Sunday, January 31, 2010


We adore our "bookends", littlest Blueberry and biggest Songbird. Yesterday we spent the whole day at Carthage College watching Songbird swim for her college team. It was great fun - but the best part of the day was watching these two totally enjoy each other. It's magical. Look, you can see it, can't you?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wrap it up and Take it off

Well, I'm wrapping up 30 days, but I've only taken off 2. More on 2 later. Let's talk turkey (or tofurky for all you vegetarians) about 30 days of nothing. It was a success in our home. I can't measure it in terms of dollars - I'm not really clear how much we actually "saved" during the month of January. I'll probably run the numbers on our Quicken sometime in the next week. I don't mean to be nonchalant about the savings - there were savings. And, savings are meaningful to us. But,  personally I wasn't motivated by the idea of "saving money."  Savings is a benefit for our family.  For me, however, it's not the PRIZE in the whole exercise. We did make some "extra" contributions in January - for Haiti and also for AHOPE for Children. I am guessing savings were probably just redistributed for charitable giving. My goal and my hope was to engage deeper thinking about my/our relationship with stuff; what we have, how we get it, what we want, how we talk about it.

It's true that I fell off of the wagon twice; both times were a Thursday night and both times I sexted texted my darling husband and asked him to 'please oh pretty please bring home Chipotle!' He delivered the goods for a mere $14 (no biggies needed to be fed and the wee one got fridge remnants). I learned that Thursday nights on working days are really hard on me. There's a pattern to this - and this is illuminating for me. I had no idea! I could have waltzed through weeks and weeks of Thursday night meltdowns, but paying attention to the red flags of consumerism brought on by fatigue and poor planning allows us to plan better for working Thursdays. I'll feel better at the end of those Thursdays - that's a win.

Planning is part of the HUGE lesson of the month. Mr. Silly Pants and I made renewed effort to meal plan for the week, taking into account the busy extras in our schedule ahead of time. We didn't run just barely putting one foot in front of the other- we first had a look down the weekly road. The planning helped us have smoother and more in synch evenings. If one of my personal goals for 30 days of nothing was to celebrate what we have instead of what we want,  deliberate meal planning and tending to our schedules actually made space available for more intimate family time. Our evenings felt easier and Mr. Silly Pants and I felt more in synch and more mutually involved and engaged in the evening routine. I liked that part of working the program. I like being in good synch with my husband.

My friend Jayme mentioned that her 30 day exercise helped her "to recalibrate my relationship with spending money (and) has had an enormous impact on how I intend to spend money in the future. It's given me the motivation to think deeply about issues of ethics, giving, entitlement, expectation, competition, and sustainability." I like how she put this big thought together - how the pieces of the exercise helped her "think and link." I also really like the idea of recalibrating. I can relate to her points. I think we accomplished this also.

Personally, one interesting outcome for me is that the excercise actually "sanctioned" some pretty tough conversations about the very things Jayme links together in her big picture: giving, ethics, entitlement, expectations, sustainability, competition. Some of the conversations that Mr. Silly Pants and I had were difficult (dare I say, tense?) and involved digging into some tender spots - how I perceive him, how he perceives me, how we view our "plenty", and our plan for how we're going to live rich lives without allowing the riches of material goods be more important than those things we cherish that can't be quantified; love, passion, kindness, adventure, beautiful music, laughter, gorgeous landscapes.  Choosing 30 Days of Nothing was choosing to talk about these things in really deliberate and reflective and PERSONAL ways. I liked having a quick short-cut to these discussions and that piece of permission to just jump in and get messy with the experience as it was upon us. Being on the "program" kept that awareness front and center and enabled mutual interest and responsiveness all month long. We talked about travel and planning (starting an explicit vacation fund), we talked about feeling entitled to coffee out, just because we want it. We talked about our childhood experiences with money. We asked, "Why the heck do we need satellite radio? Really, in both cars? I haven't listened to it, not once."  In some contexts the discussions were intense and emotional. In some contexts the questions were pretty darn contentious. But this month the questions fit the quest.

