Ode to The 24 Most Underrated Parts of Being Single…or I’m Awesome, Who Cares?

Every once in a while, there comes along an article that makes you realize just how good you’ve got it. I stumbled upon this gem The 24 Most Underrated Parts of Being Single a few days ago and it got me to thinking how good singledom really is.
Sure, sure, we all want companionship: someone to love and be loved by us and to share life with. But I have friends who I love and who I share my life with. And really, I’ve been in the dating pool recently and it’s pretty damn shallow; most men I meet are either married liars or can’t meet the basic requirements of holding a valid driver’s license or keeping a job long term. So, rather than mope and cry into my libation, I’m choosing to reread this article numerous times and to rejoice in my freedom.  The article hits some fantastic high points. Some of them were simply so good that they were inspiration for this post and I had to point out my favorites to those lonely nay sayers to prove just how good we’ve got it:
1) You can eat whatever the fuck you want.
How true is this!? If I want to sit down on a Friday night with a bottle of wine or champagne and gorge myself by eating an entire pizza, I can do that and hate myself in the morning. I don’t have to share and I don’t have to be judged. This is called freedom. It’s also called the beginnings of obesity.

6) You can wear embarrassing pajamas all day like a boss.
I’m a huge fan of this one. If I want to walk around the house in my torn-to-hell Rolling Stones t-shirt from 1998 and plaid pajama pants that are ripped at the inseam (to allow maximum ventilation), I can do it. Sure, I look like a total hobo, but that’s the point…I don’t need to look cute for anyone, so looking like a hobo is ok. As long as I don’t leave the house looking like that.

8) No one will judge you for dancing like a moron.
We all do it. We all shake what our mommas gave us and look like mentally challenged patients with absolutely no skills. But here’s the thing: there is no pretense when you’re single. You don’t have to worry about doing this and being labeled the aforementioned mentally challenged patient with zero skills. You can shake it, shake it, just don’t break it…alone or with friends who have the same skill level you do for dancing.

dance

 

 

 

 

 

9) You don’t have to share a bed with some jerk to who hogs the sheets.
I love sleeping alone. I get to take up the entire bed and wrap the blankets entirely around myself. Sleeping alone is the tops: you don’t have to be kept awake by someone else’s weird sleeping habits or snoring.

 

10) You can move at a moment’s notice without fear of any consequences.
I really like the fact that if I choose to move, whether it’s to a town an hour from where I currently am or to another state, it affects no one but me. Throw another person into the mix and things get messy.

 

11) You never have to worry about getting into fights about stupid shit that doesn’t mean anything.
I think we’ve all had those fights. Enough said.

No. Stupid. Fights.

 

14) You don’t have to worry about normal grooming. At.All.
I think one of the biggest pains in the ass about being female is shaving one’s legs. Some people get really obsessive over it and can’t go a day without doing it. Me? I could go all winter and be totally ok with my legs resembling what I imagine Grizzly Adams’ looked like.

15) You can watch whatever the hell you want.
That’s right: no one is there to insult me for watching shows like Ghost Adventures and being all googly-eyed over the muscled and dumb Zac Bagans. I can also watch my favorite movie, Bridget Jones’s Diary without criticism or anything on Lifetime, for that matter.
18) Hideous underpants can be worn freely, because you don’t care who sees your junk.
Yep. If I so choose to wear the huge underpants that are actually marketed to the women significantly older than me, I can without (much) shame because no one is seeing those suckers but me.

hideous underpants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20) You can fart and burp without shame because there is no one to judge you.
I think this one is pretty self explanatory. You wouldn’t believe the sounds that come out of women when they’re hanging out with other women that they’ve known for well over a decade. We’d never do that stuff in front of anyone else.

These were my favorites that made me smile a few days ago when I most needed it. They reminded me that while I may not have exactly the kind of relationship that I want, for right now, these little freedoms make this time enjoyable. If you’re single, think about the things that bring you the most joy, and those things that you probably couldn’t do if you were otherwise engaged. I promise that it’ll help you turn that frown upside down when you’re feeling like you’ll never meet someone that not only has a pulse but is well-groomed, has similar interests and that you can actually hold a conversation with.

who cares I'm awesome

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Weekly Wino Review, Episode 1: Tommasi Le Rosse Pinot Grigio Della Venezi, Veneto Italy, 2011

Anyone who knows me will attest that wine is something that makes me very, very happy.  Because of this, I thought that perhaps I should start doing a weekly wine review.  I figured if I do this I’ll continue to educate myself about vino and offer (hopefully) helpful suggestions to those of you who are also wine lovers.  Now, I will preface this by stating I’m still learning about wine and I still have a hell of a time describing flavors and scents, but I hope with practice  (and your patience) I’ll get better and better at writing reviews.

