Subourbon Mom


My Liver’s A Slut

There are a lot of body organs that can be equated to types of people. My heart is the parent of teenagers – steadily working to keep things moving forward and occasionally feeling like it can’t keep up, and skipping a beat when exciting things are happening. My brain is definitely the five-year-old of the body family, with the ability to be shockingly accurate and annoyingly obtuse at the same.

LiverBut the most interesting body organ is my liver – she’s a slut – or at least she used to be. She would take in anything, but like a lot of older sluts, doing so now comes with a lot of consequences.

I think the history of alcoholic drinks my liver has filtered also reflects the relationships (and I use the word “relationships” loosely) I’ve had.

In the beginning, there were the sweet early-years boyfriends, who felt good at the time, compared to, well, nothing much else yet… but who left me in the end with monster headaches and an upset stomach. For my liver these years were marked by avid consumption of your staple redneck beers, occasionally spiked with an unusual combination of vodka and whatever else was available.

Tequila2Of course, everyone has a tequila story. Let’s just say I still can’t even think about it to this day without gagging…and that was just that one guy…(Daughters 1 & 2, be smarter and better than your mom…please!)

Like many people, my liver and heart were indiscriminate for a while, trying to find a basis for comparison. You have to know the bad before you can appreciate the good, right?

Eventually there was the first reciprocated love – and the introduction to wine. Sweet white wine was delightful and full of promise. Unfortunately, I still hadn’t tried a lot of other drinks or relationships, and needed to branch out to truly understand what my liver, er, heart thought was best. European beers with their fancy labels had always been a draw, but in the end they made me sick at heart and in the toilet.

And then my liver and I discovered rum – a drink traditionally from the islands, with a bite that will cut through too much sweet and not leave me with the dreaded wine headache/hangover. That lasted for years and years, and is still a favorite.

But as I’ve gotten older, my liver is thankfully starting to show her age, getting more and more picky about what spills inside, creating all kinds of side effects when I make a bad choice. Beer leaves me feeling tired and fat, wine gives me hot flashes, and vodka just eliminates any mental filters I have – none of these are desirable side effects in my body or in a relationship.

bourbon1I have now switched from rum to bourbon, and before anyone freaks out and thinks something is wrong between me and Hubby, we are fine. But after 27 years, relationships change. I no longer need the flash fire and overt sweetness of rum drinks. Instead, I prefer the steady burn of bourbon, warming me from the inside. It keeps the hot flashes away, and I rarely have a hangover. Same with Hubby – he’s my Blanton’s, my Basil Hayden, my Jefferson Ocean.

So there you have it, folks. Whether you are in the Boones Farm stage (or, God forbid, never got out of it), trying your first sweet, white wine or still throwing back those nasty shots of tequila, think about what it might be telling. My liver was a slut – but thankfully she held up long enough so that I can now ingest quality.

 

 



My “Senior Project”

yougotthisAs the end of Daughter #1’s Senior Year approaches, the final sprint towards final exams, AP tests, and Senior Project has begun. Not to mention prom, graduation, college selection, and the never-ending game of Senior Assassin (more on this later). For Seniors this means tearing themselves away from watching vines and shopping for prom dresses and studying for exams, throwing together last-minute power point presentations and agonizing over roommate selection. ugly prom dress For parents this means panicking when you realize you never ordered graduation announcements, approving and paying for the last prom and graduation dresses, and deciding how to celebrate this momentous of times – do we have a keg at the party for the adults or not?

It also means attending the Senior project presentations. At our school, Senior Project is a year-long process involving learning a new skill or challenging yourself in a new way (like learning to make cheese, hatching and raising chickens, trying to understand the lyrics to Rhianna’s songs, etc.), documenting it, doing a research paper, and presenting the whole thing in front of a small group of parents and teachers.

As I sat there watching these impressive young adults show how they started their own yoga classes, created scholarships, ran half-marathons, published their own international blog on Russian politics and even learned how to fly fish, I wondered What the hell have I been doing with my life?

