch?

We all live in different states, for the most part.

We had never met face to face and I had never even talked to any of them on the phone. Crazy, eh?

I made plans with one of my girls on the email list to meet for dinner prior to one of my shows this past weekend. We even had shirts made up that said: "Sushi and Shenanigans Boston 2010"! I had them printed by a local friend here in Michigan. So, imagine my surprise when I walk into the restaurant and see not just my one friend but FOUR of my friends from our email group! The added bonus to the whole thing was that they were all wearing the SAME EXACT shirt that I had ordered and had printed up. How? They started arranging to meet up the minute that I made my plans, they contacted my friend who printed up the shirts and arranged for him to secretly send them extras.

They are evil genius's. One of the many reasons that I'm friends with them.

Meeting them in person just solidified how much I adore them; to meet them was a gift that I will cherish forever. For them to go out on a limb and arrange this surprise meeting was wonderful. I mean, for all they knew, I could have been an ax murderer, right?

I'm not.

Yet.

Thank you, girls. I will never be able to express how much that surprise meant to me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No Autographs, Please...


Expressing Motherhood Boston 2010 Cast
This past week I travelled to Boston, Massachusetts...Cambridge, to be exact...with my partner in crime, Kendra, to perform in a stage show called Expressing Motherhood.

It was amazing to say the very least. We met women from all walks of life who had stories about motherhood that they shared not only with our small group of mommies but with about 600 people over the course of the shows 3 day run.

Farrah told us about a not-so-perfect relationship that she had with her own mother and how, after having a child of her own, she now understands what her mom meant when she said "You will understand when you have your own children."

Alison explained how even though her baby was the "moose of the NICU" she was still shaken to the core and no matter how careful you are with your planning, a baby tends to throw all of those plans out the window.

Jody told the story of her own mom and what a beacon of light she was. She explained how blessed she feels to be able to say that she's "becoming" her mother.

Julie shared the story of her difficulty conceiving in a light hearted manner. She made us laugh through our tears with her wit and wisdom about the many methods that she tried and how they were all worth it in the end.

Angela went out on a limb and told us a story of what true faith is.

Robin taught us that the world of teenage girls isn't always pretty and that being a "victim Sherpa" to her "cute young abuser" is something that we can look back on...eventually...and laugh.

Caitlin painted a picture of her little boy who held his breath and her attempt to stay calm while he did.

Sher got straight to the point when she said "Why didn't anyone tell me how hard this would be?!" Through wit and humor she states: "Motherhood is a damn bitch." What mom hasn't thought that before?

Andrea shared her story of love after loss. This was a healing journey for her.

Chris defined motherhood in a way that encompasses every emotion, every thought that I have for my children. "As moms, we find the deepest part of our children's soul and dive right in." Yes, Chris, we do.

Elizabeth weaved a portrait of a sick baby and the ache of a mother's heart. She taught us that fear should never define us.

'Mother' is defined by Webster's Dictionary as:
a : a female parent b (1) : a woman in authority; specifically : the superior of a religious community of women (2) : an old or elderly woman

This seems much too simple of a definition to me...mothers are so much more, don't you agree?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Everything Is Better With Bacon

That's right, folks! It's another irregular installment of "What I found on the Internet today!" and this time it's something that all of us love...BACON!

First, we have my personal favorite: Bacon Lip balm:

Now, the main problem I see with this product is that your lips would smell like bacon. I, personally, cannot resist bacon and might end up chewing my lips off which would be really inconvenient if you think about it.

Our next bacon themed product we have is Gummy Bacon!
The issue I have with this particular bacon themed product is the fact that it's strawberry flavored. Why would you develop gummy bacon and make it taste like strawberries?!? It's just wrong...it goes against everything I believe in.

Finally, we have the Bacon Air Freshener. Mmmmmm...smells like bacon, baby.

The only flaw I found with this bacon novelty is the fact that it isn't flavored as well as scented like the delicious bacon that it represents...I suppose we can't always get everything that we want though.

Remember: Enjoy your bacon responsibly!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Overwhelmed

I read somewhere that about 70% of moms work outside of the home.

70 freaking percent.

I'm no math genius but that's most of us, right? Answer me this question:

Why do I feel so alone then?

I mean, if most of us mamas are working a job outside of the home then doesn't that make us the majority? Why is it like searching in the proverbial haystack for a needle to try and find another working mom to be friends with? Why am I surrounded by stay at home moms and dads at the bus stop every morning talking about which volunteer oportunity they're going to be doing that day at their childs school?

It's seriously like a game of *cue music* "Which one of these things is not like the other?"

After the bus comes and picks up our children, the stay at homes turn as a group and walk home while talking about what new cupcake recipe that they're using or how they need to make sure that they get little Mary to her Japanese lesson on time that afternoon. I turn the opposite direction, knowing that I won't get to lay my eyes on my precious child for at least 9 hours. It's like the Star-Bellied Sneetch's and the Plain-Bellied Sneetch's....and I'm missing a star.

The Sprite pointed out to me, when I was venting to her, that I would go insane if I stayed home. She reminded me of the time I was laid off for about 2-3 months and how I was ready to run screaming into the hills. She also pointed out that I'm not a bad mom for working because that isn't how being a "good mom" or a "bad mom" is defined. Just because I work does not mean I love my child any less.

It seems to me that most media is focused on the stay at home variety of parent. It's rare to read an article about a mom who works outside of the home. It seems it's socially acceptable and even encouraged for stay at home moms to "need a drink" but nothing seems to be said about how work outside the home moms never stop working either. Why would a woman who works outside of the home complain? They have their "break" by going to work.

Break? I don't think so.

I hate every minute of seperation from my daughter. I stress and worry that something will happen and I won't be able to get to her fast enough because I have to drive from the office I work at.  I feel like my life is almost constant chaos...there's never enough time to get what needs to be done, done. Am I a failure for  having to work outside the home? I think sometimes that I am. My house isn't ever as picked up as I want it to be. I don't play enough with my daughter. I'm always tired. The detective doesn't get enough attention from me. My clothes are never put away and dinner is always late because of my schedule.

In the end though, I just hope that my little girl knows how very, very much I love her...even if the dishes aren't always done.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Anybody Ever Feel Like This After A Visit To The Doctor?

Thanks Natalie Dee for you kick arse comic!



I have a stomach issue so of course I waited a few months before I went to the doctor to ask about it.

