Thursday, October 08, 2015

ANOTHER ONE ALREADY???? But I just did one......

Whole 30 that is. More accurately I did a Whole 21, owing fully to the demonic tummy bug I acquired at day 20.  Spent overmuch time in the bathroom and that's all we'll say about that. Use your imagination.  By day 21 I was so hungry I could've eaten the ass-end out of a ragdoll with no salt. No Whole30 approved food was appetizing or gentle and bland enough, and I craved saltines and Gingerale.  Dreamed of them in my sick, fever induced sleep. So by day 21 I caved.  Over the course of Day 21 I nibbled an entire sleeve of saltines and sipped 24 ounces of Gingerale.  Which was unfortunate, because Whole30 is not forgiving. Once you've cheated, you've blown it. Back to square one.
Over the next few days as my queasy tummy and digestive system recovered from the flu that had torn them up like a Vitamix on high speed, I continued to imbibe with Whole30 forbidden foods like yogurt, pudding, pasta, and chicken and rice soup, babying my gut as it healed.  During that time I noticed that a few symptoms that had been steadily improving during the 21 days of my Whole30 took a turn and returned to the way they were prior to the start of the Whole30.  My biggest regret about quitting at day 21 (even though it couldn't have been helped) was not getting to follow through with the elimination process by adding foods back one at a time in order to pinpoint which ones were culprits.  I had even noticed, by day 20, that symptoms I didn't even realize I HAD were improving. For example I thought I just had peely skin between and just under my eyebrows because, well just because. It's always been that way.  I never gave a thought to the itchy-skin-after-I-showered syndrome and several other things that had just always been part of the me-ness of me.  It's like if you've never had air conditioning, you don't miss it, but once you get it you don't want to be without it.

So. I'll spend the next few days preparing my psyche, planning menus, and grocery shopping.  Then I'll pinpoint Day 1.  This time, since I've learned a few things from having wholly participated in 21 days of a Whole30, the going should be smoother and easier.  In addition, I have some ideas forming about how to take notes during the process this time that should aid in the conclusion making process once it's over and I begin adding food groups back in one by one.

And one more thing.

I DON'T WANT TO HAVE DAIRY SENSITIVITIEEEEEES!!!!  Uuuuuugchk gah.  I luzz my yogurt and my cheese.  I've a sneaky feeling things aren't going to go my way on that one though.  And if it means doing without dairy in order to achieve better health, I'm in.  I'm ALL in.  I know people who aren't right and they know they aren't right, and they make no effort whatever to do anything about it.  
Whether it's physiological problems, disease, ills, pain, or emotional/mental problems, disease, ills, and pain, my mantra is the same as it is about politics.  If you don't vote, you don't get to complain. And if you don't take care of your body and your mind and your heart by listening to it and making moves towards improvement or awareness, you don't get to whine about how bad you feel OR make snide remarks about others in order to make yourself feel better.  Then act all innocent and as if you "didn't mean anything by it" when you get busted.

I guess you can tell I've had a bad experience with someone lately huh.  Yep, I'm bitter. I'm bout ready to cut that particular cord because I'm tired of being bitter about it. That relationship might have to be one of the things I eliminate with the next Whole30.  That's gonna be tougher than giving up yogurt.  But sometimes you just have to get rid of the toxins.

Tah y'all! Take care of yourselves.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Tomorrow is the KonMari Clothing Cleanout day. (Does that blow your alliterative skirt up?)  I have arranged to have the entire day so I can begin and finish the project in one go. I'm both excited and trepidatious. I have a box of Hefty yard bags, a stack of post-its, and a sharpie.  I have my favorite fall flavored coffee at the ready and my favorite mug washed and waiting. I have chosen an outfit that is both comfortable to work in but makes me feel powerful. And yes, those things are all important pieces to the process.

First let me say I adore Marie Kondo. Never met the woman, certain I never will.  Still though.  Her little sky blue and cream colored book with the bright red title represents for me what the security blanket represents to Linus van Pelt or the Cheeto to my Jared. (a sweet story for another post)  She is a woman after my own heart.  She articulates my own philosophy in a way that is forward thinking and yet gives proper respect to the past and the clutter it has collected. I don't agree with every single statement in the book but I don't have to. Beauty of a book. Pick the parts that fall in line with your own sensibilities and leave the rest in the book.

