Monday, February 28, 2011

As I write today's Outrageous News post, my sympathetic nervous system has kicked into high gear.  I perceive a threat to my way of life and my future livelihood, and evolution has prompted the release of catecholamine hormones like adrenaline into my system.  If my parasympathetic nervous system doesn't kick in soon to calm me down, somebody might get hurt.  (Okay, or I might run away, but considering how much  I don't like to run, fight is much more likely than flight in my case.)

Wow, Sarah. Those are some pretty big words! Where did you learn all of that?

Oh, me?  Why, I learned it all at the University of Utah, where I'm currently a senior finishing up my Degree to Nowhere, also known as Waste of Time 101, otherwise denoted as a Bachelor of Science in You'll Never Get a Job So Why Even TryMy professors call it a psychology degree, but what do they know, right?  They couldn't possibly know more about their field than Utah State Senator 
Howard Stephenson, who thinks my college degree will lead to nothing worth all the money and time I've spent on it.

Stephenson declared my degree a degree to nowhere as a way of highlighting his love and devotion to applied technology schools in my state. (And his distaste for the fact that the other senators think those schools should have their budgets cut the same as my school.)  Despite the fact that Mr. Stephenson seems to have done just fine with his own BS in Psychology and a Masters in Public Administration, he thinks my university is pulling to wool over my poor little naive eyes, and I'm certain to decide my degree is one great big disappointment when I graduate and realize there isn't a single job to be found.

The funny thing about that... As a person who is pretty good at looking for jobs, I decided I should help the poor senator out and find the jobs he hasn't been able to find.  Five minutes into an online search, I found 3 positions which opened within the last day or two that require a bachelors degree in psych or a related field.  I found four others open to candidates with graduate work in psychology.  There are likely countless others I didn't find because I wanted to narrow my search to one particular employer in order to prove a point.

The employer?  The state of Utah.

That's right, Mr. Stephenson.  The know...the one that pays you to be a senator...employs people with "degrees to nowhere."  Apparently, the government hasn't gotten the memo that Utah is nowhere.  Do you know who else employs psychology grads?  Research labs, marketing departments, treatment centers, counseling offices, colleges, clinics, corporations, and factories.

Maybe Stephenson got his MPA because he finished up his psych degree and couldn't find work he wanted to do, and that experience has forever tainted his view of that education.  I respectfully offer that without that useless degree, he would never have gotten into graduate school in the first place.  It's kind of a building block situation, you know?  You fill out the grad school application and under the "Did you successfully complete your degree to nowhere?" question, you have to mark yes or they won't even give you an interview.

Would I have more guarantee of a job if I had gone to an applied technology college?  That's debatable, but even in the midst of a recession, Stephenson seems to think I would.  Do I want an applied technology job? No.  No, I can't say that I do.  Would having an applied technology job make up for the fact that I don't want an applied technology job?  Everyone but a certain senator probably knows the answer to that one.

Thanks for the rallying cry in favor of an ATC education and for your note of caution about my degree.  I think I'll stick with the plan, if it's all the same to you.  I just trust all my know...the ones making money with their degrees to nowhere...

No exercise required!

Mom, today I learned that it only takes 4 weeks to learn how to Photoshop a picture!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Mother Unload: Substitutions

When you embark on a new way of eating, this often involves the sacrifice of components of your previous diet. Newly converted vegetarians say goodbye to all things meat. Vegans go completely cruelty free. Raw foodists begin to use their ovens for decorative purposes only.

For people like me who are suddenly interested in controlling unnecessary carb and fat intake, well, about half of what we used to eat is no longer okay.

The amazing(?) thing about America is that no one has to go without their favorite things, no matter what diet they happen to be adopting. Whether you're giving up meat, dairy, sugar, or white flour, someone, somewhere has worked his or her entire life to create a suitable(?) substitute.

When you're new to the diet thing, substitutions are welcome. It's not about the food, of course. Oh, no. You just want the experience. I don't want pasta. I just want to feel like a real Italian mom. I don't want hot chocolate. I just want that special time with my husband at our favorite corner cafe. I don't want a burger., I do want a burger.  Dang.
After days of being strong, avoiding the processed, unhealthy, fatty, or sugar laden foods Americans eat too much of, someone presents you with an alternative.  You CAN have your organic, gluten free, sugar free, flax seed-filled, omega 3 cake and eat it too! 

