About Me

My photo
Concord, California, United States
I am a sometimes-writer, everyday mama, creative failure and experimental cook. I am interested in living a beautiful life, spending time with my family and making things that I can feel proud of. When I'm by myself I'm usually outside. Don't bother calling because chances are that I didn't bring my cell phone because I couldn't find it. If you see me walking, it's because I lost my keys and if you see me with only one child... I'm probably in big trouble.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Appointment with the Doctor

I finally had my doctor's appointment in San Francisco yesterday.  It was such a relief to address the problems that I've been having, as they become more aggravated by the day.

Luckily, it seemed to him that my issues are pretty straight forward.  My previous doctor forwarded all of my past blood work and he was able to review that along with my history.  He ordered a pretty insane amount of new blood work, and I won't have the results until December 7th.  That said, it's his suspicion that I need an adjustment on my thyroid medication.  Also, a hormone test that I took back in 2007 indicated that I had some adrenal exhaustion that was never addressed.  It's very common to experience this with Hashimotos, I guess.  He did a simple test for it in his office that was pretty interesting.  He took my blood pressure sitting down.  And he took my blood pressure standing up.  A normal person's blood pressure will rise slightly when they stand.  Someone with an adrenal issue's blood pressure will dip slightly when they stand.  Mine went down 12 points!!!  This was enough of a dip to warrant a hardy reaction from him.  I don't why, but there's something really satisfying about seeing a doctor look a little bit thrown off by a test that they've given you.  On the other hand, the fact that my blood pressure went down is pretty bad, so I'm trying not to feel too satisfied by it.  My physical examination showed signs of anemia.  I didn't quite understand the problem, but it was something about my eyes.

We discussed my diet a bit and as suspected he believes that it's really important for me to be gluten free.  No more cheating.  No more fresh baked bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.  He didn't seem to think that I needed to go vegan.  Lean proteins are great and I should eat them.

One thing that he did mention was making some lifestyle changes in order to reduce my stress.  It's likely my stress level that has depleted my adrenal glands.  When he asked me what I do I told him I'm a stay at home mom, which has been my standard answer for the past 8 1/2 years.  My girls are in school all day, so most people think that I am a professional soap opera watcher.  He asked me to take him through a day in my life... so I did.  He said, "You said that you didn't have a job!  You have 3 jobs!!!!" And I suppose that's true.  I am stretched too thin all the time, to the point that at night I have no patience for my children and no love for my husband.  This is not a healthy way to live my life.   This week has been particularly bad.  I deal with stress by going to the gym.  I only go to the gym on days when the kids are in school.  If they aren't in school and I want to go, Jay has to be home.  He's usually asleep when he's home, so I'll get up at 5 or 6 in the morning and go for a 60 minute session or something easy like that.  When we were in Denver, I was able to go to the gym at the hotel the first day but I wasn't able to go the second day (I had been out until nearly 4 AM, and up by 7).  The following day Jay went back to work and he wasn't awake for me to go.  On Monday the kids didn't have school.  On Tuesday I went back to the gym.  On Wednesday I went, I had to be at the school to make pies with the third graders and was only able to stay for 1/2 an hour.  On Thursday I went but I got really stressed  by all the things that had to happen that day and about the state I had left my house in that morning (I hadn't even made the beds).  Jay was away on Buddy weekend and texted me about when they wanted to come back to the house.  And I just got really overwhelmed by what a mess it was, how I hadn't done my grocery shopping or even folded the mountains of clean laundry in my bedroom... and I had to leave the gym and deal with some of my real life stuff.  I got in 40 minutes on the elliptical and that was all.  Then,  yesterday I had to skip it because we left for San Francisco at 7 AM and when we got back to Concord, Jay had Buddy weekend and the girls were about to get out of school.  I had no real way of dealing with my stress.  I guess the worst thing to do is to become so stressed out and stretched thin that you can't make time for yourself in any respect.  Between my work for the school and the work I'm doing for my father and the general duties of a mom, I have these moments where I feel I'm going to snap.  I get totally overwhelmed and have trouble putting it all in order.  I also helped to organize a parent driven program at the school called Motor Perception and because I completely forgot about it this week, no volunteers showed up and it had to be canceled.  This was very embarrassing and upsetting.  I think that I need to buy one of those old school calendars to carry with me.  I really hate the idea of keeping a calendar electronically and I need a way to keep track of everything that I have going on.  It's too much to remember, particularly with the kids getting older, having their own lives and hobbies and activities and friends and play dates and parties and needing to keep track of all of their stuff as well.

