This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


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Down time

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Ahhh

Finally finished what I didn’t know how I was going to get done. Tomorrow, another big unknown, but I’m excited.

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A Victorious Weekend (was there a football game?)

I DID IT! I made it through the first weekend of my own paleo journey. I was a bit worried about having family for dinner on Saturday, followed by a Sunday evening at friends’ to watch the Super Bowl. That’s two big temptation events back to back. Those are some of the most food-centric events I can imagine. If I’d been doing this longer, I might have volunteered to make a whole meal of paleo foods for the eleven we had for dinner Saturday, but I couldn’t wrap my head around that, so we just compromised. My mother made a couple chuck roasts. I made mashed potatoes (which I did NOT eat, despite the fact that I make THE very best mashed potatoes EVER!), corn, broccoli, bread, and fruit salad. Mom baked a cake, and I bought ice cream. It was okay. I mean, really. Yeah, there were lots of times I was tempted. I even forgot what I was doing and put a full helping of corn on my plate before I remembered and dumped it on my brother’s plate. For dinner, I loaded my plate with beef and broccoli. For dessert I stuck with black coffee and fruit.

Then for Super Bowl, my lovely host volunteered to have a Mexican spread, allowing the kids to just pick what they would eat, and I could build a lovely salad of the things I could eat and skip the bad stuff. That worked out really well. As long as I can eat guacamole, I’m happy! I almost didn’t miss the cheese and sour cream. I ate more guacamole by dipping raw broccoli and cauliflower instead of corn chips.

Let’s be totally honest, though. I drank several glasses of red wine over the two days. I’m not sorry about that. In fact, holding that glass and taking the occasional sip, totally allowed me to feel like I was not in any way deprived. I never drank enough to impair myself. I just had it in my hand. I am convinced that I was successful with the food because I still had the wine. I will consider dropping the alcohol after this 30 day experiment, perhaps for Lent, which starts just a week after my 30 days are up. But for now, this is working. I know Whole30 wants you to skip the scale and all other methods of measurement and comparison, for your 30 days. I think we’ve established that I’m writing my own rules here, so yeah, I’ve been on the scale. I’m down ten pounds since I started playing with this diet. Two just over the weekend! I suspect that it will be the sugar and the grains that I’ll leave out the longest. I think that’s the key to my weight control, but we’ll see what data we gather over the next 26 days.

Here we are at Day 4. For breakfast I ate leftover chuck roast sauteed in the pan with mushrooms, onions, and broccoli. Not very breakfast-y, but delicious and filling! I feel confident I can go get some schoolwork done without thinking about food all morning! And now I have three full days of success, two with major temptations, behind me! I feel like I had a HUGE victory this weekend and I hope that has created some momentum for me! Tonight’s plan is to roast another chicken, put some more bone broth on. I still have Mom’s big crock pot, so I’ll do it in that.

 


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Paleo 30 Day Experiment Kick Off (sort of)

Okay, I was inspired by the Whole30 program, but I tend to make up my own rules, so let’s see how this goes. I thought about all the changes to my diet this requires, and even though it’s certainly easier than a lot of diets, it’s a lot. Then I thought specifically about giving up alcohol. I can’t lie to you, gang, I really enjoy an adult beverage at the end of the day. Not every day, but probably four nights a week. A glass of wine or a cocktail after the kids are down. Maybe two or three on a weekend. I don’t remember the last time I was really drunk, but. Well, that’s a lie. I remember, but it isn’t something that happens often. Life is too messy for that these days.

So, all of this is to make excuses for not giving up alcohol as part of this experiment, at least not now. Maybe it will skew the entire thing, I don’t know, but when I thought about changing my diet so drastically and giving up alcohol, it felt like two separate projects. As soon as I looked at it that way, it felt like I was setting myself up to fail at both of them. But I have to reevaluate the drinking anyway, so this is what I came up with. I will not drink anything made from something I’m not eating. That means no beer (no great loss, I only drink beer rarely), no spirits distilled from grains (so, like, all of them except tequila), and no mixers that I wouldn’t normally drink. That pretty much leaves wine (and at least red has some health value), hard ciders, and of course, tequila since it’s made from the agave cactus. I guess I could do shots of tequila, but that just doesn’t have that it’s-been-a-long-day-let-me-check-facebook-and-relax kind of vibe. Margaritas would have mixers with sugar. Hard ciders are like 200 calories a serving, but I do enjoy them from time to time and I’m not actually counting calories, right? Well, I guess that just leaves my red wine. I can live with that. I do love a red wine.

