Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yet Another Thanksgiving Post


The plan was that I'd get some of my baking done on Tuesday. I'm in charge of the mashed potatoes and desserts for this year's Glut Fest, and it's usually pretty labor intensive so I figured why not spread the joy out over a few days.

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men and all that. There's a reason for it.

In addition to my plans for baking on Tuesday, I was also running on about three deadlines. I'd arrived at work half an hour early, worked through lunch, successfully got one deadline knocked out and was well on my way with the next when the phone rang.

It was the Elder's vacation daycare folks. Seems that when middle-sized boys are playing "tag" football, things can get a bit bloody... especially when one child catches the football (mine) and another child fails to note this, resulting in front tooth meeting hard skull.

One trip to the ER, 3 hours, and 4 stitches later the Elder was just fine. The other kid broke his tooth-- poor little guy is only 10 and now has to have a crown.

So although I have been/ will continue to whine endlessly about all the baking I've been doing yesterday and today, I am thankful for plenty:
  • my family
  • my health
  • Choreboy's morning groans, which indicate he is off work at home rather than at work getting caffeinated
  • the Elder's thick skull
  • the Gum Zombie's new passion for gum
This list could get really long. I think I'll stop it here. Besides, I have potatoes to mash.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


144.5 lbs.

That's what the scale said this morning.

I haven't seen a weight below 145 since I was in my twenties. In fact, this is the longest I've spent in any portion of the 140's since my twenties, let alone being below 145.

Let's check that sidebar, kids... yep. I'm forty.

Holy crap. I mean, this is a totally good thing, but... wow.


In other news, last night I made personal history by staying on my much-abused-and-maligned elliptical for thirty entire minutes. Yes! And I wouldn't have done it, but Draz over at It's Just Me, Drazil & Sheniqua blogged about power and I committed to 30 minutes in the comments.

It's amazing what the threat of public embarrassment will do for one's motivation.

On tap tonight, more Tabata sprints (dangit Charlotte!), followed by my resistance workout. I've reduced my cardio to 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week. I did months at an hour a day for six days per week, and followed that up with an hour a day for five days per week. I didn't hate it, but I also came to realize that neither of those options are livable or sustainable for me. I began to resent the time spent away from my family, the enforced sandwiches-as-dinner so I could manage to get in my workout, help with homework, get kids bathed, etc. all before nine at night. There are only so many hours in a day, and I don't want to spend the lion's share of my waking time at home essentially running or walking nowhere.

Thirty minutes per day, however, is both livable and sustainable. It also enables me to take the time to get in my resistance work as well, which is super-important considering my family's history of osteoporosis (not to mention my own stress fracture history).

I've set my date for reaching goal (130 pounds) as December 31 of 2011. Yes, that's over a year from now. I'm at a healthy weight; there's no need for urgency with the scale. I want to see it moving downward, and while doing that I have to be sure I'm not concentrating on weight loss at the expense of my family time, cooking time, or just plain "me, not on a treadmill" time.

I'm not trying to be all dramatic with this. I mean, my kids are amused by my exercise attempts, Choreboy is incredibly supportive, and I know ultimately that I do my best to balance work, home, and self. It's the resentment I was feeling over that hour that's more to the point, I think. Like I said, it just wasn't sustainable for me. I work forty hours per week, commuting adds another ten hours minimum... it feels like life's just flying by.

The boys are maturing. The Elder is getting a little dark shadow over his upper lip that's more impressive than mine; the Gum Zombie already looks alarmingly like a middle-sized kid rather than a little boy. And I don't want to blink and be fifty and wonder where I was for the last decade.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

You Win Some...

... and you lose some. Okay, since I'm human it's something I do at least.

NaNo this year appears to be a bust. I was thrown off track by my trip to NYC to see my little sister and to meet my niece, The Divine Miss M! Let me tell you, this child is adorable.

Wait -- show, don't tell.

And yes, I got her mother's permission to post her face on the blog. Although the Gum Zombie and the Elder appear only from the back in here, my sister and I agreed that The Divine Miss M is likely to change sufficiently in the intervening years that the facial characteristics of a two-month-old just won't be that pertinent.

So in light of that, I also present her wearing The Hat of Shame:

As you can see (via the clenched fist), she was clearly less than pleased with our choice of headgear. In fairness, her other hat was in the wash.

Oh! While in New York I also got to ride the subway. It was my first time and I was so psyched (yes, I'm a huge dork). I was also amazed to see the work of the Mustache Artist! For those of you who follow Bitchcakes' commuting blog, this picture may be old hat:

We found the poster at the 7th Avenue stop after disembarking the F-train, just shy of Prospect Park. And yes, I was way more excited to find the poster than I likely should have been, but what the heck -- it's not every day I get to go to New York! I was a total gawking tourist, and tickled pink to be one.

Even if I hadn't seen the work of the Mustache Artist, this alone would have made the entire trip worthwhile:


In other news, I'm well on track with food and likely weigh 145. I'll weigh in next Thursday, and I will get back on my accursed cardio (which I let slide in all the travel madness) before that time.

[Update: Tabata sprints kicked my butt. I blame Charlotte, who incautiously blogged about them the other week.]

