A Protein Drink that’s not so God Awful it Makes you Want to Hurl

On my recent visit in with my gastric bypass surgeon, they were kind enough to present me with a lovely bag of samples and goodies that they had saved for me from Christmas.  Most of it was junk and I threw it away, my kids took off with the water bottle and the bag itself, and I was left with a bottle of protein powder from Health Wise.  Unlike many of the other protein drinks I’ve had, this one is not vanilla or chocolate or milky or creamy in any way.  The sample I have is for the Pineapple Orange High Protein Fruit Drink – with the very catchy caption “Fill it*Shake it*Drink it. 

When you pull the plastic ring off the bottle and open it up, you definitely can smell that there’s something more than pineapples and oranges in this stuff, but I’m willing to try it anyway.  You fill the bottle with water – I used 8 ounces and then threw in a few ice cubes – and shake it (after replacing the lid).  The drink contains 60 calories and 15 grams of protein, but not much of anything else.  There’s no sugar, a little potassium, no fat, no carbs.  The protein comes from Whey protein concentrate, so you protein purists who don’t believe all protein is created – or absorbed – equally can feel fairly comfortable with the protein in here.

Now, I’m not a big fan of orange juice or pineapple juice, or any fruit juice for that matter, so it was a little dumb for me to go out on a limb and try to review this beverage.  However, after getting past the initial OH MY GOD THIS IS SO SWEET feeling, and once the ice kicked in and cooled it down, it really was a pretty refreshing drink.  You definitely know it’s a protein drink, but the orange and pineapple do a fairly good job at hiding it.  It definitely needs ice.  Definitely.

You can buy these delicious drinks on line for about $2 per bottle.  I found a sale on them – if you buy 3, they are $5 from this place:

http://cntr4weightloss.stores.yahoo.net/piorsshbodrm.html

This is a good alternative to the more milk shakey kind of protein shakes.  I think over the summer, these will work out just great.

On Death and Dying

It’s a really sad day here.  Jim’s friend Calvin died yesterday morning from metastatic prostate cancer at the age of 49.  But it’s not just Calvin’s passing that makes today sad.  My sister’s friend Jual was diagnosed just last week with breast cancer.  She’s 29 years old, has two children under the age of 3, and she has a new baby on the way.  And it’s not just Jual and Calvin that make today sad.

Every time death touches you in some way, it seems that a scab opens back up and the pain of the deaths that you thought you had already dealt with comes back.  In just over a month, the second anniversary of my dad’s death will be upon me.  Just over a month ago, the fourth anniversary of my sister’s death was crashing down on me.  And not long before that anniversary was the 5th anniversary of Jim’s father’s death.  We seem to be experiencing an epidemic.

I think Calvin’s passing and Jual’s diagnosis are especially hard to deal with.  Calvin has a daughter just 2 years older than our oldest daughter.  She was just about to face her final exams in her first year of college.  It gives me such a terrible pain in my chest to think of her struggling to get through making up these exams; continuing to focus on her education and the whole life she has ahead of her; receiving the diploma that would have made her father so proud; walking down the aisle to meet the man of her dreams, but not on the arms of her dad.  I would hate for my daughters to know what that feels like, and it’s just so sad that any little girl has to go through these things without her dad.  And Jual – well, how do you not find the universe crashing in on you when you think of such a YOUNG girl, with BABIES to raise facing her own mortality?   When you are 29 years old, you should be thinking of play groups, baking cookies, and Barney songs.  It’s too much to have to worry about that stuff while thinking about the fact that you could die and leave these babies to be raised without a mom.

When Bean died, I made the statement to someone that I was glad I went to Church regularly.  I felt some comfort in my Parish community, and I had a belief that she really was going to a better place.  It didn’t make the pain of losing my little sister easier, but at least I didn’t feel like she was worse off than she had been in life.  Then my dad died.  No one was a more devout Catholic than my dad, yet in spite of all the prayers, all the Masses, all the sips of wine and gulps of communion wafers, he died a slow, painful, agonizing death that started 10 years before his body finally stopped.  I haven’t been to Church much since my dad died.  It didn’t save him, and I just can’t feel like it does much for me since he’s gone.

