Current Menu and Future Plans

I recently wrote about my attempt at “recharging” myself, food-wise. While I’m proud to be able to say I’ve stuck to the new diet completely, I can also say that I’ve learned a lot about myself in the less-than-one-week I’ve been eating differently. I’ve also determined some of what seems to works well out of the “diet”.

I have been eating puffed brown rice cereal (only one ingredient!) with almond milk, except for yesterday when I gave into a craving for “diet approved” fruit. I have been putting lots of time into my meal prep, which, at times, throws my schedule off (but only by about 15 minutes or so) – so, for the most part, I’ve been eating regularly, four or five times a day. My lunches have consisted of a minimalist vegetable chicken stir fry with brown rice and black beans with veggies and quinoa. Dinners have varied, from a huge salad with some sliced chicken to rice pasta with sauce (that…was…interesting) to salmon with quinoa and veggies. My snacks have been rice crackers with local fig goat cheese (my new addiction), carrots and hummus, and celery with almond butter (my other new addiction). I’ve mostly been drinking water, massive amounts of water, since tea sweetened with honey is a tad too “bee puke” for my taste.

And, y’know what? I’m starting to lose weight, already. Y’know what else? My mood isn’t better, and I’m feeling deprived. Shit.

My ultimate goal is to be happier and healthier. Mind you, I haven’t been able to get in as much exercise as I’d like, which will supposedly contribute to the happy factor. However, it’s a challenge to think to myself, “Wait. It took me how long last year to find whole-grain, no-HFCS hamburger buns to use with my free-range beef…and now I can’t have a hamburger all summer?” The wheat thing, I think, is pretty much the worst part.

That being said, I’m going to stick with the diet at least until the end of the weekend, to be able to say that it was accomplished to term (for a full week). What I will take forward with me on my journey of edibles is the following:

– The “4-5 small meals” thing works for me. That, I keep.
– The snacks have to be HEALTHY and portion-controlled. Luckily, I’ve landed upon some mighty tasty alternatives that I’d gladly gobble every day.
– Take time to enjoy your food preparation. There were times that I was thinking, “This is going to be crap”, so I didn’t enjoy the process OR the food in the end. When I know I’m cooking something I’ll enjoy, I enjoy the experience all the more. So, while I won’t be cooking crap
– I want my kids to be raised with organic (when possible), always hormone-free cow’s milk. One day, when I’m complaining about the price of it, I’ll remember the time that I looked at the price for a quart of goat’s milk only to remind myself that there’s always water to drink. I’ve got osteoporosis in my lineage, so let’s just say, I’m going back to the moo.
– I survived without sugar. Need to buy more agave, but it will suffice in the future. And, hey, I can even have cereal without sweetener! Get that! So, yeah.
– Caffeine. Hmm. I’ve lived without it, for the most part, in the past. But, this week I realized that we had recently purchased a stash of awesome Twinings (Dave’s favorite brand) green teas with various natural flavors…only to determine that they aren’t caffeine-free. So, guess what this means for my rules. No, I’m not throwing them out (this whole “wasting food to start a diet” thing freaks me out); it means that I’m doing caffeine in only very small doses, such as green tea. No coffee. No soda. (This also cuts out the sugar.)
– Speaking of beverages, water is my friend! It’s always at my side now, and I’d like to keep it that way.
– Again, with the beverage thing…dude. There are some nights that you just need wine. Or a Woodchuck hard apple cider. Or friends are coming over. While I was no alcoholic by any means before, I will go back to the *rare* alcoholic beverage. What’s the point of living life if you can’t enjoy it?
– Fruits and veggies are our friends! I’m not necessarily down with the fact that this diet shunned fruits to, essentially, the top of the food pyramid. I know they have more sugars in them, but they have so many other nutritional benefits (and if, when I have a sweet tooth, I reach for fruit, isn’t it better than reaching for a brownie?). So, while I’m definitely going to continue eating lots o’ veggies, fruits will be a bigger part of the equation that it was this past week.
– Wheat. Aaaahhhh, wheat. I didn’t have a sandwich. I didn’t eat toast. My pasta was made of rice (and had a weird consistency and after taste, in my opinion). It was kind of brutal. So, while I will cut back on how much of my diet is wheat-based, and will concentrate on whole-grain and healthier wraps, it will be back in my diet. Again, I’m quite sure I don’t have celiac’s, so it’s not doing me much harm to have it.

And, I know what you’re saying; “Meg, you didn’t even give it a full week! You can’t judge it yet!” And, yes, I feel a bit like a failure. But, if I’m going to write this blog (which I do enjoy doing), I’d rather tell the truth and talk about my mistakes along the way – and how I learn from them – than continue very unhappily going from a borderline foodie to someone who altogether hated food.

