Sunday, April 25, 2010

perhaps a vodka gimlet...

Amusement parks are great people watching places.

Over the years, I’ve found that I can pass time faster while herded through miles of aluminum railing by looking at the other park guests. It’s hard not to look at them. You pass by many of the same faces every four minutes or so.

But the best people watching happens not at the regular amusement parks that sport roller coasters, it’s the water parks that provide the most stellar sights.

Boo had Friday off from school this week. So a few of us KoffeeKlatch moms took advantage of a weekday offer at Kalahari that was hard to pass up. A room with four water park passes, 14” pizza, 4 fountain drinks and a full spread breakfast buffet…all for the low, low price of $129.00 +tax.

Normally the same room with amenities goes for $299.00 (the cost of water park admission alone is $39 per person for an all day pass), so immediately I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy about our visit to one of the areas nicest water park facilities.

There are several Kalahari water parks. Fredericksburg, Virginia; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; and Sandusky, Ohio. It’s about an hour away from our home. Easy enough to get to without becoming time consuming. It’s a great mini-vacation spot. Lots of things to do; spa, rope course, game room, various restaurants and bars, shopping and yes…an indoor and outdoor water park.

Now, I’m not a big water park gal. The idea of over chlorinated water, standing in line with others while wet and in a bathing suit doesn’t really appeal to me. Walking up stairs behind strangers with their behind in my face doesn’t appeal to me. Walking up stairs with my behind in strangers faces doesn’t appeal to me. But on the urging of my friends and my daughters insistence that “This is going to be great!”, I succumbed to the pressure and booked a room.

Checking in was a breeze. There was no line for the valet. No line for the concierge. No line for the elevator and no waiting for the bellboy. This made me happy. We looked through the large picture window displaying all of the indoor wonderland and lo and behold! there were no major lines for any of the attractions either. We raced to the room, changed into our bathing suits and off we went to see what sort of wet mayhem we could get into.

Slipping into my suit was slightly anxiety driven. I’ve not had it on since last summer. Will it still fit? Why didn’t I try the bloody thing on at home first? kept running in the back of my head. A little snug across the bust line but surprisingly a little looser across the bum. Thank you, treadmill. Bear had hers on in record time and as I was adjusting, turning this way and that in the mirror, making sure that I wouldn’t entirely embarrass myself when I dropped my cover up, she was impatient and nudging me, “C’mon already! You look fine….”

“Good enough”, I told her, “Let’s go! Nothing I can do about it now anyway!” I hadn't noticed any 10 minute liposuction kiosks on the way in, so this is as good as it was going to get. Today.

Once inside, we found the rest of our group. The adults concluded that a little liquid confidence delved out from the Tiki bar was all that was needed to drop the cover and hit the wave pool.

As I stood there dodging the waves (too much fun), I looked around me. I don't know why I had gotten myself worked up about my appearance. I hadn’t anything to worry about. I mean, yes, I would love to lose a few pounds; get myself back in to my comfort zone. But geez, some of the people here need a lesson in proper attire.

There’s the older woman, whom by the look of her figure, her hair is premature gray. White really. In good shape for her age, perhaps even a tad too thin, but has seemingly borrowed a bikini from her 17 year old daughter. It’s nice that she can borrow her daughters bikini, but I hasten to think that a string bikini adorned with bedazzled skulls is not befitting a woman of her years.

Or the late 20’s gal with her toddler son. Granted, she obviously gave birth 16 months ago, but perhaps you might save the skimpy (very skimpy) two peice for when you lose the baby weight? A few to many folds to content with…and darlin’ please! Do not bend over to grab your boy! There are people behind you! Ugh.

Or the body builder guy all tatted up in his Nautica swim trunks. Not bad. But the color combination was not. They were white, he was dark skinned. Add water…what do you think happened. Yeah. He needs a little personal grooming. Double ugh.

Not everyone at the park were Galmour No-No's. There were some very tasteful swimsuits on all kinds of body types. But there were some seriously out of shape people traipsing about in very skimpy coverings. I stood there not really worrying about my own shape any longer. But I thought about what I was seeing in front of me.

Granted, water parks aren’t where you’d expect to find the pretty people of the world. They are out in hot tubs on private yachts, lounge chairs on cruise ships and lying on beaches in Cabo. They are not at Kalahari on discount days. Even so, this is a sad state of affairs if the majority of middle America is grossly overweight.