I really needed an intentional exercise to help get some clarity on issues for me that surround "having." I made some progress. We made some progress. Mr. Silly Pants and I are extending this into February with a slightly modified approach - not eliminating all "non-essentials," but rather taking the choas out of our spending and working on making more deliberate choices and decisions on a day by day basis with proper looks ahead into the week, month, and even the year. We are excited about striving for balance as we raise our son and launch our biggies. I'll talk more about this as I get a clearer notion of what "deliberate and less chaos" looks like (I think it will involve a lot of winnowing of our 'stuff' which is pretty exciting!)

Finally, I didn't take much off - 2 lbs. Ugh. I really fell apart on that one. Basically I didn't follow through on journaling. February is a new month. Tomorrow is a new day. I will spend February journaling my 'Lose It' meals with an eye towards health and more energy. It's a hard one to talk about - so I'm not going to talk about it tonight.

Thanks to all the women who did 30 Days together - it was an inspiration to share the process and to learn along the way both with you and from you!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why big brother is so cool

Remote control helicopters!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

3 Amigos

It's not exactly what you're thinking - these 3 really ARE 3 Amigos. It started many years ago, when an inspired Songbird came home from school and announced she wanted to volunteer her summer in Central America for Amigos. I was thrilled, and terrified. My amazing daughter was following her compassionate heart and wanted to leave at the age of 16 to work and live FAR FAR AWAY for a whole summer. What's more, she wanted to live independently in a local host community and work on a community sponsored initiative for 10 weeks! This is what Amigos does: they train youth locally to serve rural C&S American communities who have initiatives with Pan American partner agencies . I asked, "sweetie, can't we just find a nice church group and you can go and do work with them in Appalachia or something like that?" She answered, "Mom, you raised me to be this person and now you have to let me."  GULP. I nodded, knowing I had acted like an elitist, a racist, and a hypocrite (really, I was - sometimes these stupid reactions are like the air we breath!). It took me some time  to 'get it' - to let go and let her go. Indeed, the world needs her just as she needs the world. And so, the family affair with Amigos began. Songbird flew off to Mexico with Amigos. Then Twinkletoes set off with the same program, but on her own totally unique community service adventure to Nicaragua. After 2 amazing Amigos experiences, it became clear that our family had found a great program in which our kids can serve - and who is going to argue with great? (Hey, I'm a teacher, we always steal other people's best ideas!) Waffles thought about arguing with 'great', but he didn't get too far holding the line that he wasn't a 'follower' and therefore wasn't going to South America or Central America. He's right - he's not a follower. Waffles, joining as a veteran family member, is making the experience totally his own. He's a sib, yes, but he's totally his own guy. He's going, and he CHOSE it.  He came home one day and said Amigos visited his Spanish class and he'd been swayed. (He had even started the online application without telling me). Waffles will get his assignment in February. After 2 kids and 2 experiences that were truly transformative, I'm darn excited to watch my 'littlest biggie' go off on his own for an adventure in service. And, to put a little exclamation on the whole Amigos "thang", Songbird is returning as a program supervisor this breath).....Ecuador. Mmmm-hmm.
Put this program on your family radar - IT ROCKS!  But even more, my 3 Amigos are my heroes.They are. I'm in awe of their spirits, their hearts, their intellects, and the ways each of them expresses all of this in unique and amazing ways.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


It's been a heck of a long week. Blueberry surprised his daddy on Monday with a double ear infection (happy birthday Daddy), spent a few days not sleeping well, infected both of his parents with cumbersome colds, and slowed the pace around her to a crawl. Don't, and I mean DON'T look at our kitchen floors. The high chair has an entire lick off meal waiting for a taker, and our paperwork pile looks more like a paper mountain. Our Christmas cards are still sitting on the kitchen counter (I am so not kidding), my lesson plans are off the cuff, the oven is smokin' from accumulating spills, and the car smells like funk. Not good.

