Wednesday, March 28, 2012


The Good Ship Amy, she's a-teeterin'.

I don't know if it's the last post, and my mind stretching to wrap around all those hungry adults sending their kids out to murder other children (whatever, so I'm not into sci-fi, I guess).

Or if its from trying to stretch my admittedly feeble brain around a neighborhood watch guy deciding the kid he sees walking home with candy in his pockets looks too scary to just be walking around on the sidewalk, plus what is it with that sweatshirt, so he handles that swiftly with his gun, and then goes home and (who are we kidding, you know I'm right about this next part) eats Hamburger Helper for dinner, then tucks into a warm bed for the night.

Um, last I checked "Neighborhood Watch" was like a clear-eyed liaison group who reported sketchy situations to the police so they can come handle it. Because, you know, it's their job and everything. I kinda doubt that Zimmerman's volunteer description said, Definitely kill whoever looks like they may or may not have Skittles in their could be a weapon, and anyway, you know how crazy kids get when they're on sugar. Shoot on sight.


And then I was folding laundry last night (the whole time I was thinking how easy it would just be to lay down right on top of it and go to bed) and I ended up SOBBING after getting sucked into the '19 Kids and Counting' episode (SPOILER ALERT for all of you people who watch the show religiously - no pun intended) where they go for an ultrasound to find out if their 20th baby is a boy or a girl and instead they discover the baby has no heartbeat. Here's me, folding socks and crying away, just sniffling and crying, because their baby girl (they discover she's a girl when she delivers her a few days later) is gone. Evidently it didn't matter to me that they already have a boatload of kids, poor little Jubilee Shalom had no heartbeat. And her name meant joyful celebration and peace, as if I wasn't already crying hard enough amongst the underwear and tank tops.

Are you crying yet? Maybe it's just me.

In any case, it could be hormones or PMS or lack of sleep or trying to figure out how to work full time and prep meals in advance that all four of us want to eat so I don't have to run from work to home to voice lessons for the girls and back home then back past the voice lesson class to puppy school in the pouring rain all the while checking work emails and planning Spring Break and wondering what I'm wearing this weekend and oh yeah, what the FRICK am I going to pull out of my ass for dinner since the flat iron steak I had in mind is not getting put on the bbq in the rain.

Or maybe it's the movies and the Florida boy and the twentieth girl that are all floating by the Good Ship Amy, wreaking more than a little havoc. On top of which, I've been fighting the flu for 5 days and all I want to do is curl up by the fire and sleep. a Disney cruise is what I need. Disney IS made up of the happiest stuff on earth (and also probably lots of crying kids on a boat). Obviously when we win the lottery tonight that will be the first thing I make a reservation for.

God, I can't wait. It will be the most expensive and fun vacation I have ever slept through.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Innocence doesn't suck.

I was a naive kid and I think that's okay. I'm all for kids being kids for as long as they can be. Children are exposed to adult concepts at an earlier age now, and their little burgeoning minds are filled with questions and confusion more than ever before. I'm not unrealistic. I realize it's not all heffalumps and kittens until age 13. And I know it's impossible to put kids into an opaque bubble where they can be protected from the horrible things this world is full of (I've tried. They won't stay in there. Some excuse about needing oxygen.). Just turn the radio on and you'll hear all sorts of interesting lyrics that are catchy but wildly inappropriate for the nine-and-under set. In my car, Nine will belt out "Make me come alive, come on and turn me on..." with no idea of the meaning. The side of me that's on the cover of Bad Parent Magazine each month thinks it's sort of funny, plus I like Nikki Minaj and David Guetta too, so yes, Nine, I will pump up the volume. The responsible side of me is like, man, where's the Disney station when you need it.

