Monday, March 25, 2013

I'm Juicing!

After watching the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Paul and I decided to start juicing.  And when I say "Paul and I" I really mean we decided that I would juice.  And Paul would support me.  And by support me I mean clean my juicer, sample my concoctions, get my produce and send me texts throughout the day of smiley faces and hearts, which actually is perfect because it turns out the juicer is no picnic to clean and I require lots of supportive texts.

So, I went to the computer, printed some recipes and headed off to the grocery.  After spending quite a bit of money on strange things that I have never eaten (fennel! mustard greens! kale!) I came home determined to do this.  We had a juicer that my mother-in-law gave us that had yet to be used, so once I figured out how to put the thing together I was ready to go!

Now, according to the Reboot with Joe website, whenever I am hungry I will drink a juice.  Between 4-6 per day.  And lots of water.  And that's it.  Did you hear me?  AND THAT'S IT.  So that is what I have done.

And I have to tell you, the first 4 days were bad.  Really, really bad.  I had headaches from the lack of caffeine, I was lethargic, I was hungry, I couldn't focus, I was grumpy, and there were some *ahem* gastrointestinal issues.  The documentary had warned me that this was going to happen, so I was prepared. Even so,  I could only think of food.  All.  The.  Time.

But, then it got better.  Day 5 there was no headache, I was beginning to lose weight, I survived a party where there was cake and pizza!  I didn't feel as grumpy, and I was sort of learning to be ok with being a little hungry sometimes.  Day 5 was also the day I broke the juicer.  Smoke was coming from it and the juice I made tasted like a burnt rubber tire.  Apparently in order to juice a sweet potato you have to have a pretty heavy duty juicer and mine just didn't cut it.  So, in the role of "supporter" Paul ran out to Walmart to get a juicer of at least 800 watts.  Except they didn't have any, nor the other Walmart, nor Target.  Finally he hit the jackpot at Kohl's!  So, I'm now the proud owner of a 900 watt non-masticating juicer.
Sweet Potato Juice that killed the Juicer #1

So, here I am at Day 7.  I feel great.  I'm still testing recipes.  I've lost 11(!) pounds.  I've started back on my treadmill again.  I'm wearing pants that I haven't been able to wear in a few months.  My goal is to juice for the next 40 days (in other words until May 4th.)  It's gonna be hard.

Work fridge with my juice supply!

post signature

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Artist Is Present

The other day I watched a documentary on the performance artist, Marina Abramovic. It covered the retrospective of her art at the Museum of Modern Art with about 50 pieces of her work, some "re-performanced" by other artists on one floor and a new piece, performed by the artist, on another.  While performance art isn't something I really dig, and her some of her work in particular is very strange, I was so moved by her new piece: The Artist Is Present.

In this piece, she sat in a chair at a table opposite an empty chair. She sat there for 6 days a week for every minute the museum was open. 7 hours a day. For 3 months. Without moving.

The public was invited to sit opposite her. Marina looked down until she felt the patron was seated, then looked up and locked eyes with the person. They sat across from each other in silence. Marina just stared at them, trying to look into their soul. Concentrating just on them.

For 2 months she did this with a table in the middle. For the last month she felt that she could remove the table and just sit with no barriers. Completely vulnerable.

At times the person sitting across from her would cry, at times Marina would silently cry. For someone to just sit, with no distractions, and just PAY ATTENTION to you is disconcerting. For some, it seemed as if no one had looked at them, REALLY looked for quite some time.

No retrospective of Marina's work would be complete without sharing the intense love story between Marina and Ulay, which began in the 70's.  They performed art out of the van they lived in.  When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.  At her show, Ulay arrived and this is what happened:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This Girl

Today Cassie is 12.  12!  When I met this sweet girl she was 3 years old, and I can't believe how little she was.  She's always been a happy little thing.  She's my middle girl, my party girl.  Cassie finds fun.  If there is a good time to be found, Cassie is there.  She doesn't care what the group is, if it's adults having fun, or tiny kids- she's happy to join in!

She's a giggler and a BIG smiler.  Anytime there is a "sunshine" award, or a "happy" award Cassie wins it.  She's a shoe-in.  When she played soccer with her first team, the "Butterfly Kickers" she was the one out on the field giggling the entire time.  
She has always been a hoarder.  This girl saves EVERYTHING and stashes it in her room.  When she was tiny she used to make little stacks of things in corners and under the couch.  I'd be vacuuming and find piles of pennies, a stick of gum, a bouncy ball and a Littlest Pet Shop animal.  She would swipe stuff from Holly and Christian and stash it in her room in odd little places.

Cassie has always been great at making new friends.  She will just go up to any kid and start talking to them.  When she was little she would tell everyone our entire family story, which at times can be very confusing!  

When she was 5 she went through a stage where she was convinced that her name was "Tink Cassie Cassandra Sassy Pixie" and called herself by all four names.

And now look at her!  She is turning into a beautiful, caring young lady.  She is a great big sister to Hannah who teaches her so many big sister things, from dance moves to soccer.  She is a voracious reader and lately I have found myself saying the same thing that my mom said to me, "Put the book away until you get your work done!" Every time I look at her I'm surprised at how much she has changed.  She is so tall and has become so independent.  I can't wait to see where this girl goes, wherever it is, you can bet she will have fun!