But today, after lotsa days of intensive parenting and some yucky gray weather, I went at it with Blueberry with finesse. Mr. Silly Pants is on call today. He was up and out at daybreak and not due home until after well into the afternoon. After our ususal morning routine of books, trains, a little magic marker "coloring" and some tickling games (with some laundry thrown in the midst), Blueberry was treated to a bucket full of snow. We collected scoops of snow, brought it inside, spread out a towel, and had some indoor snow play. We pulled out picnic dishes, spoons and scoops and just had a blast.

I get my own little mommy medal today for doin' a good job. I don't know about you, but I've been feeling a little dull all week, and this was just a good morning because I really showed up, depsite the odds.

Oh, and this week I didn't spend any non-essential funds, even though the tempation for convenience food, diet coke from the $1 machine in school, any little monied pick me up was screamin' my name all week long.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ruined and Restored

Head over to Party of 5 to read Heather's tender and intense reflection "in the wake of the earthquake." 

I have thought about 2 recent heart wrenching life changing moments in my life; the moment my mom died in my arms, the moment I laid eyes on Blueberry...all I can say is this: I hope most of us are ruined by what we witness in Haiti for the rest of our lives - in the most profound and restorative ways!

And like Heather, now I must tend to my classroom full of nervous freshmen, who have finals this week, and who I need to help prepare today so they can be successful tomorrow.

Monday, January 18, 2010

We are his....

*On this day, my dear beloved's birthday, I am grateful to Martin Luther King,
whose dream made his dream, and our dream, possible*

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Just because it will be fun to remember:
'ruck' = truck
mine = that is mine and you can't have it!
op-o = open
i-dit it = I did it, I want to do it, I will do it
mut-mee = muffin
poopy ruck = manure spreader
beep beep = car
wa-wa = water
ips = chips
I = Aria
Deet = Teague
moons = balloons
munmun = Munsee
bow-wow, woof = dog
moooooore = more
up = up and/or down
dat = tag (the name of his blanket because he likes the tag)
E-i = Eli
ook = book
choo choo = train
mas = Thomas
in =  in and/or out
behwr = bear
Emmo = that Red Sesame Street character
appoh = apple
ow = cat/Munsee
eat = eat
Oh Man!
ight = right (as in 'affirmative')
mama, daddy
baw = ball
booooots = boots
indere = put in in there/I put it in there
ight = light
wok = work
no = when asked to say Devin's name, he says' "no" and laughs
uhk = look/let me look
upup = Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
baa = sheep
neenee = horse
(any or all in 2 word combinations)
*this is the reason why a list should be kept, because I'll have to add to this as I remember*

Friday, January 15, 2010

30 days of livin' like a queen

I'm feeling like this "30 days" is such an exercise for the privileged - and I'm suffering and struggling through that thought this week. Especially in light of Haiti...and Congo....and Ethiopia....and Bangladesh....and, you get the picture. Looking at national GDP and other data, it's astounding to really reflect on my own wealth. This isn't a new thinking and linking exercise for me. I use this to help my students think about wealth. Go ahead, I dare you.

So I ask myself, who the heck has the luxury to give up things that aren't essential anyway?  Answer: me
This has been a little thorn in the whole program for me - but this week I have been totally sunk by it. It's a worthy exercise, and I like the lessons that are obvious (and not so obvious) takeaways. There is a piece of this, however, that is like indulging a game, a contest with myself and against powerful social forces, or indulging a tension and working to triumph over the tension of spending vs. not spending. What I'm thinking about today (this week, more accurately) is the conflict between an exercise and a transformation.  I'm a little concerned about finishing 30 days and saying, "oh, that was cool, now bring back the Chipotle!" You know?

When I was taking my Healing Racism class we talked about white guilt. Many people of color have no tolerance for white guilt. My white guilt is their waste of time. For GOOD reason. Being a good ally involves action, not guilt. Like white guilt, there is NO advantage to wallowing in the guilt of my possessions, or my power. Only the force of action is going to bring change into my life and the lives of others. Understanding MY PRIVILEGE is essential (just like understanding my whiteness is essential). So...I rally my personal agency for good and try to keep my personal 'becoming' happening and progressing. That's what I can do right now.