It made me think about parts of the movie, Food, Inc. It followed a family whose parents in the documentary couldn’t afford to buy fresh fruit or vegetables for their brood, so they ate fast food instead. They wanted to buy organic for health reasons, but could only afford the dollar burgers instead. The movie is fascinating, yet disturbing. On many levels.

I love corn. Corn on the cob, canned corn, corn muffins, creamed corn. Hell, I even like corn puffs and popped corn. I got nothing against good ol’ corn. Rightly American, corn seems to be. I’ve never been to a barbeque where there hasn’t been some sort of corn product. Or two. Or three. I know when I eat corn. I can tell by the next time I use the bathroom. Not to disturb you, but after I eat corn; I inevitably can see it has passed through my system. It’s right there in brown and yellow.

That’s disturbing enough. But did you know that corn and corn by-products are hidden in products that you wouldn’t have suspected have corn in it? Most kinds of baby powders, foot powders and feminine powder use corn for their primary ingredient. Duracell Batteries, Kingsford Charcoal and Febreeze Deodorizing spray is also corn. Natural Living bedding at Target is corn. I mean, even Q-tips use corn for the stick! Who knew?

But it’s the high fructose corn syrup that is in everything. It’s a substitute for sugar and adds body to the product. Most processed foods in the USA contasin high fructose syrup. Did you know that the average American eats 41.5 lbs of high fructose corn syrup per year? Peanut Butter, condiments, breads, cereals and soft drinks to name just a few.

Outside of the fact that beverages containing high fructose corn syrup have high levels of reactive carbonyls which are linked with cell and tissue damage that leads to diabetes, they are just not good for you. With a 12 oz Pepsi containing 103% of your daily allowance for sugar (32g or 8tsp) at 150 calories and 41g of carbs, it’s no wonder there are so many overweight people. How about yogurt? Thought that was a healthy addition to your lunch routine? All those Activia commercials got ya’? 110 calories, 2 g of fat, 19g of carbs and 5 g of protein. But it contains high levels of what?…yup. High fructose corn syrup and MSG.

Studies have shown that MSG causes obesity, stress, fatigue, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, retinal degeneration, migraine headaches and can lead to brain damage in babies and young children. I always order Chinese food and ask them to hold the MSG. I've been doing that for years. A friend, who's a personal trainer, told me to. I never questioned it, but now I'm glad I listened to him.

Corn in itself is hard for the body to process. And much of the corn we get is from Monsanto Genetically Altered corn, which scientists have just recently found causes liver damage in rats. Nice. So by reducing our intake of corn, we not only are being nicer to our bodies but may make a difference, however small, in how the mega companies make the food we eat.

I’ve given up sodas. Every once in a while I crave one, and succumb to it’s bubbly goodness. But not often. I’ve started buying from our local growers and buying organic (actually super organic as many organic products are marketing ploys). Trying to be a smarter consumer makes me feel as if I do have a choice. I remember the days when I was blissfully ignorant of everything confirmed by Food, Inc. It just makes your head spin. I hope I don't end up like Red Buttons character on the original Poseidon Adventure. A health conscious Habasasher, he places before him the pills he'll take through dinner. Not that he was having dinner like the rest, he took the pills as a substitute for actually eating. Geez, and that was back in 1972. Before Monsanto. Before Food, Inc.

I’m hoping that this time next year with the changes I’ve been making in my grocery list, I’ll be that much slimmer when I put on my bathing suit at Kalahari. Every little bit counts. Or perhaps even some of the other guests at the park might have done the same. It'd be nice not to have to endure all the plumber butt cracks and personal grooming faux pas.

But I suppose that means I'll need to pass on those Pina Coladas. Too much corn syrup. And no Icees for me ever again. 280% of the daily allowance of sugar. And that Cuba Libre? Nope. Can't have that either.

I wonder, is vodka made with corn? God, I certainly hope not.
Then I’d be royally screwed…



  1. Thank God for vodka. And gin. And tequila. God is good!

    Great post-- lots of truth combined with lots of fun. I'll be watching for the 10-minute liposuction kiosks on my upcoming trip to Pittsburgh...


