Friday, September 23, 2011

moving day

The movers came and went within 4 hours on Wednesday. It was a relief to have it done so quickly but the next day and a half where excruciating as I cleaned 1200 sq feet of our house on my own. Now that it's done and over with I can relax for this last day here in Monterey. Henry and I have been staying with our friends, Desiree, Ben and Avery, for the last few days and it's been really nice. Great food, fun conversation and a great bed to sleep in. I have never been more comfortable as a guest in some ones home.

I was excited that Henry's Ponyo plushie came in before we left. I was starting to worry.

This afternoon I have to go back to the house to do the walk through. I've come to terms with the fact that they might charge us for a little cleaning because by the 8th hour of scrubbing I was done. Next move I will hire a cleaning service. I'm never doing that again.

My poor cat is in a large kennel inside the empty house. I know he must be so mad at me. I keep having to remind myself that he's in there. I'm worried I might forget him!

Tomorrow morning we head to the airport at 9am to pick up my Dad and get on the road to Washington. I still haven't come to terms with the leave. It's hard to think about leaving a place that has been an important part in growing up in just the short year and a half we've been here. I made amazing friends, learned a lot of important things, especially about myself, and Henry had his first steps and many other firsts here.

It's sad but still exciting to move on and discover new places! I'm really looking forward to learning my way around Augusta. I've been fortunate enough to talk to a  lot of people who have lived there and hear their advice about which places are great and which parts to avoid. It's exciting to think that Henry will start school there in a year or so and that our family will hopefully grow by one member. Hopefully.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

That felt good. That felt perfect. I want more

I can't reveal much about the Triple M-D Last Hurrah super secret/masonic/ritualistic gathering my girl friends and I had last Thursday. Just a small remark that was made the next morning as we sat around the breakfast table talking about different things we and our friends had been "Pinning".

"Pintrest is life changing." I said as I giggled.

Which I then followed with, "No, I'm serious."

And I am serious. I joined Pintrest  a month or 6 weeks ago and I feel like I've made some really great changes in my life since then. I cook more, I find new and creative ways to teach and entertain my son, I feel inspired to eat and live healthier and I feel a kinship with the women on the site who are looking to better their lives and inspire each other by sharing what motivates them, what makes them laugh and helps them to express what they are feeling through art, photography, and writing.

Even my Mother-in-law who joined shortly after me linked this article on her facebook, which by the way I have yet to read because I've been too busy pinning, but based on the title I'm going to guess it's a positive piece on the amazing, life changing effects of using Pintrest, otherwise I may have just made an ass of myself linking it to this pro-Pinning blog post. Pintrest may be life changing but obviously has not changed the fact that I have a awful habit of jumping to conclusions before checking facts.


Today from 2pm-4pm, as my son napped, I sat in my bed, eating Sweet & Spicy Doritos from the bag while cursing my sister in between bites (she introduced me to them last year) and Pinning. As I go back and forth to my home board I keep catching a glimpse of how many other Pinners, specifically women, had re-Pinned something of mine that I had been lucky enough to come across on the main page a couple of days ago. This specific Pin was the blog of a woman who lost 135 pounds. After I put this blog on my health and fitness board I sat and read it for a few hours and was touched by her sincere and honest style of writing. She was able to say things that I have felt but in the most beautiful way. A way that could make anyone who sneers at over weight people find an understanding with the struggle.

I sat and looked at that list of Pinners, re-Pinning this woman's blog  and then looked down at my hand, paused inside of the Doritos bag, and I felt sick. The words from her blog ran through my head.

Her are links to 3 of her posts titled, "What I Miss About Being Fat" parts 1,2 and 3.

"What I Miss About Being Fat,part 1"

"What I Miss About Being Fat, part 2"

"What I Miss About Being Fat, part 3"

And then read her posts titled "My Exercise History".

"My Exercise History, part 1"

"My Exercise History, part 2"

"My Exercise History, part 3"

After getting over the amount of Doritos I had eaten, I waited for Henry to wake up, put on my shoes, got him dressed and went for a walk.

Just 2 weeks ago I was jog-walking a mile in 11 1/2 minutes, which was a huge accomplishment for me, and then life got busy with the upcoming move and guests staying and I stopped exercising. It was easy to put it aside because my shins were killing me and my body was not adjusting well to the shock of exercise that I thrust it into so quickly. I was feeling I had good reason to put it to a temporary halt. But my history will show that the halts are never just that. Unless you call 2 years in between active exercise temporary.

 I hate the pain my body has to go through when I exercise. It makes me hate doing things that aren't exercise at all. It makes me avoid things that sound like exercise but aren't. Like walking. I used to love walking. As a kid I was always walking all over the small town I grew up in. I walked to my friends house, to the convenience store and to the beach. But as an over weight adult I've associated walking with exercise when I shouldn't. Walking is healthy. Walking is therapeutic. Walking is a sensory exercise. It opens up my mind to so many things.

Smells. The smell of the ocean. The smell of people cooking dinner for their families. The smell of laundry detergent blowing through the dryer vents. The smell of fresh cut grass.

