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Keeping It Low Key…Still

Ok, so I had my 2 week follow up appointment with my surgeon today and he assured me everything I am going through is normal. This was validating and I’m sure you can imagine what I had been imagining. Or maybe you can’t. It was dramatic, people.

Upon entering the exam room he said “So, how are we doing?”

Eloquent 38 year old that I am, I said “You didn’t tell me it would suck this bad.”

He laughed uncomfortably.

I’m in a better place mentally though, in less pain..sort of, and have updated my expectation management software to the current (and more realistic) version.

Can I just take a moment to recognize Peter Provost? The guy is a champ. Truly. And I would have been committed to the loony bin had it not been for him these last few weeks. The guy’s phenomenal under pressure. I will miss him being my driver, personal assistant and all around sherpa.

So, I stumbled up on the following advice last year and like a good little nerd, I copied it and put it in my calendar on 12/5/11 with the header “EMILY: READ THIS”. (I love when I do stuff like that) Imagine my delight when I opened it and read what fits PERFECTLY into my desire to “keep it low key”

Enjoy.

(via Blooma Blog – I’m sorry I don’t have the link and now I can’t find it!)


Be in charge of your holiday season. Don't let other people or advertising medium impose their expectations on you. Keep in touch with your deepest feelings.


• Keep it simple. You arrange the pace and space. (So important for keeping your kids sane, too!)
• If the loss of a loved one, financial troubles, or any serious anxiety surround you this holiday, make the season as simple and as positive as possible for yourself.

Holiday Bill of Rights:
• You have the right to take care of yourself: eat right, exercise, and get enough rest.
• You have the right to mixed emotions: happy, sad, frustrated, guilty, afraid, and thankful.
• You have the right to solitude—for planning, thinking, reflection, introspection, prayer, and relaxation.
• You have the right not to accept party or dinner invitations.

So good, right?

Our darling tree is up. A lovely wreath is on the front door. We play Christmas music every day and talk about the excitement of Christmas. I have a few activities planned (Botanic Gardens lights & Denver Gay Men’s Chorus Christmas Show) but other than that, we’re keeping it…say it with me…LOW KEY. And I couldn’t be more delighted.

Sending you some zen and coziness on this lovely Tuesday.

XO

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Enter: Reality

Ok, so it turns out I’m a bit of an unrealistic psycho. (shocker, I know.)

It has been one week and 2 days since surgery. I have been diligently conferring with my Dr., whom you may know, Dr. Google, and he agreed that I am an unrealistic psycho and that I need PATIENCE and TIME. This pain is normal. SUCKY but normal and I must be tender and careful with myself.

I knew this.

But Dr. Google has a way of solidifying things, you know? (Word to the wise though, Dr. Google has some patients who are not the kooky, fun kind of psycho (me), who tried to tell me that they had disc surgery too and I was going to end up alone, in a wheelchair, never to walk again, like them. And that we should start a book club.

NEXT!

Ok. Patience. Got it. Will work on that.

In the meantime, I have a confession. I cannot understand or fathom, and am actually quite embarrassed to tell you this.

I watched not one, but TWO seasons, all in a row, of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team last night. I stayed up until 1am.

Friends, What. The. Fug? My intention was to watch Melancholia but at the last minute I deemed it, well, melancholic and searched for something mindless.

BINGO!

I’m telling you. I can’t look away. Trying to armchair psychoanalyze myself, the only thing I could come up with was that I grew up in Houston, Texas. When I was little I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader (the pinnacle of success and beauty – eek gad) or a waitress. BIG DREAMS!! Whatevs. I was like, 6.

Happy happy Friday. Don’t let the holiday crazies grab hold of you. Remember….keep it low key.

gentle movements, peace and pain pills,

Emily

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Low Key

Hi kids.

Sigh.

It’s been a while.

I had surgery last week on a herniated disc that has been plaguing me for YEARS. It had just progressively gotten worse and the solutions (injections, PT were doing NADA) so I said “fuck it. do surgery” and proceeded to schedule it for the day before Thanksgiving.

It’s called a minimally invasive lumbar discectomy. Basically, they put me under, make a small incision, cut out the herniated disc part, move the nerve that is unhappy to a happier place and stitch me back up. It was supposed to be outpatient but they couldn’t get my pain under control (awesome!) to send me home so I was admitted for the night.

I am currently in the recovery part, which I hadn’t anticipated would suck balls. There isn’t relief, yet. It’s supposed to come eventually, but of course, Debbie Downer infiltrates my brain and convinces me that there will be no difference. The doc says it will take 6-8 weeks to notice the full difference. It’s been 1 week.

For two weeks there is to be: no bending, lifting or twisting. No lifting anything over 10 lbs. No driving. I can walk all I want, which I have been doing, when I haven’t been sleeping because I’m more tired than I’ve ever been. Add in pain pills and it ain’t pretty.

Yesterday I had a total pity party. Poor Peter. He works from home, so from time to time, I would just show up in his office, shoulders slumped with frowny, borderline cry face on.

Patience, he would say. You’re doing great.

It’s hard to be patient when Christmas buzz whirrs around me and everyone is rushing and talking about how much they have to do! So much to do!

And there’s me.

The turtle.

I know it’s all doable.

And it’s not a race.

My mantra for this month is to keep it low key. Imagine my delight when I received an email from MCA Denver yesterday with this picture attached.

MCADenver

Seriously?

FAB-U-LOUS. (I heart the beautiful naked guy in the grocery cart)

I love it and want it to be our Christmas card. I’m not sending those, by the way. Christmas cards. It’s not low key. Wouldn’t want to mess with the theme.

I just finished Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) thereby cementing the fact that she and I need to be friends. It’s a quick and super hilarious read.

Today, I will be good to myself. And no pity parties. And maybe I’ll shower. Maybe.

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Still

Santa Fe with my Mom and sister to celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday was so lovely. We ate really amazing food, chatted, meandered and were just together, which my mom said was the best gift.

I agree. It is so rare to be able to spend that much time together with no agenda. Snapping pics just didn’t seem to be a priority but we did get one good one.

005 - Copy

Seeing the Georgia O’Keefe museum was a highlight. Wasn’t she an inspirational bad ass? I’m not a huge fan of her work but man, I love her spirit. I bought a little card that has a picture of her on the back of a motorcycle. The look on her face and something in her eyes spoke to me. Yet another reminder to drink up this rich life and live the way you want to live.

getimage 

Feeling run down post trip, which was expected.

“Move slowly” I tell myself. “Take your time. Not everything will get done.”

I want to hibernate, be still, and not talk. That’s a difficult task in this busy life.

And yet, I try.

conradroset

Love this piece by Conrad Roset found via ffffound. Isn’t it beautiful?

Happy Thursday, lovers.

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Good Times

Good morning Glories!

Well technically, it’s 11:30, but whatever.

My sister and I are taking our Mom to Santa Fe this weekend to celebrate her 70th birthday. To say I am excited is an understatement. I am elated to be free of dependents and spend time catching up with these lovely Padden women.

Shaking things up creatively in my life has gone well, aside from an injury. (OF COURSE, you say, because this woman is full of dramatic medical garbage)

HJ and I started English riding and it RULES! I love giving up control, being in a situation where I have NO idea what I am doing, and having the instructor tell me what to do. She literally stand in the middle of the ring and says things like “HEELS DOWN, EMILY. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR ARMS?” That may sound scary to most, but I was craving it. I’m in so much control in my life (the mama knows all!) that to not have it is liberating. I completely disregarded the fact that the other 3 people in my lesson at times are 9 year old girls. I don’t care. Their moms, who are my age, lean on the gate chatting while drinking lattes and carefully watching.

I don’t care. Let them wonder what the fuck this middle aged woman is doing learning how to ride.

