Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eating...I have issues

This will be quick as I am exhausted from my return to flour and sugar, which has put me in a coma.

Clearly, I have eating issues. I love to eat. I love to eat things that make me "bigger". I don't want to be "bigger". So, I restrict my diet. 
For example,  last week, for 5 days, I ate no flour or sugar other that what I put in my coffee.
It was great! I felt amazing!
But I was hungry all week and the thing I wanted most, tacos, I could not eat because of the flour. 

So, on Saturday, we worked in the yard and were tired and cooked a frozen pizza for dinner. Slippery slope. Then I ate three hot cross buns. Then today for brunch, along with my excellent shrimp and okra salad and cheese less frittata,  I ate three of my daughter's amazing biscuits. 

Now, I feel terrible and I am on the roller coaster of recovery.

What will tomorrow bring? Hopefully, sanity in the form of eating like a normal person.

We shall see...

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Thursday, April 21, 2011


For any of you who blog or read blogs you know that Wednesday is the day when you show everyone what you wore the past week...hence WIWW.

I love the idea of this. The point is to inspire you to actually get dressed instead of finding yourself at 5 pm in your workout clothes. Which would be fine if said person was MEGA fit and clothing was MEGA cute. Neither applies to me. However, the workout clothes at 5 pm does.
Workout clothes do not take a vacation...even on vacation!

So, the WIW intrigues me. Taking photos of myself would make me do lots of things...take a shower, put on makeup, make my bed... to start with.
Not going to happen.

I have made more of an effort not to be seen in workout clothing past lunchtime, but there are still days when I don't have time to shower/dry my hair/etc, and I eat dinner in my workout clothes. However, there is one day when I can be counted on to be up, showered, hair "done" (for me anyway), makeup on and clothing at least matching and not made of wicking fabric. That is Sunday. Now, I am Catholic and so heels and a hat are way out of the question. But, I do dress better. My rule for church for myself and my girls is "no jeans". That is about my only rule.

This Sunday is Easter and gone are the days when we go and buy "Easter Dresses" and new shiny white shoes. I bought my girls a new dress until they were about five, then I realized that it was pointless. The oldest cried and flew into a rage when I mentioned "dress" and the little one lived in dresses, so she had plenty. Now they are older and one dresses with "style" and the other is "off" regular bathing so my battles are elsewhere.
Easter 2010

But, I do feel that Easter needs to be more special than  a regular "no jeans" Sunday. So, I am pondering what to do.  I for one love getting dressed up, but never seem to have  an occasion that warrants it. Easter, and all it's significance seems like the perfect time.

Do any of you buy an Easter Outfit?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reading: Hemingway

I read an article recently about William Faulkner's last living relative and I realized, I have never read any Faulkner books. I also acknowledge this is a crime against both my southernhood AND  the literary pedigree to which I aspire (if there can be such a thing). So, I went to the book store and looked into buying myself a Faulkner book to read.

I left with out one.

Now, that is not to say I will not eventually read one, if not all of his books. I will guilt myself into it just like I did with Eudora Welty, who I was lukewarm about. It's just that I am not into the depressing Great Depression right now. And all  his books seem to be about that era and southern writers are notoriously maudlin.

Instead, I bought another book that I have wanted to read for a long time by one of my very favorite authors.  The author whose books usually plunge me into a  mopey depression to which the only solution to get out of  is to read something  silly like a Harlequin romancer (not really, but you get the idea). I am currently reading  A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.  Non-fiction and set in the hey days of the 1920's when Paris was the it spot for authors such as Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and Hemingway, it is an autobiography of Ernest and his first wife Hadley's time together in France. So far, so good.

I love Hemingway. A love that was sparked on my wedding/ honeymoon trip to Key West that included a visit to his house. I had read The Old Man and the Sea, but it really came alive to me in his house, complete with the broken marble where he had thrown an epic fit when he found out his wife had put in what amounted to a million dollar swimming pool. I went home, reread it and fell in love.Then I went on to read several others, but my two favorites remain The Old Man and the Sea and A Farewell to Arms.

We went back to Key West three years ago and stayed next to his house and his cats . These were actually decedents of  his polydactyl cats who wandered around the inn we were staying in, enchanting me again. Who was this man who owned weird cats, drank, fought, raged, loved and wrote some of the best literature ever?

So right now, instead of embracing my southern roots, I am embracing my love of Key West and the man who made it famous for drinking and writing.  Two things that I personally can get into.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Travel's contagious

I love to travel. My theme song should be "On the Road Again"

Happy Birthday, Willie!

I count myself so lucky that I have been to a majority of the United States. My favorites have been Colorado, California, and Massachusetts.  I get the itch to travel about now and it lasts until about November when I get too cold to want to go outside.

There is something about going somewhere else that makes me so happy. I love that feeling of seeing something I have never seen before, like a new kind of tree or something famous that I have only read about and imagined in my mind. Boston was like that. I had this image of what it would be like and it was really different. I had forgotten about the harbor. Jamaica was like that too.