And it doesn’t matter how much time you have to prepare for this stuff.  Bean’s death was sudden.  I left her here at 10 AM and by the time I was back at 11, she was gone.  My dad died a little piece at a time for a long time.  When Bean died, people said stuff like, “Ah, but she went quickly and didn’t have to suffer.”   The same people offered these words of comfort when my dad died, “Ah, but at least everyone had a chance to say goodbye and say the things you wanted to say.”   Hmmmm.  Funny, but there doesn’t seem to be much comfort in either of these polarized statements.

As my dad used to say after my Grandfather died, I’m half an orphan.  And now Allison is half an orphan.  And she’s too young to know what that feels like.  I thought I was too young at 40.  And on this very sad day, I pray that Jual’s children are very, very old when they know what it feels like to be half an orphan.

The Great T-Ball Incident of ‘07

Yes, I will finally have my place in the history books, ladies and gentlemen!   I have gone 42 years of my life without doing anything worthy of notoriety, but I have finally done something to make me (in)famous – at least at Eilis’ school.

So, I get an email the other day, informing me that I am one of the coaches of Eilis’ t-ball team.  Now, you must have a crucial piece of background information before you can truly understand my story.  I don’t no nuthin’ ’bout coachin’ no t-ball, Miz Scah-let!   Apparently, in the eyes of a Catholic school with no budget for properly trained t-ball professionals, any old mom will do, so they took me.

Reading further into the email, I find that my daughter needs to have a glove and spikes.  Well, now, I did have a father, and I do have a stepbrother, and I do have 4 nephews and two sorta nephews (my friend’s two boys).  I’m not totally clueless when it comes to the world of sports, and I figure a glove is either the thing they use when they’re batting – you know, the regular glove kind of glove – OR she needs a glove that they use to catch the ball, but not a catchers’ mitt.  I’m good with the glove, once I find out which kind it is that she needs.

But spikes?  

Here’s another little piece of background information you’ll have to have.  My oldest daughter, Brighid, was a champion Irish step dancer, prior to a hip injury in September of 2005.  In order to compete as a step dancer, you have to have ringlet curls.  In order to get ringlet curls, your mother has to sit up the night before a competition and curl your hair until her fingers are cracked and bloody with these cute little foam things called….wait for it….. SPIKES.

So, I immediately get on the phone with the other coach, and leave a message asking him why they need to have their hair curled to play t-ball.  It’s important that you know that I left a message for him, because you will know that he then felt an obligation to play it for just about everyone in the civilized world. 

But it doesn’t end there folks.  Oh no.  Because when I couldn’t reach the other t-ball coach, I called down to Baseball World, the place where I would go to get her gloves and Spikes.  And yes, my fellow Americans, I DID ask them why they would need their hair curled to play t-ball.  And yes, I did have to explain to the guy what I thought spikes were.  And oh yes, when I arrived at the store later that day, no less than four – count ’em, 4 F O U R – employees of Baseball World came up to me at various times during my shopping excursion to say, “You’re the mom with the SPIKES, aren’t you?”

I did eventually find someone at Baseball World who stopped laughing long enough to tell me that Spikes, at least in terms of baseball, are actually cleats.  I knew what cleats were, so I’m not a complete moron.  At least I hope that’s how the history books will tell my story.

Brighid and Anna First Annual Mother/Daughter Trip to Disney World Part Five

Okay, so we got a note in our room telling us the Magical Express shuttle that would get us to the airport in time for our flight was leaving at 5:15, and in order to be on it, we had to be at the pick up location at 5 AM.  There is not much help available for your luggage, and I am greatly disappointed in that.  The note implies that you just place a phone call to bell services the night before your shuttle, and someone will come to collect your things.  Not so.  We placed our phone call, only to have a cast member tell us how short handed they are at that time of the morning, and they only have one guy that can do the luggage runs, and they have already booked him beyond what he can do.  We are a good, long walk from the main building where we will be picked up, so Brighid and I make sure we are up and out the door all the earlier so we have ample time to haul our luggage across the resort.

