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Friday, December 28, 2007

Chocolate Donut

I'd finally reached my limit on the sugar. After a day of eating too many chocolate shortbread cookies to count, and polishing off the last of the mini-Reese's in my stocking, I woke up this morning ready for the pre-new year's resolution.

This is the one I make a few days before New Year's Eve, in order to get a jump start on the new year. It usually lasts for three days or so, before the New Year's Eve party and the New Year's Day ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, and assorted pies roll out of the kitchen and onto my plate.

This is just one more clever trick in my arsenal of Chubby Mommy diet tips. You haven't really gained 5 pounds if you lost that same 5 pounds two weeks ago in preparation for the food fest of Christmas and New Year's week. It's just a wash, really, no need for guilt.

So, today, I got up and had an apple. Then I did my morning routine: have coffee with husband and talk about local real estate, the stock market, and the start-up company, read the paper, make sure the 14 year old who sleeps for 14 hours at stretch is actually alive, check email, pet the dog, watch the pony tail lady run by and wonder why the heck she doesn't fall down on the snow/ice like I did (I actually splatted full-on, flat-out, face-down!) last time I went walking in this weather. I was too chicken to run for fear of slipping...good thing, I probably would have broken a bone!

Later, for my snack, I had some super healthy sliced turkey. I was on my way to a good day, I just knew it. I had that powerful feeling I get when I think I may make it an entire day without sugar. It's a will-power thing. Sort of an Oprah-inspired moment.

Just then, my husband came back from the store. I'd asked him to go get some milk, bread, fruit, and something for dinner.

He got Cheetos, steak, iceberg lettuce, tomatos and some bananas. Not exactly healthy-mommy diet food. But I can say no to cheetos. I have problems with sweets, not salty snacks.

Then he pulled out the surprise punch: chocolate covered glazed donuts.

We don't eat many donuts at this house. If we got in the habit of eating lots of donuts, there'd be no hope for me maintaining anything close to a "normal range" size. I hardly ever buy them, personally. My Skinny Man does sometimes, just for fun, and because he gets hungry if it's too low fat around our house for too long.

I think it's been about six months since I had a donut. I love donuts, I really do.

"Oh, great," I sighed when I saw them, "So much for my day without sugar..."

" don't have to eat this," he offered helpfully. "I'll eat two. I don't mind, really."

As if.

Some things are just meant to be eaten and enjoyed, and a chocolate donut is one of them. I'm glad my tongue's not black anymore. It was so happy about that donut.

Maybe I'll try to put some of those spiky things on the bottoms of my shoes and run on the soft parts of the street later, to work off my donut.

Tomorrow, probably.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hairy Tongue

I woke up on Christmas morning at 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. I have an 8 year old who really, really wanted to see what Santa brought, so he kept coming in to check on us to let us know he thought it was morning. To his credit, he did come in to check with us, instead of just running up and grabbing the full stocking while we were sleeping. He is a good boy, after all.

We finally rolled out of bed at the 7:00 a.m. call.

So, I was tired, but doing my best at faking good cheer and excitement when we finished the stockings and convinced the kids to let us go potty and brush our teeth before the big present opening binge started at 7:30. I could smell my own bad breath for heaven's sake. I'm not ready to face the world until I brush my teeth. I don't even let the dog out, despite her best potty dance antics, before I brush my teeth. I like clean teeth.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed my black spit. I swear I hadn't sneaked even one holiday mini Reese's cup out of my stocking. That's odd, I thought. So I brushed and spit again. Still black. I looked in the mirror and stuck out my tongue.


It was black. My tongue was BLACK!

I brushed it. Still black. I rinsed it. Black, black, black.

Weird. I went out and told my family. They didn't believe me. I showed them. They screeched. We laughed. I assured the children it was nothing. I didn't want to spoil their Christmas joy. I mean, what if it was a mysterious disease, like Ebola or something, and I'd keel over in a half an hour? I wanted to give them this last bit of joy, this last happy Christmas morning with their beloved mother. Whatever I had couldn't be helped before they opened their presents.

