Hello Bathroom Lady

Ever run into a crazy person in close quarters?  Somewhere you can’t escape even if you wanted to?  This happened to me recently.

I was at an early morning meeting all the way on the other side of town (read – I had to wake up before the ass crack of dawn was even a thing) and had just gone into the restroom to wash my hands after eating some yummy and sticky breakfast treat.  I didn’t want to be there because it was super early in the morning and I knew it was going to be one of those meetings.  The ones that end up a bitch session and zero progress is made on the issue at hand.  Yeah…

Anyway, I go into the bathroom and there is a striking and eccentric looking woman who is fixing herself up in the mirror.  Everything about her screamed over the top… her hair, her clothing, her jewelry, her bags… she drew your attention and really filled the space.  So naturally I opened my mouth and complimented her on one of her rings.

“What’s wrong, honey?”  Was her reply.  I was in a sharing mood and was trying to avoid my meeting anyway, told I her about the meeting that was about to begin and that I hadn’t slept well because of my kids.

“That isn’t it.  There is something else going on in your life that is draining your energy.  You are in a relationship that is causing you stress…”  Ummm….. OK…. Backing away slowly.  I’m stuck in the bathroom with this woman… what do I do?  Do I hide in a stall?  She is probably one of those people who will talk to you when you are peeing… that won’t make this any less awkward.  She is between me and the door, knocking her over and running away isn’t really an option either (especially with my meeting right across the hall).

She keeps talking, telling me she is a life coach, that she has a gift, that something about me made her talk to me.  I start to panic.

“Starting over wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” she says “you are a positive person but there is something in your life that is holding you back.  You need to let that go.”

And just like that she is gone.

Since that morning I have been thinking about this interaction, I have been thinking about what she had to say, and I have been thinking about my life.

There is some truth in what she had to say.  There are a lot of forces in my life that are preventing me from being all that I can be, that are keeping me wrapped in negativity.  Bat shit crazy or not, I do think it was something that I needed to hear.  I needed a reminder that I need to learn to let things go.  I needed a reminder that I can’t let external forces bring me down.  I need to stay positive, for myself.

Maybe her gift wasn’t that far off after all.

photo credit: “Women Only” by Dick Vos licensed under CC BY 4.0

A Sickly Child

So my youngest is sick.  Again.

As a mother I worry, I have compassion, I want nothing more than to wrap her in my arms and cuddle her until whatever random virus she has is gone.

As the mother of a child that gets sick a lot, I think I’ve done something wrong.  Am I not keeping our home germ free?  Is there something wrong with our daycare?  Is there something wrong with our child?

As a working mother I feel frustrated.  Why is she sick AGAIN?  Is she really sick enough that she needs to stay home?  If I send her to daycare will I be that mom?  I can’t miss anymore work, I’ve already fallen behind.

All three are a part of me, all three fight for dominance, and no… they can’t just get along.

Finding balance is something all parents struggle with.  Not one of those mothers is completely right, not one of those mothers is completely wrong.  They all have a voice.  A voice that is valid, and a voice that should be listened to.  Mothers of today, parents of today, have to wear many hats.  I’ve only got one head.  Most people I know only have one head.  How is this supposed to work?

I don’t have the answers, and no one else does.  We just do the best we can with what we’ve got.  For now, it is time to put away the computer and cuddle my baby.  I’ll worry about those other mothers later.

photo credit: “Virus” by Laura Billings licensed under CC BY 4.0

A View of My Pantry

Here is another prompt from Writing 101 that I’m putting my own spin on.

As it stands now my pantry is a small closet filled with boxes and bags with lots of bright colors and eye catching designs.  It isn’t particularly well organized, but there is a method to the madness.  Still… it is mostly madness.

The bottom of the pantry is filled with boxes of various kitchen appliances.  There is a food processor or two, a blender, an electric griddle, and other random things.  (No KitchenAid stand mixer though… maybe Christmas)  The things here almost all live in their boxes.  Taken out when there is a need and carefully replaced because they fit just so.  The lowest shelf… snacks.  Bags of dried fruits, trail mix, juice boxes, crackers.  Also some onions.  Because that is logic.

