The top 3 of 2018 so far

It occurred to me, as I sit here listening to my favorite pet, this robot vacuum, that I have not written a blog in almost a month. That’s not to say that I have not written at all. For a few weeks I was on quite the streak. I finished my second re-write of my book and then started adding to the story. I’m not sure what happened after that but I do intend to schedule some writing time tomorrow and next week.

As far as this new year goes, well it’s a tossup. It’s been better in ways and the same or worse in others. As is life, I suppose. I have a big girls trip coming up later this year to celebrate the 40th birthday of myself and one of my best friends. We’re also going to Disney so I’m trying to do a better job with the budget. That being said, I bought some things that have brought me great joy in the new year.

The first is the Instant Pot. I had been eyeing it for awhile and the expense kept me from pulling the trigger on it. But, most nights of the week it’s just me and the kids. If I’m working then I don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up. I bought it and haven’t looked back. On average I’m cooking 3-4 meals a week in this thing. Keep in mind, I meal plan and I do so to leave me with leftovers so that I’m not cooking every night. So far, I’ve only had one meal not turn out great. That was last night. The issue was I was supposed to let it natural release for 5 minutes and then quick release and pull it out. I was making mashed potatoes and let it natural release for 10 minutes, so then I ended up with dry pork. Lesson learned. Other than that screw up, I’ve loved it and cooked a bunch of different things in it. There’s a Facebook group where people will teach you all the overwhelming things, like what it means to natural release versus quick release.

The second thing that’s rocked my 2018 has been this crazy robot vacuum. We talked about getting one for Christmas but spending over $300-400 for another vacuum just seemed like an expense we didn’t need. Then I was looking at my Facebook feed and in one of the local groups I belong to a woman posted that she had seen a Roomba in the Bargain Hunt for $130. The next day my husband said he was going to go see if it was still there. Sure enough, it was! This thing is amazing. I hate vacuuming but I also hate dog hair and with wood floors, the dust bunnies. I honestly don’t know the model, I’m pretty sure it’s a retired one. But it’s a Roomba. I like how it sounds like there’s an old lady driving a scooter into all my furniture too.

Finally, the MoviePass has brought me an indescribable amount of joy.  Here’s the deal, it’s $9.95 a month (right now looks like they have a special for $7.95 a month!). You pay whether you see a movie or not. For that monthly fee, you can see one movie a day in the theater. The catch? You can’t see the same movie twice. You install the movie pass app on your phone. When you are within 100 yards of the theater you go into the app, select the theater, movie and show time. Then you go into the theater and buy the ticket with the MoviePass card (looks like a regular credit card). That’s it. So far this month, I’ve seen maybe 4 movies? Since a night time movie costs $11+, if I go to one movie then I’ve saved money. Going to the movies is my favorite thing to do. I usually go with my bestie, so she got a MoviePass too! I think it will really save me some money when I’m going to the movie this summer with the kids with all the new kids movies coming out. **For those who will ask, each person has to have their own. So I can’t buy myself and both kids tickets on my movie pass. They’d need to each have one.

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New year, same me.

My last post was a year ago. That doesn’t surprise me. This past year was hard for various reasons. Getting into a new job, then changing that job to fit what our family needed was a big one. Dealing with relationships that aren’t nourishing my soul was equally as big. Realizing that no one is going to take care of me, but me was maybe the biggest. I already knew that one, turns out I just forgot, or decided to ignore it.

I turn 40 this year. When I was in high school 40 seemed ancient. I still feel like I’m in my 20’s in some ways. I definitely don’t act mature in the way that most people would describe mature. I’m silly and loud and I just want to enjoy my life. 40 looms ahead of me reminding me that I need to take care of myself and get myself together. What life I have ahead of me is mine to squander doing the wrong thing or wasting with the wrong people.

I’m writing again. I’m reading again. I’m putting time in my day to do these things. It’s handwritten on my calendar. Even if it’s 15 minutes. I’m doing it. I joined a kickboxing gym to work on my health. Last year I probably wouldn’t have spent the money. But aren’t I worth it? Isn’t my health worth it? Turns out I love hitting things. It feels GOOD. Easy decision.

