Word of the Day: Sorry.

An apology is a powerful thing.  I wish it weren’t true, but my ability, or maybe it is my willingness, to forgive the smallest and the biggest things often depend on that little phrase.

I’m sorry.

After twenty three years of marriage, you would think that either my husband would have learned this or I would have gotten over it, but, no.  I keep wanting apologies, and he keeps giving me excuses.

An excuse is not an apology.An excuse is not an apology.

They are pretty much the exact opposite.

Whereas an apology diffuses the hurt I feel, excuses incite it.

An apology says I care about your feelings; an excuse says I only care about my own.

As I said, often, it is the most trivial things.

Yesterday evening, I came home at 5:30 to make dinner and discovered my husband and daughter had just finished eating.  We haven’t eaten before 6:30 all week, so I was surprised.

Since what they had eaten included some of the ingredients for the dinner I’d planned, I was also annoyed.  I asked why they’d eaten without us.  (My son had been with me.)

Now, this was stupid.  Upon reflection, I actually knew why my husband ate dinner so early.  He’d skipped lunch and was hungry.

He just couldn’t say that, though.  Nor could he say, “I’m sorry.”

No, he had to give me variety of excuses, like

  • I didn’t know how long you would be.  (Text me to ask?)
  • For all I knew you might be eating out.  (He knows I never do this.)
  • I thought I was doing you a favor.

I went from mildly annoyed to feeling truly hurt because his excuses all put the blame on me – which is what excuses usually do.

The pathetic thing is, in that way, they work.  I go from thinking, “That was rude,” to, “What is wrong with me that I keep expecting him to apologize when the past two decades have proven that he won’t?  How stupid am I?”

A triviality which could have ended with an apology and a kiss thus sends me into a little whirlpool of self accusation and doubt, because, really, how inane can I be?  Why do I keep wanting apologies?  It really isn’t that big of deal.  I should be able to forgive without signs of remorse or regret, shouldn’t I?

I think I should, and I beat myself up over this character flaw for a good part of the evening.

And I think that is ridiculous of me, too, so I chastise myself for that as well.


I owe myself an apology.  I’m way too hard on me.

I’m sorry.

(I also apologize for the song, which I do not like.  There really aren’t a lot of songs with the words “I’m sorry” in them.)


Bloggy Blah Blah Blah

Bloggity Blah Blah BlahI’ve been hearing all month that Google Reader was going to disappear on July 1st, but it only occurred to me today that this might affect me.

I’ve never used Google Reader, but I use Google’s blogger dashboard.  I don’t know if that is going to disappear, too, but I decided to export all the blogs I follow with it just in case.

The two services for following blogs that I’ve been hearing about are Bloglovin and Feedly.  I have no idea if one is better than the other.  None.

So I joined Bloglovin because it referenced Swedish law, which made it sound exotic, in an icy and cold sort of way, which is incredibly appealing during a heat wave.

You can click here to follow my blog with Bloglovin, if you are so inclined.

I might try Feedly, too.  If I do, I’ll update this post.

In other bloggity news, I’m thinking of switching to a Sun-Tues-Thurs post schedule for July, because

  1. Summer heat makes me even lazier than usual, so I really have nothing to talk about.
  2. I’ll be away a couple weeks in July visiting my mom, which is also nothing to talk about.
  3. I have a lot of books I want to read.

Or, I might force myself to leave my house in the heat and take photos to share with you, like the irrelevant baby zebra above.  Does that sound like a threat or a promise?  I’m not really sure which it should be.

Or maybe I’ll write about the books I’m reading.  Or not.

Decisions, decisions.


Does society want us healthy or just beautiful?

Is obesity a disease, or can big be beautiful and healthy?

photo credit: Dilona via photopin cc

In case you hadn’t heard, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease last week.

As CBS reported, “Medical therapies and procedures like the lap-band or gastric bypass surgeries are courses of treatment that may now be included in insurance coverage, based on the AMA’s decision.”

