Wonder Bread and The Big Spoon…the odd things we fear.

Everyone is afraid of something.

Snakes. Heights. Flying. Fear tells us we are in danger. That we should be careful. Fear is good. Unless it spins out of control into a phobia. That is not so good.

Then there is the kind of fear that is just plain funny. Not so extreme to be a phobia, but still very noticeable.  It serves no purpose. It is totally illogical. But we have it anyway. And sometimes all we can do is laugh about it.

Let me give a few examples: That booger sucker bulb thing for babies. I cannot even think of it without shuddering and practically gagging. Why? I have no idea. It is not the boogers. It is the object itself. I am cringing now just writing about it. It totally creeps me out. So do Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, frozen food, Mickey Mouse, the number three… One of these days I will have to tell you about the Spider Queen.

What follows are two of the most adorable fears I have ever come across. They belong to a good friend of mine. She and I are like two peas in a pod in many respects, mostly of the quirky type. Hopefully we will still be friends after she reads this! Love you, hunny!

Wonder Bread is scary!

Imagine peanut butter and jelly on soft, white bread. The pillowy-soft kind of bread your fingers sink into. Yum! A treat I only dream about since adopting a gluten free diet. Oh there is gluten free bread, but pillowy-soft it is not ! So much for my favorite college hangover breakfast – tuna on white and a glass of milk.

What are sandwich dreams for me are anything but for one of my best friends. Closer to sandwich nightmares. She has an aversion to soft sliced white bread. She is freaked out by soft bread – the kind that your finger sink into. Not because it is stripped of nutrition. Not because she can’t eat wheat. It creeps her out.

The top offender is Wonder Bread. This particular brand is especially frightening. She can’t go near it. Seriously. This American staple in the cheery red, yellow, and blue bag is scary. How can anyone be afraid of something so jolly?! Why this brand? She and I have no idea. All we can figure is that her fear is of soft bread and Wonder Bread does look especially soft.

If I were to put a bunch of Wonder Bread in her kitchen, she might not be able to enter! I think this is completely ridiculous. She knows it is ridiculous. We have had a good laugh over it. We love each other like sisters, quirks included. But still, the sadist in me is dying to send her a great big box of it for the sole purpose of freaking her out. Thank goodness the friend in me can’t bring myself to do it.

So if my quirky friend isn’t eating white bread, what is she eating? She prefers “a hard Italian.” She and I are pretty sure she was referring to bread when she said that.

Forks, Sporks, and the Big Cereal Spoon

I have one of those silverware holders with the slots shaped like the utensils that go in them. Knives on the far left, then forks, then spoons. I grew up with one of these trays in the silverware drawer. Everywhere I have lived I put the utensils in that order, preformed tray or not. That is the order the plastic tray has dictated all these years, so that must be the way they go.

You can imagine my dismay when I was helping put away my friend’s dishes and I saw knives, then spoons, then forks. No no no! Why?! This cannot be. The preformed tray forbids it. It goes knives, then forks, then spoons. All drawers must follow suit! How dare she?!

I shared my confusion and frustration with my friend. She knows I am neurotic. Something like that would easily freak me out. After we laughed about it, I admitted that she has the right to store her kitchen items as she pleases, even if my dysfunctional brain cannot accept it.

I did seriously ask why that particular arrangement. I had to. Like I said, I am neurotic. I needed to know or I would obsess over it forever. Her answer started out simple enough. She uses forks more than spoons and it is easier to access the forks if they are on the outside. OK. Fair enough. She threw me for a loop when I asked her why she uses forks the most.

She does not like spoons. Spoons are scary. She hates using them. Even the thought of using one bothers her. She avoids spoons whenever possible.  Cottage cheese and even yogurt are “fork foods”. I bet she even eats pudding with a fork!  Just the thought of eating with the “big spoon” is enough to give her goosebumps.

I love the big spoon! I use the big spoon all the time. How on earth can you expect me to eat my cereal with that tiny teaspoon?! Why fear spoons at all?

