Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marathon Update

I've decided to give myself a do-over. I did stay somewhat active these last few weeks, but I never did get in either of my longer walks. I know that three hours at the zoo is a lot of walking, but it's not exactly 60 minutes of continuous moving at a brisk pace. I feel like I'm cheating myself, so I'm going to start over. If anyone has been looking at the notes in the sidebar, you'll see that I've deleted my done/not done comments, and started over again as of yesterday.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lucy, I'm ho-ome

I hate sharing a bed with my husband.

BW and I just got back last night from our trip to AZ, where I had wonderful, uninterrupted, comfortable sleep. Yet I missed sleeping in the same bed as my husband, I was lonely. I was looking forward to sleeping next to him, to being home. Now that I'm back, I realize perhaps it was just the bed I missed.

My husband is a restless sleeper. He doesn't sleep with his head in the pillow area and his feet in the feet area, oh no. He sleeps diagonally. He flips around and sleeps with his head where his feet should be, and his feet where my head should be. Or he sleeps with his head in the proper place, but in fetal position, with his knees and feet jammed up into my back. I'm constantly getting goosed by his long pointy toes. If I don't have his toes up my rear, then he's sliding his arm under my pillow. What's with that? I'm all comfortable, and suddenly there's an elbow shaped lump under my head. We have five freaking pillows on our bed, but he still has to mess with mine.

I should have known from the beginning that sharing a bed with my husband was going to be less than ideal. When we first started sleeping in the same bed, he'd roll over and hit me square in the face with his elbow. He'd lose his pillow, find mine and I'd wake up in the night with my head hitting the mattress after he yanked my pillow out from under me. I learned to sleep on my side, both hands desperately clutching my pillow. I'd wake up in the night playing tug-of-war with him, him trying to yank it away, me hanging on for dear life.

I like having him in the same room with me. I like talking as we wind down for the night. I like snuggling when it's non-combative. The problem is, the snuggling and talking and winding down parts aren't worth the poking and prodding and pillow battling I usually suffer through.

I woke up this morning and announced that I was done with the king sized bed. From here on out, I want my own space. I'm not ready for separate bedrooms, but separate beds are sounding pretty damned appealing right about now. When we're conscious, we can talk. We can even visit each others' beds for a snuggle. Then we can move to our own space, to sleep in comfort and peace. I can't see a downside, at this point. It's got to be better than constructing the pillow wall in between us every night, fighting for toe-free space in the king sized bed we have now. I'm tired. Lucy and Ricky had it right.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Walking Plan

I forgot to comment on my exercise plan....I'm not sure how I'm doing on that....I haven't stuck to the plan, but I have been active. I'm not sure how that qualifies. I'm guessing it puts me a little behind - I may not be ready for the hour of brisk walking yet - but still better off than I was to begin with.

I have been active, but I haven't actually put on my good walking shoes and timed myself. I've been eating nothing but junk. Hey, I'm on vacation, it's what I do on vacation. Eat, shop, hang out with friends, visit museums and zoos. I'm pretty boring that way. You won't find me biking down a volcano for fun. But maybe by this time next year....Haleakala, here I come!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Out of Town....

Hello, Dear Readers!

I thought I'd update my blog today, because I probably won't get a chance to next week. Tomorrow Motorman, BW and I are leaving for Albuquerque, where we will spend a delightful weekend with my mother. On Sunday, Motorman will head back to work, and BW and I will head for Phoenix with my mom. We'll be home some time the following Friday.

I'm excited because I'll get to see some friends, spend some time with my mama, and BW will get a few nights with his other grandparents as well. I'll get some short (but sweet) child-free time - as a homeschooling mom, child-free time is much appreciated. I love being with my son day in and day out, but a few brief breaks here and there are always nice. I apparently need one, because I've managed to lose my temper and yell at BW twice today, making him cry both times. Which is probably not as bad as it sounds, because he cries at least once a day, anyway. The kid gets hurt physically (falling off something, running into something, tripping, etc.) at least once a day, and gets his feelings hurt pretty easily, too. There's a lot of crying in our household. Wow. Sounds kind of depressing....He does get over it pretty quickly, so it's not all tears and wailing, I swear.

