Friday, November 20, 2009


This has been a terrible week. All 3 of my kids have been sick, two sicker than others. I have been housebound with them for 8 days now. Aaron is traveling for work until Sunday.

For the past 8 days I have given 100% of myself to my kids. For 4 days straight, Ben would not let me up off the couch (where he was sitting). If I was lucky I was "allowed" to flip through a magazine while I sat next to him. Mostly he wanted to be in my arms with nothing distracting me.

In many ways I savored the extra cuddling I got with all 3 boys. But when all 3 wanted me at once, there was trouble. Someone always ended up crying.

Nights have been really tough. I don't think I've slept for more than an hour straight since this started. Between the coughing fits and all of them waking up and wanting me... it has been brutal. The worst is that Jack and Ben both want me to sleep with them. And I have loved being with them in their beds, holding them, comforting them when they can't stop coughing. But on many occasions they both want me at the same time. So one is crying while I comfort the other. Last night, one would cry, I'd cuddle up to them, they'd fall back to sleep and 10 minutes later the other would wake up realizing I was gone and start to cry because they wanted me back. So I was literally back and forth between their beds probably 20 times.

Ben was finally feeling semi back to himself yesterday, but he was still grumpy. So the littlest things set him off. If he wanted me to read to him and I wasn't at his side within seconds, he would absolutely lose his cool. If I was sitting with him and Sam wanted something, Ben would flip if I got up to help Sam. He is also insisting on being carried everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I literally feel like my head could explode.

So last night, when he wanted me to sit with him on the couch while I was making dinner, I just could not stand his yelling and demanding at me any longer. I told him that I was making dinner and I would be out when I was done. For 20 minutes he screamed and cried. He went into the "ugly cry" as Oprah calls it. Tears streaming down his little contorted face. Saying "mamma, mamma, mommmy" non-stop.

In any other circumstance it would have broken my heart. I would have gone to him in an instant. But last night, I couldn't. I was done. I had given and given and given and there was just not one more ounce of give in me. So I stood in the kitchen and just listened to my sweet little boy sobbing in the next room. There was a small part of me that felt compassion, that felt sorry for him, but mostly I was just angry angry angry. I just wanted him to shut. up. I could literally feel my blood boiling as I took deep breaths trying to keep my cool. It took everything I had to not go out there and yell at the top of my lungs.

Finally, "dinner" (frozen chicken nuggets and frozen veggies) was ready. I took it out to the other boys, picked up Ben (now literally covered from ear to ear in tears and snot) and took him to his room. We lay down together in his bed and I just stroked his hair and read him books. He was asleep within minutes of me turning out the light, me lying right down next to him.

That night I couldn't sleep. I had flash forwards 25 years to Ben talking to his therapist about how he needed me, was calling me, and I just ignored him. And I knew he wouldn't remember the previous 7 days where I catered to his every whim. He'd remember that he wanted me and I wouldn't come.

Because that's the way it is with parenthood, isn't it? The every day stuff just fades into the background, but as adults we often remember the ways our parents weren't there. My parents sacrificed almost everything for my brother and me. But I often still find myself focusing on the things that they didn't give me (emotional stuff, not physical stuff).

Now that I am a mom myself, I have so much more appreciation for everything my mom did for me - stuff that goes unnoticed. The meals, the uniforms, correcting homework, shuttling me here and there, sitting up with me when I was sick at night. All of the stuff that goes unsung.

I guess this is just a stream of consciousness blog. I don't really have a beginning or ending or neat little summary. I guess mothering is just hard and I love my sons more than imaginable.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Random #s 46 - 52

46. I love my children most when they are sleeping.

47. My parents do not know I keep this blog.

48. If they did know, I could not write as honestly.

49. I would be unhappy if someone told them I write this blog.

50. My BFF's mom reads the blog regularly.

51. Sometimes I forget that Ross and Rachel are not real people.

52. No matter how much of a humanitarian she is, I will never forgive Angelina Jolie.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

200 - part 1

My friend and blogging buddy, Mel, just posted 200 things about herself to her blog.

When the "25 things" went around on Facebook, I found it rather narcissistic, but to come up with 200 things really requires some soul searching so I will attempt it here. (Thank you, Mel, for helping inspire me to get back to the blog).

1. My favorite foods are baked goods.
2. If you told me I could never eat a piece of candy again in my life I would be fine with it.
3. I now get terrible headaches and hangovers from drinking alcohol of any sort so I rarely drink anymore.
4. I think having a drink of wine with dinner is a very sophisticated thing to do.
6. I hope my boys go to a college where there is more to do than drink at frat parties.
7. I make a fabulous apple crisp.
8. A friend suggested the other day that I sell my apple crisps during the holidays. I am seriously considering this.
9. I weigh 15 more pounds today than the day I got married. This is not baby weight. This is cookie weight.
10. I am slightly obsessed with organic, whole, locally farmed foods although I do not always buy them.
11. I would love to own chickens and eat their eggs.
12. I feed my children far too much frozen food.
13. My kids LOVE fruits and veggies and always get in their 5 a day. (This makes me feel better about #12).
14. My absolute favorite drink is cold water.
15. I cherish my daily coffee from starbucks. It took me 39 years to get to the point where I could say "I am worth it."

16. I grew up with parents who never, ever spoiled themselves or their children. Treats (ie, going to an ice cream parlor, renting a movie to watch at home) were rare.
17. Because of that frugality, I graduated from college debt free and I am very grateful for it.
18. My parents' sacrifices changed the trajectory of my life and the lives of all my future generations.
19. That is not an overstatement.
20. Someday it would be cool to go back to college and take all the classes I wanted to take but didn't either because they didn't work with my schedule or I thought they'd be too hard.
21. I am of primarily German/Danish/English heritage. I am not proud to be German. I am very proud to be Danish.
22. My great-grandmother's name was Anna Christina Jensen. I think that is a beautiful name.
23. My mom's mother was a knockout. She was drop dead gorgeous.
24. My mom's mother found happiness in her mid-70s.
25. I hated the last name Payne growing up. Now I really miss it.
26. I have one brother and am very protective of him.

27. I can reveal too much too quickly.
28. I am too trusting of people.
29. I am loyal. If you cross one of my friends/someone I love, I will hold it against you forever. Even if my loved one forgives you.
30. I could put my hands on a stack of bibles and take an oath in a church or court and lie through my teeth if I needed to protect a friend. And not feel the least bit guilty about it.

31. My first job out of college was the best job of my professional life.
32. I miss work desperately. I loved being busy and accomplishing things. I also loved dressing up, high heels, and lunch out.
33. I want to open my own business. I would love to do it with a friend. I just don't know exactly what I want to do.
34. Whatever work I do, I want to have to go to an office to do it.
35. My ideal office would be in the same building as the Starbucks I can walk to.
36. Re: #35, I often choose to ignore the rule not to end a sentence with a preposition. It's annoying.
37. My ideal office would be white, sunny, lucite furniture, and Apple products.

Sex: (AED, my fab sister-in-law, consider yourself warned!)
38. I have negative sex drive.
39. I wish I had a sex drive.
40. Maybe I will have a sex drive when I finally get regular sleep.
41. When I turned 40, I got all kinds of sex toys. I learned that some of my friends use vibrators regularly. WHO KNEW?
42. I got a vibrator for my birthday.
43. It's still in its original packaging, but I look at it hopefully every so often.
44. I had a one-night-stand once and it was a great thing for me.

45. I have an obsession with popping pimples. I am convinced this means I am less evolved from mother monkeys than most women.

Time for bed... more tomorrow....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Breaking the Fast

So - today marks the end of my 3 week cleanse.