I am going to start knitting again.  In order to take my stress down a notch I like to drink wine at night.  It really helps me.  I feel my whole body just melt into a state of relaxation when I have a glass of wine.  But alcohol  depletes that adrenals and I need to heal mine.  I feel like knitting would help a lot with this.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Mathew's Wedding

We headed out to Denver last week.  Not only was it my dear friend Mathew's wedding, but it was also the first time that my girls were able to spend any true time with Matthew and Mathew or Siet and Jenny. After hearing so much about them for so many years, Bunny and Lila couldn't wait to get to know them.  Adding to the anticipation was the fact that the Mathew's asked Bunny and Lila to present the rings during their ceremony.  As part of the wedding party, Bunny and Lila felt like superstars (as seen through the lens of their photographer very soon, fo' sure).  Both of my girls are counting the days until we return to Denver for Christmas.  And this makes me really think that sometimes family isn't blood related.  The support that I've had from these friends, for 20+ years, really makes me feel grateful to them.  I don't know how to emphasize this emotion enough, so I have to state it simply.  I love my friends deeply.  Not only was I able to spend a good amount of time with Siet and Mathew, but I was also able to see my friend Talissa and my friend Jennifer and to catch up with my friend Brian, who I had lost touch with.  All over the boards, I returned home feeling like a million bucks!  I can not wait to return!

Enjoy a few pictures from our trip to Denver for Mathew's wedding!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hashimotos Disease Really Sucks

For years I have had my hashimotos disease under control.

I was diagnosed with hashimotos the first year that we moved to Philadelphia.  It was a seriously tough year for me.  I was pretty overwhelmed by the city and petrified of driving in it (and we lived in center city).  The girls were still tiny and in order to go anywhere I needed to put them in the stroller and walk.  But I had become depressed and exhausted. My weight shot up and even walking  6 blocks to the park with the girls was completely exhausting.  I didn't have any friends to help pick my spirits up and that paired with fatigue and a tendency to eat emotionally caused terrible weight gain.

At some point I began working really hard to lose weight.  We got a treadmill and I started to make some big changes in my diet.  It was around this time that I went vegan for the first time.   After a few months of working very hard I decided to weigh myself.  I was shocked and horrified when I got on the scale and it said that I weighed 242 pounds.  I was at my mother's house (I didn't own my own scale at that time) and I fell apart.  My mom urged me to contact my doctor.  I had been using a natural doctor who had diagnosed me with mild hypothyroidism and had treated me with thyroid boosting supplements, rather than medication.  At that point we believed that we could turn my thyroid function around by giving it a little help, but it didn't work.

When I went into my doctor's office I put my head and in my hands and exploded into a giant, fat, depressed storm of tears.  I felt hopeless.  I felt 100% out of control of my body.  I felt scared and resigned to the fact that I could not change and my healthy efforts were in vain.  My doctor was certain that it was my thyroid and tests confirmed that I had developed an autoimmune disorder called Hashimotos Disease.

I began a fairly high dosage of medication.  And though I should be using a vegan, gluten free diet, I have never been able to entirely commit to it.

For the past 4 years my medication has helped me.  As soon as I began taking it my energy level returned to  normal, I stopped feeling depressed and within a year I was back down to a normal weight.     And the only time I remember how terrible I felt before I was diagnosed with Hashimotos is when I forget to take it for a series of days.

But lately, something isn't working for me.  I have started experiencing new symptoms of hashimotos that I didn't previously have.  First, my periods, which have always been relatively light, started coming very heavily.  And the breast tenderness that people all get right before their period was as bad as it was during pregnancy and lasts THE WHOLE MONTH!!!!!  And now, I am losing wild amounts of hair.  I can't even touch my hair without strands of it falling out.  I am losing handfuls of it every day.  I am also feeling fatigued.

At first I thought that I was having a hormone imbalance, but my good friend Amber also suffers from hashimotos and is quite a bit more knowledgeable than I am (I stopped learning about it when my medication worked for me), told me that my symptoms are all associated with hashimotos.  I haven't had my blood work checked since we moved to California and my old doctor has continued to refill my prescription  So, it's time for me to see someone new.  I am going to make an appointment with a  specialist in San Francisco this week.  Hopefully they can help me get to the bottom of this problem.

