Archive for November, 2010

Moderate

I have come to some realizations lately about lifestyle and self importance along with the numerous goblets of wine I consumed with dinner are dictating that I share them with the world (or the ten people who seem the check the blog every time I post).

Obviously, healthy diet is essential.  Also, the multiple baby books I’ve read tout the necessity of things like folic acid, protein, fiber, calcium, and a bunch of other things.  Because you know, when babies are on the horizon I want to make sure they’re not scary deformed creatures.  Also, I don’t want them to blame me for their problems.  That shit is not right, yo.  Respect your mama!

Umm.  Sorry.  Back to what I was saying.  I’ve come to the realization lately that my diet, while it could stand some changes, is fairly healthy.  Could I get more protein?  Oh, heck yes.  I still don’t get enough.  Could I get more folic acid?  Absolutely.  Only recently have I become tolerant of spinach, and then only in its raw form.  Brussels sprouts, another wonder food, are still not my favorite but I can choke them down.

Ultimately, I think I’ve come to the understanding that what I do with my diet needs to work for me.  That means that any changes I make have to be ones I’ll be okay with sustaining for the long term.  It’s just not worth it to make major changes, even if they’re ridiculously healthy, if one week from now I’m going to find myself facing major cravings for boxed macaroni and cheese with kielbasa in it.  Mmmmm, kielbasa…

So, some basic changes I’ve made:

* cutting out refined carbs except for the occasional baked good (but only stuff that’s delicious and homemade)

* adding wheat bran to my morning greek yogurt to increase fiber (this one I’ll start tomorrow but after a small trial run today I’m positive about it)

* adding quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice to my diet and actually measuring serving sizes

* cutting out soda (mostly- maybe once a month I’ll have some soda)

* limiting bad fats (but hey, things like avocados, almonds, and olive oil shouldn’t be scary in moderation!)

So ultimately, my weight loss has slowed.  But, that’s okay.  I’ve done a superb job of maintaining my weight at an oh-so-close to perfect body weight for several months now.  And, once in awhile, there is a dip.  Slow but steady, right?

Right.

Now, my nightly after dinner walk with my husband calls.  Happy holidays, folks!

Edit to original post: Also, thanks go to GirlyQ for her long talks on this subject.  I love our talks and our friendship.

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Password

For those of you I know for real, you can email me or comment for the password to the previous post.  I know I don’t usually password protect stuff, but there’s some really tough stuff in there that I don’t want the whole interweb to be party to on my mostly anonymous blog with pictures of me all over the place.

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Conference: 2010 Edition

Last year, I wrote a snarky post about parent teacher conferences and the misery of them.  This  year, I’m still feeling snarky but I also want to say a couple things before launching into my poking fun.  I know, it’s lame to add a “but,” especially before I’ve even started the darkly humored venting.  I have to say that, for every one parent who sucks my will to live, there are 10 who are awesome.  I like parents who show up for parent/teacher conferences for the most part.  I plan to be one one day.  The majority of them are loving, understanding people.  All of them are well-intentioned:  they want their kids to succeed.  How some of them go about it, though, brings a range of reactions from raised eyebrows to a fierce desire to bang my head against a brick wall.  Here we go.

Dear Helicopter Parent:

Do you hear that wooshing sound?  I think it might be the propellers, and I think it might be why you can’t hear a word I’m saying.  Your kid does not, as you claim, have “straight A+s in every class but mine (within which his grade was… less than stellar).  I know this because I can look his grades up.  Also, when we’ve confirmed that one of his issues is that he’s not doing the reading and failing/not passing in a lot of his homework, I’m questioning whether telling me I need to be more clear with them when they are supposed to do reading at home (what?  “Finish Chapter 3” on the board and verbal reminders aren’t enough?) and telling me I have to make sure he puts his book into his bag at the end of the day ALONG with giving him an EXTRA worksheet for every chapter when he can barely manage to finish the work I am giving him probably isn’t going to help much.  Motivation is an issue.  I’m not a magician.  Also, I’m sorry you’re not thrilled with his seat (up near the board).  But, as I’ve told you multiple times now, he chose that seat himself because he was having trouble focusing and was getting in trouble.  HE asked ME to put him there.  And you know what?  His behavior has improved.  Along with his grades so far this quarter.  Finally, I doubt he really believes I dislike him (which you triumphantly threw in my face as you were huffing out of my room).  If that was the case, why would he frequently stay after to chat with me about his BMX bikes and his other hobbies after getting extra help?  If I’m so nasty, why does he loves spending time with me after school?