I can see being afraid of knives. There is a definite risk of injury there. Even forks. A fork can be a weapon. My uncle nearly poked my mother’s eye out with a fork. But spoons? They are so curvy. And fun. You can even hang them from the end of your nose! At least I can. A skill  I will happily demonstrate that the dinner table – four star restaurants included. Ice cream is eaten with a spoon. How can that be bad?! Hmmm, could this be an odd expression of a fear of gaining weight? I smell a thesis! Oh wait, I’m not in school anymore. Anyhoo…

In a rare moment of brilliance, my boyfriend posed a question. What does my friend think of sporks? Would this unnatural combination of spoon and fork throw her into a conflicted tailspin of good vs. evil?!  I was totally disappointed in the very bland answer. She explained to me as we had a snack of cottage cheese, me with a spoon and she with her fork. Sporks are not as bad as a spoon, but she would rather use a fork if she had the choice. Guess she isn’t headed for the loony bin quite yet.

Or maybe we both should be locked up. Who spends so much time discussing the nuances of utensil preference? Two loony peas in a pod, that’s who. For now we are free to laugh with, and at, each other. Right, sweetie??

Do you have any ridiculous fears?

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Parenting in the Cereal Aisle – Hooray for good dads.

At my recent trip to the supermarket I witnessed something that renewed my faith in young dads. (Before you think I am some sort of weird creeper. I was not spying on this family. The whole episode happened rather quickly AND they were in the way of my cereal!)

The supermarket is not a place we see many parents at their best – especially the cereal aisle.

Bored children are tempted with an onslaught of bright-colored boxes sporting fun characters. What child wouldn’t want to take one home? The youngest ones want to play with them; the older ones know they are full of sugary goodness. The cereal aisle can really test a parent’s mettle.

As I scanned the lower shelves for the gluten-free Rice Krispies an adorable little girl caught my eye. She was maybe three years old. The perfect height to look those cheery cartoon characters right in the eye. Nearly old enough to walk and talk like a little adult, but not nearly old enough to reason like one.

She was with who I assume was her father. An average looking young man, probably in his twenties. By the way she was acting, I could tell she was recently denied the joy of adding one of these magical boxes to the cart. Little Miss was in a mood! She was about to stomp off in a huff.

Daddy was having none of that.
He very calmly asked his daughter to hold his hand. Yeah, right! She did what every defiant little girl does. Little Miss pulled away and began to stomp off, albeit very slowly. Daddy calmly informed her that if she did not hold his hand, he would have to pick her up.

One more try at the hand.
No deal. Little Miss was fit to throw a fit at this point.  You could see it coming. Fists clenching, brow furrowing.

Daddy made good on his word.
He scooped up his daughter and held her to his chest. Little Miss, of course, was now throwing her fit. You know how it goes. The tantrum. Parents you have dealt with it a hundred thousand times. Fellow grocery shoppers you have walked by it, probably rolled your eyes at it too. Legs kicking, crying just to make noise.

It was adorable.
Little Miss was having a crying fit on Daddy’s shoulder and he didn’t bat an eye. I doubt his pulse increased even a beat per minute.

As they exited the cereal aisle, finally allowing me to access the yummy goodness I craved, he leaned his head to look at his daughter. She picked up her teary-eyed head. Daddy very simply asked her “Are you done yet?” She stopped crying just long enough to shake her head and moan “No”. Daddy said, “ok”, gently guided her head back onto his shoulder, and kept walking.

Little Miss continued her crying. And why not? Her world was ending! She was denied a box of colorful friends. She was snagged up from her grocery aisle romp. The horror!

I saw them shortly after.
Little Miss still in Daddy’s arms. Smile on her face. No cereal in the cart.

I loved seeing this. It turned me to mush.
What a great dad.

What makes me so gushy over this?

It is as much about what I didn’t see as what I did. Anyone can gush over a young dad holding his daughter. That’s a no brainer.

What didn’t I see?

