Bullying and Me – #SpiritDay

Most of us have been the victim of a bully and if we’re honest we’ve been the bully too. As a woman, a lesbian and a mom bullying is something I think about more now than I ever did as kid. I think about the times could have and should have taken a stand but did not.

I remember the kids who were bullied…daily…

For their hair…weight…height…glasses…clothes.

Who were called gay like it was a bad thing.

Those kids were my friends in early elementary school before we moved to the 4th grade playground.

Before cliques and social status became our overlords.

They were my friends before we all knew who had and who had not.

They were my friends before we knew who was hot and who was not.

I remember the kid who made fun of my weight even though I wasn’t fat.

I remember the kid who threw paper at me during lunch for no reason. He was just a jerk.

I remember that same kid called me pig and made piggy noises at me. Such an ass.

I realize that the little girl who was made fun of for her old lady clothes actually wore homemade clothes. She would be so in right now.

I realize the little boy who looked like he had leprosy actually had cigarette burns on his arms.

I realize I was lucky.

Bullying in all of its forms is harmful and dangerous. There are now even more ways to bully a person than there were just a few short years ago. As parents we have the responsibility to teach our kids that different isn’t bad or wrong. People and friends come in all sorts of packages.

All beautiful.

All worthy.

All with something to offer.

Question & Answer: Where to start? Vegan pregnancy? Etc.

In the middle of the night I awoke to find a brilliant comment from someone with a few great questions. I thought I would answer them in a post instead of burying them in a comment/reply chain. These are some of the questions we had to ask at the outset of our baby making journey. We didn’t know where to start so we blindly went in to the process and navigated it as best we could. We were pretty successful with some great medical care and luck so I am happy to share what we learned along the way.

Hi! I’m thinking about adding an addition to my tiny family and don’t know where to start. I’d like to get checked out by a doctor to make sure I can house a little baby for 9 months. Where would I need to go, the Obgyn or rather a common doctor or maybe both? I’m vegan like you and would like to stay vegan during my pregnancy if possible. Did you do that as well? Sorry for all the questions but I really can’t find answers. Thanks?

Question 1: Where to Start?

The very first thing I would do is figure out if your insurance covers fertility issues. Some insurance covers testing but doesn’t cover fertility treatment (i.e. IUI, IVF). If you are in a situation where you know you will need the assistance of a fertility doctor (i.e. same-sex couple, single mama, old fashioned way not working, advanced age), that is where I would start. Then I would find a fertility center near your home or work because you will be there frequently during testing and monitoring (mostly blood tests and ultrasounds). You will need to visit your gyno for your yearly check-up if you have not already. The fertility center will need those records.

The benefits of going to a fertility doctor include not wasting time and money guessing when you’re ovulating and also they will be able to tell you if you’re healthy. They obviously can not guarantee that you’ll get pregnant the first go round but they can take the guess work out of a lot! I would at least do a consultation so you can see what it is all about. You’ll get to meet with the doctor, nurses and financial team who can answer all of your questions.

The truth is that making a baby when you can not do it the old fashioned way, is that, it is expensive. Our fertility center had a great financial team that helped with figuring out insurance and how to pay. Sperm is expensive unless you have a supply handy (unintentional pun). Also, sperm banks just won’t let you take sperm home like a “do it yourself” kit. Almost all of the banks need a note from a doctor to release sperm and most doctors won’t give you permission to do it at home. Why? Because it’s risky and the odds are so low of it working at home.

Our fertility center had videos, checklists, etc. to help make sure you are ready for your first appointment. We listened to everything our doctor said without much question. Maybe naively since we had no idea what we were doing but we did end up pregnant the first go round. I give them a lot of credit for that but know that getting pregnant even under the best circumstances are very low odds so luck was a huge part too!

If you’re doing things the old fashioned way, you can ignore the above unless you’ve been trying for a while and think there is cause for concern. Talking to your doctor is always a good call. 

