Monday, February 28, 2011

Favorite Things

Yesterday, on the way home from church, my son, 7, asked my husband, 33, if we could take his second favorite road home. “Your second favorite road?” I wondered. “Yeah, Duck Creek,” he answered enthusiastically. I meant, second? As in you have a first? He assured me that yeah, of course he did. He went on to give me his top five list. And then everyone joined in the street rankings. The girls were totally making up street names, saying things like “Julia Street is my fourth favorite.” But, still, it made me think, which is remarkable, because usually the kids just make me frustrated, not thoughtful. What’s my favorite street? I guess the one that I run on almost every day. It’s flat and even, without a lot of traffic. I guess that’s what I look for in a street. Though, if I could design my own, it would probably have flowers all along the side, and probably down the middle. I’d also want a wide array of wildlife to be visible, but not in the way. Like some elephants would be great to run/drive by, but I wouldn’t want to share the road with them. Obviously, there’d be a chocolate tree or two near my favorite street. (Dora the Explorer has led me to believe these exist.)

My husband pressed me to come up with my top five favorites, and I couldn’t. But, this exercise made me think that maybe I should do a My Favorite Things Blog. The way Oprah has her favorite things special. My fame and stardom is clearly akin to hers. And, there is a possibility, the remotest of one, that you’ll be given some of these things as part of the special. (Maybe you shouldn’t hold your breath on that one.)

Favorite day of the week: Thursday. It’s a well-known night of superior television programming, and always has been. It’s close to the weekend, without the added weekend pressure of getting things done around the house. You guys will all be getting Thursdays, that’s a promise.

Favorite style of donut: Cream filled with chocolate frosting. Blueberry cake and plain old glazed just can’t compete with biting into a messy blob of sugar, butter, and . . . I don’t know, pudding? Whatever it is, it’s fantastic.

Favorite Super Bowl ever: XLII (I can’t convert Roman numerals, but my best guess, assuming L=25, and why wouldn’t we assume that, is that it was Super Bowl thirty-seven. But, alas, I’ve googled it and I was wrong. Whatever. Didn’t Rome fall? Why are we still using their counting method for football, a game they never even played?!) I’m speaking of when my beloved New York Giants upset the favored and undefeated New England Patriots, better known as Tom Brady’s team. I’m disgusted by how genetically gifted Mr. Brady is, so I always root against him. Maybe if I had that kind of bone structure, bronze skin, athletic-skill, and money, we’d get along better.

Favorite M&M color: Blue! I’ll see what I can do for you guys on that one.

Favorite celebrity couple(s): Beyonce and Jay-Z; they’re so talented, yet seem so grounded, spending just a fraction of their time on private islands and yachts. They make time for basketball games, like real people, and I like that she’s a lot better looking than him. It’s how I know she must really love him, because, honestly, she could do better. My other favorite celebrity couple is Jake Gyllenhaal and whoever he’s with at the time. I always think he makes a great couple with pretty much everyone; Kirsten Dunst, Reese Witherspoon, Taylor Swift, all good choices.

Favorite jungle cat: Tiger. Those stripes are beautiful, and the tiger is very underrated because there aren’t as many publicized attacks by them as there are by lions, which don’t actually live in the jungle, do they? Well, I’d like to include all large cats in this category, regardless of their location. Anyway, the tiger is very fierce and certainly could attack anyone, anytime, anyplace. Okay, not anyplace, like not at the mall or Antarctica.

Favorite Restaurant: Posado’s. It’s a Mexican restaurant in Longview, Texas, and if you’ve been, congratulations, and if you haven’t, it’s worth the trip. And, if you live in Longview, like my Irish friend, J, then you really shouldn’t complain about anything ever, because you can go to Posado’s whenever you want. Your daughter barfed on your shoes? Oh well, wipe ‘em off and go to Posado’s. Your boss is making you work late? At least you can go to Posado’s whenever you do finally get off. Some of us haven’t been in twelve long years (XII – for the Romans out there), and miss it horribly!

That’s probably enough for today.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ready For Some Football . . .And A Nap