– There was no yelling at the child. What good would it do to yell at a three-year old?
-There was no reasoning with the child. Why should there be? She doesn’t understand why she wants it let alone your adult reasons why she can’t have it.
– There was no dragging the defiant child down the aisle by her tiny hand. This is always a bad idea, but believe me I still see it.

Maybe there was something in the air that day that allowed this young man to keep his cool so beautifully. I have to say, everyone was oddly cheery and chatty. Or maybe he is just a good dad that does not believe in yelling at, arguing with, or dragging his daughter.

I am going to be optimistic and go with the Good Dad Theory.

I wonder how patient he will be when she is a teenager!

Things That Remind Me I Am a Writer – MOVIE TRAILERS

I am a writer

I do not mean it is my profession. I mean it is who I am. It is part of my very being. I have no more choice in the matter than I have in being a woman.

I am sure I have always been a writer, but it has only been recently that I realized it, and dared to say it.

I still feel at times like I have no idea what I am doing. Like a toddler learning to walk. This blog for instance. I have no idea what to write or how to write it. It is an experiment in self-discovery. I am grateful to anyone that is kind enough to make the journey with me.

So if I am not a writer by profession and if I don’t know the first thing about being a writer, how do I know that I am one? How does a person know anything? How do you know you are in love with someone? It’s like that.

The more comfortable I get with being a writer, the more I develop this part of myself, the more I notice it. Annoying things keep happening that remind me I am a writer.

The way I look at things has changed. The way I think is different. It might even be affecting the way I speak! Sometimes I think I must finally have gone completely insane. Then I realize, no, I am a writer.

cell oct 2012 b 410 I totally look like a writer!

The Movie Trailer   

I was recently at the movies when it really hit me. I have developed a writer’s brain.

I have this inner desire to write something really great. I have no idea why. I have never cared about things like that before. Now all of a sudden I want to create some amazing work of fiction. Where the heck did that come from?

It happened during the trailers. I love movie trailers! As one of them played, I found myself thinking “Boy, I wish I wrote that! I wonder if I can think of something as good.”

I was impressed with the originality of the story line, the suspense. There were a few things I personally might have done differently. But I only got to see snippets. Maybe they work in the context of the film as a whole. I would like to find out.

Seriously?! You have got to be kidding me! I am suddenly envying screenwriters. This is not like jealousy over things like the invention of post-it notes or some other cool thing that would make me millions. This is real honest to goodness envy. I really do want to write a great thriller.

Sitting there in the theater, I found myself thinking: How does a person come up with an idea like that? Can I do it? I need to do it! How am I gonna make it happen? I started taking mental notes for the remainder of the trailers. What I liked or didn’t, was it just a rehash or was it original….

After the movie, I was thinking about that trailer more than the movie I just saw. I could not get these thoughts out of my head. Granted, it wasn’t the greatest movie, but I am willing to bet these are not the kinds of thoughts that go through the average person’s head as they leave the theater. I know they never used to go through mine before.

Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe I won’t have the same weird reaction to the next batch of trailers. My movie date for this Valentine’s Day might settle the matter. I have a feeling movie trailers will never be the same again.

As odd and confusing as it is to be obsessing over a glorified commercial for a movie I wish I wrote, I also sort of like it. It means that there is a writer alive and well in me that is dying to get out. This writer is also determined to do something great. That is exciting.

My crazy writer brain did not doubt my ability to write that fabulous film script. It went into autopilot studying and strategizing. That is sort of an awesome feeling.

Now I need to keep that alive. How does one do that? Watching movies maybe? Just like novelists improve themselves by reading, maybe screenwriters watch movies.

I will still read of course. Every writer should. It is essential. What will I be reading? A little of everything. Why? I also want to write the next great novel, and collection of short stories, and poems, and…. I did say I am still settling into this writer thing.

Top Gun is a Chick Flick

Top Gun is Totally a Chick Flick…
But don’t panic guys. You can still enjoy it.

Top Gun is one of my all-time favorite movies. I used to think it was because I was a tad bit of a tomboy. I liked to play outdoors. I spent a lot of time with my older brother who happened to be obsessed with Naval Aviation too boot.

