Thursday, November 27, 2008

Annual "Blue Hates The Holidays" post

As any of you who has been reading my blog for a bit knows, I bloody HATE the holiday season.


Everyone I know who loves the holidays only seems to do so before they've begun or after they're over.  Between the week before Thanksgiving to a few days after New Years, they're stressed, harrassed, rushed, crabby, and irritable.

The 'joyous' season invokes anxiety, guilt, sadness, even dislike.  People dread going to their inlaws; work themselves into a frenzy over cooking food; drive like insane creatures; snarl, shove, and panic in stores ... and so on and so on.

It's just stupid. And, frankly, I find it a teensy bit sad those folks who ONLY see their relatives on obligatory holidays.

I opted out years ago.  I'm not of the faith, so I don't celebrate the Christian Consumer Holiday, and I don't need a special day to be thankful for what I have (or cook yummy foodz!) so I don't do Thanksgiving.

I am forced, however, by my inlaws, to attend their celebrations because they refuse a daughter-in-law who doesn't acknowledge that standing around in an overdecorated, overheated series of rooms (television blaring in EACH one!), with a group of drunken people to whom you are not related and whom you dislike intensly, whilst what would be a perfectly wholesome and healthy meal - turkey - is deep fried in gallons and gallons of peanut oil in the driveway (and in the neighbour's drive, and the neighbour next to him, and so on, from McMansion to McMansion) is de rigueur!*


This year will be particularly painful as I have lost 142lbs since mid March 2007 (20 months) and many of these people who are not related to me have not seen/noticed me in that time.

So I'll get to field the diet questions.

Now, here's the thing.  I have NO problem chatting with anyone who is really interested in how I lost weight.  I enjoy it and love the chance to perhaps help someone lose some weight, too.  But there's two categories of questioners whom I dispise: the Magic Pill group who BEG me for diet tips then their eyes glaze over when they find out they can't eat all the cake, candy, doughnuts, butter, and fried chicken they want; and the Fashionably Thin group.

ALL of the people at my in-law's get togethers fall into the second crowd.

See, these people are well-to-do; fashion and style concious.  They live in ostentatiously huge houses in neighbourhoods where a group of tight-arsed control freaks tell them what sort of post box they can have.  They've never owned a car that wasn't white, black, silver, or chanpagne colour (except the older men who compensate for their squishy willies with shiny new wives their daughters' age and v. expensive red sportscars).

These women have never been overweight by more than 10lbs outside of pregnancy.  Most of them probably still fit in their cheerleader outfits and definately in their wedding gowns.

So ... why do they quiz me about my diet?  Good question.  They are not being polite.  They want something.  Entertainment?  My theory is that it makes some women (yes, I just shifted entirely to women. Men couldn't give a rat's backside about my weight unless I'm shaggable, which I'm not.) feel superior.

They want to hear about how hard it was to lose the weight so that they can pat themselves on the back that they - through better breeding and situation, one assumes - never had to suffer through that.

It's these same sorts who, when they ask about Bodog having a heart attack, never ask about his current health (except as a final aside).  They ask how we are coping and how difficult it must be and how financially badly off we are.  They want details of how I've had to summon every ounce of my talent for thrift just to pay the bills.

Again, my theory is that they then get to go home and archly congratulate themselves that they would never be reduced to washing and re-using zip-lok bags *GASP!*

ROTFL.  Let's hope, for their sake, that there is never a societal collapse.

I mean, OMG, where would they get their peanut oil?!

*My longest most rambly blog sentence evar?!

PS: for more on the Holidays and another rant, visit the Thrifty Dieter's Blog!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 5:53 am   3 comments

"How to NOT gain weight this holiday season! Guaranteed!"


So my inbox and teh interwebz seem to be full, the past few days, of articles on "how to avoid gaining weight over the holiday", "how to not blow your diet during Thanksgiving and Christmas", "how to keep added holiday pounds to a minimum", and, finally, "how to prepare to lose that holiday weight!"

Say what?

I have a suggestion ... why don't you exercise some self control and NOT eat like a pig at the trough over the holidays?

Ohhh, Blue, you say; harsh!

Nope.  Practical.

There's no reason whatsoever why a normal person can't get through the holidays without gaining weight. Why do you eat so much?  Is there any sane reason why normally sensible people will eat six times the amount of food required for an adult at Thanksgiving (and Christmas, and the days after each)?

"But I LOVE strained beet casserole", you wail, "and mom always puts raisins and marshmallows on top! And I can only get it during the holidays so I eat as much as possible!"

Why?  If you love it so much, why don't you make it all year?

