Thursday, March 31, 2011

He's MY Sugar Monkey!

I had a really great day with Monkey Man today. This is not to say that most days aren't really great, but if you are a parent, you know, that many days you daydream about what it was like to not hear the word "Mommy" said 3,567 times. In 5 minutes.

Monkey Man had his "Primary Show" in school today, which makes it sound like he goes to a one room schoolhouse with a teacher named Miss Magillacutty (total phonetic spelling, but you get the idea). We live in a suburban neighborhood, in a town with 5 elementary schools, so we are in no way rural. I guess they developed the Primary Show in 1923 and the name just stuck.

It was a music show, with Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade performing Disney songs for their theme, "The Wonderful World of Disney." Monkey Man was SO EXCITED that he had several guests coming to watch his debut performance - me, my parents, Hubby's parents, and my adopted 23 year-old daughter (not really, she is my nephew's girlfriend, one of the family and we love her dearly. She lives with us when she is in grad school, and Monkey Man calls her his sister). He woke me up this morning with a, "GET UP MOM! IT'S MY BIG DAY!" Apparently the Primary Show is one step above Broadway. The show was fabulous, an agent signed him, and he'll be singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah for his dinner for the next year.

Later in the afternoon, I had to go to the Greatest Store on Earth - yes, Target. I needed about 4 things and Monkey Man asked if he could get something. I told him if he would like to spend his money, he could. Monkey Man has been saving for an iTouch for months now. After we told him that WE would not buy him one, but if he wanted to save for one, he could buy whatever he liked (other than a prostitute. We draw the line at buying a prostitute). He has $215. How does a 6 year-old boy save $215 in 4 months? It's simple: allowance, birthday money, and the biggest money-maker of all - Poppy and Aga, my parents. Aga pays him to let her sleep in when he sleeps over. Monkey Man writes and illustrates books and charges BY THE PAGE. This child has come home from an overnight at my parents' house $9-$12 richer. And he sleeps over almost every weekend.

But I was very proud that he was excited to buy something with his own money. He really wanted a new Wii game, so he decided to get a new game and keep saving for the iTouch, knowing that the game would deplete the iTouch fund. He picked out a new Wii game, and we played it for much of the evening. It just felt really good that he did it himself (and was smart enough to extort from my parents to get him to this point). It felt even better that I didn't lay out a penny for a new game.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's Cooking?

I've written this before on my blog, and said it lots of times - I hate cooking. I do not enjoy taking the time out to buy all kinds of ingredients, assemble them for a recipe, make something, and then eat it. That just takes entirely too much time. And I've discovered I'm like my mom - after I've cooked something, I have no interest in eating it. I've looked at it for almost an hour, I know what's in it, I've smelled it getting ready, and as good as it might be, I have no appetite for it. It's so much more exciting (and so much less exhausting!) to have it arrive magically on my plate.

But I do cook. I just absolutely loathe the process. But this family will not live on take out, so cook I do, not well, not with love in my heart, but for the simple act of survival.

What I don't like about not liking to cook, however, is the vibe I get from people (women) when I tell them, honestly, that I don't like to cook. It's as if my womanhood has been ripped out of me, like my ovaries have been julienned and served au gratin (I clearly have no idea what these terms mean). Why am I SUPPOSED to LOVE slinging a wooden spoon and know exactly what one means when one says "braise" (huh?) or broil (really, what is the difference between broil and roast? Thankfully we don't eat meat)?

I was a part of a marketing focus group about vitamins and supplements, and when I mentioned that I hate cooking, a few of the women looked at me with horror. I wanted to scream back, "But I love to organize! And my house is so clean you could drop your roasted shank pork loin thing on my floor and continue to eat it! What's your house look like, huh, Julia Child? While you're all boiling and basting and sauteeing, I am revelling in the joy of a clean, organized home. I can find my taxes from 2004 in 3 minutes. A friend called and is stopping by in 30 minutes? Not a problem thanks to my rule, 'A place for everything and everything in its place.' "

One woman in particular just kept at it with the, "Well, I just love to cook. I want my family to eat healthy. I love to experiment with all different kinds of foods and herbs and we belong to a Food Co-op and I watch all the food shows..."