What am I looking forward to? Not being hungry anymore. That has been the hardest part for me, trying to get comfortably full. Surprisingly, I'm not really looking forward to the junk. I thought I would have a big cookie fest or run to starbucks for coffee cake and donuts. But - not so much.

Here are the changes I've made that I hope to carry forward with me:

1) Skip the processed crap. It's gross. No other way around it. I haven't missed it AT ALL. If I want a cookie, get or make a homemade cookie. They taste better and aren't full of shit. Seriously, have you ever looked at the ingredients in a package of store bought treats (granola bars, cookies, etc)? Yuck.

2) Veggies and fruit. Delish. Just delish. Expensive, but worth it. This will be harder as the summer fruits that I have been enjoying get out of season. But I will try.

3) Starbucks as a treat with friends or family. Not a daily trip. The problem is not the coffee as I don't get a sweetened drink. My drink is a latte which is milk and espresso. Nothing processed. No sugar. The problem is NEEDING it. I've gotten out of the habit of getting it. The first week STUNK. I mean, it really sucked. Getting a daily latte was so part of my day and it was something I looked forward to minute by minute. But I've broken that habit now and it really is freeing.

4) Keeping to the browns instead of the whites. I have not yet ventured into the whole wheat pastas yet but my friend Jill tells me that the wheat pasta at Trader Joe's tastes better than regular pasta. I do know this, I haven't had white bread or white rice in years and I do not miss it at all. Maybe I will soon feel the same way about pasta?

5) Washing my face and brushing my teeth every night. I started this with the cleanse and have remained true to it for 3 weeks. Good habits to be in.

Wish I could say that I had dramatic changes with the cleanse - more energy, better skin, huge weight loss. That didn't happen but I sure feel like I have broken some bad or unwanted habits and I am really proud of myself for sticking with it, even when I was exhausted and hungry and just wanted eating to be simple.

Thanks for reading my "journey" with this. I'm really glad I did it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cleanse: End of Week Two

Earlier this week I thought about ending the cleanse at the end of week two. I'm not going to, but damn do I really want a glazed donut from starbucks right now!

Here are the pros that have come from the cleanse:
1) mental discipline - there are times when it has been easy and times when it has been difficult (e.g., yesterday at jack's party - pizza, cake, and ice cream) but I have stuck with it, through and through. And that, my friends, is huge.
2) it feels fabulous to be feeding my body such healthy, solid, clean foods.
3) i have lost weight while eating as much food as I want (as long as it is cleanse-appropriate).
4) i have a much greater awareness of how much processed crap I was putting into my body. I consider myself a healthy eater but I've been really surprised at the things I've had to cut out because they are processed.

1) This is the hugest con of all - I am hungry much of the time. I'm not sure I've been "full" for two weeks.
2) Eating is a huge pain in the neck. I have to go food shopping daily to ensure I have enough fruits in the house to make it through the day. I can't just whip together a 1 minute sandwich to eat on the run. If I'm having a salad it takes a good 5-10 minutes to make and lots of time to eat. This would make the slow food people happy, but I don't have a slow life. I usually have only a few minutes to eat in between picking up Ben from preschool and picking up Jack from the bus.
3) I really, really miss the treats.
4) I am finding it impossible to eat out. I've had two occasions in the past 2 weeks where I've been out with friends. One was a restaurant, one was Starbucks. There was literally nothing on the menu that I could eat so I had water. Talk about drawing attention to yourself.

Time's up now. Up next: how to take the things that work from this cleanse and incorporate them into "real" life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to Running

So, today is the first day I am back to running since my back pain episode. I've been feeling back to normal for a few days now so I thought it was time to get back into a routine, especially since I've got a 1/2 marathon coming up in less than 6 weeks - one that people are actually paying me to run.

My chiropractor suggested I start out with one mile and work back up from there, as quickly or slowly as felt right for my body. But the weather was perfect for a run, my ipod shuffled up the absolutely perfect songs, and I felt no pain at all so I went for 3 miles. There is a long way between 3 miles and 13.1 miles, but I feel hopeful that I will get there pain-free.

There were times when I wished I was Phoebe from Friends and I could just bust out into a dance or into song during the run, I was so happy and the music was so good.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fat, Rice, and Lots of It

I am loving the protein dinners I have been having on this cleanse. Pork, halibut, salmon, sea bass, grass fed beef. Especially the grass fed beef, especially the very marbled grass fed beef. I was so high on the fact that this is a natural, unprocessed protein and therefore cleanse-friendly until I remembered I still need to keep in mind its position on the food pyramid. Red meat once a week. No more. OK, I'm reminded.

The other JOY of this cleanse has been discovering brown rice. Combined with a protein, it is heavenly. I realize this is due to the law of relativity. If I was eating wheat products, rice would be at the bottom of the list. But since it is my only allowable grain, I am LOVING it. And yes, I am loving it so much that I used all-caps more than once to describe my love for it. That's how much I'm loving it!

I'm taking the cleanse one day at a time now. I have committed through Sunday. After that, I will reevaluate. Because physically, I can't say I feel any different at all. No more or less energy. No more or less bloated. No more or less skin flare-ups. And I haven't been putting the spiritual or emotional work into the cleanse in order to reap any of those benefits.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Clenase: Week 2 Day 1

Wow, so I made it through the entire week without even the tiniest little cheat. It is amazing the lengths to which you have to go to avoid sugar and processed food.

Today was really the first day that everything seemed old hat to me. It wasn't challenging, I wasn't stuck trying to figure out meals, I wasn't preoccupied with when to eat, what to eat, etc. It was just a nice, regular ol' day. I had an enormous amount of fruits and some veggies. The strawberries we had were like candy. Just sensational.

I cooked for myself, for my family, and made a gorgeous pavlova for the guys for dessert topped with the strawberries.

One of my friends who is doing the cleanse with me is focusing on the cleanse more holistically. She is adding meditation and stretching. I haven't really incorporated that but I would like to. I think will make a big difference in the spiritual/emotional piece that I feel like I am lacking.

We had a wonderful 3 day weekend. Now it's back to reality and lunchboxes in the morning.


What to Wear

I am constantly in the process of figuring out what clothes and styles work on my body. I have come to realize in my old age (ha) that every woman has parts to her body that she should highlight and parts from which she might want to distract.

I like my shoulders and chest and my lower legs and I feel like my butt is still in good enough shape to highlight it. I am always looking for ways to slenderize my belly and elongate my neck (ways other than plastic surgery, that is).

I just saw advertised a fashion website called It has all sorts of products and ideas, none of which I really paid any attention to. But they do have a link to a body and style analysis which I thought was pretty cool. You have to register to join the site to do the analysis but that is super fast and easy. Once you have joined, go to My Account and then click on Body and Style Analysis. You'll answer lots of questions and then, out pops your body type and suggestions for clothes that would work best on you.

They absolutely, positively got my body type correct (Oval) and I was really happy to see that some of the styles I currently wear work well for maximizing the good and minimizing the not so good. But I also got some additional ideas and suggestions so it was well worth the time it took to take the survey.



I am eating the most fabulous lunch right now, in a quiet house (not sure which is more delicious - the lunch or the quiet).

I just got back from the farmer's market with some veggies to put in a pasta for Hubs and the kids tonight. I won't eat it b/c of the pasta, but I whipped together a fabulous and super easy and delish corn salad for lunch.

