Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rapunzel's Portfolio

Rapunzel is applying to colleges, where she wants to study architecture. Unlike most other majors, you have to be accepted not only to a college or university, but also to the architecture program. That requires a portfolio of work. So for those who have asked and are not on Facebook, here is Rapunzel's portfolio...


A portrait of Gramma
A somewhat abstract self portrait,
taken in one of the glass doors at school.
Drawings (all pencil on paper)

The bulletin cover art for
our associate pastor's ordination
Othello (our late cat, and her favorite)
Another self-portrait,
from a photograph of herself at 16 months
Juliet, in pointillist style
(this was shown in the county school system
art show, and then hung on the school wall)
Squirrel in Fauvist style
(Fauvism uses unusual colors for things)
(for an assignment to paint 
the same subject
to convey two different moods)
Sculptures and Other 3-D Objects

Sailboat of shells
(found object sculpture)
Sailboat, from the other side
Seated couple embracing
Paper flowers
Paper flowers from another angle
Mobile of geometric shapes
A knitted case for her school laptop, of her own design;
the bulge on the front is a pocket for the mouse.
A paper collage of Othello

Sunday, February 10, 2013

College recruitment letters

An amazing thing happens when your kid takes the PSAT: they start getting mail from colleges. A really LARGE amount of mail from colleges. I don't know whether there's a correlation between your PSAT scores and the number of college recruitment letters a week, since I have only one data point living in my house. Rapunzel did decently but not "OMG, she scored how high??" and she gets about 1 or 2 letters a day. I think she's now heard from almost every private school in the country that isn't Harvard or the like (because, please, they don't HAVE to troll for students....)

And here's the thing: these letter are all Exactly. The. Same. I swear, some marketing firm somewhere wrote one and all the colleges use it with mail merge for their web site. Because they are all bland and content free and exist solely to exhort her to log onto their web site and use their Handy Tool to find out what college would be Best for You! (Why do I suspect each one would tell her that, surprise, THEIR school is the Best for Her?)

And it's not me pointing this out - it's Rapunzel. She is beyond bored by them - she picks them up and says "OMG, another college letter," accompanied by an eye roll. She opens it, reads out the same old same old text in a faux excited tone, and then pitches it in the trash. She's gotten maybe two that were different enough, interesting enough, informative enough to capture her interest for more than 10 seconds. One was Macalister in Minnesota, which used humor to good effect, touting that they had lots of lakes and Indoor Plumbing! (But not, alas, an architecture program). I think the other was the Savannah College of Art and Design, which would be a great fit if only it weren't so damn expensive (and no, they don't do significant financial aid... we checked).

And I wonder - do these letters really engage high school kids? Do they really rush to log onto their websites and use their Handy Dandy Tool to Find the Perfect College for You (Ours)? I somehow doubt it. Which leads me to wonder why colleges don't do a better job with this. It seems like a no brainer to spend a little money polishing up your pitch to make it stand out and convey quickly what's unique about Podunk College, what differentiates you from the rest of the pack.

As for Rapunzel, she'll almost certainly be going to a state school, and they mostly don't send such letters - I think they assume, rightly, that price is their differentiater, and most people don't need a spiffy flyer or letter to know that. That's surely the case here: my husband and others trot out esoteric private schools for her consideration, and my role seems to be to keep repeating "University of [Our State] system." It has become my mantra. Because I don't want to go broke sending her to college, I don't want her to be saddled with crippling college debt, and, here's my final secret, having gone to one of those Big Name We Don't Need to Advertise schools myself back in the dark ages: No One Cares past about the first job interview. After that, they care if you are competent, not what school's name is on your degree. So State U of Somewhere will do just fine, thanks...

Monday, January 21, 2013

What's wrong with the Oscars?

I am, as you probably know, a movie addict. I see about 40 movies a year in the theaters, and lord knows how many more on video. I LOVE movies. (Which is curious, since the first movie I ever saw, at the age of 6, was the way over-my-head 2001: A Space Odyssey. My parents and brothers wanted to see it, and a ticket and some popcorn was cheaper than a babysitter...) Which is to say, I feel at least mildly qualified to comment on the Oscars.