Why do I care? I shouldn't care. I do A LOT of things for my family. They are all functioning and alive. They wear clean clothes everyday. Bills get paid on time. I work. Monkey Man eats as balanced of a diet that a picky 6 year-old can get away with. But for some reason, I just feel like I SHOULD love to cook. But, nah. I'd so much rather clean out a closet. Now that's some good times!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sugar Mama's Back

Yep, Sugar Mama is back. That is to say I'm off the wagon. I'm so off the wagon, I can't even see the wagon anymore. I think it took a right turn at, "I have PMS." Then it made a sharp left at, "Just this once, I'll start again tomorrow." There was a brief blinking yellow light screaming, "CAUTION! It's been two days and you haven't gotten back on the wagon." Then the wagon fell off a cliff and I said, "Screw it."

Poor wagon never really stood a chance.

Monday, March 28, 2011

You Down with OCD? Yeah, You Know Me!

There are 3 things one should not do on one's birthday:
1. Laundry
2. Vacuum
3. Pick up dog poop in the yard

So let me justify why I did all 3 of these things on Saturday. It's called OCD.

I could not let a basket of clean clothes sit until Sunday to be folded and put away. So I thought to myself, "I know it's my birthday, but it'll just take a few minutes." And away those clothes went.

The family room is the only carpeted room in my house. And we have a black, shedding dog. I vacuum that room about twice a day. So, really, how could I NOT do it just once? "And while the vacuum is out, I'll just get the area rug in the living room. Oh, hell, I might as well drag it upstairs and get the area rugs in the bedrooms, too."

Monkey Man and Hubby went to see "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." I went to the gym. When I got back from the gym, the dog looked at me like, "Please, please mommy, let's play! Please! I wanna play!" So guilt took over, and I played ball with him. And while I was in the yard I tried to tell myself, "I WILL NOT pick up dog poop on my birthday." But seriously, I'm me. And I cannot ignore dog crap in my backyard.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Three Wishes

For my birthday, which is today, the day I've been dreading a little bit because I've officially moved out of the "mid-thirties" and am now in my GASP. CHOKE. LATE THIRTIES. FAINT.

Monkey Man asked me the other day what I would like for my birthday. I told him I would like 3 things, none of which cost any money at all.
1. A hug and kiss
2. To sleep in
3. A homemade card (this is a tradition in my family for all holidays)

Monkey Man greeted me this morning at about 8:30 with a hug and a kiss. He told me I could sleep until 9:05. Then he presented his card to me:

In just 6 short years of knowing his mother, he has me pegged. Love this kid.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Birthday! Love, the DMV

I had to renew my license by the end of this month, so why not wait until the end of the month? That's when DMV is the busiest, and I absolutely love to stand on long lines and listen to the DMV employess bark at people who just need to know WHICH line to stand on because there are like 34 lines.

While standing on line, I remembered 4 years ago when I last renewed my license and thinking, "The next time I do this, I'll be 37 years-old. Holy Crap." Well, welcome to Holy Crap. In 2 days, I'll be 37. HOW? How did this happen?

And then my next thought came. Almost 20 years ago to the day, I just took my driver's test and got my license for the first time. I even remember what I was wearing on the day that sweet freedom came in the shape of a glossy rectangle. A black windbreaker, jeans that were tightly cuffed around my ankle, and brand-spanking new birthday Nikes was my outfit of choice upon turning 17.

Which brings me to thinking about all of the things that have happened in 20 years. Those years seem to have passed in a flash, with these memories playing back like scenes from a movie. And now, my lucky readers, I give you a bunch of stuff that happened to me in the last 20 years. Feel free to either use this as material to help you drift into slumber or get yourself thinking about YOUR last 20 years...