Also, I am going to make the switch to a vegan, gluten free diet.  I drag my heals on this.  Though I do love lots of vegan food and even like to cook it.  I don't want to eat it all of the time.  And I especially don't want to be gluten free.  I know that I have to and that the foods that I eat are likely causing inflammation that is exasperating my hashimotos disease.  I don't know why I can't seem to get my head in the game for this change.  I just have to do it.

And that's what is happening with me these days.  In other news, my workouts get harder and harder.  I'm still at the gym 6 days a week.  Each day I work out anywhere from 60 minutes (always straight cardio on these short days) to 2 1/2 hours.  One day I was even there for 3 hours (but I don't think that I'll ever do that again. lol).  I have also been working for my dad, proofreading and editing the documents for his consulting business.  Between my time at the gym, my room parent duties and my new job, I haven't had much time to blog.  I'm going to make a big effort to make it happen more though.

I hope that everyone is well!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bingo Night

I am, like, INSANELY excited to go to bingo tonight.

Here's the thing, bingo and I go way back.

When I was in college I used to go to the Budd Lake Firehouse bingo every Sunday.  Never once did I win.  That said, the first time that I brought my friend Erik with me, he won over a thousand dollars.  And even though I didn't share in his profit, I couldn't help but feel that I had somehow won vicariously through him.

When I lived on the cruise ship I worked the cruise ship bingo (which is not as serious as Firehouse bingo).  Firehouse bingo is a room packed with the chain-smoking retirement crowd.  They are eating hot dogs, drinking pepsi and shouting "slow down" every five numbers called.  Cruise ship bingo is an all-ages event.  It's more about passing the time between lunch and dinner than it is about winning money.  Firehouse bingo is pretty much a religion.  Cruise ship bingo is just a good time.

Our school is hosting a bingo tonight.  There's a big group of ladies who are going and I'm going to kick their asses  join them.

I've been making such nice friends. I've never really lived in a place where my extreme social anxiety hasn't prevented me from becoming close with people.  I don't really get close with people very easily, and most of the friends that I have are people who have been in my life for years (like, 15+ years on most counts).  You sort of have to love me before you like me, I think.   I mean, since meeting Jay, I think that I have only made two new friends.  And then we moved to California, and though I had no plans to get to know anyone and no hope of fitting in, I've been consistently pleasantly surprised by how accepted and liked I feel.  I'm even meeting new people at the gym.  I actually have a friend who I go with Monday-Friday and she and I spend an hour (on the elliptical) chatting it up every day.  When you do that enough you really get to know someone.

But back to Bingo.  So, I'm going to this school bingo with a group of fantastic ladies and better still, the school offers free child care.  So, while I'm at the bingo, the girls will be hanging out with their friends.  It will be a social event for them as well.  Sort of a non-parent chaperoned party on a Friday night with elementary school kids.  What could be better than that?

All I can say is that I'm feeling lucky!

Fun Friday

I am going into Lila's class this afternoon to make this Halloween craft with the kids.  Every so often, her teacher will schedule a block of time during the day on Friday so that parents can come in and do something with the kids.  Last year Jay and I went in and read Bartholomew and the Oobleck and made Oobleck.  This year, I'm going in with another mom and we're making these pumpkins.

They are super easy to make and so so cute!

All you need to have is a pumpkin, black felt (cut into whatever shape that you want to use for your mouth) cheesecloth cut into strips that measure 2 yards in length, craft glue and googlie eyes.

First glue on the felt mouth.  Next, lightly dab glue (we are using cotton balls to do this) all over the pumpkin.  Next, wrap the cheesecloth around.  I find that it's easiest to bring the cheesecloth to the back and start in the center of it.  Then wrap both ends around the pumpkin.  Finally, glue on your eyes.

This end result is very cute.  It's easy enough for even toddlers to do and crafty enough for older kids.  They can cut their own cheesecloth and mouth shapes.

I think that the kids are really going to love this one!

Monday, October 1, 2012

If you are looking for THE BEST Halloween treat, I suggest mixing equal parts of candy corn, lightly salted peanuts and raisins.  

It's like, an explosion of unworldly deliciousness inside your mouth.  

MMmmmm... it's just so good.