I’ve learned a lot from this experience; most importantly, the fact that I need structure in order to control myself and what I eat. I’m thinking of starting to construct weekly menus, whenever possible, to not only rein in our spending, but to know exactly what I’m eating and when. This will be helpful especially when school starts back up, and will hopefully keep us healthy while we direct our show next season.

Thanks for reading, and for, I hope, understanding that I’m at least trying to fix my ways (learning along the way) to achieve a happier, healthier life.

Unplugged Update

We’ve been living on basic cable, down from the “But, Wait! There’s MORE!” plan, since mid-May (You’ll see I first wrote about it here, and first whined about it here). So, now that summer vacation, in a sense, has hit, I thought I’d give a more complete update.

This week marks my only true “vacation” from school, since I’m a glutton for punishment and have a sweet tooth for money-making, hence my signing up for another year of summer school. It’s a half-day gig, so that’s not too bad, but it definitely takes the “vacation” out of “summer vacation.” Eh, it’s a living, and I’m here to complain about not having TV, not about occupations.

Just kidding. I’ve actually adjusted (finally) to not having cable. This week, it’s been a little weird because the daytime TV shows that I would watch have been usurped by Wimbledon. I may be a former tennis player from a past life (*cough*highschool*cough*) and enjoy playing when I can drag my oh-so-willing husband along, but watching it is another thing altogether. I can follow for a little while, thinking “Oh, that was some nice topspin” or “Ouch, killer lob”, before I suddenly find myself awakening hours later with drool running down my cheek.

So, what have I done? Well, you’re looking at it. Yeah, instead of being altogether productive (hey, the laundry’s done…almost), I’ve blogged. I also fit in some reading and a viewing of the Winona Ryder version of “Little Women” (which happens numerous times a year, mind you), and am currently holding down the fort while our tree out front comes down. I’ve also been focusing on my current diet in hopes of squelching my bad moods and laziness.

As originally written, Dave has handled the transition to basic cable admirably, and almost sickeningly. Sometimes I handle change better than he does; other times, he’s the one with the grace and flexibility. I caught up…eventually.

The facts that Monday nights is “Antiques Roadshow” night, Tuesday is “The Office” reruns night, Thursday is “NBC actually can do comedy” night, and that I’ve got a stack of books that I’m actually interested in reading this summer, all help. In general, I’ve made it through just fine…although none of those Internet-to-Wii-to-TV ideas ever panned out, which would make things all the more bearable.

It just goes to show you, though, what we can do without when we simply take the scary leap.

A Love Letter to Pottery Barn

Dear Pottery Barn,

Hey, there! Just dropping a line to see how you’re doing, and tell you about the awesome experience I had during our last visit.

Dave and I made a shopping trip to Syracuse over the weekend specifically to bulk up my summer wardrobe with a) some more “modern yet not tooooo trendy” pieces and b) items that I can use both to dress casual-but-nice, particularly to summer school, and particularly because Dave has a way of throwing on jeans, a tee and an open button-down and winding up looking way dressier than me in my jean capris and tee. He was incredibly supportive to not only go shopping with me but to share his opinions, left and right, even when I immediately shot him down. Have I mentioned what a saint this guy is? Oh, you already knew that? Wow, you ARE great, PB.

And, of course, even though I hadn’t had much luck and we were running out of time, he sweetly said “Okay!” to a detour into your store! (Don’t worry, I ended up having luck in the last couple of stores we tried, and even had time for Christmas Tree Shop.)

The cool thing about you, Pottery Barn, is that you’re one of the only things that will turn my husband into a guy who’s actually interested in design and what, aesthetically, our house could look like. Lowe’s brings him close, but the instant that we walk into you, we both start talking and sharing and discussing a mile a minute. It’s a shot in the arm (in a good way) of inspiration – for both of us!

I tend to glance around with two goals in mind: #1) To see if there’s anything that we can actually afford, perhaps on clearance (mostly to no avail) and #2) To see if there’s anything that I can either emulate on the cheap or purchase for less elsewhere. Dave takes in the ambiance of the place, with a tendency to be drawn toward anything old-looking.

