Can’t Eat Just One

Several weeks ago, I went to a Pampered Chef party hosted by my friend Becky. Becky lives just shy of a mile away from me, and she is a hosting fiend. She seems to enjoy entertaining people…having them in her space…plying them with alcohol…I love Becky.

Anyway, whenever she has a party, I go. At first it was just for moral support…then it was for fun…and now it’s because the threat of me spending money makes my husband froth at the mouth. After all, it was through her that I got hooked on Wildtree, after which I stopped using almost all other oil but grapeseed and proceeded to replace our spices with their blends. Now, we both enjoy Wildtree, but it wasn’t exactly wallet-friendly to up and revamp the pantry like that.

Little Kitchen

You can just imagine what raced through his little penny-pinching head when I wrote in my party plans on the calendar.

Two of the goodies I bought were a slicer and microwave-crisper. Now, I could take or leave regular old potato chips—I don’t garner the same enjoyment from them as some of my associates…cough-NICK-cough. Now, a bag of sweet potato chips: I could do some damage there. To be fair, you could probably do just about anything with a sweet potato and I would eat it and love it. I abstain most of the time because (in case you didn’t know), deep frying anything that is naturally nutritious actually makes it unhealthy.

I wanted an easy way to make homemade, healthy snacks for both me and Nick (but especially for Nick because chips aren’t one of my main food groups). I thought he would be tickled if I made him homemade potato chips—he was tickled when I made him homemade scones, so why shouldn’t he have the same reaction to chips? Well, my goodies came yesterday, and my first order of business was slicing up a potato.

I lovingly sliced that potato, painstakingly blotting out the excess moisture and seasoning the slices just so. The crispness was ideal, and they just tasted so perfect and fresh (I had to try one). I carried the trays out to him where he was sprawled on the couch watching sports. I expected a reaction, something. His eyes never left the television as he shoveled them into his mouth with his cocky, “I can eat whatever I want and not gain an ounce—and dammit, I’m hungry!” mentality.

I swear those chips were demolished inside of 30 seconds.

My jaw dropped. He noticed my look and at least had the decency to look ashamed.

I guess I should be happy that he can mindlessly eat my chips with the same vigor as the greasy stuff. But still. I’m downright deflated.

Like Water off a Duck’s Back

It’s been just about three months now since my hysterectomy, and for the most part I feel great. I mean great. As in, I can’t remember the last time I felt this good. Because of this monumental accomplishment, I don’t dwell on some of the less desirable aftershocks of my surgery—but I don’t have to be happy about ’em, either.

I’ve got a couple of decades left before I head into menopause. My surgeon had assured me that I would still feel like me after surgery, but a me without the pain. And yet, I started experiencing oddities shortly after coming home.

Suddenly, there are moments of unbearable heat that I am not equipped to handle—I’ve been cold all my life. (I like cold a whole lot better, by the way.) But I am most concerned with my face—I feel like I don’t know myself anymore. My skin seems to change from day to day, and I don’t know how to care for it . At a checkup with my regular physician, I mentioned my concerns when she asked how my recovery was going.

She nodded with a furrow in her brow and chose her words carefully. “Scientifically, you should not be experiencing any of this,” she said. “But, I personally know several women who have had the same surgery, and they all experience menopausal symptoms after surgery. The good news is that they shouldn’t last. It’s just a shock to your system right now.”

I am pretty sure that none of the many papers I had to sign before they put me under mentioned that I would come out of surgery as an adolescent…though admittedly, I was skimming a bit there by the last few pages.

So my doctor prescribed a topical antibiotic, and I think it’s doing a really good job. It also is very drying: I never know what mood my skin is going to be in…like walking on eggshells, I tell you! Since there is no scientific reason for any of this, I have been scouring discussion boards looking for women who have been down this road and have shared the directions to the end.

A recurring suggestion was using petroleum jelly in conjunction with the medication. All said to lather up some of it with a mild soap like Cetaphil, get in the shower, and wash it off last. I did a little more research. Apparently petroleum jelly is a terrific facial moisturizer that does not clog pores. Worth a try.

I was completely unprepared to deal with the stubbornness of goop.

When the time came, I washed my face with more gentle soap to get the layer of stuff off my face. Strike one. I used a foam cleanser next. Strike two. I finally moved on to an exfoliating facial cleanser (thinking it was the strongest cleanser I had). Not only was that strike three, but all of the little exfoliating beads became embedded in the mesh of the jelly. What can you do at that point but laugh?

I desperately wished that we kept a squeegee in the shower.

Finally, I found a harsher body soap that at least broke up the bulk of the thick layer on my face (still leaving a faint water-repelling coat), but I pretty much wrote this idea off as a nice thought and nothing more. I know now that I will go through all of this again: the jelly made my skin so soft and downright friendly! I can’t believe I am willing to repeat this scene…

Now, I just need to refine my process and figure out how to wash this stuff off my face without looking tarred and feathered by the end. I’m thinking industrial degreaser—they make a noncomedogenic version for sensitive skin, right?

