Recently . . .

Getting back to “normal” after a visit with my family in FL last week.  The primary reason for the trip was my grandma’s funeral.  She actually passed away and was buried several weeks ago, but the service was held later.  I think I’m still at the beginning of wrapping my mind around her passing.  I do think taking an SSRI dulls my emotions and that’s troubling a bit.  But b/c of the meds I’m not so troubled about being not troubled.  So weird.  Also, her death was a long, slow one at age 95 so it wasn’t a shock.  Still . . . we had a great time, including a day at the beach.  It was even worth the 2 a.m. arrival home the other night.

IMG_9338 IMG_9340


Dealing with insomnia.  Coughing, hacking children don’t help.  Waiting for Benadryl to kick in (for me!)


Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and Lit by Mary Karr.  Finished both recently and recommend them both.  Looking forward to the movie adaptation of the former, which will be released soon. . . .

Also the Wall Street Journal.  I ❤ the Wall Street Journal.  It’s almost my only source of news, which probably gives me a lopsided perspective.  I pride myself that I don’t agree with all their editorials.  Not yet.  . . .

I’m mostly skipping coverage of the presidential race.  Can. Not. Stand. to listen to or read about politicians in all their politicianyness more than I have to.  Once the race narrows down I’ll read a bit and figure out who to vote for. . . .

I also enjoyed reading “How to Stay Catholic” by Michelle Arnold at Catholic Answers.

Various American Girl books–Molly, Samantha, and Addy–outloud to the girls.  And the Ramona books.  Always the Ramona books.


Painting our fireplace.  Can you believe it??  I had a bit of energy one recent Saturday afternoon, and the girls were playing nicely so I went for it (Pat had to spend a couple hours helping me finish later that night).  Like most of my DIY projects, I prioritized Just Doing It over doing it just right.  And it shows.  Kind of scary with something so permanent.  . . . Common wisdom is to mix latex paint and water 50/50.  I didn’t add enough water so it went on thicker than I expected.  I might go back and even it out later.  But I’m happy I did it.  Hoping eventually to order a mantle like The Nester’s.  Possibly these guys could make it.





I cleaned the sooty areas of the brick with Scrubbing Bubbles, which worked well, as you can see here (right side washed left side not):


Watching nothing in particular since we finished the last episode of Dark Matter on Netflix. . .

Watched a few episodes of “World’s Worst Chef” on Netflix and it was entertaining. . . .

I checked out the 2010 movie adaptation of Ramona and Beezus from the library.  The girls have watched it a couple times and, from what I can see, it’s pretty good.  Not great, but pretty good.  . . .I have fond memories of the PBS television series made in 1988 from the Ramona books, starring Sarah Polley.  As far as I can tell, the only way to get them now is to find the VHS copies that pop up on eBay.

They’ve also watched the newer, live action Charlotte’s Web movie.  It’s been ages since I read the book, so I don’t remember how close it hews, but I like it. . . . Recently I watched Big Eyes with Amy Adams (apparently a true story with a fun Tim Burton style) and Philomena with Judi Dench (also based on a true story, not sure how accurate).  Thought they were both good.

Cooking very very basic, boring meals:

Spaghetti and meat sauce (browned ground beef with a jar of marinara sauce),

frozen chicken breasts stuck in the oven at 400 with some baby carrots and bottled Italian dressing drizzled on top

beef stew (browned stew beef, chopped onion, baby carrots, simmered in a crock pot or on the stove with beef broth, worcestershire, and tomato paste),

Sometimes I’ll fry a steak. . . .  We still have pounds and pounds of beef in the deep freeze from the half a cow we bought from some rancher friends.




Shopping online.  Subscribe and Save from Amazon works for a lot of staple household products.  I order peanut butter from (aka . . . a subsidiary of Amazon but for some reason with better prices on Smucker’s creamy naturay).  Some supplements from Vitacost.  And I just finished Christmas shopping for the girls at  It’s interesting seeing how Jet compares with Amazon.  The prices are often better, though the selection isn’t as big.  Also, the shipping is really fast and the web interface is very clean and less overwhelming than Amazon’s.

