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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


You may not know this but my husband, Frank, has a lot of theories—some make sense; some not so much. I’ve been wanting to share these with you for awhile but the problem is, most of them are of a well, potty nature. He’s sort of a potty philosopher. Today I’m going to share a few with you but don’t worry, I’ll take out the crap.

On the weather:
You know how you feel like you always have to choose whether you like hot or cold? I think this is silly because nobody likes the extreme of anything. Well Frank has a strong opinion about this: He likes cold better and you know why?

“You can always put on more clothes but you can only take off so many clothes.”

So if you’re cold, you can continue to add clothes, add layers, add blankets…there’s really no end to how much you could pile on if you’re cold. But if you’re hot, you can only take off so many clothes and then you’re naked. Then what do you do? You’re naked and sweaty and that’s just gross. Thus Frank believes that cold is the superior of the weathers.

On tipping:
There are several theories here:

“Why tip if the person’s not gonna see it?”

“Why tip on a beer? There’s nothing the bartender can do to make your beer better.”

“I can’t wait for those dollar coins to start becoming more mainstream. That way I can put a quarter in the jar and they’ll think it’s a dollar.”

On Boy Meets World:
I don’t know if this is a theory as much as it is a pet peeve. For some reason in the later episodes of the semi-hit series Boy Meets World, Topanga and Cory always say that they have loved each other since the sandbox. They act like they’ve basically been dating since the 1st grade. But if you watch the earlier episodes “Topanga wasn’t hot” as Frank says, “She’s a freak who wears a cape.” Frank isn’t quick to get angry but just say something like, “Cory’s always loved Topanga; she’s the girl next door” and watch him get pretty steamed.

Okay, one Potty Theory:
Lately we’ve been eating a lot of asparagus but whenever I make it for other people someone always says, “It makes my pee smell.” When I was planning on making it for my book club Frank offered this: “If anyone says they don’t want to eat it because it makes their pee smell, just tell them ‘well, it smells better than regular pee, doesn’t it?’”

Maybe it’s love, maybe I’ve lived with him too long or maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of Boy Meets World but I gotta tell you, a lot of the Frankosophies make sense to me. But then again, I could just be sheltered. I mean, I am buried under six layers of clothing and seventeen blankets since Frank won’t let me turn on the heat.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Blog: Behind the Scenes

When I give people a tour of my house and we get to my office, they always say, “Oh, this is where you write the blog!” I inevitably become defensive and come back with,

“You know, I don’t JUST write a blog. I spend most of my day writing articles for money (not just the amusement of my friends). Do you see that assignment board? Those are REAL articles! I’m not a professional blogger!”

Then the tour group responds with, “So where exactly are you when you write the blog?”
and “Do you come up with the blog idea right here and then write it? Or do you think of it all night long?”

I then surrender and play the part of a professional blogger. I gotta give the people what they want I guess. So here’s how it works:

7:15 a.m. Wake up

7:40 a.m. Make breakfast: Frank’s fiber-filled Oatmeal to go bar and my Kashi

8:05 a.m. Frank leaves for work, I come up to my office or “blog headquarters.”

8:15 a.m. Check my email then start the blog. What do I write about? Sometimes I already know. Sometimes I have to check the running list of blog ideas which I keep in a folder on my computer cleverly titled “blog ideas.”

8:20 a.m. Write blog in a Word document. Read over blog. Spell check. Cut and paste blog into Writinggal page. Sometimes add pictures. Sometimes make certain words linked to other blogs so people can keep up (kinda like on Soap Operas when they recap).

8:50 a.m. Must be done with the blog because I have to leave for spin class! It starts at 9:15 but if I don’t claim a bike, Klepto Clarice will steal mine! It’s very stressful!

So that’s really all there is to it. I know, you’re bummed because you thought I had several blogging assistants and stylists and masseuses to help me. But if you’re still intrigued you can come take the tour. Just please stay behind the ropes at all times. We professional bloggers musn't be disturbed.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Listen Up, Y'all

My parents are not from Texas and although they’ve now lived here for over 30 years, they refuse to acclimate. And when I say “acclimate” I mean they won’t use the word “y’all.” In fact, when I—a native Texan—started incorporating the common contraction into everyday speak, they scolded me. And when I started using it in my writing, well they were down-right horrified: “You’re writing it now?” they exclaimed.

Try as they may, it’s a big part of my vocabulary and there’s no gettin’ rid of it. I’m quite fond of it. It’s got two advantages over “you guys:”

It’s shorter.
It’s not gender-specific so no one gets offended.

Oh, and I just thought of a third: If you say it right, you sound like a Southern belle. (Say it wrong and you just sound like a hick.)

I remember in the sorority house we sometimes felt the need to make it redundant: “Y’all ALL need to pay for your t-shirts. I mean it. Y’all ALL are gonna be on probation and you can’t go to the Spring Casual if you don’t. And you know y’all ALL don’t wanna miss it.”

So I embrace the word and I encourage others to do the same. But here’s my PSA to all of the y’all users out there:


I swear, this has to be up there with “definitely” in how often it gets misspelled.

It’s a contraction for “you all” so it’s spelled “y’all.”

Yet 99% of people spell it like this: “ya’ll.” What’s that? That doesn’t even make sense!

I ask in the name of all things good and Southern that you please stop violating my beloved phrase this way. If you’re gonna write it (even though my parents won’t approve), you must at least spell it correctly.

So there you go. I just wanted to share that little lesson. I hope y’all ALL (and even you guys) found it useful.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Jess, She's Just Like US!

