Traditionally

When I was a little girl, we would always spend holidays at my Grandma Omdahl’s house. All the aunts and uncles and cousins would pile into this small home and bring their Easter baskets or presents, depending upon which holiday it was. One thing that was a sure thing was that there would be plenty of food. My Grandma was a great cook and would spend days baking and preparing dishes, and then everyone else would pitch in and bring food as well and we would end up with tables just heavily laden with so much food. You quickly learned to take just a tiny bit of your favorite foods, because even that   would give you a huge plateful. If I had room for seconds, I had to really think about it because the dessert buffet would soon be spread. You were not going to go hungry at Grandma’s house during the holidays. In fact you might be so full you feel sick. It was a tradition.

In our house, we have some things that are traditions. Things that I wonder if my kids will carry forward to their families someday in the future. One of these is decorating bedroom doors.

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I’m not really sure how I came up with the idea, but when my first, Brett, was little, I put him to bed on his birthday eve. Of course he was excited about his birthday being the next day, and I was excited for him. I love birthdays. So after I tucked him in and he fell asleep, I streamered his bedroom door so that the first thing he would see on his birthday when he opened the door was a birthday celebration. The enthusiasm in the morning was all it took. A tradition was born.

When Skyler got to be about six or seven, she insisted upon decorating my bedroom door on my birthday eve. The catch was, though, that she went to bed much earlier than I did. I remember she and Brett just insisting that I needed to go to bed. They were sure I was tired. I played along and I heard them whispering and cutting tape, excited to surprise me.

No matter where we’ve been, if it’s someone’s birthday, their door gets decorated. The beach, Disneyland, Hawaii. The streamers, tape and scissors get packed along. It does require staying up late, getting up in the middle of the night, or getting up at 5 am to make sure that the birthday person is sleeping, and over the years there have been times that I’ve kicked myself for starting this tradition. After all, a person gets tired! But it has been such a fun way to make the person of honor start their big day feeling special and loved.

Today, Lizzie turns 15. She’s going to get presents, a family dinner, a homemade red velvet cake and ice cream. But, first, she’s going to start her day with a little celebration of her and her day when she opens her door!

Lazy

Lazy people bug me. Like, fork-on-teeth, nails-on-chalkboard, sandpaper-on-skin bug me.

With so little time in our lives, wasting time just seems, well, like a waste of time. I hardly watch TV for this reason. I’m a horrible napper as well. On the very rare occasion that I take a nap, I wake up cranky and annoyed that I spent time napping, instead of doing something else.

I’ve been thinking about lazy people a lot this week, I guess mainly because I live with a teenager, and there’s nothing lazier than a teenager. At least nothing lazier than the one that lives with me!

As I already told you, she has absolutely zero problem sitting in front of the TV all. day. long. watching mindless television. And then, to top it off, she is just too dang lazy to fix herself anything REAL to eat, so she hoovers down a whole bag of chips, or eats a whole Hershey chocolate bar left over from camping, and calls it a day’s worth of food. If I don’t leave her a specific list of chores to take care of for the day, she does absolutely nothing around the house. Then if I DO leave her a list of chores, they are done with as little effort as possible, with the only focus on being able to say she had done them.

For example, I asked her to dust the living room the other day and then later, I looked in at the console tabldustinge and I could literally see that she, yes, had in fact dusted it. The only problem was, that she didn’t move anything off of the table to dust it, so there was the clean part, where she wiped, and then there was the dusty part, that sat under and around every item on the table. So, I call her over to where I’m sitting in the dining room and ask her if she dusted the living room earlier, to which she replied that she had. I then have her look over into the living room at the table and asked her what she saw. She saw what I saw, which, I guess is a good sign. But then she says, slightly annoyed, and I quote, “Do you want me to do it again?” Do I want you to do it again?

NO. I do NOT want you to do it AGAIN. I want everyone to see the crappy job you did, in fact, I’m going to point it out to everyone who walks through our door. Don’t worry, I didn’t actually say that. What I said was: What I WANT is for you to do it RIGHT the first time, but if you can’t manage to do it right the FIRST time, I will be happy to let you do it a second, or third, or fourth time. As many times as it takes to do the job correctly. It’s dusting for GAWD’s sake. Not brain surgery. I think you are capable of dusting, you are just LAZY. Do I get another sticker on my ‘Good Mom Star Chart’?

Then, as I was driving down the highway yesterday, I see this girl standing on the sidewalk wearing a sign. She had clearly been hired by Oil Can Henry’s to get the attention of passersby, to bring in more business. You know, the people that have become so prevalent on the sidewalk that you almost don’t notice them anymore?

