Thursday, December 29, 2011

New year's resolutions... for other people

Forget making resolutions for yourself -- when it's so much easier to tell other people what they should resolve to do!

Herewith, presented in no particular order, six resolutions we wish other people would make -- and keep -- and why there's a snowball's chance in Hell they'll keep them. (FWIW, I am totally guilty of making and breaking some of these resolutions.)

For the woman who needs to shed a few pounds...

Resolution: I will go on a diet -- and stop bitching about needing to lose [insert number] pounds.

Reality check: Who am I kidding? We all know it's much more fun to bitch about being overweight and be mean to skinny people (especially those who had the willpower to go on a diet and keep the weight off) than go on a diet. But maybe if I keep saying "I'm going on a diet" the pounds will magically come off.

For those 40 and over, especially those whose doctor (and spouse) has been nagging them to take better care of themselves...

Resolution: I will exercise [regularly/more].

Reality check: Right, like that's going to happen. Last year I joined a gym -- and only went there to use the showers when we lost power. Let's face it, exercise isn't fun. And who wants to work out at a gym where everyone can see your flabby arms and muffin top and you have to pay money for the privilege? No thank you. Sure, I could walk or run, but that's soooo boring. My idea of exercise? Shopping/Watching sports.

For proud (i.e., annoying) parents...

Resolution: I will stop bragging about my kids.

Reality check: Phhhht. Of course I'm going to brag, when I know my kids truly are the cutest/smartest/most talented ones, which is totally a reflection of my great parenting. Also, they are always doing the most precious/unbelievable/adorable thing that I am sure everyone would want to know about. And they get straight As (or would if they didn't have such mean teachers), and are amazing at [insert sport and/or musical instrument and/or singing, acting, or art], and are always winning some award, making them fabulous role models. But I don't want to make other parents feel worse than they already must feel, so I will stop constantly bragging about my kids. Yeah right.

For the unhappily employed...

Resolution: I will look for a new job -- and stop bitching about my current one.

Reality check: Even though I hate my job, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know, right? And what if I hate my new job or they fire me? Where will I be then? And looking for a new job is so exhausting -- what with having to update my resume, and write cover letters, and network. Nope. I'm just going to stay at my current hell hole, and continue to whine, and wait for some fabulous new, great-paying gig to magically find me.

For children...

Resolution: I will clean my room.

Reality check: Hahahaha. Like that's ever going to happen. What are you going to do, mom, kick me out if I don't? As if. It's my room. Why do you care if it's messy?

For Facebook users...

Resolution: I will stop posting my every thought/my whereabouts/hundreds of pictures/my Farmville [or insert name of game] scores on Facebook.

Reality check: But how else can I convince myself and you that my life is way better than yours? Isn't that what Facebook is for? You don't like what I write? Don't read it, or hide my feed. I'm just expressing myself. Freedom of speech. Btw, hundreds of people think I am fascinating.

Want to add to the list? Go for it -- via the Comments.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This is what happens when you ask Santa for a reindeer

Twas the night before Christmas,
When all through the Keller's house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Except for a five-foot buck (which sure looked like a reindeer)....

See, kids, this is how legends -- and famous poems -- get started.

Despite questioning by reporters, the Kellers remain mum on the scrap of furry red suit and the ash foot prints found around their chimney -- and where they got all the extra presents.

Hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The JibJab guys say "Buh-Bye" to 2011

Buh-bye, 2011 -- and good riddance.

Amazing the JibJab guys could fit everything in in just over two minutes. (And is it just me or does the whole Charlie Sheen meltdown seem like ages ago?)

Here's to a bright, shiny, blizzard- and power-outage-free 2012! (I'd include "without celebrity hijinks, more GOP debates, political rankling, or financial debacles," but we all know that ain't happening.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What a load of crap

No, I'm not talking about the latest dust-up in Congress, or the GOP presidential field.

I am, rather, referring to Manure Manager magazine. (Proof that there is a magazine for everything. And yes, it's for real.) It's mission: to help those who deal with manure issues day in and day out make critical decisions.

On second thought, maybe I should send our elected officials a lifetime subscription to Manure Manager, cause the U.S. Congress -- and the President -- could sure benefit from some good manure management advice. Or at least some help cutting all the crap.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position....

Good, good....

Center your head, eyes looking at the floor....


As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees underneath you, letting your head gently hang toward the floor....

Inhale, coming back to a neutral "tabletop" position on your hands and knees....

And try to ignore the cat sitting on your butt....


You have now achieved Cat Pose.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Out, out, damn uterus!

