Friday, August 29, 2008

Visit it. Resist it. Admit it. Listen to it.

Another potluck post for your reading enjoyment . . .

Visit it: The Public Library! I do love books as physical objects, but I am really beginning to be overwhelmed by the number of books I own (don’t tell my husband). There are certain authors and titles that I feel the need to own, and I don’t see that changing. There are other books I really want to read but probably don’t need to own. In the past, I have often purchased these books anyway because the chances of finding them at my branch of the library were slim. Not now. The Chicago Public Library has finally gotten its act together online. I am enjoying the fact that I can finally renew books online. Even more than that, I am enjoying the ability to request books online. I place a book on hold, select the branch where I want to pick it up, and wait for the call that it’s available. Pretty sweet. Mostly, I request newly-published novels, but I am also into getting cookbooks from the library. I would not have wanted to buy Katie Lee Joel’s cookbook, for example, but I am curious to see her recipes and determine if she has more personality (i.e., any at all) than she managed to show on her ill-fated season as the host of Top Chef Season One.

Resist it: Target’s Archer Farms Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese. You’re familiar with Target, right? That big store where the customer service is indifferent at best and items are frequently out of stock and where you go on a weekly basis to spend way more money than you intended? Yes, I am familiar. Anyway, Archer Farms is one of Target’s brands. The packaging of Archer Farms products is attractive and the flavor combinations tempting. Recently, I noticed that Archer Farms makes like a dozen different kinds of whole wheat macaroni and cheese. Excited, I tossed a Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese, a Porcini Mushroom one, and a Savory Swiss. With Little Bit still so little and needing to nurse a lot and whatnot, meal times are all about convenience here. I thought these specialty mac and cheeses would be a tasty addition to the recent dinner rotation around here of Lean Cuisine pizzas, lunchmeat sandwiches, and Trader Joe’s prepared foods. So far, the results have not been that great. I generally have no problem with whole wheat pasta products, but this macaroni is chalky. More than that though, the flavor combinations disappoint; to quote the hubby: “They look good. They sound like they are going to be good but they’re just not there . . . they’re just a little bit off.” Added to that, you make one (smallish) box of this mac and cheese and if you eat the entire thing, it’s 900 calories. I admit I haven’t checked the calorie count on the Kraft or Annie’s boxes, but 900 seems very high, especially for an item that is being marketed as pseudo-healthy with the whole wheat pasta and all.

Admit it: I am a grocery store addict. I go too often. I buy too much stuff. I spend too much money. My pantry, freezer, and refrigerator are full. Strangely though, I usually feel ill-prepared to put together a meal. I need to start planning ahead, using my “reserves” before everything expires, and getting a grip on my grocery habit. I could say much more on this topic, but I’ve heard admitting you have a problem is the first step.

Listen to it: Julianne Hough’s self-titled CD. I purchased this CD at Circuit City the same day I scored my Wii Fit. It’s been in our car for a couple of months now, and I am loving it. First, I adore Julianne on my beloved Dancing with the Stars. She is a great dancer and teacher and so stinking cute. Second, I think she has a beautiful voice (as beautiful as her hair). Third, I spent years of my life as a huge country music fan and it is nice to be listening to country again. When I drive and listen to this CD, I am reminded of a younger and more carefree version of MEP who drove and sang along to country songs in a carseat-free sedan, sometimes on winding roads and on hills as opposed to on city streets lined up on a grid. I am thrilled with my life as it is now, but I do like to be reminded of the earlier versions of MEP. My favorite track is “My Hallelujah Song.” I genuinely find it inspirational. Some of the other tracks I enjoy because the lyrics are so country it’s ridiculous. Here are two of my favorite lyrical moments on the album:

From “Jimmy Ray McGee”:
Jimmy Ray McGee asked me to the senior prom
But I went on another boy's arm
Heard he made someone else a mom

From “Hello”:
So you met him at Shoney's and he gave you his card
And you said you'd go out Friday night
Well, he's a total stranger but he's tall and he's cute
Girl, am I getting this right?
Now didn't we cover all this ground last week?
When the last loser left you alone
Now here we are havin' the same conversation
And I'm wonderin' if there's anybody home

I’ve never eaten at a Shoney’s much less met a man there. NTB or my loss? I think they have a sundae bar at Shoney's so you decide.

Okay, that’s all I got for this Labor Day weekend. Please share your own visit it, resist it, admit it, listen to it list in a comment. Bloggers, consider your own post on the topic!


CaraBee said...

I think I will put together my own VIRIAILI (rolls of the tongue, doesn't it?) post. Great idea!

To comment on yours, though, I am so with you on the library. I am a rabid reader. Pre-baby I read 2-3 books a week, but now I'm down to 1 a week. I can't even begin to calculate the money I have spent on books over the years, not to mention the amount of space they take up. When I decided to stay home, there were some luxuries that had to be reevaluated and book buying was one of them. I admit I resisted the library for some reason, but now I love it. We can also reserve and renew books online and we have a branch about 1/4 mile away. Why on earth didn't I do this years ago?

I generally enjoy Archer Farms products. Too bad about the Mac and Cheese. I've actually been avoiding Target lately because I spend too much money there on things I just don't need.