Well, I noticed her. The reason that I noticed her is that she was doing this ‘spirit fingers‘ thing, but if you read the definition of spirit fingers in Urban Dictionary, and read the ‘if done wrong’ part, yeah, that’s what this girl was doing. The ‘done wrong’ version of spirit fingers. Limp, sad, timid little wiggles of her fingers and hands. She was probably scaring away business. If I was the boss, I’d say she either needs to find a bit of enthusiasm for the job she was hired to do, or she has to go, but that wasn’t actually my first thought. My FIRST thought was, that is the kind of effort that my daughter would put into the job.

While it’s comforting to know that being lazy just comes naturally to teenagers, as the mom, and as a person who can’t stand lazy people, I know that it’s my endless, exhausting job to continue the battle of conquering laziness and half efforts, so that someday she will just naturally do things right the first time. I don’t expect to win the battle today. Or even this year. I just have to muster up the energy to continue the fight. And I need to stock the wine refrigerator, because school’s going to start Tuesday, and I have a feeling I’m going to need back up to get through the year.

 

 

Family Can Be Anyone

I follow a blog called Humans of New York, or HONY. If you are a fan of people watching, you should follow it too.

The guy behind the popular page is Brandon, and he photographs people around New York, and then asks them a few questions from which he derives the captions of the photos from. Some are hysterical, some sad, some tender. All capture the diversity of the flavor of New York. My favorite part of HONY is that Brandon does a beautiful job of capturing our differences in photos, but the captions more often point to how we really are so much more the same than different.

Brandon is currently doing a UN tour, and his work is even more stellar. The work he does with his camera is bringing more understanding than any peace-keeping mission I can remember. Check out his work in the Middle East. I promise you that it will make you feel something.

This morning, he posted a photo of a young man from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The brief caption that he wrote told the story of the young man’s struggles with finding a job and having enough food to eat. It ended with the sentence quoted from the young man, “I’ve learned that your family can be anyone.”

This is such a painful, but beautiful sentiment. It’s one that I’ve had to learn and it’s one that I’m having to teach my youngest daughter.

You see, my youngest daughter only became my daughter a year and a half ago. Before that, she was in and out of the foster care system, living a life full of uncertainty and insecurity. Much like me, her biological parents are still alive. One is not suitable to have as a parent and the other suffers from severe mental health issues and is not capable of being a parent.

The challenge, when you have parents that cannot parent you, is figuring out how to grow into a person who can see your parents for who they really are, instead of who you wish that they were. It is so easy, and much less painful, day to day, to imagine that your parents are out there and they live in a castle and drive fancy cars and they love you and they are looking for you tirelessly and will never give up until they one day, find you and you all live happily ever after.

It is much harder to deal with the truth, which might be that they know exactly where you are or how to get a hold of you, that they aren’t really interested in expending the energy required to have a relationship with you, that they are horribly selfish or not people that you would really want in your life, especially if you are needing a parent to actually parent you.

So, my youngest has biological parents, out there, somewhere. And then she has me. Lucky girl.

Last night, I came home from work to find my youngest hanging out on the TV. It was nearly 8pm and I had been at work all day. My husband was gone to a baseball game, after working all day as well.

I came home with the plan to have a salad for dinner, but because it was so late, I asked my daughter if she had already eaten dinner. Of course she hadn’t, so I made her a salad too. I checked my email while eating and she continued watching her show. As I was cleaning up the kitchen, (without any offer of help from her), I saw that there was an empty bag of Doritos in the garbage. I don’t usually buy Doritos, but when we went camping last weekend I told her she could get a bag. I asked her, “Did you eat that whole bag of Doritos today?” which is really a stupid question, since the evidence was in the garbage can. She replied that she had, likely bracing herself for the lecture that was about to come her way.

Being the mom I am, I didn’t disappoint, but then I followed up with, “Did you eat anything else today?” again, knowing perfectly well what the answer was going to be. She told me that the Doritos had been her sole source of sustenance for the day. God. Bless. America. And you wonder why I don’t buy Doritos. So I continued on with the lecture of how Doritos do not constitute a meal in ANY country and certainly not in our house, where there is plenty of food to make oneself if one is not too LAZY. Then, partially because I was already annoyed and partially because I was curious, I asked if she had also been parked in front of the TV for the whole day- breaking another cardinal rule of mine. You’ve got to give it to the girl. She’s honest. Knowing full well, that my annoyance level was about to skyrocket, she told me that yes, she had in fact been parked in front of the TV. ALL. DAY. LONG.

I give her my typical, ‘Watching TV all day is not good for your brain, it actually makes you depressed, (studies show it!)” and added, “If you can’t monitor your own TV time, I will treat you like a little kid, instead of the high schooler that you are, and give you TV limits!” (I’ve told you I’m an awesome parent)  and then I proceeded to tell her to turn off the TV and go read a book.  At one time, that might have been considered a punishment by her, but she actually LIKES reading now, so it’s not like I was sending her off to the dungeon or something.