Does that sound like good news for the obese?  Maybe.  It sounds like even better news for the pharmaceutical companies who market weight loss drugs and the doctors who perform weight loss surgeries.

Will losing weight actually make people healthier, though?

Yes, there are certain health risks associated with having an elevated BMI, such as Type II diabetes and heart disease. More broadly, a higher BMI is associated with a greater risk of cardiometabolic abnormalities, as measured by blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose, insulin resistance and inflammation. Nonetheless, almost one quarter of “normal weight” people also have metabolic abnormalities, and more than half of “overweight” and almost one third of “obese” people have normal profiles, according to a 2008 study. That’s 16 million normal weight Americans who have metabolic abnormalities and 20 million obese (or 56 million overweight and obese) Americans who have no such abnormalities. (Abigail C. Saguy, read full article here)

I think medical procedures should be available to those who need them, but this decision from the AMA troubles me.  It seems like one more way that our society promotes appearance over substance.

We want people to be beautiful more than we want them to be healthy, and we equate thin with health.

Why can’t insurance companies cover treatments based on metabolic abnormalities, instead of BMI?  If the doctors believe gastric bypass would be an effective way to treat heart disease, cover it.  However, if it isn’t making one sick, why is obesity a disease?

Weight Loss is a $6.1 billion industry.Am I jaded that I think this decision was based on money?  There is so much money to be made in the weight loss industry.  $61.6 billion in 2012.  Most of that money is not spent in doctor’s offices or on pharmaceuticals.  Even less of it is spent on surgical solutions.  According to Marketdata Enterprises,

The number of bariatric surgeries is significantly less than reported by the ASMBS (bariatric surgeon’s national society). Surgeries peaked at 135,000 in 2008, according to government healthcare agency data (not 209,000 reported by the ASMBS). However, since then, insurers have gotten tougher on coverage and the number has fallen 15% to an estimated 114,000 last year. This reduced the size of the total weight loss market by $2.6 billion and translated into less business for bariatricians and VLCD programs.

Now that obesity is a disease, perhaps those numbers will change.

Does society want us healthy or just beautiful?It seems like we are still moving one step forward two steps back when it comes to body image.  We have campaigns to promote the idea that healthy beauty comes in all sizes.  Then we declare fat a disease.

Sorry, you’re not beautiful; you’re sick.  Poor pitiful you.  It’s not your fault; you have a disease.  Let me cure you, then you’ll be happy, healthy, and – most of all – thin.

Family fun and frustration at the bowling alley

Family Fun:  Bowling.
I love bowling with my family.  I love clapping and cheering and laughing and sympathizing.

I’ll even clap for children bowling in the lane next to me, if they seem like they’d appreciate it.

I don’t know what it is about bowling that brings this out in me, because I do not like sports in general, neither as a participant nor as a spectator.  Even when my own children were playing, I found it hard to muster enthusiasm for the game.

Family bowling, however, is all about the enthusiasm.  None of us are particularly good, so it’s not a competitive event.  I think without the high fives and clapping it would be pretty dismal.

This was born out on the face of my fifteen year old daughter.

The few other lanes in use were not near our assigned lane, which enabled my daughter to sit at the table at a neighboring lane where she did her best to distance herself from our jocularity all morning.

I’m pretty sure the five elderly bowlers in the building knew she was with us anyway, what with her actually bowling in our lane, but after each of her turns, she returned to her chosen table, resolutely ignoring us, and glued her eyes to the video screen above her head.  At best, attempts to include her in our mirth were met with a quick, angry glare.

Bowling alleys today are so different than they were when I was her age.

For the better, they are not smoke filled and do not smell like stale beer.  These are phenomenal improvements.  The scoring is automatic, so nobody needs to pay close attention or count pins.  Also much appreciated.

For the worse, there are video screens alternating with the overhead score cards.

Video Screens Everywhere

Perhaps I’m kidding myself, but I think my daughter might have interacted with us a teensy bit if she had not been mesmerized by Taylor Swift and all those other people I don’t recognize.

