Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Junior Mints 101

What could be more fun that going to the movies? That's easy - going to the movies with the perfect box of Junior Mints. You may think that all Junior Mints are created equal... but you would be wrong. The test of a really great Junior Mint is when you can set it on your tongue and press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This action should cause the easy collapse of the Junior Mint and send the creamy freshness from inside the chocolatey coating out into your mouth. It should practically melt in your mouth. What you do NOT want is one that barely budges when you do this. If you have to sink your teeth into it, it's not a Junior Mint - it is a stale impostor, and it should be thrown out.

Now, every box of Junior Mints contains at least one or two impostors, but you're really in trouble if you run into more than that. How can you ensure that your experience with Junior Mints will be a good one? One way to test the box is to pick it up and shake it gently. Doing this should cause a light rattling sound within the box. If there are too many bad seeds, the box will feel heavy and the rattle will sound sluggish, as if they're all melted together into one gooey glob. The key to a fresh Junior Mint is that each one must me nicely encapsulated within the chocolate shell until that magical moment when you press it to the roof of your mouth. Sometimes you'll notice that there is a slight hemorrhage in the mint and the creamy filling has started to ooze out prematurely. When you see this, don't even bother putting it in your mouth. It's too late for that one, and it is assured to be gross and chewy.

Even if you have found the perfect box of fresh Junior Mints, there is still a risk that you will ruin them before the movie is over if you're not careful. Be sure not to hold the box for too long in your hands. That makes the mints snuggle together and melt into the dreaded gooey glob. Take out the mint and then set the box down in a cool place, preferably in the cup holder. This is one of the great things about Junior Mints in a movie - they don't make you thirsty, so you won't be needing a drink. I'm against drinking in movies because what if your bladder gets full? You'll either have to sit there miserable or get up and miss a part of the movie. Anyway, back to avoiding the gooey glob... I recommend giving the box a gentle shake every once in a while to make sure the mints aren't snuggling in there. I'm a fan of snuggling, but that should be left to people and baby animals, not Junior Mints.

One final thing you should know about Junior Mints is where to get them. Sure, you could fork over 4 bucks or so and get a box at the theater. The good thing about this is that you can almost be guaranteed that they will be fresh. But, that's a high price to pay. I used to just stop off at the closest convenient store on my way to the theater. Sadly, many convenient stores have stopped carrying Junior Mints (don't ask me why). Worse still, you won't be able to find them at Kroger anymore, either. For some crazy reason, Kroger carries Junior Caramels (?) but not Junior Mints. Really, I'm a bit speechless about this.

But there's hope! A sweet friend of mine knows of my obsession with Junior Mints and has located them for me at.... drum roll.... Office Depot! Now who would have thought to look there? I'm so excited about this discovery of hers! Thanks, Kellee!

If you have made it to the end of this post, you have earned your Junior Mints diploma. Congratulations! You are now ready for the perfect movie-going experience, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities hereto entrusted.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Diet

I have just created a new diet that, surprisingly enough, was inspired by a delicious piece of chocolate cake I had yesterday. It's called the Memory Keeper's Diet and here's how it works:

Day 1: Identify the 10 target foods that are likely to be your downfall while you try to stay on the straight and narrow at mealtime. Brainstorm the best places to eat those target foods. (e.g. French fries at Snuffer's, ice cream at Marble Slab, etc.)

Days 2-11: On each of these 10 critical days of the diet, you seek out those target foods you identified on Day 1, indulging in one target food each day. The key is that you must be fully present while you eat these foods. No talking. You must throw yourself into whatever you are eating, using all of your senses to take it all in.

Day 12 - ???: Now you are on your path to a new body and a new you! Want a piece of cake? Great! Sit down, close your eyes, and relive that delectable piece you enjoyed on Day 7. Got a hankering for cheese fondue? Go back in your memory to Day 3 when the melted goodness coated each bite of toasted bread. Delicious! (and calorie free!)

I will let you know how this goes. I actually skipped Days 2-11 because last week was Teacher Appreciation week and I was able to arrange my schedule to make sure I was always at the school that was having a luncheon that day. (Hey, you've got to take advantage of these things while you can.) That means I had two pieces of cake and a couple of cookies each day after lunch. (C'mon, how often do you have access to a dessert smorgasbord?) I'm thinking of those as my 10 days of indulgence even though it was more like 5 days of out of control sugar rush. So technically, today was Day 12.

It's been a good day. I got an excruciating headache at about 3:00 that I can only attribute to the sugar withdrawal. I sure do have a lot of respect for people who quit real addictions. I have thought of that piece of chocolate cake 7 times today, but I haven't had any sugar. Part of the Memory Keeper's Diet involves replacement behaviors. Yes, thinking of that cake was really great... but it was even better while I was eating a fresh mango. I wanted a glass of wine with dinner, but instead I had some skim milk. It's all about the memories. And the replacement foods.

Go make some memories!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


That title is meant to be pronounced in the way that Homer says, "Doh!" It's all about the toe right now, ever since a can of bamboo shoots rolled off the counter today while I was unpacking groceries and landed right on my foot. My big toe, to be more specific. I must say, I did a great job of not screaming with the same amount of enthusiasm with which my toe was hurting. Enthusiasm is probably not the right word - more like absolute anguish.

It's been a long time since I've hurt myself that badly, which is saying a lot because I'm quite clumsy and am often running into things. Just a couple of weeks ago I got the crazy idea that I could jump like a track star. Krister was reading in bed and I said, "Hold still and don't be scared, I'm going to jump over you." I proceeded to run at the bed and attempted to clear Krister's legs - vertically. Like Kobe Bryant jumps over the moving car in that commercial. Sometimes I overestimate my own abilities. I still have the bruise on my knee to prove it.

Anyway, so it's always impressive to me how such a small part of the body can cause such an enormous amount of pain. Even though I iced it and limped about the house like a total wuss, it is so swollen than when I hold both feet up next to one another and bend both big toes with the same amount of effort, the good toe disappears from view as it bends and the other one doesn't really go anywhere. It just sits there, fat and red. Not only red - the bottom of my toenail has taken on a deep purple hue. It's beautiful, like a sunset. The big bummer is I've been waiting all weekend to get out in this beautiful weather and go for a run, and I really WAS about to finally do it when this happened. So instead I had a beer and some cookies because I felt sorry for myself.

Toe long, friends!