I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Foodie Readings & Other Stuff

Having previously talked about my adoration of libraries, and of books in general, I feel I should admit that mostly I read crap. Chick-lit, crime fiction, so-obvious-it's-almost-ridiculous whodunnits, and so on. Occasionally I'll pick up something great, more often it's escapist reading of the highest order. Recently I picked up the above book: Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America's First Lady of Food. I'm don't read a huge number of non-recipe food-related books but this one caught my eye as I've always liked Betty. Not that we're friends or anything, just that I'd grown up using "her" products and she really was a symbol of Americana food.

Needless to say I came crashing back down to earth when I found out that she wasn't real. She was simply a marketing tool devised by some seriously clever folk at Gold Medal Flour. The book traces the history of Betty - from her appearances in newspapers to radio shows to live appearances to guest spots on TV. For many women (and men) she was the end-all-and-be-all in kitchen wisdom and hope, in particular during the Depression. Even Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to Betty asking for cooking advice! There are also a number of photos tracing Betty's visual history; from what she looked like in the early print ads to her more recent portrait updates. A bit like Barbie, Betty doesn't really age - in fact she seems to be getting a bit younger as time goes on (and minus the Botox!)

As far as the book itself, it was an interesting, quick read - while not a total page-turner, it still provided a fascinating insight into the world of baking marketing. In addition to following Betty the woman it also follows the product line, including noting the "horror" of the baking public when cake mixes first became available. Now, of course, there are whole cookbooks devoted to baking via a cake mix (sacrilege, people. Sacrilege!) An interesting read - for bakers and non-bakers alike.

Readers of this blog will know that on occasion I mention my friends...and to protect their innocence I tend to refer to them by various nicknames. Now one of those nicknames/people has taken on a blogging life of their own! Go on over there, have a look and be supportive, okay? Not only because I said so, but because, well... I said so!

The Baker's Wife goes online!

...and for those following the resolution, all is going well. Most weeks have far exceeded the 140 minute mark, and I'm really getting into it. I will admit some days it's harder to find those 20 minutes than I thought. Other days, I find myself lo0king at the watch and thinking, "40 minutes already? How did that happen?" More on this later on. In the meantime, be prepared for a phone call from me. :)

...and lastly, in "hungry three" news, First Grade starts tomorrow. I am sitting here resisting the urge to start crying and yelling, "My babies! My babies!" (although I reserve the right to do that tomorrow after I've dropped them off.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Whole Bathing Suit Thing

For the past two weeks, we've been on a beach vacation. Beach as in water. As in swimming. As in, putting on a bathing suit almost every day. I make no secret of the fact that I am fat. Very fat. In fact, comments about "beached whale" and the like would not be out of place (and appropriate, given where we are at the moment.) These past few weeks I've been doing a fair amount of people watching, both in and out of the water. I've also had various conversations with visiting friends about The Whole Bathing Suit Thing.

TWBST is all about women having, shall we say, issues with wearing a bathing suit. Issues which have many different excuses attached: Shows too much. Shows too little. Makes my thighs look big. Requires me to get a bikini wax. Shows off my fat arms. Makes my legs look short. Shows that I have a belly. Highlights my lack of boobs. Whatever the excuse is, it seems the women I know have a serious aversion to wearing bathing suits, particularly in public. The solution, it seems, is trying to cover up all the parts of your body which are your main excuse for not wearing a bathing suit in the first place.

There's the bikini top and board shorts look, the bathing suit and oversized t-shirt on top look, the board shorts and t-shirt look, the wearing everything I own and just not getting in the water idea, the bathing suit with a skirtie thing and then a sarong on top too look, the bathing suit *and* t-shirt *and* shorts look....the look-anywhere-but-here look. Ummm, yeah. Ladies, here's a heads up. When the t-shirt/board shorts/sarong/whatever gets WET, you look even WORSE than you might if you just put on a one-piece. Honestly. Girl to girl, I'm telling you, it looks WAY worse and highlights WAY more sins than your average one piece. This advice comes to you from a gal with a big ol' ass, thunder thighs, jiggly arms, some serious boobage, and low self-esteem about her body in general. I go to the beach or pool almost every day in the summer. I wear a bathing suit, and I don't give a rat's ass who can see. It's truly liberating.

