The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2009-07-05

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The real reason I want to lose weight

Last summer I was going through my photo albums and realized there are very few pictures of me. And almost none of my son and I together.

All those years of running from cameras because I hated the way I looked caught up with me. I either had to make peace with my body image and the camera... or work on getting myself a happier body.

Making peace wasn't going to happen so that week I joined Weight Watchers. At the first meeting the leader asked me why did you come today; I think they always want to know why today? Why not yesterday? Tomorrow?

And so I said in front of the meeting that I realized there were no pictures of me because I run from cameras and one day I would be gone and my son would have no pictures to remember me by.

And than I started to cry.

The leader looked like a deer frozen in a high beam. And no one else knew what to do either so the awkward silence was maintained for like 3 hours. Mercifully, someone finally raised a hand to say she tried a new version of the Diet Soda / Cake Mix cake and could she tell everyone.

And there was a collective sigh of relief to be moving on.

I went back a few times but it pretty much fell apart for me. They talked a lot about Diet Soda / Cake Mix cakes. Every week someone had tried a new one, sometimes someone even brought one in.

Its not that it's a bad thing to talk about (It's not a big deal really and since I know someone will ask - One can of diet soda plus one cake mix and 'poof' you have a reasonably dietetic cake. No egg/No oil no matter what the box says. Any flavor combo you want.)

But there's more. There's more to losing weight than finagling recipes around so they fit into your current way of eating. There's more involved in support than swapping zero point foods you've discovered. There's more self-discovery involved.

Wouldn't there have to be?

Anyway. When I went last week they asked me Why today? and I didn't say it this time. Although I knew it was still true. I said something about my pants not fitting and everyone nodded.

But I'm telling you the truth because I think it's okay to do here.

Cape May, NJ


I got the Obamas trees by mistake and the apron giveaway winner!

With the Weight Watcher related math (okay, that's not really hard) I been doing and the Fat Elvis sightings, I completely over-looked the Naughty Donna Reed giveaway.

I don't have any explanation really. Okay, I do have just one.

We've been having some yard work done. Getting some trees put in. We were supposed to get a line of six fir (are they fir?) trees to the left of the small back porch that at some time in the future I would like to get hacked up into little pieces and replaced with a deck. The little porch, probably no more than 6 feet by 4 feet is off the kitchen sliding doors.

I have no windows besides the sliders in my kitchen, its all the light I have. And that porch may not be much but that porch is all the porch I have.

So the truck pulls up with six White House Lawn Governmental sized Christmas trees and they start unloading them and I say to the guy, 'Scuse me, did you confuse my trees with the Obama's?

Missing my sarcasm they continue unloading. I'm all, Aren't those trees too big to even fit? And the head guy is like, What?

Not What? as in what do I mean...more like what is my problem.

And I'm like, Those trees won't even fit in my yard. Those trees will block half my porch. Half the little light in my kitchen. What am I supposed to do when I want to put on a deck? Do you realize when I walk out my back door I will have to exit sideways and hang sharp right, immediately just to walk straight out my back door?

Yeah, okay. I was babbling at that point.

And he's telling me it's a better deal, I paid for smaller trees, I wanted privacy anyway. They are beautiful trees (and they were). Little trees get bigger anyway.

I don't know what he was saying, my head is swimming in a sea of pine needles. All I could see was green for miles but he rattled off a whole litany of tree related excusery about why I should keep the trees. There was something in the middle there about how there were no trees available that morning the size we agreed on which was the real reason I suspect that I got the beautiful Godzillaesque trees, but it was gobbled up on the front side by how nice the trees were... and on the backside by how I should shove them all together, as close as we can get 'em, and than prune them like a hedge. Isn't that what you wanted anyway? A hedge.

It took three days to sort it all out. Half a day alone to dig a trench big enough to even try to put some of those puppies in.

The compromise was to put the two smallest of the governmental sized suckers at the end and (otherly aquired) small ones towards the porch. It all worked out.

The big ones


would be good for blocking out the suns rays during eclipses

And the small ones


still let light into the kitchen via the sliding glass doors.

I took the pictures at 4 this morning with a porch light and my baby camera flash, so yes they are weirdly lit. It's not you.

And now that's that all settled the Naughty Donna Reed Apron goes to...