I wish that I could pull it together to blog more lately.  I've just been really scattered and am having trouble bringing it back to center.

I've been having a lot of fun and I've been very active lately, but there have been too many schedule crazy days and not enough couch potato days for my tastes.  It's been company and friends and back to back parties.  I just haven't spent enough time in the kitchen, making fall stew and fresh bread.  In part, I think it's because the weather hasn't changed yet here.  Today it will be 102 degrees.  I long for those cool fall days...  I mean, I love California, but I do miss the way the trees change color and how nice it is to wear sweaters and jeans.  

I guess that it's probably good that I feel this way because it looks like we're moving to Dublin, Ireland after the school year ends.  I don't think that I've mentioned that in this blog before.  The possibility rose last April and for awhile it was only a possibility... just some talking.  But recently it's become something that is going to happen. It will only be for a year or two and when we come back to California, we hope to settle down, by a home, and stop moving.  I'm very excited to have the opportunity to live in Ireland for a bit and the kids are as well.  Jay, of course, is too.  The catch is that we are not going to bring our pets.  We are hoping to find people to watch them for the time when we are gone, and pay for them to be boarded there.  As we've been talking about going, the one thing that has made me feel a lot of anxiety have been the pets.  First, Sherbert can not fly, but my friend Siet has so sweetly agreed to let him live on her farm.  As for the others, the flight to Ireland is 13 hours and 50 minutes from San Francisco.  Both of my dogs are too big to ride up top and would have to be in the cargo hold. Once you add up the time that they'd get to the airport, be in flight and get through customs, they could be in their carriers for 20 hours.  This is too much.  and to have to do it 2 times in a couple of years... I think that everyone would be happier and safer staying in the states.  I love my pets and I don't feel comfortable risking their lives.  Sidney has seizures when she is very stressed and the thought of putting her through that makes me feel sick.  I know that leaving them behind is the right decision.  Though it breaks my heart to think of being separated from Sidney and I expect to have some very tearful days and nights because of it, I know that keeping her here is what is best and healthiest for her.  So, that's what I'm going to do.  

This week marks the beginning of pie season in our house.  Pie night will happen once a week (Friday night) until  Thanksgiving.  This week our friends Donna and Max are coming over to kick it off!  It's going to be a pie inspired evening and we're going to make savory pies and sweet pies... plus tons of sides!  I am really looking forward to it.  Pie night has been a really important tradition in our family, as important as Christmas and birthdays, as far as the kids are concerned.  It means a full day in the kitchen... tons of cooking and friends and celebrating.  It's the kickoff to our holiday season, I guess.  We usually pair it with the beginning of the show It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, though this year we are starting a week before it premiers.  

Things are still going really well in the gym.  I feel like I should be grateful to some sort of higher power for giving me the gift of learning to love working out.  I have never liked to spend my time in a gym before, but now it's as comfortable for me as getting a good night of sleep is.  When I don't go, my body feels kind of off and really gross.  When I do go, I relax, sleep better, feel good and am happier.  It's the best feeling.  At 36 years old, I am healthier than I have ever been.  

On that note, I am pretty excited to say that I am thinking about going back to school.  I found an 18 month program for nutrition and am considering becoming a nutrition consultant.  I have always been somewhat obsessed with food.  It's so fascinating to me.  The more I learn about nutrition, the more I want to learn.  I can't get enough. I'm most interested in eating to treat/prevent illness and "food is medicine" is like doctrine to me. I'd really love to work in a holistic doctors office or with a midwife in order to help others eat for their bodies and optimal health.  I believe that I have found my calling.  It sure did take me awhile, but better late than never, I suppose!  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I am so excited!  Our tickets are all booked for our Christmas journey out to Denver.  Originally we were going to drive, but the plane tickets were no more expensive than the drive would be and it's the difference of traveling for 24 hours and traveling for about 4 hours.  I'll take it!

Our original plan was to stay in Denver for a very short time, arriving on December 24th and leaving on the 26th.  But this morning my Dad surprised me and told me that he and my mom are going to head out to Denver as well!  For this reason we're going to extend our trip to the 29th.  That way we can all take the girls out to together and see some of the old places that we used to go and the house that I grew up in.  They are even going to take us all out to dinner to my favorite restaurant, The Briarwood Inn.  My dad also offered to take the kids overnight at their hotel for one night so that Jay and I can enjoy a grownup night out with friends!

