Hello Again

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The

That’s right. I’m hauling my fat ass onto this bandwagon.

It’s not to lose weight though. Sure, I’ll rejoice over dropped pounds. But the real reason for my Whole 30 is simple:

Carpal Tunnel.

I write – a lot – not that you’d know it by what happens here. To be fair, my alter ego has been on a tear lately, writing lots of steamy romance. But it’s come with a cost. My wrist, elbow and now shoulder are always on fire.

My knees almost always hurt. My ankles and achilles tendons too. I have plantar facitis.

In short, I am a fucking mess.

It’s gotten to the point where I can barely function any more. I’ll try anything. I’ve done my research and this seems like it might help. So Art and I are going for it.

Goodbye sugar. Goodbye grains. Goodbye alcohol (I’ll miss you the most). Goodbye dairy.

If you’re reading this and mentally composing your comment, warning me of the dangers of Paleo and how your cousins sister-in-laws daughter Betty Sue went on a Whole 30 and DIED, don’t. Unfollow my blog, because I’ll be talking a lot about Whole 30 and Paleo and what’s working vs. what’s not.

I don’t want the negativity. I don’t care about how stupid you think Paleo is. I need support and positivity.

Lack of alcohol will make me cranky as fuck.

On the other hand, if you’ve completed a Whole 30 or are in the midst of one, I’d love to hear your experience. I’d love to commiserate with you. I’d also love to know I’m not the last person on earth to jump on the fad. Even though I probably am.

Here’s to being able to walk without crying.

When Is A Mixer Not Just A Mixer?

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My husband wants to buy me a new stand mixer. He claims my current one is dying, that the motor is making an awful noise and the new ones have necessary features this one lacks.

I keep saying no. My mixer works fine. Sure I’d like a cover for the bowl – one of the nifty pour spout shields would be cool. And a larger, glass bowl would be swell. But I’m keeping that mixer.

It’s the spoils of war.

20 years ago, I unwrapped that coveted appliance. It was a gift from my then in-laws. Truthfully, it was more for their son than for me, his wife. He fancied himself quite the chef and they encouraged that dream. He made three things: gumbo, cheesecake and a giant fucking mess that he didn’t clean up.

But I used it and loved it, never caring that the little boy I married considered it his. And when our marriage was little more than flaming wreckage, I made sure that the box with the mixer stayed with me. He asked for it back. I refused. He had his mother call me. I ignored her reasonable argument that the mixer had been intended for him and cited community property. My name had been on that gift tag too.

Sure, I could have taken the high road. I could have handed over the mixer and been the better person. But I’m glad I didn’t. He took so much from me: my confidence, my joy, my belief in my own talent and intellect. I let him do it too, handing over my self-respect as a bonus. Keeping that mixer was the start of me standing up for myself. It was the beginning of not a new me, but a return to the woman I had been becoming when he entered my life.

I stopped tempering my beliefs to suit my new family. I stopped squashing the opportunities I was given, so that my husband could shine. I stopped ignoring my instincts. I stopped being resentful and competitive. I became a better, more authentic version of me. It was a decisive victory in a war that masked itself as marriage.

So I’ll hold on to that mixer, thank you very much. It’s a symbol that planetary mixing action and bowl lift design could never duplicate.

 

Just Because You’re Paranoid…

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Four days ago, I was pawing through my big freezer with frostbitten hands, searching for a bag of chicken parts I damn well knew I put in there days earlier. I had an actual memory of bagging the thighs and legs, labeling them and putting them in the freezer. They were in there.

(My husband says my “actual memories” are not in fact always memories. He has suggested that I used the chicken parts in question and have no “actual memory” of doing so.  I have suggested to my husband that I might develop an “actual memory” of kneecapping him while he sleeps. )

Potential delusions and domestic violence aside, I could not find the chicken. I did find three half finished tubs of ice cream to throw away, so there’s a win.

(How on earth is there uneaten ice cream in my freezer? Who have I become????)

Ahem. This morning, I went to get a bag of freezer jam and sitting there in plain sight is the bag of chicken parts

Conclusion: my freezer has become sentient and is messing with my head.

 

Anatomy of a “Writing” Morning

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4:45 – wake to the dulcet tones of a garage door opening and closing. (I love my house and my favorite space is my bedroom and bathroom, but I could live without it being over the garage.)

