Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Holy Huge-a-riffic-ness Batman!

  Monday I posted about the book 'Food Rules' by Michael Pollan. The family was amused by the fact that I was reading a book about food and nutrition and spouting off bits of nutritional wisdom for the next several days. Then they got a look at the next book I was planning to read and they stopped laughing. Their mouths dropped open. They knew then that I had definately gone off the deep end.

The book was (Holy Huge-a-riffic-ness Batman! ) What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating. It's written by Marion Nestle, a Professor at New York University who has degrees in molecular biology and public health nutrition. Her web site, has topics ranging from the latest nutritional studies and whether or not she feels they have merit, to the advertising of health claims on foods, sustainability, etc Anything involving food policies and politics.

So I picked up this monster of a book at the library. This book is a many-paged, 3 inch thick monster. I really didn't plan on reading it through cover to cover - it was just too huge to try to read the whole thing and I didn't have 3 years to spend at it, so I picked out the chapters I found of interest and skimmed through them. Overall this was an interesting book. It contains a lot, like tons and tons, of information and research on just about every food imaginable. It's organized like a supermarket with chapters on produce, dairy, frozen foods, butter/margarine, cereals, breads etc.

One nice thing about it is that she doesn't tell you what to do and not do. She doesn't say "Don't eat this!" or "Eat that" or "Always choose this." She lays out the facts and lets you decide for yourself. Is organic the way to go? She lays out the facts on organic labeling, what organic is, how food companies comply with organic labeling, the results of nutritional studies and research, the costs of organic and lets you make your own decision. Each of the chapters/topics in the book is presented in the same way.

Another thing mentioned in the book that I found interesting, that most people probably don't think much about, is the fact that the main goal of a supermarket is not to encourage you to eat healthy. It's about the supermarket making money. It's about the companies that make the foods making money. And often making money at the expense of those eating it. Margins in the grocery business are small - so food companies, supermarkets, etc do everything they can to get you to buy their food and to buy large quantities of it. One (of many) ways they do this is by putting various health claims on the packaging. Marion Nestle discusses many of these health claims and tries to put them in perspective. Putting a health claim on a box of cereal that is comprised mostly of sugar, refined wheat flour and artifical colors and flavors doesn't make it healthy. And while the health claims in many cases may be based in truth, it's still deceptive in that you are mislead into thinking you are eating healthy.

If you are really interested in how to choose the right foods at the supermarket - where there is an overwhelming array of foods, pseudo-foods and advertising; if you really want to know how to eat healthy and what factors are important to take into account while doing your weekly shopping, then pick up this book (carefully though - it's heavy. You don't want to pull any muscles.) It's filled to the brim with any and all information that you would need to know to choose what's best for you.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Food Rules! It Does. But This is About the Book.

  I recently read the book Food Rules by Michael Pollan.  It was very interesting. It's a small book - I read it in about an hour (to the amazement of the kids) and found the prologue to be especially interesting. I spent half a day spouting nutritional advice to the hubster and the kids. They found it very amusing.

Really, if you read no other book about nutrition in your life - give this a try. Most of what it contained wasn't news to me. For the most part it's common sense, but it's nice to see if all in one place, in such a concise and understandable way.

The book consists of 64 simple rules to follow to eat healthy, many of which overlap.

Here are a few of the rules I really liked:

  • Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. He specifically mentioned those wonderfully sweet, colorful tubes of yogurt. Are those food? The kids sure enjoy it. But with all the added sugars and colors it's not really much more than a dessert. Granted one with some healthy ingredients but those may well be overshadowed by the sheer mountains of added sugars and artificial colors. What else would great-grandma not recognize? Twinkies? Fruit Loops? Plenty of other stuff I'm sure.
  • Avoid foods that have some form of sugar or sweetener listed among the top three ingredients. This makes sense. If it has that much sugar added it's either very unhealthy or inherintly disgusting in that it requires such huge amounts of sugar to make it palatable.
  • Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients. This one is interesting. If it contains more than 5 or so ingredients it is most-likely heavily processed and contains a lot of salt, sugars, additives or any number of other chemicals. Take a look at the ingredient list for Hamburger Helper, or a frozen pizza. You're better off making something from scratch or sticking to something less heavily processed.
  • Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not. Things like margarine (basically oils and chemicals dressed up to look and sometimes taste, like butter), artificial sweeteners, fake fats, etc. These things are generally very heavily processed to get to the state they are in. I don't follow this one necessarily. I use margarine and butter and (at least until now) haven't leaned too much one way or the other. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. But I do tend to want to avoid artificial sweeteners. I put them in my coffee and I drink diet soda, but I'm not entirely comfortable with them. I plan to cut out the soda altogether as soon as my home stash is exhausted. Should be interesting.
  • Stay to the edges of the supermarket - avoid the middle. The middle is where you find all the processed, overly-salted, overly-sweetened stuff. It's best to stick to the periphery of the store as much as possible where the 'whole foods' are. Things like fruits and veggies, meat, dairy products.
  • Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk. This one will be difficult for us. We eat a lot of cereal and most of the cereal we eat is highly processed with lots of refined carbs and artificial colors. Things like Fruit Loops, Trix, Cap'n Crunch. You know - all those sweet sweet tasty cereals. The good news is we also like Cheerios and Rice Krispies and Kix which may not be uber-healthy, but they beat the heck out of some of the rainbow-colored stuff. And actually, for the past year or two I've been eating mostly oatmeal and granola. An occasional bowl of Cap'n Crunch may find it's way into my stomach, but for the most part I try to stick to higher fiber cereals in the morning to fill me up. Even Sweet Pea eats the (homemade) granola and amazingly enough, I even got the hubby to eat a bowl of oatmeal. [gasp] I know I know! Amazing.
  • And this one I especially like: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself. This rule was written under the assumption that most people won't bother very often to make their own junk food - cookies, cakes, etc, so it will be an occasional thing. Well, he doesn't know me. I would bake several times a week if I could. I love baking. So, I guess this is one rule I shouldn't follow.
  • Buy smaller plates and glasses. This one too is interesting - there was a study done that showed that by switching from a 12" plate to a 10" plate people reduced the amount of food they eat by 22%. That's significant! And worth a try.
Overall, this was a great little book. Chock full of great advice. Pick and choose what you want to follow, but any small changes could make a big difference. If you want to make improvements, you have to start somewhere and this book will give you some great ideas on where to start. Check it out.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Short and Sweet

  After Wednesday's post which was so long that you either

a) lost interest and stopped reading after the first paragraph, or
b) you are still reading today

I decided to go with something short and sweet. And nothing is sweeter than chocolate. (OK, there are things sweeter than chocolate, but there isn't much that's BETTER than chocolate. And don't argue with me. No! Stop it now. Vanilla is not even close!)

And here it is - chocolate love:


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Friggin' Kettlebell Monster

  I recently got myself a kettlebell. If you've never heard of them they are awesome little pieces of excercise equipment. (And by 'little' I mean, they are relatively small in size, but not in weight. As far as workouts go they pack quite a punch!) Read about them here.

First, I picked up a 10 pounder one day on a whim. I'd been thinking about it for a while, then when I was out I saw some for a decent price so I picked up a 10 pounder. I really knew almost nothing about them yet except for what I'd seen in an infomercial that I watched for about 5 minutes. Once I got it home I did some research and decided that it wasn't quite heavy enough. Normally, when I do an excercise routine with a DVD (which I haven't done faithfully in many years) I used 5 and sometimes 8 pound hand weights depending on the exercise. But kettlebells are used differently. You generally aren't doing reps that isolate a single muscle or two at a time, you are doing exercises that use your entire body - your core muscles along with, say, your quadriceps and hamstrings and/or biceps or shoulders. So you can and should use a much heavier weight. For the basic swing exercise, it may look like a shoulder and arm excercise where you are lifting the kettlebell, but it's far from it. You aren't lifting - you're swinging the weight and using your hips to accomplish most of the action. (My thighs and butt will tell you how effective it is! They certainly tell me. Loudly! But really, now I can do a workout without getting uber sore. The first one though - whoa! I couldn't move for days!)

