Friday, February 17, 2012

No Twinterest for Me

I decided that I would look up other Carolyn Lackeys on pinterest and start following them.  I wanted to see what other Carolyn Lackeys were interested in.  I knew that they will all be cool and groovy.  What a kick it would be to see how simular or different we would be, me and my fellow Carolyn Lackeys!  Would we be twinterests?

So, I went to pinterest and typed in "C-a-r-o-l-y-n L-a-c-k-e-y" and clicked search.  It appears that I am the only Carolyn Lackey out of the bazillion pinners on the planet.  Such a let down.  I guess it's best this way.  I'm kind of competitive.  Right now I hold the title of "Coolest Carolyn Lackey on Pinterest."

I read that Martha Stewart was now pinning.  Can you even imagine being repinned by Martha!?  Talk about taste validation.  Unless, of course, she pinned it to a board titled "Dumbest Stuff Ever" or  "NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!"  or simply "BAD things."  I searched for her and came up with 2 Martha Stewarts neither of which looked at all like her.

Last weekend, my friends Lindy and Violet told me that they are "stalking" a woman on pinterest.  This lady posts really amazing, and sometimes bizarre, stuff.  What did I do?  I went straight to pinterest, found her, and clicked "follow all."  Ba-ha-ha-ha!

Alan sent me a link to a Wall Street Journal article yesterday.  "In Wall Street.  Isn't this the site that you like?"  Yes, dear husband.  I am a pinner.  

I need to scoot!  My boards need tending.  My pins on "For the Love of Paisley" and "Products I Love" have disappeared.  I need to clean up some of my other boards and subdivide some onto more specific boards..."Kool Kitchens," "Color My World" (paint colors), "Cuddly Stuff."  Ahh.  The day is short, and the possibilities are endless!

PS.  To all of you who land on this blog by googling "clever pinterest board names," "clever names for pinterest boards," or "witty pinterest board names," I bid you welcome and happy witty and clever pinning!

Monday, February 13, 2012

College Apartment Living Ain't for Sissies

Alan and I drove down to Waco last Friday for a quick visit with our Baylor boys.  I also had some fun things to do with dear friends Friday night and Saturday.  Since Bryce and Reed share a 2 bedroom apartment, Alan and I usually stay with them instead of getting a hotel room.  A few days before we arrive, Alan "treats" the boys to a royal housecleaning by Modesta who used to clean for my mom.  (Truth be told, we actually treat ourselves to the Modesta cleanse.  The boys call the Modesta cleanse "hospital clean.")  Modesta loves the boys and is always glad to help out.  Last week, we extended the offer.  "Call Modesta and get her to come clean your apartment before we get there!"  "OK.  We will."  

They did not.  According to them, they didn't have time to pre-clean for Modesta.  Oh, no. That would involve about an hour of clearing paths of dirty clothes and debris from each room.  I can't imagine what the pre-clean would involve in the kitchen.  Assuredly, a lawn and leaf trash bag for stuffing full of empty Frito bags, Ramen cups, and Dr. Pepper cans would be necessary, and I shudder to think what else.

Upon our arrival, the place looked fairly acceptable.  The floors were cleared.  Reed's sheets were in the washer.  The carpet was filthy, but we were able to walk without tripping.  As we settled into Reed's room, he said that it would be a while before the sheets (turns out he meant the fitted sheet only) would be ready.  It takes about 3 hours to dry a Kleenex in their apartment's drier.  I peeked into his bathroom and noticed that there was no TP and that the TP holder only had one "arm" still attached to the wall.  

"Reed, do we need to make a run to the store for some toilet paper?"

"Ahhhh.  No.  There is toilet paper in Bryce's bathroom.  Actually my toilet has been broken for a couple of days.  I was going to call them tomorrow to see if they'd come fix it."

A couple of days.

"Ya'll can use Bryce's bathroom!"

Thank goodness they live in a 2 bedroom - 2 bathroom apartment.

The next morning, I was awakened to hear Alan returning from a "potty parts" run.  He decided that all the potty needed was one of those plastic things that acts as a stopper so that the tank can refill after flushing.  Yawning, I rolled out of bed and dug out of my suitcase the clean towel and washcloth that I brought from home.  (This wasn't my first Boy Apartment Rodeo.)  "I need some scissors or a knife," Alan said heading towards the kitchen.  I shuffled on into the bathroom to turn on the shower.  I struggled to pull out the knob to get the water flowing.  The shower head whined as it wildly sprayed boiling hot water harem scarem into the tub.  Try as I might, I could only get the water temperature to be boiling or freezing.  I couldn't find even the slightest happy medium in between. 

