The Simplest Healthy Eating Tips EVER

Three easy tips to help with making healthy food choices. Seriously. The easiest ever.

Choose things that you could make in your own kitchen.

Could you make margarine? Probably not, unless you happen to be a chemist. Butter? Easy. How about flour? How would you go about bleaching flour? Exactly! Coffee creamer? Read the ingredients. If you need a degree to decipher them, switch to milk or half and half.

Let's talk about sweeteners. With plenty of time, patience and heat, you can make sugar, though it's best to choose the least-processed kinds. Stevia works, too. I grew some in my garden this year, and it's a simple matter of drying and grinding the leaves. (Of course, WE don't make honey, but every rule has an exception.) But how do you make Saccharin? Anybody?

Anytime you have a choice between two or more options, choose the one closest to your home kitchen.

All things in moderation.

I don't think there is very much that can really hurt you (assuming you are healthy and fairly free of allergies) if you practice moderation. Occasional fast food won't kill you, but a daily Big Mac and fries is a terrible decision. A piece of chocolate or a few potato chips are harmless. An occasional soda is fine. Just don't overindulge in anything. Even things that are "good for you" may not be good in huge quantities, like the roasted beets I made the other day. But that's a talk for another day.

The Nature of Proportions

Eat foods in the proportions you would find them in nature. Think about it. If you were a wild woman (not the Kardashian/Hilton/Lohan kind of wild woman, but more like the Ayla/furry bikini kind of wild woman) what would you eat? Lots of leafy greens, root vegetables and other similar foods. Some grains, but those are very difficult to collect in nature, and don't necessarily grow in large fields the way we farm them. Nuts, fruits and legumes in their season.

Easy access to dairy is something new to humans. Remember that momma cow's first job is to feed her calf. We're only supposed to get the leftovers, if any at all. Sweets are very hard to obtain in nature, so use them sparingly and as a treat. Last: which is easier, to catch a fish or kill a deer? Exactly. Eat more fish than red meat.

How simple is that? Ask yourself two questions, and apply those three principles to the answer: Could I make this at home? How much of this sort of thing have I had lately?


Auntie T's Ten Rules For Living

OK, class! (clap clap clap). Let's pay attention now. Get out your notebooks and get ready to jot this down.

I'm going to give you ten super-duper-secret tips for living. I'm making this crap up as I go along, so be sure to take notes in case any of it turns out to be brilliant.
  1. You need three friends: one who can be trusted with secrets, one who is fun and easy to hang out with and one who has the ovaries to slap you upside the head when you need it. If you can find all that in one awesome friend, your life is golden.
  2. You're never old enough to give up on presenting your best self. Burn those ugly, holey yoga pants and your nasty flip-flops. You are worth the little extra effort it takes to look as adorable as you ARE.
  3. Strive for balance: keep all things in their proper perspective and at the right level of priority.
  4. Straight from Grandma: Hope for the best, and plan for the worst.
  5. A day without laughter is a day wasted.
  6. A day without learning is a day wasted.
  7. Whatever you choose to do, do it wholly and with full presence. Doing things absentmindedly  means missing out on the experience. It probably also means doing it wrong, or at least poorly.
  8. Get shed of what weighs you down. Distance yourself from "friends" who are a bottomless well of needy drama, get rid of clutter, minimize debt, clean out your closet, face your fears, quit smoking and open up your mind.
  9. Learn the difference between what you can (and should) change, and what you only wish you could change. Teach yourself to think differently about the things you can't change. 
  10. Stop reading stupid, made-up lists about how to improve your life. It's your life. Put on your big girl panties, get out there and live it. 
Class dismissed.


Auntie T.


The Last One Lasts....and Lasts

I think I should get a research grant to study this.

Why, oh WHY, will no one take the last piece of candy? Oh yes, I know you have your Momma's voice on tape in your head, just like I do: "Someone else might want that!"

But really, Mom. What about being wasteful?

