Happy Halloween, Sweet Spot Style
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Actually, the mini-break was my trip out to Northern California – a familial inspired excursion (which is a fancy way of saying, I went to visit my parents). The Monterey portion of the trip was more like a one day jaunt when a happy circumstance arose to meet up with friends in the coastal city. So, I guess that makes my trip to Monterey, CA more of a “micro-break” (a totally made up concept, which makes me some sort of trend setter, in my own mind anyway).
So, what does one do with friends and only one day, or rather several hours to spend in Monterey, California? Duh, go where the food is, of course! More particularly, Old Fisherman’s Wharf for the clam chowder!
And in case you are one of those people who does not do any research on restaurants in advance (like me), not to worry! For, as we walked down the wharf every restaurant offered us a sample of their version of clam chowder, daring us to consider each the best on the wharf – which made me feel a bit like Gordon Ramsay, with cuter shoes but not near as coiffed. Finally we settled on a restaurant mostly because they clearly had the best chowder that day, but also so I could raz my husband, who shares the moniker (ok, he is making me clarify, “only the Jim part”), about it later.
With the remaining time, I took a walk over to the neighboring pier on San Carlos Beach.
Once to the end of the pier, I found massive amounts of Sea Lions just “chillin’” in the sun. Stuffed as I was with sample clam chowder, bowl of clam chowder, bread, calamari and the most amazing oyster crackers ever, I was vastly tempted to join them…they, however, did not seem entirely receptive to the idea.
In conclusion, I came away with four pertinent pieces of information from my Micro-Break in Monterey, CA.
1. Sea Lions are major posers.
2. If you are planning on leaving your boat or yacht in the harbor, beware! Although the Sea Lions are vastly fastidious when it comes to leaving their rock lounge in order to shall we say, answer the call of nature, when they get onto your boat, they are not overly concerned about it – giving a whole new perspective on “swabbing the deck” (Thank you conservationist guy who had nothing better to do than answer my stupid questions).
3. If you go to Monterey and don’t at least sample the clam chowder you should be drawn and quartered…or at least made to swab those decks.
4. I will be back.
For more travel posts: Sweet Spot Travels
Whilst traveling through Chillicothe, Missouri (yep, you read that right) a few weeks ago, I happened upon the above hair establishment. I’ll admit, I was curious. I mean, you don’t have to hang around Sweet Spot long to know how much I relish a healthy sense of humor (Teen Talk) and a good play on words (Word-Up). But, brave enough to give it a go? Probably not. When it comes to my hair, humor is not really the emotion I am attempting to inspire. But, that’s just me.
In response to my article earlier this week, Every Good Rebellion Deserves Documentation, I came home yesterday to an empty house and this:
How the Spaghetti O’s even made it into my pantry in the first place is a subversive, rebellious act which will have to be routed out. Until then, at least these mutineers can still make the dictator laugh.
Before I had kids, I tried to imagine the type of parent I would be. In all scenarios, I feel pretty confident I was the coolest, most inspired and creative mom ever! I also feel fairly confident in none of my Norman Rockwell-esq Mom visions was I referred to as the “food dictator” or “nutrition tyrant”. But, sadly, these terms have both been used to describe aspects of my parenting. I all at once resent and resemble these remarks. It is true, trying to make sure my family is eating healthy and not ingesting poison hidden in food has been a primary goal in my parenting strategy. My kids would say the goal consisted more of terrorizing them with whole grain bread and massive amounts of broccoli. But the truth is, I just want them to be healthy, strong and not have strange tumors growing out their ears by the age of 20.
Like any good dictator worth his/her salt, I have had to work very hard to protect my subjects from themselves. Along the way, this has meant not only supplying them with healthy foods, refusing to purchase foods deemed unworthy and limiting questionable foods, it has also required declaring the occasional all out Ban on the most harmful and unacceptable food creations.
For instance, there was the “Sugar Ban” for my first born when he was 0-2 (he maintains the applesauce sweetened cake I made him for his first birthday party is a clear cut case of child abuse) and “Sugar-Ban #2” for my second born when he was in preschool (he says he will work it out in therapy later). Then came the “Soda Ban” , the “Artificial Sweetener Ban” (seriously, ants won’t even eat it), the “Hydrogenated Oil Ban”(it does such great things for the butt), the “Nitrates Ban” (who cares if your lunch meat is gray?), the “All Plastics and Canned Goods with BPA Ban”, the “Microwave Popcorn Ban” (that one really hurt), the “Doritos Ban” (I believe this was when the term “Nutrition Tyrant” emerged), and the “Gatorade Ban” (because what better way to reward an athletic body than by dumping flame retardant into it?), to name just a few.
However, the most recent ban left all my subjects shaken and cowering in fear on the kitchen floor…”The Microwave Ban.” You see, a few months back, I decided we had dumped enough microwaves into our bodies for a lifetime and pulled the plug on the microwave – literally. Playing right into my hands was the fact that the monster had taken to running with the door fully open and at times, refused to shut off.
As if we had never warmed food in the dark ages before microwaves, I began to come upon bizarre and disturbing scenes in the kitchen – soup being heated up in the oven, beans being burned in a frying pan on the stove, blank stares at mugs of water needing to be heated, whole dinners in the oven on the actual dinner plate – or even worse, person trying to eat off the scorching hot dinner plate after coming out of the oven. But despite begging and pleading on the part of my minions, I unrelentingly held my ground on “The Microwave Ban”.
History will tell you, every dictator must endure his/her share of rebellion and subversive decent. I don’t fool myself that there haven’t been plenty of insubordinate acts occurring behind my back. Lucky for my kids, they have always found a willing co-conspirator in their Dad. However, with help from sometimes eager informer (Pre-Teen) and my keen sense of observation (empty Doritos bag in the trash) many of these mutinies did not go undiscovered.
But, with age and oppression comes ingenuity. One morning, several months into “The Microwave Ban”, I walked into the kitchen to find the microwave missing from its place on top of the refrigerator. You see, even though I had relieved the microwave of its duties, even my tyrannical heart had not been able to evict it altogether.
Me: “Where’s the microwave?”
Teen: “We were doing something with it.”
Apparently in the night, Teen had found a willing rebellious accomplice in a friend staying for the night. They had decided, somewhere after the midnight hour when the dictator was fast asleep, to haul the microwave outside onto the back porch a do what they had always wanted to do…zap stuff you are not supposed to zap in a microwave…ever!
Later the next day, these videos appeared on Facebook:
and the crowning glory – two rebellious acts all at once (I am sure there were some empty soda cans nearby as well)
Because, every good rebellion deserves to be documented.
More tyranny on Sweet Spot: Down With Fish Tyranny
Payback to the Food Dictator: The Rebellion Rages On