Learning something new is exhilarating and empowering. And don’t even get me started on being around the horses. They are the ultimate. So beautiful and soft. Each with their own personality and likes and dislikes. There is SO much manual work involved with riding that takes the feeling of satisfaction to the next level. It’s dirty, hard work. And so worth it. I am spent after our 1 hour lesson, which is actually more like 2+hours when you factor in tacking your horse and untacking (is that a word?) after the lesson.

I adore being with Hadley as well. We chat the whole way home about our wonderful lesson and sometimes stop for dinner, just us. I’ve said more than once “If you’re embarrassed to have your mom in your lesson, just let me know.” She assures me she loves having me there. My heart swells after each lesson, when she leans in close to the horse and thanks him for letting her ride him. Oh my sweet rare bird.

Now, to the injury part.

I have had back/disc issues since 2007. I herniated a disc, then reinjured it in 2009 after a particularly dramatic roller skating fall. (Where I swear, my innards were rearranged.) And now, while learning how to post in English riding (the act of basically standing up and down on the horse – lots of leg/thigh work) and being new to it, LOTS of bouncing up and down, I have reinjured myself. Can’t get into the spine doc until November 3 or something. So, riding is on the backburner until now and the pain can be excruciating. Here’s the rub: The pain subsides with pain meds. However, the pain meds turn my mind and body to jelly. Now, at times, that is lovely and I do mean lovely. But for the majority of my day, I can’t be jacked up on Percocet. Plus, I like to be clear headed.

In short, it sucks. But whatever. Life could be so much worse. Focus on the positive, girl.

I’m still working my way through Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal, although very slowly. I had a delightful time actually chewing on a page. Funny.

The Mindful Life Yoga For Kids training I did in September was stellar. STELLUH. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t end up teaching. Upcoming trainings are in Portland and Miami. The training itself let loose my inner child, which was immense fun and made me think about things from a completely different perspective. The director of the program, Kristen Race, is SO knowledgeable (she calls herself a “brain nerd” because she loves learning about the brain – love it) as well as being super cool. I also am seriously contemplating somehow teaching this wonderful method, although my life keeps getting in the way. To be continued...

I finally got my knipple tattoos, y’all! Yes, I did. My bubbies are complete! I put it off out of sheer laziness and because it is spendy. ($800 – covered by insurance but we all know how long it takes them to reimburse you) They look really really good, friends. I mean, they look real! I was and am blown away. The woman who did it had lots of interesting stories. She used to be a makeup artist in Hollywood and was very skilled. She looked at my skin tone and decided upon a color palette. It was all very interesting. Although, I cringed every time she pronounced “areola.” She kept saying “arEEla.” Don’t you think you should get word down as it is the majority of your work?

I digress.

It took about 3 hours to do but we chatted away the entire time and it was dare I say, fun? It didn’t hurt, as I have no sensation but later I felt twinges in my armpit or lower chest. Perhaps nerves that had reattached themselves. I would show you if you were here. I really would. I have long since gotten over the uncomfortable look on people’s faces when I say “You wanna see??” and lift my shirt before they have time to answer. That never gets old.

Let’s see. What else?

I’m reading The Space Between Us and it is beyond fantastic. Really beautiful writing and interesting characters. I find myself dreaming of when I can sneak away to read, a feeling I adore.

I’ve been listening to Beirut’s new album, The Rip Tide, almost constantly and I’m loving it.

I hope your Friday has a little bit of joy sprinkled in somewhere. I’m making pumpkin bread, packing for Santa Fe and staying in my pajamas all day.

XO

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“We read to know we are not alone.”–C.S. Lewis

If you ask me to describe my mom, one of the first things I would tell you is that she’s a reader. A voracious reader. She always has been. We were a family of readers with books everywhere, trips to the library and trips to the bookstore being especially magical because we could keep that book forever.

She’s always been a writer too. A fact she would dispute by the way, but she is a writer, and a wonderful one at that. I’ve said FOR YEARS that she should submit something or try to get published or even just write for her own enjoyment but she never did. But recently she submitted an essay to a magazine asking “What does reading mean to you?”

This is what she had to say:

I can see the library shelf in my mind even now. Biographies were on the bottom rack of the children’s section in the library in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on North Avenue near Lisbon. It was 1951 and I was nine almost ten. My mother had finally allowed me to walk the mile to the library by myself. She didn’t drive. I will never forget the thrill of that walk and discovering the joy of my life, reading.

The books in the biography series were all in orange covers and arranged alphabetically. Jane Adams was the first. She was an aware and influential woman who started the Chicago Community Center, Hull House. I LOVED the book, and years later became a social worker partly because of that book and her beliefs. At home my mother put all the books she thought were too “adult” for me on the top of our bookshelf. I got a stepstool and stretched carefully to get GONE WITH THE WIND down to read. She found out when I was about halfway through and reluctantly allowed me to finish it. Thanks, Mom. It was great. I saw “damn” in print even though I never heard it at home.

I loved reading from the moment I first learned about Dick, Jane, Sally and Spot. I was reprimanded for not coming to the dinner table on time, and would walk slowly while holding a book to my face. I was told I couldn’t read at the table so I would carefully place a bookmark to mark my page and eat quickly. I used to read late at night and my mother would invariably discover me under the covers with a flashlight so the light wouldn’t be seen from under my door. She was a kindred spirit as she would say, “Stop at the end of this chapter, Ellen”.

Through my wonderful book club which I have enjoyed for 25 years I have read all types and varieties of the written word I might not have chosen for myself, but am so glad that I have read. We call ourselves “Ladies of the Club” like the famous book by Helen Santmyer that took her 50 years to write. When we started in the late 1980’s we all had teenagers, and through the years we have shared our joys such as our children’s marriages and grandchildren, our hardships of personal illnesses and those of our spouses, and sorrow over the deaths of a spouse and one of our own dear members.

What I really know about reading is that it has sustained me, entertained me, lifted my soul, broadened me, and it has become my best friend. I plan books to take on vacation before buying a new outfit. I don’t even have to go on vacation…I can read about it and transport myself, quite the benefit in these economic times!

I commented on Meg’s blog (because she posted mom’s essay too) that my mom’s writing is so rich and warm, filled with fantastic details and a unique voice. If this essay isn’t enough to convince you, I’ve saved the majority of the emails she has sent me over the years as well as a TON of the letters sent to me in college. You’re welcome to come over and read them.

My mom rules and I’m grateful every day that she’s mine.

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Living a Little

Bonjour Peanuts,

In my constant quest to seek out the extraordinary and do things that challenge me, it occurred to me that I haven’t been doing much seeking or anything challenging lately. So, I decided to change that.

I struggle with exercising my creativity (I guess this blog is one way to express myself creatively, but you get my meaning) so I took a baby step and got this book by the awesome Keri Smith.

 

I’m actually having a harder time with it than I thought. My “perfectionistic tendencies” are surfacing for sure. The first page says to stand on the page and mark it up. With your shoes on. That could possibly be dirty!

I did it. And it felt oddly liberating. I daintily stepped on the page and left a little dust mark. (note to self: do over)

Hadley read through the copy when I first got it (I told her not to tell me any of the pages) and was absolutely delighted by it. She was laughing and saying she wants a copy too! It comes so naturally to kids, to dive right in, to delight, destroy and create. I need more of that in my life.

The second page (I’m going in order, like a nerd) says to splash coffee or tea on the page. Again, I hesitated, and then I just did it. And it felt good! I look forward to creatively destroying this book. Wish me luck. (I’m going to channel my most favorite artistic old same, ELK, during this project. She’ll be my muse.)

 

I also signed up to become certified to teach yoga to kids. It’s called Mindful Life Yoga for Kids. It looks really really interesting.

From the website: “The method is theoretically derived and informed by the latest research in the fields of cognitive neuroscience, positive psychology, social and emotional learning, and mindfulness.”

Mindful Life Yoga for Kids is a unique and innovative program specifically designed to help children develop:

  • An understanding of how their brain works
  • Attention skills
  • Sensory awareness
  • Emotional management skills
  • Compassion & Empathy
  • Ecological awareness

I honestly don’t know if I’ll even use the certification beyond my own house. I do know that the techniques are tools I would like to have in my arsenal for Hadley and Finn. 