"It's special!  It's the holidays! I deserve to eat nice things in huge quantities!  It makes me happy!"

So, we have become so overindulged that we think we are entitled to gorge ourselves pleasurably (for the 6 minutes it takes to eat those 4 servings of Mom's Marshmallowy Beet Casserole)  because it's a certain day of the year?

That makes no sense to me.  But, ya know what?  It doesn't have to.

People really are entitled to come together two days of the year (whether they want to or not) and turn perfectly healthy foods like green beans, sweet potatoes, and turkey into calorie and fat laden crap.  They are allowed to eat more food than an Ethiopian child sees in a year (and toss twice that into the trash afterwards).  It's a free country.

But you shouldn't get to whine afterwards!

You have control over your own self.  Why not eat normal portions of everything you really love?  Why not gather up the cousins and take a long walk through the neighbourhood before supper?  Turn off the stupid televisions, break out the red wine, and put on some dance music.

If you're cooking, why not baste with broth that's been skimmed of fat rather than melted butter?  Why not skim milk, artificial sweetener, and lo-fat cheese?  Try different recipes for calorie bombs like sweet potato casserole.  Bake that turkey and save wodges of money on that horrible peanut oil that you'll just dump out afterward.

And while we're at it, how about freezing the turkey bones to boil for stock?  Make up a plate or 2 or 4 for elderly neighbours. Veggies cooked plain like corn, beans, peas, and carrots can be tossed in the freezer for soups rather than dumped into the disposal.  Unopened and uneaten bread or rolls or canned goods?  Donate tomorrow to your local battered women's shelter.  Those girls are just thankful they have a safe place to be.

The holidays don't have to be an orgy of overindulgence followed by agonising over how much money was spent and weight gained.  They can be fun and thrifty and healthy. 

Try it.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 5:48 am   1 comments

Friday, November 21, 2008

A graphic momism

This made me LOL. srsly. (From the folks over at icanhascheezburger)

song chart memes
more music charts

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:03 pm   0 comments

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just a funny

Even lolcats diet!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 8:06 am   0 comments

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stone age sickies?

So I encountered my first major head-scratcher with the Paleolithic lifestyle.

I managed to get the gastrointestinal virus from hell on Friday and by that night I was hanging over the toilet, puking my guts out.  Yuck!  It lingered on first with just ocassional yarking, and then just the queasies.  All of this was accompanied by diarreah, too.  w00t.

On Sunday, the first day I felt like eating again, I was confuzzled by what, exactly, to eat.

I mean, everything you think of as mild, bland, and non-stomach-offending is starchy and carb-laden: soda crackers, dry toast, plain potatoes, pasta without sauce.  The powers-that-be even recommend the BRAT diet after illness (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast).  But both the banana and the applesauce have almost 30g of carbs and I try to keep under 35 carbs per day.

The thought of my normal snack foods - pork rinds, beef jerky, nuts, etc - seemed too salty to me.  String cheese was an option but the thought made me queasy.  I considered some soft-cooked veg faves like broccoli or cauliflower, but the smell got to me (don't know why, I normally love the smell of veg cooking - even cabbage!) Fruit was out as the sweet taste made me nauseated.

So what does a Paleo with a dicey tum eat?

I finally settled on turkey. Roasted turkey breast is mild and not at all fatty.  I cut it into bite-sized chunks and ate it cold, sipping diet ginger ale along with it. Much success!

So now I know what to have on hand if I'm ill: tissue, trash can, wooley socks, old episodes of Heroes, turkey!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 11:51 am   1 comments

Is that all you got, universe?!


So, apparently we were behind with the Gods of Happenstance on our Agony Dues and are now being properly caught up.

Got home Monday to discover the heater running, the house freezing, and a horrible chemical smell all through the house.

Took the furnace (it's an ancient gaspack) cover off, tested the fan (which tends to stick), rang the gas company to be sure we were green, checked all the electrical junctions.  Well, it's got gas, got spark, fan works, and it will fire up ... but then the flames go out and it just blows cold air (and gas?!) into the house.

So the heater is broken.  We've been getting by on a small electric space heater and the wood stove (which is in the kitchen - opposite end of the house from the bedrooms).*

Is there some universal rule that All Bad Crap Must Happen At Once? 

The medical bills just started coming in and the prescription costs have been eating us alive. Just the cost of the strips Bodog needs for his blood tester (he must check his blood 4 times a day) is astounding.

My truck is acting up, my tractor won't stay cranked, and the roof still leaks.

Hmm.  I guess it could be worse ... the chainsaw could be broken. ROTFL!

