We just returned home from Christmas in Arizona, but I'm not ready to write about that yet [aka I haven't uploaded pictures yet, but mostly there's more than one post from that trip - like one devoted to mountains and maybe another about driving down I-25 as the sun was setting, plus those devoted to family and another to the stomach bug from Hades that my little family, with the exception of Magnolia, got on Christmas Eve - Room 407 at the Superstition Springs La Quinta has a special bond with us now].

I'm writing my life out of order.

I don't really make New Year's Resolutions. I never have, but I've been thinking about a few things that I really want to work on. There are three to be exact. And maybe there are four because I keep feeling like I'm forgetting something that's been on my mind.

1. Get better at remembering names. I have become horrible at remembering what name goes with what face, and that's not the kind of person I want to be. I love people, and remembering names is a small gesture to show the interest I have in almost every person I've ever met.

2. Live with less. For the last few years I've been been fixated on the idea of living a simple life. I've succeeded in many aspects of simplifying, but in one very apparent way, I know I need work: Stuff. There are times when I feel like the walls are closing in on our house. We have less than the average household, but it's still way more than we need. We did a book purge today. We have so many books. Like we have to have an extra room than what we need just so we have enough room for them. I want to know what's in every drawer and closet. I want empty nooks and crannies. I want less room for stuffing and more room for living. Less consuming, more living. Stuff not defining my life, what I do with my life defining my life. More living. More living. More living.

3. People don't know you're thinking about them unless you let them know. I need to come out of my bubble and let people know they're on my mind. With any luck [and a little more effort on my part], you'll be hearing from me more often.

Play that Funky Music White [Girl]

I've been in a funk...

A clothing funk. [I'm typing this to Play that Funky Music. I can't help it.]

I've been to the mall twice in two days. With two little girls. Just me and them. Anyone with kids knows this is a big deal. The even bigger deal is that I didn't buy a single thing.

My sole mission was to find some clothes that I like more than the ones I wore one pregnancy, six months, and twenty pounds ago. When the scale said I was five pounds lighter, I thought, shoot, I can get a few things to help ease me through this transition.

It's like I don't even know what I like. Re-phrase. I don't know what I like one me. I try stuff on, and I guess it's fine, but I don't recognize the body that it's on right now, so I can't tell if it looks okay.

Total Crazy-town.
[Is that a song too?]

It's like I've forgotten how to dress myself. While I've ne'er been a fashionista, I used to be really cute. And it was pretty effortless. I went in, saw something I liked, bought it, and I was good to go. I'm totally trying, but hot dang, I need a new approach.

Enter a website I discovered today: New Dress a Day

This girl spends $1 a day for a year and comes out with 365 fabulous new clothing items at the end of a year. That's right. She hits up the thrift stores and flee markets to find items thought to be past their prime and breathes new life into them with her creativity and sewing machine. Girl, you get it.

I'm not a fabulous seamstress, but fo' real, I am a lover of bargains. As cheap as they come, I am. I'm also a lover of using my creativity. While I will not be creating 365 pieces [I'm also a lover of down-sizing/having less stuff], this might just be my ticket to rocking cute again.

It's time to lay down that boogie and play that funky music 'til I die.

PS: Tomorrow, this little family will be making its way to Arizona to spend Christmas with my family. I haven't been to the place of my birth in 2.5 years. I can't believe it. Far too long.

Best Shake-on-it Deal Ever.

This morning, as I was sorting the laundry, Jake said something remarkable.

One of the most amazing things I've ever heard.

"If you wash and dry all of the laundry, I'll fold it."

"Really?" I asked.


"Like forever?"


"Will you put it away?" I implored.

"Well, not yours. I don't know where it goes."

As I was picking myself up off the floor, we shook on it. That's a deal right there. Why didn't we come up with this arrangement sooner?

Oh, what's that I hear? The washer just went silent. Time to go keep up my end of the bargain and toss them in the dryer.

Merry Christmas to me.

Dear Mom

I've been thinking a lot about the food I eat, and how I feel as though I've finally found the path on which I feel most comfortable in terms of what I put into my body. When I wrote my last post about what really drives my desire to eat well in addition to being meat-free, I couldn't figure out how to put you in, even though you belong there. Then I figured it out. You don't just need a blurb in a post, you need an entire one just for yourself, and that is what this will be.

I started thinking about the types of meat I was consuming in eighth grade. When I made the decision to try and cut red meat out of my diet, you were completely supportive. You always made sure we had ground turkey on hand in addition to the beef every one else was eating.

When I kept getting sick after every run my senior year, I decided to cut out meat all together, and again, you were supportive. You made sure there were other sources of protein for me. I remember a lot of yogurt in the fridge.