Still pondering what to name this little guy inside me.

Feeling huge.  I fear this baby will be BIG.  Girl 1 was 7.5 pounds.  Girl 2 was 8.5 pounds.  See where this is headed??

Hoping you all have a lovely week and a fun Halloween!  And that you don’t mind all the affiliate links in this post.

Friday Link Love (and some quotes): June 26, 2015

1.  Even children experience His Passion, for our natural age has very little to do with our Christ-age, and the fact of being in Christ at all implies a state of childhood in the soul, a child’s almost infinite capacity for experiencing joy and sorrow completely.

–Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God



I ordered a copy of Angel in the Waters for the girls.  I read it to them for the first time Tuesday night.  Girl 1 read it to herself multiple times and was weepy and mopey all day Wednesday.

“I just can’t stop thinking about Angel in the Waters. *sniff* “

“Does it make you sad?”

“No, it’s just . . .  *sniff* . . . The baby is just so little and so cute.  *sob*”


2. “Fed up with law practice? In about a year, you can be a computer coder, says lawyer who made switch.”  Pat has pretty much the ideal job.  I can’t say switching hasn’t crossed my mind . . . .

3.  We had the perfect family dinner a few weeks ago at my former-new-favorite sushi place (we’ll call it FNFSP).  The girls tried new food–shrimp tempura!  We called it “shrimp nuggets.”  The girls gobbled it down.  They loved using chop sticks.  Pat and I enjoyed delicious sushi.  Taking the girls out to real restaurants has been mostly disastrous for years, and this was like a light at the end of the tunnel.


And then . . .

  • Both girls puked that night, and all the next day, and most of the next.  And then . . .
  • We felt better Saturday and took an overnight trip to my cousin’s graduation party, and then,
  • I stupidly bought them Happy Meals during the car trip, and then . . .
  • Girl2 puked in the hotel pool . . . multiple french fry filled heaves before Pat could get her out of the water (we tipped the unfortunate lifeguard/ pool cleaner).  And then . . .
  • She fussed and cried all during the pool party the next day.  We let big sister swim but not Girl 2.  I just couldn’t risk doing that to my uncle.  And then . . .
  • Last week we noticed some unauthorized purchases made on our debit cards.  We cancelled the cards, contacted the bank, got the money credited back, etc. etc.

But still . . . .

  • We couldn’t figure out how it happened.  Both of our debit card numbers had been stolen.  The cards were still in our possession, so they must have been skimmed.  But Pat hardly ever uses his debit card for purchases.
  • The only place we’ve both used our debit cards lately has been our own bank’s ATM and, oh yeah . . . .


Insult upon injury x 1000000000.

6.   Girl1: [out of the blue] “Man, I like Jesus too.”

       Girl1: “Mom!  Your bum bum is just like your [pregnant] belly!”

Girl 2: “I weally want Jesus to come back. . . . I weally want Uncle John to come back. . . . I weally want Jesus to come back.”  [conflated identities, perhaps?  they both have beards]

Girl 1: “That’s a picture of my mom and dad when they got married.”

LittleFriend: “Your mom looks really different!!!”  [So. I’ve. been. told, kid.]

Girl1 [just now, looking at the photo I posted of our FNFSP trip]:  “Ewwww, yuck.   From now on, I hate FNFSP.”

7. Have a lovely weekend. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.


Sushi and Speedblogging

I think the only way to get out of this writing slump I’m in is to get back to writing whatever’s on the top of my head.


{Here I’m tempted to insert some sort of apology but watch me resist!}

Here’s the girls’ and my dinner from tonight.


Of course I’m being snarky and reverse-snobbish because it’s like the worst-looking food photography ever.  But I enjoyed it–just discovered I can get a bunch of freshly-made sushi rolls from a local restaurant for under $10.  The girls didn’t want to try it.  Their loss. (They got cheese roll-ups, black olives, tortilla chips and cheese dip.)  I can’t tell you how much self-control it took to leave half 8/18ths of the rolls for Pat.