ALSO ALSO ALSO – I want to make sure everyone knows that fertility clinics are not just for those who are experiencing infertility. They are for same-sex couples and single mamas and whoever else needs some extra assistance having a baby!

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Questions 2: Vegan Pregnancy?

My wife was vegan her entire pregnancy. She treated her body like a vegan baby making shrine every day even through gut wrenching morning sickness. She had no pregnancy/health issues. She ate well. She stayed healthy the entire time. No blood pressure issues, no swelling, no gestational diabetes, etc. People will ask you a million questions about being vegan and pregnant especially where nutrients and protein are concerned. Mostly because they don’t understand and just can not compute. All well informed vegans know protein is not an issue. You have to be smart about your diet and be confident. I would suggest giving Alicia Silverstone’s book Kind Mama a read. Even if you don’t subscribe to everything she says, it is a great vegan nutritional guide. There is a lot of information on the internet about having a healthy pregnancy. We found that it was easy to adapt those things to the vegan lifestyle as well. My wife would adapt foods (i.e.walnuts for brain development) into her meals that helped with each stage of development of our growing baby. She ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast while she was pregnant (and still does for breastfeeding benefits).

Lisa’s Morning Oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup McCann’s Irish Oatmeal (3 minute kind)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1-2 TBS flax meal
  • 1-2 TBS raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1-2 TBS organic raisins
  • 1 TBS pure maple syrup
  • Dash of ground cinnamon or pumpkin spice
  • Splash or two of non-dairy milk
  1. Boil water on stove top.
  2. Add water to Oatmeal in a bowl or to-go cup (16 oz at least).
  3. Add flax meal, pumpkin seeds, raisins and maple syrup and mix.
  4. Add desired amount of cinnamon or pumpkin spice to taste.
  5. Add a splash of non-dairy milk to make it a little more creamy and also alter oatmeal consistency. All those add-ins will make the oatmeal a little thick so adding a splash of milk will help!

I hope I answered your questions and you find this helpful. If this only leads to more questions, please ask. I am happy to answer all of your questions and be a sounding board!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional nor do I claim to be. All information is opinion but based life experience.  

Fall is Heeeeerrrrrreeeee!

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When I feel that first nip in the air signaling that fall is near I experience uber euphoria. I just want to skip, twirl, sing with woodland creatures and carve fat pumpkins as I feel the crispness in the air. The temperature always drops right around my birthday like a gift from mother nature. I have felt this way since I was a child. I love fall clothes, apple cider, college football and the crunch of leaves. I like when the weather is just perfect enough to wear a long sleeved t-shirt and a pair of shorts. The summers in South Carolina were miserable…the kind of hot where your parents can not send you outside because it would be negligence so fall was a welcome friend.

I am sure some of you thought fall had arrived with the release of the PSL at Starbucks but the first day of fall was yesterday (Sept. 23rd)!  I am not judging you…I started celebrating fall the first day I saw a Pumpking in the liquor store! I take no issue with the pumpkinization of fall. Pumpkin on, my friends!

Side Note – My birthday hasn’t passed yet so you still have time to shop. 

Along with fall comes fall activities! Corn mazes, festivals, haunted houses, apple picking, county fairs, pumpkin patches…etc. I always want to do it all but there are only so many Saturdays and Sundays. So here is our must do list for this fall!

Cox Farms’s Fall Festival – We attended their preview last weekend to kick off our fall activity schedule. There is a corn maze, slides in every theme possible, caramel apples, apple cider, a new forest walk, live music, games, pumpkins and food. It’s great for the whole family! At night you can go to Fields of Fear, which is their corn maze but scarier. Lisa and I went with friends two years ago…We had a blast chunking pumpkins at targets, sliding down giant slides and freaking out in the corn maze.

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LA was more impressed with her Nuby teether than the corn maze or the imagination forest but we had a great time! Also, everyone gets their own mini pumpkin when you leave!