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I can’t show you dinner, but this was my breakfast omelette. If I’d already been to the grocery, there would be avocado with that!

I’d really like to share a lovely snapshot of my Day One dinner tonight, but I’m afraid I wolfed it down before considering a photograph. It was divine, though. As I told the Facebook folks, if I can pull that off every night, paleo will be a breeze! I sauteed mushrooms, red onion, zucchini, and shrimps in coconut oil, then hit it with a few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot (I really do put that s#$% on everything). I topped it with half an avocado. The old dieting Bird would have budgeted it all out so that I could have a little cheese, parmesan or feta, or maybe even cheddar. I didn’t miss it at all. Just to keep up, breakfast was an omelette with spinach and salsa with Frank’s. There was no real lunch since I was so busy, but I ate a couple handfuls of almonds here and there, some pineapple, and a fistful of sugar snap peas. Oh, and a banana. Probably should have had more water, but I’ll drink a glass before bed.

The next two days will be rough. Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. We’ll have dinner here with his best friend (today is his birthday) and wife, my brother and his girlfriend, Mom and Dad. Mom’s making roast, so I can eat that. I’ll make green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes. I’ll put coconut oil or bacon grease (not stressing about nitrites, yet) on the veggies, but mashed potatoes are off limits. We’ll have cake and ice cream, but I’ll be skipping that. I bought some raspberries, blueberries, and apples so I could make a nice fruit bowl to go with the cake. I’ll just eat that. I’ll be okay. THEN, Sunday is Super Bowl. We’re going to watch the game with another family who care about as much as we do about the game. We haven’t seen them in a while so it will be good to catch up, but gatherings like that mean food. Thankfully, they are very health conscious and aware of my little experiment, so I have support!

I really haven’t done one of these “here’s my life” kind of blog entries in a while and I apologize if I bore you to tears. I just want to document some of this paleo experiment. I have a feeling I will be keeping more of it than I thought when I first read about it. Certainly not all of it. I cannot imagine a whole life without butter, but I also know I don’t need as much as I was eating. And the sugar thing is just crazy. I can already clearly see a difference in my tolerance for sweetness. I ate brownies that Mom brought last night and they were good, don’t misunderstand. I mean, they were brownies! But I was happy with a much smaller piece than I would have been a few weeks ago. I wonder how I’ll feel after a month of none!

Wish me luck.


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Fabulous Friday

It’s sometimes hard for me to remember that Friday isn’t so exciting for the stay-at-home mom with a mountain of homework to due by Sunday night. My work is just beginning and even though there were times during the week when everyone was home and awake, there will be a lot MORE times over the weekend. But, I’ll have help, I’ll get it done. I just have to, that’s all. Can’t help getting a little jazzed about Friday, though. It’s a lifetime of training, I guess. The kids have make up piano lessons after school, but nobody else has to be harassed to do homework. TV and video games for EVERYONE! Woohooo. Eh, sue me.

I’m really just rambling here so I don’t have to go work on my homework, but I did have a couple things to say. I’ve lost a little weight. Not a lot, just about seven pounds, but it’s a start. Especially since I haven’t “dieted” and I’m just experimenting with the paleo thing. I’ve pretty much eliminated dairy entirely, which is kind of amazing. I didn’t even realize that’s what was happening. I dropped the cheese on my eggs, then started with the black coffee, then I went to have a yogurt for lunch and realized I hadn’t had dairy in three days, so maybe we just won’t have the Yoplait now, either. My right knee was one of my “inflammation issues” and it hasn’t bothered me in a couple days, either. Can’t say those two things are related, but can’t say they aren’t.

I’m going try my hand at roasting a chicken. That’s right, I’ve never done it. I looked up several recipes online and I was utterly shocked to find that apparently this task amounts to “wash chicken, dry chicken, cook chicken.” I think I can handle this. I’m a kind of excited about having the carcass to make bone broth. Something warm and comforting to drink when it’s crazy cold, that’s good for me, and I can turn lots of lovely things into soup. If it works out well, I may be roasting a lot of chickens. They’re cheap, I like the idea of having roasted chicken around to throw on salads, into soups, whatever. Maybe I can convince the kids to eat it in lunches. I’m probably stretching there a little, but a girl can dream.