So anyway...I've updated my blog. I went ahead and updated my whole exercise schedule for the days I'm gone. I'll have to update whether or not they actually were done when I get back. I'm hoping to keep up my routine. So far, I've done pretty well. I switched around a few days and exchanged one 30 minute walk for a couple of hours of house cleaning. I figure that's a pretty fair trade.

In other news, I applied for a job. I'm not really expecting to get it, but I thought I'd go ahead and send in a resume. It's something I can do at night (now that motorman is home each night) and earn a little extra money since it looks like our house isn't going to sell any time soon. The job is as a patient registrar at a hospital about 30 miles away. It's something I'm actually qualified for, something I can do and still be home during the day with BW, and when people ask me what I do I'll get to sound like a pirate. Go ahead, say registrar out loud. Now grab an eye patch, pretend you have a peg leg, and say, "Registrar, matey!" See? I am unable to say registrar (matey) without channeling my inner Jack Sparrow. I've been going around saying it in my head for the last few days. I'm so easily amused....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Furry Happy Monsters

There is something seriously wrong with my parenting. I'm pretty inconsistent, for one thing. One day it's OK to do something, the next it's not. I waver between no pretend gun play and hey, go for it, just don't point the damn thing at me. Some video games are fine, but then I start seeing behavior I'm not so happy with and I veto all things that are in any way violent. I try to do the right thing, but sometimes I'm so unsure what the right thing is, I get stuck.

So the other day we're watching The Muppet Show (don't ya just love Netflix??), and Boy Wonder tells me he's freaked out. I ask why, and he says that a monster just swallowed a lady whole and it scared him. So I rewind to see what he's talking about, and it's a skit in which Miss Piggy gets swallowed by one of the big monsters. I found it totally hilarious, BW was upset by it...the child who is perfectly happy to play war and gun games was scared when Miss Piggy got munched. Do you see the problem here?

So we're back to more closely monitoring what BW watches and plays. He's seven, I'd like him to be free of scary things right now - guns and wars and shooting people should be scary, right? Or are those things that kids just naturally play? Cowboys and Indians? War? Cops and Robbers? (My cousin the cop just loves that one, let me tell you.) Ugh. Why can't it be all innocent and sweet now? There's plenty of time for all the ugliness in the world later. Things should be shiny and happy when they're young, right?

Funny how a R.E.M. video on VH1 got me started down this little path - revisiting parenting decisions, worrying about pretend play and video game time....Gotta love it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

All Natural Ingredients

I was cooking dinner (sloppy joes) last night and I read through the list of ingredients before I added it to the meat. I was using dry seasoning rather than the canned stuff, and the ingredients were listed as: sugar, onion, salt, cornstarch, paprika, spices (including chili pepper), red and green bell peppers, garlic, maltodextrin, modified cornstarch, citric acid, vinegar solids, cider vinegar, natural flavors. This bothers me on so many different levels I'm not sure where to start....

In my perfect world, as my perfect self, I would feed my family nothing but local and organic foods. We would own our own cows and chickens, grow much of our own foods, and have local contacts for everything else. Nothing we ate would be of questionable origin, nothing would be chemically fertilized or pumped full of antibiotics. In reality, we are so far from my little fantasy it's laughable. I do buy organically and locally when I can afford to do so, but not nearly as often as I would like.

I push the fruits and veggies on my son - he loves them and isn't a picky eater so he's easy. My husband would live off Taco Bell and Burger King if he could. I, however, go from one extreme to the next - I try to keep my diet pretty healthy, but food and I have a shaky relationship. One day I feel like we're getting along and everything is fine. The next day, I'm needy and clingy, and I can't get enough. And you know, no matter what I do, food is always standoffish and unfeeling. Food just sits there, all 'do what you want with me, take me or leave me, I don't care' and I'm not getting what I need from the relationship. I know it's not healthy, but, I'm not quite in the right place with food yet. I'm working on it.

