Friday, December 14, 2018

All I Want for Christmas, 2018 edition

Good morning, loyal readers. Not that I'm much of a blogger these days...

I realized this morning that I hadn't yet written my annual Christmas list, which is something that I really must do because as much as I hate it sometimes, I am a creature of habit. And writing these ridiculous lists is something I started many, many years ago when this here blog began. Back in the time of the dinosaurs.


Here, I made you a graphic. It is awful, but it's for you. I hope it brings you a mediocre, but appropriate amount of joy for a graphic that literally took me 90 seconds to make.

Don't worry, I won't force anyone to read the old crap I used to write. I don't even want to read that stuff. If you want to peruse the lists from the past few years, though, here they are for your rabbit hole reading pleasure.

2017
2016
2015
2014
2013


Seriously, though, don't go any further back than that. (Waits patiently for a comment on a 2009 post...)

Let's get to what we are here for, which is my list. Since I know that you all care. Also because I am actually four years old and still write a Christmas list.

1. I want a time machine. Especially this week. I'd like to be able to travel back in time by a few weeks and make people do the things that they were supposed to do back then so that we wouldn't be sitting in limbo for longer about a huge life thing that I'm being deliberately vague discussing. Vague enough? Good.

2. I want more hours in the day. And no, this is not some glorification of busy thing, so spare me those comments, sanctimommies of the world. I really am that busy, and not by choice. I would love nothing more than to have glorious unplugged down time with my entire family, but that just isn't the way things are working out for us right now. It's rare that we are all home at the same time anymore. Between the seven of us, we have 6 people in school at least part time, 1 full time job, about 9 part time jobs, a holiday theater show schedule, drumline practice for two kids lasting 6 hours a week (until that jumps up after NYE, right around the time I pick up another job), all while working every imaginable bingo shift to try and raise money for band trips and dues. I know that someday I will look back fondly on this time in my life, that I will long for the days when I had to put everything in my calendar on my phone so that it would send me reminders to do the 73 things I need to do today. I know. You don't need to remind me or tell me how lucky or blessed I am. I am aware. I'm also really fucking exhausted. 

3. I want people to believe victims when they tell their stories. Period. I don't want them to be doubted or questioned or disbelieved. I don't want to listen to them explain or justify what they were wearing. I don't want to extend the benefit of the doubt in every circumstance to the accused, particularly when there is a pattern of behavior. We live in a society that treats victims like shit for saying anything...so WHY would anyone make this stuff up? Easy. They wouldn't. Your whole entire false accusation narrative is in and of itself a part of toxic misogyny. 

4. I want people to understand that politics aren't politics, that politics are life...and if you are fortunate to believe that politics are just politics, that comes from whatever privileges you occupy in this society.

5. I want more tattoos. And I want my nose pierced. But I can't get any more tattoos or piercings for a while, which is fine. I don't have the cash for them anyway.

6. I want a Disney budget that won't eat into every other single aspect of what little breathing room we have. The older two kids are marching in the parade at Disneyland this spring, which is a once in a lifetime thing. They're going, and because they're going (and the big one is the drum major), I want to go too. I've already sent him on trips to places I have never been with the band, but this is his last big thing in high school, and I want to be there to see him do it. Disneyland costs a goddamn fortune though. For real. I know that there are all these people who claim that money isn't the path of happiness, but for fucks sake not having to worry about it once in a while would be life changing. I wonder all the time what it must be like to actually not have to worry about money. And then I go back to work.

7. I want the track at the gym to be empty when I want to use it, or to be populated only by people who can stay in the lanes they are supposed to stay in and who pay attention when someone is trying to pass them. I don't know which is worse - the obnoxious tweens weaving in and out of lanes, the clueless old ladies chatting with friends three wide on the track, or the guy who has to turn around and watch me run every.single.time. I pass him. Dude. What the hell. 

8. Speaking of running, I'd like to make progress faster on my pace. I've been doing this religiously for months now, and have gotten much better at it. Well, I haven't gotten better, I've slowly sucked at it less and less. Accuracy. But it would be nice to feel like I am getting better at it faster. But alas. I'll go anyway. Because right now running is saving my sanity.