Slice up a loaf of cranberry orange nut bread for your office break room. Those slices will disappear faster than a kid at chore time. All but that last slice. It will sit there and dry out, grow mold and finally develop a pulse before anyone will eat the last slice. Same thing for donuts or cookies or Tina's scrumptious lemon bars.

Fill a candy bowl at the reception desk. Customers will stuff their cheeks and their pockets, too, when the bowl is full. Leave one candy in it and no one will touch it. Well, to be more accurate, about half the customers will finger that candy while they replay Momma's voice in their head. Momma always seems to shame them into putting it back.

And why doesn't this theory hold true for the freebie pens? No one ever minds taking the last pen and casually remarking, "You're out of pens here."



Mayans and Maybes

The day is still young, but it doesn't look like the world is going to end today, after all.

Maybe the world as we know it should, though.

Maybe today is the day the world can end acts of violence.

Maybe today is the day the world can end prejudice and hatred.

Maybe today is the day the world can end selfishness and greed.

Maybe today is the day the world can learn to cherish our children, respect our elders and value each other.

Maybe today is the day that spammers, scammers and shitheads in general can stop preying on others and do some real work in the world.

Maybe today is the day that we can cure cancer and the common cold.

Maybe today is the day we can end our extremist points of view, from the over-the-top NRA to the far side who thinks that somehow the guns themselves are evil.

Maybe today we can learn to compromise.

Maybe today is the day that we can find charity in our hearts, compassion for others and learn to stop judging.

Maybe today is the day to make the world as it is now end, and start a better one. Beginning with me. And you.


Mom Years Are Like Dog Years

They say that every calendar year for us is seven years in "dog years". I'm sure you've heard that. Your dog is ten years old? That's seventy years in dog years. OK, we all get that.

The effect of having children should be measured the same way.

For every child you have, you should:
  • Add six years to the age of your bladder.
  • Subtract twenty I.Q. points.
  • Add six ounces of wine to your recommended daily consumption.
  • Add 500 calories (preferably in chocolate) to your daily diet.
  • Lower the altitude of your ta-tas by 12 degrees.
  • Add 10 gray hairs, compounded annually, until they reach adolescence, and then increase the gray hair exponentially until your children have grandchildren of their own.
  • Subtract 5% of your patience quotient.
  • Forget 15% of what you learned in school. (To be demonstrated when you help them with their homework.)
  • Subtract 10% from your financial stability.
  • Increase your sleep requirement by one hour.
  • Add 2 more cups of coffee to your morning, just to get you started.
  • Subtract 5 opportunities for lovemaking with your honey every day. But don't worry, because those opportunities just go into a savings account for when you're empty nesters.
  • Most of all, increase your amazingness by 500%, because we all know that Moms RULE and Dads are pretty cool, too.

Just a Thought

I wasn't going to write about this, but a friend encouraged me to do so.

Maybe it's my Western America mentality. Maybe it's the simple fact that pretty much everyone I know owns a gun and is a normal human being. Maybe it's just that I don't believe in blaming inanimate objects for the behavior of people.

I don't believe that new gun laws are going to stop the crazies any better than drug laws have changed illicit drug use. People have done heinous things to each other since Cain slew his brother Able. Lizzy Borden killed her father and stepmother with an axe. The worst school massacre in America was committed by a guy in the 1920's who blew the school up with explosives. Horrific crimes are not new.

But they are news.

So what has changed? Maybe the thing that has really changed is the nature of news itself. Some evil nutjob who is planning a mass shooting is surely thinking about how "famous" he will become. Twitter will explode with tales of what he did, Facebook will be on fire, and he will be on every internet news page, television news cast and on the front page of every publication in America. Maybe even the world! Reporters will swarm over the town and take pictures of terrified people, grief-stricken people, and bullet-strewn crime scenes. More spurious fame for the shooter.

Fear of the death penalty clearly doesn't enter into their thinking, since they all seem to kill themselves, or at least try to. What if doing such a thing meant that no one would ever speak your name again? What if every image of you was erased from the memory of the world and you would be immediately and willfully ignored and forgotten by everyone? What if no one was going to swarm your neighbors and family members to get their take on why you did it?

