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So Sorry, Gordon Korman

July 24, 2012

My husband and I had the opportunity to go out Friday night after my mom’s plane landed. I wasn’t planning to, it was about 9 at night, but my mom said we should take advantage while she was here. I didn’t even have any other clothes to wear besides my daily yoga pants/cut up t shirt because I am a rotten launderess and every time I think about washing clothing it’s naptime and the babies will wake up. But my husband said I didn’t look that dirty, so I threw my hair up and we went out for stromboli.

Anyway, we got to talking about our roles. I was not raised to be a stay at home wife and mother. My mother was a teacher, and now an administrator and she put little worth in the work of the house. She always told me, “Get your degree and you can pay someone to do all that stuff.” We didn’t have much money, but she put us in ballet lessons and took us to the symphony. In fact one of my best memories was when I was about six years old, all dressed up at the symphony after party. I had a floor length fake fur coat and I refused to take it off. My four year old sister and I sipped on virgin strawberry daiquiris. I had no idea I was a child really, I never thought of myself as such, more like a society lady about town.

There were times when we didn’t have any food in the house and my mom borrowed gas money from my grandma $5 at a time. But there were other times when we went to the opera and we had quite the collection of childrens books signed by authors we had met. My mom’s best friend was a librarian she called “Bartender,” In fact I still don’t know that woman’s real name. She would send us home the best, biggest stack of brand new books that had just been published or won awards. We would devour them all. I always knew I would be a writer.

My thirteenth birthday was the most miserable birthday of my short life. I look at pictures now and I bear a striking resemblance to the swollen, desperate Queen in the “Anger of Achilles” Yes, I was miserable for all the usual reasons you are miserable when you are thirteen and a girl, but mostly because my favorite author had published his first book at twelve and I was woefully behind schedule. A failure at thirteen.
Now I could never grow up to be Gordon Korman’s second wife. How could he ever respect me? With each year my dream slipped further and further away. That sentence in Gordon Korman’s biography haunted me, “By the time Korman had graduated from high school, he had written and published five other books.

My Thirteenth Birthday Face

After that I didn’t really want to be a writer anymore. I wanted to be an actress in high school. Until I got unceremoniously thrown out of theater for a year. I didn’t try out for a single thing my senior year or ever again after that. For years I couldn’t go to a single performance of anything on stage without getting sick to my stomach. I had a boyfriend take me to see The Miracle Worker when I was in college and I had to leave the theater to throw up.

When I got home from my friend’s house who is recovering from surgery on Sunday I did a few loads of her laundry and my husband jokingly asked when I was going over again and if I could please take a few of his clothes. At dinner on Friday I apologized to my husband for not doing the laundry. I said, “If I was you I would fire me from being a stay at home wife.” He told me that that was ridiculous and I didn’t know my own worth. In the same breath he told me that he wanted me to write. He said he wanted me to take care of babies and write.

There is nothing I’ve ever done to make this man believe in me, but he does. There’s nothing I’ve ever done to make this man proud of me, but he is. After a childhood with much rejection and pain, it’s hard to understand love like that. But it comes. And it’s beautiful. And I don’t deserve it, but it’s mine anyway. So, I will write today because even though I’ve published nothing, even though I have no schooling, even though I had given up, and even though I don’t do laundry, my husband says I am a writer. My friends are starting to say I am a writer, and I may be starting to believe again that I am a writer. So sorry, Gordon Korman. I am already taken.

Do you have a dream you have given up on?

Full Circle

July 19, 2012

I wondered when I would get there. To the end of the line, the full circle, 360 degrees. I’ve been doing pretty good with my eating, if you don’t count the chili-cheese fries yesterday, which I don’t. I’ve been cooking and not eating out too much. I’ve been eating simply and healthfully. Unless you count the full bites of butter that I let luxuriously melt in my mouth. Of course, you cannot get any simpler than butter (sweet cream, salt, mouth watering typing that). I’ve also lost ten pounds. Going to the gym and calorie counting and basically being a badass for a month, then eating healthfully dotted with whataburgers and chili cheese fries and braums ice cream and butter and not going to the gym in the morning anymore because I have a new baby I’m watching in the mornings while her mom goes to class (this is how I maintain my weight loss). I need to kick it into high gear again though and get into the actually LOSING part of the equation and not just the “maintaining”.

