Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Tirade: You Gave Her a WHAT?!

Parents (NOT grandparents, just 'rents!) you'll feel me.

Childless people, you NEED to pay attention.

Today we are discussing inappropriate gifts for children. Specifically LIVE gifts. Seriously folks, unless the little darlings' parent told you, "Go buy my kid a puppy/kitty/bunny/baby chick/pony," DO NOT DO IT.

Yes, pony. No finger pointing, but someone in our extended family wanted to buy J a horse. A HORSE. Horses are cheap. To buy. It's the care, feeding, and boarding that will convince you the horse has a better life than you do since his monthly roof rent is almost as much as yours. I pointed this out, kindly but vehemently, to the well-meaning relative and that was it.

I would love to be able to own a horse for my horse-crazy girl to enjoy, but it's just not in my budget. I'm struggling now to figure out how to pay for horse camp for the summer as it is...

Not all such bullets have been dodged, unfortunately.

One Easter weekend we went to visit my father and his wife. They were out at the barn where they kept their horses, sheep, and other random urban livestock--they live in Houston--and my dad was mowing the lot/pasture with a riding mower with the heavy duty pull behind mower attachment.

He mowed over a rabbit warren (thankfully BEFORE we got there!) With babies. Cute babies, babies old enough to eat real food. Only one survived the mower, though. TES (that would be The Evil Stepmother) rescued the baby bunny and took it in the barn.

We arrived, let the girlchild uno--this was in the late 90's--pet all the critters, have her pic taken with the horses, etc. I went out to talk to my dad. When I cam back to the barn my girl was proudly holding a cat carrier containing (guess!) and telling us all about her own personal Easter bunny.

She gave my kid a baby rabbit.

Ummm... No.

Guess who had to call the urban animal rescue when we got back to Austin to determine what to feed it, how to care for it, etc.? Yea, NOT the person who gave her the stupid (but yes, cute, fluffy, soft, and scared out of its little tiny mind) bunny that's for sure. Fortunately our bunny was determined to be old enough to be self-sufficient and we picked a favorite park where we like to play that had a lot of wooded trails and plenty of cover and set it free.

Buy me a margarita sometime and I'll tell you the story of how it "mysteriously" (quoting the 3yo here) got out of it's carrier on the way to the park...

My friend, Crystal recently became grandmother to a tarantula in a not dissimilar way, though I suspect her hubs may have colluded on that one since he had big nasty hairy spiders as a kid...

Do not, not, not, not, not give live gifts to other people's kids. Ever. PLEASE.

While I'm thinking about it, ask them before you give their 4yo daughter pink pleather hot pants and real, takes-acetone-to-remove-it-from-the-carpet, nail polish, too.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Karma Wants Me to Get Healthy. Really.

We were members of the YMCA years ago since they have the only indoor pool(s) in town that allow kids in the pool.

Side note: J has lymphedema (more info at the woefully un-updated lymphbaby) and hydro is excellent for her feet. The condition is not severe enough to mandate Rx hydro, so we make do on our own at the Y. And I ~really~ wish she'd stop singing that song every time we get in the car to head over there!

When the budget got tight we let it lapse (2004, 2005? somewhere in there). Then dh got a new job in 2009. One of the benefits is that they will pay up to $30/month for gym membership. That's almost half our family membership to the Y, so we re-joined last week.

We signed up to get J in a nice, indoor pool for her piggies. And so that I could take the free monthly water aerobics classes.

See, I do want to get into shape. Being anywhere from 100-130lbs overweight, depending on the chart you use, is getting old.

7 years ago I thought I was big as a house, but when I go back and look at my fitness logs (yea, I know, I'm a geek and a list freak, I keep logs and spreadsheets of all sorts of crap) I weighed roughly 40lbs less than I do now. This is NOT GOOD.

I'm signed up for an official twice-weekly class after work beginning in June, and plan to attend an open (no sign up required) class at another location this month. Beginning Monday.

We went as a family to the pool on Friday night and I realized that the, ahem, plunging neckline of the suit I bought for vacation last summer was not really practical for an exercise class. Not if I wanted to stay IN the suit. (I totally bought it for dh... *egrin*).

