Friday, January 28, 2011

A Day in the Life

I used to constantly write about my life, however mundane it might be. I think it was easier when I started this blog because I was a new blogger, but also a new mother. And, every day I was experiencing something for the first time. Days spent nursing and changing diapers, folding tiny, little bibs and pants, were days filled with the joy that comes with being a wannabe mother who has finally fulfilled her destiny. Certain days would read like a comedy of errors, complete with a baby toppling off the bed or one of those poop blowout diapers we so often discuss in the parenting community.

It was all so easy then. Everything was a blog post. And, while those emotions and frustrations are all still there, though I can still tear up watching my husband read a story to our daughter, or somehow find peace in a day filled with tantrums and inconveniently timed diaper changes, I cannot for the life of me lately find the words.

And, it isn't because there isn't anything new or interesting to say about being a mom, because all around me people are doing it. Ginger, for example, wrote this beautiful post about a moment she shared with her son. A moment like so many of us experience on a daily basis. A moment that sticks with us, no matter how brief it may have been.

And then there's Clara, who is an amazing writer (and my Zen Master,) who wrote this post about an average day at home with her boys that is absolutely hilarious.

So, you, know, it CAN be done. But, you need to have a certain amount of talent and inspiration. And I'm not being whiny here; I do have small amounts of both, but they don't always choose to hang around at the same time, and sometimes they ditch me and go out for beers, and then all I can think to write about is how I made muffins today. Scintillating, no?

So, what this all amounts to is a blog about my inability to blog. But, never fear! I will write again. In fact, I got Charlotte down for an impossibly early bedtime tonight, which means I have more time before I collapse in a heap on my bed (Did I also mention I've been going to bed, like, two hours earlier than usual lately?)So, I am going to take Clara's advice and try some free-writing to get my brain moving so that one day soon I can share some awesomely bad fiction with you!

Sounds like a plan to me.

Sorry for all the links. I was all nostalgic and stuff.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Serenity Now!

Wow, has it really been over a week since my last post? The super lame one that wasn't so much a post as a list of ingredients in my cupboard? Man, this might be a new low.

It isn't traffic, comments, or networking potential that I mourn when I don't post for a while. I mourn the words that I was too lazy or tired or preoccupied to write. They might not necessarily be eloquent words, they might not say what I need them to say, but each one of them helps me stretch that writing muscle and brings me closer and closer to finding that eloquence.

See? That muscle metaphor? Weak. But, now I'm writing. I'm thinking. I'm trying things out. And maybe if I write again tomorrow, instead of a week from now, I'll be able to come up with something before that muscle stiffens up again. Oh, yes, I am riding this lame metaphor ALL the way out.

Get ready for a forced segue!

Speaking of stretching muscles, let's talk about my current fitness routine!

Yeah. That just happened. Believe it.

No, but seriously. Remember when I wrote this post about being happy? Part of the deal was to focus on being healthy instead of thin. And while there are times *cough*Christmas*cough* that I am neither, I think if I were to stick to what I said, I should be reasonably pleased with myself. I don't always find the time or energy to exercise, and I might bake a little too much for my own good. But, generally, I am healthy.

But recently, I've found that I do need to be more proactive in losing some weight. My clothes don't fit properly, and I'm not comfortable in my own skin. And I find myself wishing I could just do one of those crash diets that are just as impossible as they are bad for your health. I could eat nothing but grapefruit for a month, right? No. I couldn't. Even if I could, why would I want to?

Sometimes I understand how morbidly obese people on those TLC shows get to be the way they are. Maybe they just get so damned tired of thinking about food and calories and fats, until they wonder if this was really how they were meant to spend their lives: struggling against a country and culture that foster obesity while concurrently shaming anyone whose arms jiggle when they wave. Maybe it's like, "Screw it! I'm just going to enjoy this food and not think about it." As if that were possible.

Maybe I should get to my point. Balance. That is the word of the day. The word for my year. Instead of pondering crash diets or berating myself for even considering them and thus going back on my resolution to be healthy, I will accept that I would like to look different and take steps to achieve that. Then when I take one of those steps, I will pat myself on the back. Like when I had a good workout on the treadmill or when I choose a grapefruit over a third pancake (Both those things really happened!)And when I slip up? I slip up. I can be okay with it. I think.

When my husband showed me this lovely picture, all I could talk about was how fat I looked. I don't want to be that girl. I want to punch that girl in the face.

I'm looking for balance with my writing. I need to do more of it, but I also need to spend more time on my projects, meaning I can't worry about how often I update my blog if I'm working on something I need to spend more time writing, like the fiction I keep saying I'm going to attempt. Maybe I need some writing prompts. Or a dictator. A dictator who has given up on world domination and just wants to see me write a short story, for god's sakes, and who will yell at me until I'm done.

Balance in parenting. I think I have made vast improvements in my quest to stop worrying and over-thinking every feeling I have as a mother. Like, I don't need to feel guilty because I wish I could get out of the house more and do some of the things I did before having Charlotte. It doesn't mean I don't love her. It doesn't mean I regret having a child. I know these seem like obvious statements, but this is really how crazy I am.