I don't, for example, talk or bow to my house. And I don't feel compelled to treat my socks and tights with respect so they can rest during their holiday time (when I'm not wearing them). That passage makes me think of silly things like a pair of socks in side by side first class pods on Delta, headed for Cancun, with little sombreros on.  I do however thoroughly believe and celebrate that it's only when you've put your house in order that your meaningful belongings come to life and become useful physically (by being visible and immediately available) as well as emotionally (by giving joy and having removed the stress and frustration that comes along with ancillary clutter).

Nowwwww, right here, let me admit this. I do have one or two categories that I am still working diligently on and that continue to want to become collections again and again, but it's all a work in progress. Books were a difficult category but when I finally bullied through and got rid of all but what I am currently reading and books I consistently refer to, it allowed me to more thoroughly and intensely enjoy the book I was reading in the moment. True story.  Who would've thunk it? And do I miss the books I got rid of? Not one little bit. Can't imagine now why I was holding to them so tightly.

Yep I said two categories. Shoes are the other. We're not going there today. Let us bow our heads for a moment to pray for my weakness and lack of motivation to improve in that area. In fact, I want desperately still to backslide in epic manners where footwear is concerned. The end.

 Have you ever seen the movie The Conspiracy Theory? Mel Gibson is a - well, a conspiracy theorist, duh, and everyone believes he's a tad touched. Moving on (because the connection people make between conspiracy theorists and the tetched sends me on a rant worthy of an entire post) throughout the movie, whenever his character feels insecure or paranoid or scared, he buys a copy of Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up is my Catcher in the Rye.  It's feng shui on steroids. Exponentially decluttering to the nth.

I've read it countless times. Frankly, it's a quick little read. But I go back and reread a section or a concept or even just the table of contents.  Frequently and as a source of meditation and reflection sometimes. It's reassuring and empowering to know there are others who share my outlook and have even felt confident enough about their philosophy on the subject to write a book and publish it and expect people will buy it and consider it and take action on the concepts. I mean just listen to these chapter titles:

Storage Experts are hoarders

Make tidying a special event, not a chore

An attachment to the past, or anxiety about the future?

Never pile things. Vertical storage is the key.

It's NOT JUST MEEEEEEE!  HOOrah. I am NOT. I repeat not.  An Anomaly.  That floats my boat, dear friends. This woman has earned an honorary membership to My Tribe. (Aren't we just so sure she's going to celebrate THAT.  Ha.)

Is it a coinkidink that the timing of my clothing decluttering project coincides with a horrific flooding tragedy in neighboring South Carolina? I reckon not. I choose to believe not. Perhaps the clothing and clothing related items that end up in my "don't spark joy" pile will be the very ones that DO spark joy for someone who has just lost their home and everything they own due to Hurricane Joaquin and the ensuing flooding.  I'll keep you posted on it.

Each step I take toward the DOC (decluttering of Caren) makes my future feel brighter. Why?  How does that work? Here's my hunch. I am hovering within four years of my youngest child finishing high school.

Let us pause for a moment of prayer.

Amen. While I enjoy every second of parenthood, and not just the good ones, and sometimes feel panicked that my baby kicking himself out of the nest is imminent, at the same time I look forward to what's to come. I'm the Proverbs 31:25 woman who can smile at times to come. It's my favorite bible verse of all. "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she can laugh at what's to come."  It's my mantra, my chant, my goal. A loved one who uhhh will remain unnamed but with whom I live and have for 35 years dreads the future and has anxiety surrounding it, doesn't even want to talk or think about it  - owing in my opinion to feelings of The Third Act being tantamount to The End or Being Old or Senior Living or some such. Not me baby. I'm gaining momentum as I head towards it.  Like a battering ram.  A BOSS battering ram.

I say bring it. I will bring to it only what sparks joy, not only as it pertains to worldly goods and relationships, but my faith and personal walk with my Savior. And since those are the star on the top of Joy Sparkers, it's gonna be a hell of a party.

