Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coupla flops

I've been trying to find something Paleo to put in the kids' lunchboxes ever since I took away their tortilla chips, and today I invented a recipe for nut crackers. Unfortunately, no child will ever bring them to school in a lunchbox, because, although quite tasty, they came out not so much crackers as crumbs. I did at least save the crumbs. They might make an interesting topping for something.

With that experiment firmly in the "not-a-complete-failure" column, I went on to take another stab at Paleo pizza crust, this one mostly eggs. It was just meh. I have a recipe for a cauliflower-based crust I'm interested in trying next, but all of these involve a ton of work, and my husband is not a fan of the fake pizza anyway. It might be time to just admit defeat and let him take me out to Old Chicago once a month for my fix.

I'm guessing my kitchen experimenting has come to an end for a while anyway. Dopey just dropped a 500-page book on me, Doc and Bashful's various projects are ongoing, and Sneezy never, ever stops sending me horrible stuff to work on. (Suck it up, buttercup. This is what you do.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

9 a.m. Monday yoga

I hadn't made it to the 9 a.m. Monday yoga class in quite a while. I knew it was a great one, but there's just something about getting up Monday morning, contemplating my busy calendar for the week, and then washing my hands of it and heading straight to yoga that makes me feel too much like a slacker.

Well, I felt like a slacker before the class, anyway. During the class, which was some kind of crazy, fast-paced yoga/aerobics/strength training hybrid, I felt like a yoga-doing beast. (And after the class, I got up to leave but fell back down into a sweaty, quivering heap because of the massive head rush.) I honestly don't think I've worked out that hard since the days of Ironman training, but it was really, really, really fun.

Although eating better has been great, I feel like I've not really been doing the exercise side of things justice. Enough of this one-yoga-class a week thing. From now on, I want to do all the yoga.

P.S. I had a fun day off, but we decided to go out and make some large purchases we had been postponing. Nothing like spending almost $3,000 on Sunday afternoon to send you scurrying back to your place of livelihood on Monday morning. (Right after yoga, obviously.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My name is Julie, and I'm a somethingaholic

Sometimes my problem is that I'm way too busy. And sometimes my problem is that I'm happily busy, but I don't manage my time well, and then suddenly I'm way too busy again. And sometimes my problem is that I agree to do work I don't even really have to, because…geez, I don't know. Maybe I'm addicted to being busy? Or to making money? Or to being at my computer?

At any rate, it can't be good for me to spend so much time in my office. Much of it is necessary, and some of it I truly enjoy and don't want to give up. But here are the hours of my life I want to reclaim: the ones where I should be doing my work, but I'm aimlessly goofing off online to take a "break" from it.

It's not that I don't need breaks. I just need them out in the real world more often, because I'm starting to forget what it is I even enjoy doing out there.

I was talking this over with my brilliant husband the other night, and he suggested that I take a look at my calendar each week and then figure out when I can take one day completely off. (Yes, I've gotten so bad that it's been weeks—or months?—since I've had a whole day off.) So I did that, and it's tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if I remember how to have fun.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


M.H. and I sat side by side in my office all weekend on putting the finishing touches on his book.

We've been asked if it's maritally challenging to work together as writer and editor, and the answer is an unconditional yes. But much more so in the earlier stages, when I'm saying things like, "I don't think this section works at all" and he's saying, "But that's the most precious, interesting, vital part of the entire book," and I'm saying, "Yeah, but it still needs to be completely changed." (When the conversation starts off like that, someone's definitely going to end up sleeping on the couch.) But this round of editing was about the fifteenth time through that puppy, and so I was saying things like, "Darling, I think this sentence needs a comma," and he was saying, "A comma would be divine, my dear."

So the point is it was a fairly nice weekend together, and then it was D.O.N.E. (see related post). Now we're just waiting for the company he hired to design the inside pages and get it set up for all the different ebook formats. I suppose there's some checking and tweaking that goes on at that point, but I'm really expecting it to be for sale sometime next week.

This is pretty big for us. We quit our jobs and moved to Montana nearly six years ago in anticipation of this very event.

Every January, M.H. figures out our family's budget for the year, and then I make a game of sorts out of trying to earn 100% of that magic number that we need to survive as quickly as possible. (I think I hit it in August one year, which was sweet.) But we were talking last night about whether any income from Rhubarb should count toward the official 100%. I had to think about it for a second, but of course the answer is yes. This was a team effort from the beginning, and not just the wacky pie-themed sci-fi book, either.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Night of a million teens

Slumber parties make me edgy.

There are six 14-year-old boys in my basement right now, playing loud music and some shoot-'em-up video game I probably shouldn't be allowing, although I'm not actually going to go down there to see. They yell a lot, and most of them are bigger than I am. Every loud thump and shout makes me fear for their safety and my possessions.

I know I need to relax. I should have learned a long time ago that with boys, it's never as bad as it sounds. These are very nice kids. It's only that they're young and loud and sugared up. I just wish I wasn't hosting so I could leave, is all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Ah, it was a good day.

I had a heaping helping of bacon-fried kale for breakfast, caught up on all my work, walked 4½ miles in the sunshine, and tonight I get to celebrate the boy's last day of being a 13-year-old. With CAKE.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cake time

So when I said I was "giving up sugar until the next family birthday," you all knew I meant just until I had to make the first cake to celebrate said birthday, right? Cake, ice cream, AND pizza arrived last night at Party #1, so all bets are off from now until the cake, ice cream, and pizza from Party #3 are eaten, sometime next week.