See, I’ve been excellent about not bringing junk into the house. If I want junk I have to go out, hop in my car, drive to wherever and scarf it down. I will not bring 12 packs of coke or giant bags of doritos or *gulp* oreo cookies and ice cream and chocolate into my home where I fix food for myself and my family all day long. That’s been helping alot. But then there were these peanut m&ms.

Let me explain.

I’m kind of an awesome wife. So awesome in fact that I have been to pretty much every single comic book movie opening at 10 o’clock at night for the past 8 years. SO awesome in fact, that when my husband says that Ang Lee was robbed and that people just want to see the Hulk smash stuff and they don’t understand the inner workings of his psyche, I totally agreed. SO unbelievably amazingly awesome in fact that when we got into the worst fight of our then married-life I told him we needed serious counseling and that I signed us up for the “Power of Transformation Marriage Seminar.” Then I took him to see The Transformers (the first one, the good one) on a special screening the day before it opened to make up with him. That is an awesome wife my friends.

So, it is no surprise then that my husband already has his Batman tickets bought and we’ve been watching the first movies the past two nights. I of course, being the awesome wife that I am bought a surprise for him at the store yesterday. A family size bag of peanut m&ms. I hid it in a grocery bag and stuck it in the desk to forget about it. Somehow though, I missed that window between I not hungry and desperately seeking food and totally remembered them.

Rational Food Michelle: (RFM) If you open those, it’s curtains. You know how you are with candy.

Emotional Food Michelle: (EFM) OH but I’m so hungry and it’s been a rough day and I have a headache.

RFM: Well the good fats and protein in the peanuts will totally help that.

EFM: You know, combined with the carbs and the antioxidants and caffeine in the chocolate it should knockout your headache and complely satiate you.

RFM: And you would have something to blog about. The family size bag of M&Ms.

EFM: Totally, it would speak to people on a deep level, how we all fail. And I can just buy another bag of M&M’s but I can’t buy that kind of inner struggle.

RFM: I think we’re in agreement.

EFM: Yay! Chocolate!!!!

My Husband: Are those the M&M’s you bought for the movie?

Me: (garbled, chocolate on face) I had to eat them. They were my muse.

True story.

Oooh That Smell

July 18, 2012

I have a frenemy. Yes, you heard me. I don’t know what to do. I couldn’t possibly live without this friend and yet it spends most of it’s time shanking me in my side like a dirty cop. It’s so bright and cheerful and friendly, and then, WHAP-POW what is that smell? Can’t you smell that smell? Oooh that smell. That was Lynard Skynard, but he definitely captured my kitchen when I haven’t cleaned it in 36 hours. The smell of death surrounds you.

Yes, this friend and enemy is my kitchen.

I am a stay-at-home mom and wife and babysitter, I cook three meals a day for my family and the little baby I watch. I occasionally cook meals to take to friends. I occasionally have people over to eat. I spend about a third of my life in the kitchen. Half of that third is pure joy, it’s a clean wonderful place to be that smells of simmering chicken broth and pine-sol. The other half (I KNOW it’s a sixth, right?) I spend in sheer terror. Where did those ants come from? Gasp, why are there fruit flies coming out of the trash can? WHAT IS THAT SMELL? If this never happens to you, don’t comment, don’t tell me. I don’t wanna hear it.

I’m not repulsive or anything, the smell is sometimes a bit of food we threw out, a wrapper, a burned on something from the griddle, the sponge that was left out. Granted, I’m also extremely sensitive to smells. I went to too many loud shows when I was younger and now my nose is compensating for the fact I can’t hear my television unless it’s all the way up. But the point is, I have not made peace with this frenemy.