I was impressed and depressed all at the same time. These young people were avidly exploring new ideas, challenging themselves and getting out of their comfort zones in ways that many adults never will.

Thank goodness these kids will be in charge of me when I finally become an adult.

I was depressed because I took an inventory of my recent years and realized I haven’t done much in the way of challenging myself other than to start a new job. Somehow I don’t think trying new food at the local Iranian restaurant counts.

And then I realized that my Senior Project isn’t done yet. I’m still researching how to raise successful women on a daily basis. I’m nearly always out of my comfort zone. My PowerPoint presentation is currently still housed in my laptop under “Pictures” and in the copies of report cards and assignments I’ve kept over the years. And, I present my project in front of my parents every time they visit or call.

I don’t know what my final grade will be, but I’m no longer depressed. I’m more and more impressed with my project every day.

Now if I could just figure out how to cite all those parenting how-to websites I’ve visited over the years.

 



Lily the Rescue Dog or, My Weird Dog Toy Fetish

We have a house full of cats, (by that I mean we have three, which makes any house smell like there’s a cat hoarding situation going on – call Animal Planet), cat hoarding and I’m not a fan. Hubby and the Daughters each have a cat that loves them – I am merely the House Staff that is tolerated. I have been relegated to taking care of Larry The Fish – who, let’s face it,  isn’t exactly stimulating company.

I wanted a dog.

So our latest acquisition, quickly falling under the “What were we thinking?” category, is our new “free” dog, Lily. Lily is a rescue, and she’s everything I said I didn’t want when we first decided to get a dog: she’s a puppy, not housebroken, and high-energy. I’ve since been informed that what I really wanted was a housebroken sloth.

We’re pretty sure Lily’s never been in a house before, walked on a leash, or hung out with people…ever. She’s terrified of just about everything except other dogs. In the 3 weeks we’ve had her she’s run away 3 times, decided that pooping inside is preferable to standing in the cold by the woodpile, and will only walk through the front door.

But we love her.

Ok, I love her. The rest of the jury is still out.

store displayWhich is why I found myself standing in the dog toy aisle in Wal-Mart, looking for something Lily might like to play with to get her mind off the Scary Box That Talks (the t.v.), the Scary Smaller Box That Talks (the radio), the Mean Cats, Scary Couch, Scary Pillows, Scary Kitchen, Scary Bathroom, etc. I’m a pretty firm believer that the same parental coping strategies can apply to dogs as to children – give them something to keep them busy so you can do the things you need to do.

So for the same reason I gave my kids questionable Mac-n-Cheese and off-brand Cheerios when they were little (they don’t know the difference and I’m cleaning up their poop anyway), I decided to go the cheap route and visit my local big-box store to get Lily some toys.

I stood in awe, looking at the range of wild animals and Muppet-like things that squeak, crackle, crinkle and smell like peanut butter. Some even looked disturbingly like sex toys. (My co-worker’s dag actually has this one, but she assures me it doesn’t come with batteries.)  Dog toy 1None of them were under $3.00, and none of them are any kind of off-brand, that I could tell. Um…just to be clear, this is something I’m buying for my dog to shake and chew on, right? What happened to just having your dog pull on an old sock?

So there I was, squeezing every toy like a toddler in one of those saucer things parents use to keep their child occupied while Mommy drinks her wine. I was obsessed. I couldn’t stop making those toys squeak and crackle over and over again, sending loud, annoying, fake mouse shrieks up and down the Pet section, and into Lighting and Paint. It was like scratching an itch – it was wrong, but it felt ooooh, soooo right.

In the end, I opted for a raccoon, a blue elephant and something that looks like a rat crossed with a parrot. Two days later, raccoon stuffing littered the dining room, and the elephant’s ear has gone missing – I’m pretty sure Lily ate it. I’m looking forward to seeing that on the dining room floor tomorrow morning.