This is going to be the best Christmas ever!  I am so excited!

I love Denver so much.  I haven't been there with my parents since we all moved away.  I can't wait to show the girls around.  I can't wait for them to spend time with my friends and experience the people who pretty much make my world spin!

We are going to keep the fact that my parents will be there a secret.  They're going to be shocked to see them!

December can not get here quickly enough.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Peacemaking Day

I couldn't be a more proud mama today!

It's peacemaking day and the school had a special assembly where the children made a peace pole and learned peaceful words from other cultures.  Each teacher awarded one student from their class for being an outstanding peacemaker.  BOTH of my children were chosen to receive this award!

How in the world did I luck out and get such nice kids?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Great Surprise!

On Thursday Jay and I planned a date night.  One of Jay's old friends was in San Francisco playing drums for Sondre Lerche and we planned to see them with our friends Donna and Max.  We were meeting them at a restaurant beforehand to grab a bite to eat and when we got there they had a big surprise for us!  Our friend Christian had flown out here the morning before for a surprise visit!  This was a great surprise, especially for the kids.  Christian has had Christmas with us every year for nearly a decade and Bunny has already started feeling sad about missing him this year.   She nearly started to hyperventilate when she saw him the following day!

Yesterday we met back up with Donna and Max and went out for a hike.  The hike didn't happen, but we found an excellent beach with lots of people and surfers.  We're going to head back in two weekends to picnic, swim and spend the day.  Both of the girls are really interested in surfing and CA is the perfect place to learn.

Here are a few pictures from our day!

When we got home we picked our huge watermelon.  

It is 28 lbs and perfect.  I hope that the others grow because this one is crazily delicious.  I wonder why it grew so well.  Because it was in the front yard I've had a few people stop me to talk about it.  As it turns out, growing watermelon isn't that easy to do.  I guess that I got really lucky with this one.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day In The Life

Our friend Felix, from NJ, is in town and came over for dinner last night.  He took this picture of us.

I haven't been blogging much lately (clearly).  I guess that my life has been pretty simple.  The school year is always an adjustment for me.  Things are more hectic and I have less time for projects at home.  That seems backward, as I always thought that I'd have TONS of time to strip furniture, make clothes and write books when my kids were in school full time, but such is not my experience.

I'm in maintenance for my weight loss, and so far so good.  I'm feeling really good with my new 1900 calorie intake and have checked in on my weight, which is remaining pretty stable.  I continue to track nutrients and calories and have evolved to base my food choices on the nutrients that I lack.  For instance, yesterday for lunch I ate half of a baked potato and half of an avocado.  I didn't do it because it's a great combination (which it actually turned out to be).  I did it because I was low on fiber and potassium.  I don't know how I ever lived my life without this information.  I just view food in such a different way than I used to.  It's like, the difference between learning to read and listening to a story.  Or, looking at a map and taking a history class.  My perspective is just completely different.  The struggle is over between me and food.  I never thought that I could have a healthy relationship with the stuff... but I do.  To say that I am proud of myself... or happy about this change, doesn't do it justice.  I finally feel free from a burden that I have carried for my entire life.  And there just aren't words for how incredible that feels.

I've amped up my workouts too.  Yesterday I began taking zumba classes and did resistance AND stepped it up on the treadmill for 60 minutes.  Today, I did the same (but with only 50 minutes on the treadmill).  I'm spending about 2 1/2 hours in the gym each day.  I go because moving my body is a therapy for me and it helps me in just about every way.  I go because it clears my mind, evaporates my stress, heals my wounds and makes me strong.  But I can't lie... I long for the day when I see some actual muscle definition.

I'm doing some volunteering at the school today.  I always love getting involved with the class.  There's a little bit of drama around my room parenting, but I've decided not to get involved.  It would have really upset and made me feel combative in the past, but these days I'm able to let it roll off my shoulder.  Maybe it's age.  Maybe it's California.  Maybe it's my husband rubbing off on me.   Maybe I'm just too tired from all exercise that I'm getting... but I've noticed, since moving here, that things don't bother me the way that they used to.  And when someone or something does bother me... I can talk myself down from the issue and better put it into perspective.

I'm pretty zen these days.  And I like it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Garden Update

I'm preparing for my winter garden.  I'm considering growing potatoes, kale, spinach, cauliflower, radishes and carrots.  I'm not sure if I've missed the window for planting some of these.