"It's probably an ulcer but we'll take blood and give you this prescription in the meantime."

Awesome...I've always wanted a collection of ulcers. Uh huh.

Sometimes whatever ailment I have seems like a better option than what a prescription drug to cure said ailment does for me. The Detective asked me about the side effects also and he followed up his questions by saying:

"Just trying to see if you could expect mood swings, nightmares, visits from the afterlife, battles with Satan, etc..."

I think he forgot that what he described was just a normal day for me.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Things That I Wish I Had The Nads To Say...

1. You have something in your teeth. It's been there since last week.

2. Stay out of my personal space. When you get too close to me I feel very stabby.

3. Stop letting someone else define who you are. It's very unattractive.

4. Leave him.

5. Treat your children as if they were precious not disposable.

6. I hate you so much that I can't even look at your car without throwing up in my mouth a little.

7. I don't want to act my age.

8. I hate that I can hate someone.

9. I would rather chew glass than eat your cooking.

10. I know you pooped in my bathroom and used all the toilet paper.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Who Doesn't LOVE The Beginning Of A New School Year?!? Um...ME.

I came to the realization the other day that school is about to resume. Where in the hizzle did the summer go?! This means that I'm going to have to wake up AT LEAST an hour earlier to get myself and my little love muffin ready and out the door in time.

I'm talking about my daughter, y'all...The Detective has been dressing himself on his own for years now.

My sweet princess is not much of a "sweet princess" in the morning either. I think she gets that from me because I can be quite a dragon in the wee hours of the start of a new day. Hard to believe, I know. Our mornings during the school year go something like this:

Me: (to my bundle of joy) "Wakey, wakey shaky bakey!"

Meg: *grumble*

Me: "Time to go to school! Yay! Let's not be late, sweetie!" *shaking Meg gently*

Meg: *her eyes fly open and glow red for a second just prior to screaming* "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL! I'm tired..."

Me: "C'mon Meg! Get up and get dressed! We're late!"

Meg: *growling* "NO!" *squirmflipfalloutofbedflop*

Me: *pulling pajamas off Meg* "Yes...you...are...going...now get over here and get dressed NOW!"

At this point I'm sweating and my work clothes are wrinkled. Most times I have a run in my stockings also. Megan is dressed though so SCORE!

Like the pack mule that I am, I deposit everything needed for her day and mine in the car. I get her hooked up and as I'm pulling out of the driveway she says:

"I have to go potty!"

Awesome. I love school.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Operation Beautiful

A wonderful friend of mine shared this idea and link with me today: Operation Beautiful. The tag line reads:

"Transforming the way you see yourself one post-it note at a time."

I love this idea so much that I had to share it with as many people as I could! You know I immediately threw a pen and a pad of post-it notes in my purse to do this. That's just how I roll, people. Here is an example of a note left in a random spot:

Who doesn't adore compliments?

The one place that I've decided against posting them is in or on a bathroom stall. I am ALL ABOUT making people smile but if I'm riding the porcelain throne; I don't want to see a note that screams "YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL! YOU CAN DO IT! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!" while I'm dropping the kids off at the pool. Know what I mean?

Friday, July 30, 2010

One Reason My Daughter Is So Strange

I didn't get to hear this conversation first hand, unfortunately, but The Sprite (remember the Sprite...my bestie and running partner?) told me about it after the fact.

Scene: Megan just got home from gymnastics and is still in her leotard. She's playing in the front yard with the neighbor kids. The adults are standing nearby talking. The Sprite's brother in law, we'll call him Bobo, is there and says to Megan who is wearing her leotard:

Bobo: "Hey, Meg...are you leotarded?"

Meg: *blank stare* (She learned that from her mama...)

Just one of the many examples of how my friends and I have managed to warp my daughter into the weirdo she is today.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everyone Loves Cookies!

Observe: The Fetus Cookie Cutter


Just think how cute this little fetus cookie cutter would be at your next oh...baby shower or bake sale!

The finished product! I would personally frost them pink and give them a red licorice umbilical cord. Nothing says "eat us!" more than a sugar cookie shaped as a fetus.

*retch*

Excessive Peppiness Makes Me Want To Punch Puppies

Seriously.

Have you ever had one of those days or even weeks when you're just tired or grumpy or perhaps both? I happen to be having one of those this very week!

Well, for some reason there seems to be some kind of gravitational pull or Newton's Law or full moon or some crap happening that makes me a freaking magnet for shiny, happy people. Gosh it makes me want to just scream! What is it about me that makes people want to say things like:

Peppy Person: "How are you today?!"

Me: *blank stare*

Peppy Person: (Ignoring my stare of death) "I'm just super! My life is perfect...I just got a promotion and a corner office with floor to ceiling windows....my husband was just nominated for Mr. sexy-sensitive-let's-me-sleep-in-while-he-takes-care-of-the-kids-and-cooks-gourmet-dinners-and-gives-me-foot-massages-without-expecting-sex. OH! Did I mention that I just got all new furniture and lost 40 pounds and received Botox?! I DID!"

Me: *crawling under my desk*

It's times like this when I wish I had a trap door in front of my desk that opened to a vat of angry alligators. Just the push of a button and.....ahhhhhh...peace and quiet.

What are these people on?!? More importantly...where can I get some?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

And The Hits Keep Comin'...


Megan: "Mama, did you know that Nicole has fake toenails on?"

Me: "Yes, sweetie."

Megan: "That's just freaky...."




Yes, yes it is.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The "F" Bomb

Megan and I are standing in the kitchen last night and she starts singing the song "I Want To Be A Billionaire"...you know the song? No?

There's a line in it that says: "I want to be a billionaire so fricking bad..."

Only *I* always thought that the guy says: "I want to be a billionaire so f*ck!ng bad..."

Yes, I know, I'm charming AND ladylike all at the same time.

And that's EXACTLY what I thought Megan said...my 7 year old pretty, pretty princess dropped the freaking "F" bomb right in front of me.

That's the moment that I ran fuming to the garage in search of The Detective for an explanation of exactly WHY my pretty, pretty princess just said above mentioned word. To which he replied...through laughter, I might add...that the song does not drop the bomb but in fact says "fricking".

Oh.

