Worth Reading — 5.2.18

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Self-Sufficient Kids: Giving our Kids the Gift of Doing Nothing

Discover Magazine: Scientists Link Arctic Heat and Northeast Blizzards

Simplemost: Why Parents Should Spend Less Money On Toys And Take More Family Vacations

Scary Mommy: Pardon My F*cking Language, But I’m Sweary AF And That Ain’t Gonna Change (I don’t know this woman, but we are kindred unapologetic foul-mouthed souls).

My Experience with Whole 30, er, 22

You’ve probably heard of the Whole 30 program.

If you’ve never heard of it, you’re probably one of those naturally slim women with a red-hot metabolism and luxuriously thick straight hair and eight letters from playing varsity sports at your high school. If that describes you, hon, you can stop reading right now. Also, we can’t be friends.

Me? I’ve been waging war with my weight all of my life. I’ve mostly won the battles since my late 20s and have managed to maintain my weight for the last 20+ years within a 10-pound range.

Lately that’s been 15 pounds and it’s creeping slowly toward 20 and I don’t like it.  It didn’t help that I was injured and couldn’t do any physical activity for nearly seven months, including the holiday (feasting) season. It also doesn’t help that I’ve now got two feet firmly planted in middle age.

Desperate to shed some of this winter/injury weight before summer shorts season and a family trip to Mexico in June, I decided to give the Whole 30 thing a try for the month of April.

I’ve done the no-sugar, no-grains, no-dairy thing before and know that A.) it works, B.) the first week that is the worst, C.) Once you stop eating sugar, you stop craving it.

I downloaded all the Whole 30 materials. I planned out a menu and shopping list. I cleared the kitchen of my favorite junk foods. I swore off the office candy jar. I bought tons of vegetables and fruit.

I started out strong. I prepared a week’s worth of meals on Sunday and I even found a recipe for a sugar-free salad dressing that I could tolerate. But I soon found myself swapping my “bad” habits (a handful of peanuts after work, or pretzels before the gym) with new habits, like eating four pieces of fruit or handfuls of nuts a day.

By the 2nd weekend, I was cheating in small ways — tortilla chips with salsa before a meal at El Canelo, a few peanuts (they are legumes, not nuts, you know!) or sprinkling a little cheese on my eggs.

I gave it all up entirely in spectacular sugary style by Day 22 when we went for a walk at the peninsula and stopped at Sara’s:

saras

The funny thing is that I don’t even really like ice cream all that much, but….dang, was I sick of depriving myself at that point.  I don’t do well with deprivation. It just makes me want the things I can’t have.

So f**k it. I’m done.

If never eating sugar, pizza, tortilla chips, or cheese is what what I have to do to be a size 8, then I’m just going to go buy some damn size 10s and 12s.

I’ve said this before, but this time I mean it. Really.

It hit me like a truck on Day 19 of the Whole 30 thing when I was sitting at the kitchen table choking down a gritty (perhaps I should’ve washed the greens) kale salad with lemon-olive-oil dressing and sliced almonds while Dan cooked up a skillet dinner rife with pasta, cheese, and ground beef.

I looked at my disgusting kale salad and thought: This is so f***ing stupid.

It might be because I’ve been reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***k” by Mark Manson and absorbing wisdom like this:

“OK, you may hear this and say: ‘I get that my values suck but how to do I change?

And to this I say, in my best Yoda impersonation: Do or do not; there is no how.

“You are already choosing, in every moment of every day, what to give a f**k about, so change is as simple as choosing to give a f**k about something else.

“It really is that simple. It’s just not that easy.”

Manson goes on to say that it’s not easy because you’ll feel like a loser, a fraud, a dumbass at first. You’ll be nervous. You’ll freak out. You may get pissed off.

“These are necessary, though painful, side effects of choosing to place your f**ks elsewhere, in a place far more important and more worthy of your energies.”

I can think of a thousand things more worthy of my time, energy, and focus than food and weight.  I just don’t give a f**k anymore.

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Three things — 4.26.18

Things I’m loving this week

Mrs. Anderson's Baking® 9-Inch Pie Crust Shield

Pie shields. If make a pies/quiches and you’ve ever fussed with trying to keep pieces of foil on your pie crusts to prevent them from burning, you need a pie shield in your life. After making three quiches for book club last week, it became apparent that I need more pie shields in my life and promptly added two more to my Amazon wish list.

lauren's card

3rd Quarter report cards. The girls both brought home stellar cards and Lauren’s card even had some impressive (and….I’m just going to say it…nearly unbelievable…comments). Winning!

saras

Sara’s peanut butter yogurt cones. I don’t especially like peanut butter, yogurt, or ice cream, but I do love Sara’s peanut butter yogurt cones. We were there on Sunday…with the rest of the entire county of Erie. (At least it felt that way).

Things I’m not loving this week

dishes

Kid calling cards. When they were little, it was cute when the girls left their stuff laying around my office because it was all Fisher-Price Little People, stuffed animals, and Squinkies. Now…it’s filthy dishes hidden behind my PC because they’re too lazy to take them to the kitchen, too defiant to adhere to the “ABSOLUTELY NO EATING AT THIS DESK” note stuck to the desk, and too foolish to think I’m not going to find this crap.

bowl

Dishwasher casualties. One of my favorite gifts ever was a handmade wooden bowl that my former boss’ husband (a talented woodworker) made. I frequently used it to keep fruit on the counter or serve chips/pretzels at a party, which I did last week. After the party, I put it in the top rack of the dishwasher…and pulled it out in pieces. I’m crushed.

This. I initially avoided this story because…we’ve got enough to worry about in our own damn country (just this week we have this and this and this and this). Also mom and girls and I are planning a trip to Toronto this summer, but…then I saw this story on AOL. I don’t even know how to process this. My overall thoughts: The internet is going to destroy humanity, and ….this world is truly and sincerely suffering from a profound lack of love.

