Archive for January, 2013

15 Jan 2013

If HE has nitrates, I want nitrates!!!!!

6 Comments Cooking/Baking, Family, Nutrition

This is my second attempt at this post. You see, it’s a very complicated subject; one that must be dealt with with such finesse, such a delicate hand, that I’m not sure of my exact approach. I’m sure by now you’ve guessed what the topic is.

That’s right. Lunchables.

Here is me trying to make my long, boring post more readable. Bullet points:

I pack very healthy, very tasty lunches for my son. Organic fruits, sandwiches with organic sunflower butter or nitrate-free turkey, snacks with no corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.  He FREQUENTLY tells me how delicious these lunches are.

Now kids are bringing Lunchables to school.

G wants Lunchables.

I can not seem to convincingly talk my son out of wanting me to purchase Lunchables. I tell him I will make better versions of the same, exact thing. This falls on deaf ears.

Lunchables are packed in bright packages and include juice and candy. The teachers won’t even let the kids at school eat the candy that comes in the Lunchables! I explain this to G. G does not care. He says he can eat the candy after school.

Side note/bullet point: Except for one breakfast, in the car, on the way home from Central California… G has never been to McDonald’s. I know he will go one day, probably soon. Probably with me. But so far I have substituted In N’ Out for Mcdonald’s. It’s not the BEST. But I think it’s much BETTER.

I am trying to apply this philosophy to his lunches. I add fun snacks, like cheddar bunnies or organic fruit gummies. I let him have bad stuff, too. I promise I do. He gets treats. He gets candy. (Real candy made by Hershey’s and Jelly Belly’s!) He gets lollipops. He gets desserts. I don’t shield him from that stuff because I don’t want him to leave for college and shove so much junk in his face that he ends up in a sugar coma for 12 weeks.

I just think there’s a better way to do things. And I don’t want to give him crap to eat just because other people do. And please know that I do not, in any way, believe that these parents love their kids any less than I love mine. They don’t. This just isn’t their main focus. It is, however, one of mine.

So, what do I do? Do I let him have one Lunchable a week? Do I fight the good fight and make Lunchables so taboo that one day he goes out and robs a convenience store with a shiv? Do I show him sickening pictures of the inside of a human body filled with Nitrates, Corn Syrup and Nerds???? Do I start my own pre-packed lunch company called Edibles, filled with delicious, organic food? Do I PRETEND to start this company, just so G thinks he’s getting his own brand of pre-packed goodness to take with him in his Batman lunchbox?

GARRETT-ABLES!!!! Read that out loud. It sounds like “Garr-Edibles”.

I just became a possible millionaire. And it’s all thanks to Lunchables and a very boring first post on the topic.

Feel free to discuss.

10 Jan 2013

Finding What Used to Be There

8 Comments Uncategorized

I’ve been given an assignment. It’s none of your business who gave it to me (my therapist).

We (she) discovered an important factor in the mystery of why I’m not writing. I thought it was just pure fear. I thought it was because I was afraid to visit that part of me because it’s easier to just go on about my life as if I never was a writer. Were a writer? (See? I can’t write!) I thought it would just be easier to push down the creative part of me and move on. But here’s the part I was missing: I equate being creative with being a part of the entertainment industry. I was shocked to discover that I was doing this.

Every time she asked me about my writing I would reply with some answer about whether or not it would be marketable, or if would make me money, or if it would get me on TV again. I guess I didn’t really see the problem. I mean, what IS the point of being creative if it’s not going to make you rich and famous?

DUH!! Really??? The point of being creative is (are you ready for this?) BEING CREATIVE!! When I was 16, 17, 18 and on, I would drive to a restaurant and sit for hours, picking at my food and vigorously writing in my notebook. I’d write sketches and monologues and thoughts and poems. And yes, a lot of it did end up on stage. But I wasn’t writing for that PURPOSE.  I was writing because I had to, because it was inside of me, because it was who I was.

But then I think my writing just became a means to an end. I wrote to be in the sketch show that lead to me booking Mad TV. Then I wrote to try to get on the episodes. Then I wrote to see if I had a marketable story to tell (I couldn’t find one). Then I became a mom. And by that point, Russ had already been asking me FOR YEARS, when I would start to write again… SO I DID NOT STOP BECAUSE I BECAME A MOM. I stopped long before that.

Being a mom did complicate the issue, of course. I mean for the first time in my life I was channeling my creativity elsewhere. I was thinking less about what would be funny on stage or on TV and more about what would make a two-year-old laugh, or what a three-year-old would find DELECTABLE for dinner, or what game could keep my four-year-old and I occupied for a while. And the more I thought about that stuff, the less I thought about the part of me that used to pour out words just because they were inside me.

So, my assignment is to sit here in this coffee house, just five minutes from home, and to ignore the carpet that needs to be vacuumed, leave the dishes in the sink, and write. I’m supposed to write anything I want that DOESN’T have to do with “The Industry”.  This is my warm-up day. I can write words on a page, like they’re scales on a sheet of music. Or write a series of words describing how I feel about my life or my career. I can write anything as long as it’s not with a mind toward seeing it performed or posted or printed anywhere.