About fifteen minutes later, I went into her room to ask her a question and find her sitting on the side of her bed crying. Although I suspect it’s because I lectured her about her Doritos diet and told her to turn off the TV, I’m a bit confused by the reaction. She can’t possibly have been surprised by either of those things. She’s lived with me and my crazy ideas of healthy food and minimal TV for years. She’s gotten plenty of lectures on both, including the time that she ate THREE AND A HALF chocolate  muffins from Costco IN. ONE. DAY. Have you seen those things? I don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, but those things are NOT breakfast. We still call her the muffin man for that one.

AnyWHO. She’s crying, I’m asking what is wrong, she’s telling me ‘I don’t know’, I’m telling her: 1. That is not an answer  2. people just don’t cry for no reason and 3. if there is something that is making her upset, using her words will likely get her better results than tears. Yes, I know. I’m very sympathetic.  I stand there for a few minutes and then ask her if she’s crying because I told her to turn off the TV. She says that’s not the reason, but then I point out that she was happy as a clam when I put food in front of her face and she was eating while watching TV. It was only once I told her to go do something productive with her brain that she got upset, and I didn’t even use those exact words!

Eventually, either because she just wanted me to leave or because she knew the TV excuse wouldn’t gain her any sympathy, she told me that she was crying because she ‘missed her family’.

I’d like to tell you that I’m such a well developed and balanced human that those words didn’t feel like a knife. But I can’t. Standing there, in the room that I had made pretty for her, with her wearing the clothes that I got her that make her feel good, with the healthy meal that I made her in her belly, after a day of no chores watching mindless TV in a house with heat and electricity, never mind the private school she attends and on and on and on, she was telling me that she missed her family. I don’t know if she knew those words would hurt me or if she just was sitting in her room feeling sorry for herself because she has me as a mom and I don’t just let her do whatever the heck she wants, but I took a few big breaths and put on my big-girl panties, which meant stuffing my hurt feelings down and dealing with the actual words that she said.

When I take away the possible intent behind the words and the hurt that it caused me, hearing them right after I told her to turn the TV off, I can hear the words, “I miss my family” and know that there is truth to them, no matter what their original intent. Of course she misses her family. I miss MY family and I’m 42 and have put boundaries up around them. She’s just a kid who has had little to no say in the events that have taken place in her life. I am actually glad that she misses her family, it would be weird if she didn’t. The challenge is remembering the family you miss as the family that they actually are, and not as a fairytale concoction.  Being nearly 12 years old the last time she saw her mom and it being nearly two years since she has heard from her biological sister, she is old enough to have the memories, but some of the details have likely softened.

One of our main goals as being her parents, is to make sure that we help her become a strong enough person that when she is an adult, she will be able to use wisdom to create healthy boundaries around herself and her biological family, should she choose to seek them out. They are not healthy people, she is going to need that skill. Because of my experience with my family, and because she is old enough to know, we don’t shield her completely from information about her family. She needs to have a real picture, not a fairytale. Not having heard from anyone in her biological family for so long, we really didn’t know how anyone was doing, so I hugged my daughter and told her of course she misses her family. I told her that her family loved her and wanted the best for her. I told her that I’m sure her family thinks about her. I then sent a text to her biological grandma, asking about everyone. The text back was  lengthy, but filled with the truth about the family. Things have gone from bad to worse in many situations.  There was not one question about how my daughter was dfamilyquoteoing, but I wasn’t expecting one, so it only mildly pissed me off.

I let my daughter read the responses back and forth. She sat there for a minute re-reading them and then thanked me for texting her grandma and for letting her see the texts. She gave me a hug. I hugged her back. I told her that we knew that we can’t take the place of biological family, but we are trying to do the work of what ‘family’ means. Loving each other, being there for each other, taking care of each other, being honest with each other and yes, telling each other when choices aren’t good. That is all a part of what family means.

When I read the post from HONY today and especially the quote, “I’ve learned that your family can be anyone”, it resonated deep within me and gave me hope that someday it will ring true for our daughter.

 

Big, Bold Moves

It’s been a couple of months since a group of women and I wrapped up the Storyline book club.

Storyline is a book that takes you through a process of reflection, goal setting and action plans. It’s quite a commitment, it took us about 12 weeks to get through the whole process. Of course the book won’t do the hard work of creating inciting incidents for you, but it puts the steps clearly into place for you to follow. Storyline was the reason that I started blogging, although it wasn’t even on my list. Blogging is just a stepping stone to some other paths.

