Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Are you one of those people who grew up absolutely "hating" a certain food only to try it as an adult and find out you like it? I've heard a lot of people say this about tomatoes (sacrilege!), salad (craziness!) and seafood (don't even get me started). But I'm not perfect. Oh no, not even close. Sure, I've always adored veggies and it's true that I have long dreamed of opening a salad shop, but the food that I once thought was, like, totally gross was mayonnaise.

But that's the funny thing about growing up. And food. And pregnancy. It all changes.

When I was pregnant with the noodle three years ago, I experienced plenty of intense food cravings and aversions. Then I labored for about 17 hours in an era when our medical system thought it would be better that I not eat anything except ice chips. Then I gave birth to a 9 pound, 3 ounce baby. Then I needed food. Any food. The nurses brought me a plate with a cold salisbury steak (I'm still not sure what that is), mashed potatoes and mushy broccoli. It was something that anyone else would have turned away at first sight. I devoured that disgusting grub in a nanosecond and sent Mac out to find more. He returned with plate containing a cheese sandwich and a packet of mayonnaise. What to do? Well, of course I demolished that sandwich leaving not a single crumb. Still ravenous, I did something that to this day I still don't believe: I ripped open that packet and mayo and ate it straight up. How gross is that?!

Actually, it wasn't gross. It was good. It was real mayonnaise, and it was REAL good! And now I'm a convert. I can't believe I missed all of those early years of enjoying mayo on sandwiches. Burgers! BLT's! Tuna sandwiches! What was I thinking?! Actually, I wasn't thinking about any of that. I was already thinking about what else I could eat to quench my hunger. And you, faithful friends, you know what it was, don't you? It was the one and only, the food love of my life - Chipotle.

The end.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This one's for you, Earth

Earth. It's a planet worth saving. I'm not a hard-core tree hugger, but I manage to recycle faithfully, walk instead of driving when possible and buy locally when I can afford to. Like so many others, I stopped drinking bottled water ages ago. I'm a little disturbed by the fact that there are still a lot of people who buy those silly bottles. Of water! And you can't win me over by saying you reuse them because a. that defeats the purpose and b. it's not healthy to keep reusing that plastic.

Anyway, here I am up on my high horse with my stainless steel water vessel and I lose it. The darned bottle has vanished (though I think it might be at the gym... I'll check into that). And it's not the first one I've lost in the last few months. And all of this makes me wonder which is worse for planet Earth - wasting plastic bottles that will eventually kinda-sorta break down or losing steel ones that will never ever decompose in a landfill.

Oh, Earth, can you ever forgive me? I'll try to do better. I'd switch to cloth diapers for the little noodle if I wasn't strongly considering round two of potty training sometime in the next week or two. I would love to use only solar power and sustainable fuels for my home and vehicle - if I could afford it. And I would definitely erect a wind turbine in the backyard, but I just started a veggie garden and there isn't any more room. Maybe we can strike a deal instead - I'll keep buying those steel water bottles, but I'll plant a tree for every one I lose. Deal?

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Speaking of the glass being half full, and since it's Sunday, I have a confession: I am a big dummy. Once a day, I treat the noodle to a glass of juice. Okay, it's not a glass of juice. It's a glass of water with a splash of juice. Kinda like a vodka martini with a splash of olive brine - or is that just me dreaming?

Anyhow, I've amassed a nice stash of juices for my poor, deprived daughter who never gets anything fun to choose from... apple, orange, and, most recently, V8 Fusion. I never thought of Fusion as particularly appealing. I mean, as much as I LOVE veggies, I do not want them in my juice. But apparently, you can't taste them. This plays into the whole "deceptively delicious" concept, which I'm not much of a participant in. I had to get it though because it came recommended in my recently acquired Toddler 411 book as the best juice source of nutrients, and I wouldn't want the noodle to be malnourished.

I mean, look at those cheeks. And her skintone. She's clearly not getting enough nutrients. But I digress.

Turns out there are a lot of different V8 Fusion varieties. Too many. So, I did what I always do and got the one with the least calories. Then I got home and realized my mistake. I had just paid the same amount for the half-calorie juice as the full-calorie juice only to find that it was 50% water. I paid $2 for water! Which I am then going to water down profusely so that the noodle doesn't discover how yummy and sweet straight-up juice is.

I'm no mathematician, but if Fusion is 50% water and it's then going to be watered down by about 75%, she'll be getting a whole lot less nutrients than the makers of V8 intended. I might as well give her lemonaid or Sunny D or those 'juice' jugs that have the foil wrapper on top. You know, the kind that isn't juice at all, just tasty flavoring and sugar. And then I will surely be nominated for Mom of the Year. I'll just keep holding my breath.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

doom and gloom and the bird flu

I've always been a glass half full kind of gal. But can an optimist also be a raging hypochondriac? I've been so lucky to be generally healthy, but when I'm not I'm really, really not.

