Thursday, April 11, 2013

Temporary Leave

Due to an ongoing medical issue in my family that's consuming a great deal of my time this Spring, I need to take a temporary leave from updating my blog. I hope to return soon, but of course, the actual time may vary ;)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Wow, Blog Is 1 Year Old Today...Although Not Technically

On February 29, 2012, I'm not exactly sure what made me think, "What better day to launch a blog about time-related issues than on Leap Day?" It probably had something to do with it being 2:00am...also known as The Time of Day When I Make Most of My 'Brilliant' Decisions.

As if you needed further proof that a lack of sleep induces delirium. 

It also makes today my first Blogiversary....although technically, today is March 1, and my blog won't technically celebrate its first official Blogiversary until the next time there's a February 29....which will be in 2016. I'm good at procrastinating like that. I also apparently suck at adhering to technicalities.

Actually, if we want to get super technical (and who wouldn't?), while I published my very first post that day....technically, nobody read it. Well, except for my husband and older kids...because they value the food services I provide in this household and are easy to manipulate with snacks.

Alas, back on February 29, 2012, I wasn't ready to share the blog with the world yet. I played around, wrote a few more posts, over-thought everything, obsessed over stupid details and panicked. It really wasn't until April that I attempted to spread the word. Does that make April technically the Blogiversary? Possibly. I never realized how much calculating was involved in counting all the way to one.

To be honest, I wasn't sure how to acknowledge or celebrate said Blogiversary anyway. What's the protocol? I didn't think crepe paper streamers and confetti were appropriate. I'd considered buying the blog a gift......but it's at that toddler age, so it'd probably only be interested in playing with the box. And I just knew it'd give me attitude if asked to wear one of those ridiculous party hats.

So I did what any other normal person would do in this situation: I drew a picture of myself drawing a picture of my blog on a chalkboard with a goofy cake doodle and balloon. Because nobody knows how to party like one Christie Storms (keep straight face, keep straight face...)

In all seriousness, I do want to thank anyone and everyone who has ever read or plans to continue to read this stuff. Hearing from you is my absolute favorite part of this gig. You have no idea how much your interactions make my day. I especially love when we get a banter going back and forth. You crack me up!

I hope you'll continue to reach out to me...and if you haven't already, please do say hi. There are so many ways we can hang out:

Leave a comment here on any blog post, and I'll be sure to respond. You can also click HERE and "Like" the  Actual Times May Vary facebook page to receive updates and join in the conversation. Talk with me on Twitter (@ChristieStorms), where I have to challenge myself regularly to keep my usual superfluous rambling under 140 characters. Or send me an email at ChristieStorms{at}gmail{dot}com. You can even have each shiny new blog post delivered directly to your Inbox by clicking the "Subscribe by Email" envelope icon toward the upper right corner of the screen.

Thanks again for reading. If it's one thing I've learned writing and managing this blog, it's that time is precious and fleeting. The fact you choose to spend any increment of your own time here will keep me smiling all the way to Leap Day 2016....when the Blog turns 1 for real.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Surviving the Boring Parts of the Oscars

I'm a sucker for a good awards show: the stars, the gowns, the jewels, the list of this year's nominated films of which I've seen approximately none so far...

While I'm hopeful host Seth MacFarlane will bring plenty of funny to keep us all engaged, historically-speaking, you can bet there will be many Zone-Out-Worthy moments to this annual Hollywood spectacle. Because even Meryl Streep wouldn't be able to act interested for that many hours of watching overinflated egos congratulate one another.

Lest we all fall asleep and miss the one part where something noteworthy happens, here's ways to keep the mind active during the following:

Go ahead and compose your own acceptance speech in your head. Picture yourself up on that stage accepting accolades and how you would handle it way better than these people. Aim for funny but sincere. Avoid anything involving political rants, declaring you're king or queen of the world, startling the presenter with a dramatic kiss, and scattered, rambling revelations about sexual preferences. Yeah, so pretty much any of the other speeches you've ever heard on any award show.