When the t-shirt sticks, it sticks TO your fat rolls. The board shorts never did any woman (thin or otherwise) any favours. The sarong...ummm...yeah. Only suitable to be worn on a Pacific Island smaller than a breadbox. The whole "not going to swim, I'll just be a martyr and sit here on the beach while the rest of you frolic and have fun".... you I have no solution for, other than perhaps some therapy.

I understand that women have body issues - hell, I AM a walking, talking, breathing body issue. At the same time, there is something so glorious, so utterly wonderful, so totally...freeing about being in the water. For those few minutes, you are....gossamer-thin, floaty...weightless. Unless, of course, you're being dragged down to the bottom by the weight of your (wet, unattractive) t-shirt. Swimming, floating, walking, running - whatever you're doing, while you're in that water you're no longer a contender for Miss Thunder Thighs 2008. You are gorgeous. Beautiful. Utterly stunning. Your hair (thick, perfect) floats around your head like a crown, suitable to the water nymph you have become. There truly is no better feeling.

So, ladies, I say be gone with all that extraneous clothing. Fact is, if you're fat, no amount of EXTRA clothes is going to help. I'll let you in on a secret: people already know you're fat. If you're thin and you just have issues (whatever they may be)...then I say, get to the beach, take off all those layers of clothing (behind a towel if you must), close your eyes so you can't see the other people, and run full pelt into the water. It's a well known fact that if you can't see them, they can't see you.

Trust me. It's a simple fact of life that even skinny bitches look bad when wearing board shorts and a (free, promotional) t-shirt.

Week Two: 205 minutes (min required: 140)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where have the hungry three gone?

On holiday, that's where! As a family we are spending two weeks living it up in Rosebud, a small beach town about 90 minutes out of Melbourne. We've spent days and days in the ocean, eaten literally close to 6 boxes of popsicles and ice creams on-a-stick, slapped on litres of sunscreen, had a bbq dinner almost every night, and our morning routine is like this:

9:30am - Dad. Dad. DAD? DAD!!! Dad, can we watch a video?
9:31am - (DH): Mrph. Rrmmhppg. MMmpphhrffr.
9:32am - Dad? Dad, we're serious. Dad? DAD! A video, Dad?
9:33am - DH hauls self out of bed to fumble with DVD player, reminds the kids to eat something and then stumbles back to bed.

Note: Notice I have no part in above scene. This is largely because the kids have been trained not to wake me up or bother me unless the house is burning down, one of them has a flag pole stuck in their ear, or DH can't be woken up first. It works.

11am - Kids finish movie, have eaten brekkie, and I shuffle, bleary-eyed, out to the loungeroom.

11:01am - (me): So, what are we going to do today?
11:02am - (kids): Dunno, but I'm going back to bed (upon which 1,2 or all 3 shuffle away.)

Eventually we all get up, eat, and s-l-o-w-l-y get ready to go to the beach. None of us feel any great need to move very quickly. None of us care about anything other than relaxing. We've been to the movies, had 3 sets of friends come and spend the day with us, and yet we all feel as though our limbs have turned to jelly. In a word, it's fabulous.

For those who are keeping track of my resolution, here is how Week One went:

- Of a minimum 140 minutes required for the week, I completed 160 minutes.
- Only on ONE day did I exercise the minimum of 20, every other day exceeded that.
- On most days I had one or more kids joining me
- The new 3/4 length jeans I bought are already too big on me

I read in a newspaper this week that most resolutions are broken by January 14th. Clearly, whoever wrote the article hasn't met me.