I’m setting new boundaries with folks. Some are harder than others. Some boundaries overlap those that I love the most so they are trickier. But my heart is worth it. I’ve spent a good portion of my life feeling unloved and there are so many wonderful people who love me, not a version of me but the actual loud, messy, me. There’s no reason to waste my heart on anyone who feels that lying constantly to protect their bad behavior and their mistreatment of me is okay. It’s not okay.  How can I work to help make the world a more loving place if I’m allowing myself to be treated with anything less than love? Doesn’t make sense.

So difficult things are happening. Also really great things. Exciting things with amazing people. 2018 has to be better than 2017 and here’s to realizing that I also get to choose how it’s better.

Oh where, oh where have I been?

Nowhere but also Savannah. I haven’t written in a while and I have no good excuse. It certainly isn’t helping me meet my goal of blogging regularly and writing on the daily. 2016 has royally jacked me up. This is just one of the results.

I have some things I plan to focus on in 2017, not necessarily resolutions, just things I want to re-focus on. I kept putting off doing another blog because what the heck would I write about? But the longer you avoid something the worse it is, so I’ll just tell you a little about my Savannah trip.

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You’ve been warned.

My sister-from-another-mister won $1000 when we were playing Bingo. That’s another story all together but our screams of delight were muffled by the disapproving looks of the rest of the bingo players and further stifled by several people stating ‘you better watch your back in the parking lot’. Bingo isn’t for sissies.

Anywhozits, she won $1000 and immediately declared it would be used for a girls weekend. Schedules being hateful we had to wait until December. Her bingo winnings brought us to Savannah, Georgia. She had rented a two bedroom basement apartment that allowed us to be within walking distance of all the things.

Our trip started with us driving with four of us in my car and the fifth driving herself and meeting us there. Aside from a roadside petting farm where someone tried to traumatize me by throwing food to the many fowl running around (who then began to run at me) and then getting sneezed in the face by a Llama herself (unfortunately I missed this as I was pouting in my car eating a candy bar after running scared), the drive down was a-okay. We met up with our friend for lunch and immediately Savannah captured our hearts via our quirky waitress. She had some poorly applied (and half smeared off lipstick), a milky eye, and a car salesman’s pitch for their drink of the day. She had much disdain for me as I said I’d just have a water and a side salad (I had just filled up on the candy bar) but then came back to tell us she had more than a dozen children.

We made our way to our home for the weekend and spread out to rest a bit. Then we hit the town to shop and see what was what. For dinner we ate at a tapas place that was delicious and the drinks were pretty nice too. On the way back, one of us tripped and fell. Don’t worry, aside from her knees looking like someone took a baseball bat to them she was okay. Our ghost tour with Nicodemus rounded out the first night.

The next day we started by hitting a Holiday Market on River Street that left us slightly disappointed. But, we met Santa! Most of us were able to get some Christmas shopping done and then we hit the apartment to get changed for the Pub Crawl we had scheduled. We were with a bachelorette party and they were very nice young ladies. Their pedaling left much to be desired. My seat was too close because I switched from the one that our amazing host had fixed for me after the first bar, so my knees soon looked similar to our falling friend. The tour was fun and even when we got stuck in parade traffic we entertained ourselves. If you are ever in Savannah check out Savannah Slow Ride. After the slow ride we had more drinks and then went to an English pub for dinner where I nearly choked on the cheese in my French Onion Soup more than once.

Finally, the third day of the trip two of the ladies had to go home and the remaining three of us started our morning with brunch at Lady and Sons. We then did some window shopping and later decided we wanted to see Bonaventure Cemetery. Little did we know the cemetery was closed earlier than it said online. On the drive there we had passed the Catholic Cemetery and it looked old enough, so we pulled in. Soon after we turned onto one of the little roads going throughout the cemetery we saw some rustling in a bush. I immediately stopped the car so we could get to the bottom of whatever was going on. We all three sat staring as a grown man jingled his pants over and over. I honestly expected a child to come out of the bush and to need to call 911.