I subscribe to this awesome magazine; it’s called Jess Weekly. Well, they’re still calling it US Weekly but I predict the official name change any day now. Why?

Well, for starters, Jessica Simpson is always, always on the cover—either as the main story or one of those boxes on the side. If she’s the primary topic it’s usually some new development in her love life (New Cheating Bombshell!) If she’s a side story it’s equally as scandalous, like the night she tripped and fell (The truth about THAT night).

Inside the mag we can count on Jess to pop up in all our fave sections:

Hot Pics: Jessica walks her dog, Daisy. Assistant Cacee picks up poo.
Loose Talk: “I know the difference between tuna and chicken, y’all.”
Stars! They’re Just like US: They talk on their cell phones while scratching under their noses!
And sometimes, unfortunately, Jess ends up in The Fashion Police:
“Jessica, that outfit is a Hazzard to your health.”

A couple of weeks ago they had a riveting report on why Jessica Simpson has been seen out and about in outfits she’s WORN BEFORE! That’s right, they caught her wearing the same outfit on August 28, 2004 and then again on January 24th, 2006. I mean, doesn't she know you have to wait seven years before you can repeat an outfit? That way you can call it 'vintage.' She did this TWO other times—taking a 2004 outfit and wearing it in 2006. She must be humiliated.

They even called in the experts to analyze her bizarre behavior: “She’s been busy moving out of her house,” celeb stylist Jen Rade tells US, “She could have cleaned out her closet and been like, ‘I miss these things.’”

Schwoo. Thanks, Jen. I’m just glad to know there’s a logical explanation and Jess hasn’t lost her mind! Next you’re gonna tell me that she IS eating buffalo.

Now I haven’t received the latest issue of Jess weekly yet but I have seen the cover: “It’s War!” the headline reads over a picture of Nick and Jess. Apparently, now that Nick knows she cheated on him, he’s going after her millions. Nick, I hate to tell you this but your ex ain’t got millions. I heard she’s so desperate she’s digging into the 2003 wardrobe. You didn’t know that, Nick? Sounds like somebody needs to renew his subscription to Jess Weekly.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Perfecting the Parfait

Now I may not be able to bake but I make a mean instant pudding. What does that mean to make a “mean” something anyway? Pudding isn’t mean; it’s fluffy, creamy and is best when licked right off the beaters. Well anyway, I’ve got it down.

I’m always experimenting with pretty pudding presentations. A few times I’ve put the vanilla pudding in martini glasses (finally found a use for those things), dipped two small graham crackers on each side, and put a little bit of chocolate syrup and a cherry on top.

Last night for book club I got more creative. I think I made parfaits. I’m not really sure what constitutes a parfait (like maybe it’s supposed to have nuts and strawberry flavoring and caramel) but I’m still calling mine a parfait. It had layers so I figure that counts. The layers went like this:

Graham cracker crumbles
Sugar free white chocolate pudding
Light whip cream
Graham cracker crumbles
Whip cream
Cherry on top
Little bit of light Hershey’s syrup on top of that.

I crumbled up the graham crackers in my new Pampered Chef food chopper which is awesome. I set up this whole little assembly line of nine martini glasses, the crumbles, the pudding and the whip cream. Even the little cherries sat there in a row. It was a little time consuming but worth it.

Mmmm…they were so good and low in calories too (approx. 200 calories each). I think as long as my baking doesn’t involve an oven (which I guess is the definition of baking) then I’m okay. And if involves an electric mixer that requires me to lick the beaters, I’m better than okay.

Look at my pretty parfaits all in a row! Good girls.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

At Last

I found them. Well they found me actually. Thank God Wal-Mart didn’t have the Basil Tomato Feta Cheese I needed for my famous asparagus dish I’m making for book club tonight. I was forced to make a separate trip to Kroger on Sunday to get it. Frank was with me so he had to come too.

As we were leaving a young girl of about nine years approached us and said, “Excuse me, would you like to buy…” and I immediately was ready to say, “No, thanks, we don’t need wrapping paper. We don’t need giant bins of popcorn. We don’t need raffle tickets.” But then she finished her sentence: “…some Girl Scout cookies?”

“YES!!!!!” I screamed, “Take me to them!!”

We went over to a small table where the other dealers and their leader stood. “What do you say?” the leader dealer asked of her troops. “How can we help you today?” one of the dealers asked obediently.

“I want the stuff!! I want it all!!” I exclaimed, “I’m so happy to see you, girls! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Nobody’s come to my door. Nobody’s approached Frank at work. I haven’t seen you at the stores and I had just given up. I thought 2006 would go down in history as a Girl Scout cookie-less year. A tragic year.”

The dealers continued their formalities: “And if you like coffee you should try these new cookies…”

“No, no. I don’t like coffee. I don’t like NEW cookies. I need some Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas, Do-si-dos…”

“Ma’am, would you just like a box of everything?” asked the most persistent of the dealers. I forgave her the ma’am slip-up since she had the stuff.

“Um, I don’t think I have that much cash,” Frank confessed. My heart sank. He only had $7 which meant we could only get TWO boxes of Girl Scout cookies at today’s outrageous prices. We had to devise a strategy. The thing is, since I thought we weren’t going to find the little gals, I had stocked up on other chocolate faves like the VitaTops and Chips Ahoy 100% Whole Grain cookies (or “fiber cookies” as Frank calls them). We really couldn’t handle much more chocolate.

You won’t believe what we bought:

One box of Thin Mints (well that you can believe except for the fact that we only bought one box)
One box of “All Abouts.” (A new one!)