30's happening as planned this week. No extras, except for our donations for relief to Haiti. Haiti isn't an extra - it's an essential. Because that's our obligation to humanity.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Warm, Well Fed, and Wonderful

Well Fed
and Aware that but for the grace of God....
We've got it good, and we know it.
So we did something. It's our drop in the bucket.

What's yours?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Sometimes it just all feels like too much. Sorta the situation today. I'm in the home stretch of a demanding semester. I work only part time, but I work with no support time. The family is full and I'm getting the denseness of the doing and caring for my family. And, I"m feeling super sensitive about a number of things that are feeling heavy and cumbersome. I feel like biting off someone's head. Any volunteers?

...and feeling like it's all so petty in light of Haiti. Self loathing emerges during such a horrific crisis-great timing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Something for Haiti When Doing "Nothing"

I was going to write a bit tonight on how things break and need repair and need attention right in the midst of a "30 days of nothing" effort - but the news from Haiti is cause for pause.  I just wrote this instead:

It's true, I'm doing the 30 Days of Nothing - but the earthquake in Haiti is SOMETHING, not nothing, and exactly the sort of situation in which thoughtful preservation and utilization of resources allows for good (better!) global citizenship.

When Mr. Silly Pants and I shared the news we immediately decided to dedicate some of our monthly resources to Haiti earthquake relief. I'm in the process of researching to whom we'll be sending our contribution. I appreciate any suggestions. You all know I'm and MSF (Doctors Without Borders) supporter, and I'll be calling my MSF contact tomorrow for some update on their work on the ground. They just posted an update on their website. Several other sites already have "donate" buttons up and functioning. But, I am not yet ready to name the source of our funds - I always have to check and recheck to make sure our funds are being used well, aren't supporting a behemoth administration, and are used in ways that agree with my moral/spiritual/political/social justice compass. I won't spend too much time figuring this out, but I do believe in due diligence.

Our family prayers and deep consoling thoughts go to the people of Haiti. The earthquake is devestating and horrible news for a country gripped by the ravages of poverty. About 80% of Haitians live in absolute poverty, with 54% living in abject poverty. Haiti is, in fact, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and among the poorest in the world.  Over half the adult population is illiterate due mostly to the lack of access to education and books and the need for children to work from very young ages. 65% of Haitian children will never finish elementary school and 80% won’t ever attend high school. Access to healthcare in Haiti is nearly non-existent. Over 60% of the population lacks access to even the most basic healthcare services. Disease is rampant, overcrowding is extreme and employment is next to nothing. More than two-thirds of the workforce have no regular jobs. Those who do work often make only about $2 a day in US equivalent wages.

These are HEARTBREAKING's time to act as good global neighbors. Please join our family and do something - anything. Haiti is less than 2 hours from Miami, this is a country of neighbors. Please be a good neighbor and help.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How the Hubz sees 30 Days

We're clippin' along on our 30 day exercise. I already fessed up to my failure, but my accomplice, Mr. Silly Pants, didn't dissuade me from our Chipotle boundary breaker. Still, he's on board. We had a little talk today about how he's faring with the 30 day program and it was good talk.

Generally, I perceive Silly Pants to be the 'spender' in our home. He disagrees with this characterization overall, and maintains he prefers fewer things and finer things. Me? Pack rat in his eyes. But I can say without reservation that I perceive the bitty daily spending is mostly his as he has historically regularly stopped for coffee and a scone, only occassionally packed his lunch, and is a total 'yes' man for picking up dinner on the way home. He works super hard, makes a good income, and is an extremely generous person. He feels like his life is bountiful, and a closed wallet isn't really an agenda item for him. Responsible, yes. Frugal. not really.

