Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Forever an optimist

So I'm more than a little sad this morning. But probably not for the reasons that people would think. People know what my core beliefs are, although I rarely talk politics except with people I know agree with me.

I'm really sad for David Pepper. He stuck his neck out, he crossed party lines, he is a thoughtful person who isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes to be right. I truly believe that he lost not because of who he is or what he believes, but because he had a (D) by his name and people here vote blindly for anyone who has an (R) by their name.

I'm also sad for President Obama. He and the people he was elected with, were elected by a thoughtful electorate. People had hope for change. People had hope that congress would work together. President Obama reached out to those "on the other side." They said, "We will come sit down with you and hear what you have to say." Then they literally just did not show up--said they would come to a meeting at the White House and then literally did not show up.

President Obama, Steve Driehaus, and Governor Strickland are not responsible for the things they are being blamed for. For the short sighted, or short memoried, the economic melt-down started under President Bush before President Obama was sworn in. President Obama WORKED WITH the Bush administration to come up with a plan to keep the country from sinking into a depression. President Obama WORKED WITH President Bush. When President Bush took office there was a SURPLUS. When President Bush left office there was a DEFICIT. President Obama is not responsible for that, however, he has done a pretty damn good job of staunching the bleeding.

He's also passed healthcare reform. I do not understand why people are against this. Here's what Anthem told me I get as of January 1:
No lifetime maximum. My current lifetime maximum is $7,000,000. So when I get breast cancer, or if God Forbid, someone in our family became sick, we can't be kicked off our insurance because we've spent too much money.
Adult Dependents. My children can now stay on my health policy through the age of 27. This has so many advantages, I can't even list them all here. But when your kids get to be 19, think about whether you would want to just cut them loose to fend for themselves on healthcare.
No preauthorization for emergency services--especially out-of-network. This makes so much sense it's self-explanatory. When Mollie was a baby, she got sick every time we went out of town. When your baby is sick, do you take them to the doctor or do you call the insurance company to find out if you can please take them to the doctor. I ended up paying for every out of town doctor visit she ever had.
Women no long need a referral from their PCP to go to the gynecologist.

And coming soon--no denial for pre-existing conditions. Did you hear the one about the baby who was denied coverage because his heart defect was a "pre-existing" condition to his birth.

So now my confession. I did not vote for Rob Portman. I'm sure many people are not shocked, but the reason I didn't is not because he has an (R) next to his name. He is a great person, nice neighbor, has a wonderful wife and kids. I was prepared to vote for Rob Portman for the mere reason that I know him as a person and know him to be a thoughtful person. But then I went to his web site and read his positions. Did any of the other voters in TP do this? He clearly stated in his position that he plans to help dismantle health care reform. Look at the above 4 things that come into law on January 1. Why would anyone be against any of those? I plan to send him a congratulatory letter later today and ask him to rethink this position. Since that issue was buried in his position statement, hopefully he will.

I have one more question, which I probably won't ask him, but would like to know. Can Portman now finally take a public stand against the Martin Marietta Limestone Mine? It is part of the reason I'm sad this morning. The guy who did the right thing and stuck his neck out for us, was defeated. The guy who said he couldn't "because it would be about him" aka political, was elected.

Here's why I'm not totally sad. Here's why I still have Hope. If we have a split House and a split Senate, I hope that our government officials will sit down together and try to figure out what common goals we all have and how to work together to get them. All these guys running on "Washington is Broken." Yes because no one will talk to each other they are just interested in drawing lines in the sand. Fix what's broken by working together.

And here's my other hope. I hope that the people newly elected are truly committed to what they ran on, to fixing things that need fixing (like creating jobs) and not doing things like cutting taxes for the very wealthy (which is one reason Bush left us with the deficit that Obama inherited. I won't even mention his ill-gotten war that now no one believes in).

Here's my concern. That people elected will not work for the people, but for themselves and their party. See here's the core reason I'm a Liberal Democrat, because I believe that elected officials should work for the people and not for themselves or their party. I hope that John Boehner (who I believe is one of those people who has worked long and hard for himself) did mean his tearful I will work for you speech.

