Dog Food with Cheese on It

Before Christmas, I was in the kitchen — working on dinner or the dishes or any number of other never-ending tasks I feebly attempt to accomplish every day, my husband was in the living room, and my daughter was bouncing back and forth between us. The conversation went something like this.

“Mom, Dad wanted me to ask you what you want for Christmas, but I’m not supposed to tell you he sent me to ask you.”

Laughing a little as I reply. “Ok. Our secret. Hmm. How about a spotlessly clean and organized house.”

She leaves the kitchen and comes back. “He said to ask again.”

“How about a week off. I don’t have to drive, cook, grocery shop, laundry or laying out clothes, etc. How about that?”

This time she comes back shaking her head. “What do you really want for Christmas?”

“How about everybody eats what I want to eat for a week?”

She didn’t even go relay the message this time. She just looked at me, arms crossed shaking her head, “Eww. For real, Mom.”

I think I asked for a new Swell and a Starbucks gift card which she happily reported, and I’m pretty sure my favorite present was a new Garmin watch. So, the hubs didn’t fail at his gift giving task.

My main requests, however, were not within the realm of possibility, at least not in this stage of life. It’s funny how that works, right? As you get older, the things you want aren’t really things. You find yourself chasing a feeling or a state of being over something shiny and new. I just wanted to relax, to wholly decompress and let go, which to be honest, even if my husband had been able to grant any of those requests, I would still be stressed. I would stress out about whether everything is getting done right and/or feel guilty that I had checked out.

Anyway, that last request, the one she poo pooed before even relaying it, that’s the one I think I would love the most. I am most definitely a food agnostic. I don’t believe there is one right way to eat, but I do believe there are certain principles in eating that are universally good for all humans. It’s really hard to get kids to eat that way. It may be even harder to get my husband to eat that way. I would love not having to stress about pleasing everyone’s personal taste on top of trying to make a meal healthy. That one stress is probably one of the biggest stresses in my life. If everyone would just eat what I eat, I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

The problem is that I eat weird food.

I made a makeshift version of huevos rancheros for lunch one day (pictured above). My daughter looked at it while I was preparing it. It was pretty much just beans, sautéed salsa veggies and cheese over a tortilla. I hadn’t put the avocados, egg, hot sauce or sour cream on top yet, although I don’t know that that would have changed her reaction much. She looked at it and told me it looked like dog food with cheese on top.

Of course, this child doesn’t eat cheese, anything with tomatoes in it (including pizza), eggs, oatmeal, any kind of bean, anything green except green beans and sweet peas, etc. The list is exhausting. She won’t eat tacos or sandwiches. What do you feed a kid who doesn’t eat tacos or sandwiches? How did I grow this child inside me and she not like tacos? Was she switched at birth?

My middle child was allergic to Milk, Soy, Corn and Eggs for the first decade of his life. It was easier to feed him than her. Incidentally, he’s my best eater now. I think because he spent so much of his life being told he couldn’t have things, now he’ll eat ANYTHING.

My oldest is pretty adventurous, but he’s not big on some of the easiest things I cook. He likes fancy. So, he’s disappointed often.

I’ve thought about meal or menu planning services, but inevitably, I get to looking and can’t find a plan that has meals my family will eat. I mentioned before that I’ll eat anything. Anything except eggplant, shellfish and sea buckthorn. So, I’d be good with pretty much any of it. The rest of the people in my house, not so much.

I plan and prep and go through the week, but it never fails that someone will complain about what I made and how I made it. Then there are the nights that we’re too busy, and we just get takeout. That’s when my middle guy asks me when I’m gonna cook again because he likes my food better than whatever we picked up. Cue the melting heart, but I can’t win.

I like my “dog food with cheese on top.” Some day, that’s all I’ll have to worry about, right? What I’m gonna eat. My husband can fend for himself at that point because I’m not catering to an adult picky eater for the rest of my life.

Some day, they’ll come home all grown up, and I’ll cook each of them all their favorite foods without complaint because I’ll want them to want to be home with me, right? But, right now, I just need to get through the week without throwing up my hands and telling them to just go fix a bowl of cereal.

I Thought I was Fit

So, my knee hurts. (Doc) Hubs says tendinitis. No running, cycling, squatting, etc. for at least a few days. Well, great then. What am I gonna do now?

Yesterday, I did an all upper body weight lifting session. Usually, I do short, heavy, full body sessions on non running days. It was horrible, but I kinda hate weight lifting. So, that’s really not anything new except that I feel like squatting does more for me than dumbbell curls. I mean, I don’t run with my arms, and everybody knows it’s your butt that makes or breaks the way you look in a swim suit, not your arms. Not that that really matters because I spend my pool days with tons of kids and other moms. Nobody cares what my butt looks like in my swim suit as long as it’s properly covered.

