Challenge Accepted, MFers

2020 is my year, bitches.

I’ve taken my extra time away from babies and I’ve surprisingly spent a good chunk of it exercising and shit. I know, I’ve surprised even myself. This morning, I was running around the house in my sports bra, getting the kids ready for school, and my husband first asked this weird half-naked lady with purple hair if she’d seen his wife, and then, upon remembering how hot I am, asked me if I knew where the gun show was. (spoiler alert, I do.)

That’s right. We know how to keep that spark alive.

Ever since my daughter was done breastfeeding and my body became my very own again, I’ve been working to really, truly take care of myself. I’ve had mental health stuff come up. I’ve had a bunch of seemingly random health stuff come up, too. Skin issues, GI issues, chronic acid reflux issues, my ongoing headaches and migraines. I’ve had a few tests done for the GI stuff and the short version is that they can’t find anything physically wrong with me. That leaves me with…my diet. The food-like things I put into my body.

About a year ago I cut out some dairy, but not all. I feel like that has helped some. Not all. I’ve also cut out or reduced a few things that trigger my reflux. So that helps. But not all the way.

Sooooooooo, my dear psychos, I’m taking the plunge. Starting tomorrow, I’m doing Whole 30. Wholey crap. For those of you unfamiliar, Whole 30 is an elimination diet to see how certain food groups affect your body – you eat whole foods for 30 days and then slowly add stuff back in to see what happens. It’s a good way to see if you have any allergies or aversions and junk. Basically, I can have meat, fish, eggs, fruits, veggies, nuts. Nothing else. No added sugar, no soy, no dairy, no legumes, no grains, no alcohol.

This is a big deal for me. I’ve always eaten everything. I don’t have any obvious allergies and I’m generally not a picky eater. I’ve also never been on a special diet before, ever. Unless you count my surgery prep and the stuff I couldn’t eat during pregnancies, I’ve never really restricted myself. And guys, my parents are from the midwest. Dairy is, like, THE most important food group. It’s like how Bubba is with shrimp: there are so many ways you can have cheese. There’s sliced cheese, grated cheese, powdered cheese, melted cheese, blocks of cheese, wheels of cheese. There’s cheese curds and cheesecake. Don’t forget cheesewhiz. I grew up having cows milk with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ice cream almost every night. Dear lord, my body is a temple and it’s never not been worshipped with dairy.

This is going to be interesting, y’all.

Luckily, I have a friend, whom I’ll call M, and she’s done this before and she offered to do it with me now and to be my emotional support animal. Honestly, I don’t think she’s aware of what she signed up for, because when I get hangry, all bets are off. I’ll be texting her in the middle of the night needing a peptalk so I don’t inhale my kids’ Valentines candy in my walk-in closet.

It goes without saying that I plan to blog about this experience as much as I need to and probably more than you all would like. Food is such an emotional thing. We have living, breathing relationships with it because it’s rooted in culture and family and it’s woven into every. single. social. gathering.

I’m treating this like one big experiment, and it’s my goal to remain determined and curious. Although I’m a rule follower to the core, M (dude, when I call you M, it reminds me of that kickass lady from the Bond movies played by Dame Judy Dench. You’re welcome.) kinda gave me permission to bend some small rules so I don’t go absolutely crazy. Like, I may still cook with real butter (I’m just kidding! I don’t cook, my husband does. A word on that later). And I’ll probably have some store-bought mayo (another midwestern food group – you can’t make a salad without it!), but I’m very interested to see how I feel without all that sugar and dairy and grain in my system. I’m looking forward to the poops! Oh, the BMs! I’ve heard the legends and I want to know what secrets lie within…and without.

Advanced thanks to M and to my husband, who has been amazingly supportive so far. He does all the cooking in the house, and he’s been planning meals for me and I know he’s gonna be there to cheer me on this whole way, even when I’ll be tackling him to the ground trying to eat the pasta hanging out of his mouth.

It all starts tomorrow, folks. What’s hilarious is that my mom friends are going out after we walk/jog/run tomorrow morning for coffee and donuts. FUCKING DONUTS ALREADY?!



Robin Egg Blue

My grandmother died when I was 14 years old.

It was the spring of 1997 and she had suffered from colon cancer and lost her battle.