 

 

 

Worth Reading — 4.25.18

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Be More With Less: Choose One Thing to Simplify Your Life (Just One) (Some great ideas here!)

Washington Post: Tax Cuts Were Supposed to Save the GOP from Trump. Oops.

“Tax cuts passed by Presidents George W. Bush (in 2001 and 2003) and Barack Obama (in 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) were actually more  generous to the middle class than Trump’s were. Yet when Americans were surveyed shortly after each of those cuts was implemented, almost no one realized their taxes had gone down then, either.

Today, Americans have also noticed that the new tax law has blown another huge hole in the federal budget and is heavily tilted toward corporations and the rich.”

Marc and Angel Hack Life: 7 Lessons from 10 Years of Coaching People Through Depression and Heartbreak (I’ve never dealt with depression myself and so I find it hard to understand when I’m trying to help friends who are dealing with it. This article offers some insightful info).

Lit Hub: Rebecca Solnit: Whose Story (and Country) Is This? On the Myth of America That Just Won’t Go Away

“We are as a culture moving on to a future with more people and more voices and more possibilities. Some people are being left behind, not because the future is intolerant of them but because they are intolerant of this future.”

Washington Post: Why did the Accused Waffle House Shooter Get Back his Guns? (Spoiler: Because our country is controlled by a gun lobby…for now. The tide is turning.)

“That the AR-15 semiautomatic, along with three other guns, had once been confiscated from him by Illinois authorities who recognized the danger only compounds the failure — indeed the absurdity — of policies that make it far too easy to get guns. And that allow weapons designed for war to become everyday commodities.”

 

 

Tech-free days start now

Most days when I get home from work, the only person who greets me is the dog.  Nora Ephron’s famous quote sure rings true these days:

Image result for nora ephron dogs

If the husband is home, he’ll also acknowledge my presence and usually ask me about my day.

But, if he’s out running or working late, it’s just me and Sam, the furry boy I never wanted, but now have come to love.

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And, of course, the cats because they want fed.

But the kids? The teenagers in my house that I built with my own body? They almost never hear me come in the house because their ears are plugged with earbuds and/or they are in their bedrooms or the office with the doors closed and some ridiculous Netflix or YouTube show on.

They sit (or lay) with a tiny screen in front of their face (iPod, Kindle, cell phone…whatever) and headphones….like zombies who occasionally laugh out loud…or show up in the kitchen when they get hungry (headphones still in, phone still in one hand while they cook with the other).

It absolutely boils my blood.

I seethe. I clench my teeth and ask: Can’t you find anything better to do? Or, did you practice piano? Did you do your homework? Or I make them move: Go feed the cats. Put your laundry away.

This usually results in, at least, an eye roll if not a full-on fight about how I always tell them what to do and this is crap and why can’t they ever relax and they WERE outside for twenty minutes and blah, blah, blah, blah…

But, I can’t stand it.  Because life is passing them by while they sit there, slack-jawed in front of some stupid electronic device.

Outside the water is running in Fourmile creek in the gorge in our OWN BACKYARD, the birds are returning, the grass and earth smells soft and wet, insects are beginning to crawl around again, the neighbors are coming out of their houses. Spring is happening. And, they’re missing it all.

They’re watching other peoples’ lives or…make believe lives on screens while the real thing — actual life — moves on. Time and their YOUTH passes them by and I’m increasingly worried they are addicted to this crap — this constant circus-circus of the Internet and they’re missing out on the truly remarkable and amazing things this world has to offer — like nature and family.

So this week begins a twice-a-week tech-free experiment because the truth is that I, myself, could use an intervention and a good reason to put my cell phone/laptop/tablet away for the entire night.

On Saturday, every member of my family got this:

tech free invite

I’ll make exception for music devices (provided it’s only used for music) and also for evening television as long as we are all watching the same TV in the same room.

Why? Because I was pretty excited about the Roseanne revival and looked forward to all of us laughing at it together and having this shared weekly experience, but here’s what has happened: I watch it alone every week, while every other member of my family is in their room on some other device, watching something else.

Enough. It’s time for an intervention.

Breaking any addiction begins with admitting you have a problem, right?

 

 

Three things — 4.19.18

Things I’m loving this week

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. We are fans of the much-maligned first Jumanji with Robin Williams, so we were excited to see a sequel. We never did make it to the theater, but it’s on RedBox now and we rented it last week. It’s hilarious and one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the original.

2018 boston cover with arrow

Boston Marathon 2018 guide. Dan’s on the cover of the 2018 B.M. Guide. How cool is that? No…we didn’t go this year. And, thank God we did not because that weather was horrific.

Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe. A friend of mine and I were at the gym Sunday discussing the fatigue from constant negative and bad news and she told me about this Facebook show with Mike Rowe where he finds people doing good things and rewards them for it.  I’m not the biggest Mike Rowe fan, but I respect (and appreciate) what they are doing with this show.

Things I’m not loving this week

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Tea. Did you know that tea stains your teeth worse than coffee? I do now. For health reasons, I switched to drinking tea in the mornings. For vanity, I’m going back to java.

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Snow. I don’t care about records. I’m done with this winter and the white stuff.

James Comey. Aren’t his 15 minutes of fame long gone by now? I’m enjoying his being a big thorn in 45s side, but….the comments about 45s hair, orange complexion, and hand size struck a wrong chord with me.  A former FBI director should not stoop to that level of catty talk. Best to leave that to the common folks and internet trolls. Also, I’m still harboring a lot of anger toward him for that bullshit pre-election move that ultimately put 45 in office. (Yes, Jim, it’s true….we women never forget anything…ever).