The Nothing

I am being eaten by the Nothing. What is that? Well, according to anyone who grew up in the 80s it is the ultimate evil that will destroy Fantasia and the beautiful young princess who needs Sebastian’s help…er…sorry, getting a little off track here. But there is a point to this. The nothing in the Neverending Story was the ultimate evil- it was a lack of care and belief that a child had any effect on his or her world.

So I am being eaten by the Nothing.

Like my earlier post on cheating, words have power. The Nothing, for me is what I will say when I try to justify when I step off the path. “Nothing will happen if I skip having a smoothie this morning,” or “Nothing will happen if I don’t do yoga today, right?”

And you know what? I am right. Nothing will happen. Not a damned thing. My weight won’t change, I won’t feel better, I won’t have any movement in my lifestyle. Nothing will, indeed, happen.

But it is also a mental thing. I get wrapped up in this loop and it goes from  once a week with a brush with the nothing, to twice a week, to every day. And what makes matters worse, is nothing does happen. Because I have made enough adjustments to my daily eating habits (Still soda free, still sticking to veg 9 times out of 10, still chemical free), that I won’t gain any weight back. But by evidence of my now-three-week plateau, I will get stuck.

I am stuck.

It started out with Vegas. I wish I could say I stuck to my diet 100 percent while in the Sin City. I didn’t. I had red meat and a lot of seafood. I mean a lot. When I got back, I was dead certian I had gained weight. But I hadn’t. I was still at that 211 weight. Great! My worst fears didn’t come true…or had they? Nothing happened, right? Wee!

Then, last week I turned my foot. Not as bad as I have in the past (I didn’t land in the hospital), but enough where I don’t dare wear high heels for two weeks or so. But that meant my awesome C25K plan went right out the window. So much for starting to run, I can barely walk for ten minutes without my foot throbbing. So now I’m not exercising. at all. Nothing will happen, right?

Nothing has.

My environment hasn’t been helping any, either. I am working- a lot. I am loving what I am doing, but Origins Games Fair is fast approaching along with a ton of work to do with it, my job at J.E.P Contracting, Inc. is speeding up, and another project I am working on is starting to take shape. And that’s just work I get paid for! That doesn’t count my babies, my husband or my LARPing.

Oddly enough, I am still at this weird half-trying phase. For example, I had two parties on Sunday. So Saturday night I spend four hours making a Chemical Free Marinade for the chicken wings, a chemical free Thai peanut sauce for raw, veg Vietnamese spring rolls I also made, a chemical free organic chocolate cake and chemical free buttercream frosting for it. My BFF made an amazing veg white lasagna in honor of Sunday night’s party special guest, London Andrews, but I still feel like I ate like crap.

In the movie, the only way to save Fantasia was to have someone- one single person- believe. I need cheerleaders in my life more than ever. And not lip-service cheerleaders. I need people who will ride my ass if I start to invite the Nothing into my mindset.

Ciao,
Erica

Eating Vegas

Eating in Vegas has been on my mind since I decided to go Crazy Sexy. So I knew I had to develop a plan, and I knew it was going to be a little labor and cost intensive, so now I am debating where to go from here.

THE GRAND PLAN!!

My packing list, for food, includes:

6 cucumbers (Sliced, bagged in servings)
1 pineapple (Cubed, bagged in servings)
2 mangoes (cubed, bagged in servings)
1/2 a red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 lb butternut squash, shaved thin
1 lb of sunflower seeds
1/2 lb of pumpkin seeds
1/2 can of mixed, unsalted nuts
1 container of baby bella mushrooms
1 bag of sweet sugar snap peas
1/2 bag of dried cranberries
1 gallon bag half full of a mix of spinach/romaine
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
Feta cheese
Hummus
1 avocado
1 lime
1 lemon

Also, I am bringing a cute little juicer thing, some plastic forks, a container to eat this stuff in.

