Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Weekend

On Friday night, we went to the Little Gym for a Halloween Party. MacTroll was Jabba the Hutt. I was Princess Leia, and X-man was Obi Wan Kenobi. The Jabba the Hutt costume actually has a little fan in it that inflates it with air so that even a tiny person can get large. But it's very hard to walk in. MacTroll just hung out in the main area, and a bunch of people came up to him and wanted to have their photo taken with him like he was Mickey Mouse. It was pretty funny.

After the Little Gym we moved on to the Savoy Recreation Center. We saw a lot of our friends there, which was awesome. Special K makes an awesome Ernie. :-)

On Saturday, I went to Decatur to visit my friend Captain McKee for lunch. We had a good time catching up and wondered why we do such a crappy job talking during the week. When I returned, I took a shopping trip to Karen's Kloset, where I found an awesome running shirt, two dresses and a pair of jeans. They're having a big sale next Saturday, Nov. 6 where everything is up to 25% off.

Then after dinner, MacTroll and I got on our costumes and headed out to High Dive to see the Brat Pack play and hang out with Freak and friends. There's something comforting in knowing every song a band plays (mostly late 70s through the 80s). The band was dressed up in Star Wars costumes, as it was a theme. So when "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" came up, I got summoned to the stage by the lead singer who had changed from her Jawa costume to an identical Leia costume.

That was fun. Then when I was up there she asked for Jabba. So we did a Leia sandwich on MacTroll wearing his Jabba costume on stage to "Hit Me with Your Best Shot."

It was something I've never done before. I had only consumed a Diet Coke and it was ever so much fun. We left early because on Halloween morning I had a 5.5 mile trail run to do in Allerton Park in Monticello. It was a ball. Yes, I tripped over a tree root during mile one, and holy hell, there were a lot of hills. But I fall well, as anyone will tell you, and came right out of it without taking anyone else down. So, hooray. But the best part, was that as I'm hearing this lady yell at the person behind me to "go get her" (I'm guessing that means to pass me at the finish line.) I hear a "There's Mommy!" I look over and see MacTroll and X-man. I was so happy. They're never at my races. This was a big deal. I was so happy afterwards, I finished, turned around to find them, sunk to my knees, held my son and got all teary eyed. Seriously. It was awesome to have people there supporting me in something I've always felt so alone doing.

Today, we hung out around the house, which can be verified by it's state of messiness right now. Trick or treating went well. X-man has a ton of candy, and we only went to our neighborhood. Everyone kept telling them to take as much as they wanted, except at one house where the woman said, "Only take one." X-man furrowed his eyes and looked at her and said, "Why?" And the woman said, "Because I said so."

How come it works when she says it? :-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Bucket List

Ever since that whole Bucket List movement came about, I've been wondering what items I'd dare put on my list of things to do before I die. The thought was really pretty morbid, so my mind would wander to things that didn't really matter -- like, "I want to visit Paris."

It sounded so bland. Lots of people make those kinds of arrangements. So I'd update it to:

"I'd like to own a beach house in the Caribbean." Okay, that sounds much more lavish and sexy and useful because other people can come visit you. At the same time, that takes a crap load of money that really, I'd rather apply to more common sense things. Why own one, when you can rent one and someone else can take care of the upkeep and hurricane issues? (See, I really am quite practical.)

Next idea, "I'd like to run a marathon." Yeah, right. Your body won't take that. Not unless they have a marathon that lasts over 5 days and you can log a little over five miles a day, so your knee and back get a bit of a break. Try again.

"I want to get a body lift procedure." Okay, not really. Well, kind of. But that isn't common sense at all.

What do you really want?

"I really want to be able to put my body and mind to anything I decide I want to do when I want to do it."

Well, okay, that seems a little selfish. Or is it?

On an airplane you're supposed to put your mask on first before your child's, right? So at what point are you the narcissistic parent who completely ignores your children and doesn't participate in their lives because you've become so obsessed with fulfilling your fantasies that you completely forgot that being part of their lives was once your ultimate fantasy?

The other problem was that this idea takes an extraordinary amount of planning and self control. I have both in spades. But I do not have control over the crap that life throws my way. This I know as a fact. So, you have to reassess and reset your priorities.

