Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Junk food for the soul

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of sharing McDonald's fries with my Dad after preschool. I would eat them. He would steal one. It was a game...sort of.  To this day I am very protective of my food. I take bigger portions than my 5 foot almost 4 inches really needs. I secretly always take the biggest scoop of ice cream or cake. In short, I love my food. So don't mess with it or deny me.

Junk food is no exception, though my healthy Humboldt county husband brought more veggies and salad into my life. I relapsed mostly when I was pregnant with my second child. McDonald's sausage egg biscuits in the morning...Cheetos and Coke (not Diet) at 4 p.m. every day. It was probably NOT fate then that she has of late been my partner in crime when it comes to eating out. We discovered Mountain Dew slushees, smothered burritos and Doritos tacos and cinnamon twists at Taco Bell and went back three times during the last few weeks when the healthy husband and vegetarian son were away burning calories on a bike tour in Ireland. There was also some Panda Express on Open House night (how the heck was I to prepare a meal when I got of at 5 and had to be there at 6?) and a Little Caesar Pizza somewhere in there too. Oh and let's not forget the frozen yogurt from Limeberry's.

It's no wonder that our country struggles with obesity. And I've come to a conclusion. It's not about a lack of wanting to be healthy, it's a lack of time and energy. Being the single Mom the last few weeks I was exhausted. I wanted to cook a healthy meal but there were only two of us and I was tired and so on...

I wish some healthy-minded businessperson would start a healthy food chain in the Northwest. I know in Europe there are lots of affordable salad bars and delis. In Dallas they have a place called Sprouts . Yummy, healthy and complete with drive-thru. Then again, maybe I could dish up some Mac n Cheese at home on the cheap. Or Ramen. Or popcorn.

Sadly, our unhealthy eating fest is coming to an end tomorrow. What's for dinner now?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Slacker time

It's no secret that my husband is the glue who holds our household together. Now that he has been gone for over a week it's even more obvious! I have been eating out every night he's been gone except one. It seems that Taco Bell has really good and seemingly "healthy" food, so Anna and I have been there twice. The verdict is still out on the $5 Little Caesar pizza though.

Alas, the bad role model fashion extends beyond our eating habits, as I've let the house go to hell as well. And I still have to mow the overgrown yard. Now granted this is the first week of school and I'm single Momming it, but still, how old am I that I can't put the folded clothes away after 5 days or pick up my shoes? Oh that's right, 44. Probably more than halfway through my life IF I'm lucky. So is this my mid-life crisis I keep hearing about? Guess I've been too busy to have one until now given some of the challenges my family has been facing in the last few years.

So now what? I already got the red sports car. And last week I announced to the world that I would run a 1/2 marathon next year. Judging by how slow I ran this morning that should be interesting. But after that, then what? In a few wee years Anna will be 18. Hal will be off saving the world and it will be me and Garin again. Travel? Downsize? Peace Corps? Time will tell.

Today, I just thank God for Charlie, my new dog, as he makes me laugh and doesn't care that I've regressed, only that I feed him on time and let him out to potty. That would be nice if all we had to do was eat and potty. But alas, that is why we are human. To feel, to guilt, to love, to cry, to fight, to stress and yes, to pick up after ourselves. So here I go. Really soon. Really....

Monday, September 2, 2013

A poodle connection

You know how you say "never say never?" Well, I know my husband sure did after our beloved Newfie-mix Kirby died last April. Now in his defense, my husband didn't hate dogs, just the allergies that came with one in the house...and reemerging childhood asthma. So I suppressed my dog-loving genetic code  for my marriage and we went on with our lives.

At first I agreed it was less work not having one more responsibility. Less dog hair to sweep up. No rushing home after a long day to let the dog out. No poop to pick up before mowing. No $1,200 vet bills when the dog chased a squirrel and tore his ACL.

But I missed the companionship. The unconditional affection. The sweet brown eyes. And the long walks. Then, just when I had pretty much come to the conclusion I would be dogless forever...we found Charlie!

Never in all my dogs I'd had as a child and adult had we had the toy version. My impression of most small dogs was peeing on someone's feet from nervousness and shivering with fear. And don't get me started on froofy Poodles who always won "Best of Show."

Alas, that is what I found us bringing home one day after a spontaneous trip to an adopt-a-pet day at the local pet store. My daughter and I had been quietly researching dog breeds and Poodles, apparently, are hypoallergenic. We would spot a Standard Poodle a mile away then pounce on the owner with leading questions (Dad within earshot of course) like, "Is it true they don't shed?" and "Did you get him because you have allergies?" Always affirmative along with the added comment, "And they are really smart!"

The door had been opened.

Still, when we met a scruffy poodle mix the non-profit rescue lady had told me about on the phone, he looked more like Sandy from the "Annie" Broadway show. He was clean enough, and super happy, but his hair was overgrown and matted and he was a dull brown color that looked like he'd lived in his share of alleys.

We'll never really know his heritage or past except he was supposedly at a kill shelter in Stockton, CA and came "north" with the help of this rescue group to our happy home. The one hurdle: Dad.

I won't say it was easy. We had many a night of few words and after we discovered Charlie (as he came to be known thanks to my daughter) was NOT potty trained and did NOT like to sleep alone in the laundry room, things looked pretty grim.

But the love of a dog can do wonders and it did its magic on my husband despite the wheezing and sneezing (so much for least Charlie did not shed) and the fact we really did steamroll right over his pleas not to bring another dog into the house. Soon Charlie was wiggling his way onto the couch at my husband's feet, rolling over submissively on his back or staring at him blankly with his black little orbs. Soon, my husband had dubbed him, "the weird little dude."

Today we all love Charlie. Sure, it's a lot more work with frequent potty trips outside, learning the crating business and finding the right food that settles his tender Poodle tummy (plus two vet visits in the first month alone). But he is extremely entertaining with his "zippies" around the house, his desire to sit in your lap as much as possible and his incredible talent of doing doggie yoga in your lap upside down.

You see, if you say "never" you might lose out on a black-eyed, cotton ball mess of a friend for life.