Monthly Archives: February 2009

Totally Skewed Thoughts: The Stimulant Package



My normally sunny, happy-go-lucky disposition has been completely destroyed by recent events. I feel hurt, angry, and lost. At times it’s even difficult to get out of bed. My mattress is nearly four feet off the ground, so, technically, it’s always hard for me to rise from it. But, as they say in the South, that’s a whole “nuther” issue.

What I’m talking about here is serious. Way serious. It affects not only me but also every family member who comes into close contact with me, “Da Man O’ Da House” included.  

          People grow mean when you take away the little pleasures in life, the ones they believe are essential to well-being, like Dr Pepper.

          Research suggests that diet sodas can make a body fat. So initially I switched from a daily consumption of four cans of Diet Dr Pepper to two of the real stuff, the kind with 150 calories and 40 grams of sugars per 12-ounce serving.

Ever since I made this transition, you could say that my heft has dramatically increased. You could say it and see what happens! I don’t recommend doing that. 

It’s entirely possible that I’m gaining weight also from a less than strict diet. Nevertheless, adding 300 calories’ worth of soda pop per day isn’t exactly a viable weight management plan.

To compound my problems, I have friends who are what I can only in the politest of terms describe as “health freaks.”

Upon witnessing my refrigerator filled with, EGADS, high potency soft drinks, meaning those laced with high fructose corn syrup, otherwise known as POISON to these folks, one pal had to avert her eyes. She’d just bestowed upon me a pound of Amish-made butter and some whole, hormone-free milk that had been cheerfully supplied by grain-fed cows with green lips. How could I possibly expect such wholesome foods to share shelf space with non-nutritious stimulants? 

I’d heard it all before, how awful all these various food additives and unnatural ingredients can be for those who wish to maintain good health. For every study that says one of these culprits is bad, I can find another that touts its benefits. Frankly, if I eliminated from my consumption every food or beverage that’s had a negative research finding, I’d die from starvation, dehydration, or reading too many health journals.

In any event, I decided to improve my health by giving up caffeine. For good. Essentially this means I’ve turned into a caged badger. A groggy one, but still.

The degree to which I’ve been addicted to caffeine and/or Dr Pepper is debatable. I’ll admit this drink has been, since childhood, a necessary part of my day. However, hubby says it’s more like this: If I could find a way to dispatch Dr Pepper through a mainline, I probably would.

“Your only hope is for someone to invent a Dr Pepper PATCH,” he teases.

Possibly you’re wondering how anyone could become this hooked on a soft drink. Let me just say that access to this stimulant has been essential enough that my spouse checks the fridge before bedtime every night, to insure that HE will have a good tomorrow.

But that was then, and this is now.

Today is Day Five without caffeine.

Who the hell is ringing my phone? Oh, it’s him, Da Man O’ Da House. Interrupt, interrupt, interrupt! He’s probably calling to ask if I’ve yet drunk a Dr Pepper.


Okay. I’m back. Right now, right this very second, I am aware that there are six unopened cans of Dr Pepper in my fridge, half a dozen opportunities for failure. And I can honestly state that I don’t want one.

I want them ALL!

If I had a smidgen of willpower, I’d throw away that soda pop. If I had a vengeful heart, I’d give it to someone who’s attractively thin. But I simply can’t part with my liquid lust, my carbonated companions. Somehow, just knowing they’re here soothes my sleepy soul.

I sit and scheme of ways to quench my thirst for the forbidden. How could I do this without my husband knowing I’ve cheated? Already I have fallen once and been caught.

“It was nothing,” I told him. “Just a frivolous one-time swig.” But he didn’t believe me. The hurt and disappointment showed in his expression. He studied my thighs and said nothing.

Ah, but that sweet stolen taste still lingers on my parched slack lips.

How long am I going to keep these remnants from my wayward days? It’s difficult to say. But I can tell you this much; given the state of our economy right now, the most valuable part of my children’s inheritance could be a six-pack of unopened antique Dr Pepper cans.

What? You think there’s something wrong with that? Well, tell it to someone who’s had their caffeine!


Editorial note: As of Day 11, the author’s refrigerator contains only five unopened Dr Pepper cans.

Diana Estill is the author of Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road (Brown Books) and

Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life (Corncob Press).

Visit to read more of her humor.


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How to choose the right box of chocolates for your sweetheart

Valentine cholocate box

Deedee’s Tips on Choosing Chocolates

Excerpted from the book Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life, by Diana Estill


Valentine’s Day, though joyful for romantics, can prove hopelessly confusing for some. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be in a positive relationship on February 14. And for those who aren’t, these can be troubling times. Even people who are casually dating struggle to get through the day without sending the wrong message.

Not yet sure if he or she is “the one”? Then I recommend a quick jaunt out of town. Nothing else can ensure this occasion won’t wreck your future. One false move, one misconstrued card inscription, one wrong-colored flower, and you could find yourself committing to the kind of relationship you never intended.

If you think I’m kidding, just ask my husband. He gave me a necklace on our first Valentine’s Day together. Two months later we were engaged.

Guys struggling to choose appropriate gifts for their sweethearts should simply buy chocolates. But pay attention to the details. White chocolate won’t take you very far. Milk chocolate is better.

And if you want to win a gal’s goodness, opt for imported, dark cocoa truffles. An Italian study revealed that women who eat chocolate are more sexually active than those who don’t similarly indulge. This definitively explains why women on diets don’t smile.

Females love chocolate because it contains caffeine and other ingredients known to stimulate arousal and trigger pleasure centers in the brain, and possibly elsewhere. However, you must be careful when selecting a container. It’s critical that you pick the right size. The shape, color, and morsel quantity often affect the recipient’s desires. Chocolates come in red, pink, and yellow heart-shaped boxes. Yet beware: Assortments run the full spectrum, from the smallest six-ounce sampler to the five-pound who-needs-a-man bulk carton.

Personally, I think it’s best to appeal to all the senses, so I’d recommend the chocolates to perk up her taste buds and lilac scented soaps and candles to enchant her olfactory receptors. Buy your lady a silk robe so she’ll feel luxurious. For visual intrigue, give her a photo of you doing something sexy, like helping with the laundry or taking out the trash. And finally, sidle up close and whisper in her ear, “I paid off the MasterCard.”

If that doesn’t work, hold a mirror underneath her nose—to see if she’s breathing.

Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life, available now from


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