So, needless to say, after doing my research and deciding that I was in pretty decent shape I went with a 20 pounder. Now, all the DVDs you see show these fit women tossing around a 5-10 pounder, but the more hard-core fitness sites seemed to be under the consensus that a woman should start with at least 15 pounds, 20 if she's in good shape, or 26 if she's in phenomenal shape. Well, I'm in decent shape, but not phenomenal. So I got a 20 pounder. I found a site where I could order it online and they shipped it for FREE. Wow! 20 pounds of iron and they shipped it free! You can't go wrong there!

When that thing arrived at my doorstep I was a little intimidated. 20 pounds of shiny black metal is heavy! A lot heavier than a 5 pound hand weight. That's four bags of flour! (I bake a lot so that comparison works for me!)

I also picked up a copy of Kettlebells for Dummies. That has a good test to find the right size kettlebell. After trying the test I decided that 20 pounds was probably about right. Maybe a little heavy, but I figured better that than not heavy enough.

I also spent a little time on youtube. There are some great videos out there demonstrating the basic moves and it was a big help to see someone doing the movements right!
So far, after my first couple of weeks with this thing I'm doing great. I really enjoy it, I'm definately getting stronger and I haven't injured myself. I was a little worried about some of the movements at first. It takes a little while to get the techniques down and there were a few times where I started the movement, then said 'Holy crap! I can't do that with 20 pounds! But that was a couple of weeks ago and now I CAN do it with 20 pounds! Maybe not 20 reps. Maybe not even 10 reps, but certainly 3 or four to start with. I'll work up from there.

As far as the basic moves go, so far I have a pretty good handle on doing the 'clean' where you basically get the kettlebell up into a 'rack' position under your chin with your elbow bent and tucked into your side. It's not a curl, which would be very difficult to do more than a couple times with a 20 pound weight! There's a technique to it, that if done right, keeps you from injuring yourself and makes you feel pretty darn good for having done it right! :)

Then there's the 'snatch'. (Yes, that's what it's called. Don't blame me. I didn't name it!) I definitely need some work on that one. With a 20 pound weight I'm struggling with getting the movements right without hurting myself. I've done it a few times well and just need to practice, but getting that thing up where it's supposed to be, over my head, without smashing my arms to bloody bits is somewhat daunting. I can see where it's probably not that hard once you have the movements down, but getting the movements down with a 20 pound weight in your hands is a challenge. This is where it's helpful to have a lighter kettlebell to practice the movements with then move up to the heavier bell when I have it down.

I had some trouble in the beginning with mashing the front of my forearm with the bell, but I'm getting much better with that. I rarely slam it into my forearm any more. That kind of thing you tend to learn pretty quickly. The first few times aren't so bad, but after that, well, . . . It gets old really really fast.
There's the halo. That one's cool. No swinging or smashing. You hold it by the sides and just circle it around your head. A great exercise for not only arms and shoulders, but also your core muscles.

And then there's the Windmill and the Turkish Get-Up. (Other than the 'snatch' these exercises have some pretty cool names! It's much more fun to do an exercise if the name of the movements are fun, right? OK, so I'm easily amused. Anyway . . .) Both exercises involve some moving around while holding the kettlebell up over your head. It takes balance and core strength and a lot of shoulder control to keep the thing up there while moving yourself around. The TGU is a standard kettlebell exercise and it's pretty cool, but the first time I tried was not pretty. I ended up just putting the kettlebell down and practicing with no weights. After a day or so of that I was able to get the movements down and now I can do 4 on each side with the kettlebell before I stop.

The only warning I have (other than watching your forarms and not dropping it on yourself) is to make sure you have enough space to swing it! It doesn't take a lot of room, but you sure don't want to hit the TV with that thing! Or the kids. Or the cat. Or anything. 20 pounds is a force to be reckoned with when it's swinging around.

And, (best of all) this week I found the trick to making that 20 pound kettlebell seem so much lighter. Get a 35 pound bell. Yes. It works! You see, there are some kettlebell certifications and for that you (meaning me, a woman of my weight) would need to use a 35 pound bell. So, whether I ever get certified or not I decided to get the 'official' size. Holy cow! That's one heavy piece of iron! Just carrying it from the back of the store up to the front had me out of breath with muscles trembling and sweat dripping down my face. I'm able to do some of the exercises with it, but not all. For the ones I can't quite manage yet (anything that involves lifting it over my head) I go back to the 20 pounder and it feels so light that it makes me giggle. Really. If I ever get to
the point where I can actually do 100 snatches with the 35 kettlebell I will officially be a monster. That's right. A friggin' kettlebell monster. It's good to have goals.