All of which leads me to yesterday afternoon. When I commenced the Great Swimsuit Hunt 2010. Y'see, finding a suit that fits is no easy task when it needs to have enough fabric to cover me as to cover the front end of a small car. I did my homework online, but I wanted to find one I could try on. I looked up the stores where I've found suits in the past, then abandoned the fam and headed out on what I fully anticipated would be an hours-long slog through too many stores and dressing rooms.

The first store I went to (Sears, if any of you other size22/24 ladies are curious) had a decent amount of options in stock in my size. I wanted a one-piece with no skirt--those things hold something like 30lbs of water in the skirt material!--but that was not meant to be.

Failing that, I wanted something with:
  • a long enough top to cover things (mah belly) no one wants to see after having two kids
  • a sport back because straps tend to stretch over time and then the over-exposure problems begin again.
  • brief bottom (see notes re: skirted suits above).
After a bit of trial error I found something that met all the above requirements and got my first pleasant surprise of the day: I needed a smaller size (though only on top) than I thought I did. Woot.

Second pleasant surprise came 15 minutes later at the register: It was ON SALE.

Conclusion: Karma wants ME to get fit. I paid 50% off regular retail and got what I wanted at the first store I went to. What other explanation makes sense?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Healthy (?) Choice

Okay... I am like, the world's WORST dieter.

The only time I kinda even a little stick to a healthy eating plan is at work. I bought a fridge, the office mate contributed an old microwave and I stock frozen meals and Campbell's Select Harvest Light soups. This is what you call dieting by default. It's not so much that I'm making a good choice as it is that I eliminated the unhealthy options. As long as Raidman doesn't call and ask if I want to go to lunch and foil my 'plan.'

I've always been a fan of Healthy Choice, just because their (old) bright green labels made it easy to grab and tell myself I was doing the right thing. I'm even trying, in a very lazy way, to get a little closer to natural foods, lower preservatives, less processed stuff, etc. So I was super excited when I found the Healthy Choice All Natural entrees at HEB a couple weeks ago.

Then I ate one for lunch yesterday. This one, in fact.

It is pretty good. The veggies are tender but still have a little crunch to them (which, I admit, I don't really like, but other people do so I'm mentioning it as a public service) and the ravioli themselves are pretty yummy in spite of the ricotta (ewww) inside. All five of the ravioli that is.

In the spirit of scientific inquiry I measure them. They are all of 2in square and NOT puffy (totally not Chef Boyardee looking!).


Chef Boyardee image courtesy of cfinke via Flickr.com

I know the picture on the HC box is meant to entice, but come on, it has twice the ravioli my box had, easily.

Serving size: 9 oz (255 g)

Umm, yea. I'm pretty sure that weight includes the plastic tray - and that it is 2/3 of the total.

I can easily believe the box's claim that this is 30% of my daily fruit and veg. Problem is, it's mostly fruit and mostly tomato sauce. I didn't count my slices (half slices, technically, since they were half moons and most even smaller than that!) of squash and zucchini, but there were less than a dozen total. And they were all half the size of the ravioli or smaller. I'm pretty sure if I wanted to get that 30% I'd have to dive in and lick the sauce off the plastic.

The sauce itself was, frankly, way too sweet. And I have a sweet tooth that has aided me in getting 100lbs over weight. Do you know how sweet it has to be for me to say it's too sweet?! Yea.

Then there's the thing that puts me over the edge. I'm overweight. I'm medicated for high blood pressure. And my "Healthy Choice" for lunch has TWENTY-FOUR PERCENT of my recommended sodium for the day? In five freakin' ravioli?! Come ON Con-Agra (*shudder* wish I hadn't read the side of the box to find out who makes this now... I've seen Food, Inc.!) If it was really a healthy choice it wouldn't have 8g of sugar (twice what it has in fiber!) and 580mg of sodium.

I want a healthy choice that's really healthy. Is that so much to ask? And, umm... Can it be healthy AND more than 8 bites? I didn't get where I am by eating light.

Side note: Here's a thought! Can someone make freezer meals for the obese that work like nicotine patches... You start out with Hungry Man portions, end up with Healthy Choice ones - gradual steps to retrain your body?

Damn, I'm a freakin' genius