Ponder whether it would be better to hit the ground running by thanking your husband first vs. saving him for "last, but most importantly." Or should that spot be reserved for the dog? After all, the dog does seem a little more excited to see you when you get home than your husband does. However, the dog is not of much use in the Taking Out the Trash or Chauffeuring the Car Pool Department.
Decisions, decisions.

Like we give a crap which firm of Adam Up and Cecile N. Briefcase tabulated the results. This is a good time to google movie terminology you may have always wondered about. Like, what exactly is a "gaffer?" How about a "key grip?" What makes him so critical to film-making, what makes him different from a regular grip, and just how many freakin' grips are needed per film?

If you have extra time, see if you can find out why there isn't there a Best Award for Best Boy. You mean to tell me there isn't a Best Boy who is the absolute best at being Best Boy? He should totally be acknowledged on stage. And it's 2013, yet we're still labeling by gender? A female can apparently be the Best Boy on a film crew, yet there is no official title of Best Girl. Does the union know about this? What happened to the ERA?

Don't get me wrong, some of this is good TV. You might find yourself lamenting, "Oh, the inimitable Nora Ephron...such a loss," but you'll probably spend the rest of the time saying things like, "No! He died? When?" or "Wait, I thought she already died about five years ago" followed by a lot of "Who is that?" and "What movie was she from?" Keep a tally and have fun comparing it to the number of old-timers you see walk onto the stage later in the broadcast....whereas you conversely find yourself saying, "Whoa, he's still alive? He's gotta be about 120."

Rarely Oscar's finest moment. Use this time to focus on what you would wear, you know, for the year that you are  nominated   invited  er, not watching at home in your pajamas. Would you go with simple, elegant, and classic black? Hmm, black can sometimes kind of wash you out to the point of looking vampire-like though. Maybe a muted neutral?

Reflect upon which gowns you saw during the pre-show arrivals that you might be able to pull off.........You know, if you had a boob lift. Plus lots of Botox. And a personal trainer. And you actually had the energy to do what the personal trainer said daily. Then vow to devote the rest of the year to concentrating on how to walk gracefully in those ridiculously high heels...with emphasis on the elusive gracefully.

If all else fails and you do find yourself bored out of your mind during the telecast, maybe nodding off wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. The Oscar statuette appears to have his eyes closed anyway. Even he couldn't stay awake.

Actual Length of Oscar Telecast:  supposedly 3 hours...hahaha haaaaaaa
Actual Length of Boring Parts:  2 hours and 57 mins 
Real Feel:  8 hours, especially if you watched the Red Carpet coverage
Chance We'll Tune in Next Year Despite Boring Parts: 100%

HOW ABOUT YOU? Do you plan to watch the Oscars?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

If the Super Bowl Were a Romantic Comedy

It's Super Bowl week. Time to start feigning interest in football. It seems no matter how many times my husband and sons have explained the game to me (usually once annually, on Super Bowl Sunday), I just can't get into it.

I recently realized why:

There is basically no tangible relationship between the pigskin and the guy carrying it. Sure there's motive to bring it to the end zone and score your team a ring. The lure of jewelry, I totally get.

But where's the backstory that draws me in and compels me to keep watching? The witty repartee laced with sexual tension? The protagonist's inner demons that need to be battled? It coincidentally does not take place in a circa 1960's advertising agency where everyone broods, drinks and wears fabulous clothes. This alone could be a major contributor to the problem.

Yes, I know it's insane to think the Super Bowl could play like an episode of a TV drama like Mad Men. I mean, hello.....It's obviously got much more of a romantic comedy vibe. After all, the agony on the players' faces must have a cause. Who's to say it's not unrequited love? And have you seen what these guys wear and how ridiculous grown men look all piled up on top of one another? Comedic gold.

The viewing experience would be vastly improved by simply illustrating the relationship between man and football. These proposed tweaks would make me actually want to see what happens next during the game...Are you listening, CBS?