"I want to get to the end of my life and have no regrets."

Oooooh, that's a pretty good goal. It doesn't exactly list all the lame things you might want to do, but if you think they're too lame to put on a list, you probably won't regret not doing them. It also lets you take great risks or live as safe as houses, depending on what you want to do.

Way to leave it open ended without the predicability of a checklist... as you can tell -- I have commitment issues with myself. :-)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finishing Things

I've made a pact with myself that I'm going to get things done this week that I've been putting off.

I have to go pick out flooring for the Loosey-only room in the basement. I don't know why, but my heart hasn't been in it. Then I need to go pick out my paint colors. I also have curtains that I've been meaning to hang for (no lie) two years in the dining room and MacTroll's office and curtain tie backs I never quite got to in the guest room.

We're refinancing our house next month (or at least we're supposed to do it next week when MacTroll is in town). So, we're excited about that. I'm hoping we'll also finally order new living room furniture.

Yesterday, while I was at Target I finally purchased the navy blue kids' nightstands I'd been staring at for three or four months. I also picked up a small replacement full-length mirror for the giant idea one the cats broke when we were in Maine.

It's hard to believe on a day like today when it's going to be 80 degrees and it smells more like May than October that X-man is going to need a winter jacket soon. But I'll let him pick out his own from Target. (It worked last year, right?) I went looking for one at Champaign Surplus yesterday that looked as nice as the Marmot coat I saw in the REI catalog. Alas, they don't carry Marmot and their reds weren't as shiny. So much for keeping it local.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Staying warm and awake

My iron deficiency has been causing me to lose my steam around 12:15 every day. This whole week, I've had lists to get done around the house, and nothing has been happening because I end up falling into bed and sleeping. I set my alarm to wake me up after 30 minutes, thinking (like the books say) that I'd feel refreshed enough to get on with my day. Fat chance. I smacked that alarm off and slept for another hour and 30 minutes yesterday.

The problem with this? I couldn't fall asleep until 2 a.m. last night. I should have gone grocery shopping at Meijer at midnight. Sigh.

Anyway, so right now is my pooped out time. I came upstairs and got into warmer clothes (my deficiency also makes me feel cold) and curled up under the blankets on my bed. Luke was already passed out on my bed. Maya and Nyssa just jumped up. Now Nyssa is warming me up by lying in my lap and Maya is curled into a little furrball next to me. 

The sun is finally shining through the clouds and in the bedroom window (southern exposure). Plus, I just finished lunch. How does a person not nap in these conditions?

My relief is that MacTroll is back home. He's the pumpkin carver in our house, so he's downstairs with X-man making a set of happy family pumpkins, per the kid's request. So, I think I'll just roll over and shut my eyes. 

Last night in the five hours I slept, I dreamt that I was silly enough to sign up and run in the Illinois Marathon. It was nice, they set up a rope for you to run through for every runner, even the one that came in last. :-) The I got up this a.m. and went to the 1-minute body sculpt class at the Rec Center. It was just me, the instructor and one other student. 

Okay, my eyelids are falling. See you after a snooze. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

From bankrupt state to bankrupt state

If you don't know by now, MacTroll works for a large company based out of the Bay area in California. He loves his job and according to his last review, his manager seems to really like him. But a repeating sentence has been being said to him for the last two years, "If you want to move up, you'll have to move to California."

The idea makes me wince. I'd much rather move to the other large corporate location for his company in Austin. No one has made any promises or set any time tables, but MacTroll and I are coming around to the idea that it would probably behoove us to start thinking or accepting the prospect that something might happen sooner or later. I hate suburbs. I hate miles and miles of concrete with people driving on it. I'm either suited for city where people walk and have mass transit or I'm suited for small town. Plus, I hate giant highway systems. Driving 95 on the East Coast used to give me road rage so bad that when I was pregnant and heading from Baltimore to Philadelphia, I almost took out two assholes at the rest area because they couldn't freaking hold a door open for an elderly person with a walker. They just let it slam in her face. Forget please and thank yous. Forget driving less than 80 mph. Forget turn signals. There are just too many damn people -- who appear to feel somehow entitled to ignoring everyone else. Such behavior goes against my midwestern sensitivities. It's no different outside Chicago, though. Or LA. Or Miami. Or any other suburb area I've ever driven.

