Really, "real men"? REALLY?

I often find myself staring at my computer screen in disbelief.  I am surprised at how often I am in a state of disbelief.  Today's viewing of the outside world via The Internets resulted in a dumbfounded, wide-eyed look of wonder, and it was probably coupled with that sideways puppy-dog expression that I tend to have, complete with a raised eyebrow.

The link is here:Shine on Yahoo: 15 Biggest Beauty Turnoffs From Real Guys [should open in a new window or tab, because I got your back].  Here are some of their comments, and then my comments.

"My wife doesn't dye her hair often enough. I don't like to see those dark roots." -Anonymous
First of all, it's really a good thing that this comment was "Anonymous," because I would really hunt the guy down and have a good sit-down with The Wife.  I'd talk her out of dyeing her hair for good, getting her an all-black goth look from the eyes down and then invite them both out to McDonald's at rush hour. I'll ask his boss to meet us, as well.  Then I'll say to Anonymous, "So. How do you like her now?  Now stop looking at her roots." 

"I wish my girlfriend would get a manicure more often instead of doing it herself. She is pretty low-maintenance." -Shaun
Dear Shaun's girlfriend:  Ask Shaun for $50.00 about every two weeks without fail.  Get a mani-pedi every two weeks and keep any change.  After two months, up the amount to $100 to add in massages.  Up the amount fifty bucks every couple of months thereafter.  You need to up your maintenance level in order to be Shaun's girlfriend.  He should pay for it.

"My wife spends 20 minutes after the shower putting on body lotion. Apparently it has to be applied evenly. For me, it is just a time suck." -R.D.S.
Dear R.D.S.'s wife:  You are sucking time out of your husband's life.  Right before his alarm goes off in the morning, why not plop that glob of lotion you'd normally use for your day on top of his alarm clock?  Bet he'll save some time when he pops out of bed that day. Go get some really expensive lotion.

"I hate it when women wear any type of fragrance - I like showers." -Bryan
Dear Bryan: Go take a shower.  You shouldn't wear those women-fragrances, anyway.


Normal? Me?!

Body image is such a wacky brain thing. I worked hard, felt my clothes getting crazy loose, looked in the mirror, but I saw the same pudge that I have always seen before.  I have to do something special with the 3-pound processor I have upstairs, switching from an emotional look in the looking glass to a logical one.  Yet, still, that's one of the most difficult things to do being logical with weight loss.  I've worked so long on myself, fighting for every ounce I've ever lost and have gone some months without losing anything despite killing myself in the gym and in the kitchen.  I never did put much stock into the BMI scale, except that I was always in that 25.1 and above category.  That's the "overweight" range if anyone doesn't want to look it up and check.  That is two-tenths of a percent to being in the "normal" range, and those two-tenths just ate at me.  My lowest on the BMI scale had always been stuck at that stupid 25.1 and my highest has been a 33, which is the "obese" category, so I have worked myself down from there.  <Pat on the Back Inserted Here.>  I have been in the overweight to obese categories since late junior high and high school.  I couldn't seem to work my way out of it no matter how hard I busted my rear in the gym.

There was also something else going on with my body, because I was only having maybe one or two days out of the entire week where I felt okay. TWO days out of the week that were not "good."  Not "fantabulous."  Sometimes not even slightly okay. I was so tired all of the time and even on weekends. Even during holiday breaks and summer vacations. Where was this energy I was supposed to have with all of this healthy eating and exercise?  The people on The Biggest Loser had it; why couldn't I? My moods were erratic.  I fell into the blues easily. My ability to sleep at the drop of a hat was astounding.  My memory was awful, and I had a constant on-edge feeling that buzzed my nerves.  Something had to be done, but I had tried everything before--exercise, diet, exercising.  Diet. My friggin' healthy diet:  Whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, fruits.  Carbs only in the first half of the day.  Everything was spot on.  Instead of free days of eating whatever I wanted, I switched to a free meal.  A "free meal" was usually going out to Jose Pepper's and eating half a quesadilla and having some ice cream afterwards.  I generally felt sick the day after, but it was a deeper sick than how I felt the rest of the week, because I always felt some sort of icky.  I always imagined my stomach being the color of fire every time I ate something that was made out of anything other than a vegetable, fruit, or a side of beef. The rest of the week is what is referred to as "clean eating."  I was squeaky.  Or, at least it was what I thought was squeaky.