The Thin Mints are in the freezer (don’t get any ideas, book club girls.)
The All Abouts are kinda like Milano cookies but better. They each have a statement on them like “Girl Scouting is all about Leadership” or “Girl Scouting is all about Values.” At least that’s what we think they say. We keep meaning to read it but by the time we remember we’ve already bitten half the cookie so we’re just guessing that “uting ll out ndship” means “Girl Scouting is all about Friendship.”

Why no Tagalongs? Not enough bang for your buck, Frank says. Why no Samoas? Frank isn’t a fan of coconut. Why no Do-si-dos? No chocolate. Need I say more?

Yes, things were a little tense here at the Simcik household without the stuff. But now that we have it, everything is okay. All is right with the world. At least until we run out of Thin Mints.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Oh, Easter Tree, Oh, Easter Tree

I took down our Christmas tree on December 28th. I’m pretty sure I was the first person on our street; maybe in the world. I get so excited about Christmas that I put up the tree on the first acceptable occasion—the day after Thanksgiving. So by the time it’s December 26th, I’m so ready for it to come down.

I had a roommate who used to put the tree up about mid-November and not take it down until late January. I played this little game where I wouldn’t bring up the subject of taking it down, just to see how long she would keep it up.

We passed a milestone when the tree was still up on January 24th. I had never had a tree up on my birthday before so I had to pose with it. While I cursed the tree that had worn out its welcome, I secretly hoped she would keep it up until March so that I could pose with the tree in swim wear. Unfortunately, she took it down before Valentine’s Day—still an impressive duration.

But wait. Don’t call the Guinness people just yet. I found a rival holiday extender. When Frank and I were driving to Cathy’s Wok on Valentine’s Day we passed a house in the neighborhood across the way that still had their tree up! “On Valentine’s Day!” I exclaimed to Frank in horror. It didn’t seem to have ornaments on it but it was still up and no, it wasn’t just a tree that looked like a Christmas tree it was, indeed, a Christmas tree.

I confirmed it when we drove by there again this past Saturday night. Yep, February 18th, still up!! I plan to take this route as often as possible so I can see how long this goes on. I mean, it’s one thing to keep it up but why not close your curtains in shame?

I’m going to bet that they’ll keep it up until Easter. Anybody want to take me up on it? I’ll drive by on Easter and check things out. And if they do happen to have their curtains closed, I’ll just knock on the door. I’ll dress up like the Easter bunny and tell them I’ve got presents to put under their tree. They better have some milk and cookies for me.

Friday, February 17, 2006

EOD Update

I can't stop shaking. There was a loud, banging on my front door and I immediately ran and hid in the closet under the stairs. Okay, I didn't actually go IN the closet but I was right outside of it, where the knocker couldn't see me.

But then I thought, "Hey, I know that knock. That's the knock of a UPS man! He must be here with my VitaTops!" I ran to the front door, swung it open and saw the brown truck driving away. "Wait!! I'm here! Please don't leave and take my VitaTops!" I screamed.

I hung my head in defeat but then I saw it...right there on my front porch (stoop, really). The white box bearing the words Vitalicious! He left them for me! Oh, glorious day!

It's gonna be a good weekend. Well, it will be once I stop shaking.

I Take it Back

You’re not all invited to my mountain home anymore. Why? Because I’m pretty sure I’m gonna win. You see I’ve entered over 40 times. How many times did you enter? Yep, that’s what I thought.

I put a recurring meeting on my calendar every day from January 1st until February 17th.
Okay, I didn’t think of the recurring meeting until the 9th so I’m estimating that I missed about eight days. But still…40 entries? Quite impressive. I was actually bummed today when I entered my name, email, address, phone number, year of birth and sex for the last time. It’s become such a habit—like eating my Kashi cereal, having my Oprah snack and sipping my banana/blueberry smoothie. (So what if all my other habits have to do with food?)

So anyway, before I thought it was just a lofty dream—a long shot. Now that I’m confident about my victory I think it’s best if I don’t invite every single blog reader. I mean, I don’t even know some of you. What if you were to steal my bamboo rugs? Or the dog I plan on getting for the doggy dream home? Or worse, my cabana boy? I’m sorry to let you down but it just won’t work. At least you can say you sort of know someone who won the dream home.

I will say that even though I’m pretty positive I’m gonna win, I do have a few worries:

--In mid-January I got a new cell phone number. What if one of my old cell phone number entries wins and they can’t get a hold of me? Will they mail me something? Will they email me? If someone has my old cell phone number will they just act like they’re me? I’m gonna call it right now and see if someone has it.

Ah! Somebody does have it! The good news? He doesn’t speak English. I spoke with Juan briefly (in Spanglish) and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know about the contest. Schwoo…

--They’re announcing the winner LIVE on April 29th. What does that mean? Will I already have been notified and I’ll be there with them at my mountain home? Will I come dancing out of the project room?

OR will they show up at my house in Dallas all Publishers Clearing House style to notify me? If that’s the case, I won’t be here! I’ll be at cousin Leanne’s engagement party (which by the way, is on your street, Jacquie, so I’ll be stopping by to say Happy 1st Birthday to Charlie too).

So, you see? I’m totally busy that day and I won’t be there when they show up. Will they just give it to my neighbor, Edwin? I think I’ll leave a note. I’ll give them your address, Jacquie, if that’s okay. I trust you won’t steal my dream home. I’ll even let you come visit.