I boiled some corn on the cob, sliced it from the ear and tossed it with orange cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, a splash of olive oil and a bit of sea salt. It is heavenly. I will probably be hungry again within the hour but I am savoring this while I have it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet MFD

Today is my niece's first birthday. It is such a sweet day, but I'm always a little sad on my nieces' and nephews' birthdays because we aren't celebrating with them. Last time I saw MFD she was 6 weeks old and in that perfect newborn stage. I tried to hold her and smell her and soak her up as much as I could because I knew it would be a while before I had the chance to be with her again.

I love my little nieces and nephew so very much and it breaks my heart to be so far away from them. Aaron's brother and sister live 4 hours from each other in the midwest so on big occasions like birthdays they can get together. I have to admit, it makes the sting of not being with family even worse when we are far away and they are together.

I love Northern California and it would be really hard to ever uproot our family but if I ever did it would be to live near them.

Cleanse: Day 6 Update 1

I am starting to wonder why I am doing this cleanse for 3 weeks. I am 6 days in and other than really missing carbs and some of my favorite foods, I do not feel any better. Not spiritually, not emotionally, not physically. I definitely do not have more energy, that's for sure. I have lost a few pounds and feel thinner and lighter, but that was really not my goal to begin with. And we all know that feeling thin and light is fleeting. Even if the scale doesn't move, there is no guarantee I will feel that way for long.

I am thinking I may give it one more week, no matter what, and then reevaluate. If I don't start to feel the benefits, I may call it a two week experiment.

Even if nothing further good comes out of this, I am still glad I did/am doing this. It is good for me to see that I do, in fact, have willpower. That I can say no to desserts and snacks. It has been excellent for me to get back into the 3 meals a day routine which I seem to have forgotten all about this summer. And it has been fantastic to eat such wonderful, delicious protein every day. All of that I will surely incorporate back into life off-cleanse.

We went to a BBQ today, it was 7 hours of fun and sun and food. And I totally stuck to my plan. I was really proud of myself. Even when my friend's little girl was sitting on my lap, her homemade brownie ice cream sandwich dripping down her and my arm, I didn't even take a lick. Go me!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cleanse: Day 5 Update 1

One interesting learning for me through this cleanse is that food is so much more than fuel for me. I guess I've always known that but now
I know it at a different level now.

Right now, the food I eat is strictly fuel. It is not pleasurable. You know the joy you get when you bit into a crisp, fabulous summer salad? Guess what? It's gone after Day 5. I am now eating entirely to feed my hunger and it is annoying and monotonous.

I started to think this morning about the cavepeople. Basically this is how they ate all the time. Only foods from the earth and meet they hunted with their own hands. I cannot believe the human race didn't die out. I mean, what is the point of living if you eat this way? How they ever survived without killing each other is also beyond me. They must have been hungry much of the time. It is an absolutely gross feeling.
Maybe if I had a personal chef doing all sorts of inventive things for me within my cleanse boundaries it would be different. But there are only so many things I know how to do with a salad.

In other news, I went to my favorite butcher today and bought my first grass fed beef. When I asked about it, the butchers all kind of crinkled their noses. They called it tough, dry, gamey and like buffalo. Not a ringing endorsement. On the other hand, it is fabulous for you - more Omegas than wild salmon. I'm going to do a sea salt rub and grill it tomorrow night and see how it goes.

Gotta go finish my salad. Oh joy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cleanse: Day 4 Update 1


(Lately I think I start every blog post with "so."


I did a great job with the protein and fruit yesterday but not a great job with the veggies so I am eating a huge plate of lettuce with avocado, slivered almonds, peas, garbanzo beans, craisins and edamame.

Lately I've been hearing a lot in the news about how it's not true that eating healthy costs more than eating poorly. My take on that: bullshit. My food bill this week is through the roof. AND I have to go to the store every day for fresh veggies and fruits. You can get a 20 pack of burgers for $9.99 at the grocery to go with hamburger buns for $1.99. I feel like I'm eating $12 in one day, if not one salad alone from the grovery.


I digress again.

What I wanted to say in this Day 4 update is that I am tired and very low on energy. I have a stack of papers on my kitchen table that need to be filed and I just cannot motivate to do it. I need to pay the bills. These are things that usually can be done on low energy days because you don't have to go anywhere. You can do it in your sleep practically. But not today. Today I just want to lie down on the couch and stare into space.

It's Not Cancer If You Still Have Control of Your Poop.

Well, I finally went to an MD to discuss my back pain which comes and goes. Today it has started radiating down my legs. The doctor was very uninterested. Had me walk on my tip toes and walk with one foot in front of the other and then told me to go see a physical therapist.

Me, being me, said to him, "Don't you need to at least touch it to see if there's a big cancer mass back there?"

"Well," he said. "If it was a tumor you'd probably have other symptoms such as loss of bowel control. So while I can't say you don't have one, we should try things like physical therapy first."

I found that to be a very amusing answer. So while I'm not convinced that 2 months from now I won't go back to a new doctor and have him or her say "What a shame you didn't come to me when you first started having pain. You have back cancer and two days to live. But if you came to me right away I could have saved you."

In the meantime, it's off to find a good physical therapist. Blah.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cleanse: Day 3 Update 2

Wow, a two update day. I must be getting used to this cleanse.

Unbelievably, the almond butter tortillas kept me very full all afternoon. I had some preemptive fruit this afternoon to tide me over until a late dinner and was fine.

I took the boys to a Back to School party where there was all sorts of wine and beer and munchies and I easily refrained. None of the items were my favorites but that never would have stopped me before.

I have decided that it is most important for me to be true to the spirit of this cleanse, rather than the letter of the law. For example, I had sea bass in a marinade tonight that included soy sauce. I left out the sugar that the recipe called for but I did go ahead with the soy sauce even though that is technically a wheat product. I prepared the sea bass over a bed of brown rice. It was delish.

Cleanse: Day 3 Update 1

Wow, no updates today until 2:30. That must mean things are getting better and it's true.

Knock wood, I don't have a trace of a headache.

But I did have my first (known) mistake. In searching for something a bit more filling than fruits and veggies for lunch, I found corn tortillas at the store. I spread some natural almond butter on them and had them for lunch. I was so pleased with myself for substituting the corn tortillas for the flour tortillas and thereby not having the wheat. But then I looked at the ingredients:

ground corn treated with lime
cellulose gum
propionic acid
benzoic acid
phosphoric acid
guar gm

Definitely processed junk. Doesn't that sound disgusting.

Also, I hadn't had even a little bit of a craving for any of the junk today until I had lunch. Now I am being tempted mercilessly by my kids' chocolate chip granola bars. I wonder if there is something about the junk in processed food that makes you crave more?

Tonight's dinner - sea bass in a ginger soy marinade. and a huge salad.

ps - another whoops. just realized my organic, natural almond butter also contains "unrefined cane sugar, palm oil and sea salt." i'm thinking you can't go to the local safeway for truly healthy stuff. whole foods it is. i bet they have almond butter that is ground almonds and nothing else. of course, it probably won't taste as good as the one with sugar and salt, but it will be better for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cleanse: Day 2 Update 4

I DID IT!!! I did not even have one lick of the icing (not easy to do when you're setting up and cutting the cake.

Cleanse: Day 2 Update 3

BTW, I do not assume that any of you reading this blog are actually interested in my ad nauseum updates on the cleanse. I am doing this more as a record for myself of how it is going. So feel free to skip over these if you are less than interested.

3pm - the headache is starting in. Today I know it is not protein related as I had over 4oz ounces of chicken with my lunch. That is more than I would normally have. So the headaches has to be related to the lack of sugar and caffeine. Scary.

Also, since Aaron and I are in this together, he's been updating me on the research related to caffeine withdrawal. It generally takes 72 hours for the aches, pains, headaches, etc related to caffeine withdrawal to go away and 9 days for all caffeine to leave your system. Caffeine Withdrawal Syndrome is recognized as an official diagnosis by the WHO and American Psychiatrict Association. It has ICD9 codes and everything.

