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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:


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.