I was in Boise, Idaho last weekend (which I love), seeing one of my oldest and closest friends and her family (who I love - whom I love? {don't start with me, I love them and I majored in design, not English, so whatever}), and I was lucky enough to be there to judge a state dance championship (which I L-L-LOVE). Some of the teams were fantastic, and some of the teams just made everyone want to say bless their hearts. But overall, it reminded me of how it felt when I was on a competitive dance team, and how many hours are devoted diligently to that opaque bubble.

When I was a part of that world in an active sense, I danced 7-9 hours a day at the peak. Combined with school, that doesn't leave a whole lot of time for getting into trouble. Plus I loved it, so I wasn't itching to get out of my bubble and into stuff I for sure wasn't ready for. And I was surrounded by several opportunities to do just that growing up in Los Angeles. But I just went to school, and went to dance practice, and came home to eat, do homework, sleep, and wake up to another day of the same.

(No this isn't turning into a dance resume and also? Disclaimer: Um. Allegedly there were boys and beers and other not so G-rated activities sprinkled in there from about 10th grade on, but there wasn't even a hint of inappropriate early on. It just didn't occur to me. All that busy bee dance practice and whatnot. And? No wonder my body has gone from rock star to rocky road. Who can do all that dancing anymore? Okay, I'm sure people can and do, but obviously, that ain't me no mo'.)

Back to the subject at hand.

Life isn't simple anywhere, for anyone, but in a town like Boise, with all those nice people and poised dancers and wholesome activities, it seems like it could be. I love that. I like a simple life, especially for my kids. I want their little busy lives to be mostly about field trips and math problems and swim medals, and fighting with each other and sleeping amongst pink lava lamps and stuffed animals and zen music (and dog hair). It's my job to teach them about the hard parts of life - death, disaster, mental and physical illnesses, etc. - in bits and pieces as needed. It's hard enough at this age and stage for them to wrap their brains around how come that friend wasn't nice to me today, and what if I'm allergic to something, and what does "diffuse" mean, and no I don't have a crush on that boy, doooon't teeeease meeee. I am not ready to expose them to the crazy scary parts of life yet, and I don't think they are ready for it, even though they beg me to let them read/see/do stuff.

Such as. The can of worms that is The Hunger Games. I know it's trendy, and people do love it, and I'm sure it's a fantastic piece of literature and breakthrough filmmaking. I'm a huge fan! 

Except I'm not. I'm out. I refuse. From my admittedly outside perspective, I see it desensitizing violence and devaluing life. And among children. I've never been one to enjoy watching a fight, and my heart sinks when I think of settling in to watch a child's innocence slipping away and into violence at the hands of an adult. Ick.

Granted, I'm the girl who can't watch "The Lovely Bones" because the thought of something like that happening to my daughters makes me feel like I want to crawl out of my skin, which isn't necessarily how I want to feel while I'm watching a movie. I'm supposed to feel transcended and entertained, and at the very least, so engaged that I forget for a minute just how much buttery popcorn I'm shoveling in.

Which takes me back to seeing The Hunger Games. In real life, we're all advocates for our children and we work to take those kinds of images out of their environment, so for me, it doesn't make sense to fill their minds and eyes with visions of children being forced to literally rip other children apart. Um, no. You're NINE. Howzabout you grab a snack and go play outside instead? Make up a silly language with your sister and try to teach it to the puppy. How about if the most traumatic thing I expose you to today is me making you finish your vegetables. Let's understand the social dynamics of being a pre-pre-teen and get comfortable with that before we start watching kids killing each other and being torn apart emotionally while doing it - all in the name of entertainment. I can think of at least a couple other things I'd rather my kids engage in for the sake of fun. (Witnessing the murder of a child probably isn't on that list.)

I'm not on a high horse, I wouldn't even know where to find one, and while I'm on the subject, I'm afraid of heights, so there. I am positive you wouldn't agree with some of the movies I watch or music I listen to. And you can call me a prude, but just know that if you do, it doesn't make you all creative and potent because Nick Bell beat you to it. He called me 'prude' in 7th grade on the blacktop. I was wearing my green/gray reversible gym clothes and I was only offended for a second because I knew enough to know he was probably right, even though I let him give me my first real kiss the year before. He tasted like carrots. To this day I don't know why.