Every year, the powers that be at the Academy seem to bemoan the dwindling viewership of the Oscars telecast, and trot out new formats, new hosts, new gimmicks (let's nominate MORE movies for Best Picture!) to try to get more viewers. I know I don't watch it any more, and even as a movie buff, I tend to find who wore what more interesting than the awards. Why? They are boring, predictable (for the most part), and irrelevant to me. When a movie buff says that, you know they have a problem.

So, what's the solution? Here are some things that might, collectively, lure me back; they are all really one thing: make it shorter. Not just don't-overrun-the-3-hour-time-slot shorter, but no-more-than-2-hours-total shorter. My attention span is just not that long - I can't watch much of anything for 3 hours (even a movie) - and I just can't stay up that late any more.

- Drop (from the telecast) the awards that no one cares about (other than the nominees, their mothers, and some tiny set of film industry insiders). Like, best documentary, best documentary short, best animated short, best foreign language film. Are these good, deserving films? Probably. But the fact remains, not one person in a thousand has probably seen ANY of the nominees in these categories, and it just is not interesting to listen to them read off the names of five documentaries I have not only not seen, but have never even heard of, and then announce a winner. They dropped the more highly technical awards from the show some years ago, and present them at an untelevised event. Do it for these snoozers, too.

- Drop (again, just from the telecast) awards that the average movie-goer is incapable of forming a coherent opinion on. I love movies, but I couldn't offer you an intelligent opinion on what movies had the best sound editing, much less which one was THE best. Because if it's done well, it's invisible to most of us. Yes, I'm sure the sound editors who vote on this know the difference between excellent sound editing and good sound editing, but unless it's really terrible, I don't, so I don't care. Shift these to the technical awards. Costumes, makeup, visual effects, set design, those can stay (and OK, cinematography, although I bet most people don't really know what that is). In short, if the presenters have to explain what it is, it's probably too esoteric for the telecast.

- Drop the performances of the Best Song nominees. Not only are the performances time consuming, they aren't even by the original performers from the movie version! (I can't understand that at all... it's just perverse.) Why can't we just have an excerpt of each of the songs, from the movie? That's all we get for all the other awards... and this isn't the Grammys. (Not that I watch the Grammys - I'm too old to have heard of 99% of the nominees there...)

- Cut the scripted banter between the presenters. It's not funny or entertaining, it's just stilted and frequently embarrassing. And while we're at it, eliminate explaining what awards are (see above - if I have to have it explained, I don't care). Just get up there, read the nominees, show the clips, announce the winner, and done.

- Eliminate acceptance speeches by people who aren't famous. OK, this is a bit harsh, but the hard truth is, while I have an opinion on best costumes and am happy enough to see the clips of nominees and what MOVIE won, I really do NOT care about the actual winner, whom I have never heard of and will probably never hear of again. (Admit it - you don't either. I bet no one reading this, except possibly my niece Laura, can name ONE costume designer or makeup person or set designer. And no cheating with Google or IMDb). I don't care about how grateful they are to the Academy, their agent, their partner, their parents (who BELIEVED in them), or... Yawn. Wake me when they get to something interesting. Actors and directors are generally more interesting, because (a) I know who they are, and (b) they might say something funny, or scandalous, or otherwise entertaining ("You like me! You really like me!") But some random set designer? Not interesting. Harsh, but true.

I do have one more thought that is not really about the length of the telecast. It's always more interesting to watch something when you have someone to root for. And how can you root for something you haven't seen? As I said, I see 40 movies a year, and I've rarely seen more than two of the Best Picture nominees, even since they went from five to as many as ten. This year, I've seen three; some years, I've seen none. Now, some of that is just my tastes. But some of the nominees are things no one has seen. Take Amour - it made $1.2 million at the box office, which translates to about 150,000 tickets. That's a pretty tiny fraction of the roughly 40 million people watching the Oscars. That's not to say that such little-seen art house films are not fine examples of film making craftsmanship. But first and foremost, a movie must be entertaining. People have to want to see it, because no matter how good it is, if no one's interest is captured by it enough to shell out 8 bucks, then what was the point? So that leads me to my final suggestion:

- Set a minimum box office gross for eligibility.  I'm not suggesting box office gross should be the only or even a significant factor in awarding an Oscar. I've seen plenty of blockbusters that I enjoyed immensely and would not suggest were Oscar worthy by the remotest stretch of the imagination (to name the top five from 2012, all of which I saw and enjoyed, none of which I would have nominated for an Oscar: Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, Skyfall, and Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2). A movie doesn't have to be Oscar worthy to be entertaining, but I think it does have to be entertaining (among other things) to be Oscar worthy. Is that too much to ask? The minimum needn't be huge, but seven of the nine Best Picture nominees made more than $50 million (Lincoln, Django Unchained, Les Miz, Argo, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, and Silver Linings Playbook). The last two made only $11 million (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and $1.2 million (Amour).