Here are a few items that flooded our conversation with ideas:

A desk similar to this stopped Dave in his tracks. (It was decorated with items that were more vintage-looking, including the clocks mentioned below.) It brought us to discuss the fact that I had wanted to find some filing cabinet-type pieces upon which to add a cheaper desk top idea to, in order to end up with a custom-made desk unit that we could use rather than the three (count ’em, three) current desks. We’d get rid of both of our cheap-ish desks, keeping the small child-sized desk of Dave’s for future use…by child-sized people, if you catch my drift. *sigh* What a dream!
Upon entering you, PB, we saw a sectional like this decorated with great beachy blue-and-cream pillows and chunky blankets that made me want to scream “I need a white slipcover, stat!!!” Rather than screaming, we calmly discussed that something like this sectional would work for us, but the only reason I currently want a sectional is because of our seating issue in our tiny abode (ie, there’s hardly any), and that I’ve never really been a “sectional person.” Our current couch is Dave’s other girlfriend – meaning that he’s had it forever, loves the heck out of it, and I’m not sure he’ll truly ever be able to part with it. (If it wasn’t a couch, I’d be worried, but since it doesn’t talk or breathe or scream when I punch it, it can stay. For now.) Which is why I’m leaning toward the world o’ slipcovers.
This may or may not have been one of those embarrassing “Why did I marry her?” moments for my spouse in which I, again, may or may not have screamed “This table! This table must be miiiine!! This is MY table!!!” Maybe. Maybe not. But I found the exact modern-lined yet rustic farmhouse table that I’ve been dreaming about for quite some time. Rectangular. Perfect medium wood tone with some richness thrown in. To be paired with possibly mismatched chairs of varying levels of modernity. *swoon*

We were chatting while I casually flipped through the huge rug displays (secretly wishing there was a super duper clearance sale) when, out of the blue, Dave suggested ripping up the carpet that lives in our living room and staircase. Apparently a rug such as this one inspired him to start thinking about the hardwood floors that are lurking (some partly damaged, we think) beneath the rug. We’ve always hoped to rip it up and have the floors refinished, but it was more one of my passions than a priority on his part (which is understandable; how many projects CAN we undertake at once?). When he suggested this, and wondered if we could “live with the hardwood as is for awhile”, I seriously wanted to slap myself to see if I was asleep and dreaming. The good sort of dream.

A display of clocks such as these were displayed en masse on a desk (as mentioned above) that just made me think, “I want to start collecting old clocks. Those. Are. Incredible.” I think Dave was as taken with them as I was, and he was on board with my interest in emulating the set-up.

So, as you can see, my dear Pottery Barn, any trip to see you provides me with so very much, even when I inevitably leave empty-handed. Any close conversation (one where the energy of both parties is palpable in their jaunty dialogue) between a wife and husband is something wonderful to behold, so there’s that. There’s also the sheer inspiration of the variety of styles within the store, from modern to rustic or vintage to country, seeing that it all seems cohesive within one big room makes it feel a bit more achievable at home. Your inspiration is uplifting!

Until we meet again, PB.

Sincerely,
Megan McCoy Dellecese

Recharging

This ain’t your grandma’s diet.

Today, I’m laying down my cards for all to see; I’ve always been pretty irritable. Okay, that’s an understatement. I’ve had a slight bitch streak since I was a kid, and it oftentimes came out at those closest to me. Has it bitten me in the arse and made life altogether less happy? Sure. Am I embarrassed about it? Absolutely. I’ve tried to control it and have done a lot to change my life philosophies to squash it since my teen years. For example, it takes a lot less energy to smile and be pleasant to somebody than it does to be rude. My years in customer service helped on this front, too, but when I get hungry or tired or any other myriad of other strange feelings, it still comes out. Let’s just say my husband is a saint.

Going hand-in-hand with my irritability comes my inclination towards depression. (See? Cards, meet table.) From my years in therapy, I can pretty much self-analyze quite well and have determined that the depression is based on the traumatic event that shaped much of who I am, the death of my father when I was three years old. Hormones, general life stresses, and my tendency to over-think things are a big trigger. As long as I’m not on the suicidal train that I once was, I’ve foregone the anti-depressants that once numbed me. But, depression doesn’t go away; you just have to find ways to cope with it in life and find what fulfills you.

Oh, yes, and I’ve had head rushes (you know what those are, right?) for years ‘n years ‘n years. I always thought that it was due to my chronic sinus issues, but it didn’t always make sense. As of the past year or so, my joints have started stiffening and getting sore…more sore than a 29 year old should be experiencing.

Why am I telling you all of this? Really, there is a reason. Yesterday, I was researching the idea of a possible detox. (Don’t roll your eyes yet, wait for it.) I’ve noticed that my weight is at the highest it’s ever been, I don’t feel “in control” of my food choices (and many things in life, actually), and my fatigue level is at an all new high. That factor, the fatigue, is what had me looking up how to re-energize myself, put the passion back into life, and actually get the projects I long to do DONE. Every time I use the bathroom, I feel that I’m letting myself (and my husband…and my cats…and people I’ve never met) down that it’s not complete yet, but the energy just won’t show itself to me.

While researching, I found a silly little quiz to see if a detox is right, or if a different type of change might be needed. This quiz had me answer a variety of questions that hit eerily close to home about my recent fatigue, general lack of energy, depression, joint soreness, head rushes, and even where I’m gaining the weight. After saying “yes” to 16 of the 18 factors, I figured I should look into this “adrenal fatigue syndrome” thing.