Squeezing into the 3 by 4 foot space between the tub, potty and door, Alan gallantly came to my rescue.  Carefully turning the knob back and forth, he found the "sweet spot" of water temperature.  The only problem was that at that exact sweet spot, the water slowed down to a generous trickle.

"That's not going to work for me.  I've got to wash my hair.  There's no way I can rinse it in a trickle!  I'm going to try Bryce's shower!"  As I gathered up all of my showering supplies, Alan completed the installation of the potty gizmo and gave it a flush.  Water began to pour from the toilet bowl "dampening" my fresh, clean towel.  I grabbed it up and hopped over the tidal wave that was headed out the door.  

Alan began to tame the rising waters by vigorously plunging with his lips tightly pursed together.  I grabbed dirty towels out of Reed's overstuffed laundry basket and formed a terry cloth dam for the rising reservoir.  All of a sudden, Alan stomped his feet into the tub where he could brace himself for more powerful plunging.  After 32 years of marriage, I quickly recognized the stomping as my signal to head for the hills.  Before I could find shelter, I saw that Alan was whacking the plunger on the side of the tub between plunges.  The old plunger was inverting itself with every shove.  My fight-or-flight instinct took over, and I quickly backed out of the splash zone.

I heard the plunger being violently thrown down into the tub.  Alan emerged from Reed's room with jeans soaked on the front side from the knees down (the only pair he packed) and soaking Sperrys.  "I'm going to go buy a new plunger," he said with forced, terse calmness.  "Bye, Sweetie!  Be careful!" I called softly.

Sighing, I went into Bryce's bathroom and turned on the shower.  Again, only HOT, HOT water.  No cold to be found.  With Alan out on the plunger errand, I had to wake up Bryce for assistance.  He came to my rescue with sleepy still in his eyes.  Rather expertly, he forcefully turned the shower knob to the the the the left.  Then, with the hands of a surgeon he began to carefully turn the knob right and left in the tiniest of increments.  "You've got to crack it like a safe, Mom," he explained as he declared the water safe for human bathing.

Shower complete, I dried off and slapped on my robe.  I grabbed the door knob, pulled, and the door wouldn't budge.  Again and again, I yanked at the door.  Nothing.  I finally resorted to knocking on the door in hopes that one of the boys would come to my rescue.  I heard footsteps and then the booms of a shoulder banging on the door.  The door swung open and Bryce blandly said, "It's child-proofed."  "Child-proofed?!" I had to laugh.

Alan returned with the new plunger and within minutes we heard the welcome sound of the toilet gasping as it finally emptied out the flooded bowl.  Victory!  While Alan soaked up all of the toilet water on the floor with Reed's dirty towels, I prepared to blow dry my hair.  I plugged my blow drier in one of the plugs adjacent to Reed's sink.  Nothing.  I pushed the little buttons on the blow drier and tried again.  Nothing.  Yanking the cord plug from the wall, I headed to Bryce's bathroom.  Again.  Nothing.  Panic began to settle in as I looked at the clock.  I didn't have the heart to ask Alan to go on a blow drier run.

Instead, I tried the plug next to Reed's desk.  Ahhhhh, at last the sound of the blow drier calmed my nerves.  I set up my blow drying tools and a hand mirror on Reed's desk.  Blow-blow-blow!  Silence.  The distance from the desk to the plug was a wee bit too much.  I reached over and plugged the blow drier back in.  Blow-blow-blow!  Silence.  Plug in.  Blow-blow-blow!  Silence.  Plug in.  I was "this close" to marching over to the apartment office in my bathrobe to pitch a fit about the "horrible living conditions" in apartment #523.  But, I had a brunch date with friends.  The apartment manager lived to see another day.

College apartment living ain't for sissies.  Turns out.  I'm a sissy.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shall We Dance

Alan has been longing for dance lessons for about a year.  He wants to be able to dance at weddings and parties without "lookin' dumb."  So, for Christmas, I gave him,, 5 private dance lessons.  We had our first lesson last Monday night.

Alan came home from work at 5:30, and off we headed to our 6:00 dance lesson at Dance with Me, "Lubbock's New Private Club, Premiere Ballroom Studio and Banquet Hall."  It's some sort of remodeled dance hall with a large wooden dance floor.  Well, here...take a look at their commercial...