Just realized that paragraph made it sound like all I had for dinner was 10 California rolls.


That absolutely is not the case.

In other news, I let a Kirby saleswoman into the house yesterday.  I’m a sucker for offers of a free floor-cleaning.  Two awkward hours later, I resisted the sales pitch and my floors were a lot cleaner.  It convinced me I should get a new vacuum cleaner.  I’m just not going to spend four figures on it.  . . . I used to get all optimistic whenever I saw a cleaning product demonstration.  “Maybe if I just get the right product, I’ll do more cleaning.”  Fortunately, I learned my lesson with the $100 Norwex mop, leaving me wiser and prepared when the $3,000 wonder-vac came to my door.

Also, the girls and I had a nice playground outing this afternoon.  The weather is lovely today.


Have a lovely Wednesday evening.  The work week is halfway over!

Books, my skinny kid, evil Nutella, & blogging under the influence

This lovely Friday night, I’m linking up with Anne for Quick Lit and with Kelly (finally!) for Seven Quick Takes.

I’ve been reading . . .

1. Cassie’s post--what do you think about the idea of sex scarcity as the primary male motivator on a societal level?  Meaning that, if we women give it up too easily, men, by and large, will devolve into oafish man-boys who while away their lives playing video games and viewing porn in their parents’ basements.  (Cassie does not put it so bluntly, but I do.)

2. This article, handed out at a parents’ night at my girls’ school recently.  I read it already some months ago, via Mary, I think.  What a blessing to have a school that shares this wisdom!

I find it fascinating that in the gospels there is not one mention of Jesus coming against immodesty, even though among his followers were prostitutes and the like.  Jesus emphasized cleaning up the inside while the Pharisees were the ones preoccupied with cleaning up the outside.  We must as ourselves: Which are we more like — Jesus or the Pharisees?

. . . .

We have gone [the Pharisees’] way when we judge others.  It is easy to miss this area of pride because we may not express our judgments “arrogantly”; we may instead wrap them in compassionate-sounding words.  Arrogance wrapped in concerned tones is deceiving. . . . We will think we are just making observations and feeling pity, when in fact, we are looking down on others from or lofty place of confident enlightenment.  It is a high view of ourselves that allows us to condescend to and belittle others in our mind.

. . . .

[W]e will also imagine others are judging us.  Consequently, we will find ourselves frequently being defensive.  We assume that others will think lowly of us for some perceived inadequacy, so we offer unsolicited explanations and clarifications for us or our children. . . . If we live under fear of judgment, not only will we tend to be on the defensive, but whenever we are in a public setting where our children might be “watched,” we will put pressure on them.

The middle paragraph–I think I will live my whole life still working on that.

3. Year of No Sugar by Eve Schaub.  This was an interesting read.  It introduced me to this video (“Sugar: The Bitter Truth”) on the dangers of fructose, which was very interesting and enlightening.

4. Skinny Girl 1 (not a book): So I resolved that the whole family would be off sugar for the month of January, birthdays excepted. Pat and I also decided that the whole family would be on the Perfect Health Diet for the month of January, to see if we noticed an improvement in the girls’ health and behavior.

Up until now, Girl 1’s diet consisted primarily of wheat and fruit and carrots–bread product with Nutella for breakfast, bread product with Nutella for lunch, pasta for dinner, with fruit and carrot sticks and Goldfish crackers on the side.  I hoped that taking wheat out of the picture would whet her appetite for more nutritious food.


If Girl 1 doesn’t like what’s offered, she doesn’t eat.  She now eats egg and banana pancakes (with lots of maple syrup), but other than that, her palate has not broadened.

I weighed her on Wednesday and found she had LOST a pound since last May.  She’s now about 50″ tall and weighs only 48 pounds.  I don’t know when the weight loss started, because I haven’t tracked it until now.  Likely she lost weight when she had a stomach bug around Christmas.  She went several days hardly eating and never quite got her appetite back.  Also, a few months ago she decided she didn’t like milk and cheese; that can’t help.