I spend my summers fixing things about myself, but I was tired of doing the same thing only harder and with more veggies. I had to work smarter.  This year a slightly pudgy brain cell must have exploded, and I saw a bright light. The one thing I had never even thought about giving up was the "whole grains" portion of my diet.  I mean, come on.  That's the good part of a diet--the only little glimmer of hope that I had amidst all of this work was now my toy that I was about to lose under the refrigerator. I decided I would give up gluten and wheat, thinking that that was my problem with always feeling sick.  I thought that if I didn't clear up my symptoms within a week, then I was free and clear and could go back to bread. Oh my gosh, and back to Subway.

I filled those missing-wheat calories with nuts, cheese, and seeds. I found recipes to try and found myself in the kitchen more and more with all of these kitchen thingies to use that I had never used before.  I craved Cheez-Its.

Weight began to peel off of me. I began to crave strawberries, tomatoes, and parmesan all mixed together.

The first three days were the most difficult, especially since I started on a Saturday, my day for that blessed free meal.  I skipped the free meal and had a ginormous salad with grilled chicken.  Those first few days I also craved bread like a madwoman, but I was too stubborn to give in.  All of this so far must've been worth it, because my stomach had not hurt in two days out of the three.

By the fourth day I felt energized.  I could think a little more clearly, and it was the first day this summer that I hadn't felt the need to take a nap for half the afternoon or consider the need to seek Dr. Phil. Just because I am who I am, I gave myself quick vocabulary lessons to test the ol' noggin' up there.  That seemed to be working better, too.  I began to enjoy this weird sensation of feeling good, and The Husband said that my moods were evening out, which is always good for him and his way of life.

Each day after that first week became easier, and I didn't crave so many fluffy, gluten-filled things.  I became full faster, and I didn't get as furiously hungry.  I barely became hungry at all.  My tastes learned to love vegetables.  Did you know that spaghetti squash actually shreds and looks like spaghetti noodles?  WHO KNEW?  I think I've become somewhat of a foodie now, because I can make crackers out of nut flours, and I can make breads out of things like coconut, almond, and mesquite flours. The summer has been an awesome awakening and quite the learning experiment.

It took me three weeks to the day to stop craving Cheez-Its, though.  It was also at the end of this three weeks that I discovered Wheat Belly, a New York Times' bestseller by Dr. William Davis.  I don't even know what to say in just a few words about that book.  I was horrified, but everything made sense.  The people he referenced were people like me with the issues that I faced. They also conquered their ills by giving up wheat, and it also worked for them.  It bolstered me to keep going. After reading Wheat Belly, I decided that I cannot put that junk back into my body.  Thank goodness I didn't crave bread (or Cheez Its), anymore. I keep my cravings only in the school-supply aisle at WalMart.  And bacon.  I also could not in a good conscience feed this stuff to my household, either, and so I approached The Husband about being my guinea pig for at least seven days.  He said, "Sure."  He lost four pounds in the first two weeks, and he tells me that he does not feel deprived.  He was also very patient about me using him as a taste tester the moment he came home, and he has been very supportive in having his colleagues at work try the crackers that I make.  Our house is wheat free now (although, all of those boxes of wheat-filled stuff still lurks in the pantry.  We are not even the remotest bit tempted), and The Husband has finished his third week of going without the wheat.  I don't know how this will play out on pizza days at school for The Kiddo, but we'll deal with that when it comes.  I cannot recommend the Wheat Belly book enough.

This was the year that I tried that very last thing that I hadn't really given a chance before. The only other time I had gone wheat free was during a fourteen-day detox and then I went right back on and my weight crept right back up.  Giving up wheat for good had to be it, because I think I had literally tried everything else. I got the wheat out of Dodge.

No more "free days" of eating whatever I wanted; no more eating toast for my post-workout treat; no more buns with the hamburgers, or even having those croutons on my favorite salad at Jose Pepper's.  The great thing is that I don't feel deprived, and I am enjoying feeling "normal" for once in my life, even though what I did with throwing out something that has been an American staple for a very long time is not even in the neighborhood of any sort of normal.  This way of eating has given me what I've wanted for a very long time: a "normal" 23 on the BMI.  I am in the normal range.  I, Tracy, is normal.  Normal am I.  Am I normal? Why, yes. I am normal.  The BMI isn't the end-all, however.  My health, my vibrancy, and my energy were all at stake, and I believe I have earned those back after being without them for such a long time.