Well, that's bad enough for me. Let's just say she will not be repeating the "F" bomb or any form of the "F" bomb ever again.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Adventures with Thing 1 and Thing 2 or The Rose Run 2010

The 2nd annual Rose Run was awesome, everyone! There were several more runners/walkers this year than last which means more support for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation! Just like last year, there was a beautiful balloon release as the starting gun went off and in my mind I could imagine Rose looking down on our small town of Petersburg, smiling and shaking her head saying: "All this because of me?" That's just how she was for those of you who didn't have the honor of knowing her personally.

How did *I* do? Hmm...it was so hot that day that I have now seriously started to consider having the sweat glands removed from my armpits. Yes, I just said that. I do not glisten, folks...I sweat like Kwame Kilpatrick when someone mentions strippers named Strawberry. Uh-huh.

Pair the humidity and heat with two 7 year olds named Thing 1 (Meg, my daughter) and Thing 2 (Nate, my nephew) and you have a recipe for disaster. After about the first 1/2 mile my lovely, athletic daughter starts whining about how hot she is, if we're close to being done, how she's tired, and how she needs to eat RIGHT now because she's "eeee-sausted". Meanwhile my nephew decides that I cannot live one more second without knowing, IN DETAIL, how many scabs he's had in his lifetime and how they occurred. The boy can talk. FAST.

At this point, I look over and see my little sister...Nate's mom....shouting out the times as we run by mile marker 1. Yes, you read that right....MILE MARKER FREAKING 1. This is a 5K y'all. I have 2.1 more miles to go with Thing 1 and Thing 2 and I've already started to consider what would happen if I just broke into a sprint and left them behind. I mean, it's a small town. Everyone knows who they belong to, right? RIGHT??

*sigh*

I think I vaguely remember telling Meg to "suck it up" and asking Nate to "Please slow down the chatter"....to which he responded by literally slowing down his chatter. No matter what age men seem to be literal creatures, eh? At that point, Meg turned into a floppy spaghetti noodle and was almost run over by the golf cart that was herding the runners through the course. Great.

I sure do love those little critters but I have NEVER been so happy to see a finish line in my life, people.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The 2nd Annual Rose Run 5K

It's that time of the year again....Community Day and The Rose Run is THIS Saturday! For those of you who don't know what that is; it's a 5K that was started last year in honor of my friend's mother, Rose, who lost her battle with breast cancer in January of 2009. Last year, my hometown of Petersburg Michigan, raised over $10,000.00 for breast cancer research and this year promises to be bigger and better. This is the run that inspired me to start running...this year has been sporadic running at best but still...Here is a link to one of my very first blog posts explaining why I started running and blogging.

The Detective will be running this year also. I've chosen to be a more social creature and run/walk this year.

STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT. It's not that I can't run it...I'm just choosing to keep myself from being a sweaty mess of stink since I have to work at a booth after the run for Expressing Motherhood.

SO SUE ME.

Anyone interested in a 5K that lives near southeast Michigan is welcome to come out and register the day of the run, Saturday, July 17th! For more information go to: www.theroserun.com

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Just Drank WHAT?!?

Mountain Dew has brominated vegetable oil in it.

That's vegetable oil with a twist of the element bromine added to it. Brominated vegetable oil is added to citrus flavored drinks to keep fat-soluble flavors (YUM!) suspended in the beverage and to produce a cloudy appearance.

I just drank vegetable oil mixed with fat-soluble flavors!

Seriously?

I will NEVER drink another Moutain Dew for as long as I live. NEVER.

Did you hear that PepsiCo?!? DID YOU?!?

Please excuse me while I go cleanse my system with copious amounts of vegetable oil free WATER.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Diary Of An Insomniac

11:30pm: Climb into bed and even though I'm incredibly tired I lay there and stare at the ceiling.

12:01am: I swear at this point I can hear a Mourning Dove just outside my window...I realize it's just the Detective breathing through is nose as he slumbers. Elbow Detective to try and shut him up. He grunts and rolls over. I continue to stare at the ceiling.

2:30am: I look at the clock and realize that I got a bit of sleep...I think. Feeling proud, I close my eyes and...nothing. I'm awake again.

2:45am: SLEEPSLEEPSLEEPSLEEPSLEEPSLEEP...the chant running through my head. Toss, turn...my arm goes numb...I move that and realize that my legs have been moving so much that I might as well be running laps laying down. The Detective starts snoring...loudly as if to mock my inability to fall asleep...I kick him. Hard. He snores louder.

3:30am: OH MY GOSH I HAVE TO WORK IN THE MORNING. GO TO SLEEP! Ponder what needs to be done at work...think about blog subjects...immediately forget everything that I was thinking about because I'm delirious from lack of sleep.

6:30am: I must have blacked out for a while. The sun is coming up. I stand up and go to the bathroom. I look at my reflection in the mirror and realize that I could pack my entire wardrobe in the bags under my eyes. Sexy.

7:00am: Alarm. Snooze.

7:10am: Alarm. Snooze.

7:20am: Alarm. Snooze.

7:30am: The Detective gets up, gets ready for work. As he's leaving he says to me: "Make sure you wake up for the next alarm!" Consider locking him a room with an angry weasel. Grin evilly.

9:00am: Arrive at work. Co-worker says: "You look tired!" Picture co-worker falling into a hole.

If I don't get some sleep soon I'm probably going to end up in jail.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Can Now Officially Say: "When I Was Your Age..." And Be Completely Serious

My stepdaughter just graduated from high school. It's funny to see the look on people's faces when we let it slide that she's my biological daughter. I'm a little more than 8 years younger than her father so I would have had to be velly, velly young to have actually birthed her.

They look at me with slight revulsion that practically screams: "You must have been a real skank as a kid."

Then they look at her with an expression of something like sympathy, because of her trampy "mom",

Good times. *smirk*

It's better than the multiple times people have mistaken me for their nanny but that can wait for another time. You don't think I'm serious but I am. My family, including my actual biological daughter are all very light and blond and I am not light nor blond at all. I guess when I eventually snap and run screaming: "Who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?!?!"...then people will actually believe me. BONUS!

So, this leads me to the oldest woman-child that is living under my roof.

SHE. GRADUATED. HIGH SCHOOL.

She is beautiful and driven and amazing. I met her for the very first time when she was 7 years old. She was beautiful and driven and amazing then, too. I have witnessed her go through the stages that we all go through as we grow and adjust.

