reasons I jump on any superfood, and my latest effort.

I have always, like most people probably, been intrigued by the concept of a superfood.

An elixir. Drink of life that (preferably) wasn’t virgin’s blood. Something that gave me energy and increased cup size while boosting my metabolism and slimming my waist.

I ask for so little, right?

Let’s see, what has it been in the past? All these things that have promised me everything my heart desires?

Green tea. Not bad.
Local honey. It’s just too messy to put into everything, but damn it’s good.
Olive oil.
Canola oil. No joke – it was supposed to lower my set point or something. Not that I remember. Or even know what a set point is. I just know I consistently drank shots of oil for at least a few weeks.
Coconut oil.
Cayenne pepper.
Fish oil.
Chia seeds.
White vinegar.
Cinnamon.
Cloves.
B vitamin complex. I even had some weird kind of sublingual solution.
Prenatal vitamins.

I could go on.

Recently I’ve started keeping a look out for miracle foods and pills again, because I’ve stacked on some significant weight. I thought I was just feeling bloated because I’d been slacking off the running, but during last week’s firepee extravaganza I had to break down and go to the doctor, where I met reality – the cold and ruthless bitch.

Turns out my “bloated” equaled about 25 pounds in less than six months. I was torn between tears and rage when I was on the scale.

Really, I had changed nothing. I have never been one to subsist on leafy greens or say no to a cupcake, but aside from a portion of my life where all I ate was chicken casserole with macaroni and cheese, I have never weighed this much. It’s no wonder all my clothes were/are miserably uncomfortable. Seriously – maternity pants. And my baby is two.

So of course, when I mentioned my weight gain to the nurse practitioner, I expected a lecture about exercise (duh) and eating right (duh). When I mentioned that I was on an antidepressant, though, I got none of that. Word up.

Turns out I’d never bothered to consult Dr. Google about my crazy pills, and they were most likely the weight gain culprits. I’ve since changed meds and have already dropped a few pounds (yeah – just since last week), but my weight dilemma has led me back to the superfood chase.

So now, I present to you my latest harbinger of youth and joy:

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Apple cider vinegar.

It’s a bandwagon I’ve dabbled in before, with not really much result – mainly because the stuff is so vile that stomaching it day after day is terribly daunting.

But I’m doing it. I have no clue what to expect.

Buzzing just like Neon

I’ve grown up in the South, where food is fried and biscuits are doughy.

It’s been good times.

When I married Josh, he was a normal fried okra dough biscuit eater just like me.

He still is, but over the years I’ve watched him become so much more. He discovered how much he loved the art of good food. And as picky as I am, I have branched out….a lot, for me.

So when we go on date nights or excursions or whatever, we like to see what we can find. Local, hole-in-the-wall places are always the best kind, and face it – there’s a sharp satisfaction in knowing you’re thumbing your nose at places with packaged preserved freezer food.

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Last weekend we found THE place.

It was amazing.

We had no idea what to expect, but isn’t that always the best?

We got our beers out of the freezer, sat down, ordered burgers. I was not overly excited, I mean I’ve had burgers.

Then Josh got curious about the steak on the plates of the guy and girl close to us.

He asked them what was up with their steakful plates when the menu was clearly steakless.

Turns out you can pretty much custom order anything out of their fancy free range organic pampered and petted produce section. The girl part of the duo we befriended (I didn’t think to get her name, but her dress was awesome and so was her steak) chopped up a little sampling of the stuff they’d preordered so we could try it.

I had never wanted to fold an entire steak in half and cram it down my throat before…but now I have.

I didn’t do it, but I so wanted to.

Our burgers came and…

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Seriously.

I want to go back every weekend. It was like eating at a friend’s house – a friend with ALL of the meat and ALL of the beer.

You guys should totally go.

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My first two-part series. Thanks, Netflix

This has been a weekend full of eating. It’s a good thing I didn’t make any resolutions to eat less or lose weight, because I would pretty much have already sabotaged myself.
We’ve been doing a good bit of Netflix-watching over the past couple of weeks. Saturday night we went to see our friends Marty and Erin in Tennessee, because Josh has this kickass beef that he’s started making and they had yet to eat any. So we went.

Whenever we go to Adamsville for dinner, Josh and Marty wait until we arrive to buy any of the preparations. We get there, we unload into the house, and the boys immediately leave to go get groceries for the meal.

And go to GameStop. And Taco Bell. And buy pies at the nearby gas station.

So Saturday night while the guys were gone, Erin and I decided to watch a movie (much to Lucy’s chagrin – she would be happy to watch the Birthday episode of Yo Gabba Gabba for the rest of her life).

Erin chose a documentary called Dive! which, in a nutshell, is about a bunch of people (and their families) in California who live primarily off the food they retrieve from dumpsters behind grocery stores.

I know, right? I think Erin chose it because she thought they were going to talk about dumpster diving for furniture or clothes or whatever – I know that’s what I thought.

But yea and verily, I was wrong. It was TOTALLY about food.

Initially I was grossed out. But then they showed the food they were retrieving…bread, meat, produce. All tossed out because of a cracked egg or a looming sell-by date. Stuff that was top-of-the-line shit…and perfectly fine. It just happened to have come out of the store by the back door, instead of a reusable shopping bag.

My snobbery started to wane when I realized that these people were eating organic, free-range, antibiotic free meats and veggies and most of the time I don’t even look at that stuff because it’s so expensive.

Then they started talking about the amount of waste the US produces and I felt like a greedy asshole.

Did you know that the US wastes 96 billion pounds of food a year? One year of our waste could feed the entire population of Haiti for like five years.

Yet, because we don’t share, and because everyone is so focused on profit, we still have hungry people in our country. That’s so bizarrely wrong on so many levels.

It’s sobering to be told things like that. Stuff we all know in the back of our mind and don’t really think about.

So while I won’t be scaling the dumpsters behind Kroger anytime soon (I totally would, by the way – but Josh said it was too close to the sheriff’s department and so he refuses to drive the getaway car), I am now actively searching for ways I can help do my part and reduce this terrible deficit between what we have and what we use – and what we need.

You can sign the online petition to Trader Joe’s here. It’s a start.

Tomorrow, I’m talking about catfish…kind of.

Because I’m not a Christmas Card sender

I’ve tried before, a couple of years I even got the cards out in time.

I felt very accomplished those years. But it’s been a long time.

So in light of the fact that I’m not organized or competent enough to send out individual paper cards, here:

Also, in the tradition of those lovely people who do a family update letter every year at Christmas, I will do this.

2011.

The year started out like they all tend to do.

Resolutions were pretty much abandoned by week 2.

I turned 31.

The institution of marriage was defined by people in all different ways.

Ava lost her first tooth. Max lost several of his.

Lucy turned one.

Josh and I decided to go back to school, and we had our 5 year anniversary.

Josh was in many plays. I was in none.

Max and Ava and Dan were also in plays.

I started going to a for real shrink.

My sister got married.

Osama Bin Laden was killed.

Occupy Wall Street began.

Josh said goodbye to his grandfather.

I registered my domain name and began to blog with fervor.

Josh and I finished our first semester of school online.

And oddly enough, that seems to be all of note I can really remember.

I am giving myself this week of mostly leisure, so you may not hear from me for a while.

I love you.

Thanksgiving thoughts…and the WINNER!

Guess what, I took exactly ZERO pictures yesterday on Thanksgiving. So I stole Josh’s. 
I don’t know what came over me.
 
Hm.
 

Anyway, so yesterday was Thanksgiving. It was lovely, really, all the food and sugar and food and people.
 
Also food.
 
But I have to admit something: Thanksgiving doesn’t feel real anymore.
 
That sounds strange I know, but it’s really the only way I can think of to describe it. 
 
I’ve had lots of Thanksgivings, from the legendary McRib Thanksgiving of 19something to awkward high school holiday sharing with boyfriend family, pregnant Thanksgivings, everything you can think of pretty much.
 
And it’s always a blast. I love my family – both sides and every person involved, and it’s never been a stress or a chore for me. Josh gets to cook, I get to bake, and everyone gets to eat. It’s fun stuff.
 
This year was fun, but….different. The meals were over and I was left with a huge feeling of anticlimax.
 
Maybe I’m just getting older, maybe Lucy was bratting it up because she’s getting new teeth. Maybe I was just in a weird mood, maybe the moon was in Shintippies and my oodles were noogin, but I think holidays may need to change a bit.
 
Come with me into my vision.
 
The day arrives with no less preparation. The kitchen is full of dishes and smells so thick you can taste every spice and ingredient. The fridge is packed, the oven is humming, and every bit of counter space is either messed or full of waiting pyrex.
 
BUT…no one is in a flurry. There is no ticking clock. 
 
The kids watch movies in their pajamas, football takes over the bigscreen, and we sit outside in shifts with mimosas and lattes.
 
Family arrives, family from ALL THREE SIDES, and instead of a big production of sitdown and proper…they just join in the day. Watching football, having conversations. The focus isn’t on minutes wasted or time shared and split. The focus is on being together. Enjoying each other with a mutual understanding of ease and fun. People leave, people arrive. Instead of stuffing face over a couple of hours, the whole day is there to be taken. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Whatever, whenever.
 
I’m willing to bet the day would wind down with a much more peaceful atmosphere.

 
Anyway. Maybe it’s just a pipe dream. Maybe it can really happen.
 
So you’ve stuck around this long, huh? 
 
Want to know who the winner is?
 
………………………..
………………………..
………………………..
 
KIM! @notblessedmama
 
YAYYYYY!
 
Kim, email me or give me a shout on Twitter. I’ll hook you up.
 
I love giveaways. That was fun. Maybe I’ll do it again sometime.

Thanks be

(here’s the giveaway I know you’re looking for)

So there have been lots of thankful countdowns and such on Facebook.

Generally I don’t shy away from things like that.

AND WHO AM I KIDDING, NOW IS NO DIFFERENT.

I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for:

My health, however I may sometimes hate the way I look and think.
My heart, and the ability I have to love and care. Really. Some people can’t do that.
My desire to be more of a person.
School.
Wine.
The way Josh loves to cook.
Pumpkin muffins.
Friendship – over the past year I’ve done some regrettable things. I’ve lost people who meant a great deal to me. But I still have some people who love me, flaws and all. And that is a blessing beyond words.

And now for the hardcore love:

I’m thankful for Dan. He is exactly the father Max and Ava need, and we are all lucky to have him.
I’m thankful for my Mom. She is everything I have ever wanted to be.
I’m thankful for my Dad. He is, now and always, the measure of the type of man I need.
I’m thankful for my sister. She has been my partner in crime for my entire life, and one of the best friends I could have. Even if she left me out of her Facebook thankful countdown.
I’m thankful for my grandmothers. For how loving and sweet they both have always been, and the memories they’ve given me.
I’m thankful for Josh’s family. They have loved me and accepted me, they are my family.
I’m thankful for my son. Max has, in the past decade, taught me more about myself than I ever expected. His heart and sweet soul are something we should all strive to match.
I’m thankful for my Ava Thomas. For the fire and joy she carries with her. For the independence I envy, and for the beauty she carries, inside and out.
I’m thankful for Lucy Grace. She has given me new life, laughter, and a joy I didn’t know I had room in my heart for.
I’m thankful for Josh. I could gush and spew about every reason, but I can sum it in this: he has taught me what love truly is. I would have gone through my life an incomplete person if I did not have him.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Recap

I know I use pictures of this tree too much, but it’s so pretty.

So I took a tiny vacation from technology for a few days. There wasn’t a particular reason, other than I got a little overwhelmed about people and things and priorities. It was a good little break. I feel better about where I am and where I’m going.

For Labor Day we ate drunk chicken and drank tea (because good Baptists only use beer for cooking? I don’t know, something like that. It’s been so long since I’ve been a good Baptist that I forget the rules). It rained a whole bunch and now they’re talking floodwaters again.

But the rain? What it did for the weather? This is my favorite, favorite time of year.

In fact I’m going to knit a scarf just because I can.

Not exactly Hoarders

Do you guys use Pinterest?

If not, you should.

It’s like a virtual bulletin/idea/brainstorm board where you can keep track of things you like.

Interiors. Crafts. Foods (oh my GOD people spend SO much time on food! Bento, fruit flowers..). Clothes. Outfit ideas. Creative party themes and useful things like that. It’s also a total timesuck, because I look at this cool outfit and that amazing reading nook and ooh this sunroom and then WHAM two hours are gone and my kid is outside smoking.I love this idea. Looking at other people’s creativity. Seeing things people like. Feeling a sense of community in wanting to create things and make things pretty.

The bad thing is, though, that I often come away at a bit of a loss. I believe Moses would refer to it as coveting my neighbor’s ass or something similar (although my neighbors are PaPaw Buck and the invisible lady with the painted mailbox, so really, no worries there).

What I’m saying is I look at these beautiful creations, be they centerpieces, cute jeans with a surprising scarf and bright shoes, or a clever saying painted on a wall, and suddenly my hair feels greasy and my teeth feel dirty and I might as well go put on a bathrobe and a turban and start dipping tobacco because clearly I am a lost cause.

I love the house we live in. I love that these walls house people I care the very most about in the world. I love that my kids can run down the hall and have Dad (x2) and Mom and everyone can all be together. I love that we get two sets of Netflix movies. I love that my kids are growing up knowing that things don’t have to be normal to be perfect.

What I don’t love is the fact that we’re all kind of slobby. We all keep things we should probably toss. I’ve tried every trick in the book – cleaning for 30 minutes a day, throwing something out every time something new is brought in, cleaning obsessively all day.

I suck at it.

And the thing is, my mom was/is the ultimate cleaning banshee. She somehow manages to keep everything looking like Martha Stewart just came for cocoa and even when my 3 kids and my niece and nephew and the dog are all rampant in full force I would have no qualms eating off her floor.

So I kind of feel like a failure before I even begin.

I mean, this is my job, right? To make the home. To have things pretty and fresh and nice.

I’m like everyone else, I go through spurts of mania enthusiasm and things will get clean and organized and I’ll be really proud. Then Dan will make a tuna sandwich and make the whole joint smell like barf or Josh will cook a chef-caliber meal and the kitchen is suddenly filled with pots and pans. Or my kids will, you know, wake up.

So I look at the crisp and pristine loveliness on Pinterest or the living rooms in Facebook albums and I pine.

Well, I alternate between pining and scolding myself for pining.

The answer to this is obvious – just don’t look at it.

But then I get these bursts and I want to make things over – but I am crap at organizing. It totally escapes me. I used to (still do) wish I would wake up one day with a Monica Gellar yen for cleaning and organization, but thus far it hasn’t happened.

I wake up still me.

Still cursing the load of clothes I’ve left in the dryer for three days because I don’t want to put up clothes (PSA: it is not really possible for two adults and a toddler, along with all their clothes and shoes, to neatly share one bedroom and bathroom without some clever apartment type finagling. And I don’t have that. I’m not a finagler.).

Still wondering what to do with all the dog hair.

Still needing to find a system.

Still debating throwing down a paint cloth and just covering up the duck wallpaper.

A girl can dream, right?

You may hate me after this

I had something else scheduled to talk about today.

But I need to tell you about yesterday.

First you should know about my two oldest kids, though. They are beautiful lovely lights of my life, but they are loud as hell. They also have this uncanny knack for choosing the MOST inopportune times to interject themselves.

Prime example:

The entire family went to see UP (minus Lucy, of course. Also, if you haven’t seen that movie, do it immediately. Don’t even finish reading). We sat, left to right, thus: Josh, me, Max, Dan, and Ava.

Dan and the kids had already seen this particular movie once, but they’d come again for the 3D.

The movie commences, and we reach the part of the touching intro where a weeping Ellie is slumped over on an exam table while the doctor looks sad and Carl looks lost and helpless.

The entire theater was quiet, soft.

The lady in front of me was sniffling.

I lost a few tears. My throat was thick.

And in the wake of that beautifully sad, artfully conveyed, wordless moment that tore every adult’s heart right out of its’ casing, my daughter leaned over her dad’s lap, 3D glasses all akimbo, and stage whispered,

Mom? MOM? SHE’S CRYING BECAUSE THE DOCTOR SAID SHE CAN’T HAVE A BABY AND SO SHE’S SUPER SAD.”

Yeah. We pretty much have a repeat of that on an hourly basis.

That’s why yesterday morning, when I heard a timid knock on my bedroom door, I did little but roll my eyes emphatically. Lucy had had an awful night (molars are a bitch) and she was finally sleeping, and I was not about to call out to answer whoever was at the door.

So I was quiet.

Ten minutes later, knockknockknockKNOCKKNOCK.

Again, I was quiet. Surely they would get the message.

Nope.

knockKNOCKknock

So I did a stage whisper of my own: “what???”

The door opened, and in walked a child. I didn’t have my glasses on at that point, so I only halfway thought it might be Max. While I fumbled around for my glasses, I told him how it was.

“My lord, Max, that was three times, can you not TAKE a HINT that maybe some people are still resting and don’t need you being all loud and…”

Glasses on. And then I saw him. Standing awkwardly in the doorway, not sure if he should leave or stay, balancing a perilously flimsy paper plate full of something.

“I…I realized that we haven’t really given you a day off since it’s the summer and so I brought you breakfast.”

Hello, world? It’s nice to meet you. In case you don’t know, my name is TOTAL DOUCHEBAG.

He quickly forgave me when I gushed apologies and told him how wonderful he is, but the guilt will live on healthily in my heart for a long, long time.