We check in at bell services at just about 10 minutes to 5.  There is already another family there, and a single woman, and quite a few pieces of luggage are there.  That lone CM must have been very busy!   By 5:15, I am freezing my butt off, despite wearing jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt, and a sweatshirt (my winter coat is packed).  The 5:15 time comes and goes, and no ME shuttle arrives.  The family that has been there since before we got there begins to get a bit agitated, and the dad is now pacing like a madman.  I start to think there must have been an error, and maybe we should have checked in by 5:15 for a 5:30 shuttle, but 5:30 comes and goes, a crowd has gathered, and there is still no shuttle. 

FINALLY, with a crowd of popsicles standing by impatiently waiting, a bus shows up at 6:10 –   yes, nearly an hour after we were supposed to have left.  The bus driver checks in with guest services, and luggage starts to be loaded.  The bus is already carrying quite a few people, and with all the people sitting around here at SSR waiting, I figure the bus is going to be full.  I push Brighid over towards the line waiting to get on the bus while I attend to our luggage.  She is still standing, waiting to get on the bus by the time the bus driver loads our bags on, but I pull her aside and let a woman with three small ice cubes (who were children just 40 minutes ago) go on first, jeopardizing what may be the last few seats on the bus, but feeling it is something I’d want someone to do for me if I was here with my two small girls.

The driver gets on the bus, and decides to stand in front of the bus and make apologies.  They had a couple of buses break down, they had to arrange other transportation, and he was a fill in driver.  The family that was getting impatient waiting for the shuttle to show up is visibly irritated while listening to the driver talk, and I find out that they were supposed to be on the 4:30 shuttle, which also never showed up, and their flight is leaving in about 30 minutes.  We barely have enough time to get to the airport before their flight leaves, and they have been up since 3 AM with their kidlets.  I feel awful for them.

The driver finally sits down and starts driving, getting on the speaker to let us all know how sorry he is again about making us wait, and people begin to fall back asleep.  SSR was the last stop, so we head right to the airport, and he makes an announcement that he is going straight to the terminal where this poor family has to go to get their flight, and that actually irritates some of the other folks.  PUH LEEZE.  I know, we’re all tired and inconvenienced, but these poor people are at risk of not getting on their flight if we don’t drop them off first – cut them some slack. 

And speaking of how rude people are, can I just complain about the number of people on the bus who got on the bus, chose not to utilize the overhead compartments, put their bag on the window seat, and sat on the outside seat?   And there were people who didn’t even have bags, who just planted themselves in the aisle seat and spread themselves out so no one could sit with them.  I’m sure the bus driver would have made them move if the bus had truly been full, but come on.  Have a little respect for your fellow human being.  If you want isolation, Disney World is not your locale.

So, without much more incident, we get to where we are going and check in at Southwest.  We still have about an hour to wait for our flight, so we go get coffee and some breakfast and watch some poor grandfather and his grandson.  They are on our flight, and they   have been to Disney World.  The grandfather has made the decision only a grandparent would make – to purchase 7 billion pieces of Lego toys for his grandson to play with on the flight home.  And of course, the kid wants to play with them on the floor of the terminal.  And of course, after being asked 17,000 times if he wanted anything to eat, little Kyle waits until 10 minutes before our flight is boarding to tell his grandfather he will die without food.  After just putting away all 7 billion Lego pieces, Grandpop goes and waits in line for a hot dog, while Kyle, one by one, opens the packages containing the 7 billion pieces and spills them out all over the floor again, then begins to wander away.  Fortunately, Grandpa gets his hands on that hotdog just in time, and he rushes over to let Kyle know that he has to stay with him and help him pick up the Legos.  I hope they made the flight – I don’t remember seeing them after that.

The flight home is EXTREMELY entertaining, despite two people in our vicinity vomitting for at least part of the flight.  We have a flight attendant – Brandon – who must do standup in his spare time.  He is hysterical, and Brighid and I can’t wait for him to pick up the microphone for any little thing.  He makes jokes about everything, and is so funny, he ends up garnering an invitation from the couple seated behind us to visit with them at their home in Green Bay, Wisonsin when he is in the area. 

We are at the airport about 10 minutes ahead of schedule, and it is so nice to be home and to see my other girls.  I am so glad Brighid and I had this time together, and I really would like to be able to do it again in the future, but I am so glad to see Eilis and Granuaile.

I don’t know if this will be an annual tradition – especially with college coming up in the not too distant future – but it certainly is something I would recommend to every mom and daughter.  We laughed, we tried new things, we had girly time at the spa.  This definitely was a great way to reconnect, and I think as the other girls get older, a special weekend should be planned with each of them, individually.  It’s great re-connecting time.

