I finished the fourth row of my hexagon quilt this week.
I was especially excited about this because the whole time I was sewing it together I thought it was the third row. What a pleasant surprise!
My stepdaughter wanted a sewing machine for Christmas. She wanted to make fashion. No one in her life actually believes that she is going to like sewing. She is unable to handle any frustration. It is one of her major triggers. Sewing is a mixture of tedium and frustration at times. I’m not dealing with her going off into a rage in my sewing room. But then it occurred to me that her mother wanted us to keep the machine here. It would only be polite to keep it set up for her. She’s only here every other weekend. If I set up my machine for quilting and maybe just did a bit of piecing on hers, that would just be a logical use of resources. The husband got her a cheap little machine but it will work fine for piecing. Yay! I have two machines!
For the record, she didn’t ask once about the sewing machine after she unwrapped it.
The husband and I sat down on Christmas Eve to go over what talks we have to have with Z before going to my parents’ house the day after Christmas. This is necessary because she doesn’t always understand what constitutes polite behavior.
For example, there was the year that anytime she got something that she hadn’t written on her Christmas list she would say, “I wasn’t expecting THAT” in a tone that implied that she had just been given a dead rat. This was reviewed as unacceptable behavior the next year and there was not a repeat.
Last year she was all about inequality. She counted the presents and got pissy because other people had more. Autism is fun.
She has followed this throughout the year by immediately counting photos on display at my parents’ house every time she walked in and telling off my mother because there are less of her than of my niece and nephew. The realization that they live 5 miles away from my photo snapping mother and she sees Z a few times a year at most is not going to enter Z’s mind.
Z sees inequality in anything as a reflection of her relative value as a person. She is 11. My niece and nephew are 4 and under. Little kids get more stuff for Christmas. Fact of life. She can’t understand it. She also doesn’t understand relative value enough to understand that if she gets a few more expensive presents and they get more but less valuable presents that it evens out. I am also a firm believer in making children understand that life is not fair from a young age so get over it.
The husband wants to try to explain this as “You are lucky you are getting anything. You aren’t related to these people at all. They are treating you as a real grandchild out of the kindness of their hearts.” He doesn’t understand that that doesn’t factor into it at all. That just adds to her paranoia that she isn’t valued as much. He’s not going to tell her this but he wants to.
We are going to try to explain to her when she gets here tonight that she is getting older so her presents get more expensive and therefore she gets fewer boxes but better stuff. Hopefully it works. I hate whining, overly entitled children screaming about how everything is unfair whilst surrounded by piles of Christmas presents.
Riley Cat is also squirmy today. He started out being super cuddly. That’s so sweet. I think he does it to build up bonus points to use up being naughty. Then he had to knock an ornament off the tree. He didn’t want to play with it. He just wanted to knock it down because he could.
Then he wanted to lay on my arm while I was typing. We had a moment of mutually assured destruction when he was about the claw my arm and I was about to let him fall off the desk. We stared into each others eyes and finally he blinked and let go.
The husband walked by and said, “I was reading in the Sears Roebuck catalog that next year they won’t be carrying buggy whips anymore because that Henry Ford came out with that Model T.” I asked him if sometimes he just can’t stand not hearing his own voice so he says the most random thing ever. He declared me to be the meanest mommy ever and ran away.
Riley decided to knock the garland off the railing. Then he jumped on Powder and started chasing her. The dog joined in. The husband yelled, “It’s the Mongol Horde!”
I kicked Riley outside to run off some energy.
He just reappeared while I was typing this so the husband must have let him back in.
I’m going to go to work at a high volume, walk in veterinary clinic just to get some peace and quiet.
I’ve realized that I don’t write about my personal life as much as I used to. In part that’s because I’m relatively stable (read boring) right now. But here’s a rundown of what has happened recently:
1. I judged a trail ride in Florida last week. I’ve judged that this location in the past and it is hard. I judge on changes in the horses’ condition. This ride is flat and slow and cool. The horses are literally out there strolling through the park. It is really hard to judge this ride.
Last weekend though, it was different. The temperature went to 75 and the horses all had heavy winter coats. When it was all over 1/4 of the ride had to drop out for reasons ranging from being out of shape to not being fully recovered from previous illness to sore backs to sore feet to rider injury to family emergencies. The riders are really good at stopping the horses at the first sign of trouble. At one checkpoint I had three riders decide to have their horses trailered out. All the horses were fine with a break and a good meal in their stalls. I don’t have any pictures because every time I got the camera out I had to go check on someone.