After reading more, I determined that a slightly changed diet for a couple of weeks may show a marked difference in my mood and energy levels, and it’s a heck of a lot healthier than drinking only cabbage juice or shooting lemonade with hot sauce (pardon me, I also have serious acid reflux and a hiatal hernia, so that wouldn’t be in the cards for me, anyway – so much acid!!!), or fasting. I’m hoping that this will help me to recharge, both physically and mentally – and, perhaps, spiritually, if I can get my mind wrapped around the concept.

While I’ll be doing more reading to determine how “serious” this diet (I hate calling it that since it’s not like I’m “on a diet” — I’d rather look at the word in what it truly means, ie the foods that one eats) should be, the first couple of weeks I’ll be taking it pretty damn seriously. I’ll be doing the following:

– Way more veggies. Lots ‘n lots ‘n lots. Dave was shocked at how full the fridge was when he opened it today, and I’d say 2/3 of it is veg. Mind you, he did go shopping with me yesterday…I guess it just looks different piled up in the fridge.
– More complex carbs, in the form of quinoa and brown rice – in combination with more legumes, as well.
Fewer fruits, but when I do eat them (6% of one’s daily intake should be fruit), they have to be certain kinds. Pears, apples, mangoes, etc, are fine.
– Staying off wheat for awhile. This. Is. Tough. I don’t want to turn myself into a celiac (that may be very ignorant of me to say, but I’m not an expert on the disease), but I can understand that wheat gluten has a sluggish effect on folks. But, seriously, no pizza ever again?! (I live in Central New York. You can’t try to get a gluten-free crust passed me. Not gonna happen.) Found some brown rice pasta, though.
Sleeping, when possible, later and/or longer. This week, that’s pretty possible (except for when Dave gets up for work…I have a hard time staying in bed when he’s gotta drudge off for the day), but summer school will be starting soon. However, I’ve been going to bed close to 9 for awhile, so an early start time may help.
Eating at certain times of the day. Breakfast before 10 (like, 8 or so), lunch between 11 and 11:30, a healthy snack around 2, dinner between 5 and 5:30, and a light healthy snack is acceptable. If we get the blue popping corn, Dave can still make me the occasional popcorn snack, woohoo! Of course, I won’t be eating the entire bowl, as usual, nor eating it slathered in butter. (See below.) Sea salt is good, though!
No cow’s milk, for now. They say that goat’s milk is closest to human (ew), but, for now, I’m trying almond milk, and, so far, it’s just as good as cow’s milk. This goes for butter, for now, too.
No *gulp* sugar. Generally meaning refined, for this version of a detox that I’m doing over the next couple of weeks, this means no turbinado, either. For now, I’m using local honey (not raw, I’m not really sure how to use that stuff…it’s, like, a soft solid…huh?) in my tea and if I use a marinade for my meat.
– Yes, meat is okay to eat. But, I’m going to try to watch my portions as far as this is concerned. Protein is important (hello, quinoa!), and it’s said that 36% of the meal/diet can be meat – the same percentage of vegetable. Luckily, the meat that we have in the house is all local, grass-fed awesomeness, so I’m happy that when I prepare a meal, Dave can pretty much eat what I’m eating.
I’m nuts! Well, yes, clearly, that, too, but I’m uber happy that nuts are a part of the plan. I’ve got sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in bulk, as well as some almond butter (with celery? Yum! Hello, afternoon snack!!) and peanuts. If any are seasoned, they only have sea salt on ’em, and apparently the sea salt is something that I need, as part of the whole shebang. So, cool, who knew?
No vegetable oils. Or, at least, not those uber-refined ones. Olive oil is good (THANK GOD!!), as is coconut oil (they highly advise it…but, do any of you know how to use it? It’s another one of those soft solids. Use it like a combo of butter and oil?), but things like canola and vegetable are no-nos. I tend to only use those for baking, anyway, so they’ll be kept in the house for bake sales and things that I’m not planning on consuming.
Light exercise. This is a good thing, anyway, because when I DO exercise, it tends to stress my body out because I’m a perfectionist and overdo it a tad. No, lots. I go gung-ho crazy and nearly pass out. So, trying some yoga and light walking with the objective of relaxing the body will help prepare me for eventual jogging…or here’s hoping.
No caffeine, no booze. Let’s just say I had a very lovely dinner last night during which we consumed lots and lots and lots o’ wine, knowing that I’d be “off” of it for awhile. Otherwise, I’ll be drinking water and herbal/green teas, sweetened with honey (or agave, when I pick some more up; gotta find a coupon, though, ‘cuz that shiznit’s expensive…but delicious and tastes more appealing than bee puke).