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Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary’s Open House – Every fall the awesome people and animals at Poplar Spring located in Poolesville, MD open their gates for a fundraiser! There are goats, pigs, lambs, cows, horses, turkeys, etc….all rescued animals now living a happy life at a wonderful place! You get to visit with the animals, bid on auction items, and eat tasty vegan food all in a idyllic setting. We are so excited to start taking LA to this yearly event. She loves our dogs at home so I am hoping she gets just as excited about these wonderful animals! 

DC VegFest – Since Lisa and I started attending this annual event a few short years ago it has grown and relocated twice! VegFest is a vegan food dream come true. Vendors come from all over the country with samples of their delicious food. Plus local eateries have booths and/or their food trucks. Plus there is art, clothing, accessories and organizations to support as well! It is a most wonderful gathering of compassionate people. Also, there are speakers on a myriad of topics and cooking demonstrations from some well known vegans. Jane Velez-Mitchell will be opening up the day this year! She is a great speaker and has a genuine passion for compassion. One thing you can count on is the long and continuous line for Vegan Treats. It’s worth it and amazing! Plus you can do all your people watching while you wait!

Maryland Renaissance Festival – I have not been to this festival or any other renaissance festival but it just sounds like fun! I don’t know what to expect…wenches? grog? chainmail? dungeons? swords? dragons? I just realized I have no clue what medieval stuff is really. Still, I think it sounds like a blast.

6 Month Baby Update


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Just look at that face…I don’t even think she was mad…She can impressively make faces that I can not for some reason. Happy six months to our funny, smiley, busy, smart, little cutie pie! This post is a few weeks late but I didn’t want to let her half birthday pass without an update.

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It is hard to believe that she has been ours for only 6 months. I feel as if she has always been with us. She has filled our world with so much more love than I ever knew was possible.

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Even though I knew in my heart that she was a girl, I couldn’t quite picture her. I am sure my imagination would not have done her justice anyway.

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At LA’s sixth month appointment, she surprised her doctor with her mobility, stability and strength then she peed on the table. LA just likes to keep it real. She weighed in at around 14.8 lbs. and is 26 inches. She’s a small wonder! Her shots made her cry but only for about 5 seconds then she was ready for a nap in the car.

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Not quite the happiest baby on the block!

LA started crawling and pulling up/assisted standing during her sixth month. She is on the go all the time now. It’s a good thing baby butts are so plush because that poor booty is constantly making contact with the floor. The poor dogs get some much needed exercise running from her pincers. She gets so excited when they pay her any attention at all. Luckily she has not discovered their water bowl yet.

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LA LOVES:

  • Pulling up on the couch, the stool, the TV stand, her sit-to-stand walker, her high-chair…I mean pretty much all the things.
  • Standing in her crib…maybe even having a little chew of the railing.
  • Knocking her books off of the bookcase.
  • Teething toys (even though no teeth have made it to the surface)
  • Hanging out in her Ergo while shopping, cleaning, walking…etc.
  • Playing with her toys especially her keyboard and sit-to-stand walker because they make all the noise.
  • Giving moms and grammy kisses.
  • Eating homemade mashed/pureed peas, broccoli, green beans, pears, cereal, sweet potatoes, carrots, avocado, bananas…
  • Dance parties with moms.
  • Reading and tasting a good book.
  • Trying to ride the dogs.
  • Bath time!

LA LOATHES:

  • Diaper changes – This is new…it’s like rasslin’ a bear!
  • Not a huge fan of when mommies or grammy leave the room sometimes.
  • Bed time…Nap time…all the times when sleep is required.
  • Diaper changes…did I mention diaper changes are a challenge?

Cookies For Your Milk…Production

Yesterday, a guy friend from college was asking for a healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe. I immediately thought of the milk production cookie recipe that we received from our midwives. It is such a delicious cookie that I ate so many I’m surprised I didn’t spontaneously lactate. I did NOT lactate and neither will he. But the cookies do have some awesome ingredients that aid in milk production for those of you who are lactating.