  2. Hmmm...a few laughs bookend some serious facts here. Thanks, great post!

    (PS - I, like you, could stand to lose a couple of pounds, but am certainly not obese...yet I have held myself back when it comes to going swimming with my kids. Maybe I shouldn't worry so much! Thanks for that!)

  3. Yes, I'm a big fan of vodka too. I'm hopiong it's not made from corn too! I watched Food, Inc. last night and my head is still reeling. I don't know what the heck to eat, cut I'm sure the system is broken and nobody has our backs. Am I poisoning my children? Do I need to plant a huge garden? I don't know what to do but start really reading labels and limiting certain kinds of foods (daughter is an Icee addict, I knew they were bad but didn't know how bad, and now i feel really bad!)
    Funny, I have the same bathing suit issues as you each year and I wonder what i lack that those who wear proudly or effortlessly the wrong suit for their body type. I'm trying to find the perfect tankini with ruffled skirt or skort bottom to hide all the stuff I want hidden. It's a rare commodity. Hope you had fun at the water park, my kids are clamoring to go, but the chlorine kills me, I itch for days!
    Great post.

  4. oh crap the typos, hope you can decipher!

  5. I love people watching too. It always amazes me, what people were thinking when they dressed. Hope you had a great time with your daughter at the water park. Have a great week.

  6. Vodka is made from any one of these fermented substances: grain, rye, wheat, potatoes, grapes, or sugar beet molasses...

    So it depends on the brand, but it's basically pre-digested for you by a whole lot of bacteria so all you get is the lovely alcohol that they produce.

  7. I guess some good ole corn liquor is just plain out of the question huh?

    We went to a water park several years back on a hot summer day. Some guy, whether it be spur of the moment or just too poor to buy swim trunks was on the water slide in his tighty whities. It was quite disturbing. Thank goodness for chlorine and pass the tequila.

  8. Sounds like you enjoyed your mother-daughter time! I've heard that Kalahari is great, but have never been.

    I also have bathing suit issues. I'm extremely self-conscious when scantily clad. I do still take my kids swimming and usually make the same type of observations you did ... why was I so worried? There are some BIG people here!

    Never have been a big fan of corn. Corn on the cob once or twice during the summer is good enough for me.

    I have recently given up sugar. Not completely, I'm sure (As you said, it is in yogurt ... and ketchup ... and spaghetti sauce ... and ... ugh!). But I'm making a conscious effort not to eat junk (candy, cookies, cake ... the 3 C's). :) It has been 2 weeks now and while I'd really love a bowl of Breyer's Cookie Dough ice cream right now, I feel really good NOT eating sugar.

    Thanks for another great post!

  9. Hey Nancy,

    Sounds like you had a ball with your daughter and the people watching is something I too enjoy, there is a lot of entertainment just watching people.

    The facts you mention about the corn products and the amounts of sugar is something most people never catch until it's too late, Carbs, Starches and such are a biggie in my diet as a long time diabetic more so than the sugar because they convert to sugar so to say, not saying that I can ignore the sugars it's like Shredded Wheat for example is "Sugar Free" 0% Sugars but the carbs do my blood sugar more harm than if I had eaten something with a minor amount.

    Sorry didn't mean to get a post going, but just saying I am with you.

  10. YAY for you with this post! I also am pretty vigilant about what I eat on a regular basis. Yes, I occasionally splurge, but my day-to-day routine is really important to me. I try to each very little processed food, and I go for organics as much as possible, and these days most of my vegetables come from my own garden and I can get about 90% organic otherwise. I'm even pretty careful now about lotions, soaps and shampoos. The thought of slathering untested chemicals all over my skin just grosses me out! I know some things are more expensive, and I don't make a large salary, but I figure I'd rather spend my money on this than about anything else. It's not only good for my health, but I'm voting with my wallet. Food, Inc. was a great movie -_ I'm so glad this kind of info is getting out to the public! Thanks so much for posting about it!

  11. Why, there's nothing more American than CORN, and CORN SYRUP! Yessirree, corn is what makes the world go round!

    This ad brought to you by the American Corn Growers Association. ;-))))

    Snug in the bust, loose in the bum. How many women would kill to be as fortunate as you! ;-)

  12. Vodka is produced from grains such as corn, wheat, rye or sorghum. Only some brands are made from potatoes...

    Vodka is filtered through charcoal which removes all impurities so that only pure alcohol and pure water remain.