The Bay area hits me as one big suburb. One big suburb that is overpriced and overpopulated. In November, MacTroll has some crazy conference where he'll be working from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. every day. Since I'm a single parent most days, I figured it was a good a time as any to get my bearings. So, X-man and I are heading to San José for three days. We'll arrive Sunday and hopefully get some time with MacTroll's brother and his family. Then X-man and I will have Monday to explore. I'm not sure if I'll drive down to Monterey or maybe to Santa Cruz or possibly even just around San José and Santa Clara. I can check out neighborhoods, park systems, crowd issues...

Then on Tuesday, X-man and I were thinking children's museum, IMAX theater and possibly an NHL game that night. We'd fly out of SFO in the morning. (Yes, San José has an airport, but all the seats were full using mileage to get us out there.)

So we'll explore, take pictures, jot down our thoughts and try to have some fun. And maybe, if we're lucky, we'll wake up just enough when MacTroll comes into the room at 2 a.m. and kisses us both on our foreheads.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Living without Self-Love

I'm sitting up tonight thinking about some conversations I've had in the last several months. A couple of them were with people I love very much and one was today with a complete stranger. The conversation topics were different for all three people, but the feelings behind them were very much the same. They all felt completely helpless to make a major change in their lives that they knew would help them lead happier and healthier lives.

I sit through these conversations listening, and, of course, being a person who really believes that in order to survive even the most hostile environment, you have to adapt. If you don't, you end up sinking into the quicksand. Adaption is your rope to safety. These people know that, too. But it's like they've given up. They're lying down and just flailing in the sand. And I feel two ways about it. On one hand there's a desperation and sadness, mostly for the two people I love, but with the stranger, I threw my hands up. She's making a choice to victimize herself. I figure you either get out of the fire or you burn.

Is it a lack of self-esteem? Is it biological? What makes someone repeatedly choose behaviors that they know will kill them? Where did their lust for life go?

I've made some pretty terrible errors in judgment in my lifetime. I've learned some pertinent lessons from each and every one of those situations. I'm not perfect. But the older I get, the more I start to see the triumph in just surviving the crap that life gives you. It sweeps in, knocks you over, and you claw your way up. Then, at least this is the way my life goes, it sweeps in and immediately knocks you on your ass again, over and over and over and over. What happens after the 453rd time it knocks you down and you decide you're not getting up any more? Are you tired? Injured? Depressed? What gets us up and what keeps us down?

I know there are many times when I wanted to stay down. I know I've been an enemy to myself on many occasions with my self doubt, negative speak and worse. Strangely, through all that experience, I never quite got how I could help someone else see themselves in a different light. Part of me understands that they have to make that kind of self-discovery on their own. It can't be taught or provided by someone else.

And I'm sad that I know so many people who appear to be in the same deep holes right now, and that  even though I can listen and love, there's not much else I can do, except hope that they begin to see themselves the way the people who love them see them.

Stupid Food

For the last week and a half I have been "in the box" again at Carle. What does this mean? It means that outside of pre-packaged calorie controlled meals (oatmeal, soup, protein shakes and entrees) I've been eating only fruits and vegetables. I cook them with no oils (Pam is okay). There are also a few very low calorie condiments that come into play. I can eat as much as I want -- as long as my food consists of only those things. At the same time as I've been doing this, I've been taking an emotional eating class.

It's interesting to be in an emotional eating class, while you've pretty much blockaded yourself from the foods that make you binge when stressed. I'm remembering what it's like to use food only as fuel and not as pleasure. At first it felt very strict. Now it feels very liberating. No monkey on my back.

Why am I in the box again. Well, here's the deal. I put a stake in the ground at 165 lbs and swore that if I gained the 10 lbs to get there, I'd do something about it. And it would happen, a few times. Usually, when I had my period. I'd fight my weight back to a 160 for the next three weeks and then fall off the wagon and go back up. It was aggravating, and I was getting tired of the same old fight over a few pounds.

Then I had to stop running, and my body changed, even though my weight didn't change that much. My shoulders and arms are a bit more toned, but my ass -- it got bigger. How do I know this? I couldn't fit in 3 pairs of the jeans I could fit in last year. I couldn't even button them. Grrrr.