So if not letting my kids read or see The Hunger Games makes me a prude, then maybe you and Nick Bell are right. And hey, if the gym shorts used to fit...

I'm sticking with the whole innocence doesn't suck thing. I'd rather hold onto that than a movie ticket for now. But feel free to bring me some popcorn to go. 


Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I have approximately 28 minutes of silence to myself, so I thought I'd use the time to do a little bit of housekeeping.

Not my house, obviously. Don't you know me by now? That place is covered in dog hair and muddy paw prints, because where we live, it's been raining for two days, and the rain has apparently called the puppy by name, each drop screaming in dog tone, "Dumb puppy! Come pounce in my mud!".

The housekeeping is for my blog house. This one right here.

I fear that if I were a fish, I would be a selfish.

I've been looking at this blog as mine. Meaning, a place for me to get out my thoughts and questions and ponderings. Then I sit and wait, and you people (all 5 of you or however many are taking the time to read this on a regular basis) write me back. Mostly the response has been a resounding "Me too!" or "That's my life. Are you a spy?" or something of that nature.

But lately, I inadvertently have been putting questions out there that are then creating some questions in other people's minds.

The first one was when I wrote about Paula Deen. Who knew pie was so divisive? I certainly didn't. But it was just my opinion, my point of view, my feelings on the topic at that time. And although I love hearing the opposite point of view, I didn't (and don't) write here to get anybody's panties all bunched up. It's just me on me.

The second one was the last one I wrote...I have a feeling that it was internalized and thought about a lot. Some of you wrote to me and said again, "Me too!" or "That's my life. Seriously, stop spying on me.". But I think there are a different set of you - probably some of you who know me personally - who are thinking that me writing and wondering about where I live or where I am in my life is about you.

I'm here to tell you it's not. It's still just me on me.

I question everything. I worry about everything. Including where we live and the quality of our relationships and whether our daughters are happy enough and engaged enough and settled enough and eating enough. See? It's a tangled web I manage to weave, and I think some of you who are physically close to my sticky threads felt like I wandered over and bit you. Just a nip.

Side note: I gotta get off the spider analogy because I am afraid of them and am now fighting a case of the heebie jeebies. Also, I just really wanted to type heebie jeebies.

Back to the matter at hand, with 17 minutes left.

If you know me at all, you should know that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I don't lie because I'm really bad at it and also because I can't keep the one true life I have straight, do you think I could keep another story going alongside? Well, I can't. 

Also, if we're truly friends, you know that as a Taurus, I'm loyal as hell to those that are true to me. I'm stubborn and I'm grounded and if you're my husband, you might call me a cat, because I'm perfectly content to find a warm spot and lick myself into oblivion, then roll over and go to sleep.

I don't like change and I don't need any more of it. I'm content sipping my tea or Chardonnay, just knowing that my coral - near and far - is at the bottom of the ocean and always will be. I love to be near you, but I also love knowing I'm near enough, even when I'm not physically right next to you, because you're right where you belong in my heart of hearts.

If you know me at all, you know that. And you know that if I write about moving away or moving aside or moving around, you know me well enough to know that if I've put you in my heart, I'd never move away from you, and I'd never move you aside and I wouldn't mess around with a good thing. I'm cool like that.

So. With 12 minutes left, I'd like to end this little love letter to my friends and readers with a plea. I'm worried about everything and everyone else. Continue to be the thing that makes me uncrazy, if you will. I gotta put it out here, because it helps me, and if me putting it out here does anything but inspire you or make you think or push you to write back to me with an Amen, Sister, then just say something to me, please.

My psychic power "on" button got lost a long time ago. I think it eloped with the "off" button that used to push itself after a couple of glasses of wine, telling me to switch to water. I hope they are very happy together. And I hope we will be too, forever and ever and always.