I have to say Aaron has been feeling even worse than me because he drinks double the caffeine I do every day.

My first big challenge is in a few minutes. We're having Jack's birthday cake. Cake, milk, and ice cream. Yum! But no-go for me today.

Cleanse: Day 2 Update 2

It's noon and I'm feeling good. Had a hand full of almonds at 11, not b/c I was hungry but b/c I knew I needed some protein and I think that may have helped. Today's lunchtime salad will have grilled chicken.

Hubs is also going caffeine free (actually, he is switching to only water) which is big for him too. We were not happy campers last night. But hopefully the worst is behind...

Cleanse: Day 2 Update 1

8:30am - Felt so much better after a dinner of pork tenderloin in an orange ginger marinade. It must be all about the protein for me. Also think I have to eat dinner with the boys (5pm) rather than with aaron (7:30pm).

Woke up this morning feeling good, fresh, ready to start the day. Amazing how many times I think about coffee though. Shocking what a part of my daily ritual it is.

My friend starts with me today. I'm looking forward to the camaraderie.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cleanse: Day 1 Final Update

My head is aching so much I am nauseous. I can barely think.

Is this really about a lack of caffeine? Good lord!

Cleanse: Day 1 Update 4

4:30pm - Life without caffeine is maddening. I only have 1 shot of espresso (50mg caffeine) a day so I am shocked that going without it is having such an impact. I feel like I am walking around in a fog. I have a headache that is getting worse by the minute.

Twice today I have thought of throwing in the towel but my friend is going to join me starting tomorrow and I want to tell her that you can, in fact, survive day one.

Also, I have been drinking a ton of water, hoping to help flush all the junk out of my system.

Cleanse: Day 1 Update 3

2pm - all day I have been looking forward to my salad at lunch. Lettuce, avocado, peaches, craisings, almonds and chick peas with an olive oil based vinaigrette. Only I don't have slivered almonds or check peas. So it was really just a fruit and veggie salad with no protein. I have to say, I am not fulfilled, at least in the traditional sense that I am fulfilled after lunch.

I am wondering if this will be an experience in learning what true fullness (as opposed to stuffed-ness or feeling full of carbs) feels like.

The most unpleasant part so far is the caffeine headache. It's not a brutal one, but it is omni-present. Like a little nat buzzing in my ear.

Cleanse: Day 1 Update 2

Just got back from Ben's first day of preschool. He has one of my absolute favorite teachers this year so it is exciting for me to have him back in the swing of things. He's going to have a great year. I wish my kids' entire life could be like their days at this school.

I was definitely feeling the hunger during preschool (parents stayed today). My mind kept thinking, well after this I'll go get my latte or go get a bagel. I automatically go for the carbs for that nice, full feeling. I can get full on fruits and veggies, but it's really the carbs that make me have that full, content, ahhh, all is well feeling. Almost like endorphins are released.

Anyway, I digress. I made it home from preschool, definitely jonesing for a coffee, but grabbing instead a pint of raspberries. I just popped them in my mouth and drank a glass of water while I was checking email. I'm not necessarily hungry anymore but I certainly do not feel full or content. Still thinking about that next meal.

CleanseL Day 1 Update 1

7am - Hungry. Instead of ignoring it and waiting until I can get my morning latte, I reach for a banana.

Going without the latte will be the hardest part of the cleanse, I believe. I don't think it's the caffeine, although we shall see if I get the dreaded caffeine headache, but rather the sheer indulgence of walking into a store and having someone else make me a soothing drink which I could easily make for myself. It is my single indulgence in the day and I look forward to it and savor it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Evening Before

So, with a little encouragement from my friend Mel, I am starting my cleanse tomorrow. She will be joining me on Tuesday. My goal is to do the cleanse for 3 weeks. The alcohol will be no problem as I rarely ever drink. The dairy won't be a problem b/c the only place I regularly consume it is in my daily latte. But the no wheat, no added sugars and no caffeine? Lord have mercy!

Today I thoroughly enjoyed a triple-shot whole milk latte at starbucks AND a glazed donut AND a bowl of ice cream after dinner. All 3 were divine, especially the latte.

My outrageously fabulous and supportive neighbor took Ben for me this afternoon so I got a fabulous and totally unexpected break. (Sam was at a bday party, Jack went to a Giants game with Aaron.) I hit the grocery store and planned out some of my meals.

Breakfast will be rice chex cereal with rice milk. (When Sam was a baby I was on a no dairy diet for a while and found this breakfast to be pretty tolerable). Lunch will be an enormous salad with my favorite home made vinaigrette dressing. I will miss the blue cheese in the salad but will revel in the avocado. Dinner will be pork tenderloin in an orange ginger marinade.

I spent far too much money on fruits and vegetables at the market but how wonderful it will feel to fill my body with these real foods.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


1) My f-ing back is f-ing hurting again. What the hell. Tell me this is not what happens when you hit 40.

2) I am thinking of doing a 3 week cleanse. No caffeine, no added sugar, no wheat, no dairy, no alcohol. Basically, fruits, veggies, nuts, protein. Thoughts?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jack's First Day Kindergarten

This is the conversation between Jack and I when he got off the bus today.

Mom: Jack! How was school, buddy?
Jack: (dryly) Not good.
Mom: Why, what happened?
Jack: There was no air hockey.
Mom: Did you think there would be air hockey?
Jack: (incredulously) Well, who's ever heard of Kindergarten without air hockey?!

To answer the obvious questions, I have no idea where he got the idea that there would be air hockey in Kindergarten. And he has never talked about air hockey at school before.

In addition, one of his assignments at school was to draw a picture of him on his first day. He drew a picture of him playing air hockey with his buddy, Ethan.

And so, life's disappointments begin for the little guy!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Trying to Do

The following are 4 things I am trying to do and 1 think that is more like a stretch goal.

1) Wash my face morning and night.
2) Moisturize my face morning and night.
3) Brush teeth 2x a day.
4) Floss. every day.

Pretty basic, yes? Yet I am embarrassed that I do not cross them off my list every day. I regularly fall asleep on the couch or fall into bed with out washing my face and brushing my teeth. Gross.

My stretch goal is to moisturize my skin every day. Now I do my arms or legs if they are showing, otherwise, not so much.

That's all for today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chiro Thoughts

I visited the chiropractor for the first time in my life last Thursday afternoon when my back pain was so bad that I could only stand straight up without moving or lie down on the wood floor flat on my back.

I think I could go on forever about my newfound respect for the chiropractic profession. However, suffice it to say that the doctor healed me. And that is no understatement.

My path to the chiropractor was also a bit interesting. I called my regular MD and she offered to prescribe me some combos of valium to relax the muscles and Percocet to diminish the pain. She also said she’d call in orders for me to have X-rays and casually mentioned that I may also need an MRI (or a CT scan or something like that). I was skeptical of all of these things. When I told her I don’t know if I want to start down that path just yet, she said, “Well, you can always call a chiropractor.”

And so, with the encouragement of many of my friends who have been helped by chiropractors, I went in to see one that is highly recommended and has been in practice for over 30 years. He explained the science of chiropractic to me. It seemed to make sense.

45 minutes later I was walking out of his office. Not 100% perfect but feeling infinitely better. Total cost to me: $150.

I went back for my follow-up visit today and while he massaged and adjusted, we chatted. I asked many, many general health questions. Here are some of the more interesting things he said:

1) Cross training is the key. Doing the same exercise every day leads to essentially repetitive stress injuries. He said a person should move their bodies every day – running, walking, yoga, weights, pilates, biking, etc.

