Thursday, December 11, 2014

A conversation with my parents yesterday afternoon

Dad: Has your mom committed random acts of decoration on you yet?
Me: Um, do what now?
Dad: You know how people decorate trees on the roadside this time of year?
Me: Yes.
Dad: Well, your Mom does that with other people's houses.
Me (to Mom): You what?
Mom: I have too much stuff, so I've been taking little things from our house and leaving them at other people's houses. Kind of blending them in with the decor.
Me: ...?
Mom: Just little things. Like refrigerator magnets.
Me: You bring magnets to people's houses and put them on their refrigerators?
Mom: Yeah.
Me: I have OCD. Don't do that to me. I'll either notice right away or it'll drive me insane.
Mom: I stuck one to Lucy's* fridge weeks ago and she still hasn't noticed. I might have to start doing it with bigger things.
Me: Wait, hang on. You actually bring stuff from your house to other people's houses and just leave it there without them knowing?
Mom: Yes. And then I take something!

* Names have been changed to protect the victims. If you're a friend of my mom's and you're thinking Lucy might be you, you're probably right. Check your fridge. And maybe your valuables, although I'm like 98% sure she was kidding about that last bit.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Oops













Um, what the heck? How did I skip an entire month? I have no idea. You didn't miss much, though. It was cold, I stopped grilling for the season, H went to Dallas with her thespian troupe, C decided it was time to tweak some meds (under his doctor's close supervision), P took a much-deserved week off work, I did a bunch of nutrition school stuff, we had A Very (though not entirely) Paleo Thanksgiving a day early to accommodate my parents' travel plans, H finished driver's ed and turned 17 (!!), we bought her a used car (!$$!) and I put up the Christmas decorations in November this year, which never happens. You know, until now.

Next up: passing my first nutrition school test (which I did this morning, thank you very much), planning what to bake for holiday goodies and then actually baking them, H getting her driver's license and finally being able to drive herself to/from school OMG, a long-awaited trip to see the Louisiana in-laws (yay!), Christmas (yay!) and a bunch of dentist appointments (what? boooo!).

But first I'm off to boil some eggs (#rockstarlife). And hopefully we'll talk in the meantime, eh?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This Week In My Kitchen :: Blog Hop






Not a whole lot going on in the ol' kitchen this week because H has appointments every single day after school this month, oy. I've been trying to take advantage of the last week of Daylight Saving Time to grill up everything that needs grilling though, like those chicken thighs and lamb chops up there.

And we've been eating lots of veggies! In that second pic: green salad, kale salad with apples and pomegranate arils and garam masala-toasted pepitas, roasted potatoes and purple cabbage, sweet potato "noodles". Yum. I love the produce this time of year! Root veggies and brassicas are my fave. I come from a potatoes-and-cabbage-eating people. I don't know what to tell you.

I made a special treat this week and it nearly killed me from happiness -- the cinnamon rolls from The Paleo Kitchen by Juli Bauer and George Bryant. They taste exactly like the little cinnamon rolls my mom would make from leftover pie crust dough whenever she baked pies for the holidays, BUT they are grain-free and very low in sugar (the "icing" you see in the photo is just unsweetened coconut butter). Plus they are way more huge than cinnamon rolls made from leftover crust. I love these things SO MUCH and will make a triple batch to freeze for the holidays Real Soon Now.

Last night was meatballs and spaghetti. Spaghetti squash for me. I got super smart and made the meatballs, sauce and squash at lunchtime. Then I just dumped the sauce and meatballs in the slow-cooker and stuck the squash in the fridge to be re-heated when I made the spaghetti for my non-paleo people (read: everyone but me) after H's appointment yesterday afternoon. Pretty proud of myself for thinking ahead; it doesn't happen often. And also we had salad. I felt you should know.

Not much else is going on around here. I read Eleanor & Park because people on the internets can't shut up about how awesome Rainbow Rowell is and I liked it and now I'm about to start Station Eleven. I haven't been in the mood to read scary stuff this Halloween season but I'm still loving American Horror Story. And The Walking Dead. Hello, was Gareth not the most verbose and boring cannibal ever? Shut up, Gareth. No one wants to be talked to death while you're eating their leg right in front of them. Get some social skills, geez.