ANYwho, the women who participated in Storyline were mostly strangers at the start of the book club, but all were wanting to spend the time deciding what next story they want to create next, and man, have they taken action! Out of the thirteen women that originally started, eleven of us finished strong! Here’s what the change looked like:

~ Maggie worked as a pre-school teacher and she has accepted a new position and is now the director of the preschool she was previously working at.
~ Keli was living in the Portland area and had been substitute teaching , while she was looking for a full time position. She and her husband had a move to San Diego on their schedule for next summer. She now has her first full time teaching job and it’s in San Diego, where she was hoping to move to within the next year or so, so she’s ahead of schedule! Her husband is following soon!
~ Alison has quit Intel where she has worked for years and just accepted a position at WebMD, a big leap for her!
~ Denise went to the informational meeting for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), filled out the application and is doing the training. A big, scary move, but she will be a great asset to CASA.
~ Rachael quit her job at Wells Fargo, got a new job at a local high school  AND is going to start school again. She’s like to start helping to be a solution to some of the issues our school system has. Wowza!
~ Laura has been contemplating going into the coffee shop business again AND is getting ready to start classes again, while she is also busy with getting her daughter through high school and working full time at a local university.
~ Michele has been working on her real estate business again and just finished taking a Spanish class, which she’s wanted to do for a while. Million Miles
~ Liana has been going great guns on her Beach Body business AND working full time AND being a busy mom of three.
~and I’ve been blogging away…

Such big, bold action in such a short amount of time. I can’t wait to see what these ladies choose as their next steps.

If you are feeling like you are stuck, or if you are needing to move in a new direction, I encourage you to check out the Storyline book. Put your own group together and see what happens for you. And guys, PS. It’s not just for women, either. You can do it too! Check out the Storyline website for more information on author, Donald Miller. He is the author of one of my favorite books of all time, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. You should read that too!

Finding Happiness

I’ve spent the past several days in San Diego, helping my friend, Keli, set up her very first third grade classroom. I’ve been staying at her mom’juliesyard1s house, and it has been amazing to wake up in the morning, pour a cup of coffee and to sit on her patio in her lush backyard, with palm trees within view from every direction I look. There is just something about a palm tree that will make anyone who did not grow up with them think about vacation. I am on vacation, but it’s been a working vacation. In between the cutting, laminating, designing, gluing, arranging and hanging, there’ve been runs on the beach, walks down palm tree-lined streets, some great conversation, food and of course, wine. Nothing has made me feel more like it was a vacation though, than sitting outside on the patio. If I lived here, it would be my favorite place. I don’t live here and it’s my favorite place. It’s just peaceful. Yesterday, there were hummingbirds everywhere in the morning. AND there’s a lemon tree. Fancy. It just makes me happy and I’ve been thinking about how to get my backyard to be my favorite place in my house. Watch out, Honey, I’ve been thinking again!

While I’ve been happily sitting on Julie’s patio, the world was stunned by the death of Robin Williams.

It is always shocking when someone famous dies. I remember I was putting stuff into a box in my living room when my friend Erica called and told me about Princess Diana. I was driving in my car on Highway 8 when I heard about Michael Jackson. And I was sticking name tag sleeves on desks in San Diego when I heard about Robin Williams.

I am not going to pretend that I was the world’s biggest Robin Williams fan, because I really wasn’t. Don’t send me hate mail. It’s not that I disliked him, I just don’t tend to love most of the comedy-types. Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Bill Murray, Adam Sandler. Actually, I just Googled top 100 Comedian Actors, and I don’t love many of them. I guess I don’t like laughing. Or maybe I don’t like it when people are funnier than me. Whichever.

I did however grow up with Robin Williams being a household name, so it was shocking to see a Tweet from Ellen saying she was shocked. Yes, Ellen Degeneres. We’re friends. Well, friends on Twitter. She is funny too. And I ADORE her. Maybe it’s a gender issue?

More shocking was the fact that suicide is suspected as the cause of death. Don’t all of us normal people just assume that all of these rich celebrities are sitting in their big fancy homes or on vacation in a fancy estate on a tropical island, happy as a clam in the ocean? Not a care in the world because they’ve got a lot of zeros before the decimal point in their bank accounts, instead of just a lot of zeros period. It’s easy to get caught up in the, “I’ll be happy when” thing. When I get those new shoes, when I get a new car, when I get a bigger house, when I make more money. Study after study has shown that while there may be a momentary spike in my happiness level when I get a new pair of jeans, those jeans are not, in fact going to make me more than temporarily happy.

I found this article about happiness really interesting because it cites a study that says that we really only have control over about 12% of our happiness level. Nearly half of our happiness level is genetic. Some people are just wired to be happier and some are wired to be more unhappy. Just another thing to blame the parents for. About 40% of our happiness level can be traced to events, good and bad, but remember, this impacts us temporarily. So we are left with just 12% that we really have much control over. Control being the important word here for any control freak.

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Quote by Bob Goff

Faith, family, community and work. This is the 12% part of my happiness that I have control over. I can’t help how my genes are programmed and although I can plan fun events that make me happy, I can’t plan every event that’s going to happen in my life. There are going to be some that suck. But I can make intentional decisions on my faith, family, community and work that will impact my happiness. Isn’t this good information to have?