So anyway, the girls are now off the Perfect Health Diet.  I ordered pizza last night and made chocolate cupcakes this afternoon.  And of course that led me to cheat on my diet, too.  But I’ll be better tomorrow.

Eat, little girl, eat!

5. Another thing on my list of things that didn’t work in 2014 was buying Nutella on the reg.  (It was on my Forever Grocery List.)  The girls got very attached to it and me, well . . .

It's been an eat Nutella straight from the jar kind of day

It’s been an eat Nutella straight from the jar kind of day

that kind of day–> every day –> I gained a lot of weight.

I appreciated Elizabeth Esther’s post for the reassurance I wasn’t the only one thwarted by the devil-in-a-jar.

6. I got this book for Girl 1 for Christmas, and she’s off to a good start with it.

I Can Draw People from Usborne books

7. Perhaps I mentioned this already, but I’m reading the Ramona books with the girls.  Sometimes I read aloud, sometimes I play the audiobook read by Stockard Channing.  So much fun.  The chapter in Ramona the Pest where Howie takes Ramona’s old stuffed bunny-turned-cat-toy to Show & Tell–hilarious!  I read it aloud to the girls and laughed so hard I cried.  (I may or may not have had a touch of PMS at the time.)  The girls were fascinated and a little scared.

Happy weekend folks!  I raise my second glass of cheap pinot noir in your honor!  (Or I would, if it weren’t empty already.)


What Worked in 2014

Better late than never, I’ve been thinking about what worked and what didn’t work for me in 2014.

What worked

Lexapro: I don’t know why I need to take an anti-depressant.  I’m not depressed.  It’s anxiety, I guess although for me it manifests as irritability.

Anyway, 2014 was the most peaceful year I can remember, and I’m thinking it was a chemically-induced peace.  During the homily on New Year’s day, the priest talked about how all peace comes from God.  Sometimes God even works through big, bad pharma.

Floradix: I’m mildly anemic and notice a big drop in energy when I don’t take this liquid iron supplement regularly.

What didn’t work:

Cow brain supplements (i.e., bovine pituitary gland pills): “prescribed” for me by my witch doctor by way of pressing down on my arm, these made me feel crazily irritable.  It didn’t help that I tried to wean off Lexapro at the same time (another thing that didn’t work), but even once I got back on Lexapro, these continued to make me feel irritable.  Maybe I didn’t give them a fair chance, but I’m not going back.

bitch mode

What worked:

Magnificat magazine.  I resisted subscribing to this for years because of the expense and because I already own a breviary.  Silly Laura.

Audiobooks: for the girls, mostly rented for free through a library consortium.  We are loving the Ramona series.  And Frog and Toad, read by the author, is a delight.

Chiropractic/massage: My back is the best it’s been in a long time.  It starts getting out of whack again when I don’t exercise for a while though, which brings up–

BodyFlow: I love this exercise class.  I only make it once a week and that’s only if we aren’t sick.  But it’s the perfect combination of stretching, relaxation, and strengthening.

Fabulous Forever: It’s a stretching DVD for old people, and I love it.  It feels great.

What didn’t work:

Pilates at Gold’s Gym: Hurt my back no matter how carefully I modified.

T-Tapp: A little more on that here

What worked:

Paper plates: I meant to add this to my goals post–I hereby resolve to eat more often off of paper plates!  Better to eat healthy food off of paper plates than convenience food off of fine china!

What didn’t work:

Red food dye: Girl 1 had three rough weeks at school in November, after doing really well for the first two months.  The only thing I could think of that had changed in her routine was that I had given her over the counter cough medicines regularly, and those medicines all have red dye in them.  We cut out the dye and, upon her return to school after Thanksgiving break, her behavior greatly improved.  We’re avoiding artificial food dyes now.

Every diet I “tried”:

The Christian ideal diet has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried [for more than two weeks].”