Beyond that, I am making a double-batch of raw, vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls, and I think I am going to make a double batch of Oatmeal Rason Carrot cake balls raw/vegan balls.  (thank you Miss Averie)

This will give me enough for five-ish salads, five-ish breakfasts, and plenty of snacks.

On one hand, this will reduce my costs in vegas. I did the research and I can bring the food as a carry on. I have a bag-cooler which will work perfectly for it. And I can pack the silverware and the one semi sharp knife I wanted to bring. It is a lot, and I am worried about it going bad. But I know from experience that the cucumbers will last all week without a worry, as will the squash, and bell pepper. The fruit might not, but oh darn I might have to eat it all fast. The lettuce is the biggest worry- it really only lasts 4 days or so. So we’ll see, I have them in special green bags that are supposed to extend the life of the veggies.

For dinners in vegas, I am hoping to spend plenty of time at my favorite Vegas restaurant. It’s this stupid little Japanese place underneath bally’s – but the food is to die for, the prices are reasonable, and its easy to stay on-diet.

It is late already, and I still have a lot of packing to do, so wish me luck!

See you when I get back,

Ciao,
Erica

Hetic Pace and Yummy Salad

What a couple of days.  And it’s really looking like its not gonna slow down either. Saturday started off with pictures of my children and KC & Eric’s kids. This…might take some explanation. So I’ll get back to the hectic nature of my week in a minute.

Eric and I have been friends since I was 14 years old. We were close: he was the first person who knew many things about my life. He was also the guy who used to drive my teenage ass home at three in the morning after game. Well, things happened, and ten years later, we ended up dating. We dated for six years, I was thinking marriage. He…apparently wasn’t. More so when I got pregnant and I was scared, but happy. He wasn’t. I’ll never forget what he said to me: “If I loved you, I would be willing to sacrifice for this baby. but I’m not willing to, so…”

Well you can imagine where it went from there, right? Well no, you can’t. I wasn’t willing to throw away a (at that point) 12 year friendship. Yes, we broke up. shortly thereafter William and I started dating and we got married, and in the interim, Eric also found his soul-mate in KC, and they had two kids.

Because of that, and many other things, we get along famously. So when KC asked if we wanted to take advantage of a major coupon she had at the photostudio and get pictures taken of the babies, I said yes. They came out adorable, I’ll have to post them when we get them.

Meanwhile, we had four kids at 11 Am in a photostudio, cranky and bored. so we had to leave- I had to go pick up my best friend and run over to Children’s Orchard. Its a used clothing store here in Central Ma- and the bag sales they have are the BEST! 30+ pieces of clothing for 10 bucks. Love it. But then I had to run her to work, get back to her place to pick up her son, run back to target, pick out the pictures, then collapse at home for dinner and a few hours, before picking up my BFF at 10:30 at night.

Exhausted yet? I’m not done.

In the middle there, I am coming down with a cold: my fourth one in as many months. In addition, I get the news about Papa’s death in the middle of my day.

Sunday, I am up at eight to bring BFF to work again, and chill out with her son for a few hours. I start this blog, surf the web while he sleeps, before waking him up for grocery shopping. Then we grab the BFF from work, wrap Liam’s birthday presents before heading down to a gymnastics place in Leicester for a join birthday party with KC & Eric for the kids (Their two were born within a few weeks of Liam. told you we were close :))

Monday comes around- I get up, go to work, still sick. call the doctor, who’s willing to see me that day. Win! I head to the doctors, get a z-pack, go buy a bra or two, then meet anna on the bus. But, when I get the mail, I have an overdue notice from my student loans. Wait, whut? I just graduated in December!? So I spend my time before Anna gets off the bus calling the first of three student loan companies, trying to figure out what’s up.

Once Anna gets off the bus, we run to pick up her brother at daycare, then shoot back to pick the BFF up from work, get her son to his evening doc’s appointment, and back in time to get the kids dinner. We feed them, chat a bit, then I get the kids home by 8 at night.

