eat your lettuce and be sad

So, I didn’t finish Whole30, and I’m not going to.

Here’s what I learned through doing it twice, and lasting about 10-14 days each time: I should probably avoid sugar and grains for the most part. Dairy and legumes aren’t much of an issue for me, but sugar and grains definitely affect my energy levels, and make me feel bloated and gross. So I guess it was a worthwhile experiment to learn what my “bad” foods are.

The problem is that foods containing sugar and grains tend to be my favorite foods (cookies! donuts! cake!), so it isn’t practical to avoid them altogether. But I’m trying to adjust my usual daily routine so that they become occasional treats rather than daily staples, and so far that’s working ok.

Also: artificial sweeteners. This is the first time in my life I’ve cut out artificial sweeteners completely. I was a Diet Coke addict from middle school until about 2 years ago. After I gave it up, though, I always put Sweet & Low in my coffee and iced tea. I’ve cut that out – I gave up iced tea completely, and now just put a little milk in my coffee. And I’ve noticed that since I started doing that, I have significantly fewer headaches.

(The Whole30 book mentions that artificial sweeteners are several hundred times sweeter per tablespoon than regular sugar, so they tend to trigger the part of our brain that craves more sugar. I don’t know how much of that science is true, but I’ve noticed that I have less frequent “OMG I need some Skittles” urges now, so that’s good. I mean, I still want the Skittles, don’t get me wrong, but it’s less… urgent? I don’t know. It’s odd.)

And yeah, this post so far can pretty much be summed up with this GIF:









I know, I know. I’ll stop.


So! Other stuff.

This weekend, the girls were with me, and Chris and I really wanted to see the new Avengers movie. I thought Catie would enjoy it, because she seemed to like the first movie, but she wasn’t in the mood. So, we left the girls with my parents on Saturday night, and had a little movie date night.

Obligatory date night selfie. About to get our geek on & watch the Avengers 2.

The movie was good – honestly, I never watched any comic book movies until Chris and I started dating (well, ok, Christopher Reeve as Superman when I was a kid, I guess). Now I’ve seen several of the Marvel movies, and I think they’re pretty fun. I mean, they’re not going to win any Oscars (except maybe for special effects), but they’re entertaining.


Thinking of other TV/movie stuff, here’s some random notes on things we’re watching:

* Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD – Sort of related to the Avengers thing. It’s more of a spy show than a superhero-y show, and it’s pretty light and fun to watch. (I mean, the superhero/alien stuff does come up, but it’s not the main focus.) Also, I kind of have a crush on Clark Gregg. But I tend to go for nerdy, funny guys, and he is a total nerd who gets the best one-liners.

* Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – I really didn’t think I would be able to get Chris to watch this with me, and even he thought it was funny. So, consider that a ringing endorsement if I can get the dude who doesn’t watch sitcoms to watch a sitcom.

* Justified – We started watching this on Amazon Prime recently, and we’re about to start season 2. I think I like it? Some of it is a little gory, and there are some highly questionable Southern accents being thrown around, but it’s good. And Timothy Olyphant is… uh… not hard to look at.

* Game of Thrones – I’ll be honest, this is Chris’s show, not mine. I can’t cope with the extreme violence, so I hang out in the room while it’s on, but I usually play Candy Crush on my phone, so I have something else to look at during the gross parts. (I don’t do well with violence/gore. We only made it 2 episodes into the Walking Dead before I started having nightmares and had to stop. I’m a wuss.) So, I watch it, and I’m curious to know what’s going to happen next, but I’m also still like, “wait, who is that guy and how is he related?” Chris says my confusion at Game of Thrones character names is how he feels at my family reunions, which I guess is fair enough.

* The Americans – It’s SO GOOD. Season 3 just finished, and dang. It’s also got some really intense violence where I have to cover my face, but the characters are so complex and the storylines are fascinating, and it’s just. so. good. First 2 seasons are streaming on Amazon Prime. Go watch it, if you haven’t already.

* Better Call Saul – I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Chris and I both liked it a lot. Already can’t wait for season 2.