Picture this:
A quarterback and a football leave college to drive all night, bickering and bantering their way from Chicago to New Yor---er, I mean, New Orleans. The quarterback points out how he and the football can never truly be friends because their underlying attraction for each other will get in the way...a fact that will be driven home when the football fakes an orgasm at a roadside diner near the 50 yard line. The two part ways to head into separate locker rooms, and I'm glued to the edge of my seat because I just know they're meant to be together.

Close to midnight on Super Bowl Eve, the quarterback finally admits he's been in love with the football all along. He swoops her up and carries her an unstoppable 90 yards to the end zone, pushing all others out of his way...because when he realized he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, he wanted the rest of his life to start as soon as possible. The marching band plays "Auld Lang Syne" as they score the winning touchdown together. Afterwards, the quarterback says he'd like a coconut Vince Lombardi Trophy cake...with the chocolate sauce on the side.

All right, I'll admit part of that just isn't plausible. I mean, when do marching bands ever play "Auld Lang Syne" during the Super Bowl, right? Maybe Madonna was busy. Work with me here.

How about this? The football and the wide receiver have been fighting their attraction for a long time due to his emotional immaturity. When the quarterback throws the pass, the wide receiver leaps high into the air to catch the football. As the two tumble to the ground together, the football says, "You complete me." Later, in front of all the cheerleaders, the wide receiver explains the football simply had him at "hello."

C'mon, that could be the first Super Bowl in history where you'd need tissues. Hear that, Kleenex? Potential sponsor opportunities! You're welcome.

Still not convinced of the Super Bowl's romantic comedy potential? Okay, final suggestion:

A linebacker feels hurt and abandoned by his beloved football. Enraged, he charges the other team, being careful to avoid the quicksand, fire swamp and Rodents of Unusual Size. He tackles the six-fingered quarterback, and as the football rolls down the synthetic turf, the linebacker hears her cry out "" The linebacker realizes the football never really stopped loving him and had merely been forced to play a scrimmage with the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Tell me you wouldn't turn in for such blockbuster Super Bowl plots as these proven winners. I can't believe Hollywood has yet to call upon me for my screenwriting skills.

But something tells me the networks won't go for it. I've heard those R.O.U.S. are ruthless when it comes to salary negotiations, and the Super Bowl is certainly no place to throw billions of dollars around.

Guess I'll just have to resign myself that the only declaration of undying love during this Super Bowl Sunday is going to be mine...for the nacho platter.

Actual Length of Super Bowl:  4 hours...give or take eleventy-billion hours of pre/post-game commentary 
Real Feel:  36 hours
Real Feel If Super Bowl Were a Romantic Comedy:  30 minutes, tops
Chance They Will Change It into a Romantic Comedy:  There's always 2014

HOW ABOUT YOU? Which do you prefer...the Super Bowl or a romantic comedy?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Please Stop Asking Me What's for Dinner

Family of mine, I love you more than you could ever comprehend, but please, I beg of you, stop badgering me about what's for dinner. It's not that I mind your inquisitive nature. It's the eye-rolling and petitioning for alternative dining choices that aren't working for me.

Yes, I wholeheartedly welcomed you kids into this world with a promise to nourish your heart, mind and body. I'm more than cool with the heart and mind thing, but I have to tell you....the constant procuring of healthy nutrients to feed your growing bodies on demand has gotten quite exhausting.

Here's a tip:  if I'm still cleaning up the breakfast dishes, I am not, in any way, shape or form, ready to address the dinner issue. You couldn't possibly be hungry again already, so I can only assume you're simply preparing notes for the I Hate Broccoli Tantrum you've scheduled later that afternoon.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Sometimes when you ask me what's for dinner.....I honestly don't know yet! It's not like I have an inexhaustible source from which I can pull creative meal plans to begin with, and I'm horrible under pressure. As you may have noticed. Repeatedly.