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-07-11 07:42:32 UTC

Rock on, Jeve!

Email me at

me (dot) parler (at) gmail (dot) com


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fiber is the new black...

Do you know what you get when you dramatically increase your fiber and liquid intake?

It's mayhem. And I have no frame of reference.

When a doctor asks me, Are you regular? I don't even know what that means. I had hemorrhoid surgery at 23. And not that wimpy rubber bandy thing. I had the real thing. In-patient, knock you out, scalpels, and stitches and IV's. Oh my.

So this? This uber-regularity? How do people live like this? And this having to go at the library thing? I don't want to poop in a public bathroom. My son assures me it's perfectly normal, that guys do it all the time and his friends have had deep and meaningful conversations in school bathrooms. Each guy in his own stall, taking part in the group conflab, while sitting on a toilet.

The only pause in these transcendental toilet musings are the sounds of hearty congratulations when someone comes up with a particularly egregious body noise.

I believe him. I've seen his friends exit a room when they have to USE MY TOILET. It's a major announcement. An event.

Woman just aren't like that. If I'm in a room full of friends and have to go, if I say anything it's, I have to go check my make-up, or call the baby-sitter, or get a drink of water. I can not imagine saying, I'll be right back I have to drop a deuce.

And I have heard that from more of my son's friends than I care to think about.

I really want to lose Fat Elvis but I didn't know I was going to have to form an intimate relationship with every public bathrooms in a 30 mile radius to do it.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fat Elvis sighting in NJ

I got on the scale this morning and I am officially all that and a bag of chips.

Or perhaps, all that and a bag of chips, and a Thanksgiving turkey, a Costco multi-pack of cream cheese and chive Captain's wafers, a paddle boat and several middle school-age children.

I haven't been this fat since I asked my obstetrician, Wow! Is the baby going to be big? And he said, No Tracy you're just fat. And I was. My newborn son, all 5 pounds 14 ounces of him, did nothing to alleviate the tonnage I gained during my pregnancy.

In fact, his entry into the world hardly made a dent in me.

And frankly at this point, with him being 18 and all, it's just embarrassing to be my delivery weight.

My delivery weight was embarrassing enough at my delivery.

But back to the story...

Being an early riser, I got up around 3 a.m. and wrote my Tale of two Lobsters post; than started decluttering. The last estate sale I went to convinced me I own too much stuff. It was sad to see that house full (to bursting) with just about everything (in the world) this woman had collected for years and years and for what? So strangers could paw through it? I came home vowing to pare down and 4 this morning seemed good a time as any.

So there I am in the dark, hauling trash bags out to garbage cans, sweating like fat Elvis.

And ya know, it wasn't hot outside at 4 this morning. Fat just sweats. Fat sweats a lot. My brain which was trying to reason with my fat was all like, Hello? It's not hot, would you turn off the freaking spigots already? Fat wasn't having any of it and kept on merrily sweating like I was wearing a jewel encrusted white plether jumpsuit and singing Hunka Hunka Burning Love.

Once in the house I stepped on the scale. A horrifying and difficult thing to do in the early morning hours when don't want to, you know, actually scream.

Two words flashed in my mind. I don't know why I thought of those words but I'm grateful it was those words and not Hostess Twinkies.

Found a meeting and already went.

I'm primed for all sorts of Weight Watchery to enter my life. Calgon, take me away.... Well, I guess it's Weight Watchers take me away...

Or at least take fat Elvis away.


A Tale of Two Lobsters

I don't eat lobster. ( The OMG, it's got eyes pivotal moment is here if you care to read it.)

The person I chose to spend my life with loves lobster and very much wanted to go to Red Lobster's Lobster Fest in April. I came up with a variety of lame excuses every time going to Lobster Fest came up (I haven't showered. I have something thawed already. I'm not in the mood for sea food. Ginger just threw up I don't want to leave her alone today. Ad ininitum.)

I effectively stalled until Lobster Fest was over which in retrospect was a bad idea because the other day an excited voice said, Hey, Kings has lobster tails on sale for $4.99!

I knew immediately I should have gone to Lobster Fest.

Shopping was accomplished, crustaceans were purchased and yesterday I found myself face to face (more face to tail) with two lobsters. Since I felt guilty about the lame stalling I'd done back in April I said, Yeah sure, I'll cook 'em.