As I got older I realized I was not being tomboyish at all with this selection. A lot of chicks like Top Gun. I mean A LOT! Then it occurred to me why… Top Gun is a total chick flick.

Action Movie vs. Chick Flick

I admit, Top Gun has action, fighter jets, good guys vs. bad guys, motorcycles, cool music, awesome one liners, and other things guys love in a movie. Sounds like an action movie, right? Nope. It also has romance, tragedy, love songs, shirtless men, and tons of female fans. So maybe it is a toss-up. Nope. Total Chick Flick. Allow me to explain.

Cast of Characters

The Boys:
The main character, Maverick, is played by Tom Cruise in his dreamy heart-throb phase. Yum! The guys want to be him and the girls want to be with him. Both are so enthralled with this that neither one seems to realize they are lusting after the same man!
Next is Anthony Edwards as Goose, the adorable good boy compliment to Maverick’s bad boy (and I use that term loosely).
Now add a dash of Val Kilmer and some shirtless, sweaty locker room and beach volleyball scenes.
If there is a lady out there left that hasn’t seen this movie, I guarantee she is popping over to Netflix as we speak. One more thing, did I mention the shirtless men?

The Girls:
The eye candy above should be enough to slap on a “Chick Approved” label, but even the female leads add to the Chick-ness. The women, though few, in this “action movie” are characters, not eye candy. They also do not spend the majority of the film sporting cleavage and dresses cut clear up to their hoo-has.
Maverick’s love interest, played by Kelly McGillis, is sexy enough to attract the attention of the dudes, yet sophisticated enough not to turn off the ladies. Then there is Meg Ryan as Goose’s adorable wife. Need I mention the numerous chick flicks she now has under her belt?

The Plot

There is some sort of action plot going on in this film. What is it? Something about fighter jet training and some actual bad guys to go get. It doesn’t seem to be an essential part of the movie except that it has to be there so they can have those cool jet fighter scenes with the shooting and awesome musical scores. Oh, and the cool one liners. Guys really do love those.

Much of the plot seems to focus on Maverick’s quest to woo his attractive flight instructor. This is done in such an over the top way that guys only wish they could pull it off and the girls laugh knowing they never could. There is no gratuitous sex or nudity. Sorry guys. There is a beautiful love scene set to the Berlin song Take My Breath Away. Chick Flick folks!

Let’s not forget Maverick’s journey of self-discovery. Finally, there’s the tear jerking tragedy with Goose. I could totally do without that part. Gets me every time! Need I point out that tear-jerking is a classic chick flick trait?

Guys can still love Top Gun.

Don’t worry fellas. You can still love Top Gun without losing your man card. Just like I can love Fight Club and Rambo and still be a chick. So go ahead. Watch away. Enjoy those one liners. We actually think it’s cute when you quote them. Better yet, watch with us.

Trust me guys. If you want to enjoy some quality couch time with your girl, this is a great movie to watch together. Neither one of you will be bored. You will avoid getting slapped as you try to grope her in your desperate attempt to enjoy yourself during the most boring movie ever. She will not be sneaking out the door, unnoticed by you, while you are lost in cleavage and graphic violence.

Chick flick or not (it is), Top Gun is a great movie. Enjoy it!

Some other movies the chicks and dudes can agree on…

Braveheart

Gladiator

Jerry Maguire

A Bronx Tale

Why I Love The Super Bowl – and will watch every second of it!

I watch the Super Bowl every year. I don’t remember ever missing one. Do I necessarily remember who won them, or who even played? No. Do I care? No. Still every year come playoff time I await the Super Bowl like a kids waits for Christmas!

The Super Bowl is one of my favorite holidays…

Don’t even attempt to argue with me on this one. It is a holiday. It happens around the same time every year. People get together. There is food and alcohol. What about this doesn’t sound like a holiday? I look forward to the Super Bowl way more than a lot “real” holidays. When is the last time you were excited about Columbus Day? Unless maybe you were eying something in Macy’s annual sale.