The training is this weekend. All weekend. Friday from 5-7pm and then Sat and Sun from 9-4. I’m excited and nervous. Excited because I’ll be learning… YEAH! Nervous because lupus is probably going to be Debbie Downer as this is a lot for my body to take and I’m already feel kind of shitty. We’ll see how it goes.

And the other thing I’m doing to get out of my comfort zone is taking English riding lessons with Hadley! I’m so looking forward to it. She’s been begging for years to do it. I thought she would get over it. Who was I kidding though, this is Hadley we’re talking about. So, while signing her up, I thought “I’d like to do that too.” So, I am. We were supposed to have our first lesson on Sunday but Hadley was sick. I’ll have to get PGP to take some pics of me and my girl. I’m thrilled to be around horses. I loooooove them. And let’s be honest, the riding outfit is really cute too.

It’s an overcast day and I’m feeling fluish and achy, courtesy of Hadley and her cold. My bed beckons me.

Happy Wednesday to you. Get out of your comfort zone. It feels good. Weird. But good.

XO

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The Hustle

I think most people don’t get that you have to work at being happy. You have to DECIDE to be happy and then work at it. You do have a choice.

One of the Old Sames (E) sent me many cards during the whole breast cancer business. One of them said “Keep Hustling to Keep Happy”. I loved it and had it taped up on my bathroom mirror for the better part of a year.

The minute I saw this temporary tattoo from Tattly, I loved it.

johns_web_tattoo_1_grande

Can’t wait to put that sucker on. I’m also going to order some for the kids. They’re so cute!

Extra special shout-out to the animal loving girl who makes killer fudge. XO

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Loving

both_worlds

How incredible are these? Discovering Cecilia Parades’ work is filling my Sunday morning with wonder and delight. Love it. You can see more of her work here and here.

artwork_images_424676833_567413_cecilia-paredes

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Coming Up for Air

It’s common in my life to go for periods where I feel like I’m swimming underwater. Life is going on around me and I’m aware of it and functioning but it’s all kind of a blur and I can’t hear very well or retain anything. (is that old age? Sweet Jesus, I’m 38!)

You’ll be happy to know I’ve come up for air.

All of my tests came back “normal” from my visit to the rheumatologist, which you think would be great but my issues continued. There was literally the equivalent of a “shrug” on the phone when I talked to the physician’s assistant. Super helpful, thanks!

After scrutinizing my meds, I decided (notice the word “I”) to tweek a few things and voila, instant success. So now I feel the usual crappy instead of extra extra crappy with crap on top. SUCCESS! No really, I feel triumphant.

Things are finally settling down with the return to school and we’re getting into the swing of things.

:::insert contented sigh:::

HJ has been talking about Halloween since the beginning of August. Daily. And at length. She changes her costume idea every half hour but I’m sure it’ll be some variation on mermaid/zombie/pop star/alien. She flips right to the adult section of the costume catalog and sighs dramatically, “The adults have all of the GOOD costumes!” And by “good costumes” she means the slutty witch, the slutty nurse, the slutty zombie, the slutty doll or the slutty alien.

She sweetly picked out the costume she wants me to buy and wear because it would be PERFECT for me.

Behold:

kperry

I know. It’s uncanny, right? I mean, how could my kid pick out the EXACT outfit that I would like to tromp around in at the end of October in Colorado? Hello perfect. Those shorts look comfy too, like I could bend and squat in them. I would for sure wear those again.

A-hem.

The blue eyed devils have been extra cute lately, and by lately, I mean this morning. Ask me this afternoon at 5:34pm and I’ll tell you I never said they were extra cute.

I digress.

Hadley and I are in the midst of redesigning her room and her sketches and ideas are so super fantastical and creative. I love it. I promised her she could do whatever she wanted. It’s going to be nutty, y’all. Must remember it is not my design aesthetic. It is an extension of her personality and creative self. (I’m telling myself this more than I’m telling you.)

We are now to the part where I tell you cute stuff my people said:

  • Hadley (9) calls her shoulder blades her “wings” and I love it so much. She knows they are shoulder blades but I squealed with such delight when she first said it years ago that she just continued saying it. I love to envision my little rare bird as some winged creature.

 

  • Finn (7) has his share of good ones too. The way he thinks about things is so interesting, much like my darling PGP. This morning he was talking about a costume and told me he didn’t know what the “money temperature” of the costume was but he would find out.

Enjoy this video of Gala Darling’s wedding. I smiled, sighed, teared up, and felt like my heart would burst all at the same time. Don’t you just love love?

Happy Wednesday, little garden gnomes.

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Dear Target

If you have a daughter who is a tween or older and have shopped for clothes at Target, you may know where I’m going with this. The clothes in the newborn to 5T section have THE cutest stuff. And I’m not just saying that because everything is all teensy weensy and cute as hell. No, they use really great fabrics and cute styling. The girls do anyway. Boys clothes are a whole other post.

Apparently, after you grow out of girls 5T though, your option is to start dressing like a little tart, or wear matching sweat suit ensembles, or ridiculous uncomfortable getups from their new Disney Teen line.  Target, who are your buyers? Fire them.

It’s so frustrating. When I’m there to pick up other things, I’ll cruise through the girls section looking for something to pick up for Hadley and it’s soul crushing. Crappy fabric, no imagination and stupid and/or slutty. One may argue that this is “the style”. I call bullshit. Hello Crewcuts? GAP? Mini Boden? Hanna Andersson? (I swear by their pajamas.)

Occasionally they’ll have a guest designer with a collection that doesn’t suck. Liberty of London and the most recent Calypso come to mind, but for the most part, it’s suck city. Target’s tween/teen department needs an overhaul.

HJ likes to dress funky but I still want quality and somewhat classic styling. Plus, she’s a stickler for something being comfortable.  It’s a difficult balance though because HJ is attracted to a lot of the cheezy crap. I’m pretty sure I’ve perfected my facial expression and tone now when she shows me some horrific shite outfit. An arch of the eyebrow and a subdued “Wow!” I can’t squelch her style or make her dress how I want her too. I accept that. There is a happy medium however.

She loves black. What can I say? She’s my kid. It’s my uniform. I struggled with this for a while, thinking, “she’s too young to be wearing black.” But then I deemed that voice stupid and banished her from the kingdom. A recent jaunt to Nordstrom produced skinny jeans, a black cotton sleeveless dress, and calf high black sequined high tops. Worn all together. She was in heaven. So was I actually. She didn’t look like an asshole. And then, the piece de resistance is that my little rare bird hot glue gunned a tiny plastic top hat to a bobby pin to put in her hair.

Oh sweet girl.

I just read this article on HelloGiggles that prompted me to finally write this post. In the article the writer focuses more on the slutty factor, which I see as well. This picture, from the teen/tween section at Target is completely ridiculous. Hopefully the girl on the left is saying “What the hell are you doing hanging out in your bra?”

So for now, as Heidi Klum would say, I’m sorry Target, you’re out.

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You Can’t Change Your DNA

Had to go to the rheumatologist yesterday, which I always sort of dread. I have an appointment every 2 months so she can keep tabs on me.  There are many things I dread about it, I suppose. The dread doesn’t set in until I get there. I walk in and think “oh yeah, that’s why I’m here.” A reminder that I have this stupid disease, as if I need one. A fear that something else will crop up during blood work or the exam. I vacillate between wanting to tell her about new symptoms and wanting to keep my mouth shut for fear of more prodding or meds. (I usually tell her. I’m a nerdy patient that way.)

The night before every appointment, I update my med list, and type out any and all questions that I have or things I want to say.

I never see anyone my age at the office in the waiting room, a fact I’ve become accustomed to over the years. Everyone is 20-30 years older. I know there are patients my age. There have to be. I just never see them. Is there some hipster rheumatologist they’re all going to where everyone reads DWELL and listens to alternative music?

