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.


  1. The more I read your blog, the more I feel we are living the same life! My childhood friend, Bev, shared your blog and I eagerly look forward to them. That says a lot coming from someone who normally despises those who write blogs because I can't imagine where people find the time to write. And I'm English teacher, for God's sake.

    I'm a former vegetarian (who DID eat eggs and dairy)) who married a carnivore. Luckily, my kids (who are TEN, SEVEN and SIX) aren't too picky when it comes to vegetables, but dinners can be challenging. Especially when I try to sneak in at least three veggie meals a week. As cheesy (sorry for the pun) as it may sound, I bought a Rachel Ray kid friendly cookbook and most of the meals require 30 min. or less of preparation. I do plan and shop for the meals for the week on Sun. or Mon. to try and avoid running to Whole Foods for a forgotten item, but it doesn't always work. I also try and use a crock pot once a week. It's usually pretty easy and even makes the house smell like I've been cooking all day.

    On a side note, I've been waiting for you to blog on Angelina's antics the other night. Only you could do it justice. If you are not too busy, maybe you could crank one out.

    And last, but not least, we have a Bernese Mtn. dog, too. He'll be ONE on Saturday and has been more trouble than any of the children.
    Maybe we can meet up one day. Probably as we recover from rotator cuff surgery after walking our dogs.

    1. I love the suggestions, both for the food and for the writing (an Interlude post is in the works and I will be sure to include Angelina and her leg). I do plan meals and shop on Sundays too, but life throws me curveballs all week long and my hands always seem to be full with other stuff. I need to get back on the crock pot wagon, although Nine isn't a fan of things crocked.

      I'd love to meet up with the puppies. And I know you aren't kidding about the rotator cuff - I strained mine weeks ago from him pulling on the leash and it still hurts. Damn dog.


  2. I feel exactly like you. So when my friend Cristie reached out to me about doing a health plan with her, I figured it couldn't hurt. Honestly, it might seem silly to hire a "coach", but she's done all the research and gives me tips/goals every two weeks. Recipe ideas that I can manage. Help with the crazies running through my brain. Not trying to sound like an infomercial, but I wouldn't say it if I didn't believe in it. She's a working mom. With three young kids. A husband who travels. And she likes wine too. (Not that it's stopped me from inhaling an 8x8 pan of brownies the other day, but nobody's perfect...thank goodness.) Good luck. I know you'll do it. You're you. You do it all!

    1. Thanks, Ed. Message me her website or contact info? I'd be willing to look into it anyway. Help is good. (So are brownies.)

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  4. OK...Here's what I advise: Stop overthinking it. Paleo-vegan-pesca-raw-breatharian....all of it is crapola. Purge as much processed food as you can from your life in favor of whole, real food (basically, if the label lists more than five ingredients, pitch it). But, otherwise, eat what you like...just eat less of it. Keep your cheese platter, but alternate a slice of apple or pear for every cracker that ferries the cheese to your cheesehole.

    Keep your sourdough toast with quince, but have one slice, not two, and get some protein in there (I favor a few spoonfuls of lowfat cottage cheese, but you might prefer yogurt, peanut butter, string cheese, an egg...). A bit of protein with every meal is essential, both to keeping hunger down and keeping energy up.

    And, girlie? I know I have no cred in the kid-raising department, but...I don't get the whole picky eater thing. My mom had nine kids. She made one meal a night to feed everyone. If you didn't like what she cooked, you knew where the Wheaties were, and the peanut butter and sandwich bread. There was no pleading and cajoling and bribing with dessert. In fact, there was no dessert. And, you know what? None of us died of starvation...we all played sports and/or danced and/or played instruments and/or joined the debate team...and most of us are happy, responsible adults with good, healthy relationships to food.

    1. You're a clever bunny. I like everything in moderation and not overthinking it is about all the thinking I can muster these days. Whole foods is a good reminder. So good. Also, I have started the whole "this is what's for dinner, you try it, and if you don't like it, you can have cereal and toast" but sometimes that gets thrown back at me, and I can't let them eat cereal and toast for the next three years. Or can I? :)

      Also, I love cottage cheese, but I feel like it starts to smell funny after a day, and then I panic and toss it. Sad but true.