* Once Upon a Time – I really loved this show for a while, but it’s now in season 4 and starting to get a little ridiculous. A lot of the plotlines lately are wearing pretty thin. I think it was pretty clear they were running out of Disney storylines when they brought in Cruella DeVil as one of the villains. I’m not sure if/how they can turn it around, but for whatever reason, we’re still watching it. I guess I just want to see how it ends.

* The Flash – This is the show Catie and Chris watch together, while I go play with Lucy. I don’t get it, but they both love it, and I like that they have a “thing” they do together.

* Blacklist – I don’t even know why I put this on the list, we started season 1 on Netflix and gave up. It’s absurd. Every single episode has at least one moment where one of us says, “well, that’s dumb, nobody would ever do that.” It’s got Mike from “Homeland”! And the girl who played Jess in “Bend It Like Beckham”! And James freaking Spader! And it still sucks. Sorry, I can’t.


Anyway, not much else going on here. Trying to get outside and enjoy this spring weather as much as possible before it gets too unbearably hot.

Sisters in the sandbox.

The kids don’t seem to mind too much either.

Durannie for Life

Back in the early 80s, we didn’t have MTV, so instead we set our VCR to record a show called “Friday Night Videos” that came on NBC long after our bedtime. (I think it aired around 1 a.m.) On Saturday mornings, instead of cartoons, my sister and I would watch the previous night’s episode of “Friday Night Videos.”

That is how I very clearly remember seeing the video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” for the first time when I was about 7 years old. We watched it with our mouths hanging open. And after it was over, we rewound it and watched it again. And again.

We bought the albums (on cassette tape, naturally) soon after that. My sister and I would fight over them, so we each had to get our own copy. Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Arena… I still know the words to almost every song by heart.

My sister decided that she loved Simon LeBon. And we were not allowed to love the same guy in the band, so I had to pick someone else. I picked John Taylor, the bass player. I had a poster of him on my bedroom door.

Interestingly, my cousin Cat also loved John Taylor and had the exact same poster of him on her bedroom door. (We didn’t plan that, it just sort of happened that way.)

My love for them continued throughout the years. I’ve bought every album. Last year, I remember walking on the treadmill while listening to their latest album (All You Need is Now) while trying to make myself go into labor with Lucy. (It didn’t work, btw. She had to be forcibly evicted.)

Anyway, growing up in Mississippi, not a lot of great concerts stopped through town. Duran Duran never came to Jackson, which meant that I never got to see them live. And I somehow missed them whenever they came to town when I lived in other cities.

Until last night.

And OMG you guyyyyyyyyys.

Oh, hello boys.

(I’m going to go on record that I chose wisely with John Taylor, because the man is aging WELL.)

I was that obnoxious lady who never sat down and who jumped and danced and sang through every single song that they did. And I don’t care if other people thought I was obnoxious. I was SO DAMN HAPPY.

That look on my face? Yeah, I looked like that for the whole show.

The look on my face in that picture? That’s basically what I looked like the whole time. It was so awesome.

I’m glad I brought a ponytail holder with me, because I was a sweaty mess. My scale says that I’ve lost 3 pounds since yesterday, if that’s any indication of how many calories I burned last night. Clearly I need to just follow Duran Duran on tour for a couple of months and I’ll hit my goal weight in no time.

Seriously. Best concert of my life, hands-down. Totally worth waiting 29 (almost 30) years to see them.

Thanks for the show, guys. My soul needed that like you have no idea.

To DVR or not to DVR, that is the question

A couple of things today got me thinking about how much TV I watch. Over at MamaPop, they’re taking a poll to find out what show their readers want them to recap. I read the list – fully intending to vote on one of them – but then I realized that I don’t watch any of the shows they listed.

Then a little while ago, I saw that my lovely BlogHer roomie Angie wrote a post on Aiming Low about what shows to DVR this fall. Again, none of them are shows that I watch (and I don’t really have any intent of watching the new ones she mentioned).

So, it got me thinking… What do I watch on TV? And the list is pretty short.

* Dave and I have shows that we DVR and watch together during dinner: The Daily Show, The Soup, or Tosh.0. (Although, really? I think Tosh might need to be a “not while you’re eating and definitely not while the kid is awake” show.)

* Project Runway (which I’ve watched since season 1).

* I usually DVR shows like “Clean House” or “Hoarders” for when I just want to veg out and watch a show that doesn’t require too much brain space.

