Thursday, November 29, 2007

Save the lunch meat, save the world?

There's no accounting for taste. Bubba, who will happily eat Totino's pizza rolls, Aunt Jemima's frozen breakfast, and Cheese Wiz, adamantly refuses to touch cold lunch meat. So when it comes to packing his lunch each day, I'm left with only 2 sandwich options: peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey.

Who among us haven't at one time subsisted on a steady diet of PB&J sandwiches? Even after I graduated from high school, I still toted the brown bag with said sandwich to work. They're inexpensive, easy to make, and have considerably less calories than a #1 combo from Burger King. I've even perfected the preparation process: after applying a lavish scoop of peanut butter to one slice of bread, I spread a thin film of peanut butter on the other slice to prevent the jelly or honey from saturating through. Works like a charm.

Despite the benefits of the PB&J, I must admit I've grown weary of the sandwich. These days I rarely choose to eat a PB&J for lunch. Which is why I feel more than a little guilt as I prepare Bubba's lunch each morning, knowing he too will soon tire of the sandwich, if he hasn't already. I pose the question "honey or jelly?" energetically, trying to pretend that he really does have a vast array of menu options to choose from and that they are all delicious. I comment on his waistline and the extra dollars in our checking account, hoping to lengthen the time he'll endure packing the brown bag to work.

I recently came across a website that may further aid my cause to keep Bubba eating the PB&J. The PB&J Campaign claims that skipping on lunch meat and eating a PB&J sandwich just may save the planet. How so? you wonder. The site claims that if you have a PB&J instead of a ham sandwich or a hamburger, you save the equivalent of almost 3.5 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. A PB&J is a plant-based meal, and converting animals into food is so inefficient. Eating a PB&J conserves both water and land. According to the site, the water it takes to produce the beef on one roast beef sandwich could produce peanuts for about 17 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the land that it takes to produce that beef could produce peanuts for 19 PB&Js.

Could it be that Bubba's aversion to lunch meat stems from his concern about the environment? Will he soon be promoting a green agenda and winning Oscars and Nobel awards? Probably not. But if I can convince him that eating a PB&J not only saves his waistline but the environment too, we might have a few extra greens in our wallet each month.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


All weekend, and I mean ALL weekend, Bubba and I have tried to take a picture of Henry to send out on Christmas cards. We have taken well over 60 pictures and NOT ONE has been successful. Henry is much too fast and will not smile on demand. Below are some samples of our poor photography skills.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

6 Things You Might Not Know About Me

I've been "tagged" by Lindsay Ream . I'm supposed to write 6 things people might not know about me and then "tag" 6 other people to do the same. Here goes...

I only had a dishwasher for 9 months of the first 7 years of my marriage. Oh, I forgot, you already know this because I tell EVERYONE about it. I've learned how to state the fact in a way that makes me appear extremely disadvantaged and deprived. As if I'd gone without regular dental care for the past several years. Oh wait, I have. Poor me.

I HATED living in London. It was uncomfortable, dark, and our living conditions were horrible. But, now that we're back in the States, I think about our stay in London all the time - I even dream about being there - and the dreams are always pleasant and lovely.

When it comes to racing, I cave under pressure. If I'm just jogging for exercise, I am really competitive and will try to pass anyone I see. But put me in a race and I have a mental breakdown. I'll often end up running slower than I ever do. This reached it's height when I was running Cross Country at the University of Utah. Please don't Google my name - I'll just
tell you, I did take last in almost every race. Oops.

I was fired from Papa Murphy's. I worked there my Senior year of high school, and was fired for missing work when my family decided to extend a vacation by a few days. How many people can say they've been fired for absenteeism? Okay, probably a lot. I also worked at ZCMI for one day, but walked out on my lunch break because, well, I was assigned to work in the hosiery department. What other explanation do I need?

After Henry was born, I became addicted to make-over shows, specifically What Not to Wear and 10 Years Younger. Was my choice in television genre affected by the fact that my post-partum self desperately needed a make-over? Possibly.

