Sunday, November 30, 2014

This is the end...

So I’m here. I made it this time. The end.
I got to have brunch this morning with a few girl friends from high school. We didn’t really run in the same crowd back then, but our common bond was choir. Last year we hooked up at a choir reunion, had some beers and fun times afterward, and promised to do it again. And yesterday, the stars aligned to actually keep that promise.
I didn’t get out of the house sans drama. And I didn’t return to a fairytale. But it did get me thinking about that trite advice one receives as a young mother: make sure to take time for you!
I think that I don’t take a lot of time for myself, but I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I feel as though I don’t because I don’t get to run off for a spa day or mani/pedi on a whim, mostly for financial reasons than time. And I take time to volunteer, which is just as much for me as it is for the actual greater good. Let’s not forget the gym time which is at worst 4 hours a week with the children being minded and my mind on nothing but myself. Add in the time I waste spend on the internets…well, it’s a wonder how my kids get clean and fed at all.
So why do I still feel like I don’t get any me time? Am I just that selfish? Or is my job so emotionally demanding that I need twice the amount of rebound time than, say, Fella? Am I just a complete asshole?

Maybe I need to seek solace in more activities that replenish rather than deplete; or maybe I just need to spend more time in quiet contemplation. But for now, I’ll take a Bloody Mary, a four-hour brunch with old girlfriends, and lots of laughs on the side.
And I'll see you back around these parts, just not Thanks NaBloPoMo.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Right now I feel like I'm drowning. In a sea of failure. Complete maternal breakdown.

Yeah, yeah...
Picture found and used from

But seriously. There wasn't one peaceful meal time. If it wasn't Miss Thang (and it mostly was) signing and wailing for "more" after she's already eaten the lion's share, it was the Mayor begging and pleading and also wailing for more of the chocolate turkey his great grammy brought him on Thanksgiving. Not to mention feeding my kids = emotional trigger. As in, I'm afraid to make my kids fat.

The Mayor. He's taken a huge emotional u-turn lately. And is attempting to use emotional blackmail. As in "if you don't give me what I want, I'll cry" or hit you or whatever. We have done everything to nip this in the bud, but I think he sees Miss Thang communicating with us in a way that can be perceived as what he's doing. And then she sees him doing it and it's an endless circle. And maddening.

Even after 90 minutes away from them for "me time" at the gym, which usually buys me a little dose of extra patience, I was still deflated. And finally after the Mayor argued with us over something he didn't hear someone say (but was most definitely said) I lost it. Kissed him goodnight, took Miss Thang to the rocking chair and could not suppress the sobbing before breaking into our regularly scheduled bedtime tunes.

I realize I can't say yes to everything, but maybe I say no too much? I mean, I can't let them have hollow chocolate animals for breakfast every morning, but should I just let them eat the whole damn turkey in one sitting so it's out of our lives for fucking ever?! I mean, these are matter of life and death, right?





Get a grip lady.

Sometimes I think I'm too lazy to be a parent. But really it's that I'm too lazy to be the parent I want to be, which is really my biggest character flaw. Too lazy to live up to my potential (oh how many times was that word tossed around on report cards and in parent-teacher conferences! Oh how I loathe that concept!) And why am I not more concerned that I am likely passing this on to any number of my children? Such that maybe I might want to, you know, change?! (GASP!)

Well, I'm not going to solve anything prattling on here, at least not in this moment. But I'm glad I was able to post something more than ohmygodwhenisNaBlPoMogoingtoend?!?!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Day 28

I can't lie. I cannot wait for NaBloPoMo to be over. I'd say I'd quit now, but I've made it 28 days, so why quit now? Don't get me wrong, it's been great. Daily is just not a pace I can keep up with these days. Sometimes it might happen, and I used to feel bad when I couldn't keep that pace, but it's unrealistic to expect it regularly. And let's face it, not all of the NaBloPoMo prompts are what I consider inspiring and expect a short turnaround. In fact that's why you're stuck reading this drivel.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Today I am, of course, thankful for the bounty with which we have been blessed. Our table was full; full of loved ones, food, memories, and thoughts of the future. 
I was hesitant to host this year; Miss Thang wasn’t quite crawling when we hosted last year and I wasn’t sure I had it in me to chase her, an oft unruly Mayor, and do Thanksgiving. But it’s easier for Fella’s aged grandparents to be on familiar turf, so I agreed to it. I’m thankful that we were able to pull off yet another Thanksgiving dinner in my home.
Although the kids had their moments, (I actually uttered the words “I will cancel Thanksgiving” to the Mayor this morning…a few times…this has really been an actions-have-consequences-lesson-learning week) I was basically able to keep with my timeline and we got through dinner in time to catch the start of the Niners’ game, as depressing as it was (especially after my Bears lost in the morning).
And now that the leftovers are packed away and the dishwasher is humming, I am thankful to already be thinking about doing it again for breakfast on Christmas morning!
Today is technically the last of my Thankful Thursdays, although it may pop up throughout the year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Relapse of a News Junkie