Because while I think it's completely ridiculous that people blame Obama or Driehaus or Strickland for job loss, the deficit and our current economic condition (see above--all inherited from the Bush administration), I'm hopeful maybe people will work together.

I'm forever the optimist.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Remember when your baby first smiled, first ate cereal, first ate peas, first rolled over, first sat up, first pulled up, first word, first walked? I think I have pictures of every single one of those from every angle (well except no one can remember what Mollie's first word was--don't tell her that though--we're going with Parker--that's my story and I'm sticking to it!) Someday they will be at least filed orderly in a box for each child. Right now they are shoved in a variety of boxes in a variety of places.

So a couple of weeks ago, Parker shaved for the first time. I'd been kind of bugging him to get rid of that "milk" mustache he had. So while we were at the beach he said, I want to shave. I thought hmmm, sensitive skin, salt water, probably not a great combo. So we waited till we got home, just. I think we pulled in the driveway, got out of the car and went straight upstairs to the bathroom to find him his first razor. So I ran and got the camera--actually it was still packed in the car, so I got my phone. I step into the bathroom line up and shoot. Parker goes "what are you doing?!?!?!" I said, "it's the first time you are shaving, I'm taking your picture." He said, "Are you crazy?" and shut the door. So this was all I could capture of the first.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Real Rant

So I couldn't decide whether to write the cute story of Parker's first shave and Mollie's first surf or my rant to my sister in law first. I decided to go ahead and get the rant out of the way. I apologize and wanted to be up front with everyone that this would be yet another pissed off post to my sister in law. But as I tell this story over and over again, people seem to find comfort in it. I mean we all have weirdness in our families and it's so comforting to know that we all have it (and that there is someone else who has it worse than you at the moment).

Five years ago we decided that our summer vacation would be to rent a cottage in Sandbridge. It's a cute little area south of Virginia Beach (although technically in the city of Va Beach) very close to the North Carolina line. For lack of a better description it's the Virginia Outer Banks--a narrow strip of beach with the Atlantic on one side and the sound on the other and I don't think it's every more than a mile wide and it's about 7 miles long. There's one little market--that makes homemade donuts every morning, three restaurants--one of which is owned by my friend from high school and has a dodgeball tournament every week during the summer. I went there growing up and it's some of our happiest times as a family. Going now I see high school friends, their kids and their parents. It's a pretty magical place to me and I've been able to share that with my family and I think we are making some pretty special memories as a family. We keep thinking we should go somewhere else--explore the country, but alas, we spend two weeks as a family where everyone is happy and together. So in the end we'll keep doing that as long as they'll do it!

Ah but of course I digress. So we decided on Sandbridge for a number of reasons, not the least of which was a solid amount of time to be near my niece--my brother's daughter. In our fantasy, she would come to visit, my sister in law would take off of work, they'd come spend time with us in a no pressure situation and we could grow closer.


The first year they did come for Mollie's birthday dinner. I don't think they ever went to the beach with us and Nancy certainly didn't take off any work. Don't even suggest that she leave Emily with us.
The second year, she had many excuses and was able to meet us twice for dinner.
The third year, she said it was too painful to come to Sandbridge because off the coast of there was where Billie killed himself. So we met once for dinner and came to meet her at her pool.
The fourth year, last year, she met us once for dinner and then we stayed extra so we could see her (and my other niece and step sister). We saw her once at her pool. In her defense, she does try to be sweet--on her terms.
This year, I emailed her a week before we came down. I know I should have written and I planned to but I ran out of time. I emailed her for two reasons, 1) I didn't want to have a discussion without some thought on her part--ie I didn't want her to just say unequivocally "no" without thinking about it and 2) I'm a big chicken.