Starting at age 17:
My niece was born
Received my driver's license
Went to Cancun with my friend and her family
Got my first car (can someone say 1986 Dodge Lancer? Holla!)
Graduated high school
Started college
Got dumped by my high school boyfriend
Joined a sorority
Got myself another boyfriend
My nephew was born
Experienced my one and only college spring break in the Bahamas
Graduated college
Visited Aruba
Bought my first BRAND NEW car (1996 Chevy Cavalier - Oh Yeah!)
Got my first real job
Visited London and Ireland
Broke up with boyfriend
Dated co-worker, who turned into Hubby :)
Got engaged in Disneyland
Got married
Went on several Disney cruises and visited Disney World every year
Bought our first house
Got our dog, Walt
Went back to school for my teaching degree
Became a teacher
Went on a cross-country road trip for my 30th birthday
Found out the best little boy in the world was coming into our lives!
Gave birth to Monkey Man
Survived the newborn stage (how, I'll never know!)
Worked from home with hubby
Sold our first house, bought our current house
Met Rick Springfield!
Returned to teaching part-time

Which brings us here, 20 years later. I might be 37 (in 2 days) on paper, but in my heart and mind, I'm still 17. And that's what counts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Could Get Ugly

We have a snow day today. It is March 23. I know people sent Mother Nature some memos about this ri-freakin-diculous weather we've had all winter, but it is officially spring. And I saw my grass last week. And I ran in a tank top on Friday. So can we please stop the nice-nice with Mama Earth and just give her a swift kick in the ass?

Not only is she pissing me off with this weather, but now I am stuck in the house today for my snow day. I love a day off from work hanging with Monkey Man, but let's remember I am trying hard not to eat sugar. So what's my plan for the day? To bake about 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies for Monkey Man's school Tricky Tray this weekend. Gotta make good use of this time off.

I just hope Hubby doesn't come home from work later to find me in a sugar coma.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Three Cheers for Fiber One!

Although Fiber One bars do help me keep my chocolate sanity, I have to put out this PSA - TWO Fiber One bars in one day might not make for a comfortable night. But, hey, it's worth it - I didn't touch those mini Oreos that have been snickering at me all day in my pantry.

So Day 1, Take 3 was successful. That friggin' Easter Bunny better get here soon.

This Could Have Been Easier

Here is a list of specific foods containing sugar that should have gotten the boot during this brilliant 40-day fast I can't stick to. The reason? I hate these foods:

Jelly donuts - Purple goo shooting out of a non-chocolate donut? Eww.

Cherry pie - Red, gelatinous material disguised in a yummy crust. No thank you.

Lemon Merangue Pie - The lemon is like a sponge. Clearly, I have food texture issues.

Whoppers candy - Malt is gross.

Danishes - All of them. Even if they have chocolate on or in them. Yuck.

Chocolate Eclairs - I know, this sounds strange because aren't they like the King of Italian Desserts? The cream filling is way too sweet for even my taste buds. And I do love me some sweet!

Anything with coconut on or in it. Again with the food consistency - I don't like those coconut flakes.

I'll think of more. And I'll put that in a different post because I'm totally kicking ass on the blog post quota I set for myself!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Hubby and I have been having a much-needed heaping of good luck these past few weeks. Lots of good news right in the middle of my sugar strike. Good news should be celebrated with chocolate and cake and more chocolate and cookies! Sorry health magazines, but I am not celebrating with a brisk walk around the neighborhood.

Round of Luck #1: Hubby was was chosen as one of the nominees in the Best Newspaper Comic Panel of 2010 Division for the 65th Annual Reuben Awards. Each year, the National Cartoonists Society honors the year’s outstanding achievements in all walks of the profession including newspaper strips, newspaper panels, TV animation, feature animation, newspaper illustration, gag cartoons, book illustration, greeting cards, comic books, magazine feature/magazine illustration, and editorial cartoons. This is H.U.G. to the E.

Round of Luck #2: In my tireless search for a full-time teaching position, I was hired for a maternity leave. It's not permanent, but could open doors to something. I start in May and could not be happier!

Round of Luck #3: We went to our accountant and let's just say if Uncle Sam really did exist, I would totally give him a lap dance.

