Spooning

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This post is actually about spoons. Sorry to disappoint. Actually its about most major utensils and their relationship to food.

I have long classified foods differently then most of the world. Rather than use the food pyramid to create food groups or even the more chef-like starch, protein, vegetable & sugar, I establish food types by which utensil is customarily necessary to eat it. I have five basic food groups; spoon, fork, knife, hand & straw.

Naturally some cross over and any of them can be prepared in a variety of ways that defy my standard classification. For the most part I group it by what you would need if a normal, sane, non-argumentative human being prepared it. A sampling of my methodology is as follows:

Hand Food

  • Sandwiches
  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Most varieties of raw fruits and vegetables (notable exceptions – avocado. Avocado is not a hand food. It’s slippery as well, avocado, because its really slippery.)
  • Candy
  • Sushi

Spoon Food

  • Ice Cream
  • Cereal
  • Soup
  • Chili (If this is a Fork Food for you, you’re doing it wrong.)
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Curry

Fork Foods

  • Lasagna
  • Meatballs
  • Cake (There is some contest as to whether this is a fork or a spoon food. But because I like squishing the crumbs between the tines of the fork, this is a Fork Food for me.)
  • Pasta
  • Most varieties of cooked fruits and vegetables

Knife Food

  • Most varieties of meat, cooked or raw (Notable exception: tartare which is normally ingested with a spoon…and E. coli.)
  • Butter
  • Really poorly cooked pasta

Straw Food

  • Milk
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Milk Shakes
  • Technically speaking, literally everything can be made in straw form if you don’t have issues with meat paste and texture isn’t a thing for you.

Now cheese is tricky. Cheese is to my food world what ice is to the physics world. Ice can be a gas, a liquid and a solid simultaneously. Cheese can be a Hand, Fork, Spoon and Knife Food. I suppose if you are really strange, it could be a Straw Food too. As evidenced by the video above. I’m sure that burger had cheese on it. I suppose you could also suck up melted Velveeta via straw. Actually the more I think about it, the more I think the Straw Food category is incredibly creepy. And gross. Just on potential alone.

Shredding

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Everyone has annoyances. Things that drive them up a wall. I present the following for your consideration.

  • When people say crap like “I killed abs at the gym today” or “I shredded some pecs today.”

Dammit people. I’m proud of you for having more willpower and masochism than I. I don’t even mind that you are proud of yourself for dragging your butt to the gym and working out because I sure didn’t today and probably won’t. You earned a bit of brag time. You did not earn the right to make up phrases that make no contextual sense. Unless your workout began with running from your life from a freakin’ werewolf who briefly caught you across the chest with razor sharp claws, tearing apart skin and muscle and ended with you snapping his wolfy neck with your bare hands, you didn’t kill anything. Nothing was shredded. Those words don’t have anything to do with the activity in which you just partook. Yes, I know. Slang. I use it too. But in this instance I’m wholly and unabashedly applying a double standard. You sound like a moron. Stop it. Stop it right now.

Work out, burn, shape, condition, train...all acceptable descriptions of what's going on here. If he's killing something its because of roid rage.

Work out, burn, shape, condition, train…all acceptable descriptions of what’s going on here.

  • When people feel that the amount of experience they have is always relevant in a conversation.

Especially when trying to solve a problem. Don’t get me wrong, experience counts for a lot and I respect those people who have been in the industry for any decent duration of time. I go to them for advice and consider many of them mentors. But the minute you feel the need to remind folks “Well, I’ve been here for 14 years…” it invalidates any argument you have made, will make or could have made.   To me this signifies you feel you are losing the debate and are throwing the adult version of a temper tantrum. It happens constantly in the writing world. Struggling with a plot line and someone chimes in their gem of “Well in my seventeen years of writing, I’ve never seen that work out.” If you truly have  garnered significant experience in a field, career or problem that needs solving, it is because you paid attention in the last x number of years and you apply those lessons learned to actually solving the bloody problem! Now tell me that this person tried this same thing and failed because of x and y and z and you have my rapt attention. On that note, doesn’t matter if a person has been around twenty-five years or two months; a good idea, well thought-out and applicable, is still a good idea.

  • Crinkling chip bags.

Oh, I hate that sound. Back in 2010, these nearly made my head implode.  You’d think I’d be skinnier for my extreme aversion to the tinny, plastic-y squeal of rustling chip bags. Nope. I dump my discs of potato goodness into a plastic container for freshness and easy access.

  • Stupid grammar rules.

Let’s get one thing straight. Most grammar rules are fantastic. It’s unifies the effort to communicate with each other, creating smooth and fluid structures under which we understand each other and express ideas and opinions. But there are some grammar rules that are just stupid. This particular struggle makes my career of choice just a little more irksome from time to time. As a writer, I know what the rules are. I think they are stupid. But I have to follow them.   For instance, split infinitives. Who the hell came up with that? Why does it matter at all if I say “To boldly go” or “To go boldly”? It doesn’t. It doesn’t matter at all. The exact same idea has been communicated with no mix-up as to intent. Someone is going boldly. It’s the rule of monkeys at this point and has been a long-standing debate. And why can’t you start a sentence with a conjunction or end a sentence with a preposition?  Seriously, its a weird position I’ve put myself in.