-Banging my head against a wall,

Mrs. Cookie

Dear Mrs. Making Connections,

I think it’s laudable that you are trying to help your daughter as much as possible.  Really, it’s lovely.  And maybe she is a visual learner and watching the movie helps.  I had to smile a little when you, very seriously, asked me “Oh, so the book is more accurate than the movie?” after I told you that you needed to be careful, as the movie does not follow the book exactly (and contains many inaccuracies).  It’s not a historical documentary.  There is no more or less accurate.  There is accurate and not accurate because the movie came years and years after the book and was based on the book.  Take my idea to use the Venn Diagram to help you daughter understand that there are differences.  I promise it will help.

Full belly laughing when you leave the room,

Mrs. Cookie

Dear Mrs Life Navigationally Challenged Mom,

I’m so fascinated to hear about the 10 in long scratch on your arm and how it was caused by a baby kitten who attacked you and tried to “eat you alive” when you tried to pick up his siezing mother.  I really am.  Can we get back to your child because I’ve got a bunch of other parents who want to talk to me.

Never buying a cat with epilepsy,

Mrs. Cookie

Dear Red Headed Lady with the brown-haired husband and red headed daughter,

You give me hope to one day have a red headed child.

Hoping Mr. Cookie will give me a ginger,

Mrs. Cookie

Dear Bosnian Momma,

I love you and your delicious baklava and your awesome sons.  Keep it up, Captain.

One pound heavier,

Mrs. Cookie

Hmm.  I guess that wasn’t so bad.  G’night, all!

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Culture Club

Tomorrow is the Muslim holiday of Eid ul Adha.  I knew that Judeo-Christianity and Islam had many close ties, but reading about this holiday stunned me in showing just how close Islam and Judaism’s roots really are (ie:  two versions of the exact same story).  I knew there was a holiday tomorrow because of the large number of students asking me what they would be missing in their absence.  After school, two of these students (brothers, from Bosnia) stopped by my room to see what they could do to help me out and to let me know they’d be absent tomorrow.  These boys frequently stop in after school and straighten my desks or cut out Box Tops (did I mention I run the Box Top program for the PTO?) or clean desks off.  Today, there were a couple other kids in my room too already doing some of these things so I engaged them in conversation by mentioning that I didn’t know they were Muslim.

The younger boy got really quiet (the older one is usually quiet, so no change there) and bowed his head.  He then told me that he doesn’t like to tell people he’s Muslim because “ever since 9/11, [he’s] ashamed to admit [he’s] Muslim.”   I was taken aback by this.  I mean, I know there are hateful people out there.  I don’t know what cloud I was living on, but I just didn’t see that as a problem with our students.  Teachers, sure (and then, only a small handful).  But for all the things I’ve seen kids bully over in our school, religion has not been one I’ve noticed.

