Sunday, May 31, 2015

14 weeks back at the ol' dub-dub

I attended my 14th weekly Weight Watchers meeting in a row yesterday. I've lost exactly 20 pounds since late February. I was sure I was headed for a gain on Saturday (I had a run-in with a chocolate cake the previous weekend) but I broke even - right down to the ounce.  Now, you might be thinking, "Hey, Claudia, I've seen you recently and I'm pretty sure you're every bit as fat as usual."  And you wouldn't really be wrong. I have to lose a gazillion pounds before I even change sizes. It's just the way I'm built.

I always find it kind of annoying when People magazine runs its periodic "Half Their Size" issue, where people who have lost a lot of weight are profiled. Invariably, a woman will say (after her dramatic weight loss) that she now weighs such-and-such and that she wears a size such-and-such. Then, a reader will write in the following week and say that there's no way that the first person is that size. We're all different, though. For famous people in Hollywood, their "before" (say, ten minutes after giving birth) is my goal weight. Their goal weight is basically what my bones weigh, and nothing more.  Over the years, I have had a very significant range in my weight. However, no matter how much I lose or gain, I have never been any smaller than a size 8 or any larger than a size 12.

I'm about to celebrate one year of  being fully plant-based (no eggs and no dairy) after being an ovo-lacto vegetarian for something like 25 years. Honestly, it does make things easier sometimes. I was at the mall with my daughter today and she grabbed a cookie sample from the Mrs. Fields shop. Tempting though it may be, automatically I know I can't eat that (it surely contains eggs or milk or both). Keeps me out of trouble. The chocolate cake incident from last weekend . . . well, I made that myself so I knew exactly what was in it. I'm going to a vegan festival at the end of June and I'm pretty darned excited. Apparently there will be samples and for once, I can partake!

I'm fairly proud of my recent loss, even though I've lost these pounds before. Normally, I avoid shorts in the summertime but I actually bought a pair at Old Navy today. My daughter insisted on coming in the fitting room with me. She approved of the way the shorts fit. "What will you wear with them?" she asked me. The shorts were red.

"I don't know . . . a white shirt I guess?"

She frowned. "You'll look like a lifeguard."

That girl knows how to make someone feel special.  I'll be in Ocean City, Maryland in July so if you need me to drag you out of the ocean and save your life that week, just let me know.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


18 years ago today, I married this guy:

The kid came later. Now, everything in our lives is mostly about her, but I like to think that when she leaves for college (or to join the Hell's Angels or whatever), he and I will still have something good that's just for us.

Some of our daughter's friends have experienced divorce, and she sometimes worries that it will happen to us. "I don't want to live in two different houses," she tells us. As long as I continue to tolerate having thousands of comic books in my basement, and as long as he continues to tolerate the endless parade of foster dogs passing through our home, it's all good. We were together for five years before our wedding; 23 years is a long time to hang out with one person (we've been a couple more than half our lives, which is kind of crazy to think about). It sort of amazes me that we get along so well because, frankly, I can be feisty.

We are not doing anything extravagant for our anniversary. I got him some flip-flops and swim trunks for our beach trip this summer. We went to Home Depot yesterday and I persuaded him to buy me some room-darkening blinds for our bedroom. It's not for me so much as the dogs. They wake me up as soon as they detect daylight, and those dumbasses don't seem to know the difference between weekdays and weekends. So yes, it's an attempt to trick our dogs. I have to install the blinds myself, though. I did not marry a handyman.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. M.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I ran and I didn't die

My daughter and I completed our first 5K on Saturday. I had been telling her for weeks ahead of time that it was important for her to stay with me the whole time, even though I knew I would be running slowly. There were thousands of people participating in the event, and I didn't want to lose her in the crowd. I have to say that it was a lot of fun. The organizers had all of the runners set up in waves.  The kid and I were in Wave E, which was second from last. Each wave left the finish line a couple minutes apart. As we waited our turn, music was thumping out of huge speakers and there was a lot of adrenaline flowing through the crowd. I started to feel a little more confident. I know this sounds terrible but I saw some largish people at the start line and started to think, "Well, if she can do it . . . "

I think the kid was a little annoyed with me because I strapped my phone to my arm so that I could listen to music while I ran. I think she was under the impression that we would chat the whole way or something. "I can't run and talk," I told her. "Not happening." I ran for the first half mile or so, then walked a bit, then ran for a bit, and so forth. I could tell she really wanted to sprint.  At times, she turned around and ran backwards so that I could still see her. Occasionally she ran ahead and then ran back to where I was slogging along. When we got near the end of the 5K, I told her she could run ahead and finish without me.