On Sunday, we lost half of the experienced rider division in the first half mile. They went on the wrong trail. Then the park service decided that conditions were lovely for an impromptu burn of the forest that the riders were in. When we got the call that the trail was on fire, I burst out laughing. It was just that sort of weekend. Of course the trail was on fire.
They were seen starting the fire so they were able to put it out quickly when told that there was a competition going on in the area they were planning to burn. I believe an email was going to be sent requesting that they check what scheduled events are going on before they go randomly setting things on fire.
2. I got a new computer. My Mac Mini was 9 years old and tired. Now I have a brand new one but it required three trips to a store to get the right cable to connect it to ancient monitor. Why can nothing ever work the first time? The scroll button on the mouse works in the opposite direction when connected to this computer. That is confusing.
3. We have Z this weekend and she is sick. Now the husband is sick. I am not a doctor of humans. They forget this and think I am being unreasonable when I don’t magically fix them. Last night had Z had an earache. She communicated this by standing and screaming for hours. Lest anyone forget – this is not a toddler. This is an 11 year old. Her screaming would have been appropriate if a bear had chewed off her leg and then beat her over the head with it. It was unnecessary for an earache. I was the bad guy because I wouldn’t fix it. I considered offering her some of Freckles’ ear meds. Hatred of screaming children is one of the reasons I chose not to breed. Why did I end up with it anyway?
The husband was angry that his ex was sending a sick kid to him instead of keeping her home to rest. I swear his sickness is most likely psychosomatic but I’m smart enough not to say that. I’m missing my family Christmas party because I have to take the kid back to her parent now.
Z vomited today and wanted me to examine it in the toilet. I don’t do vomit. I’m a gagger. I refused to look at her vomit. Guess who is a bad person again? You can’t learn anything I didn’t already know from vomit. For the record, I take this stance with most people who want me to look at pictures of their dog’s vomit too.
4. I slept in the living room last night to avoid germs. I got up in the middle of the night and panicked my poor bird. I had to talk her down to get her to realize it was me and not a predator before I could move again and turn on the light. She was annoyed with me too.
5. I think I’m cool with the dog and the cats but you never know about these things.
On Thanksgiving my mother showed me two albums of postcards that belonged to her grandmother. I knew this great-grandmother as a 90+ year old woman in a wheelchair when I was a little kid. These are the postcards of a brazen hussy.
Some of them are from relatives and some are souvenirs that she bought on trips but the ones I took pictures of were ones she sent to her intended in 1907.
Most of them don’t say anything on the back. She lets the pictures speak for themselves.
This one has the notation on the front, “Zella and I, Bye and Bye.” Zella was her name so her beau must have written it after he got it.
Sometimes there are brief notes.
“Hel-lo Mr Herron” I can’t read that in anything other than a sassy tone.
The back of this one said that that would be them in 5 years’ time.
This picture is labelled with their names and then the back says:
“This beats the wheat shack all to smash” What, exactly, were you getting up to in the wheat shack, young lady?
I was hesitant to look but there was no message on this one. Guess there didn’t need to be.
My mom said there was one that gave a time when her parents were going to be gone and a suggestion that they meet up in the orchard. Kids these days!
I took Z to her first 5K on Saturday. I didn’t really mean to. I signed up because it was a costume-wearing opportunity. Then I realized that they had trick or treating so I decided to take her. But, I didn’t know what to do with her while I ran so I decided that she was doing the 5K too.
I was going to be a fairy but at the last minute I couldn’t find my wings so I went with witch.
Z was Merida from Brave.
We got there early to sign her up and this guy was running around sneaking up on people.
Z completely lost her mind. Oh the joys of an autistic kid who is not firmly tethered to reality and who I forgot to medicate! She ended up screaming and crying because he looked at her. I finally got her to shut up by threatening to take her picture and post it on Facebook. Yeah, if it was true terror that wouldn’t make you shut up so fast.
We got to the start and I explained that because we were going to walk that we would go to the back of the group and let the fast people be up front. She lost her mind. She started yelling that she was a fast person. I said that no, actually she wasn’t and besides I meant people like my dad who race all the time are at the front. She wasn’t having it. I told her that I was going to stay right behind her but if she got separated from me in the initial crowd that she should go to the side of the trail and wait. She said, “You’re right you’re going to be behind me because I’m faster than you.” I’m not opposed to some trash talking but this kid is nasty and out of touch with the reality that she is an overweight, out of shape couch potato. She truly believed that she was fastest person there.
