Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Airplane Confessions

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a nervous flier--and a grabber. The first sign of turbulence and my arm involuntarily clamps onto the nearest passenger. This is particularly problematic when seated in the dreaded middle seat, where two passengers (rather than one), will fall victim to my airplane-phobia death grip. The turbulence don’t even have to be bad for my arms to project forth like Mr. Gadget in major malfunction mode. Simply a little bump-bump will do.

This past weekend on my way from Phoenix to Louisville, I willed my hands to stay clasped in my lap as I endured a horrid series of turbulence. I felt like a rabid dog trying not to bite a soft white bunny. To keep my go-go Gadget arms at bay, I let my mind wander to movie scenes where characters scream out insanely ridiculous confessions in the face of certain airplane crash doom, only to later land safely—their only doom, embarrassment of deathly proportions. Here are the confessions I felt compelled to scream (prior to safe landing):

“Once (or seven times) I used a dirty dishrag to wipe my kids’ faces with.”

“Once when I thought I put that same dirty dishrag in the wash a week later, but didn’t, I used it again to wipe my kids’ faces—and mine.”

“Sometimes when people say something I don’t want to hear, I pretend I don’t hear them.”

“Sometimes when people repeat the thing I don’t want to hear, I still pretend I don’t hear them.”

“Several times I told my kids (and husband) all the cookies were gone because I wanted them for myself.”

“Sometimes I workout in the clothes I slept in the night before, and then sleep in them again.”

“I’ve poured soap on cake like Miranda in Sex And The City from preventing myself from eating an entire cake—after I’ve already eaten and entire cake. Then I wondered what cake would taste like with soap on it.”

“All people, who think people who read and love Pride and Prejudice are cliché, are cliché...and most likely secretly read and love Pride and Prejudice.”

“If I was James Franco, Han Solo (NOT Harrison Ford), or Bradley Cooper I would make out with myself.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five Tips for Moving with Small Children (Good Luck with That)

"I may not be a smart girl, but I know what moving stress is."--Erin Gump.

1. A plan of action:
The key to a successful moving experience begins with a solid plan of action. Label your boxes, arrange for moving help, and for the love (of the Patron Saint of Sanity)—do not potty train twins. You will not only be packing and unpacking large quantities of boxes, you will also be changing large quantities of soiled “big-girl panties” and picking up endless (remarkably large) toddler turds—I’m sorry to say they don’t always land in target.

2. Arrange for plenty of help:
In addition to eliciting the services of packers and movers, it’s also vital that you be proactive in seeking childcare solutions. Don’t simply assume it’s going to “all work itself out,” or that your kids won’t “indulge in epic-sized tantrums,” or that pizza, juice, and M&M’s “will make it all go away.” Instead, assign one adult to every child. If you have Davis children, you might want to make it 2 (or more) adults per each child.

3. Prepare yourself for inclement weather:
Be sure to account for the challenges associated with seasonal weather. Or, if you live in a season-free environment simply consisting of hot, hotter, and hizzotest, don’t move--ever.

4. Reduce expectations:
It’s understandable to have expectations of how your moving experience will manifest. It’s even customary to be disappointed about certain aspects of your new home; the furniture might appear awkward, or the carpet may be aesthetically dismal. In some cases you may have even had the expectation that your new home would be free of scorpions … until that is, you caught a glimpse of one rapidly scuttling across your entryway. Reduce your expectations; it will “all work itself out”—if it doesn't, call an exterminator.

5. Maintain a positive attitude:
When all else fails put on your happy face. When people ask you how the move is going try to limit the number of times you point a fake-finger gun to your head.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Acupressure This! Stress Relievers For Cynics and Goofballs

For those of you who know me it might come as no great shock when I tell you … I’m slightly stressed out. For those of you who don’t know me—I’m always stressed out. It’s only the degree of stress that fluctuates. My stress scale varies from slightly stressed to freakishly-unmanageable (usually overly- exaggerated) stressed. However, even at the highest 8-pointer on my Richter-stress scale, someone always out does me. I’m not going to lie, this comforts me. Sorry 10-pointers. To make us all feel better—from the 1-pointers to the 10-pointers, I’d like to offer some stress-relieving techniques via an “Acupressure Points (Needle-Less) Acupuncture” worksheet I recently acquired.

