Wine Is No Longer A Part of My Narrative

I remember the general time period when I started to question whether or not my husband and I were drinking too much, too often. It wasn’t one incident in particular, rather a group of them.

It was Easter Sunday several years ago when I walked into a back room at my in law’s home to find my husband had passed out, drunk, on fruit-infused vodkas.

It was a Monday when “Sunday dinner” had included more wine than food, and that day was a special hell of feeling too headache-y and nauseated to do much in the way of parenting. So I called a babysitter.

It was wine in a coffee mug, even though I don’t even drink coffee.

It was selecting restaurants based on whether or not we’d be able to have a drink with our meal.

I wouldn’t say that I had reached the point of interventions, Betty Ford clinic, and AA meetings for the rest of my life. But I could see it going there, quickly. I had no ability to moderate or regulate my drinking.

So I quit drinking, altogether. Wine is no longer a part of my narrative.

It is still a part of my husband’s, which is a little weird. Since I never got to the point of having an actual problem, I guess it seems innocuous.

But still, it’s weird because in the grand picture, deciding to no longer drink alcohol is a pretty big life decision; one that isn’t taken lightly and certainly requires support. Most of the time it doesn’t matter to me, though. I’m not – like – salivating at the thought of a glass of wine; and I still cook with wine or beer and vodka. I even occasionally take a drink and hold it politely to lessen having to explain myself at parties.

I get it. Drinking your way through the hardest years of parenting (or just adulting, in general) has always been a thing.

Ladies used to drink their martinis after serving dinner in the 50s; and they’d down wine coolers all day to get through the summer months in the 90s.

Alcohol is to motherhood as fish are to water.

And yet, to me, it seems more now than ever before.

Probably – at least in part – thanks to social media, just how much women drink to get through the trials and tribulations of motherhood is in your face. It’s everywhere, every day. Having a bad day? How about some rosé. Midweek got you down? WINESDAY! Stressed to the max just getting your kids out the door for school? It’s 5 o’clock, somewhere, right?

It’s everywhere.

Making matters worse is the attitude the general public takes when you stop drinking.

We don’t live in a society that supports quitting. Anything. Giving up alcohol in 2019 is like showing up for an AA meeting only to be greeted by shots of tequila and motivational handouts that say “it’s okay once in a while…”

It took me about 6 months to actually quit the sauce, altogether. Every time I told myself that this was it, I’d have another bad day and meme after meme on Facebook justified (in my head) that wine was the Land of Milk and Honey for mothers. Or we would go out to dinner with family that orders by the bottle, and that was all I needed to postpone my cutback another day.

Then, in 2016, I got pregnant, so wine was officially off the table. That’s when things got weird.

It’s either I was too tipsy to realize how weird things were before, or the result of me no longer drinking – when I used to be a regular partaker – was that things became uncomfortable between me and the general crowd in which I find myself often.

Nonetheless, uncomfortable.

There were the people that wanted to prove to me that it was perfectly safe to drink in pregnancy.

There were those that – after I was no longer pregnant – made a big deal about how I could drink again. And when I told them I was breastfeeding, they went into the prove-it’s-safe mode again.

Now they run the gamut.

There are the people that I never realized get sloppy drunk every. single. time. I. see. them.

And there are those that ask what I’m drinking, then joke that since there’s no alcohol in my cup I must be pregnant (again).

Then there are the people that ask stupid questions when I say I stopped drinking. Like “well what do you do to have fun?” (As if the only way to have fun as an adult is to get shit faced.)

And finally there are the people who use it as an opportunity to justify their own drinking (“oh I just couldn’t do that”) or even get outright hostile towards me. As if – at the end of the day – my personal choices with regards to my body and what I put in it have anything to do with anyone else but me.

If that makes other people uncomfortable, I guess that speaks more to them and their own issues than anything else.

Wine was such a prevalent part of my narrative for years. It no longer is anymore.


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It’s Friggin’ Fall Ya’ll

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It’s friggin’ fall ya’ll.

Ghords and pumpkins and apple bobbing showing up in my Facebook newsfeed.

A trip to the pumpkin patch is on my calendar, and there would definitely be cobbler baking in my oven if it weren’t still a million goddamned degrees outside.

Pillsbury has like seven new cake flavors out, including candy apple and pumpkin spice. Which both sound less appealing than licking the roof of my dog’s mouth, but still – it’s friggin’ fall! I’m pumped!

My grocery store has an entire section of fall themed napkins and paper plates now. Like I walk in and – BAM! – there’s pumpkins and leaves to choose from for my family to wipe their disgusting, sloppy hands with.