Odd, it was cold in the house. Well it had been weird weather, so I don’t think much of it. I put the kids down, turn on the heat, and plop down to browse my normal blogs.

The heat never comes on.

In fact, when my husband gets home, notes how cold it is, and opens the cellar door, his reaction is “OH SHIT!”

Yeah that’s right….five feet of water in the basement. The heat hadn’t come on because the furnace had water halfway up its side. So we call the landlords, put in the water pump, and pump the water out.

And that was only Monday.

I still have a funeral to attend, a trade-show to set up for and attend on Thursday & Friday, and then I leave for Vegas at 3 in the morning on Saturday. Vegas will be jammed packed with GAMA work (I’ll explain about that in another blog, perhaps) prepping for Origins and helping to run GTS.

My food hasn’t been all that great yesterday and today. But it has been all Veg, which is very good for me. Tonight, though…tonight I made a masterpiece!

I made an amazing burrito salad. Recipe is:

For the Salad:
Romaine Lettuce
Butternut Squash

For the Burrito innards:
1/2 Sweet Red Pepper, sliced into strips
3 slices of Yellow Onion, sliced into strips
Handful of fresh mushrooms
Half a can of corn, no salt added
can of Black beans, drained and rinsed
Garlic
1 tbs of chipotle sauce

For the Rice:
1 package of Trader Joe’s Brown rice
fistfull of cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1/2 a lime
Salt to taste
splash of Garlic “juice” (the water that diced garlic is packed in)

for the Dressing:
1:2 ratio of light sour cream to salsa (I used 1/4 c of light sour cream and a 1/2 c of salsa)

Blue Flaxseed tortilla chips for garnish

This sounds like a lot, but it is soo easy. It only took me about 30 minutes to put dinner on the table.

Start by throwing the garlic, onion, pepper and chipotle sauce into a stirfry pan or a saute pan. While that is cooking down, dump the rice into a pot (I used a frozen, pre-cooked package that is 3.99/3 pouches, and is super good and organic), add the lime juice, the garlic juice, and the chopped cilantro. Stir on occasion for 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

While the rice is cooking, mind your veggies…When the onions seem pretty well soft, add the corn and mushrooms. Let them cook down for the rest of the time the rice needs to cook.

Once the veggies are tender but not cooked out completely, take it off the heat and fold in the beans.

Set up the salad plate with the lettuce, ripped to shreds around the outside of a large plate. I used my manual peeler to peel off thin slices of butternut squash, but you can skip this if you aren’t a fan (ps- if you’ve never had it raw in a salad, TRY IT. You’ll be surprised). In the middle, add about a quarter-cup of rice, and about a quarter-to a half-cup of the burrito innards. Dress with the sour cream and salsa mix. I also added five tortilla chips for a bit of crunch, all broken up.

Exactly how I had it as written above, the nutritional value is: 334g calories, 62g carbs 6g fat, 13g protein. Amazing, right?  Obviously like any other salad, you can play with the fixings to your liking.

For the kids I just threw everything into a whole wheat burrito shell and they loved it.

I have to admit, I am still nervous about Vegas. I won’t be able to cook things like this. I started my packing list and it is long…I don’t even know if I am going to fit it all.

Wish me luck!

Ciao,
Erica

Personal Update & Plateauing

My grandfather, Walter, died yesterday. This is the second time this has happened, and will happen again, probably sometime over the next few months. Very morbid I know, but the truth. It was true that it was Walter’s time: he outlived two of his three children, two great grand-children, his wife, and most of his friends. I remember being at my cousin’s funeral last year, and looking at my grandfather, and him accepting the condolences, and wondering exactly what it was he thought about everything. Was it old and busted to him? Was there a point in his life when he buried on too many family members in which he became numb?

Unlike Carl, my mother’s father, who will probably die sometime in the next two months (He is on hospice), Walter, who was my stepfather’s father for the record, had his mind fully in tact when he went. It was his body that did not agree with living anymore. With Carl, it is his mind that has given up, and his body will just not let go. Interesting paradox, truth be told.