Lionel Richie's "Dancing on the Ceiling" is among the CDs in my music collection. Do I listen to it? Sometimes. Am I ashamed? Yes.

What 6 things may I not know about:
Stacy Heaps
Marci Hansen
Janel Williams
Kimberlee Jensen
Jenny Meese
Denise Avey
You're it! Ready, set, post!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Dictionary of Terms

The thing I hated about studying Math in school was you always learned things that made you respond: "When am I ever going to use that in real life?". I liked History and English, because they delved into subjects like love and hate and power and beauty. So I decided to study English in college, only to find myself asking: "When am I ever going to use that in real life?", real life now being the work force. Turns out studying Literature doesn't easily translate into dollars and cents in the real world. Even still, my study of words does inform my real life from time to time. Following is an excerpt from my real-life dictionary.

Hyperbole: Extravagant exaggeration.
Example: A recent headline for a story on MSN: "Every woman's worst nightmare: Cellulite."

Delusion: a persistent false psychotic belief that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary.
Example: The University of Notre Dame soliciting donations from a recent graduate (Bubba) who still owes said University thousands of dollars in student loans.

Euphemism: The substitution of a mild or less negative word or phrase for a harsh one.
Example: Chase Bank congratulating me for "paying off" my American Express card when I transferred the balance to a new credit card account.

Misnomer: The use of a wrong or inappropriate designation.
Example: Hearing someone say they want "free health insurance" in America like they have in England.

Oxymoron: A combination of contradictory terms or images.
Example: This lovely decorative piece in our neighbor's yard:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Just A Mom

A few weeks after Henry was born, we attended a bar-b-que with some friends from high school. As we caught up with our friends, one new mother replied that after having her baby, she had quit her job, and was now "just a mom." Another friend immediately reprimanded the new mom, and, after extolling the merits of motherhood, said the answer "just a mom" belittled the role of mother.

Of course, this friend couldn't have answered that she herself was "just a mom", as she not only took care of her two children, but ran a successful home business as well.

Since joining the roster of stay-at-home moms, I've been struck by the ambivalence with which women approach the role. It has been said that "it is the fate of women everywhere to be miserable always", and I think motherhood has much to do with this misery. When it comes to choosing between working or staying home with the children, it's a damned if you don't, damned if you do situation. If a mother decides to work, or must work for economic reasons, she inevitably will feel guilty about time spent away from her children. If a mother decides to stay home, she inevitably will experience isolation, lose additional income, and struggle to feel validated.

There are 2 opposing views of stay-at home moms. The first maintains that stay-at-home moms lead lives of ease, spending days reclining on the sofa while watching soap operas and eating bon-bons. The second maintains that stay-at-home moms lead lives of deprivation, a sleepless, bleary-eyed, unshowered breed of women who spend isolated days changing dirty diapers and subsisting on scraps of toddler food and diet sodas. Speaking from experience, I can say that the job is somewhere in between these two extremes (I have yet to eat said bon-bon).

The level of scorn or sympathy one extends to stay-at -home moms most likely depends on if the individual is a stay-at-home mom herself. On declaring myself a stay-at-home mom, I have received responses that illustrate both views of the position, from "Oh, you're one of those women" to "I wanted to slit my wrists when I started staying home."

Scorn and sympathy aside, sometimes I am hesitant to say I am a stay-at-home mom because I'm afraid the term will define me. Stay at home mom = minivan and Winnie the Pooh diaper bag = boring. I'm afraid that the term doesn't allow for everything that was me before Henry came along. That the sum of me can be distilled into the phrase "just a mom." Maybe we women tend to focus on what we lose when we have a child rather than what we gain. We become so absorbed in mourning our former selves that we fail to fully enjoy our new lives. We forget that the "mother" hat isn't one-size-fits-all. We forget that as much as motherhood defines us, we define motherhood. We forget that life was often difficult and hard and tedious before the baby came along.

So I'll say it, I am a stay-at-home mom. And I'll gladly take all the time I get to spend with Henry. And hopefully when he's grown, I'll find that I've not only retained the things that define who I am, but improved and added to them. I am more than a mother, but I also am more because I'm a mother.