After several minutes, he bent down to pick something up and we locked eyes. I started driving and turned left onto the road but going the opposite direction of him and in the rearview mirror saw him get on his bike and ride away. After driving through we were back to the original road and I had to know what he had been doing. We parked the car and walked over to get closer to the bush he had been nearly in. I was about to take another step when my friend yells, “Watch out! There’s shit.”

I looked down and there was a big pile of yellow poop. It took a second for it to sink in that it was his poop. As I looked around I then noticed he had brought toilet paper and thrown it in the bush. Of course I took a picture because otherwise it didn’t happen.  I’ll spare you the picture but it’s on my Instagam page if you’re really interested.

The trip was pretty much made when that happened. I can tell you that encountering something really weird or messed up just makes my day, even if that involves a large amount of yellow human feces. More than anything I just have so many questions. Does he shit there often? Does he have other outdoor pooping places? Has he been to a doctor recently about the color of his poop?

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This creepy painting was in the little outdoor alcove outside one of the bedrooms.

That was pretty much our trip. If I left out something amazing it’s probably because of alcohol.

Whole3o Results and Takeaways

Earlier this week I finished the Whole30. Day 30 was election day. I decided not to blog my diet from the last 2-3 days of it because honestly I cheated basically everyday and rather than devote an entire blog to that I figured I’d just admit it and move on.

I know what most people who are actually reading this and following my Whole30 journey are wondering about are the results I’ve seen.  As far as my overall results with my body, I lost 11.5 inches total and 12.6 lbs. Not too shabby. I will say that for 3 of the 4 weeks I was working out 5 days a week. The first week I took off because I was so hungry.

Other results? I’m sleeping better (not quite as well since I’ve slipped here and there). My energy was way better. Mentally I felt very focused and motivated and the brain fog that I had attributed to being a mom was actually gone. My overall mood was much better.

So what were my main takeaways?

  1. The hide sugar in everything. I do mean everything. Bacon, sausage, pasta, ketchup. I now read labels every time I go to buy something if it’s something I haven’t bought before.
  2. Meal prep is the key to stay on track. Making a batch of chicken salad and roasting veggies on Sunday afternoon so that all I have to do is make a plate come lunch time really helped me to stay on track throughout the week. It also cut down on my wanting to snack because I had enough food to fill me up during lunch.
  3. I’m much more thirsty than I am hungry. I was drinking water when I started this but not nearly enough. Now that I consistently keep a full mug of water to drink throughout the day I’m less hungry between meals.
  4. My eating affects my sleep and how energetic I am throughout the day. The things I’ve noticed are that I’m sleeping through the night (most nights I don’t get up to pee anymore). I’m falling asleep much faster than ever before. When I get up I’m more awake and full of energy. This is something I noticed early on. Since I’ve had some cheating the last week and since I’ve been done I’ve noticed my sleep and energy are the first things to be affected.
  5. My stomach issues resolved themselves pretty much immediately upon starting the Whole30.

 

While I didn’t follow everything exactly, I feel like (until the end) I stayed pretty close to what I was supposed to. Most things that I really thought I would have a hard time giving up (cheese and soda), I don’t miss. I’m happy to have a sweet tea and a water when eating out. The sweet tea is my cheat that I’ll allow myself. I like how I feel. My clothes are much looser. I’m completing workouts easier. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired so for me continuing on this track as best I can is worth it for that reason.

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This is the view during my daily walks. One thing I really love about my new hood is all the trees and how pretty they are. 

Today I get to be scared and sad.

I woke up to the news of our newly elected President. I read excerpts from his speech and felt that for the first time in a year he sounded rational. I said a prayer that the things that I feared most from him would not come true and that he would lead in a way different than he had promised and demonstrated.