So now all we can do is wait. I guess you all could enter one more time today. But really, what’s the point? I’ve totally got it in the bag. If you still really really want to see my mountain home, I will be holding auditions for the position of my cabana boy. But I will tell you, I sort of already promised it to my new friend Juan.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Operation: Fiber-Up Frank…A Soluble Saga

It’s not looking good for Frank and his fiber. After four mornings of Kashi, he’s given up. Yep, he’s back on the wagon—back on the Poop Tarts. We must stop him!

He says the Kashi made his tummy hurt. I interviewed a dietician yesterday for an article I’m working on and I thought I’d throw in some questions about our friend, Kashi. (I also threw in some blueberry queries too: ‘Aren’t they the best?’ She agreed.) When it came to Kashi she had this to say: “That’s a great choice. Just remember it has a lot of insoluble fiber so you’ll need to balance that with soluble fiber.” Ah-ha! That’s why Frank got the belly aches. He’s all insoluble!

But then…a soluble solution: I shared this fiber finding with Tips from Thea and she had a little tip (natch). Apparently she takes these fiber chews (like candy) and gets four grams of the soluble stuff through that. TfT, please tell us the name of those chews on the blog today so we can all go out and get them. I can definitely convince Frank to eat candy!

Problem is, Frank still has the fear of Kashi so I need to find him a new breakfast food. We’re out of Poops as of today and sorry, Kellogg’s, I just won’t buy them anymore. What we need is something similar to Poops but healthier and fiberyer. Anybody got any ideas? I’ll buy something today and then report back right here on the blog.

It’ll be like a Fiber Soap Opera. No, a Fiber Telenovela (except with less attractive characters, lame accents and a dull, somewhat disturbing premise involving digestion). Please join us next week for “Franco, el Hombre de Fibra”

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bakinggal Strikes (out) Again...Plus: the Broth Debacle

After the Rolo cookie incident of ’05, I just couldn’t bring myself to bake again. But then, a baking miracle—my mother sent me all kinds of ingredients like unsweetened cocoa (since you apparently can’t use Swiss Miss), dark brown sugar (because light is just so frowned upon), sugar (Splenda just isn’t the same) and new baking powder (not the one absorbing odors in my fridge).

I decided since I had all the right ingredients I would pick myself up, tie my apron on, hold my oven mitt high and bake again. My first attempt? Blonde cream cheese brownies from my new healthy cook book (courtesy of my mother-in-law).

I thought it would be a nice Valentine’s Day treat for Frank (a break from all that fiber). So I blended, I mixed, I cracked (eggs), I baked and then I waited. When Frank took his first bite he shook his head and said, “This time I KNOW what they’re supposed to taste like…” I took a bite. Ew…

Where did I go wrong, Baking gods? Well, I have one idea. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a whole bottle of pure maple syrup so I used the Aunt Jemima light we had in the fridge. I know, I know!! I’m not supposed to substitute! It’s baking suicide! If I ever bake again, I vow to follow all the rules.

In other cooking news, I seem to have a strange aversion to vegetable broth. I’m not allergic to it; I just can’t buy it. Here are the facts:

Attempt #1: Tues., 2/7: I’m at Kroger, stocking up on all sorts of ingredients for the next two weeks. I had two recipes that called for broth—one chicken, one vegetable. Kroger didn’t have vegetable! So I reluctantly decided to get chicken for both. I reached into those handy Campbell dispensers and pulled out two chicken broths—or so I thought. When I got home I realized I had grabbed one broth and one chicken noodle soup!

Attempt #2: Sun., 2/12: Frank and I are out and about and I tell him I need some things at the store. He suggests Kroger and I say, “No, I need vegetable broth and they don’t have it. Let’s go to Albertson’s.” So we’re in the soup aisle and we find vegetable broth by Swanson. I said, “Does Albertson’s make a vegetable broth?” He said, “No, but they have beef broth.” I said, “Okay, I guess I’ll have to get the Swanson kind.”

On Monday night when I’m practicing a pasta dish that I was going to make for my book club (girls, be glad I practiced, it didn’t make the cut), I get out the broth to find that I had purchased BEEF BROTH! And not even the Albertson’s kind! The Swanson kind!! What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I purchase vegetable broth?

And why can’t I bake anything? And why haven’t my Vitatops come in yet? And where, in the name of all things good and evil and chocolate, are the Girl Scout Cookies??!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Writinggal's Rules of Romance

Have you ever been to a Valentine’s Day-approved restaurant? You know, the kind that makes you call ahead for reservations? The kind with tablecloths? The kind with superfluous forks?

If you go to one of these on V-day, here’s what you’ll face: hundreds of other couples, trying to be romantic. You’ll sit really close to another pair as they attempt to say meaningful things, force themselves to stare into each others’ eyes and dutifully hold hands across the table. In fact, they’ll be sitting so close to you that you might end up holding their hands too. Now, I ask you, IS THAT ROMANTIC? It’s about as intimate as one of those mass weddings in Central Park (which I saw happen on Will & Grace).

If you want some romance, fun and a good V-day story, try to stick to Writinggal’s restaurant rules:

-Don’t go anywhere that has a waiter

-Don’t go anywhere that requires a reservation (especially the kind where you have to say your last name instead of your first. Frank and I messed this up one time and the host said, “Right this way, Mr. and Mrs. Frank.”)

-If it’s got “specials” it’s not so special

-Basically, if anyone else would think of going there for V-day, you don’t wanna be there.

