Evangeline...

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    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    I May be Fat, but I Sound Cool

    There’s a reason shopping is called retail therapy. This morning I felt icky, then I did me some shopping. Now I feel better. Simple enough.

    Check out my present to myself.



    This is perfect because many of my friends call me “E”—out of affection or laziness I’m not sure. But having lived with the name Evangeline Elnora (Tompkins) Denmark, my whole life, I don’t blame anyone for shortening that mouthful.

    Anyway, you may wonder why I’ve turned to shopping to numb my stress instead of my usual go-to, food. Or, maybe you’re operating on all cylinders today and you assumed that, like the rest of the nation, I’m on a diet. Oh the misery! The horror! The lack of tasty snacks! Right now I’m craving cranberry Wensleydale cheese like nobody’s business.

    This time around, Kory decided to join me in my tribulation. Isn’t he a saint? It does make cooking easier. But the other day Chunky asked me, “Why is Daddy on a diet too? Is he just keeping you company?”

    Isn’t that cute? Bless his stinkin’ little heart.

    I try not to use the D word around the house because the experts seem to think hearing it will damage my children’s self-esteem. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I think that principle must apply to girls. I can’t see overhearing the word diet making any kind of a dent in my boys’ unshakable belief that they are the center of the universe.

    Still, it’d be nice if we could put a more positive spin on the whole self-inflicted starvation thing. Oh sure, I’ve heard it termed “getting healthy,” but that little euphemism isn’t fooling anyone. What if we had a different code for dieting?

    While I was thinking about the joys of “healthy eating,” it occurred to me that I’ve had to find other interests to fill the time I would have normally spent eating. I already knew I liked to shop, but I’m discovering other pastimes now that my absorbing passion for food is simmering on the back burner. Like watching classic 80s movies, re-organizing Legos, and reading strange, free books on my Kindle.

    Wouldn’t I sound cool if, instead of turning down invitations to food-centric events and being forced to admit that I’m on a diet (as if it’s a secret that I need to lose weight), I could say, “I’m sorry I can’t come. I’m exploring alternative forms of entertainment.”

    Just picture it.

    A business contact says, “Let’s meet for lunch.”

    I say, “I’m exploring alternative forms of entertainment. How about we meet at a museum?”

    Family friends invite us over for dinner.

    I say, “We’re exploring alternative forms of entertainment. How about a game night?”

    My mom says, “Let me take you out for coffee.”

    I say, “I’m exploring alternative forms of entertainment. Will you take me out for a nose piercing?”

    Our small group leader asks, “Are you going to the church potluck?”

    I say, “I’m exploring alternative forms of entertainment. Let’s go to that hookah bar downtown.”

    The head of the PTA suggests, “Ladies, let’s do brunch.”

    I say, “I’m exploring alternative forms of entertainment. Let’s do interpretive dance.”

    See how much cooler that sounds? I don’t see any potential problems with this, do you?

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    I Don't Have a Special Word!

    So it’s January. I realize everyone else is used to the idea, but I toasted the New Year with the highly-addictive cocktail of Albuterol nebulizer treatments and Codeine-laced cough syrup. I can’t remember the stroke of midnight, but I do recall uncontrollable twitching from my bronchodilator “upper” and odd dreams from my narcotic “downer.”

    Luckily I was prepared beforehand with some, in my opinion, pretty stellar resolutions.

    1. Stop buying cheap shoes.
    2. Stop buying cheap bras.

    But, according to the social media powers that be, resolutions are SO last year. It seems the thing to do nowadays is pick one word to be your theme word for the year. You know, like Courage. Or Forgiveness. Or Contentment. Or Pizza. Or Fluffy.

    This is a way cool idea. But telling me to pick one word to guide my year is like sending me into Payless to buy one shoe. I couldn’t do it even if I tried. And the results would be entirely inadequate.

    What’s a girl to do?

    Well, nothing, for awhile anyway. I spent the first week of the year in resolution-less, special word-less limbo. In not unrelated news, I also officially decided to give up writing several times during this gray, unpleasant week. I told my husband that the neon signs read, “Stop wasting time trying to get published.” He disagreed, but I have never been one to listen the first time he says something. See Household Budget.

    Despite having officially quit writing, I still spent the two extra seconds I had last week working on my novel. During these little creative spurts, I just pretended not to feel the weight of discouragement and not to see the signs that told me, “Your time would be better spent scrubbing grout with a toothbrush.”

    The more I practiced this intentional ignorance, the happier I became. Pretty soon a song started running through my head, and I realized I had my theme for the year. In willful defiance of The Signs, I choose to move forward, to continue writing, and to not allow any time for regret.

    So here’s my resolution, my theme, my determination for 2011. I choose to Forget and Not Slow Down.

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    New Year, New Job?

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Ah, yes. Back to life. Back to reality. My husband, who originally intended to work through his vacation, ended up taking more than a week off, partly because I got a nasty respiratory virus. We did next to nothing for the whole break. I sat around coughing and reading, and he tinkered on the ever-present household projects.

    Unfortunately, one of those projects was the budget. Whenever matters of finance come up, my utter uselessness becomes apparent. Kory is very good about never pointing out my lack of contribution, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that one income is insufficient when you live like you have two.

    Last night I lay in bed, unable to go to sleep at 11 PM after a week of 1 AM bedtimes, and wondered what people like me do in the real world. My English degree is one step up from Philosophy in terms of career opportunities. I haven’t had a real job in ten years, and I have few marketable skills.

    I asked Kory what I might be qualified for, and this is the list we came up with.

    1. Retail
    2. Fortune cookie writer
    3. Professional Twitter and Facebook updater
    4. That thing husbands always suggest that they’d really only allow if they were the sole audience member
    5. Medical research test subject
    6. Spokesperson for an awareness campaign for people with two different-sized feet
    7. Designer of stretchy shoes
    8. Psychic (Kory assured me I didn’t really have to be psychic for this job.)
    9. Motivational speaker
    10. Circus entertainer

    Not very encouraging options are they? With the economic downturn, I hear retail jobs are scarce, and then there’s the near certainty that I’d spend my entire paycheck at whatever store I worked at. Unless it was Lowe’s or Tire World, of course.

    Number 2 might be out as well if they require you to know Chinese. And there aren’t many people who can afford to pay someone else to update their social media. Numbers 4 through 8 are a bit of a stretch, and number 9 relies on the Jerry Springer principle that others would feel better about themselves once I told them what a loser I am.

    Which leaves number 10. As of today I will see what I can do about growing a beard. Until it comes in, perhaps I’ll do the world a favor and stay off the job market.

    That is, unless anyone out there has some good career advice for me. Please keep in mind, I have no organizational skills whatsoever, am squeamish about all things medical, and seem to have no control whatsoever over children.
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