Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Weigh Out There Part 1

I have these big round sunglasses that I like to wear when I drive, and my kids make fun of me and say that they make me look like a bug.

“Sunglasses are supposed to be narrow and sleek these days,” said my daughter, “Why do you insist on wearing those huge things?”

The answer was obvious. “Because they make my face look thinner.”

She stared in disbelief, a look only possible because she’s a young thin girl who’s never had to worry about her weight.

“It’s true,” I went on to explain. “Haven’t you ever seen those models wearing oversized sweaters that hang down to their knees and slide off their shoulders provocatively? They look incredibly thin.”

“They are incredibly thin,” corrected my daughter.

“OK, that’s true but the idea still goes. If you wear clothes two sizes too big for you, it makes people think you’ve lost weight. The same thing goes with sunglasses. The bigger the frames the smaller your face appears in comparison.”

“If you think you look too fat, why don’t you just exercise and go on a diet?”

I laughed out loud. “Sweetheart, weight loss is a process not an end result. Right now ninety-five percent of all women in America are preparing to go on diets, switching diets, cheating on diets, or recommitting to diets. The point is to look like you’re farther ahead on the diet carousel than you actually are.”

My daughter might not appreciate the fact yet, but woman like me can actually qualify as experts in the field of weight loss. For example, during my stint with Weight Watchers, I knew exactly how to get the lowest numbers on my weekly meeting weigh-in. I used the restroom just before I stepped on the scale and of course I chose my clothing carefully. Only at a Weight Watchers meeting will you find woman dressed in tank tops and thin cotton shorts in ten degree weather.

But that’s only the beginning. I’ve learned how to make diet shakes more palatable with the addition of healthy and sometimes not so healthy ingredients. I’ve drunk so many glasses of water; I couldn’t pass a bathroom without making a visit. I’ve eaten veggies and fruits till I felt like a rabbit, and even tried the new-diet-math theory that states; if you eat a candy bar and drink a diet soda at the same meal the calories will cancel each other out.

(to be continued next week…)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Mother's Day Lament

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone… thank goodness. That painful holiday jam packed with guilty, insecurity and unrealistic expectations. If you’re a mother, particularly a mother of teens, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So, Sunday morning my children surprise me with breakfast in bed. And a complete breakfast it was. Scrambled eggs, home made pancakes with home made strawberry jam on top, sausage links, fresh squeezed orange juice and two slices of dark but not burned toast smeared liberally with honey.

It was a sweet thought, I kept telling myself as I loaded the second dishwasher full of breakfast dishes into the machine and scrubbed the last of the red berry stains off the ceiling. And besides, it’s the thought that counts; too bad my children didn’t just think about making me breakfast!

As mothers we have this sort of mixed up emotional expectation associated with the second Sunday in May. On the one hand, we want our children, for just a few minutes, to stop and realize how much hard work, blood, sweat and tears we have put out on their behalf. Perhaps a little appreciation for the twenty some odd years of clean laundry, healthy meals and on call chauffeuring services.

On the other hand, we don’t want them to look too closely at our parenting skills and remember things like the time we left them in the restroom at the gas station or how we got mad at them for leaving the milk out, only to remember that we used it last.

There’s the image of the model mother we hold in our head:
Constantly baking cookies and home made bread, hand ironing all her families clothing, and a cheerful smile and wise word always on her lips.
And the reality of day to day life:
Peanut butter for breakfast (just peanut butter), a freezer full of pre-made Stouffers meals, the -if the clothes smell clean then they are- test, and ‘it’s that time of the month so stay away’.

I guess all a mother can really do, is try her hardest to be a good mom, and open a high yield savings account to pay for the therapy her children will require when they’re adults.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

For the Love of Email?

In my rather lengthy life, I have had a very close relationship with the good old US mail service. There was nothing better than getting an envelope, hand addressed and maybe with a cute sticker on the back. Who knew what that envelope might contain, an invitation to a wedding, a note from your aunt in Wisconsin or sometimes, even a love letter!

But despite my affection for snail-mail, I was more than ready to jump on the email band wagon. By using my computer I can drop a line to a friend on the other side of the country and hear back from her within the hour. And my fingers don’t get sore like when I use to write three page letters by hand.

However, like all things, there is a dark side to internet communication, and I’m sure you all know what it is. Junk mail!

The other day I received an email in my in-box with the subject line, ‘Get use to being BIG…’

I stopped right there. Can some one please tell me; in what possible way could that subject line be inviting?

I don’t ever remember getting ads in the regular mail asking if I wanted larger breasts, and the closest thing to pornography was the underwear section of the Wal-Mart circular. Yet, for some reason my in-box is inundated with this type of garbage.

Is there some profile of me sitting out there in cyberspace that describes me as an underdeveloped, overweight, male/female, in need of more debt, gullible enough to invest money in illegal overseas accounts and sexually perverted?

I also get a kick out of the ‘helpful’ emails I receive from friends and family, warning me about the dangers of chorine soaked baby carrots, lead in red lip sticks and those horrible poisonous spiders that lurk under toilet seats in public bathrooms waiting to sink their little fangs into my protruding… well, enough of that one, but you get the idea.

I shouldn’t be surprised. These are the same people who, in college, sat up till all hours of the night debating the reality of a dead rodent accidentally fried with a batch of chicken at a local restaurant, or the likelihood of chocolate covered bugs lurking among our favorite candy.

And who has the time to sit around, making this stuff up. I’m guessing it’s the same genius who created the dancing baby, or maybe the sicko who programs destructive computer viruses that look like greetings from long lost friends. Someone with way too much time on their hands.

And speaking of time, I’m afraid I gotta run. I just received an email about the dangers of seatbelts that absolutely have to read.

Till next week…

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