Sunday, November 27, 2011

I am Full of Pie

Raise your hand if you overate on Thanksgiving.

Count me in. Not horrible, but definitely over the comfort zone.

While I'm a pumpkin pie lover, Eamonn is not. Apparently if you don't grow up eating things that are pumpkin flavored, you never really develop a love for it. I have yet to meet someone from England who says they like pumpkin.

Anyway, I was debating about what our second pie flavor would be on Thanksgiving. The boys and I decided on apple after I found THIS recipe. Sometimes I come down a little hard on The Pioneer Woman because her recipes will put the average citizen into cardiac arrest. But on Thanksgiving, I'm willing to throw her a bone. It's time to throw caution to the wind.

I'm telling you, this apple pie is the bomb. The final two pieces need to go away before I suffer death by pie.

And definitely make the hard sauce for the top. Wow.

I made an attempt to have a gluten free Thanksgiving. I did it with one exception: the sausage stuffing Eamonn makes. I just ate a little because it's worth a little stomach cramping.

I made gluten free pie crusts with THIS recipe. I was a little worried because sometimes gluten free = nasty. But it was a total hit. Eamonn was complimenting the crust. When they were all finished eating, I dropped the gluten free bombshell.

Next up: Gluten Free Christmas. I'm already plotting and planning.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vanity Sizing. It Does an Ego Good.

First, a brief announcement. I haven't had the excision on my arm yet (see the post below this one). That first dermatologist appointment was really more of a check with the excision--nice word--scheduled for Dec. 8. Just an update because several of you have texted or e-mailed. But for now, I still have all of the skin on my arm. Except for that little bit they took off originally.

And now, for today's post...

As I have lost weight over this past year, I have also, obviously, lost clothing sizes. Every once in awhile I like to go into a clothing store and try things on to see what size I am. Except that I'm left still not really knowing.

Not too long ago, I read in People magazine (yes, I confess to being a long-time subscriber. Don't judge me.) about Kirstie Allie's weight loss and how she is now a size 6. And then Tim Gunn (I think) was in the same issue saying, "Yeah, Kirstie looks great, but she's no size six," or something to that effect. (And when I looked at the pictures, I thought the same thing.)

Tim Gunn then went on to explain about vanity sizing--a term I had heard before but was selectively filtering out because yes, I do want to believe I'm that smaller size--and how it's rampant today. I wonder if a lot of it has to do with the, uh, upsizing of our nation's waistlines. Maybe people will buy more clothes if they can fit in a "14" versus an 18? I don't know what the logic is. I'm just guessing here.

If you Google vanity sizing, you'll get a ton of different opinions. Wikipedia feels vanity sizing is alive and well. Others say it's a myth. I feel like I remember my mom telling me that more expensive brands ran larger than cheaper brands, and I certainly have felt this has been true over the years.

But I have to say, I'm definitely feeling like vanity sizing is going on. You can't argue with Tim Gunn's facts. In the article he quoted actual measurements and how what was a 10 in the 1980s is inches smaller than what a 10 is now. It's vexing.

What do you think? Do you notice that you can buy smaller clothes these days? And what is your opinion on vanity sizing? I admit I like seeing the smaller sizes. Vanity at its finest!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Wear Sunscreen

I'm pretty fair skinned. In fact, someone once called me the whitest woman in America. That may be pretty true. Unfortunately, despite my light hair, light eyes, light skin, I spent a good majority of my youth on a boat or at the pool, in the hot summer sun, not wearing sunscreen. Did sunscreen even exist in the 70s?

And then I chose the very inappropriate college years job of lifeguard. Again, not wearing sunscreen. Did anyone wear sunscreen in the late 80s?

So my life in the sun has netted me a bunch of freckles and moles, many of which I've had removed. Some of which were basal cell carcinomas, which isn't really that scary.

About two weeks ago I went in for yet another mole removal. I wasn't really worried, except that this time, I should have been worried. Yep, I had a freaking melanoma on my upper right arm.

So tomorrow I will go have a larger patch of skin removed. I'm a little worried, mostly because I have no pain threshold and what if I cry in the doctor's office over having a little patch of skin cut off? That would be embarrassing. I will try to soldier on. Maybe I'll post gruesome pictures.

Or not. I don't have a stomach for such things.

Mostly I'm telling you this because I almost waited too long to have this thing looked at, and actually my doctor saw it on my arm as a fluke when I had gone in for something else entirely.

Health care in this country (yes, we're not reduced to a diatribe about health care) is in a sorry state--that's obvious. When you don't go to the doctor because you're worried that something will then go in your health record that will then preclude you from getting health care (like I did), you can end up in a pretty serious situation. Don't do that.

So, wear your sunscreen, stay out of the sun, wear a big floppy hat and long sleeves, and for the love of all that is holy, stay out of tanning beds (which, in my defense, I have only ever used one once)--that whole "I'm just getting a base tan" is a total myth. You're fricking radiating your skin. It's no better than the sun--in fact, it's worse. Anything else you hear is brought to you directly by the people who own tanning beds. And what? You want to end up looking like a leather boot? Stop. Immediately.

And if you feel like something isn't right, go to the doctor. Get your annual pap smear (sorry, men). Get your mammogram. Go to the dermatologist. Hey, you could really have some fun and go for a colonoscopy when the time comes. There's something to look forward to!

I'm just asking you to take care of yourself so you don't wake up dead in the morning, OK?

End of diatribe.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Sign of the Times

So what do you think? Is the recession over? Is it over where you live? If you had changed your spending habits, have you gone back to how you used to spend?

The reason this is on my mind lately is because of birthday parties.

The boys have been invited to several birthday parties so far this school year.

In fact, we even had a birthday here:

Holy cow, Finn is 9!

Anyway, what has struck me at the birthday parties, including Finn's, is the lack of presents wrapped in yellow or lavender paper or birthday bags.

Why is that relevant? Because our local toy store, which endured for as long as it could during the economic crisis, closed in late August. And when you went to or hosted a birthday party, pretty much every present was wrapped in the signature paper, which I loved because it meant we were all buying locally from our little store. Was she the cheapest? No, of course not. It's really hard for bricks and mortar stores to compete with online prices these days.

But even with all of us buying locally (because I'm sure not everyone did), it wasn't enough and in the end, the store had to close after 10 years of business.

I'm pretty sad about it because there's another big push to build this horrible shopping development with big box stores on the eastern edge of our town.

May I pause for a moment here and say, Ugh?

I know it may seem bizarre that I wouldn't want a Target nearby, but frankly, I look at it as a place full of stuff that I don't really need and shouldn't be spending money on anyway. We have a WalMart about 23 miles away. I can be at a Target in 35 minutes if I drive west and one hour if I drive east. That's plenty close for me. One of the things we love about living here is there is no mall. We were surrounded by suburban chaos where we lived before, and I don't miss it one bit. The fact that our local stores are closing and Big Business might be in our backyard again is depressing to me.

Do I buy locally 100% of the time? No. I have been known to be seen running from the post office with a Zappos box tucked under my arm. But I do make an attempt to buy locally first. And I definitely confess to having an unhealthy addiction to Athleta. But overall, I want Target to go away and I'd like those lavendar and yellow packages back, if you please.