9. Totally a first world thing, but I applied to sit on the parks and rec advisory board and I'm probably jinxing myself by even mentioning it, but I would like to know if I got selected. My dream is to become Leslie Knope. Yes, yes it is.

10. I'd like my middle dog child to mellow out. She's an enormous bony freak of a lab mix, and she still has at least 2 years of puppy left in her, but I'm tired. The upside is that she isn't eating the actual house anymore. And yeah, she totally did that for a while. 

11. I'd like for the people who live in my house to see all the stuff that is everywhere. You know. The stuff that only I CAN SEE, that only I PICK UP. It drives me a little more insane every day. Why did you finally snap, Kelly? The hair ties. It was the hair ties. 

12. Speaking of which, I'd like to not have to lose my mind and get all yelly to get people to help around here. Or not have to do any of those things. Like, if people could just empty the dishwasher because they walk past it and see that it needs done, or swish the toilet after they drop a nasty deuce, or move the laundry to the dryer before it starts to smell like feet, that'd be great. This wish is evidence of the fact that I am delusionally optimistic. 

13. I'd like to deal with a little less anxiety in the house. All the way around. We could all use some chill. I include myself here.

14. I'd like to actually go on an anniversary trip with the husband this year, knowing that it probably won't happen because of the wonder that is Disneyland and having 5 kids that insist on eating and outgrowing their clothes and shoes. 

15. I want an unlimited supply of protein almonds and other crazy expensive keto snack foods that I refuse to buy because of that whole Disneyland and 5 kids thing.

16. I would LOVE my wardrobe to just change sizes as I do. I don't have the cash flow to buy new pants every couple of months, even if I need them. If the dryer could actually just start shrinking stuff, that would be rad.

17. I want to be able to clean my carpet and have it stay clean for 24 hours before someone spills or pees or barfs on it. 

18. I want my inside the computer people to not be so far away. And I want to actually SEE the friends who live here way more than I do.

19. I want to make good on the plans to start a game night this year.

20. I still want world peace, an end to hunger, freedom for all, true equality and for Citizens United to be overturned. I want Ginsburg to stay on the Supreme Court forever. Someone get her some vitamins immediately. 

Happy Festivus. I got a lot of problems with you people. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

My Keto Experiment

Waves.

Hi. I don't really want to write this post, but here we are, so let's just get it over with.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Talk to your doctor. Blah, blah, blah.

I am about to roll over on a year since I started this weird keto journey, and I guess that I look different enough that people are starting to ask me what I am doing. Kicking my own ass, mostly. But we'll get there in a minute.



Back in December of 2017, I was tired of being tired. Frustrated with not ever being able to lose weight, no matter what I did. Facing a diagnosis of diabetes and looking at going on meds after struggling to keep my blood sugar down for nearly two decades. My a1c was creeping higher and higher, along with the number on the scale. I started to do battle with my pancreas a very long time ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest kid. He's 17, so that tells you just how long it has been.

I'm not the type of fat person who can legitimately claim that they were fat and healthy. I wasn't. I had high blood pressure too. I couldn't do a lot of things that involved too much exertion. Last summer at Disneyland, on top of having a bizarre allergic reaction, I dealt with blisters and some serious chub rub that made the trip hell for me. It was awful. I don't want to be that person anymore.

I also have been through my mom dying from complications of Type 2. I knew that I didn't want to end up like she did, I knew that I wanted to be able to watch not just my kids grow up, but their kids too. And I knew that something seriously had to change.

I have struggled with my weight for my whole entire life. I was the fat kid. I've always been your fat friend. And before anyone starts to angrily type a comment about how "we" aren't fat and fat is just a thing...I know. I'm aware. I've lived in this fat body for my whole life. Trust me when I tell you that the world treats fat people differently. It just does.

Anyhow, I've tried damn near every diet known to man. Even the ones with the celebrities and the ads on tv. I've exercised until I passed out. I have dealt with anorexia a few times along the way, and I know my propensity to just stop eating when life gets too complicated. I STILL fall back into these damaging patterns of behavior, even at 41 years old. I was never very good at being anorexic, though. Still fat.

