Monday, August 22, 2011

Healthy Food...ALL DAY LONG!

I did it!  I actually ate nothing but healthy, fresh food all day long.  Must take a moment to celebrate! 

I took the last of the leftover spicy lentils and slaw that I had made for tacos and turned them into a nice soup for breakfast by just adding some water and tomato paste and heating it up.  Yum!  I don't like most traditional breakfast foods, so soup is my favorite type of breakfast.  Mid-morning, I ate carrots with garlic hummus from Trader Joe's. Then I ate an apple.  By lunch-time, I really just wanted to heat up some frozen food.  I looked in the freezer and saw a frozen entree of pasta and broccoli and thought to myself "I don't want all that SALT in my body."  I must say, that was a surprising and proud moment.  So instead, I quickly cooked some onions and fresh spinach and then scrambled some eggs into the mix with lots of black pepper.  Yeah, I did notice that I eat soup for breakfast and eggs for lunch.  That's just the way I roll.  snicker...snort!

Mid-afternoon, I was still hungry so I whipped up a huge Kale salad with lemon juice and avocado.  It really did only take 5 minutes!  I learned how to juice a lemon using just a fork--less clean-up required than using a citrus juicer.  Score!  By the time I picked up Joaquin from pre-school, I was pooped.  So I sat down with him and we ate lots of cherries and some grapes.  By then, I felt rested enough to start on some dinner.  I made stir-fried brown and wild rice with fresh orange juice and zest, broccoli, green beans and carrots--all organic from the farmer's market in Orinda.  It didn't taste all that great as I am still fine-tuning that recipe, but it was OK and very colorful.  I made coleslaw with a lemon vinaigrette, using sliced green and red cabbage and grated carrots.  The freshness and tenderness of the farmer's market cabbage was amazing! 

And then I had a glass of red wine, much needed after a long day at work and then dealing with my very demanding toddler.  He is such a fiery little guy.  So full of mischief...he boggles my mind sometimes.  Now, I am so tired...I hope, hope, hope this healthy eating along with a lot of rest will help me get my energy back and allow my lungs to heal.  I really don't think I spent any more time preparing the healthy food than I spend on eating the un-healthy junk that I ate in the past.  That's right, Kerri!  IN THE PAST!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mellow Sunday

I am supposed to be resting...resting...resting.  No riding this weekend for me.  Lungs still hurt.  Still tired.  Still coughing.   Still getting woozy if I do much of anything. Ugh.  Mark is working hard at the store today.  Staying home with a toddler is great for a few hours.  But then...he gets restless...which quickly turns to naughty.  So it was more "restful" for me to drive him over to Tilden Park to the little farm. 

Quack!  Quack!
Everybody poops!
Prince Joaquin feeds a goat.
...and pets the goat.
Checkin' out the sheep.
He loves to wear that crown, even though he doesn't know what a "crown" is, yet.
Piglets...born on August 4th
Earnestly talking to a cow...
Riding the carousel
View from the, huh?
Posing at the Zebra Car
(notice the tail...)

Fearless!  He climbs up there all by himself.
The big bonus for Mama?  He falls asleep on the drive home.  And is still napping.  Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mark's Birthday Today

A day off, together.  Lovely.  We took Joaquin to his pre-school and headed into the city for breakfast at Pat's.  Pat was nice enough to take our photo:

Mark recently shaved off his goatee and mustache because Joaquin didn't want to give him kisses because he was too "pokey".  Now he looks about 25, even though he turned 39 today.  It's so annoying.  When we were dating he looked older than his true age, because he smoked and drank too much and caroused around too many late nights.  Now he eats a lot of healthy vegetarian food, never gets a night out, quit smoking, and rarely drinks more than a beer here or a glass of wine there.  So...I married a guy that looked close to my age and now...well...not so much.  Oh well, if that's my biggest complaint with him (and it is) I consider myself very fortunate.  He makes me feel loved and encouraged every day and he's a lot of fun too.

After breakfast we visited the art galleries at 49 Geary.  Had a nice little lunch at the cafe at Neiman Marcus.  We observed a driver of a Bentley suited up and standing beside the car with the door open.  Standing there for a good 20 minutes.  I thought...oh my!  A really rich person like you see in the movies is going to come out of the store soon.  Sure enough...out comes an elderly lady in a wheelchair assisted by two store employees carrying zippered garment bags.  People really do live like that!  huh. 

We headed over to one of my favorite bars, Marlena's, for a hot toddy.  And then strolled around the shops, ending up at a gourmet chocolate shop and sampling several chocolates in lieu of a birthday cake.  Too sick this week to do any baking.  This darn bronchitis just won't let go.  It was a lovely day and I never get tired of hanging out with my husband. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yarn Along...2nd Wed in August

Joining Ginny's Yarn Along today...
Crochet Project
Drawer Organizer
I am up to the 4th side of the Drawer Organizer that I started in July.  I am looking forward to putting this to good use :)
A vest for Joaquin
I started knitting this back in February and for the last two months it has been sitting on my big desk waiting for me to finish it.  I haven't been able to...very intimidated by the neck and arm hole finishing.  I hope posting it today will be the kick in the pants I need to finish it by next week (before he outgrows it).  It's from a Debbie Bliss knitting book, can't find it now but will post later.

I haven't done much reading because I've been sick and when my head is muzzy, I don't like to read.  I am half-way through the Keith Richards bio and it's an OK read.  Not riveting, but I am interested in his outlook and thought processes as his life has been so radically different than mine or anyone I know.  There was a nice article in the Oprah magazine about vegetarian dinners.  And the California Home Landscaping book is on loan from my horse trainer and has great garden plans that are inspiring. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eating the Marnie way!

Marnie, my vibrancy coach, gave me an assignment this week that is PROVING to me that I can eat fresh, healthy food with the same time and effort that it takes to eat over-processed, way too fat and salty food.  Following her direction, I shopped last night at Trader Joe's and bought a lot of pre-prepped food.  All fresh, a lot of it organic.  My inner critic is quite vocal about how this isn't the "right" thing to do.  I am supposed to buy ALL organic, non-packaged, fresh from the farmer's market or, better yet, my own garden.  I am learning to ignore that voice.   And, instead, to focus on what Marnie is patiently teaching me--it's about "progress, not perfection".  Conceptually, that makes sense.  But somehow my inner being is very SLOW to adapt.  It's obvious, and just plain common sense that my shopping at Trader Joe's and buying pre-prepped food is a HUGE step in the right direction from shopping the frozen food isle at the grocery store. 

Marnie is also teaching me to celebrate my success!  I find that blogging provides a fun way for me to do that, as I enjoy sharing my successes and my challenges.  It's turning out to be a great tool for supporting me in my goals.  There is a sort of accountability, to myself, to step up and make progress every day.  Just like the Yarn Along helps me to stay motivated on my crochet and knitting projects.  I know how much I enjoy seeing what others have done, so I want to give back the same to anyone stopping by my blog.

So here is how my eating went today, and it was a HUGE improvement over anything happening in a very long time:
Brown and wild rice with stir-fried veggies.
Marnie provided a quick little recipe for stir frying some veggies that she promised would take less than 10 minutes and she was right!  I had started the morning by cooking a pot of long-grain brown rice mixed with wild rice.  My favorite!  I had found this easy recipe for making it on my stove-top and it has come out perfectly every time.  Marnie had suggested that I make a big batch so I can throw it into salads and veggies throughout the week.

Organic corn tortilla with cheese, fresh salsa, kale, and avocado.

Green smoothie!
Collard greens, blueberries, strawberries, and banana.
Such pretty colors...right before I pushed the button to
 "reconfigure" into teeny, tiny liquified bits.

Salad (using a bit more rice) with pasta.
I had two helpings of the salad and only the single serving you see in the photo of the pasta.  Plus a glass of red wine.  My body already feels more relaxed.  Yay!  Somehow, eating high-fat, salty foods makes me more tense and definitely more tired.  I am very encouraged to think that I could make this my lifestyle...a regular was all quick and very easy. 
Joaquin loves salad and pasta!
I discovered the key to Joaquin eating salad quite by accident.  It never occurred to me that a 1-year-old would eat salad. (Yes, he is now 2 1/2, but he started eating salad when he was 1 1/2.)   He wanted what WE were eating, so I put some salad on his plate.  He had somehow gotten the idea that salad was some sort of treat only for Mama and Papa and he wanted some for JOAQUIN!  And it just so happened that the first time he ate it, I had made the dressing fresh instead of using bottled dressing.  That was the key!  As long as it is fresh dressing, with some sweet and sour flavors, he eats a LOT and says "Yuuuummmm!  Salad!".  It's so funny!

Here is one of my favorite salad dressing recipes:

4 TBSP fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice
2 TBSP extra-virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1/2 TBSP raw Agave Nectar
1/2 tsp Tarragon
1/4 tsp Basil
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Sea Salt

I am especially proud, and need to celebrate here for a moment, the fact that I made this healthy food happen today when I was still sick.  I am very motivated because I have been sick a LOT this year and I am tired of it.  Plus, I thought I'd see if Marnie was right and it was just as easy as preparing my frozen food and eating junk.  Turns out she was right!  I expect this won't be the last time, either.  Of course my inner critic tried to spoil it all by saying that I ate a bit too much today...too many calories.  How 'bout we all just tell her to SHUT UP!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Treasures in the mail

I am so discouraged as I am sick.  Again.  Had a fever today.  Couldn't focus, finally gave up on work for my corporate job and went to bed.  One of our store employees quit unexpectedly so Mark worked all day going to a trade show to scout for new merchandise and then had to work the sales floor from 5 to 11pm.  He's going to be tired tomorrow, but is very excited about the store right now.  Yay! 

Anyway...I had to rouse myself from my sick stupor and get out the door to pick up our son from "boat park" (Joaquin's name for his little daycare).  I opened the front door to leave and there it was!  A box on my doorstep.  I knew immediately whence it came.  I couldn't stop to open it, so had the delicious sense of happy anticipation all through picking my son up and stopping at Trader Joe's to stock up on fresh produce.  Joaquin got his own shopping cart and filled it to the brim with Blueberries, Cantaloupe, a single husk of Corn, Cherries, Broccoli "Trees" (as he calls them), Pasta, a Banana, and some "healthy" version of Cheese Puffs.  I was so delighted to see him make his own choices and see that they were all so healthy.  It seems, amid all the crazy chaos and complete disorganization that is our life right now, we are doing something right.

I am so very much, looking forward to making changes in my life to slow it down.  Simplify.  Let go...  And make it count.  One of my inspirations for getting there is Tonya's lovely blog and it is from her family that I have the pleasure of enjoying my box of treasures in the mail:

We will use the branch holders for our nature table. 
The buttons will go on a sweater I will knit for Joaquin.
Tonya included a kind note so it was like getting a gift from a friend.  I love that!
We also chose a set of building blocks for Joaquin.
My favorite shot! 
I realized, quite suddenly, that I could focus on how frustrating it is to be sick again.  Or I could thank God for my many blessings.  I chose the latter and my day, and my heart, feel so much better. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Fair to Remember

Weekend before last, I went to a little street fair.  One of my favorite blogs is Oh the Cuteness! and Chase had mentioned she would be there.  The location was just a couple of blocks from my candy store, so I thought it would be really fun to stop by.  And it was!  I had my toddler with me, so couldn't really chat easily with everyone or take as much time as I wanted, but he was very well behaved for a two-year old and I found some lovely things:
Joaquin chose this cute zipper pouch because it had a GARBAGE TRUCK on it!!!
And CARS inside!
 It was made by .retool.  "cool vegan stuff".

I really wanted one of Chase's owls, so I let Joaquin pick the one we would bring home:
Too cute, no?
I also found this vintage purse...what is it about blue purses?

from Beholden Vintage & Resale.  Joaquin used it as "his" purse for the rest of the day.  So idea that this could be fodder for teasing by other kids.

It was a very charming day...I found two t-shirts at the fair for my son, Ian.  He's 23 and likes to wear shirts with funny captions.  I thought this was a hilarious choice to give to my meat-eating son from his vegetarian, candy-store owning Mama:
They were made by a North Beach local, based on a quote he said to a bartender. 

Last year I bought Ian a shirt that said "Meat is MURDER" and then in tiny letters below "tasty, tasty murder".  He loves it because, besides being funny, if any vegetarians give him grief about it, he has an easy explanation of "My mom's a vegetarian and it was gift from her." 

I also found this one:

My son likes ninja's and I used to call him "Fat Boy" when he was a teenager because he was so skinny.  I was an obnoxious mother, I hope Ian forgives me.  He is coming up from southern CA at the end of this month for a visit.  We have a great time playing "The Settlers of Catan", although we call it "Siedler" because we learned to play from our German friend, Almut, and her lovely family.   Ian is teaching me to play chess, so we have some fun one-on-one time with that.  Joaquin loves his big brother.  Plus, my husband likes eat meat and I won't cook it and he doesn't like to cook--but Ian does!  So they usually enjoy a couple of nice steaks together.  Plus, Ian will usually babysit one night while he's here, so Mark and I can have a night out together.  Everybody is happy when Ian comes to town!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My vision board is not selfish...I tell myself. Do I approve?

Blogging, I find, brings a lot of things into question.  There's a fresh awareness that springs from wondering how my entries are perceived.  After my post on my collage, now renamed my "Vision Board" by my vibrancy coach (that's a term I made up for what she's doing for me), I became very self-conscious about it.  Concerned that you would view the emphasis on myself, and not on being a wife and mother, as being shallow and self-absorbed.  Marnie's feedback was just swell.  She reminded me that it is our responsibility to ourselves and the universe to be our best selves.  My definition of my best self is unique and our uniqueness is a key part of God's creation.  Apparently, animals share the same DNA, but human DNA is absolutely unique.  For a purpose.  So I give myself permission and encourage myself to focus on being my best self. 

Long ago, when my 23-year old was very young, I read a book about the pressure of our current culture on being a "good mother" and how, trying to live up to impossible standards and not honoring yourself, actually makes you a bad mother.  I had to learn to put myself first, some of the time;  otherwise, I absolutely could not provide good parenting for my son.  It was, and still is, a difficult balance to maintain and I feel frustrated, sad, and angry about the pressure I feel from within to not focus on myself because it is "selfish".  I don't think that's what God intends for us. 

I have health issues that must be addressed.  I am 40 pounds overweight, have borderline-high blood pressure.  I suffer from uncomfortable bloating on a regular basis.  My ankles swell.  I have 2 types of skin cancer (the "better" 2 of the 4 types).  I feel uncomfortable in my own body.  And not ttractive, which makes me grumpy.  I am tired ALL THE TIME.  I get sick often.  I am embarassed to see photos of myself because I think "That's not me!"  "That CAN'T be me!

It is imperative to my well-being that I learn better ways of living and that is why, even though we really can't afford it, I am working with Marnie.  We really can't afford for me to continue with my current living habits--they are marching me to an early grave and I have been a willing participant.  Change is hard.  I love my life.  I love God for giving it to me.  I love my husband.  I love my children.  I love my family and friends.  I love horses and dogs and cats.  I love to knit, and crochet, to sew and make music.  I love to read and watch movies.  I love to go for drives with my husband.  I love doing almost anything with him (fighting...not so much--thankfully we spend little of our precious time on that endeavor).  I want to feel vibrant, strong, healthy, flexible, and energetic.  And so I am starting to learn new habits.

One of the most intersting ones, is that of celebrating my successes.  I have always pushed myself to do better.  No matter what I achieve, I barely pause to acknowledge that accomplishment because I am very focused on what I plan to do NEXT.  Learning to stop and really, truly celebrate each victory has been oddly painful.  It hurt, at first, to feel the feelings of celebrating a success.  Because it was impossible to ignore that I have lived for 51 years WITHOUT doing so.  I see how unapproving I have been toward myself.  How unkind.  How terribly judgemental.  The opposite of what Jesus asks me to be.  I judge myself harshly.  I judge others harshly.  What is the opposite of judging?  I think it's approving.  Regardless of whatever imperfections you see...approving.  Or is it accepting?  Or a mix of the two?  So now I celebrate my little successes and when I forget, as often happens when creating a new habit, Marnie gently and firmly reminds me to do it.  In fact, she tells me to stop and do it RIGHT NOW.  And then she waits while I do it.  And a tiny miracle happens.  I feel better.  I feel happy.  I feel hope.  And I want to do MORE of whatever it is that brings those feelings.   


Thursday, August 4, 2011

I can see it becomes REAL

This is my collage, glued to the front of a Christmas album cover:
Why on the front of a Chrismas album cover you ask...??  I wanted something that I could prop up in front of me while I work at my computer.  Something I could move about the house and prop up wherever I want to.  And it was handy.  Never diss the power of handiness!!!

I made the collage tonight.  I very nearly didn't.  I was tired and the lure of just giving up and heading to bed was very strong.  I felt such despair..I can NEVER make this happen.  Have you ever felt like that?  It's such a hollow feeling.  Putrid, almost. 

Somehow, I just pushed through, I think mostly because I felt so much anger about how stuck I have been.  But then...I did it!  I made something visual.  Something that has a lot of power.  Something that somehow, via bits of cut-up magazine pictures and glue, makes a vision REAL in my own mind.  This is me.  The real me.  And I have the will to make this show on the outside.

Sure, I have not made it all happen yet.  But I have surely started.  Isn't it true that when I set my mind to something...I make it happen?  So why not this?

Why not a strong, healthy, flexible body full of abundant, good healthy food?

Why not a skilled equestrian, strong swimmer, and flexible yoga practitioner?

Why not a beautiful home and garden?  Why not more children?  Why not continue with the adventure that is my marriage to my love (or "lobster", as we say to one another)?

I can do it and the truth of it is inside me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

I finished the Squash Baby Hat, using a washable wool yarn.  I love participating in Ginny's Yarn Along, don't you?  I find myself trying harder in excited anticipation of having something new to post.  I also finished the hat I was making for my son; it looks very similar to the baby hat above but doesn't have the alternating 8k8p pattern, as the squash baby hat does and the yarn is a really soft organic cotton yarn.

 It looks SOOOOOO much better on him, doesn't it?

I can't stop looking at his beautiful face :)  We adopted him through foster/adoption and he is just a precious gift.  He looks older than two, doesn't he?  He was so happy to see the finished hat.  And he wore it ALL DAY in his new pre-school.  He attends 3 days a week because both his father and I work full-time.  I am hoping to become a stay-at-home mom sometime in the next 3 years and give Waldorf-inspired home-schooling a try.  That's another reason I find Ginny's blog so inspiring.  I also love Tonya's blog for the same reason.  Both these women blog with such love and grace...(happy sigh...)  Do you have a special blog to share?  I would so love to know about your favs...

I am continuing to crochet my drawer organizer (see last week's Yarn Along post, below) but it's not that interesting to look at yet.  Hopefully next week there will be a more inspiring photo.  Also, I am reading Organized Simplicity and starting a new "Start Fresh Monday" linky list (see previous entry), if you are interested in sharing your thoughts on "fresh starts" each week, I would love to be a part of that.