It turned out to be a remarkably easy (albeit sort of gross as far as I was concerned) process. Cut the tails up the back. Mix up a paste of butter and garlic. Slather the butter/garlic mixture inside the cut area. Squeeze a bit of lime over the whole affair and broil until done. Which took no more than a few minutes.

lobster dinner

As an interesting side note - I went to the Red Lobster website and looked at the price for a lobster tail dinner. Granted theirs had a "fluffed" lobster tail with meat puffing out on top of the shell. My tails were not fluffy. But I had two of them for a cost of $9.98 while their one fluffy tail was 33.99.

***I'm having a vintage apron giveaway here***


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Kitchen from Hell... I Mean 1962


I've decided to do a feature called Retro Tuesday from now on ( or until the supply of old women's magazines purchased at a recent estate sale stops amusing me). The magazines are like some sort of deranged housewives time capsule into the late 40's - early 60's.

I picked up all the mags I could carry (about 10), paid, went back for the others and someone else had grabbed up the rest. Such is life at an estate sale. But the ones I did get are so interesting. So many ads for things I take for granted, like water heaters - which I'm guessing was an option in homes. And washing machines, dryers and dishwashers; which I know were options.

This is an ad from a 1962 House Beautiful. The main story was fantastical - A multi-page spread called Houses that Float. House boats. It's pretty amazing but so not applicable to...well, almost everyone. And in a time when there are still ads touting the need extension phones? Bizarre.

Here is today's ad.

Tappan Appliance Ad

It's really red, isnt' it?

Normally I love retro kitchens and I was looking for something drool-worthy but this stopped me in my tracks. It's just so crazy. So intense.



I don't think I could cook in there. I don't think I could even stand in there for any length of time without getting a migraine.

**Don't miss my vintage apron giveaway! It's here!**


Mr. Linky Tuesday 'Favorite Photo' Blog Hop


***Do I love you because you're adorable or are you adorable because I love you?***


Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm thinking about doing Retro Tuesday...

And yes, I know it's only Monday but I'm getting my thoughts together and seeing how it looks.

I got all these great magazines, mostly 50's era woman's magazines. I've been pouring through them for the last few day and besides drooling over the decor; the ads are a scream. And some of the jello concoction recipes are horrifically funny. I thought I might post something from a magazine on:


On the first go around on the magazines I've been taken with the sheer number of Milk of Magnesia ads. And the approaches...


Too much eating, too much smoking= take a laxative.


She should have never married him = she needed a laxative all the time.


Going on vacation (heck, leaving home at all?) = take a laxative.


If drinking it isn't enough you can always apply it.

It's sort of a weird PR campaign for me. They make it seem like taking Milk of Magnesia is about having a better life. But if your taking it several tablespoons at night as they are suggesting... can you even have a life? Away from home? For any length of time?


Twenty years later I still can't eat orzo...

Yesterday I went grocery shopping.

I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to make; my only thought was that I wanted to cook things that didn't involve a microwave.

And no Cheetos.

I wanted to start slowly so I bought packaged sauce mixes, canned soups, frozen veggies...

When I got home I surveyed my grocery booty. I came up with my first meal in ages. It was very easy.

Into the crockpot:


1 Beef chuck

au jus

2 packages of Knorr Au Jus Mix


1 Can of Campbells Double Strength Beef Stock

That was the basic flavor. To that I added I small package of sliced baby bella mushrooms and bunch of scallions and 10 (yes, really 10) garlic cloves.

Here it is ready to go


Pushed 10 hours on low and walked away.

This probably took more like 8 hours but could easily go longer (It was not ready at 5 hours though, still too tough). I suppose you could cook this on high but I find it toughens the meat.

This recipe was really off the cuff but solved a few problems I've had with slow cooker beef recipes. I find sometimes they aren't flavorful enough - the sauce doesn't really get through large pieces of meat. This did. The meat sometimes feels dry and overdone even though its low, slow cooking - this didn't. This meat was juicy. I find I normally have to pre-brown the meat to add flavor and that adds a pain in the butt step - I didn't have to with this recipe.

The sauce was so good I put in the fridge to skim off the fat. I am going to freeze it so I can use it another time in another beef dish.