So two weeks ago, I went to weigh in and found myself at 170 up from 164.5. Yes, it was the day I got my period. But still, I was horribly frightened. So here I am two weeks later, reporting 163 as my weight. According to math, 4 lbs of it was water weight from that good old monthly bloat. I'm suddenly able to wear one more pair of jeans. Now I just need another 5 to get off so I can fit into my gray cords and my last pair of jeans and I'll feel back on track.

What I'm hoping to get out of the emotional eating class, is how to stay determined to keep out the crap. Because it slowly crawled back in. Unlearning behaviors you've had for 30 years is hard. So rather than beating myself up, I'm trying to adapt.

I'll let you know how it goes.

As for now, I supposedly ran my fastest 5k ever today at a 28:31. But I have to admit I haven't calibrated the Nike plus program with GPS yet. So, um, I'll have to do that tomorrow. Then run another one some other time. But it felt nice to hear. I'm signed up to do the Halloween 5.5 mile trail run at Allerton on Halloween. I'm excited about it. Hope the weather isn't gross.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Feeling Like a Rock Star

I had a stupid good weight loss week this week. I cut out all the items that had been sneaking into my diet this summer and ended up losing. I've also been slowly reintroducing running on the track back into my workout schedule. I did 60 minutes of varying intervals today, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, this only supports the idea that I actually do know how to take care of myself... I had just been slacking off.

Damn it. Don't you hate when you have no one to blame for your issues but yourself?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Too Much Information

Yesterday, I spent the day shopping and people watching in Montreal. It's my favorite thing to do here -- people watch. Mostly, I usually notice how folks who live in the city are either very young or empty nesters. Hardly anyone with children chooses to live in the city. Instead, they've opted for the suburbs. Because, I'll admit freely, this is not the most beautiful city in the world, but it does know how to have a good time. I'd guess you'd have to if you had winter eight months out of the year. Where I live, we only have it six months out of the year, so you know I give them some slack.

The other reason I love Montreal, when it's past the time for kids to be up, the television lights up like a Christmas tree with sexual adventures. It's hilarious. It's like there's a timer. I'm American. My country was founded on Puritanism, I get that. It's got that strong Khristian vibe (I use the K because I really believe there are far more believers who have their faith messed up in judgmental and cruel ways than there are actual Christians in the world.). And for some reason, nudity at all really freaks America out. The fact that in this day and age we still have people that think breast feeding in public is some kind of moral outrage really shakes me. You can't order someone to choose life (by denying them any medical opportunity to choose otherwise) and then tell them they can't feed the kid when it gets hungry. And let's face it, babies get hungry at the most opportune time, not provide any family friendly environments and then get all offended by nudity. There's also the truth that most moms really don't want you looking at their boobs either. And the women who stay at home all the time locked in their homes with their children, well, I'm pretty sure every Mom I know will tell you nothing good would ever come of that.

But here, I notice another difference--clothing. At home, the regular day wear is jeans and t-shirts, maybe a hoodie. Everyone's in tennis shoes and flip flops in Illinois, yes, even in the big city. Shopping downtown yesterday, everyone had knee-high, heeled boots, skinny jeans, tight tops with large fashionable sweaters. Their hair was done. They had ample make up on their faces. They looked like they always wore the clothes from the special shops they were going into. I, in my jeans, Nike t-shirt, fuzzy fleece jacket and Nike shoes got that I was -- odd -- in this background. Quite plainly, every woman was dressed very feminine, and none of them had cookie on their shirts.

I point back to the fact that I see very few children here past the infant stage. These folks have disposable income, and holy cow do they look good in it.

The other thing I noticed was how much couples touch here. They're walking down the side walk with arms around each other, holding hands, hand stuffed in the other's back pocket. They stop at stop lights and smile and kiss. They freaking meander.

I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time MacTroll and I did that kind of stuff. Usually we're on some kind of babysitter time clock. Must get to restaurant. Must get to dessert. Must get to bar. Must get to child. The slow down happens enough for conversation, but not for touching. It can't be a choice, right? There have to be people out there who still meander, even with cookies on their shirts, right? Someone has had to figure out how to have it both ways? Or is that asking too much?