I have one totally empty garden bed.  It used to be the home for my zucchini, round zucchini, yellow straight neck squash, California poppies, garlic and cucumbers.  The garden bed that used to have tomatoes, crookneck squash and jalapeƱo peppers, just has tomatoes now.  By the time I pulled my squash plants, I never wanted to see another zucchini for as long as I lived.  I have a lot frozen for the winter, so I'm sure that at some point in March I'll add it to a pot of tomato sauce.

Interestingly, just as I am preparing for my winter garden, my watermelon plant began going crazy.  It has only produced two fruit.  The first watermelon I picked way too soon.  I almost cried when we cut it open and it wasn't even pink inside.  The second watermelon is still on the vine, as I am afraid to pick it.  Now, all of the sudden, MONTHS after planting the watermelon... little babies are sprouting up all over the vine.  I hope that they survive.  I think that we'll need three more months without frost to make it happen.

My tomato plants are pretty sorry looking.  The cages that I bought them have basically collapses under the weight of the plants and the steaks do absolutely no good.  They don't seem too bothered by this, as they are more prolific than I ever could have imaged.  Each day I go outside an pick huge amounts of tomatoes.  I've been freezing the big tomatoes for winter sauce and eating A LOT of cherry tomatoes in my salads.  Let's just say that I have no deficit of vitamin C or A or  K, Potassium or Fiber.

Just today I picked this entire bowl.

I had these incredibly pathetic little cucumber plants in one of my beds.  They were never supposed to be there.  When I realized that the bed was going to be so crowded, I plucked the seeds out.  I guess that I missed a few seeds because these cucumber plants began sprouting up through the soil.  They were survivors, defying the odds, so I couldn't pluck them at that point.  They were always really pathetic looking, but I wondered if after I replenished some nutrients and pulled my squash plants they'd flourish.  NO. Not so much.  Here are all that they ever produced.  They are bizarre little pickle looking things.  I am not sure what to do with them.
Out in my backyard, my cardinal climbers continue to be my favorite thing.  They have entirely climbed up my pergola and are moving onto the roof of it now.  It's really difficult to get a good picture of this, but it has little red flowers that open in the morning and I like it because it seems to have a mind of its' own.  I have tried to direct it several times, but to no avail.  

My peppers produced a really nice, big batch of yellow and green bell peppers and I thought that I'd pluck them out and use my whisky barrel for something else.  But I can't bring myself to do it because these pepper plants just keep on giving.  They are doing so well and have another batch of peppers on them that looks pretty fantastic.
Sadly, my pumpkin vine only grew one pumpkin.  I had two vines.  One has died and the other looks pretty good.  Unfortunately the one that died is the same one that is housing my one and only pumpkin.  I think that I'm going to pick it later today, decorate it and proudly display it on my kitchen table.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big Success!

Big news!  This morning I reached my goal weight.  Since April 12th I've lost 55 lbs.

I'm going to copy/paste the entry that I wrote into my calories counter today and post a few pictures that I took of myself this morning.  I don't have a full length mirror, but I did my best to get full body shots of myself!

I am feeling proud and strong.  This has been a battle.  I will try to put it into words more eloquently at another time when I'm not so tired!

I MET MY GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have lost 55 lbs!!!!!!!!!

I am not skinny. No one would look at me and think that I had the "perfect body" or looked like a super model, but my BMI is now 23 and my goal weight has been reached.

I guess that this is where my real work begins. Truthfully, I thought, "I'm not thin enough though. I thought I'd be so much thinner when I got here..." And I thought, "maybe just ten more pounds..." But I recognize this as disordered thinking. It will be ten now and then ten more and then ten more. I have worked hard to get here and I am going to seriously enjoy my life!

I have lost and gained these same pounds over and over and over again in my life, but this time is different. This time I have unlearned a lot of terrible behaviors and semi-psychotic food guilt and obsession. I moved the focus off of losing weight and onto nutrition and I, for the first time in my entire life, formed a good, healthy relationship with food. This was a battle and I am a WARRIOR.