As for the body image part, that is not normal, and my head needs to wrap around the new me.  I went shopping for clothes and the last time I wore a size six was when my mom still shopped for me, and I was ten years old and wore 6/6X.  I now am the proud owner of a brand new pair of pants in a size that I didn't think normal people wore.  They are two sizes different from when I started the summer, and so I am trying a new normal on and see how it feels for awhile.  I'll have to let the brain be logical and let it sink in that the way I look is okay.  The way I feel is even better.  I feel healthy for the first time.

Energy. Focus. Memory. Happiness.

So, in the big scheme of things, as far as the way the average American eats, I am still abnormal.  I'm okay with that, because I am now okay with myself even though giving up wheat was probably one of the hardest decisions I ever met.  It goes against the grain, does it not?  At the beginning of this journey, my brain was thinking in terms of what do I give up now?  Now, I think what do I get to have now.  I eat more food than I ever ate before, and my taste buds appreciate every one of them.  I need less salt, because it seems I am able to taste more.  I am abnormal, but it's the most normal I have ever been.


Fiddle-dee dee!

I find myself staring out the windows more and more lately.  My eyes droop a little bit, because I have been having those classic anxiety-ridden school dreams that I get every year at about this time that make me wake up several times each night.  I stare out the windows because it is too hot to turn on the oven and bake, and in the mornings I have been working on a few Prezi's to get the school year started.  By the time the afternoons hit, I have run out of energy ... and the coffee pot is empty.

I stare out the windows because each and every year a wave of anxiety shoots through me and I get very numb.  There's a character named "Haywire" in the defunct television show Prison Break.  He is a bit of the loony-tunish nature and needs medicine to keep him from going over the edge.  He sits, stares, drools.  That's me when I get these anxiety attacks.  You wouldn't necessarily know I was having an attack unless you caught me allegedly daydreaming. If I am daydreaming, I am having an emotional breakdown somewhere deep inside.  I am hopefully not drooling.

So my latest attack is the same every year:

You've forgotten how to teach.
You can't teach!
How could you possibly get back in there again?  You don't even know where to begin.

And the loop repeats.  Sometimes the loop says things that are harsher and possibly worthy of Mean-Girl status, and it is amazing that when I am disturbed out of this circle of doom, I pray that I don't have the Haywire-like drool.  It's so embarrassing.

Besides the anxiousness to get back to school at around this time, I also feel the creeping fingers on my shoulders of this fretfulness, the need for naps, the need for slobber rags, and the need to set fire to this self-trash talk. The only thing I can really do to combat these feelings is claim war on it.

Shop in the crack-aisle of Walmart!:  SCHOOL SUPPLIES!

Do you know what school supplies do to my heart?  Do you know how high those sweet multi-color packs of STUFF send my blood sugars? My heart goes all a-flitter. My hands shake.  My knees knock. And just as Scarlett O'Hara said, "Fiddle-dee dee!  War, war, war; this war talk's spoiling all the fun at every party this spring.  I get so bored I could scream.  Besides ... there isn't going to be any war."

That's right, Scarlett.  There isn't going to be any war (in my head), because I have already won it.

You've forgotten how to teach ... unless I get this brand new multi-level, multi-pouch purple binder that can fold out and become a double-wide RV!
You can't teach ... that's right!  I can't teach without these new slotty thingies that will hold all of my ... whatever!
How could you possibly get back in there again without a brand new set of pens, pencils, markers of EVERY friggin' color known to man and some animals (you know who you are).
You don't even know where to begin without a brand-new calendar with every religion known to mankind clearly marked and annotated!  

As you can see, I have everything under control for the most part (there is that drooling problem). And as Scarlett would say:  "No, I do not teach just for the school supplies. As God is my witness!"


Humorous Grammar

I found this list at creativeteachingsite.com and I wanted to share it.  I tee-hee'd my pants a little.

