Thursday, December 31, 2009

My New Years Resolution - Kinda Like A Diet, But Not Really

So…I was getting dressed a few months ago and tried to put on my lucky pants.

The important point to note…is that I tried to put them on. If anyone ever starts a story with “trying” to put on a pair of pants – you know it can’t be good.

Most likely that person has been putting on pants for at least 20 or 30 some odd years. They should know how to do this. Clearly I do not.

It was immediately obvious to me that they had shrunk in the drier.

I thought…is it actually possible to shrink sweat pants and notice? Isn’t the main benefit the margin they allow? And it dawned on me…I had not washed those sweats in months. I began to slowly realize that there was the slightest, teeniest possibility that I had gained a few pounds. When you can’t fit into your sweat pants – things are looking very bleak.

For a moment I thought, “This is why people have New Years Resolutions! I’ll just stop eating!” I assume this could work very well – until I get hungry. And I get VERY hungry.

My friend Anne still tells the story of when we were back packing around Europe together, and I just HAD to have an entire rotisserie chicken, right there on the side walk – without any plates, napkins or utensils (apparently they don’t believe in these “extras” in Denmark). Just me and my rotisserie chicken. She’s still not over that one. It was unsightly, to say the least.

So back to my New Years Resolution Diet - I came up with an improved plan that included eating: just a burger (really, JUST the burger - not unlike that popular “all protein” diet which worked great for some of my friends.)

However, if you’ve ever tried it – you’ll quickly notice that plain burgers are quite, well, plain. So I decided I would just throw in the bun and call it my “protein and bun” diet (I never did understand why eating an entire T-bone steak and half a pig was better for you than a few tomatoes).

Now I was on a roll - I could "up the ante" with a WHEAT bun. After deciding to add the WHEAT bun…it became clear to me that the whole thing was going nowhere. I resolved then and there to throw in some cheese - low-fat cheese…that’s right… 1 %. Is there such a thing? There should be! I’m not going to go crazy with skim milk cheese or something insane like that. I don’t want to end up an anorexic. I considered going to diet-coke, just to cinch the deal…but decided against it. No point in taking things too far.

If it wasn’t for a little detail like moving to Africa in a month, I would seriously consider a gym membership. I could just picture it… after several weeks of no improvement…I’d realize that the membership was not good enough. I’d actually have to go.

So then I’d go, and be furious. The place would be packed. No place to park. I’d have to find some spot farrrrrrrrrr away from the front door. Which is very annoying…before my mile run – to have to park 22 spaces away from the door.

And once I finally got to the door – I’d realize my gym most likely would have a policy about showing a membership card (which I was destined to forget) and some other form of ID.

Which brings me to my main point - this bit about showing ID is ridiculous – don’t they say only 20% of people with gym memberships actually go? Do they really think with 80% of the people not going (and still paying for it)– that someone WITHOUT the membership is actually going to have the incentive to show up?

I dare that person. They could have my card. I’d switch to skim milk cheese.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Three Things I Said I’d Never Do (and Do)

#1. Own and proudly drive a mini van.

Yes, I am here to say boldly, “My name is Julie Ostrand and I drive a mini van.”

For years I said “Never, ever would I drive something so unashamedly predictable as a mini van.” I remember thinking in my college years, “It should not be legal for these Mini Van Stressed Out Moms to have daily access to that much horsepower. It simply isn’t safe for other drivers.”

Perhaps. But I have to say…I LOVE IT. The room, the convenience, the sliding doors. It’s great! And my mini van is not one of the newer-attempting-to–be-cooler models. Oh no…it’s hunter green, bought used, and nearly 10 years old. It’s perfect – and if Africa doesn’t work out – I am fully prepared to live out of my mini van till Jensen graduates. It’s that spectacular.

#2. Put my children in a ridiculous number of simultaneous activities.

I totally caved and am not the slightest bit proud of myself. I thought it would take till my daughter was at least 10 for me to be running around like a crazy person with Jensen’s activities – but at the tender age of three years old I had this child in gymnastics, dance and Kindermusik. What? Is that really necessary? Certainly not.

You would think I could conjure up some twirling, somersaulting singing-dancing-wonder moves at home….enough to impress a three year old…but clearly I lack some serious skills (and this is by no means a complete list of my skills deficit).

#3. Let my children wear anything with “characters.”

I am not a big fan of cartoon characters on clothing for my kids (it’s great for yours). Maybe an adult retro Popeye T-shirt is alright – but characters like Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, and Big Bird should stay far away from my daughter’s wardrobe.

Unfortunately, I seriously underestimated the Power of Princess. Princess, princess, princess. I admit, with some hesitation and not a little discomfort, that at this minute my daughter is enthusiastically wearing her princess jammies (complete with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White – with their knowing smiles, perfect cheekbones and strangely timeless outfits). She wants to wear it everywhere, all day, every day. I have no energy to fight the womanly wiles of Disney Princesses.

It's a moot point to mention that up until about a year ago - I said I'd never go to Africa. Ha! So if you think you'll never go to Africa...

On a side note, here are things I said I’d do but haven’t (yet): Learn another language, bake a cake (I refuse to bake a casserole under any circumstance), read Tolstoy, memorize the Constitution, visit every state, muster up the energy to count calories and exercise, check out books from the library (instead of buying them), be on time to everything, say no once in a while, ignore Double Stuff Oreos, etc.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why I Love Omaha

I can’t believe we leave for Africa in 48 days!

Here are 5 things I will miss every single day about Omaha.

1. The Dodge Expressway: I know this is old news – but I have to say, there is still precious little that makes me happier than the Dodge Expressway. Even though 100 million dollars were spent to bypass one stop-light – I feel my life has seen vast improvements because of this.

2. Ice skating: My family plays hockey in the winter on Nebraska Lakes – Standing Bear being our favorite.

If you have little talent and can barely skate – consider yourself invited (we don’t like to include anyone that has any actual hockey skills).

3. All the fabulous places to eat:
- “Slice, salad, soda” lunch special at Zios
- “Spinach and artichoke dip” at Charlestons (of course!)
- “Smoked gouda soup” at Upstream
-“Chicken tacos” at California Taco
- “Los Alamos pasta” at Stokes

Someone may have to find a way to air mail me some “avocado egg rolls” from Kona.

4. Village Pointe: This summer Jensen loved our routine of sandwiches at Paradise, the Ferris wheel at Scheels (she was barely tall enough, depending on the shoes she wore and would wave wildly after every rotation), and ice cream at Cold Stone. I will try to expunge from my memory the time Jensen was sitting outside of Coldstone, happily spooning her sprinkle ice cream, while nonchalantly, and without any prior notification, peeing right through the mesh chair and onto the side walk (be careful which chair you choose there – last I checked the incriminating pee stain was still visible).

5. You: Every single one of you will be dearly missed. You each have touched us in a million different ways and our hearts are broken to leave this place we love, filled with people we adore.