With my well worn little hardback copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up still within reach, in my bag. Which I empty every day okayyyy every couple of days gahh.

Monday, May 18, 2015


Or, first world fashion problems.

Over The Soccer Marathon weekend we just rolled out of, I took advantage of our location and a little lag time between games to do some shopping.  More accurately, some looking. And much flaring of nostrils, upper lip curling, and big adolescent eyerolls.

I have a few observations and moreover some requests for feedback.  Wanna hear them?  Here we go.

Before I get on a roll though, I'll don my Captain Obvious hat for a sec just to make sure that in the event I go all over-opinionated (likethat's EVER happened), everyone's on the same page regarding my credentials on the subject.

I have none.

Alrightie, NOW here we go.  Ninety percent (90%) of what I saw in womens apparel was horizontal stripes. Across the board. Tops, pants, dresses, skirts, leggings, etceterahhh. Are we sailors? Are we desiring to look three times as wide as we are? #nohorizontalstripes

The remaining ten percent was a conglomeration of massive flower power: cabbage roses, big peonies in several shades of blue on a white/cream background. The former makes me feel I'm wearing Waverly upholstery fabric, the latter, a tablecloth or Blue Willow china. Listen.  For us giraffes, committing to a pattern that large and that bold means our clothes will enter the room before we do.  It's a lot. #wearingthebedspread

There was also a large representation of cotton eyelet. Do the fashion trendmakers think we still iron our clothes? Wear our summer shower curtains? "But this cotton eyelet top is SO cute I have to have it, so I'll iron it."  Said nobody ever. Y'know where that top's gonna go.  Back of the closet where the bad clothes are in a perpetual time-out but can't be given away because we feel too lamely responsible for having bought them and somehow we have to give them space in our closet until they've earned their keep or the memory of how much we spent isn't so fresh. After looking at it with shame for a few years it goes in the charity bag.  As if those who are in dire need of clothing should be gifted a clothing item that makes them look like they slept in it when they didn't even. But no matter. It makes us feel better about it. "At least it's going to someone who needs wear.And look!  It still has the tags on it. I'm giving them new clothes." We're so generous! Not.

Dresses were either too short or too long, with nothing in between. The short ones look as though we're trying to relive our toddler years or dress like our teens.  Here's the thing. NOBODY is Stacy's Mom. Nobody's The Cool Mom either, but that's a subject all of its own for another day. The point is both titles are vapid, fairytale images and as badly as one might want the title, just think of them like you do unicorns, psychics, thigh gaps and other delusional flim-flam. Give it no truck.  Wave it away, let go, give it a solid sendoff then come back to earth where we're dealing with real topics like how long a garment has to be in order to earn the title of dress rather than tunic.  Which, by the way, implies it covers your butt.  Also a subject for an entire blog post.
The long dresses are SO long I was stepping on them. Is that a thing? Are we doing that? Hear me, Fashion Sisters. I'm here to report that when a dress is too long for ME, that is one..... more........ lonnnng...... .dress.  Not only am I on the giraffe side of the height scale, I wear big tall shoes, too. So for those of you in one or neither of those categories, do you drag the dress behind you like a train? Does it get caught up around your legs and in your feet? Does it hang out the car door while you're truckin' down the road oh my gosh I hate when that happens?   Do we have to hold it up with our delicate lil lady hands when we go upstairs? Cauz I got a news flash. I go up my stairs at my house an average of 14 times in a day.  A slow day. With armloads of stuff. I got no intentions whatsoever of having to hoist up my skirt to travel up some stairs.

Why WHy WHY does the fashion pendulum sway so far each year? Besides planned obsolescence I mean. And where are the adult's clothes? Not junior clothes.  Not senior clothes. Clothes for the decades I say decades between a junior mentality or lifestyle (when it's appropriate do stuff like wear short skirts with cowboy boots and post aaaaaaall the selfies)  and a senior one (where we'll do stuff like wear mumus and jewelry so big you could use it for weaponry, and go to dinner at 4:00 in the afternoon). Where? Where are the clothes for those of us who have passed junior status and not yet entered senior status?  Clothing that is appealing and appropriate for that group, the middle group, should be the most plentiful because, Sweet Sassy Fashionwise Sisters, we spend a LOT of time in that middle category.