Like many other comedians who have spent most of their lives making other people laugh, it is now clear to the public at large that Robin Williams was dealing with some deep unhappiness. What a sad reminder that money and fame really cannot bring happiness and that we should be intentionally focusing on the things that can.

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, don’t wait for them to ‘snap out of it’. Depression is in the 48% of things that we have little control over and can be debilitating. Getting help dealing with it from a doctor or mental health professional.

The Cleanse in Review

So big news, my post yesterday was my 50th blog post. Oh, and I can eat food again. I’m not sure which one is more exciting, but if you talk to me about drinking coffee or drinking wine again, I’m pretty sure I could figure out the excitement ranking quickly.

I didn’t even go off the rails today with my food. I had eggs and veggies for breakfast, had a lettuce wrapped burger for lunch and had the most delicious steak and sweet potato in history. I am absolutely sure that I’m not exaggerating. It was amazing. One thing I did NOT have was a shake. I’m a little burned out on those. I think nine shakes in three days will do that to a girl.

So what did I learn during the three day cleanse? Well, a few things; Like, Skyler should never go on a cleanse. She gets forty shades of ugly when she’s hungry, so we should just keep food in that girl’s tummy at all times.  But besides that great little tidbit of information, I learned, once again, that my family is pretty awesome. First, Skyler wanted to join me on the cleanse, which always makes any journey more fun. Then everyone else was pretty kind about either choosing food that didn’t smell, or food that I just would never eat if they were going to eat at home, so that I wouldn’t be dying of jealousy or tempted to throw in the towel. If they were going to eat something that smelled REALLY good, they just left the house and ate out. It was probably the ONLY reason that I was able to go three days without meat.

That leads right into the next item learned, which is that I will NEVER be a vegetarian. The protein shakes that I had on the cleanse did have protein in them, in fact, they had 20 grams of protein in each one. That should have been plenty of protein to keep this girl happy, since I was eating three a day! I was initially, very excited to see that I was going to get to eat that amount of protein. However, at the end of day one, when I felt draggish and sluggish, similar to how I feel if I eat all carbs- no meat- I looked at the protein packages closer. I am NOT a scientist or a nutritionist, but I can say without any other research, after 42 years of owning this body, plant protein does not do for me what animal protein does. This was made more clear with each meal. And with the fact that I very literally wanted to eat a cow by the second day. The whole cow.

Third, I learned that either people are liars or I have a screwed up body. Every single review I read of this particular cleanse raved about how full they felt and how they had absolutely no cravings and that they had just an overabundance of energy. Like, more energy than they had ever had. Their skin was better, their digestion was better, their clothes fit better, they’d lost weight. The raving went on and on and on.

I was just having this conversation last night over a beautiful piece of grilled salmon, some grilled chicken, grilled asparagus and lovely salad (yes wine too). One of the biggest disservices that we do each other is that we pretend to the world at large, that everything is perfect all of the time. We live behind our perfection smoke screens and tsk tsk when someone else isn’t so perfect. The fact of the matter is though, that when everyone is living this way, you get dirty little secret surprises. Ladies with children, don’t tell me there weren’t things you were surprised about when you got pregnant and had a baby! WHY, in God’s green earth, does someone not at least give you a warning shot across the bow BEFORE you’ve committing to hosting an alien being? Seriously. If I taught sex-ed, there’d be some additional material added, and probably a lot less teen pregnancy. It is not all growing belly, kicking baby and cuddly new being. There’s a whole lot of other stuff that NO ONE talks about.

The other thing that happens when things are glossed over or not talked about, is something ends up happening, and I end up thinking that there is something wrong with me. I mean, I just had this strange thing happen and I have never heard about anyone else experiencing it, so I must be defective. Seriously. Then I ask and learn that other people do, in fact, also experience said oddity and then I’m pissed. Why all the secrecy? Why all the smoke and mirrors? Do I REALLY want my life to be as airbrushed as the latest cover of Cosmopolitan magazine? How dull. Plus, it’s misleading to everyone else coming behind me that are going to be trying to figure out what’s wrong with them that they have to pluck or shave the hair growing on their big toe. Am I turning into a man? God Bless America. That crap just suddenly appears one day. I was shocked!

All of this is to say that my beforeaftercleanseexperience was much different than the ones that I read about. Yes, I lost some weight, about 5 pounds, which is bound to happen when you drink a sh*t ton of water and eat a meager amount of calories. I was expecting that, so I’m really glad it happened. Yes, I’m less puffy or bloated or swollen. That’s nice too, but I don’t know that it’s really noticeable to anyone but me. I didn’t, however, feel like I had more energy, I felt  more tired. I DID have cravings. Not for Skittles, but for meat. Big pieces of meat.  Would I do this again? Well, maybe. But maybe not. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Here is a lovely before and after picture for you. It’s not really fair because they were done in different lighting and I took the ‘after’ right before I went to work, so I had makeup on. If you try to disregard the softer lense look and the makeup and finished hair, you might notice a difference in my face. You might not. FYI, I was intentionally not smiling. I promise I wasn’t ready to kill anyone!