I read a lot about breastfeeding among the blogging community. Some of you may already be incorporating these ingredients into  your diets to aid in production but this is a delicious alternative. I can not promise this cookie will correct all of your breastfeeding issues or woes but it does taste great.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup ground flax or chia seeds or both
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (not baker’s yeast but the yellow flakes)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Prepare cookie sheet with your favored method of “greasing”.
  2. Mix together wet ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. In a separate large bowl mix together the dry ingredients then add wet ingredients.
  4. Place desired size drops of dough on cookie sheet then bake for 8-12 minutes until golden.

This recipe has obviously been passed down through people and maybe even by word of mouth. The actual directions are limited. I expanded them a little so at least you have some steps. I am not a professional baker and I’ve made these several times and they have always tasted great even when they didn’t quite bind during my veganization of them. The best part is at the top of the directions it reads – You Must Eat Several a Day. So there you have it from our very finicky midwives…EAT ALL THE COOKIES! Here are some other helpful hints:

  1. I don’t like whole-wheat flour for baking. I prefer to use oat flour and organic all-purpose flour.
  2. I always use 1/4 cup flax and 1/4 cup chia…1/2 cup of chia is a lot of freaking chia seeds even if you like them a lot.
  3. Nutritional yeast is something most vegans have on hand but if you don’t it’s easy to find. Some stores sell it in bulk and some in a very handy container.
  4. To veganize you can replace the egg with flax eggs and by using vegan butter (Earth Balance). If you make flax eggs, be sure to do that first to give it time to set. This is your binder. A couple of times my cookies would not bind really well b/c my flax eggs were not set. Still tasty though!
  5. I never add the nuts. That’s not really a hint…That’s just because I don’t like nuts in my cookies.
  6. Watch the cookies while in the oven so they don’t burn. The directions don’t actually give a baking time but we usually took ours out around 10 minutes.

I took pictures of the baking process for these cookies months ago when we were majorly sleep deprived as opposed to now when we’re just slightly sleep deprived or adapting to it. If I find them, I will post them here. If I don’t, maybe I’ll make some cookies.

National Burger Day: Hold the Cow Please

If you woke up this morning and had no idea it was National Burger Day, you’re not alone neither did I. Then Twitter was all National Burger Day this and National Burger Day that. Of course, now I want a burger! Don’t worry, even vegans can get their National Burger Day on!  If you’re out and about today, here are some places you can snag a vegan burger!

Red Robin’s Vegan Boca Burger – This is by far my favorite vegan burger at a national chain. They get one of our burgers wrong every time we go but they always make it right the second time. I just assume I’m teaching a very important vegan lesson by ordering carefully and being compassionate when it is screwed up (But seriously, I really like Red Robin). Lisa likes to pile on fresh ingredients like avocado and pineapple while I prefer the savory flavors of BBQ sauce and onion straws.

Oddly this is only picture I could find correctly identifying the Boca burger.

Loving Hut’s Crispy Burger – This is the vegan equivalent of hangover food. It is not at all greasy but it feels really comforting and NOT at all good for you. It’s a patty topped with pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, soy cheese (Daiya), and a special sauce. The special sauce actually makes the burger to me. Lisa is not a fan but I really like it. However, I haven’t ordered it in like a year. It’s definitely a special occasion thing. If you’re not familiar with Loving Hut, click here. There may be one in your area and you didn’t even know! There are totally some international locations too!

Nom, Nom, Nom, Nom

Native Foods’ Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger – I have no idea what anything on this burger has to do with Oklahoma but thank you Sooner state for your tasty burger. Sliced seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions and tofu bacon with BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, carrots, tomato and romaine. Native Foods expanded their reach to the DC area last year! Such an amazing selection of vegan food and desserts! And Lavender Lemonade is so yummy!