It’s even worse when my husband is there when I cook. He likes to follow me around the kitchen putting stuff away and throwing things out. And he’ll make cute comments like, “Ducky (our dog) where do you think this onion peel goes?” and “Are we hosting an art exihibition of potato peelings later on that I don’t know about?” And then I make cute comments like “We don’t need therapy, we need a maid,” and “a housekeeper is cheaper than a divorce, plus I need someone to clean up the body. Ooops.” Then he’ll make cute comments like “I’ve been recording this conversation.”

We may watch too much law and order.

Anyway. It was really yucky yesterday. I did a bunch of cooking, like chopping every messy vegetable in the house cooking, like using all the pots and pans in the house cooking, like deboning a chicken cooking, then nap time was over. Have you ever tried to do dishes with an 18month old underfoot? You only have to see them rooting around in the silverware caddy for knives once when you realize, this is not gonna work. So I play with them, and leave the kitchen for later. My boy and his little fair-haired accomplice spend the afternoon in sensory play with cool water beads then squish them into the carpet. Then with play dough, and squish that into the carpet. Then hurling legos as far as their little arms will allow, preferably under and behind stuff so I have to root around to find them and they can get into further mischief while my head is behind the couch. Then the little baby’s mommy comes to pick him up, daddy comes home. I feed everybody dinner and it’s 7:30 and the only thing I want to do in the kitchen is stick my head in the oven.

I’m just kidding of course, a little Plath humor, I have an electric after all.

So. I’m in this standoff. With my kitchen. I’m trying to see if it will clean itself. It’s only been a day, but I believe I put my money on the wrong horse. There is a possibility, albeit a small one that if I leave the dishes long enough they will be carried away by ants in the night. Those suckers can haul a lot of weight. I’m crossing my fingers.

When I was a kid, my mom was a terrible housekeeper. She’s better now, she got  a little obsessive compulsive and now she only uses paper plates and plastic utensils so her kitchen is immaculate. I remember coming home one day from school and our dog Sarah was in the front lawn sitting in the planter pleased as punch with the trash strewn all over the lawn. But that’s not the worst part. Dishes. There were dirty dishes all over the lawn. We looked at her with saucer eyes wondering HOW the dishes got in the trash and she looks at us and says dryly, “Well, you guys weren’t going to wash them either.”

It was a funny story to tell, but now I feel her pain. There is a sinkful, nay, a counterful of dirty dishes giving me the stinkeye. Agatha Christie once said “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” The woman wrote like a bazillion best sellers, so she must’ve had about the same amount of dishes I have in my sink right now. I found that thoughtful quote when I was rooting around the dank musty corners of  internet procrastinating on cleaning my kitchen. I googled “inspiration for cleaning quotes.” Oh yes I did. Like Mr. Google was going to come save me with a dishrag and a mop for that sticky floor.

Well, I guess I better go work on my novel while the babies continue to sleep.

Or I could google more quotes to get me inspired. Like this one from my all-time favorite author Erma Bombeck, “My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be.  No one else cares.  Why should you?”

She was a wise woman, that one.

Toddler Steps

July 16, 2012

My son, Ducey bear is 18 mos old now. It’s been pretty incredible watching him get to this age, but NOTHING so far can compare to it. Truth be told, I have never been a baby person. Don’t get me wrong, I have always appreciated wittle tiny toes and wittle itsy bitsy noses, I’m not made of stone. It’s just so hard to communicate with a person who can’t speak and can’t do anything. Funny thing is, after I had him, I totally changed. It’s wonderful holding and cuddling and singing to a squishy little person. Since I watch babies from home, I get to hold, and cuddle and sing to a few squishy little persons. It’s pretty awesome.