And let's be honest. No matter what I finally do make for dinner, at least one of you will be unhappy. One of you might cry or flat out refuse to eat. One of you will bemoan that I always make that, and you're sick of it.

Secret #2:  I'm probably sick of it, too! But if has some protein, some fiber and/or vegetables, and it's relatively quick to prepare around all your sports and activities, yes, you are going to see it again.

To be clear, I am not, nor will I ever be, a short order cook. I can barely get it together to prepare ONE meal for the group. There's a lot of pressure to make something healthy and enjoyable for all...and it often proves impossible.

Here's another confession:  I don't live to make dinner. In the same way you don't like when I interrupt your video games, I detest having to stop the 40 other tasks I'm doing to cook...especially when it seems like you all just ate 5 minutes ago. (And PS: I don't really get a kick out of packing school lunches either).

Of course, we've watched Rachael Ray and others who make cooking look fun. What's not to love about each ingredient pre-chopped into its own coordinated mini-bowl?

Except no one puts things into neat little bowls for me at our house. Where do they even buy those mini-bowls anyway? Is there a mini-bowl store solely in business to supply cooking shows with a way to avoid adding ingredients from...gasp!...the container from which they were bought? Oh, that's right. They don't actually buy food. They grow it in their organic gardens...with all the free time they have while others are organizing things into neat little bowls for them.

I know you enjoy when I make dishes like homemade lasagna for the holidays. I've even cut out new recipes that look appetizing. Except these all require two things I do NOT have most days: time and energy.

Because what cheerful Rachael doesn't say, cheerfully, is that her 15-minute meals still require a good 20 mins prep followed by 40 minutes of clean up. The last time I checked, 20+15+40 would make it a 75-minute meal, dear cheerful Rachael. And I'm known as quite the math expert in these parts (cough, cough).

I've also heard it'd supposedly be easier if I planned our meals in advance. I do try. I may have even procured all necessary ingredients for a balanced meal and scheduled it for Monday. Then one of your coaches sets a make-up game. During the three-hour dinner-time window on Monday. (Calmly pick up imaginary pistol, aim and shoot plans to Hell).

Ergo, you see me repeatedly opening and slamming cabinet doors as if doing so will magically make ingredients for a healthy yet delicious quickie meal appear.

And it's not that I don't value your frequent suggestions for fast food. Contrary to popular belief, I do enjoy a burger and fries. I do love how the clean-up would only involve tossing wrappers into the trash. But I also value other things like our hearts and arteries, and the possibility of living to an old age. I can't, in good conscience, let you have utter junk as often as you'd like. I also can't ban certain healthy vegetables or meats from ever appearing, so stop asking.

It may not seem like it, but I put a lot of time and effort into shopping for and preparing your meals....Often only to have them consumed, complained about and completely unappreciated in ten minutes or less. Not a fun glow to bask in while you all go relax, and I'm stuck cleaning up.

Look, as a mom, I accept that "so much effort, so little reward" comes with the territory.  Let's just try to keep dinner from feeling like "ridiculous amount of effort and a public stoning," okay?

So that's why when you ask me what's for dinner for the eleventh time on any given day, I may seem a little cranky. I know my obligation to make dinner. And I do truly want to nourish you. But from now on, can we just assume that at some point it will be dinner time, and at that point, I will put some form of decent --albeit possibly uninspired-- nutrients on the table for your consumption?

Let's just leave it at that and the world will be a much more peaceful place for all six of us. Well, seven, if you include the dog (who has, ahem, yet to ever complain about anything I've ever fed him.....just sayin').

Actual Time Spent Preparing Dinner:  at least 1 hour daily
Average Time Spent Eating Dinner:  15 minutes
Actual Time Spent Dealing with Kids' Dinner Complaints: 30-60 mins daily
Real Feel:  the movie Groundhog Day sums it up nicely

HOW ABOUT YOU? Do you sometimes find cooking dinner a thankless chore?

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