Elevation Burger’s Veggie Burger #2 – This vegan burger is made with organic grains, veggies and spices. It is a simple but tasty option you can dress your way with toppings. Also, they have awesome fries!

Even though grabbing a burger out and about is fun sometimes you just want the freshness of a home cooked vegan burger. Here are two of our favorite vegan recipes to help you celebrate National Burger Day at home!

Barbecue Black-Eyed Pea Burgers from FatFree Vegan Kitchen – We just discovered this simple and delicious recipe a few weeks ago when we wanted burgers and had left over black-eyed peas! This is what you call a win-win! This is our favorite burger recipe because it is simple but full of rich flavor. (My notes are in red. We didn’t really alter the recipe. We just used what we had on hand which worked out great). 

Ingredients

  • 1 can cooked black-eyed peas, drained (or 1 3/4 cups cooked)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup organic barbecue sauce (or homemade BBQ sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos, soy sauce, or tamari (soy sauce works well no need to run out for specialty items)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (we always leave this out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, panko, or dried bread crumbs (rolled oats were fabulous and probably something you already have on hand)

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients except the oats (or bread crumbs) in the food processor. Pulse a few times, just enough to break up the peas a little but not puree them. Stir in 1 cup of the oats. Check the consistency. It should be moist but not wet. Add more oats to achieve the right consistency.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Form burger patties on the prepared surface using about 1/2 cup of mixture per burger. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Burgers will be hot throughout, but don’t let get too dry. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before serving.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Lentil Walnut Burger from Oh She Glows – This burger is nutty, hearty, and easy to make. We have made this burger on multiple occasions then freezing the leftovers for an easy dinner option. This is not a burger that require any special ingredients. Even if these aren’t ingredients you keep in your pantry or on your spice rack. They are easily found. No need to run out to the one Organic grocery store across town.

 Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 piece bread, toasted OR 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chia/flax egg (1 tbsp ground chia or flax + 1/4 cup water)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl make the chia or flax egg and set aside. Place lentils in a small pot and add a couple cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove and rinse in colander. While the lentils are cooking, toast the walnuts by placing the walnuts on a baking sheet and cooking at 350F for about 12 minutes until golden brown and delicious. Let cool. In a food processor, process the garlic, walnuts, toasted bread OR breadcrumbs, garlic, spices & seasonings until combined. Now add oil and lentils and pulse until coarsely chopped (some lentils should be visible and left chunky). Add the flax or chia egg and pulse a bit more until combined. Now shape 4 patties with hands and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a non-stick mat. Bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes on each side for a total of 40-45 mins. bake time. Makes 4 patties.

I don’t have pictures of either of these burgers on hand but trust me when I say they were so good no one wanted to sit and wait while food was being photographed! Check out both websites for more vegan recipes.

Enjoy National Burger Day! I know I will even if I decide to have pizza instead. #YOLO

Summer Bucket List: Watch Gilmore Girls

WARNING: This blog post may contain spoilers from a show that ended in 2007. 

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What did you have on your summer bucket list? Reading Proust, Hiking the Appalachian trail, following Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour, knitting sweaters for hairless cats? Not me. I haven’t even put on a bathing suit this summer but the upside is I have no tan lines. I had no summer bucket list so I am pretending I did. So my bucket list was to stay safely inside with my air conditioner from all the heat and watch all seven seasons of the Gilmore Girls.

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Totally wrote this in May…not five minutes ago at my desk.

I watched all seven seasons…some episodes by osmosis because I fell asleep but felt I had gleaned enough to know what happened. It’s totally a show that I should have watched already. It’s quick witted, well written, great cast…It is right up my Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, Saved By the Bell, Pretty Little Liars watching alley…No reason for me not to watch…so what in the world was I so busy doing that I couldn’t watch the Gilmore Girls?!?