The first time someone told me a substitute was available...well, it was magical.

"Honey! The cafe has sugar free hot chocolate!"

"Really?  Sugar free?"

"YES! Made with Pegasus wings and unicorn horns and blessed by a shaman!  What are you waiting for?! Get your coat on!  I want to have an experience with you right now!"

Did you ever watch "Lost"?  Do you remember when they created a little golf course on the island where they blew off steam driving rounded rocks across a meadow all the while knowing they could die a gruesome death at any minute, what with all the smoke monsters, the Others, fully loaded guns, crazy, recently disabled survivalists with one kidney, and Matthew Fox's frequently overflowing tears?

Eating a substitute food is like that.  Only death equals melancholy and the various island dangers equal taste...or the lack thereof.

Some substitutions are better than others.  The whole grain pasta I just had with my lunch tastes pretty close to the real thing.  Sugar free hot chocolate? It's filled with Dr. Shepard's tears and smoke monster vomit.  I think there's a stone golf ball and a nuclear warhead in there too...and a bit of the ranch dressing Hurley kept hoarding.

Okay, maybe that's the crazy me talking.  It's probably not that bad.  It just isn't hot chocolate.

And therein lies the truth of the whole matter.  People can sell you fake food and tell you it's like the original, but if you have taste buds, you'll know a phony before it reaches your tonsils.  Substitutions are not the real thing. They don't taste like the real thing.  They should never be called the real thing.

Case in point: Turkey bacon.  I know bacon.  You don't get to be my weight without a very up close and personal relationship with bacon.  You just don't.  Turkey bacon is not bacon.  It should not ever be called bacon.  It should be called turkey strip of rubbery, salted chewiness that can be used in placed of crispy, delicious, mouthwatering bacon but could never aspire to be bacon itself.  I call it NOTbacon for short.

(Reminds me of that kid who's going to fill the lead role in the "Footloose" remake.)

BUT, and this is a really big one (like mine!), once you settle in to the fact that a substitute is not the real thing, it CAN have a place in your diet.  It's all about strategy.  NOTbacon on the side of your whole wheat pancakes and egg white omelet?  No go.  NOTbacon hidden in a lovingly made NBLT?  Lovely!

Non fat, dairy free cream cheese as part of a plain cheesecake? BLECH!  Hidden among berries, raw honey, and a whole wheat pastry?  Mmmmmmm!

And what of the sugar free hot chocolate?  That's going to be one of those things I just let go.  It tastes awful, and there are other things I can do to have a quiet experience with my husband.  Sharing a frozen yogurt, for instance.

Besides, I've offered the sugar free hot chocolate to the smoke monster in exchange for tracking skills, and there is just no beating that!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If you have access to network television, I guess you know about a show called "Community".  Maybe you've even watched an episode or two.  I'd not actually heard of the show before finding this gem, as I haven't had TV since January 2006.  (Do I mention our proudly TV free lifestyle a lot?  It's because I'm proud.)

This clip is not enough to make me give up five years of a very good thing, but it is enough for me to consider reinstating my Netflix membership in order to watch this show on DVD.  You give props to LeVar Burton, and I will love you forever.  That is a fact with a capital LaForge.  I have butterflies in the sky chasing each other around my stomach just watching this.  (Note: I might be persuaded to give TV another chance if PBS reinstated Reading Rainbow.)

LeVar, it's good see you again.  If I ever met you in person, I would react the same way.

Teddy, I am your father.


Mom, today I learned that there may actually be something at Build-a-Bear that Richard would buy. Do NOT, under any circumstances, tell the kids.

Monday, February 21, 2011

First things first: I don't know how to correctly spell this man's name.  Fortunately for me, I don't think anyone else knows either, so my chosen spelling is at least one of the many available online.  Whether you call him Moammar Gaddafi, Muammar Gadhafi, Kadhafi, Qadafi, or Ding Dong Needsabrain, the person we're talking about is the same.  He is the dictator in power in Libya, he is a moron, and the people of Libya are having no more of it.

