Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Report

I am on an Undiet. I have given up dieting forever. I decided this two weeks ago, when I came to terms with the fact that although Weight Watcher's has worked for me in the past, I always gain the weight back. Maybe those people who say diets don't work are onto something. So anyway, I'm trying this crazy thing: I'm eating when I'm hungry and stopping when I'm full.

This sounds easy, but it's not. Not if you're me and have spent your entire life eating for all sorts of reasons, not one of them having to do with hunger. Yesterday, I kept willing myself to get hungry, because I really wanted to eat something. It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r. And what does "full" mean, exactly? Sometimes it's hard to tell. There's a fine line between full and stuffed, as well as between full and not full enough. I'm trying to learn what the right amount of full feels like.

I've been reading a lot about undieting and emotional overeating, because far be it from me to start something without reading dozens of books about it. The books claim that if you eat when you're hungry and stop eating when you're full, that crazy things begin to happen. Like you stop craving sugar. That you will actually start craving healthy foods. That you'll eat sweets from time to time, and not feel guilty afterwards. That your body will stablize at a healthy weight.

It seems too good to be true, and maybe it is. But intuitively it makes sense to me. Dieting doesn't. When I go on a diet, I immediately rebel. I sneak food behind my diet's back. I lose weight at first, and then I gain it all back.

So I'm giving this a try. It feels a little scary, to be honest. I've been having strange dreams. I won't even tell you about the one where I found one hundred boxes of Pepperidge Farm cakes stored in the garage that I'd forgotten all about. What could that mean? How could I forget that Pepperidge Farm cakes have to be kept frozen?

The funny part of the dream? Even though the cakes had been sitting unfrozen in the garage for over a year, I couldn't bring myself to throw them away.

Chew on that, Sigmund Freud. And then spit it out. Blech!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Greetings from the Sickbed

What fun! We're all sick at once. To make things even more interesting, we've all got different stuff. Will, for instance, has a simple, straightforward cold. Jack has full-fledged flu. I've got some bug that has pretty much wiped me out, but doesn't seem to have any other symptoms--no fever, no sore throat, no aches and pains.

The Man--well, he probably has all of the above, but will he admit it? No. He just motors on, denying that he feels the least bit bad--well, maybe he has a touch of headache, feels just the slightest bit run down ... But really, he's fine. Off to work!

Will's had his cold since Sunday morning (and is in school, though I kept him out Monday, just in case it was the flu masquerading as a cold). Jack's had the flu since Sunday night. I've had my thing since Monday morning around 10:23. Have you ever had that? Where you're feeling fine and dandy, doing your chores, and all the sudden you have some strange sensation that something's not quite right. Maybe you're hungry? Well, you didn't sleep all that well last night, you're probably just feeling the affects of not getting enough rest ...

And then it hits you: You're sick. Go lie down, because you're done in for.

Fortunately, you can still manage a household when you're wiped out, especially if your husband insists on being in denial about that fact that he feels wiped out, too. So we're managing just fine, except The Man and Jack fretting about whether they'll get to go on their big camping trip to the mountains this weekend.

I don't know why I'm sharing all this. Just an excuse to say "hi," I guess. I hope I'll be back in a day or so to let you know I'm fine and dandy once again. But until then, I believe another nap is in order.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Report

After a two-year absence from the carpool drop-off line at Our Fine School, I'm back. The past two years, I dropped off Jack, and then Jack and Will behind the school. It was an easy, aggravation-free gig.

This year, I'm doing two drop offs, and both of them are in the carpool line, one at the lower school and one at the middle school, and I'm talking a lot of trash while I do it. It's so hard not to, especially when half of my fellow dropper-offers are chatting away on their cell phones and consequently driving like idiots.

So far, I haven't cussed. I've been good about referring to other drivers as "honey" or "sweetie," as in, "Gee, honey, you drive like an idiot," or ""Sweetie, if you don't put down that phone, I'm going to put it down for you."

I know, I know, it's such a bad example for the boys, especially Will, who's a little parrot. My only hope is that it's teaching them that paying attention while you're driving is a good idea if you don't want to incur the wrath of other drivers. Or at the very least, it's possible to vent one's rage without resorting to out and out profanity.

I think those are important lessons, don't you?


I have been an inconsistent blogger and blogging neighbor the last few weeks. I'm working on a book, and I write in the mornings, which is usually when I blog and comment on my fellow bloggers' posts.

The writing is going well. I'm trying to treat it like a job that I'm expected to show up at every morning, not as an optional activity. I've been working steadily since the boys went back to school and am happy with what I've written. The only thing about writing steadily every morning in an empty house is that it's quite possible by the end of the fall I'll be stark, raving mad. It's not necessarily a great thing to live so firmly inside one's imagination for long stretches of time.

But it's really, really fun.


Last night we went to yet another Parents Night at Our Fine School (middle school division). This is the last one for the year, thank goodness, and by my calculations we only have eleven more years of them.

The great thing about Middle School Parents' Night? All the parents are older. You get to see what those young moms in the preschool look like five years later. Guess what? They look really tired. They've put on a few pounds and added a few gray hairs. But they also look a lot more relaxed. Their faces are softer. Their clothes are looser. They've come to terms with the fact that gravity wins in the end.

Yes, I felt like I was among my people last night, the tired, the stressed, the chubby. Long may we reign.


Have a great weekend. Be kind to yourself. Eat some cake. Eat all the cake. What the hey.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm a winner!


Dulce has given me an award! Though don't tell her, but "creative" is spelled wrong. Or is that the UK way, like "flavour" instead of "flavor" or pronouncing the "h" in herb?

Of course, I'm thrilled, as Dulce is one of my favorite citizens in all of Blogville, and I'm honored by this honor. Thank you, Dulce!