So, if you're looking for something to try - this is it. It doesn't involve any equipment other than one kettlebell (you can use two, but really only need one), it's a super workout and it's fun. Try it!


Monday, March 21, 2011

How Much Sugar is in That??

   This post is about sugar. I love sugar! It's yummy. There's white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon sugar, etc. But, despite it's yumminess, unfortunately, it's also bad for you. Bad for your teeth, bad for your body, bad for your heart. And this isn't news. There are a lot of articles and studies about it going back years and years. Here's a few:,8599,1983542,00.html

I try to talk to the kids about nutrition - you know, throw in some tidbits here and there about what constitutes a healthy diet, what foods are good choices and what aren't. And even if we don't always succeed at making those good choices, just having that knowledge is a step in the right direction. It's not always easy these days to eat healthy what with the prevalence of convenient, ubiquitous, sugar-laden foods and drinks. And on top of that I really enjoy baking. That can wreak havok on a healthy diet! But there is always room for a little junk food - as long as we don't get carried away. Moderation is the key and I try to convey that.

So the other day I decided to put things into perspective a little bit, I took this bottle of soda that Sweet Pea likes to occasionally enjoy and put it on the table. This pretty typical 16 oz bottle of soda has 64 grams of sugar. Ok, so 64 grams. Great. What does that mean? Is that a lot? Just how much is that?

So next to it I put a bowl. And in that bowl I put the same amount of white table sugar that is in that soda. 64 grams of sugar. At 4 grams per teaspoon, that's 16 teaspoons of sugar, or 1/3 cup. That's a lot of sugar! Sweet Pea's eyes got wide.

The boys weren't quite as impressed. They don't yet have the frame of reference to recognize if that's a lot or not. But if I do things right, they will. They will know what things are healthy and which aren't, even if they don't always act upon it. Knowledge is the first step, right?

Even this much smaller can of soda has 39 grams of sugar. That's a lot of sugar! (and the perspective in this photo makes it look like even more! :)

I also stumbled across this site recently which shows you just how much sugar is in a variety of foods and beverages. It's an eye-opener. Check it out.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Fuzz Magnet

  OK, so Snickers came down the other day all dressed and ready for school. I almost didn't see him he was so covered in fuzz. He had on his fuzzy fleece pants and his fuzzy fleecy sweatshirt. Both are normally very visible. They are both technically black, but they were so covered in a fine layer of fuzz, dust, threads, cat fur and miscellaneous fluffy stuff that he blended right into his surroundings. (Not that I don't vaccum, or sweep, but, well, you know. Anyway...)

Fleece is like a magnet. A fuzz magnet. It attracts anything fuzzy (and it attracts static too, but that's for a different post). He looked like a used Swiffer, like a dustmop or the inside of the vacuum cleaner bag.

So, I got out my handy dandy masking tape and went to town. After a couple of hours I was finally starting to see through all the fuzz to the color of the fleece. Needless to say, he missed breakfast, school and lunch. But by the time we were done he was spotless. Then the cat walked in and brushed against him.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leprechaun Traps and Cakes and Stuff

 Happy St. Patrick's Day! I wasn't creative at all this year for St. Patrick's day, but I had to blog about something, so here's some pictures from the last few years where I did manage to get my butt in gear and do something creative:

The leprechaun trap:

We almost managed to catch one. We could tell by the scattering of gold coins and the dirty, tiny footprints, that he had fallen in the trap. Unfortunately, he escaped. But it was a fun experiment anyway.

And  here's the leprechaun cake. This one was fun to make!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Cat Knees

  Over a year ago I posted about how Doodlebug prefers his knee patches to be kitten-shaped, rather than plain circles or squares. Well, that still holds true today. Maybe by the time he's 17 he'll want something a little more subtle. Here are some of the latest:

Yes, some of those are covering some rather large rips in the knees. He's very rough on his pants!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

There's a Banana On My Desk

 Apparently National Banana Bread day was last week. I missed it by a few days, but I did manage to use up some old bananas and made a nice loaf. I make banana bread rather frequently. It seems we never finish up our bananas before they get all brown and mushy, maybe because we know that I can't throw away bananas and will make banana bread out of them.