My new goal is to maintain this weight for 6 months, not going above or below it by more than 3 lbs. I work out 6 days a week and will continue to do so, as I really love it. CC tells me that I need to be eating about 2300 calories a day to maintain my current weight. That's a pretty drastic increase from the 1500 that I generally eat now. I'm increasing my calories target to 1900 per day and I'll see what happens. If I continue to lose, I'll do another increase up to 2300. I'll just tinker with it a bit until I get it right! I'll also stay here and keep aiming for A's on my nutrition grade.

Thank you so much for all of the support. This community has been a lifesaver for me. I could never have made this happen without it. I really appreciate every one of you.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My life, these days.

I really don't have anything specific to post about, so I think that I'll just write about what my life is like these days.

I can hardly believe that we are going on the 4th week of school here in California.

This year, I'm the room parent for the 2nd graders and a lot of my days are filled with beginning of the year paperwork (like scheduling volunteers, planning a new forum for discussion, communicating with other parents and putting together our class directory).  I like this a lot because it makes me feel like I'm a "part" of something.  For most of my life I have longed for a good sense of community.  I've tried to find it in groups of friends and failed.  I've tried to find it in the communities that I've lived in and failed.  When we were living in Philly and I was working on South Street, I began to feel it then.  Now, here, in California, I feel it again.

California is a much different place than anywhere else that I've lived.  Things that used to be difficult for me (feeling like I fit in and making friends) is easy for me here.  I may have mentioned it before, but after a lifetime of feeling like the odd man out, the sore thumb and the black sheep, I find that most of the people who I encounter here, are a lot like me.  Not everyone, of course.  But most of my interactions with other people are pleasant.  I don't even feel out of place at the GYM, if you can believe that.  I feel like there's an honesty about people here that culturally doesn't exist on the east coast.  It's sort of like this: back east I was weighted by this feeling that so many people were trying to become something or trying to pretend that they were something they wanted to be or admired.  Here, it broadly feels like people are just being who they are.  And other people accept them for who they are without passing judgment.  This makes me able to relax. It makes me feel comfortable and confident and good about myself.  And it makes me less fearful socially.   So, almost 9 months after moving to Northern California, I don't want to leave.  I love it here!  I still drive around, shocked by how beautiful it is and feel so grateful to live in this amazing place.

I have two upcoming events that we are all super excited about.  On November 7th we are all flying out to Denver for my friend Mathew's wedding.  Even as I write that it feels trite, as Mathew is something of a soul mate and family member to me, and not just a good friend.  I can not wait to see him get married and am so grateful to be able to go to the wedding with Jay and the girls.  Each year Jay and I go out to Denver to visit Mathew and our friend (again, feels trite) Siet, but we never bring the girls.  This will be their first trip out to Denver with us.  Bunny and Lila are going through the moon with joy.  They have met Mathew before in Philadelphia, but they've never gotten to meet Siet or her wife Jenny. Siet and Jenny are like mystical princesses to the girls.  Even though they've never met, Siet and Jenny send care packages our way on a pretty consistent basis.  They have made the girls amazing consumes and purses and were the sole reason that we started our garden in the spring.  Siet had sent the seeds.  It's amazing, because my girls really idolize these women and love them so much, and I know that Siet and Jenny love Bunny and Lila back.

My relationships with Mathew and Siet make me feel so comforted because I may not have a sister anymore, but my relationships with them feel very much like sibling relationships to me.

For Christmas we are driving out to Colorado to have Christmas with Mathew and Matthew!  I feel like we are insane to do this, but when we considered not going it felt like a heart break!  So, over the river, through the woods and around the hills of the rocky mountains, Jay, myself, Bunny and Lila will head east, 20 hours, to Denver.  It would be great to fly, but a.) it's WAY too expensive at Christmas and b.) my girls still very much believe in Santa.  We need to bring all of those presents home with us!  We will leave on December 22nd and get there on the 23rd and we'll leave Denver on the 26th and get home on the 27th.  It's going to be so fun!  I am so excited by the idea of going somewhere cold for Christmas.  Possibly there will even be snow!  All of Matthew's family will be there, and I'm already planning gifts for everyone.  I also love to cook with Mathew and just know that we're going to put together the best Christmas dinner ever!

Bunny is already mourning the loss of Christmas with her uncle Christian though. We have had Christmas with our friend Christian since before Bunny was born and she is already getting upset by not seeing him this year.  I will have to make it extra special for her.

So, these are things on my mind, what my life is like and the things that I'm looking forward to.  I'm glad that I didn't just write about the raw gazpacho that my friend Amber made me for lunch today or the bread that I baked yesterday!

