Fear the Unlived Life

I waste tens of dollars each month buying food products I will never, ever eat.

I do this because I have an underlying morbid curiosity that can be cheaply satiated with strangely flavored jams and dollar store trinkets.
I do this because every once in a while, I strike gold.
Exhibits A and B: Out-of-this-world, best grocery store salsa I’ve found in a LONG time, and some good, cheap hummus (although be warned, garlic lovers will have you burping ugly for days. Recommend mixing with original flavored to tone it down).
Exhibits C and D: Reasons why you should always read packaging carefully. This January I learned that “smoked” almonds means “we used the flavoring from BBQ potato chips and soaked these almonds in them.” Popping one of these in your mouth is shocking, unsettling and gross.
Equally disappointing was the new White Chocolate Almond flavor from Blue Bell. I bought it excitedly, expecting it to be similar to TCBY’s white chocolate mousse frozen yogurt (an endless addiction that has me 11 punches down and 1 purchase to go for a free cup). The reality is akin to a cheap vanilla – flat and plain with a whip-creamy sort of flavor, chunks of broken almonds and absolutely no almond flavoring added to the mix. Bland.
I suppose I could stick to what I know and never end up with gallons of wasted, old ice-crystalized ice cream sitting in my freezer reminding me of the $6 I could have used elsewhere, but I think it’s important to remember that even the small risks are worth taking.
Cheap thrills.

Registering

After approximately 1.5 years of marriage, I feel it is safe to give advice on at least this one component – now that habits and clumsiness have forced to the top the best gifts for my needs and the most ridiculous of wants. It boils down to this:

If you marry impatiently, register for practical things.

Oh dear, 22-year-old apartment bride, there is no heartbreak like a brand new, odd-numbered set of plates you would never have been able to afford on your own. Anything used for entertaining will only weigh you down on your search for the perfect 2-2. Choose your appliances carefully or forever begrudge the post-honeymoon discovery of “limited counterspace.”

If you were practical in planning your way to the alter and will return from it to a permanent home with unshared walls, indulge.

You’ve paid your dues and have the bridesmaid dresses to prove it – in Macy’s, scan freely for delicate stemware and heavy mountains of silver and china. Don’t hold back from choosing the things you’ve always wanted – with room to display and entertain, anything beautiful broken will be a reflection of life lived full.

Also, if you’re storing china, don’t stack it, buy one of these.

Never Say Never List

My rather strong-willed sister has a list of things she will never do once she is a parent.

The list is no doubt populated with things my equally strong-willed mother has done to raise us over the years. While I would just about kill to see what exactly she’s written on it now, I can only imagine with glee how eye-opening it will be for her to look back at that document as she grows and one day has kids of her own.

It got me thinking — wouldn’t it be wonderful if over the course of your life, you kept a list of the things you say you will never do? I would love to know at each age, what exactly I considered loathsome, incomprehensible or generally uncool.

I suppose I will start now.

Things I will never do:

  • paint walls red – red walls in a home are oppressive
  • go sky diving
  • own cats or any animal that requires a litter box
  • use tanning beds (ever again)
  • eat at Panda Express or Hamburger Helper (ever again)
  • wear red and green together when it’s not Christmas
  • care about things like David Yurman, Waterford or Arthur Court
  • go back to PC
  • collect figurines of any kind
Will definitely have to give this some more thought… not much is coming to mind right now. (Maybe I don’t say “never” that often?)
COMMENTERS: Ever heard me say never? Refresh my memory… leave a comment and remind me what I’ve sworn off in the past.

Definitely Getting Stupider

Aaron and I are clearing out the bookshelves, going through old books.

A: …and the best book of all time.

L: Animal Farm? That’s the best book of all time?

A: Yes.

L: …like “bah, ram, ewe?”

A: No, that’s Babe.

I guess it is possible to overdose on pop culture.

I Coulda Been a Contender

Inspired by the idea I might be moving to a 680 sq foot apartment, last week I began to sort.

It started with my own apartment and by this Saturday I was knee-deep in boxes out in Sugar Land in my parent’s garage sorting through years of my childhood.

From all junk – beanie babies and doll clothes, key chain collections and old report cards – even the two soccer trophies (my last remaining proof I ever did something athletic competitively) the only item I kept was the smallest of them all – a reading trophy from the Fort Bend County Library system.

I want to be that again.

There were so many books in those boxes. Misty of Chincoteague, Maniac McGee, A Dog Called Kitty – stacks of Goosebumps and everything Louis Sachar.

I loved to read.

When did I stop loving it? When did my appetite change?

How do people keep alive that voracious need to read through school? At some point the word extracurricular no longer applied to reading.

I figure if I keep the trophy some place I can see it every day, it will help to remind me that that little girl that wanted to be a writer someday hasn’t stopped learning, reading, devouring great words and far-off places.

It’s All In My Head Ears

The faint rocking has subsided since I got off the cruise Sunday, but every once in a while I still feel as though I am moving. Waving.

I’m sure it has something to do with the extreme inner-ear sinus situation that developed from a week of down pillows and three days of drizzly Houston drear, but I can’t help but create headlines in my head regarding the possibility there is something really wrong.

I’ll be like that girl who’s had hiccups for three years.

HOUSTON GIRL GOES ON CRUISE, NEVER GETS OFF THE BOAT

MEDICAL BULLETIN: FORTY-TWO YEARS OF SEA LEGS AND COUNTING

HYPOCHONDRIA AT SEA LEADS TO PSYCHOSOMATIC CLUMSINESS

Off-Season

I will tell you there’s something magical about sailing slowly away from a cold, bleak Texas coast and into progressively warmer and bluer waters until you’re standing sandy-toed in Cozumel holding a rented snorkel and feeling your skin sizzle.

The downside is that on the way back you have the exact same experience in reverse. Heart sinking with the temperature, every stressor you left behind waiting on the other side of customs.

I can also tell you that my off-season vacation places me in the unique predicament of having both a nose sore from sniffling, blowing and over-tissuing, combined with the peely red pain of sunburn. Amazingly acute.

So how WAS my big vacation?

Wonderful, but let’s face it, the bad things are just so much more fun to talk about.

Like the laughable musical, dancing variety shows, or the not-so laughable comedians. Or the addition of the “Fun Ship” cocktail to my “Do Not Drink” list. Also, since rum has been on that list for some time, my awkward conversation with a Sandals’ Jamaica bartender about ordering a margarita.

On the cruise I learned that I am becoming more of a food elitist, and am now above things I can’t even afford — like Carnival cruise food. Seriously, the variety and amount of food on board is impressive, but when “dinner” is a filet mignon and short rib combo, and the short rib is the only thing worth eating (without excessive chewing), there’s a problem.

It occurred to me on this trip what a lovely little slice of Americana cruises really are. Like half-buried Cadillacs in the dessert, cowboy boots with suits or jackalope postcards, they offend the senses in a way that is somehow endearing. Any attempt at sophistication on board seems a farce, yet we embrace the act and the truly American ideal of bigger is better.

Still believe in quality over quantity? You just need a bigger buffet.