I'm a martyr that way.

But my mind was spinning. What the heck caused this? I had cut out white food for a while, but that didn't seem a likely cause. I hadn't taken any medicines, I haven't had a licorice martini since that one I made near Halloween. I hadn't even red wine the night before.


I started feeling a bit ill. I knew it was just my mind telling my body to watch for signs of Ebola. I figured I wasn't really sick. But I couldn't help it. I had 15 people coming over for breakfast. How was I going to cook for them if I had a serious illness?

Finally, after the presents were opened and the children were upstairs installing their new computer games, I logged on to Web MD and typed "Black Tongue." Here's what it said:

"Hairy tongue is an uncommon, benign condition that is also known as black hairy tongue or lingua nigra. It is characterized by abnormal elongation and blackish or dark brownish discoloration or "staining" of the thread-like elevations (filiform papillae) that cover most of the tongue's surface (dorsum linguae). Such changes often begin at the back (posterior) region of the top of the tongue and extend toward the front (anterior) of the tongue's surface but never involve the undersurface. The specific underlying cause of hairy tongue is unknown. However, possible predisposing factors may include poor oral hygiene and overgrowth of pigment-producing bacteria or fungi in the mouth, treatment with certain antibiotic medications, smoking, chewing tobacco, and/or mouthwash use."

My tongue was fine on Christmas Eve. I don't smoke or chew tobacco (gross!) and I'm nearly obsessive about my oral hygiene, as I mentioned on this blog before.

Hey. Wait a minute. I got a comment on that "Addicted to the Dentist?" blog I wrote awhile back from a hygienist who said I should try some of that sensitive teeth mouthwash. I bought some last week, and have used it a few times. I did use it on Christmas Eve. That must have been it. It tastes like cloves. Cloves are black, right?

My black tongue lasted all day. It was a fun little party trick, showing everyone. After they shrieked at the sight, I told them it was uncommon but benign. And not contagious, that I could tell.

Slowly, throughout the day, my tonuge color faded back to it's normal pink color. By bedtime last night, all the black was gone. No more mouthwash for me. Except if I need something creepy to show off to friends and family some time.

It's always good to have something a little different to talk about at family gatherings, I think. It keeps the conversation fresh. Otherwise, you end up talking about the same old thing. I'll see what I can come up next Christmas, but black tongue will be hard to beat.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No White Food

I'm trying a food experiment. I'm not calling it a diet, because I've had enough diets, and with two teenage girls at home, I try to keep any of my food and self-esteem issues to myself.

I get annoyed when women dive into their diet and body image woes with impressionable young girls around who listen to every word, and pick up clues about which parts of their bodies they should hate. I've never heard my husband and his friends say "Oh my god! I am so fat and disgusting, I hate my legs, I can't even fit into my fat jeans this week and I just hate myself!" at least not in front of their young teenage girls.

I'm just sure. How can you hate your legs? They're legs. If you're lucky, they let you walk and run and maybe even skip. I think you should be thrilled if your legs work. They're just doing their job, it's not their fault you ate too many cookies and they got jiggly. Besides, what's so wrong with a little jiggle anyway?

So anyway, my new experiment is this: I cut out all white food. That means no dairy, no refined foods, no bread or rice, etc. I'm eating lots of veggies and meat and beans and lentils and a few nuts. I will eat those white northern beans, but their more of a "blush" I think.

Even though cheddar cheese is orange, I'm thinking it came from white milk, so I gave it the boot. That's been a sad thing, I must admit. It's still in the fridge looking at me hopefully when I'm scrounging for spinach, but I ignore it. Cheese hates to be ignored, I think. It's so used to be adored.

I cut out the wine for a few days too, but that was short lived. I figure if I can't have anything sweet, I'm at least going to have a bit of Merlot.