Yep. That's about it. Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain, insert whatever the proper greeting is for El Dia de los Muertos here. And whatnot. Talk to you in November, yikes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

My week of yoga pants

So this happened:


Yep. Tore the MCL in my left knee while moving a chair. (I've got to come up with a better story for that. Tore my MCL while kickboxing Chuck Norris? Tore my MCL while two-stepping with my movie star boyfriend Ted Levine at the Broken Spoke? Tore my MCL while jumping out of a helicopter, over a waterfall, to bring much-needed medicine to ... orphaned river otters? Yeah. Let's go with that. I'll send the otters a check; it'll be fine.)

I don't know how badly it's torn because I haven't followed up yet with an orthopedist AS INSTRUCTED but Doctor Google says the treatment is more or less the same, it just takes longer if it's a really bad one which I don't think it is, so whatever. All I know is that it is VERY VERY HARD to dress around a knee immobilizer that goes from your crotch to your ankle. I don't mean dressing UP, to look NICE -- I'm old so who cares -- I mean actually wearing clothing items that prevent me from flashing my granny panties at the world. IT'S HARD, Y'ALL. TINY VIOLINS.

I was supposed to wear this ferkakta thing through tomorrow but screw that, I graduated myself to a fairly sturdy drugstore knee brace as of yesterday and it feels totally fine. I still can't wear jeans over even this little brace, though. I miss my jeans, you guys. TINY CELLO.

It could be worse, I suppose. Six years ago this month, this happened:


TINY BASSOON.

I sprained the shit out of (I believe that was the official diagnosis) my right ankle (no followup again, DOCTOR GOOGLE IS MY PCP, quit judging) in October 2008 and that took a REALLY long time to heal and also I had to use CRUTCHES which meant I was catapulting myself all over the place because I am super bad at crutches and I COULDN'T DRIVE. For like a month. OMG. That sucked so hard. THE WORLD'S SMALLEST TUBA.

This time I can drive. It requires some whack-ass origami contortionism to make it happen, or it did before I ditched the immobilizer, but IT IS/WAS POSSIBLE. And thank God for that, because you wouldn't like me when I'm forcibly housebound. It ain't pretty.

Anyhoo, the point is that every six years or so, October tries to kill me. Good to know. If I plan ahead now, maybe I can spend October 2020 in a nice medically induced coma or something, just to be safe.

Meanwhile, right now I am ...

... reading Tana French's Broken Harbor. This is the fourth book in her Dublin Murder Squad series, the one that began with In The Woods, and I dunno, you guys. I love everything she does but this might be my least-favorite book in the series so far. It's still GOOD, it's just ... not In The Woods. Or The Likeness. Or Faithful Place.

... watching Live Free Or Die, and I am probably the only one, but I kind of love this show! It's about several different people who for whatever reason choose to live off the grid and off the land. Not in a weird Doomsday Preppers kind of way (I don't actually watch that show so I may not know what I'm talking about) but just because, you know, they like it.

... listening to Diane Sanfilippo's Build a Badass Business podcast. Because I guess that's what I'll be doing as a health coach. Diane is super rad and her tips are so amazing and they seem DOABLE, which is key.

... eating all the things. I don't know why, but this injury made me super hungry. I'm big on sweet potato noodles (made with one of these contraptions) right now. And kale! Which I used to not even like it, but now I love it, because I've become one of those annoying people! I've mostly been making chips with it, because CHIPS, but later this afternoon I'll be whipping up a kale salad with bacon and honeycrisp apples and pomegranate arils and probably pumpkin seeds and who knows what else. GOD I AM SO HUNGRY RIGHT NOW.

... drinking mineral water (this one specifically). I don't know why. I originally bought it to make fake martinis (mineral water, a drop of vermouth, a couple of olives -- it's vile, don't try it) but then I just started drinking it and now I like it and I don't know.

And that about brings you up to speed. I hope your month is going well and that October isn't trying to kill you. Because if it is, maybe we can form a support group.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

This Week In My Kitchen :: Blog Hop








I'm joining in with Heather again this week, and cheating a bit by dipping way back into September for some kitchen photos. Because I only did the one post in September, don'tcha know.

That top photo was my birthday cake this year. It's the Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Vanilla Spiced Cream from Paleo Sweets and Treats. Gorgeous, and the cake was delicious but I wasn't super crazy about the cashew cream. Maybe if I'd used fresher cashews (I store raw nuts in the freezer and some of them have been in there a while, ahem). I think next time I'll try a whipped coconut cream or meringue topping instead.

The cupcakes were Danielle Walker's Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Italian Meringue Frosting from her first cookbook, Against All Grain, and they were absolute perfection. Delicious cake, delicious (and easy!) honey-sweetened meringue that I can't wait to make again. These were for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration, which was awesome!