I haven’t cried yet, and I am not sure that I will. Truth be told, I didn’t cry when my stepfather died, nor when any of my other relatives died. My Aunt believes I am too much like my mother. Some people have called me unemotional- and to them, I laugh. Anyone who spends five minutes with me knows that is the farthest thing from the truth. I am a very passionate, driven person. And the tears won’t bring them back, and they won’t soothe my wounds either. They will however, make me blotchy, runny-nosed and sick to my stomach. Little return on big investment, right?

On other notes: my pee is green. Quite the segue right?! I know! My husband laughed and said it was because of all the green food I’ve been eating lately. I think its because I started a “Stress” vitamin supplement yesterday. C & B Complex, mixed with a little Zinc. I just find it fascinating that its green. I mean like…lime green.

Either way, the avocado and potatoes (not meat and potatoes, remember, I’ve gone veg) of my current Crazy, Sexy lifestyle? Plateaued. Ugh, how I hate that word. Since beginning my whole lifestyle change I am down about 30 pounds, which is great. But I haven’t moved from there in a week.

I knew I would hit this eventually. It was the same spot I got stuck the last time I was dieting. But this, combined with a head-cold and leaving for Vegas in five days, means that instead of letting it get the better of me, I will coast it. That’s right, I am going to ride this plateau and make it my bitch.

So I will be maintaining through  my trip and when I come back, I will be digging in. To what, you might ask? Well, to this: http://www.couch25k.com . That’s right. This Crazy Sexy woman is gonna run three miles.

Okay, I’ll wait until you are done laughing to continue. Yes, I hate walking. Yes, I’ve never run further than to my car in my life. But I need something to break this plateau and I really think that this is it! So when I get back from Vegas, on March 21st, I am starting this program, and I will stick with it, god damn it. If only to prove MYSELF wrong.

I also started using sparkpeople again, but not really for the weight-loss tracking, more to see where my nutrients are coming from and going to. Going as raw as I have been, and making so much of my food from scratch, it is a little harder to track nutrients in my head. And I discovered something rather important: I am shy on protein and carbs. Which might be while I am irritable and sick all the time these days. the solution? More Beans!

Like the Avocado (note: this is now a running gag, and will be beaten into submission), I have had flirtatious relationship with the bean. Black, Pinto, Red, garbanzo, if it was a bean, I was pretty sure it was going to be bad for me. I didn’t trust them, as I had only really been exposed to the second-hand regurgitation of re-fried beans. It was like sloppy seconds, and no one likes sloppy seconds. Not even me.

So I have slowly been mixing it up and playing with them. Dried takes an awful long time to prep, so I bought a few cans this week. My decision: I probably like them more el dante then the rest of the world, but if they aren’t mush, they seem to be pretty good at filling me up. Score, right? And the carbs? I’m working on that. That might be a hurdle to jump for next week. Or when I get back from Vegas. Any ideas? I’d be happy to listen.

There is so much more to ramble about. Work, friends, life. But I think we’re good for now. I’ll leave  you with a poem I wrote for Carl last month. There are lots of inside stories, so if you don’t get it, I’m not offended.

Ciao,
Erica

Dementia

I.

Carl was a smoker
Part of him lived in a cave under the house
Divided to the light and dark, her side and his-
the old leather chair riveted into place with brass brads
A dirty ashtray as tall as her seven year old curiosity, as wide as his palm and melted into the carpet
Piles of half toppled paperwork
A sign of a messy mind is…
Brilliant insanity
All that is left of the inheritance.

II.

Philanthropy is a lesson learned at home
Give Mint
Give Mine
Give summers of laughter
Of a pool so blue it would still be her favorite color twenty five years later
The little home under the forsythia bushes
Stolen Blueberries
The swing made of rope and planks
Tied to heaven.

III.