For those techniques you may find too difficult or time-consuming to apply I have provided a few of my own modifications and alternatives. Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, shrink, guru, massage therapist, transcendentalist or anything else particularly exciting (other than self-diagnosed hypochondriac-ADD-caffeine-riddled-free- spirit type). Enjoy.

*These are considered points for relieving traumatic stress, anxiety, and panic:

1. Letting go: Cross your arms over the chest center. Place your fingertips firmly on both sides of your outer chest. Breathe deeply and hold these points for about two minutes.


I simply call this “Avoidance:” Take a paper bag and put it over your head. Breathe as deeply as possible. If your bag begins to make a crunching noise (further increasing your feeling of panic)--stop breathing. Or, if time permits, cut a whole where your mouth is. Stay under bag until you have replaced whatever stressed you out in the first place with the stress of paper-bag claustrophobia.

2. Gates of Consciousness: With your thumbs, press underneath the base of the skull into the indentions on both sides. Close your eyes and slowly tilt your head back. Visualize this mental balancing point relieving your panic and anxiety as you gently press up underneath your skull for one to two minutes.


Unconsciousness: Take your thumbs and use them to propel your head into a wall. Repeat until stress or consciousness has been temporarily alleviated.

3. Sea of Tranquility: Gently press the base of the sternum with the middle three fingertips. At the same time, concentrate as you take deep, slow breaths into your heart for three minutes.


See Jane Spin: Go to spin class and place your fingertips lightly on the resistance wheel. Pretend to crank it up. Take deep fake breaths and occasionally pat your heart to indicate to fellow spinners how hard you’re working out. Post-class make sure to pour your water bottle on yourself when no one’s looking. Be sure to say aloud, “I definitely earned a double-chocolate-mocha frappuccino and scone.”

4. Interrupt a Panic Attack: Hold the base of the middle fingernail firmly against the thumb of the same hand. Take long, slow, deep breaths for three minutes.


Exchange Panic Attack for Snack Attack: Go to the pantry. Use any of your fingers to grab food that is bad for you. Eat it. If you can, try to breathe too.

5. Inner Mind: Place the right thumb on the point on the left arm. Wrap your fingertips around the outside of the arm and place them directly behind your thumb.


Inner (Bed) Sheet: Slide your bed cover off. Get under your top sheet and wrap yourself in it. Stick both arms up in the air and scream. Take Advil PM and face your stress the following day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Rumination and Exfoliation

Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of rumination on the many joys of motherhood as we approach the joyous occasion of Mother’s Day? If I sounded sarcastic just then, I didn’t mean too. I’m 99.9% sincere! We are lucky—no, we are blessed to be moms, yes? Yes! Still (and here might come a teeny tiny flick of sarcasm); in addition to being lucky and blessed, we might also be--exhausted. That’s my summation of this year’s Mother’s Day ruminating: In the arena of motherhood I’m lucky, blessed, and utterly exhausted.

I feel so exhausted in fact, that my rumination (great word is it not?) on motherly exhaustion led me in turn, to ruminate on celebrities who are hospitalized for “exhaustion.” What exactly does “so-and-so was hospitalized for exhaustion” mean? Too much lack of sleep, lack of time, over-commitment, financial problems, prolonged exposure to demanding personalities, emotional fatigue, overabundance of people admiring and adoring you, etc.? If that’s the case, I’d be permanently hospitalized (except perhaps for the last qualifier). And how exactly is one treated for said exhaustion? Are the exhausted celebrities in question supplied with top-rated physicians, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, life coaches and enough happy pills to give the Grinch a permagrin? Or, are they (in all actuality) “hospitalized” in top-rated spas and doled out manicures, pedicures, massages, facials and free champagne? Either way, I don’t begrudge the celebs, although if I had my choice I would pick the latter—trading free champagne for chocolate.