The Cleanse, Day Three

It’s the third and final day of the cleanse. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up. Actually, that’s a lie. The first thing I think about is how badly I need to pee. Then Ernie hits me in the face with his paw, which is the universal sign for, “Get me a treat, woman!” THEN I remember that today is the last day of the cleanse. Is it too early to start day dreaming about what I am going to eat tomorrow?

I weigh myself and I’m only down .8 from yesterday. Hells.

Phil sits down to eat breakfast with me. He doesn’t usually do that. He usually sits in the living room, watching TV while he eats. He’s munching on that cereal that he showed me yesterday and drinking coffee. Amazing, delicious coffee. I am drinking my shake with a half of a banana in it, feeling jealous, but I pretend I’m fine with it. Consequences of choices made. Suck it up, Buttercup.

I am getting my hair colored today. At least that will cheer me up. First, I decide to bless everyone by taking a shower. Then, I decide I should shave my legs. After all, tomorrow morning will be my final chance to see how much weight was lost cleansing. Shaving should cut down a quarter of an ounce or so. Every little bit helps. Guys, women DO actually think like this, so figure out a way to deal with the craziness.

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With my client, Jenny, and Alison Sweeney of Biggest Loser and Days of Our Lives fame.

This reminds me of when I went to Los Angeles for one of the Biggest Loser finales. I did personal training for a woman who’s mother was a finalist on the show and she invited me to come to the finale. Trip to LA? Okay. I got to meet a bunch of the previous winners and had my picture taken with Alison Sweeney. It was fun. What was crazy, though, was to hear the stories about what the contestants were doing in the hours leading up to the final weigh in. From eating next to nothing and wearing a ton of layers to sweat water weight out, it was something else. One guy sat and spit into a cup for the last couple of hours before getting on the scale. CRAY CRAY. I won’t be spitting in a cup in the morning. Maybe I won’t. But I will for sure shave my legs.

Next, I’m off to get my hair colored. I tell Castor about the cleanse and his straight face response is that I can eat 900 calories a day all I want. He’s going to continue to eat 900 calories per meal. I can see how that sounds more appealing. And filling. I don’t have the energy to spare with a debate about how great it is.

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Human Clothes Hanger

As I’m sitting with color on my head, complaining about all the water I’m drinking and how little food I’m eating, I’m scrolling through my news feed and see a story about the humanitarian crisis that’s happening in Iraq. Tens of thousands of people have fled to the hills, because the ISIS is killing whoever the hell they feel like. Families trying to save themselves and their kids, have been without shelter, food and water for a week and now, after a week of no food and no water, they are literally dying of starvation and dehydration. I now, officially feel like an ass. The three liters of water and 900 calories that I’m complaining about eating would quite literally save lives there. I am going to quit complaining immediately. Even mentally.

The rest of the day is spent in dressing rooms, watching my daughters model their back to school finds. We do a quick half-time break so I can run home and eat a salad and the girls go off to find deliciousness elsewhere, so I don’t have to smell their food. When they get back, I mix up a shake and we head back out for round two- shoe shopping. After trying on every boot in DSW, their selections are made and we can go home.

I crawl into bed and my tummy growls. Since childhood, going to be hungry is not something I do. I get really upset if I go to bed hungry, but tonight, I pray for the momma’s and daddy’s in the hills of Iraq that are watching their children starve and I feel nothing but gratitude for laying in bed with a growling stomach. There is food in my fridge, water in my tap and I have a safe place to sleep.

The Cleanse: Day Two

It’s day two of the cleanse. I have learned quickly that there is not coffee, or wine in my future, so there really is no reason to get out of bed. My dogs disagree, however, so they still start pestering me at 6am. “Get the hell up, lady, and give us a treat! You may be starving yourself, but it doesn’t mean the rest of us have to go along with it!” Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m up.

The dogs get their treat, I get my 8oz. We’re all happy. Well, those of us with four legs are happy.

Off I go to my favorite most used room of the house since starting the cleanse, the bathroom, because yes, I have to pee, again. I decide since I’m in there, I may as well step on the scale to see what a day of starvation cleansing will do for a body. Wow. Down four pounds. I realize it is just water weight, after all, I did drink 3 liters of water yesterday, but four pounds is four pounds. I will take it. Now I’m super motivated to have  a shake for breakfast! Not really, but I’m already 24 hours in, I’m not quitting.

fiber

The deliciousness (gag) that is fiber… Looks yummy, right?