Brighid and Anna First Annual Mother/Daughter Trip to Disney World Part Four

Saturday, February 10th, and our last day here.  We leave EARLY tomorrow morning.  This has thrown a monkey wrench into our plans, but we’ll work through it.  The plan for today is to go to Islands of Adventure for the first half of the day, then leave to go to Universal Studios to spend the late afternoon and evening, specifically to see the Mardi Gras parade.

The Mardi Gras parade begins at 8 PM, is supposed to last about 15 minutes, and then Donna Summer performs.  The French Quarter food court opens at 5, so after talking to Brighid, our goal is to at least stay until then to get a bite to eat, and play it by ear.

We head in to Islands of Adventure EARLY – we arrive about 10 minutes before the park opens.  Our first stop is at a little gift shop that has a lot of tropical type clothing.  Since Eilis has a luau coming up in just two weeks, we stop here.  Well, an hour and a half later, I have a shirt for Jim, an outfit for me, a skirt for Brighid (that took an hour and 25 minutes of that hour and a half), and a blouse for Eilis.  I also picked up a few pieces of jewelry.  We had such a great time shopping, we didn’t realize we had not seen one inch of the park yet, and we would have to lug this bag of stuff all over with us.  We decided to check the bag into a locker, and off we went into IOA. 

With Eilis in tow, we spend quite a bit of time in the Dr. Seuss themed island.  How different it is with just Brighid.  We ride the Cat in the Hat ride, and I am thrilled to find t-shirts that say not only Thing 1 and Thing 2, but also Thing 3!   I think about buying them for the girls, but decide against it when I realize I will have to either carry them or lug them back to the locker.  Obviously, not having the baby coach to throw things in is putting a damper on the whole theme park shopping experience!

Next we head over to the Poseidon show – I have never seen it, and it is very cool.  We have also always wanted to try Mythos restaurant, but have not done that on previous visits.  What the heck?   We’ll do it today.  We walk over to check out the menu, and I find at least one or two things I can at least try, so we agree to come back to the restaurant and eat.  First, though, we go to the Sinbad stunt show, another thing I’ve never done.  It was funny and pretty entertaining, along the lines of the Indiana Jones stunt show at MGM. 

Following Sinbad, we had lunch at Mythos.  I can do a little bit of a very flat pizza, and their pizza that day was steak and mushroom.  We ordered it as an appetizer to share, and it was a nice sized personal pizza, loaded with steak and mushrooms.  I ate a small piece of the steak, but had to spit it out without swallowing.  I ate the pizza so fast that it made me a little nauseous, so I sipped a little water while Brighid enjoyed her meal of cedar plank salmon.  The restaurant was nice, the food was good, and the portions were very large.

After lunch, we wandered the rest of the way around IOA, but since Brighid and I don’t love roller coasters and it was too cold for water rides, we decided not to ride anything else and head over to Universal.  Here’s the thing.  We planned to stay at Universal until the park closed, but IOA closed at 6 PM.  That meant we had to move the stuff out of the locker at IOA and pay for a new locker at Universal.  At this point, we really should have just gone and put the stuff in the car, but neither of us felt like walking it out there.  It was a little inconvenient to have to do this.  I cannot remember if there are lockers in the parking garage area, or in the area of City Walk before you choose a theme park, but if there is, I encourage you to use them.  Although, if you have to walk all the way back to the garage to put stuff in a locker, you might as well put the stuff in your car and save the money.

We had no lines at all at Universal, so we did everything we wanted to do, and it wasn’t even quite 5 PM yet.  We still had to drive out to Poinciana to return the in-law’s truck, so we decided to just grab a quick bite to eat, a t-shirt, and head out.  We still had some things to pack and I wanted to run our dirty clothes through the laundry.  Our shuttle to the airport was picking us up at 5 AM – or O Dark Thirty, as I like to refer to it – and we needed to get some sleep.