I am the same way about the grocery store. When the baby was a newborn, it was one of the few places I felt comfortable going and I was so desperate for adult contact that I would go 3 times a week. This equals a well stocked pantry. I also have trouble putting together a dish unless I have specifically purchased all of the ingredients. I think it is more about my lack of knowledge/confidence in my cooking skils than not having a complete meal "hiding" in the cabinets.

I'll go check out Julianne Hough now. Thanks for the suggestion!

Boy, this was a really long comment. Have a great long weekend!

cake said...

i'm so happy that you have rediscovered the library. i go often here because i can walk or bike there, it is conveniently located in our quaint little downtown area, and our library has a fantastic children's section, complete with a wonderful enclosed playroom for the little ones. on rainy days, it is a destination for cosmo, a place to play indoors, away from home. i've been getting all my reading material there too. i think it is just about getting into the habit of it.

i will consider posting a VIRIAILI, especially since i didn't follow through on the meme (sorry).

msh said...

alright mep, here goes:
visit it: facebook. okay, so it's not an actual place to visit. but since my favorite place to visit (for me, the lane public library, any branch) has already been mentioned, i have to instead mention what i tend to visit figuratively and often. sure, i, too, thought facebook was for teenagers, but i can't believe how many random people i have caught up with through this little online wonder. i love it. absolutely love it.
resist it: parent magazine. i know it's tempting--i mean, we all want to be the best parents we can be, so shouldn't we be reading the most recent and up to date publications guiding us on how to do so? my answer: NO. all it does it generate fear about rare diseases, induce panic about the possibilites of accidental death, make us feel like we're not as crafty as the next mom, nor as sexually active as the next married couple. why read something that makes us feel bad about ourselves? i let my subscription run out and i encourage you to do the same.
admit it: i'm afraid of the uproar that may rise when i admit this, but here goes. i love diet pepsi. and i really don't like diet coke. not at all. it's just not sweet enough for me. not even close. please don't be mad.
listen to it: since eli begs to control the music in the car, in the house, etc., and the same may be true for you, here's what i recommend. ralph's world. he has many cd's (many of which we have checked out at the library), and eli and i both love all of them. he laughs, i laugh, we sing, etc. listen to as many as you can and the wiggles (though i really have nothing against them) may well be history.

E... said...

After I get through birthday/back to school week, I'll try to post my own version of this. Until then, let me say "AMEN!" to the library usage and the call to let parenting magazines lapse. J. still doesn't believe me that my subscription to "Cookie" was free, but there's no way I'd pay to feel like I'm not urban/rich/cool enough to be a mom.
And now, I'll go prepare a grocery list in hopes I'll actually buy something I NEED when I go, rather than a pile of produce I WISH we ate.

Bailey said...

Visit It: If in Chicago this weekend, visit the Red Bull Flutag at North Ave. Beach. I went about 5 years ago, the last time it was in Chicago and it is so much fun. The "flying machines" are really creative and watching them crash into the lake is always entertaining. If in Cincinnati, Graeters! Thanks for the tip. There was a Graeters right across from the hotel we stayed in this past weekend. It was delicious!

Resist It: Trader Joe's Chicken nuggets. I'm usually a fan of all things TJ's but was not impressed by the frozen chicken nuggets. They were ok the first time I had them but were not good the second time.

Admit it: I'm glad the summer's over. I never, ever say that and I'm sure I'll regret it in February but I'm glad September is here. Being pregnant in the summer could have been a lot worse but was still not too fun.

Listen to it: Anything by the Hold Steady. My husband and I saw them at Lollapalooza last summer and really enjoyed them.

MEP said...

Wow! Thanks for all the great comments.

Carabee--your reading habits provide more evidence of our parallel lives

cake--I have always been a library user, but I used to just take potluck there versus specifically requesting books I wanted . . . it is great to be able to walk there!

msh--so with you, down with parenting magazines! They induce paranoia, and let's face it, are boring. I used to feel guilty throwing them away unopened, but not anymore. Of course, I never throw away an un-read Entertainment Weekly

e. . . --Cookie sounds like a horrible magazine -- who needs more reasons to feel inferior as a mom?

Bailey-- glad you enjoyed the Graeters! Thanks for the listening tip. I need all the help I can get in terms of expanding my musical knowledge. Also, I am with you on the TJ's nuggets. My son will not eat them. Also, the fake drumstick shape bothers me (which is odd, since nuggets shaped like dinosaurs do not).

Actchy said...

I wish I had a library opportunity that was at all convenient. I haven't patronized a local library since we livd in Chicago. I have big plans for my maternity leave, though. (Yes, I know. I can hear you all laughing at my hopes to have a baby who might actually be well-suited for a library visit during his or her early months...)

Steph said...

I love the library and use it like you do. It's SO much fun to get an email telling me my books are in! Like Christmas!

Thanks for the target mac-n-cheese avoid tip!

Sending you all good thoughts!

Kerri said...

Totally agree about Cookie! I actually subscribed to the mag, but I really do feel rather unhip after leafing thru it. Seriously, I'm having a hard enough time dealing with the fact I drive a minivan, I don't need Cookie telling me I should be wearing a cute Stella McCartney shift while enroute to play group!

Christy said...

Hey, thanks for checking out my blog & leaving me a comment! I love this idea--what a great post! BTW-I thought I was the only one in the world that wasn't that fond of Target!

Anonymous said...

Fun post, MEP. And what's the verdict on Katie Joel's personality?

Sara G.

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