A raised voice caused ice to form over the surface of imagination
Conversational snoring interrupted by antics of an eight year old
The threat of leather and loss
Enough to make her silent for years to come
Sharp contrast to questions that had no answers
Rhymes
Riddles
Nonsense martinis with double olives
Even the cat could tell the time by the cubes in the glass.

IV.

She went to Duluth and was struck by how blue the water was.
The same color as her son’s eyes
As his
He threatened to send her there so many times
And when she came back disappointed he could only laugh
A small shrug
A wink
It would teach her to stay close to home.
Lesson learned.

V.

This is not how she remembers you.
She remembers roses every week,
Seven months swollen with her smallest girl,
A screaming match sending the florist running.
She remembers love,
She remembers the good times,
She remembers the day they met,
But still holds the funeral vigil
While he sleeps.

VI.

He doesn’t say much these days.
The words have gotten too complex for translation
From brain to mouth seems like so much work
And he is so very tired
Well aware of the heat in which he burned
Has melted reality to his satisfaction.
Now, he is content to look the other way
Give the babies a small smile,
And keep his last words to himself.

-EAG

Erica versus the Avocado

Avocado. Oh how there is sonnets written about the avocado. I could wax poetic myself about it…if I had every really tried one. That’s right, I am…or rather was…an avocado virgin. Like so many virgins before me, I let avocado get to first base with guacamole and decided it just wasn’t for me.  I have never bought one, I have never really eaten one.

 

So when I picked up CSD I decided now is my time. I will try the Avocado! I went to my winter fruit stand and zelously bought 20 dollars worth of veggies…including two avocados. Well, the stand I went to they pick the produce for you.

 

They were rock hard.

 

And so they went in the bottom of my veggie drawer. Then one night, I had an ephiphinay. I wanted an avacado and spinach smoothie! Wait, I still had avocados in the fridge. Were they bad? It had been a week….I rush to the fridge and….rock hard. Okay. Maybe they were really unripe when I got them. They are supposed to be soft, right?

 

And a  week later, they were still rock hard. So I opened one. Nope, still hard. Um. Okay. What now? Well, my google-fu is strong, so I went to the trusty handy dandy interwebs and googled the avocado. Apparently they will ripen if left at room temp.

 

Okay.

 

So I pull the (now two week old) avocados and put them in my onion basket- and promptly forget about them. Until I am reaching for my last onion and ….oh hey, there’s an avocado or two under the now-empty bag of onions.

 

Ew. It squished.

 

It would be two weeks later before I tried again. This time, I bought them from my local grocery store where I could touch them, and I chose a couple. And i knew to leave them out, because they were still sorta hard.  Then I promptly forgot about them. After all, I don’t like avocado, right?

 

That was four days ago. Yesterday, however, I took myself to a Vietnamese restaurant. I love eating at this place, it is so yummy and the soups are to die for. A couple of veggie Gou Coin (Rice paper wrapped veggies and tofu) and a big bowl of veggie and rice noodle soup and…what is this?

 

They have smoothies.

 

What is this?!?!

 

They have avocado smoothies.

 

I stare at the menu. The menu stares blankly back.

 

And when the waitress asks me what I want, I declare war: AN AVOCADO SMOOTHIE.

 

The nods, smiles and wanders off, no doubt thinking I am a strange random white chick eating alone at an ethnic restaurant ordering random things off the menu.  But I am suddenly nervous. What if I don’t like it. What will it taste like…why am I wasting 2.75 on something I don’t like!?

 

But when the concoction is placed in front of me it is a pretty pale green with dots of ice in it. I eye it, and take a sip. It was a TKO people. Avocado won the day, for it was the sweetest, yummiest thing I had ever tasted. I asked her what was in it – Milk, Condensed Milk, and avocado. That’s it…I nearly giggled with joy. I could replace the milk and condensed milk with almond milk and a little agave and…that was it. That was my newfound breakfast smoothie.

 

They had won.