I'm all in with the "you're as young as you feel" philosophy.  I get it. I fly that flag myself, Baby. But what we need here is solidarity, Sisters.  Because what we're NOT is "as young as you dress". #dressyourage #dressyourbodytype


Monday, January 19, 2015

The McDonalds Burger Won't Mold (Thank you Captain Obvious)

With all my heart and not exaggerating one teensy, tinesy twig, I will share with you that if I see the reference to the urban legend/myth about the McDonalds Burger After A Year or Two or Twelve one more time I think the top of my head may pop off and hot lava spew out.  Or maybe McDonalds burgers I ate as a child will fly out, still looking just like they did when they were served to me in the 1960s.   

Listen.  Everyone knows fast food isn't a healthy choice.  But whatever happened to the scientific method?  Postulate, hypothesis, theorum, empirical testing for validity, proof?  

Like this:

In the interest of full transparancy and disclosure and given what I'm about to say in the next couple of paragraphs, let me admit I know nothing about J. Kenji Lopez.  I don't even pretend to know whether he's a real person or not. No clue if the testing that's recorded on this page of Serious Eats was really even done or not, or if Serious Eats is even a real thing.   The point is, the curiousity and then the quest to get the facts in the manner outlined on this web page is what ought to go through any rational, reasonable, intelligent person's brain when presented with vapid quackery like The McDonalds Burger Myth.  Science rules, y'all.
The irony of me questioning a statement that asserts the unhealthiness of any McDonalds' food offering is so over the top I can't even begin to articulate it.   Nevertheless, this:
HERE'S THE DEAL:  When you use random fake factoids and myths to prove your point, you become LESS believable.  You have entered the realm of defeating your own purpose. You don't want to defeat your own point, do you?  Well do you?  Why work so hard to make a point only to erase it with erroneous information?  Whyyyyy?????  It's like (no one I know has ever done this ehhhhver) doing your homework and not turning it in.   Also, it's much like taking an English class from someone who has bad grammar.  Are they credible?  Tenable? I think not.
For your enjoyment, here are a few equally quack-worthy urban legends routinely brought back to life (which is now called going viral.  I so savor the profound irony of the term viral there.) 

  • Rod Stewart became so ill after spending - umm - a lot of time one evening with many Navy seamen *winky winky* - that he had to be rushed to the ER to have his stomach pumped.  (I think this was my very first urban legend.  That means, then, that up until then I was an urban legend virgin.  Baahahaha!!)
  • Vaccinating your children will make them have autism.    (Thanks, Andrew Wakefield.  He's now prostituting himself using a different John from the law firm that was his original John back in 1998.)  A bunch of people wanted to believe what this dude was selling anyway, and considering he's still writing books, speaking and stuff, still do. He moved from Britain to the U.S. though, where us gullible folk are looking so hard for Truth that we'll buy anything.  Literally.  I look for him to be selling his crap on those home shopping stations next.
  • Blair Witch was real. (Congrats, Marketing Geniuses)
  • Lemons are 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy.  (Seriously????  I've seen both.  I tell you what.  I'll put a lemon wedge in my iced tea and you put a syringe of chemo in yours.)
  • Mr. Rogers was a Navy Seal and Steve from Blues Clues was a porn star.  And a vampire.  (Never understood the point of either of those, frankly.  Because really, did it make any difference?)
  • Coconut oil will cure ehhhhhhhhverything.  (Enjoy this one now, because it's on its way out, only to be replaced by the next cure-all.  There always is one.  Remember pomegranate juice?  The high carb diet?  Yeah.)  Congrats again, Marketing Geniuses.
  • If you turn out the lights, look in the mirror and say "Bloody Mary" three times a super scary ghostie appears.   (Hey.  Question.  If you're in a dark bar and there's a mirror in front of you and you order three Bloody Marys, do you conjure some kind of vengeful spirit or something?  Yes.  It's called a hangover.) I crack myself up.
Recently I was reading a blog authored by a Mom whose intention it is to improve the quality of food she feeds her family - most notably her children.  In addition, she wishes to make her children more aware of ingredients in the food they eat.  Lastly, her desire is to accomplish these goals without having to take out a loan in order to pay the grocery bill.  Indeed.