I think that’s it! Ha, that’s it – good one, Meg. In all seriousness, as I alluded to, this may last (in the severity) for a week, or two, or a month. I don’t foresee that I will not be using whole butter to raise my kids (we’ve had enough butter conversation to have determined that, damn it, if it was good enough for our parents and grandparents, it’s good enough for us), or going my entire life without drinking wine with friends.

However, if this works out to be a practical lifestyle change, many of the above points will become part of my life. In a strange way, having a bit of a regime to follow (rather than just listening to doctors who say “more fruits and vegetables, less junk food” then promptly ignoring them) will help me to avoid those things I shouldn’t eat. I’m pretty optimistic about this thing. Wish me luck!

By the way, I started this morning. My breakfast was puffed brown rice cereal (seriously, nothing but brown rice that’s been puffed, no sweeteners or anything) with almond milk and strawberries, and tea. My lunch is beans and vegetables (specifically, onion, garlic, red pepper, rainbow carrots, mushrooms, zucchini) with brown rice. I’m thinking of salmon for dinner, with quinoa and veggies. I’m looking forward to a green salad with pear and goat cheese, and eating up the local goat cheese spreads we got at the farmers’ market Saturday on rice crackers; gotta get more excited about the vegetables, though. 😉

Hard Times, But Good to Come

Apologies to any and all who read for the fact that I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like. Let’s just say that I get the “I should post” thought about a dozen times each day. The days that I actually post, double that number, multiply it by 3, subtract by 4, and that’s the number of times I think about posting. Oh, and those days also generally include the “ambition” factor.

Regardless, I usually like to post when I’m uber excited about something or feeling happy enough to step into your lives with a thought or random how-to or whatever. I hate, hate, hate negative posts. There’s enough complaining in life. I’m pretty much of the “Yeah, okay, deal with it” realm, except with those I feel close enough to divulge secret insecurities or worries. Generally speaking, I was raise to feel that when there’s nothing you can do about a problem, you’ve gotta stop worrying and over-thinking (and bitching). The times in life that this is the best advice, I find, is during those death and dying moments.

So, I hope you find this to be an informative “what’s going on with me” post, rather than a “wow, life sucks so much, feel sorry for me” post. Thanks for understanding!

The past week has been, for lack of a better word, rough. On Saturday, my dear brother-in-law lost his also-dear grandmother (aka Boppy), whom we all knew quite well. It was relatively unexpected, but she was 90 and had even walked herself into the hospital the prior week; in other words, it was a good life, but a sad loss for those who knew her.

Later that day, we learned of the passing of my sister-in-law’s father. This news was expected, but it was heart-breaking, nonetheless. He had been fighting cancer for a relatively short time (actually, so had Boppy, come to think of it), and my SIL was driving out to see him regularly. While I didn’t know him well, I had met him several times and knew him to be a jovial, laid-back, sweet man who loved his children and grandchildren dearly. Thinking of the private memorial service that she, my brother, my niece and nephew, and Mom and stepdad will be sitting through tomorrow saddens me and leaves a heaviness on my chest that I just can’t seem to shake.

Then, while at my mother’s Sunday for a small (like, Dave and I and the ‘rents, that’s it) Father’s Day celebration, my mom got the call about her Uncle Fran. Hearing her, a usually rock solid individual, wail and uncontrollably cry at the news shook me to my core. I’m not a weak person, but death has an embarrassingly tearful affect on me – I think I’m making up for all the tears I was too stupid not to cry at my father’s funeral when I was 3. And, knowing what a sweet, kind, charitable, simply LOVED man he was pretty much nailed me to the wall. I knew that he was Mom’s favorite uncle by far, that he did things for her that made her feel special (when she was all too often forgotten), and that connection was clear in her response to his death this week.

While she continued to talk on the phone with Uncle Fran’s son, she suggested that Dave and I make our visit to see my grandfather, as we had already planned, but to keep mum about his brother’s passing. I couldn’t have physically done it if she hadn’t told me to, but to my surprise, I didn’t shed a single tear or let on that anything in the world was wrong. It was too important to see Grandpa, especially on a good day, and to remind him, silently, of my appreciation for his fatherly care on Father’s Day. He performed the role that I needed until my stepdad came along, although, even then, he remained just as important. And I’m proud to say that he took the news of his brother, later, with strength and respect, as always.

I am, by comparison to my siblings and other relatives, quite lucky that I didn’t lose someone terribly close and dear to me. My heart aches for their losses, and I still cry to think of the holes that have been left, but hope that the rule of threes stays that way for awhile. I think we all need a rest. It saddens me to think about who the next to pass will be, and that I may not be strong enough to handle it with the same grace that so many of my loved ones showed this week.