...and for those with some spare time on their hands, laugh as much as I did at this site, and then go laugh some more at this one.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Resolution, Singular

Every year I spend quite a bit of time deciding what my NY resolutions are going to be. I think about it for several weeks, I formulate them in my head and eventually I announce them to DH. Within 3-4 days, I promptly forget them. This year, determined not to make a fix-it-and-forget-it resolution, I decided to think a bit more seriously about it all.

The problem with most resolutions is that they're not really accountable, are they? You don't stick to them because nobody is really checking up on you. There is no test for 'being a nicer person' or 'calling my Mom once a week' or 'eating healthier.' So like most goals, resolutions just end up wafting away into thin air, never to be heard of again.

I started my resolution think tank by considering what things in my life needed improvement. The areas of my life which need more attention, or which I've just not put enough effort into over the last 12 months. I ended up with:

- My weight and overall fitness
- My "me" time, where I don't think or worry about family or work
- My friends, who sadly have been neglected this year
- My general stress levels
- My emotions, which have been a bit erratic of late

So I started to think about how I could improve all or really ANY of these, by way of a resolution. I considered blogging every day, in a more journalistic style - as a way of improving my writing and 'releasing' my thoughts. I considered taking up (or re-visiting) a few hobbies of mine which I miss. I considered a few other things, but all of them just seemed to require too much time or money or effort.

In the end, I decided that I could kill ALL those birds with one stone with a very simple, very easy resolution. One that did not demand a lot of time, was easily achievable, and which I could be held accountable for. One which would help me improve ALL of those things above. The resolution is this: Every day, come hell or high water (both possible with Melbourne's crazy weather, let me tell you), I'm going to spend a minimum of 20 minutes exercising. Walking, trampolining, biking, swimming, whatever. 20 minutes a day. That's it.

I may (and likely WILL) choose to do well in excess of 20 minutes, because I'm competitive like that. This way, though, I am basically forced to find that minimum of 20 minutes...and who, really, can claim not to have a spare 20 minutes in an ENTIRE DAY? Plus if I have a really bad day, where I can only find that minimal amount of time...at least I'll have achieved my goal. A low goal, an achievable goal, a goal which I can actually DO. Is it perhaps a bit, you know, easy? YES. Absolutely. It's really easy, and that's the whole idea. I have ZERO excuses for not being able to do this.

I NEED to improve my eating, do something about my clothes, be a nicer person, call my Mom etc etc. Those too I suspect will come with time, and with each day going past where I am managing my small daily resolution. In my experience, bigger things often happen once the smaller things are in place. My 20 minutes a day of exercise is time when I can just stop thinking, stop stressing, stop worrying. 20 minutes a day of quiet contemplation will surely reduce my stress levels, lower my weight, improve my overall fitness, contribute to a happier me. All that's left is my friends, and improving my communication with them.

Here is the genius of the plan. I've got a mobile phone...mobile as in, you know, you can TAKE it with you. So if I've got one of those days where I really don't want to walk, or I'm just in a shit mood overall, I take the mobile with me and I phone a friend. My motor-mouth self can easily have a 20 minute conversation without blinking an eyelid ... heck, 20 minutes is a mere chat in my world! Time goes by a LOT faster when you've got someone to talk to, plus talking uses up oxygen (hence making you work harder)...so you see? The plan is pure genius (thank you, thank you...I know I'm brilliant.)

My friend N.N. heard about this plan and she came up with an improved version. If SHE goes out to exercise once a day for 20 minutes, and *I* go out at the same time, we plan it so we call one another. That way two fat chicks in Melbourne are getting exercise AT THE SAME TIME...but it doesn't require one or the other of us to drive across town to do it together. Teamwork for the new millennium!

No crazy diets. No unreasonable goals. No stressing about scales and whatnot. Just 20 minutes a day. That's it. Simple, really.

Anyone want to join me?