* Umm… I think that’s it.

That’s weird, right? Don’t most people have like, I don’t know, a sitcom or a serialized drama or something that they enjoy watching? And I don’t have any? I mean, I used to watch Lost, but now that’s over, so… yeah.

I think there’s a couple of problems here working against me. First, I’ve basically had no attention span since 2006. Apparently when I got pregnant with Catie, I also acquired A.D.D. at the same time. I know some people call that “pregnancy brain,” but with me, it never went away. Pregnancy did lots of weird things to me. Like, I can’t stand to wear earrings anymore either. (I don’t know why, they made me nauseated during my first trimester – something about the idea of poking that thing through a hole in my ear made me want to barf – and now, since I wear them almost never, they make my ears hurt and ache on the rare occasions I do wear them. It’s weird, I know.)

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh right, my attention span. (See? A.D.D.!) I could probably count on one hand the number of movies I’ve watched from start to finish in the last year. It’s just nearly impossible for me to sit still and follow a plot for two hours. So the idea of watching a serialized show where you’re expected to commit to following a particular plotline week after week? No. I just don’t think I can do it.

The second reason that I don’t watch TV much anymore – and I think this is probably the bigger reason – is that my prime TV viewing time is at night, after Catie goes to bed. And usually, by the time I finally get her to sleep, all I want is an hour or so of blissful silence before I go to bed myself. I’ve hit my noise tolerance limit for the day, I don’t want the chatter on TV, I just want… QUIET.

Is that so weird? Do y’all have a bunch of shows that you watch, or do you (to quote Depeche Mode) enjoy the silence?

a million lights are dancing, and there you are, a shooting star

Last night I was looking for something to watch on TV that didn’t involve either Caillou or Dora. Catie was still awake and I was trying to get her to eat a pre-bedtime snack since she’d hardly eaten any dinner. It’s our typical Nightly Bedtime Struggle.

I happened to see on the cable guide that over on HBO, Xanadu was on. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid. Between Xanadu and Grease, I wanted to be Olivia Newton-John. All of my toys were named either Sandy or Kira. Because of Xanadu, I roller-skated in a dress while wearing leg warmers, and I had my mom braid ribbons into my barrettes. (If you haven’t seen the movie, that probably makes no sense to you.)

And yeah, I’ve seen Xanadu again as an adult, and I’m fully aware that it is not exactly a high-quality film. In fact, I’m pretty sure the people involved in the production were doing massive amounts of cocaine. (It was the 70s, after all.) It’s cheesy as hell. The acting is terrible, the storyline is convoluted and bizarre, and the weird “dissolves” between scenes look SO corny now. But whatever, I still love the music. In fact, I still have the whole soundtrack in iTunes.

Catie is just getting to the age where she likes musicals. The kid-oriented ones, of course, like the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, and the Wizard of Oz. And she’s seen a couple of (not risque) songs in Moulin Rouge and really liked them. So I thought I’d click it over to see what she thought of Xanadu. We missed the first half of the movie, and came in right around the beginning of the “All Over the World” song.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to watch that to get an idea. It’s supposed to be a simple, “Let’s take Gene Kelly shopping to find him a snazzy outfit for his nightclub opening” montage, and instead it turns into… that. I don’t even know WTF that is, 30 years later.

(Also? Poor Gene Kelly. The guy is probably one of the most talented dancers of his generation – he did freaking “Singing in the Rain,” for God’s sake – and to get a gig in his old age, they put him on roller skates. Did your investments really turn out that badly, Gene?)

Catie was absolutely riveted, because… well, probably because it looks completely surreal and bizarre.

And then, there’s the finale. Oh, the finale.
(Apparently if you want the full 8-minute finale and not a chopped 3-minute version, you have to deal with poor video quality. Oh well.)

Y’all, I couldn’t get Catie to sit down and eat her snack because she was too busy dancing around the living room (while keeping her eyes glued to the TV the whole time). As soon as it was over, she kept saying, “Again! Again!!” I had to search for the videos on YouTube for her to watch a couple more times.

This morning, as soon as she woke up, she asked, “We watch Xanadu again?” I said, sorry baby, it’s not on-demand and I don’t have the DVD, so we can’t watch it now. She said, “We can buy the DVD?” I told her I’d look to see if I can find it.