  1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
  2. Never use a preposition to end a sentence with. Winston Churchill, corrected on this error once, responded to the young man who corrected him by saying "Young man, that is the kind of impudence up with which I will not put!
  3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
  4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)
  6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  7. Be more or less specific.
  8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies endlessly over and over again.
  10. No sentence fragments.
  11. Contractions aren't always necessary and shouldn't be used to excess so don't.
  12. Foreign words and phrases are not always apropos.
  13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous and can be excessive.
  14. All generalizations are bad.
  15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  16. Don't use no double negatives.
  17. Avoid excessive use of ampersands & abbrevs., etc.
  18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake (Unless they are as good as gold).
  20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
  21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words, however, should be enclosed in commas.
  22. Never use a big word when substituting a diminutive one would suffice.
  23. Don't overuse exclamation points!!!
  24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
  26. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed and use it correctly with words' that show possession.
  27. Don't use too many quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations.. Tell me what you know."
  28. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a billion times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly. Besides, hyperbole is always overdone, anyway.
  29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  32. Who needs rhetorical questions? However, what if there were no rhetorical questions?
  33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  34. Avoid "buzz-words"; such integrated transitional scenarios complicate simplistic matters.
  35. People don't spell "a lot" correctly alot of the time.
  36. Each person should use their possessive pronouns correctly.
  37. All grammar and spelling rules have exceptions (with a few exceptions)....Morgan's Law.
  38. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  39. The dash - a sometimes useful punctuation mark - can often be overused - even though it's a helpful tool some of the time.
  40. Proofread carefully to make sure you don't repeat repeat any words.
  41. In writing, it's important to remember that dangling sentences.
If you liked this list, you can find more at  http://www.creativeteachingsite.com/humorgrammar2.htm.


Kitchen Floozy

It used to be that the only reason we had a kitchen is because it came with the house.  
We used to know that dinner was ready when I set off the smoke detector.

But things seemed to have changed in the last several weeks. The decision to step into a room that seemed daunting and scary wasn't as forbidding as it once had been once I took that first step into it.  Those nicely squared boxes that hid all of the dishes probably could use some dusting, and I avoided the sharp-objects dealies in the very tidy block for a few days; you just don't know what kind of damage they'll do once out of their tucked-in state. You should have seen me. I was like a lost child in the land of Adults and I wasn't ready to grow up.  I might have bounced on the floor a little bit just to, you know, check out the escapability of the place.

But, I had a purpose in being in this foreign, soul-sucking place. Five weeks ago, I made the life-changing decision to go wheat free.  This was a decision mainly to see if gluten in wheat was causing me the problems that I suspected it was causing.  After about a week of giving up the blessed stuff, my suspicions were right.  Almost six weeks later, I feel better than I have felt in years.  The difference in energy still has me in shock. No more stomach upset; no more bloaty/floaty tummy; I have so much more energy now; especially exciting is that I have no more foggy brain. Yay for thinking straight and remembering my mama's name! I've lost weight.  That's a bonus.

Unfortunately, all of this good news meant that I had the energy to now get up. I abandoned the search for anti-depressants and entered the space that I thought I hated.  I grabbed some of those thingies that I tend to avoid.  I think they're called skillets. And sauce pans. 

I was suddenly Thor with his hammer.
I was Wonder Woman with her golden rope.
I was Zeus and his mighty lightning bolt!

In all actuality, I was Swamp Thing and I only held wimpy seaweed.

Okay, enough of this. I floozified myself for my new art.  The Husband and I cleaned up and organized the kitchen, and I pushed up my sleeves, probably exposed some shoulders to be a true floozy. I scoured the Internet for gluten-free recipes and when The Husband and The Child came home from work and school, the Kitchen Floozy demanded, "Taste this." They tasted. Unfortunately, I cannot get the kiddo to like anything but a box brand of a certain gluten-freeish product, but the husband's a bit easier.  Perhaps he is a floozy, too.  So cheap.

So now the kitchen and I get along great.  I almost cannot tear myself away with all of the nut flours I must try, and all of the veggie combinations that I have to test.  I have grilled on the smoker an eggplant lasagna. I have made my own salsa out of the vegetables people have been kind enough to let me have. I have made almond and sesame crackers, and I have rediscovered that the stove top is for something more than mutilating an egg. I have even gone over to the hippy-dippy side of making hand-made soaps.

This is, of course, all very strange to me.  While at one time I observed the religious belief that cooking and cleaning were important--just not important for me, as well as the cooking school of If It Could Fit In a Toaster, I Could Cook It; I have since changed my stance about this strange, dangerous room.  I apparently needed a power sport of cooking with weird materials to challenge me to even go in there, and I am there each day like cheap red lipstick loves her floozy.