Lets get on with it, shall we?

 

Tommasi Le Rosse Pinot Grigio Della Venezi, Veneto Italy, 2011

Tommasi Le Rosse Pinot Grigio Della Venezi, Veneto Italy, 2011

My favorite wine shop (Vinosity) has done it again.  I made a visit Vinosity last Thursday in search of a new favorite libation (and, if I’m totally honest another bottle of my go-to favorite Cabernet). I always trust the advice of Kim Kelly, the proprietor of this fine establishment to direct me to my new favorite, as she listens intently as you make her a list of the characteristics that embody your favorite indulgences and then can guides you to various gems that line their shelves. This past week, I was guided to a Tommasi white: Vivicolori Vigneto Le Rosse Pinot Grigio.  Cost-wise, this wine rings in at $18.99 (slightly steep, but worth the extra cash for such a treat).

I’ve been almost an exclusive red wine drinker for the past year but I trusted the review and with the rising temperatures we’ve been experiences in Culpeper as of late, I thought this would be a light alternative to the full-bodied reds I’ve been enjoying as of late.  I got home on Thursday and opened the bottle and was very pleasantly surprised.

This wine has a light floral nose with a crisp, almost floral flavor lightly sweet taste; indeed, upon finishing the bottle I remarked that the palate offers an almost purple-y violet tone to it. I have become skiddish with white wines because most that I’ve experienced are simply too sweet or have a gnarly finish.  This one was a pleasant surprise: it’s lovely, light and refreshing and goes well with food as we well as standing well on its own (an excellent drinkin’ wine). This is a perfect to enjoy outside on a warm spring or summer afternoon or evening.

 

The Good Life

Some days end so pleasantly that you feel light and completely content. As I write this, I realize that it is the simplest things that make me happy. Connecting completely with my senses makes me feel like this.
Living in the moment: taking off your shoes and walking barefoot through the grass. Strolling through the garden and seeing tiny green spouts working their way up through the red Virginia dirt: the first signs of life from your labor. Savoring a simple supper outside in the spring sunshine, a light breeze blowing. Sipping a cold, fruity, clean-finish chardonnay; enjoying hot French bread right out of the oven. Savoring the velvety smoothness of a gouda and goat cheese blend and enjoying the biting pepperiness of Italian sausage.

enjoy some of the good life

enjoy some of the good life

Weight Watchers is a Bitch…Or, I Really, Really Miss Cooking (and Butter)

During my little hiatus from writing, I decided that enough was enough:  I decided I was tired of my pants fitting tight, feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and that the path to happiness was named Weight Watchers. I had repeatedly seen the new WW commercials on t.v. and though “I should do that again”.  I’ve done Weight Watchers before, many years ago (when I was in my early twenties) and had success; I lost about 50 pounds over the course of several months. And then, when I stopped following the plan because I got fed up, I gained it all back (and then some).    weight loss

Anyway,  I started this new weight loss venture toward the middle of February and I started out strong. I believed I could do it! If only I follow the plan to a perfect T, eat only the minimum number of points per diem that the plan allotted and come up with an arsenal of WW friendly meals and snacks, I could do this!

hangry

hangry

Guess what? That enthusiasm wore of quickly.  In fact, I became “hangry” more often than not.  Hangry is a term that I’ve adopted from a co-worker of mine; it’s a mix between hungry and angry. And it fits my mental state about 70% of the time.

For any of you that have been readers of my writing endeavor, you know that I love cooking. I not only do I love cooking, I savor cooking. It’s an experience that becomes richer the more you do it, the more spices you add, the more items you have to chop, the more you add to the pot, bowl or pan.  I. Love. Cooking. And thanks to go ol’ Weight Watchers, I haven’t really cooked much (with the exception of simple chicken, tomato, garlic one-pot dinners) over the past six weeks or so. And that just makes me angry. I feel like something that I love has been taken away from me. I love to cook; it brings me happiness to make food that other people can enjoy.  You want roast chicken, you say? Leave it to me: give me some butter and herbs and an oven and I’ll make you a roast chicken so delectable you’ll want to lick your plate.  You want some mashed potatoes? No worries, I’ll whip up the fluffiest, buttery dream that you’ll ever taste.  Beef stew is your thang? I got it; I’ll add the herbs, wine and browned beef that’ll make your mouth water as it simmers.  As I’m writing this, I’m getting hangry.  I’m getting angry because  during this venture into weight loss, I’ve lived primarily on Healthy Choice meals, Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, a never ending supply of bananas, apples and strawberries and no butter.