After we crossed the finish line, we each received a really spiffy medal. The kid was excited and wore it the rest of the day, even when we went to the airport to pick up my sister. Get this: the kid never even broke a sweat. She didn't have to shower when we got home or anything. Kids and their boundless energy, I tell ya. I think my daughter was a little bit disappointed that we didn't "win" the race. I told her that it was never about that (and not just because winning it was an impossibility from the word "go.") It was about doing something together, being healthy, and all that jazz. We're signed up to do a 10K next month.  I'm expecting it to be similar to the 5K except, you know, longer.

The day after our 5K, my middle sister ran the half marathon, which was part of the same series of events. I was a little worried about her because it was super humid on Sunday. However, she ran like a pro and finished with a very respectable time. We cheered her on at a couple of spots along the course.  She got a spiffy medal, too. The whole weekend was a lot of fun. I don't think I see any marathons in my own future, but I can see my sister and my kid running one together someday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day

As I'm sure you'll recall from past blog entries, my husband is not a "how shall I pamper my wife? let me count the ways" sort of guy. He's not thoughtless, but I wouldn't really put him in the category of thoughtful, either. He's well-meaning, though, and that counts. Because I know that Mother's Day causes him some anxiety, I decided to give him a list of things I would enjoy receiving. (I took a Facebook poll first and was assured that supplying a list was the way to go.) That way, he could choose a couple of items from the list and it would be sort of like a surprise. I gave him the list two weeks ago. I thought I'd better give him ample time in case he wanted to order anything online.

On Saturday, I did indeed receive a gift that the boy had ordered. Yay! I had asked for a Happy Herbivore cookbook and it came in the mail. If you have ever thought of trying a plant-based diet, check out the HH site. The cookbooks are really good and don't contain a lot of super-exotic ingredients. Anyway, I've already made a couple of recipes from the new cookbook. In fact, I had a chocolate craving Saturday night and made a single-serving brownie recipe. Don't judge.

Although Mother's Day was on Sunday, Saturday was probably the better day of the weekend. In the morning, I weighed in at Weight Watchers and then the kid and I joined a group from our church for a wildlife walk at a local park. It was a lot of fun. We learned about all kinds of wildflowers and went on a nice little hike. After that, we went swimming.  As part of the birthday party package we purchased at a local recreation facility (like a YMCA, but not), we received a one-month family membership for free. So, we decided to take advantage of it and head over there for a swim. I worked out for about 45 minutes first. One nice thing is that since the kid is 10, she is allowed to be in the facility by herself. So, she can go to the pool, the game room, the art room, etc. P and I joined her in the pool after our work-outs. The pool has a (surprisingly fast) slide, so that's a bonus. The part that was less fun: sitting in Cabana #4 for an eternity while waiting for the kid to take a shower and comb her hair. I could actually feel myself aging as I waited. If someone had told me that I'd missed Christmas while I was in there, I would not have been surprised.

We actually have a tough decision now - whether or not to switch to the new place long-term. I joined "my" gym because it's very close to my house. I knew I would be more likely to go if I didn't have to drive far. Typically, I'm there at least three times a week. This other facility, where we have our temporary membership, has a lot of benefits. It has a pool, a running track. basketball courts (my other half likes to play), and it's about $10 cheaper. I can't decide if the longer drive is worth it, though. Quelle dilemma. I think it also depends on how much of my future I want to spend in Cabana #4.

On Saturday evening, we went to mall to do some shopping. The kid had some birthday money that was burning a hole in her pocket. My husband wanted to come along so that I could pick out my other Mother's Day gifts. I asked him if he also wanted me to pick out my own card and sign it. I got a cookie jar in the shape of a bulldog, a sunhat (for freeloading at Ocean City this summer), some sports socks, and a Fila tank top for the gym. Normally, I am never seen in anything sleeveless, but I got a little crazy for a second there.