I was dragging ass when I went in yesterday and told her as much. The fatigue has been grueling lately. (I have been relying on caffeine to fuel me through afternoons.) My hips ache all of the time. I feel as though I am slogging waist high through mud. My mind is foggy and words don’t come easily. That proves to be really frustrating when the word is something like “couch".

She took X-rays and noted that my hips look ok, blood tests will tell more. Turns out I have bone spurs, which aren’t a big deal really and shouldn’t be causing the hip pain, unless they start aggravating a nerve. (If she detects more inflammation, or lupus activity, she’ll have to up my immunosuppressant, which makes me more nauseous than I already am, and more susceptible to infection.)

Because of the pain, she doesn’t want me doing anything with too much impact. “No running,” she said. I have mentioned to her in the past that I have been flirting with running. I envy these people who “lose themselves while running” and find it so “zen”, as well as being a great workout. She’s grimaced in the past and told me to go easy but yesterday she said “absolutely not.” She wants me on the elliptical, as well as keeping up with yoga.

Why was I strangely liberated when she said “no running?” Actually, I know the answer. It’s because I didn’t want to run in the first place. I want the results but I fear the pain it may cause.  I know many runners though and I wanted to be like them. To enjoy it like them. But I can’t. Doctors orders!  No love lost.

On the exam table she examines all of my joints, moving them, bending them, quiet as she moves through this process.

no fear

                                             +++

I ask the question I usually ask, ever the good patient, “Is there anything more I can do to move towards a remission?”

It’s been 7 years and no remission. I may never be in remission and I know that.

“Ultimately, there isn’t anything more you can be doing. You can’t change your DNA” she says.

This statement echoes in my head and irritates me. 

She tells me of the clinical trials for an exciting new drug that’s testing really really well. I can’t remember the name. (I’ve heard this before. The last one, Benlysta, which was just approved after 50 years of no new lupus drugs, now is seen as “old news” and “not really effective”)

I ask her if she knows of any clinical trials I would be eligible to participate in.

None, she tells me. Because you’ve had breast cancer.

Awesome.

She orders a copious amount of blood work and sends me to the lab. I love the round, sweet phlebotomist with the Russian accent and sigh happily when I see her in the lab. She’s a master with a blood draw. Can barely feel the needle go in. 

While tying up my arm she asks me if I’m nervous. She says lots of people are nervous and behave erratically because of a fear of needles. (I love hearing those stories for some reason.) I laugh and tell her I’m ok and needles don’t bother me. I relax my head against the wall and close my eyes while she masterfully starts drawing blood and telling me all about her little nephew and how we share a birthday. I love listening to her talk. Accents are like music.

9 tubes later and I’m done. NINE. I watch as she writes my name and birthdate on each tube and think there must be an easier way. Seriously, it’s 2011.

I make a mental note to research blood vial label makers.

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Alive

Reading the paper this morning, there was an article about marrow donation and this quote jumped out and has been dancing around my head.

“I’m going to have to develop a little more patience with myself and really just enjoy being alive and not worrying about having to spend every moment of every day trying to achieve something.”

So, I will keep that with me today, as well as this video, which I imagine is what the inner workings of my brain look like.

Oh Land–White Nights

 

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Inspiring

 

How bad ass is this? Love love love it.

 

yoga

 

You have one body. Be good to it.

And Happy Weekend, MFs. Do something that makes you happy.

XO

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The Break Up

It is no secret that I have had a long standing love affair with Cold Stone Creamery’s Cake Batter Ice cream. It was my crack.

I used to get excited just thinking about it. My mouth would start to salivate the second I walked into the joint, knowing what goodness was coming. Sometimes I would think “Should I get something else?” Then, of course, I would come to my senses and remember never to deviate when it comes to cake batter ice cream. Cake Batter ice cream with cookie dough, brownie and fudge. A most magical concoction.

I would watch the employee as they were scooping and hope they weren’t chintzy with the topping because that could screw everything up.

And then after I got it, time would stop for a few minutes during that first bite. There was a party in my mouth with fireworks and live music and exclamation points and DELICIOUSNESS! And moaning. Always moaning.

The shit was good, all right?

So, I haven’t had any ice cream (or any dairy) since January and quite honestly hadn’t missed it. People have asked me “Don’t you miss ice cream?” And my honest answer was “No”, because I didn’t really.

A few days ago, because it’s hot as hell here in Colorado, I gathered the kids to go get ice cream. Driving to Cold Stone, I remembered my old friend cake batter.

I thought “Maybe I’ll get some, to see if it is as delicious as I remember.” I think, more than anything,  I was craving that quick hit of elation that cake batter had given me in the past.

The kids picked out the flavors they wanted, I ordered some for Peter (cake batter ice cream, cookie dough, brownie and caramel)  and I gave the guy my order. I asked for a lid so I could eat it at home with Peter.

I got home, put all of my stuff down, took out the cup of ice cream, and dug in.

No fireworks. No live music. Not one exclamation point. No moaning.

Nothing.

It was fucking gross and I couldn’t get it out my mouth fast enough.

Thinking there HAD to be a mistake, I took another bite. A chunky one, filled with magical bits of brownie and cookie dough.

Nope.

Still gross.

I look over at Peter who is eating his ice cream.

“Honey, mine doesn’t taste good. Is yours good?”

With a big bite in his mouth, he replies “You’re crazy. This is fucking great!”

I looked down at my cup, put the top back on it and put it in the freezer.

(sad trombone)

I have to admit, there was a wave of sadness. Something that once made me so so happy, now leaves me repulsed.

It’s fascinating to know that my taste buds and body chemistry have readjusted to a life without dairy. I actually had to go brush my teeth to get the mucusy dairy coating I felt on my tongue off.

On the plus side, now I know! Cake batter and I are through. There will be no wondering about “the one that got away.”

I have moved on to my new best friend, Rice Dream Pies. MmmmMm. Mint is the best.

Rice Dream Bars

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3+8

My birthday was glorious. Lots of love. SO much of it. I continue to be surrounded by love and light, which feels pretty good. How did I get so lucky?

I felt as if I had been celebrating my birthday for a while after having such a wonderful Asheville trip and then various loveliness sprinkled about (brunches and lunches with fab friends) before the actual DAY of my birthday. So when it arrived I wasn’t prepared.

The most fantastic PGP made THE most beautiful and delicious dinner for my birthday: Broiled Blackened Tofu, Butternut coconut brown rice, and jerk asparagus. (all recipes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s brilliant cookbook “Appetite for Reduction”)

Then…THEN, he also made a vegan birthday cake, that I swear tasted better than most regular cake I’ve had.

E was with us that evening for dinner, which made the dinner extra celebratory.

I kept squealing with delight throughout the meal, that all of this fabulousness was made for me. Throughout this whole “eating for health” journey of mine, Peter has been nothing but supportive and sweet, when he could easily roll his eyes and turn up his nose. I admire that and appreciate it more than he could ever know.

I maintain that my dear husband is my most favorite gift of all time.

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Press On, Regardless

Today my Dad would have turned 70 years old.

I knew this fact but it snuck up on me just the same. I found myself crying yesterday remembering something pretty great about him and realizing how much I miss him.

In honor of his birthday, I was thinking of things we could do that remind me of him.

Perhaps a trip to the bookstore, as he loved books and had a particular fondness for poetry. He knew lots of poems by heart and also had tons of really great quotes floating around in his brain to pull out at appropriate times.

A trip to the hardware store always reminds me of him because he could make even the most mundane thing magical. Now that I’m older, I get it because Peter is very similar. It’s a man shop full of lots of stuff, or as my Dad called them, “treasures”. We would slowly walk down each aisle and he would grab something and say “Look at THIS! You know what this does?”

Or a trip to the museum because he loved learning and never stopped asking questions or wanting to know more about something I can still hear him say “Isn’t that neat?” (Keep in mind, dear reader, that the use of the word “neat” may seem old fashioned or perhaps even lame these days but the way he said it was so earnest. If he said something was neat, it was pretty awesome.)