All the memes are popping up on Instagram making fun of people for drinking their basic white girl pumpkin spice lattes, too. And on the note of basic white girls, I was able to get my husband his annual nutmeg and chai infused coffee creamer, only available – you guessed right – in friggin’ fall.

It’s way too hot out still to wear fall clothes, but I can now look longingly at my scarves and boots and Uggs, my sweaters, my cardigans, my hoodies, my cozy socks and comfy, warm pajamas. I can look at them and know that the five days a year it’s cold enough to wear those things here in Southern California are coming soon. Because it’s friggin’ fall.

Last week – as I mentioned in my post last night – we wrapped up a week of glamping with a couple nights in a hotel and fall shopping. Clothes. New shoes. School stuff. I spent no less than four hours on Thursday deciding whether I wanted to get a brown hurricane lantern with fall themed leaves inside it; or a beige hurricane lantern with nothing but a fall colored candle inside.

Even though it’s hot as balls outside still, I feel suddenly compelled to cook up some chowders. Clam chowder. Corn chowder. Chicken chowder. Potato chowder. I have so many chowders planned, it’ll be coming out of our eyeballs.

I planned out my kids’ Halloween costumes. Every year they dress together as a theme, and it goes a little something like this: I plan the costumes, start working on the costumes, forget about the costumes for two months, panic three days before Halloween and run around town like a crazy woman to put something together, they put said costumes on and take a few photos, then change into something simpler to hang out with friends. I friggin’ love it – it’s fall!

There’s like twenty five bags-worth of leaves piling up in my backyard too. Which doesn’t make much sense, because we live in Southern California and also what the hell do we have gardeners for if they aren’t going to take care of the leaves. But still. Leaves! Yeah! Fall!

I don’t know what it is that makes me more happy about fall. The fact that eventually (maybe in mid-November) it’ll cool down just a little bit. Or this year in particular having been a terrible summer, and fall signifies the end of that. Whatever the case may be, I’m psyched. Ghords and pumpkins and apples and apple bobbing and apple picking and stuff with nutmeg and the other seasonings that go into PSL I’m unaware of; Halloween and then Thanksgiving. It’s friggin’ fall, ya’ll. It’s friggin’ fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seriously, Guys, Cut the Banter On Your Recipe Posts

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Am I the only one getting just a little bit sick and FUCKING TIRED of having to scroll through paragraph after paragraph of banter when I am looking for a good recipe on the Internet?

Seriously.

We get it.

You and Brad were celebrating your two year anniversary and you just knew you had to figure out how to replicate those scallops at home.

You were bored one rainy day and your little Cody – who you so originally nicknamed Buddy – was napping, so you thought you’d experiment with homemade ice-cream cake.

Girls Night Out has been a thing with you and your tribe for years, and you guys always get the best cosmopolitans on the town; so you thought you’d share your at-home recipe for a quarter of the cost of getting them out with your squad (note: you are probably too old to be calling your friends your squad).

You have a good story to tell about how you came about whatever the recipe is you have to share with us. That’s fucking lovely.

The rest of us have our own lives to live and would click just as much on your page if you just cut to the goddamn chase.

You also are absolutely certain that the people of the Internet wouldn’t understand a thing about your recipe if you didn’t photograph you doing each and every mundane step. Like when you say to stir the ingredients together, or to measure out a teaspoon of salt. People won’t know how the fuck to do that without your high quality, high resolution photographs that just – in my opinion – add more wasted time scrolling to the meat of the story (the actual recipe and ingredient list).

I have never done a recipe blog before because it would be something like this:

Open packet of chicken. Pour on BBQ sauce. Put in oven for I don’t know like an hour or some shit, until it’s over 165.

End of recipe.

That’s it, and frankly that’s all that is needed.

At the very least, you could spare us so many paragraphs of unnecessary information. It’s like you people have watched one too many episodes of Giadda At Home, where she regales us with all these useless, faux Italian-American stories about her life (but really, no one throws that many dinner parties); or when the Pioneer lady cracks an endless series of jokes about life with teenagers on the farm.

And if I hear Ina Garten talk about her fucking plants one more time, I swear to God…

I have a secret for you all: NO ONE CARES.

Honestly, I think it’s awesome that you all make recipes for good food. If you didn’t, my family and I would survive solely on packet of chicken with BBQ sauce in oven.

But I also think that there’s something to be said for brevity when it comes to sharing your talent.

Or pick an appropriate venue.

Statistically, the more a person has to click or scroll, the less likely they are to go all the way to your ads. It is therefore a win-win for us if you just shut the fuck up already on your website. Cut to the chase, like I did above with packet of chicken.