2) Everything in moderation, including moderation

3) I asked if he had any absolute health no-no’s. He said, “yes, playing in traffic,” Thought that was funny and an insight into his healthy approach to life.

4) I did not know this, but our body is constantly replacing its cells. As he said, that is what distinguishes us from a rock. We are living, they are stagnant. He quoted a lot of stats, but the one I remember is that the heart has a complete turnover of cells every 30 days.

5) In that context, we talked about what to feed your body. He reiterated that our bodies are designed to replenish with things found in nature. Not chemicals, not artificial ingredients. The food and oxygen we put in to our body is the fuel that replenishes those cells. Think about the health of those cells if we feed our body real things vs the health of our cells if we feed artificial crap. Our bodies do not even know what to do with that junk.

6) To that end, it’s a great idea to eat organic when you can.

7) I asked about artificial sweeteners. He said, again, everything in moderation. In minimal amounts (eg to sweeten a cup of coffee) it is probably not going to do irrevocable harm to an adult’s body. HOWEVER, he said those chemicals are, by design, neuro-toxins and should not be given to little developing bodies.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Little Life Lesson

Or maybe it's a big life lesson.

This will be the cliff notes version because I should be going to bed.

On Sunday morning I woke up with a twinge in my lower back. By yesterday (Wednesday) I was moving carefully but still completing the list of to do's I had for myself before Aaron's parents' arrival on Friday morning. Within an hour of being awake today, I was barely able to walk without serious pain. The only comfortable position was standing straight up. I leaned a bit to pick up my water out of the top shelf of the refrigerator and actually yelped in pain.

I called my family doctor, she said take 800mg motrin and call a chiropractor. I was able to get an appointment for 5pm today.

In between 9:30 when I called the doctor and 4:30 when I left for the chiropractor, the boys were absolutely fan-freaking-tastic. I literally followed them around giving them tasks to complete and they did them willingly. OK, so a little bribery helped. But they totally rose to the occasion and I couldn't be more proud.

The good news is that those 30 minutes at the chiropractor were like magic. My back is not back to normal, far from it, but I am walking and able to do things like open the fridge and kiss the boys goodnight (which I could not have done this morning). More good news is that he doesn't expect I have a serious injury and nothing that a few more adjustments won't correct completely. He said I will feel much better tomorrow morning (fingers crossed).

This was the first time I've ever seen a chiropractor and, in all honesty, I've poo poo'd them a bit in my mind. But I'll be damned if he wasn't fabulous and didn't help me tremendously.

But that is not the life lesson. There are two real lessons:

1) I've spent most of my life taking care of myself as a side thought. And I've been able to get away with it. But this is one of life's jolts that reminds you that you need to do the ongoing maintenance and care to keep you body behaving as it should. That includes eating healthy (not picking from your child's plate), stretching and strengthening your muscles (as opposed to going straight out the door to a run and then running back inside without a stretch), and listening to your body (if I listened to the twinge on Sunday perhaps I wouldn't be in this situation today). Will I make any changes? Who knows. But I appreciate the reminder from my body to take care of it.

2) I get very anxious when we have guests come over. I want the house to be perfect. Especially when it's Aaron's parents. I know that's normal but I suspect I take the desire to have things in order a bit to the extreme. I'm nothing if not a little OCD. But this time, many, if not most, of the to do's on my list are not done and are not going to be done. Frozen food falls on you when you open the freezer door. Cookies will come from the freezer, not fresh from the oven. The fingerprints on the windows will remain. And you know, life will go on. None of those factors will determine whether or not our guests have a nice time at our home. They are just things that give me the allusion of having control. And life is nothing if not an exercise in learning that we do not have control.

OK, going to down a bottle of motrin, lie down, and see if I can find a comfortable position.

Take care of your back, friends, because this really stinks.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Meeting an Alcatraz Ex-Con

As part of Camp Mom 2009, the boys, Aaron and I took a short ferry ride to Alcatraz Prison today. You probably know that it's not a prison anymore, but the buildings are preserved and thousands of people visit every day to see what life really was like on the infamous "Rock."

Not surprisingly, after the tour, you are dumped out into the prison giftshop. Normally I try to shuffle the boys through these types of shops quickly so as to avoid the inevitable "Moooom, I reaaaally waaannt this!!"

But today, there was an actual ex-inmate of Alcatraz (attempted to rob a bank and then ecaped from community prison) signing a book he wrote about his experiences in the prison. The man looked to be about 80, he reeked of stale cigarette smoke and he was anything but warm. We asked him several questions, all of which he answered with one word answers, never making eye contact but staring at the cuticles on his fingers that he was picking.

"What was it like living here?" "Awful."
"Did you ever end up in Solitary Confinement?" "Yes."
"What was it like?" "Cold."

Sam and I could barely contain our questions.
I heard someone say that he eventually turned his life around after getting out of Alcatraz and was a foster parent to 94 children.

"What allowed you to turn your life around?" I asked.

This was the only time he answered with more than one word. "Had a boss who believed in me."

"Me, too." I said.

I wish I could say that we made eye contact and some sort of understanding passed between us. But he never did look at me and didn't seem to care at all that we had this in common. And I'm sure he was rolling his eyes at me. What did I know about conquering any sort of adversity and turning my life around? He's right. I certainly can't compare anything in my life to his life. But I do know that sometimes all it takes is for one person to believe in you to change your whole life.

More on this in my next blog. In the meantime, I've got pancakes to clean up after.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Being beautiful

Words from Anne Roiphe:

... I do know that there is a way of being beautiful, even as age takes it toll, that has something to do with the spirit filling with joy, something to do with the sense of having done well at something enormously important.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick Update on Camp Mom

The boys are in a massive screaming fight right now, which will soon escalate into a fist fight, over the monkeys from the barrel of monkeys game. See how exciting here:

I have been mediating stupid fights all morning ("Mooooom, he's looking at me." "Mom, his foot is on my side of the line."). So I either ignore this latest fight over the monkeys or I completely loose my cool with them. Better to ignore, don't you think?

Ironically, I was logging on to give a quick update on Week Two of Camp Mom. Despite this morning's evidence, Camp Mom has been going quite well. It's been the perfect balance of down time, play time, and field trip time.

Last week we went to the California Academy of Science (saw an albino crocodile, calculated our carbon footprints (ugh), sat captivated by the schools of fish swimming by in the aquarium, learned how life came to the galapagos islands), went to a great indoor play place, jumped sky high at a nearby trampoline place, and had plenty of playdates and popsicles.

This week we went bowling at a new bowling alley (which is more like a Hooters meets bowling than a traditional bowling alley) and today we are taking the train to the City and going to a Giants baseball game. We were supposed to head to Tahoe for Thursday and Friday but my van is still not out of the shop yet so that is delayed until next week.

My darling husband announced last night that Camp Mom (alternatively known as a staycation) has been a great success. I pointed out that his point of view was likely tainted by the fact that I am sole camp counselor and entertainment director while he is at work - getting praise, feedback, and a paycheck.

But in seriousness, Camp Mom has been much more enjoyable for all of us, including me, than I expected. We're building memories that childhoods are based on and I am grateful for the opportunity. Especially when they are sleeping.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tag, you're it

I was tagged so I need to answer these questions and pass it on.  I love these things!!!!!!

1. What is your current obsession? Coldplay

2. What is your weirdest obsession? I cannot stand to touch newspaper.  Truthfully I can't even stand to be in the same room with it.  Yet, I love the NYT and the online version doesn't do it for me.  So I end up putting the paper on the dining room table and reading it from as far away as I can possibly still see the letters.  I am convinced in some previous life I was a dog who was hit with rolled up newspapers.