So, in celebration of the last two weeks, hubby and I went to a fabulous restaurant last night. It's an old mansion and the decor is all Americana antique. We ate our dinner, and when dessert time rolled around, hubby ordered a mini chocolate ganache cake topped with mint chocolate chip ice cream. I ordered tea, I swear to you. The waiter, like a crack dealer taunting a junkie, said, "Let me bring one out for you,too." I giggled, said, "No, that's okay." And the bastard said, "No, really, I'll bring one out for you." I started scratching at my face, beads of sweat beginning to form on my forehead, and I said, "Okay."

Famous freakin' last words.

This is what my warm Ganache cake with fudge filling, topped with chocolate chip-mint ice cream looked like before it suffered it's death.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seriously, Enough with the Temptation

Today I got to cut an entire tray of chocolate-frosted brownies for my darling class. With sprinkles. And I'm back on the wagon. Oh, and in case you didn't read in the last post, I have PMS. I'm expecting a serpent to appear with an apple any minute now.

But I didn't have a brownie. So I am back to laughing in the face of sugar! Unless, of course, I am still on this ridiculous no sugar kick when Aunt Flo visits, next month.

Sugarless Update: A Friday Math Equation

PMS + Hubby working late (= no supervision) + Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies in freezer = All sorts of bad things.

And I'll just leave it at that.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Kind of Dinner

I've written this before and have said it dozens, if not hundreds of times - I hate to cook. I get no enjoyment out of it and look at it as a waste of time. I cook for 2 reasons - 1) The health of my family - I refuse to do fast food and take out on a nightly basis 2) So that Monkey Man doesn't tell his teachers that he had frozen waffles for dinner again (for many families, this might be peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, but he's allergic to nuts - or cereal, but he is the only child in America that does not eat cereal. He can't even stand the smell of someone else eating it. I know, weird kid).

Tonight, Hubby is working late and Monkey Man is at my parent's house because I have a hair appointment to get my blonde back. I am a natural blonde, and every winter my hair gets too dark for my liking, so I get highlights. There are 3 things I like about my physical appearance: I love my blonde hair, I like my smile, and I like that I'm tall. All the rest depends on the day, but if I only like 3 things, then you betcha I'm getting one of those fixed ASAP!

Blonde stuff aside, I'm home alone for dinner. Which I LOVE, because I just had a gourmet meal of Vanilla Greek Yogurt with Granola. Now THAT'S what I call dinner.

On the 7th Day

I had a very busy day yesterday, or Day 7 of the Sugar-less / Write-a-Post Everyday Experiment. I spent all morning invoicing newspapers for Doug's comic then headed off to work. After work, I went directly to a friend's Daisy Troop meeting and spoke to them about exercise and then we did some kickboxing. I raced home, made dinner and then went back out to teach two kickboxing classes. I got home at 9:30 p.m. and was starving.

There was not an apple, yogurt, or sensible snack to be found in this house. Therefore, I am ashamed to say, Animal Crackers cracked me. They aren't even chocolate. But I ate them with a big glass of milk, so that kind of counteracts the non-nutritional value of them. And I missed my blog post last night - BUT, as long as I write 40 posts in 40 days, I've succeeded. Those are my rules, anway.

Well, back on the fruit and veggie bandwagon...Here's to 33 more days!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chocolate Frosting & Thin Mints: A Dangerous Duo

There is a can of chocolate frosting leftover from Monkey Man's birthday bash this weekend that is sitting in my refrigerator. It has been sitting there since Friday night. And I have not touched that can. Now, in my saner, sugar-eating days, I would have slaughtered that frosting with my mighty spoon and made up for it the next day at kickboxing. But instead, each time I open the fridge, I give it a quick once-over, a cocky "whatever," letting it know it has no power over me and can sit there until April 24 (when I will eat chocolate until I am comatose. If my grave reads "Death By Chocolate" then I have led a rich and full life).

And then there are the Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mints in my freezer. I have been known to inhale a box of these puppies in one sitting, my belly aching afterwards and wondering why these evil little girls must raise money for their organization in the form of freakin' chocolate mint cookies. They are all so innocent in their, "Won't you buy a box to help us girls contribute to society, participate in wholesome activities, and ensure that we don't procreate at the age of 14 because we didn't get an abstinence badge?" Okay, that part I have no idea about, but you get the idea. You HAVE TO buy the cookies.