A better venue, I find, with recipes is a social media platform like Instagram. People don’t have to do much work on the reading-front, and it’s much easier for them to skip past all your bullshit, quaint stories if they just want to get, as I said, the meat.

I posted a recipe for Gooey Baked Apples on Instagram today and it was both sweary and click-through-able. I would never post more than this on my website. You shouldn’t either.

(Recipe below if you guys wanted it, in a better format than all the other long-winded bullshit I find on the Internet; bad news is there is a lot of scrolling because it’s ported over from Instagram…for my preferred venue to view all this and more, please follow my new Instagram @heatherwriteswords for more sweary fun.)

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Life Goals Achieved This Week

I actually don’t have that many life goals.

I used to, but I either 1) achieved them already, or 2) gave up on them.

The big one I gave up on was graduate school and becoming a college professor. At one time, it was my only goal; now it’s something I have absolutely zero interest in doing. Every once in a while my mother suggests I go back to school, or asks when I am going back to school. I always respond by blankly staring at her, because really how many times do I have to explain this?

Really I think my absence of life goals at this point in my life has to do with that fortune cookie I got years ago that read: those who expect nothing never find themselves disappointed.

As pathetic as that fortune cookie is, it’s so truthful it stings.

So I don’t have many goals anymore. More I have things I would like to do, because they’d be fun or whatever. But if I don’t end up doing them before my untimely demise (because whenever I kick it, it’ll surely be untimely) – oh well.

Life is too short, and I have too much to value in my life now, to be constantly chasing dreams.

(I realize that this philosophy spits in the face of every pithy inspirational quote you have ever seen.)

This week has been pretty strange, though. I’ve done a lot of things – verifiably dumb things – that were they listed among my life’s goals and dreams, I would have a considerable number of check marks added to that list.

I finally offended someone over the matter of pizza.

I say some really shitty things about pizza in California to people. I mean that I am pretty surprised that I haven’t offended anyone up to this point over the matter of pizza – really, I am surprised.

When my in-laws and I tried a new pizza place in town last year, I told them I would rather lick the inside of my husband’s ear than eat there again.

I have brought my own homemade pizzas to a pizza party where the pizza was already provided because local pizzerias make me queasy.

I’m a jerk, and over a really stupid issue. I know.

But really…is pizza a stupid issue? If you’re from Chicagoland area, like I am, no. No, pizza is not a stupid issue, and never a laughing matter.

So my mother came over for dinner the night before Mother’s Day, for an early celebration. She asked what our plans were the following day, and my kids told her that among our other things, we had special ordered some pizzas from Giordano’s – one of our favorite pizzerias in Chicago, that just happens to ship frozen pies around the country.

Then the kids told her how expensive they were and my mother’s response (and tone) showed how clearly offended she was over the matter:

“Oh, well …I had a slice of pizza the other day for $5 but I guess that isn’t good enough for people who have $60 to drop on frozen food.”

Life goal to offend someone over the matter of pizza? Achieved.

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My Boob Fell Out of My Tank Top At Staples

My body has been pretty weird lately. Awkward, maybe is the right way to put it.

And as a result of this awkwardness, I’ve been especially attached to my yoga pants, hoodies, and bra tank tops lately.

So there I was, picking up my copy and print order at my local Staples office supply store, and I dropped my keys on the floor. I bent down to pick them up and WHOOP – my boob plum fell out of my top.

The offending tank top was pretty small to begin with, and I honestly hadn’t been expecting to go anywhere that day. Fortunately, the guy ringing up my copy and print order didn’t notice as I quickly tucked myself back in while I stood back up.

Or at least he didn’t let on that he had seen anything.

Life goal to give up so much that body parts arbitrarily fall out of my slovenly clothing while out in public? Achieved.

I’ve Learned To Swallow Food Whole

I don’t know if I should be proud or horrified by this, but if I had a life goal to learn how to swallow my food whole – as in no chewing or silverware involved – well, then I have mastered this one. Oh, have I mastered it.

It started Monday night. My husband worked really late, and I was awake at about three o’clock in the morning after he texted me about how late he’d be getting home. Suddenly I realized that the reason I couldn’t get back to sleep was because I was starving – I mean I was so hungry I could have eaten anything… anything…

So I got up and grabbed a couple bananas, but was so tired I just wanted the eating process to be over with. Long story short, I unintentionally engaged in some pseudo-erotic, middle-of-the-night, whole banana consumption. My appetite was immediately satisfied and I was sawing logs within five minutes.

Then tonight it was time to make supper for myself and the kids, and we were all so hungry we could barely stand it. I went to make something quick (a box of some kind of quickie angel hair pasta dish), but it needed milk and we had run out earlier in the day. Feeling uninspired to cook anything but a throw-together box meal, we ended up desperately grabbing my purse and running out the door to go to In N Out.