The seafood jambalaya was good, authentic tasting food.  And for just about $5, you got a heaping bowl of it, a huge helping of rice (which I declined), and a nice (for Florida) roll to go with it.  I couldn’t even eat half of the bowl, Brighid only had one bite, and the rest of it got tossed because it was just too much to eat.  We saw some of the street performers on the way out, and thought again about staying for the parade, but it was just too much to get back to the hotel as late as we would have gotten there.

We had a great day, got back to my in-law’s at about 6:30, and we were in the hotel by about 8:30, packing, washing, and trying to spend our last few hours of our first mother/daughter trip relaxing.  We were going to need it with the fiasco that would occur the next morning!

Protecting Your Babies

Even when they are 15 years old.

I have a daughter that age, who has a crush on a boy.  We’ve been there, ladies.  You so desperately want the boy you like to like you back, there is almost physical pain involved in not knowing if he likes you or he doesn’t like you.

But as a mom, what do you do to protect your daughter from that feeling?   And should you?   What do you tell them?

This boy my oldest daughter is crushing on doesn’t go to her school, so the only time they would be able to get together is if her mom drives her to meet him somewhere where he has gotten a ride to.  We have made arrangements twice in the past month to do this.  The first time, I dropped my daughter off at basically a teen dance party, by herself, because this boy was going to be there with a group of his friends, and none of Brighid’s friends could go.  I watched as she walked into the club, and drove away.  It wasn’t until nearly 2 weeks later that I found out the boy never showed up, she didn’t know anyone there, so she hung out with the band (a group of high school boys) for the 3 hours I had left her there.  She didn’t want to call me to come and get her because she thought I wouldn’t let her go again.  She was probably right.  I won’t let her go again, unless I am bringing her and at least a friend or two.

Then she makes plans to meet this boy at the mall.  It starts out early in the day as Brighid, Captain Fantastic (the boy she’s crushing on), a couple of his friends and his brother, and three of Brighid’s friends.  By the time we arrive at the mall at the appointed time, it’s down to Brighid, Captain F, and whomever he has been able to get to drive him.  She wants to hop right out of the car, but I make her call to find out where they are meeting and what time I am picking up and where.  He is on the other line with his friends, still trying to get a ride, and he’ll call her back.

We wait.  A. Long. Time.  20 minutes later, I tell her to call him back or I’m leaving.  She begs for a few more minutes, and remembering how hard it was to be 15, I agree.  It is now 2 minutes to 8, and I tell her I am heading out.  Then the phone rings.  He tells her to just hang in a few more minutes, and he will call her back, he has to call someone else. 

I’m already suspicious of this kid.  He blogs about a bad track record with girls.  I have already warned my daughter this may be an obstacle to any potential “relationship” with this kid.  He has already stood her up once.  She took responsibility for that one, saying that originally, she was not going to be able to go (true), but I reminded her that there was always a possibility she would be going, and he knew that, so if he was not going to show up, he had an obligation to let her know.  And now, 30 minutes after he’s already supposed to be here, he’s not and doesn’t have a ride yet, which means he is at least another 30 minutes from getting here.

I am just about to tell her we’re leaving, because there is no point in meeting now, as the mall closes at 9:30, and even if he gets here in record time, I don’t have enough time to drive all the way home and all the way back, which puts me stuck in the car in the parking lot with Granuaile for an hour.  Then he calls.  CF tells her he can’t get a ride after all, that his friends made the decision to spend the day in the mall without him and they do not want to drive back out to the mall to spend another hour. 

My kid is so disappointed.  I am disappointed for her.  I don’t want to see her hurt, but she is.  She is still making excuses for him, and I worry that this will one day lead her into an abusive relationship, where she can’t see the guy for the things he is doing wrong or the things he is lacking.  I think part of her making excuses is so that I won’t deny her the ability to ever get together with this kid again, but it may be too late for that.  While I want to understand that they are 15, don’t drive, and need to rely on other people for rides places, I want there to be some kind of respectfulness that at least the kid acknowledges that Brighid went to the effort to get a ride, showed up, and was waiting, but there doesn’t seem to be any.  I also told her the next time they make plans, he has to come to our house.  This morning, she tells me how hard that will be for him because he lives so far away (30 minutes – Big Deal).