Yeah, I know. A tragedy like this most recent one is news, and of course the media must report on it. What if we reported news differently? What if reporters were respectful and didn't snap, AND SELL, pictures of crying children, screaming parents, sobbing people? What if a text-only report came out, reporting only the necessary facts, and it didn't become a free-for-all of sensationalism? What if the victims and their families were given the privacy to deal with all of this without being hounded by reporters, photographers and thrill seekers?

If we subtracted the SPLASH factor from such horrific acts, would that take away their desire to do it?



I don't suppose I will ever understand why people do the things they do.

My heart goes out to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary school.

I have no words.

There had been a flip, light-hearted post about motherhood in this space previously. It didn't seem appropriate anymore. Maybe some other day.

For now, like you, I'm praying.

And questioning WHY people do these things.


A New Blog!

Today is 12/12/12. That seems like a lucky number, so I decided to launch a new idea.

I'm adding a new blog: Happiness Tip of the Day

 I'll be posting a single tip every day (that's my goal, anyway) for creating and maintaining happiness in your life. Please visit me there and check it out!

Pie Jesu

I couldn't find a youtube video of the Vienna Boys Choir singing "Pie Jesu", but this one is beautiful, too.

Ten Christmas Favorites

There's a lot about the state of Christmas today that I don't love, I'm sorry to say. But there is still much to love. Here are ten things I love, in no particular order:
  1. Beautiful Christmas trees.
  2. Real PEPPERMINT candy canes.
  3. The Vienna Boys Choir singing Adeste Fideles, Ave Maria, Pie Jesu and Veni, Veni Emanuel.
  4. Fudge.
  5. Sitting down to a Christmas feast with the men I love the best in the world.
  6. Snow on Christmas morning. (a rare treat here)
  7. Hot cocoa with a shot of schnapps...I only indulge in that during the holidays. (Zits, you know?)
  8. The original cartoon version of Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", with Boris Karloff narrating. You just can't beat that one.
  9. I love the old holiday movies, too. "It's a Wonderful Life", "Holiday Inn", "White Christmas"... pure gold. Netflix? Are you listening???
  10. The real, genuine, double-rectified Christmas SPIRIT. Hard to find, but a true joy when you do.


Snapshot - Winter in Arizona

Sunset on SinterKlaas day in Central Arizona. Pretty, huh?

Have I "Arrived"?

Why am I suddenly getting spammy comments from "Anonymous"? I used to get one or two a month, tops. Now I seem to have one or two every day.

Does that mean my blog is growing bigger in SpammerTown?

It's a dubious honor.

I don't like spam. I don't like the kind you can buy right there next to the Underwood's Deviled Roast Beef (blech) and Vienna Sausage (double blech). I do not like green eggs and ham, and I do not like your stinking spam!

Just think of the book our dear, late Dr. Seuss could have written about spam! The spammers would all work from saggy-roofed offices with computers that weren't quite straight. They'd have three fingers tipped with long fur coming to a point. Maybe they would be working from a dust mote, floating around in the strangely green air.

Now I think I'll go home and watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".  

Dear Santa

Dear Santa Claus,

I've been a good girl most of the time this year...except when being naughty was the right thing to do. (Just ask my honey.)

I don't want a baby brother or a puppy. I don't want a new Barbie or any of the latest, greatest, shiny new things that are screaming "buy me". Instead, I have a short list. All I want for Christmas is:

  1. My healthy, happy family to stay healthy and happy, and to gather near me for the holiday. 
  2. Bring my boys success and love, to go with their happy healthiness.
  3. Bring me my Sweet Hubs, home safe every day. I'll know what to do with him from there.
  4. Please remove the fat and other bad things from Fritos, but don't change the way they taste.
  5. Please lower the price of wine to $.99 a bottle. I promise I will not drink more. Of course, I'm not promising to drink less, either.
That's it. Five little things. The rest we can figure out on our own. Thank you, Santa!


Hop on Over

How fun! One of my blog posts is being featured on Studio 30+ !

Hop on over there and visit me! Click here to check it out.

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