I really wanted to draw him out of his shell and learn more about the holiday, so I started asking questions.  Both boys resisted staunchly at first.  “You’ll make fun.”  “It’s stupid.”  “I can’t tell you, Mrs. Cookie, that’s not your culture.”  Both had serious concerns that nobody could possibly have a positive view of Islam who was not themself Muslim.  Both voiced frustrations about being bullied and teased since 9/11.  Then, fear and frustration turned to anger and the younger boy, always the talkative one, said “you know, it’s really not fair at all.  Those guys who did 9/11, they were not good people.  Muslims believe in keeping pure.  That means praying and not drinking or smoking or swearing and it especially means no violence.  You can’t hurt people!  And those guys hurt a lot of people.  That was wrong.”  I agreed and told them that throughout the course of history, there have always been people who do bad things and claim that their religions told them to do it or their god told them to do it.  I told them about the Ku Klux Klan (in mostly vague terms) and how they claimed the Bible supported their actions and beliefs.  And then, I told them that just like the people behind 9/11 who claimed that their religion demanded these actions of them, that they were a very small percentage of people claiming that faith.  Unfortunately, they were just the publicity receiving percentage.

After I finished this tirade, both boys seemed to warm up to me and I also noticed another girl (a young girl who listens more than she speaks and hears everything) sidling up to the desk.  She’s Christian and she was very curious, it seemed, to hear what I had to say and then to hear what the boys had to say.  So, at this point, I decided to ask the boys again to tell me about their holiday.  Now, they did.  They told me about how tomorrow they will go to the mosque and the imam will give a speech, after which they will go around and introduce themselves to new people with a gesture of respect and reverence.  They showed me how they pray (hands up, to receive God’s blessings, facing Mecca) and told me that after I sat like that for ten minutes, I would rub my hands on my face and make a wish (“like at your birthday, Mrs. Cookie!”).  Then, after the mosque, they will go around with their families and bring food to families, friends, and the elderly and sick (“especially our aunt with cancer.”).  I asked them what they will bring and was told baklava and this sort of meat roll (ack!  I can’t remember the word!).  Umm, I think I have a severe case of pneumonia coming on…

At this point, the other kids were asking questions and getting involved and both boys were lighting up under the positive attention.  It made me think.  Our school claims to be welcoming to all cultures.  We have one wall right as you walk in covered in graphic art of “Welcome” in all sorts of languages spoken in our school.  But, how many other kids feel like they’re on the periphery?  Misunderstood?

I want to start a Culture Club.  Mr. Cookie thinks I should call it the Travel Club and avoid all mentions of religion or food (oh my god, there has to be food!) to the admin, and then just let it happen… organically… in the course of regular discussion.  I was thinking I could maybe have an interview sheet for kids to ask their parents or other family if they don’t know the answers to certain questions about languages, traditions, food, special holidays, how/when/why their families came to the US, etc.  I think I would start us off the first week by talking about my family’s French heritage (safe, I don’t know any French kids in the school- just Moroccan, Haitian, etc so I wouldn’t be stealing anyone’s thunder).  I could model for them what a discussion would look like and maybe bring in some sort of special French food to share.  Then, kids could sign up for following weeks, take one of the interviews, add or subtract from it as they see fit, and each week their presentation would serve as a jumping off point.  Off the top of my head, we have students from the following places:

El Salvador

Brazil

Argentina

Haiti

Somolia

Morocco

Italy

Nigeria

Kenya

Bosnia

Albania

Cambodia

China

I’m sure I’m missing somebody.  I know I am.  But my point is, I think this could be a really great source of encouragement and support for our students.  And also good food.  Now, to sell it to the admin.

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Hoarding

I wonder if I’m the only one who watches that show Hoarders and immediately afterward has a burning desire to purge my house of everything (or, at least, clean it).  I mean, really, they should market that show as motivation to clean.