Seven minutes left. I think I'll meditate. And by meditate, I mean do sit ups. And by do sit ups, I mean play Angry Birds.

Good night, friends.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I haven't written here in a full week, but the traveling husband was flying across the country and back again (and across and back yet again) over the course of 5 days, then I was on a Girl Scout camping sleepover, and add into that my general scatterbrained state. On top of which, was The Curse, which bounces me from crying to cramping to crabby and back again, all of which puts me into a nasty funk. Part of said funk can be blamed on PMS and the accompanying narcolepsy (and yes, that blog entry is a'comin'), and part of it can be blamed on my general WTF state of mind.

As in, WTF are we doing with this life?! WTF are we doing trying to live comfortably in Northern California? WTF are we thinking about moving out of Northern California? WTF are girls so mean? WTF does my uterus hate me? WTF are people like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton rich and famous and I'm not? Do I need bigger boobs or crazier parents or WTF? Apparently, I've got a shit ton of whatnot banging around in my brain, nonstop. So does the husband. And the more spin he's in, the more we're all in.

The question of the ages for us has been: What determines quality of life? Is it having more than enough money? More than enough toys and stuff? Friends close by? Family? Can we make dear new friends at this age and stage of life, or do the people who have loved us for years love us more than anyone new ever could?

And as I watch Nine try to figure out where she fits in socially at school, I realize that that journey is never-ending. Or at least it's still in progress in this family. I mean, it's clear to all of us that we belong to each other, and that we are together by choice (and by triple-knotted heart strings). But socially, outside of our family unit, who's "A" list have we made it on? And does that even matter, or are we supposed to just focus on the five of us? (I count the puppy because he weighs more than both daughters combined. Also, I'm pretty sure he can speak English {with an accent} and has a lot to say, he just chooses to remain silent for now.)

In any case, we've been in Northern California for four years. Looking at it from the outside, we're pretty ingrained. I volunteer at school, we help out with swim team, the girls are in ballet and voice lessons and get invited to birthday parties. They have pals who've been in their classrooms and on their soccer teams for three years now, if not longer. I have built up a brilliant gaggle of women who have become friends and neighbors and confidantes and shoulders to lean on. The type of amazing women who show up before you've even asked them to. The ones who bring you pots of homegrown flowers on your birthday and pots of homemade chicken stock when you're sick. It's pretty amazing, actually. 

The traveling husband isn't so lucky as me, and his social circle up here is much smaller. And by smaller I mean, the only two guys who are together with any consistency are him and the puppy. But sometimes he wants to spend time with someone who doesn't eat poop and who's hair doesn't float into his beer. He's more gregarious than I am, he requires some social interaction with people, and he loves that sport-fueled camaraderie. I'm a little more okay with just sharing a vino or a tea with my best girls via phone or text, since that's all we can muster these days due to time changes and diaper changes. But geographical distance for us doesn't equal distance of the heart. Boys are more literal and visual, and my husband is no exception. He does see some friends occasionally, but everyone is hyper-scheduled in NorCal, and the guys here aren't as free to indulge in Sunday Funday as he would like. So he pines for his "boys" - not only his big brother, but the friends with whom he went to college. He shares history with these guys, and they know my husband and they love him and all his quirks. He's on their "A" list.

The point is, overall, justified or not, we tend to feel a bit +1*, to use the husband's term.

*You know when you were single and you got invited to a wedding, and the bride and groom were all, Oh, she doesn't have a boyfriend...well, she can just bring somebody...address her envelope with an "and Guest". And then you sent in your RSVP with a Yes, I'll be there (but you don't give a name of your guest because you don't know who to bring with you yet), so you got put down on the list as You+1. You+the nameless, faceless person who would show up with you and be charming enough and probably have a really good time and hopefully be a great dancer and definitely is nice enough to drink all that free wine without pissing anyone off, but still...just a +1.