In the past few months though, and the last month specifically, things have changed pretty dramatically for us though. Ducey has turned the corner from baby hood to toddler hood. I thought it would just be this imperceptible slow fade of baby talk and baby play, and baby eating. And somethings are like that. But other things are so starkly contrasting, I simply can no longer deny that he is not just a baby anymore. It’s bittersweet. Many are the nights my husband and I spend perusing his baby pictures and videos, hoping to catch a glimpse into that time, trying to remember. When I have my second child, I hope I take more video and better quality photos than I did with Ducey. It’s so hard to remember things. He’s only a year and a half but I can’t remember when he started crawling, or walking or said mama. I think for me the learning curve at the beginning was so great that it was hard to do much of anything else, but keep up with the day to day life. Every time he went down for a nap, it was a sigh of relief. Every time he went to bed at night it was a mental hi-five and that instant desire for adult contact, even if it was just with Marshall and Lily or Penny and Leonard (we double date all the time, when they broke up it was pretty awkward).

Now though, Ducey is this sturdy little person. He has his own very specific opinions on what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. It’s no longer just playing with the brightest colored things he can stuff into his mouth, or walking around the house in circles. He plays pretend. The little figures he has are personified now. He understands me when I tell him that the top of his tree house is for his little weeble-wobble man to go night night, and feeds him when he wakes up. He understands me when I show him how a lion roars, and his eyes get big as saucers when I show him a video of them doing just that. He waters the garden and picks peppers off the vine and shoves them in his mouth, not like a baby, but like a big boy who wants to eat some peppers. He comes every time I open the fridge just to look and see if there is any fruit on the low shelves that he can reach and put into his mouth. He jumps on his bed and runs and climbs and falls and just gets right back up, wipes the blood off his mouth when he splits his lip and keeps going.

He is an incredible little guy. Many are the times I have marveled at the privilege of being his mama. What faith must God have in me to entrust me with such a tremendous responsibility and pure joy. The funny thing I didn’t understand about being a parent until I was one, was how I want to give him everything. If some toy at a store gives him a momentary grin, I want it. When his face lights up eating something delicious for the first time, I want to feed him as much as he wants. When he communicates with me and I understand him, even when he’s being rotten, I am delighted. When I see some other kid playing with something I think he might enjoy, I need it. Many are the conversations I’ve had with my husband, “He needs a swing/sandbox/kitchen/workbench/car, we’re going to get one anyway, we might as well get it now!” But my husband says we should wait.

I would do anything and give him everything. But there is this little thing called “Parenting” that prevents me from doing so. Along with the wonders of toddler hood come these huge frustrations. My son understands a lot of what I say, but not everything, and vice versa. Many times he will want something and not understand why he can’t have it. He has a mind of his own now, and desires. He doesn’t want to eat chicken, he only wants to eat the mashed potatoes and carrots. But he’s not getting any more mashed potatoes and carrots until he eats the chicken. I told him if he threw his vegetables on the floor he was going to get a spanking, so he didn’t do it. But when I looked away to feed the other baby, I see him carefully scooping veggies into his lap. When daddy is having a beer, he wants to drink it and cries big crocodile tears when he won’t give it to him. He tried to rip my shirt off in the middle of Costco because he decided it was time to nurse and screams when I tell him no. After his third banana of the day, I say no to opening the one he grabbed from the table and his eyes get this big defiant look and he takes a huge bite, skin and all.

This kid has taught me so much about a kind and loving God. That just because He is kind and loving, it doesn’t mean we get everything that we want exactly when we want it. That sometimes he has to say no, not yet. Sometimes we have to finish our vegetables or learn our lesson. That we are not going to be magically delivered from credit card debt by an anonymous miracle check. That we can’t just eat whatever awful thing we want to eat and not exercise and have great energy and a kickin bod. That we can’t have every toy our neighbor has. And maybe we shouldn’t want it anyway, because our neighbor is a tool, and do you want to be a tool? That sometimes even though it sucks waiting we have to wait because it’s the best thing to do. That if you don’t want to wait for God to peel the banana, sometimes you’re going to get a mouthful of skin and it’s not really going to be as sweet as you expected.