So, the people of Libya, taking their cues from protests in Tunisia and Egypt, have taken to the streets in an attempt to force Gaddafi out of power, and despite the fact that the entire civilized world sees him as a despicable and buffoonish caricature of a leader, and despite the fact that high ranking officials in his government are resigning and joining the revolution and more and more military personnel are refusing to carry out his orders to attack their own countrymen, the dubious dictator is refusing to step down and says he and his regime will fight to the last bullet and he will die a martyr.

Dear Colonel Gaddafi, your terms are acceptable.  Please hasten your martyrdom so your people can live in peace. And so they can burn you in effigy without worrying about fighter jets bombing them.  And so Saturday Night Live can parody your funeral as well as they parodied your life.  You saw this, right?

This might be a good time to say that this blog post is 25 years in the making.  I don't wish death on very many people...well, outside of rush hour freeway traffic...but I've been wishing death on Colonel Gaddafi since I was 9 years old, and the fact that this event may take place in the very near future has me smiling like a blogger who has wanted someone dead for 25 years and thinks it might happen soon.  (I'm sorry. I can't think of a suitable metaphor.  There is no one on this earth I would be more happy to no longer share air with.)

This is what happens when you're an impressionable American child living in Germany at the time of Libya's bombing of a nightclub in Berlin and suddenly your wooden apartment door is replaced by reinforced steel, your school bus is being tailed every day by fully armed soldiers, and the rumor is that if he orders an attack on your city, YOUR apartment building is the most likely residential target because of its proximity to the military hospital.  When you're a 9 year old living that life and you hear a great big meanie named Gaddafi is responsible for all that, you start to have delightful visions of your father using his field artillery experience to bomb the man off the planet.

My experience of those weeks in 1986 was of a period of constant fear, but it's one that pales in comparison to all the atrocities and injustices done to the Libyan people themselves, all while Gaddafi prances around in his "eccentricity" and tries to make nice with world leaders.

Colonel Gaddafi, your people have had enough, and I pray they continue this fight until you are gone from this earth.  Don't tease us with promises of your death.  Just make it happen.  Yesterday.  If you need ideas, I'm sure my father could teach you what would happen if you stood on the wrong side of a cannon before it's fired.  I think it would be a pretty thrilling way to go, don't you?  You could sell tickets!

Readers will note I have not given the dictator a platform from which to speak on my blog.  That's because no such platform exists.  I doused it in gasoline and set it on fire the first time I even considered putting a video of the real Gaddafi here.  In its place, I have built a platform for his protesters.  Keep fighting, Libya.  Take back your country and make something good with it.  Enough is, truly, enough.


 Mom, today I learned that a mother's love will cause even me, Sarah "I hate video games as much as some people hate brussel sprouts" Clark,

Photobucket play Guitar Hero with my son.


Unfortunately, motherly love was not enough for me to play it well.


Apparently, Guitar Hero can be a bit on the snotty side about such things.  (Oh, haaaaah haaaaah, little fake guitar game.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

(Author's note: I have a very part time job that occasionally requires a few more than part time hours, which is to say that it occasionally takes over my life for a week.  Add to that my actual full time job, a family, and school, and it's Saturday before I'm saying, "BLOG! I HAVE A BLOG!"  So, here you go.  This is what I can pump out in the 15 minutes I have before I start editing Mahalo pages again. You'll see more of me next week...I hope...ohpleaseohpleaseohplease!)

 What I learned today:


I learned that when it comes to decorating Richard's car for Valentine's Day, this is all I have in me.


I learned what happens to Cate's hair when she bathes before bed.


I learned that musical birthday candles sound really bad when you don't start them at exactly the same time.  Also, they sound really bad when you do.


I learned that Jr. high classes are not what I remember.


But that the band would like me to join.


And I learned that if they have a problem with the boxing up of people at the Jr. high, I might not want my daughter to go there.

Outrageous News:

My husband turned 34 on Monday, which means we've officially known each other for half our lives.  That's pretty cool, and I feel really old.  A few pictures of my favorite goofball for your viewing pleasure:


Best picture ever.


He's a sucker for kittens.  I'm sucker for guys who are suckers for kittens.


He's like James Bond...if James Bond fought pizza odor with Febreeze.