I thought of him yesterday because I took the kids to Wash Park in Denver to rent a paddle boat and then have a picnic lunch. (I would like to publicly thank my mom and sister, who, when I told them the story of what we did, appropriately gasped and ooohed and ahhhed, validating that I was, in fact, a fun and generous mother.)

Imagine my dismay that they complained and fought most of the hour on the lake. Wha? This is fantastic and novel, you should be overflowing with gratitude!

Finn hated it but Hadley loved it. My little naturalist was in heaven pointing out cormorants and pelicans, along with a flock of ducks, of course. One duck followed us the entire time and Hadley named her Amelia. She said more than once she wished she had a notepad and her bird monocle. Finn was bored and doesn’t enjoy anything where you’re sitting still for long periods of time.

We ended up taking the boat back early because I couldn’t handle the fighting anymore. We got our lunches (me talking through my teeth and dragging them behind me) and sat down to eat. H&F noticed squirrels and started throwing Goldfish crackers to them. Pretty soon, we were hand feeding one of the squirrels. Finn said “This is the best time in my entire life!”

Really? In your entire life?

Life is funny that way. The thing you expect to bring the most joy, often doesn’t. And the ridiculously simple things can often bring absolute delight. The three of us gushed about how we each hand fed a squirrel while walking to the car. My Dad loved Goldfish crackers and hated squirrels. He called them “tree rats.” I laughed to myself thinking of the things he would be saying if he was there.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned many many times before a quality that I loved about my Dad but it’s worth repeating because it’s a good one. Every time he saw me, he lit up. That means SO much to a kid. It meant so much to me. To see that he was genuinely happier because I had arrived. I keep that with me all of the time and try to do the same with my kids.

My mom and Pellegrinos are coming over tonight for dinner. We’re going to toast Roger Padden. Often times, when we were together, he would raise a glass and say “It’s good to be with you.” Simple, yet perfect and heartfelt. I find myself saying it now too.

Oct-Nov 2008 015

Happy 70th, Dad. It was good to be with you.

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Recovery

I’m still in recovery mode from our most recent trip to Asheville, NC. The trip home was brutal. Peter misread the tickets so we missed our flight. I could not be annoyed with him. He was annoyed enough for the both of us. We rallied and tried to make the best of the 5 hours we had in the Charlotte airport after driving 2 hours to get there.

Luckily,(insert exciting music here!) We bought an iPad the day before and pulled that sucker out to surprise the kids as soon as we got to the airport. Needless to say, the kids were beyond happy and we were saved, quite frankly.

I ache from the tip of my head to the end of my toes. My body is angry and my fatigue is endless. I am working on it though. And by “working on it”, I mean doing a whole lot of nothing. (aside from making out with my VitaMix and giving my doggies love)

With the kids happy and occupied on the flight, I watched Sophia Coppola’s Somewhere, which I’d been dying to see. It was mesmerizing. I love how Coppola describes it as more of a mood, than a film. More like a haiku. It’s beautifully minimalistic. Just a brief glimpse into the life of the main character, a famous actor, played surprisingly well by Stephen Dorff. Elle Fanning is lovely. That girl lights up the screen.

I feel the need to wrap myself in a cocoon and come out in a few weeks. A vacation to recover from my vacation.

If only life were that easy.

Nope.

Thrown back into the thick of it.

In the meantime, I am smiling remembering sights and sounds from Asheville, good times had with family and craving food from Chai Pani and The Laughing Seed.

I had Peter pull over one day so I could snap some pics of this amazing mural. I only noticed later the creepy hanging chickens in the blue background. Blech. Ignore that part.

While snapping a few shots, a Jack Russell terrier came bounding towards me, barking. He immediately stopped as I bent down to pet him and give him some love. His scruffy bearded owner appeared from a doorway and yelled “BRUCE! Quit it!” I laughed all day at the thought of a dog named Bruce. Love it.

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Pretty brilliant, right?

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Where’s he been?

That line from Raising Arizona popped into my head when I starting writing this post. Remember that scene where relatives Gale and Evelle Snoats are visiting Hi and Earl H.I. and Ed and they read the sign that says “WELCOME HOME SON!” Then they turn to H.I. and Ed and say “Where’s he been?”  It always makes me laugh. What in that movie DOESN’T make me laugh? Such a classic. (Edited later: Many thanks to “Anonymous” who corrected names for me. I prefer to call him “my brother” though, instead of “Anonymous”, it just sounds better.)

I haven’t blogged in many moons. What can I say? I got sucked up into summer and any spare minute is spent doing nothing or everything. I have also felt extremely pedestrian and like nothing I’m doing could possibly be of any interest.

However, here I sit, ready to regale you with bits and pieces from the land of Suburbia. In a list, of course, which is what I seem to be doing lots of lately. List-making that is. I have 5 going right now with all of the things that must be done before we can leave for Asheville, NC on Wednesday. This family needs a good dose of Grammy and Bompie and to relax with the rest of our family. This town rules. It really is so fantastic. I’m looking forward to doing LOTS of nothing.

This summer I vowed to do more with the kids and I’m freaking exhausted. I have a love/hate relationship with summer. There are aspects of it I love: lazy days, more light, berries, swimming, picnics, having nothing that we HAVE to do, driveways drinks with my neighbors. But the part I fear and dread is being a full time camp counselor. And believe me people, I have been one this summer. And I think I’ve been a pretty freaking good one. I’m tired. Quite honestly, I’m tired of them being here all of the time. I’m tired of the house never really being clean because they are always here. I’m tired of not having one minute to myself, unless it is the time between when they go to bed and when I fall asleep, which is roughly 45 minutes, and no, that does not count as quality self time.

Rant over. I love my little sun kissed wombats. I really really do. But I wouldn’t be too terribly upset if the school called and said “Mrs. Provost, it’s an emergency! We need the children back immediately!”

Oh sure, I would fake disappointment for their sake, but inside I would be planning out my first few days of freedom.

Things that have been making me happy lately:

  • Peter. In all of his Peterness.Lovely small surprises sprinkled throughout a week can make one’s heart sing, you know? It’s the small things. 
  • sneaking out on my life one night last week alone, going to my fave joint for a black bean burger and then taking myself to see Midnight in Paris, which deserves a post of its own. I absolutely loved it. Combine my love of Paris with my love of literature, art and quirky creativity and voila: Midnight in Paris.
  • Mango popsicles
  • New Fleet Foxes
  • Deep breathing
  • Jon Stewart
  • the first few sips of a refreshing cranberry/vodka are unmatched after a sweaty, action packed day.
  • Meeting my most lovely mom to see the movie Beginners yesterday. I loved this as well. It was quiet and perhaps dragged a bit but I was along for the ride and enjoyed the story and creative filmmaking.
  • cows. I’ve come across a few recently and have melted. Fascinating creatures.
  • reveling in the awesomeness of my friend E’s new baby girls. Every time someone I love has a baby, it’s like I’ve never seen one before, like I haven’t had TWO myself! I am just in awe of a new little person fresh to the world. I’m also delighted at how it all just comes back to me…I think “Oh, I don’t know what to do with a teeny baby!” And then BAM! You’re in the thick of it: the holding, the diapering, the feeding, the burping. Just like riding a bike. Such a sweet time. Exhausting as hell, but sweet.
  • VEGGIES! I had an artichoke for dinner a few nights ago and Peter laughed at me because I just kept moaning about how good it was. And it was.  
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Art therapy

On one of the many rainy days lately, the kids busted in the door from school on a mission. Like junkies looking for crack, they tore the house apart looking for art supplies, dumped everything on the table and got to work.

Intrigued, I made a cup of tea and joined in.

I was delighted watching Finn’s creative process.