The easy and most obvious answer is: Drinking.

You know the irresponsible week night binge drinking that Lifetime movies warn us about. Don’t look at me like that, you did it too…I wasn’t even peer pressured. I was leading the charge. So this is me owning my debauchery not blaming friends who were clearly bad influences on me. Season 1 began airing in October of 2000. Through the power of the internets I was able to determine that the show aired on October 5th which was a Thursday. In 2000, I was a senior in college. Thursday night was for going out. Thursday was not the night of sitting on your couch watching TV.

Want me to blow your mind?

Binge watching wasn’t even a thing yet…when did Netflix even start streaming?…Kardashian was not even a household name yet* (by a very slim margin). The iPhone did not exist yet*. 

Then the show moved to Tuesdays but Buffy the Vampire Slayer came on Tuesday night. I watched that show even when it was going through its Dawn Summers phase…I was invested. Also DVR did not exist. TiVo was around but I was too poor for TiVo. I do not exactly remember when DVR became the standard thing but I don’t think I had it until like 2008 or maybe later.

Overall, I liked the show…I am not the kind of person who would pick apart the fictional relationship of fictional characters so I have no complaints about their dynamics or any underlying commentary on single parenting. The Luke and Lorelei story line was my favorite part…but I was also a sucker for Ross and Rachel, then Big and Carrie…those “will they or won’t they” story lines are my jam.

Side Note: Does anyone know if Luke and Lorelei were a nod to Luke and Laura from General Hospital? I mean the names are PRETTY close. And who knows Luke could have been sporting those tight curls under that ball cap.

Rory’s relationship with Jess was my least favorite. He was a complete and total asshole, am I right? I found nothing redeeming about him. I feel like I was supposed to be getting subtext or rooting for him but he had the worst attitude and I couldn’t get past it. When he returned later he seemed to have lightened up but ugh…I just didn’t like him.

I know this show ended like 8 years ago now but I don’t think of it as outdated except the technology. Flip phones for days. I know some of you are still sad you can’t have your Razr back. The iPhone can do so much but it can never flip open like your trusty Razr.

Then Rory got a TMobile Sidekick…with a nice product placement plug in an episode. I never had one but do you remember those? So thankful for the invention that is the smart phone.

Not to mention Rory had an iBook. If only Rory Gilmore could have had an MacBook Air, she would have had more room for books.

I really enjoyed the seasons at Yale. TV shows don’t often do transitions from high school to college well but I think Gilmore Girls did an exceptional job. Rory’s years at Yale seemed to fly by. Did they skip a school year?

I finally reached the end and I felt it was rather abrupt as far as tying up loose ends. I sort of remember there being some backlash because there was no Luke and Lorelai wedding. I know I would feel better knowing those two kids tied the knot, that Sookie made the cake and some how Kirk ended up officiating. There were so many missed weddings on that show so there needed to be a wedding…an actual wedding. It would have closed out a major theme. Plus Logan just walks away? Really? I know those kids weren’t ready for marriage. What 22 year old is? But still. He just walks away. Why are last episodes always so lackluster anyway? You take people on a journey. You deep tease for seasons and seasons…We write the ending in our heads and on our hearts while we enjoy the journey. Then it ends…It just ends. Obviously, with Amy Sherman-Palladino not at the helm in the last season the passion was not there so some vision was lost.

Anyway, I grew to love Stars Hollow and all of its many characters. I think I could be happy there. They have festivals for everything! We could be the first lesbian couple in Stars Hollow!! Then Stars Hollow could have a Pride Festival! Maybe Michel would finally come out (although I’ve read that character wasn’t meant to be gay but Sookie originally was but…2000 was too early for all that).

Diet Coke-less Diaries – Putting Down the Crack Can

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This infographic was in my Facebook newsfeed this morning. I can not remember who posted it.