So here's how the emails went:

From me:
Hey Nancy,
Hope you and Emily are having a great summer. We are coming down Saturday for two weeks. We'll be in the same house in Sandbridge. I know in the past you've said that it was too painful for you to come to Sandbridge. I hope with time and space that you will be able to come down this year. Sandbridge was one of the places that Billie was happiest and I'd love to be able share that experience with Emily.
If not we'll make arrangements to meet for dinner.
Hugs to you and Em,
From Nancy:
Hi, Hester - I feel like that is a personal topic about the area of his death that I am not comfortable communicating via email.
My Reply:
I had planned to send it to you in a hand-written letter but I ran out of time. I wanted to give you time to think about it rather than ask you over the phone. I did not expect a reply in that tone.

Please take some time to think about it and call us if you'd like once we get down to the beach.

After we had been at the beach for a full week, she called. Now to those who live a quiet life we are known as the Louds. If you call, please expect pandemonium in the background. So anyway, she calls. She says, "Emily and I don't really have plans tomorrow afternoon. We have a membership to the Cypress Point Pool, you could come meet us." After a few more "pleasantries" we hang up and I tell her I'll call tomorrow when I know what our plan is. This of course was a lie on my part because I'm not leaving a beautiful beach day with good friends to go to her hot fucking pool so things can be on her terms. So I called her on Monday and apologized for not coming on Sunday because it was a beautiful day on the beach and we rented a kayak and watched dolphin playing off the beach. We are going to Shogun (a halfway point between the two of us. 20 minutes if that from her house) on Wednesday night and would love to see them, we're going about 7. Her reply, "7 on Wednesday is very late during a busy work week and we can't go all the way out there for such a late dinner. Call us and we'll try to find another time."

I did not call her back.

Anthony still clings to the fantasy that she would let us take Emily for the day. HA! My mom stayed in Va Beach (she should be living in Ohio) to see Emily and Nancy deigns to see her once a month or so and has let her take Emily something like three times in the last 5 years.

What would you do?

Here's the letter I would like to write (the italics are things I think but probably wouldn't include since she would just stop reading):

Dear Nancy,

{I'm not sure I want to continue our relationship. In fact, if you did not have Emily, I probably wouldn't have spoken to you in five years. I'm not sure anyone has really drawn you a picture of what life looks like outside your self-centered bubble. My parents never will for fear that you won't let them ever see Emily again. Do you realize have deigned to allow us to see Emily six or seven times in the last five years? Do you realize how truly hurtful you are to your family? Yes, because you are the mother of my brother's daughter, you are our family like it or not.

As I write this I'm wondering if aunts have any legal rights to sue for visitation. I think I might just look into this. My parents won't sue for grandparents visitation rights for fear they'll lose and then lose their month visits they currently get. But I've got really nothing to lose. I could call your 80 year old neighbor as a witness who researched and called Dad to ask him why you look at him like he's going to rape you or steal Emily. I could just have a male judge try to interact with Emily since she won't speak to or look at men--even her grandfather. Do you know Parker used to burst into tears after everyone of our visits because Emily wouldn't speak or look or interact with him? Did you try to get her to? No. So I've got a lot of evidence on my side that she would benefit from spending time with our family. I could bring Daphne and just let her tell the judge how much she loves spending time with HOS and YaYa. How much she loves YaYa Day.}

Six years ago we made a conscious decision to spend two weeks in Sandbridge to be near Emily. We felt if we provided the place and the time and the open flexibility, you and Emily would feel comfortable spending some quality time with us. We knew you and Emily loved the beach so we thought it was the perfect place. Also, some of my happiest family memories, and some of the best times Billie and I ever had as brother and sister were at Sandbridge. When I think of those times I think of happy Billie. I want Emily to know her father had a happy childhood. I know you like to think he didn't, but you are wrong. She should know some of the funny things that happened and some of the great memories of fishing early on Sunday mornings for spot, cleaning them and then frying them up with lacey cornbread for breakfast. She should have the opportunity to relive some of those things with us and make those memories.

Maybe that's part of my problem. You won't let us make memories with Emily. Why is that?