I've done this kind of thing before and had good results with steady weight loss if I stick to it. Sometimes I just need a little gimmick to get myself off all the crap.

It's been a week, and it's working well. I'm not as hungry (blood sugar levels are probably more even) not so crabby, I've lost some pounds, and my skin is getting kind of glow-y again.

But it's getting boring already. Broccoli Wokly is fine for the first few days, but...hello? How many ways can you really make it taste good without dipping it into a lovely little fondue pot filled with cheese sauce? [The cheese told me to say that.]

Plus, I have to remind myself that even though brownies aren't white, they have white things in them (sugar, flour) and I'm only kidding myself if I try to kid myself into eating brownies. I'm actually smarter than brownies when I choose to be.

We'll just see how long I can last with this clever trick. It's nice to have contests with myself every once in a while, to keep myself competitive in the food ring.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Artists

Here's me with a famous artist, Patricia Clark

So, I'm starting to hang out with the actors more, apparently, because they're planning another cool party at the end of January and I love to plan parties. Parties, parties, parties. But I sort of have to squeeze them into my calendar, because there are a bunch of artists that I hang out with too, and they've got a lot going on these days.

Today I was down at A6, a new printmaking studio moving into a space down by the Old Mill. The print makers and handmade book makers and letter pressers will all be together, goofing off and creating art in this space together. It will be a marvelous atelier, and the parties will be even more marvelous.

Today we unpacked the fabulous furniture, including leather sofas, super cool lamps, and we can't wait to see how the entire "Mid Century Modern" space comes together. This will be an "important" place, where people from all over the country come to teach and take workshops.

Eventually, we'll sit around and drink coffee with ink stained hands, and talk about art, I'm assuming. It will be just like Paris, I think. Except we'll have a stunning view of the mountains.

The actors might be able to come visit the artists, if they do a skit, or maybe sing a song. I like to have all my friends in one place, after all.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Running Hills with my Dog

Well, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I did take the dog running with me this morning.

There are definite pros and cons to running with my dog (she did two poops in the half an hour run, and we went right after her morning routine, where she did three; and she pulls a bit, so my left shoulder gets sore, until we establish that I really am in charge.) But she is always so excited to go, and she doesn't whine about hills, like some of my previous running partners, so I think I'll start taking her more often.

Let me explain: I usually try to run as many hills as I can find near my house. If I have to drive somewhere to run, I set myself up for not going. In Eugene we had several "killer" hills within a half a mile of our front door. In fact, there was one hill that went for one mile straight up, and I felt like the King of the World when I could make it up that thing without stopping.

We lived near Hendrick's park, and Pre's Rock, just a mile from U of O's Hayward Field, home of Nike and Steve'd think the magic of the place would have rubbed off on me a bit and made me into a more natural runner.

I mean, I got my first pair of Nike's when I was 11, I think. I was quite chubby even then, but I played 7th grade basketball because my friend Marcia did. She was a starter, I was a bench warmer. I got the award for "Best Attitude." I was proud of that, actually. Still am.

Plus, I did like the shoes. White leather Nikes with the baby blue swoosh. I kept those things until 1997, when my college aged babysitter saw them and covetted them, since vintage Nike's were all the rage. I gave them to her. I still miss them a bit, I have to admit.

Back when I started running with kids in jog strollers and later just with the dog, I'd run on the trails in Hendrick's park. A few times, a sixth sense told me to veer to the right, someone might be behind me, and lo and behold, Maria Mutola , the amazing Mozambique Olympic athlete who trained at U of O, would swish by so fast, I thought she might have been a vision. She was so quiet on the trails, I could hardly hear her. But she was so fast and strong and lovely, I had the feeling if I hadn't moved out of her way, she may have just lept right over me, in a single bound.