      Thank you!

    2. To avoid the cottage cheese going bad (or, as cottage-cheese-hating Pete puts it, "going worse", I like to buy the smallest container I can...easier in the city, where I can just get a new one every two days when I run out, than it is up in up here i buy two or three little ones to open as needed. Also? I only buy Clover Stornetta low fat other brand...not full fat or non fat. It's so damned good, I eat it the way other people eat ice cream.

  5. Okay, so about 6-8 weeks ago, I stumbled across a backside picture of myself and discovered some undesirable back fat. Seriously. Back fat. The last thing I need is a muffin top coming out of my bra. So here's how, in six weeks, I have managed to reshape my back, back into a back:

    I exercise 5-6 days a week. Two mornings at the crack of dark (6 am) I do a core/balance class with a friend, who picks me up, and holds me accountable if I am not ready to go at 5:50 am. I couldn't do it without her. Two lunches a week I run/walk, mostly fast walk, two and a half miles with a friend. Saturday mornings while the kids are plugged in, I take the dog for a 30-40 minute run/walk. Sunday morning, I ride my bike for two hours in the morning with a friend. All the time I exercise is jammed in somewhere during the day when it will least affect my family. Notice that every day involves exercising with a friend or dog? Leave me to my own devices and I will talk myself out of a workout every.single.time.

    I also started adjusting my food intake. I eat mainly protein and fruit in the morning and then try to watch my carb intake at lunch and dinner. I haven't eliminated carbs, just cut them back, meaning, I won't eat a pile of pasta for dinner after eating a pile of rice and Indian food for lunch. I reach for veggie snacks and nuts versus bags of chips, energy bars and cookies for snacks. Oh, and I have cut back on sugar. One treat a day, not three. One Girl Scout cookie. Not three. One glass of wine.

    I won't step on a scale, and I won't count calories. I use my clothes and body to tell me how I am doing. We all know what is healthy and what isn't. Just scale it back and make it livable. If you can't maintain it as a lifestyle change, then it isn't worth even trying. Exercising is not an excuse for eating for two. I learned that lesson the hard way.

    Also, in the kid department world, in my house they either eat it or they wait until the next meal. They have to try everything. I try to cater to their palettes but I have the final say. Some meals they love, some they don't, some they go in hating and end up loving. But I never fix two meals. The only way they will learn to love a variety of foods is to try them. Over and over again.

    Finally, you are still one of the most beautiful people I know. So I can hardly imagine your butt growing to billboard proportions. And even if it did, your wit and kindness would more than make up for it.

    1. So smart and healthy. When my husband is in town, I need to be better about stealing my own time, even if it's an hour a day. It makes me feel so good, and then I have more to give them. I get it. But what about when he's gone for a week at a time? It's harder to squeeze in then unless it's during school hours. That's when I sneak in a class at lunch, and I always walk the pup but that's only about 20 minutes. Still, such great advice. You are not a selfish!! xo

  6. First of all, I whisper "Mommy loves you" in my son's ears too when he's asleep. So that settles it. You and I were officially separated at birth.

    Second, I struggle with healthy eating and exercise. Who doesn't? I agree with troublebunny. Don't over think it. Just do the best you can. Baby steps, one at a time.

    At our house, some weeks are more successful in this department than others. What helps us most is eating at home, planning ahead for meals, having the healthy ingredients for the meals in the frig already (or even partially prepared before the blood sugar plummets), and choosing to drink water instead of sodas. Yoga classes also help me presently, and the stress management is addictive.

    1. We are long-lost sisters, I do believe. I love your advice too. I need to get better at planning ahead (and sticking to it). I have for the most part, given up diet Coke (although I still love it). I would LOVE to take yoga's just a matter of finding the time again. You seem really balanced. Do you have a blooming hour tree in your yard? And if so, can you mail me some extra minutes for my days? Thanks. :)