Wednesday, October 28, 2015

News Flash: We All May Die...Someday

Have you seen this?

It's the World Health Organizations latest news flash about cancer and its relationship with eating meat, processed meats, specifically.

So it got me thinking. Do you know what processed meats are, specifically? If you don't, let me make you a list. If you do, skip this list.

Processed meats are things like hot dogs, brats, sausages, bacon.

Yes, friends, bacon has been forsaken by the WHO.

Now, while I know some of you are obsessed with bacon (I've seen your posts. I've read your t-shirts. I'm looking at you, Ted Mottaz...that's my dad), I would like to remind you about good things.

Good things are sometimes not that good for you, in large doses.

Have you seen things like this:

Okay, this is not just having bacon with your eggs now and again. This is ridiculous. 

There's a reason Homer Simpson has been portrayed as a glutton. It's pictures like this pizza.

However, I am not a huge fan of the processed meats. I enjoy a good wiener roast, but mainly because of the weather and the scarf I'm wearing and a s'more, not the hot dog. Foods like hot dogs make my stomach turn into knots, and while I do enjoy bacon occasionally, it too makes me feel a little, well, greasy and gross, so I try to exercise moderation.

But friends, and those of you who are experts, here's a newsflash: WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE SOME DAY.

Yes, I would love my life to be of good quality, and yes, I believe that eating a pound of bacon is probably bad for you, and yes these meats may be linked to cancer. 

But do you know what else is linked to cancer at about the same rate:




And guess what I did just the other day? Ran in the sun, wearing my plastic sunglasses, only to come home and later that evening enjoy a bag of microwave popcorn. 

I guess I'll be dead by tomorrow.

Seriously, friends, cancer sucks. Believe me, I know. Our family lost Joe's mom nearly two years ago, and it hurts still every day. 

Do I believe that bacon or sausage or hot dogs or plastics or the sun had anything to do with her cancer? Maybe a little. 

Do I wish that she could have lived to see the twins, celebrated not just her 60th birthday, but her 70th, 80th, and 90th birthdays? Yes, yes, and OH YES.

However, I am taking a page from her book. She wasn't ready to leave this earth, but she knew that one day we all would depart. 

The end.

She was at peace with that, and that had nothing to do with bacon, and everything to do with finding peace and having an understanding of eternity in a bigger sense.

I never claim to be an expert. I am not a scientist, but I will leave you today with a few nuggets of my "expertise," and the rest, sweet friends who love the internet and its spoils, you're going to have to make some judgements yourself. 

  • We're all going to die some day, so live with that in the back of your mind, not the front. Exercise more, eat less, but enjoy all of it, bacon and hot dogs and ribeyes and running and fruit and water included. Have a lovely meal, but don't be shocked if you feel bad or are unhealthy, should you choose to eat crappy every single day. This is not rocket science. This is common sense. 
  • Too much of a good thing is never a good thing. Yes, another common sense aspect. So yes, World Health Organization, I get it. Processed meats are bad. They're full of salt and junk that is not that great for you. But, instead of freaking everyone out, please don't use words like WILL CAUSE CANCER, instead, remind folks to be moderate. Enjoy a hot dog, but not every day, every meal. To that, I end this with the oh so effective, yet oh so uneducated word, "DUH."
  • Stop with the bacon. The Baconater. The Bacon 5K Runs. The hot dog eating contests. Stop. Can we all quit being so danged obsessive, and then shocked that something we overuse or overeat may cause our bodies harm? This goes for the uber-healthy, too. Knock off the obsession over crazy new diet fads that some person thought of to peddle on Facebook. I'm done.
In closing, yes, this probably is not good PR for my Team Beef. However, I'm not worried about it. Pretty soon they'll move on to dairy or broccoli or something else new. 

That's because we're human. We're fickle, and we're all going to take a long dirt nap some day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Subway: Eat Fresh, Stay Politically Correct

Oh Subway.


You've joined the ranks of Chipotle and Panera, and I'm not just disappointed, I'm confused.

