Questionable Indulgence

Why yes, yes I am eating Twinkies ice-cream. Don’t roll your eyes at me. It’s not nearly as awful as you might think — it actually does taste like Twinkies. Which is good…if you like Twinkies.

Annnd in another few minutes, it’ll be Wednesday. Not as good as Friday, but definitely better than Monday.

 

TOTALITY!!

Of course, the talk of the town this week was the solar eclipse. Unfortunately, in my neck of the woods just 80% of the eclipse was visible and sadly, an excursion for better viewing was impossible. However, my daughter and I did catch a glimpse of the 80% and it was cool if not spectacular…a completely different experience than what I witnessed on live cams across the country where 100% of the event was visible. Our world is an amazing place and marvels like this are humbling to witness – a reminder of just how small we are in the universe. Since I couldn’t see the full eclipse in my own area, I will be living vicariously through my friend over at We Love the Stars Too Fondly as he posts photos and observations this week from his vacation purely scientific road trip.

We Love The Stars Too Fondly

Much more, of course, after I get home and have a chance to download the pictures from the DSLRs and the video from four different cameras. But for now, let’s say that it was an exciting and wonderful day with a fair amount of adrenaline expended.

We woke up to clouds.

By the time we hit the road, there were thunderheads starting to build.

We were heading to NE Kansas (the Sabetha area) or SE Nebraska (Humboldt or Pawnee City).

By the time we got to St. Joseph, it was raining. At times raining hard. Once out of St. Joseph and across the river into Kansas, we saw a bit of a rainbow. The good news is that a rainbow is a hopeful sign? The bad news is that in practical terms, you only get rainbows with rain, which means clouds.

We stopped in Hiawatha, Kansas to look at the…

View original post 411 more words

Everyone Loves a Parade

I would have thought that by the time I had reached the age I am now, I would be able to walk through my own house without much fanfare, and certainly without chaperones. But apparently, I was wrong. Sometimes I feel as though I need a parade leader’s scepter…you know, something befitting the pomp and circumstance that is the journey to my refrigerator, or bathroom, or laundry room, or anywhere since I can’t seem to move without an entourage.

 

 

 

 

Wretched Excess

I saw a late-night TV commercial last night for one of those “all you can eat” buffets. Five hundred entrees, bottomless soup and salad bar, eighty different types of dessert, and four cardiac defibrillation stations. Ecstatic children piling chicken tenders on top of their banana splits. Dad eating enough fried shrimp to threaten the Louisiana shrimp industry. Mom was the only one demonstrating any dietary discretion. She was enjoying a deep-fried kale salad to go with her 10-cheese 7 layer lasagna. Fearing that I would soon witness this family of four exploding all over the restaurant like poor Mr. Creosote in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, I turned the station and lo and behold, I ended up on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”  I guess I was hungry. Next time, I’ll just head to the fridge earlier for my snack instead of living vicariously through the TV.

This food frenzy got me to thinking though. We Americans consume God awful amounts of food. Every fast food chain suggests you “super-size your order. Casual chain restaurants now tout their “never ending appetizers.” Even Starbucks loves you more as a customer when you pass over the former size-champion Venti and go for the new 31 oz Trenta to go along with that cake pop on a stick (or two) you just have to grab for breakfast. Nothing can get you going in the morning like downing a quart of coffee…literally.  Hmmm.  Just how much food do we consume in a year?

I decided to do some research on this. Cause you know, it’s late at night and sleep is for babies. What started as an innocent inquiry into what we eat every year, turned into a dark journey into terror. Believe it or not, in one year you will have likely eaten one ton of food! Yes, the FDA figures it out to be an average of 1,996.3 pounds. But hey, if you’re a perfectionist like me, just buy those extra two Trenta caramel lattes (with whipped cream!) at your corner Starbucks every week and you’ll get to that perfectly rounded 2,000-pound mark, easy peasy.