Today, I did something against my better judgment. And (as isn't it always the case?) I was none the better for it.

Or am I?

The jury, as they say, is still out.

So what did I do? I turned on the news. And I saw finger-pointing. And bullying. And opportunism. Perhaps a little grandstanding. And I have been reeling ever since. I knew better, but I never listen.

I used to need to be informed on politics and all events current (I was a bit of a news junkie). I'm not sure when that changed. It started to aggravate me instead of inspire or interest me. Maybe I just got wise to all the sensationalism and baiting. Maybe I got tired of hearing my dad regurgitate what the different pundits said on any given day about any give hot topic. And I'm pretty sure that it was making me more cynical, to boot.

This just in: it's really hard being a cynic AND a mom.

Sure, life's not all puppy dogs and ice cream, but my kids don't need to know that just yet.

So what did I do before sitting down to write tonight? Yup. More of the same. But in particular, I looked at a news piece that a friend-of-a-friend posted in a Facebook comment. It was eye opening. It didn't take the edge off, not in the least. But it put some things in perspective.

Now I find myself trying to claw my way out of the rabbit hole, so I can bury my head in the sand again and regain that false sense of security that is blissful ignorance.

Edit: as I hopped over to cross-post at BlogHer, I realized I fell down two different hot topic rabbit holes already this week. Definitely time to detox!

Never Say Die

Will this be it? The day without words? I don't want it to be, but I chose to do something else with my time. This challenge is tough. It's been 24 days. Of late nights (this being the latest) and early mornings with young children full of boundless energy. So again, this is all I can must and post 2 minutes too late.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Songs From the Locust Years, Disc 2

Here's what I was hoping to post yesterday:
By popular demand (of one person), here comes disc two of Songs from the Locust Years:
Kicking off with a little Van Halen:
Rounded out by the smooth sounds of Barry:
This was thrust upon us as the theme song for the Contiki® European tour that a few of us went on after I finally finished college. I don't think any of us liked it during the trip. Or at least not until the very end of it. Or was that just me?
Quintessential to the period:
Hall. And. Oates.
A little ditty compliments of our neighbors to the north, Loverboy:
The Monkees even made it on our soundtrack:
And more Pat Benetar:
Pink Floyd:
The Ramones:
And the Stones:
I'm realizing that hip hop is underrepresented in this soundtrack, so let's remedy that now:
This was one of our favorite covers that our favorite cover band covered (probably still covers). Did they play this at my wedding? I can't remember.

And the same guys in that cover band had an original band, too. And that band covered this:


If you made it this far, thank you for listening. It should be noted that this soundtrack was heavily influenced by a jukebox that was not very up to date, hanging out with some guys whose driver's license photos were unrecognizable because the "used to have long hair," and being devotees of a cover band (who had several different iterations). The Locust Years were actually lived circa Y2K.
It should also be noted that the above songs are © of their respective owners.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

See What's Become of Me

I have not much to write tonight. Well, I have plenty to write, but not much time. My children were needy in the daylight hours and and Fella and I had a much needed date night after the street lights came on. So if this is what it takes to say "I posted every damn day this month!" so be it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Songs from the Locust Years

So I haven’t been very inspired by the NaBloPoMo prompt for the day, nor by any other goings on today. What’s a gal to do? Looking through the posts of other NaBloPoMo’ers, I stumbled upon When My Brain Farts who answered another daily prompt over at Wordpress entitled Cue the Violins and asking:
If your life were a movie, what would its soundtrack be like? What songs, instrumental pieces, and other sound effects would be featured on the official soundtrack album?
This soundtrack does not encompass the entirety of my life, but a snapshot that I fondly refer to as The Locust Years. Back when I still subscribed to AWAD, the coined phrase, meaning a period of economic hardship, showed up in my Inbox. And it was perfect. It described the time in my life when I was twenty-three and so tired of life, I lived paycheck to paycheck, and ran up my credit cards (and didn’t exactly pay them on time) at the bar.
And in all that time spent at the bar, my friends and I built a soundtrack. The song we would, without fail, play on the jukebox after ordering our first round of drinks. And it went something like this:
A little AC/DC:



Color Me Badd (yup, double d's):
Counting Crows (one of few of the more contemporary songs making the list):

(And thank you, You Tube, for learnin' me that there is also a Rain King by Sonic Youth, probably a far more artsy offering than the above, if you're into the more avant garde rock, that is). 
Now on to Earth Wind & Fire:

With a dose of ladies who rock Part 1 - Heart:

Part 2 - Hole:

Then we get the Led out, Part 1:

Were you wondering if there was any Ozzy? Wonder no more:

 (Oooh, blond, 80s? Ozzy.)
And we could not forget this lady rocker, Part 3 - Pat Benetar:

Stevie Ray Vaughn:
I mean...that hat feather!
I don't think were in Kansas anymore, Toto:
To clear up confusion, that was Toto, not Kansas.

I really, really, really don't like Train, but this ditty will always make me nostalgic:

Really, really don't. Maybe that's why Ugly Kid Joe comes next?

Thanks for the advice, Travis Tritt:

This would not be complete without a little GNR:

And if we were still standing, a Led-ed sing-a-long:

We didn't always have enough cash to play them all and the bartender regularly skipped a few choice songs (I'll let you guess which), but this was in large part the soundtrack from our Locust Years.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for all the beauty, joy, goodness, and light that are these two hooligans:

My everything.

Shut Up and Write

What do you write about? One of the first questions I get from people after I mention that I have a blog. I have nothing more clever to say than: Life. My dreadfully wonderful average life! But do I have a book in me?
I’ve started writing fiction a couple of times. I tend to get bogged down by the details and can’t get over the obstacle--whatever it is I’m having difficulty trying to convey. I also have difficulty with character development.
I say that my kids are the next great method actors (yes, at 5 and going on 2). They really commit to a character when they decide to play one. And I think that’s my issue: my characters only make it as far as two-dimensional and they need that third to be realistic. Maybe I’m not the best judge of character in this instance.
So, fiction: working on it. Non-fiction…?
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, I’m no expert. So unless I have some spiritual crisis or extraordinary journey to write a memoir about a la Andrew X. Pham, Elizabeth Gilbert and their ilk, I’m not one to consider for non-fiction. Although non-fiction does encompass a wide range, Biographies are more Fella’s thing.
If I had to write anything, it would be a cookbook. I don’t know what it looks like (you know, that “It Factor” that would make it jump out from the shelves—wait, there are still brick and mortar bookstores, right?) but it’s definitely something to consider. Definitely.
And since food is life and my blog is about life (and I’ve already posted a recipe here and there), I suppose my cookbook would have to be related to my blog.

So do I have a book in me? Here’s hoping!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

S-I-L-V-E-R Bells

So this happened after dinner tonight:

Silverware…, silverware…;
It’s unload time in the kitchen;
Clink-clank-clunk, hear them clunk;
Soon they will be put away!

Lincoln Logs…, Lincoln Logs…;
It’s clean-up time in the bedroom;
Plink-plank-plunk; hear them plunk
Soon it will be your bedtime!

It doesn't get better than that, folks! (At least for tonight).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Final Countdown!