Now, I’m not against fancy restaurants (although I used to be). I just don’t like them on this particular night. So where will Writinggal spend her V-day? At Cathy’s Wok—the Chinese equivalent to Jason’s Deli! CW has it all: you go through a line, it’s affordable, their food tastes awesome, it’s made with healthy ingredients, they don’t have a liquor license so you it’s BYOB and the best part (are you ready for this?) you get FREE ice cream at the end! Now that’s $16 of pure romance.

Other fine choices:

-Luby’s: A hearty steak dinner on a “platter!”
-Golden Corral: So many different genres of food!
-Taco Cabana: Pink margaritas for lovers!
-TGI Friday’s: Now I know this is a bit fancy and they do have a waiter. But $12.99 for a three-course meal? Remember to wear your Thanksgiving pants!

As for me, I can’t wait for tonight at Cathy’s Wok. We’re gonna bring our own wine (and this time not leave our plastic wine cups behind) and totally pig out. It will probably be pretty empty—as if we rented out the place just for us. No reservations, no tablecloths, no extra forks, no fuss. Yep, it’s gonna be one romantic evening for Mr. and Mrs. Frank.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Operation: Fiber-Up Frank

This weekend I became obsessed—obsessed with forcing fiber on my husband. I know the fiber craze is like so 1993 but I sort of missed it then and I’m in a fiber frenzy now. Why was I so sure that Frank needed more fiber? All the signs pointed to it:

I went to Costco, planning to stock up on the usual giant amounts of our fave staples like Kashi and Poop Tarts. But I couldn’t find the jumbo poops. I searched, I asked, I searched again. And then I became frantic and had to calm down. I was pretty sure we had a whole box hidden away in the laundry room (you have to start getting creative on where to store all the excess Costco food) or was it in the trunk of my car?

Anyway, I got home and found a disturbing sight: only four servings of poops were left in the house. That meant I either had to return to Costco, a place I should only visit every three months, or go to Kroger and pay full price for a box of 12 poops (which is only six servings for Frank).

The next sign appeared on Oprah. Dr. Oz was on, scaring us about our health, making us all paranoid as usual. He told a lady that she wasn’t getting enough fiber. That’s when it occurred to me that I was always concerned about myself not getting enough fiber and in the meantime, Frank was becoming fiber deficient! I was eating all the fiber in the house. I’m a fiber-hoarder!

I realized that maybe there was a reason there were no Poop Tarts left at Costco. Frank shouldn’t be eating them! He needs to eat Kashi with its 8 grams of fiber per serving. That’s when I took action:

I informed Frank about his fiber deficiency and suggested the Kashi idea. To my surprise, he agreed. He tried the Kashi on Saturday and liked it! We officially started Operation: Fiber-Up Frank on Sunday morning. Frank would need to start getting 30 grams of fiber a day. I made him a bowl of Kashi and two pieces of cinnamon toast (on fiber-rich bread, natch).

Fiber count: 13 grams.

For lunch we had Subway. (I had another mayo incident but that’s another story. Let’s just say it ended with me scraping it off.) I’m not positive about the fiber count but there was some lettuce involved so I’m gonna give him at least a gram:

Fiber count: 14 grams (almost halfway there).

For dinner we had enchiladas. The black beans had fiber and there was a little lettuce there too.

Fiber count: 21 grams

Dessert: 3 Chips Ahoy 100% Whole Grain Cookies

Fiber count: 23 grams

I also gave Frank a few grapes throughout the day so I’m gonna give him a couple of points for that too.

Final Fiber Count: 25 grams.

Not bad but we still didn’t reach our goal of 30. We’ll have to work harder today.

I have to tell you that Operation: Fiber-Up Frank wasn’t without casualties. I ended up OD’ing on fiber, getting 45 grams yesterday! That’s 20 grams more than I’m supposed to get. I’m gonna have to get less today to make up for it. Oh, well. Somebody’s gotta finish off those Poop Tarts.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why Wham! Rocks

Now, I’m not saying George Michael rocks. And I’m not saying Andrew Ridgeley rocks. But together, as Wham!, they rock. A little Wham! trivia:

Did you know George Michael’s real name is Yorgos Panayiotou? I don’t think he would have had as successful solo career if he was billed as “And here’s Yorgos Panayiotou singing ‘I Want Your Sex.’”

Did you know that Andrew and George were born just one day apart?

Did you know that ‘Careless Whisper’ was billed as “Wham! featuring George Michael?”

Did you know that George Michael did all the song-writing and the singing and Andrew just danced around and then enjoyed their bevy of babes while George got frustrated because he didn’t care about women? Yeah, you probably got that.

Let’s talk music: The first song I ever heard by Wham! was probably your first too: “Wake Me up Before you Go Go.” It’s a classic circa 1983 and my sis played that tape over and over again. I think it also had ‘Careless Whisper’ which is a little slow for me but still good. I’m also a fan of their holiday hit, “Last Christmas I gave you my heart…” I remember when it first came out I imagined George literally giving his heart (the blood-pumping organ) out of his body to a woman and her giving it someone else the very next day. I imagined Andrew just standing there going, “Gross!” which was probably pretty accurate.

Okay, let’s get to the all-time best Wham! song: “Freedom” No, not the George Michael solo “Freedom.” This rocks so much more!

I don't want your freedom, I don't want to play around. I don't want nobody, baby, part time love just brings me down. I don't want your freedom. Girl, all I want right now is you.

I love it! I’m so jamming to it now and it’ll be in my head all day (until I make chicken and then I’ll inevitably start singing “Chicken vagina, the Chinese chicken” all over again).

While George Michael went on to have a successful solo career and finally came out of the closet, Andrew Ridgeley never made any hits and therefore will always go down in second banana history.