Happy Birthday Cassie!

post signature

Monday, March 11, 2013

Prison Pup

My sweet friend Tonia lost her dogs this year. Both of them within months of each other. These weren't just pets for her and her husband, they were family, her children.  So they were our family too.
She was determined that she would wait for awhile before getting a new pup. It was just too heartbreaking and they had plans and were they really ready to make this kind of commitment again?  And, and, and...

And then...

This is Zoey and she is in a medium security prison as part of the Death Row Dogs program.  DRD is a fantastic program that takes dogs in high kill shelters and places them with inmates for a twelve week training program. Once Tonia and David applied to adopt Zoey (after an interview process) she received the word that Zoey was HERS!

This is such great news, not only for Tonia, but also for this sweet girl, who was born in a shelter and has lived her entire life there, except for the 12 weeks she has been in prison!  And this puppy is sitting in a cell right now, not even knowing the awesome life she is about to begin.  She doesn't know that her new family is spending their time preparing for her to come home.  They are re-working their schedules to ensure that she has quality time with them, they are reading about how to introduce a new pup into their home, and they are making plans to go to jail on visiting days.  

They have been getting weekly reports from her inmate trainers on her progress.  "This week, Zoey has been working on her manners and leash behavior"  or "Zoey has trouble focusing this week" are some of the reports that she receives.  And when she is ready, she will graduate with a ceremony at the prison including cake, punch and doggie treats!

Tonia and her husband are nervous, so nervous.  They are worried that Zoey won't like them.  They are worried that they won't make a connection with her.  Although I know for a fact that Tonia's animals are better cared for than my children, the real proof is right here:  just look at this face

I don't think either of them have anything to worry about!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In a Split Second

Last week a man in this community died. It was a tragic, senseless death of a young father, husband, son and friend. I didn't know this man, Brandon Bradshaw, but like many, I followed his story and sent many, many good wishes to him and to his heartbroken family.

I don't know the details and won't add to the rumors already surrounding his death, but there was a shooting, that much we know. In broad daylight. In Bowling Green, Kentucky. A man, Tommy Brown, husband, father, son and friend shot another. Some say in self defense, some say not. In a split second two men having normal, average days lost everything.

Much outrage has been vocalized about justice, but not by the family. The family has taken to Facebook to express some of their sorrow and their pain. Over and over the father of the victim asked for prayers, not only for his son, but also for the family of the shooter. He knew that they were hurting too.

Mr. Bradshaw's wife relayed the conversation she had with one of her three children; how she answered his most important questions like "Who will you be married to if you aren't married to Daddy?" and "What will we do if someone breaks into our house?" I keep thinking of Mrs. Bradshaw. Right now she is, I'm sure, surrounded by friends and family. But what about the nights? What about the moments when she is alone? The "busyness" of funerals and memorials are distracting; there are pictures to gather and songs to choose and verses to be collected. And that distraction is good. It's the AFTER that is the hardest. After everyone leaves, when you realize that even with your world falling apart, bills still have the nerve to arrive and children have to be fed, and clothes have to be washed- that's when it's the hardest. When you wish that just for a few days the world would stop and LET YOU GRIEVE.

In times like these one feels so helpless. I know I have Pollyanna tendencies, but I can't believe that Mr. Brown started his day believing that he would shoot someone. Just as I'm sure Mr. Bradshaw thought he was going to run a quick errand to the drugstore. Two men, both upstanding citizens, both married with three sons- a life can change so quickly.  And then, because Brandon Bradshaw was an organ donor, eight other people's life were changed in a split second.

The memorial service for Brandon Bradshaw is tonight and so, so many people will attend to support this family and to pay their respects. His children will be proud of their dad, and hopefully all the stories shared will be remembered. Not by the children necessarily, but FOR the children. Because in the future they may slowly forget and they will need those stories to be told again. And again.

And the other family involved, Mr. and Mrs. Brown and their children, they are on my mind as well. I'm sure they are stricken with grief and guilt.  Will people share good stories with them? Will people comfort them? I hope they have support.

So today, I'm sending good thoughts out for both families and their friends. They have all lost so much.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Buddy Bernard Boddeker

This is Buddy Bernard Boddeker.  He is evil.  Really, he is a vicious, mean chihuahua.  He bites small children.  He also chases them for as long as they will run.  He waits until adults have their backs turned and then attacks them.  He bites the tires of every car that comes in the driveway.  He barks incessantly at EVERYONE that comes to the door.  He often will sit right beside a visitor to stare and growl at them. 

There are some in the house that he will tolerate:
But this dog?  The one that is so evil? He LOVES me.  Sometimes he sits and just stares at me. For a long time.

He will protect me at all costs, from all things both real and imaginary.  Including you, if he feels that you may be a threat to me.  
When I come home from work, this beast is by far the happiest to see me, and that says a lot because although the teenagers don't really notice my arrival, the 6 year old is pretty super excited to see me. He wants nothing from me, he is just happy to sit next to me (or on me.)

And that, folks, is love.