I hold out no hopes whatsoever that the Academy will do any of this. And I probably won't watch, again, this year. Besides all of the above, the Oscars are just too predictable (something they probably can't do much about). If Lincoln does not win Best Picture, I will faint dead away. It has everything the Academy worships: period costumes, serious drama (what's wrong with comedies, anyway?), a beloved and well-known director (who can root against Stephen Spielberg?) and Serious Actors (Daniel Day-Lewis! Sally Field!) I'm not saying it's undeserving (I didn't see it because it's not my cup of tea), just that watching it win a whole boatload of Oscars is too predictable to be very interesting.

If you care, here's my take on the nominees. First, the ones I have seen:

Argo: this would be my pick to win. It's as flat out entertaining as any action movie or thriller, and simultaneously seriously thought provoking. Its even-handed take made me sympathize with the Iranians even as I rooted for the Americans to get out of Iran. But I'll be surprised if it wins, given the Academy's dis of Ben Affleck for Best Director (I get he started as an actor, but seriously? The man has not directed a bad movie yet. Gone Baby Gone and The Town were both also excellent - entertaining AND thoughtful. What more could you want?)

Silver Linings Playbook: loved this, too. An examination of mental illness that didn't feel the need to be inspirational and to cast the mentally ill as somehow saintly, just real. A depiction of a family where everyone is just trying the best they can, but imperfectly, to deal with the lousy hand they got dealt. DeNiro was brilliant, and the scene in which Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence's characters trade opinions about various meds, to the horror of her sister, is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

Django Unchained was a middlingly entertaining, self-indulgent bit of revenge fantasy and not worth the hype, though Christopher Waltz was marvelous, as was Jamie Foxx. But Quentin Tarantino needs to get over himself - the violence was so over the top, it really did feel self-indulgent, and some of the depictions of the treatment of slaves seemed to linger a little too long and lovingly on the violence and torture, crossing some indefinable line, for me, from a difficult-to-watch depiction of a hideous reality to somehow getting off on it.

I didn't see the rest of the nominees, but my 2 cents on them, for what it's worth:

Lincoln: if I were a betting woman, this is the one I'd bet on. But historical biopics are not my thing. Besides, I know how it ends....

Les Miz: I feel like I should see this - it's like a phenomenon - but I just can't... Three hours of NOTHING but singing... I love a musical, but this is what they call a sung-through musical - i.e., there is no or minimal dialogue that is not sung. Too opera-adjacent, thanks... However, Anne Hathaway should totally keep that pixie cut, because she is rocking it.

Life of Pi: I read about a chapter of the book and nearly lapsed into a coma. The Nerd had to read it for Honors English and said it was entirely without plot (an opinion my mother, a rather more mature reader than my 13 year old, seconded). While I'm sure it's visually spectacular (Ang Lee is mostly a genius, though he has his obscure side), I just can't. I suspect it will (or should) win Best Adapted Screenplay, if for no other reason than that virtually everyone said this book was unfilmable, and turning an unfilmable book into a film that grosses more than $100 million is an achievement.

Zero Dark Thirty: I haven't seen this, though I may yet. But it won't win, because (a) Kathryn Bigelow also got dissed for Best Director, and (b) her The Hurt Locker won a few years ago, and the Academy likes to spread the love around. War and political films are not usually high on my list, but The Hurt Locker was brilliant - painful, but brilliant. There is this one scene in which Jeremy Renner, as a bomb specialist who has just spent a year one wrong decision away from being vaporized, is standing in front of a wall of cereal at the grocery store, where his girlfriend has told him to "get cereal," paralyzed by indecision. There is no dialogue, no movement, just this 5 second shot of him standing there, staring. I had never understood why anyone would chose to redeploy, and in that moment, I got it.

Beasts of the Southern Wild: too art house for me... and apparently a lot of other people. I'd have dropped this one under my box office rule.

