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Archive for the ‘Addictions’ Category

Food porn

Last week I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate chips. The recipe I used came right off the chip bag and it called for two sticks of butter.

I love to make cookies and this batter was so light and fluffy that I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it. I’ve always been that way with cookie batter. Raw eggs be damned, I will eat spoonfuls of the stuff before a single cookie comes out of the oven.

I remember my mom baking cookies when I was a kid and even back then I could not keep my hands out of the batter. Autumn is the same way and there’s something about her blatant thievery of dough that reminds me of myself when I was young.  And yes, it is a little frightening considering how all that cookie dough now hangs on me in 150 pounds of excess weight.

Of course that excess weight did not come from stealing cookie dough from my mother’s bowl. It came from being the kind of person who would make her own batch of dough and eat the whole thing raw. I didn’t even have to have chocolate chips or a recipe. I’d just start dumping butter, sugar, flour and vanilla together until it tasted like the dough my mother made.

I remember the day my mom first told me about ice cream made with real cookie dough. She said Jane Fonda or some other celebrity had talked about it and so we spent weeks looking for the stuff in our local stores.  This was at least 25 years ago before it was everywhere, but I remember scouring the frozen food section for the mythic flavor I was sure would replace Hudsonville Strawberry Cheesecake as my absolute most favorite ice cream flavor ever.

Now I wish I’d been the one to dream up cookie dough ice cream. It’s such a simple concept and yet look at how popular it is now. It’s right there in the case next to your Moose Tracks and your Butter Pecan and your Mint Chocolate Chip. And I’ll bet the person who dreamed up the cookie dough genius is not only a lover of the dough like me but stinkin’ rich to boot.

I think that’s how some people get rich. They discover their passion, figure out how to enhance it and capitalize on the opportunity to share it with others like them. Just look at Larry Flint.  He parlayed a love of sex into a multi-million dollar business.  Of course he now keeps to his wheelchair and pees in a bag, but for awhile there he was somewhat of a revolutionary.

Maybe it’s silly to compare cookie dough to porn, but we all have our vices.  Some are just a little sweeter and a little more delicious than others.  Look at it this way; if one can turn an addiction into an enterprise, anything is possible. That doesn’t exactly help me with my cookie dough problem, but it is comforting to know desire and obsession can be the vehicle which drives us toward success.

And if you happen to get a warm crispy cookie at the end, that just sweetens the pot.

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As we approach the weekend, Nathan and I start laying out our plans for Saturday and Sunday. This morning we were discussing whether or not we’d tag along with my dad and brother to see the new Indiana Jones flick on Sunday. I told Nathan probably not; Sunday is my grocery day and I also have to prepare a presentation for class on Monday. Nathan looked at me and said, “Just do it now. Get it done.”

I acted all indignant-like and made noises about how he doesn’t understand what I have to do for this presentation. He responded with an accusation that cut me to the quick with it’s truth. “You know, you’d get more done if you weren’t spending all your time of Facebook.” He said this with his signature head-bob meant to emphasize his point. I became irritated. A brief argument ensued with me making fun of his bobbleheady mannerisms, but what irked me most was that I knew he was right.

So what is it about Facebook that’s so addicting? Is it the ability to re-connect with friends with whom we’ve lost touch over the years? Is it the multitude of applications that allow us to assess what kind of Disney Pricness we are or the Beatles song that defines our life? Is it that we can accept and deliver cupcakes, flowers, birthday greetings and good karma to our friends without having to invest the time or money in an actual face-to-face visit? Yeah. I’m pretty sure it’s all that and more.

I’ve always been an over-sharer, so Facebook has slipped right in and fulfilled my desire to broadcast my comings and goings. If I open up Pandora and start listening to my favorite classical station, it’s reflected on my Facebook page. If I update my calendar on 30 Boxes, that’s also updated and my friends now know what I have coming up on my schedule. Any time I write on someone’s wall, “superpoke” them or add an application, all my friends are notified. I recently added an application called “My Camera Gear” and dutifully logged in all my camera equipment down to the last CF card. I showed the list to Nathan and he said, “It’s nice of you to put that out there so the thieves will know exactly what to take.”

While I assured my husband that my profile is private and only friends have access to my personal info, he does bring up a good point. Facebook, or any social network, can be a haven for unscrupulous individuals wishing to take advantage of all that juicy information. The nice thing about Facebook is that you can control your privacy settings right down to your status updates. That way only your friends will know you’ve left the house for a walk with the family. The thieves will just have to guess when you won’t be home.

If this whole thing sounds kind of Big-Brother-ish, I guess it is. You can’t really do much on Facebook without everyone knowing about it. That’s how Nathan busted me. He’s on Facebook and knows I was playing Bowling Buddies when I should have been doing other things. I totally blew his high score out of the water though. Oh yeah.

For the next two weeks (or 13 days, rather) I’m going to have to stay away. I have a lot to do. A lot of rather mundane reading/research type things for my presentation and final paper that I’m sure would thrill my Facebook pals. But fear not. I will be back.