For those of you that are still doubting my “the Super Bowl is a holiday” theory. I will now briefly list the things that are celebrated on this glorious Sunday…

Beer!

Lots of beer. Bottles of beer. Cans. If you really have a party going, maybe a keg or two! Me? I just want a bottle or two of frosty beer. More specifically, I want to drink cheap beer. Bud! Bud light! These are a must have. I wait all year for the chance to partake in these most watery of beers without shame. To be honest, I do like Bud Light. I always have.
I also love beer commercials. Who doesn’t like to see girls in bikinis jumping over snow-covered mountains. You better believe the Super Bowl is gonna have a few beer commercials – more on those later.

Pizza Pizza!

I love pizza! Cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, pizza with veggies, pizza pizza pizza. I look forward to a Super Bowl pizza like some folks look forward to their Thanksgiving Turkey. Several years ago I developed an intolerance for wheat. Pizza is one of the things that make me the sickest. Well you can be damned if I am going to be deprived of my Super Bowl pizza!

Chicken Wings!

Did you really think I was gonna have pizza and beer and no wings? That is like having a burger and soda with no fries. It just isn’t done! Yes, folks. I look forward to Super Bowl Sunday because I use it as an excuse to eat an embarrassing amount of chicken wings with absolutely no shame. The more the better! For those of you health conscious folks that are cringing at the thought, I do manage to fit in a few carrot sticks. But really, it’s all about the wings.

Beer, Pizza, and Wings. The triple crown of Super Bowl fare. Sure, you can have more. You can even have (gasp) healthy options. But if you don’t have those three, I will be celebrating my holiday elsewhere.

Commercials!

The Super Bowl is the only program I know where people look forward to the commercials. Some people watch solely for the commercials. At least that is how it used to be. The past few years have seen a steady decline in commercial quality. And now companies are putting out pre-game teasers. Really. Commercials for commercials. Leave it to big corporate to ruin a good thing if they think they can make a buck. That being said, I will still be watching. It is tradition. Some people watch It’s a Wonderful Life a certain time every year, I watch Super Bowl Commercials. I can’t help it. I wait impatiently every commercial break hoping to see those Clydesdales. And what about that talking baby! I will suffer through the bombs to see an occasional touchdown. Then there is the simple curiosity to see what companies felt was worth shelling out $4 million.

The Game!

As I hinted at, I don’t much care who is playing. I do watch football, but really don’t follow teams. I can tell you I am immensely happy that there will not be a Tom Brady or a Tim Tebow on the field. I would be happy if I went the remainder of my sort-of-football-watching life never hearing those nanes again! What I do want to hear are some bone crushing sacks. i want to see some sneaky interceptions. I want to cringe and yell at the TV every time I see a fumble. “It is your job to catch and hold on to a ball. How in _’s sake do you drop it like that?!” I just want to see a good game!

This year I do care a little about the teams too. I have liked the Ravens this season. I have no Idea why. Maybe it has to do with my favorite color. And I do enjoy watching Flacco – not sick of that name yet. I am excited to see them matched up against the 49ers. Why? Due to my craziest football tradition ever. I like to imagine the mascots battling! Yes. I am crazy. Certifiable. But it is fun crazy! I already have images in my mind of clouds of ravens attacking coal miners in the spirit of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. The Ravens are totally gonna peck the 49ers eyes out!!!

Friends!!!

If I still have any friends left at this point, I would love to watch with you. Just like families gather around the tree Christmas morning, I want to gather aroung the TV with my friends on Super Bowl Sunday. There will be yelling, drinking, eating. People will do dumb things. A huge mess will be made. I will gain tn pounds and it will totally be worth it…. Sounds like a holiday to me!

So, you know what I will be doing this sunday….

Beer, pizza, wings. Commercials. Football. Will the commercials suck? All but a few.
Will this year’s game be exciting to watch? Who knows? Anything happens at the Super Bowl.

That is why I will be watching every second. Except for the halftime show. That is when I finally get to go pee!!!