Amour: I really don't need to spend two hours watching two really elderly people deteriorate. I'd have dropped this one under my box office rule.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about waiting recently. A coworker is expecting her first child any day now, and I've been checking my email, eagerly awaiting news.

Waiting is not something we seek out in this 21st-century, instant-gratification world of fast food and multitasking and instant streaming movies. It's something we complain about, or at best, tolerate; a sometimes necessary evil. But it's not something we choose. And yet, God often calls us to wait, if we're listening.

I am not blessed with patience, but all the greatest blessings in my life are things I had to wait for. Things that came not on my schedule, but on God's. My husband, for example, whom I met at the ripe old age of 27, not in college when I thought I should (but boy would marrying my college boyfriend have been a disaster - a path I was on until God whacked me upside the head with a painful epiphany that even I couldn't miss). Or take Rapunzel, who took 2 years longer to conceive than I had in mind. She was worth the wait...

Advent is a season dedicated to waiting, waiting for Christ to be born again. It's pretty easy to lose that in the clamor of Christmas: shopping and decorating and parties and baking cookies and sending cards. It's not that thinking of our loved ones with gifts or cookies, that making our homes festive, are bad things, but it's easy to use them to distract ourselves from the waiting.

A few years ago, I resolved to try to do all my Christmas shopping before Advent, in that often short space between Thanksgiving (before which I have a hard time thinking about Christmas) and the first Sunday of Advent. This year, the calendar obliged me by stretching that usually 2-day window to 9 days. I don't usually get it all done, but I do usually get most of it done.

And still I find it hard to be with the expectation, the waiting. I tend to picture that as sitting somewhere by myself, quiet, waiting. A sort of meditation, which I have never been good at. And how do I  reconcile that with all the school functions and work functions and parties and other activities that vie for our attention and participation at this time of year? I always think, "I must cut some of these out," but they all have value, too: a birthday party for old friends, a middle school band concert, taking a friend and her daughter to the library, then making cookies with them. Which of these would I eliminate?

And then, as I struggled with this, the confession this morning in church went like this:
We confess, Surprising God, that our sense of anticipation has been dulled.
We have ceased to expect wonders from your hand.
We miss the marvels around us in the people and happenings we view as commonplace.
We are not alert to your presence or your action on our behalf.
Wake us up, God, lest sleep be our death.
Forgive and redeem us, that we may escape the judgment we are bringing on ourselves.
Send your light that it may shine through us into a needy world.
That resonated so hard that I felt like I was actually vibrating (thanks for the wake up call, God...)

So instead of trying to cut back on the annual December activities, I resolve today instead to marvel at the commonplace, to be alert to God's presence. To be in those events, in the moment, as completely as I can, to connect with the people in my life who are sharing those events. To be fully present and not thinking ahead to the next event, the next activity. I resolve to be here, now, in this space and time and to be open to whatever gifts that has to offer, to let God's light shine through me and to see it shining through others.

My Advent wish for all of you is to be able to do the same, whatever your beliefs: to marvel at the commonplace, to connect, to be present, to be the light and to see the light in others. Peace be with you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


It's Thanksgiving, and I awoke early this morning and found myself thinking of all the things I am thankful for in my life. Not that I do this only once a year; I am often overcome by the ways in which I have been blessed. But it seemed particularly apt today. We are at the beach for Thanksgiving this year, a first for us because my mother-in-law, whose turn it was to host, had a yen to go to the beach. Who were we to say no??

Yesterday, as I sat in the living room of the beach house, overlooking the ocean and watching Rapunzel and The Nerd, I was overcome by a moment of awe, that I had somehow created these two fascinating people. They weren't doing anything particularly remarkable - Rapunzel was working on a jigsaw puzzle and The Nerd was out on the porch debating with her uncle whether that object in the distance through the telescope was really a pier or not. An ordinary moment. But here were these girls, with their own minds and personalities and opinions... here because Chris and I made a decision 17 years ago and 14 years ago... I cannot take responsibility for all that they are - they are one part me, one part Chris, and one part miracle, all combined to make two unique human beings. Even when they challenge me, there is nothing about their essential natures I would change. So I am so thankful to have these two young women (I can't really call them children any more...) in my life.
I am also thankful for Chris. I never thought anyone would want to marry me or spend their life with me - I am a prickly person, and not always the easiest to live with. So it astonishes me on a regular basis that he saw beyond that and is willing to put up with that and share a life with me. We just celebrated out 20th anniversary, so I guess he's going to stick around!

