Tuesday, January 19, 2016

And this is why some animals eat their young....

I know you all had kids young. I didn't. Ended up adopting at 40. Maybe it was 41? I can't remember right now, but what's the difference, anyway...

Before I say anything else, I say this. I love my kiddos BEYOND MEASURE. Seriously. But I just have to vent, and this is a safe place. You know the sit-coms where teenage girls are snarky to their parents or roll their eyes...and the parents lift a glass of wine together or laugh about it? That's what I covet. That's the hardest part....doing this alone, and coping with a 13 year old girl.

Anyone who's done it before me, and anyone who will do it after. I lift my glass to you. Forever and always.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kelly Clarkson is a flippin' goddess

So, I know I'm late on the bandwagon. Did you know who she is? Of course you did. I mean I know the name. I don't actually watch more than one episode of "American Idol" a season, but I knew she'd been on there. Why don't I watch it? It's entertaining, right? Too much damn talking....I guess that's it. I start out watching the first episode...and then I get bored. Just flat bored. Forget it's on...next thing you know everyone is talking about the changes for the next season...what? It's over? Who won? Never mind...I wouldn't remember them anyway.

That was her, right? Until she came out with "Because of You" in 2004. Everyone said it was a bad love affair, but I read she said it was about her mom. It was a great song...and then I forgot about her again. Sometimes I have the attention span of a flea.

How do I know what the attention span of a flea is? I have two kids, both diagnosed with ADHD. I wasn't. But I went through school being the girl always looking out the window. Never paying attention. Always interuppting. Always moving...ever in the back of my mind is my Aunt Bunne saying, "Just stop jiggling your leg!" But the assessment I took says no. I think I was just bored. And distractable. What was I saying?

Oh, yeah...Kelly Clarkson is a freakin' goddess. After that song I liked in 2004, I kind of forgot about her. I knew her name was always around, but I couldn't tell you what she was doing.

But then...she had a baby! Cut the side of her hair super short! Slammed the haters who tried to body shame her! And all of a sudden there are all these YouTube videos of her doing cover songs...like this cover of Taylor Swift's "Blank Space":

or this one, Adele's "Someone Like You":

And then, there she was singing Tinder profiles, of all things:

Holy mother of all things good and wonderful...this woman can SING IT.

But I think this new one may be one of my favorites...it's Prince's "Purple Rain."

So, yeah, I may be late to the game....but I'm now a Kelly Clarkson fan..atic.

She's so open and honest, announcing she's "totally pregnant" the other night. Now to go listen to every song she's sung since the beginning.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Keto Project - Day Three

I know, I know. Where is Day Two? I said I'd update daily, and I've already failed. But I had a good reason - promise.

My daughter flipped over a basketball and landed on her forehead. Why didn't she break her fall, you ask? Go ahead, because it won't offend me...I thought the same thing. Right after I thought, "Oh, God...what's wrong with her now." If you've ever parented a middle-school girl, you may know what I'm talking about. I mean..CRAMPS! HEADACHES! BRUISES (from gymnastics and cheering and dancing)! It's unending.

Anyway, I got off track. Why didn't she break her fall? She said she didn't want to break a wrist. Wrist...brain...hmmmm. Thank goodness for the healing power of the young body, as she's pretty much back to normal after a rough 24 hours.

Anyway, today is Day Three, and I have to say, this is probably the easiest diet I've ever tried. I'm not really hungry. No cravings. Heck, I get chocolate every night! The food is delicious...so delicious. Tonight's dinner was Cheesy Chili Spaghetti Squash Casserole, and oh. my. yum. And it's REAL FOOD. And...the scale has already moved!

More later, hopefully....until then:

Weight change: - 1.5 pounds (yippy!!)
Exercise: Zilch. I had to wake up my girl up every hour last night, so there was no way in tarnation I was going to climb on that bike this morning.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Keto Project - Day One

Well, isn't this embarrassing. It's a weighty issue...arrgh. If you've read anything here, you'll know I've tried paleo, I've been vegan, vegetarian...my eating habits have run the gamut. They all have benefits - I was vegan the longest. I felt light and energized at first...then run-down and anemic, later. Paleo - probably should have stuck with it. But I have trouble sticking.

But now I really need to lose weight. I really need to get lean. My left knee has been an annoyance since I hurt it at 14. It would flare up now and then, most noticeably after I walked the Breast Cancer 3-day back in 2003. A few years later, my doctor said I had equal chances improving it by surgery or physical therapy, and I chose the therapy. That got me through another eight years. The first weekend of March this year, I fell on it, and it's been the worst it's ever been. I'm having an MRI this week, but no matter what the outcome, I know it will feel better if I lose a few pounds. Okay, more than a few.

I've flirted with different ideas. One was tempting, and that was a ketogenic diet, and then a good friend brought it up while we were hanging out the other night. Her step-daughter has been trying keto, and started losing weight quickly and easily, also losing cravings for bad stuff along the way.