So many of my friends and family members (ourselves included) are experiencing these hard lessons right now. We fasted on Friday to petition God for favor and to reconnect with Him who holds the wisdom to all understanding. I think that is what I learned. It’s not a quick fix, but to learn the lesson you need to learn now to fortify you the next time around, so it won’t be so freakin hard all the time. That if I don’t learn it this time, I’ll just have to learn it tomorrow, so why don’t I just ask for wisdom now and get it over with. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to act like a toddler my whole life. I want to learn the language of God so I can communicate with Him and Him with me. I don’t want to experience these stilted jags of crying in frustration because I don’t think he’s listening to me just because I’m not getting what I want. I want to be able to hear him say, “Not now, Michelle” and be ok with that. I’m thankful I am beyond the baby stage with my God. The cuddles and cooing is wonderful, but to be able to tell him in big girl words what is on my heart and have him listen and respond is infinitely better. I can only imagine what the future will bring, I don’t know what it is, but I know he wants the best for me and that’s more than enough.

Fasting Friday

July 13, 2012

I wrote a post on Facebook recently inviting friends to join me in a fast today from dawn to dusk. No rules, no religion, just a petition from a human heart to a loving God. I got quite a few takers. It turns out that I’m not the only person disillusioned with the state of their life and the lives of the people they love. I actually got a few polite inquiries from people who are decidedly not believers asking me about fasting. Now, I say polite because that’s exactly what they were, polite, gently inquiring, non inflammatory, interested but not sold messages. That really electrified me in a huge way, the reason being, I believe fasting to be one of the most unders0ld, underused, misunderstood practice in the Christian walk. I also believe that if a nonbeliever were to fast for answers and idly wonder aloud “to the God in the universe if he even does maybe exist” they would get some profound and solid answers pretty quickly. After all, God himself pointed out it’s not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.

One might think I’m being overly presumptuous in assuming that one who is inquiring about fasting is “sick”. And I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, if you are an avid unbeliever and you are even considering asking God “who does not exist” for anything, it’s because you see the hopelessness of your cause. The hopelessness in a life where you go to work to earn a paycheck to provide food and clothing and mild entertainment so you can live another day so you can go to work to earn a paycheck and, well you know. It sucks. Living a life where all you’re trying to do is scratch out a niche in this huge planet and differentiate yourself from 6 billion other souls  by whatever means necessary, is ex-freakin-hausting. And pretty pointless. Now I will never and have never claimed nor wanted to be a philosopher, but the meaning of life is definitely not being American, being famous, being brilliant, being rich, being gorgeous or being noticed.

I find it exceedingly sad the number of years I spent wasted hoping someone would notice me.

Wondering if anyone cared.

Hoping someone would listen, before I asked.

Now, you might think I mean sad as in pathetic but I actually mean sad as in I’m sorry I wasted so much of my time begging for scraps from people who want the exact thing that I want, when there is this Father, this creator of the entire universe who formed me with his hands, breathed life into my body and loves me and delights in me like I love and delight in my Ducey bear. It doesn’t change when he is rotten. It doesn’t change when he ignores me, it doesn’t change when he looks me square in the face and shoves every morsel of his food onto the ground in one fell swoop. How many times have I looked God square in the face and said, ” I know I’m not supposed to do this thing that I am about to do but I am going to do it anyway just because I want to so there.” So many years spent dying to be loved, wanting this boyfriend, or that award, or this accomplishment to fill that thirst of knowing that I am indeed somebody. That I count.

I have to tell you, it’s pretty humbling and not at all cool to admit these things. And I thought about it, I really did because there is still a part of me who wants to play it pretty cool and close to the vest. After all, there’s no risk in that. But the reason I did and do write about those feelings, is if I am who I say I am, and I believe what I say I believe then everybody has this gaping chasm inside of them just begging to be filled with the love of God. So I speak not to the very cool, very collected and very accomplished person that you are, but to that void inside of you and say that you are very much loved. You are very much accepted and you are very much delighted in. If you are a believer, you know that already, and it doesn’t come from your childhood, church or your parents, but from the Holy spirit inside of you.