I thought 30 days would not have much appeal for Silly Pants, but I was wrong. He's been 'in' and reflective all along. Today he did our bi-monthly Costco run. This is something he enjoys and I would do without were it not for his williness to go and go WITH Blueberry. Good man! Today we broke through our planning malaise and he actually went with a grocery list built from a weekly meal plan. Woot for us! He stuck to the list. He mentioned that he didn't cruise the isles and passed on some items he thought were too bulk (we don't like to waste food and we are pretty particular about buying anything in 'bulk' unless we know we'll use it. Case in point, we love Amy Lu's Chicken sausages. Thumbs up to purchase these at Costco). He came home with good stuff and stuff we plan to eat. (Great steaks on the grill tonight, by the way!)  Then he went out and shoveled the driveway. We've had some snow sitting on the drive for a few days. I noticed he was shoveling with our snow scoop when in fact we have a tractor with a blade he typically likes to use. I watched him shovel for awhile and then drifted off to have a nice nap (yes, I'm a prima donna!). When he came in I asked why the scoop and he responded that he's not going to use the blade at all for these 30 days and he'll shovel instead. Yeah for Silly Pants! Finally, he mentioned that this is the month he's going to end his INSISTENCE on using super plush TP. Yep. OMG, THANK GOODNESS. He heard a green news piece on NPR about the ways in which the super squeezable toilet tissues cannot be made from recyclable materials because super soft requires "virgin" fiber lengths. comment! A little follow up on NRDC confirms that my man's need for squeezable softness has got to end. He's got me afterall, doesn't he?

I don't have a sense of how much we're actually saving on this program- not yet anyway. I'm not too concerned about that piece of the exercise. I'm much more interested in making the sorts of breakthroughs that Mr. Silly Pants and I talked about today. It felt good to make a solid and healthy weekly meal plan with attention to the demands of next week. Frankly, it felt good to pay attention. I'm going to blog about this topic, "attention," later. And, it was good conversation to talk to the hubz about how we are living. I do feel the reflective pieces of this practice are influencing our days, both individually and collectively. I like that. I like it a lot.

Here's to the simple things, like  puppet play with our little boy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

AAU Ethiopia

I wrote this to a friend almost a month ago - I'm thinking this really is going to happen, and although the trip hasn't been officially approved, I'm still BURSTING with the hope that June will arrive and my darling husband will be packing his bags for Addis.

Here is the coolest news:
In December Mr. Silly Pants and I attended a going away party for the Ethiopian physicians we've been "entertaining" in the capacity of  their "American Family" (or as cultural brokers). The party was marvelous. First it was a lovely farewell for 2 terrific physicians. For me, it was the first time in my community I was in an intimate enough space with about 25 other Ethiopians and I felt I could make some meaningful and "growable" connections.  Oh what a pleasure for me; an "immersion" into the local Ethiopian community, plus a few UW Hospital Program folks who are part of the team to bring an emergency medicine residency program to the Black Lion Hospital and Addis Ababa University (AAU). I had the most lovely evening with lots of laughing and communing.

At some point in the evening I made my way to the kitchen (where all the important things happen, of course), to hang out with the women and learn and listen. To my delight and surprise, I was gursha fed for the first time- and fussed over - and thanked  - and really welcomed and enveloped by the women. My lovely friend Mulu  fed me gursha. It was a very tender and moving experience for me.

By the end of the evening one of the hospital program and grant directors asked Mr. Silly Pants (Dr. Silly Pants, which is a credential that matters in this story) to consider joining her and another doc to teach at AAU in June.  The curriculum would include ALSO (Advanced Life Support and Obstetrics - it's some sort of acronym for a program, I guess) AND then go to rural Ethiopia to 'do frontier medicine' (their term, not mine). 2 plus weeks in June in Ethiopia!!!!!!  Wowowowwowo!

Dunno yet if Blueberry and I can go - I might still be teaching and this would be a nearly impossible time to get away - but I will do my best to go with him and camp out in Addis (or somewhere else, who knows?). I've been considering a strategy, but some things have to fall into place in order for me to pitch a request to miss work (it would be the last weeks, which include review and finals - very complicated to miss!) and/or for me to be solo here or abroad while the good doctor daddy works in Ethiopia.