When I got back to the apartment and made myself dinner, I thought about how good it feels when MacTroll gets home. And how hard it is to reconnect with him after a lengthy trip. I'm tired. I've got things I can finally get to because there's another parent in the house. But like X-man does, I also kind of put him in a penalty box from being gone. Our life stops and starts so often that I sometimes feel like I have trouble feeling emotionally bonded with him. I know I love him. But the travel also leads to me feeling neglected, this spouse on the road thing, it's hard, even though it's pretty much all we've ever known. But I have some relief in that I still get excited when we're waiting for him to come through the door, or when X-man and I can meet him at the airport, which we make the effort to do from time to time when it works with bedtime, or after particularly hard single parenting weeks.

I'm really not uptight or frigid, my husband will confirm. But I also don't just see someone I'm attracted to and instantly have that physical need. It takes a warm up. It takes some intimacy. It takes some effort. It takes energy. It takes being able to look at my relationship in a different light sometimes and seeing all the things that do work well in it. And sometimes when I see something I think is missing, I try not to get frustrated. Why not try something different for a while? I've never been one for PDA, but at the same time, I do miss being touched on an affectionate level by another adult.

I hate that I'm getting home tonight only to have MacTroll leave tomorrow. I know he's not happy about it either. But I am excited about seeing my boys. Hopefully, X-man will be able to get to sleep quickly, so MacTroll and I can have some time to ourselves before he flies out tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Well, how was the 10-day break from me? In the last 10 days, I've had to come to grips with a lot of things. And right now I'm ready to reflect and digest. Because I've had 24 hours to myself while living on the Plateau in Montreal by myself to concentrate. I can't help it. It's what I do here. I decompress, I evaluate, I move on, grieve and welcome new adventures. I reset. I'm not sure if I laugh more or cry more when I'm here.

When I got out of the 60-minute wait in Immigration, I walked past the mountain of people waiting for loved ones. And every time I'm here, I dream and wish that someone would be here waiting for me. Some kind of friendly face in my favorite town. Unfortunately, Mr. Taxi Driver is usually the one who ends up with me. It was the first time since 2005 that I arrived at night. It had rained all day, and the air was cool but refreshing after standing in line with a bunch of sweaty people for an hour. I got into the cab and gave the address and cross street to the driver. He drove toward the highway and then picked up the phone and called in to have someone google where he was going for him. I thought that was hilarious. From time to time I do that for MacTroll when he's on trips, well, before the invention of the iPhone. I hate to say it but that damn thing is actually had more negative effects on our marriage than positive ones. That is, if you value communication with your spouse as a positive. 

Anyway, when he turned onto Rue Berri, I explained he could just drop me at Sherbrooke and Laval because Laval was a one way and the only way down it was going all the way up to Av. des Pins. He thanked me profusely, and I realized, as I do when the family goes to St. John. I'm becoming a regular. (Of course, the woman at Immigration also looked at my passport and said, "You're here all the time!")

I walked about 50 feet up the street to my apartment. It was the second floor, an apartment rental known as Lux Suites. It's a total guy apartment. Everything is red and chocolate brown. There are 3 TVs in an 800 sq foot place, a grill on the stove, espresso and a small container of milk in the fridge, and he was taping Elles on the ARTV channel on his DVR. I wondered if this was his bachelor pad, that they redid (so he wouldn't have to sell it) and they lease it out. But I also wondered if someone ran over here to "work on the apartment" and watch his shows. :-)  The remodel of the old building is very nice. Particular attention was paid to the lighting (every switch dims on and off with cool blue lights) and the bathroom.

The first night I sat down with my HMR meal starving. I wolfed it down and then took off to walk to the store for some fruit and vegetables and diet sodas. My preferred Fruiterie was a little far to go on a night where it looked like it could start pouring at any moment. So I opted for the lame little grocer instead. The path to the grocer takes me down Prince-Arthur, which is pretty much a pedestrian only street lined with primarily Greek, Italian and French Bistro restaurants. There's also a liquor store, a couple of quickie marts, etc. It's well lit and lots of people were walking home with groceries or going out to dinner. It's my first time in Montreal in the fall. I've only really ever been here in the summer, except for one trip in January a long time ago.