In any case, I try to make it kinda healthy. I mean, it has bananas in it so it's already got an advantage over something that doesn't have fruit in it, but I try to make it even healthier. I usually substitute half the flour with whole wheat flour and I toss in some flax seed. This time I added a little sour cream as well (not to make it healthier, just to try to make it even more moist). However, I also left out something. It went like this:

Sweet Pea: Mom, why is there butter in the microwave?
Me: Oh crap!

That's what I get for trying to soften the butter beforehand. It got left out. But the strange thing is, you would never have known. The banana bread tastes exactly the same as always. Texture, taste, look, feel, smell, etc - all the same. I'm guessing that adding the sour cream probably helped mitigate any disastrous affects.

So, overall, despite a small mishap, it turned out wonderfully!
And for your reading pleasure, a banana haiku:
A banana there.
Sitting there. Staring at me.
I think I'll eat it.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Is That a Dog or a Toaster?

 So I had an apointment for an eye exam today. Nothing special, just a check-up. It started out with the tests involving flashing lights, then reading charts. Pretty standard. Then it progressed to the drops that make your eyes numb. The weirdest part of that was that I could feel them a whole lot more when I (supposedly) couldn't feel them. Maybe it's just me.

Then came the drops to dilate my pupils and I was sent out into the waiting room for a few minutes whlie they took effect. And what could I possibly do in the waiting room as my pupils expanded to the size of quarters? Read? Uh, no. Words were getting fuzzy. Was that a picture of a dog? Or a toaster? Maybe read the literature on eye health? Uh, no. How about look out the window. Gah! Arg! No! Not that! How about stare at the wall and wait for them to come and get me for the next torture test.

Then I was back in the chair and it was time for the blinding bright lights shining in my eyes as they inspected every tiny litle corner of the inside of my eyeball. I was almost successful at not screaming in agony as the blinding brightness shot through my optic nerve directly into my brain. Almost.

Then they let me go. I was free. I happily skipped out into the dazzling snowy brightness of an early March morning. Gah! Hiss! My arm went up over my eyes. I thought my eyes had probably just burst into flames! Vampire eyes!! Must . . . get . . . to . . . the . . . car . . Must . . . get . . . sunglasses! My hands were claws, my teeth were bared. Little children ran away screaming. I heard someone yell for a wooden stake.

And, of course, as is often the way of things, the sunglasses were nowhere to be found. I always have sunglasses in the car. Always! And often I have a spare pair in my purse. But nope. None to be found. (cursing ensues).

Let me tell you that drive back to the office was an experience. The actual drive was (thankfully) pretty uneventful. But by the time I got back my head was throbbing, and my whole face was cramping up from the constant major squintitude I had to do all the way home. Doctor said my eyes were in great shape. But that was before the drive home.


Friday, March 4, 2011

I Could Really Go For Some Rice Krispies (Car Part 2)

 So, the other day I ranted about purchasing a new car. Today I'm going to rant about my old car. (This post will be shorter. I promise).

Let me tell you, that Grand Am was one of the noisiest cars I have ever owned!

First off, it was a great little car. I really liked it. It was comfortable, looked nice, didn't have too many problems (until the big one at the end) and was generally a real nice car. The sound system was a little flaky at times but that was a minor annoyance.

But, did you notice how I said it was a great LITTLE car. Yes, the operative word is 'little'. Those of you who know me know that I am tall. Those of you know me even better, know that I have very noisy knees. Those of you who know me really well know that I have been known to complain sometimes.