By the time we got to In N Out, ordered our food, sat in the characteristically never-ending line, and got our food, my stomach was starting to feel queasy from having been so empty. So I took out my grilled cheese sandwich and scarfed it in about one, large bite.

Unlike the banana situation from Monday night, I was still hungry.

So the moral of the story is that were I to set life goals for myself at this particular stage, they would have to be pretty low brow. Don’t expect too much, or anything, because I clearly have little to give.

But it makes for a good story, right?

Countdown to 2016, Part One: Do Not Resolve To Juice Cleanse

7259b417c46c8da4e44301770bdd58b6New Year’s Resolutions are among the most irritating things to hear people talk about. Not only do very few people actually follow through on them, but it speaks of a particular type of sadness that there are those who legitimately need a holiday to do things they should already be doing.

 

The conspiracy theorist in me also wonders just how much of a New Year’s Resolution tradition is really nothing more than a deeply ingrained habit we have as a culture started by crafty marketers just trying to sell products. You can’t deny that gym memberships, health food companies, nicotine patch systems, investment companies, and other health-and-life conscious businesses make bank in the beginning of every year. Remember that article that went viral a while back about how women never used to shave their legs until the razor blade companies realized they needed to expand their market of customers? In the back of my mind this whole new year-new me crap seems sort of like that.

You may not agree with me, and that’s OK.

What it’s not OK to not agree with me on, though, are about some of your resolutions. If those still end up being the course you take later this week after my compelling argument above, of course.

So in honor of the coming new year, I thought we could do a little countdown here on the blog of things you should not resolve to. I’ve done this before in the past, but sure enough you people found plenty of more contemporary bullshit to replace resolutions of yore.

Here goes:

Countdown to 2016

Part One

Do Not Resolve To Juice Cleanse

I feel as though I’m stating the obvious here when I tell you that your body needs food to survive. Whole foods. Foods you actually have to chew. Chew-chew-chew, swallow, and digest.

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And yet somehow, some way, in the last few years a group of people we’ll call Juice Cleansing Imbeciles seem to have lost their way on that one.

First and foremost, the Juice Cleansing Imbeciles are like the anti-vaxxers of health and wellness. Rather than actually read the articles, gather the statistics, and make educated choices, they just go with what sounds like the quickest and easiest way to remove “toxins” from their bodies.

They also believe in magical toxins that can’t be removed by – oh, I don’t know – their livers.

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So before you casually join the Juice Cleansing Imbeciles as a part of your new-year-new-me resolution this Friday, consider the following:

  1. Juice cleansing is bullshit.
  2. Your liver and kidneys already do a more-than-adequate job of eliminating waste from  your body. No really, empirically, statistically, scientifically… they do.
  3. Juice cleansing is bullshit.
  4. When you turn whole foods into juice, all you are doing is eliminating the essential fibers from those foods. Now fibers are called essential because they are what is really needed to keep waste moving through your body. And they also have a whole host of other benefits from cancer prevention to positive heart health. When you remove those essential fibers from the equation, though, you’re left with a glass of sugar.
  5. Juice cleansing is bullshit.
  6. The irony is that Juice Cleansing Imbeciles are often also the complete and over-the-top anti-sugar assholes. Being completely unaware that the type and amount of sugar you consume is what determines whether or not it is healthy for you, and obviously ignoring the fact that your brain actually needs sugar to function, these people claim that the best way to be healthy is to cut every last grain of sugar out of their diets. Except when they’re juicing, of course, because living off glass after glass of good tasting natural sugar water is totally fine.
  7. Juice cleansing is bullshit.
  8. Juice cleansing has not been proven, in any independent study, to actually result in weight loss. Or, more importantly, any healthful benefits whatsoever. In fact, some studies have found that juice cleansing actually harmed the participants – from raised blood sugars, to malnutrition, to tooth decay.
  9. Did I mention that juice cleansing is bullshit?
  10. Juice cleansing makes you sound like an arrogant and pompous asshole, who interestingly enough isn’t only an arrogant and pompous asshole but is also a fucking idiot who doesn’t know how to science.

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Look, if you like to have a glass of juice when you get up in the morning, or whatever you like to have your juice with, and you want to buy a juicer and make healthier juice than the canned or cartoned crap you buy at the grocery store, that’s fine.

But do not resolve to juice cleanse for some magical health benefits you will never realize. If you want to lose weight, increase your activity or resolve to eat a healthier balance of whole foods, with an increased intake of whole fruits and vegetables. If you want to remove “toxins” from your body, thank your liver and kidneys because they’re already doing the job, in most cases more than adequately.

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