When I returned, I sat down with my food journal for my emotional eating class. (I think this is a challenge I'll always have, but it helps that Carle has a special class devoted just to this issue.) I wrote down my dinner and my night time snack, brushed my teeth and slid under the covers of my queen-sized bed. No cats to clean up, no kid to put to bed, no husband asking where his shoes are... The truth is, I spent most of my first night on Facebook. I was avoiding thinking. In the end, I'm pretty sure that's what Facebook gives me. It saddens me to know that if I left it, what few interactions I have on there with friends would stop and I'd be left behind and forgotten. But I know it's true, and I hate it. 

Today, was a different day. I got up at 7 a.m., put in my contacts, got dressed and went for a run. A restaurant on Prince-Arthur burned down last night. I do remember waking up to sirens but I thought it was because my apartment is near a medical facility. When I interned in D.C. my studio apartment backed into GW Hospital. Eventually, you get used to it. But I'm used to hearing trains in Savoy, not so much sirens, so the fact that they were coming and going for 2 hours doesn't surprise me that I wasn't all that rested at the crack of dawn this morning (and I can say that because the sun rose at 7:11 a.m. here). 

On my run, I felt like I was going to die. I originally was supposed to come up here to do a 10k on Sunday, but due to the fact that I haven't run much at all all summer, and have only had one 5.3 mile run in the last three weeks, I'm probably just going to run by myself and not go to the race. Sad, isn't it? But I'm not eating my way out of it. I'm confronting it. Dealing with it. Trying really hard to accept it. I'm not Wonder Woman, right? No matter how much my 4 year old thinks I might be or how much I want to meet that expectation.

After 10 minutes, I slowed into a comfortable pace and started thinking. Today's topic was work and future. I still have not heard anything back from Eastern regarding my transcripts. I've e-mailed 4 times since Labor Day and called twice. I'm being ignored. I find that rather rude. But they're the only ones near me that focus on nutritional education for RDs. I could do an online program, I guess, but I kind of wanted a support system. The truth is, I do too much on my own as it is. I'm feeling disconnected. 

I could apply to different programs that would require us to move, I thought. But I'm afraid of not selling our house. 

Then came the idea that I really don't want to write any more research papers in my lifetime. I sighed. Do I really want to do more school? I could. I'd do it. But it has to work with my life. And let's face it, my life has a lot of freedoms, but it's also been feeling like a very decorated, elaborate cage. 

It's not wrong to want to take care of your family. It's not wrong to identify that my relationship with MacTroll has never, ever fit in a real "normal" mode. It's not ideal, but it's our norm. There's comfort in what you know, but at the same time, our life makes me feel very much alone because I'm the only one I can depend on in the house. And I feel like my life is always around the boys. I lose sight of myself. I feel dizzy. 

And so I go forth and I make things where there weren't things before. I'm good at it: making something from nothing. I'm good at helping people. I'm useful. I'm thoughtful. I have a high level of empathy, and I'm extraordinarily good at organization. I love kids, animals and old people.  I volunteer, I organize, I work part-time, I take classes. And at a snail's pace I move forward, having no real idea of where I am going. I get an idea that makes me excited. And then two months later the bigness of it tires me. The idea still excites me, but the practicality of it happening while I live in my bubble is non-existent. 

I wonder, often, if a full-time job would give me the outlet I'm looking for. And then I wonder, what would that job be? Would it be in publishing again? Public relations? Would it be something new? 

Then something hits me. The amount of money I'd make doing one of those jobs is nothing in comparison to my husband's check. The check he receives for having a job that is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of being on his phone, his computer, at the airport. The idea of it makes me feel stupid. More lonely. Less of a help to my son. I treasure our freedom, even though I know in less than a year, we'll be more structured due to kindergarten. 

Is this really how it's supposed to be? How is it that what's probably best for me, isn't, at this point, what's actually best for my family? And how do I move forward knowing that the theory: "if Mama ain't happy no one's happy" makes sense in my head, but in my heart, it tells me that the best thing for most of my family is to continue with the status quo. 