 Owned and loving it.


My friend Lis calls this his "Pi-hole" picture.


Juvenile delinquents I used to work with called this his "Gay dancer" picture.


I just call this his "typical Richard" picture


He's so good with the kids...

Sprint PictureMail

Is it any wonder I love this guy?


Happy 34th Birthentine's Day Richard. Here's to half a lifetime as friends. I'm looking forward to the rest of it.

You've Gotta See This:

Insert video of Miriam's honor band performance here. Someone who didn't get the time mixed up and didn't walk in just as it was ending, feel free to step right on up. *facepalm* She's said she did a great job...

Stupid Product:

Bank officers at my friend's branch of Chase Bank are poopy poopheads. Chase, you're aptly named, because you chase away your own customers with your ridiculously bad customer service and your nefarious policies. Amy's done with you, and you are dumb with a capital stupid.

Awesome Product:

Red Mango Frozen Yogurt  They have gluten free, all natural, lowfat, enriched with probiotics DARK CHOCOLATE frozen yogurt, and I have a new favorite place for desserts I can actually eat every now and then.  Cold Stone and Baskin Robbins, it's been real.  Put something on your menu that I can feel good about eating and maybe you'll compete.

The Mother Unload:

I did really well.  I've lost ten pounds.  Whole grain pasta is my friend, but only in 1/2 cup servings.  Man, I used to eat too much pasta.  I'd have a 1/2 cup serving as an appetizer to my 2 cup pasta entree followed by a 3/4 cup pasta dessert.  Maybe not that bad...but almost.  (My Italian Grandpa Angelo is thinking, What's wrong with that?)

The Mother Load Column:

Remember when I used to write those every week?  That's funny.

So, there you go.  Only it hasn't been 15 minutes.  It's been 40...and I may or may not have skimped on a couple of those...and I may or may not be worried about what you think of that.

(That's just the lack of sleep talking.  I care!  I care!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

His lunch, not mine.


Mom, today I learned why Americans are fat.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I thought it would be...


I mean...they told me it would be...


It was not...


I came back from my Christmas vacation in Texas, ready to get back to work at the various freelance jobs I do.  I had a week's worth of Mahalo work to do in just a few days.  I was behind on a manuscript I needed to copyedit for a publisher.  I had all  sorts of pictures from  Texas to  blog.

This was not a good time for the fan on my laptop to go out.  I mean, it's never a good time for my laptop to go out, what with my entire livelihood being dependent on it and all.  But of all the worst times in the history of worst times for my laptop to break, this was the worstiest of the worst.

Add to this the fact that it was New Year's Day, and, well, let's just say my stress level was high and leave it at that.  (Dear Family. Thank you for loving me anyway.)

After calling every possible computer repair place in the metropolitan Salt Lake area and getting nothing but voicemail, we finally decided we'd better buy a second laptop to get me through the weekend.  Now, this was not an impulsive or unplanned purchase.  Richard has a fledgling side business transposing and arranging music, and we had already agreed he needed a better, more portable computer to make this easier.  We just bumped the date of the purchase up a week.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Staples was a big sign on the wall proclaiming that they, Staples, of the disingenuously named "Easy" button, did computer repair.  It was like a miracle from Heaven.  Like a really good hair day when you're scheduled to have your picture taken or a sugar free, carb free dark chocolate truffle that doesn't taste like dirt.  STAPLES DOES REPAIRS!!! HALLE-FLIPPIN-LUJAH!

So, I explained the problem to the salesperson who helped us choose our second laptop. She fiddled with her computer and gave me all the mandatory warnings about data loss and backups and diagnostics costing $70 before they could even do anything.  I signed on the dotted line and handed over my computer, my home office, my university classroom, my hub.  She told us we'd hear from them by Monday with an estimate and we'd likely have our computer back by Thursday.

On Friday, after hearing nothing, we called them.  Our $70 had told them what we already knew.  The fan was out and needed to be replaced. They then proceeded to give us an estimate that, when added to the diagnostic fee, equaled nearly the purchase price of the laptop itself.  We pondered and then decided it was still worth it, since I'd already paid for all the software on the computer, and I would have to pay for it again if I bought another.  I was bummed that I wouldn't have my computer back in time for school to start, but surely it would only be another week.