But that’s okay. I mean, none of us are even third bananas and we certainly never made any catchy songs that defined the early 80’s. That’s why Wham! totally rocks. Well, also because sometimes they would actually wear matching white jean shorts in their concerts (so George's idea).

So what are they doing now?

Well I guess George’s on the go-go and Andrew’s hanging on like a yo-yo.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I See My True Colors

My friend Kim gets told she looks like Renee Zellweger. Mike Tirres gets Benjamin Bratt or Lou Diamond Phillips. When people ask me who I get, I used to always joke and say, “Claudia Schiffer.” Then I met a girl who seriously said she gets Claudia Schiffer. And she actually did look like her; she wasn’t just bragging. So I can’t use that one anymore.

So who do I really get? Cyndi Lauper. What’s that about? I mean, that’s a pretty broad statement. Do they mean when she looks like this?

Or like this?

There's a big difference. You don’t just go around telling someone they look like an always-changing person like CL and not clarify which look you’re referring to.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big Lauper lover. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” is a total classic. In fact, I first learned about our resemblance because of that song. My musical theater teacher in high school assigned me to sing the song for a show. I thought it was because I was a fun-loving girl but he set me straight.

Of course I love “Time after Time” (even though the video came out during that era when I was grossed out by MTV and Cyndi had half her head shaved like a checker board and it made me nauseous). I also love “True Colors” and “She Bop.” I just found one of my all-time fave Cyndi songs on iTunes the other day—“Goonies are Good Enough.” Do you remember that one? It’s when the Goonies are heading to the caves on their bikes and the song comes on and it’s so exciting...’member? Well, anyway, I incorporated it into one of my spin routines and I always ask people if they know what movie it’s from. They never know! But then when I tell them they’re like, “Oh, yeah. You probably picked that because you look like her.” Ah!

But seriously, I can’t decide if this is a compliment or not. I don’t mind being blonde, toned-down Cyndi but I don’t really want to be checker board head Cyndi.

But you know what? Cyndi is a successful singer/songwriter whose music has spanned decades. Plus, she seems like she would be fun to hang out with. I may even ask her to go on a Carnival cruise with me. She probably gets free trips since they use her song in the commercials. And when we’re laying out on the sundeck, I’m gonna be so glad I’m next to her in a bikini instead of Claudia Schiffer.

Which one's Elsa? Which one's Cyndi? You just can't tell, can you?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fred, my First Love

When I was 12, 13, 14 and many ages beyond that I had this mad crush on Fred Savage. I know, it’s weird. While most of my friends liked Kirk Cameron, the two Coreys and NKOTB, I was lusting after this short, slightly pudgy loser. He was more like ‘Aw” cute than ‘I-wanna-paw-you’ cute. But I totally dug him.

And it wasn’t like I just kinda liked him. I was obsessed with him. I’m talking posters all over my walls, tributes on my book covers and frequent mentions in common conversations. I remember being at a slumber party one time and bringing him up. Another girl said, “Oh, I like him too.” I was so excited that someone else saw in Fred what I saw that I immediately started talking my crazy Fred talk to her: “Oh, and do like it when he wears his green jacket? And when he gives it to Winnie Cooper? I’m so jealous of Winnie Cooper! I wish he’d kiss me, sitting on a big tree trunk like he did her..” The girl was like, “I don’t think I like him as much as you do…”

My best friend Amber had her sights set on boys we actually knew. That’s probably because they had their sights set on her too and I had to settle for my Fred fantasy world. I remember her mom even saying to her: “Amber, you don’t need to be liking boys at school yet. You should like boys on TV shows…you know, like how Elsa likes Fred Savage! That’s normal!” At least someone thought my infatuation was normal. I’m starting to think I was pretty disturbed.

I’m not sure when I stopped loving Fred but I have a feeling I took the posters down earlier than my crush faded. Years later I started wondering what I ever saw in little Kevin Arnold. When my book club brought up the subject of teen crushes they decided I won for weirdest crush. I even beat out Stefanie who was a Menudo-lover!

I hadn’t thought about Fred in years (except on his birthday every year, July 9th) until last night. I caught his new show, Crumbs. Didn’t love the show but you know what? He’s still cute! I think even at age twelve I could foresee that he would turn into a handsome 30-year-old. And ladies, I hate to tell you this, but your Coreys got nothin’ on my Fred.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tips from...Tricia?

Don’t get me wrong, Thea is definitely our go-to-girl for random yet helpful tips. I mean, she’s the one who told me that a girl’s excess back fat (that nobody knew about until low-rise jeans) is called your “muffin tops.” It’s so handy. Now I can say, “No way, I can’t buy those pants. My muffin tops will hang out.”

But when it comes to food, Tricia is tops. Thea even gives her the credit for discovering Kashi cereal which has changed all of our lives.

Tricia has the skinny on all the health food that actually tastes good. She introduced us to Hungry-Girl and now I religiously read her newsletter every day for food stats, trends and recipes. I even interviewed HG for an article thanks to Tricia.

HG has these chocolate treats called Vitatops. They’re only 100 calories each and 6 grams of fiber. Mmmm…love that fiber. I’ve always been curious about them but never bought them. But Tricia says they’re fantastic and she recommended that next time HG has free shipping, I should buy them. Well, today that happened! It’s a Tips from Tricia miracle!

Tricia also told me about Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers and she says I can get them at my fave place, Costco. I just happen to be putting together my Costco list when she told me about them. What handy and timely tips she has! I can’t wait to try them and report back because I totally dig veggie burgers.