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Last week we finally had a home phone installed. I say finally because we’ve been without one for about four years and I’ve really missed it. At first I didn’t miss it because our home was blissfully quiet without the constant ring of telemarketers. Nathan didn’t want the phone installed because he didn’t want the telemarketers to gain access to us again, but I had to point out his argument was weak because there’s this thing called Caller ID that lets you see who’s calling before you answer. So you see the Unabomber had it all wrong. Technology is good.

The timing to get this done could not have been better. Our cell phone contracts had expired and our cable provider just started offering a sweet deal in which we could upgrade to digital cable and get the phone installed and pay only 20 bucks more a month for those two two services and our internet than what we were paying for basic cable and internet alone.

The whole install got off to a rocky start. The phone worked but the internet didn’t. For two whole days, days during which I was off from work, I did not have access to the internet. I did, however, find out how much I could accomplish when I wasn’t sitting on my ass in front of the computer because it appears there is some effort required to maintain a clean home. Everything is now working as it should, except for me because we have our internet back.

We have yet to receive one telemarketer call, but now Nathan is stressing about the cable since we have many, many more channels than we did before. The first time we flicked on the cable box we were amazed at the obscene amount of programming contained in that small piece of electrical equipment. More channels than you’d ever want or need. Three whole Nickelodeon channels showing blocks of “Spongebob Squarepants”, PBS Sprout, three or four Encore movie channels. It was like a TV buffet and I had just pulled up a chair and inserted a napkin into my shirt. And that’s what Nathan was worried about because Heather watching TV=Nathan not playing X-Box.

So far I’ve kept the TV watching to a minimum, though both Nathan and I have fallen in love with BBC America. Say what you want about the weather over there and their lack of quality dentistry, but the Brits do know how to produce a good show. So far we’ve caught a few episodes of “Coupling”, which is hilarious (think “Friends” with more sex and less coffee) and have seen promos for numerous shows we’re eager to watch. I think BBC America will be the one channel we’ll miss after our promotional rate expires in a year. As much as I like the extra channels, I’m not willing to spend over $60 a month on just cable. I’m not that sick.

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A shocking turn of events in Grouchland leaves Autumn stupefied

A few weeks ago my parents bought Autumn the DVD of The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Since that day, we’ve watched the movie approximately fifty thousand times, give or take a viewing or two. The girl is absolutely obsessed with Elmo and he seems to be the only thing of late that preoccupies her to the point that she acts like a civilized human being.

My mother is thrilled with Autumn’s Elmo enthusiasm and has added two more Elmo DVDs, a small stuffed Elmo and numerous Elmo books to our ever-growing Elmo collection. Our basement has become Elmopalooza and most nights when the weather prevents us from going to the playground we find ourselves in front of the TV watching Elmo dance and sing his way through Grouchland or an episode of Sesame Street we recorded earlier that day.

At first, I too thought the Elmo obsession was cute. I’d never seen Autumn so enthralled with anything real or imagined before. I have since formed the opinion that Elmo has turned my child into muppet-obsessed crack baby. When I pick her up from daycare in the evening, Autumn runs to the door, tugs on the doorknob and cries, “Ro-ro! Ro-ro!” This is her way of saying, “Woman, get your ass in the car and get me home. Elmo’s waiting!”

I guess things could be worse. In a few years her attentions will shift to the likes of those whorish Bratz dolls and we’ll be subjected to repeated viewings of “Hannah Montana.” At least on Sesame Street they have better talent. Where else can you see Nathan Lane sing and dance with The Oinker Sisters?

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Detox

We’ve been doing really well with limiting our TV watching. True to our resolution we’ve kept it off after work until Autumn’s bed time.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle the weekend as well because I love me some Nickelodeon in the mornings and my favorite thing to do on the weekends is sit in front of the TV with the “Fairly Oddparents.”

Saturday, as usual, was busy with errands and whatnot, but Sunday…well Sunday was the most productive Day of Rest I’ve had in a long time.  With the TV off I didn’t sit in my robe until noon.  I showered, washed some laundry, fed the girl and cleaned her room all before nap time (hers, not mine).  In the afternoon we went to Target for a few things and then to Lowe’s to get a part of fix Autumn’s closet door.  I sorted through Autumn’s closet and even vacuumed before the day was out.

I have to admit I had a moment of weakness while folding laundry and turned on the TV in our bedroom for a bit.  Autumn was on the bed with me but was more interested in toppling piles of washcloths than watching “Jimmy Neutron.”  Nathan caught us in the act and asked why the TV was on.  After a full day of actually doing stuff I had no energy to explain.  “Because I want it on” I said.

Don’t mess with a girl going through withdrawal.

 

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The power of three

Last night Nathan and I sat in front the TV, riveted by the latest installment of “Heroes”, the new drama on NBC.  This is one of the best new shows I’ve seen in awhile and just one more reason why I can’t get my fat ass off the couch and actually do something.  I am, however, in the process of crocheting another baby afghan for a shower I’m going to this weekend, so I feel justified in sitting on the couch.  As soon as the people around me stop having babies I may have to revamp my evening routine to include a nice walk around the block or an exercise video.