Thus began a month and a half of "updates" from Staples.  The central repair facility had my computer.  The fan was ordered.  The fan was there.  Oops...we need to backup your files.  That's another $100. Will you pay for that?  The fan has been installed.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  Oops! We forgot to order a heat sync to go with the fan. The computer will not be here tomorrow.  Heat sync should be there by Tuesday.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  The computer should be here tomorrow.

On January 29, I was fed up. Done. I found Staples' customer service contact information online and wrote them a detailed email, explaining my situation and asking that my laptop be fixed and returned to me as soon as humanly possible.  My work required the use of several software programs, some of which my husband did not plan on installing when the computer I was using became his.  My free trials were almost up, and still, I had no laptop. (Before we got the computer back, I was forced to spend another $160 on software in order to work.)  I mentioned this blog and let Staples know that their treatment of this issue would determine whether their computer repair service would end up as a Stupid Product post or an Awesome Product post.

I received an auto-generated email telling me they'd received my message.  I heard nothing else.

ELEVEN days after that email, a full 42 days after dropping off my laptop to Staples, I finally have it back.  42 days of temporary files on a temporary computer.  42 days of Richard not getting anything done with his side work.  42 days of hoping, wondering, wishing, and fuming. And finally...


They gave us a little folder with packets of papers detailing the transaction.  There were FOUR packets of papers which all said the same thing:


That my computer was broken. It needed a new fan.  We wouldn't sue them if I lost all my data.  And that Staples has extra computer boxes which only require a sticker, and that this shortens turnaround time on repair jobs.

What happened to my sticker, Staples?

There was one paper detailing what was done.


Two whole all that space.  Just two things they needed to fix, and it took them 42 days to do it, despite an assurance that my computer could be done in a week.

Now, this post is titled Semi-Stupid.  This is so because, according to my dear, sweet, longsuffering husband, when he stopped in at Staples today, they apologized, profusely, all over themselves.  And they reduced the repair bill by 25%.  This is not enough to make me ever want to deal with them again, but it is enough to make me knock their Stupid Product status down a notch.

The 25% off and the abject humility on the part of the local Staples staff has earned a small amount of respect from me.  However, because the local staff had little control over the actual repair time, I cannot recommend them on the basis of remorse alone.  The fact is, their central repair facility had my computer for 6 weeks for a repair I probably could have paid any number of smarty pants in-laws to do for me in an afternoon.  This is not acceptable.  This is not something I would want for any of my readers.

Sorry, Staples.  I needed this...


And I just didn't get it.


Mom, today I learned that when it comes to Richard's birthday, I will never be able to top this.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I found this little gem a while back while browsing, a site devoted to screen shots of funny and moronic Facebook status updates. (Warning: Not for those who are easily offended.) There are about as many songs about Facebook on YouTube as there are users on Facebook, it seems, but this one has to be the cutest of all of them. Not only is she right on about pretty much every point she makes, she does it with facial expressions that make me want to set her up with any single male I might happen to be related to so I can be related to her too.

The popping sound the singer makes is her take on the sound Facebook chat used to make when someone wanted to talk to you. I miss the popping sound. *Sigh*


Mom, today I learned that I will never hear the end of it from Richard until we have something like this on the back of our minivan.

Monday, February 7, 2011

For those of you who live under a rock or are blissfully TV free like me and didn't realize, there was kind of a big event on Sunday night.  The Overeat Junk Foot Until You Can't Stand Bowl (called the Super Bowl in some circles) was held on Sunday, and as is tradition, a popular singer was enlisted to sing the "Star Spangled Banner."

For Sunday's show, the singer was the incredibly-voiced Christina Aguilera.  Here's what you need to know about me.  I like Christina Aguilera's voice.  I like it a lot.  She does things with her voice I could only dream of doing.  Her skill at vocal improvisation is beyond belief.  Say what you will about her clothing, her spray tan, or her choice of music video themes.  The woman can sing.  I've always felt annoyed that Aguilera has been compared to Britney Spears throughout her entire career even though she has actual talent and the ability to sing actual notes as opposed to Spears, who grunts semi-melodically, autotunes it, and calls it a day.