I’m not saying I want to be hospitalized for Mother’s Day … because that would be weird … right? I don’t need to be at a spa for longer than a day, or even an hour (or two) to receive the desired benefits of a little R&R (and exfoliation). Can you believe I actually once swapped a spa treatment in favor of 15 hours of sleep? I blame it on … exhaustion. For now, in between celebrity-exhaustion ruminations I’ll continue to feel lucky, blessed and exhausted to be a mom. Happy Mother’s Day and to all a good night!

Rumination (or a variation of) was used 7 times (including the title—and just now).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Trading Chaos for Cupcake Wars

Picture courtesy of iStockphoto

When things get chaotic or stressful some people like to fantasize about Calgon taking them away while others envision themselves on the beach of a tropical island; and still others imagine themselves on a breezy-ocean cruise. Although perfectly pleasant, these scenarios don’t work for me. The only place Calgon takes me to is wondering when the last time I cleaned my bathtub was. I can’t go to a tropical island because I start freaking out about how much it cost to get me there. You might be wondering at this point how on earth I’ll sabotage the cruise. Um, have you ever heard of the Titanic? I don’t care how many lifeboats are on that thing. I’m out. No, the place I dream of is a much safer place: I dream of Cupcake Wars.

I realize that the words “safer” and “wars” in the same sentence might be a bit of an oxymoron, but we’ll skip right over that and get to the good stuff--Cupcake Wars. For those of you unfamiliar, Cupcake Wars is the quintessential cupcakeathon televised on Food Network. Four bakers are challenged to concoct a cupcake masterpiece from ingredients the likes of which are more suited for an appetizer menu than a pastry case (think cheese puffs, olives and oxtail?—I don’t judge, and it’s a good thing). Ultimately the contestants must come up with 3 recipes that will rock the pants off 3 renowned judges of the professional cupcake world. The grand finale pins the last-two-standing cupcake bakers against each other in a challenge to create a gigantor 1000-cupcake display for whatever swanky-themed event is featured for each particular episode (think Cirque du Soleil, Grammy Awards, etc.).

Now back to your regularly scheduled program of Erin’s contradictory and dreamy/chaotic escape to Cupcake Wars. Why after all, would I select this particular scenario/show to escape to when: 1. historically I have not enjoyed baking, and 2. I am not particularly successful at baking (cupcakes or anything else really) and, 3. The show actually radiates a sort of chaotic, crazy vibe. That’s the cool thing about oxymorons and contradictions--they provide a convenient loophole out of the unreasonable, nonsensical and otherwise just plain weird.

If you think about it objectively, my escape to Cupcake Wars isn’t much different than escaping to an island. My island is just full of shiny kitchenAid appliances. Who cares that in reality I don’t know the difference between baking soda and baking powder? In my Cupcake Wars fantasy I’m a freaking cupcake-baking mastermind with a reputation for producing the most decadent buttercream frosting west of the Mississippi--so put that in your cupcake and eat it! As for the chaos of Cupcake Wars—it’s organized and contained, whereas my chaos is unpredictable and usually involves cleaning up poop rather than frosting.

I may not be gracing the actual stainless-steel paradise that is the kitchen of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars anytime soon, but you bet your sweet cupcakes I’ll be on my couch watching those crazy bakers go toe-to-toe, while dreaming of Cheeto-infused, vanilla-bean cupcakes with an almond-buttercream frosting.

*Author’s note. I successfully baked my first batch of cupcakes from scratch last week, followed by cleaning up frosting AND poop (toddler’s and puppy’s). Who says dreams can’t come true amidst chaos?