I feel like I am a more tolerant person because I have been other places than my own backyard.  People have different concerns and issues in other parts of the country. Poverty is greater in some areas and less so in others. Attitudes about politics, religion and food are different everywhere and I have really benefited from being exposed to those that are different from mine.

Traveling comes naturally to my kids. They never complain about the trip and it is so amazing to point things out to them, such as the difference in the terrains of Tennessee and Texas (trees are shorter). They do not blink when boarding an airplane or subway and one of them is a master at reading maps. As they have gotten older and come home with stories from dealing with other kids, I realize that I am raising compassionate, tolerant children. I credit traveling for part of this.

Climbing the trees at the Texas state capital...pretty sure it is frowned upon.

As a kid, I loved it when my parents took me somewhere new. My parents were divorced, so I got the benefit of traveling with different personality types. I saw lots of quirky places and lots of national parks. Slept in tents and motels and loved every second of it. Seeing a saguaro cactus was just as exciting as filling the ice bucket at the Motel 6. I loved it all!

As an adult, I see these things a little differently. Motel 6 does not hold the same excitement that it once did (more like eww factor now) and I rarely sleep in a tent due to have a bad back. However, I am so excited whenever we go anywhere, whether it is a new city or a "resort cabin" in North Carolina. I still love it all. Having kids brings back some of those memories of being so excited to stay in a hotel. Mine go bonkers when we enter a hotel room, being so excited about the notepad and the television as if they have never seen one before.

My husband and  I decided before we got married that we would not have a big fancy house or  fancy cars . Instead we decided to travel. Life is a little different than we imagined and raising two kids changed our plans somewhat. We still don't have a fancy house or fancy cars.  But we do  try to squeeze travel in as much as possible and hope that our kids get that same wanderlust that we have. So far, so good.

On our fridge is a list of places we want to go called Dream Trips. Everyone  in our family has contributed to it. There are places as exotic as Chile (husband) and Scotland (oldest). But there are also place like Mackinac Island (me) and Colorado (youngest). We have collaborated on, dreamed of and planned for lots of family adventures together. I hope this continues even when my kids are grown.

We are biting at the chomp to hit the road...  and we will soon be heading to the beach.. and we will finally be...on the road again...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cooking: It's what's for dinner

Life is is warm...I am hungry!

My family survived on random foods last week, including a meal out at a restaurant that I love and didn't get to go to (Boo for me!). I worked three nights and several days, which is unusual for me. While I know everyone else does it and survives, well, I don't do it enough to get into a routine and be my super hero mom self.  I become whiney and feel like a failure (Joking. About the failure part, I am always whiney!)

So, routine went out the window and  my house fell into ruin. 
I survived on lemon Lara bars, carrots, peanut butter crackers and large amounts of donut holes (don't ask).

This week, however, it is different.
This week, we are back into our routine and I am even volunteering at school for the first time in weeks.  
This week we are eating like a healthy mindful mom lives in our house.

We are eating my favorites this week, which will make some people extremely happy and some very sad. Mostly me happy, mostly my family sad. (Boo for them!)

Dinner at Casa Swann will be "mom-centric"
Fish tacos with homemade slaw (recipe for the slaw to follow)
Spinach Ravioli (cheese-less) with red sauce (LOTS of garlic!)
Greek Salad with garbanzo beans (again, cheese-less) and bbq chicken (my concession to the whiney meat eating lot)
Zuchini and sweet potato frittata with green salad with apples, almonds and peppers

The weekend is so fly- by-the-seat-of-our-pants...this weekend alone we have dinner for a friend's birthday, soccer, bike rides, plant sale (yippee!), David Sedaris tickets, and church. I try to plan something, at least to have it in the fridge, but usually it end up being Monday's dinner.

 I would love to hear what you are eating. Shoot me an email.
Here is the recipe for the best slaw in the world.
For the record it is Martha Hall Foose's recipe from her cookbook Screen Doors and Sweet Tea.
She is the best EVER! I went to her book signing and she cooked and then signed books. I later emailed her to ask her where she got her apron (my mom wanted one) and she emailed me back like I was her best friend instead of some random stalker. 
Buy her book. 

Three-Day Slaw
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. Dry mustard
1 tsp. Celery seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup corn or vegetable oil
1 small head green cabbage, shredded
1 small white onion halved and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1 cup shredded carrots

In small saucepan over med. heat, combine the first 5 ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the oil. cool about 30 minutes.
In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour warm dressing over mixture and mix well. Cover and marinate 8 hours in the fridge. Keep up to three days! 

Love this with hot dogs, salmon sandwiches, and fish tacos. Bet it would be good with bbq chicken or beef as well.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Go play in the yard.

There is a commercial for a garden center here in town that ends by saying "Now go play in the yard!"