That’s it. The reason we fast is not as a sacrifice to God, as a punishment to remind us of how awful we are, as a sleepy religious tradition, but as a way of remembering every time the flesh yearns to fill its void with nourishment from food that God is there. A discipline that humbles yourself before a divine creator and takes the time and energy you would have spent wondering about, preparing and feeding your body with feeding your spirit. In our weakness we are strong through Christ. It’s really as simple as that.

So let me invite you to ask God to reveal himself to you, whether you decide to fast or not. Also, if you need any special prayers be sure to message me and we will make sure they get prayed for.

 

 

 

The Long Sleep

July 11, 2012

I read some scripture and it’s been sinking like a rock in my gut. It was : “Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth.” Prov 18:2. It kinda shut me up. You see, I don’t want to be a fool. (I am a good amount of the time anyway.) And if I want to be a damn fool, I want to do it alone. I don’t want to be talking to anyone so that they know, and I sure as heck don’t want to be typing it. I can tell you right now that if I am not in a good place with God, I’m a fool. I am short tempered, sorry, and emotional. A basket case, basically.

I believe there are two types of people in this world, those who are able to fake it, and those who simply can’t. Often times I see those bright shiny orbs of people with their sweet happy pictures and their oh-so-productive lives, when I know very well that there is a big glaring void, and rather than feel sad for them because of the void, I am so jealous that they are so wonderfully adept at hiding it. I’m not saying YOU need God, I am saying I need God. Desperately. Like water in the morning after a night of gin and tonics. Quite honestly, I’m dry in the mouth right now and life is sticking in my throat.

There’s this one Joyce Meyer sermon, where she has a lamp on stage with her, and she says something akin to, “Stop saying there is something wrong with you, this lamp won’t turn on, because it’s not plugged in, see though, if you plug it in, it works really good.” I don’t know about the rest of the sentence, but the “It works really good” is the exact wording, I remember that because I found it so charming. So, to put it in Joyce terms, I am not working really good.  I am in fact working kinda terrible. The hopeful part is that all I need to do is plug in.

But how do you plug in when you’re not right?

For me, and for most people,  I know the root of the problem is un-renounced sin. Knowing you are walking in sin and not doing anything about it is the quickest way to unplug. I’m not going to get into the political darlings of abortion and gay marriage, or whatever. If you are a believer and you have a personal relationship with Christ, you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you and what I think, what Obama thinks and what Rush Limbaugh thinks are all moot. You KNOW what God is convicting you of on the inside.

Joyce Meyer likes to talk about a time when she blew smoke in everyone’s face while she was preaching the gospel in shorts, but she was anointed to do what she was doing, and the dumb things she did, didn’t change that. I remember smoking in my convertible, listening to sexually explicit music (The Donnas- ha!) on my way to teach Sunday school, but I know God anointed me for that job too. He did convict me, I did change eventually, but if God just pointed the gargantuan list of things that I  do that are not glorifying to Him the minute I became a believer, I seriously doubt I would’ve had much interest in changing. Not because I don’t want to change, but because it seems hopeless. There is simply so much wrong with me! Thank God, he works slowly as we bend to his will and changes us from the inside out.

I am happy to say I am nearly unrecognizable from the girl I once was. It’s one of the reasons I accepted my husband’s name so readily when I got married at twenty-two, my old name was uncomfortable, I was a new person I wanted to throw off the old and embrace the new so desperately that having to spell my last name twice on the phone with customer service was a small price to pay for a second chance at being a new person. I have to hold onto that and realize that even though I’m not yet who I want to be thank God I’m not who I used to be. (I think that’s from Joyce Meyer too. What can I say…)

My sin now has been anger I haven’t been able to let go of. It’s created a stronghold in my life, and it’s hard to break free from it’s constraints. The longer I hold on, the more unable I am to let go. It’s a terrible vice and a deep cycle. How badly, I long to go back to the beginning of the anger, when it took root and scoop out its fleshy rotten core. I didn’t know how to then, and I don’t know how to now. The more time passes, the more insurmountable it seems. The truth like a distant light in the fog, I remember what the truth is, but can’t quite seem to understand it. So far away is my God, because so blindingly wrong is my sin.