I’m so familiar with Hadley’s. It’s organic for her. It’s who she is. Art literally seeps from every pore on this child. Peter and I compare her to Edward Scissorhands. She’s frenzied in her working style, with paper flying everywhere, moving at a manic pace but the outcome is always a detailed, terrifically imaginative piece.

Finn’s talents are coming out slowly over time as he ages. I’m enjoying seeing his confidence and talent bloom. He is thoughtful and methodical, favoring order and symmetry.

I loved the piece below for one specific reason. (ignore the water stain on the right. I did that.)

kidswork 001

He was chewing a piece of gum while working and the wrapper was still on the table. I saw him pick it up, twist it on his pencil and go to glue it down. He looked up at me and said “Is this ok?” I assured him it was and that I loved it.

And I do. In fact, I think the gum wrapper is my favorite part.

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Long after they had abandoned the art for video games, I stayed and finished the tissue paper “P” I was working on, drinking tea and listening to Adele’s “21” for the 7 millionth time.  I love how it turned out.

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Science is cool

We are a science loving family. Big time. Everything is a potential science experiment. I mean EVERYTHING. (PGP lives here after all.) So there was much excitement when Finn’s kindergarten teacher sent out a letter saying they were having a Science Fair. Love it! It’s never to early to start getting your science on.

Finny P loved the whole process and was SO into it. Peter, of course, the ultimate science fair pro, having done a trillion, was the master. (Honestly, I don’t think I have ever done one. Ever.) There was lots of hypothesizing and analyzing. As well as lots of creative juices involved in making the poster.

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(note: He wanted to put the “6” next to his name so people would know he is 6 years old. It took everything I had not to object and rip it off and freak out and take control of the entire project. (exhale) BUT, I didn’t and it turned out exactly as it should. He was so proud explaining his experiment to everyone. (He made little tin foil boats in various shapes and then tested to see how many pennies each one could hold. Groundbreaking stuff.)

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Finn's kindysciencefair 010

I watched Peter at the Science Fair today and smiled from afar. He went up to each child and asked what they learned from their experiment. He asked questions, was genuinely interested, and listened patiently as these 5 and 6 year olds rattled off what they learned. It was terribly sweet and a lovely reminder of why I love him so.

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Here’s to many more Science Fairs!

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Lavender Lady

lavender

I love the smell of lavender. I used to hate it and thought it smelled like old ladies. (I would turn my nose up at the lavender scented products when I was stocking up on Spring Rain lotion and soap at Crabtree and Evelyn in high school. I love how scents can remind you of specific times.)

I digress…

But now I seek it out and inhale deeply every time I come into contact with it.

Sometimes, I’ll dab a little oil under each nostril to smell for hours.

I buy most all of my lavender products locally from Moondance Botanicals, a magical little shop in Denver you should check out if you’re in the area.

I always put lavender oil in the bath when I’m soaking. Sometimes if I’m just soaking my feet, I’ll put in a few drops. I highly recommend soaking your feet. An acupuncturist recommended it and I find it so relaxing, right before bed.

I have a bottle of lavender oil and water that I spritz in all of our rooms as the kids are getting on pajamas and readying for bed. I like to think it helps relax them too, or at least signal that it’s wind down time.

I love it in candles. St. Germain-en-Laye Lavender is one of my fave lavender scented candles. Peter, however, hates it and thinks it smells like “another guy is in the house” (he thinks it smells too much like a guy’s cologne) so I don’t buy it much anymore.

You can’t go wrong with an old classic like Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap.

And finally, on this little lavender tour, I save the best for last. Dagoba Lavender blueberry chocolate bar. Haven’t had this in a while because it’s not vegan but the combination of lavender, blueberry and chocolate is beyond delightful.

dag-cbblueberry

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Egg laying bunnies

The whole materialization of Easter grosses me out.

The other day I heard a kid say to another kid “What are you going to ask for for Easter?”

Wha?

The whole idea of the Easter Bunny makes me laugh and is sort of creepy. (so is Santa, really) And where did this bunny get the eggs it is supposedly bringing?

We have chosen to just to make it about celebrating the arrival of Spring.

Today at Target, I was begrudgingly picking up a few little things to put in H&F’s Easter baskets.

The following is the conversation I had with the checker: (what is it with me and cuckoo Target checkers?)

Checker: Hey, how are you?

Me: Good, how you doing?

Checker: Really great! (He was a really big guy. Super charismatic and huggable looking.) Do you have any plans for this weekend?

Me: Spending time with family. How about you?

Checker: Oh! Family, Church, and Food!

I smiled.

Checker: Are you going to church this Sunday?

WHO ASKS SHIT LIKE THIS?

Me: Nope.

Checker: Cool.

Awkward silence for the remainder of the transaction.

Pushing my loot to the car, I wondered how the conversation could have gone differently. What if I had said “Heck yeah I’m going to church!” Would he have said “AWESOME!” and then we would have high fived?

For some reason, I think this version probably would have played out because he was so gregarious and also he had a huge silver cross on a big chain around his neck. Or maybe he would have said “Big Ups for Jesus!” and we would have fist bumped.

Or maybe not.

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Blahg

foq6xf

                                                 +++

Sorry no posting lately, or consistently. I’m feeling hermity. Not in a depressing kind of way.  Just not in the “let me blog about it!” kind of way. Every time I think of blogging, I think …”nah.”

Still vegan and relatively gluten free and loving it. LOV.ING it. It sounds cliché to some but literally, it’s like I’m seeing in color now. I am going to try, however, not to use the word “vegan” as it elicits strange responses from people. (“You’re not going to throw blood on me, are you?” “What DO you EAT??”) The word has such heft and negative connotations for some people that I’m just not interested in dealing with it. It’s a shame really because I like to be concise. Now I’ll have to say something like “Well, I am very particular about what I eat because I have health issues.”

Cooking has become this fun, interesting adventure instead of the usual horrifyingly mundane chore. It helps that the ever fabulous PGP has enthusiastically championed me eating this way and frequently helps cook. (I have to add though that he will cook meat every night and add it to the vegan meal. This makes me laugh.)

I’m currently dealing with heartburn VERY dramatically. It’s all very Sarah Bernhardt. Seriously though. Heartburn blows.  So do stomach bugs, which my family keeps passing around. Over. It.

I hope your Monday is going swimmingly.

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Ski Bums

(I forgot to post this on Monday. I re-read it and desperately want to edit, but I’m not allowing myself. Pictures added today.)

The kids are on Spring Break this week and I am READY. Tons of plans in the works, starting with taking them skiing today. Peter took off the day from work and we left super early.

We saw some beautiful bison on the way up. Gorgeous creatures.

I’m sitting in the lodge at Loveland watching Team Provost take on the mountain. So so so sweet! Bittersweet, actually. (I’ll explain in a minute) Peter is snowboarding and the kids are skiing for the first time. They’re naturals! I love it and am kicking myself for not getting them on skis sooner. (although judging from Peter’s sporadic texts send from the slopes, it sounds like my little Finn is getting pissed easily. He’s a perfectionist and if he’s not perfect at something the first time, he doesn’t want to do it.)

Skiing2011 009

I haven’t taken them skiing sooner because we just didn’t make it a priority. Or “I” didn’t make it a priority. (I don’t know how it is in your house but if this mama doesn’t plan shit, nothing gets done.)

I loathe being cold. Loathe it. My hands and feet freeze, as does my nose. I’m not talking the usual “I’m skiing. it’s a little brisk.” No. It’s serious business. I know I’ve mentioned it before that I have Raynaud’s Syndrome, but people have no idea what that means.

My hands, feet and nose get so cold, I can’t feel them. My college gal pals used to call them “dead hands.” They go bluish white and numb. The numbness could go on for hours, even after I go inside. Sometimes it’s just a few fingers. Then they get red and hot and hurt, until they finally calm down to a normal temperature. It fucking sucks. I’m not a wimp. I can’t “buck up.” There are no magical gloves that will keep this from happening. (Believe me, my dad and I tried every single pair at REI when I was younger and would go ski.) When we got here today, while renting boots and skis, I actually had the familiar sinking, panicky feeling I got when I used to ski. I had to tell myself “Oh no, lady. You’re not going. You have hot tea, your laptop, magazines and a Larabar waiting for you in the warmth.”