That vegetarian experience lasted for four months, until I went to Oklahoma for the first time, and I felt bad for people having to plan around me. I had my first meat again at Katy's 16th birthday party in the form of chicken and dumplings.

You paid attention to what I loved to eat. When I was on a mango kick, there were always mangoes at home. When I couldn't get enough Bosc pears, there were always Bosc pears. You knew when I loved Orange Carrot SoBe, and would surprise me with them every once in a while. Do you remember the time you took me to the doctor because the palms of my hands and soles of my feet were turning yellow? The diagnosis was a lot beta-carotene from all of the orange foods I'd been eating.

During the portion of my life (and it's nearly half of it) that I've been trying to come into my own in terms of consumption, you've never tried to deter me or tell me I didn't know what I was doing - even when I was a gangly 13-year-old. You've never even questioned it really. I feel like food is an important part of our relationship. It's one of my most favorite parts.

When you come to see me, you plan and execute meals you know I'll love. I can't wait to see you in a few weeks and find out what you have up your sleeve. I know it will be good. Thank you for letting me walk this path that I have continued to grow more passionate about, for letting me experiment, for giving me the freedom to do what I felt was right by my body. That was and continues to be an invaluable gift.

With Love,

PS: Thank you also for taking me to a pediatrician who combined Eastern and Western medicines. I grew up thinking that was the norm, and I feel like my life is richer because of it. I wonder if Ruth Tan Lim is still practicing in her little office off of Dobson with Kachina dolls in the waiting room.

How Blessed the Day

Recently, a few people have asked me why I'm a vegetarian [though my family and I are currently pescetarians]. I have a few go-to easy answers, all of them real reasons, but not the one deep-down inside of me feeling that made me finally fully convert to a life of no meat. It's a simple answer, one word really: Peace.

I grew up singing a hymn, one that is rooted in the restoration churches of the 19th century. The fourth and final verse begins: "How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion shall lie down together without any ire." This line is based on the scriptures in Isaiah 11. "The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hold of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

Call me a literalist, but I have always loved this imagery, and have always taken it to heart. I want to do my part to bring it to pass. In addition to kindness, community involvement, love for my fellow human beings, who I believe are literally my brothers and sisters, I feel like what I consume also adds to the equation. It's not just about what I put out into the world, it's also what I take from it. For my personal being, the very innards of my soul, me being at peace with all things in the world around me [a part of that being animals and the cultivation of plants] makes every part of me feel better.

Do I think Cows taste good? Have you ever had prime rib from Cattlemen's? Yes. Do I want to eat cows anymore [or pigs or chickens (I've never really cared to eat just a piece of chicken anyway) or any other animal]? No. Eventually, sooner rather than later, I'd like to cut fish and animal products from my diet as well. I'm still learning.

While I have plenty of reasons that finally made me take the plunge whole-heartedly, like toxins found in "safe" food, living/dying conditions for animals, corporate takeover of agriculture and animals, genetic modification, etc., they are not the driving force behind my interest in what I consume. I want to do my best by the earth, and in doing so, the earth will do its best by me. We can be peaceful partners in health.

Disclaimer: Just in case you were wondering, I don't think less of people who eat meat, though I do think everyone should know what is in their food and where it comes from. Also, there are many a plant source that contains more protein than a good ol' steak if the next thing you were wondering was if we were getting enough of that too.


My biggest fear (besides losing the ones I love most - the fear we do not speak of) is:

Singing in front of people.

I love to sing. Really, I do. I sing all day long, but never in front of anyone. I like choirs because I can disappear into a sea of voices while still singing my controlled heart out. I sang one solo in high school. It was the last concert my senior year. (I was in a show choir called Young Spirit back them.) I knew it was now or never. My song of choice: Someone to Watch over Me by Gershwin (and Gershwin, you know, George and Ira).

I was knee-shaking terrified, but I did it. I always think about what I would sing if ever I had the chance again. It's the Napolean Dynamite dancing-on-the-stage moment that everyone secretly dreams of - when everyone figures out how seriously awesome you are for just being you.

The song inevitably changes based on what I'm thinking about at any given stage in life. Today I think it would be Words by Ryan Adams:

If everything you want is something you couldn't have

Go outside a while, look up and count the clouds

Can you draw a picture of the backyard of the house

You grew up in, can you remember how it smelled?

