My first two-part series. Thanks, Netflix

This has been a weekend full of eating. It’s a good thing I didn’t make any resolutions to eat less or lose weight, because I would pretty much have already sabotaged myself.
We’ve been doing a good bit of Netflix-watching over the past couple of weeks. Saturday night we went to see our friends Marty and Erin in Tennessee, because Josh has this kickass beef that he’s started making and they had yet to eat any. So we went.

Whenever we go to Adamsville for dinner, Josh and Marty wait until we arrive to buy any of the preparations. We get there, we unload into the house, and the boys immediately leave to go get groceries for the meal.

And go to GameStop. And Taco Bell. And buy pies at the nearby gas station.

So Saturday night while the guys were gone, Erin and I decided to watch a movie (much to Lucy’s chagrin – she would be happy to watch the Birthday episode of Yo Gabba Gabba for the rest of her life).

Erin chose a documentary called Dive! which, in a nutshell, is about a bunch of people (and their families) in California who live primarily off the food they retrieve from dumpsters behind grocery stores.

I know, right? I think Erin chose it because she thought they were going to talk about dumpster diving for furniture or clothes or whatever – I know that’s what I thought.

But yea and verily, I was wrong. It was TOTALLY about food.

Initially I was grossed out. But then they showed the food they were retrieving…bread, meat, produce. All tossed out because of a cracked egg or a looming sell-by date. Stuff that was top-of-the-line shit…and perfectly fine. It just happened to have come out of the store by the back door, instead of a reusable shopping bag.

My snobbery started to wane when I realized that these people were eating organic, free-range, antibiotic free meats and veggies and most of the time I don’t even look at that stuff because it’s so expensive.

Then they started talking about the amount of waste the US produces and I felt like a greedy asshole.

Did you know that the US wastes 96 billion pounds of food a year? One year of our waste could feed the entire population of Haiti for like five years.

Yet, because we don’t share, and because everyone is so focused on profit, we still have hungry people in our country. That’s so bizarrely wrong on so many levels.

It’s sobering to be told things like that. Stuff we all know in the back of our mind and don’t really think about.

So while I won’t be scaling the dumpsters behind Kroger anytime soon (I totally would, by the way – but Josh said it was too close to the sheriff’s department and so he refuses to drive the getaway car), I am now actively searching for ways I can help do my part and reduce this terrible deficit between what we have and what we use – and what we need.

You can sign the online petition to Trader Joe’s here. It’s a start.

Tomorrow, I’m talking about catfish…kind of.

The day before the upheaval

This weekend Dan is having a New Year’s Eve party.

Which, in a roundabout way, means we’re all having a New Year’s Eve party.

Dan has always been better at having company than I am. When we were married, there was a regular stream of visitors to our house on Farmington Road. Chess and Risk games lasting until the wee hours.

When we divorced, Dan got custody of most of the friends so I haven’t really had a problem with visitors.

We live all together now, though. It happens here in our shared household as well. Where I tend to shy away from company and worry about what the sticky spots on the floor might say about me or what the piles of laundry convey, Dan has, apparently, infinite huge amounts of self confidence and doesn’t bat an eye to have guests whenever.

It’s generally agreed upon, though, that an organized event requires a bit of upkeep. Especially after Christmas and 2+ weeks of people being home a LOT. We are currently serving as host to an over abundance of wrappers, dust, mismatched socks, and unbatteried Wiimotes. Not to mention the deceased tree occupying the open spot of wall and spitting crispy tendrils in every direction.

Is it just me, or does Conway Twitty look like he would smell like a truck stop?

Tomorrow has been designated cleaning day for the indoors. Normally I hate it, but after looking over the guest list on Facebook I have been seized with cleaning juju.

I don’t really expect it to last. I hope it holds on until tomorrow.

Why is cleaning so hard? Why can’t it be fun, like riding a roller coaster or masturbation?

That needs to be looked into.

Thanksgiving thoughts…and the WINNER!

Guess what, I took exactly ZERO pictures yesterday on Thanksgiving. So I stole Josh’s. 
I don’t know what came over me.
 
Hm.
 

Anyway, so yesterday was Thanksgiving. It was lovely, really, all the food and sugar and food and people.
 
Also food.
 
But I have to admit something: Thanksgiving doesn’t feel real anymore.
 
That sounds strange I know, but it’s really the only way I can think of to describe it. 
 