Finished off my 1000 day gouda and my loaf of Ezekiel bread. It’s the last week of the month, so I’m not going to make a big grocery run before Friday, or I’d jump all in. Maybe I am all in, but I’m not yelling at myself for the occasional pretzel or piece of bread. (Oh, wait, I did have a little butter on my dinner roll last night. Eh) I’m going to enjoy a shot of bourbon when the kids are in bed tonight because I’ve been putting it off all week. All that just amounts to not starting my 30 countdown, yet. I’ll try to do 30 days of hard core, extreme, seriousness, as described by the folks at Whole30. After that, I don’t see myself staying off alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy, but I can see myself eating FAR less than I did a few weeks ago. Some of it is just about breaking old habits and making new ones, I guess. This feels doable, and not in that 0h-I’m-just-hyping-myself-up kind of way. Alcohol will be hard. I really enjoy a drink in the evening, maybe a few with friends on a weekend. The fact that it seems like it might be hard makes me more sure I should try it, though. Thirty days is not that long. It’s been more than 30 days since Christmas already!

Pretty bleak out there.

Pretty bleak out there.

Oh, good heavens, it’s been more than 30 days since Christmas! How is that possible? February is sneaking up. It’s a short month and then it’s March. March is practically springtime! Everyone is complaining about these crazy cold temperatures we’re having, and I get it. I do. But we’ll make it through. The cold, I can handle. The high gas bill is gonna suck. Thank you, Lord, for the blessings of this nice warm house, my nice warm coat, my nice warm bed, and my nice warm car. I don’t actually spend much time in that awful cold, but it sure did stink putting fuel in the van this morning!


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Oh, Christmas Tree. MY Christmas Tree.

I want to tell you about my tree. I want to tell you all about my Christmas tree. If you come to my house during Christmas, I will gladly recount for you my recollections of each and every ornament crammed on it’s branches. I’ll expound on the type of tree, the kind of lights, the method of stringing the lights, and the topper. I’ve got opinions on ornament placement, positioning within a room, even when it should be put up and taken down. Of course, if you come to my house during the holidays it would be much more fun for you if I did not spend great lengths of time rambling upon the lovely tree in my living room which you are free to admire right there. So, I’ll write this all up in a totally pointless blog entry. If you make it through, there are extra cookies for you when you come visit. ūüôā

First let me tell you that I really love my tree. I’m also sure that those of you who have Christmas trees each year love your trees. And I am fully aware that there is the possibility that your love of your tree might even be as sincere and as intense as my love of my tree. So I’m not really saying that my tree is better than your tree, but, um, well, maybe just a little better. (Oh, for heaven’s sake, I AM kidding.)

I will never put my tree up before Thanksgiving, and most likely not before December 1. Just seems wrong to me. I have no problem with stores going crazy with their Christmas decor and sales the minute Halloween is over, but I don’t want it in my house. Dec 1 is quite soon enough for me. And I won’t take it down before the New Year! I think my heart would go into post holiday breakdown if I had to pack it all up just one day after the high of Christmas day! We spend that day vegging in front of the fire, playing with new gifts, and not getting out of our pajamas! I usually try to go for Epiphany on January 6, to get all Twelve Days of Christmas, but I don’t always make it since Girlie Bird’s birthday is so quick after. I like for it to be cleaned up before we celebrate that.

Screenshot 2013-12-11 at 10.00.01 AMI love a Frazier fir. The branches are strong enough to hold my heavier ornaments, it’s dense enough to be a solid looking tree, but there are usually little pockets within the branches to tuck ornaments into. It has a lovely smell, and if you keep it watered, will usually stay pretty fresh for the full month I like to have it in my home.

20131209_142751 I am all about the white lights. My dear husband and I have gone back and forth with this, as he contends that the white mini-lights are a fad from the eighties and that I am just way behind the times. I will admit that we should give up the incandescent lights and go LED. I will. I couldn’t do it before because I’m not giving up the sweet, warm, soft glow of the mini incandescent bulbs. The mini LEDs were cold and blue and I just couldn’t do it. They’re getting better, though, and in the next couple years, I’ll make the switch and the investment. For now, though, I’ll fight with my mini lights. And I do mean fight. Every year I expect that at least some of the strands will be worthless when I pull them out of the bin and plug each one in to test them. Some years I’ve thought there were enough only to end up running to Walmart at 10:00 pm for just a couple more stands. A couple years ago as the LED movement really took off, I found myself traipsing all over town looking for the precious, tiny, white lights on a green strand. Walmart was actually my third stop that year. There was a rather ugly exchange with a manager who had overheard me grumbling in the aisle. He asked if he could help me find anything and I asked why there were no white mini lights. He rolled his eyes and rather dismissively informed me that there simply was no demand for those old things. “Right? I mean, obviously there is no demand, that’s why you have 12 feet of empty shelf space devoted to them on DECEMBER 3RD!” I ended up running into a couple returning several strings who were checking them in with the “greeter” at the front door. I bought them off them right there.