The race starts and she takes off at a full sprint. She’s weaving through people like a maniac. I chase her down in time for her to drop the crown off her head and stop to pick it up and almost get mowed down by a herd of runners. I tell her to stop it because she’s got 3 miles to go and can’t keep this up. She takes off again. I catch up to her at about 1/4 mile where she slows down to breathe. I order her to walk. She does for a few steps and then runs again. At about 1/2 mile she stops and says, “I don’t feel so good.” No kidding, kid.
From there I had her run to landmarks and then walk. We also worked on pacing. She only had a full out sprint and a walk. I set a really slow jogging pace and had her keep up with me for sections.
There were people in costume on the trail.
Eventually we came up to the guy that she was terrified of previously. I told her that all she could do was run. She ran screaming.
It was a nice walk along the towpath of the old canal.
At 1 mile in the leaders were coming back. She started trash talking them. “Why do you have to run so fast? Why are you showing off?”
At 1.5 mile I heard her invoking my father like a deity, “Oh, Grandpa Ron, if you could only help us now!”
I decided she needed a goal so I pointed to some walkers a ways ahead of us and told her that our goal would be to pass them. I was not specific enough. When we passed them, she turned to them and said, “We’re beating you!” I told her that they now had permission to beat her right into the ground if they so desired. For our next people we decided to try to pass I told her that we were going to do it “without being a jerk” and made her repeat it several times.
When they passed us in return she wanted to run but was worn out. She made a big show of “allowing” them to pass her.
At one point she started complaining about me. “How is it even possible that you are faster than me?” I told her that I had longer legs, was in better shape, and worked out more. She didn’t like that explanation. I also told her that I was strolling and asked if she wanted to see me walk fast. She declined.
Soon we were back to the guy she was afraid of. He remembered her and was going to leave her alone but I told him to make her run. He took a step towards her and she screamed and ran.
Flying monkey guy and I stood back and watched her run shrieking down the trail and then high-fived.
I’m just glad we didn’t get chased by these guys.
That game always stressed me out.
We finished in 50 minutes which is my slowest 5K ever but it was good for her to get some exercise.
If I told you about the last 10 days, you may not even believe me. I’m not sure I believe me and I was there.
It started last weekend. I took the husband to a trail ride that I was judging. I’ve been doing this longer than I’ve had him but he’s never been to one. I usually fly to events but because of weirdness of geography and flight patterns it ended up being faster to drive to this one so I took him along. I was worried because he has severe food allergies and we were going to be in the woods. I had him take his epipen but he was fine and had a good time.
Sunday night we were halfway home when we stopped at Panera and had cross contaminated food. He started to react as soon as we left the restaurant. He took the epipen and seemed better. I was driving down the interstate when he started to get bad again.
“My lips feel funny.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you want me to call an ambulance?”
“I’ll be dead before they get here.” Read that last line in the style of Scarlet O’Hara to get the full effect.
I decided to call anyway so I was on the line with them being directed towards a hospital at high speed while looking for the lights of the police and ambulance that were heading towards me. Eventually they found us and got him into the ambulance. He was minimally responsive and had a very low blood pressure. The police led me to the hospital. We were there until 2 AM getting him stabilized. I was making calls to try to get the next day off work which is tricky when we have 2 offices and 4 vets and one them is very pregnant and lives 2 hrs away, one is in France, one just picked up her parents who came to see her for the first time in 6 years from Korea and who have never met her children, and one is me stuck in an ER in rural Ohio.
He was released at 2 AM and then I had to drive 3 hours home. We got home at 5:30 AM which was 24 hours and 30 minutes after I got up on Sunday morning. I collapsed in the guest bedroom because I knew that since he had been sleeping all night he would get up in a few hours and want to chit chat and it would be a waste of the previous night to kill him.
Tuesday – I’m heading to work and get pulled over going 24 in a 20 mph school zone at 10:30 in the morning. If the stupid kids aren’t in class at 10:30 they deserve to be hit. I’m especially amused after my high speed pursuit of police on Sunday night. All this is the day that the husband starts getting sick again.