3. Recall a fond childhood memory? Walking to the creek with my mom and brother - catching tadpoles.

4. What’s for dinner? Whatever I can scrounge up at 5pm when the boys say they are hungry.  

5. What would you eat for your last meal? Anything in a coconut milk/curry sauce with white jasmine rice.

6. What’s the last thing you bought? Shoes for my husband and socks for my kids.  How annoying is that?

7. What are you listening to right now? The boys complaining because they are all 3 in a time out for hitting each other.

8. What do you think of the person who tagged you? She is probably the most influential person in helping me evolve into the person I am today.

9. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished house, anywhere in the world, where would it be? Overlooking the ocean with a pool and doors that could open all the way around letting the ocean breaze flow through.  Doesn't matter where.

10. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? My room with a book.

11. Which language do you want to learn? French

12. What’s your favorite quote?  I don't really have one but I often think "There but by the grace of God go I"

13.What is your favorite colour? Red or the blue of my boys' eyes

14. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? Joe's jeans

15. What is your dream job? I am trying to figure that out.  Something creative where I can work 20 hours a week from home in a kick-butt white home office.  My company would be called Violet.  Any ideas for what I should do????

16.What’s your favorite magazine? Probably Oprah or real simple although I also devour my Us magazine and lately I've been into InStyle.

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?  Paint and painting supplies for the guest bedroom (aka Junk Room).  Or new underwear.

18. Describe your personal style? It is changing.  I am trying to be more classic trendy (eg, dark wash jeans and white tops) with a few simple pieces of jewelry

19. What are you going to do after this? Put my kids' lunch on the table and listen to them bitch about what i am serving.

20. What are your favorite films? I don't have a favorite film.  I need to come up with an answer to this question.  But I did just see The Hangover and just about died laughing.

21. What’s your favorite fruit? I love all fruit but something would elevate to my favorite if someone else cleaned it and cut it for me.

(right on cue - boys complaining about lunch now!)

22.What inspires you?  People who stick to their convictions.

23. Your favorite books?  By Wally Lamb

24. Do you collect anything? Nothing.  I absolutely hate "stuff."

25. Any advice from bitter experience? Just don't eat your way through it.

26. What makes you follow a blog? Ditto Mel - When the author shows real heart and warmth.  Also when someone takes the everyday and elevates it an the art form.

And now.... I tag.... S@L, The Mama, and JennyAlice.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Picking adventures from a hat

For the first 5 weeks of summer, my boys had an assortment of different camps/playdates/activities.  But starting Monday, that's over.  Think of it as "Camp Mom," I told them.  The 5 and 8 year olds groaned.  (Not as loud as I groaned in my head.)

We have 25 more weekdays to go until school stars.  So this afternoon the 3 boys and I sat down and made a list of 25 places we'd like to visit/things we want to do - ranging from the local bowling alley to the  Monterey Aquarium to the Jelly Belly Factory tour.  

Once we agreed on the 25 things, the boys cut up strips of paper and on each strip we wrote one of the activities.  Each evening, before bed, we are going to reach into the hat.  Whatever activity is selected is the activity we will do the next day.  

We may just survive after all.

Here is our list:
1) Alcatraz
2) Sky High Sports (a trampoline place)
3) Pump-It-Up (and inflatable jumpy house place)
4) Safari Run (an indoor jungle gym)
5) SF Zoo
6) Great America
7) Gilroy Gardens (kids amusement park)
8) Beach
9) Playdate with the Hobarts in SF
10) Walk across Golden Gate bridge
11) SF Science Museum
12) San Jose Children's Museum
13) San Francisco Children's Museum
14) Mini Golf/Batting cages
15) Raging Waters water park
16) Bowling
17) Jelly Belly Factory Tour
18) SF Giants game
19) Monterey Aquarium
20) Airplane Museum
21) New park in Palo Alto
22&23) Overnight trip to Tahoe
24) Playdate with Thomases
25).... hmmmm.... we are one short.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Never talk sex, money, or politics

Ever since Aaron and I started dating seriously (about a month after we met) we sort of combined our finances.  Aaron was a student and I was working so most of the money came from my side.  When we married, we combined our finances completely (both money coming in and our substantial school loan debt).  It seemed very romantic at the time.  We were taking care of each other.  

When I stopped working outside the home (when our first child was born), I had absolutely no difficulty with the fact that I was no longer contributing financially to the family.  It was immediately clear to both Aaron and me that I was working harder than either of us had ever worked before but NOT getting paid for it.  

So that is how we looked at it.  We both had jobs.  They were both equally important.  The paycheck Aaron brought home reflected both of our jobs.  That may sound hokey but we have never once had even one ounce of financial stress between us (we've had financial stress together, but never pitting us against each other).

Every so often I'd hear a friend say something like, "Oh, my husband would never let me buy that" or "I have to hide this so my husband doesn't see that I bought this."  It always struck me as strange and sad.  Aaron and I have always been on the same financial team.  

But last week I was in a car accident.  It was ruled the other driver's fault but the fact remains that it is going to cost us over $1000 to take care of deductibles, etc.  And while it was the other driver's fault, I still feel like if I was really, really paying closer attention I could have avoided it.  I don't know if that is technically true or not, but that's how I feel.

The past few days I have really been feeling down about the fact that the accident is so clearly in the "withdrawal" column of our family's balance sheet and I am not adding anything to the "deposit" column. Even though I made the withdrawal by being in the accident.   I think I am feeling it so much because for that $1000 we get zero benefit.  It's just the cost of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Also, we've been really, really trying to hammer away at our school loans, to get them paid off once and for all.  And so that money from the car accident is  taken directly from paying off the loan.  

Hmmm.... I'm not sure exactly where I'm going with this.  It's not as though I feel like I don't contribute to our family, it's just that this is the first time I feel like I've so blatantly been a $$ suck.

I think I am tired and just need a good night's sleep.  


You know that old saying that God doesn't give you more than you can handle?  My mom says it all the time.  Well, today I am sure that it's not true.  I am seriously thinking that my middle son is more than I can handle.  All I want to do right now is curl up in bed some warm chocolate cookies and cry.


I have a blog post brewing in my mind about marriage.  Just thought you should know.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More on clothes

If you are bored by the mundane and superficial topic of clothing, then read no further.  But if, like me, you get strangely excited by weeding out your closet, even if you can't replenish it, and the fantasy of a closet full of clothes that actually fit and look good, then keep reading.  

Today I bribed my neighbor J to come over again to help me further with my wardrobe.  We went through every single item of clothing in my closet and did a three point filtering process:  
1) is it a style that is current (not to be confused with trendy - nothing in my closet is trendy) 
2) is it in good enough shape to wear (minimal fading and pilling, not stretched out) 
3) is it flattering on my body

If the items made it past those 3 tests, we then figured out whether or not I had anything I could wear it with.  If not, to GoodWill it went.  

Finally, we got to the point of figuring out outfits.  FINALLY!  This is where it all came together.  