You see, you dot the town streets of nearly every rural community I drive through. More than a McDonalds, Subway restaurants are found everywhere. While I prefer a Jimmy Johns (I know, he hunts big game, but he bakes one heck of a loaf of bread), and would rather not pay $5 for my intake of carbs for the week, I appreciate your commitment to rural communities. Your sandwich wrappers most likely are found in nearly every tractor or semi cab during the busy times. Lines are long after football games. We supposedly support you to eat fresh.

Your commitment to small communities is to be admired.

However, it is overshadowed by your blind politically correctness.

I forgave you when you listened to that crazy, the Food Babe, and made the proclamation that you removed whatever chemical you had that was also in yoga mats. Although sickened, I still have patronized your restaurant after learning of the Jared pornography scandal, citing that because you're locally owned and operated, it wasn't the franchiser's fault.

However, this statement, this proclamation to ditch all meat treated with antibiotics is ridiculous.

This is just politically correctness at it's finest, and I'm done.

I am trying to take a chapter from the book of my 101 year old grandmother's life. Never in her life has she taken a huge stand on something. She's very moderate. However, she has not lived in moderate times. She has endured the Depression. She's lived through polio, the mumps and measles. She believes in science and vaccines thanks to those times, and yet she is the greenest cook, although living in the "innovative" food time of SPAM. She and my grandpa raised their own beef, "put up" sweet corn, and enjoyed cherry pies from her tree. While she's the ultimate in living off the land, she balances it out with a flair for nice things and getting her hair done. She would find this ridiculous, would I even share it with her. But, it's not worth her time, or mine.

I'm sorry Subway. You're missing the point. You're making claims especially about beef or pork that are not supported by those in the industry. The beef you're eating on your roast beef does not have any antibiotics in it when it comes to your Subway. Period. It may have had some to keep the animal alive to keep the farmer in business to keep your costs down (hello? Supply and demand? Consumer Ec 101), but once it is sent to market, it has to be tested and cleared. Have you ever met a beef inspector? We have a connection. I can introduce you, should you have questions.

I'm done. This is another bang my head on the desk, don't feed the crazies moment. I hate this. I hate that because of "wellness" and "health," we're trying to "wreck" and "demonize" livestock farmers. I welcome you, Subway, to come to my father-in-law's hog confinement to see the care and time and careful management he takes in raising his pork. I invite you to see the care we put into our beef cattle, the few we have. Put them up ones who don't receive the necessary care in a blind test, and I guarantee you'll choose the ones that receive help when they're sick (which, I might add, is not as often as you probably think).

Subway, you're just another sheep in the flock of food fear. You're just trying to keep up, keep ahead of the trendy spots, and that is disappointing.

When is it a farmer's turn to reap the benefits of being politically correct?

I bet I'll have to live until I'm 101 to see that.

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Refreshing Perspective, Soda and Super Bugs

If you've been paying any attention to health, fitness, wellness or your Facebook friends or bloggers who are now lifestyle experts (ahem), you'll know that if you even admit that you may drink an occasional Diet Coke, or regular Coke, or whatever soda (or pop) you prefer, you will be shamed.

Damned even.

But here's my question: When did we all become experts at health and wellness? What works for you may work for you, but doesn't work for me, but it's not because of my ignorance. It's not because I'm ignoring "facts." Maybe I have my own set. Maybe I like being healthy and well in a different way that includes science, exercise and an occasional cheeseburger and Diet Coke.

I'm not trying to be mean or nasty about this phenomenon of wellness. I love wellness. I get up at 4:30 three mornings a week so my wellness level can skyrocket. I run. A lot. However, I refuse to be extreme. I have posted about this before, so I'm not going to waste your eye energy on rehashing my feelings on moderation.

However, I have been refreshed. In a virtual world that reeks of quick fixes, extreme challenges and before and after pics, I have read two different articles this week. Only two, so I'm not claiming to be an expert, my interest just piqued. One is online, and one in my Runner's World, and they are as refreshing as my fountain Diet Coke I let myself have when I have had a hard day, and have been up since 4:30 AM.

These writers contend that maybe we should knock off the food shaming.


And, I would LOVE to add, these folks are both very healthy people, AND, they lead very normal lives. Normal to me, that is: lives that include barbecues with hamburgers, a life that wants to be fit and trim, but also likes chocolate ice cream. These folks contend that maybe, just maybe, we should listen to the experts and exercise and eat all in moderation.


Isn't that something?

