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Friday, September 25, 2009

Random Pop Cultural Musings

Regardless of your political affiliation the Nation should be outraged by Tom DeLay's "dancing" on DWTS. I am even more outraged by the camera work focusing on his buttocks in the opening moments of the song.

Jon Stewart and the "Daily Show" have been having a good year, some great interviews, especially the one with Jim Cramer.

Project Runway, most boring season ever. Where the hell are Nina Garcia and Michael Kors?

Is it just me or is SYTYCD focusing less on the crazy auditions and more on the real dancers? I think so, and I approve whole-heartedly.

Neil Patrick Harris is my secret TV boyfriend and I have a budding girl crush on Felicia Day. Even when she is in those annoying Sears commercials.

Rachel Maddow rocks those glasses. She rocks them like a hurricane.

I sort of want to call 1-888-OOPS-JEW.

Martha Stewart's annual Halloween issue is looked forward to in this house with the fervor one usually associates with Christmas presents or birthdays.

I follow three cast members of ST:TNG and I especially love Wil Wheaton and I dream of the day he re-tweets me. The other two are LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner. So cool!

I don't always get Michelle Obama's high-waisted belts, but I love her personal sense of style. At least she is not robotically wearing solid color skirt suits and a strand of pearls.

Qaddafi at the U.N. -- Joan Rivers, melted in the sun, wrapped in butcher paper and placed on auto-babble. Even the translators sounded like "Really? WTF is this guy saying?!"

The frozen 360 degree view of the cast of CSI was actually kind of cool. I haven't watched an episode of that show since the Tarantino directed one.

ANTM is on the fence for me. This may be the last season I watch. I feel like Tyra needs to stop trying to make "smize" happen.

Dollhouse is on tonight, premiere at 9 p.m. Set the DVR's kiddo!!!

How about you guys? Anything out there in the pop-cultural universe I need to know about?

(Above image from wilwheaton.typepad.com )

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cooks and Books

My favorite things in the world are food and books and I definitely need both to live. Or I need both to live happily for sure. Here is a list of some books about food and even housekeeping that I find indispensable!

CookWise by Shirley Corriher, she deftly reveals the science behind recipes. Why does bread dough change with what type of flour you use? The answer (different levels of protein affect gluten formation) and a billion other answers are here.

Bernard Clayton's New Book of Bread (along with a few frantic phone calls to my friend Donna Lea) taught me to bake my own bread. Whole wheat, white, multi grain, veggie breads, they are all in here! Fabulous!

Seasoning Savvy by Alice Arndt (my cousin!) I go back to this book over and over again. It is an encyclopedia of information on herbs, spices and flavorings. My number one tip from this book is if your recipe calls for juice of a citrus add zest, if it asks for zest add juice. Wonderful. I miss her so much.

Salad People by Mollie Katzen, a children's cookbook with unique illustrations that allows even pre-readers to make their own food with minimal help from Mom and Dad.

Homekeeping Handbook by Martha Stewart, if I can't figure out how or when or how often to clean something guess who knows? Martha. She is my idol and I love her.

Big Book of 30 Minute Dinners by Better Homes and Garden, well before Rachel Ray I had this awesome little book filled with terrific weeknight dinners. I don't use it as much now, because I have absorbed the techniques and adapted them to my own cooking style and ingredients I have on hand.

And an indispensable resource online? www.savingdinner.com all recipes by LeAnn Ely. She is a mom and a nutritionist and her food is delicious and easy to make. You can sign up for a Menu Mailer to make grocery shopping and meal prep super easy! I like her 5 for the Freezer series. You make 5 meals in 20 minutes and freeze them for future use! I did some before I had Bela and they helped out on those frantic first few weeks home with the baby.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Healthy Fat

I have a picture of me at my absolute skinniest. I am sitting on my bed with Daus, he has brought me a rose as a goodbye gift. I am leaving for California soon. He didn't know but my abuela had just died that day. My eyes are shadowed from crying, and my hair is a mess. But when I look at the picture I notice my tiny bird-like little wrists. You can see my collar bone jutting out a bit. My shoulders are narrow. I am swimming in what I know intellectually was a size small t-shirt. But it is baggy on me.

I go to California and immediately kind strangers offer me diet and exercise tips to lose the extra weight. Some offer me diet pills, another tells me she counts every cracker out of the box and only consumes an exact serving. She spends lunch putting together cracker fragments to make whole crackers to count.

I come home for a visit. Everyone asks if I have been feeling okay. The bridemaid's dress I was measured for before I left has to be taken in a bit. I end up staying in Florida. I never return to California. Not even for a visit.

Gradually I put on weight, all my new clothes get tight. I keep a size 6 pink brocade corset-style top for a long time. Just to admire it, maybe, it hangs in my closet like a memento from a trip long ago.

My weight goes up and down. I get married. I have a baby, then 5 years later another one. Maternity clothes, transition clothes, I even had one of those dreaded velour tracksuits once in those long weeks between having the baby and wearing your old clothes again. Sometimes I lose weight and buy new pants. Sometimes I gain weight and wear the same 4 garments over and over till I break down and buy something comfortable. I have been in size XL tshirts for awhile. Even when I fit into an L shirt I buy bigger so they don't shrink and get too tight. I weigh myself at the doctor's office, but only when I am pregnant so I really don't know where I am at right now.

I want to begin a diet and exercise program. I really do. I think it would help me feel better, keep up with two little tornadoes I call my kids. Being in better shape would help me enjoy all the outdoorsy stuff we do here more. I might take up ballroom dance or learn to scuba dive. But mostly I want to live to be a really, really old lady and see my great-great grandkids. And flying cars. And the first nobody cares about his/her race/gender/orientation president, you know. Crazy future stuff!

But everytime I try and set some sort of goal I get scared, freeze up and pig out on chocolate. I want to be healthy, not a scary skinny super-model. I want to be happy, not hungry. I want to enjoy my life and enjoy my family, not be some exercise facist and give my kids' (both girls) some sort of complex. But everytime I put myself into the mindset, my brain goes back to the bad place, where I am always trying to lose about 30 pounds. Sad-eyed Suzanne, back there? The one holding the rose and trying to smile? Sad, wishes she could lose about 30 pounds and that belly pooch of hers. Skinny Suzanne, post baby 1 and after a year of breastfeeding? Wishes she could lose that last 30 pounbds of baby weight. 8th month pregnant Suzanne, moving her family almost single handedly from one house to another, as she hauls boxes and her giant belly upstairs and down; she wants to lose the baby weight plus about 30 pounds.

I think I have wanted to lose 30 pounds since I weighed 130 pounds, in grade school. And no matter how much I lose, there is always another 30 pounds to go, its like an infinite goal line that stretches ahead of me. I can never come near it.

So here's the thing... Can I be healthy fat? Can I just say, it doesn't matter what size clothes I wear? Can I just acknowledge that clothing size is an artificial construct of the fashion industry? Can I ignore my weight when I am in exercise and diet mode? Can I just move my body because I want to? Can I stop fantasizing about buying a bathing suit in some other color than sold black when I magically lose "all the weight"? Can I just be present, in this body, and be thankful to it for two healthy miraculous pregnancies and not deride it's stretch marks and saddlebags?

I really don't know. But I am going to try.