I have decided to give up my daily Diet Coke habit. I generally drink one Diet Coke per day at lunch but apparently that’s bad too. Sometimes I’ll have a CF Diet Coke at home with dinner which is also bad and pointless because no caffeine.

It’s there. It’s easy. I like bubbles.

I also like something heartier with meals than water. I would not categorize Diet Coke as something that I crave. I do not think I have soda “problem.” However, I think science has more than proven a time or two that it is evil and totally bad for you. While I do not see myself never having a Diet Coke ever in my life again because bourbon and Diet Coke is a thing…I am going to go cold turkey for two weeks. For two weeks I am going to keep a daily journal of how I feel, any cravings, and what I decide to reach for instead of a Diet Coke.

Day 1: Lunch time is approaching. Normally I would go downstairs to buy a can of Diet Coke or go to the machine on my hall. I know I will want something to fill the void…So I bought a smoothie today from Protein Bar. Today turned out to be a success and I did not miss having a Diet Coke. I do not feel any different not having one today.

Day 2: It is Friday so I am starting my day with an iced latte from Starbucks but don’t worry there will be water. Friday evening was pizza, vegan wings and beer night. Normally, I would want soda of some sort for this meal but I had one beer. It was delicious as was the vegan wings!

Day 3: I don’t really wrestle with Diet Coke cravings over the weekend. I did have lunch with a friend out and ordered water. I did have a brief moment when I thought about ordering a Diet Coke. There was an honest pull to just order one but I resisted. I did have a beer with dinner again.

Day 4: I really had to talk myself into remembering that I was not drinking Diet Coke. I was meeting a friend for a play who always orders Coke with grenadine so sometimes I’ll order the diet version. However, surprisingly he was having a cider so I had a beer. No, I have not replaced Diet Coke with beer…It just seems that way.

Day 5: Monday mornings are rough. I have never solved them with a Diet Coke except when I worked at an office where the Diet Cokes were free. I wanted a Diet Coke so bad with lunch but I didn’t do it.

Day 6: I can not tell if I am tired from sleep deprivation or if I am having Diet Coke withdrawals. Could I be? Did I drink enough to have withdrawals? I’ll have a sparkling water and move on! My evening was made fantastic by the appearance of iced tea!

Day 7: Seriously, I think I am having some sort of withdrawal. I am soooooooo tired. I just want to sleep at my desk. Is it the Diet Coke? What is happening? Zzzzzzzz…

If you decided to give up Diet Coke and you’re feeling like reaching for a can, a bottle, a drink machine, or skipping the glass and grabbing that little sprayer gun from you’re favorite bartender then just spraying the cancer cola straight into your mouth, read this article.

Day 8: I went home. Ate dinner…and went to bed. I was freaking exhausted. I feel better now and I did not try to solve my problem with a caffeinated soda even though the thought crossed my mind. I bought myself two large bottles of sparkling flavored water to keep at my desk. Just in case those feelings from Day 6 and Day 7 return and I feel desperate.

Day 9: Things have been smooth sailing. I can not tell whether I am feel any different after not having Diet Coke for this long. I think maybe if I had been a heavier drinker I would notice though. I know longer have visions of my bones being devoured by acid so there’s that.

Day 10: The weekends are unbelievably easy to keep Diet Coke free. My time is occupied and I’m not sitting at my desk wondering what I can drink next to keep me from going into a sedentary coma.

Day 11: We went to eat at one of our favorite vegan restaurants, Sunflower Vegetarian where I sometimes like to have bourbon and Diet Coke but I resisted. Instead I enjoyed some refreshing water and a lemonade.

Day 12: While walking to my bus at the end of the day, I realized I had not thought about Diet Coke all day long. I had some yummy black cherry sparkling water in the afternoon. Maybe my taste buds are more enhanced because the flavor was pretty spectacular.

Day 13: I keep feeling like I need a boost or something extra today. I went for a walk. I walked on the treadmill and can not shake the feeling. I am so close to finishing out my two weeks without Diet Coke.