The plan was to serve this with a recipe I'd found for a faux risotto made with orzo.

Orzo Risotto

1 pound box orzo
2 cups chicken stock or other broth
2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Bring a pot of salty water to boil, and cook orzo for 4-5 minutes, until softened but still hard in the center.

2. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan to a simmer with the stock. Add parboiled orzo and stir well.

3. Simmer orzo in stock, stirring regularly, until all the liquid is absorbed.

4. Off the heat, stir in cheese and butter, and season with salt and pepper.

And I made it but couldn't eat it. I haven't been able to eat orzo since the 80's when my dog Skye threw up round worms. I don't know, they looked like orzo to me at the time... and apparently still do.

So I had this with a salad instead.



Sunday, July 5, 2009

Im' having a Naughty Donna Reed Moment... and a surprise at the end.

So. Estate sales. I've been to a few lately.

I don't know if anyone remembers how I couldn't find my veggie peeler back in May? When I pulled apart the junk drawer and no peeler? Well, I've been on the look-out for a new one at a sale and finally found one. Mine had never turned up.


And found this rockin' (I'm thinking 60's) can opener to replace my gnarly one.

The moral of the veggie peeler story? I went to put the new one away and there was the old one. Swear. The first time I saw it since before I posted about losing it back in May. No idea how it got there or where its been. Creepy.

Check out these coasters; miniature

versions of car mats by Rubbermaid.


They were called Kar-rugs.


Here's the back of one of the coasters.


Some places call these salesmen's samples.

I think they will make great outdoor coasters.

Two melmac serving bowls...


A Lefton Poodle ashtry...


This reminds me so much of a friend of my mom's. She had the coolest 60's living room. All gold, black and white velour... and chandeliery all over the place. And she had a poodle too. Coco.

I found some old magazines at one sale and scooped them up. Magazines like House Beautiful from the 50's/ early 60's. Oh wow, the houses, the ads. I'm going through them and imagining.

1962 good housekeeping -3

1962 good housekeeping - 5

1962 good housekeeping = 4

Well, y'all...

I'm clearly having a retro moment.

And if you're still with me at this point in the post?

You're having a retro moment too.

I wanted to say 'thanks' with a We're Having a Retro Moment Giveaway!

See, these aprons?

apron5 - Copy

Amazing aprons from who knows when?

The 50's? The 60's? I'm really not sure... But look at them!

They are so I Love Lucy...


So Make Room for Daddy...


So Donna Reed..


Or maybe naughty Donna Reed...


Depending on what you wear underneath this one...

So, I've decided to give away Naughty Donna Reed. I don't really have a reason exactly why I picked that one. I kind of liked the way it sounded, I think. I'm having a Naughty Donna Reed giveaway.

It's got kind of a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Here's the rules...

Comment and tell me who your favorite retro housewife was/is! Mine is probably Lucy because she's was just so much fun and always managed to be fun while wearing pearls!

One comment per person or Ginger will be emailing you what for...


Assuming I can wake her. She's 14 you know...

Contest will run until Wednesday July 8 at 9PM Eastern time!

If you want to know if you won leave you email with your comment or subscribe to this thread!


I'll have a bag a Cheetos with a Welbutrin chaser, please...

I've been feeling down for the past few days. There is no extraneous reason; I'm sure it's my head I'm battling with at the moment. I've been battling my head for quite some time. The last few days it's been winning.

A lot of people don't discuss the state of their head but I've never been one of those. Things happen. Disorders occur. Meds are needed and I've needed them off and on (mostly on) for quite some time.

I've never been able to reconcile why some people feel one drug (or one disorder) is neutral and one drug (or disorder) is worthy of finger pointing.

Anyway. This morning I got up and looked in my freezer for something to thaw for dinner...

and saw this:


That's four containers of ice cream (at least). When you add the microwave french fries, the pizza Texas toast and a whole lot of other stuff I don't have to cook (just nuke) for me that says, Med check, Hello?

Looking back at my blog posts I haven't posted anything home cooked in a while. I can't remember the last meal I really put together.

Put any effort in, you know?

I haven't been eating well either. I've had a few meals consisting entirely of Cheetos and last nights dinner was two kinds of ice cream (pistachio and cherry vanilla).

In March I took a break from therapy. Maybe it's time to go back.


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