The other night, Charlotte was in one of the moods, all too familiar at this juncture of our relationship, where she wanted to push my buttons. She was doing the opposite of everything I told her to do. She grabbed on to the base of a floor lamp in the corner of my bedroom she knows she isn't supposed to touch. I asked her to stop. At which point, she looked directly at me and began to shake it harder. I moved to physically pull her away from it, but I was too late. The heavy, frosted glass shade fell down and landed on her head. In that instant, before I had a chance to see the damage, when I wasn't sure if it had hit her eye, cut open her head, or gave her a concussion, I was terrified. But, I was also MAD. I told my friend that she was trying to piss me off, and she succeeded more than she had dared to hope was possible. I hate when people use a child's injury as an "I told you so" moment, convenient though it may be, so I refrained. But, once I ascertained that it was just a bump, I silently thought, "Bet you won't be touching that lamp again!"

The old me would second-guess those feelings, wonder if a GOOD mom, a mom who actually loved her children would entertain those thoughts. But, I didn't. I have accepted the balance between the idea of devoting all of yourself, leaving nothing for yourself, and of being a selfish parent. I am neither. I am human. I am ZEN.

Okay, so I'm far from Zen. But, I'm closer. Happier.

Oh, and these are my new glasses. Special shout-out to Jana who told me all about the magic of Warby Parker.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Help Me Make Dinner?

I've entered some stagnant water with my meal planning. This fall I was getting new and exciting produce from my CSA, scanning cookbooks and websites like mad, and discovering great dishes.

Things went a bit haywire over the holidays; we ate out a lot, ate at our parents' houses, and when we did eat at home, we sort of just scraped something together and passed out. Then my CSA took a two-week break for the holidays, and I was ever so lost without my veggies and the 500 apples they were sending me every week.

So, now that I have a fridge full of food again, I'm feeling a bit lost. I want to try some new recipes, but I haven't got the energy to hunt for them. So! Lest I resort to another week of the same risotto, potato soup, and stir fry that I have been eating for weeks, perhaps you could peruse this short list of stuff I have sitting around my kitchen and give me some ideas. Please? I can't promise I'll save some for you, but I will describe it to you in mouthwatering detail! That's just as good, right?

Okay, here's what I have:

Potatoes (Oh, so many potatoes!)

And some non-produce items I already had:

Arborio rice
Brown rice
Black beans

Hopefully at least ONE person will give me ONE idea. Then I will have a new recipe and won't feel like a jackass for posting this. I'll return the favor when I'm feeling more inspired...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Adventures in Exercise

I think I need to throw this bag of truffles into the trash. I sort of indicated that I was going to stop eating so many truffles after the holidays, didn't I? I do apologize for misleading you.

But! It's okay, because I actually went out for a run today. Well, a walk/run. And there may have been more walking than I'd care to admit. But, still! I went. And it was quite the ordeal, but I went anyway. Mainly because I have a little friendly wager going on with Cheryl, and whoever runs three times a week, ten times, first, gets a Starbucks card. I just envisioned lattes while I was panting along. There were a few reasons it was such a chore making this run happen today.And they are as follows:

My toddler's sleep schedule, otherwise known as OMGWTF?

We are still trying to undo the damage the holidays did to Charlotte's very delicate ability to sleep like a normal person. We live very close to both our families, plus we had family visiting from out of town. Between seeing everyone, shopping, family outings, etc. she kind of just napped when she napped, if at all, and bedtimes got later and later. It was very stressful, and ultimately resulted in what we have now, which is an almost-two-year-old who goes to bed around ten, sleeps in till nine, and naps late in the afternoon.

In trying to undo some of this damage, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to make her nap earlier. I'll spare you the boring details, but it was looking like she was finally going to sleep, but not early enough that I would have time to run before it got dark when she woke up. So, when she fought through that last attempt, I threw up my hands, made her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and strapped her into the jogging stroller. If she wants to stay up, we're doing what *I* want to do.

The Wind

I live in the desert, and one of the many fun weather patterns, besides crippling heat and frigid (to us, anyway) lows, is the wind. It's intense. Case in point: my friend bought her daughter a trampoline for Christmas. and a few days later the wind blew it up over a wall and into the neighbor's yard, effectively destroying it. When we were kids and lived in a more remote part of the desert, my sister and I would walk down the street to our friends' house where the four of us would each collect a tumbleweed, place them in the middle of the street, then let go and run away as the wind blew them down the road. Good, clean, hick fun!

So, after bundling Charlotte, handing her her cookies, and venturing out of the garage, it should not have come as a surprise to me that I was punched in the face by an icy wind. But that sort of thing tends to surprise you no matter how many tumbleweeds you've ran from or how many times you got a brush stuck in your windblown hair.

I thought for a moment that this was an ill-fated trip, and that we would have to go home. But, then I remembered that the jogging path is nestled in between two hills and might be sheltered somewhat from the blasts. So, we set out, another obstacle narrowly dodged.

My Toddler

This isn't really her fault. But, when we got to a certain part of the trail, where it widens and there's loads of grass just waiting to be frolicked upon, she was pretty much over sitting in the stroller, munching on dry animal crackers, and requested to "Run, run, run." And, I couldn't exactly blame her. So, there was sort of a lull in my workout as Charlotte ran around getting her exercise, falling on her face, getting consoled, and picking up sticks. But, I'd like to think I made up for that lull by pushing her home against the wind.

My (lack of) Stamina

I know this will change. I know I will get stronger and faster, and my lungs will no longer ache and throb after mere moments of jogging but damn is it uncomfortable in the meantime.

So, there you have it. A suburban SAHM goes for a jog. Riveting, no?