I've also been baking again, since it's the season for it. A total win in my family has been Carrot Pumpkin Bars, recipe here. They're really quite good, and have cream cheese swirled through them. I've substituted half the sugars in the recipe with Splenda (brown sugar is Splenda blend, and white sugar is half granulated and half Splenda) which brings the total calories per bar down to 104.7. I only get 24 bars out of the recipe because my pan is smaller than what the recipe designates... so if I were able to spread these out enough for 48 bars I'd be more at 52.4 calories per. Not bad, all in all!

This next is a win taste-wise, but visually, the Pumpkin Cranberry Breakfast Cookies... well, I'll let you see for yourselves.

Choreboy says they look a bit like colorful horse dro.... erm, yeah. Click to zoom in. They're grainy, and that's putting it mildly.

The original recipe is from My recipe is adapted from that using suggestions from the comments on the recipe. In addition to deleting the applesauce and raising the pumpkin amount to one full cup, I've subtracted 2 TBSP of the whole wheat flour and replaced it with 2 TBSP of ground flaxseed meal (hence part of the graininess) and I've additionally used 1/2 cup of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend in place of the 1 cup of brown sugar.

Oh, and I added 1/3 cup of white chocolate chips... which kind of negates the brown sugar substitution, but a girl has to have priorities, dammit.

I also added the zest of one full orange. I love orange zest with cranberries, and it wasn't a mistake to add it here.

I've made the cookies larger than in the original recipe, and dividing the dough into two batches of one dozen cookies each with the substitutions I've made nets cookies with 108.6 calories each,
2.4 grams of fiber (yay, flaxseed), 2.8 grams of protein, and a full 25% of the daily recommendation of Vitamin A. They're hearty, and two of them keep me satisfied for quite awhile. Just make sure you refrigerate them in a sealed container after the first day. Trust me on this.

So for me, these are a definite win. The Elder agrees. Choreboy and the Gum Zombie are instead rather appalled by them.

I have, however, caught the Gum Zombie picking random craisins out of the surface of the cookies. Like his mother, the boy has his priorities.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pre-Teen Mom Angst Redux

Well, in the case of the former best friend of the Elder?

It appears they're friends again. Or at least friendly. They've apologized to each other for whatever wrongs they committed (using the infamous "I'm sorry for whatever I did or might have done" pretext).

So that's good.

But on the downside, the FBF's parents have decided the boys can't be friends. I don't know their exact reasoning, but I figure it has to do with the fact that their child was called down to talk to the dean twice about how he was talking to my child, and that they were contacted by both the school and the before and after school center both boys use.

Embarrassment is a huge motivator. Sigh.

You know, in a perfect world I would have called the other mother before any of this snowballed. But in a perfect world, I also would not have lost her phone number. Or she would have called me. Or I would have thought to leave a note with the childcare folks for them to give her with my number on it and a request to call. Or she would have done the same.

But unfortunately, none of these things happened. I lost her phone number. She didn't call me (her son has our number in his phone, but in fairness he could have deleted it). Neither of us had the presence of mind to figure out an alternate contact even when witnessing our sons' friendship disintegrating. And then the boys (the FBF and another child) started taunting the Elder at school as well as at the childcare center, and all hell broke loose on a small, typical, sixth-grade boy scale.

I waited a week, and I still don't know if it was too long or not long enough. And I didn't call in the "big guns"... I emailed the guidance counselor for suggestions. But due to what was going on, he had to pass it up to the dean. And even so, when the dean asked if I wanted to "throw the book at them" I emphatically said no. These are kids. Kids do dumb things. Just get it to end.

Thankfully the dean is a bright guy and knows how middle schoolers are. I'm grateful for that, and for how he handled the situation.

No one was punished -- the parties involved got a stern talking-to, and warnings of consequences that would follow if certain behaviors continued. I hear the director of the child care center also talked to the parents of both the other boys involved, although I have no idea what was said (perhaps what was said at that meeting is why they are not supposed to be friends -- who knows?). And it was a good lesson for all of us. I've told the Elder that he and FBF need to remember to be careful with each other. I've also told him to be respectful of FBF's parents because I can't blame them for being cautious -- they likely don't know how careful I tried to be with their son, even considering all that went down.

If the shoe were on the other foot, I can't say I wouldn't react similarly, especially knowing how well kids tend to skew events to show themselves in the best light. Shoot, I hear rumors even parents tend to do that a bit...

The entire thing gives me a headache.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yep, my right to whine about our government is assured for the next two years at least.

How about you?

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010

Yes folks, it's that time of year again!

So, what does the fact that I'm trying to spew forth 50,000 ill-chosen and poorly-constructed words in one month mean to you, my readers?

I've got no clue.

Some years I'm so focused on (losing) NaNo, that I don't post at all. Other years I'm so busy procrastinating on my (perpetually unfinished) novel that I am inspired by post topics more than I am during any other month of the year.

And I have been known to post excerpts of execrable prose, for your reading pleasure/ pain.

I guess the best take on NaNo comes from my mother who, when reminded NaNoWriMo started today, responded with, "Oh God."

No plot, no problem? Riiiiight....