Our dance instructor, Shanna, greeted us and then had us fill out a questionnaire which basically was an assessment of our past dance experience and what our expectations for our future dance skills would be.  I decided that I would not try to look like a hot dog by including a bulleted list of my vast dance background which would have looked something like this:
  • "modern dance" at "Miss Ray's" house in Carthage, TX
  • studied tap under the tutelage of "Miss Jody" at Jody's Dance Studio in Waco, TX
  • was a drill team girl
  • tried a little ballet in college but quit when I was told that it would take YEARS for me to dance en pointe
Yep.  This girl has had a little bit of dance experience.  But, puh-shaw!  I think I ended up putting something like "some."  

We begin.  Shanna, a petite blonde ball of fire, showed us the four basic steps that make up all dance.  We walked forward a few steps.  Then, we did the "movie theatre" step which involved walking from side to side like we were trying to sit in the middle seats of a crowded theatre.  "Scuse me...pardon me...scuse me...pardon me."  Sadly, I cannot remember the other two basic steps.  Neither can my dance partner.

Next, Shanna showed us how to rumba.  And, it looked nothing like this:
I cannot quit watching this guy's "game of attraction with his hips."

There was absolutely no mention of attracting each other with our hips.  Our rumba was made up of walk-forward-side-step-walk-forward-side step.  Shanna had to break me of my habit of "putting too much into my foot work."  (Thanks a lot, Miss Jody.)  After about 15 minutes of practicing our less complicated, boring-hipped rumba, we moved on to the waltz.

Ahh, the waltz.  Alan and I had been stumbling through the waltz for years.  "Isn't it a box step?  No, wait...which way are we going?!"  Within about 20 minutes, we couldn't believe the difference Shanna had made in our "grace and poise."  She taught Alan how to lead and me how to follow.  If you know me at all, you know that following is not my strong suit.  It was more than a dance lesson.  It was an allegory for life.  I began to relax and enjoy the fact that Alan was in control of our boxes, hesitation steps and underarm turns.  He learned how to signal changes in steps by applying pressure with his hand on my back.    

Soon, we were relaxed in our waltzing.  We gazed into each other's eyes and grinned ear to ear.  We're waltzing!  Look what we can do!!  I felt like that pig on those commercials.  I wanted to bust out with a big ol' "WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-WE-WE-WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

The hour passed quickly.  Shanna made our lesson so fun and easy.  We left Lubbock's New Private Club, Premiere Ballroom Studio and Banquet Hall feeling exhilarated and bright-eyed.  It was almost like we'd had our first date all over again. One hour of dancing the rumba and waltzing.  Worth every penny.  We can't wait until next Monday's lesson.  Until then, we'll keep practicing in our kitchen in our bathrobes while our leftovers are heating in the microwave.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Do I Love Weight Watchers Online? Let Me Count the Ways!

Jack Sprat and I are on our 23rd Day of Weight Watchers Online.  I call my hubby Jack Sprat because we've always been "that couple."  He prefers eating no fat.  I prefer eating foods that are not so lean.  You can actually tell by looking at us.  Every single person who knows my husband would say that he absolutely does not need to lose weight, and they are right.  However, Mr. Sprat wants to get down to what he weighed the day we got married.  That was 32 years ago.  We were 22.  Every person who knows me simply says, "That's great!" when I mention being on WW.  I would like to lose enough to not look like I'm a 54 year old pregnant woman.  All of my kadunkadunk is in the front where my abs used to be.

So, together we have learned how to "do" Weight Watchers Online.  Here is what we like about it:
The Toys
Alan is all about numbers, and I'm all about electronic convenience.  So, we love the whole online aspect of the plan.  We can track our daily points via the website or on the WW iPhone app.  Online is where you go to read inspirational articles, learn to develop "new habits," and find recipes.  I also have 3 WW related apps on my iPhone.  The first is Weight Watcher's Mobile.  It's a mini-version of the online tools.  When we sit down to dinner, we both immediately whip out our phones and enter in the food and the point value..."Italian Beef Stew with Lentils - 6."  Love the handiness factor.  I also have the Weight Watchers Scanner app.  It is the coolest thing!  You can have fun at the grocery store!  You simply open the app, scan the bar code on the food's packaging, and walla, up pops a box that tells you what the food is and how many points it has per serving.  One morning I spent about 10 minutes on the cereal aisle scanning boxes looking for the cereal that would give the most bang for the buck.  I gasped out loud when I discovered that Wheat Chex has 5 points per serving while Honey Bunches of Oats has only 3!!  Glory!!  My favorite Greek yogurt let me down when I saw that it has 7 points per serving.  Once you scan in an item, you can choose to add it to your daily total.  "Yup.  I'm eatin' me a bowl of delicious Honey Bunches of Oats...heavy on the Honey Bunches."  For the store brand items, there is an option to calculate the number of points by entering in some of the nutritional information on the box.  Suh-weet!  The 3rd WW-related app is Dotti's Food Score. It lets you explore the menus of 500+ restaurants to see the WW point values of all menu items!  