So the third year we came to visit, you finally mentioned it was too painful for you to come to Sandbridge because it was where Billie killed himself. That was five years after he had died, but we were willing to accept that and try to make other arrangements to see you. Now in our fifth year and the seventh since his death, I suggested that perhaps enough time had passed that you could come to Sandbridge so that we could share some happy memories with Emily and let her know the place where her dad had some of his happiest memories. So why is it that this suggestion resulted in your digging in your heals and making it so we couldn't see you at all?

{And why is it you won't allow my mom, Billie's mother, to ever speak of her son to Emily?

Why is it that you tell my parents a good time to drop off a present and then don't answer the door?}

Lots of people lose their spouses at a young age. It's sad. It's very sad. I fortunately have not lost my husband so I don't know how sad it is. But I've lost my brother who was the same person who was your husband. Yes you were obviously closer to him than we were at the time. Yes he and I had had our problems. But when Parker was born and he discovered the love of that little boy, something melted in him and we became closer. When you all got married, he became kinder and more loving still. I really liked who he was when he was with you. I will always fondly remember the trip you all made for Parker's birthday to NYC. I will also always remember what an amazing trip to Hatteras we had that last time with you and baby Emily and Billie. I'm so glad we had that time with him. He seemed content. {I also remember that you tried to keep him from coming to dinner with us that last night and tried to make him feel guilty for coming with us.}

{Only you know what happened and what changed in the last month of his life.}

I won't have a conversation about Billie with you. The last time we did, I agreed to disagree with you about his death. You would like to believe that we his family did some irreparable damage to him as a child. I know that this isn't true. I am steadfast in my belief that the more successful Billie became, the harder it became to be him, until he could no longer stand it. I also know that he is at peace. He came to me in a dream and showed me.

So Nancy, here it is. I have no interest in having a relationship with you. I would like to know my niece and spend time with her. I would like to be able to share the Old Family with her and the Sullivan family--her family, her cousins. I will continue to make an effort to see her. And every time you thwart me, I am going to write her a letter about the memory she didn't get to share with us. When she's older, I'll reach out directly to her. And if you tell her we didn't want to see her, then I'll just give her the letters. Sadly it sounds like a moving script doesn't it.

We'll be in Sandbridge next year from July 16 - July 30. We'd like to see Emily. I will happily come pick her up and she can spend as much time with us as she likes.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


OK so I guess I should have named this blog angst and death. But perhaps that's what I need to get out (or it's what I can publish--I've got some great drafts in here that I can't really share--but in the end, I think a blog is like a journal and in a journal guess who is the center of the universe? Me. And so sometimes I just write.). But I digress.

I happened upon the above article in Sports Illustrated this morning by Selena Roberts. Yes I read Sports Illustrated and no I don't actually care about the Swim Suit Issue because I'm really tired of giant fake boobs. Who can order a swimsuit anymore? No one's boobs look like that (forget the rest of the body). But I digress again.

What a great article. It talks about depression in a way that people can begin to understand. Depression is not just about being sad. It can be anger, it can be angst, it can be so many things. If we think of depression as just sadness, we will miss a lot of signs that we need to see. Take it from me, I know.

First of all, she talks about the dichotomy between this high achieving, popular kid. Who would think he was suicidal? She accurately points out how depression can "suffocate joy, bully perspective and intensify pressure until a nothing-I-do-is-good-enough belief crosses the threshold to an I'm-not-good-enough hopelessness." It's probably the hardest thing of all to understand about mental illness. How the brain can turn things around on you. Most people who hear voices started out hearing them because they needed someone to say something nice and reassuring to them. At first the voices do, but then they turn on you and begin to belittle you.

But back to this "nothing-I-do-is-good-enough belief." In my constant search to make sense of my brother's suicide, I keep coming back to this one thing. The more successful he became, the harder it became to be him. So at a time in his life when it looked like he had it all--a wife, a new baby, a great job, a promotion--it became nearly impossible to live up to the bar he had set for himself. And of course there was no one he could confide in because then they would know his secret--that he wasn't good enough no matter what he did. The boy in this story was in therapy and doesn't tell his therapist his true secret.