Which just fed the vicious cycle of self loathing.

Hooray for having shitty self esteem.

I saw a couple of friends make progress with keto and figured what the hell? I'll give it a shot, and maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't. It was literally either this or accept my fate and go on meds.

I am also probably the most skeptical person you know. I assumed it wouldn't make a difference. Nothing else ever has.

I have done a ton of research on health and nutrition. I have had a few lectures from nutritionists. I have been told by endocrinologists to keep eating carbs, believing that I had to eat them because all these experts told me I had to. Nothing got better. It only got worse.

And really, humans are not designed to digest wheat. We aren't supposed to be eating processed foods. We just aren't. We just fell for the idea that we are. I include myself here.

The ADA still recommends that people with Type 2 diabetes eat a whole bunch of carbs, just that they use medication and/or insulin to maintain their glucose levels.

It doesn't have to be like that.

(Type 1 is a VERY different situation, requiring insulin, and which cannot be managed by limiting carbs alone. Nothing I write here should be deemed any recommendation to attempt this way of eating for someone with Type 1).

When I started it, I jumped in with both feet, committing myself to really going all in. This isn't the kind of lifestyle that you can ease yourself into exactly. In order to reach a state of ketosis, you essentially have to go cold turkey on sugar and refined carbs. And I won't lie to anyone. That first week SUCKS. Like, you're going to feel like shit. Your body is going to punish you, and it will attempt to demand that you eat the bread or sugar or whatever because you've basically become addicted to the stuff.

Once you get past those first few days, it gets better. I promise.

To cope with those initial days, and the "keto flu" that comes with them, drink a ton of water. Up your intake of electrolytes. And wait. Honestly, you've just got to ride that part out.

Once you do, though, you'll likely start to feel better within a few days. I know it sounds hokey, but I think clearer now. I am better able to regulate my emotions, less likely to be dealing with severe anxiety. I sleep a whole lot better. No longer take antacids.

When I started, I did what is usually referred to as lazy keto. I didn't make a bunch of fancy recipes. I didn't make special food. I sure didn't buy anything special. I didn't take a bunch of supplements. I didn't invest in a whole bunch of shakes. If I was out at a restaurant, I just asked for meals to be made a little differently. Sauces on the side, no bread, no croutons. Sub rice or pasta for vegetables.

I've never worried about my macros aside from keeping a running total of my net carbs. My goal is to have 20 net carbs a day or fewer. Some people can do this and get away with as much as 50 grams. My pancreas is an asshole though, so I keep them lower.

Oh, and a net carb is just total carbs minus fiber.

You will want to try and spread them out throughout the day too, because if you ate all 20 (or 50 if you're one of the lucky people), it might be enough to kick you out of ketosis.

A lot of people assume that I have changed everything about how I cook and eat, and it isn't actually true. I still make most of the same dinners for my family that I always have. I just substitute ingredients or serve the carb-dense stuff on the side instead of incorporated in the dish. For example, I still make spaghetti and homemade meatballs on a regular basis. I just eat mine with zucchini noodles or shiritaki noodles instead. I do make my own pasta/pizza sauce because nearly all commercially available sauces are full of sugar. It's literally the easiest thing, though, and tastes so much better. Crushed tomatoes, olive oil, oregano, basil, garlic, salt, pepper and some red pepper flakes. There.

There are some super health conscious people who will claim that you can never have fast food on keto. I'm not one of them. I have 5 kids and we are super busy people so there are times that I am nowhere near home and need to eat. I just get burgers without ketchup or the bun, with extra lettuce and tomatoes.

I keep a bag of roasted almonds in the car for snacks. Peanuts are fine too if you prefer, but more likely to cause inflammation and carry more net carbs.

I drank bulletproof coffee for a while, but stopped mostly because it was too much effort. I just drink it black now...and I drink a whole lot less of it. I used to guzzle the stuff by the gallon, and now I find that I only need one cup a day to get going.