 

We are Avocado of Smoothie. You will be blended. Resistance is futile.

 

I threw out my juicer

I have to wonder, will that get me kicked off CSL? Just kidding! Well, about the wondering, not about throwing out my juicer.

 

I know, that is sacrilegious. But, there was a reason, and it was in the CSL spirit in which I did it. So I will explain…no that is too much, let me sum up (points for recognizing the quote!)

 

Anyway, I am a second-hand buyer. My journey to where I am today in my lifestyle change really started with that. The idea that we use too much in our lives, why buy more? Why encourage people to create more things that we only throw away? I very rarely buy new anything- clothes, shoes, appliances, etc.

 

So when I started CSD/CSL on Jan 18th, I wanted a Juicer. I scoured my second hand haunts: Sally’s, Savers, even a couple of tiny thrift shops and church sales. I wanted a masticating juicer, of course, but I only found centrifugal ones.  Okay, fine. I settled on one. $6.00, probably made in the 90s. Black and decker though, a good name. Had all the parts and the manual, a good second-hand find.

 

And it was terrible. When I started blending, and wasn’t in the mood for pulp, I’d use a mesh strainer and gather the juice and use the pulp by mixing it with hummus and eating it on bread for a very hearty snack. But with this juicer the pulp went everywhere and I didn’t bother saving it. It took forever, I had to babysit it, so by the time my juice was ready I was running out the door.

 

Then I didn’t want to clean it.

 

Then It wasn’t clean so I wasn’t making juice with it.

 

Now I wasn’t drinking smoothies OR juice. I had a juicer, why would I make a smoothie?

 

Three days of this and I realized what had happened, I threw it in the trash. The juicer had become an obstacle to my lifestyle. Kris Tweeted today that: “Choosing a juicer is like choosing a mate – it has to work with your lifestyle for the long haul.” And it sparked me to recount this to you and myself. Why? Because it was the exact reason I tossed it out. It wasn’t what I wanted. And like a bad boyfriend, I kicked it to the curb.

 

I am still hesitant to buy retail a masticating juicer…I might try craigslist….

 

Wish me luck in my search for a true Juice-Sole Mate!

Ciao

Erica

 

Success & Failures

Well, I am about to embark on week three of attempting to integrate the CSD into my life before I begin hardcore on the cleanse. I am happy to report I found a juicer (CHEER), at a second hand store. It is a masticating juicer, and its probably not the most peppy juicer. But its a juicer, which is a win.

So far, my successes:
1) No soda!
2) More water (this is a huge win for me)
3) Green juice daily!
4) Tons of raw in my diet
5) Removing red meat from my diet
6) Doing Yoga every night

So far, my failures:
1) Removing all meat from my diet
2) Doing Yoga every Morning
3) getting to bed at 10 PM
4) Meditation

My To-Dos
1) Get an Enema kit & start them daily
2) Pick two days a week to do a little more yoga
3) Contact Amazon.com and figure out what to do about my kindle issue and review the cleanse

I swear I’m not putting it off. I just don’t want to set myself up for failure. HOWEVER, the clock is ticking for me. I leave for 7 days in Vegas, and I know that is going to be a challenge if I haven’t done the cleanse yet. I love eating out, so it is usually a challenge in general, but Vegas is the buffet capital of the universe. I love eating in Vegas….any tips for while I’m out there?

I am proud of my successes and my failures…well I need to make some decisions. Either I will keep to meat once a day, under 4 oz…or I will try to go cold turkey again, I don’t know. The yoga in the morning thing is a little more difficult. I have never, ever, ever ever been a morning person. I love to sleep, I hate getting up and I already have to get up at 6 AM for work, and even that extra 15 minutes makes me whimper and curl into a ball. The meditation is wrapped into the going to bed thing. If I get off the computer at 9:30 I should have enough time to meditate & do yoga. But its getting me off the computer at 9:30 that is the issue.

Well, wish me luck.

Ciao,
Erica

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