But there are strings attached in accepting this award: 1) I'm supposed to tell seven things about myself that you might find interesting; and 2) I'm supposed to then pass this award on to seven other kreativ bloggers.

But first, the rules:

1.Thank the person who nominated you.
2.Copy the logo to your blog (or at least into the acceptance post...).
3.Link to the person who nominated you.
4.List 7 thing about yourself people may find interesting.
5.Make your own 7 Nominations.
6.Post links to those 7.
7.Leave them all a comment to let them know you nominated them.

So, seven things you might find interesting about me (but don't feel badly if you don't):

1. I was born in Berlin, West Germany. Army brat. I don't speak German (tho I lived in Germany for part of high school), but for a long time I implied to a lot of people that I did. Okay, I speak enough German to order a beer--Nach ein Pils, bitte!--but that's about it.

2. I went to three high schools. I moved my senior year. When people hear this, they act like that must have been a tragedy, but it wasn't. I had a great senior year, much better than the one I would have had, had we stay put.

3. I have an MFA in poetry writing. One of the reasons I began writing children's books is because there is no money in poetry. Turns out there's not much money in writing children's books, either, but you do get nice letters from kids.

4. When I was eight, my dad sent me a radio/record player from Vietnam. From that point on, until my early 30s, listening to music was a mainstay of my life. I couldn't imagine being friends with people who didn't feel as passionately about music--the same music--as I did. And then one day, I realized that a lot of really cool, friendship-worthy people couldn't care less about Iggy and the Stooges, and I chilled out.

5. My favorite color is periwinkle blue. I'm sure this has nothing to do with the fact that I look really good in periwinkle blue.

6. If I didn't dye my hair, I would be 65% gray. This has been true since I was 32.

7. I wish I were the sort of person who didn't care so much about her hair.

And the bloggers I would like to hand this award to:

1. Tracy: Cooking, reading, quilting, working, musing--I always look forward to reading about what's going on in Tracy's life.

2. Pom Pom: I love Pom Pom's enthusiasm for life, literature, and trees. Her blog always cheers me up.

3. Heather: Part poet, part philosopher, big time knitter and an amazing photographer, Heather's posts inevitably give me something to think about.

4. Ali: Another great photographer, Ali brings the domestic arts to a new heights. Always an inspiration.

5. Victoria: Victoria is an Op-shopper extraordinaire and an incredible artist whose work makes me laugh and wonder.

6. Tina: I visit Tina's blog because I love her gentle spirit and her domestic musings.

7. Gretchen Joanna: Another philosopher, you never know whether you'll find poetry, photographs or theological musings on Gretchen's Joanna's blog.


To all to whom this award has been awarded, feel free to pass it on or just enjoy. I'm happy to live in a corner of the Blogosphere where creativity and friendship abounds.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Brownie the Bear Makes a Visit

This year, Will is in Mrs. A.'s class. We love Mrs. A., who was also Jack's first grade teacher. We actually requested her for Will and were very pleased when he was assigned to her class. Mrs. A. is the quintessential first grade teacher. She is pretty and sweet and has amazing dimples, but she's no pushover. Mrs. A. runs a tight ship.

It wasn't until last week, crammed into little first grade seats on Back to School Night, that we remembered Brownie the Bear. Mrs. A. was going over the curriculum when her dimples got extra dimply and she pulled out the canvas tote bag with Brownie embroidered across the top.

The Man and I looked at each other in horror. Brownie! We'd forgotten all about Brownie!

Brownie the Bear is a journaling bear, which is to say, each day a lucky child in Mrs. A.'s class gets to bring Brownie and Brownie's journal home. He or she spends the afternoon and evening recording all the fun things Brownie sees and experiences.

I know, I know, it's a charming idea. In theory, I love it. My first Back-to-School night with Mrs. A., way back in 2000-whatever (I'm too lazy to do the math--Danielle, when did our guys start first grade?), when Mrs. A. brought out Brownie the Bear, I swooned. What a wonderful way to get the kids interested in writing! Everyone thinks this. How could they not?

And then comes the day when your child brings Brownie home.

Brownie never comes home on a day when there's nothing going on. Brownie only seems to appear on very busy days, Cub Scout days, taekwondo days, dentist days. Now, on the one hand, that gives your little first grade journaler a lot to write about ("We took Brownie to my big brother's basketball practice, and Brownie got run over in the parking lot!"). On the other hand, have you ever had the pleasure of helping a first grader journal? It takes forEVER. Bath time be damned! Bedtime? Nevermind. The journal must be written in, and the only way out is through.

And because we're all overachievers at Our Fine School, our little ones don't just write; they take pictures, too. So you better have ink in your printer when Brownie comes over, and batteries in your digitial camera. And, oh yes, make sure that you don't allow any pictures of Brownie to be taken on the couch the dog has been slowly eating over the last two years. Because, believe me, the kids won't be the only ones looking at the pictures taped into the journal.

So, anyway, guess who got to bring home Brownie first?

Brownie went with us to the middle school to pick up Jack after intermural volleyball. Brownie played lacrosse with Will, and met all of Will's "guys"--his insanely huge collection of stuffed animals, all of whom had to be dragged out of their special basket and arranged on Will's floor (where they still remain, of course) to have their picture taken. Brownie got to hang out with Travis the dog, who thought Brownie was an interesting new chew toy.

Brownie made it back to school this morning, and is now torturing Win's family. But he'll be back--in roughly three and a half weeks. And then again three and a half weeks after that. And again. And so on. And each time, we will have to think of new things for Brownie to do because being the overachievers we are at Our Fine School, each journal entry will have to top the last, until Brownie is flying on a plane to Paris for spring break while drinking champagne out of a stewardess's shoe.

How on earth could we have forgotten about Brownie?