But somehow Lily managed to worm her way quickly into my heart, and the Fam’s too.  She always manages to redeem herself by putting herself in her crate when she’s been “bad”, or lying next to us (only slightly under duress) on the couch while we watch the Scary Box That Talks.  But the next toy I buy will be a toy in the shape of a cat, with life-like meows…or I could go high-end, and just let her chase our actual cats.

Who’s the Staff now, little kitties?

(maniacal laughter fading….)



Treadmill Tourette’s & Other Winter Exercise Hazards

After walking around all winter grumbling about how I hate the way my stomach has started moving independently of the rest of my body, I finally realized I was actually going to have to do something about it.

I was going to have to start…dare I say it?

Exercising.

And even worse… Eating Better.

So I did what I always do when I realize Virginia winters don’t require the amount of extra insulation I’ve been building up.  I tried a few things, and quickly realized my intentions do not match the reality of the situation.

Intention: I am trying to eat 5 fruits and veggies a day and limiting bread to get more good carbs and limit the bad.
Reality: My body went into a fiber-induced shock. Apparently, granola is not everybody’s friend, at least not at first.

Intention: I am limiting alcohol – and by that I mean I am only having drinks Thursday through Saturday. (Some folks asked me “why include Thursday?” Well duh…because Thursday is “Little Friday!”)

Little Friday

Reality: Middle Age takes care of some of that desire; I now have a whole list of drinks that make me have hot flashes, so I’m definitely weighing my choices more carefully – is it really worth having to change out of my sweat-soaked my PJs at 3:00am to have that glass of wine? Nope.

Intention: I bought a few Clean Eating and exercise magazines to give me inspiration and ideas.

Shape CoverReality: They make me feel like I am being healthy without actually being healthy…until I look at the 20-year-olds in the pictures who clearly have never had children and don’t sit in an office cube all day like a veal. I also refuse to spend a lot of money on special spices and high-end oils that those Clean Eating magazines seem to demand. And, I have never once tried any of the exercises in the fitness mags – mostly because I couldn’t follow the diagrams any more than I can put together anything that says “some assembly required.”

Intention: I am regularly exercising at the office gym, mostly doing ab work and cardio to get the weight off as fast as I can.
Reality: Running on the treadmill comes with two hazards I wasn’t expecting:

1. Watching my reflection in the windows as I run makes me unbalanced – I had to grab the rails before I shot off the back of the machine like a sweaty, horizontal human waterfall;

Unknown
2. I thought my new cheap headphones were mildly electrocuting me every few seconds, until I realized that in the winter treadmills acquire a lot of static electricity.  So, every 3rd or 4th step I had to slap the metal rail with my hand to prevent the static zap from reaching my headphones and inner ear.  I don’t know what the people walking by the gym window thought, but I’m pretty sure I looked like I had a case of Running Tourette’s.


Intention:
 I am going to look awesome in a bikini this summer.

Bikini
Reality: I will once again spend too much money on a conservative tankini that my mother will approve of.

 

Vintage bathing suit

 

But in the meantime, I’m going to be burning those extra calories flailing at the metal treadmill rails – maybe those expended calories will turn into that bikini body I remember. Or maybe they’ll just let me eat that extra helping of summertime happy hour appetizers.

 



Modern Art

Um...yeah.  I recently went to Chicago to visit a close friend, and we decided to get a little culture and go to the Chicago Art Institute. Back in the day, I took an Art Appreciation class, and have always liked losing myself in a painting or sculpture, letting my imagination run wild – kind of like when I people-watch in airports. There’s always an interesting story line in my head, and I love how everyone reacts viscerally to various artists and styles, how some works resonate with the anger, sadness, joy, fear or any other emotions we have. But I swear if I ever wear a beret in public, somebody lock me up.