Everyone out there, have a great Monday!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

One Week Raw

I started this raw foods cleanse one week and one day ago.

For the first several days I felt horrible.  I wasn't just tired, I was exhausted.  I was moody.  I was headachy.  I was irritated by how difficult it was to make anything better than a salad.

Soon after this I began craving eggs.  Oddly, any time that I am protein deficient I seem to crave hard boiled eggs.  You'd think that I'd want steak or chicken, but no.  It's eggs all the way.

Because I carefully monitor my nutrients and calories, I could see that I wasn't getting enough protein.  I need about 80 grams per day and I'm getting roughly 20 on any given day.  This is with eating tons of nuts and nut butters.  To get enough protein, I would likely need my calories to go through the roof.  This is definitely not something that I could ever maintain full time.

I do feel pretty good though.  I have had people who don't know that I'm on the raw foods cleanse compliment my skin and tell me that I am "glowing."  Someone also asked what was different about me and told me that I looked good.  My energy level is up.  I did 305 minutes of cardio and about an hour of resistance training this week.   Tomorrow is my rest day.  I don't need to take and it and I'm not looking forward to taking it, but I will take it because it's so important to give your body a chance to rest.

And even though I am keeping my calories up (1400 being my lightest day), I have lost 7 pounds after 9 days of eating raw.  This makes my total weight loss 52 lbs.  So, 52 pounds down, three to go!

So, half way through my cleanse here is how I feel:

I see and feel the positive effects of eating a 100% raw diet.
I feel great.
My energy is up.
My weight loss is through the roof.
But I don't like eating 100% raw foods.
I miss baked potatoes and cooked broccoli and delicious salad dressing and soup!
I need way more protein than what I am getting and am having serious protein cravings.
This is not sustainable for me beyond a cleanse.

That said, I do think that I will try to eat completely raw for at least one day of the week and I am planning on keeping every day raw, while just eating a cooked dinner.

Because my calories are the same and my activity is so high, I don't see myself regaining this weight when I begin eating cooked foods again.

I can't believe that I am 3 pounds from my goal.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Raw Life

I am feeling a little bit better today.

My disgruntled attitude about raw food was most likely coming from a terrible experience with raw gazpacho that I had two nights ago.  While my whole family ate grilled, marinated chicken, rice and steamed asparagus, I tried to choke down a lumpy bowl of nasty, pureed mush.  I couldn't do it.  I ended up eating a little bit of raw cabbage and calling it a night.  The following day I was plagued by headache and felt exhausted.

But yesterday, after dragging my tail through my morning workout and through my afternoon, my friend Amber swooped in to save the day.  She's also doing the raw cleanse.  The difference between she and I is that she has the gift of turning everything that she touches into deliciousness.

I made homemade pizzas, salad and pasta for the kids and Amber and I had a raw dinner.

For our appetizer I made a vegetable plate with a zucchini hummus.  Then, I made a really yummy primavera sauce that I served over kelp noodles.  Amber used a serrated peeler to create zucchini spaghetti and made an incredible pesto sauce to go with it.  It was SO GOOD.  I felt, for the first time in a couple of days, like I was eating a real, substantial meal.  And it was delicious.  To go with the salad I made a dressing from tahini and miso.  It turned out pretty great!

But dessert was what pleased me the most.  For dessert I created raw almond butter cups!  They were pretty decadent.  I could totally be a fat raw foodist, eating nuts and candy bars all day long.  One of these packs a whopping 300 calories.

Check it out!

First, I took a bowl of organic raw coconut oil and let it warm a little bit in the sunshine.  Coconut oil doesn't have to be very warm to melt, so there's no danger of cooking it.

Then I mixed in about 1/4 cup of raw agave nectar and cacao powder until it seemed to be a rich color and good consistency!  

Next, I lined a cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers and layered the chocolate mixture on the bottom.  After it set in the freezer for about 30 seconds, I spooned about a tbsp of raw almond butter on top of the chocolate!

Then, I covered the almond butter with more chocolate and sprinkled raw, shredded coconut on top!

The result was heaven for two ladies who are five days on raw foods with very few decadent treats.  The words "oh my god" were spoken in whispers a few times.  

I am feeling great!  And I'm going to make it through this. I'm feeling so good that I got on the treadmill for 60 minutes today!