Now don’t forget when it comes to obscure websites, new TV shows, hip lingo and useless trivia, Thea’s still your girl. But if it’s edible, ya gotta go with Tricia.

And who knows? Maybe if we all paid attention to Tips from Tricia, we could one day live in a world without muffin tops.

Monday, February 06, 2006

So That's How That Got There

I have several songs stuck in my head. Lately I’ve started to figure out why certain ones are stuck in my head at certain times.

For instance, it seems that in the morning hours I’m often singing that Gloria Estefan (plus the Miami Sound Machine I think) song, “1-2-3-4, Come on Baby Say you’ll love me, 5-6-7 times.” I mean, I’m singing all the way up to “8-9-10-11, I’m just gonna keep on countin’ until you are mine.” Then I start wondering if she really wanted to write a song about numbers or was she hoping to get a Sesame Street gig out of it?

Turns out I had to go to the eye doctor to solve the mystery. I was at the vision place in the mall (are they real eye doctors by the way?) and I put in these new contacts. Right after I did that the song creeped back into my head: “1-2-3-4…” Ah-ha! My contacts have the numbers “1-2-3” on them to help me know which way they go! Thus, I’m stuck with Gloria and the Sound Machine until I can afford Lasik.

Here’s another one: Every time I’m in my kitchen, standing over my sink I’ve got that Barenaked Ladies song goin’: “…watching X-files with no lights on, blah blah blah blah, like Harrison Ford I’m getting Frantic, like Sting I’m tantric…” Sometimes it’s other parts of the song like, “Chicken vagina the Chinese chicken, had a drumstick and your brain starts ticking…” (I cannot be held responsible for misunderstood lyrics).

Then I solved that one too: I’m always working with chicken when I’m in the kitchen! After I touch the chicken I inevitably wash my hands in the sink so, there I am, singing, “Chicken vagina…” Gross.

When I used to get up early and go to a real job I would sing this song in the shower (to the tune of “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” by Prince): “I’m the tiredest girl in the world. It’s plain to see, I’m the reason that God made tired girls.” So sometimes I’d end up singing the real song when I got to work (beautiful girl lyrics and all). Guess that’s why my co-workers thought I had a big ego.

Now if someone could just tell me why I have that Bad English song, “When I See you Smile” stuck in my head right now, I would really appreciate it. Oh, sorry. Now it’s stuck in yours, isn’t it?

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Jaw-Dropping Experience

Today, February 3rd, is the anniversary of the day I got my braces off, 12 years ago. Next to my wedding day, it's still the happiest day of my life. You see, I wore them for almost five years and had to have major jaw surgery before they could be removed.

The surgery happened right before my junior year of high school and later, during my junior year of college, I wrote a paper about it. It was for an intense creative writing class and the topic was "Personal Reminiscense." My classmates encouraged me to write a more serious paper so this was my attempt.

I'm pasting it here exactly as I wrote it (even though I see so many opportunities to make it funnier). I'm even including my original author's note at the end which was required of us.

Happy braces-off anniversary to me!