The other thing on my mind is MacTroll's future at his company. It's likely if he's to move up the ladder (likely=his boss told him, "You know if you want to move up in the future...")  he'll have to move to California. The idea of this makes me cringe. Mostly because I'm not a big fan (too many freaking people), even though we'd probably see other friends more often as they all have to come to Cupertino/San Francisco at some point or another. But those aren't friends I can leave my child with and go out on a date with, you know? They're the ones who fly in and fly out. Where would we live? How would we afford it? I'd have to go back to work, even with MacTroll's mega paycheck. And what would California (particularly in an area where everyone has to have two incomes to pay for their incredibly expensive housing) think of someone who stayed home for years to raise her child? And what the hell would that job be? Would it be better to have some full-time work experience here before going there? 

So many thoughts. So many doors and possibilities. And this is only the first 24 hours. 48 hours left... And that was all just in a 30-minute run. Know what helps you get out of that funk? A hot shower after running through the cold rain, warm clothes and a bowl of fruit for me and pastries for a friend over honest and high-quality conversation. Sully, thank you for getting me out of my funk and reminding me that I have the potential for greatness in whatever I choose to do. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that from someone today. 

In other news, it appears as if all of my emotional eating for the last six months was basically fruits and carbs. My lack of energy, hair falling out and other health issues I'd been having since May have to do with the fact that I have a protein and iron deficiency. I'm back in the HMR box for the next 5 weeks (which will help raise those levels and kind of reset my eating patterns) and then I guess I'll be having meat for Thanksgiving with a baby spinach and strawberry salad (vitamin C helps your body absorb iron). I'm also on an iron supplement, but my thyroid didn't break down, so we'll take it. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Checking Out

I'm going to be putting the blog on a break for a few weeks. Some personal stuff I'm getting to the bottom of, that really isn't up for public consumption. Maybe when I'm on the other side...

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's the moment you've been waiting for

I have laryngitis. I can't talk back. But you can say anything you want.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dinner and a Movie

Yesterday, my oldest cat turned 13. So happy birthday, Mr. C!

The family spent the morning preparing for Papa's arrival. My dad was driving down from Rockford in the middle of campaign season to visit us and spend some time with X-man. When he got here we tried to go have lunch at Black Dog Ale, but they had a 20-minute wait, which doesn't work with a hungry 4 year old, so we went to Crane Alley instead.

I got a black bean burger and sweet potato fries. This was perhaps the wrong food choice because several hours later we went to a special dinner at Prairie Fruit Farm. The farm opens each spring with breakfasts every Saturday before the Urbana Farmers' Market opens. Then they do special dinners until the close of the growing season. Usually dinners are served outside on a wooden patio. But as it was 54 degrees when the sun started to fall away, we ate in the barn next to the kitchen. Each special dinner has a theme and is prepared by Alisa Demarco and her very friendly kitchen staff. The theme for our dinner was "100 yard dinner." That means nearly everything (outside of butter and oil) were prepared within 100 yards of the kitchen. As you can guess, since they make goat cheese, we ate a lot of it. You can see the complete menu here.

The appetizer course starts at 4 p.m. We arrived at 4:30 p.m. dressed in jeans, tennis shoes. I had a t-shirt, a wool sweater and a windbreaker on. MacTroll wore his boots and a pair of jeans with a long sleeve t-shirt, a fleece and he carried the top part of a gortex coat to break the wind. The wind was blowing brown leaves from the tree, and everything at the farm looked pretty picked over.

The farm served ice water and warm pear and apple cider, but MacTroll looked kind of disappointed that I didn't inform him we were welcome to bring our own beverages. In his old age, having wine with dinner is apparently something he looks forward to. I'm sure he does it when he dines out with folks on travel. But he and I get out usually only once a month, and I can count the number of alcoholic drinks I've had in the last calendar year on one hand. So, you know, the BYOB kind of escaped my attention.

There appeared to be two groups of people at the dinner. One was a theme of local business owners supporting other local businesses. The other was appeared to be very professorial/artsy. They apparently get a lot of repeat diners at their dinners because Wes, one of the owners, said in his welcome that he recognized and knew most everyone there. I think MacTroll and I looked like the odd ones out.