On a plus side, this was also my last week at school – so I have one week off before summer school starts, in full. I am hoping to distract myself by posting more over the summer, and to be a tad more interesting than I have been lately. The recent clothing post had me thinking about appropriate attire at funerals and wakes (and wondering if I’d dressed appropriately enough!), so I guess my mind is always escaping here, anyway. Hope all is well in your worlds.

Bossypants

“Bossypants” is two things in my life right now; 1.) it’s the name of Tina Fey’s hysterical new book (which I happen to have just finished reading), and 2.) it’s a new nickname that the hubs loves using on me (only ever in jest, when he’s in cute mode). Well, he does deserve the right; he got me the book for my birthday. Anyhoo, if you’re looking for a humorous, not-too-much-thinking-involved summer book, I’d highly suggest it. I’ve got a list of other historically interesting, possibly droll titles for you, but yeah. This is your best bet.

For being a librarian (shhhhut your mouth, it’s actually “library media specialist” to those in “the know”), I don’t get to read nearly as much as I’d like. You start a book. It’s good, but not good enough to “not put down.” Life just takes over. It’s inevitable.

This is the first book I’ve finished in more than awhile – how ashamed! But, seriously, I’m glad it was as easy to read as it was, and that it made me want to come back every night (or most nights). I even avoided magazines. Yes, I’m a mag reader…probably because they’re so much shorter and tend not to make me think TOOOO much. It does hurt after awhile, especially when you’re trying to decompress before sleep.

While this book is very well-written, interesting, riddled with amusing anecdotes (lots for women, but enough humor to keep men laughing at nipple breast feeding stories. Seriously.), there’s a casual feel and organization to the book. It’s almost more of a book of short stories, with no true ending. But, again, if it wasn’t set up this way, I would have put it down only to never finish it, like so many other books I’ve got staring at me from shelves.

Some of the finer points (although there are simply too many to list here in full) include:

(About telling people of her infamous cheek scar) “My whole life, people who ask about my scar within one week of knowing me have invariably turned out to be egomaniacs of average intelligence or less. And egomaniacs of average intelligence or less often end up int he field of TV journalism. So, you see, if I tell the hwole story here, then I will be asked about it over and over by the hosts of Access Movietown or Entertainment Forever for the rest of my short-lived career.” I like the TV journalist bit, although it by no means is an attack to my friends (particularly my husband!) who work in TV.

“Gay people don’t actually try to convert people. That’s Jehovah’s Witnesses you’re thinking of.”

“How can I give her what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety. The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law. The Worldwide Parental Anxiety System is failing if this many of us have made sex tapes.”

“I taught Monica Lewinsky everything she knows…about eye cream.”

“I still have it somewhere in a cardboard box in my parents’ house. I know because my mom has been politely asking me to ‘maybe spend an hour going through those boxes’ for over twenty years now.” (Dude. Don’t we all have those boxes?! I felt like she was speaking right to me…and every other over-25-year-old in America.)

“Being chubby for a while is a natural phase of life and nothing to be ashamed of. Like puberty or slowly turning into a Republican.” (The chapters “Remembrances of Being Very Very Skinny” and “Remembrances of Being a Little Bit Fat” are short and roll-around-like-an-idiot funny.)

I <3 "Things I Learned from Lorne Michaels", mostly because it's easy to do the Dr. Evil-version voice while picturing the conversations. Oh, and FYI, she wrote Mom Jeans, Annuale and Excedrin for Racial Tension Headaches (and pushed for the Kotex Classic ad)…consider me a fan.

“It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good. I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.” (In reference to when people say things like “Jerry Lewis/Christopher Hitchens/other-male-comedians-who’ve-been-around-awhile says women aren’t funny”.) Mmm, Chinese. But, seriously, isn’t this one that we all have to take to heart a bit? My insecurities dictate that I MUST care what others’ opinions are…but why?! There’s some awesome, unexpected advice in this thing.

The full, sarcastic explanation of what to expect in case you ever find yourself at a magazine cover shoot (“and you might, because Snooki and I have, so anything can happen!”) is another reality-driven chapter making the average woman feel…better than average. Her ideas on Photoshop are downright wonderous. “Some people say it’s a  feminist issue. I agree, because the best Photoshop job I ever got was for a feminist magazine called Bust in 2004.” (awesome picture included) “…’We’re all feminists here, but you’re gonna use Photoshop, right?’ ‘Oh, yeah,’ they replied instantly. Feminists do the best Photoshop because they leave the meat on your bones.”

Five words: Zingers galore in “Dear Internet”. And the chapter about “being” Sarah Palin (“Sarah, Oprah, and Captain Hook; or How to Succeed by Sort of Looking Like Someone”) is as funny, if not funnier, than the title. It even includes original scripts to some of the Palin/Hillary openers. Treat!