Wednesday – My plan for the day is to go to work and then go to a quilt guild meeting to pick up some quilts they are donating for an event this weekend. The husband is sick. He dehydrates easily and often needs IV fluids when he is sick. At 7:00 AM I decide to show the compassion that makes me Wife of the Freakin’ Year. “Look, if you think you are going to need fluids you need to go to the hospital right now because I don’t have time for this any later.”
I get him in the car with some cash. I drop him off at the ER door and tell him to have a nice day. The cash is so he can catch a cab home later. These things take hours. I did go back and check on him before I went to work. I’m not totally heartless.
So, he’s alive and well right now. Tomorrow I’ll pick up talking all about the festival I went to this weekend for Quilts of Valor which was a bit insane.
I feel like I haven’t written anything recently because our lives have been full of upheaval real and imagined.
The husband was a finalist for a job in another state. For quite a while it looked like we would be moving. That caused mental stress. We’d have to put the house on the market, move to an area I like but that is at least twice as expensive as here without twice the pay ( I believe I used the term “live in squalor” repeatedly), maybe start a branch of my current clinic, and on and on. That ended up falling through right about the time I was resigned to the fact and was starting to look forward to it.
We went on vacation. In February I realized that we were going to need a mental break about May. My job gets insane right about now so it gave us something to look forward to. I was right. We went to Destin Florida to lay on the beach and do nothing.
The view from our hotel
It is hard work doing nothing. We’d sleep 10 hours and then go to the beach for a while and then eat and wonder why we were so tired.
My favorite beach was at Camp Helen State Park outside Panama City Beach. You have to walk a 1 km sand path to get to the beach. You have to really want to get there.
This guy flew in which is totally cheating.
This water did not contain wildlife who wanted to sample us.
The husband did have a shark check him out at another beach. He had his back to it and I yelled at him to come towards me. Being male, he said, “What?” and turned to see what I was looking at. Then he got a move on. It was about 4-5 feet long. Wouldn’t have eaten all of him. The people near us with the little kids decided that they were appetizer-sized though and took them out of the water.
We did get to see a baby dolphin too. It was so cute. It was hunting with its family off the pier in Destin.
We don’t have TV here. We don’t usually watch TV on vacation either but we did watch a lot of HGTV this time. At the end of the week I confessed that it makes me want to knock walls out of our house. He told me to draw a plan since he was under the influence too. I did. He said if we were going to do all that then we might as well just move. Now we are meeting with a realtor tonight. Displaced energy now that we aren’t moving states, anyone?
We had discussed a fall trip to France but it was on hold until we knew if we were moving. Now that we aren’t I have it all booked. We are doing a week in Nice in October! I’m so excited. Lots of art and day trips to Monaco and Italy on top of views of the sea.
I had a day off and got terribly distracted and didn’t get anything done.
I’ve played around with some genealogy off and on. On my dad’s side I get stuck at his grandparents. They came from Poland maybe in 1903. That’s listed on one census. They don’t show up often. I swear they were living like they were in witness protection. (When they do fill out a form they don’t stick to established facts. The 1930 census says my grandma was a boy.) It may just be that records from the city they lived in just aren’t online yet.
So I was doing a newspaper search for the family name. I came up with some articles about a 22 year old guy named Alex who was shot when he was supposedly trying to steal a car. This happened in 1937. They have a pretty unusual Polish last name. I’ve never heard of an Alex in the family so I thought maybe he was a nephew or something and if I traced him back then I might find a link.
Turns out that Alex might be my grandmother’s older brother. He is in their house in the 1930 census and gone in the 1940. Those are the only documents I have on the family. I’ve never heard of him. I Facebook messaged my family and no one has heard of him. My grandmother would have been 11 when he was killed. How does that never, ever come up in conversation?
Supposedly Alex and a friend were getting a ride home from somewhere because Alex was sick. According to the driver, Alex pulled a gun on him and tried to steal the car. The driver shot him through the heart and critically wounded the friend. The friend survived and in newspaper interviews swears up and down that they didn’t try to steal the car. After the friend got out of the hospital, he was declared insane and sent to the state mental institution. No gun was found on Alex.
In Feb. 1938 the grand jury refused to indict the driver for murder.
There are articles all over about this case in small town newspapers for hundreds of miles around the location. The newspaper for the city it happened in? Not online. I may have to make a road trip.
In favor of it being him:
Same age as the Alex on the 1930 census
He’s buried in the same cemetery as my grandmother’s parents.