    Don't worry - you're okay!

  13. Glad you were able to fit into your swimsuit and enjoy your day. That corn is a bit of a worry, but much relieved to hear about the vodka!

  14. Usually the vodkas made with corn are the cheaper varieties. I hate that "will I fit in my swimsuit?" horror question every year. Funny, that I go to great liberties to cover my bulges, and some people with rolls galore have no fear wearing a string bikini....I am glad I am self-conscious, I just can't imagine at my age and "out of shapeness" wearing a suit barely covering me. I used to think that women became modest when they had kids...not so! I suppose there could be a tremendous satisfaction in being comfortable with one's body no matter it's appearance....I am not one of them!

  15. Corn. Yummy.

    Water parks. Hurrah.

    That's all I came to say. :)

  16. Ah, but you confirmed you are (or have been) a devotee of blue agave and that it reminded you of some of your own past experiences you so feverishly tried to deny.

    I think you need to seriously consider reconnecting with your original beverage of choice.

  17. I remember going to a Boy Scout camp one summer an on the last day of camp they had creamed corn - a lot of it, even though it was in a big can and probably keeps forever, they wanted to get rid of it. So, everyone got a bowlful of corn and had their arms twisted to go get seconds and thirds. I love creamed corn - so it didn't take any arm twisting. :)

    Out troop soon had a contest going - I don't remember who won or anything (It is merciful how I've forgotten things) but I know I had a ton of it.

    The next day, I think I set a record on the porcelan seat.

    Maybe its a good thing they didn't serve Vodka (made from Wheat and/or Rye usually) to me.

    p.s., Did you know: According to Eric Partridge in his excellent book of word origins (Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English), "poop" comes from the Middle English word poupen or popen, and it originally meant "fart." The word was based on the sound of a fart. According to Robert Chapman, author of American Slang, "poop" came into use with its current meaning around 1900.

    Oh my, I've completely gone off thread here.

  18. I think you're safe, I'm pretty sure vodka is corn free. If it's not you can switch to Tequila, its corn free :D

  19. Hey Nancy! Good grief, I'm glad we don't use corn syrup over here. We just use good ol' regular sugar. I think. Ok, now I'm concerned. Can I eat this pizza?! *looks shifty and shovels it down* Why yes, yes I can. Indigo

  20. An entertaining day that turned into the most entertaining post! But where are the pics of the Glamour No's?

  21. WOW! We're so on the same page here, Nancy! Even if you don't lose weight, you will definitely feel a difference in your body. Not only will you have less health problems, but as you eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet, your cravings will change! I can't remember the last time I wanted a chocolate bar - raisins and cashews are my best treat nowadays. :o)

  22. Wonderful post, as usual. I've keep thinking I'll watch the movie but find an excuse not to. It will depress me to realize how awful my diet truly is. Love your description of the waterpark .... makes you wonder if some of those folks ever look in a mirror at themselves. I often tell my daughter or my friends, if I ever look like that in anything ... ever, just shoot me. In the mean time, here's to a good vodka drink!

  23. hi..and thanks for reading my blog!! I was always a good eater and pretty cognizant about what passed my lips. But last year when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes the content of food and what it meant for me and my body completely changed. It is funny because a diabetic diet is really just a low carb diet with a lot of attention to avoiding the things you named above. In fact, after an initially psychological rebellion by my family, they too have come on board to this way of eating. There is really no downside to it. You actually end of feeling and looking better too!!! As far as vodka...well..let's just consider that a different food group all together...the anti-stress food group! Some things one can just not so without!!! Nice post.

  24. So, I'm not disturbed, but I had a visual of you peering into your toilet to inspect a corn-riddled poop. On a different note, I have food-related book suggestions for you.

  25. YAY for vodka being purified by charcoal and... whatever its clear and delicious!
    Uh, BOO for the grey haired skull bikini lady. Terrible. AND, every time I see a girl - or guy!- bend over and show us all their crack, I barf a little inside. Please people, wear things that fit- your body AND your age!!

  26. The lady and I are currently competing against each other in a fitness challenge thing we found on Facebook. I'm not fat by any means... far from it. But I'm not thin and toned like I used to be. I'm hoping to shed some pounds and build some muscle before float trip season rolls around.


Do it. Do it NOW!