But they are sitting in my fridge, heckling me each time I reach for my veggie burger or frozen mango.

If only the frosting and Thin Mints knew how I could totally dip one into the other and show them who's really boss. They seriously have no idea of the chocoholic they are messing with. But my chocolate badass-ness will have to wait another 5 weeks.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dover Dairy Open for Business. Sucks to Be Me.

In continuation of Monkey Man’s birthday WEEKEND, we took him for ice cream last night. Since I am on this ridiculous no-sugar experiment for 6 weeks, I went along to torture myself. I L-O-V-E ice cream and to go along for the ride and watch 2 people thoroughly enjoy the neighborhood ice cream joint's season opening is just masochistic.

When we pulled up, Hubby noticed the gigantic sign in the window that said, “Fat Free and Sugar Free Yogurt.” We halla-freakin-lujah! Someone give me a “Loophole Amen!” Clearly, the good Lord was intervening, showing pity on my sugarless soul. The loophole? No sugar, and some nutritional value – calcium and yogurt cultures. Of course, I would have to forfeit my chocolate sprinkles which are really the only reason people should eat ice cream. I have to say, though, I did struggle with the decision to get the yogurt even though it was fat free AND sugar free. Was this cheating? I finally decided that if it had no sugar, then it was okay. I ordered my naked yogurt in a cup (I’m also totally a cone girl, cups are pretty worthless). I also asked the ice cream girl for the nutrition information just out of curiosity.

I read it over, and I’m not sure if she gave me the wrong information, but this paper said “no sugar ADDED” and had 8 grams of sugar. SON OF A *$@&! I sat in the car with my stupid, sprinkle-less, cone-less yogurt and wept.

I brought it home, put it in the freezer and saved it for Monkey Man. Clearly, there is something wrong with me that I went as far as to purchase this “sugar-free” product then NOT EAT IT.

I prepared Monkey Man a treat tonight with my ice cream covered in chocolate syrup and crushed Thin Mint cookies. But I have to tell the truth – I took a few crumbs of the cookie. C’mon people, I have been looking at and touching sugary birthday delightfulness all week, it was just a few crumbs!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It Pays to Spring Forward!

Hubby and I are hoping that his genius, coupled with my monetary bribes, will get us some sleep tomorrow morning. As we all know (or maybe not, so you are finding out now) we have to turn the clocks ahead one hour tonight, so everyone loses an hour of sleep. For parents of children that think they are roosters and must wake up the whole freaking farm at the crack of dawn, daylight savings sucks.

Monkey Man has been getting up at about 6 a.m. every morning. He doesn’t care if it’s a school day or a weekend, he is up and at ‘em. His motto is that of a hardcore, 20-something rockstar, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” He’s got too much to accomplish in a day, why sleep away the hours that could be devoted to Wii Lego Batman, Spongebob, writing and illustrating books, playing basketball, jumping on the trampline, doing flips in the living room, and just generally exhausting his mother and father?

The past few weekends, I have offered to pay Monkey Man $1 if he lets us sleep in until 8 a.m. He will do anything for money – he is saving for an iTouch and a car (gotta give the kid some credit on the short and long-term financial goals – Suze Orman would be proud). Between his birthday, allowance and weekly extortion from his one set of grandparents (my sweet and growing ever-poorer parents) he is almost about to get an iTouch. He has wanted one for months now, and we refuse to buy him one. But if this is what he chooses to spend his hard-earned money on, then so be it.

Now we pair my bribery with Hubby’s sinister and truly brilliant plan to allow us to sleep in tomorrow morning. Hubby approached me after Monkey Man was safely into slumber and said, “Let’s not turn the clocks ahead tonight. We’ll wait until after Monkey Man wakes up. So when he gets up at his usual 6 a.m., it will really be 7 a.m. One of us will get up and get him breakfast, then we can sleep until the clock says 8:30, and it will really be 9:30!” He was practically peeing himself with glee and pride at this revelation.

If this works, we may never have a clock in this house that works again!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cupcakes and Frosting and Cookies Oh My!