I mean, really? A ton of food in a year? That’s more weight than a Mitsubishi Mirage. Thank God for efficient digestive systems!  It got even more terrifying when I checked to see how the weight was split up. I don’t know what possessed me to go looking, but go looking I did.

People apparently love their dairy. As a society, we keep the dairy industry afloat. Each of us, on average – because of course some people don’t eat or drink dairy at all, consumes 781.5 pounds of milk, yogurt, and other dairy products a year. Add in another 31.4 pounds if you eat cheese.

We eat 32.7 pounds of eggs.  That works out to 253 eggs apiece for the math impaired (and just so you know, I used a calculator for that…cause you know, technology).

What about meats? Apparently, each person will go through about 62.4 pounds of red meat, 46.5 pounds of pork, 60.4 pounds of chicken, and 23.2 pounds of turkey in their yearly feasting. I bet most of that turkey consumption is on Thanksgiving weekend alone.

I couldn’t find stats on other types of meat and it’s just as well. Just knowing the above made me sick enough.

As for the veggie side of things, we eat 415.4 pounds of vegetables every year to go with that massive portion of meat already on our plates.  Seriously though, we need these veggies to counter the over 85 pounds of butter and oil we eat per year. Ugh.

If you have a three-year-old toddler (if you don’t then, borrow one), pick him or her up.  Pretty hefty, right?  Now put the toddler down and close your eyes. Now open your eyes and pretend that the cute toddler has turned into a pile of delicious French Fries. Okay, don’t roll your eyes at me…this is just a visualization technique. Good grief.  Anyway, do you see that toddler size pile of fries?  Now know this, each year the average American will consume 31.1 pounds of fries…the average weight of a three-year-old.

It gets worse.  Cause we haven’t even discussed snacks. And who doesn’t love snacks? You’re looking at 23 pounds of pizza, 24 pounds of ice cream (which I could do in one week if my wallet and my doctor would let me), 53 gallons of soda (I think I’m above average on this one…not exactly the goal my mother was shooting for when she claimed I had potential), and a terrifying 3 pounds of salt. Three. Pounds. Of. Salt. No wonder blood pressure is on the rise nationwide.

So, yeah. While I am more enlightened and more knowledgeable, which is never a bad thing, my late-night journey into the realm of our society’s consumption levels left me a little worse for wear. I almost couldn’t finish my bag of chips and pint of Ben & Jerry’s Karamel-Sutra.

No Thanks

The biggest nope that ever noped in all of nopeland.  Think I will add this to my reverse bucket list. The thrown-together planks remind me of the small wood bridge over the creek to get to my grandparents’ house in the holler. But at least that was only a 7 foot drop or so into some cool water…not an endless fall into an abyss.

 

Sharing Some Laughs

Several years ago, my kids and I took a bus trip with my parents to see a Christmas play in an adjacent state. A great time was had by all which makes me really want to do another trip soon since it’s been so long since the last one, but what I want to talk about today was the entertainment provided on the return trip. For those of us left awake on the ride home, the tour guide played a video of a comedic motivational speaker named Jeanne Robertson, an older, southern lady with a knack for the hilarious.

Dressed to the nines in her well-fitted suits and speaking in a graceful, languid drawl, her stage presence belies her innate talent as a comedian…which makes her performances all the more hysterical. I love stand-up comedy and I like a variety of comedians for very different reasons, but none have made me laugh out loud as consistently and as freely as Ms. Robertson.

Maybe it’s the southern humor to which I can relate thanks to my extended family and friends, or maybe it’s her natural and unpretentious presentation — but whatever it is, to say I was pleasantly surprised to be so thoroughly entertained by such an unexpected comedian is an understatement. I mean, you simply do not look at this woman and think “comedic genius,” and yet, there she is.

It’s not an in-your-face, obscenity laden type of performance…she is a motivational speaker after all. But perhaps her humor is as enjoyable as it is for just that reason. It harks back to another age, one where story-telling was the height of entertainment – stories that were grounded in the simple everyday life and that could be appreciated by everyone, but were no less funny for all that.