Sunday, September 30, 2012

Excuses, excuses

Since the year is 75% over as of the end of today (I know, right?), I thought I'd check in on my 2012 goals so we could all have a good laugh together:
  • Memorize 10,000 words (44% done): I said that as long as I kept up with my Romans-memorizing group, I'd be satisfied with wherever I ended up on this one. So far, we've done the first seven chapters, plus part of Chapter 8, for a total of 4,413 words. So it's slow going, but I am satisfied, and the group has been a lot of fun—wild and crazy Bible-memorizers that we are.
  • Walk 1,000 miles (43% done): At some point I figured out that there was no way I was going to walk that many miles and still have time for yoga and other forms of exercise, and I didn't want walking to actually become a detriment to my well-being. So I'm still trying to walk as much as is reasonable, but I'm not terribly concerned about having blown this goal. It turns out that 1,000 miles is a whole lot of walking. (Just ask my mom, who is on track to hit 1,000 sometime in November. And who is annoyed with me for getting her started on this craziness and then not following through. Sorry!)
  • Sell 100 items on eBay (12% done): Selling twelve items was enough to teach me that eBay is not a particularly efficient or profitable way to get rid of stuff, if only because it makes me do my least favorite thing in the world, which is paying through the teeth for postage. But I don't want to give up on this goal entirely, because we have tons of stuff that we should get rid of. I think in the name of simplicity I'll spend the next few months rounding up 88 items to give to charity, or to my nieces and nephews, and call this one good.
  • Lose 10 pounds (80% done): Gasp! Ahead of schedule! I was trying to get to 159, and I weigh 161 right now. Piece of cake.
  • Write 1 children's book (0% done): Hmmph. I've done a lot of writing this year but have given very little thought to that kind of writing. I know it's a bad idea to spend your life waiting for inspiration that may never come, but I would like at least a kernel of a good idea before I launch into something. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Insane-lady yoga

Last night, I felt good. Real good. Like, I was debating whether to go to yoga, try the new "Body Combat" fitness class, or just go run off all my extra steam on my own because neither of those would be enough for me.

I've got to say, I probably would have chosen the fitness class if it had been anything other than "Body Combat." I had a lot of energy, but it was a happy energy, not an "I want to punch something" energy. But I'd heard the new Thursday night yoga class was challenging, so I figured that would be good enough.

When I walked in, it seemed pretty yoga-like, dark and serene and all, except that the music that was softly playing was one of those generic, poppy, fitnessy songs, where you can practically hear them going, "ONE two three four FIVE six seven eight! ONE two three four FIVE six seven eight!"

Then the music got turned up, the class started, and we were going "ONE two three four FIVE six seven eight!" except it was "Crescent lunge! Warrior one! Pyramid! Warrior three! Again!" And squats. A million squats. (Except of course in this class they were called "Chair.")

I wasn't sure what to think. In a way, it was exactly what I wanted, but never dreamed existed. But in another way, it seems so…unyogalike to fly into poses at double-time. Isn't someone going to get hurt? Possibly someone over 40? Like me? I think next time I have a boatload of energy, I'll try the class again, but this time I'm going to stand off in a corner and do everything on Julie-time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In which we all eat a Paleo dinner together

False alarm: Mik wasn't really sick, it was just allergies. Good thing, because I tried to make him drink some green tea when I thought he was falling ill, and it was just pathetic. What I perceive as a light, citrusy taste, he apparently experiences as a gag-inducing horror.

I'm making my way out of my own picky eating step by gradual step, so I need to remember not to spring too much on the kid at once.

Tonight felt like a breakthrough, though. I made a dish M.H. and I have been enjoying lately but have never really served to the kids. It's ground pork, onions, carrots, broccoli, garlic, and cabbage. The sauce is coconut aminos, fish sauce, lime juice, almond butter, salt, pepper, and basil. I also made cauliflower "rice" and sliced a couple of apples.

Then I sat everyone down, made a casual comment about how I was "living the dream" of serving the same food to every member of the family, AND THEY ALL ATE IT. Just like that, with no threats or drama.

Was it a dream?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Anecdotal evidence, and more on cookies

For what it's worth:
  • Mik (who does not drink green tea) seems to be catching a cold. Dex (two cups of green tea a day) is still fine. That's not the normal order of things.
  • My sister told me she has been giving her 7-year-old a cup of green tea a day, but she doesn't give it to her two younger kids. The 7-year-old was the only one who didn't barf at least once last week.
In other news, I bought a green plantain and used it as a Paleo cookie ingredient. The cookies were not perfect, but they were highly, highly promising. Further research will be required. Unfortunately, since plantains are members of the banana family, they're all but a banned substance in my house. I'm going to have to acquire them on the sly somehow, since I don't usually do the grocery shopping.

The kids keep complaining (through mouthfuls of cookies) that they liked the OLD cookie recipe, and why do I keep messing with it? What they don't realize is that the day I stop messing with the recipe is the day I get bored and stop making cookies all the time.

Also, there is no "old" recipe; I've literally never made the same one twice, even after writing it down. That's just the way of me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The quest for cookie perfection

One lingering effect of the Whole"30" is that it makes me think before popping something into my mouth. Lick off the spoon after stirring the kids' rice? Not really worth it. Eat the quarter of a hashbrown Mik left on his plate when he left for school? Totally worth it!

At least I think about it more, is my point.