I tried to buck up so I could go get some pictures of them starting out. But that didn’t last long. I actually had to run inside because after being outside for 20 minutes, it had started and I couldn’t feel my feet, hands or nose.

Keep in mind, it is SPRING here in Colorado. It’s like 45 degrees and BEAUTIFUL. A bit windy, but beautiful. There’s no way I could be up here in the winter.

Before you ask, yes I had on enough clothes. Yes, I was wearing wool socks and boots. Yes, I was wearing the warmest mittens you can buy. Yes, I was wearing a scarf and hat. Yes to all of the questions you might ask me yourself and that I have been asked a million times. Nothing helps but getting out of the cold.

I’m a little pissed today because I wish I didn’t have an ailment where this happens. (I’ve been in stores before where if the air is too cold, it’ll happen.) Not to even mention the beautiful sun which is SHINING. No sun for lupus girl. No cold weather for lupus girl.

While buying tickets for Peter and the kids, the guy behind the counter said “Where’s your gear? What’s wrong with you? Get on the mountain!”

I smiled and said something about needing to catch up on some reading but the truth is I kind of wanted to cry. Yes, another instance where I look like nothing is wrong with me. (I know I know, I should feel grateful that it’s not something worse. And that I have two legs, etc but this is my pity party so just shut it for one second.)

(sidebar: Even though I overshare quite frequently, I pride myself on NOT being that jackass who says “Yeah, I can’t ski because I have lupus and Raynaud's syndrome and blah blah blah. I was at Target the other day and said to the checker “Hey, how are you?” and she said, in a VERY leading manner “Well, I’m FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!”

“Fantastic? You never hear that. That’s great.” I said.

“Well, today is my birthday and I’m very lucky to be alive.” she said looking at me dramatically.

I hate leading statements.

She wants me to ask why she’s lucky to be alive.

I’m not going to.

Because you know what?

I could answer “Guess what, asshole? ME TOO!”

I didn’t say anything. She finished checking me out and tried her gimmick on the next victim customer.)

But today, I’m pissed because I’m not out there with the rest of my team taking on the day.

End of pity party.

On the plus side, my hair looks really good and I’m not wearing uncomfortable ski boots. Those things are brutal.

More pics of the blue eyed devils on the mountain!

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Thursday Loves

Sister and I were having one of daily chats when we started talking about whether we’re introverts or extroverts. I know people see me as an extrovert, and I am, but I’m also quite an introvert. Meg said ‘You’re an extroverted introvert”, you get energy by being alone to fuel your extroverted-ness.”

I like that.

So, now just as I envision a car filling up with gas when I’m eating really well, I now do the same when I’m alone. (I’m all about visualization.)

Peter is in Seattle until tomorrow and while I miss his sweet beardy face and can’t wait to hug and squeeze him, there is something to be said for having time apart. (He works from home and is in a tie with my brother, A, as the loudest talker in all of the land.)

He arrives home tomorrow on the day our sweet rare bird turns 9. NINE. As in, I have a 9 year old daughter. As in, my nine year old is a total tween. WHA? Oh sweet Lady Jane. Where did the years go? I’m hoping she is a late bloomer and continues her love of all things creepy, arty and eccentric. The mean girls swarm but so far HJ has been immune to it. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Here are some things that are making me love life:

  • TWO of my girlfriends are having twins. It’s has been so exciting thinking about it and anticipating the arrival of four new, fantastic humans. And I often find myself in AWE of these women with TWO babies wriggling around in their wombs. GAWD.
  • Almond butter on banana. Perfection.
  • the weather here in CO the last few days. Unbelievable soul and mood fuel. 65 and SUNNY. It makes me miss the 1976 CJ7 Jeep I drove in my teens. That car was perfect for days like these.
  • Boulder Veggie bowl with gluten free teriyaki and brown rice at Tokyo Joe’s. Mmmmm…serious goodness.
  • Coming Clean…Things I never told my parents made me laugh out loud. It reminded of a time when my Dad and I went out to breakfast when I was about 22. We were laughing reminiscing. For some reason I decided to tell him that one day in high school when they thought I was at school, we had really driven to Taos. He wanted to be pissed but he couldn’t. We laughed and laughed. (The really hilarious part of the story is that I called, like a good daughter, and said that I was at A’s house and A’s phone wasn’t working so I would talk to them the next day. (um, good one, dumbass) My dad said “Nah. You can come home tonight. Be here by 7pm.  You did not say “no” to Roger.  It was like Noon or something so I knew I had to hustle. (we ditched school to drive to New Mexico that morning) So, I freak out and A and I drive from Taos home to Denver in totally shitty weather. (Meanwhile, the only money I had was my parent’s Phillips 66 gas card. Serious dumbass) When I get home, ready for all hell to break loose, my parents WEREN’T EVEN HOME. They had gone to a dinner party!  Jerkfaces. My Dad thought THAT was hilarious.
  • Sharpening pencils. There is something oddly meditative about it.
  • My bed, or as I now call it, “the command center.” 

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  • love this pic by Nathan Coley
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Artsy Fartsy

I volunteer once a week at the kid’s school in the art room. I want to make sure that in addition to helping in the classroom with academics, the brilliance of art programs don’t get ignored.

The art teacher, Mrs. O, rules, of course. She’s young, creative, interesting, smart and artistic. (duh) I do whatever she needs me to do and I so look forward to it. For one, there aren’t any children there when I volunteer. (Bonus!) They are at lunch. So it’s quiet and deliciously meditative. Mrs. O goes to lunch too, so we chat for a bit, she tells me what she needs done, and then she leaves. I put on my iPod and get to work. It’s deeply satisfying being in a room that is swirling with imaginative energy and fantastical creations. I’ll have to bring my camera next time. It’s badass.

Last month, when I was in the room, Mrs. O told me that she selected Hadley to participate in an art show. Accordingly, we made a huge deal about it at home, as it is a big deal. Rare Bird’s first art show. One of many, I’m sure.

All of the work is being shown at a local mall for a week. We went on Saturday to check it out.

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They are allowed to create whatever they want during art class. Hadley made a dog and a mouse out of old ribbon rolls.

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Here’s Finn dutifully posing. While looking at all of the other art, he said something profound like “This sucks. Can we go to the toy store?”

So we did.

At the toy store, Peter found the game KinderBunnies and immediately grabbed it. Apparently, he has played the adult version, KillerBunnies, and wanted to try the kid version out. I’m down with anything that gets us spending time together and gets the kids thinking.

The game is really fun and the kids LOVED it. I’m sure adding to the fun of the game was the fact that Peter and I agreed to play the game in the fort the kids built. We also agreed to eat take out for dinner in the fort. (note: Peter, aka Old Man River, was not pleased about sitting on the floor. He made it known and had trouble walking when he got up.)

While it was a bit of a pain in the ass, it was SO novel that the kids were freaking out and squealing with delight. I kept leaning over to Peter saying “This is fun. We’re fun parents, right? Say this is fun. They’ll remember this, right? And think we were fun, right? I mean while they are talking to their therapist about something else we screwed up….”

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My cleanse ended on Monday and while I was a bit sad, because I like structure, I just realized I can continue to eat this way. So I am! Modified, of course. Vegetarian flirting with Veganism. Trying to avoid gluten and dairy because it makes lupus happier. I am allowing sugar back onto the scene and I welcomed her with HUGE open arms. We did have to have a heart to heart though about her controlling ways.

It’s 65 and sunny here. Just try to ruin my mood.

XO

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Thursday Loves…

  • My massage this morning. This aching bod thanks you magical J!
  • Taking myself out to lunch, alone.
  • Thinking about this recipe CONSTANTLY. Must make SOON. It had me at “cake batter.”