So refreshing.  Like the sweet, sweet nectar of Diet Coke.

Don't shame me for loving me some DC on after a long day.

I admit it, food discussions have become such interesting platforms for us folks in agriculture, blogs are full of great discussions, and I have been able to meet some great people and hear some good, differing perspectives because of it. However, I believe that all this information, discussion, and available products to buy and sell have allowed us (me included) to feel as if we're all wellness experts. It has allowed us the power to feel like we can shame those who are doing things differently, eating differently and working out differently.

Friends, that's wrong.

Can't we all just get along?

I would like to go back to a place reminiscent of Mad Men (which is my new Netflix show to watch when all are sleeping, and beware, you may want to start wearing suits and ties for men and dresses for women, and you may feel like you don't drink or smoke enough. ha!). When can we just go back to having meatloaf without judgement? Why can't I want to work out to feel good, but also be able to wear my skinny jeans? When can I just have a meal and not have to make a stand about it? Why are TV shows even weighing in on GMOs and super bugs? Can't we just get back to episodes like where Ross can't get out of his leather pants and there are close talkers?


My perspective may make people upset. I'm very sorry about that. Truly, I am, but we are living in a world where the belief is if you don't believe what I do, you're wrong. If you don't believe me, watch any talk show or even our presidential debates. My friend Holly wrote about it here, and friends, people who may disagree with you may will also be mean. And potentially psycho. Read the commentary.

Anyway, I'm not insinuating that what some folks may be doing is wrong, I'm just all for the refreshing "I'm okay, you're okay; we're different, and that's okay" perspective I have read about this week.

I'm so certain that you do what's best for your family. My perspective is just different than the extremists. I like sustainability (whatever that means), and these crazy perspectives of don't do that, you'll die in a minute just don't shake out. Life happens. I'm trying my best, but that will always include a cheeseburger, a set of vaccinations, and a good sweaty run.

And even, GASP, a refreshing Diet Coke.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

All Is Quiet, Sort Of

The irony of this title is that I now currently have a baby talking upstairs. Thought I could post really fast before the awakening of the twins.

Oh well.

Anyway, it's relatively quiet right now, which is odd, because it's harvest, we're the site of the big bins, the gas tank and the machine shed, and we're evidently a thoroughfare for the neighbors as they cruise past our house in their grain truck at about 60 miles per hour. Have I ever discussed the ramifications of going too quickly on a gravel road? No? Well...that's a post for another day.

Anyway, my point is, it's weirdly quiet. Dad and my uncle are harvesting at a farm not near us, hauling grain (I'm assuming) to town. Our house project is at a bit of a standstill, as the exterior of our mudroom/porch is done, but the electricians have yet to show up. Some day, my friends...some day, I'll give you a house tour. Maybe in 2016. The wind is even calm.


The quiet has caused my mind to ponder harvest.

Harvest was a time in our farming life when the hustle and bustle kept our mind busy. When Joe's mom was gravely ill, we were kept busy with the necessary tasks at hand. Joe could lose himself watching grain pour into the cart or semi trailer. While harvest is the end of the growing season, it keeps a farmer's psyche alive.

As a wife, this was always a lonely season. Other farm wives have blogged about this. On Facebook, friends have shared their sunset pictures as they share meals on tailgates and in combines. Parents kiss their kids goodnight long after the kiddos have fallen asleep. But harvest is a time when that loneliness signifies the end of hard work. You're happy to get there, get started, and get done. It's a strange pairing.

I'm hopeful that it starts to get noisy around here again soon. I love seeing the guys "catch on the go," love the potential of my little guy hopping in with grandpa for a round or two. This is our first harvest without a clear set of duties, but since we're here, we're still in the thick of it. I'd like to consider myself an active participant, but on days when it's just quiet, it's a little strange. Heck, I even talked to my dad the other day about learning to drive a truck! Who AM I??? If only we had a sleeper cab. I don't think I can stuff two car seats beside me.

Oh well.

My hope is that the crew will roll back in here soon, so I can keep tabs on this harvest, reporting my findings to you, my friends. Just call me the rural route Mrs. Kravitz.

Except when it's quiet, then I'll just wax poetic.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Chapter That Rewrote My Story

Dear Mary and Caroline,

Today, you are one.