This year I picked up three strands of 100 a few days before we planned to get the tree. No reason to repeat the late night search. On Saturday, Dec 7th we went as a family (a grumpy, overtired, very cold family, but still) to pick out our tree. It had snowed a couple inches the night before so I expected we’d be bringing home a wet, or at least damp, tree, but the first couple stops were very disappointing. None of the workers seemed interested in selling a tree to us or anyone else. I mean, hey, you couldn’t just knock the snow off the outer branches. On the third stop, we found the perfect tree. We took it home and through the long and ridiculous process of trimming lower branches, putting a fresh cut on the bottom, and getting the thing straight in the stand. I opened the bin with all my surviving strings from last year and began plugging them in one after another. This is probably the best time to tell you that I like A LOT of lights on my tree. Usually I end up with 2000 or more. After trying all the strings in the bin I ended up with six strands of 100 that worked, four strands of 100 that did not work, and four strands of 150 that were half on and half off. Never had that much of a failure rate, but onward.¬†I start at the top and wind the strands in and out of the branches, making sure that the tree is lit from the edges to the trunk. This is what makes the wonderful effect of sparkle as you walk by. Took me two stores to gather the necessary replacements, and two days. The tree stood, half lit, in that time, like a man in his tux, but no pants.

tree blog 9tree blog 6Now, NOW that the thing is all lit up, and I mean ALL lit up, it’s time for the ornaments. This is the best part, right? This particular collection of ornaments is so special, so person, so representative of me, and of my family. Aren’t all ornament collections like that? No, no they aren’t. Surely you’ve been to someone’s house and their tree is decorated as if it came from a kit. and maybe it did. Maybe that’s the look they’re going for, a very matched set kind of look. That’s not me, though it’s clear looking at the tree that I have a preference for glass ornaments, we have a pretty wide variety of styles. There are handmade ornaments made by my husband as a child, and some made by his grandmother for him. There are Hallmark ornaments given to each of us as children from grandparents, parents, and Santa. There are a few glass bulbs, looking all old and fragile that came from my childhood tree. tree blog 2Then there are the ones we’ve collected since we began building our own family. I got a couple for wedding shower gifts, and even one as a wedding gift. I bought a heavy sterling ornament with a house on it that sort of resembled our house for our first Christmas in our own mortgaged home. My mother bought me the stork with a baby ornament for the year I was so hugely pregnant with my daughter, who was born early the next year. Girlie Bird got several “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments the next year, and I had to remind myself to buy ornaments for each of the boys. It’s good to be the first born, I guess. Of course, Santa brings the kids their own ornament each year, that they care nothing about now, just like their dad and I couldn’t have cared less when we were kids. tree blog 4But I go a step further than my mom did and write their names and the year on each one. In 2003, I lost the first of my grandparents, my paternal grandfather. My husband’s maternal grandparents died before I met him, and I mean to buy ornaments for them with his input, but I started buying ornaments for loved ones as they passed. In 2008 one grandmother, and then in 2010 the other, passed away. Then in 2012 we lost my husband’s paternal grandfather. I have an ornament on my tree for each of them. I picked each one out to remind me of them, and then put their name and birth and death years on them. Hopefully, my children will be putting those ornaments on their trees for many years and they’ll be reminded of the names of their great grandparents. They will know their names.tree blog 8tree blog 7

And I’m funny about exactly HOW all these ornaments get placed. Heavy ornaments obviously need stronger branches so they don’t droop and drop. I like the lighter, sparklier, glass ornaments to hang on the tips if they can, or at least where they don’t touch other branches so that they swing a little and glitter in the lights as you walk by. I am not typically a sparkly kind of gal, but when it comes to Christmas, bring on the glitter! Oh, and let’s pack them on! If you have big spaces on your tree, you don’t have enough ornaments! As much as I love each ornament in my collection, if I didn’t have enough, there are two boxes of gold and red glass balls that I picked up on clearance one year in January that wait on standby to fill any holes! I just don’t understand why anyone would go to the trouble of putting up a tree to string a few lights around the edges and then toss just a couple ornaments on it. That’s the tree for an office party, not a home!

Tinsel! I go back and forth on the tinsel thing. Every few years I think I want a bit more sparkle and glitter and I buy some and put it up, then I spend the rest of the year finding it in the vacuum, or the dryer vent screen, or whatever and I swear I’ll never use the stuff again. This year I am once again considering it, but so far have resisted. I mean to string popcorn and cranberries each year, too, but somehow it never gets done. I have a few strings of gold beads that I’ve put on a few years, but I’m not feeling it this year. I’ve never been a fan of the tinsel garland for the tree. This year, there likely won’t be anything draped around our tree.