Let me make clear - this is not a done deal. There is the matter of the pending grant approval. We are waiting to hear word that both "this end" and "that end" have approved the teaching program. Today, however, this is good news - um, great news. Um PHENOMENAL news. I'm hoping this small piece of dream building falls into place. Our family wants this. Dare I say, our family needs this.

So in two weeks Mr. Silly Pants, Blueberry, and I will be attending the local Gena Celebration. I promised the "Ethiopian Aunties" that I'd show up with an Ethiopian dish and the women  promised to critique my effort and provide pointers and delight (feigned or real). I hope I arrive with a bigger sense of belonging and with more connection. And, of course, with a dream tucked into my pocket and a dish to pass in my hands.

pssssssssssst: 30 days of nothing all good today.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Twohundredseventysix smackaroos and guacamole

On Monday night at 10 PM I got a call from Waffles. He said excitedly, "Mom, I'm on my way home from the snowboard race tonight and my tire just blew out. I pulled over. I'm OK. I'm out in the country. What do I do?"  $276 bucks later the old old ancient rust bucket we call "The Beast" is back on the road with 2 new tires. It was Grandma's car. We have the car because when she died it was not worth selling and I had drivers. It's a stick with a super stiff throw. It doesn't go over 55 very easily and has hand turned wheels for 4-wheel drive. Waffles loves the car. Essential? No. But, I have teens. I have a toddler. I have a job across town. I have a husband who is not the father of my teens and who works very long days.  It's essential to our life that we keep our stress levels low, our big kids feeling like they have their own big kid life (part of the adoption plan made the biggies lives front and center and not make the biggie changes too profound - a husband for me was profound enough for them, right?), and that Waffles has ways to navigate 2 homes and his school and sport with some independence. Let me ask again - Essential? Kind of. So, we anted up and the Beast is rollin' again.

Nonetheless, it didn't take long to go off the 30 Days of Nothing plan - 7 days to be exact. Tonight I sent a text to Mr. Silly Pants that said,  "pretend you have a Chipotle gift card. I'll take my usual."  Here is what I learned: I need to plan better. I need a calendar that really presents a visual of the pace of my week. I need to do more pre-made (weekend prep?) meals for the days I already know are going to be intensely long with taking care of this person that person and those other things too. Tonight, it just all tumbled down around me. 4 out of the last 5 nights Mr. Silly Pants has not been home in the evening (work related). I've worked, prepared meals (Twinkletoes is still home on break and eating dinner every eve with us), put the babe to bed, kept up with laundry - awwwww women, you KNOW the routine! It just tumbled down on me when I walked in the door tonight. I was tired. I wanted to enjoy Blueberry INSTEAD of cooking and cleaning up. I wanted convenience that I hadn't planned for. So, I asked for it. And, I got it - with guacamole, which is extra.

I know that planning is not a strength in my relationship. I don't think Mr. Silly Pants and I plan very well. I don't know why - it's a bit of a mystery to me that we're not more like a dynamic duo in our planning. We're not. We don't seem to look ahead much or organize our weeks with attention to our obligations.

OK, so there's the lesson. I'm back on the horse. All is not lost. I failed. I'm not perfect. Like I needed to remind you all.

I'm going to digest my dinner and fold some laundry. Carry-in doesn't mean I'm off the hook for the double shift. (This is the part of BTDT and having raised biggies in round one that is sometimes a bit of a challenge for me).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Real Triumph

So far so good - a little update on the 30 Days of Nothing. But first, here is a shot of the REAL Triumph my folks owned. A shout out to cuz Kat who reads and sent the shot. Our days have been pretty standard, except different. Mr. Silly Pants and I have not spent money on any extras and it hasn't felt difficult, except for a few "food" moments. I think I've tagged food as the item where we go off into non-essential spending on a day to day basis. Good to know, right? Today I was so tired after work I really really really wanted to stop for a quick cup of coffee (drive through) to suck down before picking up Blueberry and heading home. Tuesdays are late days for Silly Pants, and so I have to arrive home with a lot of energy to make it through the evening solo. I resisted and gulped down warmed up morning coffee. Icky, but it worked. In the future, I might plan a fresh cup for Tuesdays after work. The same sort of moment came up over cooking dinner. I cooked for myself, Clementine, and Twinkletoes after work today. They helped with Blueberry and I was able to text a little love note and "dinner will be waiting after your long day" to my sweetheart. Oh yeah, that felt good and he deserves more of those sweet messages from me (he was on call last night, and delivered a baby this morning).