 

  • Thinking about Morning Glory muffins CONSTANTLY too (are you sensing a trend? sweets anyone?)
  • Family dance party to Supertramp last night. Then a yoga session with Finn while Peter and Hadley jammed on the piano to REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Stop Loving You”. THEN, Finn fell asleep while I laid with him listening to Peter, Paul and Mommy. Oh, music. The love affair is stronger than ever.
  • I supremely dig being a part of my favorite foursome. Tis an honor.
  • Wheatgrass shots first thing in the morning
  • A stack of delicious new magazines
  • Going to the dentist. I would go once a month if I could.
  • Colorado weather the past few days. GORGE!
  • Reading all about NY Fashion Week and perusing collections. I love clothes but hate shopping. Explain that to me.
  • Seeing great friends from out of town + their new babe
  • Reading creative vegan blogs and feeling inspired to cook
  • B for leaving a slice of vegan chocolate tart on my doorstep today (!) 

Happy early weekend, turtle doves.

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Funk Removal

Have been in a funk for a few days. Today I decided to do something about it.

These things in combination seemed to have done the trick.

  • Find a good vegan soup recipe for dinner so I don’t have to eat the same motherscratching brown rice and veggies.
  • Noon yoga class with a righteous instructor
  • stroll through Vitamin Cottage grabbing some groceries, including the prettiest strawberries I have seen in a long time, roasted pumpkin seeds and frozen wheatgrass shots.
  • Drive home with the windows and sunroof open, taking in the amazing Colorado day.
  • Listen to CD made YEARS ago by KBDK, which contains a good amount of classic rock and hippie jams. (Widespread, Phish, Grateful Dead…)
  • Windows still open. Volume up embarrassingly loud.
  • Pull into the driveway with a smile on my face and then proceed to take 2 shots of wheatgrass and eat strawberries over the sink.

Mission accomplished. Funk removed.

It’s day 16 of the cleanse, people. Uh huh. I’m feeling pretty badass. Not supremely badass as there have been bumps in the road. Like this morning when I emailed B and was like “TALK ME DOWN FROM THE LEDGE. SCREW THIS!”

But still, maybe a little bad ass.

Good job, body. You’re doing swell.

On a TV front, are you watching Portlandia, yet? Mkay. Get on that. Although, don’t repeat lines to Peter and laugh hysterically because he’ll just look at you blankly. Also, I know I’m totally late for the party but FRINGE? Hello, fantastic. I’m deep into Season 1. I’m also going to acquire Friday Night Lights. After all of the hullaballoo everyone makes about it, the shit better change my life. Kidding. Sort of.

Wishing you wonderful Tuesday.

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Thursday Loves

  • Music – specifically Cat Stevens, Tennis, Fleetwood Mac, The Weepies
  • Feeling light and zippy (yup, I just said “zippy”)
  • brunches and lunches with people I love
  • Daydreaming about vacations
  • my sister’s post about her recent vacation to Tulum
  • Oliver spooning with me at night under the covers like a nursing infant.
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Feeling grateful. Every day.
  • The look on Peter’s face when I gave him a snow blower for his birthday
  • This girl’s photostream on Flickr. That blue hair is perfection. I love the shot called “WINTER.”
  • Planning a baby shower and HJ’s birthday party. FUN! The fun part for me is the invites and choosing where to have it. (Baby shower = French restaurant, bday party = funky art workshop for kids) Then I just delegate. It’s too stressful for me any other way.
  • Still alive and cleansing like a mofo. It’s Day 4 and I’ve had some minor missteps along the way but I’m being decidedly chill about it. This isn’t about self-flagellation. It’s about learning what works for my body and about being healthier.

I will say that I’m much more of a juice kind of girl. I love that vibrant green!

Yesterday morning I decided to make a smoothie. I put in some romaine, raspberries, an avocado, a cucumber and some coconut water. It looked so beautiful before I turned on my mighty Vita Mix. After that it was just brown sludge. I literally choked it down. And I was sad because I LOVE all of the ingredients. It tasted pretty good but I just couldn’t get past the texture and color of it.

I feel really really good though. My stomach issues have been non-existent since I started. I don’t know if I can attribute that to the cleanse or the fact that I also started taking Probiotics. Either way, it’s fabulous. Lupus has been relatively quiet as well. Big ups to my friend B, who is kicking arse as well!

Happy almost weekend to you, sweet people of the interwebs.

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Crazy Sexy Cleanse

Tuesday and Wednesday were “snow days” for my children. There was only an inch of snow on the ground but it was below freezing and deemed too dangerous.

So, they were home.

And annoying.

I missed yoga on Tuesday and lunch with two lovely ladies on Wednesday. Not to mention getting nothing done, having the house trashed and them squawking at me ALL day about being bored.

Have I mentioned that I love them. Mmhmmm, I do. I really really do. (There were some cute moments: H&F playing American Girl dolls, the many many skits they performed, making cookies with them while we sang Fleetwood Mac songs…)

I’m just happier than a pig in shit that they are back in school and the house is still and quiet.

The irony is I have to volunteer at school today.

Just.Can’t.Get.Away.

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Moving on.

Have you ever heard of Kris Carr? Chances are, you’ve seen her face lately because she’s been all over the place promoting her new book Crazy Sexy Diet.

This is what she says about herself:

I’m Kris Carr, best-selling author, motivational speaker and wellness coach. Back in 2003, I directed and starred in Crazy Sexy Cancer, an inspirational documentary for TLC that chronicled my journey from cancer diagnosis to juicy healthy living. I also wrote Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips and Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor, two must-have manuals for triumphing over disease and embracing a holistic approach to recovery. My wake-up call encouraged me to make a total lifestyle upgrade inside and out. This extraordinary journey led me to crank the stress down and the joy factor up. It brought me back to nature, the garden and the people (and animals!) who fuel my spirit each day. In the process, I created a blueprint for a healthy and happy life and I want to share my secrets with fabulous you!

Love love love her. She’s beyond positive, funny, irreverent and smart. Qualities I love in a girl. Plus, what she says makes sense. She still has a very rare, incurable form of cancer, but it isn’t progressing. And she feels great.

I remember discovering her documentary shortly after I was diagnosed with lupus. So much of what she said resonated but I was lazy and it was too much for me at the time to change my lifestyle so drastically. (Um, 5 week old baby, 2 year old, just moved to a city I’d never been to before?…yeah, I’d call that overwhelmed) She wrote her first book after the documentary came out called “Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips”. I thought, and this is the freaky part,  “Hm, if I ever got cancer, that would be a really good book for me to read.”

Mkay.

My mistake was just thinking that this lifestyle (I really hate the word ‘diet’) was only for people with cancer.

I’m ready now. To try at least.

I’ve been tinkering for a while, trying to eat mostly meat free (aside from briefly becoming a porketarian in Mexico), juicing, yoga, dry brushing, supplements, tons of water, etc. But this is going to be tough. It’s also gluten free, sugar free, caffeine free, alcohol free. Oy. I’m a bit terrified but excited too.

Just so we’re clear, it’s not to lose weight. It’s to feel good. Or at least better. This way of eating has long been described as “anti-inflammatory.” I SHOULD be eating this way to help my body heal.

It’s only 21 days. Starting Monday. I’m doing it with my friend B, my most fantastic across the street neighbor, who, if you remember, was my partner in Mastectomy Madness. Yes, we both dealt with the breast cancer/double mastectomy bullshit a month apart. We share a plastic surgeon. She’s the greatest. She is a vegan already and a runner, so we’re going to keep each other in line.

We’ve already started weaning. It’s not that hard, except for my morning cup of tea, and SWEETS! Argh. I can’t seem to shake those. I swear, after 5 or 6pm, I become possessed and must eat any and all sweets.

I’m not going to be a psycho about this cleanse and I am anticipating some icky days, but I’m committing. And blogging about it holds me to it. I promise I won’t bore you with all of the details.

Off to juice. Wish me luck!

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