Dig if you will a picture (yes, I can't seem to say 'picture this'. It goes back to my 80's youth):

  • Car stops. Car is turned off. Door opens.
  • I turn and put one leg out. I start to rise. [grunt] [creaking of knees begins] My knees are at about the level of my nose at this point - the car was rather low to the ground.
  • [grunt] [heave] [creeeeeaaaaak of the knees]
  • I'm halfway up at this point. A vision of clowns being vomited up out of teeny tiny car flits through my head.
  • "Crap! My purse is stuck on the gear shifter thingie." [Yank]
  • [creeeeaaak]
  • "Damn! This car is too low! Someday I'm going to get a car for normal size people!" A vision of a giraffes rising from a restful night in the early morning sunrise, legs akimbo and unfolding like origami, flits through my head.
  • [creeeeeeaaaaak] [crackle] [pop] (Suddenly I could go for some Rice Krispies.)
  • "Ugh! I made it"

    Finally, I've unfolded myself from the car. The cacophany of creaking knees, grunting and cursing at small cars is deafening. 

  This is definitely the noisiest car I ever owned!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Silly Dances, Farting Noises and Elephant Jokes (Car Part 1)

 So, we are now the proud owners of a slightly used Kia Sedona mini van. We had no intention of purchasing said vehicle but my 10 year old Grand Am had other ideas.

Day -1:
Grand Am began making a slightly unusual squeaking/squawking noise intermittently, much like someone bouncing on a squeaky mattress (get your mind out of the gutter!) Not a terrible sound. Not distressing. Not 'oh-my-god-the-car-is-falling-apart'. Just different than normal. One of those 'let's-see-if-it-gets-worse-or-goes-away' noises.

Day 0:
Grand Am continued to make a slightly unusual squeaking/squawking noise. I drove the Grand Am - through neighborhoods, down a highway at high speeds, off the highway and into a parking lot. So far so good. Then the time came to leave the parking lot. Car started up fine. I pulled out. I turned the wheel to the left. Nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing happened. So I turned right. (I was still in the parking lot - I didn't turn out onto a highway or anything. I'm not that stupid!) Then I tried again to turn left. Nope, not my imagination. This car had no intention of turning left. So, I turned right into another parking spot and called the Hubster. Come to find out after much calling, waiting, towing, wondering, waiting and calling, that the car was entirely rotted away underneath and the only thing keeping my butt from dragging along the pavement as I drove along was the floor mats.

OK, that's an exaggeration, but much of the 'cradle' is apparently rotted away. And apparently the cradle is very important. Not to mention very expensive to fix. Just about as expensive as the car is worth. So, do we put thousands of dollars into a car that is barely worth thousands of dollars? Probably not a good investment.

Day 1:
Grand Am sits in a snowy lot and gathers drifts.

Day 2:
Grand Am continues to sit in a snowy lot and gather drifts.

Day 3:
Off to the car dealership. It went like this:

Hour 1:
Arrive and speak with sales guy. Appease grumpy children with silly stories. Test drive a van.

Hour 2:
Salesman tells us price. We counter. Salesman leaves to talk to his manager. Salesman makes an offer. Tear bored children apart from each other with our bare hands to prevent blood-shed.

Hour 3:
Make counter offer. Salesman goes back to his manager. Salesman makes another offer. Make counter offer. (You see where this is going. This goes on and on and on ad naseaum.) Finally, start paperwork. Appease grumpy children with threats.

Hour 4:
Discuss lunch with kids. Argue about lunch with kids. (Or course they all want something different.) Break for a much needed lunch. Only a few kids break down in tears - three of them I think. Or maybe it was four. I lose count. Almost everyone is relatively happy with lunch.

Hour 5:
Stop at grocery store to pick up peanut butter and crackers for the child who refused to eat at the restaurant. Arrive back at dealership.

Hour 6:
Continue working on paperwork. Appease grumpy children with silly dances, farting noises and elephant jokes.

Hour 7:
Continue working on paperwork. Sit slumped in a heap with glazed over eyes as children run rampant through the new cars, tooting horns, squirting windshield washer fluid and testing out the bouncability of the tires.

Over 7 (yes, that's a 7, aka SEVEN) hours in a car dealership with three children, only about one hour of which involved actually looking at cars. The other 6+ involved waiting, appeasing grumpy children, doing the uber-rediculous 'let-me-be-a-bouncing-ball-back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-between-you-and-my-manager' routine and endless paperwork. Ugh! It was horrible.

However, despite the major annoyances and the long long long long time it took, the kids were really really awesome. They had the usual arguments and bored moments, but really, considering the situation, they were almost perfect angels. They were at least as patient as I was.