She was my mom’s mom, and she was the grandparent I felt closest to.  Before she got sick, she was delightfully squishy and smelled like mothballs, cheap lipstick, and brown sugar.  I can still hear her voice in my head (that warm, Midwestern accent where the vowels go on for miles), and sometimes, her voice comes out of my own mouth when I least expect it.  Usually when I am giddy and happy.

She was the first person I’d known to pass away, the first funeral I’d been to.

Her casket was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.  It was this robin egg blue that was sparkly and gleaming.  Her body rested on this baby blue satin that looked so smooth and shiny and comfortable.

I remember wanting to get out my camera and take a picture of it before it was covered by earth forever, but instinctively I knew that people might not like that, so I didn’t.

Looking back, I kinda wished I had.  I like being able to remember all things – the good and the sad.

I still remember, even without that picture.

I first wrote the above post on April 1, 2013. I never posted it, until now. Not quite sure why…maybe because it’s about death? Maybe for the same reason I didn’t take that picture?

And now, all these years later, my daughter’s middle name is hers. My grandma’s. They are both feisty and warm and gooey and delicious. They both smell like brown sugar (among other things). I love them and they are mine.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it would never be able to capture all that.


The Price of Wisdom

I’ve been a little under the weather lately.

And by under the weather, I mean had a wisdom tooth pulled with only local anesthesia.  I’m kindof a badass like that.

It went fairly well, and I am happy with my decision, because if I had really wanted to be put under, I would have had to wait several more days, and I couldn’t endure any more anticipatory anxiety coupled with increasingly crippling wisdom-tooth-induced headaches.  That, and general anesthesia reminds me of my cancer surgery, and that’s a very bad thing.

So now I just settle for post-wisdom-tooth-being-ripped-out-of-my-head headaches.

Seriously, who thought up an 8 hour dosage painkiller?  I was prescribed Motrin that can be taken once every 8 hours (well, to be honest, I was actually given a choice between Vicodin, Tylenol with codeine, or juiced-up Motrin.  I actually had to think about this one, cuz hey – street value, peeps – but I decided I’d like to be able to drive myself to work and not slur my words in front of my clients.  And I actually made this choice post-extraction.  I know- I should be given a medal or something.).  I also have to take these meds after eating something, and I descend from mid-western folk.  Allow me to translate: we eat our three squares with minimal snacking or else we get the hose.  Or get locked out of the house in the snow with no shoes, but that’s tough in some parts of Northern California, so the hose it is.

So let’s think about this for a second.  My workday is 8 hours long, so I guess I’ll take a pill right after breakfast but before I get to work so that it’ll kick in once I get there and have to deal with crises related to violence and suffering.  Good start.  Unfortunately, the label lies (said in Voldemort’s voice) and the magic wears off around hour 7 and 14.3 minutes, so in the middle of my last session of the day, the gaping hole in my gums starts throbbing and spreads through my occipital lobe and ravages the [small] part of my brain that houses sanity.  Sorry, client, but I can no longer hear you over the din of a box of live kittens being seared by turbo jet exhaust.  Fast forward to 5pm-quitting time.  By this time it’s too close to dinner to snack (my mother’s voice reverberates in my already pulsating head…something something spoil your dinner…) and I can’t take my next goddamn pill until I eat something.   So here I am, speeding home, trying to see the road through my blinding pain.

Once I get home and eat and take my pill, I start to feel better.  More like a human.  I think my horns and red eyes actually shrink and fade, respectively.  I go to sleep after rinsing my mouth with salt water for what feels like the zillionth time that day (more on that later), and I hope to she-sus that I don’t wake up when my pill wears off in the middle of the night because it only lasts for 8 fucking hours and I took it right after dinner because I couldn’t wait and because I don’t fucking eat right before fucking bedtime.

Wake up, repeat, and feel my pain.  FEEL IT NOW.

Also take into account that I must rinse my mouth with warm salt water every time I eat.  Makes me feel like a fish, but not the drunk kind.

The icing on the cake is that, while I have a bit of swelling and that is to be expected, I also have some bruising on my cheek where the dentist very roughly wrenched my drooling, completely numb mouth open and braced with crazy force to basically pull bone from bone.  So I’ve been going to work, seeing clients who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and one side of my face is bruised and swollen.  This is going to be great for business.

I feel like I should wear a sign around my neck.  Maybe I’ll attach a doctor’s note for further proof.  FML.