Since we couldn’t watch the movie, I turned the soundtrack on my iPod in the car when we drove to daycare. I had to explain to her daycare teacher why Catie might be singing, “Xaaaa-na-duuuuu” all day today. (Her teacher is in her mid-20s, has never heard of the movie, and likely thinks I’m completely insane based on my explanation.)

But you know I’m totally ordering the DVD on Amazon today, right? The only problem is that I’m not sure if Dave will ever forgive me for turning our daughter into an Olivia Newton-John fan.

stuff swirling around in my head, none of which is enough to make a single coherent post

We saw “Toy Story 3” on Saturday. I cried. And Dave didn’t even make fun of me that much (which means he must’ve thought it was sad too, because normally he mocks me when I cry during movies). Catie is obsessed with the first and second Toy Story movies, and she loved this one, but we had to talk about it a lot afterward. I think some parts of the movie might be upsetting for little kids. But otherwise, the three of us gave it a combined total of six thumbs up.

I noticed a lot of people did Father’s Day posts, and I felt bad that it didn’t even occur to me. So, happy late Father’s Day to Dave. Catie and I love you to pieces.

I have to say, Sunday was a pretty great day. To celebrate Father’s Day, we went out for breakfast (IHOP, yum), then Dave went home to chill out and have some downtime while I took Catie out to run errands with me. We went to Best Buy to buy Dave’s Father’s Day gift, then we hit Toys R Us to look for a “Slinky Dog” toy from Toy Story. Catie had filled up her reward chart and she said that was the thing she wanted (actually, no, she said she “needed” a Slinky Dog). Of course, Toys R Us was sold out, and I worried she’d have a huge meltdown, so I said, “Hey, they’re out of Slinky Dog here, so let’s go see if another store has it. Come on!” And she… my child… left Toys R Us willingly and without a meltdown. I couldn’t believe it. Reward charts FTW!

Also? Thank the heavens above for Wal-Mart (something I never thought I’d say), because we got the LAST Slinky Dog on the shelf. Catie was so happy that she was an angel for the rest of the day.

We got groceries, brought them home, and then since Catie was too hyper to nap, she came back out with me again to shop for new workout clothes. She sat patiently in the dressing room and told me if she did or didn’t like the clothes I had tried on. (I was only supposed to be looking for workout clothes, but I actually thought this dress looked kind of cute on me and I was thinking about getting it for BlogHer, but Catie said, “No, Mommy. Try something else.” Thanks, kiddo! Way to keep me focused on the task at hand.) It was awesome. We wandered all over the mall and she was the best shopping buddy I could’ve asked for.

And Dave got to play video games all day and take a nap, so I think it was a pretty great Father’s Day for him too.


In the category of exercise/fitness stuff: A little over a week ago, I ran 20 minutes without stopping for the first time in my life. And it was awesome. But since then, my workouts have been feeling progressively more difficult. On Saturday I tried to run 25 minutes without stopping (which, yeah, that’s hard, but I ran 20 minutes, right? So not THAT much harder!) and I had to stop to catch my breath around minute 15. Ok, no big deal. Then I tried to do that 25-minute run again yesterday and I had to stop to catch my breath 4 different times. WTF? Then this morning I woke up with a nasty cough. Ah, allergies, you evil b*tch. That probably explains my diminished lung capacity. I guess I should maybe pop an extra antihistamine an hour or so before my workout.

I made these brownies (thanks, Grace!), which sound horrifying, but are actually pretty good. Only, um, the combination of ingredients does lead to some, *ahem*, digestive issues. Let’s just leave it at that, ok? But they ARE yummy and a lot healthier than regular brownies, so… ? Judge for yourself, I suppose. They really taste nothing like the ingredients would have you think.

I signed Catie up for swimming lessons at the YMCA (our gym), and the classes start in mid-July. But every time we talk about it, she says, “Noooooo! I can’t want to go swimming!” She won’t go to the neighborhood pool with me on the weekends, she won’t wear her swimsuit to daycare on “Water Play Day” (which is basically just playing in the sprinklers, they don’t have a pool). She is terrified of all things water-related, except the bathtub, and she’s not even a big fan of that.