Oh, one cool thing is that Mr. Silly Pants DOESN'T have a library card (which is crazy, because the rest of us are MAJOR library users) and he actually suggested we visit the library so he could get a card this week. Yeah!

And that Triumph? Pretty sweet, huh?

Food diary, so far so good. I'm recording.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lose it!

Some of you know I struggle with my expanding girth. I started gaining weight post divorce; the gain accelerated when my mom got sick and at the very same moment I had to deal with some very difficult (unbloggable) personal issues.  Mom's cancer and my personal loss all happened in what should have been a really fun after Christmas week to end '05 and greet '06. But that wasn't to be. I spent the next 6 months helping mom live while she died and in literal and figurative ways, death really took hold, despite my best efforts to live the lessons of a well lived life - my mother's.

I'm pretty clear about the how and when it all happened. I'm pretty unclear about why I haven't been able to fully untangle myself from about 50 lbs of unwelcomed ME! Oh, I've tried. Believe me, I've tried. The trying hasn't helped the cause - only added to a broken sense of body and mourned loss of my athleticism.

But it's time to try again, and also to settle into a kinder and gentler self image. So, that's where I'm at. I'm going to be supplementing my "30 Days of  Nothing" (such an overstated idea=nothing) with 30 days of food journaling. The food journaling is private, I"m not going to blog a journal - that would just be el boring. But, the conscious parts of 30 days seem to compliment the food journaling. I've added another layer of deliberateness to the overall project, and I think it's a good addition for me. Mr. Silly Pants is in 100% - he'll be my companion on this project and be accounting for his daily eats too.

It's pretty simple; calories in, calories out. I have a cool app on my phone (called Lose It!) that will do the journal and calorie calculations for me; it set my goals according to some criteria - will adjust the daily usage if I add exercise - and will track the caloric in and out of my days. I've chosen 1750 calories a day with a goal of losing 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of  me per week. Small steps. I might adjust it if I find the intake isn't feeling sustainable, especially because regular exercise is hard to come by and super cold days and a baby aren't making getting out for a walk a regular pleasure.

I'd appreciate support - you know - the gentle sort. I think a good 30 days of focus sets a nice frame around a bigger goal. And yes, I started already on the 1st. The hump is 4 years of flailing (not failure exactly), so I don't expect this to be easy. But worth it - I want to feel better.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Whole Food Fanaticism

Mama Papaya is one inspired woman.  I'm thinking 30 days of nothin' is a workout, and she's working on teaching her itty bitties about food; origins, seasons, supply.  Some of us think MamaP is a super mom who outshines the the rest of us. Um...SHE DOES. I'm just sayin', her ittiest bitty sat on the potty at about 5 months 13 months or so. I kid you not (I couldn't bear to go through all of her brilliant posts to find the potty posts). Blueberry isn't even close to potty sitting. But I digress. Nevertheless, many of us are secret haters inspired  and gluttons for more thoughtful challenges.
I gotta admit,  my own admiration for MamaP grows. Tonight at dinner our family found ourselves picking apart our dinner to figure out IF we were eating whole foods what we would have had to have done differently to eat our dinner meal: organic chicken encrusted with ground cashews and topped at the end with a slice of swiss (oh it was yummy!), wild rice out of the box, and organic girl balsamic and berries salad. We ate well. To top it off, tonight features these delicious home baked goods by Twinkleotoes. Twinkletoes is our baker and Waffles has been hoping for a banana cream pie (left) for holiday break. He got it tonight along with sweet little coconut cream cakes that were a fun addition to her "sorry you have to go back to high school tomorrow and I have 3 more weeks of college vacation" treat.