We sat with a large party of folks. They were very friendly. One was an artist who was there with her significant other who owns That's Rentertainment on campus. His mother was also present. She and I had some lovely discussion. On the other side, was a couple that worked at the Natural History Survey who know our neighbors Jeff and Wendy. And then another man who was there with his college-aged daughter worked for Yahoo and his wife runs a gift shop in Monticello. I engaged him in my surprise that Bee Active Toys, which originated in store space next to his wife's mad the move to Tuscola and apparently has done so well, they're opening a second store at Market Place Mall next to Macy's. I liked the store in Monticello and I followed them to Tuscola when they moved. Think Art Mart -- but with a wider selection, particularly for bigger kids.

There were LONG waits in between each course. And, unlike, when he eats at home, I sat there and watched MacTroll eat everything -- even the stew which was full of root vegetables. He even ate a fried green tomato. I inquired why he'd try everything here, but at  home if I put chunks of tomato in anything he picks them off. He said he didn't know why. And I'm so taking that personally, because there's no other reasonable explanation.

It was the first time I'd had guinea hens. The breasts weren't anything exciting, even though they were stuffed with fruit. But I did enjoy the legs, which is funny because usually I'm not a dark meat fan. But they cooked them so well, that the meat fell off the bone. The meat was also much darker than typical chicken. Much more rich in flavor.

Our favorite course was the cheese course (big surprise). We got three small pieces of cheese made at the farm, a bit of jellied currant and a bit of honeycomb. In my old age, I'd rather have honey than chocolate of any kind. I can't explain it. It just happened since I started losing weight. And that honeycomb was amazing. There's something about goat cheese and honey or goat cheese and jam that just goes so well together. Put the honey and goat cheese together on some decent whole wheat bread with a bit of pear and toast it for a few minutes and it's a heavenly sandwich.

The dessert was my least favorite. The apples were much too tart, even though they were supposedly honeyed. It tasted like a sour yogurt with fruit at the bottom.

I'm trying to remember how much we paid for the dinners. I think it was $85 a person. Hence, this was MacTroll's birthday present (which isn't until Oct. 27th). But he enjoyed it, and it was something very different than the usual downtown trip.

Afterwards, we called Papa, who was still going strong with X-man, so we went to go see the Social Network. When I first heard this movie was coming out, I was a pass. And then -- I read that Aaron Sorkin did the screen play. This was only helped by the fact that Trent Reznor does the music and that it was produced by Kevin Spacey. Crap. Okay. If Aaron Sorkin wrote it the dialogue between characters will at least be fast moving and entertaining. If you don't know Aaron Sorkin, he wrote Sports Night, the West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He also wrote the American President and A Few Good Men.

I knew what to expect from his work, and I did not leave disappointed. What was weird, was the fact that we went to a movie where the theater was full. That never happens for MacTroll and I. So the 19 year old who was behind us complaining about the "no texting at the movies" rule made me laugh. I don't give a shit about the rule. As long as there's not some beep or vibrate that's going off every 2 seconds next to me, whatever. But I found the rule entertaining given that we were sitting in a theater watching a movie which mentions more than once the addictiveness of social networking.

Indeed, it's sucked in the creator -- of course it made him billions of dollars, while it just sucks the life force out of the rest of us. :-)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why am I so ugly?

Inability to sleep. Insomnia.

For weeks, I've been unable to fall asleep before 2 a.m. I get up at 6:30 a.m. The two days a week where I find some free time that's supposed to be "housework time" I end up in bed. Not napping. Instead, I lie there totally fatigued wondering why my brain won't shut the hell up.

It just keeps listing things. Things to do. Things I should have done. Things I ate. Things I'd like to do. People who I haven't talked to in a while. Things I'm worried about. Things I love about my kid. Things I wish I had, etc.

I give myself 30 minutes of trying to do a relaxation technique I learned in dance class, oh so many years ago. It used to work all the time when I couldn't sleep. Now, maybe it works 3 nights out of 7. When it doesn't, I pick up my laptop. And here I am... restless, thoughtful, frustrated.

Why am I so ugly? I so don't have my prerequisite amount of beauty sleep required to look better than a crazy feathered chicken. Look in my eyes. I'm only vaguely aware of what's going on.

I guess now that MacTroll's home for the next week, I can find some over the counter meds to help me sleep. Tylenol PM or whatever. I don't feel right about doing them when I'm home alone with X-man. I'm a wuss. I get drunk on one light beer. One Unisom usually makes me completely miss my alarm, even though it goes off for an hour.