Day 30.
DAY 30?!?!? I made it? The end is nigh?
The last 30 days (OK, 29 ½-ish at time of writing) are behind me. And I did it. I survived the Whole30®. Admittedly, I wasn’t a complete purist (nor am I made of money!; my bacon had sugar in it and my eggs were not pasture raised, except for the dozen a co-worker of Fella’s gifted to us for our anniversary—I need chickens!)
A feat in and of itself: I haven’t had chocolate in 30 days. CHOCOLATE! 30 DAYS! AND ONE OF THOSE WAS HALLOWEEN!!!
Alright, alright. You get it.
So after the question “what do you miss the most?” people are also very curious to know: “are you going to stick with it after you’re done?”
Maybe these people are just serial dieters. I’m a little bit of a serial dieter. I finally broke it off (for good!) with Weight Watchers® a couple of years ago. I purged YEARS of program materials into the recycling bin as recently as a couple of months ago. Seriously. I had stuff dating back to high school (not as far back as to my first foray into WW…in the 8th grade, but that’s for another post entirely). So to them, this is just another “diet” to go on, get results, and revert back to “normal” rather than a dietary lifestyle.
So…what is next? More of the same (or at least similar)! Eating Paleo makes my body happy and I know this from previous experience. I will probably allow myself to incorporate some dairy and certain generally accepted sweeteners (although unsweetened applesauce and bananas worked wonders where recipes called for honey throughout the challenge).
What I really ought to focus on is my relationship with food. When things are good, I shouldn’t reward myself with crappy food (tomorrow notwithstanding). Nor should I soothe myself with it when things are not so good.
What has been the best part of the Whole30? Nobody but me has asked, but it’s that I feel like I’m cooking again. Like, really cooking. Not just throwing together a bunch of premade things together and calling it cooking. Troubleshooting when a recipe includes an ingredient that is verboten (I’m looking at you Worcestershire sauce!) Creative cooking. It’s great.
Will I do another Whole30? Im not sure. Right now, I simply want to navigate through the holidays and do the least harm to the 30 days of progress Ive made.

Monday, November 17, 2014

From the Land of the Ice and Snow

My parents recently joined a local Vasa lodge. My dad is all Swedish. I mean, he’s all American, but 100% Swedish. His mom? Totes Swede. Well, she was American born, but her parents went back to the Arctic Circle when she was still a baby. And as soon as she was 18, her mom sent her on the first boat back to ‘Murica.
So, Vasa is historically a Swedish cultural organization, although they now encompass all Scandinavian cultures. Their lodge even  has a children’s group and (of course) we’re currently preparing for a Santa Lucia pageant.
I’ve had Sweden on my mind a lot lately. And I’ve had to explain my three-degrees-of-Kevin Bacon a few times this year, so it got me thinking about how we Americans relate so much to our ancestral origins and not nearly as much to our American-ness. Or at least in a different way.
If I had a krona for every time I told someone “I’m Swedish!” I could probably afford to take the family to Sweden for a family reunion next summer.
But the fact is, I’m not Swedish. I’m sure if I asked my Swedish cousins (second, actually), they’d think of  me as their American cousin. So why do we Americans go around saying we’re something we’re not, at least not exactly? Sure, we need a connection for our identity. Because duh. But why is it not enough to primarily identify with the culture of which we are currently a part?
Perhaps it’s the “melting pot” fallacy: despite it all, my American-born grandmother (that’s “Farmor,” to me) was Swedish. She maintained the cultural traditions from home and passed them on to her children and grandchildren. She spoke Swedish in the home until my aunt started school (barely knowing a lick of English). So for me, it’s not at all far removed.
For others, like say Fella. He can stake a claim to the Sons of the American Revolution on multiple sides of his family. So his degree of separation is much more distant. Maybe he’s a bad example because he doesn’t go around saying he’s this and that. However, it might be the Latter Day Saints in his bloodline, but he is totally into genealogy, searching not only his ancestors, but mine, as well (maybe yours, too, if you’re interesting enough to him).
So. What is it about us that we can’t shout from the rooftops (figuratively speaking, of course): “I AM AMERICAN!” without some sort of clarification or caveat? And does this phenomenon exist anywhere else, especially where there is a concentration of immigrants and the subsequent generations among the population?
I’m sure many more have discussed this far more eloquently than the butcher job I’ve done here (my eyes are actually slamming shut every few words). Please share in the comments your thoughts!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