Sounds. The birds, of all kinds, talking to each other. The cars going up and down the high way. The dogs barking as we walk past their fences. The trees rustling with the breeze. (I think I'll break into Colors of the Wind right about now.)

Sites. The kids riding their bikes on the side walk, the nutty rat-squirrels running around, the ocean over the sand dunes, the soldiers pulling into their drive ways after a long day at work.

I love walking. Why don't I do it every day? Why don't I walk everywhere? I have the time. I have the legs. I have the love for it.

So when I set out on my walk today I knew I wasn't going to run. I wasn't going to time myself and I wasn't going to measure how far I'd gone. I walked slow enough to enjoy everything around me but also with an eager pace,wanting to see, hear and smell more. I let my sons stroller do most of the guiding through the roads and side walks and ended back home thinking,

"That felt good. That felt perfect. I want more."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Harry Potter wand tutorial

I saw a tutorial for these wands several months ago and knew I had to do them. I finally bit the bullet and attempted them a few days ago. The first tutorial I tried ended in burnt fingers and over all disaster. The idea was to roll the paper and pipe it full of hot glue. It was a great idea in theory but in practice it caused me to curse and throw glitter in the air in a very angry way, which is probably the biggest sin in the religion of crafting. Happy glitter throwing is a gift to the Crafting Gods but angry glitter throwing? That's a no-no.

Before giving up I decided to google and see if there was a better tutorial. There was! This guy laid out the instructions wonderfully. For step by step pictures and instructions go to his Instructable site and also gaze upon his beautiful wands. I think he sells them too.

I'll lay it out for you here as well.

1.First grab a few sheets of white printer paper.

2.Take one sheet of paper and put some double sided sticky tape across it diagonally.

3.Start rolling the paper from one corner to the other tightly and so that one end is more narrow than the other.

4.Once you roll past the sticky tape use some Elmer's glue or Mod Podge and apply it to the the end of the paper and then finish rolling it up. Hold on to the wand until the glue dries. The glue is important because it keeps the edges of the paper sealed down, making the seam less noticeable.

5.Next take another piece of paper and repeat only making it tighter than the first one. You don't need to glue this one closed, just use a little tape to keep it from unwinding and then shove it inside the first one. This builds a pretty solid foundation for your wand.

Here is where I differ from the designer of these particular wands. He didn't want to put a chopstick inside of the wand because he worried it could poke some one's eye out. I on the other hand think that eye loss by a Harry Potter wand would make an awesome story and honestly, chop stick or not the double paper roll is strong enough to poke some one's eye out.

6. I didn't have any chopsticks but I had bamboo skewers so I took three of them and shoved them in to the rolls as hard as I could and then broke them off at the end.

7. BTW, if you want to put something special in your wand it's best to do it before the skewers.

8. After the skewers are in, take the hot glue gun and pipe it in, sealing up the paper and skewers and filling what little empty space there is left.

9. Next pipe a little hot glue on to each end to make a nice round little ball. This gives both ends a finished look.

10. Next take your hot glue gun and pipe a pattern, or non pattern on to the wand. The trick to making your wand look really cool is not to get weird about making it perfect. Tree branches are nobby and rough so if you want a wand with a lot of character don't think too much about what you are doing.

At this point you might look at your wand and think it looks horrible but if you get over the imperfections you will see it's amazing potential!

11.Next, seal it up with a coat of spray paint. Doesn't matter what color. I used white.

12. After the spray paint dries brush on the base coat of the color you choose with an ACRYLIC paint. I used brown. I used a sponge brush and after painting with stokes I ended up dabbing the next coat on to give it a more textured look. Let the paint dry.

13.Next take your distressing color (I used black) which again should be ACRYLIC and put a little water on it and stir. This is your wash color. You are going to paint in onto your wand and then wipe or dab it off. I used a paper towel to dab mine but I suggest a sponge or washcloth as some of the paper towel I used stuck to the paint. The distressing color gives the wand dimension and age.

If you find that the paint is not staying on all of the hot glue pattern don't worry. The last step will cover that.

By now you should be pretty dang excited because it's looking finished and if you like it the way it is, it can be done. But if you want to give it some more character go to the next step.

14. For the gold and silver sheen you see on my wand I used Rub N' Buff gold leaf. It come in a little metal tube for about $3.99 (Michael's Craft Store) which might seem like a lot but it lasts forever. You need the tiniest amount to finish your project. You just put a little on your finger and rub it over the hot glue patterns.I even used whatever was left on my fingers to rub the rest of the wand and give it just the slightest tint.

That completes your wand! I am really impressed with how solid this wand is. I made 4 total. One for myself and each of my girl friends who are all HP fans.

I have never had so much fun working on a project. Even at 27 years old I looked at the finished wands and couldn't help but pick one up and give it a flick while whispering, "Stupefy" at my cat, which was kind of pointless because he's pretty clueless already but I swear, for a few minutes, he was acting like a complete moron.

I plan on making some more wands in funkier and brighter colors next week.