Sophie Sunday

Sometimes, I am so disgusted by her. She has nasty habits…she buries her poop, rolls around in ecstasy on Nick’s pile of sweaty running clothes, and plays with bugs. Why does she have to be such a…a…such an animal!?

Ooh, the little cream-filled kind!

It’s my fault, really. In my imagination, Sophie is mostly human—I wouldn’t have entire one-sided conversations with a cat, after all. She has a handful of ironic expressions that she cycles through depending on her level of disdain for my chatter, a moody glare that erupts when I have the audacity to put something of mine in her way, and a wide-eyed profession of total adoration for all the times in between.

She’s two steps away from being my closest confident.

I’ve just taken the anthropomorphism too far. (I know this surprises you immensely.) As such, I am a little turned off when she starts behaving like a cat. One of our wedding presents was a pretty hanging plant. The day after our party, Nick brought it into the living room while we prepared a place for it. Meanwhile, a stowaway deposited himself on the floor. Sophie got her bully on and started pushing him around—trying for intimidation so that she could overpower him, obviously.

Meanwhile, I could only see the scene from Lion King when Timon picks up a squishy bug and talks about it being cream-filled. I started to gag, squeaking for Nick to get rid of him before Sophie could finish him off! He could tell that it wasn’t a time to torment me because I was horrified that she might actually put that nasty thing in her mouth.

To distract Sophie while he took care of business, I topped off the water in her mug and we settled in to gossip about the family who just moved in down the road.

Bringing up the Rear

I am feeling marvelous sitting here in my bicycling gear, enthused about today’s ride. I don’t question the source of my great mood: I know exactly what it is. I have a shuddering flashback to a darker time when padded shorts did not live in my closet. Let me go back…


A couple years ago, I spent what seemed like an embarrassing amount of money on a pair of padded bike shorts. We were at Trek waiting for our bikes to be serviced before our first ride of the season. (It’s one of the perks of buying a Trek bike: free annual maintenance.)

Nick already had a pair of padded bike shorts for our bicycling adventures. He was very diligent about wearing them, and I thought it was the silliest thing I had ever heard of. You see, I didn’t bike much before dating Nick; I’m still learning how to be one of the cool kids. When I spotted the display of pricey shorts that day, a war waged in me.

All of my medical issues, procedures, and whatnot involve my very low back. Due to the proximity of this boo-boo, Nick and I refer these as my “butt” problems. Not entirely accurate, but it injects a bit of gaiety into the situation. Anyway, I’ll be honest that one of my most persuasive arguments FOR buying the most expensive pair of padded bike shorts on the rack was this: if my HMO was willing (or forced) to put six figures into my butt, I should be able to justify three.

After signing my name on the dotted line, I changed in one of the the store’s dressing rooms. After I came out, we continued to wait for the bikes to be ready. I did not sit until we were in the car on the way to the trail head…and I think I actually moaned in unbridled pleasure. I felt like I was sitting on a cloud, and it was luxurious. I wasn’t even on my bike yet and I was wondering how I could fit these shorts into my everyday wardrobe.

Once my backside was happy, all kinds of doors opened for me. I smiled easier. I was more outgoing. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all the time. I had no idea what kind of pull my posterior had on my perspective…but now that I know, I feel the need to give this knowledge to the world (you know, for the good of mankind).

In retrospect, it was one of the best three-figures I’ve ever spent. Life-changing. Epic.

My only regret is that I still haven’t found a way to work them under a pencil skirt.


It’s that time again!

Not to be predictable or anything, but I think Nick and I can ink in plans for the last weekend of the rest of our Septembers. We first went to Minocqua, Wisconsin together in 2007. We were going solely for the purpose of hitting the bike trails…but the weekend we scheduled just happened to be this local festival: Beef-A-Rama.

The festival weekend kicks off with a Rump Roast Run. The top three finishers actually win a rump roast. This is funny to me on a lot of levels, but mainly because I’m not fond of beef…so it’s as good of a reason as any why I won’t ever place in the run. That’s right, folks: I throw the run because I don’t know what the heck I would do with an 18 pound roast.

Anyway, that first trip during Beef-A-Rama was a fluke, but it started a tradition.

Don’t get me wrong: we would still have a nice time without the festival. I think Bearskin must be my favorite biking trail…and Wisconsin’s north woods in autumn are breathtaking:

Cedar Falls

But somehow the weekend feels much more special with all the merrymaking. People are in the streets…happy, friendly, and in the mood to celebrate with perfect strangers. It’s a beef festival and all, but they’re really not celebrating beef (perish the thought). They’re celebrating a day of lightness, a day to feel good for no reason at all.

I can’t wait!