I'm pretty sure "emergency hysterectomy" was not on my Amazon wish list, but SURPRISE! I'm getting one anyway. On Monday.

Supposedly with this new-fangled laparoscopic surgery, I should be okay in a week or two. But if I don't post anything for a while, you'll know why.

Think good healing thoughts for me!

UPDATED 12/17/11: Got through the surgery and am in recovery mode. Been a looong 10 days (since I was gripped with agonizing pain), but the doctor says I should be feeling MUCH better by Christmas. Thanks for the good wishes!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A sugar cereal by any other name...

Still has a shitload of sugar. So reports the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which just published its analysis of 84 children's breakfast cereals.

Per the EWG report, "a one-cup serving of [Kellogg's Honey Smacks -- known as Sugar Smacks back in my day] packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie, and one cup of any of the 44 other children’s cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies." To which I say, does this really come as a big surprise, people?! Just because Kellogg's changed the name from Sugar Smacks to Honey Smacks, that makes it health food? I think not, but bravo to Kellogg's marketing team! Well done!

FWIW, my three favorite breakfast cereals as a kid, Sugar Smacks, Apple Jacks, and Froot Loops, which were plentiful in my house growing up (though not Cocoa Puffs, which had -- shudder -- chocolate and was thus banned), all made the 10 Worst Children's Cereals list (while Cocoa Puffs did not -- ahem).

Quick aside: I would like to take this opportunity to posthumously apologize to my father, who always said it was healthier to have a couple of Pepperidge Farm oatmeal raisin cookies than a big bowl of cereal in the morning. You were right, dad!

So, what were some of your favorite cereals as a kid -- and what do you feed your children now? (I had a bowl of Puffins Peanut Butter & Chocolate cereal with a little Fiber One this morning, while the kid had Cheerios with banana.) Did any of those cereals make the Environmental Working Group's 10 Worst Cereals list? Let me know via the comments.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The best little chocolate shops in Paris

So many chocolate shops -- and patisseries -- in Paris, so little time. (Seriously, there must be a chocolate shop and/or pastry shop on every block.) That's why I highly recommend doing a Chocolate Walk and/or Taste of Paris walking tour next time you find yourself in the City of Lights and Chocolate.

We did a Chocolate Walk (with Paris Walks) on our last trip to Paris, in November 2009. So this time we did a Taste of Paris walking tour (again with Paris Walks) -- and made sure to visit a few chocolatiers and patisseries we didn't get to our last visit. My insulin is still recovering. But in the words of Edith Piaf, je ne regrette rien.

Following are some of my favorite sweet destinations in Paris.

With a name like La Maison du Chocolat, it's gotta be good, oui? Oui. And as per usual the truffles, and the chocolate eclairs, did not disappoint. (Bonus: La Maison du Chocolat has three shops in New York City!)

Another must-sample chocolate/pastry shop, Patisserie Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris.

However, my now favorite chocolate shop in Paris is L'Atelier du Chocolat, whose Feuillants d'or (dark chocolate covered in crushed pralines... shudder)... I have no words for (but my mother is seriously going to score major mom points if she brings me back a bag).

And if you like your fine chocolates paired with a fine wine, look no farther (or further) than Saint-Honoré Paris Chocolats & Vins at 37-39 rue Saint-Honoré, the first chocolate and wine bar in Paris. (Quick, someone, get this business a website!) It was only because we had been gorging ourselves for two hours on fine cheese, fois gras, and chocolates that I could not choke down more than a couple of pieces of their delicious-looking chocolates and wash them down with a bit of red wine.

Finally, what can I say about the macarons and pastries of Ladurée (without sighing)? They are simply... heavenly. Sigh. (I lovingly carried back a box of two dozen assorted macarons on the airplane, which lasted but a few days.)

Honorable mentions: Jean-Paul Hévin (see my previous Paris chocolate post) and Pierre Hermé (though we prefer Ladurée's macarons).

[Amazingly, despite gorging myself on rich food and pastries and chocolates for eight days, I managed to lose a pound. Must be something about France.]

Friday, December 2, 2011

Isn't Justin Bieber a bit tall to be Santa's elf?

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber to stop making Christmas videos
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is...
Not this

Most (all?) of you know how I feel about annoying Christmas music, but this new version of "All I Want for Christmas Is You," performed by Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey, gives Wham! a run for the money. (Also, while I think Mariah Carey looks better than she has in years, Carey trying to seduce the Bieb in a skimpy Santa costume is more than a bit disturbing.)

Please make it stop.

[Consider this an Open Thread to voice your opinion about the best and worst Christmas songs.]