Even still, I think of the reasons why this scared me so much. As a woman I am vastly aware of how this man views my rights, my body, my consent. I think of my friends of color, my LGBT friends, my Muslim friends and I am scared for them too. I’m not scared only because of what I’ve seen and heard from him but from his many followers. These other Americans, my fellow citizens, many of whom feel such contempt and hatred for those who are different.

I was never a fan of the Apprentice. He annoyed me from the beginning. He makes a lot of weird faces. They are funny when they show up in memes. I became angrier and angrier as the election season wore on. Then the video came out. And a certain writer went to Twitter asking for women to share their stories of sexual assault. I read through more responses than I can count. I cried. I wondered how many instances like these women posted I had experienced. I began to think back. Then I became angry.

What angered me the most is that at the time that any of these things happened to me, I was scared, I was uncomfortable. I felt disgusting. I never thought to tell anyone or to say anything. I accepted it as what happened. That’s what pissed me off. The notion that because I am a female I don’t get to consent. My body is not my own. Reliving my own experiences from the realization that they were assaults in different degrees woke me up.

Now I think about my daughter and I wonder how old she will be when a boy touches her body and laughs when she frowns or cries. Will she tell me? We talk about body rules all the time and consent. I hope she will tell me. I hope she will know that it’s not okay. I talk to my son about how there will be boys who think it’s okay to touch girls in places where they shouldn’t. Some boys may try to get him to do the same. He has to stand up. He has to do the hard work.

The most upsetting part of this was not that there were so many people in America that believed this was okay, it was that there were so many people in my life that think it’s okay. That excuse it.

They wondered why women didn’t come forward sooner? Isn’t it just a ploy? Why would they come forward? I didn’t. My friends didn’t. I bet other females in your life didn’t. Did you? We are taught this is our cross to bear. Let’s look at what happened when they did come forward. They were attacked. Scrutinized. Threatened. That’s why we don’t speak up.

So then I see all these posts about how small  minded all of us are who have let an election mess with our relationships. That infuriates me. When I see people stating how “it’s just locker room talk” or making excuses for this behavior I realize that these people I’ve let in my life are not people I want to know. We can differ in opinions on a lot of things. Sexual assault is not one of them.

Being around my children, when you believe that one of them is lesser than or doesn’t get to say what happens with her own body, that’s not going to happen. When Brock Turner’s dad wrote a letter basically stating that his son shouldn’t have his life ruined for “20 minutes of action” and that we should essentially all get over it. I was appalled. Then I watched half of America become Brock Turner’s dad.

I get to be sad for today. For myself. For my loved ones. I will hope and pray that the future isn’t going to be as terrifying as I imagine it will be. I will look for ways that I can make a difference. But for today I get to be sad. If that offends you, or makes you think less of me, feel free to show yourself the door.

Whole30: Day 22-28 Almost Done.

Only two days left after today. I’m ready. I’d like to be able to add in things here and there and not feel quite so restricted. I have been thinking a lot about my food choices after this is over and am waiting on my copy of Food Freedom Forever to arrive. (edited: It came today as I finished up this post! Yay!!)

Day 22:

-Mocha

-2 boiled eggs

-Baked potato with ghee

-Avocado chicken salad

-Strawberries and kiwi

-Applegate hot dog and oven potato fries

Thoughts/Feelings: Tiger blood. Energetic, focused, feeling all sorts of great.

Day 23:

-Mocha

-Scrambled egg

-Apple

-Chicken Salad and Avocado oil chips

-Spanish cauliflower rice, Romaine lettuce wrap taco with guacamole and pico

Thoughts/Feelings: Tiger blood again!

Day 24:

-Mocha

-3 scrambled eggs with ghee

-Chicken salad on spinach

-Apple with cashew butter and coconut

-Taco lettuce wrap (2)

-Avocado oil chips

Thoughts/Feelings: TIGER BLOOD!

Day 25:

-Mocha

-2 scrambled eggs

-Chicken Salad

-Strawberries with kiwi

3 ingredient coconut cookies (These were pretty good. Although the vanilla is not compliant)

-Cashews

BBQ Chicken and Baked potato with ghee (Chicken was cooked in the crockpot with just broth and then I made the Whole30 BBQ sauce that was in the book. It was okay.)