So, then...what do I eat? I know that this is the question that a lot of people want answered. I eat food. Just food. All meats and fish, poultry and cheese will become your best friend. There are some keto people who literally live on bacon, and while I do love bacon, I cannot eat it that often. I stopped eating dairy aside from cheese and occasional Greek yogurt a long time ago and my digestive system has been so much better ever since. Eggs. I cannot tell you enough about eggs. Most people are conditioned to believe that eggs have a lot of cholesterol and therefore will raise your cholesterol levels, but that's not actually true. My cholesterol has dropped pretty significantly, and on an average day, I eat at least 2 eggs. (whole thing, not just the egg whites). All green leafy vegetables are great, tomatoes in moderation. You're going to want to avoid most root vegetables since they are starchy and full of carbs. And fruit is generally a no-go except for berries and the almighty avocado. ALL THE AVOCADOS.

I make ice cream sometimes if I really want it, from coconut milk, cocoa powder and Stevia. Peanut butter fat bombs cups from sugar free chocolate and chunky peanut butter with coconut oil. There are a million cookbooks and websites devoted to these recipes, so I won't bore you here.

My husband recently started eating keto as well, and makes killer bagels using Fathead dough (again, the interwebs are full of these recipes). They're seriously so good. Keto bread...well, it's not real bread...but it'll do. Swap out regular flour for almond flour or coconut flour, and you're going to want to make sure to grab xanthan gum for anything doughy you want to make.

I do have exogenous ketones in drink form that I use very rarely if I've had more carbs than I should. I've experimented with intermittent fasting as well, and have found that once I adjusted, I'd stay fuller longer anyway. It's weird. I can't really explain it. I do drink protein shakes now, and it took me a while to find a keto friendly mix that didn't taste like dirt. Optimum Nutrition chocolate if you're interested. Costco sells it. No need to pay some exorbitant amount of money for special keto-marketed stuff. I usually toss some powdered peanut butter in there too, with unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

For the first 9 months on this journey, I truly did keto only without adding any extra exercise. In September, for reasons that defy explanation, I started running too. But there are tons of people who have great success with this way of eating who don't do any exercise at all.

Thing is....what you put into your body is a whole lot easier to control than trying to burn it off, even if you were going to work out all the time. I don't honestly know why I started running, but I kind of love it now. (gross)

This weekend, I will hit one year with this way of eating. I can say that I will never go back. I have lost a whole bunch of weight. My cholesterol is lower. My blood pressure is normal. My a1c is too. My skin is even clearer.

It has changed my life.

Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't...but maybe you want to try too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Peck Peck Peck Peck

Hi there, loyal readers. All three of you. If there are even three of you left at this point. Hi. Hi. Hi.

I made a truly half-assed attempt to participate in NaNoWri Mo this year, which failed on Day 3. I know my limitations, and daily writing is one of them. Truth be told, though, I started running a few months ago for reasons that defy explanation, and so I have been spending most of my free time arguing with myself on trails and tracks and dirt roads. It's actually pretty good for the purposes of diffusing anger and frustration.

Which I have had a lot of lately. More than normal. And this particular anger and frustration, well, the new part anyway, derives from something that I cannot actually talk about. I mean, I suppose that I could if I so chose, but I do not so choose at this particular moment in time. Vague enough, yeah?

I can tell you that it has something to do with the whole #metoo movement and dug up a whole bunch of old traumas for me, then revealed some new old traumas that I hadn't really ever fully appreciated for how horrible they were, and there's a whole lot of undeserved guilt heaped on to my shoulders for all of it, not that any of it was my fault, but guilt doesn't actually care about any of that so here we are.

I am generally a very forthcoming person, but this isn't something I am ready to talk about, and to be honest, I am not sure that I ever will be. It has put me in a very odd place in several aspects of my life, and I question who I am actually trying to protect by keeping mostly quiet about it, though recognizing that it's mostly me I'm trying to save right now.

Hence, the running.

There's something deeply therapeutic about pushing your body to its limits, where you feel like you are simultaneously going to vomit and become euphoric. It's weird. I once vowed never to become the person who talks about runner's highs, but I didn't realize back then just how much I would need them someday. So, past me....you were wrong and an asshole. Current me, still an asshole, offers to enlighten you a bit.