Yeah, not to sound cheesy, but this whole book is a treat. If you’re uber churchy or stodgy (not the same thing, I am aware), it might not be your bag. But, if you can take a joke (duh, she’s a comedienne) and need a break from reading un-fun things, go for it. Especially the ladies, ‘cuz there’s lots for the ladies!

Okay, back to our regularly-scheduled blog topics.

“Bossypants” image from here.

Slacks ‘n Standards

Yes, I do this…only not in wedges.
(ie No, this is not me.)
I loitered in bed in one of those mass thoughts mornings, but what my mind kept U-turning back to was the simple question, “What will I wear today?” We’d be celebrating my awesome mother-in-law’s birthday and wasn’t quite sure what the appropriate attire for the restaurant would be. So, I asked my husband what he’d be wearing.

“Oh, I dunno. Probably khakis. Khakis and maybe a polo shirt. What about you?” Grr. No gauge there. No help.

I love my husband dearly. Obviously. And, for the most part, I love his clothes (which I am pretty darn good at shopping for). He has a great, classic sense of style, and 95% of the time leaves the house looking better than I do. When we meet up after work (since I tend to throw jeans on immediately upon getting home…sometimes even sweatpants, but never worn in public), people must say to themselves, “What’s the news guy doing with that bag lady?” I try, but his job dictates that he has to appear more professional, and a goal of mine was always to have a job in which I could wear jeans. Every. Single. Day. I haven’t found such job (I do my best to dress appropriately, although my assistant is damn near a fashion plate), but I’m comfortable and professional-looking enough to not get fired for my appearance. Let’s call it Katharine Hepburn chic. Without the chic. (Slacks. Mostly black. All the time.)

On days that I’m home in the morning to see Dave off to work (vacation times, mostly), he asks my opinion on colors that he should wear, if something is appropriate for the season, etc. But, really, he doesn’t need me. He’s got it down to a science. Now, if only I could keep up on the laundry so that his science doesn’t come to a screeching halt on any random Wednesday…

ANYhoo, back to my original thought. Khakis. More specifically, khakis with a polo. It’s a classic look, re-shot year after year for every department store catalog that exists. Father’s Day is coming up, and what’s in the ads? Several pages of on-sale polos and khakis. I get it, I do. It’s their equivalent to our “Little Black Dress”. It’s their casual-yet-appropriate version.

And that’s the issue. What is a lady’s equivalent? I mean, a lady who wants to avoid that horrible stomach-falling-out feeling of walking into any environment not dressed-up enough. (Some ladies simply don’t care. Do I wish I could have that much confidence? Sure, but it comes down to the fact that my mama taught me better. She instilled just enough insecurity to care what others think.) Entering a place where you’re a tad over-dressed is still a hell of a lot better than being under-dressed. In such an occasion, you can make the other person feel insecure in an instant; such power!

Okay, so back to the situation at hand. The funny thing is that, while I’m in a towel agonizing over an outfit and trying to get us out the door at such-and-such time, he’s asking me which color polo to wear, stripe or solid, buttoned up or not. Can’t you see I’ve got a bigger challenge here, plus hair still to be dried and makeup still to be applied? I do believe it’s true; marriage turns men into helpless, sweet-but-slightly-annoying children. I love that he needs me, I do. But, God, man, I know you could handle this before we got together! (Not to say, sweetie, that I won’t take a moment to help you decide in the future. It’s part of my wife-ly duties, and I accept them graciously…albeit with a slight sigh. Kind of like how, when I’m one day pregnant, you’ll have to clean the cat pans. It’s life’s ebb and flow.)

I considered the “LBD” (see above), but it just seemed way too formal. After all, I didn’t know what the birthday lady would be wearing, or my sis-in-law. (Damnit, why did I JUST think to text her? That would’ve solved everything.) I looked at making jeans into the “modern dressy” outfit, but to no avail. Only classy city-folk can pull that off (and have to use that “I don’t give a flying you-know-what” attitude, re: above). I even looked at my own khakis, but thought that we’d look a little too matchy-matchy, or perhaps a little like a lesbian couple – not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m a Hepburn fan, after all.

So, I settled on wearing a dressy black T-shirt with my “springy” (literally, it kinda bounces – lots of non-natural materials in that sucker) black skirt, a royal blue short-sleeved sweater, and black flats. Still a little overly dressy, but went well with both ladies’ outfits.