Elsa K. Weidman
E325M- Personal Reminiscence
March 11, 1998

Soul Surgery

I never noticed my pointy chin until sophomore year of high school. My orthodontist pointed it out during a routine braces-tightening one September afternoon. He informed me that my three years of service wearing braces were all for naught. Unable to correct my prominent underbite, he referred me to an oral surgeon for corrective jaw surgery.
“If the condition is bad enough, we usually like to do the surgery as soon as possible,” the oral surgeon explained to my parents and me. He then added, “You know, cause the other kids like to tease.”
“Well, you don’t think her jaw is that bad, do you?” my mother asked.
“Oh Yes,” he answered without hesitation.
What was he talking about? My condition? I had spent enough time in the orthodontist’s office to understand that I had an underbite which caused my bottom teeth to sit slightly in front of my upper. But no one ever teased me about it. At least, I didn’t think they did.
I glanced sideways in the mirror as the oral surgeon talked over insurance claims with my parents. My chin did stick out a little bit too much. And teenagers tease anybody with even the slightest imperfection. Why should I be the exception? My oral surgeon—an expert on the subject— assumed without a doubt that my peers chuckled at my protruding chin.
Maybe they stared at my profile in disgust. Or maybe they whispered catty comments behind my back like, “She looks okay from the front, but from the side—UGH!” Or worse. Maybe they had labeled me cruel names like witch girl or Jay Leno’s look-alike.
The more I worried, the more my chin grew. By the time we got home, I felt like a walking chin. Feeling my self confidence drain out of my body, I begged my parents to let me see a different oral surgeon. While I had accepted the fact that I would have to endure this major surgical operation, I refused to let this tactless doctor near my jaw.
We set the date for Christmas break and I had placed my massive underbite in the capable and caring hands of a new oral surgeon, Dr. Kershman. Through my frequent pre-operation visits to his office, Dr. Kershman patiently explained the procedure he would perform to correct my jaw problem. He would first break my jaw and then move my mandible (my upper set of teeth) forward so they would rest just slightly over my bottom teeth. The operation would take about six hours and he assured me that I would be very unconscious the whole time. When I woke up my jaw would be wired shut and it would remain that way for six weeks.
The fear of surgery soon replaced my fear of ugliness. Dr. Kershman had me watch a video which detailed the dangers of such a major operation. The film explained minor complications which had me only slightly worried until the end of the film when the narrator’s serious voice announced, “And the final risk— which is a factor in all surgery—death.” Death? I had to wonder if I really wanted to risk my life for an improved chin.
As December approached my life became consumed with the surgery. How could I live on milk shakes for six weeks? What if I had to vomit and I couldn’t cut the wires in time? What if my jaw looked even weirder than before? What guy would want to date a girl with a mouthful of wires? I rarely slept through the night and I experienced gruesome jaw surgery nightmares.
Dr. Kershman calmed my anxiety by informing me that we’d have to put off the surgery because the insurance refused to cooperate. He also pointed out that my frail 90 pound body could not handle the loss of a lot of blood. So we decided that while we waited for the okay from the insurance company, I would work on getting fat.
I had to get up to 100 pounds in order to donate blood to myself for the surgery. Spring break looked like the next possible opportunity for him to break my jaw. So while my parents cursed the insurance company, I ate—a lot. Spring Break came and went and we hadn’t made any progress with the insurance company. While surgery fears still plagued me, I wanted more than anything to get it over with.
I finally did. On August 11, 1993—almost a year after the first oral surgeon confirmed my condition, a thousand visits to Dr. Kershman’s office, hundreds of phone calls to the insurance company, and a lot of fattening food — I broke my jaw. Well, Dr. Kershman broke it. I woke up in intensive care with my mouth wired shut, a splint connected to my upper pallet, and an IV stuck in my left arm. I stayed in the hospital for two nights and on the third day Dr. Kershman released me...and my wires! I barely listened as he explained why I wouldn’t have to suffer through six weeks of silence. I only cared that I could speak again.
I first requested a mirror so I could examine my perfectly proportioned face. The reflection that stared back at me didn’t have a pointy chin. Instead it had swollen cheeks covered in hideous black and blue bruises. The splint in my mouth made me look like I had a third set of teeth. How could I face the first day of my junior year of high school looking like this? The kids would surely find new nick names to replace my old ones.
My parents didn’t think that even this major surgical operation should cause a glitch in my perfect attendance record. So four days after my release from intensive care I began my junior year— splint and all. I approached the front doors of my high school full of anxiety. I struggled to put one foot in front of the other, and when I saw my heinous reflection in the glass doors I considered going back to my car and hiding in it all day. But I kept on walking.
I thought about the year I had spent worrying about my appearance: how I always tried to sit in the back of the room so that no one would have to look at my profile, how I only looked in the mirror from the front, and when I did catch a glimpse of my profile I turned away and fought back the tears. But now I realized something. As I entered a new school year, I also entered a new life. Once my jaw healed, I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone teasing me or calling me names behind my back. They could finally stop what probably had been years of ridicule.
Relieved, I set foot in my first period class prepared to answer many questions. A girl I had known since elementary school spoke first: “What happened to you, Elsa?” I explained that I had had surgery to correct my jaw. I expected her to leave it at that. After all, she had grown up with me and had probably always snickered at my pointy chin. Instead she looked puzzled and asked, “Why? You looked fine to me.”

Author's Note: I really tried to be serious this time. So I hope nobody laughed! I also hope my point is clear because I think spelling it out (so what I learned was...) would weaken the paper. This is about as serious as I can get since nothing too traumatic has happened to me...yet. If I do experience true suffering this semester I'll be sure to work it into a real downer!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

No More Wrinkles. No Ma'am.

Ever since I turned 29 I’ve been a victim of age discrimination. Hate crimes, if you will. First, there was my joint birthday party with Tips from Thea. I thought we were pretty clear on the evite that T.f.T. was turning 30 and I, a mere youthful 29.

But then people at the party got mixed up. They kept asking me what it felt like to be 30 and said things like, “So, the big 3-0,” and “I’ll have to give you 30 spankings!” (Hey, who was that guy?)

Then another friend asked how much younger my sister was than me. I had trouble convincing him that she was FIVE YEARS OLDER than me!

And there were more signs all throughout the week:
I bought wine. Now it’s bad enough when they don’t card you but it’s worse when they “joke card” you: “Ha ha. I guess I need to see your I.D. Ha ha.” You don’t do that to me! You do that to my parents! Not me! I’m still young and vivacious!

The guy at Blockbuster called me ma’am. Come to think of it, a lot of people are calling me ma’am lately. Pretty soon I’ll just put that down under “nickname” on official forms.

And then, the worst:

My doctor asked me, “What kind of skin care products are you using?”

I said, “Well, I wash my face with….wait. Why are you asking? Does my face look weird?”

Doctor: “Well, you’ve got a lot of lines around your eyes and you really should be using some sort of wrinkle cream. You strike me as someone who wants to look younger so I just thought I’d suggest…”

Me: “LOOK younger!! I AM young! I’m not even 30 although nobody believes me!”

Doctor: “Okay, calm down. Just don’t go getting any lifts and tucks…”

Me: “I’m not 50! I’m 29! I don’t need lifts and tucks! Wait, do I?”

I was pissed at the doctor for being so honest but then I was even more pissed that everybody else was just letting me shrivel up and age before their eyes! I needed an intervention; not passive criticism. Why didn’t you people tell me to moisturize? Why didn’t you recommend some wrinkle creams? Some serums? Some lotions? Some potions?

Last night I started the treatment. I exfoliated. I put some cream around my eyes. I moisturized. This morning I moisturized again. I felt really greasy and slimy and shiny but I went Walgreen’s anyway to stock up on more anti-aging products. It was all worth it when the guy at the check-out said, “Have a nice day, Miss.”

Man! This stuff works fast! I look fantastic!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Two Words from my friend Kimmy

Well, really it's one word repeated:

"Rabbit Rabbit"

-When we were college roomates she used to say this on the first of day of every month.
What the hell does it mean?