I baked and frosted 24 cupcakes tonight to prepare for Monkey Man's 6th birthday extravaganza. I stuffed 17 goody bags with Oreos, Rice Krispie Treats, and Tootsie Rolls.

And I didn't eat one. I'm writing this while in the fetal position drooling, but nope, didn't touch one.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Victory is SWEET!

Yeah, so I totally made those cookies my bitch today. I was volunteering at Monkey Man's school, and I had some cutting and collating to do in the Faculty Room. And what does every Faculty Room in most towns in the U.S. have? Foods containing sugar. Cookies, cake, everything left over from last night's family birthday dinner that no one wants in their house.

There I sat. Two cartons of large Costco-type cookies in one corner (from where I sat, I believed them to be of the oatmeal raisin and sugar cookie variety, but I dared not go too close for fear that one might actually catapult its way into my unsuspecting mouth. They are not my favorite kinds, but who the hell cares? They were COOKIES!) And in the opposite corner - me and all my math copies. Those badass cookies had the advantage, simply because they were cookies. I had a thermos of Green Tea to quell my cravings. The odds were so stacked against me.

But for the next hour, I ignored their mockery. "C'mon, no one is in here. Just take a little bite. It won't even count! You know you're gonna cave before 6 weeks is up, anyway. Just do it!"

And my response? "Eat me."

Yeah, cuz that's how I roll when it comes to the Cookie Vs. Sugar(less) Mama showdown.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I’m Your Sugar(less) Mama

Today started a 6 week adventure in which I will not eat sugar. Let me clarify – sugar in the form of cookies, ice cream, graham crackers, cake, POP EMS - aka “special treats” in our house. I will be eating fruit and veggies and I am allowing myself a Fiber 1 Oats & Chocolate bar if I am scratching my face and shaking with cold sweats from sugar withdrawal. Basically, the food has to have some kind of nutritional value. Fiber One Oats & Chocolate bars are pretty awesome and I’m 36 going on 37, so anything fiber has value in my world.

This sugar abstinence happens to be coinciding with Lent and giving something up, however, I am not particularly religious. I don’t feel like I HAVE to sacrifice something. Many people also try to do something good for each day of Lent. Because of this, I will write SOMETHING on my blog every day for 40 days. This could go in either direction – either I’ll get some really awesome posts from writing so much, or my brain will be dead from lack of sugar and ideas and my blog will self-combust. Hopefully it’ll be funny either way. There is a good chance at some point I might be writing about hallucinogenic conversations I’m having with Pop ‘Ems. I just don’t know what sugar withdrawal will bring. It’s all so exciting to wonder what kind of a cranky bitch I might turn into.

What I do know is that at the end of Day 1, I’m in bed at a safe distance from the Tootsie Rolls, Golden Oreos, and Rice Krispie Treats that are waiting to get stuffed into Monkey Man’s birthday party goody bags. And my dad brought over some mini Oreos for Monkey Man that I am fairly certain are whispering my name.

And on that note, Good Night, Day 1 and sweet dreams of carrots, apples and the oh so naughty Fiber One bar.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Peeing, Pooping, & Poppy Love

While I was cleaning up after dinner tonight, my dad was sitting in the living room waiting ever so anxiously to continue his pre-dinner game of Lego Star Wars with Monkey Man. No sarcasm there. Although my dad is 1,000 times more patient than me, he, too, has no clue how to play, but that man will play all day with Monkey Man. Me? After 3 minutes, I head off to do the laundry. Or some other mundane task that is still way more exciting than Lego Star Wars/Indiana Jones/Batman.

Where was I? Oh, Monkey Man announced that he was going to the bathroom. He always feels the need to contact the media, let the neighbors know, and call his grandparents when he needs to pee. Or poop. He's going on 6 and I really think sometimes he still expects a prize from the potty training prize bag.

While in the bathroom, he yelled out, "Poppy, I love playing with you." My dad responded, "I love playing with you, too."

"Poppy, I love you," Monkey Man yelled mid-pee.

"I love you,too," Poppy responded. Then said, "You're some kid!"

Monkey Man yelled, "Thanks!"

A 73 year-old man and an almost 6 year-old boy - Grandfather and Grandson, and best friends.