5:30 – realize you could get out of bed and get a jumpstart on the day. Decide to do so.

5:31 – remember the coffee maker is set to turn on at 6:15. No point in getting out of bed, really. Never mind that you can always, you know, turn it on yourself. Lazy whore.

5:32 – Mentally rewrite the passage you typed last night. Solve pressing issue with plot movement. Brainstorm penis euphemisms.

5:34 – doze.

6:45 – wake to the sounds of bickering children and a kitchen being slowly buried under an avalanche of discarded breakfast offerings.

6:50 – grudgingly leave bed to mediate the morning warfare.

6:51 – push button on coffee maker, enjoy the silence your bed head engenders in your children. Little known fact : cowlicks conquer sibling rivalry. They will unite to laugh at your crazy hair. Enjoy the fact that they both inherited it from you. Indulge in a silent, but evil laugh.

7:00 – announce the end of breakfast. Begin an endless litany of “brush your teeth. That doesn’t match, find a green shirt. I don’t know where your backpack is, I hardly ever use it.”  Mentally thank your mother for your parenting vocabulary. It’s way more fun on the other end of it. Not.

7:45 – Stare longingly at your child’s ADHD medication. Leave before you can succumb to temptation.

8:15 – return home to a silent house. Open Word. DO NOT OPEN SAFARI. Try to remember the brilliant revision you came up with at dawn.

8:19 – Open Safari, just to fact check.

8:20 – 1:30 – Get lost in the Internet.

1:31 – look at the time and curse fluently. Leave to pick up your children from school.

Personal Growth By Way Of Dragons

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I was on Pinterest (of course I was), and pinning like mad, gorgeous clothes for when I finally lose all my excess weight and extremely cool steampunk paraphernalia. I came across a dragon ear cuff that made me a little swoony.

My husband commented on it, because he likes to watch while I pin. (Only a little creepy, right? The couple that pins together…) He wanted to follow the link and find out how much it was. I put him off, saying, “It’s not like I’d ever wear it.”

“Why not?” He asked, genuinely baffled.

Um…actually that’s a good question. Why not?

Because I’m 41.

So? Since when is geek something you grow out of?

Because I’m fat.

So? Ear cuffs are a one size fits all proposition.

Because people would think I’m weird.

SO?

A week later, it occurred to me that I’ve spent about 35 years denying myself things I really, really love, because people might give me some side eye. I might get a judgmental smirk, or even a comment.

SO THE FUCK WHAT???? I get that anyway, by virtue of my weight. I might as well be judged for my incredibly awesome accessorizing too.

I’m gonna say it. I’m fucking rad. Not in spite of my love of fantasy, sci-fi, all things Whedon and steampunk, but because of it. Jennifer is a weird, wonderful, unique person who loves dragons and octopus jewelry and top hats with tulle and gears and goggles. I’m going to start embracing that, instead of hiding it. Because that is what I want for my daughters. I want them to embrace what they love with joy and abandon, ignoring the small-minded judgment of others. How can I give them that, without giving it to myself as well?

In the end, what does that judgment matter? It only has the power you allow. And bowing to that judgment never satisfies you. It only creates more anxiety, more self-doubt. Flying your freak (or geek, or nerd, or dork) flag is really the only way to finally relax. And really, if someone can’t appreciate the magnificence of a dragon ear cuff that makes me feel like the fucking Kahleesi, then why do I give a flying fairy fart about their opinion? If I love it (and can afford it), I should wear it proudly. I can’t think of a better legacy for my daughters, than to be true to myself. Even if it embarrasses them.

In a better world, this post would end with a picture of me wearing the dragon cuff. Unfortunately, Christmas looms and Santa is considering if he should deliver an Xbox to our house. We also need new dining room chair cushions. So no dragon for my ear. According to many ThinkGeek reviews, it doesn’t stay on anyway.

It’s okay though. At least I’m denying myself for legitimate, grown up reasons, not because I’m worried about looking dorky. After Christmas, my birthday comes. Maybe a spiffy steampunk locket will find it’s way to my neck. If it does, I’ll wear it proud.

Truth be told, that little dragon may just come my way too. You never can tell with Kahleesis. It is known.