Which brings me back to the question at hand again. What determines quality of life? Should we move to a place in the country where we can afford all the things and toys we want, even if it means being further away from friends and family? Does it matter that we'd be further away geographically? Because let's be serious, the actual time spent together at this point is minimal. I think we've determined that time spent, for us anyway, does improve quality of life, because when we do spend time with friends - location being irrelevant - we always feel good. So should we stop worrying about living in a small house filled primarily with dog hair and old furniture, and just get people over here to spend time? Or should we just move back down South? But what if we move "home" and we end up staring at each other and the walls every Saturday night anyway, because we've been gone for four years and everyone has their plans and their people and their activities all set already? And again, shouldn't we focus on making each other happy, and stop looking outward for answers? On the other hand, we all need to spend time with more than just who and what is inside of our house at all times, otherwise we go ape shit. Don't we?

Stop looking at me like that, I told you at the start that I'm funky and scatterbrained.

So, my mental to-do list then, is going to look something like this: Inhale. Meditate on what feels right for my family and myself. Outhale. Encourage Nine to find her "A" list. Inhale. Get the husband out of the house (with human friends). Outhale. Find dates on the calendar and invite friends over, and open our doors and our hearts to new people and different ways of spending quality time. Inhale. Pray (a lot) for guidance and strength and peace and continued good health. Outhale. Do laundry.

Oh, and lastly? Deep inhale. Find a way to gingerly tell Nine and Seven that they are, as of this afternoon, going to have to appreciate going commando, because the puppy has eaten yet another pair of panties, and the only way for me to keep him alive and eliminate stress (and mindblowing dog gas) from my life, is to evidently, eliminate underclothing. Outhale.

Here's to letting it all hang out, in more ways than one.

Monday, March 5, 2012


1. I don't understand the reaction to Paula Deen's announcement that she has diabetes. I think someone going through something like that in private, let alone with a billion people watching, deserves compassion. Yes, she fries food and she cooks with fat and salt. But I've never heard her say "You should eat food like this three times a day, seven days a week.". Not even one time. She herself said she only tapes 30 days a year, and I've only seen her take a couple bites of each dish on camera. So that probably means she's not cooking and eating like this every day either. The woman pulled herself up by her boot straps, doing the only thing she knew how to do in order to provide for her kids at that time. Nobody is forcing people to cook and eat her recipes, just like nobody is forcing people to eat at McDonald's or smoke cigarettes. So Paula Deen building a life off of biscuits and gravy and then getting judged harshly when she gets diabetes feels a lot like a woman dressing provocatively occasionally and getting blamed for being sexually assaulted. Also people, mind your own beeswax. Sheesh.

2. Rush Limbaugh probably gets paid per click or each time his name is mentioned. As nauseating as it can be to swallow fury, maybe the best thing to do is to remain totally silent and unresponsive. If the squeaky wheel loses it's audience, eventually it will stop squeaking because nobody is listening anyway. Won't it?

3. Late Oscar note: Angelina - You have a family with one of the sexiest men ever created. You should be languishing in the most cushy comfort zone known to humankind. So what was with the forced Barbie pose in your dress? It just felt weird, even if your measurements do match Barbie's exactly. If the dress only works with the stick figure leg poking unnaturally out of the slit, then the dress isn't working. You know that. Suggestion: Start planning your next gown now, and each day, as you review the sketches, EAT A MAYONNAISE SANDWICH AND SOME PIE.

4. General awards show note: Why do stars act surprised when their name is called as the winner of the award? There is generally a 1-in-5 chance it's going to happen, and no matter how many times they skipped math class when they were in school, I'm pretty sure they understand those odds. So stars, if your name is called, stop looking like Taylor Swift does after every performance when people clap for her (I love you Taylor, but girl, all your teenage gawk and awe is gone now...move on from looking surprised when people do what comes naturally as a singer finishes a song.). Also, stars, if you are going to cry, please make sure you actually cry. I don't want a shaky voice, and an angst-filled facial expression, and no actual tears. You aren't going to get another award for this performance, no matter how good it is. And if you can't fake a few tears, it ain't that good. So if you feel overwhelmed, let the mascara run. And if you don't feel overwhelmed, for the love of Christ, compose yourself, graciously accept, thank Jesus and everyone else, and go make your next million. Don't feel bad, I'd be slap happy too.