So just like the boy in this story my brother turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Then he went to a place where he had once felt carefree. He took his boat out and anchored off the shore of the place we vacationed when he was little (even using GPS to find the exact spot). Where he had spent hours fishing or surfing on his boogie board. Where there were no standards for success. Where there was just sand, sun, surf, family, friends and fun.

But alcohol is a disinhibitor. So I think it allowed the demon to take over.

In the SI story, that's the thing that's important to understand. The boy in the story has no memory of attempting suicide. In fact, he asks who pushed him out the window. People who commit suicide are psychotic. It means they are beyond rational thinking. Once he was back to his rational mind, it could not remember this irrational act.

So why am I on this this morning? Well for one thing it's this quest to make sure my theory is right. I don't want to blame someone for my brother's death. He alone is responsible. He was sick. His brain was sick. It was like an undiagnosed tumor that took over before the doctors could find it. Actually he hid it and hid it well, until it was too late. Just like my (great) Aunt Blanche hid her breast cancer until it was too late.

Secondly, I'm terrified. I'm terrified of teen depression and suicide. I'm surrounded by this great group of 13 year old boys whom I love. They are all wonderful boys, good students and athletes. They have great friends. They have great parents. They have a great life. And I worry and watch. Because I want to find the demon before it is allowed to grow. I look for changes--who is sullen, who is being picked on, who is angry, who is separating themselves, who is getting left out? It's hard, hard to know and hard to confront. No one wants a friend to tell them their son might be depressed. But I will. And I will watch. And I will listen. And while I'm no one's confidant right now, I hope that I'm in a place where I could be.

One last little thing before I sign off this very depressing little writing here. If you have hand guns and firearms. Keep them locked up. Hide the key. While girls attempt suicide more often, boys are 5 times more successful because they are more likely to use a gun. So access to firearms makes it easier and more tempting. That might be the one thing I could blame. My brother had a hand gun and he knew how to use it.

A Young Man's Fall To Grace - 05.17.10 - SI Vault

Friday, March 5, 2010

Snow Happens for a Reason

My dad and step mom came to spend time with us over New Year's. We don't really have a holiday with my parents (either mom or dad) and New Year's has worked for them. Taj loves meeting our friends and finding out about where they are from and other things I've usually never known. Dad, for one night, loves the chaos of the people and kids and the general merriment. He even likes the banging of the pots at midnight (because he's not wearing his hearing aids as usual). So they came, we had a great visit and they went home. I didn't hear anything for almost a week. Then I got a call from Taj on Friday that dad had fallen and hit his head THREE DAYS AGO and that he had been the hospital for THREE DAYS and that they were going to keep him until probably Monday. He's fine they say. Well I discussed with both of them that I really would like to hear on the day something like this happens. Apparently Dad didn't want her to call, but being second in command as it were, I would like to know.

Now I'm leaving a big pink elephant out of this. My dad has always been a drinker and he ebbs and flows with problem drinking. (eg a drink in the middle of the night, a drink in the morning, and a steady buzz throughout the day--fine on holiday but not necessarily so on your average Wednesday, especially when you have balance issues or are diabetic and on an array of pills that would impress pfizer) He gets depressed when he leaves us or after a vacation. This has caused a variety of problems from yelling at my dear husband for nothing to drinking himself into a head injury (he was getting the mail). Taj noted that she had had enough of this crap and he was not going to drink anymore. I agreed that we would do what was needed at this end. And I wrote him a heartfelt letter. Because whatever--from drinking to not taking his meds to getting up on ladders, it seemed he was slowly and/or quickly killing himself. I love my dad and I want him around for a long time.

So back to the head injury. I got off the phone and after my initial roller coaster of feelings, I thought whoa. He hit his head. He had a CT scan. He's going to be in the hospital for at least 5 days? Oh you know there's the whole self-preoccupation about why wasn't I called and there was the DENIAL (my favorite) and there was the guilt and there was the should I stay or should I go. So there was constant contact for the next several days and he was getting better and he was coming home. He had a therapist coming to the house (huh?) and several more CT scans (huh?). We did finally convince him to see a new doctor who would reevaluate his medicines and he agreed to quit drinking. I offered to come help, no it's OK. I offered to come help, no it's OK. I offered to come help, no it's OK.