I've long found I Breathe... I'm Hungry to be one of my favorite blogs. Melissa Sevigny makes beautiful food that sounds just delicious. And she's done all the work! Eleven weeks of meal plans, plus a three-day trial. I dove right in, skipping the three-day and going right for Week One.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. I already had a lot of the items on the pantry list, but there were a few I needed to pick up. I found nearly everything at my local low-price grocery store, and a quick trip to Trader Joe's filled in the rest. It was definitely pricier than a regular week's haul for me, but not by a whole lot, and quite a few of these items will last a while.

I returned home with great hopes to complete all the prep work for the week as Melissa describes. It was a little more time consuming than I thought, but it was all super easy. I'll finish most of it today, and then I'll have a whole week of meals pretty much ready to go.

This morning was Day One for me. I started off with the delicious Sausage, Spinach & Feta Frittata, and let me tell you...it was absolutely delectable. Yesterday while it was cooking, my 12-year-old daughter kept saying how delicious it smelled, and when it came out of the oven we were actually tempted to eat it right then! I wish I'd taken a photo of my own, but it wouldn't have looked as good as the originals. I made it in a 9 x 13 pan, but I think next time I'll try a muffin tin for variety. I rounded off breakfast with Trader Joe's Cold-Brewed Coffee Concentrate and some heavy cream made into an iced coffee drink that was better than anything I've had in years. Drinking iced coffee always reminds me of my mom. It was a favorite summertime drink in the heat of the small Arizona town where I grew up.

I'm going to use this as an accountability tool, so I'll be updating this daily. I can't wait to try more of the recipes!

Weight change:  0
Exercise: 26 minutes recumbent bike (yes, I know it was a weird number, but that's when my knee started hurting)

Monday, January 5, 2015

No, I'm not superstitious

I'm not superstitious.

How can I be? When I was a child, I was always so careful never to step on a crack. I never wanted to break my mother's back. My mother raised me to be superstitious. Never to walk under a ladder. Never to put shoes on a table. Never open an umbrella in a house. I still managed to break mirrors, no matter how careful I was.

When I was 10, my mother died, and I realized that none of these things protected me from the bad things of the world. The only thing that would get me through was my faith in God, my belief that no matter how awful things are here, there is a greater purpose and plan.

Because of this, probably (I can't say for sure), I don't believe in signs or ghosts or other things I cannot see or feel or touch. Yes, I know that's contradictory. Believe me, I know all too well. But that is how I am, and I really don't see the need to change.

But then there is the ring. It's always a ring, isn't it?

My mother was married three times.

The first time, she was 17. Her husband was 31. They had four children, though only two lived. When my brothers were babies, he left.

The second time, she was 25. Her husband was 54. From all accounts, they were wildly happy, and had me 14 years later. My father died when I was two.

Her third marriage came when she was 43. I'm still not sure how old my stepfather was, but I know he looked far older. He always told me he was 39. They were married until my mother died when I was 10. He followed her to the grave three years later.

I inherited her wedding rings from my father and step-father. Sadly, the ring that my father gave my mother was in my car when it was stolen years ago (I was moving and hadn't unpacked that last load yet). But I still have the ring from my step-father. It's simple white gold, with pretty ridges and some small diamonds. I used to wear it on my right hand.

One day I realized it was gone. I was in my early 20s, and realized I hadn't seen it since putting hand lotion on at my desk at work that day. I searched everywhere, but it was nowhere to be found. Heartbroken, I finally stopped looking.

Months later, there was a note posted on the bulletin board at work. "Ladies ring found, please identify. See guard on duty at desk." Knowing it couldn't possibly be mine, I checked anyway. It was my ring. They had found it moving furniture - it was under the heavy leg of a desk.

I started wearing it again, and several years later, I wore it out dancing with friends one night. My hands got hot and puffy, so I took it off and put it in the pocket of my jacket. When I got home, it was gone. Another night crying. I called the club, and no one had turned it in. It wasn't in my car.

A year later, I was moving. During my last sweep of the apartment, I climbed a stepladder to dust the top shelf in my bedroom closet. I only kept a few boxes and shoes up there - nothing else.

There was my ring.

Once I got over my initial tears of joy, I thought it must be a sign. It had to be. There was no earthly explanation.

Not wanting to press my luck (and yes, I do know how silly that sounds), I stopped wearing it and kept it stored in my jewelry box. Years have passed, I've gained weight, and it doesn't even fit the ring finger on my right hand where I'd worn it.

A couple weeks ago, my son was discovering the treasures there. There's a story for nearly every pin and necklace inside. I told him who I'd received them from, where I'd worn them, what the memories were for each one. Then he found the ring, and I told him the story. He told me I should wear it on a different finger, so I did. It was a bit loose on that finger, but not loose enough that I thought I'd lose it...but I did. By the end of that same day, it was gone.