High Anxiety

Today, we attended a birthday party for the sweet three year old sister of a boy in the Mayor’s class. The small affair was held at a local nursery rhyme/fairytale themed park. I was excited to take the kids there for the first time.
It’s no new thing for me to fly solo with both kids at birthday parties. I’ve even done it at similar types of parks, easy peasy. But for some reason today the odds which I thought were favorable, stacked to high heaven against me. And while I’ve been in more stressful situations, I would have done something morally reprehensible for an adult beverage. Or a Xanax. Or both.
I sometimes get paranoid calling out my kids’ names in public places like this (even the neighborhood park sometimes). Who knows what kind of weirdos are skulking about. And when there’s a second kid with the same name, don’t even get me started about having to use our last name! (Yep, like today).
The two are conspiring against me, I’m sure of it. While I thought Miss Thang was sleeping, they were actually telepathically devising a strategy to drive Mom over a cliff. Maybe it’s because both are exerting a greater sense of agency, one ran off in a different direction from the other.
Places to go, amusement park to see.
Thankfully the other parents there understood the situation and gracefully tailed behind the pack of boys off in one direction, as I chased after the speed demon “toddler” o’ mine in the other. But that in itself brought about an entirely different worry: will the Mayor be good for someone else’s mom? This mom in particular was not a complete stranger (her boy also went to the Mayor’s preschool until this year) but not someone the Mayor was terribly familiar with, either. He’s pretty independent, that one. And stubborn. And impulsive. And temperamental. (He get it from his mama). He’s all five.
And maybe it’s because I felt like I was placing a burden on other people by not being able to wrangle both of my kids into doing the same thing at the same time. Like I was an unfit mother. But I have to remind myself that motherhood is another type of sisterhood. Our kids have free will and next-to-no impulse control. And that it’s OK to ask for help (even without asking) because my sisters in motherhood are up for it, just as I would be if the tables were turned.

I’m not sure I’d say I’ve always been a worrier, but I have devoted an awful lot of my adult life to its futility. And now that I have kids, it’s 100 fold. (Maybe more!) Worrying about their safety and well being; if I could only know that they are going to make it out of childhood relatively unscathed, maybe I wouldn’t worry quite as much. I worry that it gets in the way of actually enjoying their childhood.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Well It's All Right, Even If You're Old and Gray

Does anyone really enjoy growing old? Of course I want to say I’m growing old gracefully, but am I really?

Instead of going gray, I took note from my grandma and started going blonder (and blonder!) at the first strand of silver. Lately, however, I’ve been wondering what my hair would look like au natural. What if silver makes for awesome highlights? I haven’t talked to my stylist about it, but that’s probably because I haven’t seen her for awhile...but that’s another story entirely.

I suppose that anti-aging isn’t the sole purpose that I use all of the creams and poultices that I do on my fa├žade. But I have consciously switched moisturizers because of “fine lines” (moisture related, of course). And on occasion I have thought about how far ahead of the game I am compared to my mom. I mean, I think she was still sunbathing slathered in baby oil when I was Miss Thang’s age. Whereas…what’s sunbathing?

Not long ago, I was at the gym and noticed some older ladies (probably in their 60s). We were all going about our regularly scheduled workouts until it hit me: these ladies have the most uncomfortable looking bosoms. And omigod they’re me in mumblegrumble years! I decided then and there that I am having serious back and shoulder pain, such that I am in need of a breast reduction.  

And I must admit, I’ve already bought Glucosamine/Chondroitin. You know, the stuff that’s supposed to relieve joint pain and rebuild cartilage for old people? I was not kind to my body as a kid (I was a fat athlete, by most grown-ups' standards) and my joints have, at times, rebelled against me. But all the supplements in the world can’t make me remember to take them with regularity. (Is that stupid youth or early onset dementia?!)

Inside I really still feel like I’m still 24 (unless I’ve been out drinking like I’m 24 again). Although let’s face it: with age comes wisdom and I’m so grateful that I can say “If I only knew then what I know now….”

So, do I enjoy growing old or do I fight against it? Yes. And no. I’m not one to take drastic measures to turn back the hands of time, but I would like to make the most of the time that I do have in this life. And if that means smaller boobs here, a hip replacement there, then fight it is. 

And my grandma? After my mom's hair grew back in post-chemo and ditched the dye bottle, Gramma decided to let her hair go natural, too. It's perfectly white.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I almost forgot that it's Thursday. It doesn't feel like a Thursday, but a Friday. The Mayor's goes to school Monday through Thursday, so nearly every Thursday feels like a Friday. This one especially because Fella is taking the day off tomorrow. And we watched a movie. Until 11 o'clock!!!

So tonight I am thankful for cheesy Hallmark Channel movies, even if they make me stay up late. I'm even thankful for all the commercials, during which I could finish writing my previous post.