I'm a loud runner. My feet make a lot of noise when they hit the ground, and my breathing's heavy. I turn red right away too. But I'm not having a heart attack, I swear. I'm just a clompy, panting, sweaty Chubby Mommy Runner. Nothing wrong with that. I run the same way, even when I'm 30 pounds thinner. Although maybe my clomps aren't as loud when I'm lighter, I'm not sure.

I know it seems that a Chubby Mommy Runner like me might want to avoid hills, since hills suck, but I've always been on a time limit with my running, and I need to get the most out of the workout in the 30-40 minute window that I can. Either I've had babies who hated being stuck in their strollers for too long, or kids at home with the daddy who was hoping I'd get back home as soon as possible, or a job to hurry up and get to. You know, Mommy things.

So, hills are the way to go for me. You get more bang for your buck on a hill. And, if you stop running on a hill because you're lazy or out of shape, or both, you still have to walk up the hill, so it's not a total waste of time. I'm all about efficiency that way.

And the best thing about running up hills is that you get to run down them at some point. So if you're good at tricking yourself into things, like I am, you tell yourself "Come on! Just get to the top, you can stop at the top, I promise!" and then when you get to the top you say "Well, really, now you're just being lazy if you stop, because it's all down hill from here..."

But anyway, back to my dog. Sometimes you want a person to encourage you to run up the hill, but sometimes you want to slug that person if you're working hard and they're way ahead of you yelling "Keep going!" I've been on both sides of the uphill battle. It's tricky to find just the right hill running partner, take it from me.

But if I keep my dog on a short leash when we're running up hills, and she stays right next to me, happily skipping along, barely breathing hard, while I'm chugging up the hill, she doesn't rub it in. When I'm going so slowly, that she stops trotting and starts walking (while I'm still "running," that is) she still doesn't rub it in. She just looks straight ahead and pretends it's no problem; she's happy to walk, she's happy to run; really, whatever I can manage is fine with her, she'll just keep her opinions to herself.

So, she is a decent running partner after all, but I would like to find someone to run with who doesn't poop so much along the way.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Job Dance

A miracle has happened, once again.
I got a new job!
Starting on January 2nd, I'll be the new Marketing Communications Manager at Ruff Wear
( a local company that makes fabulous gear for cool "Dogs on the Go!"

My dog's so excited, she can barely stand it. She's just taking a nap in this picture, after I told her, since the excitement of the whole thing wore her out.

I'm always super excited to get a new job. Whenever I get one, I sing a special "New Job" song and do a special "New Job" dance for my family. It's a tradition for us.

It goes like this, in a sing-songy way: "I got a new job (left leg kick), a new job (right leg kick), a new job (left arm down, John Travolta style) a new job (right arm down) a new job..." Repeat, seven times, etc. I think you get the idea.

I've been working as a consultant for a while, taking lots of short-term contracts, so my family's all seen many a "New Job" song and dance. There is usually lots of groaning and eye rolling about the dance, on their part.
They have to do this, to make it clear that if I even consider singing and dancing in public, around their friends specifically, I will be banished from bus stops, classroom volunteerism, and from being with them outside of the house in general.

From the kid's perspectives, they never know when their mom might just do a cartwheel in the park, and heaven forbid they are there when I do (I perfer an audience for that kind of thing), or worse, one of their 3rd grade, 5th grade, or 8th grade friends are close enough to witness it.

My dog however, loves the "New Job" song and dance. She prances around with me, wags her tail, and sometimes barks in that happy, smily-bark way.

If my husband's in the room when I start dancing, though, she often just stands in one spot on alert and watches me carefully. I think that comes from her fear that the daddy-man might start dancing too, which happens more often than not.
Man-dancing freaks her out, and she doesn't know what do do with that alpha-male dance thing. I'm not sure her pack animal instinct has a clear understanding of dancing alpha-male protocol.

So anyway, have no fear, I will continue to blog as Chubby Mommy, and will probably be talked into taking my dog on runs by my co-workers. I think they all have easy, low maintenance labs and retrievers who love rain and snow and adventures.
I have a feeling their dogs aren't nearly as nervous as mine, and their dogs probably don't poop 7 times on a 3 mile run. But I haven't asked them yet, since I just met them, and that seems like a personal question.