This time I didn't look for it. It could have been anywhere - home, church, grocery store, gas station. I didn't say a word to anyone. I waited.

New Year's Day I woke before my kids. No surprise, I'd gone to sleep before they did. I went out to the kitchen to make coffee.

And there, right by the coffeemaker, was my ring. When the kids woke, I asked them if either one had put it there. My son Jake answered quickly. "I did. It was right in the middle of the living room floor last night. You really shouldn't leave it out like that."

The floor that I'd swept and dust-mopped and mopped at least three times during those two weeks the ring was missing.

This time I am going to say it's a sign.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Can I freeze my daughter?

I have an 11-year-old daughter, and she is beautiful.

Perhaps...no, probably...I'm slightly biased. No, I'm not. She is gorgeous. Tall, leggy, blonde, blue-eyed.

She wants to wear make-up. I remember those days...but I could swear it hit me a bit later. Sixth grade? Nope. Maybe seventh, certainly eighth. I don't think I'm terribly old-fashioned, but I want her to wait as long as possible. She's 11. Still a little girl in many ways, and I want her to hang on to these days...they are too short and can never return. I let her wear make-up for play, but not out of the house, except for a bit for a dance or violin performance (stage lighting isn't particularly friendly to blondes).

I wear make-up nearly every day, and I believe it's a wonderful thing. It's fun, it's pretty, I can accentuate what I want and minimize what I don't. And at my age, baby, it's all about the minimization.

But not my girl. Sometimes I get a glimpse of the woman she'll become, and it excites me and scares the stuffing out of me. I picked her up after school the other day, and I saw a beautiful young woman come around the corner, skinny jeans tucked into boots, a pretty blouse, a leather jacket, hair up in a bun. It took me a moment to realize she was my little girl.

I know we'll struggle over this. We already do. Yesterday we all piled into the truck to go somewhere. No place fancy. I turned over my shoulder to look before backing up, and just about choked. "Are you wearing make-up?" She had all of it on...mascara, liner, eyeshadow, blush, lipstick. Beautiful still, in spite of the stuff. I marched her back in the house to wash her face before we could leave. She was upset, and so was I. Until she looked in the mirror. I think she saw herself as I do, maybe for the first time. She looked so grown-up, and I know as much as she longs for it, she's not quite ready for that.

This is a mother-daughter dance that doesn't surprise me, that I expected would come. In my eighth-grade days of applying mascara in secret in the bathroom at the school dance, swearing to myself I would let my daughter start wearing make-up when she wanted to - but knowing in my heart I probably would make her wait...not knowing the reasons why.

If you are a mother of a girl, what age/grade did you/will you allow her to wear make-up every day? Share in the comments below...it won't change my mind, but I'm curious.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The post where I say butt too many times, and talk about Ender's Game

As in, put your money where your mouth is, but this relates to a movie, so I'll say put your money where your butt is. Where I paid a lot of money to put my butt in a seat. Oops, I said it again. And I will, because I like to say butt. I wasn't allowed to when my mom was alive...see, she died when I was 10, but there are still so many things every day that make me think of her. Somehow, saying butt instead of bottom makes me feel just the slightest bit naughty.

We went to the movies tonight, my teenaged son and I. This we had planned since the day he started reading Ender's Game. He came home and asked if I had read it. Of course I had, being a science fiction fan. But it was years ago, so he asked me to reread it so we could talk about it each night. It was a pleasure, and I enjoyed it more the second time round, probably because I could now critique it with one of the most important people in the world to me.

I had to stop and think about the movie visit. I know many will not go to see it, because of the strong views of its outspoken author, Orson Scott Card. Put your money where your mouth is. Live your beliefs with your wallet. I've heard a few more of these, though more don't quickly come to mind. Would I see this movie knowing how much hatred this man holds and inspires? Would I refuse to see the film to prevent him from making any more money than he already has from the book?

I chose to see it tonight with my 13-year-old son. We talked about the things that Mr. Card has said. We talked about the fact that there are people we love and care about that are the targets of some of his hatred, though I think some of that still went over my son's head.

Because I thought about other things, too. About Jesus' call to love. About my own faith and beliefs. How would I feel if an atheist chose not to visit the business I work in, because he didn't believe what I do?

Ultimately, Mr. Card wrote a tremendous story. And if he makes money from the movie and uses that to advance his own agenda, then so be it...because that's what I do with money I earn. We live in a country where we can believe things that others find absurd and even offensive. The fact that his book made it to film has got people talking. Do I judge him as he judges other? Probably. After all, part of the definition of judgment is to form an opinion, to discern.

So ultimately I am glad I got off my butt and put it in a movie seat tonight.

Have you seen Ender's Game? Will you? Let me know in the comments below.