It’s not gonna be fun or easy. That’s the point. And I have to do it at LEAST three times before I give up. It has to be for no one else but me.

And yes, I realize I am writing right now. And I realize you are reading this. But this is not the stuff that scares me. This is the stuff that satisfies the part in me that I try to push down. This writing is just enough to make me feel like I haven’t totally forgotten, but not enough to make me feel threatened or scared. And this writing, although immensely important to me, barely scratches the surface of what I have to say, deep down inside, somewhere I haven’t visited in nearly a decade.

I’m going to go do scales now. Cover me.

09 Jan 2013

Snowmen and Snuggies

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Here’s how it started:

G had a chocolate snowman from his Christmas stocking that he’d been saving to eat. Today he put it out on the dining room table, proclaiming this would be his dessert after dinner tonight.

Apparently, while I was out at my audition, G smashed the snowman with his fist… Just to see what would happen. The snowman was now pretty much crushed, a big hole where his jolly stomach used to be. Russ put him back on the dining room table.

After dinner G opted for another dessert, but insisted he’d eat the chocolate snowman tomorrow. Russ and I decided it was better to throw him out, as he was smashed and flakey and probably covered in little pieces of colored foil.

This did not go over well.

G started to cry. Hard. He had so wanted to eat the snowman, and the snowman in turn was excited to be eaten. The trash can was not the proper place for the snowman to end his days, and G was inconsolable. As he carried him to the trash, he hugged and kissed him, crying harder. Russ hugged G. I hugged G. G cried. Then I suggested his stuffed animals (or snuggies, as he calls him), might want to talk to him to make him feel better. He agreed.

We went to his room together and I made several of his snuggies hug and kiss him. He smiled, but then remembered how sad the snowman was, alone in the trash. I assured him chocolate snowmen don’t have feelings, but I also told him that his dad and I understand him, because we’re exactly like him, and we also assigned feelings to every inanimate object when we were his age. Then I suggested reading a book. He liked this idea, but wanted each of his snuggies to be read to as well. About 10 minutes later, all of his snuggies were in a semi-circle on the floor. I’d say there’s about 23 of them. G and his white bear picked out two books; The Hungry Caterpillar and Snuggle Up Sleepy Ones. G made sure I showed each snuggy each page, as I read it. This took a while. He was busy tending to the snuggies that needed a drink or had to take a nap.

Then we were on to the second book and G had to run out to the living room to talk to Russ. Five minutes later, he hadn’t returned.

And that’s how I ended up reading an entire book to about 23 snuggies with no one else in the room. Yes. I read them the whole book. I even showed them most of the pages… Until I realized I didn’t have to, and read the last few pages without showing them. And then I felt guilty, but just for a second… Because I remembered snuggies don’t really have feelings.  Although,  they probably have more feelings than chocolate snowmen.

G’s fine now. And his snuggies really liked the second book.


07 Jan 2013

Good, Bad, Better

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The other day, a friend of mine very casually said that we have our best moments and our worst moments when we become parents.

I have not been able to get those words out of my head. She’s so very right. I have had the best moments of my life, been the best ME I’ve ever been, since having Garrett. I’ve also had some moments that I felt ashamed, mad at myself, or just plain stupid.

I thought it might be a good time to reflect on what I like about me as a mom, and what I don’t. So I can do more of the good stuff, and less of the bad. And maybe you can chime in about what you’re brilliant at and what you’d like to change?

I am good at:

Letting G know how loved he is.

Letting him know how smart and special he is.

Making sure he’s well-fed.

Keeping promises.

Scheduling play-dates, so he has a ton of time with other kids.

Teaching him things.

Answering any questions he has about… Anything.

Letting him know how important it is to laugh and how cool it is to be odd.

Being a very big part of his school, knowing all the kids and parents, helping with important functions, and setting up fun things for him and his friends.

Being strict. Sticking to my guns even when it’s hard. And helping him to be a good person.

I am not so great at:

Being patient.

Not exploding over little, unimportant annoyances. In front of him. Which is scary.

Playing games that he’s created 35 hard-to-follow rules for. (see patience.)

Saying nice things about our home. I complain way too much, in front of G, about the mess and the things I’m unhappy with. This is such an awful message to send. I want to change it to one of gratitude for all that we have. This is taking a whole lot of work in therapy.

Teaching him to clean up and be organized. I’m still learning these things myself, and I’m afraid I’m passing on the “messy” (but very clean and germ-free) gene.

Things I’m getting better at:

Saying, out loud, when I need a break to re-charge. Then taking that break and coming back strong.

Being spontaneous and extra silly.

Having people over, even when I’m not thrilled about the way the house looks. G won’t remember the rip in the couch. He’ll remember that his friends were always welcome here.

These are the things I could think of quickly. I know there are many more, in each category. PLEASE share your thoughts. These are the things we need to talk to each other about so we feel less crazy.