Above that… we have cereal, boxed foods, seasoning packets, canned goods, and spices.  It is the shelf that is most often used and the shelf that is most chaotic.  Digging through the envelopes cans and jars is annoying, and we often can’t find what we need when all is said and done anyway.  Hence the fact that we own at least two jars of dry mustard.  I hate mustard.

There is one shelf where this chaos is starting to change.  A small shelf where there are lots of clear square containers.  A small shelf where these containers are neatly labeled with chalkboard stickers that tell you exactly what ingredient can be found inside.  At first it was only a small part of the shelf… a container for Flour and Sugar… then a few more things like breadcrumbs and cornmeal… slowly expanding until it has filled nearly half of the shelf.  This is the part of the pantry that is for ingredients rather than boxes.  The “Real Food” part of the pantry if you will.

As it stands now this is just a small part of our pantry, but it is slowly expanding.  I don’t know how we are doing it, but this part of the pantry is also the area that is most organized.  Maybe it is the nice, simple, and uniform packaging.  Maybe it is that this area is still relatively small.  Maybe it is because this area is really much simpler to manage.   

Images provided by IDSA

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20 Minutes in my Mind

Today’s assignment in Writing 101 is to do stream of consciousness writing for 20 minutes.  That means I just write for 20 minutes and don’t go back and edit. Except spelling.  Because I’m a terrible speller.

Already I’m out of stuff to talk about.  20 minutes is a long time.  Like a really long time when you don’t know what to do or say. When you actually have stuff you want to do, 20 minutes goes by in a flash.  Funny how your mind does that to you.  Time is constant, but there are definitely times where it does seem to move much faster or slower.  I wonder why that happens?

Normally at this point I would run off and consult with Dr. Google about this, but I’ve got 17 more minutes of writing.  Did I mention that 20 minutes is an eternity?  Yeah… I thought I might have.

Let’s talk about pie.  I don’t really have anything to say about pie… I just like to throw that in there when I run out of stuff to say.  Small talk, filler, random thoughts, it is usually good for a chuckle.  We all do something similar when we want to fill those uncomfortable moments of silence.  For some reason people don’t like being surrounded by other people in silence.  People have to chat, or play on their phones, or read, or do anything that occupies their minds.  Silence is the enemy.  Silence is awkward.

But is it?  Is it really?  Some of the most profound moments in my life occurred in silence.  We were just there together, experiencing a moment.  I mean, there might have been stuff going in the background, but no words were spoken.  Sometimes it is just staring into the eyes of a person you love… the first moment I looked into my daughters’ eyes… silence… perfection.  Laying in the arms of my husband… no words, no expectations, just sharing space… silence… perfection.  There are many moments like this some momentous like the birth of a child, others simple pleasures that we more often than not don’t stop to appreciate.

There is no need for filler, for small talk.  Sometimes we just need to let go of the pressure and learn to just be.

I’ve got only a few minutes of time now… I started this exercise with a scattered brain… no point… bouncing from place to place… delaying real thoughtful reflection with attempts at levity.  I took a few moments to relax, to get over the pressure of having 20 whole minutes to fill.  I was afraid to let go, I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything to say, I was afraid it would be something silly or stupid.  In the end I found a small success, some happy memories, and a feeling of joy.

photo credit: “Time Spiral” by gadl licensed under CC BY 4.0

Blogging 101 and Writing 101

Starting next week I’m going to be taking the Blogging 101 and Writing 101 classes offered through “The Daily Post” on WordPress.  I’m really excited to start these, and think they will really help me get started with blog.  You can expect some fun and exciting changes in the next few weeks.  I might play with the layout again, add some fun new design elements, or change everything and start from scratch.  There will definitely be more posts…. hopefully a lot of new posts.

My favorite part?  Access to a community bloggers who are taking these classes with me.  I’m looking forward to meeting some new people and getting lots of peer reviews to help me.

For now, I’m keeping it short and sweet.

Here... have some sugar.

Here… have some sugar.

photo credit: “Sculpture” by wsilver and “Yummy Gum Drops!” by hmerinomx licensed under CC BY 4.0

It’s Fall Ya’ll!

I know, I’m late to the party… Pumpkin Spice is back at Starbucks!  Pumpkin Spice day is the unofficial first day of Autumn because I live in the South, and we don’t really have seasons here.  Not in the traditional sense.  We have really fucking hot, Pumpkin Spice, cold and wet, and go outside now or you are going to miss it.