So, I was thinking about withdrawing her from swimming lessons this year. There’s a bunch of kids on the wait list who I know would be happy to take her place, and I haven’t paid for it yet so I won’t lose any money. I’m just not sure if it’s worth putting her through it when she’s clearly so scared and unwilling to try it. Maybe we could try it next year and it’d be easier for her. I do think that learning to swim is one of those basic survival skills that everyone needs. I’m just not sure if she needs it at 3 years old. If any of y’all have any opinions on this, I’d love to hear them. I honestly don’t know what to do.

Hey, Orkut? You suck.

Fair warning: prepare to be outraged.

I don’t know how many of y’all who use Flickr have had this problem, but here’s the thing. Occasionally I get people who add me as their contact who speak very little English, and who have no pictures available in their photostream. If I ignore it, a couple of days later, I’ll get a Flickr message like this (honest to God, I’m copying & pasting one of the emails I’ve gotten):

Catie I found very beautiful, and I can use the photos of her. Please think well. The Catie is the most perfect little girl that I ever knew, I am photographer.
I found this very beautiful little girl, and in my opinion should be a model. She is simply nice, beautiful, sweet … I would like to know her better, and thus allowing me to use the photos of his daughter.
Many people use the photos of her daughter in ORKUT, if you want I can help it.
Kisses, good week and good night.
-name removed-

The first time I got one of these, I wondered what the hell Orkut was, so I did some investigating. Turns out, it’s a social networking site, sort of like Facebook or MySpace, but the users are predominantly in Brazil and India. It’s run by Google, and appears to be a legitimate website from what I can tell.

So, whenever this comes up, I always respond that NO, you may NOT use the photos of my daughter, and then I block them so they can’t see my Flickr pictures anymore. Lately, I’ve been even more proactive: if someone adds me as a contact and they have a vaguely foreign-sounding name and nothing in their photostream? I block them. No questions asked, they’re just gone.

Then, the other day I got an email from someone on Flickr with a link to a profile on Orkut. I followed the link and found this.

(Click to enlarge.)

Somebody set up an account, claiming that they’re me, using my daughter’s picture as their profile pic, and acting all outraged that people are using Catie’s pictures on Orkut. And they add that “Bianca and Daph” (who??) are the only people authorized to use Catie’s pictures. What the ever-loving eff?!?!!

First, I reported this person to Orkut for identity theft. Then I started doing some investigating. Orkut is sort of like Facebook in that you can post a message called a “scrap” (sort of like writing on someone’s wall in FB). I left a message that was borderline hysterical, sort of “who the hell is this? You’re using my daughter’s picture and acting as though you’re me online? TAKE THIS PICTURE DOWN IMMEDIATELY OR I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND ARRRRGGGGHHH HULK SMASH!!!” Or, you know, something to that effect. I’m pretty sure I dropped an f-bomb. (Which probably has less effect on someone who speaks poor English.)

This is the response I got.

No I have not got it very badly and I really apologize, is that I see many people using photos of her daughter Catie and I decided to do this to stop using his daughter, if you are aware already found 5 girls who wore the daughter and she stopped using because I asked, even though I did wrong I have done something right, sorry about that

So… you’re just pretending to be me in order to protect my kid? Um, sorry, but NO. If you think someone is doing something unseemly with pictures of a stranger’s child, wouldn’t you, I don’t know, try to CONTACT the parent of the child whose pictures are being used illicitly? Maybe?

I took this screenshot & posted it on Flickr, and the person immediately contacted me and asked me to remove it. HELL NO, jackass. I responded and said that I would not be removing it because I wanted to warn the other parents I know to be on the lookout for this. Meanwhile, the profile appears to have been removed, so yay for that, I guess.

So, now I’m left with questions:
1. Why on earth would anyone have any interest in these pictures? It’s not as though they’re naked pictures of her that could be construed as p0rnographic. I don’t post anything like that. What’s the motivation for this? A quick search on Flickr shows that I am definitely not the only one having this problem. But why? What’s the purpose? Do I need to be worried that some Brazilian child sex ring is going to come to North Carolina looking for my daughter? (That’s what my mom thinks. She advised me to shut down my Flickr account AND my blog when she heard about this. And Mom, I love you, but no.)