(Somewhere between Party #2 and Party #3, my baby turns 14. Oh my.)

The weather has gotten pretty nice here, and I cannot WAIT until my two big current projects wrap up. When that happens, I'm going to walk 8 miles outside every doggone day.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bad news and good news

The bad news is I'm looking at working straight through yet another weekend. Doc's ongoing project is keeping me super busy; Dopey recently sent another 450-page book (due Tuesday); Sleepy just emailed me something I've been afraid to even look at; and every time Sneezy realizes I'm down to my last document, they send me eight more. Plus, Prince Charming still has his March 19 manuscript deadline.

Here's how I think this happened: When the economy was suffering, I needed seven clients because work from most of them was fairly scarce. Now things are better, and they are loading me up. I'm thinking seriously of "firing" Sneezy if I can't get this under control in the next couple of months. I would like some semblance of my life back.

The good news is the dwarf situation is not quite as dire as it was a few weeks ago, and so I'm finding time to get to the gym. Sarge wanted to do a duathlon yesterday—a 2-mile run and 2-mile bike—and we invited the rest of the family to join us. My older son ran his 2 miles in 17 minutes, which surprised me. (When did he get so fast? He never runs.) I announced beforehand that I was going to walk most of my run segment, but Sarge got impatient with me for taking so long (because of his age, the gym requires him to stay with a parent), and I had to run the last half-mile at 7 mph plus. Guess what? I can do that now, apparently.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recipe for bleah

I've eased back into 16-hour daily fasting over the past couple of weeks like it was no big deal, which it isn't, and have been enjoying the resulting peppiness in the mornings. I usually stop eating for the day by about 5 p.m. But I was really hungry tonight and decided to make myself a couple of scrambled eggs with mushrooms topped with a big handful of mozzarella cheese.

Instant regret. I don't know if my stomach hates the cheese specifically or just the whole idea of food at 8 p.m., but I feel woozy, and I might as well have eaten a brick. Next time I'll have some tea instead—or just go to bed early.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My boy

I had another session with my 11-year-old personal trainer/drill sergeant tonight. I didn't get called "Maggot," exactly, but he has his own a way of making it clear that anything less than 100% effort is not acceptable. ("See my face, Mom? See all this sweat dripping down it? You're hardly sweating at all!") He's also off-the-charts competitive. ("I'm a tenth of a mile ahead of you! You'll never catch me at that rate! Remember when I beat you in those sprints last summer?") The little lunatic's heart rate on the treadmill actually hit 200 beats per minute. Frankly, I don't know if that's even healthy, but as I stared at the reading in horror, he reacted by throwing his arms in the air and shouting "YEEESSSS!"

Anyway, we did the eagerly awaited 1-mile run, 1-mile bike, 1-mile swim triathlon. And we both high-fived and hugged when it was over, because that is actually harder than it sounds.

Can't wait to see what he has in store for us next time.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Race report: My first ultra 5K

I signed up for another virtual race a while back, a 3.4-mile run to celebrate Couch to Ironwoman's March 4 birthday. I think I like virtual races. They're an easy, fun, no-pressure way to stay slightly involved in running and to work on bringing down my 5K time. Plus, there are usually prizes involved!

A little background. My first-ever 5K was the Freeze Your Thorns Off virtual race back in January, which I did on a treadmill in 32:56. I had not trained since the Ironman, but I had lost 15 pounds since then, so that was actually pretty fast for me. But overall, the race was really no fun, because my heart felt like it wanted to explode out of my chest most of the time.

To prepare for this race, I embarked on a strict plan of…OK, let's just say I didn't learn my lesson about the importance of training. I'm pretty sure I hadn't run more than a tenth of a mile consecutively since January. But I had walked quite a bit, and peppered many of those walks with short bursts of fast running.

Since my downfall last time was starting out way too fast, for this one, I set the treadmill initially to 6 mph. I hung on for a mile without too much trouble (i.e., no heart attack), but I really didn't think I could do a second mile like that. So I started alternating a minute at 5.5 mph and then a minute at 6.5+. That got me through the second mile in another 10 minutes, but I was starting to feel pretty done. So I slowed down the last mile to about 5.5 mph and sped up again only as I got near the end.

But my 5K time was 31:49, so hey! I took over a minute off by racing smarter, not harder.

Of course, the race wasn't 3.1 miles, it was 3.4. So I walked the remainder as a cooldown, and my "official" time was 37:15. (Sorry, birthday girl, if it wasn't in the spirit of the race.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

I had cauliflower and spaghetti sauce

Here's how you know your child is sick of you trying to steer him toward a Paleo diet: You make him a calzone for dinner, and he takes a picture of it and posts it on Facebook (he ate his broccoli first because he felt it was marring the beauty):

Well, it was kinda pretty.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


My 11-year-old and I had another swimming date. But I was itching to get some walking in, too, so I mentioned that we could go play in the regular part of the gym before we swam, if he wanted. He wanted.

I walked a mile on the treadmill. He ran most of his, at varying inclines. I pedaled slowly on a stationary bike. He cranked out another mile as fast as he could. I pointed out several weight machines that might be beneficial for swimmers. He enthusiastically maxed out on all of them. We compared heart rates, and he "won." By a lot.

Then we got to the pool, and he didn't feel much like swimming as much as I did, so we finished about 500 yards and went home.

I thought I must have worn the poor kid out, but on the way to the car, he declared that next week we should run a mile, bike a mile, and swim a mile. Now there's a well-proportioned and well-ordered triathon, if you ask me.