The unfortunate part of having quit the strict program, though, is the wild, reckless, dangerous freedom I've had to resume experimenting with Paleo chocolate-chip cookies. (I just keep getting better and better, I tell you.) One cookie contains about a quarter-teaspoon of pure maple syrup, plus five or six chocolate chips, as the only sweetener. That means they easily meet my kid-snack standard of "better for you than Frosted Mini-Wheats," so I let the boys have about six each last night. They do not, however, meet my own snack standard of "lay off the nuts, for crying out loud," so I'm really a danger to myself.

The goal is to get them as tasty as possible while minimizing the sugars, and after that I'll settle on a recipe and be able to continue to make them for the kids once in a while without needing to sample every batch. Anything is possible when you believe in yourself.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sneezy is dead; long live Sneezy

I got my final check today from the employer formerly known as Sneezy; it took at least a month longer than it should have, but I'm just grateful to accept my pittance and move on.

I also found out that that publishing company I applied for ages ago actually DID put me on their freelancers list. I never heard from them after turning in my editing test, so I assumed I had not gotten the job—silence is the new no—but apparently they just neglected to tell me (which really doesn't bode all that well for our future together, actually). I still haven't seen any work from them, but I guess they can be the new Sneezy anyway. It's nice to have all seven dwarf slots neatly filled.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Whole21 results

I've been babbling a lot about this Whole30 thing, but it turns out it was a Whole21, because the date-night tradition of going out for pizza after going to the symphony just could not be denied last night. Well, it could have been denied, but that would have made me extremely unhappy, and surely the point of being healthier and living longer is so that a lot of it can be enjoyable?

I'm planning to stay on the Paleo bandwagon, of course, but I think my days of super-restrictive eating are over, because I found that ridiculously annoying this time around. Way more than you would think, actually, since I had been eating 90 percent Paleo before I started.

M.H. and I went ahead and weighed ourselves yesterday afternoon so we could at least have some tangible results from the three weeks we did finish. M.H. lost 10 pounds (!) and I lost 3, but I also lifted a ton of weights and got called "tiny," so I am satisfied. 160 is the least I remember weighing in my adult life (although I do remember saying I weighed 160 on my driver's license back in the early 1990s).

I think the best Whole30 Whole21 result, though, was that I finally figured out a Paleo salad dressing that I like. It's mayo blended with a ripe avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and balsamic vinegar. It tastes like some kind a cilantro-avocado-ranch dressing, and I like all those words an awful lot. I also tried a dollop of it in chili a few times, and it was jaw-droppingly good, better than sour cream and cheese. The stuff has also found its way onto fried kale, fried zucchini, and fried asparagus in the past week or so. I'm thinking if I could get my hands on some fresh dill, I could ranch it up even more, but for now I'm delighted to have figured out how to have a salad for lunch without marring it with a bunch of bottled nastiness.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A tiny rant

Frankly, this eating perfectly thing has entered a bit of a whiny phase. M.H. and I agree that we want to eat Paleo most of the time, but it's becoming crystal clear that we don't want eat Paleo ALL the time. Last weekend, we went to Shakespeare in the Park, had a great time, and really wanted to go out to eat afterward. Specifically, we wanted to eat pizza! And we couldn't! And who had told us we couldn't? Ourselves!

Makes no sense, right? Sigh.

I'm not knocking the Whole30 program; I actually think it's fantastic. They claim it will change your life, and it does. I just think that, having already had my life changed, there are diminishing returns to doing it again.

On the plus side, last night someone, without irony, used the word "tiny" to describe me. Now, I am five-foot-ten and have always had shoulders like a linebacker from all the swimming. And that's when I wasn't at least 50 pounds overweight. Heck, I was a giant hulk of a BABY, so I'm pretty sure that's the first time the word "tiny" has ever been applied to me in my entire life. I guess that's a sign that something is going right. Hilarious.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My son is not into sports

Dex comes home from a high-school soccer game he attended with a group of friends.

Me: How was the game?
Dex: Pretty good.
Me: Great, who won?
Dex: Um…hmm. I'm actually not sure.
Me: Okay, Dex. There was a ball and two goals. Did the ball go into Senior's goal more, or West's?
Dex: I didn't keep track.
Me: Well, which team seemed happier at the end?
Dex: I'm not sure. Maybe Senior?
M.H.: I really hope there was at least a cute girl involved, because otherwise this is just sad.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I quit

For two weeks now, I've given up dairy, potatoes, grains, legumes, and sugar. I no longer snack on nuts. I limit fruit to about one piece a day. I'm walking all the time, and hitting the gym regularly. I'm going to bed early. And I still have two weeks to go.

So what's the hardest part of the Whole30 this time around?

Keeping the stupid journal recording everything I eat and all the exercise I do. The other stuff is fine, but I'm finding all the note-taking intensely annoying, and I'm not sure who exactly might be benefiting from it.

Well, what the heck? Who said I had to do this? Me? What do I know? I am mentally wadding that sucker up into a crumbled ball and tossing it over my shoulder into the trash.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I had planned to go to yoga this morning, but I slept until 9:30 and missed it. Which is okay. I deliberately didn't set an alarm, because my rule of thumb is if I can't get up in time for a 9 a.m. class, then I probably needed the sleep more than the yoga.

If I miss yoga tomorrow afternoon, that will be because we thought of some fun way to spend the afternoon as a family, and that will be okay, too.

And if I miss yoga on Monday morning, that will be because we decided to get out of town and wanted an early start, which will also be fine by me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, sometimes "as much yoga as possible" is really not all that much yoga.