Slowly information began to chip away at the denial. Partly it was the slow gathering of information and partly it was the peeling away the layers. So the reality was that he fell. He hit his head. He was unconscious. Fortunately Taj was on alert because she was concerned by his balance (this time not inner ear but inner alcohol) and had been checking the window to watch his progress to get the mail. Now of course she had said "sit, sit there I'll get the mail" but he was bound and determined to walk to the mailbox and so it was. So she looked out the window and there he was lying on the driveway in the blink of an eye. She was changing clothes and ran out, realized her error (as in she didn't have any clothes on), ran back in threw something on and called the neighbor who called 911. (This may or may not be the complete correct sequence of events but close enough.) I would like to thank that ambulance driver whomever he may be because he said "I want to take him to Va Beach General because Dr. Ang is there and he is the best neurosurgeon I know."

hint hint neurosurgeon=bad head injury

So it comes out that it wasn't a simple concussion but a double brain bleed. The bleeding stopped on its own, there was no need for surgery. Thank God he's one of five 78 year olds who isn't on blood thinners! Again, can I come visit, can I come help. There must be more going on than I know because a physical therapist is coming to the house. no no no everything is fine

In the mean time, Milo has hip surgery, Mollie breaks her ankle, and Parker gets braces.

And one day I'm talking to my dad and he says, "What will it take for me to get you to come down here and help me learn how to use my Kindle?" That is the heartbreakingest thing to hear because it's really, "I need you." You want your parents to want you, but you don't really want them to need you.

And so the planning began. Mollie and I would go to Va on Saturday and return on Monday. She would get to skip school, but she needed to learn to walk without crutches so we could get through the airport. We needed to leave on Saturday so we could see Marc Michaelson's annual show at the Winter Club. We'd fly in we'd go have dinner, we'd see Mom, we'd see Lin, we'd go to Lin's restaurant, we'd have brunch. Fun, fun, fun!

And then it snowed. In Virginia. 10 inches. Our flight on Saturday was cancelled on Friday afternoon. We rebooked for Saturday night hopeful things would be cleared out. Dad called on Saturday morning and said please don't try to fly and even if you do I don't think we can drive to the airport to pick you up because of the road conditions. So I called Delta and they let me change the plane to the next weekend.

And then it snowed. In Virginia and Cincinnati. Actually it rained in Cincinnati and I didn't really believe that there would be snow until I woke up at 6 a.m. (after waking at 4 and 5) and saw what looked like a blizzard. Anthony and my dad had begged me not to fly out in snow and I promised if there was any kind of snow emergency I would not fly. Sure enough Hamilton County was under level 1 and Boone (where the airport physically is) was level 2. So I called Delta and they let me have a full refund. I didn't try to reschedule for the next weekend because the next week I was going to Florida for a marriage maintenance weekend and my mom was coming to keep the kids--her drive is another whole snow blog about determination and driving through the mountains in the snow.

So we began to make other plans. Dad was better, and Taj cancelled her hiking trip but was hopeful she could go to Turkey with her nephew so he could meet the rest of the family. (Social studies note, Iranians can travel freely to Turkey, Americans can travel freely to Turkey so it's a good meeting point.) Dad would come stay 5 days with us. This is big news because he was willing to fly by himself. He was doing well! Maybe Dad would stay the entire three weeks with us, maybe he got to choose, maybe he didn't--depended on how he was doing, but so for so good.

Then on Sunday February 28 as we were driving home from our basketball victory dinner, Taj called. I could tell she was very upset and she asked if I would come home. I said I would call her in the morning when I did not have a car full of screaming children and that I would be there in the next 48 hours.

The next day was my birthday. The following day some friends were taking me for lunch. So I decided to fly out on Wednesday. I was a little resentful. I thought things were going well.