But seriously, “Heroes” rocks hard core.  (Do people actually say that anymore or is that term passé like “doofus” or “sweet”?  I know “snap” is the new “sweet” and I’ve used that one, though only at home and only in front of Nathan).  Anyway, “Heroes” has me hooked and is my very favorite show right now.

I’ve also discovered a not-so-new show in “Charmed.”  I tried to stay away from that one as long as possible because, hello, eight seasons.  God bless TNT for showing a two hour block of the show at once so that the eight seasons should fly by in about six months or so.

Yes, I need help.  Not only that, but my daughter has become addicted as well.  As soon the rhythmic beat of the “Charmed” theme song comes on she whips her head around and nothing except hollow silence can divert her attention. 

Yes, I’ll be going to hell along with the parents who let their children read the pagan filth of Harry Potter

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While I was nursing Autumn exclusively, I enjoyed the metabolism of a supermodel.  I could eat all the crap I wanted and pretty much stayed the same weight.  God bless the suckling babe because I could visit the Chinese buffet on a regular basis and not have to worry about the fat content of the divine coconut shrimp.

The girl started eating solids though, and I now only nurse her in the morning when she gets up and in the evening just before we put her to bed.  Since then, my horrible eating habits have maintained but my weight has not.  I can feel myself swelling like a piece of road kill baking in the hot sun on the side of the interstate.  I use this disgusting simile because that is exactly how I feel and I’m pretty sure my weight has topped an all-time high.  Pretty soon I’ll reach Violet Beauregarde proportions and the Oompa Loompas will be rolling me away.

So I’m going back to Weight Watchers…again.  I’ve joined more times than I can count and was actually attending meetings earlier this year but dropped out.  That coconut shrimp is a siren whose call is hard to ignore and I totally succumbed.  I also succumbed to the call of the Chinese buffet near the university, the call of multiple slices of Costco cake and the call of the frozen Javalanche (much like a Starbucks Frappuccino) from the Lobby Shop on campus.

I decided I’m going back this Saturday.  I had decided to go back last Saturday but that would have meant controlling myself at the shower on Sunday and everyone knows there’s cake at a bridal shower.  Nathan’s Aunt Cheryl was the one who introduced me to Costco cake (damn her!) and I thought that since the shower was for her daughter she might have a Costco cake for me to dive into.  She did have a cake, not Costco, but one that was very pretty and quite tasty.  I’ll have to put a picture of it on my Flickr page.  I took three.  Pictures that is, not slices.  Yes, I do love me some cake.

Since my decision to re-join the WW ranks, I’ve kicked my bad eating up a notch.  This is how I know I’m serious about wanting to lose the weight because right before I join I eat as though I know I’ll never have another meal ever again and must eat everything on this planet worth eating because, God no, you can’t have that while you’re trying to lose weight.  Last night was Cold Stone Creamery.  We weren’t even planning on going there.  There’s a nice little mom and pop ice cream shop a half mile from our house that sells fat free frozen yogurt and our plan was to go there after dinner.  Molly needed food, however.  Unlike me, she’s on the healthy weight management plan and we had to trek over to the nearest Petsmart for her kibble, a trip that put us conveniently close to Cold Stone Creamery.

We very rarely go to Cold Stone.  For one, the parking lot is always full because it shares the lot with Carrabba’s which is always insanely busy.  Another reason is that no one should spend that much on ice cream unless they’re getting a good gallon of it they can bring home and eat over the course of a few days.  Every time I’ve gone there I’ve ordered the Sinless Sweet Cream because every time I’ve gone there I’ve been on Weight Watchers.  This time, however, I decided to try something different.

My first sample was of the Cake Batter ice cream.  I was pretty much gone from there and ordered a concoction that consisted of the ice cream, rainbow sprinkles and an entire brownie mixed in.  I think there may have been some fudge sauce in there as well.  I don’t know.  It was all I could do to keep myself from pressing my nose against the sneeze guard while the guy used his supreme mix-in wizardry to prepare my order.

I was asked if I wanted my order in a cup or a waffle bowl.  Shoot, why not put it in a waffle bowl?  Would that be a plain bowl or one dipped in chocolate?  Shoot, give me one with chocolate.  Would you like a chocolate dipped bowl with nuts or sprinkles?  Nah, just a plain chocolate dipped bowl for my ice cream mixed with an entire brownie will be fine, thanks.

Nathan and I took our orders back to our car and ate them while Autumn babbled in the back seat.  I’m glad she was sitting behind me and facing the back of the car because I really didn’t want her to see how big of a pig I’ve become.  At least I refrained from ordering the “Gotta Have It” size and opted for the smaller “Love It.”  One thing did occur to me as we licked melting waffle bowl chocolate from our hands.

“Did you notice that the guy didn’t even ask if we wanted the ‘Like It’ size?” I asked Nathan.

“Yeah,” he said.

“I guess we just don’t look like ‘Like It’ kind of people,” I said.

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