Here are some things I learned:
1) I cannot wear khaki or white pants with pastels or I look like an ice cream cone of sherbet.  Khaki or white pants go with navy or black tops (maybe with a white tank underneath).
2) If your pants are loose at all, you must wear them with a tight top.  
3) Even if my abs are ever back in rock hard shape (ha!), I cannot, CANNOT tuck.  My waist is way too high.  If I tuck I end up looking like my waist is in my armpits.
4) I don't look good in collared shirts.  Go figure.  Every one we tried on did not make it through step 3 (flattering).  
5) Tank tops in all different fabrics and styles are THE staple of my wardrobe.  99% of the time I wear pants, a tank, and a cardigan sweater of some sort.  
6) Long sleeves should always be worn pushed up a bit above the wrist.  Otherwise my arms look out of proportion.
7) I can pull off feminine.  It looks great on me with dark jeans to give it a little edge.  
8) My best colors on top are navy and white.  I can wear a pewter gray as long as I wear lipstick.  Black is OK but a bit severe for me.  Better to stick to navy.  
9) I can only wear my flowy tops with tight (relatively) jeans.  Otherwise I look preggo.  
10) Necklaces (or lack of) make or break an outfit for me. 

Next step:  try to figure out the accessories piece.  I saw first hand that necklaces make all the difference but I have no idea how to pull it all together.  Also, I don't really have any.  I just have a few that J let me try on of hers to prove a point.  

Also, I am on the hunt for two items during the summer sales:  

1) subdued gold every day sandal that I can wear with everything, every day.  I am trying to hunt this down in my size:

2) Dark wash denim skirt - straight, pencil cut, hitting mid knee.  Can be worn the same as jeans.  My calves are one of my best features.  It's nice to show them off.

Thanks for following along in the fun.  My new prayers at the end of the night are for world peace and for everyone who wants one to have a J in their life to help them look their best.  

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A shout out to JTD

In my excitement over the organization of my closet, I forgot to mention that all of the folding of clothes for the shelves was expertly done by my other neighbor, JTD (aka Martha-Stewart-At-Heart).  

The girl knows how to fold clothes.  She often comes over and we chat while I fold laundry and our boys play.  Only she ends up refolding everything I have ever folded because it is not straight enough.  My linen closets and kitchen towel drawers are impeccable because of her.  (I offer to do the same favor for her when the boys play at her house and she is folding laundry, but I am not allowed near her clean clothes).  Every so often my husband will open his t-shirt drawer and say, "JTD was here, huh?" because he knows that even if I spent all day trying, t-shirts that I have folded could not be as beautifully folded as the ones she folds.  

And to top that off, when she was done folding for my closet, she spent 45 minutes on the phone with some Apple tech support guy in India trying to figure out how to get my wireless connection working again.  She has a way with men like I have never seen.  Despite the fact that my AppleCare account is expiring and he should not have talked to her without charging $45, he totally helped her, waited patiently on the phone while she crawled around under my desk looking for wires, and ultimately they got it fixed.  

I love my neighbors.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Elements of Style

As long as we are talking fashion, J gave me a list of wardrobe essentials that she believes every woman should have.  These are the basics, we should also have a closet full of clothes that reflect our own personal style and that make us feel great about ourselves.  

Here is the list and how I am doing:

1) Black knee length dress (aka LBD) - need a summer style, have a winter style
2) Trench coat - have
3) Black dress pants - have one pair of black cotton capris but I don't think that's what they mean by dress pants
4) Fitted white dress shirt or blouse - need (although you can tell by my wardrobe that I have about 20 white shirts that are styled to hide the dreaded muffin top.  i need to work on the "fitted" part.)
5) Pair of dark wash jeans that you can dress up - have
6) Slim/Pencil skirt (black or khaki) - need
7) Black pant suit - don't think i need this!
8) High heel sandal in a neutral color - have if a soft gold counts
9)  Black high heel pump - have
10) Black loafer or ballet flat - need (how can that be possible??)
11) Structured bag in a classic style that will not go out of style - need (i am guessing that my faux leather brown hobo bag does not count as a classic style that will not go out of style)

Too bad white t-shirts, khaki pants, and merrells don't make the list of wardrobe essentials.  I'd be all set!!  :)

I don't take this too seriously but I do find it fun and very interesting!

On Closets

My neighbor is a visual merchandiser for the fashion industry.  I had no idea what that was until I met her.  Basically she takes all of the clothes that the store wants to sell and displays them- on the racks, on mannequins, on the shelves, in storefronts, etc.  She puts the outfits together, she accessorizes them, etc. She only does very high end stores so this woman knows fashion.

Although she works in fashion, she has the same keen eye for interior decorating.  It is the understatement of the year to say I LOVE her style.  Very understated, casual, but elegant.  I could never pull it off in my house o' testosterone.  But I can dream.  

Anyhoo, this morning we both had some time on our hands (ok, so I created time on my hands by sending Hubs to get the oil changed in both of our cars and plopping the boys in front of the tv. Not the end of the world on a saturday morning, right?)  so I invited her over to help with my closet.  I am very, very good about weeding out what I don't wear.  I am of the philosophy that if I haven't worn it for one entire year then I'm not ever going to wear and I toss it in a flash.  Other than my wedding dress and a few precious outfits that my boys have worn, I do not save clothes for sentimental reasons.  And about 18 months ago I made the decision that no matter how cute or stylish or on sale something is, if it doesn't make me look long and lean, I ain't gonna wear it.  (Workout clothes and pajamas are one huge exception to this rule).  All of this is to say that my closet it in pretty good shape to begin with.  

But once J came over and started working her magic, it was like my closet was transformed.  Take a deep breath, listen closely, and take notes.  This is good stuff.

She organized everything completely by color (previously I had arranged things by color and style - so all white short sleeve shirts were with all my other short sleeve shirts, also arranged by color).  Now, if it's white, for example, it is together, no matter whether it's a tank top or a sweater.  (But within each color there is a progression according to length of sleeve and material so all the white tank tops are together, all white tshirts are together, all white blouses are together, all white sweaters are together, etc).  

Then, the clothes, within their color group, were hung from light to dark.  So whites, then light pink, then orange, then navy then black.  (You will notice that I am pretty basic when it comes to my clothes.  Not a lot of variety or color.  My mom thinks it's boring.  I choose to think of it as Armani-simple.)

Are you still with me?  After that, which was like the heavens opening up it was so beautiful, we moved my jeans from hangers to shelves, we moved pants and dresses to a different part of my closet, handbags were stuffed (the brilliance!) so they would stand up straight and I could see them.  Then she spread the hangers apart so that my clothes filled the entire rail.  

I swear, if you were to look in my closet from a glance, you would think I have a gorgeous wardrobe.  The truth is, it's all markdowns from Gap and J Crew*.  But it looks so incredibly pretty. 

The other key thing, which I did years ago, is switch to all the same color hangers.  J thinks I should invest in all wooden hangers but it's awfully hard to justify a $10 hangar for an $8 shirt.  The padded hangers I have interspersed (for my sweaters) with the white plastic drive her batty and the wood hanger I have for my one (yes, one) skirt is also an eyesore for her since there are no other wood hangers.  

Anyway, what is the point of telling you all of this?  No point other than walking in to my "new" closet gives me such delight and glee and I wish the same for all of you.

(*The one exception is the pair of Joe's Jeans that I have.  They were full price $150 from Bloomies.  I won a $100 gift card and treated myself to a pair of designer jeans.  Oh sweet Jesus, the difference they make in my butt.  I actually feel, dare I say it, HOT in them.  If you do not have a pair of Joe's Jeans, march yourself out and buy a pair (or whatever brand transform your rear from long and never ending to high and perky).  You will never ever regret it.  I wear them on average 5 days a week and when they get ratty I will buy myself another pair whether or not I have a gift card.  That's how amazing they are.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Got a wake up bounce in the bed from my kids at 6am to see the decorations they put up for me.  :)  

Life is good.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Forty Eve

I have 3 hours left of being in my 30s.  If I lived on the east coast, I'd be 40 already.  I gotta tell ya, it doesn't feel all that great.  