But I digress...back to the sloppy joe packet. Reread the ingredients if you need to refresh your memory, I'll wait. ........................ Now then...I like being able to identify the ingredients of the food we eat. If (ha!), when I buy processed foods, ideally I like to buy things that have as few ingredients as possible and I want to actually know what said ingredients are. At the very least, a vague idea of what they are is fine.

For whatever reason, I didn't read the packet when I bought it. Let's start at the beginning. Sugar, onion, salt, cornstarch, paprika - all fine. No questions there, recognize all that stuff. Next, we have spices (including chili pepper). 'Eh? First off, is paprika not a spice? What about garlic? I'm not a great cook, but I always thought they were considered spices. Second...what are they leaving out? What do they not want me to know? Why can't they tell me what, besides chili pepper, they're using? Why the evasion? I'm becoming concerned by this, I find it curious, but I'm still OK at this point.

Red and green bell peppers, garlic, maltodextrin...maltodextrin is one of those ingredients I'm not totally sure about - I know it's made from corn, I think it's a starch, and it's pervasive as far as ingredients go. I see it everywhere. I think it's a preservative. I'm trying to weed out those types of things, but it's one that I'm working on. I'm uneasy with maltodextrin, but for now I live with it.

Modified cornstarch...modified how, exactly? And really, more cornstarch? The cornstarch at the beginning wasn't enough? And isn't maltodextrin a starch made from corn? Wow...there's a lot of starch in this.

Citric acid, vinegar solids, cider vinegar, natural flavors....Natural flavors. That, I don't like. Not at all. What, pray tell, are natural flavors? Why can't they be more specific? Why the intrigue? I worry because I recently found out that the "natural flavors" used to make some foods red is crushed beetle shells. Sloppy joe seasoning is reddish. Am I feeding my family bug shells? Natural flavors sort of freak me out. Dirt is natural. Bugs are natural. Guano is natural. (Don't get me started on what they use guano in.)

Why can't they just tell us what they're using? I feel like it's all some big conspiracy, like they don't trust us enough to tell us what they're using...."It's OK, little lady, don't worry your pretty little head about this! You just make your sloppy joes and let us, the more qualified people, worry about the natural flavors! After all, if you knew how to do this properly, you wouldn't be using a seasoning packet anyway, right?"

So I spent a lot of time thinking about this last night. So many of us have weight problems and health issues, and I firmly believe it is because we eat all these chemicals and processed foods. If we would just eat things in their natural forms and cook using whole ingredients, we'd all be so much better off. But instead, we're rushing around using packets of this and boxes of that, and most of us don't even know what exactly we're eating. I sure as hell don't. It's scary. Was it scary enough not to eat? Nope...still fed everyone sloppy joes for dinner. Next time, maybe, I'll make them from scratch. I'm working on it, I really am, but I'm not there yet. But knowing there's a problem is half the battle, right?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Returning to normal

In the sake of getting back into a routine, back to what passes for normal in my world, I wanted to focus my energy on Boy Wonder today. After all, I've taken the semester off school, the house is sitting patiently on the market (recrossing it's ankles every now and then, but mostly just sitting), and Bubby's gone - it's just me and Boy Wonder all day long.

So today I got up with a plan. We were going to do our copywork, work on some math, and listen to Story of the World: Ancient Times while building with legos. And for our first day back, I'm happy to report that we did ok. There was a little grumbling from both of us, but there always is after returning to routine after a break. We got the copywork and math done. Listening to Ancient Times didn't go so well, but we ended up reading a couple of books together. I can live with that. There's going to be some adjustment time for us, and as long as we're doing something productive I'm pretty happy.