2. What do I do now? I don’t want to set my Flickr account private, because then I won’t be able to use the pictures on my blog. How do I keep this from happening in the future? Do I stick a watermark on my photos? Would that even help? I mean, if they’re going to steal so blatantly, I doubt a watermark would be much of a deterrent.

3. How do I use my tiny little space on the Internet to try to make this stop? I doubt I can make huge websites like Flickr or Google listen to me. I’d love it if Flickr had some sort of option to block incoming links, so I could have an option that blocks anybody who’s clicking over from Orkut. But I doubt they’re going to make a major site design overhaul based on the complaints of a few people. So, what to do? I know some of y’all are way more clever than I am with this type of thing. If you have any ideas, please share them.

on gun control

I saw this article on our local news yesterday, and it made me sick to my stomach. In case you don’t feel like clicking a link, here’s the story.

A 2-year-old Sanford boy was killed late Wednesday morning in what authorities have labeled an accidental shooting.

Details were not immediately clear, but Sanford police Capt. David Smith said the child or another child in the home at 522 Cannon Circle got hold of a gun and that it was fired. The boy was shot in the head.

“It’s obvious someone left an unsecured weapon,” Smith said. “We don’t know if the toddler shot himself or if one of the other children in the house was playing with the gun.”

Two other children, ages 3 and 4, as well as the boy’s mother, Melanie Tyson, were at the residence at the time. His father, Joey Tyson, was at work. Police did not release the name of the child.

Emergency workers responded to the report at 11:13 a.m., and the child was taken to Central Carolina Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Smith did not speculate as to whether the boy’s parents will face any charges.

“I don’t want to be premature and talking about charges until we finish our investigation,” he said.

This? This is not ok. And this is why, yes, I absolutely believe that we need tighter gun control laws in this country.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me say this: I admit that I have a somewhat irrational fear of guns. I’ve never touched a gun in my life, and never want to. When my school decided to take one semester of 7th grade Phys. Ed. and offer “Hunter’s Education” class instead, I had my mom write me a note saying that it was against my beliefs. They let me take study hall for that period. I hate guns, I wish they didn’t exist.

I think that if you want to own a gun for hunting, fine. It’s not my personal hobby, but whatever. If you want a handgun for “personal protection,” I think that’s ridiculous, but I also realize that it’s easy for me to say that from my very safe, upper-middle class neighborhood. I think the idea of anyone owning an automatic rifle is absolutely obscene, and that no one needs an AK-47 outside of a military context.

That said, in spite of all my personal wacky liberal views on guns, I’m not stupid. There’s never going to be any real anti-gun legislation that gets passed in this country. For Christ’s sake, people show up with loaded assault rifles at town hall meetings when the topic is health care of all things. Try to imagine the reaction if Obama wanted to talk about passing restrictions on gun ownership. Armageddon? Probably close.

But look, there has to be some middle ground here to put an end to these types of horrible accidents. Like oh, I don’t know, maybe requiring gun owners to take a basic gun safety course? Or passing a law that if you have a gun and there are children in the house, you also have to buy a lock like this for it?

And I know that all of you conservatives are all about “personal responsibility!” and “I don’t want the government passing laws that restrict my freedom!” or whatever the hell your argument is. (Although, ironically, when the issue comes to either abortion rights or gay marriage, y’all want to slap a whole bunch of laws all over that shit. Which makes no sense to me at all, but that’s neither here nor there.) But is this really all that different than being required to pass a test before you can get a driver’s license, or laws that require car seats to keep your kids safe? I don’t see anyone at the DMV with a protest sign, claiming that their personal freedom is being infringed upon.

I’m not unsympathetic to the family in this tragedy. Obviously I have no idea what it’s like to lose a child – there are other people out there who know that type of pain, and I’m truly thankful that I don’t. I don’t think they’re bad people, I’m sure they had a gun because they wanted to keep their family safe. But to not only have lost a child, but to also know that you’re the one who brought home the weapon that killed your child? I don’t know how you go on with your life after that. There has to be something that can be done to prevent these types of tragedies from occurring. There just has to be.

**Note from me: I realize that this is sort of a controversial topic. Debate and polite disagreement is fine. Any comments with abusive language – or just general douchebagginess – will be deleted.