I do a lot of monologuing on these runs. Obviously.

On top of all that drama and literally everything that is involved in a house with one cat, three dogs, and seven people, three of which are teenagers, today should be my father's 66th birthday but he only made it to 58.

He said he never wanted to get old. Hated aging in general. Thanks to decades of smoking and whatever environmental exposures he picked up along the way, cancer made sure he didn't get old. I don't recommend it, though. I was there with him at the end, and believe me when I tell you that I wouldn't wish all that he went through on anyone.

Sigh.

I promised myself I wasn't going to write anything sappy about him this year, and here I am starting to do it. Blech.

So, I guess I will tell you all the story that I told my Facebook friends a few weeks back. It's funny and weird and will forever ruin something for you. Basically, it is the best kind of story.

Anyhow. When I was a teenager, my father started telling me and anyone who would listen a story. He'd tell it every time a particular song came on the radio or played in some tv show or movie. Like, he would literally stop what he was doing to engage in this story telling journey over and over again for the sheer joy of watching me cringe.

You see, it was the song that he swore I was conceived to.

Bow chicka wow wow.

And he wanted everyone to know.

A few weeks ago, on the anniversary of my mom's death, I was in the grocery store. I had made a conscious decision to avoid music for the whole day because of the cosmic radio gods that like to torture me when I need it least (or most depending on who you ask, I suppose). I had been fighting back tears most of the morning when I found myself reaching for a can of chili beans, and heard the opening notes of the song. That song. The magic one that made me.

I started laughing (more of a chortle) in the middle of the grocery store.

If I told you that it happened again last week, in the same aisle of the store, as I was again grabbing a can of chili beans, would you believe me?

Well, it did. I don't actually care if you believe me or not. The cosmic radio gods know.

Since I know that you are all dying to know what song it was, I shall tell you and forever ruin it for you as well.

Afternoon Delight.

Skyrockets in flight. ***pew***

Anyhow, I have a million things I need to do on this Tuesday, and I wanted to say hello. I needed to write. And even though I didn't really tell you all much about anything that is going on, I feel better. And I ruined a song for you all. So there's that.

Until next time...

Friday, November 2, 2018

Day 2. It's a strong start. Let's pretend to be optimistic.

I've got a ton of stuff I need to write for work, so this is all that is happening here today. For now. Might be back later....

Thursday, November 1, 2018

NaNoWriMo maybe but probably not

I have forty five minutes to do this before I need to leave for work, but the four year old and the ten year old will be home any second, so this might end up being the shortest NaNoWriMo submission in the history of the universe.

Then again, I managed not to blog at all last month.

I've been busy. Not just busy, but like the soul crushing kind of busy, interspersed with all kinds of old traumas resurfacing in ways that have made me nauseous and anxious and angry and more. I'm not talking about any of that stuff because I just can't. It is so awful and gross and the worst part of really old trauma is that your brain does a really fantastic job of suppressing a lot of it until and unless something dredges it up from the murky pond bottom and exposes it for what it truly was. And that happened for me this past month.

That, and my general life approach for assuming the best about people was wrong. Really, really wrong, and yeah, that's about that old trauma thing too. Suffice to say that I'm not talking about it much with very many people, but that there are a few people that I have opened up to about it all because I need to talk to someone. 

It just sucks.

That, and we've had a lot of health care stuff going on here. Plus Halloween costume building and a kid applying to college and a whole bunch of life. 

I don't get to even touch the computer much unless I am prepping for work or editing pictures, which is also actually work but doesn't feel as much like work because I love it. I have been doing a lot of senior photo shoots lately and I think they are one of my new favorite type of session. 

Anyhow, I don't really having anything shareable that is super profound at the moment, but I wanted to force myself to make some words appear on the screen because I am trying to convince myself to actually DO this challenge this year since I really DO have a book I am working on, and so even if I am not writing here, I hope that I am actually writing.

I hope you all are well. 

xo

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