There is so much more - my family and friends, my September Moms, our church, my job and coworkers, our fur babies - all things I am thankful for. But I will leave you, to go help my mother and mother-in-law prepare dinner, and you to go prepare your own and be thankful for your own blessings. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Friday, November 16, 2012

In every way but blood

November 5 was the third anniversary of the death of my dear friend Dedi from metastatic breast cancer. The next day was election day, the culmination of weeks, months of our country trying to insist we all come in just two varieties: red and blue. The juxtaposition had me thinking back over our unlikely friendship.

Dedi and I at my wedding.
Boy, were we younger then...
Dedi and I met 25 years ago, when we were both 25 years old. On the surface, we had nothing in common. I am an introvert and a nerd, born and raised outside Boston, as a Catholic. I am (and was) a very liberal Democrat. When we met, I was pursing a PhD (which I later punted when I finished my masters). By contrast, Dedi was a flaming extrovert who never met a stranger (seriously, she could have carried on an animated conversation with a brick wall), born and raised in small-town North Carolina, as a Presbyterian. She was a moderate Republican. She never went to college.

Not only were we different in personality, temperament, upbringing, and education, we were also at totally different points in our lives when we met. I was a single, not-even-dating graduate student, who figured I would never get married or have kids. She managed my apartment complex, had married at 19, and had a 4 year old.

Not a likely pairing for a friendship, right? And yet. However unlikely it was, we hit it off from the moment we met. Whatever the differences between us, whatever way you want to carve the world into two kinds of people, that I fell on one side and she on the other, we just got each other.We could talk for hours, about everything and nothing. She was in awe of my education, I was in awe of her social poise. It was some years later that I confessed to her I had never understood why she, so confident, so outgoing, so personable, would want to be friends with awkward me. Which is when she confessed she'd often wondered why someone as educated as I was would want to be friends with her... We laughed about that many times in the years that followed.

Many times over the years, our other friends scratched their heads over our friendship. Interestingly, both sets mostly focused on the disparity in our education. I know a lot of PhDs who have no sense, no compassion, no people skills. I wouldn't have traded Dedi and her high school education for a truckload of them. I didn't give a fig for her education: she was funny, smart, curious, compassionate, and fiercely loyal. No one ever had a truer friend, or one with a bigger heart, or a greater knack for saying exactly the right thing at the right time, even if it didn't seem like the obvious right thing. (I once shared an epiphany about my family with her, something I felt I would have to defend and explain, and her immediate response was "Well, duh!" It was perfect... One thing we did share was a snarky and sarcastic sense of humor...) Sometimes she leaned on me, and sometimes I leaned on her, and neither of us kept score.

I learned an enormous amount from her about parenting, about interacting with the world, about self confidence, about life in general. Our friendship transformed me. I still reach for the phone when I have a thorny how-should-I-deal-with-this problem, only now, I can no longer ask her, I can only think "What would Dedi do?"

I am so grateful for the 22 years of our friendship. We shared countless meals, trips to the beach, movies, everything. She was my matron of honor when I got married, my unofficial doula at the births of both Rapunzel and The Nerd, and The Nerd's godmother. And it was not enough: I wanted to lunch with her in our retirement, admire her grandbabies and brag on mine. I would love to have chewed on the issues that vex me and vex our world with her. But  that was not to be, and I still mourn the loss of that.

She herself summed up our relationship when Rapunzel was born. One of the labor and delivery nurses asked her if we were sisters. Her response? "In every way but blood." Rest in peace my sister. I miss you still.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

30 Days Without Sweets

In May 2011, my doctor told me I was "one blood test away" from a Type II diabetes diagnosis. It was a wake-up call. Over the next year, I lost 35 pounds. But since May, I've been stuck, losing and regaining the same next 5 pounds. Something had to change. And I didn't have to look far to know what: I'd long since trimmed a lot of excess fat from the whole family's day-to-day diet, so it wasn't fat, but I have killer sweet tooth.

So I committed to give up sweets for 30 days. By sweets, I mean things that are basically a vehicle for refined sugars and fats, with no significant nutritional value: cookies, candy, cake, ice cream... I did not scrutinize labels for hidden sugars - I took a more "I know a sweet when I see it" approach. Fruit, I continued to eat, indeed ate more - in fruit, Sugar comes to the party with Fiber, in contrast to sweets, where she brings her sketchier date, Fat.