Oh, and when she got home last night and he called, he told her that an old girlfriend told his friends that she must have been on drugs to ever want to go out with him, so he’s swearing off of having a girlfriend.  I want this to be a big flashing red light in my daughter’s eyes, but instead, she asks for help in translating it.  Does it mean he likes her but just doesn’t want a girlfriend?   Does it mean he likes her, but is angry that the other girl would say something like that?   Does it, GULP, mean he doesn’t like her?

How far do we go to protect our kids?   Do I step in and forbid her from seeing this kid, because in the eye of experience, it doesn’t look like this is going to go anywhere?   Do I keep my mouth shut and try to be here to pick up whatever pieces are left?  

Don’t you hate that Motherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual?

And The Weight Loss Winner Is…

While I technically have lost more weight than Jim, he has lost his the old fashioned way.  He made a very deliberate decision last July, just before my gastric bypass surgery, that he wanted to lose weight as well.  Weighing in at about 325 pounds, he didn’t feel he was a good candidate for the weight loss surgery, and attending my gastric bypass support group meetings convinced him of that.  Most of the people in my group have used surgery as a tool to get down to about 300 pounds, so he felt fairly svelte sitting among us all.

Anyway, the first thing he did was cut out soda.  Entirely.  No diet soda, no regular soda, no baking soda (okay, there maybe a line somewhere).  I honestly didn’t think he could do it, because a 2 litre bottle of soda in this house shook for it’s very life, knowing that in just two large Texas tea buckets, it would be gone.  A case of 24 cans had a life span of less than 48 hours once it crossed our threshold. 

Never a big sweet eater, he started to cut back on things like nachos and salsa.  You know the super big, have a party, invite Brazil sized bags of nachos – so big even Sam’s Club doesn’t carry them because they take up too much room in the warehouse?   If they were lucky, they lasted an evening and the crushed, broken remnants were stored in Jim’s desk drawer for those nacho emergencies at 2 AM. 

He really watches what he eats now, and snacks more on nuts, occasionally pretzels dipped in cream cheese, and pieces of cheese.  Lunch for him now is usually a turkey – no cheese – sandwich on whole wheat bread; mustard instead of mayo; and a bowl of soup.  He watches his dinners, leaning on lean proteins and small portions of starches.  Even on our Thursday night trip to the diner at midnight when I pick him up at the airport, he orders the sauteed crabcakes, skips the melted butter, and then eats the veggie sides, takes home at least half of the crabcakes, and has lunch of the leftovers the next day.

Then, when he got the gig in Milwaukee, the first thing he did was join the YMCA and hire a personal trainer.  He works out three nights a week, has joined the volleyball team at the customer’s site, and goes to bed at a decent hour each night instead of sitting up until the wee hours of the morning, binging. 

All this brings him down to 265 pounds as of this morning.  He has lost about half the amount of weight I have in the same amount of time, but he has worked harder at it – changing so many of his habits and so much of his lifestyle.  Add to that the fact that he goes to a tanning salon and bought cute man style underpants, and he’s just a dollar bill away from being  a Chippendale dancer 🙂  

I’m really proud of him.  Not that I’m not proud of myself – and anyone who has had WLS will tell you this is no walk in the park – but he really has worked hard and I feel so glad for him that he is seeing such great results.  It’s certainly motivation to keep him going, keep him losing, and keep him working out.  There’s a new spring in his step, and I’m so happy for him.

Review Instone High Protein Pudding Vanilla Creme

I am not a big fan of pudding.  My favorite way to eat it was always the Jello Pudding Pops – frozen and delicious.  I’m just not so much interested in blobby stuff – Jello, pudding, tapioca, mousse, you get the picture.  So why did I buy the Instone High Protein pudding?   Well, because I have to eat so damn many grams of protein per day, and I get tired day in and day out of the same old protein bars and the nuts and the bites of cheese.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

So, to start with the basics, one can, which is just over 6 ounces, costs $1.99 at GNC.  There is one serving in the can, and 100 calories in the serving.  There are 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs (yay) and no sugars or sugar alcohols (Yayyyy!).  And, in this one can, there are 20 grams of Soy protein.  Now, you may say, but I need Whey protein to properly absorb it into my system.  And you can shut up and stop reading.  I find it REALLY hard to find enough Whey protein products that I can even get past my lips, let alone finding enough of them in one day to provide the necessary amount of protein I need to eat.  I’m branching out.