Z’s psychologist and psychiatrist finally decided that yep, she’s autistic. They are the last people on Earth to come to that conclusion. Seriously, there is no one who has ever met this child and thought to themselves, “Why, that there is one fine specimen of a neurotypical child!” There is a gulf between Z’s brain and a neurotypical 10 year old’s brain large enough to lose the Grand Canyon in.
One of the ways this manifests itself is a complete and utter lack of learning ability about anything other than Disney. One of these things that is not Disney is table manners. I’m not sure why I have chosen this as my windmill to tilt at. I think it is because watching her eat completely grosses me out.
Consequently, I’ve spent years working on her ability to use a fork. I’m not exaggerating there. I’m considering just recording, “Wipe your mouth please” and “Chew with your mouth closed” so I don’t have to say them over and over at every meal.
We were just out for dinner. She had a hamburger. I had already said each of the above phrases (I’m not kidding) at least 5 times. Every time it was like a new idea to her. Her father leaves the table momentarily. She decides to take another bite of her burger. She hunches over the plate with her lips about at the level of the table. She takes a gigantic bite of burger that can not fit in her mouth. She puts the burger down. Bits of bun and meat are hanging out of her mouth. There is ketchup all over her face up to and including all over her nose. Then she says to me, “I don’t really like it” around this humongous amount of food.
I held my palm up. “No,” I said, “Just, no.” She looked at me like she had no idea what I was nattering on about.
This is the last day of the Engine 2 Diet Challenge that I’ve been doing for the last 28 days.
The guidelines were an all vegan diet with minimal/no processed food and no added oil. I wasn’t perfect. I had some dairy along the way mostly by accident. I ordered a veggie burger and didn’t realize it came with cheese until I bit into it, etc.
But, we’ve had big changes around here in the last 28 days.
As of the end of last week I’d lost 10 lbs. It may be more now but I’m writing this before work and my only scale is at the office. That happened even though I ate my weight in vegan food every day in Vegas.
Remember the aspirational jeans? One pair went on but was too tight to wear in public and the other wouldn’t zip even though it was the same brand in the same size. I tried them on yesterday. I got frustrated because the one fit even worse than before when they were zipped up. Then I realized I had them confused. I had the pair on that I couldn’t zip up before! The other pair is looser but still can’t go in public. Maybe another 10 lbs from now?
The husband watched Forks Over Knifes all on his own. He didn’t realize the connection to what I’m doing. He decided to go vegetarian.
I had him meet with a dietician to tweak his diet so he had more energy and she told him everything I told him so he is leaning vegan with moments of cheese-fueled rebellion.
This is my refrigerator right now. I did some meal prep yesterday and now I have to make enough food to feed the husband too. There is veggie paella, potato soup from left over mashed potatoes, lentil sloppy joes, plain lentils, and three bean salad.
I plan on sticking with this since my results have been so good. I’ve been vegan at home for a while now and I’ll try to stay that way when I’m out. I’m not putting a label on it and saying I’m a vegan now especially when other people are cooking for me. Vegetarian in those situations is good enough.
I’ve realized that I’m at the point in veganism where I was before I went vegetarian. That was a gradual process over years until the last meat I was eating was Big Macs and Taco Bell meat. I realized one day around 2000 in the Taco Bell drive-through that those were the worst meats possible to eat and that it would be easier to just answer “Yes” when people asked if I was vegetarian instead of explaining. Right now I mainly want dairy in junk food. Cheesecake, ice cream, brownies, and all manner of desserts. I can make those vegan at home but if I’m out that is my temptation. I don’t really need to be eating those so as long as I stay on healthy foods I’m fine.
I like this way of eating because I can pretty much eat all I want. No worries about calorie counting. If you don’t believe that scroll back to read the Vegas meal posts. This is good for the husband too because he doesn’t like worrying about portion size.
It has been a good month for us. I’ll keep you posted on how it is going for both of us.
My poor husband is having a crisis. He met with the dietician on Tuesday to help him with his meal planning. He was nervous before the meeting. He kept referring to her as The Vegan High Priestess who was coming to get him.
He wanted me to be there to protect him. I’m not sure how I was supposed to do that. It turns out that I sat off to the side and sewed so I didn’t make eye contact with anyone. I did this because the dietician told him everything I had told him. He was realizing this too and he wasn’t happy. It is bad enough when your spouse is right, let alone when she is right about what you don’t want to hear.
