Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ha. Not a Peep? Not Likely.


Why why why?

Little Peepsie, sweet Peepers, I nursed you back from what seemed like certain death. You grew and overcame and even assumed the role of apparent coop bully.

And then you woke me up this morning with your crowing.

I just don't think I can say anything more about this at the moment. Regress to 8-year-old Shannon: boys are dumb :(

Most Extreme Elimination Challenge

Oh how I enjoy this show. Not that I ever watched it with regularity, but the crazy game setups and silly dubbed commentary really get me giggling. Undoubtedly our TV programs also get folks in other cultures laughing; there is no pretense of pride or superiority when it comes to television programming.

Such extremes...and I come before you to offer my own laughable qualities of hyperbole. I tend to like thing in extremes, too. For example: carbonated water.

The Topo Chico trend in Austin is booming, so in my defense, I'm not the only one who seems to love it from the bottle. Those perfect bubbles, the strange attraction of the ice-cold glass vessel from whence it pours--it's the combination that seems to have me and a lot of the rest of Austin totally hooked. Oh, also the fact that it's just water seems to make it attractive. Yay, it's healthy!

Except for the results. Is this healthy? Really? Yes, we recycle those bottles. But last week I noted that our recycle bin probably exceeded the required 135 lbs weight limit.

And I felt forced to consider that thing, that Unknown Territory in personal improvement: Moderation.

My sweet niece sat at dinner the other night with a cup of chocolate mousse. As the only desert on the table, it was beeping loudly on my "YUMMY!" radar. She happily, slowly ate it, getting some on her face and rarely putting anything more than the tiniest lick in her 6-year-old mouth. Swinging her legs back and forth, she seemed to give that mousse the most cavalier of attitudes: I could take you or leave you, mousse, ha ha! And when she abruptly put her spoon down, barely a quarter of the desert gone, the rest of us Desert Vultures attacked.

She was ready to go back to doodling in her notebook. I was internally screaming for a chilled bite of creamy and crunchy chocolate and heath bar. No way I would have walked from that table with anything left in that cup.

What has become of me? Why do I want to drink 5 Topo Chicos when I get home from work? Why do I want a gallon at Amy's Ice Cream? Why do I choose to run a freakin' marathon when I decide to start running again?
Really? Did we have to order all of that at Junior's? Probably not.

Why always so extreme? Yes, I can go a year without buying new clothes, I can do a spin class, I can quit eating sugar.

But can I finally conquer that most elusive thing--the moderation? Can I really do smaller portions, less cups of coffee, just moderate exercise? Can I walk a little bit every day, can I read a little every day, can I do a few small kindnesses on a regular basis?

It would mean less waste for sure. Those piling bottles of Topo Chico in the recycle bin are just silly. It would probably mean better choices for the environment. Do I really need the water on in the shower when I shave my legs? Ugh. Probably not. And it would definitely mean better health. There's no reason I should get the gigantic ice cream at Amy's. Shorting myself on sleep during the week with the promise of catching up later isn't really a good plan.

Really? Every desert offered at Thanksgiving? Probably not necessary. Save some for the cute nieces.
I'd go so far as to say that this strange impulse--to want the whole bag of chips, to exercise for an hour and a half at a time--is part of my personality. It's a little of what makes Shannon the woman we all know as Shannon. And it probably doesn't have to be.

So for now, I'd like to see if I can identify the moments where I seem to be engaged in blind over-consumption. Um, the recycle bin is a pretty easy one. So is the empty little carton of Ben and Jerry's from last night.

I'm both embarrassed and intrigued. Husband is clearly quite good at it; moderation has helped him lose 30 lbs over 3 years and adjust his spending habits enough to be able to buy a house. What mental somersaults would I have to do to just stick with one beer, to always bring my own shopping bags to the store, to boil one egg and not two?

It's about time. Let's find out.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys

Shamelessly overt displays of testosterone abound here at the Clark Ranch.

Would you like some examples? Oh, I will gladly provide. 

For my first example I give you our rooster. What could possibly exhibit more testosterone, a cock? (Please, I must be allowed to make this pun at least once!)

And how about the male dominance that is asserted through that classic number we all know as the Chicken Dance? No, not the one played at the roller rinks of our 1980s childhoods. I mean this one--where Brendon, my patient and studly husband--attempts to corral one of our fowl in order to pick it up and pet it. 

He claims that he does this because he wants them to remember his scent while he's away offshore for weeks at a time. But I wonder if perhaps he doesn't like to assert his alpha-male-ness just a little, even in our chicken coop.

And finally there's the endless flirting. No, not by my husband (except with me. Yes, he may be 6 feet 4 inches of lean ex-Navy muscle, but he seems to only have eyes for this often-sweaty redhead in a dirty apron. Go figure.)

Brendon's flirting with me...Buddy's flirting with everyone.

No, the flirting is committed by none other than our little Cassanova of a dog. Yes, Buddy is is the coquette of the Clark household, and he's totally living it up. When I turn from feeding him to tend to the chickens, he leaps and dances across the yard in a wild attempt to provoke some sort of response. 

Today I looked up and he had managed to wrap a towel he'd been chewing on around his head like a bonnet. He stared at me, the ends of the towel in his mouth, as if to say, "What, this? I had no idea it would be humorous and adorable! No, really, you don't have to rush over and pet me at all."

It's not just with us, either. He actually stops traffic while we're on our neighborhood walks. And that's both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Folks are constantly squealing and exclaiming something about a beautiful puppy, and this evening a white Honda slowed down to a crawl next to us while the little old lady in the passenger seat pressed her face against the window and waved at him. 

As usual, Buddy wagged his (apparently totally attractive) tail and slobbered back.

So what does one do when overrun with manliness in her own home? Well, she starts by relocating her rooster. Especially when her neighbors have begun to pointedly ask her whether there are chickens in her back yard (because EVERYONE can hear Floyd crowing in the mornings).

Thank you, coworker. See Floyd down in the bottom right? Who rules the roost now!?

Luckily, my dear coworker has room in her flock for a rooster. She lives out of town a little ways and has 5 beautiful acres where she, her family, her chickens, horses, and dogs all live quite happily. 

Floyd-in-a-box, in the passenger seat. Luckily there was no en route escape. I don't think I'd be a good driver with an angry rooster flying around the Yaris.

So Tuesday evening I went out into our coop, performed the Chicken Dance, and boxed Floyd up to drive him out to his new home.

Three days later, I hear he is settling in quite nicely among the other chickens. 

And at least for the moment, it doesn't feel quite so utterly male-dominated around here. Now let's just hope that Peepsie doesn't decide to crow.