We had so much fun swimming on Saturday that we decided to go back on Sunday. The three of us went to church in the morning.  The service included a flower communion, and the kid and I were participating in that. After church, P offered to take me out for brunch but honestly, as a vegan, it's sometimes easier if I just make my own grub. I made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and black bean burgers for lunch. The kid had talked about presenting me with breakfast in bed, but I couldn't see how that would work. I get out of bed several hours earlier than she does, so . . .

After lunch, I ran back to the mall (I need to shop ALONE) and finally found a swimsuit. Photo below. Just kidding. I can't believe you fell for that. Anyway, I did another work-out at the new place and then joined the kid in the pool . . . wearing my spiffy new swimsuit.

All in all, it was a good weekend. A good Mother's Day, too. I'm still not convinced that I'm much of a mom, but I do my best. I mean, who else is going to sit in Cabana #4 all day while a certain curly-haired girl sings to herself in the mirror (for an excruciatingly long time)?

My "freeloading at the beach" hat. I was going for "mysterious" in this shot. Did it work?
I wasn't going for "goofy" in this shot but I feel like I nailed it anyway.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Birthdays and Visitors and Stuff

This just in: May is off to a great start. The snow has melted and we've had some truly beautiful days lately. I even planted some stuff. I may have gotten a little overzealous, though, and have some dead seedlings to show for it. Nothing like killing something that barely saw daylight, eh?

My dad and stepmom were in town for A's big birthday celebration. They've headed back to Maryland now. I gave my dad a couple of chores during his visit, and I must say he carried them out with great expertise. I asked him to install new faucets in both bathrooms. The old faucets came with the house and were probably the cheapest ones money can buy. One of them leaked and the other would only allow water to pass through it in a trickle.

My dad does not mess around. He drew diagrams, made a list of supplies, searched the basement until he found our water shut-off valve, and carefully studied the underside of both sinks. We went to Home Depot last week and got all the stuff. The next day, I had two new faucets. Woo hoo! 

The funniest part was when he was lying on the floor in my bathroom, peering up under the sink to see how the old faucet was attached. Gideon made his way up under my dad's arm and started licking his face. Gideon counts it as a "win" if he can get his tongue in your mouth. "Awww, he's your apprentice!" I told my dad.

He also fixed a light switch during his visit. The dining room light has not worked properly in years. But now it does! As I may have mentioned, I did not marry a handyman. My husband does not mind if my dad fixes stuff around the house. It doesn't offend him in the slightest. However, my other half did decide that he needed to clean out the gutters all of a sudden. He dragged a ladder into the back yard. He was teetering on the ladder while my dad smoked a cigarette on the deck. Finally, my dad could stand it no more, jumped up, and grabbed a wrench so that he could tighten the bolts on the rickety ladder - while my husband was still on it. He felt like his son-in-law would plummet to his death otherwise.

Anyway, it was a good visit. Next up: my middle sister arrives next Saturday. She is running a half marathon while she is here. The kid and I are walking a 5K (part of the same event my sister is running). I think I've officially given up on running. Between my broken foot and my misaligned hips, I just don't think it's in the cards for me. However, I still want to be active and to set a good example for my daughter. So, we have our 5K next weekend (which we will walk/jog/whatever) and then a 10K in June.

Oh, and Mr. M and I have our 18th wedding anniversary on May 24th. We've been married for 18  years, together for 23. You'd think the boy would know where we keep the bowls by now, but . . . I digress.

I'll leave you with a few photos.  Did I tell you what we bought the kid for her birthday? A speaker and a microphone. Yes, we are certifiably insane. The speaker has bluetooth so she can connect it to her iPad and sing along with all of the awful lyrics she loves. She's been singing non-stop since we gave it to her last Saturday.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A little note to my baby

Here you are, giving us the finger. So sweet!
Hey Goober,

You're ten years old! I can hardly believe it. Double digits!  Last week, we gave a couple of your old Dora items to a friend from church. You used to love Dora. Or Dura, as you called her.  You used to watch the Backyardigans and mispronounce their names, too - Plablo and Migua come to mind.

And now here you are, fully of sass and personality and braces. I am so proud to be your mom, and I am so grateful to your birthmom for choosing us to raise you. Or, you might be raising us. Sometimes we can't tell. Although I would sincerely love it if you would get up and get dressed on time, there's not much else I would change about you. I love your outgoing personality, your constant singing, and your crazy curls. You're the best hugger the world has ever known. 

Happy 10th birthday to the girl who made all of my dreams come true. I love you the 'mostest.'