He could have one of the easiest vegetarian/vegan transitions ever. He lives with a long time vegetarian who likes to cook. I’ve offered to cook for him but he is fighting that. I think he knows that it will be definitely healthy with no cheating if he agrees. When she gave him a list of pantry staples he read off a few unfamiliar things.
Me – “In the refrigerator.”
“Beside the stove.”
“I think I’ve only had tofu in soup.”
“You’ve had it blended into more things than you realize.”
“Oh…. um, I did not realize that.” (In a hopeful voice) “We don’t have a pressure cooker!”
“It’s in the basement. I don’t use it much.”
He was unamused but she was cracking up. He started referring to her as my evil emissary.
She was pretty firm with him that because of his multiple health problems and his desire to lose a significant amount of weight that cutting all animal products would be best. He was willing to go vegetarian but he is not at all happy with that advice. I think he knows she’s right and that’s why it is upsetting him so much. If he didn’t believe her he’d just blow it off.
Most of my recipes are on my iPad now but I pulled a few old cookbooks out of the cupboard and put them in the bathrooms. (That’s the best place to put things that you want to be looked at.) I told him to pick a few recipes that sounded good to him and I’d make them. He told me that he couldn’t use ANYTHING in the one book because it was vegetarian and not vegan. I told him to find something he liked and I’d make it work. So far he hasn’t told me anything. He’s still pouting.
After she left he defiantly ate a few spoonfuls of tapioca pudding he had from the deli. I think he expected me to yell at him but I just told him that he was free to do what he wants with the information he had. I think that ruined it for him so he put it back.
I’m making napoleons tonight for dinner. They are portabello mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinegar and then broiled topped with roasted peppers, mashed potatoes, and a balsamic reduction. He’s had it before. He likes it. It is vegan. Poor baby. I’ve already told him that we are having minestrone soup, cornbread, and salad on Saturday so he could see just how he was going to suffer and be deprived.
I also pointed out that I’ve now lost 10 lbs in the last three weeks eating like this. He huffed. I think he’ll like it once his body starts to adapt and especially if he starts losing weight. He is an all or nothing kind of person. He wants foods to be either totally off limits or he is allowed to eat it all. A plant based diet is good for that. He can have all the vegetables he wants. There isn’t any calorie counting or portion sizes. If he can break the habit of pouring vast quantities of parmesan cheese on everything then he will be home free.
The world is starting to align itself against him. He lives with me. His father has recently gone vegetarian because of his diabetes.
So the husband is trying it – with caveats. He doesn’t want to be vegan. He isn’t promising that he’ll never eat fish. I’m sure there are more but I just nod.
He says that when he doesn’t eat meat he feels lighter and cleaner. He is having troubles with energy though. I gently explained that that happens to new vegetarians because they don’t eat enough calories. He didn’t just eat some meat. He ate large quantities at a time. Just taking out meat at dinner easily cut 1000 calories from his diet. He doesn’t need to replace them all but he needs to replace more than he is.
Yesterday he told me that he ate some eggs before his workout and he felt better. “Protein, hah!”
“Eggs are more calorie dense so you got more energy out of a similar volume of food than just vegetables alone. Protein doesn’t break down and give energy easily. Biochemistry, hah!”
He told me to quit being a doctor. I take that to mean quit contradicting his notions with science.
So for Valentine’s Day I set him up with another woman – a nutritionist. She is a vegan so she is well versed in vegetarian nutrition. She can help him with his energy questions and tell him what I’m telling him but it will be real because she’s not his wife.
I get variations of this question a lot when I talk about what I eat. I’m lucky. The husband knew what he was signing up for when he met me. We eat very differently. We’ve been this way from the beginning so we’ve always cooked mainly for ourselves. We also have different schedules so he usually eats dinner before I get home from work.
There have been times though when I’ve been in charge of cooking for omnivores. There was a month when we had Z here and one of the husband’s nieces. I actually had to feed non-vegetarian people. Here’s some things I learned.
1. Use vegetarian and healthy food as the basis for all meals…
I planned meals with the idea to make something that I would eat that could be added to by the omnivores if they wanted to. For example, make spaghetti with a meatless sauce and then cook meatballs on the side that could be added in. Make casseroles and then portion out the part that you are going to eat. Mix in some store bought rotisserie chicken in the part that the other people are going to eat. Make pizzas half with veggies and half with meat.