She tested me as a young child when she was torn in between being loyal to her mother and loving me...she didn't grasp back then that she could love both of us. She grew into a feisty teenager that at times made me want to rip my hair out as she stomped up the stairs and slammed her door to her room. She brought tears of joy to my eyes as I watched that same young woman walk across a stage not 2 weeks ago and accept her high school diploma. I continue to watch her test her wings on a daily basis. I adore this girl. She makes me laugh and think and pray every single day.

She is going to give this world a run for it's money and I love it.

I also love the fact that I can look at her and say: "When I was your age..." and I see the same expression in her eyes that I gave my mom so many years ago.

Thank you for sharing your love with me, Nicole. Always remember who you are.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You Love Me! You REALLY Love Me!


Thank you, April, from A Writer's Ramblings for the award! 
Thanks also to Tabitha from Tales of a Tubby Tabby!

Now, here's the fine print yada, yada, yada....

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic  for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)

4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

It's on like donkey kong! Here are 7 things about me that you may or may not wish to know.

1. I'm obsessed with books. If books were people then they would get a protection order against me, I swear.

2. My favorite ice cream is Superman...I don't even know what flavor it is. I think that if heaven was flavored then it would be Superman flavor.

3. I have 2 pet rats; Chunk and Dale. Why not Chip and Dale, you ask? Because my 7 year old named them and she didn't think 'Chip' flowed well. Que sera.

4. I was 2 weeks overdue with my daughter. I thought she was going to walk out of my womb she was in there so long.

5. I hate go-carting. If I wanted to strap myself onto a sweat scented sheet of metal with wheels and drive around in circles then I'd call a cab and let someone else do the driving at least.

6. My all time favorite movie is Tommy Boy and I'm able to quote it in it's entirety. No matter how many times I see it, I laugh until I cry. Since having my daughter 7 years ago, sometimes I pee a little too.

7. I told you that you may or may NOT want to know these things. Don't say you weren't warned...

I bestow this humble award to the following Lords and Ladies:

This Complicated Life

Sarah Cunningham

The Meanest Mom

Vodka Mom

I Hate So Much...

More Is Better

Swan White Curtain

Strength of a Rose

Carolyn...Online

Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder

I'm Not Benny

Classy Chaos

Scary Mommy

Undomestic Diva

Smacksy

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Beginning of the End

I haven't updated about my HCG journey lately and I'm almost DONE. I started off thinking that I'd do this for 20 days or so and I ended up doing 40. I cheated here and there so I probably could have lost more and as of late I feel myself being sucked into the whole "I want to eat like a normal person again or I'm going to cook my children and devour them" mode. Get my drift?

That being said, I did pretty darn good. I lost, as of today, 17 pounds and I'm trying to squeak out another 4-5 pounds before this week ends and I'm finished with this round. I'll then take 6 weeks off to recover and exercise and then I'll do another round...probably 20 days. At that point I should be so stinking hot that Heidi Klum will be jealous. *wink*

I'm glad that I decided to take my chances on this diet. I'm so happy with the results. Even though I wanted to kill and eat my family several times during this...it was all worth it. I have been wearing shorts this summer. SHORTS. I haven't worn shorts in about oh, 2 or 3 years. I do need a tan though.

Desperately.

I'm positively day-glo.

I also found some confidence that I had lost right around the time I gained all that extra weight. People have been commenting that I look better and asking if I've lost weight. That's always helpful but I'm glad that I'll be taking a break to focus on maintaining the weight loss and building some muscle.

You'll have to excuse me while I go tell my family that it's ok to come out of the panic room now...I'll be eating normally in just a few days...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No, That's Just Wrong


I love chocolate just as much...if not MORE...than the next person.

But this?


This is just gross.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Conversations

Me: What’s up? How’s your spider man band aid holding up?

Tab: fine. I fell a week ago and scraped up my ankle. I was using normal band aids, but I upgraded to Spider man last night!

Me: Was it a random fall or a purposeful fall?

Tab: wtf PURPOSEFUL FALL? Who does that? I was wearing flip flops the day after it rained and fell down some stairs that had water on them because I'm slightly stupid.

Me: DIDN’T YOU READ THE ARTICLE I SENT EVERYONE ABOUT HOW FLIP FLOPS ARE GOING TO KILL US ALL?!?

Here: Killer Flip Flops

I don’t know, I guess you could purposely fall if there was an explosion and you were trying to save someone from falling debris by throwing yourself on top of them. Was there an explosion of some sort? What? Don’t judge me.

Tab: *silence*

Has Anyone Else Ever Felt This Way?

The Cabinets Will Give Me a Nervous Breakdown~Natalie Dee

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lucky

Tornado's ripped through the corner of the world that most of my family and friends live in early Sunday morning. I spent most of late Saturday night through early Sunday morning in my basement with my husband, children, and pets watching the local news channel and praying that a funnel cloud would not touch down in our area. Watching the weather radar flash across the television screen was an eerie reminder of how fragile day to day life can be.

Around 2:00 in the morning, the news station declared that the danger had passed by our area and we went back upstairs and fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning, we woke up to the news that the city of Dundee, Michigan, which is just south of us, had been devastated by a tornado. It tore through the small area ripping off roofs and tearing trees up by the roots like they were nothing but bits of paper. The government has declared the area in a state of emergency.

My parents, sister, nephew, and several close friends live just minutes away from Dundee. The small farming community where I grew up...just miles from the damage.

The tornado's also hit an area in Ohio that was very near the area that many of my other family and friends live. It was like the storms were playing hopscotch with these communities. Images like this haunt the news:

Dundee, Michigan McDonald's sign


Dundee, Michigan home damage

My heart and soul ache for those that have been impacted by these storms. When things happen like this, it makes everything else seem very trivial. I watched video of some of the damage and the entire time my stomach was in knots.

If there is one thing that I know, these towns will come back stronger than ever. Why do I know this? Because I grew up in a town just like the ones that were hit by these storms. They have heart and guts. They don't ever give up hope. They will pull themselves up by the bootstraps, do what needs to be done, and go on. That's just the way it is in a small town.

"Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”~Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Bok Choy Is Going To Kill Me

No, I'm not speaking in code.

The bok choy is LITERALLY going to kill me if I ever eat it again.

As it turns out, I may have an allergy to bok choy.

What is bok choy, you ask? It's Chinese cabbage and it's pretty yummy. I bought some for the first time yesterday and I decided to add it to a soup I was making. I nibbled a bit on it then. Not an hour later I was clawing and scratching at my skin...covered in hives. My arms, legs, back, and neck looked like Freddy Kruger had just given me an all over exfoliation with his razor fingernails.