Incidentally, my favorite thing to do in a swim suit is to actually swim, like for a really long time, and that works with my knee issue. That’s not an option for me right now because of our end of the year schedule. I can’t go swim laps with a 9 year old in tow. At least not at the pools open right now. I’ll be able to at our neighborhood pool once it opens. But, then I’ll have the kids and the moms and the sun screen, goggle fixing, toy retrieving, floatie blowing up duties to attend to.

Anyway, today I decided to try this fascial conditioning program on one of the apps I use. I read the book Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall (good read), and I’ve been fascinated by anything ‘fascial’ since (I just noticed the spelling of fascinated and fascial are similarly spelled but not even close to meaning the same thing). So, I decided to try this program while I’m not running. I mean, it’s like yoga. I’ve done yoga. How hard can it be? Ha.

I am now reconsidering my actual level of fitness. First off, the program is taught by a tattooed former military guy who can bend himself into a pretzel. I was distracted a little by the tattoos. Tattoos on muscles are awesome, but I, for real, was trying to make out what they were, wondering about the stories behind them. Not really paying all that much attention thinking I can just follow along and figure it out. Then I was out of breath, my muscles were burning, and I had to modify the modification. It wasn’t cardio. It looked simple enough for my kids to do it, but I was struggling. I ended the video in dandasana (sitting on the floor with my knees crossed) drinking my water and watching him finish the exercises.

This may have been complicated by the fact that I ate half a bag of animal crackers (not the individual size) with strawberry milk and chocolate (it was dark chocolate, so that’s not totally bad, right?) just before the workout. Don’t judge me. It’s May. May is a black hole in my universe. It sucks all sanity, sleep and nutrition out into the abyss leaving me crazy, exhausted and either hungry or on a sugar binge. I looked fantastic in my swimsuit on Spring break in April. This Summer, yeah, I’m just gonna have to get used to letting it all hang out. Literally.

You can’t skip the cardio while eating like a giant 5 year old and keep the bikini body. Life doesn’t work that way, at least not after having kids.

I’ll be doing the next video tomorrow because I need exercise AND I refuse to be beaten by something that looks so simple. Maybe I’ll be more springy and mobile once I finish the program, OR maybe I’ll be back to running in a week and just quietly forget this ever even happened. Here’s hoping.

The Fit Friend

Do you ever wonder about your perception of yourself? Is it accurate? Do you see yourself better than others do? Or worse?

Me? Well, I’m confused. It is not uncommon for someone I have recently spent time getting to know to comment that I’m not how they thought I would be when they met me. I usually just chock that up to the fact that I’m a slow warmer (takes me a while to warm up to people and feel comfortable around them generally). More often than not it’s a positive thing they’re trying to say. They think I’m funnier or more fun than they thought I would be. They think I’m smarter and more articulate than they thought I would be. Etc. I’ll usually comment that my inside doesn’t match my outside, and I wonder just what kind of vibes I give off upon first meeting. I mean, do I look like a boring idiot? Should I change my hair? Anyway, the point being people usually tell me things about me that are good things. Most people are kind and don’t want to hurt people on purpose. So, I think this has a lot to do with that, but most people aren’t gonna make that junk up, either.

What do I think of myself? I’m generally pretty confident in who I am at this point of my life, at least in the aspect of accepting myself so I can grow. If I were to describe myself, though, I would tell you I’m socially awkward, weird, OCD, anxious, incapable of telling a joke (in person), ditzy, plain, slow, weak. I could go on. Negative first because those are the things up front and center in my mind because I want to work on them.

I’m almost always surprised when I hear someone compliment me or comment on me in a positive way. Even if it’s something I know I just aced.

I recently participated in a local 5k. I got a PR, and generally crushed it without much intentional training. I signed up just a couple weeks before the race, right before the T-shirt cut off date. Still, crushing it for me isn’t really all that fast, at least not in my mind. Someone I met at the gym I go to asked me about it when I saw her next. She said she saw me at the start line and decided she would try to keep up with me. Keeping me in sight was her goal. Me. I was shocked at her comment ALL day and obviously it left a big enough impression to be writing about it now.

I recently posted a video on my social media called My Fit Friend vs Mewhere a very fit woman is balancing on a board on a foam roller while rotating a weight plate around in front of her. One of those balance plus coordination plus strength things that few people can master. Then there was a shot of a less fit woman attempting the same thing, slipping off the roller and the board flipping up to hit her inner thigh. I posted it laughing because I saw myself as the less fit woman. A friend of mine, one of those amazing people who is able to be honest with me in a positive and growth inspiring way, texted me to say, “you know you’re the fit friend, right?” I stared at her text wondering who she really meant to send it to. Then she said, “you’re the fit friend, dummy.” I’m the fit friend? Nuh uh. I’m the forever chasing fit friend.