I spent a week inside a dimly lit gym working, and now I am supremely grateful that we have a sunny, warm day for me to periodically go outside and squint like a mole in the sunlight. I love the sun. I hate cold weather, gloomy days and the first few days of spring. I am not a fan of the 50-60 degree temperatures and the gusty wind. Or the rain and the weird, half asleep/half awake plants. 

What I do love is 80 degrees and sunny. Even 90 and partly cloudy. I love heat and a breeze. 

So, today, it is sunny and slightly breezy and 80 degrees. I am cleaning my disater of a house and periodically coming up with excuses to go outside (take out the trash, air out the rug, stand in the yard and act like I am surveying the windows for cleaning...)

My husband and oldest  are putting in our raised bed garden. My 90 pound daughter is lugging 40  pound bags of dirt like they are nothing. We went and got our usual fare to plant. Tomatoes, basil, rosemary. We have added broccoli to the mix and later this week cucumbers, beans and peppers will make their way in there as well.  Hopefully, in a few weeks, we will all be out in the yard living it up weeding and harvesting!

My youngest, who is deathly allergic to work of any kind, is out riding her scooter and jousting with sticks. Gotta love a girl who hasn't figured out that those scars are going to stick around. 

Even the dogs are getting in on the action every chance they get to run outside and lay in the sun.

We are playing in the yard.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Exercise:I'm walking the floor over you

I am taking a temporary running break to train to walk a half marathon with my sisters and sister-in-law. ( She got roped onto our crazy train in a moment of weakness, I am afraid).  

The three of us decided to walk the Country Music Half marathon in Nashville to help my sister get back into shape. She is an amazingly funny and creative girl (yes, she is a girl, I am her OLDER sister), who has had some health and stress issues that have allowed her to gain some weight.  I mean seriously, mother of three teenage  boys and one strong willed daughter is enough to stress any mother out. 

We are showing our solidarity  in getting her healthy by forcing her, against her will, to walk 13.1 miles. We are so sweet like that.

Now, I am a runner and regular at the gym, so I have been half -hearted about "training" for this race. I mean seriously, it is walking. I have run three and trained for five half marathons, and finished most of them with decent times. So, walking? Piece of cake. 

 That is exactly what I thought, that is until I actually started walking. Now, don't get me wrong, it is easy, as in "I could go out today and do the damn thing". But it is not easy, as in " I am enjoying this". I actually hate it. 

I have the attention span of a gnat and running keeps me interested by making me look where I am going, trying to beat my previous time, and being quick. Running 6 miles, less than an hour. 

Walking is slow and boring. I have no experience with it, so there is no time to beat and the 6 miles took me an hour and 10 minutes. I have started listening to books on tape and that is a little better for the ADD, but all I can think about is how fast I would be if I were running. I should download some Rosetta Stone and learn a language and freak out the other pedestrians by talking and walking. Now that would be entertaining!

The upside to all this walking is I am using muscles in different ways. I feel it in my glutes and quads and it has been nice enough the last two times that I have gone that I have seen my neighbors out in their yards.  Today, the eight miles I did made me realize that I should wear sunblock if I am going to walk for two hours. 

And, I , along with my other sister and S.I.L.,am hopefully inspiring my sister to get back into shape. Now whether it is via sisterly love or sisterly bullying, I don't really want to find out. 

All I know is after I have gone insane walking for hours, she is going to finish that half marathon. Because, after all,  I am her older sister and I  said so!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The List

First of the month and first day of April. Where does the time go? 

Someone explained to me when I was about ten why the time flies so quickly when you are older. A year is a percentage of your life. So, when you are 2 it is half your life. When you are 20, 1/20th of your life. If you live to be 80, a year must just seem like a blink of an eye.

I am not going to go over the entire list, as my time is precious this next week with the usual rehearsals, soccer practice, driving the chauffeur service, cooking, cleaning, etc. Next week is the debut of my newest business venture with my partner (business not life) and we are crazy busy.

I recently read an article about a girl who keeps a list of things she has done instead of things she wants to do. She tries to be spontaneous and embrace things that come her way instead of focusing on what she has not done that she wants to do. I thought that is such a "glass half full" attitude and decided to try it for awhile.

So here is my update for April:
  • I have painted one door, the frame around it and the trim nearest it. That took me almost 4 hours.
  • I have read more than a dozen books. I am reading two right now and I listened to most of True Grit while doing the walking training for the half marathon I am doing in April.
  • I have cooked Irish, Thai, Indian, Mexican and Greek meals so far this year.
  • I bought two of my daughters birthday presents at a consignment sale and they were embraced with great enthusiasm. 
  • I have learned five verses AND two new stories that I had never really thought about from scripture readings. 
  • I started a new art project that I am so excited about. It should be ready for viewing in December. It involves two of my favorite and wine.

I have also started a new business, continued working out despite being in a slump, changed the configuration of my girls' rooms and decorated them both without buying anything, built one website and am working on another for my husband all while doing  about 400 loads of laundry  and cooking 250 meals this year. I'd say I am doing pretty darn well.