G.K. Chesterton, ed. by me

  • The No-S Diet: Ha!  Yeah, no.
  •  Calorie counting using My Fitness Pal–There was a time when I could lose weight just by keeping my daily calories under 2,000.  Not anymore.

  • Weight Watchers–I started off on their “Simply Filling” program and found myself pigging out on low-fat microwave popcorn, sugar-free jello, Weight Watchers brand shakes, and fat-free everything.  A low point was when I tried fat-free ricotta cheese.  It’s an abomination.  The alternative to the Healthy Start is the traditional point-counting method, but I didn’t feel like paying for what is basically counting calories plus weekly meetings I didn’t enjoy.
  • Thin Within–a prayer/ positive thinking method of eating only when you are hungry.  It makes sense, it really does.  And it’s still my goal.  But food has too much of a hold on me for this method to work on its own.  A dilemma I run into is trying to eating slowly and mindfully when sharing a meal with the two resident barbarians of the house.  Eating with them is stressful in itself, but it doesn’t work to eat separately from them for each meal.  So.

We’re back to Perfect Health Diet, which I went on initially because food has such a hold on me.  It’s not a panacea but it worked better than anything else I’ve tried.  Also, Pat wants to go back on it.  So here we go again.

And the barbarians are waking so I need to end this abruptly.

What worked and didn’t work for you in 2014?

Satan hates community.

Thoughts on waging spiritual warfare with a pizza box and a chicken.

It happened again today  last week.  I committed to bringing a meal to another family and all hell broke loose.

The mom to whom I was bringing a meal mentioned that a stomach bug was going around the community.  She really hoped they didn’t catch it, because her kids were just getting over a different bug and that had made them seriously ill for a week.

I stood at the kitchen counter, hand in midair to measure out Dijon mustard for a favorite easy, delicious chicken dish.  It was mid-afternoon, and Girl 1 had a friend visiting (from a different family).  If the girls amused themselves well enough, I figured I might even be able to make brownies once I got the chicken in the oven.  Then Girl 1’s visiting playmate rushed into the kitchen, hand cupped to her mouth.

She had just thrown up.

I cleaned up thoroughly, but I couldn’t shake the fear that a few of the stomach bug viruses might cling to the pans I planned to bring.  Abandoning my cooking, I went to the grocery store and picked up a rotisserie chicken and some sides.

It occurred to me: so often when I try to make a meal for someone, everything goes wrong.  There was that time I set off a fire in the oven and the fire extinguisher coated the kitchen in powdery chemicals.  I clearly couldn’t cook that night, so I had pizza delivered to the family instead.

Then on a recent Monday morning, I tried making a meal for another family and Murphy came to visit.  Everything that could go wrong did.  I brought the family a rotisserie chicken.

And now today.  And so many other minor meal-making mishaps I can’t recall now.

Am I crazy, or is Satan out to get me?  More specifically, is he out to prevent us from doing works of mercy?

I attended a CCD program for eight years that used insipid curricula.   The only thing I learned from CCD was that we were supposed to be a community and do nice things for each other.  In my mind I demoted these concepts as not really important, at least not as important as the difficult, divisive issues that the CCD books skirted around: sin, the Real Presence, sexual morality, and the like.

But what if it really is important that we build community and practice acts of service?  I’m beginning to think Satan thinks it’s important.  I belong to an exceptional, dynamic parish community, and sometimes it seems really clear that the devil is trying to tear it down.

It’s possible, even probable, that I’m blowing my bad luck way out of proportion.  But I don’t care.  My little theory motivates me to keep bringing meals, even if they rarely turn out the way I want them to.  And I like to imagine myself fighting spiritual warfare with a pizza box for a shield in my left hand, brandishing a rotisserie drumstick in my right.

En garde!


My “Forever” Menu Plan

WordPress tells me I’ve written many more posts tagged “menu plan” than “movies.”  My, how times change.


Last winter I came up with a “forever” menu plan and grocery list: a list of recipes I could make every week, with a corresponding grocery list.