So, how can I write and not be a fool with this anger in my spirit? I have God in my heart, but a viper’s tongue. This is why I haven’t written in awhile. I didn’t want to force it. I didn’t want to take you, dear reader (the one who is left) on the twisted journey of self awareness. Whole foods, have taken the back burner in my mind, and pushing them to the front so I can meet a self-inflicted quota seemed unwise. Also, there were those three pizzas that weekend they were half price. That too. If this post seems unfinished, that’s because it is. Thank God!

Have you ever felt this way?

Butter Your Veggies! (How I’m eating these days on a budget because you were dying to know)

June 13, 2012

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So, I started this blog because I am very passionate about food sources. I believe that our food should be our medicine, and I truly hate going to the doctor for anything. I remember going to the new pediatrician we had when our beloved family doctor retired and her getting on me about my weight. I was a size 10/12 freshman in high school and she weighed about 350lbs. She would bring it up every single time and make me feel awful. I hated that evil woman. I think about some of the advice she gave my mom and I just cringe. Knowing what I know now it was pretty shitty nutritional and weight loss advice, but whatever, she was 350lbs and smoked. 

Anyway, that may be why I hate going to the doctor. I get my blood tested by my grandpa for diabetes, and cholesterol and my blood pressure taken because he has all that stuff at home, “Never get old, Michelle” He tells me as he takes out his home pharmacy kit. Is that weird? Perhaps, but I want to make sure my numbers are ok, and I don’t want to see the doctor. My mom wants me to get my mole checked by a dermatologist regularly, but a doctor once told me that if hair grows out of it there’s no cancer there. Ha! This post is turning pretty gross, but now you know. If your mole doesn’t grow hair get it checked.

Anyway, that being said, it’s been really expensive to eat pastured and grass fed meats with no hormones. It’s been expensive to buy organic produce. It’s expensive to buy raw milk, farm eggs, fermented cod liver oil and butter oil supplements, probiotics and essential oils. Very expensive. I wish I could give you better news, but doing the things I believe to be right are freakin expensive. So, I’ve really had to scale back quite a bit on that stuff, I’m only watching one baby right now, so my at home income has been cut in half. It’s great for me because I have more freedom, can go to the gym and take them to the park and the store, but it’s also pretty tough to do the things I was doing when we had a bit more breathing room.

I have been really considering the paleo way of eating, mostly because a lot of it really lines up with the WAPF way of living and I think it would help to shed weight very quickly, however to afford eating that much meat, I would have to be conventional meat rather than hormone free stuff, which I’m not quite sure is worth it. I believe in the science, but you can only afford what you can afford right? So lately my grocery shopping has been pretty lean, I only use whole organic chickens which I buy on sale at $1.99 a lb and I only use pastured ground beef, which is $5.50 a lb., we go through about 4 dozen eggs a week, half of them hardboiled.I do make a lot of whey-protein smoothies, it’s not exactly WAPF approved, but it works to curb my sweet tooth really well and keeps me full, so it’s a compromise. 

For produce, I buy frozen organic green beans from costco, blanch then sautee them in real butter and white wine, and add plenty of pepper and kosher salt. I also buy conventional broccoli (one of the least sprayed crops) from costco. I’ve found the best way to prepare this is line my cookie sheet with foil and toss the broccoli straight from the bag with a few glugs of olive oil garlic seasoning, sea salt and pepper and throw the whole thing in the oven for twenty minutes at 450 or till they start to smell a little burnt, then I toss the entire pan with parmesan cheese, not the good stuff, just Kraft because the good stuff goes too quickly, occasionally I use cheddar, but I don’t buy pregrated cheese anymore so it’s a bit of a pain. I prepare organic baby carrots by throwing two pounds in a pot with a tiny bit of water a big squirt of honey, salt and butter and boiling them till they are delicious and sweet. Baby carrots are not as good and “carroty” as regular long carrots, but I need to have convenient food options or I will just eat at Whataburger. These are a few of the best and simplest veggie side dishes I prepare. I’ll make burger patties, slice a red onion and throw it on the griddle with a little butter and balsamic vinegar and eat that with some carrots and green beans and that’s a great meal. Perhaps not terribly imaginative, but it’s good fuel and that’s what counts.