5. Who, exactly, do I think is going to come up behind me and pick up the dog hair/shoe/corner of a granola bar wrapper/backpack/ blueberry/tissue/dried mac and cheese noodle/pencil that I just walked by? Every time, I look at it on the floor, roll my eyes, and mentally summon the energy to bend over (for the 100th time that day) to pick it up. I'm actually trying to mentally summon the Magic Clean-Up Fairy, but it turns out that if it's on the floor, it's going to be me at some point picking it up. Because unfortunately for me, I am the Magic Clean-Up Fairy. Granted, when the traveling husband isn't traveling, he picks up a lot of dog hair. Also, the puppy enjoys eating socks and underwear, so if I could get past the whole next-time-that-dumb-pup-eats-clothes-he's-going-from-dumb-to-dead thing, then I would actually appreciate the help. But for now, I need to find a way to fix my broken bender overer, because that thing is tired.

Now you can imagine what my house looks like tonight. May you bask in the glory that is your tidy home, and may you have some pie, too. I hear Paula Deen makes a chocolate one that's so sweet, it'll practically give you diabetes on the spot.

What? Too soon?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Twenty-two and a half

Turns out I know really smart, healthy people. Also, funny ones.

Just a quick note (hence the half) to let you know that I've gathered the thoughts you've shared and am bouncing them back to you. I'm going to try most of these suggestions, as time/travel/mindspace will allow. Maybe you want to meditate on one or more of them as well? I will wish us all some luck. And by luck, I mean willpower. Obviously.

  • Cook from Rachel Ray kid-friendly cookbook.
  • Use my crock pot at least 1x week, including friend's fabulous recipe ideas.
  • Consider a health plan with a coach.
  • Don't over think.
  • Practice moderation.
  • Add protein to snacks (cottage cheese, string cheese, yogurt, etc.).
  • Exercise 5-6x week with friend/dog.
  • Watch carb intake throughout day.
  • Have healthy snacks prepared in the refrigerator.
  • Eat whole foods and things with 5 or less ingredients.
  • Do yoga to manage stress and for exercise.
  • Make smoothies with supplements and veggies.
  • Make green juice.
  • Eat more lean protein.
  • Phase out white pasta.
  • Walk. Alone.
  • Take more classes.
  • Eat steamed greens for a day.
  • Buy bigger jeans.
  • Go to a healthy friend's house for dinner.

I'm not gonna lie, when I put it like this in a list, it feels like a demanding full time job. But I have to remind myself that it also seems pretty simple. It doesn't have to overwhelm. There's always a healthy answer to the questions, it's just a matter of being prepared and stepping out of my comfort zone.

Want a crunchy snack? Bake some kale chips. Hungry NOW? Eat a few almonds. Want sourdough toast with quince jam? Add a dollop of cottage cheese to satiate. Dust off the amazing juicer we got years ago and start juicing. Go get some new glass storage containers and spend part of Sunday shopping and prepping for the week so the frig looks colorful and delicious. Switch out pasta for healthier options. Make your smart, healthy friends invite you over to eat their healthy meals. And I might even buy a pair of bigger jeans, just because I like the suggestion so much.

Most of this stuff will fly with the whole family, but let's be serious, I'm not worried about them right now. Mama needs to get her own ass in shape, and then what I do, they will do. The husband will follow suit because if I make it, he will eat it. He's my next project. I can't very well pass at age 106 holding hands with myself, that's just depressing.

Thanks all, for reminding me to outhale. Here's to good eating! I have hope! I believe!!