Sometimes I start out reading an article, post, or book because the initial philosophy or concept intrigues me and I feel there's merit to it.  Things cook along fine and with every paragraph I'm gaining trust and confidence and faith in the writer.  He/she seems to reason well, make good points, write intelligently.  Then out of clear blue air the writer feels the need to reference a theory and call it a fact.  Reference an urban myth and build their case from it.  Boom, I'm done. You lost me.  And worse, you lost your own credibility.  You are dead to me.  (Not really.  But the point you were trying to make?  Not just dead.  Doornail dead.)

When did we start believing that once we postulated, the next step was just to accept any and all information we were fed that helped prove that particular opinion, without any sourcing, testing, referencing, credit, or proof?  And thennnn, not just accept it as truth, but pass it on in order to enhance, validate, or further our own position???  Oh wait.  I know.  It was when Al Gore invented The World Wide Web.  Bless him.   Later nicknamed The Web and now affectionately referred to as The Internet, Online, or The Net, anything that's on it is fact.  Absolute, undeniable truth.  Nah, that can't be it.  We were believing quacks way before Mr. Gore invented the www but whatever.  

Ok back to the Mom blog. I was interested.  The woman seemed to have a fairly firm grasp on the reality of life with kids, the amount of time available to Moms in general, and the gritty reality that just because she wants to be uber responsible for what she feeds her family doesn't mean she can rationalize spending unrealistic amounts of money on trendy specialty foods with lofty or impressive claims.

I read several posts she had made to her blog;  took note of a couple points I thought were valid.  The woman has a far stricter view than I in terms of what she thinks is harmful for her kids to ingest, and as a result her family's menus and approved foods are very limited, but I have the ability to glean what I want from material and leave the rest on the page as it were, so that was ok.  Then.  Thennnnn, in a dissertation style post about toxic additives, she claimed that annatto was an ARTIFICIAL additive and not only was it not okay to ingest, but it had horribly harmful side effects.  WHAT?  She had anecdotal evidence yet!  Wanna hear it?  A couple of Moms who had 'noticed' that after eating something with annatto in it, their child banged his/her head repeatedly on the wall.


In the next paragraph, she mentioned three or four additives that were 'from natural sources so were ok to eat'.  One was beta-carotene, one was lactic acid, etc.  But annatto was synthetic.  Artificial.  And evil.  And made kids bang their heads.  Bless her.  Bless them.  Just bless.

Come on.  Source your information, do your research, your due diligence.  Please don't just spew stuff that you think is right or want to be right, or because you read it somewhere,  because it was on the internet so it must be true, or because your friend believes it and your friend is so cool, or because you think it enhances or strengthens your position, or because you feel it makes you appear as though you have a cause or you're taking a stand. 


Listen.  I've fallen victim to repeating information that turned out not to be factual.  Only recently in fact, I reposted a tweet about a (semi)celebrity's death along with a sentiment about how sad this made me and how I'd be praying for his family.  Guess what!?! Semi-celebrity did not die.  Was way alive.  Not only that, but that turned out to be about the fifth time that exact myth had circulated.  This made me smack my own head.  Why do people start such stories?  Give me one legitimate reason anyone would ever start such a story.  Anyone?  Anyone?  I'm thinking it's the same person who creates computer viruses. Re-circulates anonymous stories that are years old as if they happened yesterday and to them personally.  Hacks accounts.  Steals identities.  I'd better stop now.  This is heading down a criminal path.  (I guess if the shoe fits......)
The point is it happens to everyone occasionally.  You believe something you hear, read, are told. You're too trusting.  Maybe you even repeat it.  But you learn a lesson.  Totally different bird from the FFUF (the Fake Factoid User Freak).

Don't be a FFUFer.