So, here's Aguilera's rendition of the national anthem.

Did you hear the mistake?  My husband didn't.  I probably wouldn't have.  But the media?  They heard it and they jumped on it like a pack of rabid dogs who've come upon a wounded rabbit wrapped in bacon.  Christina accidentally repeated "twilight's last gleaming," and even though there's a war on, there's an impending crisis in Egypt, and we still have the highest unemployment rate in decades, that little flub made national news.

It seems in the eyes of the press, professional is somehow supposed to equal perfection.  If you're being paid for it, you'd better not mess it up.  That's something amateurs do.  According to one newspaper columnist, "You can't screw up the National Anthem."  I have one word for him and every other writer who has jumped on the story: editor.

It's easy for professional writers to expect perfection when they have an army of editors and copyeditors behind them, fixing their every mistake before their writing goes live.  I know this.  I had 3 editors at The Spectrum in my 9 years with them.  I'm now an editor at  My job is to fix the completely understandable mistakes of human beings so the copy looks professional and so other human beings don't make fun of them.

Newsflash to the news: Live performances don't have editors.  Human beings are not robots.  I know a lot of singers sound like robots these days, but Christina Aguilera is not one of them.

You're thinking of Britney. (AGAIN!)

You see that picture up there on the left?  It's a lie.  Don't believe it.  She's a cutie with her heart shaped face, isn't she.  Only problem is, she isn't me.  Well, she's me, but she's the Facebook version of me.  Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.

Online social networking has made us a country of liars. Every heavy woman knows how to take the perfect picture of herself. It's all about lighting, camera angles, and strategic poses. You hold the camera high, tilt your head, smile beguilingly, and suddenly, you're a thin(ner) knockout!  You're gorgeous!  You're ALMOST UNRECOGNIZABLE!

Double chin? Never heard of it! Square shaped jawline? Not me!  Fat? Who's fat?  I'm certainly not.  The camera doesn't lie, now, does it?

Oh, but it does.  The picture below is one of my favorites.  I took it with my camera phone sometime last year.  What you don't get to see are all the rejected shots I deleted before finally getting this one perfect picture...all the ones that showed a jawline much less defined than that one...the ones that didn't use a strategic semi-profile angle to hide the rest of my face...the ones that gave you a real idea of how much broader my shoulders are when one's not being bumped forward so the arm it's attached to can take the picture.


And then there's this gem.  I love this picture because that was a great day, and this man is a great man.  But really, I love it because I look thinner than I am.  I look petite, demure, cute, small.  I can justify the angle to myself, saying that Richard's 6 foot frame required me to hold the camera that high, but I know the truth.  Pictures that show my real face are purely accidents.


Like this one.  Switch from one to the other and you're liable to think I was stung by a really big bee.  Where did all that cheek come from?  What happened to cute and small?  Who the heck is this and why is she wearing Sarah's clothes?!  Has Mahalo been notified?


I'm not above using my children as well positioned camouflage, either.  See how Ev's hair hides one side of my chubby face while Miriam's hides the other?  Sweet girls.  They're so good to their mom when she crouches low behind them.  I gave them life and they give me cheekbones and a lovely chin.


But what happens when that isn't an option?  Hey, Evelyn!  Your hair is supposed to be covering something!  What gives!  Where are my cheekbones? What happened to my chin?


But the thing is, none of these pictures is me. Not the cutie above the blog. Not the petite creature snuggling her husband. Not the mom who forgot to think twice about having her husband take her picture without letting her hide behind someone first.

When I think of who I am, it's not the person you see in the pictures. I'm much, much more than that. Strategic angles or unflattering fatness...I am Sarah, and I like Sarah. If I allow myself to become defined by what you see in a picture, then I'll never be who you think I am, because let's face it, I'm not going to stop doing everything I can to make myself look good in a photo.

If I define myself by what you see in real life, well, then I'm just one more fat woman in a crowd of fat women, and even if I lose 100 pounds, I will still be a fat woman in my mind. I'd much rather be Sarah, fat or thin, 230 or 130, because Sarah is pretty cool. Sarah has swagger. Sarah's a lot of fun.



It wasn't me!


Mom, today I learned that someone's been hiding the Thin Mints...