PS: Don't start thinking that this blog is going to now be all about healthy eating options and my journey towards shrinking my ass. Perhaps I will update you all, maybe I won't. But I can't be all-consumed, and neither should you be.

PSS: My husband took Nine to the donut shop while I was typing this. I'm currently sitting next to a bag of donuts. Already? Testing me, already??

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I would like to live to be 106 or so. And I want my husband to live that long too. A long life together, during which we share deep love and great joy and amazing sex, after which we will, of course, pass in our sleep. At the same moment. While holding hands. Don't tell me you haven't had the same thought of the person you love and the way you want to go out. Nobody dreams of running out real quick in dirty sweats and getting hit by a bus. (But on a side note, I do always tell my husband that if I do, perchance, get hit by a bus, it's his job to talk about me with our daughters every day, and whisper into their sleeping ears "Mommy loves you." every night, just like I do now.)

Back to the subject at hand. I believe in order for that long life to happen, we're going to have to live healthier lives. We've been eating (and occasionally, drinking) as though we were still in college, because we are having a hard time accepting our real age and stage of life. But the last time I checked in the rear view mirror, what I saw was a gigantic ass neon sign flashing the message JUST BECAUSE THE PIZZA/BREAD/CHEESE SNACKS ARE ORGANIC/FAT FREE/EATEN WHILE STANDING, DOESN'T MEAN YOUR ASS ISN'T GOING TO BE THE SIZE OF TEXAS SOON. Not to mention, we both come from parents with some pretty serious health challenges. Heart issues, high blood pressure, name it, we've got some of it in us. 

I've always been healthy. I was born during a time when mommies smoked and drank their way through pregnancies and nobody looked twice. Remarkably, I was born without issues, and to this day I don't have any allergies, don't wear glasses (oh, it's coming...I just prefer to squint for now), and am otherwise without physical problems, apart from the fact that most areas of my body currently range at first glance from stuffed sausage to raw pizza dough. I would rather get back to being my fit self, because if I don't, when I walk around, I will eventually sound like that little lady who played the organ in the wedding scene from "Sixteen Candles", with her inner thighs about to start a fire with all that back and forth pantyhose friction.

I used to be incredibly active. I would dance for 5 hours (or more) a day. Alas, I simply don't have that kind of time or energy anymore. I sit at a computer five days a week for hours on end. I do teach exercise classes, but I don't take them as often as I should (could?). I have every intention of doing it every single day, but I don't always have an hour to myself where nothing else should be getting done. Also, I reeeally love sleeping. I know, I know. But I do. So that 6am class, well, that's a long shot, at least during the cold/rainy season. (To those of you fancy fit folks who are all, Really? I get up at 4:30 every morning for an hour of running in the snow and another 30 minutes of yoga...if I can do it, so can you. Well to you I say, you can stop being Judgy McJudgerson and start helping me figure out how to soak up some of your utter fabulousness, okay?)

I also want to eat healthier. But I feel ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMED at the thought of figuring it out. I can barely stick to a regular (read: kid-friendly) weekly meal plan without getting sucked into my neighborhood Whole Foods three extra times a week for whatever it is I forgot we're out of. The thought of having to think any harder about what I'm eating and how I'm preparing it makes me want to curl up into the fetal position and sleep for the next week. Which would be a good weight loss plan if I were able to lay down anytime, anywhere, without the 110-pound puppy pouncing on me.

I start reading about the differences between vegan and plant-based eating. Then I buy a cookbook about eating Paleo. I research cleanses and raw food and gluten-free and no carb eating. Then a dear friend tells me to watch two movies that will change the way I think about food altogether, and I get as far as looking them up on Netflix, and realize they are available to stream RIGHT NOW. Only RIGHT NOW here's the current thought stream I'm consumed by:

What time is it? What does the puppy have in his mouth? Is that another pile of dog hair blowing by the heater? Why is the heater kicking on so much? Oh God that bill is going to be so high. When is my husband getting home? Did Seven do her report yet? Set the alarm so we don't forget to wake up early for the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast. Must check email accounts. (Time out: answer text) Do I have the ingredients for dinner tonight? Dear Lord these pants are tight. (Time out: answer phone) Must go through mail at home. Why are these the contents of my dining room table right now: library books, three magazines, one mechanical pencil, one regular pencil, one lip gloss, one Girl Scout camping trip information sheet, one stapler, a catalog from Anthropologie (where I want to shop but can't find the time), a couple of pieces of mail urging "immediate attention", three toy horses, and one empty glass of water? I'm so thirsty - must drink more water. I wish I had one of those big water bottles with me at all times. Note to self: get new water bottle. And order some of those pomegranate fizzy tabs, those are so good. (Time out: stop puppy from scratching at the door and begging to go romp in the three foot mud puddle in the back yard for the third time today) I need to do that hiding extra vegetables in recipes thing again for the girls. I need to get cute lunch containers for their lunchboxes so they'll actually eat what I give them. I need to make my husband eat more fruit. I need new underwear. I need to go to class. When does my husband leave town again? Do I teach this weekend? Did I update the calendar? (Time out: check calendar) Did I pay the voice teacher/ballet studio/babysitter? Did I call my Mom? Aren't I supposed to be focused on work right now? How many birthdays did I forget this week? Did I confirm that Nine has a sleepover? I need to finish the laundry so we're not sleeping directly on the dog hair bed tonight. (Time out: start dryer)

I mean, seriously. That covers about 90 seconds in my brain and I'm freaking exhausted just typing it. I'm constantly grabbing my phone to put reminders in my calendar. One day I even had to put "Shower 1:00pm" in there because the days are zooming by faster than I can keep up with.

I know everyone has all the above to deal with and then some. But jeepers. If I could get fit from all the racing my mind does every day, I'd look amazing.

So. Here's where the collective you comes in.

Knowing the thoughts are going through my mind, just packed in there like commuters on a rush hour train elbowing each other for one square foot of space, where do I squeeze in learning about what's allowed on the Paleo diet and what's not? Does a plant-based diet mean you can have leather shoes, you just can't eat the animal they came from? And if you're vegan, do you eat nothing from anything with a face, essentially? But vegetarians can eat eggs and fish? Or is that a pesca-something? Do I just dump it all and do a liquid cleanse so I don't have to think about it, and then just go protein shake for breakfast, salad for lunch, chicken and broccoli for dinner? Honestly, that will last about 3 days, tops, before we break out the cheese and crackers to go with the vino, before we tuck into the pasta. Speaking of pasta, last night I am proud to say I made kale and ricotta ravioli from scratch! Well, the pasta wasn't homemade, I made them with wonton wrappers. But I bought them from Whole Foods! Did I mention I used kale? Because I did!)

Clearly, I don't have any answers. I can't figure it out. All I know is I love to cook and I love to eat. Almost everything - vegetables, meat, fruit, pasta, and everything else. And I'm freaking hungry in the morning, and sourdough toast with quince jam is SO easy to make and tastes really good with my morning coffee. And pasta and peas with grated parmesan is reeeally comforting after a long day at work. I know I need to bring my life and everything in it to a screeching halt and make this a real priority, but figuring out how to fit one more labor-intensive thing into our lives right now makes me want to eat pop tarts.

If you have this all wrapped up in a bow, I am begging you to share it with me in some comments section somewhere. I'm also begging you to be gentle with me. This will have to be done in baby steps, because my kids aren't always the most adventurous eaters, we have activities for them at least three nights a week, so advance planning is necessary, but I will not stick to something that takes hours at night in prep time because by the time they go to sleep, I want to wrap my evil Mommy claws around a glass of Chardonnay the size of my ever-growing ass and sit with my husband (the puppy fills in when the man is gone).

If you have even one small tip and you keep it to yourself, I will assume that if you were a fish, you would be a selfish.

And I'll just leave it at that.