The Plan
The plan is...there is no plan.  You can eat whatever you want whenever you want.  You must simply stay within the point value that is prescribed when you sign up and enter in all of your info.  My daily point value is 26.  Jack Spratt's is 30-something.  Gone is the drudgery of the "Week 1 - Day 1" prescribed foods!  That little bit of perceived freedom works wonders for my self-control.  I also have 49 "Weekly" points that I rarely use.  I think those points are there as a kind of safety net in case you end up eating a big ol' piece of birthday cake or something.  That safety net keeps me from feeling like a deprived, starving she-bear.  Simply knowing that I "can" use the points psychologically wards off the "need."  Brilliant, WW gurus.  Simply brilliant.

The Food
I love casseroles.  I enjoy cooking.  I love pasta.  I have a certain need for cheese.  Carbs are very, very important to my sense of well-being.  All of this rules out most of the diets out there.  With WW Online, I can browse through literally hundreds of recipes that have been rated by fellow WWs.  The list can be sorted by type of food, point range, average rating, and cook time. I have yet to repeat a recipe!  They have all been very, very good and don't taste like "diet food."  We've had Italian Pasta and Bean Soup with Sausage,   Chicken and Dumplings, Veal Picccata, and Moroccan Chicken with Apricots.  Tonight, I'm going to whip up some Cashew Chicken!  This has been great for us as empty nesters.  It has broken our habit of standing at the pantry saying, "I don't know.  What do YOU want for dinner."  Jack Spratt is no longer texting me mid-afternoon to let me know that he's going to eat a "tray dinner" (WW frozen entree) because he really needs to watch his weight.  Where I come from, a "tray dinner" does not an evening meal make.  We are eating lots more fruits and vegetables.  The food has, thus far, been delicious and satisfying.

What We're Learning
  1. Breakfast truly is a great way to start a day.  (I'm not a breakfast person...)
  2. A half of a chicken breast is an appropriate portion size.
  3. Portion size makes all of the difference in the world.  (I now know that my big blue ladle holds exactly one cup of chili.)
  4. Weighing and measuring food helps us realize how "off" our portion sizes used to be.  (You'd be surprised how much 1 oz. of shredded Parmesan cheese really is!  Sounds like a thimbleful.  It's not!)
  5. Awareness of what you're eating and how much you're eating is half of the battle.
My One Regret
I totally regret that I did not video myself singing some song about believing in my fat self so that I could superimpose a video of my skinny self singing along in harmony.  Dang.  Missed opportunity.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The 2012 Diet du Jour

Last year about this time, I was singing the praises of the 17 Day Diet.  Turns out there were some inherent aspects of the diet that became my downfall.
Unfortunate Inherent Aspects of the 17 Day Diet
  • The notion that I could actually complete 17 straight days of eating nothing but cleansing vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and lean proteins.  Seriously?  Try ordering that at El Chico.  "Oh, and, hold the cheese."
  • The monotony of the aforementioned "food groups."
  • The daily menu system.  You know...Week 1 - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3...  This system leaves no room for "hankerin's."  "I could sure go for a cheeseburger right now!"  Oh, no!  Instead, you open the book and read the lunch menu for Day 2.  And I quote, " Super Salad (Yes, it's in italics in the book.  No, italics don't make the salad adventurous.)  It goes on, "large salad with a generous bed of greens and salad vegetables of your choice - tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, celery, etc., drizzled with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or flaxseed oil and 2 tablespoons of herbed vinegar or vinegar of your choice."  I think that in Seinfeld terms, this would be the "Big Salad."  Anytime a diet throws in the words "of your choice," I tend to go hog wild.  Bring on the Fritos!  How about some taco meat!  I'm havin' me a Super TACO Salad!
  • As you have gathered by now, the 17 Day Diet made no lasting change in my weight, lifestyle or eating habits other than the revelation that I do not like flaxseed oil.

    Then, came Jennifer Hudson...
    She had me at "I believe in you and....MEEEEEEEE!"  Yup.  I guess that did it.  I signed up for Weight Watchers Online on January 9.  And, I love it.  Yes, it works.

    To be continued...


    Meems had a very special visitor this weekend.  Our friend, Laura Ard, flew down from DC to spend time with her.  Laura lived next door t...