Day 14: LAST DAY! I promise not to celebrate tomorrow with a Diet Coke. I think I have broken the daily habit though. Iced tea made an appearance at dinner tonight which was so welcome. Iced tea feels like home.

So here I am on the other side of my Diet Coke-less Challenge. Physically I can not see what I have done for my health but I know that giving up my daily Diet Coke is good for me. I feel like I broke a cycle of reaching for the wrong thing when I need some flavor and fizz. I would like to think that if I had any caffeine dependency that I put a dent in it in some way. I am mostly proud of myself for deciding to take a challenge and sticking it out. Two weeks was a doable time period for me. It did not seem daunting. I could see the other side in case I was super miserable but it gave me enough time to realize that I can go stretches without something I like and is easily accessible.

P.S. – I want to stress that I am giving up a daily habit because I will eventually drink Diet Coke again. I can not resist one of those huge soda machines where you can add flavors and such. I think they’re amazing…and I love Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke. I may want to drink a half Diet half Cherry Coke at the movies. I just want you all to understand that if I have a soda in the future that I am not a hypocrite nor have I fallen off some crazy anti soda wagon. Right now I am doing this for me as an experiment. 

P.P.S. – I am totally not damning your Diet Coke addiction, love, or preference AT ALL. I love the stuff I do but if it is eating my bones I have to take that in to consideration. I like my bones.

P.P.P.S. – While this challenge is not vegan related in nature…If you were wondering whether Diet Coke was even vegan, information I have found says yes it is as far as ingredients go. However, something doesn’t feel right about drinking it even though it is technically vegan. 

I Lost My Shoes…but I Found Self Love or Something Like That

If you follow me on any other social media, you may have gleaned that I lost some shoes…

I lost my running shoes. How does one lose shoes you ask? Have you met me? Probably not unless you have then you know that it is not odd at ALL that I lost a whole pair of shoes. And if you have met me and you’re laughing your head off because you are not at all surprised by this information, I have something in my pocket for you…It’s not candy.

I looked in my car, closets, under my desk, Lisa’s car, then deeper in the closets to no avail. I even got down on my hands and knees to look in that dark corner that little press on light does not reach. It took me two weeks to admit to myself and others that I had actually misplaced or left my shoes someplace. I walked on the treadmill in my flats…an inadvisable thing to do. I walked the baby in my surf shoes which have never seen surf. I hoped my running shoes had found a new home on someone else’s feet who needed them more. I wished good things for my trusty Brooks.

The truth is I probably needed new running shoes because I could not remember when I bought those Brooks. So I put on my flats and walked to City Sports in Chinatown for some new shoes…

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I let the sales dude help me so I could get shoes and get back before lunch was over. He commented on my pronation which I knew I had. Then he politely chastised me for walking all the way there in flats. So I felt the need to share that I lost my shoes…I am pretty sure he thought I was a weirdo. The dude talked me in to trying on a few different types of shoes because in his words, “I needed to date outside my comfort zone.” Not that I was resistant but I totally went in there thinking I was walking out with a new pair of Brooks. Instead I chose these….

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My new shoes and I are off to a wonderful start. We have walked, jogged and strolled the baby. I barely think about my Brooks anymore.

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So I had given up on ever finding my Brooks when lo and behold I found those assholes in the entryway closet where I had looked no less than 3 times. At some point they ended up on top of the eco friendly reusable grocery bags that I always for get then were covered up by more said grocery bags. I only noticed them because I was digging in the basket and heard something heavy knock the wall…

At that point, I had two choices: 1. Admit that I had not looked hard enough for my shoes. Thereby, confessing that I am a hot mess and do not have it all together (because I’m totally fooling everyone). 2. Throw them away and pretend I never found them. Who was gonna know?  The baby can’t even talk.

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Here are my shoes looking all innocent and non menacing.

So I have two pair of running shoes now.