Anyway, I'm doing 30 days on nuttin. Today I went XC skiing with my dear friend. It was free - and we didn't do our usual coffee stop for gossip and goin' on.  I missed the apres ski stop, but it was an ok part of our day out. Plus, it was cold cold cold here, so being home meant one less stop and go.

Weigh in...I'm literally gonna do that and go eat some baked goods!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

3 triumphs

1. No stopping at Starbucks as part of the ritual of taking Songbird back to college.
2. No lunch out even though we made the trek back to college in extremely cold weather at lunch time with a selection of the "dregs of the refrigerator" for lunch at home.
3. Dinner made tonight entirely with leftovers and some cupboard standards; grilled steak sliced and warmed, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and whole wheat pasta with Trader Joes thai curry sauce.

Good start for 30 days and some deliberate decision making - oh, I guess I don't get three triumphs for this, do I? My parents had one when I was born, I guess they sat me on the jump seat when they drove it. It was pale yellow. (I miss my mom and her stories).

Friday, January 1, 2010

Feelin' like Morgan Spurlock .... 30 Days Of Nothing

So I'm jumping in because I like the idea of sharing an experience. Mr. Silly Pants and I committing to doing the "30 days of Nothing" for the month of January.  I've got a few friends and fellow bloggers who are giving 30 days of Nothing a spin. Twinkletoes suggested we wait until February and only do 28 days :-) But, we're jumping in! I'm still working out what I'm expecting to gain from this exercise of 30 days of nothing, and also being open to the lessons I will learn that will surprise me. I'm counting on unintended consequences. Usually the surprises are the parts that make me tick.

I'm feeling a bit like a groupie of Morgan Spurlock - he's the 'father' of the 30 day gig. (I actually show 2 of his 30 day series to my cultural anthropology students; 30 days as a Muslim and 30 days Outsourcing).

Mr. Silly Pants and I get the idea that this exercise is largely about bringing awareness to our spending - both the conscious and unconscious parts of how we use our financial resources. And, it will likely help us reflect on what we have right in our own home and in our lives with each other and not so focused on what we want to have or don't have with each other. It seems to me that fellow groupies have taken this in different directions; going all out on a shoestring budget and buying only gas and low budget groceries, to giving up unecessary parts of groceries (wine, chocolate, snacks, non-essentials)...kind of an essentials only get the idea.

I'm still sorting out how we're going to evaluate our 30 day approach. Mr. Silly Pants asked, "no wine? no netflix? no Starbucks, of course!" I'm not sure. Here are some of my dilemmas in terms of planned spending we have in our monthly budget:
1. dog goes to doggy daycare 2x a week (luxury, but necessary for dog's energy with our schedules and my issues with dog when he is NOT well exercised)
2. glass of wine every night with Mr. Silly Pants (part of our couple ritual - could be replaced with a cup of tea or game of connect 4 *smile*)
3. We have a netflix subscription - do we cancel for a month or just not use it?
4. I have a cleaning woman once a month - my respect for her means that I can't just "cancel" part of her monthly earnings because I'm "doing 30 days of nothing" - so do I pay her and not use her? (I'd have to pay her - when I went back to work I consciously rehired her after a many many year hiatus and I'm so grateful she's made room for me!).
5. Mr. Silly Pants has a birthday in January - no worries about that one. I'll really enjoy being creative and he'll enjoy my special attention within this construction in that I'll be doing something different.
Numbers 1-4 are not absolute essentials for sure. Off of the top of my head, these are not in keeping with the point of the exercise. Um, and what about our Direct TV? I'm sayin' - what's the point if we're not really making conscious sacrifices in our comforts? Or, is the point really to see how we pile it on top of the comforts we've already budgeted for and agreed are ok to be part of our daily lives?

......program in progress....I'll keep you posted. Plus, I'd love feedback, comments, perspective that might enlighten my own. Thanks blogging buddies! (Mr. Silly Pants, feel free to chime in!).

Just for a peek into the future, when we're done with this I'm going to be doing a month of immersion, inspired by my racial healing THAT's going to be interesting!

ETA: netflix on hold for January