Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gray April

I should probably take steps to get rid of the spam comments on my blog, but sometimes I kind of like them. For example:
Thanks designed for sharing such a fastidious opinion
paragraph is pleasant, thats why i have read it fully
Cute, right?

It reminded me that it’s been awhile since I actually wrote a pleasant paragraph—because nothing is quite clicking for me lately. Just to throw out a couple of examples: I’m eating really healthfully and feeling OK but not fantastic (which is frustrating because I’m eating enough vegetables to warrant fantastic); I’m easing back into exercising but just getting sore and injured (my hip hurts like I did when I was training for the Ironman, yet I haven’t even run a mile straight yet); and I’m working like a maniac but am told I haven’t made any more money than I did last year at this time (HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?).

I’m not sure what might be missing from my life, but my prime suspect is sunlight. If it ever becomes available, I will be sure to leave this cave and go get some.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Swearing off the White Death

I have not written about sugar since my last rant, because not being able to “do” moderation is a really aggravating topic for me. But I think I’m ready now, or maybe it’s just that the last of it is out of my system.

So immediately after I posted about swearing off sugar, M.H. walked into my office and asked if he could take any of the Valentine’s Day candy off my hands. (His exact words were, “Have any grenades I could fall on for you?”) Not because he had already read the post, but because he was experiencing a Category IV sugar disaster and didn’t have any candy of his own.

I thrust the heart-shaped box at him and asked him to get it out of my life forever. Then I tried to figure out a very, very, very strict rule that I could still live with but would keep me from ever again getting so far gone. What I came up with was that I can eat small amounts of honey or 100% maple syrup in things I make at home—but no other sugar. That means that if I’m really craving something sweet I can have it, but I have to make it first, which is a pretty big obstacle.

I don’t know if it will work forever, but it’s working so far.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


This is a measure of how we’ve turned our diets around, around here.

In the old days, vegetables generally sat in the fridge until they got thrown away, if we bothered to buy fresh produce at all. I wouldn’t have dreamed of buying fresh vegetables from Costco, because we’d have wasted three-quarters of every giant bag. (Flour tortillas and frozen taquitos, no problem.)

So now here’s our current vegetable inventory:
  • Three Costco bags of Brussels sprouts
  • Three Costco bags of cauliflower
  • One Costco bag of broccoli
  • One Costco bag of asparagus
  • Most of a 10-pound bag of carrots
  • A small bag of broccoli slaw
  • A small bag of cabbage
  • Six red peppers
  • Most of a Costco container of mushrooms
  • Half a Costco container of baby spinach
  • A full 20-pound bag of potatoes, plus a few more
  • Four or five sweet potatoes
  • A Costco container of plum tomatoes
  • An avocado
  • Half a 10-pound bag of onions
  • Half a bag of Costco garlic
  • A handful of green onions I’m regrowing in water on the counter
None of this will go to waste—well, maybe a couple of the garlic bulbs will go squishy before we get to them, but that’s it. Our family went from almost no vegetables to almost nothing but vegetables so gradually that I kind of shocked myself just making this list.

It’s also shocking how much I truly like eating this way. This stuff is cheap and, now that I know what to do with it all, delicious.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stress and the cure

My new job with Sneezy has been averaging 20 hours a week—most of it in 30-minute chunks occurring throughout the day, night, weekends—basically whenever there’s breaking Flappy Bird news that needs urgent attention. I’m not really expected to be available to edit 24/7, and yet no one has indicated a preference for what hours I do work, and I get the sense that Sneezy would be greatly convenienced if I could either read minds or just stay on call, so it’s all kind of uncertain and stressful.

In fact, I’ve noticed that I’ve become extremely stressed lately—more than the situation would warrant, really. I decided that it’s probably because I’ve been staying away from yoga in the hopes of letting my chronic shoulder pain heal up.