(No, I did not eat any!) 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I permanently mark you mine!


Mom, today I learned that the secret to equitably sharing yogurt and strong cheese has been sitting in a kitchen drawer this whole time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You're thinking, "Did she really just say that?  Why she likes being fat?  Wait a minute here..."

Hear me out. 

Human beings do things for a reason.  Most behaviors, even the pathological ones (with the exception of those caused by mental illness, hormonal imbalance, or lack of dietary chocolate) are chosen because they serve us in some way.  We do things because we "like" them.  We may say we don't like them and we may hurt because of them, but ultimately, we're filling a need or a desire, however backwards.

So, I'm fat.  I'm not fat because of my thyroid (though that helped).  I'm not fat because of my possible trouble with insulin resistance (quite the opposite).  I'm not fat because of some underhanded fast food conspiracy.  I'm fat because I ate too much, I ate really crappy food, and I didn't exercise.  And if we choose behaviors because they serve us, then somewhere in this twisted brain of mine, I must like being fat.

I think it's time to explore that, don't you?

I like being fat because...

- It's safe.  From a health standpoint, this is way off.  From an emotional one? Well, it's way off too, but a girl can hope, right?  If I'm fat, no one can possibly love me.  If no one can possibly love me, then no one can possibly leave me after loving me.  If no one can possibly leave me after loving me, I can't get hurt.  The problem with this thinking is that it's incredibly untrue.  I'm pointing at myself with one fat finger and chanting, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"  I've been fat for 15 years, and in that time, I've been loved, left, and loved again, and I have never escaped the pain of life by packing away a slice of cheesecake or an Egg McMuffin.  I've dulled the pain a time or two, but it always rebounded and ran me down later.  It's not like a fat person can outrun anything...

- It's fun.  I like the taste of bacon.  Who the heck doesn't?  Cheeseburgers are second only to double cheeseburgers in the "How fast can you make me one?" category.  Ditto pizza, milkshakes, buffalo chicken wings, and late night nachos.  Being fat means you get to eat whatever you want, whenever you want.  The little kid in you who had to ask for a cookie sees the smorgasbord of options available to adults and says, "I WANT EVERYTHING!"  Is this a good thing?  Of course not.  Does that mean it isn't fun?  Of course not!  Ask any heroine addict what it feels like to get high, and they'll probably tell you it's an enjoyable experience.  A recovered heroine addict will probably tell you they've learned to enjoy other things in life, and that's where I'm hoping to get.  (Note: I will not be replacing my food addiction with case anyone was worried there.)

- It's a way to fit in.  I had a discussion with my mom over the holidays about where her parenting style came from, namely a hardscrabble, Iowan, "Don't let your kids get a big head" kind of parenting.  I think my mom struggled against that mentality in some's kind of hard not to stand out and succeed when your brain is as vastly superior as hers is...but she agreed with it in others (who wants conceited children?), so I was raised to shine and succeed and then retreat before anyone noticed.  I hope that gets a chuckle from her and not a long crying jag.  Either way, it is my personality to stand out, to be noticed, to shine.  It was my upbringing to be no better, no higher than anyone else.  You write a weekly humor column in a city newspaper and strangers start recognizing you on the street? You find a way to compensate.  America is fat...really fat.  So you know my name because I make you laugh on my couldn't find me in a crowd of people who are all as fat as I am.  This one will probably take more therapy to correct.  Lucky for me, America is also obsessed with therapy.

- Fat people are funny.  Or so the stereotype says.  At an annual gathering of certain of my friends, called ATLOP (After Thanksgiving Leftover Party), my girlfriends were lamenting the extra belly skin that was left behind on their abdomens post pregnancy.  All these skinny Minnies had the same story to tell.  I piped up that I had found a wonderful solution to that problem, causing them to perk up expectantly.  "I just stayed fat!"  The laughter in the room was thunderous.  Oh, Sarah...she's so jolly!  Look at her and her self deprecating humor!  We all feel so comfortable around Sarah because she makes fun of herself.  She's SO REAL!  REAL IS FUNNY!  I don't think my friends actually had these thoughts.  But fat people think thin people have these thoughts.  At some point, I will realize that funny is a part of who I am.  It's not attached to my oversized fat cells.  It's not written in my flab.  I am funny.  I might have to get some new material when I slim down...but I hear there's an extra skin problem I can joke about when I get there.