I'm still soaking nuts weekly for homemade nut milk (I also use the recipe in Against All Grain for that!) and I'm so happy that it's kale chip season again! I suppose you can do other things with kale, put it in soups and make salads with it and whatnot, but I don't know why you would when there are KALE CHIPS. I'm a little bit addicted.

Also really happy that okra is in season, though I guess it's probably on its way out in most parts of the country by now. We can still get it here, though, and I love it so much -- roasted, grilled, sauteed with bacon, it's all good!

And pears! I seriously can't stop eating them now that organic varieties are showing up in my local store. I always forget how good they are and their season seems so short.

And finally, I am drinking herbal teas by the truckload lately. Because guess what else is in season right now where I live? RAGWEED. My nemesis. I don't have photos of the bone broth I made yesterday or the lemon-ginger-cayenne kombucha I bought at Natural Grocer or the other 4,718 varieties of medicinal teas I have in the pantry, but I am determined to kick ragweed's ass this year. BEGONE, FOUL PESTILENCE. And take the Fall Elm pollen with you! (Also the mold. And the mosquitoes. Enough with both of those, seriously.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September is my January



















What the heck, how have I not posted at all this month? I don't know what to tell you. Things are sort of busy. H is back at school (she had strep the first week, did I tell you? that was fun) and C is doing some sort of cyber security certification course (I think we finally have a Plan there) and my health coaching classes have started and my birthday is this week and my parents' 50th wedding anniversary is next week and yeah. Busy!

I have been trying really hard to not be so busy, you guys. I realized that a lot of my busy-ness was self-generated hoohah that didn't need to happen, and as a result I have stopped following a bunch of people on Twitter and Tumblr and Instagram and unsubbed a bunch of email newsletters and rejiggered my newsfeed on Facebook such that I now spend WAY less time online and way less time worried that I'm missing something, except that I'm totally missing lots of somethings. But I've decided not to care. I've also stopped watching TV shows that make me feel unclean, so adiós, Sons of Anarchy. You were good back when you were all Hamlet-y but now you just make me feel like I need to take a shower and go to confession. And I'm not even Catholic! Something's gotta give.

I'm reading Kate Atkinson's Life After Life and boy is it good. I thought it was going to be some weird Lovely Bones thing, you know, like it would take place at least partially in the AFTERLIFE. But no, the title refers to multiple lives in succession, not the afterlife. Or multiple iterations, in succession, of the same life. I dunno. You'd have to read it. It's really good. After that I'm tackling Louise Penny's The Beautiful Mystery because the TENTH Chief Inspector Gamache book just came out and I'm still two books behind, quelle horreur! And then I'll probably read some more Pema Chödrön.

I get the itch to change things in September. Maybe because of my birthday, or the changing seasons, or the start of school or whatever. September is when I want to clean out closets and throw things away and do the whole "in with the new" thing. So far all I've done is start wearing jeans instead of shorts (I don't CARE if I die of heat stroke, I really don't, I'm done with shorts for this year) and start drinking hot coffee and tea instead of iced coffee and tea. But whatever. It all counts. Plus: pumpkin spice lattes! YES.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery


I'm trying a new thing, y'all. It's called mindfulness meditation and it's going great except for the part where I keep thinking about mindfulness meditation -- you know, just in general, and about how great it is and whatever -- when I'm supposed to be BEING MINDFUL, oh the irony. Like I will be washing dishes, which Thich Nhat Hanh says you're supposed to do mindfully, as in you are giving your full attention to the dishes you're washing and living in the moment and not thinking about what you need to do after that or how your meeting tomorrow is going to go or any of that stuff, and instead I'm thinking, "Hey! I'm washing the dishes! I should do this MINDFULLY because mindfulness is awesome. Yep. Mindfulness! I sure do love me some of that. How do people not know about this mindfulness thing?!" And then I break a glass because I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing.

I kid you not, I was ruminating on mindfulness today and while doing so I accidentally took a second dose of probiotics because I WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT I WAS DOING, aka BEING MINDFUL. I know. I obviously have a lot of work to do here, people.

Anyhoo, it's the first day of school and H is a freshly minted high school junior and I'm sitting by the phone today because she is feeling poorly, argh. We're thinking/hoping she's just hella allergic and not actually sick, but boy howdy, how much does that suck for my poor girl, feeling like crap on the first day of school? I hope she makes it through the day okay. Only two hours to go.