The idea was to see if I could reset my taste buds to rein in the sweet tooth and form some better habits for times when I reached for sweets because they were there. To be more intentional about what I ate, and less reactive to habit or opportunity (just because that plate of cookies is in the break room at work doesn't mean I need to eat one).

I looked at the calendar, and picked a 30-day period in which I would not have more than the usual temptations (things like Halloween, or holidays, or birthday celebrations), when I would have the greatest chance of success. I marked my chosen start date on my calendar with a huge star, and I spent two weeks reminding myself I would start on that day and ridding my house of sweets.

It was, astonishingly, easier than I expected. I think the mental buildup and the fixed date range helped. I told people I was giving up refined sugars (it took me almost 4 weeks to realize that "sweets" was really more accurate), and that helped keep me honest. It also enlisted unexpected help - a coworker who had set up a "cake break" for my coworkers to see my slides from Europe, on hearing this, asked if I would rather she made fruit salad than cake for it. She did, and another temptation was avoided.

And if I learned one thing, it's that it's easier to plan ahead and avoid temptation than it is to try to resist temptation. They've even done studies on will power that show that - none of us really has will power when faced with strong tempation. So I skipped that middle school mid-quarter breakfast to pick up The Nerd's interim reports, a function I knew from past experience would involve a huge table laden with doughnuts and pastries and all manner of sweets. She brought her interims home, and I avoided temptation.

I thought about situations in which I eat sweets, and planned how to handle them. Like, we eat at the local diner every Friday, and we always get dessert. So I psyched myself up for days before the first dinner at Elmo's that I was not going to get dessert. God apparently has both a sense of humor and a lot of faith in me - their dessert special was key lime pie, which I LOVE. As does The Nerd. And she got a piece. And ate it sitting next to me. And you know what? I wanted a bite in the worst way, but I didn't have one. Anne 1, Key Lime Pie 0.

I also tend to reach for cookies when I get home from work - those 100 calorie packs are wolves in sheep's clothing - they seem benign, even good, in that they limit portion size, but oh, they make it easy to just grab one and ignore better options. Now, I reach for an apple (and have discovered that investing 30 seconds in slicing and coring it and putting it in a little bowl makes it a much more snacky snack, and more satisfying). Or a tablespoon of peanut butter. Or a hardboiled egg. Or some grapes and blueberries, which turn out to taste REALLY sweet once you stop eating junk sweets...

My worst temptation was The Nerd's birthday - which involved chocolate cake. Not my favorite indulgence, but still... Rapunzel and a friend of the girls who'd come to visit for the weekend made the cake for me (making it might have undone me...). After dinner, I lit the candles, brought it to the table, sang while she blew them out, then excused myself while Rapunzel served and she and The Nerd and Chris and the friend had cake. But the next day or so, I would keep encountering the leftovers and saying "Eat this cake up, would you???" Just a finger swipe of chocolate frosting, I'd think.... But I resisted.

Many nights during these 30 days I have dreamed of eating sweets. But not in an"oh, this is good" way but an "uh oh, I accidentally ate <fill in the blank sweet>!" way. It was not wish fulfillment but "what if I fail and cheat?" anxiety. The dreams tapered off the further I got into the 30 days, perhaps as I gained more confidence that I could do it.

I lost 10 pounds over the course of the 30 days, but it had other, unforeseen benefits. Like The Nerd asking if she could do it with me. She decided it would be wiser for her to start after her birthday weekend, so she started on October 9, and is two weeks in. She's done amazingly, and I am so proud of her. And now that The Nerd and I don't get dessert at Elmo's, neither does Rapunzel, and Chris usually gets something at the grocery (where we do the shopping after dinner at Elmo's on Friday) to eat later.

I finished the 30 days a couple days ago. The next day, I ate no sweets. But today, I was making apple cake for a baby shower at work. And so of course, I was going to have a piece, but the plan was just one. And I learned one more thing: I am incapable of eating "just one" when it comes to sweets. I ate two pieces of apple cake and one and a half of the other cake, and felt gross after. So the moral of this story, for me, is that I need to not start unless there is external portion control. Because once I start, I will pig out.

So, my name is Anne. I'm a sugar addict. I've been sugar free for 7 hours.