Last week, as the noodle was getting over her flu, I noticed one of my eyes was bloodshot. On Friday morning, the diagnosis was clear - I had pink eye. Later that evening, I had also come down with a nasty stomach flu that is running rampant in Richmond. So I spent that beautiful, sunny weekend passed out on the sofa while Mac and the noodle were out having fun.

Flash forward one week later and I'm still sick. The pink eye is now red in both eyes. My glands are still swollen. I feel yucky. So, I did what any other self-respecting non-medical person with Internet access would do: I self diagnosed.

Yes, last night while Mac worked late, I worked up the courage to face my best friend and biggest foe - webmd.com. This site is useful for all kinds of things when I'm healthy, but when I'm sick it only makes me worse. Case in point, I used the "symptom checker" to try to pair the pink eye with the throat/gland issues and the recent flu stuff (all of which could be unrelated, but I wanted to be sure). On the list of 12 results were the obvious things like conjunctivitis, tonsilitis and strep throat... but then, wait, what was that at the bottom of the list? BIRD FLU!!!

Apparently, a person with bird flu will exhibit flu-like symptoms along with pink eye. Umm, hi, that would be ME! So, right there on the very sofa on which I convalesced last weekend, I had a full on panic attack. Further research indicated that only half of those who are diagnosed with bird flu survive, that the next step would likely be pneumonia and that I'd be gone in 9-10 days - as in by the end of this weekend. Panic!

Lucky Mac when he arrived home from a long day of work at 10:30 feeling drained and absolutely starving since he hadn't eaten anything since a lousy PB&J at lunch. Instead of a nice relaxing meal, he got a crazy, sobbing wife who informed him of her bird flu, certain death and the fact that she cannot leave this world while the noodle is so young.

Fortunately, Mac doesn't share my hypochondria. He reassured me that the chicken we ate last Thursday night was unlikely to have been tainted, that I'm not even sick enough to have bird flu and that I can keep raising the noodle until she becomes an adolescent and I change my mind ... or until I am admitted to an inpatient psych unit for treatment. Whichever comes first.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The isle of temptation

Wow, two weeks and not a peep. So sorry, I'll try to do better. The noodle had the flu all last week. Poor thing. It was heartbreaking to witness. Gone was my wild girl. My girl who loves food and drink (like her mama). My good sleeper. My silly, silly goose. Thankfully, she's on the mend now. Perhaps a lesson learned would be to actually go back to the pediatrician for the second round of the flu mist next time. Whether or not it would have stopped this strain of flu, I'll never know. But at least I wouldn't feel so personally responsible if I'd been, um, responsible.

Anyhow, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself last week and started to write about how sad I feel that our plans to have a second child have been put on hold for this long and wondering whether I have the staying power to start all over again once the noodle is a preschooler, or older. But that's not your problem. Not today, at least. So, here's some light musing instead ...

A couple of times a week, I find myself driving on one of the least efficient and least attractive streets in Richmond: West Broad Street. I'm sorry if you disagree but it's the truth. If you're not a Richmonder I'm sure you have a street like this by a different name in your locality, like 23rd Street in Panama City or Arlington Boulevard in Northern Virginia.

Let's address the efficiency first. If traveling during daylight hours, you'll stop at nearly every traffic light, which translates to nearly every intersection. Is this the result of poor planning or is it by design? Either way, you can't win.

But assuming you have all the time in the world and not a single two-year-old in your car, you still can't argue it's a cruelly unattractive street. Let's see, there are a gratuitous number of car dealerships intermixed with gas stations and fast food joints. That's pretty much it. Except that Target just happens to be right in the thick of it all. And Target is my lifeblood. I finally found a sneaky way to get to Target without subjecting myself to West Broad, but inevitably I'll forget about the sneaky way on one leg of that trip. So, there I am sitting at the traffic lights looking at the fast food restaurants. At lunchtime. And all of a sudden, I'm salivating. I. Must. Have. Wendy's. Burger King. McDonald's. Panera. Chipotle. Krispy Kreme. I'm stuck on the isle of temptation, and I'm not known for my willpower.

Today I resisted. But it's only a matter of time until I'm driving down West Broad while chowing down on a greasy bacon and blue cheese burger, slurping a supersized Coke and licking the donut icing off my fingers. First of all that's a safety hazard. Second, I cannot gain one more pound. Not a single one. I'm done. The buck stops here.

Which leads me to this: For the safety of all Richmonders and the health of one weak mama, I propose we shut down West Broad Street. Effective immediately. We can call it an urban beautification project and maybe even score some government funding. In it's place anyone who cares to can plant victory gardens. There's plenty of room for all. Who's with me?