OH, on the subject of Bitty and school, I got some pics of her at the end of the day her first day:

She did quite well and was eager to go back.  She did, however, have a meltdown yesterday.  I'm trying not to stress about it, but it was so painfully clear that it wasn't a 'normal' kid reaction to the situation (some other classmates had been rewarded with Smarties for good behaviour and Bitty, not understanding why she was excluded, had had her typical reaction: cry, then shut down like a switched-off robot.)

I suppose that both she and I (and her teachers) will learn more every day how to cope.  I hope I won't fret myself into an ulcer before then. *rolls eyes*

*We do have a parrafin (kerosene) heater for emergencies but, 1) it triggers my asthma so badly that I'm miserable whenever it's on and 2) I will only have it in the mud room (which has a concrete floor and a high ceiling).  I absolutely refuse to run it anythere else in my 140 year old tinderbox of a house.  Wood frame, wood floors, ultra low ceilings?  Nope.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 7:36 am   1 comments

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ingoings and outcomings

This will be a brief one.

Like I needed something else to contend with, the yarks that the kids all had several days ago descended on Bodog and myself on Friday.

Bodog mostly had diaroeah to contend with but I had the whole pie.  I spent all night Friday night vomiting (what does one vomit up after the first few times?  There's nothing left in your stomach!) and felt queasy all of the day Saturday. Sunday morning I was able to tentatively sip coffee and by supper time I felt good enough to eat a bit.

Fast forward to 1am this morning.  I had to get up and puke and by the time I woke up for the day (at 3:45, oh joy) I had to go hang over the toilet and retch several times an hour.  If I even sipped water, I threw it back up.  Bleh. How could I get better, then feel bad again?!

Now, let me interrupt the bulletin for some good news (it'll all tie back in):

Ms B, the teacher of the 4-year-old Kindergarten, had a child move out of district and had an opening!


We found out Friday and she actually started today! w00t!

Now, recall the whole mummy-blowing-chunks thing.


So, this morning, I'm fixing lunches, fixing breakfast, getting school clothes out - my normal routine - in between running to the loo to briefly worship the porcelain god, scrub my hands and dash back out, hoping the whole time that I can make it to the school this morning, because, by golly, unless I'm in an ambulance somewhere, I'm going to be there my child's first day of school.

Well it went fine.  Bodog went with us (he's her focus parent) and she was really really excited.  I had to drag my sorry arse up to the front office and fill out the paperwork again that I'd already bloody filled out the first of the year and then the two wee boys and I dragged home.

So now I'm once again cautiously sipping coffee and resisting the urge to ring the school and make sure Bitty is OK.

I don't know why I'm so worried. Thousands of kids MUCH farther 'along' the autism spectrum attend school happily every day.  I guess because she's never been away from both me and her father; never been in another's care or away from her siblings or home.

Well, I'm terribly happy with all of my children's teachers, and I trust them and the school staff, and, of course Daddy is just a phone call and 4 minutes away right there in the district.

More later when she gets home!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:18 am   2 comments

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bunches of pics

Halloween 2008!
Left to right: Bulk as my little devil, Bitty as a downright horrible skeleton, Boy as a ghost, and THCTD as a witch.  Witch power!
Here's daddy the day we brought him home from the hospital:
And here, he seems to have taken a turn for the worse.  911!
Oh, and remember my rant about Fiver's eyecolour?  I happened to take pics of the v. excited brood prior to getting their costumes on and it really showcased their eyes:
THCTD with her baby blues:
Boy with his daddy's odd, pale green eyes.  When he wears blue they look aqua:
Bitty and Bulk, light blue and light grey-green, respectively:
And, finally, Fiver.  Tell me this kid's eyes are brown, lol!
OK, OK, I'm gonna quit obsessing about it now.  srsly.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:46 pm   2 comments

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Diabetes, obesity ... television?

I posted an interesting article over on Bodog's new 00Diabetic Blog and commented on my own Thrifty Dieter's Blog about how Americans might well be eating themselves to death.

New cases of diabetes have almost doubled in 10 years and they feel like it's because we, as a nation, are getting more and more sedentary, and fatter and fatter as a result.


Is it bad parenting?  Indifferent parenting? Nothing at all to do with parenting and families?

Is it our attitudes?  Our feelings of entitlement?  Our "I deserve the very best even though I've done nothing to earn it" view that causes us to buy cars and televisions we can't afford, enormous houses we don't need?  Or perhaps our disposable lifestyles that tells us it's OK to throw away perfectly good clothes even though we drive past a shelter or thrift store on the way to work every day, cook huge amounts of food we cannot possibly eat then dump it in the disposal, 'upgrade' to a new car ever 2-4 years though there's nothing wrong with the old one, and even cut our spouses loose because, surely, there's someone better out there.