Forever menu

Forever grocery list

It worked for a while, then I fell off the wagon big time.  We joined a CSA over the summer and what we ate varied based on what vegetables we got each week.  Aaaaaaand we also ate a lot of fast food and convenience foods.  And we made last-minute trips to the grocery store several times a week.

I’m ready to get back into meal planning again (and we all know blogging about it makes it real).  I’m starting with my forever menu plan, with a few additions.  It gets old, but it’s something.

Our menu is pretty beef-centric, because we buy a hundred pounds of beef at a time from a local farmer-friend.  I throw some chicken and sausage into the mix for variety, and some tuna because fish is nutritious and stuff.

So here it is:

Main meal:

  1. Pot roast with potatoes and carrots
  2. “Bare minimum mode” chicken, carrots, and potatoes, with salad or a frozen veggie,
  3. Steak with sautéed mushrooms and onions, with baked potatoes on the side, with salad or a frozen veggie,
  4. Crock-pot chicken with black beans, corn, and Rotel tomatoes, served over rice,
  5. Tuna mac & cheese (kind of like Jenna’s recipe, but with macaroni and peas instead of egg noodles and broccoli, and with some cheddar in the sauce)
  6. Chili with rice and cheese
  7. Omelettes

Some extras:

  1. Beef stew
  2. Chicken and dumplings (from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook)
  3. Sausage with potatoes and apples (or with bell peppers and banana peppers)
  4. Man-pleasing chicken
  5. Pasta and meat sauce


  1. Oatmeal
  2. Cold cereal (just stocked up at the discount grocery store)
  3. Scrambled eggs & bacon (occasionally)
  4. Apples and peanut butter

Secondary meal:

  1. Leftovers
  2. Peanut butter and nutella sandwiches
  3. Rice cakes with peanut butter


  1. Fruit
  2. Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sliced bell peppers (the girls eat a lot if I set out a tray while I’m fixing their meal)
  3. Gold fish crackers
  4. Pretzels
  5. Fruit cups
  6. Cashews

Shopping list (I think this includes everything for all the recipes above, but I might be missing a few things):


  • Apples
  • Other fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Baby carrots
  • Lettuce for salad
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bell peppers


  • Individually frozen chicken breasts or thighs
  • [ Beef : chuck roast, stew beef, ground beef, steaks]
  • Pre-cooked sausage (kielbasa or similar)
  • Bacon

Pantry items:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Rice
  • Raisins
  • Smucker’s creamy peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • Sandwich bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Cold cereal
  • Salad dressing
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Canned tuna
  • Jarred banana peppers
  • Rotel tomatoes or salsa
  • Canned black beans
  • Canned kidney beans
  • Canned mushrooms
  • Canned corn
  • Chicken or beef broth (unless I make it myself)
  • Mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Grated parmesan (sorry Jenny)
  • Rice cakes
  • Flour, oil, spices, etc. as needed
  • Snack foods


  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Block cheese
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Cream cheese
  • Milk
  • Half & half

Frozen food:

  • Peas
  • green beans
  • broccoli
  • edamame
  • Bell pepper
  • diced onion

Happy eating!  I’m linking up with Nell for Week Eats and with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

This is typical.

A post with no advice.

I’m enjoying Julia Child’s My Life in France.

This morning I tried making scrambled eggs as directed by Julia’s instructor at Le Cordon Bleu.  I stirred the raw eggs together gently and poured them into a buttered pan set to low.  I waited three minutes, at which point Julia indicated the eggs would form a custard consistency.  Well, three minutes on my electric stove set on low did nothing to these eggs.


I set the timer for another three minutes.  While I waited, I pulled out Joy of Cooking and compared their scrambled eggs directions to Julia’s.  Both say to use low heat; Joy says to beat the eggs more.  Joy discusses the eggs’ forming “creamy curds,” which kind of grosses me out.

Three more minutes were up, and I stirred the slightly-cooked eggs around, keeping them on low.  It would be a while.  Good things come to those who wait.