At the time, I made no connection to the itchiness and the bok choy. Today, I ate the soup with the bok choy in it and my skin is crawling with burning itch. Attractive, no?

Apparently, bok choy is toxic to humans in large quantities which makes me think that some people may have a sensitivity to it even in small quantities. Like maybe, ME. How completely random is that? It's CABBAGE for pete's sake!

Bok choy = EVIL.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"I Don't Understand A Word You Jist Said..."

This is the regal Liger...bred for it's skills in magic.


I love learning new things. Now, what I mean by that is I enjoy soaking up useless and trivial information so that I can spew it back at the unsuspecting people that I call my friends. I'm not all that interested in every minute detail when it comes to politics or global warming or who's posturing for what position on a sports team...I like to walk on the less obvious and more eccentric side of things during my quest of knowledge.

Did you know that:

  • Your body is creating and killing 15 million red blood cells per second? Intelllesting...

  • The king of hearts is the only king without a moustache on a standard playing card? You can go look...I'll wait here.

  • The names of Popeye's four nephews are Pipeye, Peepeye, Pupeye, and Poopeye? Poor Poopeye. *giggle*

  • It's illegal to drink beer out of a bucket while you're sitting on a curb in St. Louis? Note to self: Leave beer bucket at home if traveling to St. Louis...
Some people would say that this is useless knowledge. I say that this is cutting edge conversation material. 

This brings me back to the reason that I started writing this post. I ask questions, I ask a lot of questions. I am not the type of person to sit quietly in the middle of a conversation while someone goes on and on about something I have no clue how to pronounce while I nod my head and smile politely. If I don't get what you're talking about, I'm going to ask you about it until I do. Aren't you lucky?!?

When I was younger, I used to keep my trap shut and my head 'a noddin' in situations like that. I was embarrassed that I wasn't as "worldly" as the person talking seemed to be. I mellowed in that sense as I got older...I haven't mellowed in many other areas as I aged...Can you say Chihuahua on acid with an extra shot of espresso? *waving wildly* THAT'S ME!

Asking questions makes you sound smart.

I am all about sounding smart, people. So, you'll have to excuse me if I yawn through the debate about which renewable source of energy is better: Windmill or Waterwheel?

However, I will perk up to ask you exactly how many legs does the Giant Millipede Spider Bat from Guatemala have; just in case I need material for my next BBQ with the neighbors.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hello, My Name Is: Eeyore

There are days like to day where I don't want to laugh or enjoy the sun or daydream. I want to hide inside myself and hope that my heart stops hurting. I should be thankful for my life, what I have, my health, and my job...I am thankful most days. Today is one of those days where I want to retreat from the world and just go numb. I question my self-worth to myself and to those around me. I question why I even bother to try at times.

So, I'm sorry if you came here to read my blog for some humor. It's a very bad no good day for me. If you want a laugh then I recommend you go here or here. Those links go to 2 of my very favorite, very funny blog sites.  One of those links goes to a post about a chicken foot. Yes, you read that right.

You can't beat a post about a chicken foot. It's just plain funny.

In the meantime, I will try to kick the black mood I'm in to the curb and come back with more of the familiar sarcastic and self-deprecating humor that you all (Mom?) are familiar with.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Team Hooters in the Hizzzz-ouse!

I got a new background.

It was free.

*twirl*

Go there and snag one of your own. If you think you're cool enough....

Leelou Blogs is too cool for school.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don't Cash in the Insurance Policy Yet...

My husband, The Detective, is not known for jumping to conclusions. What he is known for is seeing things 2 ways: black or white. There are no shades of grey for him.

Ever.

He has convinced himself that the diet that I'm on is going to kill me by either causing my gallbladder to explode or my heart to stop. I'm not really sure where he got this idea from but he has taken it and RAN WITH IT.

The other night I casually mentioned to him: "Hmmm...my arm is annoyingly numb...*shaking arm*..."

He immediately grabs my wrist and starts taking my vital signs. Meanwhile, I'm trying to read my book. Do you know how hard it is to read a book with one available hand? At this point, I'm regretting saying anything about my arm at all.

He starts in with the questions: "Do you feel dizzy? Sick? Are you numb anywhere else?"

*grabs his cellphone and goes to Web MD*

Him: "Blah, blah, blah....carpal tunnel, pinched nerve, cold air...heart attack....I think we should go to the hospital."

I look at him.

Me: "I'm fine. I feel fine. I'm sure I just leaned on it wrong." *eye roll*

We go to sleep.

The next night, I crawl into bed and fall quickly to sleep. I feel a tapping on my arm and then I feel The Detective SHAKING me awake. Is it a fire? A tornado? A rabid raccoon?

No, my friends, it isn't any of the above...

He says: "Are you OK?! You didn't look like you were breathing?! Are you feeling alright?!"

*insert stare of death here*

Me: "I am FINE. Do not wake me up AGAIN." *sigh*

I've determined that if this diet doesn't kill me then I'm definitely going to die from lack of sleep.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My View Of Life...Or At Least What I See When I Leave The House In The Morning.


I live in Michigan and for the past week or more we've had some pretty consistent rain. I'm about to turn into a merperson, I swear. My morning routine is usually the same...very...um...routine. The alarm goes off at around 7am, I stumble out of bed peppering my bedroom with some spicy phrases, I get myself and my 6 year old ready and then we leave the house. I drop her off at school and then go to work. This morning, like most mornings, I opened the door and this is what I saw:


I see this...the wet pavement, evidence of the rain that poured last night. I can smell the pond in the back, I can feel the heaviness of the warm, humid air. I want to see the sun!

And then I do.


How was your morning?




Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nekkid

As I was perusing the intranets I stumbled upon an article about May 14th being 'Blogging Without Make-up Day' or some such nonsense. The concept was probably thought up by some freak who has perfect hair AND skin and who doesn't scare small children or the elderly if she happens to go outside to get the paper sans make-up in the morning. I mean, isn't there a reason God invented foundation and lipstick? C'mon, ladies. I don't want to see your uneven skin tone any more than you do. I'm good, thanks.

I can guarantee all of you this: You will never, ever see a picture of me without make-up unless A.) I'm involved in some sporting event, or 2.) Someone else posted it. If a picture of me without make-up was posted by a second party without my knowledge or even WITH my knowledge then another guarantee I can give you is that said person will probably be buried in my backyard by sundown that same day.