At the museum that weekend there was a Degas exhibit and an exhibit on the artwork from the last 2000 years celebrating Dionysus, the Greek god of fertility and partying. I quickly realized a few things.  True Blood and the special effects folks for Lord of the Rings must have also seen the exhibit – the orgy scenes from True Blood could have come directly from some of those drawings and engravings, and there as a sculpture of a creature that looked eerily like Golum. I also noticed that most of the art pertained to the hedonism and exploits of men. The only women in the scenes were either being used for pleasure or were maenads, Dionysus’s female helpers – regular women, as usual, were not considered to be big partyers. My, how things have changed – can we say “Girls gone Wild?”

Since I also occasionally like to pry open my mind and do something that makes me uncomfortable, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art. The people there were a little different from the visitors at the more traditional Art Institute. There were skinny jeans everywhere, coupled with ski hats shoved half way up Hipsters’ heads, and an assortment of folks meaningfully staring at walls filled with household objects dangling from strings or just glued there. Some, like me, were racing through the exhibits in a mild panic, trying to find something recognizable as art.

Of course it’s probably due to my lack of education, but I just don’t get Modern Art. I understand that the genre turned traditional art on its head with new ways of looking at objects, social norms and politics. But there were three exhibits at the museum that made me question the, er, validity of modern art:campbells soup

  1. I thought the Pop Art exhibit would be cool. What I didn’t expect were the baby dolls stuck on a piece of wood and painted solid white, hanging on the wall – WTF? Or the multiple canvases portraying Campbell’s Soup cans and logos – um, Hello, People, there were a lot of other iconic food labels around – why puck on Campbell’s? (Yes, I know it was Andy Worhol, but I don’t care who painted them. It’s soup cans.) At one point, I was walking through the exhibit and saw a woman in regular street clothes standing there staring at a blank wall…for at least two minutes. I actually thought she was part of the exhibit until she moved left to look at a mirror on the wall next to her. She’d been staring at a tiny plaque, which I later realized explained that the mirror had a bullet casing on it from a James Bond movie. Um….yeah. I don’t get it. I would just call that a souvenir.
  2. The next exhibit was in a small room. The walls, ceiling and carpet were all painted black. In the room were several pieces all painted black. According to the accompanying sign that was way too dark to see without squinting and wishing I could shine my phone light on it without embarrassing myself, each piece represented how we function in society – the velvet ropes apparently signified how we keep people in and out of our lives; the wooden sign that said “Here” signified that we are always seeking to establish our place the world. I never found out what the other two pieces were symbolic of because as I was reading, two young men walked up to read the plaque too. They both had the requisite black skinny jeans and ski hats, but one had on a distractingly vibrant, purple-feathered cape. I couldn’t look away, and I definitely couldn’t look at my friend because I knew I would start laughing. David Bowie may have been able to pull that off because of his innate coolness, but that 20-something hipster looked like a pterodactyl Barney.
  3. So we left that area, and went upstairs to a room that resembled those student exhibits you see on airport walls or in other public places. There were un-labeled pieces that could have been done by a preschooler or a high-schooler – the pieces had no labels to identify anything, so you couldn’t tell. This room was also painted black with a little bit of ambient lighting. On a screen at the back was a movie playing, perhaps explaining all of the artwork on the floors below, but I wouldn’t have known because it was all spoken in very soft, slow German. Two men dressed in black sat amid the 20 chairs, arms crossed, watching the movie. I looked at my friend and said, “You have to be high to understand what was going on here.” Of course I got glared at, but maybe it was because they were thinking, “How are you NOT?”

I wish someone could explain Modern Art to me so that I could truly appreciate what was happening.  I like Picasso and Munch and sometimes even Pollack, but the babies on the wall thing? And the plastic chairs from the 1960’s just sitting in a room? Um…I got nothing but creeped out and annoyed. Now, I understand that the Pop Art exhibit was meant to visually be snarky about our culture (at least that’s what the brochure explained), but I can tell you it was the best $12 I’ve ever spent to be verbally snarky for a straight 45 minutes.

 




%d bloggers like this: