Saturday, October 30, 2010

Replay of a Sugarless Halloween

The pattern follows that springtime is the great motivating factor for fitness, summertime is the epitome of fitness, but once the Halloween candy storms the castle, the winter fluff abounds. Last year, for the first time, we swore off the candy. C thought I was a little crazy, but it went off rather well. The kids loved something different and new. We threw in a few fruit snacks to boot, but all-in-all, the prize buckets went over splendidly. It really is a selfish endeavor, I must admit. I only buy candy on very rare occasions, but when you have an open bucket of treats sitting there for weeks, and left-overs to boot, chances are that those little Almond Joys and Twix bars are going to find their way into your salivating mouth.

I once worked in a restaurant that served free peanuts. Someone told me that one peanut per day over a year's time added up to five lbs of weight. I stopped eating peanuts and was in amazing shape the whole time I worked there. I guess that tiny choice mentality stuck with me, even though I am not perfect in my eating habits. Here's to another candy-free Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Black Outs

This morning I woke at 1:00 to replace the ice on my foot, take more Perc with food, and couldn't get back to sleep for some time. Maybe it had something to do with what I ate with my pain pills. Nothing sounds yummy at 1:00 AM, so I opted for Dreyer's Slow Churned Pumpkin ice cream. Sugar + girl who rarely eats sugar + 1AM = Wakey wakey.

I pulled out my phone and texted my dad to thank him for being there for me, and to make a date for next week when we could go hang out. I then texted my mom to reply to her question about what I wanted for my birthday. I guess she doesn't turn off notifications at night because I received the following text:

Do you know it is four thirty in the morning? 

Needless to say, I decided that texting my mom at four thirty in the morning isn't the best decision because she will definitely get the message.

I finally fell asleep for a few hours, and then woke to see the sun coming up and peeked out the window to see a lovely bank of pink clouds sweeping across the sky. I then limped off to the kitchen to find something to eat with my pain pills and refill my ice packet. A few minutes later C walked down the hall to the kitchen to see my feet only stretched out on the floor. I looked up at him from the cool slate, "I was going to pass out, so I decided to lie down."

"What are you doing in here?"

"I needed to eat something with my pain pills," I said.

"Don't you know that's what I'm here for?"

"Well, I didn't want to wake you up..."

Back in bed, breakfast arrived in all of its glory, along with anything else my heart desired.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Have To Take Off My Pants....

...for foot surgery?

I visited the doctor recently about a painful ganglion growth in the joint of my foot. He did an ultrasound on it and found that it was larger than I thought. After several months of Rx anti-inflammatories, I determined that running and walking weren't getting any easier and I needed to have the growth removed. The doc also took an ultrasound look at my plantar fasciitis and found that it is still inflamed. He recommended some exercises that would strengthen my feet. He mentioned that regular running shoes are like casts for our feet and serve to weaken them, causing injuries like PF.

I told him that I run in Vibrams, which he seemed very pleased with, however, he recommended that I needed to build up the muscles in my feet to help me become a better runner and reduce the PF flare-ups. He gave me an article written by a couple of podiatrists who studied African runners' feet. Top running coaches (like Ivy league coaches) also focus on feet strengthening exercises since regular running and walking shoes significantly weaken the foot muscles.

Today I went for surgery. We'd planned on a later time so that C could make it, however, yesterday I received a call that it was earlier than I had planned. C felt really bad, and I confess I didn't handle the idea of surgery without my bestest buddy too well, but we ultimately made the most of it. My cute dad stepped in to stay at the hospital and C would take over once I came home. It worked out great.

Things that I said today:

"I have to take my pants off for foot surgery?"

"Can I get a robe that doesn't have a hole in the chest area?"

"Please don't cut any nerves in my foot."

"I am kind of ticked because I told you to use my left arm and you ignored me [resulting in a gusher all over the bed. My left arm has huge veins that even the worst phlebotomists can't miss]."

First words out of surgery, "When can I start running?"


To nurse Larry, "This is the best dad in the world. Just thought you should know that."

Things I heard today:

"You can wear these shorts if you want to. Wait, are these smalls? They are HUGE!"


"Oh, it's not a tear, but I guess we can tape that shut for you."

Anesthesia student, "This is the stuff that's going to make you feel HAPPY. When you wake up, you'll feel pretty great."

"The ganglion was the size of a nickle round, and two nickles stacked in thickness. It was pressing down on the nerve in your foot. You should feel much better once it mends. [Positioned inside of the joint of my big toe, right where your foot bends every time you take a step.]"
"It'll be easier to maintain the pain than to catch up. Take these as soon as possible."

"You won't remember any of this conversation. [I can recall it word for word.]"

This morning before surgery I had a list of things I wanted to get done. I needed to meet with our Website chair. I wanted to clean the shower, scrub the toilets, finish some laundry, and vacuum the living room. I also wanted to buy a shadow box for C's new marathon metal and return some items to Best Buy. I was up until midnight the night before sweeping, dusting, and doing dishes since I would be down for four days. Surprisingly, I pulled it all off before my dad arrived at 10:30 AM. It's amazing what you can accomplish in a couple of hours.

C met me after the surgery with some Chic-fil-A soup, and made me super comfy, bought me whatever I wanted, made dinner that night, and later bought me a care package including a card that said, "As you're recovering, Just Relax - put your feet up... Have people bring you things... You know...

Thanks to Dad, C, and all of the nice people who made my experience a great one today, even with all of my crazy comments!


Disclaimer: This entry written while on drugs.

Monday, October 25, 2010

And to Top Things Off...

...Penelope took a bath in my egg drop soup tonight. She had just finished taking a bath in the sink, I turned my back momentarily, and there she was, warming her puddies in my soup.

Before we got Kawi, I toyed with the idea of getting a Capuchin monkey. The more I read, the more I felt less like getting one. Diapers, throwing and wiping feces on the wall, "teenage" rampages, and suddenly I decided that all of that intelligence and power did not equate to my standard of what a pet should be.

After two years of having a reasonably low-maintenance bird, although riddled with drama, we thought we would get a second bird. She cuddles and plays and is adorable, but sometimes I feel like I wound up with that Capuchin after all...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Top 10 Things We Never Said Before Penelope Arrived...

10. Thanks, Penny, I think my hair is now fluffy enough.

9. Watch your toes. She'll even come after them with socks on!

8. You need to spend more time with Kawi. He's getting jealous.

7. Watch her. She'll eat anything she sees.

6. How is it possible for such a little critter to spread food in a five-foot radius of wherever the dish is located?

5. Looks like sweeping is now going to be a daily occurrence.

4. No, Penny, you can't take a bath in the dirty dishwater.

3. Sounds like sleeping in isn't an option anymore on a Saturday mornings.

2. No, you can't take a bath in my glass of water...

1. Stop eating your poop!

Thank goodness she is so much fun...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just When You Think You Know...

I knew I married a practical man. He is steady, loyal, and consistent. This is the type of man that women want to marry once they are sane enough to stop getting so distracted by the men that aren't good for them. This is the one blessing of divorce: I started my analysis of relationships at age 12, resulting in thirteen years of expertise on the matter by the time I said "Yes." I was not without my bad decisions along the way, but I knew what I was getting with this one.
We all dream as girls of our Mr. Knightleys and our Gilbert Blythes, but rarely do we find someone with the sensitivity and romantic tendencies of such heroic husbands without a long list of baggage to boot, whether that be an emotional roller coaster ride or some floppy sense of work ethic. I opted for the rock, the solid foundation, the one who would be a wonderful father and husband in all of the most critical ways. Sporadic is fun for a while, but it doesn't necessarily make a good father, and it doesn't pay the bills. Emotional sensitivity can be great on good days, but when things are getting rough, those are the ones who fold under life's pressures and make bad decisions.

Romance in our world has always been there, but at a different level. He is considerate, respectful, kind, generous, and a great husband by every measure. He never leaves the toilet seat up, he helps around the house when he is able, he never needs motivation to take care of the cars, keep things tidy, he never needs nagging to take care of the yard, and faithfully attends church meetings and always comes home at night. He is amazing with children, youth, and adults of every age, he is sweet and gentle with our little birds, and I never worry that he will be unemployed. This is the type of man who would never be so proud that he would think he was above working at a fast food joint to take care of his family despite the fact that he currently is an administrator over seven or eight huge programs. 
Sometimes you think you know what you are getting, and for eleven years he has not let me down. Over the past several days, however, something has changed.
C has tapped into his Mr. Knightliness, his Gilbert Blytheness, and I am not sure where it is coming from. I assure you it's not from watching my favorite chic-flicks, because I learned early on in marriage that men, or more specifically, MY man doesn't find the emotional intricacies of a chic-flick mentally stimulating or entertaining.
Date planning often has taken the form of: 
"What do you want to do?" 
I dunno, what do you want to do? 
"I don't care, just pick something."
But lately, C has been taking point. After a delicious dinner the other night while staying at our favorite Staycation spot, C said, "I am going to take you on a drive. Is that okay?" I was delighted. His idea, his initiative... 
 "Let me know anytime you want to stop and take pictures." He offered. Usually I ask, and he obliges, but he offered even before I asked. +1!
Then, just when I didn't think it could get any better, he pulled over at a beautiful overlook and we had one of THOSE moments...
You know the ones; the moment where Mr. Knightly kisses Emma, or where Gilbert and Anne kiss for the first time... The ones that make your heart tickle and sigh in the movies, and the one that you have been waiting for the whole movie?    
"Who are you and what have you done with my husband?" I asked. No, I really did. 
And when she gets flustered and frustrated, doesn't every woman want the man who takes her in his arms and kisses her - not a peck, but a go-go-power-rangers-recharging kiss. And doesn't she want to hear something comforting and sweet like, "I am so amazed at you being able to keep the house looking so neat and clean with everything that's going on!" ++++1!!!!!!
Or after a twelve hour day at work, turning around the next morning and rushing to get out the door for a meeting, he sneaks up behind you and wraps his arms around you. "You really are one amazing woman, you know that?" Later you receive a text in the middle of your hectic day asking if he can switch out cars with you to get the oil changed because it's his day off. You tell him he can't get mad at you for how messy the car is because you didn't know he was going to be driving it. 
After a week so full of demands and challenges that at the end of the day you come home and collapse on the bed because you have nothing left to give. He lets you rest, and then takes you out to dinner (he just drives to one of your favorite places - no decisions necessary!!!) in your perfectly clean, perfectly detailed car.
This morning, he put his arm around me and kissed me and said, "I wouldn't have you any other way." I think I could get used to this.
I confess, I thought this would just go away, but it hasn't yet, so who knows. Maybe an already magnificent man can really get even more magnificent, and maybe what you thought would be a practical love story can turn out to be a fairytale after all... 

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Pig and the Princess (and The Roman and the Jedi)

We were the coolest table at IHOP. People even told us so as we left. Wearing costumes in public definitely has its benefits. The IHOP balloon guy hooked us up with a light sabre for Obi Wan, A Roman sword for the Caesar, a bow and arrow for Arwen, and a pink wand with a white heart on top for the Southern Belle.
Obi Wan decided that his costume was a little too market-fresh and opted for some authentic distressing for a more realistic effect. The hay jump didn't require a subsequent head-roll, but Little #1 decided it was only fitting for a Jedi knight.
The corn maze was a big hit, especially for Uncle Ben. Ben kept it exciting by pretending that the corn was out to get him, and the attentive and lauding audience definitely helped his antics. We had to go through the maze twice, and according to Little #1, that just wasn't enough.

Little #1: I know Uncle Ben doesn't know some stuff, but he's really cool.

When you get that much practice being their age, you kinda can't help being cool. He's like that little big brother who will never grow up.
At least Ben's voice carries, making him rather easy to locate, so I didn't mind leaving Little #1 (who preferred the scary slide to the petting zoo) a few yards away with Uncle Ben while Little #2 and I visited the bunny pen...
...and the sheep...
...and the pigs...
...and the donkey. "His teeth are big like corn!" She exclaimed.
She even got to hold a little baby chicken. "I held it gently," she said after a cute little man eagerly relieved her of the fluffy hen.

The Trick-or-Treat wagon ride was a blast. We saw Pooh bear, 
a candy-wielding Darth Vader, Spider Man, Tigger, and a few other kiddie favorites along the way. 
Uncle Ben was just as thrilled as the rest of the kids to see his favorite characters.
Little #1 saved all of the caramels gathered from the hayride and asked me to melt them onto an apple. Uncle C accidentally ate one, but we supplemented it with a honey toffee and it turned out quite nicely. 
"I'm a Southern Belle. I'm from Southern!" Little #2 explained to one of the farm employees.

After some ice cream and dropping Uncle Ben home in time to watch Princess Diaries on Disney, we finally located How To Train Your Dragon in a nearby RedBox. Little #1 found several advantages to our movie projector, including tossing kettle corn into the air so that it showed up as a shadow on the wall, and positioning himself so that his shadow replaced Hiccup's face on the screen. I guess those are all of the things you WANT to do at a movie theater, but aren't allowed.

Sunday we woke up and got dressed and ready for church early, had some lunch, and took a quick drive up the canyon to look at the leaves. Little #1 asked if he "had" to go, but finally consented. We listened to John Schmidt's music while driving, and Little #1 kept asking me to play the Romeo and Juliet/Cold Play mix. "I think I could drive through this FOREVER!" He said, suddenly glad he'd come along. The colors were much more amazing than my photos reflect, but you may see the rest of them here.

I dropped them off that evening with the promise of braving a Monopoly game with them the next time they visit and eating at their favorite pizza joint. I miss them already.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The moment I woke up on Thursday, I knew I would survive this week; until I went to bed on Wednesday night I wasn't so sure. Some weeks are challenging, and some weeks are downright hard, but this week was a dragon. I limped through a long heavy list of to-do items, managed the loads of stress that have been building up since July, and picked one item a day to make home livable.

Sometimes the body holds onto stress until it knows that it is finally safe to let it go, and it all seemed to surface at once. Somehow, with the opening of certain wounds, there seemed to be a plenitude of salt-rubbing going around. I made it through because I had one thing to look forward to: my littles.

My littles speak like angels. I could listen to them all day. We have conversations like this about the most interesting things:

Little #1: There is a restaurant and it has been there since 1950s. Er, I can't remember if it's 1950s or 1590s.

Me: Well, probably 1950s since Indians were the only ones living around here in the 1590s.

Little #1: Yeah, the 1950s. That had to be before electricity was created!

Me: Actually, color TV came out in the 1950s. Your Nana (grandma) had the first color television in her neighborhood! When TVs first came out, they only had a few shows on, so you would turn on the TV and there was just fuzz the rest of the time.

Little #1: So which came first, color TV or more TV shows? 

Little #1: Do you have a video game console?

Me: A wha? Oh, no. I don't. I do have a video camera. Do you know what you can do with a video camera?

Little #2: Make videos!!! Yeah!!!

Little #1: And maybe we can borrow it so I can make LOTS of movies!

{Me, contemplating 'lending' a $1500.00 HD camera to a nine year old and a seven year old, and then remembering I had seen some cheap video cameras at the store recently}

Me: It sounds like that's something you might like for your birthday.

Little #1: When is YOUR birthday?

Me: In a few weeks.

Little #1: Am I invited? Am I? Am I? Maybe I will have to get you a video game console for your birthday! Or maybe a DS, so you can take it with you!

I love seeing Little #2 go down a silly slide and jump and giggle. I love watching them both squeal in delight as turkeys hastily snatch up the corn that they toss it through the fence and as goats lick the palms of their little hands. Each laugh is like a soothing balm to my heart, and each golden word is a delight to my ears. They are so good for my soul.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Harvest Lessons

 This year I planted about five varieties of tomatoes, most of them seen here: Yellow pear, red pear, grape, and these little orange sweeties that are as tasty as candy. I planted a beefsteak variety and a roma managed to sneak in there somehow, but they were too close to the fence, so I only managed to produce green tomatoes from that batch. I like green tomatoes, so I guess this isn't a bad thing, but tomatoes need lots of sun, and I gave them partial shade. Lesson #1: More sun.
Our farm-savvy neighbors mentioned that their broccoli had caterpillars in them, but our broccoli was pristine and produced quite well this year. Unfortunately, I didn't really know what to expect with broccoli, having never grown it even as a child. I didn't know if I would just get one stalk and then it would be over? Well, it keeps on giving, and at the end of the season you just break off the individual florets rather than getting the whole stalk, otherwise it flowers, and once it flowers, it stinks. By stinks, I mean, you search for the smelly item in your fridge and pass by the fresh lovely broccoli each time without thinking it could be the culprit.

I have made a practice of steaming it right away and reheating it for this purpose. Lesson #2: Broccoli can get stinky. Lesson #3: Broccoli grows like a beanstalk with huge leaves that overshadow anything nearby, so give it plenty of room to grow!
 I hate my new macro setting on this new camera. Close-ups are NOT going well so far... but strawberries are also in need of more sun. They remained reasonably small and slug-infested this year, but then I didn't put my usual slug bait out. Lesson #4: Death to all slugs!
 I wasn't sure if those tiny little onions would really amount to much, but let me say that I have not had to hunt for Walla Wallas all summer long, and is there anything better than a Walla Walla onion, fresh from the garden? Behold, I say NAY! Lesson #5: You are insane if you don't plant Walla Wallas again next year!
 There were at least two plants that suffered from the broccoli monopoly of sunshine. The first is the eggplant. Behold my lone eggplant, sun-deprived, but so adorable! Lesson #6: If you want to EAT the eggplant, more sun, and keep it away from the broccoli.
A week ago my neighbor brought by some of the green peppers from her garden. Shown here after spending a week in the fridge, her peppers were more gorgeous than store peppers and tasted better! Oh, and that shriveled little runt below it? My lone green pepper. Alas, the second casualty of the broccoli monopoly. Lesson #7: Give us-us SUN!

No photos, but the pears and apples (which I have discussed in the past), were gorgeous and tasty as usual. I did get a couple of plums off of our new tree, a handful of gorgeous raspberries, and a few cherries. Who knows, we might actually get a peach or two! Next year is our healthy-tree year, the time when I will apply all of the great knowledge from our arborist, since I didn't have time this year. Lesson #8: Prune the apples less aggressively, and wait until March to help give them a healthy start...

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