This is it, this year. This is MY tree. Okay, okay, it’s OUR tree. I put it up with the love of my family fueling every decision and moment. It stands for our family, our faith, our hope and love. I put it up while ignoring the rest of the house, and now I’ve got a boatload of work to do before I have my neighborhood moms over this evening. I love these women and they seem to think this room looks like a happy place, so I guess I better get the rest straightened up, too. If you’re still reading, you’re invited to join us for a glass of wine and a cookie tonight! ūüôā

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Some Thoughts On Shopping

We’re hurdling headlong into the holidays, and, man, do I have stuff to say! Right!? I mean, I know all you out there who actually know me in real life (no comments about how nobody else is reading, please) are just shocked that I have opinions on stuff, AND that I’m willing to actually speak them out loud. Try to settle down. I’ll wait while you allow this foreign concept of Bird with opinions to sink in. HA! I crack myself up.

I’m reading my Facebook feed and there’s feed and there’s just so much to have opinions about! And some of it I might even be right about. Though (and this part might actually¬†shock you) I am willing to admit that I might be wrong. Probably not, and you’ll have to convince me, but maybe,¬†so go ahead and tell me if you think I am. Let’s just keep it off Facebook. That seems smart these days, no?

I have opinions on some stuff that just don’t amount to much. I mean, I’m not going to try to convince you one way or another here. Just spout. Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. I keep seeing this stuff on my feed. No, I don’t have a problem with these ideas, but it just all seems so self-righteous to post them on your wall. And I know that the folks whose walls I swiped them from are good people who mean well. I know that they feel these things strongly and truly feel that they are helping to make our country a better place by reposting these. And I also know, or hope I’m right, that they will follow through and actually buy local when they can and stay out of retail on Thanksgiving day. This isn’t about an opportunity to judge. But I can’t do it. I can’t just post it and not comment at length. I’ll put them here instead and ramble for a while about the ideas they represent, okay?

1455046_10151990479314255_799574030_n1379721_310997639040818_1215215804_nWAR ON THANKSGIVING? ¬†Really? I’m pretty sure the retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving are not trying to eliminate this holiday. Rather, they NEED there to be a Thanksgiving to mark the all out craziness that is the “holiday shopping season.” It’s true that they didn’t use to open their doors on Thanksgiving. It’s true that the season used to begin the day AFTER Thanksgiving, but I’ll get to the Black Friday thing in a minute. For now, let’s just unpack the whole open on Thanksgiving thing. So, now that shopping on Thanksgiving IS a thing, now that millions of dollars will be changing hands that day, now that the shoppers are there, you really want more retailers to look at that money and just say no. You want them to just turn down their share of those dollars because it’s the right thing to do? Yes, you say, that’s exactly it. Well, okay, fine. I am totally on board with believing in people to do the right thing for the right reason, even if it costs them financially. It’s sort of like non-compulsory charitable giving. We can count on people to do the right thing, so we don’t need use tax dollars to pay for quite so many of the things some people need because we can count on people and private organizations to do the right thing for the right reasons, right? Hmm. Seems like we’ve disagreed on that before.

1375056_10153305787625538_5380466_nThen there’s this one. It’s not a bad idea. I have no beef with the idea of buying locally. In fact, I think it’s great if my local businesses get some business out of it. There’s a wonderful new bakery in downtown Worthington and you should totally check them out. Sassafras Bakery has gotten rave revues and I hope it thrives, but come on. A pie is like, $30. I don’t think that’s over priced for what you get. After all, someone lovingly prepared this pie from fine fresh ingredients just for you. I’ll bet it’s the best pie you can find in town. But if I decide to find money in the budget for pie that my aunt didn’t make, I’m gonna pick up one from the Kroger bakery for $8. Will it be as good? Probably not, but I’ll still have another $22 to spend on the boxed cereal and non-organic milk. Do I WANT to that local bakery to do well? Hell yeah. (At least a little bit because it’s in the building that used to hold the stationery shop where I ordered my wedding invitations, but I’m sometimes a bit irrational like that.) I want them to thrive. I hope they pay their employees well. I hope people feel all that wonderful, homey, community love every time they walk in the door. I’m thinking I need to stop by for a cookie and a cup of coffee today. (I have some time since the Baby Bird is going to Grandma’s.) But I can’t local businesses are very often much more expensive. Not because they want to be, but because of the economic issues involved. I get that. It’s complicated, but that doesn’t mean I have more disposable income. As for gifts? Yeah, I’ll likely look for smaller (possibly higher priced) items. I would rather give a lovely pair of handknitted gloves for the same price as a whole set of mass produced winter gear. But I can’t be guilted into not buying the more reasonably priced fleece gloves for my three kids because I would go broke buying them ALL handknits and meanwhile their hands are cold.

And then there’s the whole chaos of Black Friday. I know some of you love it. Some of you will set your alarm clocks for the middle of the night and then you’ll go out in your pajamas and delight in the whirlwind race of elbows and ramming shopping carts to get the two 60″ TVs that are for sale for $50. But it just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Not because I don’t like to shop. I do. It may be my most favorite past time. But not that day. The joy has been completely sucked out of it for me that day. I like to browse, to pick things up, to imagine buying it, owning it or giving it, to picture using it or how I might wrap it. I love scanning the entire department for the item that will catch my attention and call me to further investigate. I like to imagine the person receiving the item. I need to do all that to make a purchase decision. On Black Friday, none of that is possible. I don’t mind if it’s busy. I love feeling like I’m sharing all that experience with lots of other folks out because they have loved ones to buy for. I just don’t want to be knocked down at any point in the process. I don’t want to purchase anything because the sale will run out in eight seconds or because if I don’t the lady behind me will get it and that ain’t right because I got up earlier and I deserve it and GET OUT OF MY WAY!

I won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving because I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t ever want to forget for one second how lucky I am. Not only will I be gathered with my family in a warm, safe place, but there will be more food than we know what to do with. We will all of us eat until it gets boring. It will be completely unnecessary to eat the food we will consume that day. Totally unhealthy, and perhaps even unsafe. Some of us will drink a little too much. No one will worry too much about where we will sleep that night. We will all enjoy the luxury of our own pompous idea that we somehow need all the excess of that celebration. That will keep me way too busy to bother with shopping on Thanksgiving. My children will never wonder if mom is going shopping on the fourth Thursday of November and hopefully, it will never occur to them to go. The day after we will look for something light to eat, and revel in the bonus day off that Daddy gets. We’ll probably have some other family obligation to see to. We will stay as far away from retailers as possible because shopping just isn’t fun that day. Except, wait, that’s not true. We will have a party on Saturday, so I will have to go to the grocery on Black Friday. Let’s hope Kroger isn’t giving away iPods or selling too many super cheap TVs. For those two days we won’t participate in the chaos. If other folks do, well, than they do. I’m grateful none of my loved ones work in retail these days, but if they did and had to miss Thanksgiving, we’d probably celebrate around their schedule in some way and remember to mention their employment in our prayers of thanksgiving.

I’ve also got opinions of UGGs and the revelation that they are made of sheep skin (uh, okay), engineering toys for girls, the governor of Oklahoma, the mayor of Toronto, and a whole bunch of other political tidbits. I guess none of them are all that astounding, though. I better post this for now. Stay tuned for a general life update in then next day or two.


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I’m baaaaaack….

Okay, so I want to get back into the swing of this blogging thing. ¬†I’ve been between classes for over a month now, and I haven’t done much of anything that I’d hoped to do during this break! ¬†I was going to tell you all sorts of things. ¬†I was going to paint the baseboards. ¬†I was going to redo the kids’ bathroom.

DSC_0172What have I been up to? ¬†Well, I sorted out all of our winter and summer clothes. ¬†Doesn’t sound like much, does it, but I started the process way back here on April 4th. ¬†That was just the beginning. ¬†Then the keep stuff has to get packed up again. ¬†THEN, the closets and drawers in our rooms have to be cleaned out. ¬†Winter stuff gets removed, summer stuff stowed. ¬†And all the while they keep WEARING clothes and putting them down the laundry chute, so the whole laundry process must continue. ¬†I’ve also started sorting out the other junk in the basement and gotten rid of a couple old strollers, infant car seats, baby bathtubs, outgrown shoes, a crib mattress, and various other items that were just taking up space in our very limited storage area. ¬†So, there’s all that.

I’ve continued to put energy into this weight loss thing. ¬†Sometimes it’s only mental energy, but that’s something. ¬†I completely blew off the tracking thing from Thursday to Sunday this week. ¬†I could give you my entire justification process, but as I know that it is just that, justification, I won’t bore you with it. ¬†I was sure that when I stepped on the scale today I would be lucky to have maintained. ¬†Nope, I lost 2.4 pounds. ¬†It’s true, I didn’t go crazy over the weekend, other than maybe some extra bread here and there that was totally unnecessary. ¬†We had a lovely lunch at Bravo! after church yesterday with my parents and an old and dear friend visiting from out of town. ¬†I enjoyed a couple pieces of bread and a glass or two of wine, but I did order from the “lighter” menu and avoided the heavy pasta. ¬†I thought it might be enough to keep me from packing on a couple of pounds. ¬†I’m guessing that even if I’m good this week, I’ll find myself holding steady next Monday. ¬†I’ve made peace with that, so we’ll just be good and move on.

Today, I’m glad for my Monday morning respite. ¬†I should go take a shower, but I probably won’t. ¬†I am too jealous of the opportunity to sit at the computer and write or surf with no¬†interruptions. ¬†I can pin the Baby Bird into the family room with a favorite TV show and get 24 minutes to go take a shower. ¬†I almost never get an entire hour, almost two, to just sit at the table in front of the keyboard. ¬†Monday mornings are a¬†rarity. ¬†Except, I could go see if there’s that sweater on sale at Old Navy that I wanted. ¬†Maybe in a minute.

Summer is going to be crazy. ¬†I start my classes the first week or so in June, and the big kids will be busy with softball and baseball. ¬†The calendar is filling up and I’m a little nervous. ¬†I’m glad it’s only going to be six weeks or so of chaos and I’m looking forward to those two weeks in August where everything is over and school hasn’t started yet. ¬†I can’t believe I’m going to have a 3rd and 4th grader! ¬†That’s nuts!

Okay, now it feels like I’m just rambling, so I’ll wrap it up. ¬†Maybe I’ll pop back in this afternoon.


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A Jumble to share

Today is one of those days where I feel like I have a lot to say, but none of it is coming together in my head in any coherent way.

Boston. ¬†Oh, wow. ¬†I think I am processing this the best anyone could, but it just stays with me. ¬†The bombings happened, and since we don’t really know, yet, who or why, that’s all I have. ¬†They happened. ¬†Lots of people were hurt. ¬†Three people died. ¬†I am, of course, horrified that this could take place in my country. ¬†My country that I thought was above this, safe from this. ¬†Not a country where suicide bombers are part of weekly, if not daily life. ¬†Not even a country where bombings are monthly or annual events. ¬†The USA, the United States, America! ¬†We are a lot of things to a lot of people around the world, but not this. ¬†We have drunk driving that kills people, gun violence that kills people, teenage suicide from bullying, obesity, cancer from questionable food additives, blah, blah, blah! ¬†But people do NOT regularly die in bombings here! ¬†And the only people you hear of with limbs blown off lost them while over in one of those other countries fighting for ours! ¬†So, I’m processing all that.

But then I see another picture of Martin Richard. ¬†I’m sure you’ve seen this picture by now, it’s all over the news channels and social media. ¬†It’s so dear and so sweet, and what an innocent face. ¬†And he’s holding that poster with that message. ¬†“No more hurting people.” ¬†That’s not a line a teacher gave him. ¬†I don’t know what the assignment was, but it wasn’t “print ‘no more hurting people’ at the top of the page.” ¬†That came from him. ¬†That came from his own heart. ¬†Every time I see this picture I get weepy. ¬†Somehow I just can’t process the death of this one eight-year-old. ¬†Sandy Hook saw the deaths of 20 kids, not to mention the six adults, and it was horrible and I cried and I grieved. ¬†Somehow, it was easier? ¬†No, that’s not the word, just more readily processed. ¬†Maybe that it was so big. ¬†Maybe because there were ALL those sweet faces flashed on our screens every night for weeks, even as the networks worked to tell us a bit about each child. ¬†Maybe it desensitized me a bit from the real pain of that tragedy. ¬†Maybe. ¬†I don’t know. ¬†All I know is that Martin is harder for me to wrap my head around. ¬†I have an eight-year-old boy, but he was just seven, a second grader, when Sandy Hook happened, just a year older than those innocents. ¬†I don’t KNOW why it’s so much harder, but it is. ¬†The child had just run, in utter joy, to hug his father at the finish line. ¬†I haven’t seen any pictures of those moments, if they exist, but I can picture it. ¬†And I do picture it. ¬†I can’t help picturing it. ¬†That father-son hug in a moment of triumph. ¬†It haunted my dreams last night.

But then, I do want to talk about the other stuff in my life, because, well, it is moving on. ¬†The main tasks in my life right now (namely feeding, cleaning, cleaning after, and supervising three kids) don’t wait for me to sit and watch the news and try to figure out how I feel about the death of a child I never met. ¬†It isn’t my job to find the perpetrators. ¬†I can’t help with the investigation. ¬†I’ll get on with life and pray for all those whose jobs those are. ¬†I’ll pray for Martin’s family, and all the others who were killed or injured and their families. ¬†I’ll pray for me and my family. ¬†I’ll keep doing laundry and making meals.

And potty training. ¬†I’ll get on with the potty training. ¬†As best I can, anyway. ¬†I’m sort of on this ride alone now, I think. ¬†He showed a little interest yesterday, so we jumped on that. ¬†Two hours and four pairs of underpants later, my patience was worn out, there was half a roll of paper towel in the garbage, and Baby Bird got a mid-dinner bath. ¬†I’m glad he showed some interest and I hope my frustration didn’t show too much, but I would not say it was a successful day. ¬†If I get that load of laundry done, we’ll try again this afternoon.

My weigh-in was Monday. ¬†I mentioned that I was up a bit. ¬†Not much, just about a pound, but that’s the wrong direction, isn’t it? ¬†As of this morning, I’d dropped that and another half-pound, so I have high hopes for next week’s official weigh-in. ¬†I was bummed about the wrong direction of this week’s number, but really, it isn’t too bad. ¬†Consider that last Thursday I ate a big dinner of rouladen and spaetzle at a local German restaurant in Kent. ¬†And Saturday night I had wine and cheese with my girlfriends. ¬†And Sunday after the hymnfest there was a wine and cheese reception, though I did call that dinner. ¬†So, really that little bit wasn’t so bad. ¬†I’m rather proud of myself for jumping right back on the wagon this week. ¬†Of course, Thursday through Sunday is always the hardest, so here we go…

I have to get moving. ¬†A couple pounds have come off, but only a few. ¬†I have to get moving. ¬†I know it, but I don’t like it. ¬†I’m not going to think about that anymore today. ¬†Maybe tomorrow.


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BACON!

close-up-nourriture-¬†baconThat got your attention, didn’t it?

Oh, yes, I love bacon. ¬†I REALLY love bacon. ¬†I’m not sure I trust someone who doesn’t love bacon (religious observance exemptions, of course). ¬†But bacon, as much as I love it, is not worth the points. ¬†It takes several pieces to make me happy once I start eating it, and I don’t want to blow six WW points on bacon. ¬†PLUS, I really like it sort of under cooked and not too crisp. ¬†Mmmm, but that’s even more fat and points, so I must say no. ¬†But the family still loves bacon. ¬†Nothing makes my family happier on a Saturday morning than when I cook up a whole pound of the stuff and serve them eggs and/or pancakes with it. ¬†So, I can EAT bacon with my family, or I can cook it and NOT eat bacon with my family, or I can not BUY the bacon and no one eats it. ¬†Today, I made the bacon and did NOT eat it. ¬†I’m so excited, and nearly high on this accomplishment. ¬†I enjoyed the smell, and the smiles, but I did not eat any. ¬†And it’s best that way, because one bite leads to one strip, to two, to three, you get the idea. ¬†And don’t worry, the four of them did not polish off an entire pound of bacon. ¬†There are several pieces left to put on Daddy Bird’s bagel sandwiches in his lunches this week.

Now to figure out how I’m going to skip all food until I meet with my girlfriends tonight to have wine and cheese. ¬†More things I love that aren’t always worth the points, but tonight, I will splurge. ¬†Okay, okay, I’ll eat some veggies at lunchtime!


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Just one more thing tonight…

They’re all asleep! ¬†Of course the kids are, but Daddy Bird fell asleep on the bed with his book. ¬†The house is so quiet. ¬†I know I’ll regret it in the morning, especially because of this whole “spring forward” nonsense, but I love that I am snatching a few more quiet moments alone. ¬†The homework is almost done. ¬†Nothing I can’t finish tomorrow afternoon/evening. ¬†The kitchen is all clean, and there’s a fresh glass of wine next to me. ¬†It’s down right blissful.

So, I’ve been twittering around twitter. ¬†Not tweeting. ¬†Well, not much, yet. ¬†I had an account all set up, but I hadn’t even logged on in almost four years before last night. I’ll connect the blog. ¬†Maybe you got her that way. ¬†But mostly, I think it’s a good way for me to keep up with places that might provide connections for future job prospects. ¬†Libraries and museums, mostly. ¬†No reason not to try and keep up with what’s going on in the world, right? ¬†And that should give me LOTS of stuff to read when I should be studying, right?

I should tell you about school, about how I ended up doing this, about what I’m doing. ¬†Well, for now, just know I’m working on my Masters of Library and Information Science, from Kent State. ¬†It will be mostly an online endeavor, but I hope to take some classes at the State Library. ¬†There. ¬†Now you know, if you didn’t already.

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