Don't worry up your mind

People are sick and mean sometimes

They're only words

They're only words

If everybody's grateful, how come nobody's satisfied - [my favorite line]

If a tree falls in the woods and there ain't no one around

If you heard it you could go over and whittle out a wishing box

You could write her name on something and put it inside

Don't worry up your mind

People are sick and mean sometimes

Don't worry up your mind

They're only words

Its only words

Its only words

And then there's the running list that I go back and forth on, give or take a few:

Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds

20,000 seconds by K's Choice

Sweet Lorraine by Patty Griffin

Samson by Regina Spektor

Flight by Craig Carnelia (perhaps my soul's most favorite song)

Blowin' in the Wind by Bob Dylan

Top of the World - Dixie Chicks/Patty Griffin

Beside You by Michael Kamen (as a duet with Jake)

Lay my Burden Down by Caroline Herring

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (Oh how I love Rufus Wainwright singing this)

O Holy Night by Adolphe Adam/Placide Cappeau/John Sullivan Dwight (because what closet diva doesn't imagine busting this one out? Especially this time of year.)

Of course, in this dream, I'm always barefoot, and almost always playing guitar myself. Which means I should learn how to play guitar. Back in the days of my youth, I was always barefoot and playing piano, but when you marry a piano player, it's more fun/romantic to imagine him accompanying me.

Maybe someday this dream will be so powerful that it makes all this fear go away for good. Shrivel up and die, you fear, shrivel up and die.

Gold in the Morning Sun

I wake up to this every morning.
(Can you see her sweet fuzzy brown hair sticking up)

(She is a champion roller over-er)

How lucky am I?

a slip up

I always read labels. Always. ALWAYS. most of the time.

Today I overlooked something very important.

I was in the market for coconut oil and tahini. My skin is getting dry, and I wanted some hummus.

After yoga, the girls and I headed to Akin's. They had both things I was looking for, but at a price. I'm still cheap. We spent 3.79 on some juice for Cora because she was thirsty and headed to Super Cao Nguyen, lovingly known as the Asian Market.

I found what I was looking for - after discovering four avocados for $1.99. Deal of the day for sure. Then I made my way to the "curry aisle" and snagged some coconut milk and red curry paste. When I was about to give up, I saw two employees discussing a missing tea product. I asked them where I could find the two items I was on a mission to find, and I was in luck. They both responded "next aisle over."

After spending several minutes looking up and down the aisle [a few times], I spotted coconut oil. Almost instantly after that, as if a soft glow had descended from above, I found tahini. I was done. So was Cora. And Magnolia was waking up.

We made our purchases and headed home. I couldn't wait to open the bottle of coconut oil and rub it into my cracked knuckles. Before I even put anything away, with Magnolia in my arms, I took the lid off, put it to my nose to breathe in the luscious tropical aroma. Nothing. Absolutely nada. How could this be? I checked the label again to be sure I didn't grab something by mistake. This was definitely coconut oil. Then I spun the bottle around and read this:

Ingredients: Refined, bleached, deodorized coconut oil.

Can you feel my disappointment as well? Apparently I will be ordering on-line, unless someone happens to know where I can get cold pressed organic coconut oil locally without Akin's inflation. My hands are counting on an all-natural remedy.

PS: I ordered pretty much all of the girls' Christmas presents on-line today. I tried to stick with all-natural materials. I ended up ordering one plastic toy that Cora really loves. It's called a Bilibo, and we discovered them at the Sam Noble Museum. I was going to order green because it's snappy, but when I showed Cora the color selection [without her knowing why she was looking], she wanted pink. Of course she did, so I set aside my power of choice and on Christmas morning, she will have her wish.

Burns so good

First! When did blogger get stats? I've avoided an outside hit counter for some time, like forever because I simply didn't want to know. It's one of those things a person could easily obsess over, and obsessing takes the fun out of things. I did look at all of the stats for my blog upon seeing they exist. Very interesting (I hope you rolled your r's with that last sentence [fragment]).

On to important matters.

I joined the Y[MCA] a few weeks ago. Let's face it, pregnancy has made me pudgy. And I don't know why I'm immune to the great weight-loss blessing called breastfeeding. I leave the hospital weighing less the baby and all that goes with it, I lose like 3 pounds after that and that's all. Both times. I digress. I have been loving the Y, and not just for the uninterrupted showers, though those are nice. Really nice. Today's workout felt the end.

My current schedule revolves around yoga. I do it twice a week and cardio three times a week. As far as cardio is concerned, I've been enjoying* the elliptical, and I'm working up my bravery to walk across the room to the weight machines. I could bench the most in my eighth grade gym class. No joke. I was also bigger than a good number of the girls in my class.

What? Are you laughing? Really, I stopped growing in seventh grade, the other girls caught up in eighth grade and surpassed me in ninth. I got to this lofty height of 5'3 1/4" quick. So take that.

At any rate, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be doing yoga for the rest of my life.

PS: Upon completion of my shower at the Y, I realized I forgot to bring extra unmentionables. I rolled out of there commando style. I haven't done that in years.


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