So, even though I think it's a noble idea to "take it all off" in the name of pride and grrrrl power...I will be skipping this feministic new tradition.

I was thinking though....wouldn't it be kind of cool to see what other people see as soon as they step out of their door in the morning? Do you see a busy street? A sweeping yard? The next-door neighbor's junk car? Are you in the city? Country?

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing with you what *I* see when I walk out the front door in the morning. Are you excited? You HAVE to be on the edge of your seat right now. *crickets chirping*

I'd love to see the world through your eyes! Email me a picture of what you see when you walk out your front door. Interpret it any way you want. I can't wait to see what you see because quite frankly, I'm bored by my view. Just don't send me any pictures of those creepy little kid garden statues.

*shudder*

Great article: What Makes Me Feel Beautiful

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

*GASP* I Got An Award!




Thank you to Jen from This Moment In Time for the One Lovely Blog award! I apologize for being incredibly late on recognizing this. I grovel at your feet.


The official rules of accepting this award are as follows: Accept this award and post it on your blog. Include link back to the blog you received it from.


Pass the award to fifteen blogs you have newly discovered.

Be sure to contact them to let them know they have been awarded.

I am passing on this award to:

Strength of a Rose

This Complicated Life

A Phoenix Rising

A Writer's Ramblings

Author Sarah Cunningham

Tubby Tabby Tales

Been There Running That

This Mama Moment

Christine Carr

Mrs. Flinger

Carolyn...Online

Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder

Toledo Photo Guy

Classy Chaos 

I'm Not Benny

So, there we go! Congratulations....you may kiss my ring.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm A Loser, Baby...

Day 12 of the HCG protocol and I've lost 9 pounds! Now, don't get me wrong, this is NOT EASY. I can only have certain foods and a limited amount of them at specific times of the day but it has all been worth every second and every craving.

An additional bonus to the weight loss success: My skin is smoother, I was told that I look younger, I'm sleeping better, and I have more energy. Go figure, right?

My only complaint is that I'm bored with the food choices. I'm not hungry, just bored. *yawn* Things could be worse though.

Friday, May 7, 2010

How I Was Humiliated By A Grapefruit

I'm doing well on my HCG diet...if you'll notice over to the far right-------> I've installed a weight loss ticker that is tracking losses day by day. This is Day #7 and golly, I'm doing well. I'm not trying to brag and I'll prove that to you by sharing how I was humiliated by a grapefruit today. Good times.

I decided to indulge in half a grapefruit for my mid morning fruit fix today. I sliced it in half and placed it in a bowl and then proceeded to go to my office to enjoy my treat.

How in the heck do you eat this stuff?!?

I sliced it along the sections with a knife and tried to scoop it out but I made more juice and pulp than anything. I finally gave up and just tried to drink the juice out of the mutilated fruit I had in front of me.

This is what I expected:

"Hey, look at me and my non-humiliating grapefruit!"


And this is what I actually got:

Apparently, the grapefruit has a natural defense mechanism that prevents it from being eaten, kind of like the sea cucumber...I wonder if they're cousins? Maybe second removed? Anyhow, the grapefruit turns itself into mush and juice that is impossible to remove from the inner peel.

Final Score:

Grapefruit 1
Me 0



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Seriously? I'm A Total Moron...OR...HCG Day 5

I lost another 2.4 pounds at this morning's weigh in! Yay! That means my total loss at this point is 3 full pounds not including my 2 loading days weight gain of 3 pounds that I also lost. AWE-SOME.

Now to get to the "I'm a total moron" part: Measurements have never been something that I've been "good" at. Really, they confound me. I know, I know...it's hard to believe, right? The directions on my HCG tell me to take .5cc's of HCG 2x a day. It's really easy, the syringes are TOTALLY marked with the numbers. So, I've been taking my HCG religiously for two times a day with 5cc's.

I'm hungry still. My stomach is burning and I want to chew on my arm. I keep telling myself that it will go away and not to worry because this is normal. I read somewhere that if you're still hungry after few days to up your dose...so that's what I did! I increased my dosage to .7cc's and it hadn't seemed to help so I email Jenny at the place that I bought my HCG from and tell her what's up. After a few emails that went back and forth, I get frustrated and tell her that I'll just have to find a detailed answer elsewhere. I mean, come on! I'm hungry and you're not giving me an answer that makes one IOTA of sense! ACK!

My phone rings.

It's Jenny.

She says that she felt that she wasn't able to answer my question properly over email and so she called me.

She's chipper.

I'm hungry.

So, the beast that has now taken over my body says to Jenny: "I read to increase your HCG dose if your hunger doesn't go away within the first 2 days, so I went ahead and increased mine but I'm even more hungry that I was BEFORE."

Jenny: "Oh no!" *chipper voice* "You need to DECREASE the dose if you're still hungry. If you take more then the fat stores will be burned even faster and that's why you feel hungry. Try reducing it to .4 and see what happens. I think you'll be fine at that dose but please, please call me if you have any problems."

Me: "Really...?"

Jenny: "Yes, try that and if you ever need to talk to anyone just give me a call back. I'm at my desk from 9am until 9pm Monday through Friday!"

Seriously, it was like I was talking to a crisis hot line operator. Now that I think about it though, it WAS a crisis. I'm on a 500 calorie a day diet and I purposely made myself HUNGRIER by increasing my HCG dose.

Seriously? I'm a moron.

Monday, May 3, 2010

HCG Day 4

Just a quick update: I lost all my loading weight...3 pounds...plus .6 pound of my original weight at this morning's weigh in. Wow. It's working!

I'm hungry though. I woke up hungry and I'm still hungry even after drinking loads of tea and water. I'm going to try some coffee next because caffeine tends to curb my appetite.

Breakfast: tea

Lunch: grilled chicken breast, melba toast, lettuce with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and pepper for dressing

Snack: orange

Dinner: crab, asparagus with pepper, salt, and garlic powder, grissini bread stick

Snack: apple

Bring it on!

HCG Day 3

Today was the first day of the 500 calorie diet or VLCD. It went well but I did have some hunger on it. Here is what was on the menu:

Breakfast: Tea...lots and lots of tea.