- The clothes are cuter.  Or so I think because I actually have some semblance of fashion sense now that I've hit my 30s.  Seriously? I only think the clothes are cuter because the last time I was thin was 1996.  Do you remember the 90s? can let this one go.

- My husband loves me just the way I am.  I was 17 years old and 130 pounds when he met me (and rocking a pair of Rocky Mountain boot cut jeans that made me look like a rodeo queen who won special honors for best booty), but it was 13 years and another 100 pounds later that he fell in love with me.  He fell for me at 230, married me at 230, and he tells me every chance he can get that I'm beautiful.  Is there a little voice inside saying he might not love the thinner me?  Yes, except it's not little.  It's 230 pounds and it has an attitude and it thinks those Rocky Mountain boot cut jeans never actually existed.  (Richard begs to differ, citing his very vivid memory of his 17 year old self's fascination with my rodeo queen booty.)  I'm taking a wait and see approach on this one.  If I lose 100 pounds and he decides I'm hideous, I'll have some decisions to make.  It might involve dressing like a cowgirl for the rest of my life... I could be okay with that.  (Richard's note: I could also be okay with that.)  Well, there you go.

I'm feeling the Weird Al love since reporting on the release of his new children's book, so naturally, I decided to feature the man again in today's You've Gotta See This post.  This is the music video for Al's song, "UHF," a companion piece to his movie of the same name.  The video pays homage to some of the most popular music videos of the 80s, so all you old people like me should enjoy that.

If you haven't seen "UHF," I think it's high time you put it on your Netflix queue, darn it!  I am absolutely sincere when I say that you have not lived until you've experienced the joy of Wheel of Fish, Twinkie-wiener sandwiches, one man's attempt at teaching poodles to fly, and another man's love affair with his mop.  Oh, and Spatula City...we cannot forget Spatula City!

I want it. I want it. I want it. I'm willing to make up a fake holiday in order to justify buying it.  (Good thinking, Sarah!)  Everyone, Weird Al has released a children's book, titled, When I Grow Up, and I will be purchasing said book to celebrate National I Had Pizza with a Low Carb Wrap as a Crust because I Grew Up Day, and everyone knows Weird Al's book is the official gift of that holiday...kind of like giving chocolates on Valentine's Day and gummy ears on Mike Tyson's birthday.

I actually knew this book was in the works last year because I am one of the two million faithful followers of Weird Al's Twitter updates mentioned in the article linked above.  That's right.  I was MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE ABOUT WEIRD AL!  Because I am that cool.

Actually, it's because I am that nerdy, and if there's anyone in this world who has made nerdy look cool, it's my one time love, Mr. Alfred Yankovic.  As a kid who sometimes struggled to accept her nerdiness in the middle of a world full of people who said, "Don't like that!" "Don't read that!" "Don't say that!"  "Don't be different!" It was Weird Al who reminded me that there was beauty and joy in being different from the crowd.  Also, that the silly sounds made by one hand squeezing against another can be considered music.

I don't need a children's book to introduce Al into the family. My kids have been well acquainted with his work since they were old enough to sing along.  I need this children's book because it's his, which means it's going to be awesome, and because I like the message of doing what you love in life.  If one of my kids wants to grow up to be a "professional pickle inspector," they will have my blessing if it makes them happy to do it.  And if they share.

You can order Weird Al's book on the Harper Collins website.  You don't even have to eat a pizza on a low carb wrap to do so, though I would totally recommend it.

You know what I also recommend?  Watching the best Weird Al video ever made.

And if you needed any proof that I married the right guy, this is what Richard wore the night he proposed.  He knew what he had to do...(Okay, so it was Halloween concert night at the symphony, and his costume was my idea, but still.  Look at this nerdy man!)


I just wanted some Crystal Light...


Mom, today I learned that either Richard thinks I'm much taller than I am or he finds pleasure in presenting me with a challenge.  (I am 5' 3" tall.  That pitcher is about 7 feet off the floor.)


Lucky for me I laugh in the face of challenges and can  balance on my toes.