Hello, my name is Alexis and I like butter. And bread. Oh my holy hell, how I love bread. And guess what? With the new Points Plus system of Weight Watchers, all foods are designated points based on their fat content, carbohydrate count, protein and fiber values. Breads are essentially what I would deem a “waste of points”.  I mean, I can eat a Hawaiin sweet roll for 3 WW points, or I can eat an entire Healthy Choice meal for about 6 WW points.  Which should I go for?

As you can see, this entire process of weighing my options and missing out on things that I love (Italian food, Mexican food, the occasional cheeseburger) can drive one to want to drink. And that brings me to another point: booze has such high WW point values that it makes you think twice before pouring a half a glass of wine that you will sip on and down 4 WW points. Grrr. Hate. It. Hateitsomuch!

The upside to my angst is that thus far, the plan is working. I’ve lost approximately 12 pounds in about 6 weeks. All while depriving myself of my joy of cooking (and butter). I know, I know that there are “Weight Watcher friendly” recipes out there. Believe me, I’ve tried them.  I made the most tasteless Weight Watchers friendly Tex-Mex Chicken Salad that you’ll ever taste (…or not taste) a couple of weeks ago that contained (and I say this with disdain) fat free mayo and fat free sour cream. I tasted the finished product, looked at my mom and said, “It’s missing something but I can’t tell what.” Do you know what my wise mother said in reply? She said, “Fat.” Dang right! That’s exactly what it was missing! No fat, no flavor!

Now, I definitely don’t subscribe to the theory that every dish has to be laden with butter or oil or mayo or sour cream to have flavor. Absolutely not.  But to use fat free versions of something that is meant to have fat just seems wrong to me.

I had a little melt down just last week when I calculated my points and decided I had enough to have dinner out with my best friend (and occasional hiking partner) Christina.  I’d chosen the restaurant, I’d looked up point values, I’d decided what I was going to have. And then it happened: at the last minute,  Christina’s daughter (my neice) decided that she didn’t want to go where I had decided to go. She wanted to go to Chilis. That was when it happened. I was so irritated that I actually had to expend more energy on figuring out what I “could eat” to fit into my little (very) calculated plan that I probably had smoke and steam coming out of both of my ears and my nose.  Christina, being the good friend that she is told me to calm the hell down, it wasn’t that big a deal, and that I could find something.  After I took a big, deep, hangry breath I looked at her and the steam and smoke stopped billowing from my head. And then she asked a very important question that I am still pondering to this day: Are you going to keep doing this for the next five years of your life?

My answer flew out of my mouth faster than I thought it could. It was a resounding NO. Or rather, I believe that I said “God, no.” And then I questioned myself: How was I going to keep off the weight that I’ve dropped or would drop as long as I continue doing this plan, once I stopped being “on the plan”? Would this be another failed attempt? One where I would feel all at the same time noble and hangry for a short period of time until I threw in the towel with a very loud exclamation of “fuck this!” I believe that is what happened the last time, or something very close to that happened last time.

 

 

I know that people who have never experienced issues with weight or self image may have a hard time having any sympathy for myplight or will understand the woes described above when they read this.  I truly believe that anyone who has had issues with weight or self image who read this may want to tell me to suck it up and keep on keepin’ on.  And both ends of the spectrum are ok.

Because you see, I know exactly what I “should” be doing. I “should” try to eat healthy and allow myself the goodie here or there that satisfies me so that I won’t binge on a bag of cookies or an entire pizza (yep, I’m guilty. I’ve done both. And I hope I gain some points from you for the simple fact that it’s humiliating to put that fact out there for all to read.) But I have an issue with moderation.

Moderation (I know) is the key to happiness.  And is the key to a long-lasting healthy relationship with food. Deprivation only leads to that hangry feeling and makes you want to bight anyone who comes into your path.  Some of you who do Weight Watchers will probably think, “But with WW, you can have anything you want! In moderation.” And to that logic I call bullshit.  Sure, you can have it, but when you only get 30 points a day are you really going to blow 3 of those points on a roll? I think not. Are you going to cash in 4 of those points to have half a cup of carefully measured wine? Not me.  This leads me to believe that I need to try something different.  I need to be able to continue to practice what I love: cooking and still incorporate health eating habits. I believe that I can do this; I also believe that it’ll be hard to do this, but I think it’ll be worth the fight to eat homemade non-processed foods that I enjoy in moderation. And to cook with butter again.

Now all I have to do is not buy into the Weight Watchers, NutriSystem and MediFast commercials when they come on t.v.