While we have already begun celebrating this milestone with sweet gifts and preparations for a pumpkin party on Sunday, I feel like I need to celebrate on my own. No, not just that we have survived this first year, because, frankly being mobile scares me more than your heart monitors!

Today, I celebrate my mental state. I celebrate my acceptance. I have finally come to terms with the fact that you are in my life.

I know, sounds strange, kind of like a toddler who has finally realized the new baby(ies) is/are here to stay. This is my truth, though. This year has passed with so much change and heartache and happiness and zigs and zags, but now that I have soaked it in this past week. I feel at peace at being your mother.

You see, you rewrote my whole life plan.

Did you know that?

You were a chapter in my life's book that I didn't expect. I suppose as a writer, I should marvel this unique plot line. A strange twist in an otherwise predictable story. My mothering story was complete, or so I thought. I had four kids already, and unfortunately and embarrassingly, I spent most of my pregnancy with you in shock at this twist, wondering and worrying way too much. How would you two fit into our already full life?  How would my career would survive with you in it? How would our life on the farm would weather this strange storm? How would our marriage stay afloat?

Here's the short answers:
You make our family complete.
My career is on hiatus, and that's okay.
Our life on the farm has zigged, and we are zagging.
And, marriage is hard. Kids make it harder, but we're going to come out stronger...and with great stories.

While this may seem like a sad letter, a tale of a life turned upside down. It isn't. I promise you.

Having you has rewritten my story. With this new plot line, you have made me see myself in a different light. While I had this grand plan, your lives have allowed me to see that life isn't about a plan or a schedule or a structure. Life is about love and change and choosing joy in the face of the unpredictable. This year I have realized I can be stretched in so many different ways and not break. I can love even more than I thought I could. I can balance and plan and fail and succeed and love and get frustrated and angry and forgive even more than I realized.

And it's because of you two.

It's taken me a whole year to say that, though. At first, I was scared. I didn't think I could do it. I didn't think I could be the mother I wanted to be for you. I am older than I was when I had the big kids. We are busier thanks to fun new chapters with the girls. Dad made a career change. We jacked up our house to make room for you.

But the thing is, twins, while I'm older, and more tired and busy and still scared at times, I'm wiser. I know to keep the main thing the main thing. I'm raising up little people who are independent and creative and funny and smart and fun, and that's what matters. My years of previous mothering have allowed me to realize I can get most of it done (whatever "it" is that day), and the rest will just have to wait. My schedule is full, but my heart is fuller, and love always wins.

It took me a full year and a big, deep breath to admit that.

It didn't take me a year to know that I loved you, however. From the minute you two came into our lives, we knew we were in for an adventure. I am in love with you, you two. There are two of everything around here, personalities included, and that has made this truly an adventure.

Mary, you are our spunky twin. You like to be first for everything. However, as of late, you have taken to just resting your head on my knee as I feed your sister, grabbing my legs and holding on as I change Caroline's diaper. You want to be near us, with us, and into just about everything at all times. It makes for a sweet, spunky personality. You love your big sisters and are already taking care of your little one. You are going to be fun to watch grow, we'll just have to make sure to really watch you! You're quite inquisitive...and a daredevil.

Caroline, you greet me every morning with a big smile and a round of applause, but, really, I should be applauding you. You have come through so much this year, and still are so sweet and smiley. Born in distress, watched carefully, still seeing a specialist for a small kidney issue, you are surprising us every day with your tenacity. Because of this, you have taught me to slow the heck down and enjoy all those little things in your precious life. You are my miracle baby, and I am so thankful that this year has come and gone with all of worries being quelled with you meeting your milestones or a doctor telling us, "she's fine." Whew. Your sweetness has cemented your role as the baby of the family. Your siblings adore you.

Girls, I am so lucky.

Yes, my hands are full, but sweet babies, my heart has been made fuller. You are blessings that I wasn't sure I needed, but God knew better. I am so lucky to be your mom, and when you're old enough to understand how freaked out I was about you, I hope you realize it was just for a moment. Well, okay, more than that, but in the grand scheme: just a blip.

Happy, happy birthday, my sweet twins. Thank you for rewriting my story. I can't wait to read the rest of it.