Snack: Apple

Lunch: grilled chicken breast, asparagus with salt, grissini bread stick, tea

Snack: Orange

Dinner: tilapia with pepper and garlic powder, zuchinni with pepper and garlic powder, melba toast

I got very hungry around 8:30pm. I think this was more of an emotional hunger than anything else becasue I was quite full during and after dinner. I continued to drink lots of water to try and curb the hunger but it really never went totally away. I was craving pretzels or chips and cheese. It's probably my body's way of trying to trick me into screwing up this diet. I won though! I didn't give in even though I went to bed hungry.

I gained 1.4 pounds on my second load day when I weighed in today...May 2nd...total gain on load days equals 3 pounds.

HCG Day 2

Second loading day. This sucks. I feel like I'm about to keel over from a heart attack at any minute. Second dosing day of HCG. Here is what I ate...also, I'd like to add: "OINK"....

Breakfast: McDonald's egg McMuffin with no Canadian bacon...It's HAM, people!...1 hash brown, large wildberry smoothie

Lunch: Wendy's 10 piece chicken nuggets, large french fries, chocolate shake, Junior bacon cheeseburger

Dinner: Applebee's lemonade, 3 fried cheese sticks, part of a steak with cheese and shrimp on it, part of a baked potato with butter and sour cream, some steamed vegetables. At this point, I felt so sick and so full that I wanted to be ill.

Gained 1.6 pounds the first day of loading.

HCG Day 1

Look at me! I'm beginning a new diet. Story of my adult life. That's the reason why I'm doing the HCG Protocol. Many people have never heard of it but it's been around since the 1970's. It's target group is basically people that have dieted to the point where their metabolisms are screwed up royally. Basically, my metabolism is bipolar. It's doesn't know which is way is up or which way is down so it spends most of it's time in bed doing nothing. This leaves me with extra weight that I never had to deal with before that no matter what I do...diet, exercise, etc...the weight just stays there. Anyone, who knows me or who has followed my blog at all knows this about me. It's like the never ending weight loss story. I'm hoping that this solves my issue. Before I launch into the specifics...MY DOCTOR KNOWS THAT I'M DOING THIS. *grin*


Here are the basics: There is no Phase 1 technically with the original protocol but some suggest to add a Phase 1 of cleansing prior to the start of HCG doses. I didn't do this. I was on a balanced diet of 1200 calories a day prior to starting this with minimal additives and mostly clean eating so I'm not concerned about this step. It also wasn't in the original protocol as a required phase as I stated earlier.




The first 2 days of Phase 2 of the protocol involve loading up your body with lots of fats and lots of food. I'm talking about eating until you are just about to burst. This helps to keep hunger at bay when you start the next 20 days or so of the VLCD or Very Low Calorie Diet and by low, I mean 500 calories a day. You do all this while taking HCG either through injection or under the tongue aka sublingually. I chose to do the sublingual HCG because I'm a wimp. You knew that though, right?


After you finish the 20 days or so of the VLCD, you move on to Phase 3 which is slowly adding regular portion sizes, sugars, and starches back into your diet and discontinuing the HCG. The final phase or Phase 4 is maintenance. After this you can go on to another round if you still have weight to lose or stop and enjoy the fact that you just reset your metabolism and just monitor your weight. Of course, this is a shortened version of the diet...if you're interested there is a video at http://www.poundsandinchesaway.com/ that gives a great outline of the program also.


My menu for Day 1 of "loading":


First dose of HCG: I mixed the HCG last night and put it in the fridge. this morning when I woke up, I placed the drops under my tongue and held them there for 15 minutes. Took a shower while I did this. You aren't supposed to eat or drink 30 minutes prior to or after taking the drops. I drooled. Lots. I managed not to swallow or drown in my own saliva though. Yay me!


Breakfast: McDonald's Big Breakfast which included 1 sausage patty, 1 hash brown, 1 scrambled egg, 1 biscuit with butter, Large frozen mocha with whipped cream and chocolate sauce on top


*I was looking forward to this day like an 8 year old does to Christmas morning...it was a let down so far...I feel so sick and bloated after the crap I ate for breakfast that I want to stick my finger down my throat. Blech.


Snack: Cinnamon melt from McDonald's...I had to force myself to eat this at 12:00pm...


Lunch: King size Reece's Peanut Butter Crunch candy bar...too full to eat a lunch but forced this candy bar down.


Snack: Mountain Dew


Dinner: La Fuente cheese enchilada, bean and cheese burrito, sour cream, salsa, guacamole


Snack: I was too stuffed to eat a snack.


**This was April 30th

Friday, April 30, 2010

I Must Have A Really High Tolerance For Poison, Part Deux

This is an update to this blog post that I wrote recently...apparently celery, blueberries, and spinach are now more likely to poison you than lettuce and pears...good stuff. Some updated information from Yahoo News:


Here's a closer look at the 2010 Dirty Dozen:

This year, celery takes the number one spot and both blueberries and spinach make an appearance (displacing lettuce and pears).


1. Celery

Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals (64 of them!) that are used on crops. Buy organic celery, or choose alternatives like broccoli, radishes, and onions.

2. Peaches

Multiple pesticides (as many as 62 of them) are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit.

3. Strawberries

If you buy strawberries, especially out of season, they're most likely imported from countries that have less-stringent regulations for pesticide use. 59 pesticides have been detected in residue on strawberries. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and pineapples.

4. Apples

Like peaches, apples are typically grown with poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Tests have found 42 different pesticides as residue on apples. Scrubbing and peeling doesn't eliminate chemical residue completely, so it's best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, bananas, and tangerines.

5. Blueberries

New on the Dirty Dozen list in 2010, blueberries are treated with as many as 52 pesticides, making them one of the dirtiest berries on the market.

6. Nectarines

With 33 different types of pesticides found on nectarines, they rank up there with apples and peaches among the dirtiest tree fruit. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include, watermelon, papaya, and mango.

7. Bell peppers

Peppers have thin skins that don't offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They're often heavily sprayed with insecticides. (Tests have found 49 different pesticides on sweet bell peppers.) Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include green peas, broccoli, and cabbage.

8. Spinach

New on the list for 2010, spinach can be laced with as many as 48 different pesticides, making it one of the most contaminated green leafy vegetable.

9. Kale

Traditionally, kale is known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, but it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested this year. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include cabbage, asparagus, and broccoli.

10. Cherries

Even locally grown cherries are not necessarily safe. In fact, in one survey in recent years, cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries. Government testing has found 42 different pesticides on cherries. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include raspberries and cranberries.

11. Potatoes

America's popular spud reappears on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list, after a year hiatus. America's favorite vegetable can be laced with as many as 37 different pesticides. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include eggplant, cabbage, and earthy mushrooms.