As you know, I am counting calories, but I have to tell you, using pam or cooking them in the microwave might be the reason you don’t like your veggies. For goodness sakes, butter your damn vegetables so you eat them and enjoy them. Your body needs the nutrition from these, and many cancer fighting compounds, antioxidants and vitamins are fat-soluble which means that they aren’t bio-available without fat. So, if you are eating a big boring plate of microwave vegetables with nothing on them, you’re not even getting the benefits from them! Put a bit of cheese and butter or olive oil in the mix and roast them to carmelize their flavors and you will find that you actually quite enjoy them. One day last week I made dinner and left it on the stove for Keduse, along with an entire griddle of green beans sauteed in white wine that I was planning on packing for lunches the next day. I went to put the baby to bed and when I came back downstairs the appliance was unplugged on the dinner table and my husband had eaten the entire pound of green beans with his fingers straight from the pan. Impressive, I know.

Now comes the big confession. I have opted for some convenience foods lately. Before, my convenience food was the drive through, so I would eat really healfully in the way I just described, but if I was too tired or didn’t defrost a chicken or whatever, I would drive by somewhere, and that would sometimes turn out to be about 3 days out of the week, and I would have the fries, coke, etc. Which pretty much negates all the good stuff and costs a lot of money. I had to finally admit to myself, sometimes I simply do not have the will or time to cook, be it that I’m not disciplined enough, don’t use my time wisely or am just too tired. Some days it just isn’t happening. For those days, I have purchased a few things that I’ve been keeping in the freezer, one of them is Costco lasagna. I don’t even look at the ingredients. It cooks in 20 minutes in the microwave and has enough for lunch the next day and is only about 6 bucks for 6 servings. I throw that in the microwave and while that is cooking, I toss half a bag of precut broccoli with the olive oil and seasoning and stick that in the oven. They’re both done about the same time. I don’t feel guilty anymore even though I *know* I make better, healthier, lasagna, and *should* freeze a few of them so I could do the same thing with better ingredients I refuse to feel guilty for this compromise. Period. I also bought turkey burgers from Sams club (12 for $12) that you can throw on the grill frozen and I do the same thing with the veggies while they’re cooking. I also buy the precut stir fry from Sams, and use the sauce packets and serve it with turkey burgers and brown rice. Again, I know I make a better stir fry and it’s not organic, but some days you couldn’t pay me to chop a vegetable so, I’m not going to stress about it. I also have a Whataburger about once a week, double vegetables grilled onions add ketchup on Texas toast. I eat it in the car alone as a treat. I know I’m not a dog and shouldn’t reward myself with food, but whoever created those cute little memes on Pinterest has clearly never had a Whataburger.

So, there you have it. Catching you up on my food now. I used to use a lot more cream soups, grains, etc and make a lot of yummy casseroles with cheese toppings that you can find on Pinterest with cutesy pie names, I’m really good at them too. But, it’s just not that great for you to eat those every day and I don’t want my kid to grow up addicted to the overly processed tastes of that food, so I’m learning to cook in a simpler way of using food as fuel. That being said, I am pretty interested in Jillian Michaels Master your Metabolism cookbook. A lot of what she says seems to line up with what I know, so I’m very interested in obtaining it. I reserved a copy at Barnes and Noble to look at when I have my weekly meeting with myself Sunday. I will probably make that next week’s reward. What are your simple and easy go to meals throughout the week? How healthy are they?