The Other Guys

Shiny hair.
Perfect skin.
Sparkly smile.
Woodland creatures helping with the chores.
There’s no telling me otherwise, these are the things that other bloggers have that I wish I had.
Aside from the mythical qualities, there are a lot of skills that I think (read: project on to) other bloggers have that I wish I had, among them: Organization. Focus. Expertise.
You should see my house. But you won’t because I will only have you over when I can tame the clutter beast that dwells within. The window of opportunity is narrow: about every 6 months for my kids’ birthday parties. If you’re invited over any other time, consider yourself family.
Now, I realize that neatness (or lack thereof) doesn’t have any correlation to my success plunking at the keyboard and spewing out my inane thoughts to the world (and perhaps just the opposite). But then there is The Guilt.
Fella is accustomed to a fairly orderly life. His mom is a phenomenally organized person and can find the perfect place for everything to live. She has at times left me awestruck at the simple solutions she finds that are right in effing front of us the whole time! So, neat and tidy is what Fella knows and likes. And I feel guilty taking time away from housely duties to write my life away, so far for naught.
So if I’m going to make this into anything more than “for naught,” I have to get my shit together and really organize a way to do that! I was never ever one for outlining a paper before I sat to write it. Such things just came organically, if you will. So I feel like I have a disorganized mind, too, when it comes down to the strategic aspect of this blogging thing.
I can’t help it. It’s how my brain works. I have four tabs open on my internet browser and two documents. And I will tab through them all on a whim (or at a lull). It’s just the way it is. I’ll work for 10 minutes, then eff around for 15.
I’m not sure if it actually drove my last boss crazy (at least once he figured out that it’s just my modus operandi) or if it just irked this one particular woman in HR who one day told on me for being on the internet so my boss had to make an example of me. Seriously. It happened. We’re grown-ups.
Ooh! Shiny!
It’s not like I have an attention disorder, I just have an active mind. And along with that, sometimes there are a lot of incoherent things rambling around upstairs. And I’m wordy. When I still wrote my childhood friend letters, which was well into high school, I sent pages upon pages detailing the goings on in my life. Absolute novellas.
So between worrying about what to write and agonizing over how much to write, somewhere in between I lose my focus.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Jill-of-all-trades, master of none. This is also apparently a personality trait (I took a test that told me so). I learn just enough about a thing to be conversant, but I don’t have the interest to really delve into the nooks and crannies. It’s a wonder I made it through law school at all.
So it’s hard for me to sit down and write about things with authority when all I feel I do is dabble. Even if that is just the way I am.
ALL that said, this is what my blog is all about. A life of learning and growing. Acknowledging my weaknesses among my strengths and figuring out how to overcome them. This is my Life In Training.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Another Brick in the Wall

For nearly two and a half years, I built a wall around my writing. I blamed it on not having any time. I made the excuse that I didn’t have anything interesting to write about. I worried that, as Fella might say, this is all a load of narcissistic blather.*
Is this all just narcissistic blather?!
Like right now, I want to crumple up this page and go get drunk because what’s it all for?!?! But since I can’t do either…
I suppose I have to remind myself that this is what writers do. They share of themselves. And I also have to remind myself that there are people out there (hello!) that care about what I have to say about things. (Right?!) And I have creative things to share with the world!
So it’s not going to be easy, but I need to get out of my own way and just let this happen.

*He does not say that, at least not exactly. But probably something along those lines. Or maybe he has, just not about me. In fact, he’s been staying up late with me as I continue on this NaBloPoMo journey. And by “staying up late” I mean he falls asleep on top of the covers until we both get under the covers together. Anyway, I feel supported. Even if it’s in my head.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Today of all days, our thoughts are with those men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Their sacrifices have made my life as I know it possible. And they are why it’s important to me to spend my time serving my community in the ways that I am able.
I am a volunteer for the Junior League of Oakland East Bay Inc. (JLOEB). I chose to join this group of volunteers to build friendships with ladies who also feel that community service is an integral part of our society. JLOEB also offers diverse opportunities for service. One week I might be sorting food at a local food bank and the next helping teenaged girls shop for a prom dress. And if I can learn something new along the way (which I always do!) even better.
I may not make as immense of a sacrifice as our military women and men, but if my modest contribution has the slightest chance at making this a better place for us all, I’ll take it. And today, I dedicate my service to you, Veterans. With my utmost gratitude.