12. Grapes

Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Only imported grapes make the 2010 Dirty Dozen list. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape's thin skin. Remember, wine is made from grapes, which testing shows can harbor as many as 34 different pesticides. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and raspberries.

Good luck!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hollywood, Baby!

Well, actually...Boston.

My partner in crime, Kendra, and I will be performing in a stage show called 'Expressing Motherhood' in Boston this September. Please visit the link to find out what it's all about.

Our names are listed under Performers Boston '10 in font about this big. But don't let the size take away from the importance of our message which is....hmmm...should I tell you? I need to check with Kendra so she doesn't kick my heiny for leaking the goods without her permission. Look forward to that installment, yo. 

I can tell you that it's going to be exciting, groundbreaking, and scandalous! Yes, I just said scandalous. Afterall, I'm teamed up with one of my close friends from high school (that's Kendra for those of you not paying attention) and we're off to Boston for a week without much supervision.

Oh my gah! How, like, totally rad is that? (I'm sorry, we graduated in the '90's.)

I swear it's like we should be renting a convertible, wearing scarves over our hair, and calling each other Thelma and Louise. Except for the fact that neither one of us has murdered anyone and we don't have a suicide pact.

That is unless we crash and burn on stage and then maybe that pact will be a go...I jest. Really I do! I don't need any type of intervention. We're good, right? Let's just forget about that last part there. Yeah.

Please go to the link and check it out!

p.s. You should probably get our autographs before we make it big. Just a heads up.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Wind Beneath My Wings

Inspiration comes in many different forms...it can tickle as lightly as a feather or it can hit you like a ton of bricks...in the shins...when you're wearing shorts. Picture it. NOW.

I have managed to surround myself over the years with people that have inspired me. They have inspired me without knowing for the most part, kind of like Secret Agent Inspiration Robots; only they're real people and not...robots.

If you asked most people who inspired them throughout life I bet you that most would list off actors, sports icons, or literary genius's. If you would have asked me that very question about 5 years ago, I would have been among most people in my answers. After I turned 30, my priorities shifted and I realized who I am and why I became the person that is looking back at me from the mirror.

And it's all because of my Secret Agent Inspiration Robots!

What? I said I turned 30 physically...I didn't say I matured emotionally to that age. Duh. *eye roll*

You never know who is inspired by the things that you say and do. People are always watching. Not to get you all paranoid or anything. It's not like people are watching you from behind the bushes in your front yard. I mean, they might be but really that's highly unlikely.

I just went from inspiration to weird in like, 5 seconds, ya'll. (OMG...that "ya'll" that just snuck out is *totally* my little sister's fault for dragging me to Tennessee with her last weekend. Now I'm going to have make up for it by using northern terms like "Pop". )

Remember: People rarely recall who won an Oscar or who had the nicest car...they remember what a person stood for and how they lived their lives.

Fin.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Rose Run 2010 Firstgiving Page Is Up!

Rose: My high school best friend's mother who died from breast cancer just over a year ago. The woman who inspired me to run in her honor. The woman who made the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted in my entire life. The woman who watched me grow up alongside her daughter. The woman who I know would appreciate the humor that I inject into most of my blog posts.

Please go here: The Rose Run 2010 Firstgiving Page

Even if you are participating in this year's run, please donate to this cause. I would love to live to see the day when we no longer have to say goodbye to people like Rose because of breast cancer.

Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

They Call It 'The Shred' For A Reason


I did Jillian Michael's 'The 30 Day Shred' for the first time last night. I now know why it's called 'The Shred'...it's because it hurts....so much. Kind of like if you decided that it would be fun to grate your thighs over a million shards of glass and then run a marathon with 5 million squats at the end. That would pretty much cover the warm up section of this DVD.

Good times.

She uses 3 levels in this specific DVD and suggests that you stay on each level for 10 days a piece. Hence, the "30" in the title. Following me? Now, prior to starting, you should take your measurements because even though there are claims that you lose 10 pounds on average during this workout...I've heard that you lose much more in inches because of the increase in muscle tone.

Guess who forgot to take her measurements last night?

Yeeeeeaahhhh...I'll do that tonight. Really.

The only equipment needed for this workout are hand weights and a mat if you plan on working out on a hard surface...3 pound weights are the suggested starting weight but since I could only find *1* of my 3 pound weights because the other one is probably being used as a Barbie sailboat somewhere, I used my 5 pound weights. I strongly suggest that you start with 3 pound weights...just trust me.

Jillian frightens me. I feel like I need to make her proud and keep her from jumping through the TV screen and killing me at the same time. It's a tingly feeling. At one point she's talking about an alternative move for jumping jacks and she looks directly into the camera and says something along the lines of: "There is no alternative for jumping jacks...I have 400 pound people who do jumping jacks...YOU can do them too." I think her eyes may have glowed red for a split second but maybe that was just my retinas starting to bleed.

She also used phrases like:

"Pain is just fear leaving the body..."

"Abs like these you have to work for..."

"I demand your first born child and a signature in blood..."

Just kidding on that last one. That must have happened in my head one of the times I blacked out doing crunches or butt kicks.

Today I'm sore and walking slightly crooked but I'll be pushing play again tonight for another round of pain and humiliation in the hopes that I will see my long lost abs in oh, 30 days.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mmmmmm...Carrots

I read alot of blogs. Not necessarily an unhealthy amount but I do read several. Lately I've been on this kick to read blogs that aren't so mainstream. You know, like the blog that my high school friend writes or the blog that my friend in Texas writes. I found myself at one point getting slightly jealous of some the more popular bloggers out there..I mean, why am I not popular with 9 million hits a day? WHY? DOESN'T ANYONE LIKE ME?

Yeah. I may have some self-esteem issues there. Anyhow...

The more mainstream blogs I read though, the more I realize that these bloggers have some major drama that they have to deal with. They have people that send them hate mail and tell them that they shouldn't swear or talk about thier own kids becasue it will ruin their fragile psyches. They can't just sit down and verbally vomit all over their blogs because they have to actually think about how others will take their post.

That's where I have it easy. I can post pretty much post my social security number and bank card password on my blog and not give it a second thought. POW! It's liberating. I am writing this blog for me and only me! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

So there we have it.

Carrots. Yum.

*On a sidenote: I have lost a total of 8.8 pounds as of today. RAWR.