I admit, it is hard not to look at them.  The constant motion and changing images catch your eye even if you don’t know or care anything about the music.  Even the serious and elderly bowlers would glance up at them as the images changed.

(By serious, I mean that their balls never went straight to the gutters.)

I’ve noticed the same effect in restaurants.  When we go places with televisions, there is less conversation, at our table and those of other diners.  Faces automatically turn to the screens, especially when they become brighter.

I try not to eat at places that have televisions.

However, the local Mexican spot we like always has its on.  Usually, it is tuned to soap operas in Spanish, which, since I do not speak Spanish, makes it easier to ignore.  I still find myself glancing up at it occasionally.  We always make our daughter sit with her back to it; otherwise, she’d never talk to us.

As I say, “She can ignore us for free at home.  We don’t need to pay for that.”

I know this is not a sign of a Generation Gap because my mother and in-laws are also addicted to television.  Or maybe it’s one of those things that skips a generation.

Let’s Discuss Doctor Who

While we’re waiting for the 50th anniversary special, let’s discuss the Doctor.  If you watch (and you should at least give it a try)…

1.  Who has been your favorite Doctor?
2.  Favorite companion?
3.  Did you care about the mystery of Clara?
4.  Did you watch old Who, or did you start recently?
5. What would you like in the next regeneration?
6. Do you want Jenny, Vastra, and Strax to get a spin-off?

1 & 2.  David Tennant and Catherine Tate were my favorites.  After Rose and Martha, I enjoyed the complete lack of romantic interest they had in each other and the depth of their friendship.  I loved Wilf, too.

3.  I did not care a whit about who Clara was. Granted, it wasn’t easy to predict like the mystery of who River Song was, but at least I cared about River.  I was disappointed when I heard that Clara would still be around next season; I was hoping for a clean slate.

4.  I never watched Doctor Who before Eccleston (whom I liked), but have since gone back to watch some of them.

5.  I hope the next Doctor is not so terribly young.  A little maturity adds depth.

6.  Torchwood was too dark for my tastes, and I found Jack much less appealing in his own show, so I’m almost afraid of a spin-off.  However, Strax, Jenny, and Vastra are fun, and I’d like to see more of them.  Maybe a few specials, but not a series.

What are your 30 Foods?

I began reading Mary Roach’s book Gulp, Adventures on the Alimentary Canal yesterday.  I’m only 80 pages in, but this footnote on page 43 really caught my attention:

“Pet foods come in a variety of flavors because that’s what we humans like*

*Or that is what we think we like.  In reality, the average person eats no more than about thirty foods on a regular basis.  “It’s very restricted,” says Adam Drewnowski, director of the University of Washington Center on Obesity Research, who did the tallying.  Most people ran through their entire repertoire in four days.” “

The average person wats no more than 30 foods on a regular basis.  What are your 30?This is something I’ve always known about myself.  It’s a bit of joke, really, because my husband loves to eat out, and there are times I tell him to take the kids without me because I just want to stay home and eat “my regular food,” ie a bowl or cereal or a can of soup.

I thought other people, people who are not picky eaters, were eating a greater variety of foods than I was.  Apparently not.  They’re just eating burgers instead of lentil soup.

This is my list.  It started out in order, but I think I lost that at some point.