I wandered over to my laptop, clicking to Pinterest.  Isn’t this dress lovely?   I got disgusted with all the many many “how-to’s” and  “improve your life in five easy steps” pins.   How many of these people really know what they’re talking about?  And if they do, are they really saying anything new?   I had a revelation that I don’t want to be a blogger with a bunch of “how-to” lists and Pinterest-y graphics.  I kind of always knew that but now I really know it.  I might do a graphic here or there when the mood strikes, or a how-to when I really and truly know how-to something.  But . . .

Oh yeah my eggs.

They had hardened into a solid sheet, a rubbery egg pancake.  Julia and Joy would put aside their differences and unanimously disapprove.

I chopped the eggs into chunks and ate them, thankful for all the butter I had used.

scrambled eggs

No how-to’s on scrambled eggs here!

Bon appetit!

What I’m Into–September

1.  Arts and crafts: I’m not into them at all.  At all.  But Girl 1 is.  So now I am too, and Girl 2 as well.  Our fireplace is covered with paper napkin snowflakes.  Today they’ve moved on to Halloween decorations.


2. Thin Within:  Weight Watchers is out, Thin Within is in.  I can eat whatever I want, and I never have to be hungry, and I’m still (slowly) losing weight.  The catch?  I can only eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m just barely full.  So hard, but exactly what I needed to work on.  Kind of like Geneen Roth but from a Christian perspective.

3. I haven’t been reading much else lately, recovering from my book binges of the last few months.  Our book club is reading  Incidents In the Life of A Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, so I’ll start that soon.  I know it’s super sad, so it’s taking me a while to get the nerve to dive in

4. Movies: I’ve watched a lot of movies, the main criteria being finding it for free on Amazon Prime or at the library.

Footloose: Continuing my 80s kick.  I’m finishing it as I type this.  Looking forward to a big dance finale at the end.  I should spend more of my life dancing.

10 Things I Hate About You: Funny watch this movie about high school seniors, which came out when I was a high school senior.  Now I get what the fuss about Heath Ledger was about.  That and why all the kids kept singing, “You’re Just Too Good To Be True” over and over again on the bus to World Youth Day 2002.

The Prince and Me: Slight Julia Stiles kick here.  (Round-faced girls of the world, unite!)  This was cute enough but I got bored and fast-forwarded to the end.

Hope Springs: Another movie starring Meryl Streep as the long-suffering wife of a jerk.  Only in this one the guy comes around.

High Fidelity: Waste of time, tho Jack Black is pretty funny.

High Spirits: Watched this on fast-forward the whole way through.  (Don’t ask.)  Thus, a slightly lesser waste of time.

Rounders: About poker.  Entertaining enough.

Moonstruck: Sweet, despite Nicholas Cage.  Why don’t they make rom coms like this anymore?

Big Wedding: Just awful

Next up: Moms Night Out, on Jennifer Scott’s recommendation.

5. Pandora: This was a big thing ten years ago?  More?  But it’s still the only way I listen to music.  I’ve put together what (I must admit) is an easy listening station.  Most of the songs are from before I as born.  But they put Adele on there so that’s something right?

Be careful if you “like” Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen because they will play every single damn one of the 234354353 covers every musician and his uncle has made of it.

I never get tired of hearing this song:

6. Consignment Sales: For the first time, I sold some stuff at one of those biannual kids’ consignment sales.  Between it and a pre-sale that a friend hosted, I net about $40.  I spent $47.  So . . . worth it?  I dunno.  It’s a lot of work for the return it brought.

It’s nice to have all that stuff out of my house, and have something to show for it (namely . . . more stuff, but newer stuff that I wanted . . . I think).  The things I sold would go for little to nothing on eBay and probably wouldn’t do well at the local consignment store, either.

I read a blog post by a woman who supposedly makes thousands of dollars selling at these things, and I have a lot of trouble believing it.

Still, there’s something satisfying about it.  I just like buying and selling stuff.