The inside most definitely doesn’t match the outside. My inner perception vs reality. I set goals, chase them, and crush them without much fan fare because by the time I achieve them, I already have a new goal ready to chase. I don’t think that’s a bad trait to have, but maybe I should allow myself to see the progress for what it is. Maybe I should allow myself to be the fit friend. I catalog negative traits and work toward changing them because I want to grow and be better than I was yesterday, but maybe I should allow myself to feel more proud of the positive traits, especially if they used to be negative. Maybe I should put a few of those positive traits up front and center in my personal description of myself.

Bottom line of this rambling post: if you see or think something positive about someone, tell them. Even if they seem like they must hear it all the time, your voice might be an incredible source of encouragement and strength they need to fight their internal negative voice. AND, Try accepting those positive comments about yourself as truth. Try seeing yourself a little more like the people who love you see you. They’re not lying.

Train Dirty, Be Clean

I go to one of those chain gyms with hour long classes that rotate through stations. It’s a GOOD workout doing things I’m not likely to make myself do on my own. I like to run, stupid long and slow. I like to swim, also stupid long and slow. Most other activities are done in an effort to help me do those things better. OR to look better in my jeans. 😉

I enjoy the program at this gym for my cross training. I feel fitter than I ever have, and I PRd my last race. So, I would say it’s awesome! The nature of the gym and the times I go, it’s mostly women who populate the classes.

When I talk about it, I will sometimes hear from men, or women relaying info from some of the men in their lives, that it looks like a great workout, but they’re not gonna workout with a bunch of women. There were lots more men when I was a member of a crossfit gym, and they had no problem working out with women. But, I get it. It’s cool with me. I just have to say, I always cringe inside when I hear that.

Why? For real. Is it because they don’t see how it would be challenging enough for them because, if a bunch of women do it, then it must be easy? Pink weights and stuff. Are they intimidated that one of these women might show them up? Are they worried about getting distracted? Do they think it’s just one big gossip session? Are they just not comfortable with it? I really would like to know.

Then today happened. I went to workout at a different time than usual. Different location, different coach, different patrons. The workout was awesomely hard. The coach was great. There were several men in the class, which was cool. Until it wasn’t.

You rotate through stations using a number, sharing the station with one or two other people. So, one is on the treadmill while another is on the rower or weight station, etc. I shared the station with a man, a man with large feet who must have worn his shoes to do yard work yesterday because there was grass and dirt all over the foot plates on the rower and all over the floor underneath. Because his feet were big, I had to adjust the plates and straps every time I got on the rower. Grass and dirt sticking to my sweaty hands. Grass and dirt on MY shoes now. I even found grass in the cup holder of my car after I left because it was sticking to me. Gross.

I worked out next to a guy who spread out into my space doing his own thing, setting his things on my station, acting like I could just move over.

Grassy shoe guy got lots more grass and dirt all over the treadmill we were sharing as well as the floor around our weight station. He left his used wipes and his card (to record times) on the treadmill. It looked like he was there with his wife or S.O. which made me wonder, did she notice the disaster he was leaving behind? Does she care? I mean if she lives with him, I’m sure she’s used to it. I don’t know about the guy with no sense of personal space. I couldn’t tell what he was doing much less who he was with.

Then I decided I was glad more men don’t workout with my “bunch of women”. If you can’t handle common gym courtesy, you can stick to your “manly” workouts and stay away from mine.

I know women can be just as gross, but it hasn’t happened to me at the gym before. I’ve never had to consider asking any one of them if they could at least wipe off the mess they left before moving on to the next station. The one or two men who join the “bunch of women” I usually workout with have more common courtesy, and I love them for it.

I bet the guys I encountered today are the kind that don’t wipe down or rerack their weights after lifting, IF they even lift. I bet they blast their own music and hog equipment like no one else exists. Sigh.

My PSA of the day, don’t be that guy (or girl). Train dirty. Be clean.

I will happily rejoin my regularly scheduled gym programming very soon, and think twice about switching times and locations again.

Bye Felicia (Monday)

I passed a woman in the toilet paper isle at Target. After she caught me staring at her chest (reading) and smiling, she smiled back and then did the beauty queen/hand model motion from shoulder to shoulder before going about her day. Awkward is kinda my thing, and I love when I accidentally find other people like me.

Her shirt read “I wanna be Felicia. She’s always going somewhere.”

I wish I had called out “Bye, Felicia” as I turned the corner, but alas I’m no good at being witty in the moment. It was, however, the highlight of my day, and a nice way to say “Bye Felicia” to Monday.

Food and Balance


Sometimes my meals look like this.

Flat Iron Steak with Potatoes and Green Beans

And, I feel very accomplished as a cook even though it’s probably one of the easier meals to cook. I mean, one pan steak and veggies cooked in the oven. I really don’t know how much easier it could get and still be homemade.

Sometimes my meals look like this.