It is television?  Computers?  Nowadays families don't sit down to eat together and can't seem to run to the store for a gallon of milk without the DVD player in the Expedition being on and all the kids crouched over cell phones, Blackberries, and GameBoys.

Here's a frighteneing article.

"NEW YORK - The average American home now has more television sets than people.

That threshold was crossed within the past two years, according to Nielsen Media Research. There are 2.73 TV sets in the typical home and 2.55 people, the researchers said.


Half of American homes have three or more TVs, and only 19 percent have just one, Nielsen said. In 1975, 57 percent of homes had only a single set and 11 percent had three or more, the company said.

(this next snippet made my jaw drop)
David and Teresa Leon of Schenectady, N.Y. and their four-year-old twins have seven sets, plus an eighth they haven't set up yet. They include TVs in both the parents' and kids' bedrooms, the family and living rooms and one in the kitchen that is usually turned to a news station.

(SEVEN tellys!  SEVEN!)

(another jaw-dropper)

In the average home, a television set is turned on for more than a third of the day - eight hours, 14 minutes, Nielsen said. That's an hour more than it was a decade ago. [snip]
The average person watches four hours, 35 minutes of television each day, Nielsen said."

When do these people speak to each other and interact?  I spend a huge amount of time with my children - reading, playing, just talking.  Do these telly-watching moms do this whilst the idiot box blares in the background (cuz you know they all only "have it on for background noise")?!

Here's another scary one.

"(CNN) -- Pre-schoolers are likely to spend as much time in front of the television or computer as they are playing outside, three times longer than the time spent reading.[snip]

Children aged 6 and under spend an average of two hours a day playing video games, using computers, and watching TV and videos, about the same amount spent on outdoor activities, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports in a study released Tuesday. That amount is about three times the average 49 minutes spent reading or being read to.


The study found that even the youngest of children are no exception. Nearly two-thirds of kids under 2 spend a couple of hours a day in front of the screen. (The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children under 2 not watch TV at all.)


TV also affects children's reading abilities. Kids with a screen in their bedroom or who live in "heavy" households -- defined as a home where the TV is on "always" or "most of the time" -- are less likely to be able to read by age 6. The study found 34 percent of 4- to 6-year-olds from "heavy" households could read, while 56 percent of other children that age could.

Among the other findings of the Kaiser study:

• More than a third of kids under 6 have a TV in their bedroom.

• About one in four have a VCR or DVD where they sleep.

• A computer is present in 7 percent of the bedrooms.

• On an average day, about a quarter of 4- to 6-year-olds spend more than an hour on a computer.

Researchers say that the findings should raise concerns on the importance of the early years on children's development, and that using TV and videos might displace more interactive and constructive time for learning.


Studies in the past have linked prolonged TV viewing to obesity in children, poor sleep patterns, and later adult violence. And as younger watchers become more prevalent, Kaiser's Rideout says that more research is needed to understand the impact of early TV viewing.

(this last bit takes the cake for me)

"[Parents should] consider if they really want to have a TV in their 3-year-old's bedroom or not ... and think about maybe turning off the TV in the home if nobody's watching it."

Those parents should be slapped in the back of the head and told to step up and actually farkin' PARENT.

And now I know, you are all going: "OK, wait a minute, Blue, you've got your kickers in a bind and are off on some damn fool idealistic crusade rant now!  What does any of this have to do with diabetes?"

Well my point is this: we are doing this to ourselves.

See, my 33 year old husband just had a heart attack.  A heart attack!

But he's not obese, he doesn't smoke, he does get exercise, and he tries to eat right and monitor his blood sugar.  He can (and now does) MUCH better with all of these things, but the point is that there are people out there who are purposely eating crap, sitting their arses in front of tellys and PCs all day, not exercising, smoking, etc etc and worse: raising their kids this way!

People don't have to drink sugary sodas all day or eat vast amounts of sugars and carbs, they don't have to let their toddler drink 20 oz Mt Dews, or let their teen sit in the house playing City of Heroes 5 hours a day.  They CAN make them come to the table for dinner (sans electronics) and be civil, they CAN get out and take walks as a family, they CAN cook wholesome meals, they CAN turn off the telly.

I don't want my sweet babies to ever have to suffer with diabetes but I have no control over their father's family history.  But by golly, I DO have control over their lifestyles and I am making sure it's as healthy as possible.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:30 pm   1 comments