My other stab at adjusting (and saving money) has been planning out dinner menus for the week. Until now, I'd never done this in real life. I keep hearing about how much it can help save money and time, but I'm more of a 'buy some staples and whatever looks good and fend for yourself for dinner' type of gal. I do cook, but not regularly. We eat a lot of pasta and rice with steamed veggies - not a lot of effort goes into my menu planning. We're really having to buckle down financially, so I thought this would help.

I looked up a few recipes online, racked my brain for things that I do cook when I choose to do so, made a shopping list and headed off to Wal-Mart. Amazingly enough, I only spent $73! Apparently having a very specific list and sticking to it does actually save money. Who knew?? I even planned for and made a casserole for Sunday brunch - I haven't done that for ages.

The whole experience has been kind of freeing. I know it was nothing revolutionary, but it always surprises me when something so simple works out so well. I don't do well with strict routines and lists because I'm fairly lazy. I don't want to be tied down to doing something I may or may not feel like doing. I always thought planning out a menu sounded horrible - what if we didn't want what was on the plan? But it's nice to spend a little time thinking ahead - I don't have to worry about it during the week. (Wow, mom, you WERE right!) There's enough to choose from so we'll have some options. And there are always leftovers or good old pb&j if we want it.

So, yeah, I know. Hardly worth blogging about really, but that's another thing I'm going to try to do more regularly. Force myself to write, to think of something to say, to get my thoughts organized. Try to be a little more creative, a little more thoughtful. So much will probably be crap, but I feel like I need to try. Kind of hard to insist that Boy Wonder learn how to write well when I've let mine go for so long. So wish me luck....I've been floating for too long and I need something different in my life right now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oops, she did it again...

My lovely sil has shown her crazy once again. Her paranoia and instability is shining through, and it's as blinding as driving into the rising sun behind a bug splattered windshield.

I had great hopes for her; I thought she was getting the help she so desperately needed. Unfortunately, it appears as if she's just working the system she's in without making any real progress. She's spouting off what she thinks everyone wants to hear and switching alliances so fast I feel like I'm in some bad realty show (Survivor: Texas Prison System). And if that isn't bad enough, I just got voted off the island (cell block?).

The result of all this is that Bubby is no longer living with us. He is now in upstate New York, over 2,000 miles away. Boy Wonder and I just got back from getting him settled in with his grandfather and half-brothers - people Bubby has never met before. The whole thing was heartbreaking, but unavoidable. We knew when we took Bubby in that it was going to be temporary. I guess I just hoped it wouldn't end like this. In all likelihood, we will not see him again.

I know that we gave him a wonderful life while we had him, and I know his grandfather will take good care of him. My sil's father has assured me that he will be the first person to protect Bubby from her if (when) that becomes necessary. He has assured me that he will throw her under the bus, if (when) it comes to that. It's good to know that he will put Bubby's needs ahead of those of his own daughter, if (when) it comes to that.

On the positive side, my life just got a whole lot simpler. Taking care of a crawling infant who still doesn't always sleep through the night is (no matter how sweet and happy he is) a lot of work. The logisitics of caring for a baby and all his needs, keeping him well-fed, happy, and healthy...as most parents out there know, it's pretty consuming. Packing and moving with an infant isn't easy, and I no longer have to worry about that. Dealing with my still loony sil is a thing of the past, and that's a wonderful thing. No matter how well she's doing, there's always some drama with her, and now it's no longer my problem.

On the negative side...well, he's gone. And we love him. And we miss him. The house is a little emptier. I feel like I'm forgetting to do something, like my days are too easy. My first thought the last few mornings was, "Wow, he slept through the night!!" and then I realized he wasn't there.

So it's been a rough couple of weeks, going through all this. But we'll get through it and we'll all be alright. I know we did the best we could with what (and who) we had to work with. Ultimately, I have to accept that his leaving was completely out of my hands, and just let it all go. Bubby made our lives happier while he was with us. All we can do now is hope he'll be safe and happy, and that my sil's brand of crazy is drug induced rather than genetic.