Here’s the thing with this pudding.  Do you know when you make pudding at home – not the already made cups of Jello you find next to the cheese in the dairy aisle of your supermarket.  I’m talking about the mixing the milk in the bowl with the powder kind.  Or perhaps you are a gourmet and you use the heat and set kind.  Whichever one you make at home – you know how if you leave it a day or two in the fridge, the top gets that protective skin on it?   It’s kind of a rubbery substance that forms on top of the pudding and tastes yucky.  Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.  Anyway, this whole can of pudding reminded me of that rubbery protective skin that old pudding gets.  Maybe this was an old can.  It says on the bottom it’s good until June 15th, but it may have been sitting on the shelf at GNC since June 2003 for all I know.

I deal with the consistency issues, and I take a bite of the pudding.  To be sure I was giving it a fair review, I took a second bite.  I can’t take a third. 

I do taste the vanilla.  It’s a fairly strong flavor, sort of like it’s trying to hide something.  I don’t think there’s anything real about the vanilla – more like a synthetic vanilla.  For $2 a can, they could have splashed a little of the real thing in here.  I’m not looking for Tahitian vanilla, but maybe a little McCormick’s?   But something I taste in here that I thought I had gotten used to is an after-taste.  It’s sort of the taste you get when you aren’t used to drinking diet soda, and you take a sip, and you get that weird taste after the soda goes down.  They seem to have gone overboard on the artificial sweetener on this.

The pudding contains Carageenans – which are basically thickeners – and they recommend eating the pudding chilled (although it is out on a shelf at our GNC).  Carrageenans are used to make things gel, and I think part of the problem I had with this pudding is it did “gel” as opposed to being smooth and creamy in texture.  It was just weird.

Now, if you have a craving for something sweet, and you don’t mind odd textured food, I think this would certainly satisfy a sweet tooth.  And it also gets 20 grams of protein into ya – not sure how much you’ll be able to absorb of that 20 grams if you’ve had WLS, but I think you’ll get some benefit out of it.  It does not seem to have that protein smell or taste anywhere – which can be a GOOD thing.  I just really had a hard time getting past the texture, and found that with my limited access to sweet things, the sweetness in this was too much.

Welcome Back, Governor Codey

For a man who did not choose to be Governor of the state of NJ, Richard Codey certainly has the mantle thrust upon him often enough!   You’ll remember a couple of years back when our then Governor Jim McGreevy decided to leave office, Dick Codey took over, as we have no lieutenant Governor in our state.  Yesterday, following a serious car crash, our current governor Jon Corzine was air lifted to Cooper Hospital, and due to the seriousness of his condition, a stunt double needed to fill in.  Enter Dick Codey, the former new acting governor.

Maybe we should get a better system in place?

Another Birthday Party

Granuaile will be 2 on Monday, and we are celebrating her birthday with a party tomorrow.  I tend to go way overboard with food and stuff for parties, but Jim has decided to keep a closer watch on this party than on some others we’ve had.  I ordered a couple of trays from Wegman’s, so tomorrow, he will pick up a fruit tray; a tray with cheese, chunks of ham, and veggies with dip; a tray called Wokery, which has egg rolls, spare ribs, pot stickers, garlic wings and shrimp purses; and something called Suprimo platter, which is sort of a pepperoni bread.  I wanted to make the  food sort of multi-cultural, since we are going with the Backyardigans theme for the baby.  Anyway, it never seems like there will be enough food.  So today, I made deviled eggs, picked up chips and dips, and I am marinating pork as I type.  I may not serve the pork – I may save it for Monday night for the kids – but the fact is, even with the food I have chosen and the birthday cake (oh, and 24 cupcakes that I made today), I still felt like we needed more food.

 I also went into a bit of a panic mode.  At the beginning of the week, I thought we were only going to have 6 people here besides Jim, myself and the girls.  It turns out we are having about 22 people total – if the Nor’easter doesn’t keep them away.  I hadn’t even planned goodie bags by Monday, but on Wednesday, we ran to the store and bought pre-made bags for the kids that will be here.

I hope everything goes well, and I hope people don’t feel like they are cheated out of a full meal.  I usually make sure we have a hot meal, but the party is at 2, so hopefully, the snacky type finger foods will be enough.

I’ll let you know how it goes!