2 …unless they are going to cook it themselves.
I scheduled in meals that the kids could make themselves. Kids need to learn to cook so they don’t starve (or rely on takeout) when they get older. Hamburgers or hot dogs are a good starting point. I had a veggie burger.
I’ve been vegetarian long enough that no one wants me to try to cook meat for them anyway. Besides, I won’t do it for ethical reasons and also because I won’t eat it I can’t taste the dishes to make sure they are seasoned correctly. I hosted Christmas this year for my family. I had a big vegan spread. I told the husband that if he wanted any dead bird on the table he had to order it pre-cooked and go get it. It worked out fine.
3. There is nothing wrong with only offering healthy food.
This one is aimed mostly at kids and not spouses. Neither kid that was here was used to not having junk food available in the house. Guess what? Neither one died from a lack of junk food. Oh, there were wailing and lamentations. I’m mean. I don’t care about their feelings. These were captive children without driver’s licenses or jobs. They didn’t have a choice in what they ate. I figure my job as parental figure isn’t to make them happy. It is to make them into the best adult members of society that they can be. Turning out junk food addicts isn’t in anyone’s best interest except processed food makers.
I gave in one day because we were going to a lake and I told them they could each get a bag of junk to take with them for the day. I ran into my trainer while checking out with an armful of chips. Yeah, not worth it.
When Z is here now we make sure there is plenty of fruit available if she wants something sweet. That’s as good as it gets. She still hasn’t died.
4. Don’t be preachy and have a sense of humor about your differences
You aren’t going to change anyone’s mind about their diet by harping on them. I do my thing and answer questions if asked but otherwise don’t try to influence the husband. He’s into healthy, high quality food too and sometimes slides dangerously close to vegetarianism. He’s on a slide right now. He’s not happy about it. I think deep down he knows that he should but he doesn’t want to make that leap. Last night we went out to dinner and he had his usual extra meat side dishes. Afterwards he despondently put his head on my shoulder and whined, “The meat didn’t even taste good.”
I patted his back and said, “It’ll be ok, baby.”
Today I was at work and got an email that my order of 2 large All The Meats pizzas was ready to be delivered. I texted him – “All the meats? Way to shove all those vegetarian feelings deep back in the closet where they belong!”
He answered that they were for the contractors working on our kitchen.
I typed. “It isn’t yours..you are just holding it for a friend…”
Z is in trouble because she disobeyed a request from her mother and instead got into a physical altercation with her. She’s here this weekend and has an attitude about the whole thing. She fell asleep on the couch. When I woke her up and told her to move to her bed she started to say something that wasn’t going to be pleasant. I gripped the pillow and said, “One!” in a tone perfected during years of owning hard-headed horses. The child rocketed up off the couch and headed to bed.
I was feeling all big and bad then. I was strutting to myself. Yeah, I’m tough and scary.
Then I called Freckles in from the back yard.
Nothing. Nada. No way. She looked at me and blew me right off. Nothing like a dog to deflate your inflated self importance.
The other day I came upon the husband sitting on the couch crooning sweet nothings to Powder, who was sitting happily on his chest. It was so cute. It was the kind of scene that gives you the warm fuzzies until you notice what he is saying.
“You are such a good kitty. You are so soft and take such good care of your fur. You are going to make a really good scarf someday. I’m just going to have my good friend Cruella DeVil come over.”
I have no problem with Customs Agents. I get waved through with a smile even the time my passport wasn’t signed.
The husband can’t. Something about him sets off alarms. Today was our first time through Customs since we got married. I wasn’t sure if I would help him or he’d bring me down. The first questions were normal. Where are we from? Where are we going? How long are we going to be in Canada? Then it got weird.
Customs Guy : “Are you meeting anyone in Canada?”
CG: “Do you have any guns in the car?”
The husband: “No.”
CG incredulously: “No guns at all? No handguns?”
The husband: “No?” Me thinking : “Hey buddy! Just because we’re American doesn’t mean we’re armed to the teeth at all times.”
CG: “What’s that on your license plate then?”
The husband: “It is for a medal I earned when I was in the Army a long time ago.”
Then he let us go.
The husband: “Are we meeting people and do we have a car full of guns? Is he accusing us of being international gun runners?”
Me: “Should we be flattered that he thinks we’re capable of that? Maybe he thought I was a hostage!”