-More cookies

-Avocado chips

Thoughts/Feelings: Initially great, then later on nauseated and just feeling blech. I ate after dinner which I have been avoiding for about a week. I gave into my craving for snacking and it definitely wreaked havoc on me.

Day 26:

-Mocha

-2 scrambled eggs with ghee

-Chicken salad over spinach

-Roasted squash

-Apple with cashew butter and coconut

-Pineapple whip

-Handful of cashews

One brownie square (4 ingredient–not compliant because of sweetener in it, Stevia. While not allowed, they were very good)

Thoughts/Feelings: Tiger blood. Feeling like I’m caving in on doing allowing myself a non-compliant item here and there. Granted it’s a very miniscule amount but still.

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One of my accomplishments. Cleaning out the laundry room.
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Aside from the gross wall color, this is one of my favorite rooms. All the kid’s school and swim stuff is neatly organized. There is plenty of room to wash and hang dry our stuff!

Day 27:

-Mocha

-3 eggs with ghee

-Tacos on Romaine

-Burrito Bowl (Forgot to tell them to put it on lettuce instead of rice but avoided as much of the rice as I could. Cheated and had 3 chips with queso on them.)

-Protein Brownie

Thoughts/Feelings: Felt good overall most of the day. I got a lot of things checked off my to do list. I had a slight headache early on. After dinner I felt bloated and gassy.

Day 28:

-Mocha

-2 scrambled eggs with ghee

-Buffalo chicken dip and celery

-Apple with cashew butter and coconut

-Grapes

-Blue Apron Meal (switched the mayo they sent with my Primal Kitchen mayo so it would be compliant)

-Protein brownie (cheat because the protein powder while non-whey has Stevia)

-Cashews

Thoughts/Feelings: Tiger Blood again. I checked off some things from my to-do list this weekend that have been put on the back burner since we moved 5 months ago but have been causing me anxiety and irritation on a daily basis. Things are now organized and neat and I feel less stabby.

This Tiger Blood business

Yes, this is another Whole30 post. As I’m nearing the end of this thing (Day 26!) I keep thinking about this notion that is talked about in the book of Tiger Blood and how some people decide to stay on Whole30 after the 30th day because they don’t want to lose it.

It got me wondering what is Tiger Blood exactly? I took to my trusty Google and of course a Whole30 forum came up. The gal who came up with this program said that when they decided to use this term that was coined by Charlie Sheen in an interview, they meant it to mean that super energetic, powerful feeling. The problem came, she said, when not all people who have done the Whole30 experience this feeling. All of our bodies are different and so we’re not going to all experience this the same way. This has definitely been true for my friend and I who started this journey together. Our experiences have been very different.

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I don’t have a Tiger Blood picture. This is me on Day 1 hiking Stone Mountain with the kids.

Over the last week, I would say that Tiger Blood would be an accurate description of how I feel. For at least the last year (maybe longer) I’ve felt like I was walking around in a mental fog. I often felt sluggish, tired in the afternoons. Nearly every single year since having my big kid I’ve gone to the doctor, finally fed up, to have my Thyroid tested again and again. It’s normal. Are you depressed? Well, maybe. But I’ve found that all the issues that were dragging me down are now gone. I’m not tired. My head is clear. My focus is sharp and I’m motivated. Did I mention how great I’m sleeping? How great I feel overall?

As I get to the end of this I’m struggling a little with what to do. I want a little sugar in my coffee. I would like to have some, not as much as before, but some cheese dip and chips when I eat Mexican. I’d like to indulge occasionally but mostly stick to what I’m doing. What if this amazing feeling goes away? What if a little bit of sugar in my coffee means I’m back to fog headed, afternoon tired and sluggish? I’m sure that’s an exaggeration of what will happen but still the thought is in the back of my mind. I’ll be interested to see how the rest of this plays out and how my new relationship with food looks.