Monday, November 10, 2014

While I'm spilling my guts over here, you may as well know: I’m on Day 22 of a Whole30 Challenge. A long time ago (last month), in a galaxy far, far away (the gym) some ladies from the Circuit class were commenting on how they weren’t losing weight. Neither was I, and I knew why. My arch nemesis: food.
Loooong story short, I was overdue to clean up my diet post-partum and post-nursing. So I proposed to the ladies that we think about a Whole30 Challenge together. We hemmed and hawed for a couple of weeks, but three of us ultimately decided to go for it.
The question I keep getting most from the ladies that opted not to join us is: do you miss eating anything?
Um, yeah. Try all the stuff.
Except all that stuff? It was making me feel terrible. And now I feel better. The system works!
Well, it being autumn and everywhere you turn there’s something pumpkin in your face, it’s not surprising that the biggest things I have been missing are all those pumpkin things. In my face. So one morning I decided to improvise:
Pumpkin Spice Scramble
3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
3 Tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
2 Tbsp almond butter
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 large eggs
Handful of raisins and sliced almonds
Ghee or coconut oil, for the pan
Heat the oil in a skillet. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Cook like you would scrambled eggs, adding the raisins just before the mixture is cooked through.
Sprinkle sliced almonds on the top. Makes about 2 servings and doubles well.

I’ve now made this for everyone (it’s a good substitute for the oatmeal we are accustomed to having on Sundays before church); the Mayor loves it, Miss Thang doesn’t complain about much (unless you’re holding out on her), and Fella is supportively willing to eat it (I suggested that he might like it better with a little maple syrup). 
It’s no PSL, bit it hits the pumpkin craving spot when your options are limited!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Worthy Goal

I have never fancied myself a competitive person. Sure, I played some competitive sports and I certainly didn't like losing. But when things got really blood thirsty, I checked out. Even in law school I didn't hardly entertain the thought of competing with my classmates, except for that one time I found out a got a better grade in Contracts than one of the smartest guys in my class. But who wouldn't be stoked at that kind of validation?

So I'm not quite sure why I struggle to be truly happy for people in their successes. Instead I find myself being resentful. Mostly because I don't understand how I haven't found my own success. Sure, I've achieved some pretty difficult feats like, you know, finding a husband. And graduating from that law school thing. Keeping a couple of tiny humans alive. So what more am I looking for?

I guess I'm still looking for that something that I'm really kick-ass, like expert good at, although I mostly think of myself as a Jill-of-all-trades. Or that BIG idea that's going to make all of our financial worries a thing of the past!

So for now, I'll keep looking. But while I'm at it, I'll get over myself. Because I really do hope we all make it!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Learning to Love Myself

My mom’s group has recently started the Momnipotent study. This week’s episode started with this:

It reminds me a little of the time when I was single and trying the online dating thing. The site I was using at the time had you engage in compatibility Q&A prior to sharing your picture and personal information. Things were going fine until the question: How important are looks to you?

I couldn't even.

So I didn't. I closed my account, got my money back, and went on my way. Alone again.

The question was double edged for me. First, it could have meant that looks were important to the man asking. Second: And I? I was just average. Perhaps even slightly below average (a Perfect Four), depending on who you ask (me) and what mood they are in (insecure. Always insecure). Third, it could have meant that he was (heaven forbid) of even lower than slightly below average visage. And fourth, that it actually mattered to me. It was a sticky question that hit on all of my triggers. And, if memory serves, I was only able to answer Yes/No with no opportunity to explain. And there was plenty I could explain (clearly).

Did I digress?

So this Momnipotent session starts by asking about our self-worth as women and mothers. And this is definitely an area where I struggle.

Most of my life, I didn't feel lovable. I thought that if I could just find someone (not my family) to love me, hell even just "like" me, then I might be able to believe that I am lovable. That I am worthy of love. And for so.many.years. I went without.

And for just as many years--more, actually--I hated myself. I wanted to be someone (anyone!) else, so long as they were lovable.

Even since I've found the love of my life, the man who loves me back, I've continued to harbor this self-loathing. Because my exterior doesn't meet my definition of beautiful. I hate. I judge. I continue to fail.

And what's more, I have already seen the Mayor expressing that he doesn't feel lovable. And I know he has picked that up from me, whether or not I express it outwardly. These tiny human mirrors can pick up on the tiniest of details!

So it's time that I work harder to fix the broken me. It's time that I learn to love me, the whole me. The me that promoted me to my most coveted job and vocation in life: mom. The me who carried two beautiful, healthy babies with ease. It's time to believe that I am a beautiful and should treat myself as such.

What are ways you celebrate your beauty?