I also might start some dog blogs, because I think my dog would like to tell her side of the story, too. I think all dogs must. The cats get all the attention with those funny cat photos at "I can has cheezeburger" type websites, which are hilarious, sometimes.

The dogs are so regular, so un-alien like, so happy to be part of the family, not as whiny and complainy as the cats. I'm sure the cats must wear them out. And dogs that have to live with cats? It can't be easy. Getting yelled at for the tiniest growl towards the irritating feline that swipes your nose with a sharp claw when you're calmly walking around a corner?
The indignaty.

It's time the dogs got their 15 minutes of fame, I think.

More later,

Ruff Ruff!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chubby Mommy Goes to Yoga

I went to Yoga today. Holy Cow, its harder than it looks.

Oops, I hope Holy Cow isn't a bad phrase in Hindu tradition...I'd hate to get off on the wrong foot, especially since my feet are about the only things that don't hurt right now (although my "bad" ankle is not thrilled with the sitting cross-legged for ten minutes and breathing routine.) So far, the tops and bottoms of my feet are okay. I'm sure I'll feel those tomorrow.

Who knew sitting up straight and breathing could be so difficult? I sit around all day, and I breathe, too, and I don't recall having sore muscles because of it. But this kind of "thoughtful" sitting, while focusing on my "core," and breathing into the back of my throat through my nose, and expanding my ribcage...goodness, it wore me out.

I was thinking maybe if I just skipped running for real, and just think about it instead, and focused on what my core should be doing while I'm running, then maybe it would have the same effect and I won't actually have to run for real. Maybe?

The thing about yoga is all those poses take strength and balance and stuff. If you cheat in yoga, you won't fall over, but you won't really use all those muscles that need to be used. And they really should be used, poor things. Mine are usually just sitting around all day in a state of deep laziness, waiting for someone to stretch them a bit so some good, happy oxygen can flow into them.

I think my muscles sleep a lot. They're like my dog, always looking for a sun spot on the carpet.

Supposedly my muscles are happier now. They are moving into a state of health, says my Yogi. (Is that what I call him? Do I need to bring him picnic baskets?)

Personally, I think they are moving into a state of shock and rebellion. But I do tend to anthropormophize a bit much.

I have no idea how my muscles will react when I attempt a headstand or a backbend like some of my classmates were doing today. I think I'll be absent on headstand day. I just can't imagine that pose turning out well for me.

I'll leave you with that thought, and remind you to breathe.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Friends of Bill and Melinda?

So, we're getting closer to asking Google if they want to buy our start-up company. We haven't asked yet, since we're not sure who to call, but that's just a technicality, I'm sure. Since we're confident we'll be changing the world (for the better) with our new software tool, we're just sure they'll want it, as soon as they know about it, of course.

We are in this start-up business for noble causes, really. We want to help people, just like Google does. It is our mantra, to help people. We aren't just trying to get rich. I swear.

But the closer we get to the goal, the more I worry how being an instant Google ga-zillionaire might change my life and it does scare me a bit. It's not that I'd mind being super rich, it's just I'm not sure how to be super rich.

Here's what's probably hard about being super rich:
  1. People might ask you for money all the time. I do not have this problem currently. Now, it does not occur to PBS to call me during those marathon fundraising shows. I'm not even on their radar.
  2. People might ask you if they can join you on your yacht during yacht season. I don't even know when yacht season is. And I'm really not that into boats anyway. Plus, there is no way I'm going to wear a swimsuit and sunbathe on a yacht, and risk some paparazi guy taking a picture of my chubby mommy behind and ending up on the cover of People Magazine.
  3. I might have to get a gate for my driveway, or something. Of course, I'd have to get a house, I suppose. We're renting now, and our driveway is 10 feet from our neighbor's driveway. It would seem so silly to gate it.
  4. I'd have to find dates to go to charity functions. My husband hates those things, and it gets old going to those things alone all the time, I'm sure.
  5. I'd have to have staff. A big house with a yard big enough for a gated driveway means a heck of a lot of cleaning and gardening, which I won't have time for if I'm forced to yacht and go to charity functions all the time. Having staff means you never get your house to yourself to sneak in episodes of HGTV craft shows just for the hell of it. If you have cooks, housekeepers and nannies in this day and age, they expect you to be doing something useful with your life, I'd think. I do not need to pay people to make me feel guilty.