There have been times in my life, when I was about to make a transition, that I have felt the need to mark a passage in time.  Like I needed to say a formal goodbye to one thing and then say a formal hello to another.  Sometimes it happens on a New Year's Eve.  Once it happened after I decided I needed to get over a broken heart and move on.  It has happened when I've said goodbye to useless habits.  

Tonight, I'm feeling it again.  I just want to be left alone to write and meditate and reflect.  Of course, I have 3 children, 1 husband, and 2 parents here with me so I'm not necessarily alone.  But I am in my room, in my bed, wearing my favorite fleece, and quiet.

I have decided that it's not so much the year FORTY as it is the fact that this is a rite of passage. All of my children are in some sort of school.  Chances are very likely that we are done having kids.  The things my children require of me as "mother" are not what they used to be.  I actually see in the not so distant future the chance for me to focus on me for a tiny bit each day.  The nights when I will lie (lye?  who cares?) in bed whispering and snuggling with my children are more in the past than in the future.  While they still love to sit on the couch with me, snuggled under a blanket reading books, I know those moments will become fewer and farther between.  There is nothing about turning 40 that is different than turning 39 and 363 days, for example.  It's just a bit of a more formal, more recognized marker to show the passage of time.  

Several of my friends have told me that the anticipation of 40 is much harder than turning 40.  I think that will be the case for me.  Frankly, I just want to get tomorrow over with.  I ran into a friend today who turned 40 on Thursday.  She told me she was really anxious about it and then woke up on her 40th and thought, "This?  All this fuss for THIS?  No big deal."  I'm hoping that's how I will feel.  

And frankly, it's not like I'll have a chance to really dwell on it.  It's my oldest son's first day of sports camp, which means lunches, waters, snacks, sunscreen, out the door by 8:30, etc.  Then my little guy has to be to his camp by 9.  My middle guy has a playdate coming over.  It will be a typical crazy day.  

I just got an email from a friend.  She told me that when "older" women are asked what their favorite decade is, the most prevalent answer is 40s.  I get that.  Children still at home, hopefully a bit more financial security than earlier years, young children but not the all-consuming infants, hopefully a peaceful home and marriage.  

One final thought.  About 8 or 9 months ago, I started on a campaign which I referred to endearingly in my mind as "fabulous by forty."  What I have come to realize is that by saying fabulous BY forty, i am referring to 40 as an end-point.  What I want is fabulous in my 40s.  I am hoping these years can be about rediscovering, recommitting to myself, learning more about who I am, caring less about who others want me to be, learning to love to workout, not for the workout but for the power and strength it gives me.  

2 hours, 10 minutes left.  I'm smiling now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Actually having an argument with my 5 year old about whether or not he can play with matches in the leaves in the backyard.  

It's going to be a loooooong summer!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

At this moment

Aaron is taking down the crib.  We are converting the nursey into a bedroom.  

I am not thinking about it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I'm not really feeling the gratitude post yet, but I am sure I will.

I'm reading a new book on parenting called Love and Logic.  It's supposed to be great.  We'll see.  I'm skeptical.

One funny story:  Ben wakes up in the middle of every night crying and calling for me.  I stumble into his room without even opening my eyes, pull him into a bear hug, and we sleep that way for the rest of the night.  It's totally fine with me, not even a blip on my radar screen.  Last night, though, at 1am, I awoke to him SCREAMING HIS BLOODY HEAD OFF.  Honest to God, I thought someone was ripping off his finger nails.  I jump out of bed, race into to my "spot" on his bed, but he's not there.  I feel around the entire bed.   Not there.  I am totally disoriented.  I hear him, but where the hell is he?  I finally realize the screams are coming from under Sam's bed.  I turn on the lights, blinded by the brightness.  I realize he is screaming, "I'm stuck!"  And the kid is literally stuck.  I have to pull him out by the ankles.  I turn out the light.  We climb into our spots on the bed and fall asleep.  This morning I asked him about it and he says he wasn't under Sam's bed, Sam's bed got on top of him.  Wouldn't you just love to know??????

Monday, June 1, 2009

Shitty mood

In the car today, on the way home from swimming lessons (which my kids HATE and complain about every single week), Sam whispered to Jack, "Jack, you better stop it.  Mom is at the end of her rope."

It always makes me laugh when kids use expressions like that.  What must they think it means?  But Sam clearly had it right.  I am so irritated right now, I just want to climb into bed with a few magazines and zone out.

Here is my abbreviated list of complaints:
1) Despite doing everything right (ha!) with Sam, his list of acceptable foods is basically down to  cheese quesadillas and pasta with jarred (not homemade) red sauce.  
2) My house is a disaster.  I'm not sure it's ever been so messy.
3) Somehow, hitting each other has become common place and acceptable with my children.  How did I let that happen?
4) I am so sick of parenting books.  I've been reading up on managing sibling rivalry and managing spirited children.  I want to shove their "5 simple steps to family harmony" up their ass.  Seriously, come live in my house for one day and then try the 5 simple steps.  Not so simple, eh?
5) My middle child has become miserable lately.  I know what he needs most in just love, love, love but it is not easy to provide that when he makes it so unpleasant to be around him.
6) I ran a freaking marathon yesterday and today I woke up feeling fat and ugly (WTF?).

I think is a good list for now, eh?

Hopefully tomorrow I can write a gratitude list.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I have lost 10 lbs.  This is all a part of my "Fabulous by Forty" plan.  I'd like to lose 3 more before 40 so I can be at my pre-pregnancy weight.  But I am excited about the 10.  It feels good.  I feel good.  I feel sex-ay.

And, holy mother of God, but for the first time since Sam was born I actually wore a shirt tucked in today.  It was covered by the silhouette of an open cardigan sweater.  But still.  Girlfriend tucked in her shirt.  Never thought I'd see the day again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I am very, very sad about the CA Supreme Court's decision today upholding Prop 8, which says that marriage only exists between a man and a woman.  Part of me feels angry, but mostly I just feel sad and disappointed.  

When Prop 8 first passed, I was baffled, absolutely baffled, that the majority of people in CA could vote for a law that was so hateful.  But someone explained to me that it wasn't about hate.  It's not that people who voted for 8 are against gay people, per se, it's just that they believe marriage should only be for men and women.  

I remember learning about this argument in history before Brown v Board of Education.  It wasn't that white people were against black people, per se, it's just that they believed their schools, restaurants, water fountains, clubs, etc should only be for white people.  

How sad that we think we've come so far and yet, here we are.  Again.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Life With Boys

Left the boys home with Dad and went to gardening store.  This is what my photo wall looked like when I got home. 

I am thinking of publishing a coffee table book called "Life with Boys."  This would be one of the photos.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You cannot make this stuff up.

If anyone needs a good laugh today, head on over to my beloved pal J's blog and read "Mothering a Naked Two Year Old."  

Parenting.  You cannot make this stuff up.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Conversation between Jack and Aaron

At Baskin Robbins, this afternoon.  It was a totally serious conversation.  Jack was not kidding.

Jack:  Dad, for your birthday I'm going to get you a toy vagina.
Aaron:  Where the heck did you hear that?
Jack:  At "coolinary" school.

I am as baffled as you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Good news

They were calling to tell me the lump is "consistent with benign findings."  For Christ's sake, people, if you are a dr's office calling with good news, say so in the message you leave.  

Time to get back to breathing.  

3 hours later

I just called the OB's office again.  The person that called me is gone for the day.  The Medical Assistant that answered the phone had no idea why the doctor called.  She said she would track down the doctor and call me back.  JFC, you can't call someone, tell them to call you back and then not be there.  

I am starting to think that maybe this is nothing, just some silly medical office mistake.  Oy vey.