So even though Starbucks doesn’t really put pumpkin in their Pumpkin Spice, and even though their marketing geniuses have figured out that a large number of consumers only religiously stop at Starbucks during Pumpkin Spice season and moved up the release to the week before Labor Day, it is Fall.  Everyone celebrate with a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I’ll wait here.

Fall

Now that we are back… I live in the south and it is still in that really hot season.  It is in the upper 90’s and I just don’t feel like fall.  I’m working my way into it… I got a new pair of boots (we pretend it gets cold enough for that here), I’m pulling out my sweaters, and I’m starting my Autumn shopping list for the family.  Still, it is hot and humid and I sweat even thinking about going outside.

So I welcome you Autumn.  I welcome you with open arms.  Unfortunately you are stuck with my hot and sticky hugs for a few more weeks at least.

My new enemy

I tend to hurt myself a lot.  You could say that I’m accident prone.  These aren’t just normal accidents… they are weird ones.  It’s my 3rd X-Man power.  (The first is breaking technology and the second is causing people 5 miles ahead of me get into accidents when I’m running late… but those are stories for a different day.)

So I have a canker sore because I have stress.  I’m just a big bundle of nerves and anger… it is kind of my thing.  Anyway I have been sitting at work sipping on some ice water.  This wonderful liquid serves two purposes – First is hydration.  I like being hydrated, it makes everything better.  Except for needing to go pee at the time, that side effect can be a PITA.  The second purpose of ice water was the lovely numbing effect it had on my canker sore.    This is important because those things hurt like a mo-fo.

As I was sitting here enjoying my day I decided it was snack time.  My snack of the day?  A delicious orange.  I peel that bad boy, pop a segment in my mouth and am immediately floored by the searing pain of acidic juice meeting open mouth ulcer.

Fuck you orange.

Oatmeal isn’t terrible… finding truth in a tale of lies

My husband and I are the typical busy Americans. We are a bit overweight, eat lots of processed foods, go out to eat way more than we should, and keep telling ourselves we are going to get back on track and start eating better and exercising occasionally. It could happen.

One of the big pushes I have been making is trying to get our family to eat ‘Real Food’ over processed food. I’m a big fan of the blog 100 Days of Real Food and have found a lot of good information there. We aren’t anywhere close to following the guidelines, but we are making baby steps in the right direction. We are going to the farmer’s market, picking up more fresh and frozen vegetables, making more food from scratch, and replacing highly processed staples with less processed versions.

One switch that has been going reasonably well is more ‘real food’ breakfast.

Funny story time – A while back I decided we needed to change from Quaker Instant Oatmeal to Rolled Oats or Steel Cut Oats or whatever. I went to Amazon (because I love Amazon and am too lazy to go to the store) found some oatmeal that sounded good and ordered it on Subscribe & Save. I had a reading comprehension fail, because the 32oz of oatmeal I thought I was buying was actually a 4 pack of 32oz packages of oatmeal. Do you know how much oatmeal that is?!?!? Well… it is a lot. This single box of oatmeal contained more oats than my entire family had eaten collectively in our entire lives. Including cookie form (because that counts).

Even better is that I forgot to take it off of Subscribe & Save so when we were half way through our first package of oatmeal (months later) we got a whole new box of oatmeal to enjoy.

I grew up in the land of grits (grits + butter + salt + cheese = delicious). So oatmeal was somewhat foreign to me to start with. I mean the Quaker stuff with a shit-ton of sugar and other flavors was decent, but the plain stuff… pretty terrible. Now that I have 256 ounces of pure rolled oats I have no idea what to do with it’s time for me to come up with some ideas.

What I figured out is that if you want to make plain oatmeal palatable for us normal food consuming folks (ie all the people who survive on processed food), you have to add what I like to call fixin’s.  Sometimes fixin’s include brown sugar and cinnamon, other times we have fruit and cream, we even do maple syrup and nuts.  Find a combination that works for you, try to use ‘real food’ when you can.  This morning’s overnight oats (an awesome way to cook oatmeal without having to cook) contained a half cup of frozen mixed berries, 2 teaspoons of raw honey, a dash of cinnamon, and a teeny bit of almond extract. I was going for pie. I didn’t hit that, but I did achieve a yummy real food breakfast.

Then I had empanadas at work….

 

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