For the years we’ve been living together, my husband’s talent for low scale hoarding has been a source of humor and also irritation between us.  When we first moved in together, it was boxes.  Every box for every appliance was kept and stowed in the coats closet, the office closet, the bathroom closets (oh, to have so many closets again).  I finally convinced him, after moving once and not using the boxes (his reason for keeping them- the Styrofoam in them was PERFECTLY! SHAPED! FOR EACH! APPLIANCE!) to get rid of them.  But, it doesn’t stop there.  I think Mr. Cookie should get a job as a product tester.  Now not counting because I recently purged our tub of excess bottles, at most times you can find between 2 and 4 cans of shaving cream and at least two kinds of facial wash (NOT my special, rosacea wash) in our shower.  You guys, I rarely even have as many products in the shower as he does.   A few weeks ago, I fell on the sidewalk and had a nasty case of road rash.  I tried out a doctor suggested at home remedy- a cut up pair of pantyhose and a maxi pad slathered with bacitracin.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was getting the job done.  Well, about a day after hearing me complain about how the pads I use are really thin and were providing little cushioning around my knee, he returned from CVS with no fewer than 3 different products for holding bandages onto joints and a couple different kinds of non-stick pads and gauze.  None of them worked better than the panty hose and pad and they now take up valuable real estate in our dining room hutch.  We have so little closet space in our current apartment (and none in our bathroom save the world’s tiniest medicine cabinet) that we’ve actually relegated two large drawers in the built in hutch for first aid, medicine, and beauty products.  It was a sweet gesture and I appreciated it at the time, but I know when we come to move we’re going to have to sift through all that stuff.

Maybe it comes of being a military brat.  We were never able to accumulate much because we were moving every couple of years.  Still, it’s easy to start collecting things.  I was doing laundry today down in the basement, staring at a bunch of shipping boxes my husband has saved (he’s been selling off old books and often has to ship them, so this is justified mostly) when I started to look around.

Believe it or not, this post was not written entirely to poke fun at my husband.  I realized I might have a problem too.  I collect things because I like to be prepared (and I don’t like wasting things).  For example, I have a large collection of gift bags.  These are not generally bags I’ve purchased, but rather, bags I’ve been gifted that I hold on to “just in case.”  I have used a couple, but mostly they are Christmas bags and I don’t have many opportunities to use those.  I also have a bunch of different sized tins.  One year, I decided to do a ton of baking at the holidays to give to friends.  We were living right in downtown Boston and I found it impossible to find tins for the cookies.  Mom happily told me “try the grocery store or WalMart!” except, there’s no WalMart in downtown Boston (we had no car) and the grocery stores don’t seem to hold the same suburban housewife values as my Mom’s.  So, when I moved and got a car, I found the nearest Christmas Tree Shop (really close!) and bought a bunch of tins.  I used most of them, but every holiday season I buy a few extra just in case the great tin shortage of ’06 should choose to repeat itself.  Plus, people often think the tins are so valuable (they really are dirt cheap) that after they’ve eaten the goodies inside, they give them back to me!  And who am I to argue with that?

I think this desire for preparedness comes of a desire to share and help (or so I justify it in my own head).  When I was in high school, all my friends knew I was their go to person if we were out and they needed something.  Change for a parking meter?  Yup, right here in my purse!  Tore your clothing?  No worries, here’s a travel sewing kit!  Chapped lips?  Hey, use my Carmen.  Too dark to find our car in the unlit parking lot?  I’ve got a mini flashlight!  The best part was that I kept it all organized in my purse.  My friends knew they could rely on me and once it became clear that that was my role, I always made sure I was prepared, MacGuyver style.

Now it has continued.  Except, between my husband and I, we probably need a low scale intervention.  I fear we’re just going to keep getting bigger places and then saying “hey!  Extra space!  Let’s get more crap!”  In fact, that fear often seeps in.  I own so. much. cake. shit.  Seriously.  It’s not just my husband.  I’m a hoarding monster too.

And the worst part?  I claim I don’t like “stuff.”  I told him to let his mom know I don’t want Christmas presents but was then lured in when he made several suggestions of things I’ve been saying I want.

I’m a hypocrite.  My storage space is bursting at the seams.  My travel sewing kit won’t fix this problem.

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Meditations on Success

Umm.

 

I brought in three pants yesterday to get them tailored.

 

Those pants were a size 14.

 

The pants I wore to the dry cleaner’s were a size 10.

 

And even they were a little big.

 

Slow and steady wins the race.

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