On Monday, we chatted, it was my birthday everyone was happy. I'd made my reservations for Wednesday and since everyone, including Dad, sounded good, I didn't feel so bad for waiting until Wednesday. I figured, Taj is tired and needs a break, I'll fly down and help her out and we'll have the visit we were supposed to have three - four weeks ago.

And so, third time's a charm, I got off without a hitch and landed 1/2 an hour early. Taj picked me up and said she'd called the doctor because she was worried about Papa. When I arrived at the house I was shocked by the old man who greeted me with some weird glasses askew. He was not the man who left my house on January 3rd. We said our hellos and he said let me go upstairs to my room where I feel more comfortable. This was not a simple climbing of the stairs. This was not what had been described the several weeks before. This was about 11:30 a.m. I went up, we chatted. I asked him if he'd put his hearing aids in. And things steadily went down hill.

Layers began to peel away. He'd been on a roller coaster of behavior over the last 4 days. The most significant thing to Taj was that he wasn't fussing anymore. Then the word salad started. I mean complete mumbo jumbo coming out of his mouth.

The long and short of it was successful brain surgery which I can describe in detail, an early discharge from the hospital, rehab, more word salad, back to the hospital because of fluid and swelling, Hester back to VA, success in the hospital, bad rehab, switch to good rehab, and now he's home.

Thank God I was there. Snow Happens for a Reason.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Processed Foods and Perfectionism

I was reading my new Cooking Light today (do I sound virtuous? I'm not sure how I started getting it-was it a reward for selling a lot of wrapping paper, or did I buy from some other kids' fundraiser? Well now that Gourmet is gone....) and I read an article about Jamie Oliver. Now we watch a fair amount of Food Network, and I'd heard of the Naked Chef (never sure why he was called that), but I never put 2 and 2 together. Anyway, the article talked about how charming he is blah blah blah and then the fact that he is on a crusade to improve nutrition. Hey I'm on a crusade to improve nutrition--in my head. No really I want to be on a crusade to improve nutrition. I organize a group of concerned moms and dads and we overhaul the school lunch system into fresh nutritious foods our children will actually eat and I'll never have to make lunch again. But I digress.

So Jamie is doing a reality show from Huntington, West Virginia. The least healthy town in the USA. His premise is that he will teach different people to cook one meal. They'll teach others and Huntington, West Virginia will move out of the top (bottom) 10. He talks about "proper food." Which coming from a mother who talked a lot about "proper" things, my ears immediately perked up. He feels that if people did something from remotely from scratch half the time, it would fix 98% of the weight and nutrition problems.

So I began to think about proper food. I read all the labels of the tacos I was making for dinner. Fortunately I shopped at Fresh Market this week, so my taco seasoning only had 5 ingredients. I knew they had ground my beef and made my guacamole. But then I looked at the taco sauce, cheese (that at some point had at least seen a cow) and thought, ugh I can't do that. I can't make everything from scratch. I love the idea. I'd like to make my own taco seasoning, but I don't. And what about my Rao's Marinara Sauce? Yes it leaves a dark red grease stain, which homemade marinara would not do, but my Rao's I've got to give up my Rao's? and my easy and much loved LaRosa's meatballs--all I have to do is reach in the freezer, put them in the pot with the Rao's, boil some (protein & fiber added) pasta and shazam! dinner that everyone loves and admires. Well if I can't have perfectionism, I'm not even going to try.

So I thought about it and that's pretty much my problem all around isn't it. (And I'm having a deja vu that I've written about this all or nothing/perfectionism but I'm on a roll so I'm not looking back.) If I can't do it 100%, I'm not even going to try. If I blow the diet at breakfast, well I may as well just eat everything in sight until the following Monday (everyone knows the diet begins on Monday).

So I bought his cookbook and I'm watching his TV show and I'm trying. I even made homemade meatballs and sauce. And I'm trying to do better at not being a perfectionist--rather than reorganizing an entire room, I'm just doing a closet. Shockingly, it works! Better to have one closet organized than that guilty feeling of needing to go through everything. The only problem is that by the time you've finished the room, that first closet needs organizing--again.

Anyone want to join me: