Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break Barf-o-Rama Haikus

Spring Break Staycation
Gardening, zoo, happy kids
Sudden halt with barf.

Puke in the backseat
Cleaning it from the carseat
Vomit on my shoe.

Head over toilet
Waiting for vomit to come.
Surprise! Liquid poop.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Break Staycation

I don't know if people still do Staycations anymore.  I know they were the big thing a few years ago when the economy tanked and nobody had any money to pay their mortgages, much less leave town for even a short time.  I'm always a little bit late on trends.  I just joined Instagram, and I still don't understand the point of Twitter, or why the President and Pope each have a "feed." 

But that doesn't matter.  What does matter is that we can pay our mortgage and we can leave town . . . if we wanted to leave town.  The thing is, I've left town so often since my dad died in August, that I don't want to leave town for a very long time.  If I don't get on a plane for another year, I'll be pleased as punch.  So, Spring Break started this weekend, and I decided that we are going to do fun things at (and around) home.

The weekend was amazing -- blue skies, and temperatures in the mid to upper sixties.  We decided it was the perfect time to work on the garden.  Our condominium complex has a community garden.  P & I do most of the work, and because most of our neighbors are cool and don't take much, we reap most of the benefit.  This year, we created a condo-friendly greenhouse to start a bunch of seeds, and they've really taken off.  Our three dozen cucumber plants are already flowering.  We started hardening them off this week, and hopefully (fingers crossed that spring really has sprung) we'll be able to put them in the ground next weekend.

We cleared some space to plant beans, peas, carrots, radish and cabbage from seed.  E loved helping drag the stick through the dirt to make a line for planting.  It wasn't always perfectly straight, but it won't matter once the beans are weighing down the plant.  L, in stereotypical boy fashion, played in the dirt, threw rocks, and nearly broke a window.  He makes me such a proud mother.

We drove to one of our favorite burger joints for lunch and ate on the patio.  Aside from spending six months hiking a very long trail, professing forever love in front of family and friends, or meeting your child for the very first time, lunch on the patio of a restaurant is one of the greatest feelings ever.  There's just something about the warm rays on your skin, iced tea in hand, and hot food made to order.  It's magical.

The magic didn't end there.  4:10 was tip-off time for the game between the University of Dayton (my alma mater) and Syracuse University.  I wasn't expecting the game to be so intense.  Or close.  Or for Dayton to win, but all of those things happened.  I don't have cable, so I was stuck listening to the game on the Westwood 1 Radio network.  It's very hard to listen to a fast paced basketball game and figure out who has the ball when you haven't paid attention to the sports team in, like, ever.  But there I was, standing in front of my laptop, listening to the streaming radio, jumping up and down like a fool, as Dayton stuck their foot into the glass slipper and danced their way into the Sweet 16.

Sunday began with a 5 mile run and more time in the garden.  I met up with an old friend to watch the Veronica Mars movie at the Living Room theater.  I had my first glass of wine in I don't know how long, and ended up with a stomach- and head-ache by bedtime.  I'm thinking my body isn't a fan of alcohol, but boy did that wine taste amazing.

Today, E insisted that we go to the zoo, so after getting some cabbage seeds into the ground, I packed up the kids for the insanity that is the Oregon Zoo on the one nice day of Spring Break.  We saw two animals -- the elephants and the lions, and then we headed home.  I don't like crowds, and neither do my kids.  But they will be damned if they don't get to see the baby elephant or lion cubs.  We have a membership, so it's no big thing to swing by for a 45 minute visit. 

E suggested we eat dinner al fresco tonight.  It was a bit chilly, since the sun was hiding in the trees, but it's supposed to rain for the rest of the week, so what the hell?  As it turns out, I love eating outside.  Even when I have to cook and serve the food myself.  Maybe it's all the time I spent backpacking, eating, sleeping, living outside.  Maybe it's the fact that I know I don't have to sweep after dinner.  Whatever the reason, I always feel happier and calmer after sharing a meal with anyone outdoors.

It didn't even bother me that my neighbor's son barfed all over the hallway when I informed him that it was almost time for my kids to get ready for bed, so it was time for him to say goodbye.  As if on cue, he projectiled at me.  Juice?  Tomatoes?  Eggs?  I don't know exactly, but I found myself holding a towel under his chin and asking (begging) if he was all done yet, thinking that if I had sent him packing when I decided to set the timer for a one minute warning, his own mother would be doing this, and I would be continuing on my staycation, not realizing the ticking time bomb that was set in our house tonight.

Tomorrow is a new day, and if my children don't wake me up in the middle of the night with vomit all over their beds, we'll probably do something fun, and vomit all over that instead.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Whole30 Clean Eating Wrap-Up

I planned on writing more about the Whole30 diet while I was doing it, but like everything else in my life, that didn't happen as planned.

The first day was easy-peasy, and I was very proud of myself that I didn't have any cravings for anything and was able to turn  my nose up to processed shit food.

Days 2-7 were a completely different story.

I spent those days fantasizing about opening up a gallon sized Goldfish carton and dumping it into my mouth.  I had the worst time keeping my energy up, especially when running.  My mile pace dropped significantly, and I found myself walking a lot on my long runs. I went from a steady 10 mm to 12 + mm.

I had a very hard time figuring out my work out nutrition, but I did learn, quite by accident, that when I eat 16oz of guacamole for lunch, I can run 4 miles at 10:38 per mile.

Because I'm a sugar addict, I chose not to eat fruit for the first week.  My first fruit after the hiatus was a blueberry.  It tasted like candy.  Every fruit since has been just as amazingly delicious.  I never want to eat sugar again.

By the last week, I began to feel amazing.  My running got easier, and I felt stronger.  I felt leaner, even though I don't think I look much different.  I lost 8 pounds, but I don't know where I lost them from.

My last day on the Whole30 was Friday.  We had a potluck at work.  I ate some carrots and cherry tomatoes, then bought a salad at New Seasons.  I sighed heavily at the fact that there were bagels and cream cheese for the potluck, but then I thought "That shit is crap, I don't even want it!"  and I felt better.

Today, I ran a 15k with an 11:38 mm.  This included a pause when my running pal had to stop and go back to the start line to pick up her inhaler that she dropped (about 15 seconds), and the fact that we got stopped by a train (couple minutes).  I pressed pause on runkeeper for that one, and got 10:52 as my pace on there.  Either way, it was less than 12 minutes per mile, and that was my goal.  Also, I didn't walk.  9.3 miles of running (some running was excruciatingly slow, but it was still running).  I didn't feel the need to pull out my applesauce packet for extra energy, either.  My breakfast of eggs (no veggies, which is a Whole30 no-no, but I'm technically not doing Whole30 anymore) was enough.  Afterwards, I got my free beer, and while it was tempting, I did not drink it.  Of course, it was only tempting at first.  After thinking about the fact that there is no nutrition in it what-so-ever, AND it's full of gluten, I had no problems passing it off.

Had it been wine, that would have been a different story alltogether.

I met my family for brunch at my favorite restaurant.  Verde Cocina.  I ordered the Buenos Dias Breakfast - eggs, bacon, bean mash, loads of veggies, and two made-in-house authentic corn tortillas.  Corn is the first non-Whole30 item I decided to add in.  I also had some sugar (from the bacon) and a couple of beans, but mostly it was the corn.  Fucking amazing, but I'm totally fine having it every once in a while, not all the time.  I much prefer (and I'm sure my mother's heart may stop when she reads this because I was THE WORST eater in the world when it came to veggies growing up) the veggies.  Kale, zucchini, carrots, onions.  Sooo delicious.  I'll be bringing the leftovers from my kids' plates to work tomorrow.
When I started the Whole30, I just wanted to do a cleanse and rid my body of processed food gunk.  What I learned on the Whole30 is that I feel better and want to eat better because I feel better.  I'm not ever going to admit that I'm "Paleo" or on a special diet, I'm simply going to say "no thank you" to certain foods because they don't provide sound nutrition and their ingredients are questionable. 

Because if food isn't nourishing, why eat it?  And the blueberries that I gobbled up during our teacher meeting on Friday was 100% more satisfying and nourishing than the chocolate cake everyone else ate.

I would upload my before & after photos, but I'm in my underpants, so I'll keep it clean.  Maybe when I lose another 10 pounds I'll delight you with pictures of my skivvies.

To make up for it, I'm adding in my post-race-beer-tent photo. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I'm being haunted.

It's a good thing, though.

Things are reappearing.

We got married eight years ago.  A good friend of ours, who happens to be a documentary film maker, was our videographer.  He made a pretty darn awesome wedding video - one that didn't put our friends to sleep when we showed it, like so many wedding videos.  We loved it.  We loved it so much, we brought it with us all over the country, to show our family and friends.  Somewhere along the way, it was misplaced.  We tore our house apart searching for it.  We ransacked my in-laws' house searching for it.  We dug through my mother's house searching for it.  It was nowhere to be found.  Vanished in thin air -- for over five years.

In June of last year, my husband started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet in an attempt to help out his autoimmune disease.  He lost a lot of weight.  So much weight, that his wedding band fell off his hand on more than one occasion.  One such occasion happened to be while he was walking in a parking lot.  He heard a tinkling sound and noticed something shiny bouncing ahead of him.  It was his ring.  Good thing it was sunny that day.

So, six months ago, he couldn't find his ring.  He thought he may have left it on the windowsill of the kitchen, where he keeps it when he cooks.  Nope.  Then he thought maybe it was on the windowsill of the bathroom, where he keeps it when he takes a shower.  Not there, either.  He checked next to the bed, and the windowsill in the bedroom (because he seems to like to put his ring on windowsills), and he had no luck.  He figured he took it off at work and left it on his desk.  He couldn't find it there, either.  The only other explanation was that it fell off his finger, and this time he didn't hear it tinkling, or see it shimmering

He bought a new one.  In eight years, the price of our particular wedding ring has tripled.  I told him to make an insurance claim.  He never did, because he figured he was an imbecile and it was all his fault.

Last month, my car was broken into.  The glove box was opened, and the broken GPS was taken, along with the broken GPS's power cord.  When I realized that what the thieves took was a crappy piece of electronics that was simply taking up space in my glove box, I laughed.  And then I remembered that E had an MP3 player in the back seat.  I looked in her cupholder.  Gone.  I found her headphones and sighed.  I pulled on the cord with hope.  It was light, and as I came to the end, my fear was realized.  Lizzie's MP3 was gone.  Stolen by middle school thugs who have nothing to do on a Saturday night except wander through a condominium parking lot trying the doors of every car until one opens, and taking the one thing a five year old girl looks forward to during a long car ride.  Fuckheads.  Bastards.  Cum Wads!

It's no secret that 2013 was a terrible year for me.  2014 wasn't looking very rosey, either.

And then one day in the middle of February, I decided to go shopping at Natural Grocers.  They are a little grocery nearby that has organic hippie food.  They also don't put your food into bags, so if you don't bring your own, you have to carry your food out in a cardboard box.  Not wanting to deal with the box of shame, I opened the back of the car, and emptied out the one bag that we had, containing an assortment of tools, twine and rope.  I heard a tinkling.  I saw something sparkly bounce in front of me.  It was a wedding band.  I thought it was mine.  I looked at my finger.  My ring was there.  I looked at the ring in the back of my car.  Could it be?  No...  how could it have gotten here?  I picked it up, and sure enough, it was the missing wedding band.  No. Fucking. Way.

The next week, as I was putting L into his car seat for the five hundred and four millionth time, I noticed there was something black stuck between his car seat and the seat back.  He is still rear-facing, because I'm one of those parents (I should wear a t-shirt that says "Talk to me about extended breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering and rear-facing car seats!"), so noticing some strange object between the car seat and the seat back shouldn't be that difficult.  This strange object just happened to be in the exact spot where I put my hand to loosen the car seat strap. I loosen the car seat strap every time I get him out of his car seat.  How did I not notice this strange black object before?  I picked it up, and was surprised to realize it was the stolen MP3 player!  For a nanosecond, I actually thought that the thieves felt remorse for what they had done, broke into my car a second time, and stuck the MP3 player in that spot so it would seem like it was just misplaced.

And then, last week, the most insane of all things to ever happen in this house happened.  P had spent half the week in Seattle at a conference.  He was in the bedroom, putting away his suitcase in the closet.  As he was moving an old bag that we haven't used in years, in order to make room for his bag, he heard a strange sound coming from one of the pockets.  He pulled down the bag and opened the pocket.  Inside was a giant ziplock bag.  Inside the giant ziplock bag were four DVD's.  Two were documentaries about the PCT that our friend and videographer made.  One was a video slideshow of photos compiled from a bunch of people who hiked the PCT in 2003.  The last DVD was the one and only copy of Camp Belchigator shenanigans.  It was truly unbelievable.

He didn't tell me right away.  He kept it a secret.  In fact, this was the day we had the big fight.

That night, as I was about to play another episode of Weeds, he said "No, let's watch a movie instead."

"OK.  What movie?" I asked.

"I have one," was his reply as he sauntered toward the bedroom.  He popped it into the computer before I could see what it was.

I thought he'd gotten Squatch to make another copy, since we had just seen him.  Either way, it was so nice to relive those happy moments, especially after our fight.  I only cried once, during the father/daughter dance.

I try not to get ethereal on my blog, or think about other worldly things in general.  I can't explain them, and while I've considered my own mortality and that of my mother, siblings and children fairly regularly since Labor Day, I still can't fathom what happens in the end.  I can only hope.  For the past month, as items that I thought were gone for good find their way back to me, my hope grows -- hope that there is something beyond this life; that my dad, grandmother, grandfather, former pets, teachers, friends, and others who have touched my life have found peace, are happy, and are never very far away.

What once was lost now is found.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Hardest Word

My husband and I got into a fight today.  It’s not unusual.  We’ve been together for over 10 years, and married for over 8.  It’s bound to happen.  It happens every time I’m PMS-ing (which is now), and every time one of us comes back from a trip (also now).

I honestly can’t remember the exact reason we were fighting, and it really doesn’t matter.  It simply matters that we were fighting – yelling and screaming at each other, saying hurtful things, swearing; and we did this in front of our children.  I know E was very upset over this, and asked us to stop.  L simply cried while clinging to my leg.  I remember peeling him off before I dramatically stomped into the bedroom and carefully closed the door so I wouldn’t smush any tiny fingers.  P yelled one more hurtful thing at the closed door before walking away.  I thought 15 hurtful things in my head and cried for a while.  

But while we think and say hurtful things to each other, we really don’t mean it.  We love each other and would go to the ends of the earth for each other.  The trouble is, how do you reassure your children of this, when they have born witness to the slaughter of your feelings?

I’ve heard people say you should never fight in front of the children, and I remember having friends in high school who were blindsided by their parents’ divorce because they never saw it coming.  By the same token, I’ve also heard friends wonder why their parents weren’t divorced, since all they did was fight.  When we got engaged, P told me that we would end up hating each other, but that it would all work out in the end, because that’s what happened to his parents.

My parents divorced when I was one, so I have no idea how parents are supposed to handle stress and disagreement in front of their children.  I knew my parents didn’t like each other from the moment I remember, and the divorce papers were proof.  They did eventually allow time and physical distance move that water under the bridge, and a couple years before my dad passed away, they were cordial with each other (they became Facebook friends, and may have even sent each other letters.  In the mail).

I certainly don’t want my children to think that we hate each other.  At the same time, I don’t want them to think that everything is coming up roses when a family of moles has moved in.  So we fight, scream, yell, say hurtful things in front of our children.  The children do the same thing to each other in front of us.  They probably have some empathy in that regard.  We live in a 950 square foot condo.  There really isn’t much room to escape, especially when the Pacific Northwest Winter is bearing down and your road has become the new off-shoot of the local creek.  

One thing we do, however, that I think is hard to do in front of other people, is that we make up in front of our children.  It could be the fact that we live in a shoebox, so they are subjected to the good, bad and ugly in our marriage.  It could be the fact that we don’t want them to think that we actually hate each other, because we don’t.  We all have bad days.  We all lose it, and we all say things we don’t mean.  We’re human.   Our children should be witness to that.  They should know that everyone, even parents make mistakes.  And what’s more, they should be witness to the make-ups, not just to be reassured that their world will not be falling apart any time soon, but to learn that crucial part of making relationships last:  Saying “I’m Sorry.”