I’ve had lots of Thanksgivings, from the legendary McRib Thanksgiving of 19something to awkward high school holiday sharing with boyfriend family, pregnant Thanksgivings, everything you can think of pretty much.
 
And it’s always a blast. I love my family – both sides and every person involved, and it’s never been a stress or a chore for me. Josh gets to cook, I get to bake, and everyone gets to eat. It’s fun stuff.
 
This year was fun, but….different. The meals were over and I was left with a huge feeling of anticlimax.
 
Maybe I’m just getting older, maybe Lucy was bratting it up because she’s getting new teeth. Maybe I was just in a weird mood, maybe the moon was in Shintippies and my oodles were noogin, but I think holidays may need to change a bit.
 
Come with me into my vision.
 
The day arrives with no less preparation. The kitchen is full of dishes and smells so thick you can taste every spice and ingredient. The fridge is packed, the oven is humming, and every bit of counter space is either messed or full of waiting pyrex.
 
BUT…no one is in a flurry. There is no ticking clock. 
 
The kids watch movies in their pajamas, football takes over the bigscreen, and we sit outside in shifts with mimosas and lattes.
 
Family arrives, family from ALL THREE SIDES, and instead of a big production of sitdown and proper…they just join in the day. Watching football, having conversations. The focus isn’t on minutes wasted or time shared and split. The focus is on being together. Enjoying each other with a mutual understanding of ease and fun. People leave, people arrive. Instead of stuffing face over a couple of hours, the whole day is there to be taken. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Whatever, whenever.
 
I’m willing to bet the day would wind down with a much more peaceful atmosphere.

 
Anyway. Maybe it’s just a pipe dream. Maybe it can really happen.
 
So you’ve stuck around this long, huh? 
 
Want to know who the winner is?
 
………………………..
………………………..
………………………..
 
KIM! @notblessedmama
 
YAYYYYY!
 
Kim, email me or give me a shout on Twitter. I’ll hook you up.
 
I love giveaways. That was fun. Maybe I’ll do it again sometime.

Weekend Recap News

Ok so the book chapter didn’t go over as well as I had hoped.

Anyway.

Dan left this weekend for China. Three weeks in China because he’s important and robotly or something like that. I like to think that he got off the plane in Shanghai and all the short people stopped and stared, like “HOLY SHIT, WHO IS THIS RED GIANT?”

I’m sure it happened just like that.

We spoke with him last night via FaceTime, and the lobby of his hotel looked like every Chinese restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.

As for us, we’ve been branching out. Dan left us his truck and dude, we like it. I’m resetting the miles before he gets back so he doesn’t know how much we’ve driven it.

Friday night we waited until Dan left, and we took the sniffly and sad big kids up to Tennessee to eat some gas station pizza. It tasted a lot better than it sounds, and on this trip it came to my attention that my son squats on the toilet to poo.

Seriously. He puts his feet on the seat and squats down like he’s in some far country without indoor plumbing. Who taught him that?

Why?

The next day we went to Alabama to both escape the branching wake of Sarah Palin (she was speaking about 45 minutes away and I could feel the ridickery all the way at home) and to eat at Five Guys.

And because we believe in keeping ourselves healthy, we had frozen yogurt. With candy bar pieces.

It’s the most time I’ve spent out and about with my oldest kids in a long, long time. Which is sad for a lot of reasons. I suppose it took the “nice” parent leaving the country to make me realize that I can have fun with them, too.

Friday night glam

Josh and I have said countless times how we were going to go to high school football games.

The weather’s perfect, football’s great, lalala.

We have maybe gone to one high school football game (aside from when we lived in Jackson and we were ALWAYS at those damn private school games).

Last night we intended to go, and then we went to eat and Lucy would have none of anything but coming home and going to sleep.

So that’s what we did. Josh worked on a website and I knitted, and after we were finished wringing the dregs of life from our Friday night, we went to bed.

Sometimes I think we’ve turned into such duds.

I mean, where’s the zing? The romance? The spark?

Is there a female alive who would turn away a little bit of corny sap from the person they love? No. However, I happen to be married to Ray Barrone and his mind apparently doesn’t work that way.

And then I realize that twenty years from now the kids will (maybe) all be gone and perhaps we won’t still live with Dan, and we’ll have all the time in the world for zings and sparking.

So for now, I think it’s okay. I’m saving up to buy stock in blue pills and bathtubs to put out in the forest and on the beach.

Confessions about ice cream

According to a calendar I saw, today is national ice cream day.

I know it’s trivial. But I love ice cream. Ice cream and French fries.