Fried Eggs with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

This would be my absolute all time favorite breakfast. No biscuits and gravy for me. Give me eggs, greens and potatoes any day.

And…. Sometimes my meals look like this.

Crustless Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich with Strawberry Milk and a Banana

This is the meal that most makes me feel like a tall five year old who’s just really good at pretending she’s an adult when she has to, crustless PB&J triangles with strawberry milk on a pink plastic plate. Yeah, this doesn’t look like an adult meal at all. It’s my favorite meal to eat before a long run, though, minus the strawberry milk. I drink that after. It’s my go to fast food to take with me on the go. I actually eat a lot of PB&J in various forms. It works for me.

I’m all about balance. My whole life is a balancing act. I’m always juggling a dozen different activities, running in a dozen different directions, planning around five different people’s food preferences, trying to sleep and exercise, attempting to shower and dress half way decent without giving up my sleep or exercise. Sometimes, I just need a crustless PB&J and some strawberry milk.

Approximately 620 Calories with 19 g Protein, 21 g Fat, 70 g Carbohydrates (that’s a generous estimate for the peanut butter and the jelly and before cutting off the crust ;-).

What’s your balance food?


I was pretty disappointed in 2017. It absolutely did NOT live up to its full potential. 2018, though, I’m making that sucker my year, y’all. My list of goals? Here they are.

  1. Keep the young humans alive.
  2. Stay married and refuse to consider murder
  3. Avoid being featured on an episode of hoarders
  4. Run more than the dishwasher
  5. Try not to eat all the things

I am very happy to report that currently I am 4 for 5. I’m only counting half for numbers 3 and 5 because my basement and garage are still completely full of useless crap, and I’m sitting here at my computer with a box of Girl Scout cookies and a Starbucks refresher. I want to say I won’t eat an entire sleeve all by myself, but I know better.

My kids and husband are still alive. I am still married. I have not yet received the call from A&E. I’m on target for my running goal, and up until the Girl Scout cookie season, my nutrition has been on point. So, bam, take that 2017.

I guess that’s what happens when you lower your standards to just above bathing and breathing.

Seriously, though, I’m a list maker, a box checker. I like having a set goal and a plan laid out that will get me to that goal. I’ve lived my whole life that way, and I’m not gonna stop now because I didn’t get to cross off as much as I wanted to in 2017. I’m having real trouble with 2018, though. I have goals, and plans, kinda. Really, they’re just the leftover things from 2017 I’m still sore about not accomplishing.

I wanted to start a new blog last year, then I spent the whole year stuck on logistics. The fact that you’re reading this means, I accomplished that goal in 2018. Let’s see if I can follow through and keep it going.

I wanted to do more creative things in 2017. I’m currently about 3 chapters into a novel I started in January. So, that’s something.

I wanted to work on hospitality, growing and strengthening friendships in 2017. The hospitality part may not happen until I have an empty nest. You have to be home to have people over.

I wanted to read through the Bible twice last year. I only made it about half way through once. A lot of that is because I got stuck in a few places and dove in, or I was only able to read and digest small pieces at a time because my days are too full.

I wanted to read through the Quran. I’m not changing religions, but I know that I get super frustrated with how the media and non-Christians who have never actually read the Bible portray it. I figure it’s the same deal with Islamic scripture. I’m curious about what is actually in there and what is misrepresented. Once again my curiosity leads me down some interesting paths. However, this is proving difficult for a person living in the Bible belt who only speaks English. And, I thought the English Bible versions and translations were confusing to navigate. I’m gonna figure it out, though. Eventually.

I wanted to chip away at my 50 marathons in 50 states goal, but I didn’t run a single race longer than 6.2 miles last year. I barely ran 500 miles total for the whole year.

I wanted to run an Ultra marathon. Obviously, that didn’t happen either.

These are all rolling over into 2018, but I’m now thinking about more long term goals, things I can’t check off in a year, things that require building over time. In my searching, I ran across an article (that I can’t find now that I’m sitting down to blog this) that suggested reading some obituaries, imagining what yours might say, and typing it out. If you don’t like it, rewrite it. Make a plan to accomplish the things you want to be written in your obituary. When you get stuck, revisit that section of your paper and revise yours again.

I sat there with the article in front of me, and paused. It was a long pause, and then I decided I would do it.

What a powerful exercise. You hear things similar to this all the time. “Live your best life.” “Live like today is your last day.” “You can’t change your beginning, but you can write your own ending.” Lots of sayings like this because I feel like it’s a universal truth. You will die. Live how you want to be remembered. I’m telling you, though, sitting down to actually see it, to read it, to picture your life summed up in a paragraph on a page in the paper most people don’t read, to attempt to write it, it’s life changing. Try it.

I’m currently working on my revision, and I’ll let you know how it turns out. I may even post it. We’ll see.