Ladies, help me out here. Am I the only one who’s ever faced one of these situations? Guys, are we just crazy? (Evidence to back up opinions, please.) Even before “boys” were part of my vocabulary (well, without the word “cooties” being used in the same sentence), this was an issue. As a child, my only “dress up times” included school concerts, All-County concerts, summer piano recitals (get the point? Music was pretty near everything)… And we didn’t have much by way of disposable income around the ol’ McCoy household, so my sister and I generally waited until the night of the performance (man, can I understand my mother’s frustration now that I’m old and gray) to dig through, yes, our mother’s closet for juuuuust the right…no, juuuuuust THE most embarrassing outfit for our awkward, gangly frames to jut precariously out of. Mom was petite, and I was taller than her by 4th grade, so you do the math. (I didn’t fit in her wedding dress at that age. Ouch.) Plus, two words as far as Mom’s 80s fashions: tapered leg. ‘Nuff said.

I would have died to have just one LBD. The perfect, cute outfit that I could wear whatever shoes were lying around with. That I could have worn as-is in the spring or with a cute shrug in the fall and winter. If I’d been smart enough, I could have told my mother: “It’s perfect for a funeral.” One thing she did train us on as we grew older was proper funeral attire. We McCoys are well-versed in disaster, tragedy and funerals. Weddings were foreign until I took control of mine (probably to avoid the aforementioned three calamities that it could possibly turn into).

Since childhood, I think that I’ve, well…not quite mastered…perhaps I’ve simply “learned” the finer points of dress, especially in a modern world. I have two particular dresses that I LURVE; a well-designed LBD with a belt that pulls in at just the right spot and cap sleeves that reveal a playfully polka-dotted lining (which is appropriate enough for a funeral, yes, but also fun enough for a wedding or other fill-in-the-blank sort of event), and an awesome magenta-purpley shift dress that I ordered online from Target that just happened to fit perfectly. Here I am modeling it with Mr. Khakis himself:


Having something to wear to special occasions makes a girl feel like Cinderella or, better yet, Kate Middleton. Yes, you’d rather be in everyday “commoner clothes” but a girl needs to know she can throw on a tried-and-true outfit to take her from average to noticeable. Honestly, it makes you remember the occasion all the more when you’re feeling your best.

So, c’mon, gimme (and other female readers) some suggestions. What would (or DO) YOU wear when your guy says khakis?

The Accident

This is our kitchen. Well, it was our kitchen. It has its quirks, but for the most part it’s pretty darn cool. Lately, it doesn’t look so fab. It all started a couple of weekends ago (it was impossible to discuss…it was simply too maddening for us) with this bottle of wine…
As you see, it’s a bottle of Vermont wine we picked up during our honeymoon. It used to live atop our fridge housed in a stack of Pier 1 wine racks that looked eerily similar to this one…
 
After a day spent out of the house, we returned to find that the top two wine racks had fallen over, dumping about seven bottles, unharmed, all over the floor. I was curious as to whether it might have caused any pressure issues or what have you, but we simply replaced all the bottles with a raised eyebrow of caution. Silly us.

Later that evening, I awoke to a screaming husband (apparently I was dead to the world and he’d yelled several other times – “Something happened! I don’t know what but I NEED YOU NOW!!”). So, in that shaky, just-woke-from-a-dead-sleep daze, I ran to the kitchen. I instantly saw a stream of red liquid, along with splatters on walls and a few paw prints traipsing it across the floor. I thought it was blood, and I thought one of the cats was dead.

THANK GOD it wasn’t. The aforementioned wine had popped its own cork (LOL why does that sound dirty??) and emptied its contents EVERYWHERE. Our mostly white kitchen was mostly red, and if we hadn’t started cleaning immediately, it never would’ve been white again. Less than an hour later, we were exhausted, but it was mostly cleaned.

The only evidence I have to show was taken after we had cleaned up – which I took pictures of the next day. We still had wine that had found its way down the fridge’s door seal, leaving one last middle finger (and a constant one, at that) for a few more days.

The worst casualties, other than the fact that we still have a hard time drinking wine (that smell was disgusting!) and the bottle, itself, were several lost items – from dear wedding invitations to a cherished magnet that my mother had given me – and my first-ever reupholstered thrift store chair. It was refinished (while I waited anxiously for the house to close, my only “keep me busy” project) in a white silk-like fabric and gave a luxurious, ’30s feel to the kitchen…and was directly in Purple Haze’s line of fire. I will reupholster it in a new fabric, but it was simply unsalvageable as is. One of the cats’ favorite napping places (but, here, Boo’s posing next to it)…

Now dyed all shades of purple and crimson (much more obvious in person, I assure you) lying beneath all the towels and the white rug that got soaked. Thank goodness for bleach and borax!

So, that’s the story of what Dave refers to as “The Accident.” We were at Fly Creek Cider Mill yesterday perusing the wines when he said, “I don’t really feel like buying anymore, after the accident” only to pause, then say, “Wow, that makes it sound like one of us got a DUI, doesn’t it?”

Don’t worry, the Dellecese Prohibition Era won’t last nearly as long as the original one. After all, he’s from bootlegger blood.