Speaking of school, I am officially enrolled in health coaching/nutrition school! YES! I am so freaking excited. Classes start on September 15th and I get certified on September 8th of next year. This is something I have wanted for months and months and monthsandmonthsandmonths. I had a momentary freakout over studying and tests and whatnot, seeing as I haven't done any of that for *cough* 26 years *cough*, but I got over that pretty quickly and now I am almost literally vibrating with excitement. Can. Not. WAIT. For classes to start.

Otherwise we're just trying to survive the heat ovah heah. I have been reading stuff: The Giver, because it's H's favorite book and I'd never read it; Tana French's Faithful Place, the third book in her Dublin Murder Squad series which is FABULOUS; a bunch of mindfulness meditation stuff -- Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron and Jon Kabat-Zinn -- and I'm pretty sure Kate Atkinson's Life After Life is up next, fiction-wise.

And watching stuff: The Strain has grown on me and now I'm all in, Rectify had a good second season, The Bridge is pretty awesome as well, and I think I like The Knick, maybe? Falling Skies is still SUPER STUPID and I probably won't watch next season. Cannot WAIT for the final season of Sons of Anarchy, the new season of American Horror Story, and for The Walking Dead to start back up. Oh, and Doctor Who! LOVE LOVE LOVE Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. LOVE. Nine was always "my" Doctor but I think Twelve might be my new favorite. As long as they don't write him too silly.

In other news, P and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy the other night and it was great fun, and I have a new favorite non-alcoholic beer: Buckler! Yeah. They serve it at the Alamo and it's pretty good, y'all. I like it even better than Clausthaler.

Maybe I should drink like ten of them and try to meditate again? I downloaded a timer app for my phone and everything! Now I just need an app that turns off my brain. Oy.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Stone-cold sober, as a matter of fact









August is flying by, you guys. One of my favorite things about summer, which is brutal here in central Texas, is that we finally get direct sunlight through our north-facing back windows in the mornings and evenings. I swear within the past five days or so we've gone from giant, soul-restoring swaths of brilliant sun to two skinny, faded columns of watery light on the wall behind our bed. Those seasons just keep on changing, eh?

I'm trying to hang on to the last days of summer by eating my bodyweight in fresh seafood and drinking gallons of fruity mocktails and ... mostly staying indoors, truth be told. Wake me when it's no longer 80 degrees at 7:30 a.m., won't you?

I went to my 30-year high school reunion this weekend and it was SO FUN. I drank nothing but water all night and still had a wicked hangover the next morning -- THAT'S how fun it was. (That was totally from the fun and not from being almost 50 years old and staying out way past my bedtime. Yes it was. Shut up.)

Observations:
  • I was charmed by the number of my former classmates who had married their high school sweethearts while simultaneously feeling SO VERY relieved that I did not do that. Given that my high-school sweethearts consisted of a(n alleged) drug dealer, a(n eventual) stalker and a (I did not know this at the time, I swear) married man ... yeah. Dodged a whole clip full there, didn't I?
  • Also very relieved that I had the foresight in high school not to date anyone from my graduating class. Way to go, me. That would have made the whole reunion thing a lot more awkward.
  • All the women looked exactly the same as they did in high school, except for the ones who looked even better. I wonder if science ever will explain that.
  • It's amazing what can change in 10 years, as I'm fairly certain that at our 20-year reunion in 2004 there was no Facebook and texting was not a thing. Or at least, these things did not exist FOR ME. But now they do, which makes it SO MUCH EASIER to keep in touch with old friends. Which is very cool. And I feel old for even talking about this.
  • This was the first of our three-so-far reunions that I attended 100% sober and the one at which I had the most fun. That sounds like such a recovering alcoholic thing to say, and I don't even consider myself to be a recovering alcoholic, but there you go.

Anyhoo, YES. I am very glad I went. I did end up wearing a dress and flip-flops, just for the record. And I'm not sorry.

Now that the last summery thing on my calendar has come and gone, it's back to the usual August pre-schoolyear craziness. H's supplies and clothes are bought. She has cut and dyed her hair. I've entered all the school holidays into our family calendar. I'll be enrolling in an online nutrition institute for health coaching certification within the week, Deo volente. If a food can't be grilled, cooked in the crock pot or made into a cold salad, we're not having it for dinner. And my Kindle is all loaded up with meaty tomes to get me through autumn and the beginning of winter.

Let's do this, you guys.