Unfortunately, the shoulder pain missed its deadline for being cured, but for now I’ve opted to continue doing my physical therapy on my own, rather than having DanTPT do some stretching thing that could supposedly accelerate matters. I figure I’ve lived with the injury this long; what’s a few extra weeks if I can save hundreds of dollars in PT? Plus, because it’s more fun to use the equipment at the gym to do all my therapy—rather than the rainbow of stretchy bands I have at home—it actually gets me over there every day, where I am sometimes wont to also jump on the treadmill or go to a yoga class.

Turns out that totally armless yoga is a lot better than no yoga, at least for my mental health.

Monday, March 10, 2014

History repeats itself

I was gearing up to write about how amazing my 13-year-old, Mik, is, and I kept thinking about something I wrote a long time ago—about how, when he was 5, even though he really didn't know how to swim yet, he passed the 50-yard swimming test he had to complete to go down the waterslide at our pool. He did it with sheer perseverance and determination and a refusal to get tired or discouraged, which is exactly how he met his goal of swimming a sectionals qualifying time this weekend.

I'm an extreme optimist, but I NEVER thought he'd actually be able to make sectionals this year, just like I thought it would be impossible for that little kid to make it all the way across the pool. Shows you what I know.

Anyway, I couldn't find that post—it probably got deleted with my old blog—but I ran across something even better. Back when I was training for my first marathon, I let the kids earn some extra computer time by writing these little essays on what they thought of marathoning:
Mik, age 8: I thingk it is fun. It is a very good sport! I like running to. It is the 2nd best sport! I lik it and you do to.
Dex, age 11: Cons: My opinion on marathons is, why do people do them? The thing is you don't have to. Why pay money to run a long way? You have to train for months, you get really sore, and all you're training for is to run some more. Over the months you trained you probably ran twice the way you would have run on the marathon.
Pros: Once you have run a long way you feel you have ocomplished somthing. On the race you have lots of people chearing for you. When you pay to do it you get bottled watter allong the way. My Mom likes marathons. I love my mom.
If I asked them today, they'd each have EXACTLY the same opinions. I know people can change, but my kids never seem to. Which is fine by me.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Green tea and The Virus

I was just telling someone that, since starting to give Dex iced green tea every day (remember that?), he never gets sick anymore. He went through, like, five quarters of school in a row without a single illness so, naturally, immediately after I started patting myself on the back about it, he came down with a nasty cold and missed three days of school.

Sorry, kid. I know in my heart I jinxed you, but it was for a good cause: People need to hear that green tea really does do something amazing to the immune system. I never ever ever EVER get sick, and I’m not afraid to brag about it, even with The Virus in the house, because I drink enough green tea to be also immune to jinxing.

But I had forgotten how much illnesses completely ruin everything, so I think I’m going to redouble my green tea and Vitamin D efforts with the kids. Michael has the state swim meet next weekend and would be devastated if he got sick, although he is convinced that he won’t because he eats Paleo—which is an indication that my nutritional brainwashing campaign has been even more effective than my antivirus one.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why I memorized the book of Romans

I met for the last time last night with my group that’s memorizing Romans, or at least the tiny handful of survivors of that group who hung on for nearly two and a half years without giving up or getting married or moving away. We recited the whole thing—56 minutes from “Paul” to “Amen”—and then declared ourselves officially done.

Was every word correct? No. Could any of us have done it alone without skipping a paragraph or needing a prompt? Probably not. (At least I couldn’t have.) But, as a group, we got through it pretty smoothly, and I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that I’ve now memorized the book.

So, why? Hmm. For me, it started off as a challenge—probably to replace the void left by training for an Ironman—and an opportunity to meet some people. (And it was truly great to meet some people.) But soon I started understanding that the point of memorizing is not to achieve something, or even really to “hide the word of God in your heart,” as people like to say. Memorizing is a lot different from reading, or even studying. Memorizing a text puts you right into the head of the writer.

Our pastor’s sermon series added even more context and depth to this understanding, but I found that memorizing alone had really given me all I needed to “get” it—and even to occasionally disagree about some of the points in the sermons. (Maybe I should say question some points; this didn’t magically turn me into a scholar.)

But anyway. Memorizing is a great way to interact with the Bible, assuming you want to (depending on your view) get into God’s head or get into the heads of some of those people who understand Him best. That’s why.