Cheesecake, too.

Iqqqass (Lucy’s typing again. Damn kid.)

I know everyone loves ice cream and that’s no big deal, and I don’t claim to love it more than anyone else. and please spare me the laments that you don’t like ice cream and sweets aren’t your thing. Forgive me, but it is the right thing to do, enjoying sweets. Why else did Jesus serve Welch’s to the disciples?



I do realize, though, that when it comes to being an adult and controlling consumption of things like ice cream and cake, candy, bacon, and things like sugar sandwiches (that’s a joke. Kind of.), I am woefully inadequate.

I would eat ice cream for every meal and dessert.

Josh and I have gotten into this habit of buying two half gallons when we buy groceries. Kroger is obviously plotting my demise, what with their damn 2-for-$5 deals on their delicious ice cream.

I mean, a responsible adult eats ice cream for dessert, maybe once a week.

I ate it for breakfast twice last week.

It’s not that I set out to be an idiot about the things I eat, but it’s the perfect food. Creamy. Cold. Exactly the flavor I want. It’s even useful as a cold compress.

Hippies and smart people say that your body is your temple and you have to take care with what you input. Especially if you’re worried about your gut, and I know they’re right. That’s pretty much why I’ve stopped complaining about my gut.

Even if I’m on a diet.
I just can’t help it.
It’s a sickness.



Fourth of Porkly

My dad makes barbecue. Well, I say “makes” but I guess really he just puts the components together. Composes barbecue. My dad composes barbecue.

He’s always made barbecue for as long as I can remember.

There was even this one hotasshit summer where all we did every night was cook barbecue to sell the next day. I heard the phrase “pork butt” so often that it lost its giggle-worthiness, and I was like 9 or 10 so that’s saying a lot.

He built this tow-along contraption with a smoker and attached bar thing so that we could park and sell barbecues pretty much out of the back of his Bronco. We did that every day. All summer. My pores oozed pork grease.

I haven’t really eaten much barbecue since that summer, except for once, and I’ve kind of kept that story under my hat. It’s kind of shameful because I apparently can’t really hold my meat.

The fourth of July is a big deal for my dad. He breaks out all the old tricks and there are ribs and chicken and pork and burgers and slaw and beans and whatever he thinks to throw on the grill.

One 4th, about 10 years ago, I was on the Atkins diet. I thought the celebration would be pretty miserable because gathering + diet usually = ugh, but to my shock and awe it was actually super nice.

In case you don’t know because you live in a box, Atkins pretty much means you can eat any greasy meatful thing your heart desires with impunity. Just stay away from carbs.

I love carbs. Mac and cheese, rolls, and oh my god the desserts. None of which I could consume that year, in the name of my *cough* health, so I determined to make up for it with as much meat and fat as I could.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I definitely did what I set out to do.

Ribs, chicken. The dreaded pulled pork. I wanted some French fries so badly, so instead I ate some weird butter and cheese concoction.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

The day ended, and I shit you not (haha, how apropos) I must have eaten an entire drawer of meat.

That night, whilst everyone I knew was watching fireworks and celebrating our nation’s birthday, I was on the toilet. It felt like I’d eaten a football and it got stuck in my lower intestine.

I definitely do not recommend a meatful diet.

How am I not a vegetarian?

Happy 4th.

This post is part of the 4th July carnival at: www.inthepowderroom.com

Later, on the moonlit veranda

Today was Memorial Day, which – shamefully – has never meant much more to me than grills and days off of work and school. Perhaps a flaw in my raising.

But nevertheless, grilling was had.

Early in the day, we all went out to my parents’ house, where my oldest children preened and vied for attention. It’s their way. I don’t even fight it anymore.

(However, in this same vein, Max gave Ava a makeover this weekend. Makeup, hair, nails. Is this something I should address? Ignore? Should I buy him some antiques?)

Later on, Max and Ava went home to hang out with Dan and we the Steens followed up a Bye Bye, Birdie rehearsal with some nutrients and liquids at our friends’ the Fraxedons.

In other words, David and Tonya decided we deserved their company for some holiday fun times with charcoal and meat.

Now, I just have to say – Tonya is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and I always feel special when I get to hang out at her house. It always feels like a magazine. Like, cloth napkins and pretty chairs and made beds, and also farts don’t stink and toilets are clean. Even her dirt is endearing.

It was lots of fun. Lucy was doted upon, I got to drink a margarita, and Josh got to cook. Pretty much everything we all like best.