I make my shake, just throwing the blueberries in the mix. I’ve given up on finding joy in chewing. Unless I can have a cheeseburger. Than I’ll retrieve the joy from the trunk of my car where I’ve locked it up. That’s the beauty about being a control freak. We just turn things that suck around in our minds. I have CHOSEN to lock that crap up in the trunk. Who needs to be excited to eat? My husband shows me a box of cereal. ‘You should try this, when you can eat again.’ Like dangling a mouse in front of a cat. I pretend it’s a box of cardboard. Who likes cardboard anyway?

Since I have to work, I spend the next 20 minutes making my lunch and snack, and getting my shakes together for the day. I have to go to work with it all prepared, otherwise I might order a pizza. ‘That’s a lot of work,’ my husband says. He’s right. I’ve just burned my breakfast calories chopping up a half of a pepper and a half of an apple.

At work, I drink my liters of water, have my fiber, (I didn’t gag this time, but I changed my strategy. No stopping to breath!) and eat my meager food provisions. I’m doing okay, but Skyler is starting to have a melt down. She is an angry, hungry person. Do not talk to her about vegetables. She wants meat. Yikes. I’m staying out of her way.

My day at work gets finished and I head home to enjoy my dinner. Skyler has gone off the rails. My husband and kids make an exit and head to Taco Bell for a Nacho Bell Grande. I make another salad and shake. I add mint to this one, hoping I will think it’s ice cream. I don’t. I decide to just give up, and go to bed without even considering the vegetable broth. I mean really, it’s just flavored water and Lord knows, I’ve had enough water for one day!

The Cleanse: Day One

Day One of my cleanse. I woke up early, like usual, today and was getting out of bed when I remembered that I couldn’t have coffee this morning. I decided I may as well sleep longer. I mean, if I’m going to say that coffee gets me out of bed in the morning, I very well can’t just jump up at the crack of dawn without it, right? Besides, I’m going to need energy to starve. I need to start conserving right away.

After another hour of sleep, I get up and weigh myself. Have I lost any weight yet? Actually, I had! I lost 1.8 lbs overnight! Hm. Maybe it wasn’t a fair start to weigh myself after eating a monster burrito, a margarita and two glasses of wine? I might need to use this new number as my baseline. Contemplating this thought, I head off to find breakfast. I start with the required 8oz of water. Yum. Almost as good as coffee, if I had never tasted coffee before. The second course of my morning meal is a shake and fruit. I can have them separately or mix them together. I decide that I might miss chewing to much if I blend them together, so I make my shake, put 12 little strawberries in a bowl and then sit down to enjoy my meal. The shake isn’t horrible. It’s vanilla and I added some cinnamon to it, so I could imagine I was eating a cinnamon roll. The strawberries took a long time to eat.  I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten 12 strawberries in one sitting before.

An hour after I ate breakfast, I got to have a cup of green tea. I actually like green tea, so I was excited about this. Would I have preferred coffee? You bet I would have. But I was not turning down the green tea caffeine.

An hour after drinking the green tea, it was time to take the some fiber. Fiber in a plastic container has never been a part of my household. When I see the commercials for Metamucil, I always think, that’s for old people that can’t ‘go’. I eat my fiber in my veggies, thank you very much, and I have no problem ‘going’. But, I guess when you are trying to starve cleanse, you aren’t eating much in the way of vegetables, so you need fiber. Well, if I can straight shot vodka, I can get this down! I am slightly less confident upon mixing up the fiber into the water, but, I’m determined, so down it goes. Well, half of it, anyway. I stop to catch my breath, which is a mistake because then you can feel the gritty texture in your mouth and you have to try to convince yourself to finish. I keep swirling it around in my glass, trying to mix it better, and it keeps getting thicker and thicker. I’m trying not to think of what the texture reminds me of because I have a texture issue.

When I was four, my dad gave me some tapioca pudding. I ate it down like it was nobody’s business, I mean it’s like vanilla pudding with bubbles.  When I was finished, my dad, being the ‘I-think-I’m-so-funny kind of guy that he is, told me that the little lumps in the pudding were frog eyes. I had just eaten frog eyes. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling so good, and then I paid him back. I threw up the pudding, frog eyes and all. Take that. Of course, from that point on, anything that could even possibly be frog eyes, does not make it past my lips. No cottage cheese, no tapioca pudding. Ever. I’ve never tried it again. Well, the fiber was turning gelatinous and was starting to make me think about frog eyes. At the end of my glass, I actually dry heaved into the sink. It was not delicious. Don’t believe anyone who says differently. You might be able to get used to it, but you don’t need to get used to something delicious.

Then it was time to hit the road to drive back to Portland. When you are drinking a liter of water before noon, it is not a great idea to take a road trip. Unless you plan on stopping 15 miles down the road, which we did. We stopped just about once every hour on the six hour drive. Ridiculous.