  1. Fage Greek Yogurt, plain, non-fat.  I eat it for breakfast with fruit and granola almost every day.
  2. Lindt 85% dark chocolate.  I eat one square almost every day.
  3. Coach’s Oats.  I didn’t start eating oatmeal until I discovered this brand.  It’s my go-to night snack when I haven’t eaten enough that day.
  4. Cashews, unsalted.  Another go-to snack.
  5. Eggs, scrambled, usually with salsa.
  6. Oat Bran Pumpkin Walnut Muffins.  Either for breakfast or nighttime snack.
  7. Pineapple.  I love fresh pineapple.
  8. Blackberries or Raspberries.
  9. Blueberries.
  10. Apples most of the year.  Peaches or plums or apricots in summer.
  11. Tofu.  I eat tofu at least twice a week.
  12. Onions.  I think half of what I cook might contain onions.  And/or garlic
  13. Mushrooms.
  14. Cauliflower.
  15. Eggplant.
  16. Brown Rice.
  17. Avocados.
  18. Peppers, all sorts – Bell, Serrano, Jalepeno.  At least once a week dinner includes peppers.
  19.  Strawberries in summer.  Oranges in winter.
  20. Amy’s Organic low-salt Lentil Soup or Lentil-Vegetable Soup.  I’m listing them together.  I eat a can of soup for lunch 2/3 times a week.
  21. Tasty Bite Madras Lentils.  Another lunch, at least once a week.  Yes, I really like lentils.
  22. Cereal and Milk.  I don’t eat this as much as I used to, but it’s still on my list.
  23. Winter squash – Butternut or Spaghetti.
  24. Summer Squash, yellow or Mexican or zuchinni.
  25. Black beans.  I eat other kinds, but I eat black beans more than the others.
  26. Pasta.  We eat pasta maybe every other week.
  27. Sweet potatoes.
  28. Feta Cheese.
  29. Sharp Cheddar Cheese.
  30. Broccoli.

That was harder than I thought it would be.  I’m not sure if I cheated by grouping foods together or by not listing olive oil, but I think I covered the core of my diet.

What are your 30 foods?  Or even your top ten?

I don’t think of myself as this type of crazy mom, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

I should have listened to my husband.

He said we should leave at 6:30am.  I said there was no point in leaving that early because Tattered Cover doesn’t open until nine; I’d checked the website.

He said people would be lined up.  I said people are not going to line up that early in the morning to buy a book.

We left the house around 7:30, and we drove by to see if there was a line.  No line, so we went to the library so I could return a book.  Then back to park near the bookstore.

As we walk up, the sign on the door says it is open.  We go inside.  We see the line.

It starts at the registers, wraps around the first floor, up the stairs, and to the back of the second floor.  We get in line.

I'll be number 356 in line for the book signing!  I can never claim to be sensible again.I always think of Denverites as late risers, but apparently they will get in line early to buy a Neil Gaiman book.  Not just a book.  A book that comes with a number for the signing next week.

My husband stood in line while I browsed.  This is kind of his thing.  He will stand in line for us at amusement parks, too, while we wander off to use bathrooms and generally lollygag about.

The line moved fairly quickly once they started selling books at 9:00am.

As we neared the register (I joined him in line once he made it through the second floor, down the stairs, and neared the register.), he left because our parking meter was about to expire.  So I had the privilege of buying the books and getting our book signing numbers.

We will be number 356 in line.

There is only seating for 300 in the room where Gaiman will be reading from The Ocean at the End of the Lane and answering written questions.  Fortunately, the number does not apply to the seating.  For that, we have to get in line again next week.  Which I’m sure we will.

As we drove home, I conceded that he’d been right, and that number 356 hardly seemed worth the effort.  Anything in the first 100 would have, but 356, not so much.  He replied with, “It’ll make a great birthday gift.”

Because we don’t go to this sort of effort for ourselves.  For ourselves, we check books out at the library.  We enjoy author talks, but we don’t sit in line all day for them.

But this is for our son.  Our beloved firstborn.  Who is an adult.  And a Gaiman fan.  And has a job that doesn’t really care about scheduling requests.

Visions of Cabbage Patch frenzy in my head, I said, “Did you ever think we’d be this kind of parents?”

He said, “That was obvious when you had us searching three states for Woody.”

Woody, early proof that we really were those kinds of parents.Now, that time, back in 1995, he should have listened to me.

We had acquired every one of the Burger King toys for Toy Story except Woody.  Woody!  The most important character of them all.

Our local Burger King, and the ones in neighboring towns did not have any.  I asked him to check the one in the World Trade Center, where he worked, reasoning that there weren’t many children in that area, so they’d have plenty of Happy Meal toys.