7. The search for a signature scent, or at least something new: the hunt continues.

8. I’m still obsessed with Myers Briggs.  I compulsively try to guess the MBTI type of everyone I know.  Pretty sure Girl 1 is ENFP.  I was reading the description of that type last night and though, “Aha!  That explains a lot.”  Maybe it’s dangerous to categorize a kid so early.  But it’s healthy, I think, to think about how certain traits might be part of her personality that need to be worked around, not rooted out.

. . . Linking up with Leigh Kramer.  Thanks Leigh!  (Also, possibly with Jen for Seven Quick Takes at a later date.)

The Mental Health Diet

and how it made me fat:

I treat my body like a temple/ 

You treat yours like a tent.

Jimmy Buffet

I’ve definitely been in the “tent” camp lately.  (Get it?  Tent?  Camp?  Yuk yuk.)

via Wikipedia

We left the Perfect Health Diet (“PHD”), after over a year of inconsistent-but-persistent resolve.  Pat lost some weight, and we felt pretty good overall.  But I didn’t lose weight, and it seemed like a lot of work for negligible results.  So we quickly slipped from PHD to mostly whole foods to . . . what I call the Mental Health Diet (“MHD”).

The MHD consists mostly of convenience foods, take-out pizza, dinners out, and fast food (I discovered the Taco Bell cantina bowl–yum!).  I started a tasting tour of sorts, trying out all of the kids-eat-free nights at our local restaurants.

My mental health diet


Not surprisingly, my weight has skyrocketed.  At least I think it has.*  I haven’t weighed myself in several months.  But all my clothes are tight.  I’m kind of dreading fall because even the jeans I was so excited about recently are feeling uncomfortably snug now.


This got me thinking that maybe the PHD helped me more than I realized.  I didn’t lose any weight but I also didn’t gain any.  On the other hand, my weight has climbed steadily ever since coming off it.  Also–now that I think of it–my weight was starting to climb before we got on the PHD.

I stopped breastfeeding Girl 2 around September 2012.  Shortly thereafter I switched from Zoloft to Lexapro.  Due to some combination of those factors (I think), my weight started climbing.  Then in November 2012 we started the PHD and the weight gain came to a halt.

All this is making me want (“want” in a limited sense of the word) to get back on the PHD bandwagon.  Or maybe even do the Whole 30 for a clean break.  Jenny’s experience, among others, makes it sound . . . hmm, not appealing, but . . . like-a-good-idea-ing.**

{Pat is never ever critical when we fall off the healthy-eating wagon and yet he is always game for healthy eating, bless his heart.

Me: “Honey, I think maybe we should try this thing called the Whole 30.  [15 second summary of Whole 30]  What do you think?”

Pat: “Yes, I’m in.  Good idea. . . . There’s always apples and peanut butter, right?”  (PB&A being Pat’s go-to meal.)

Me: “Uh, yeah, about peanut butter . . . .”

Pat: “Um, well, how about homemade hummus??”

Me: “Well . . . .” }

At the same time, I don’t regret our stint with the Mental Health Diet.  Junk food is never good for one’s mental health in itself.  Not feeling the pressure to cook, though, was a definite boon.

The MHD has been one facet of a change of course I’m taking in life wherein I focus less on doing more.  I’m here.  I love.  I’m enough.

We ate junk; ordered out; I hardly ever cooked.  Yet the world kept on spinning.  My kids are as healthy as they ever were (not saying much), and Pat and I are fine.  There’s just more of me to love.  Nutrition and physical health are important but they’re not all-important.    (As usual, I love Amelia’s thoughts on this topic.)  Eating junk probably didn’t help my low energy woes, but the slug life led me to the MHD, rather than the other way around.

All the same, I’m sick of treating my body like a tent.  I don’t want to be forced to wear a tent.  I think it’s time for a change.  Stay tuned.


*Update: Since drafting this, I weighed myself and, sure enough: I’m up 10 lbs over the last four months, 20 lbs over the last 14 months.

**Update 2: I decided the Whole 30 would be setting myself up for certain failure.  I signed up for Weight Watchers instead.  More on that later.