Forty-five minutes before we could eat lunch, we were starving. Like, stomach growling starving. We sucked it up and waited, but no one was happy about it. Lunch was another shake, this one with no ice, since we were on the road, and a half of a red pepper with 2 tablespoons of avocado and half of an apple. Bon appetit. Seriously. Lizzie sat in the back seat eating the Lunchable that she had bought while we were buying fiber. If we don’t get to eat, we were certainly not going to sit in a car with someone who is eating something that smelled good. She likes Lunchables anyway, and I never let her buy them because they are gross. Now, the crunching of the crackers coming from the back seat sounds amazing. She better hurry and scarf those things down before I climb over the seat.

By about 2pm, I’m starting to get hungry again, but I’m doing the math. If I eat my snack now, it’ll be another four hours or so before I can eat dinner. I decide, sadly, that I will have to wait another hour to eat my five baby carrots. Instead, I drink another 8oz of water.

We pulled into The Dalles  at 3pm. I realized that I hadn’t packed enough mashed avocado for both lunch AND snack. I had an uncut avocado, but no knife. So I found a Fred Meyer and ran in and bought a package of the 4-single serve guacamole. This is NOT exactly what we are supposed to be eating. There are things in this guacamole that are delicious off limits, I’m sure of it. But my other option is to buy a knife, a fork, a spoon and a bowl so that I can cut, scoop and mash the avocado that I have. That is going to burn more calories than I ate at lunch, so it’s not going to happen. At this point, it was sounding really good to just say ‘screw it!’ and go through the drive through, but we are only on day one. I am NOT quitting. Yet. We peel open our guac and enjoyed the hell out of those forbidden ingredients. I cannot stress to you enough, the amount of willpower it took to eat just 3/4 of the container, but we did it, letting perfectly good guacamole go to waste. There are starving people in the world. Ya know?

We made it home, unloaded the car, and then had dinner, which was a spinach salad with cucumber, tomato and red pepper on it. Oh, and sprouts. I’m sure they added a butt-ton of calories. The dressing was lemon juice and a bit of olive oil. Don’t forget the shake. I had another one of those too. After eating, I was still hungry, and feeling sad about life in general. And then I remembered that with our dinner, we could have 8oz of vegetable broth if we wanted. OMG. This changes everything!

I poured my broth in a coffee mug and added a bunch of fresh basil to it and heated it up and it was SO amazing. Like, really, I almost cried. It was that good. I decided that it was my favorite part of the day.

So, day one ended with 3 liters of water consumed plus about 900 calories in the form of shakes and raw fruits and veggies and a tad bit of fat. I didn’t die. I did feel hungry. I did pee. A lot.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings!

Here’s a sampling of what we’re eating:

cleanse2cleanse3cleanse4cleanse1

 

 

 

 

I Am Going to Be Starving

If my posts get crazy over the course of the next three days, it’s because I’m calorie deficient and my body is eating itself.

I’ve been Cleanse-Curious for a few years now. Ever since learning from Robb Wolf about food and how it impacts the body, I have wanted to try a cleanse, but I have always been too scared. If you Google ‘cleanse’, you’ll come up will all kinds of different options, from juice cleanses, broth cleanses and dandelion tea cleanses, the options are really limitless. All tout toxin elimination, weight loss, more energy, decrease in bloating and improved digestion. However, when you tell me I have to give up coffee and wine for the duration of the cleanse, well, I’d rather just have a colonic. Side note: Colonics can expel parasites. File that one away for my tapeworm idea that I still have to tell you about.

Of course the thought of not eating anything delicious for days doesn’t really appeal to me either, but that is really secondary to the coffee and wine issue.

Well, upon doing some serious research on Facebook, everyone’s source of scientifically factual information, I saw that a friend had posted some info about a cleanse. I asked her for more info and then talked a friend into suffering cleansing with me. Then Skyler said she wanted to do it. Then my niece, who just came back from Watershed (the festival, not the rehab center, although I find it ironic that they share a name since one discourages, and the other encourages alcohol consumption), said she needed to detox. I created a band wagon and people are just jumping on. Misery loves company, ya know?

So tomorrow begins the three day adventure, and my stomach is growling just thinking about it. I’m going to have a high calorie, high carb “Last Supper” to help prepare. I’m also thinking about paying for some hypnotherapy so that I can ‘forget’ what food even is.last supper

I’ve read people’s blog posts about cleanses that they’ve done and I have to tell you, I think people are big liars. “I never felt hungry” and “I had so much energy” are common repeated phrases. I cannot, for the life of me, believe these statements to be true. I am, however, expecting the best and preparing for the worst. I expect to be starving and lethargic. I plan on complaining, loudly. I will be telling you the truth about the whole thing though, not sugar coating the experience, so that you are tricked into thinking you should do it too.

I can be bluntly honest.  Ask my kids. And stay tuned, or jump on the bandwagon. In the mean time, here’s a picture of my Last Supper.