I'm hoping I can call Melinda Gates for advice if I need to. She seems so grounded, really. And I've never seen pictures of her in a bathing suit on the cover of People. She must know all the clever tricks to being super rich, I'm sure she'd be happy to help me.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Why Weimaraners Hate Hurricanes

My poor dog, she hates this storm.

She is a Weimaraner, and a nervous Nelly by nature. It takes amazing dogie self- control for her to get through a normal, sunny day.

Her every waking moment is spent trying to do the right thing, trying not to get in our way, hanging out close to the kitchen in case anything drops on the floor while we're cooking, but far enough away to remain out of our radar, so she won't hear the dreaded words "You're not invited! Go upstairs and lie down." Which she has to do, because she just can't help but do what we say, most of the time.

Plus, she has to watch out for her alpha male man-dad who might walk over and pick her up unexpectedly, once every six weeks, just to mess with her head.

This is the same man who takes her on walks and over to the park for the "double poop" party she enjoys a couple of times each day, and who rubs her ears and says "you're a good girl..." every morning when he drinks his coffee. Unless she gets too annoying, bumps our hands, spills the coffee, and we decide she's "not invited" to coffee.

So this 50 mile per hour gale force wind we've had here in Bend for the past two days is wearing down the last shred of her dogie dignity.

The wind shakes the all the ventilation pipes that connect our house to the roof. The stove rattles. The microwave rattles. The bathrooms rattle.

And she trembles, and she whines, and she follows us around and pretends she is a tiny little poodle dog that can squeeze easily under our desks and fit between our legs and the wall.

"Don't mind me," she says, "I'm small, you won't even notice I'm here."

This storm also makes too much water outside when she needs to "do a potty." She hates getting wet. She is a farm dog, not a bird dog, we think. She starts her potty dance and does her best to sit perfectly still when the leash is getting hooked around her neck (which is impossible for her, but she tries) but when we open the door and the first raindrop hits her nose, she changes her mind.

"Oh," she says when wet hits her face "Actually, I guess I don't really have to go. I forgot. I think I went last night. Let's do this later. I can hold it, I swear."

But the worst thing in her life, by far is a chirping smoke alarm. So last night when the power went out and the smoke alarm started chirping at 4:30 a.m., she left the warmth of a sleeping child's breath and ran downstairs in the darkness to find me.

She was trembling so hard I thought she was having a heart attack. She's not allowed on my bed, never has been. But with one kind word from me to check her status, boom! She jumped up and plopped down as close to me as her large, lumbering body would allow.

It took 15 minutes of my kind words and reassurance to get her to stop shaking. When she finally calmed down, and the lights came back on, and the alarm was fixed, I told her it was time to get off the bed and go back upstairs.

She didn't even dignify the idea with a look. Dogs think if they avoid eye contact with you, you'll think they didn't hear you. It's their way of saying " not only speak dog" This from the same dog who knows the phrase"You're not invited to coffee," no matter how you change your inflection. You'd think "Down," wouldn't be so tricky for her.

The children slept soundly. The husband decided since he was up, he might as well start programming anyway. The dog stayed put until I smelled coffee at 7:00 a.m. and she figured she might as well get up and check out the potty situation.

Drat. Still raining. No worries, she'll go out tomorrow, as long as there aren't any more chirping smoke alarms happening in the middle of the night.