On an slightly related note, commas confuse me. I don’t consider commas a subsection of stupid grammar rules. Just know that figuring out where these dumb things go manages to flip my brain out.     ,

These are not real problems. No one will die as a consequence for any of these things. (Well maybe for the chip bag thing should that Sun Chips bag ever be revived…) They are just annoyances, things that make me go just a little twitchy. That’s all.

Casualty

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Through an odd combination of luck, happenstance and a bit of clever financial planning, Abigail has had the chance to attend an academic preparatory program and private preschool for the past three years. She’s learned quite a bit and been exposed to a wider variety of academics in that time. Next year she’ll integrate into public school but I’m quite thankful she’s had the opportunity.

This post is not about Abbi’s schooling though. It’s not even really about her. It’s still about me. Because it’s my blog, dammit.

Abbi’s school being what it is means that most of the people who send their kids to them tend to be rather affluent. Hence the attendance to anything that has to be referred to as an academic preparatory program. This is just fancy-talk for really expensive daycare.  There are a few moms like me, securely middle class (on a good day and only if its not right after all the bills came due…) and a minuscule group of lower income families whose children have been admitted by way of scholarship.

However most of these parents are hard-working, career focused individuals who, let’s be honest here, rake in the dough. I know parents in the school are surgeons, successful lawyers, a few local politicians and a variety of executives from some of the most powerful companies here in the OK. They are all supportive parents who want the best for their kids and happen to have the money to make procuring the best just a smidgen easier. That’s not a bad thing by any means.

Image via CC LicenseThis becomes important because after three years of Abbi attending this place I still found myself self-conscious if I had to encounter another parent. The nature of their work dictates that most of them sport business suits, strands of pearls, fashionable three-inch heels and a surgically attached iPhone.  I’d show up in chucks, denim and the remnants of breakfast somewhere on my person . I have always felt under-dressed dropping my kid off at daycare.

The environment I’ve always worked in has been relatively casual. At least my day jobs have. I own and wear well business suits when the occasion necessitates it or at hockey, but for the most part no one cares what I look like between the hours of 9 and 5 Monday through Friday. Its a perk of working in contracting & freelance writing. The words you string together are rarely influenced by whether or not you managed to get your hair to lay down flat or drummed up the energy to actually iron something in the last six years. The words don’t care and neither do my bosses. Doesn’t stop the socially-aware, judgmental portion of my brain for chastising me for shoving my hair under a ball cap and wearing the same pair of jeans for the third day in a row as I stand next to a woman wearing slacks, a cardigan and Jimmy Choos. And I just knew that she and everyone else like her were judging me just as harshly from their social high ground on top of those spike heels.

Don't care whose name I'm walking on or how many jewels are encrusting it...still a dead fish.

Don’t care whose name I’m walking on or how many jewels are encrusting it…still a dead fish.

Here’s the thing. It’s not like I want to look like that. I don’t. I’d break my damn ankle trying to walk and stairs would be totally out of the question. I like my jeans. I like my t-shirts. I like that my flat-iron is only necessary for special occasions. Heck, at this point, so is eyeliner. Just the same, part of my brain is still living in high school and wants to be a part of the cool kids.

This morning though, something changed. It took one sidelong glance and 1.45 seconds and I realized I am, in fact a part of the cool kids. I had it all wrong. Those parents in the suits and slacks are judging me, but not the way I thought. As I walked into the school’s sliding doors a woman in a brilliantly colored skirt suit walked by. Her orange blazer was perfectly offset by turquoise pumps and an emerald green hand bag hung heavily on her arm. No wrinkles in her white blouse, no breakfast bar crumbs on the lapel.

As we passed each other, she gave me a look; not of critique but of longing.  Something occured to me that hadn’t before. For as fancy and pretty as most of them look, I’m betting they don’t get dolled up come Saturday morning. If given the choice a good bit, though not all, would don cargo pants and a tank over an A-line skirt and blazer. Half of those parents would probably kill to wear jeans, strappy sandals and a Hunger Games t-shirt to work. I can show up to work in yesterday’s yoga pants and no one will bat an eyelash. The parents at Abbi’s school likely have a “professional” dress code to adhere to. I don’t. If I want to look cute, I can. If I want to look one step up from homeless, I can do that too. I’ve figured out most of those folks I felt so self-conscious around would trade their monkey suits for bananas to be comfortable and casual at the office.

So thank you to the parent in the orange suit. That portion of my brain, quick to berate and castigate, has been made a casualty of casualness. And I hope very much that you get to wear sweatpants to work someday.