Yeah, so, while I was typing that she asked me to help her find her pajama top. She said the last time she saw it was in the hamper. I looked in and saw a nightgown on top. I said, “You could wear this one,” as I reached down and came up with a soaking wet nightgown. She said, “I wet that one last night.”
Head banging will commence now that I got the laundry started.
Things I heard on a Labor Day visit to the parents:
My father hates animals. We were all out on Sunday and he got home first. When I got home I let Freckles go out to go to the bathroom.
Dad: “I let him (sic) out when I got home.”
Me: “What a good grandpa.”
Dad: “Yeah, but he found his way back anyway.”
A little later..
Dad: “You know, I was worried about that. What if I did let him out and couldn’t get him to come back? No one would ever believe that it was an actual accident so I put a leash on him to go out.”
There is a strip club near my parents’. That makes no sense because they live in a rural area. It is the last place anyone would go looking for a strip club but it has proven to be very popular. It is a strange place. There are buses partially buried in the yard and planes that look like they have crashed into the buildings.
The husband, Z, and I were driving past.
Z: “Is that a museum?”
Me: “A museum?”
Z: “Yeah, there are planes to look at and a big parking lot.”
Husband: “It’s not a museum.”
Z: “What is it?”
Husband: “It is a place where women take their clothes off and men give them money.”
Z: “No, seriously Dad. What is it?”
We were having dinner with the parents and my brother’s family. Z was prattling on in her obliviously self-centered way.
Husband: “Why don’t you try using a sentence that doesn’t start with the word “I”?”
Z: “Well, I went to….” rest drowned out by laughter from the group that she didn’t understand.
Z: “I’m thinking that I should just get pregnant now and get it over with. I don’t like pain. I know you have to get a shot to get pregnant.”
Me: “What you have to do is find someone who wants to have a baby with you first.”
Z: “Ok. Now what?”
Me: “Did you meet someone and get married in the back seat in the last 10 seconds?”
Sex ed opportunity missed. I actually thought she was thinking that everyone had IVF or hormones to get pregnant. It took me a bit to realize that she thought you got pregnant by getting medicine injected at the doctor’s office. At her age I thought that God came and asked women every so often if they wanted to be pregnant and you could say yes at that point or wait until the next time he came around.
One of the songs that Z likes is One Direction’s Live While We’re Young. It is a catchy tune but have you heard the lyrics? Bold emphasis is mine.
“Hey girl I’m waiting on ya, I’m waiting on ya
Come on and let me sneak you out
And have a celebration, a celebration
The music up, the windows down
Yeah, we’ll be doing what we do
Just pretending that we’re cool and we know it too (know it too)
Yeah, we’ll keep doing what we do
Just pretending that we’re cool, so tonight
Let’s go crazy, crazy, crazy ’till we see the sun I know we only met but let’s pretend it’s love
And never, never, never stop for anyone Tonight let’s get some and live while we’re young
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh (and live while we’re young)
Tonight let’s get some
And live while we’re young
Hey girl it’s now or never, it’s now or never Don’t overthink, just let it go
And if we get together, yeah get together
Don’t let the pictures leave your phone (oh oh)”
Let’s review. Apparently this young man is planning on sneaking a girl who he has just met out of her house. He intends to pretend that he feels some emotion for her in order to coerce her into having sex. He wants to pressure her into not using her brain to think about the consequences of this because this is her only chance to be with such an asshole a cool guy. Then he intends to photograph it and hopes it doesn’t hit the internet.
Maybe I should commend him for being honest at least.
Now Z has no earthly clue what this song is about as she is singing at the top of her lungs. She’s very naive. That’s part of the problem. The audience for this band is intended to be girls her age. Girls who will get this in their brains as something cool before they ever have any idea what is it about. She thinks it is about vaguely having fun along the lines of going to a birthday party. She doesn’t have the understanding or vocabulary to discuss this song. She knows that we won’t let her listen to it because we think it is bad but she interprets that as a difference in musical taste instead of in philosophy.
I heard this song in the trailer for their new movie. Their mothers were in the movie. Have their mothers heard this song? Why have they not washed their sons’ mouths out with soap for singing about how they want to go rape someone?
Speaking of wanting to go rape someone, why am I also not surprised that everyone is up in arms about Miley Cyrus acting stupid on TV but they are ignoring the fact that there was a man twice her age there singing the song? It is Justin Timberlake getting a pass for tearing the clothes off Janet Jackson all over again.