I make my bed almost every day. But, I left it disheveled today as a reminder that I needed to find my way back in there for a couple of hours. That’s because I’m coming off several nights of interrupted slumber. First it was my son, who was battling the flu and needed to reload with Motrin or Tylenol every few hours. Then I worked late the next couple of nights, and then the next kid got sick. There was actually one night between my weekend waitressing shifts and round two of the flu, but a completely healthy kid wet the bed that night. A lot of completely healthy kids probably wet the bed Sunday night, but this one was in my house, so I was drafted into changing sheets and finding clean pajamas.
In order to stay healthy myself, I need to listen to my body. It’s telling me a lot of things today. Things like “You need to nap for a few hours,” and “You won’t make it without an adequate dose of dark chocolate,” and “I need something salty. No sweet. No salty. . .” and finally, it’s saying, “Try to get a nerve blocker as soon as possible.” That’s because I had my session with the trainer yesterday and out of the 640 muscles I have, 600 are killing me today.
But while napping is a priority, it’s not the only one. There were cereal bowls to fill this morning and lunchboxes to pack. Prescriptions to pick up and phone calls to return. I had to run the vacuum over the upstairs carpet so I could check “clean the house” off my list. Clean the house usually means clean the house, but when I’m operating on a sleep deficit, I allow myself to do one thing that falls under that category and call it good. And my laziness was also interrupted by trying to get organized for the Super Bowl.
I’m not playing in it this year, or even the foreseeable future, but in honor of the men who are, it’s my job, as an American, to consume 5,000 extra calories that day. For whatever reason, this one sporting event calls for Doritos, Oreos, and a plethora of dips. There are zoning ordinances in place that call for hamburger and hotdog preparation, or, in some counties, pizza is an option. And I fear if I don’t make brownies, my citizenship could be revoked. But why is it just for this one game? I don’t remember ever breaking all FDA guidelines during the NBA Finals or The World Series. (Some maybe, but not all) And I certainly wasn’t chowing down on nachos when the American women’s gymnastics team took the gold for the all-around competition in the Beijing Olympics.
One year I actually decided we would eat healthy fare on Super Bowl Sunday. We made turkey burgers and served them on whole wheat buns with fresh tomato slices and reduced fat cheese. Instead of chips, we had carrot sticks and ranch. And I topped that off with a fruit salad. It was the worst Super Bowl EVER. I was ashamed of myself and what I had become. I don’t remember who we had over that year, but I’m pretty sure we never heard from them again.
So I spent some time today making a grocery list that would make the Pillsbury dough boy blush, and scouring the Sunday coupons for anything that would fit in that tiny triangle at the top of the suggested food pyramid. Because we’re going to enjoy the Super Bowl this year, regardless of the outcome of the game itself, and we’re doing it the old-fashioned way, through voracious eating. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a nap to take.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fro-Yo Anonymous

There’s this new frozen yogurt shop in town, Sweet Spoons. It’s about 4.2 miles from my house, give or take. I go a lot. But I go for a lot of different reasons, like if it’s unseasonably warm outside and frozen yogurt sounds perfect, or if I’m driving by on my way to work and need something sweet, or if I have an hour to kill with the girls before my son gets out of school and they need a snack, or if I’m awake. All of those things make me feel like I should go there.

On Sunday, the weather was beautiful, sixty-five degrees and sunny, so I ran three miles to the gym, worked out for thirty minutes, and then ran home. I wish increased physical fitness was its own reward, but it’s not, so my husband and I loaded up the kids and went to the yogurt shop. On Monday, which was supposed to be one of my two days off of work, I had to go in for a couple of hours to make some flyers and I figured a monotonous job like that would go faster if I had some frozen yogurt keeping me company.

Tuesday, I managed not to go to Sweet Spoons, but I have to say, I wasn’t as happy yesterday and I think there’s a correlation. Today, Wednesday, my mom was in town and wanted to try the new frozen yogurt shop I’ve been raving about. Enough said; you had me at “today”. Tomorrow night is my monthly girls’ night out with my church friends, and it was decided, by someone other than me, actually, that we should meet at Sweet Spoons. I mentioned some, but not all, of this to my best friend on the phone today and she was like, “Did you fill up your card already?” (They have a frequent customer card where you buy nine and the tenth one is free.) “Are you kidding me,” I said, “I turned in my third card today. Forget free yogurt, I’ve almost earned enough points for a trip to Cancun.”

I’m not sure why I can’t quit going, but I blame it on Hollywood. I blame a lot of things on Hollywood. For instance, on Monday, I really really wanted to rob an armored truck or knock off a bank because my husband and I rented The Town and they really glamorized the life of armed robbery. Here I am, a thirty-three year old housewife, folding laundry in the bonus room of my house in the suburbs, and at the end of the movie, I turned to my husband and said, “Do you think any of my friends would wanna do that with me?” He laughed and said, “Your friends scrapbook and do recipe exchanges; I don’t think they’d know what to do with an assault rifle.” I laid the pair of Minnie Mouse size four underpants I was folding down on the appropriate pile and said, “Maybe I need new friends.”

By the next morning, the adrenaline rush of the movie had worn off and I was pretty content with my law-abiding life. But, I got way off track there. Sorry. I blame Hollywood for my yogurt addiction because of that movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a movie I always mistakenly call Willy Wonka.

When you’re dieting, and I always am and always will be to some extent, you feel like your underprivileged, like Charlie. And you feel like your life is dull and gray sometimes. So when I walked into that shop the first time and was visually seduced by all of the bright colors and fun decorations, it felt a little like I won the golden ticket. And haven’t we all been waiting to win one of those ever since we saw that movie?

And the cool part is you get to make your own treat! There are eight flavors of fat free frozen yogurt, occasionally one of them will just be “low fat”, but I avoid those whenever humanly possible. (There was a German Chocolate Cake one that, I promise you, no man could’ve turned down.) You can sample any and all of them in these little paper cups like they have at the dentist, but now someone has finally put them to good use. Redeemed them, if you will. And once you choose your flavor (s) (sss), you can go through and put any number of toppings on. We’re talking basics like strawberries, sprinkles or Oreo cookie pieces, to more unorthodox Lucky Charms, cantaloupe, kiwi, cheesecake pieces, or even yogurt chips. How decadent is that, to put yogurt chips on your frozen yogurt?! Finally, you weigh your concoction and pay. I had two flavors and six toppings today and it was $3.15!

I haven’t gained any weight since I started going there, but if you had any idea how much I exercise, you’d know that it’s probably the one thing standing in the way of me losing anymore. Not so much that I go there, but just that I go there every day. I might need to check myself into some kind of rehab. If I can find a facility that treats yogurt addicts, that is.