Are you wondering what the core of these four sister wands are? Well, I walked to the farthest reaches of the Mystical Forrest's of Narnia and collected the most magical substance known (or unknown) to man. The menstrual blood of a Unicorn. The process of collecting it wasn't pretty so I wont go into the details but it was promised to keep my friends and I bonded for the rest of our lives, so it was worth it.

When I told my Mom about my project she said, "I had no idea you were such a nerd." I told her I didn't either. I guess if there is one superior nerd it's the HP one. I will proudly wear my badge!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 seconds in the mind of a crazy-ish person

I have had anxiety for practically my whole life. It's caused a real problem for me and I've passed by a lot of great opportunities and adventures because I was too disabled by it. Thankfully in the last few years I've learned to managed it quite well. I enjoy socializing a lot more and I can go out and run errands like a normal person. But when things get stressful, anxiety likes to rear it's ugly head. Kind of like this:

I completely understand how you feel, Sigourney.

We are moving in a few weeks so my anxiety is pretty high and I get panicky over crazy things. Things so crazy that at the end of the day when I'm calm and reflect on my day, I consider commiting myself to a mental institution. 

For example: You know that feeling you get before you win something? Like, you know you are going to win big on a scratch ticket or raffle or what have you, and your heart and stomach lurch into your mouth? I got that feeling yesterday when I spotted a huge wad of cash in the main isle of a Target, only it was accompanied by chest pains and nausea because that's how my anxiety works . I saw the cash and in the 10 seconds between spotting it and reaching it, the following thoughts went through my head.

  • Oh my gosh look at that huge wad of cash!
  • That person passed by it and didn't see it!
  • What if some one sees it before I reach it and we have to fight over it?
  • Look casual.
  • Don't lurch for it.
  • Quickly and casually pick it up.
  • Should I turn it in?
  • [-Forget that! Finders-Keepers, baby!
  • Please let their be a Benjamin in that wad
  • Why is it taking so long to get to it.
  • The isles are shrinking!
  • Everyone is staring at me. They know what I'm looking at now.
  • They'll judge me if I don't turn it in!
  • screw them, they would keep it too.
  • What if some one sees me pick it up and says it's theirs?
  • They'd be lying!
  • I think I'm going to throw up.
  • I'm just going to walk past it.
  • No, that's stupid! Get it!
Finally, after what feels like a trek across the United States I reach that huge wad of cash, I get my hand ready for the quick and casual scoop I'd been planning, AND....................................................




It's a freaking napkin.


I got worked up over a wad of napkin.

You know, I would be really interested in seeing what exactly my face looked like the moment I realized it wasn't money. Did I look as insane as I felt? Could people see the battle that had just gone on in my brain?

 What I was feeling was a mixture of things.



 Relief- I probably would have fought with myself over my poor morals for keeping the money for the next 10 years.

If you are wondering what goes on in the other 86,390 seconds of my day...It's typical. I think? I hope?

 Common topics that bring up anxiety on a daily basis.:

  • Food. 
  • Where did my son learn that word? 
  • Zombie apocolypses.
  • Sticky surfaces.
  • Cat hair.
  • Where did my son find that pointy object?
  • Rabies.

The list is infinite but thankfully most anxiety inducing thoughts pass by quickly these days and my life is full of happy and fun and lots of laughter.

Friday, September 2, 2011

the perfect post work out meal

This crappy picture was brought to you by a 1.8mp camera phone.

Pregnancy changed a lot about me. Mainly in the food department. The thought of an egg during my pregnancy (back in 2008) was unbearable. Even before I got pregnant, an egg that was not scrambled and cooked thoroughly was not making it's way into my mouth unless it was through baked goods.

But now I find poached eggs to be a gift from the Chicken Gods. I've tried several different ways to cook them perfectly and I like the plastic bag in boiling water method but it really only works If I have some time to cook at a leisurely pace. So a few days ago I picked up a microwave poacher that would allow me to cook poached eggs when in a hurry. Initially, the sounds of a microwave poached egg sounded kind of repulsive but I thought I would give it a try. It actually worked out great! I made two perfectly poached eggs in under 2 minutes which I ate with 5 other things that I would have never eaten before getting pregnant.

1. Sun dried tomatoes.
2. Feta Cheese
3. Multi-grain bread.
4. ground pepper
5. basil

I know, number 4 and 5 are kind of weird but I'm really sensitive to ground pepper. If a lot of it is cooked on high heat my throat gets sore and itchy and I cough. Same goes for Cayenne pepper and as far as basil goes, I just never really cooked with herbs and spices.

Anyway, this meal, in my opinion, is about as satisfying as a meal can get. I recently saw a little sign on Pintrest that said 50% of your workout is wasted if you don't eat within 30 minutes of finishing. I have no idea if this is factual at all but I like the idea so I'm going to just go with it because I'm always ravenous after I work out.

Pregnancy has opened a culinary door which has allowed me to enjoy some of the most beautiful and delicious foods but it also closed the door on most pastas which is a bummer for my husband. He loves it.

Tonight I'm going to give him a little of what he likes (pasta wise) with this recipe. I anticipate that it will be a hit!

scratch that! I'm making this tonight!