For a reason I never understood, he resisted this, suggesting that I call my mom and ask her to check Burger Kings near her.  I did; there weren’t any there, either.  In the meantime, he checked every Burger King he passed in NJ on his long commute to the city.

Finally, all other avenues exhausted, he went to the one at the WTC, and bought two Woodys.  They had tons of them.

The boys were happy, almost as happy as me.  Acquiring that complete set had become a heroic quest.

I wish I hadn’t given them to my niece and nephew when my sons no longer cared about them.  I should have put them in a trophy case, to remind myself that I really am that kind of mom.


What is the opposite of a hoarder?

What is the opposite of a hoarder?

A de-clutter-er?  A simplifier?  Minimalist?

That’s what I am.  I enjoy getting rid of stuff as much as I enjoy getting stuff.  Sometimes more.

Last week, I gave half a trunk load of stuff to the ARC.  I would have given more, but I honestly could not find anything else that I don’t actually use or wear or love.  And I tried.

I perpetually feel like my spaces are cluttered, but the truth is they are  barely accessorized.  The clutter is, quite simply, papers that need to be filed or tossed, books that need to be put away, and shoes and nylabones all over the place.

Because I am a de-clutter-er, not a clean freak.

Teddy Bears?  According to my mom, they were just Dust Collectors.I think the two are related.  One of my objections to decorative items is that they require dusting.  This might be rooted in a childhood in which my mother referred to stuffed animals as “dust collectors.”

I’m not sure why dust on toys was worse than the dust on our end tables, lamps, and everything else.  It just was.

I don’t even know why this anti-dusting mindset is still with me.  Dusting is easy; I do it every week.  It’s not like scrubbing the shower doors or cleaning grout.  Or cleaning horizontal blinds.

I should really stop looking at things and imagining the bother of dusting them and decorate my home.  I should also throw away the stack of veterinary receipts and coupons I will never use.

I’ll get on that right after I search the closets for more things to give away.

Perhaps I’m not so much a minimalist as lazy.

Something worth watching: Girl Rising on CNN tonight

I hope you’re all having a good day, celebrating the dads you love, letting them know how important they are.

Because they are.  For most of us, parenting is the most important thing we’ll ever do.  It is how we will have the greatest impact on the future, both for our own children and for the world.

In light of that, there is something worth watching on tv tonight:  Girl Rising.  CNN will be airing it at 9pm EST.

There are some excellent fathers featured in it.  Moms, too.  Parents who are doing everything they can to ensure a better future for their daughters.

We saw it in March, with a small group of girls, and I wrote about it here.  I stated then that I’d have been comfortable taking girls as young as ten, but I’ve since spoken with a few people who felt ten is too young.  Use your own judgment, of course.  You might not want to discuss these issues yet, but I assure you there is nothing graphic in their presentation.

One more time, here is the preview.

If you watch it, I’d love to hear what you thought.

This is more like what I had in mind.

I did not even make it all day yesterday.  I repainted the canvases after lunch.  Then I touched them up some more before going to bed.

Here is the result:

DIY Ocean Abstracts Improved

And the first attempt:

Craft Fail: DIY Ocean Abstracts

Once again, keep in mind that the wall behind them is a pale blue grey.  Even with lights and flash on, I’m not getting true colours in my photographs.

I like the sky better, and the overall colours better, but I think the ocean isn’t quite right.  It seems less friendly than the first ocean.  I think I can live with it, though.  If not, I’ll let you know.  (What do you think?  Is the ocean too brooding?)

I used the same paints, but I watered them down with white and/or navy blue to neutralize them a bit.  I also blended them together more in the pie tin, so the effect isn’t as striped-y.

And, just because she hasn’t appeared on the blog recently, here is Trixie, engaged in part of her morning routine:  checking for chips or crumbs that may have been dropped after she went to bed last night.

How to paint an ocean abstract