Monday, October 13, 2014

Thoughts On Motherhood (Or, A Serious Post)

I have to get something off my chest, and this won’t sit well with quite a few of my acquaintances and even some friends. However, it’s something I’ve thought long and hard about, and I think some of you will agree.

I am not a mom.  Having pets does not make me a mom.

I admit, I refer to myself as “mommy” and J as “daddy” when talking to my pets. I am willing to call myself a pet-parent, but I cannot equate that to being a mom of human children.

So often these days, especially around Mother’s Day, you see everyone sending special well-wishes to pet-moms and saying, “You’re a mom, too, just with four-legged, furry kids!” They try to say that I’m just as much a mom as all those who’ve grown and birthed a human child, that I deserve to celebrate motherhood as well.

Well, I disagree. I am not a mom. I did not go through pregnancy (the thought of which scares the shit out of me, honestly), I did not give birth. Yes, I adopted my pets from a shelter, but let’s be honest here, adopting a pet is 100 times easier than adopting a kid.

I had my pets sterilized so they can never reproduce. Ok, so the shelters took care of it, but I would have fixed them both if it hadn’t been taken care of already. This is something we find inhumane and abhorrent when done to human children. Guess what? I don’t have kids. I am not a mom.

I leave my pets home alone all day, and have since they were very young. The dog was even left in a small cage until he learned to behave and not chew everything. People go to jail for doing this to human kids. I don’t have kids. I am not a mom.

My pets use a litter box and the yard to use the bathroom. They get in trouble if they go in the house. When I house-trained the dog, he learned to ring bells to let me know he wanted to go outside. I would again be put in jail if I did this to a human child. No kids. Not a mom.

I feed my pets the same food twice a day, from a big bag. It’s healthy food, but it’s dry kibble. No cooking, no 3 square meals. Yes, healthy is a concern, as is weight and activity. The dog gets put on a leash. The cat, well, he’s a cat. He does what he wants. Not kids. Not a mom.

When I go out of town, I leave the dog at a kennel. The cat gets left at home with someone to check on him. Do that to a kid? More jail time. No kids. Not a mom.

Sure, you can find some similarities. I get them annual check-ups, I care about their health, I even brush the dog’s teeth sometimes (Duke won’t let me). But Remy is never going to grow up and move out of the house. I don’t have to teach him much more than to not be a spaz, and he will most definitely not take care of me in my old age. The cat? Again, he’s a cat. He does what he wants.

So yes, I appreciate that you see me as a caretaker of animals and notice the work I put into spoiling these critters rotten, but please, don’t compare me to a mother. I raise these animals and even call them my babies, but I do so knowing that I will outlive them. I am here to give them a better life while they are here. Parents of children have much greater responsibilities. The whole future is in their hands. I feel that calling me a mom belittles all the work and responsibility that goes into raising another human being.

I don’t wake up in the night to feed and change diapers. I don’t worry about getting my kids the best education. Moms (and dads) make many sacrifices for their children that I haven’t even considered. I have the utmost respect for parents and all they do for their kids. I am grateful that they let me be a part of their childrens’ lives.

But after all that, I just don’t want to be a mom. I have chosen to not have children. I chose pets because I feel called to raise pets, not humans. It’s easier, cheaper, and I can choose what kind I get. As much as I love kids, I enjoy going back to the simplicity of my pets.

I try to be a good pet-parent and a good Auntie, but I am not, and do not want to be, a Mom.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Arrivederci, Oklahoma

Last morning in Oklahoma. I reached a point where there wasn't anything else I could get done right now. Still have time before I head over to J's graduation ceremony, so I'm playing around online (internet gets turned off today).

So, what did I like about Oklahoma?

First, there's green and water. There are plains, but still woodsy treed areas. I loved riding on post through all the trees. The couple rides I did through the Wichita Wildlife Refuge were amazing. It's some gorgeous land around here.

The wind, though rather strong and constant, was predictable. If it was from the south, it didn't suddenly shift to the north. You could go on a bike ride and know which direction the wind would be coming from. So much easier than El Paso.

Work. I got a job! And then another job! I made some good friends at both jobs and am ever so thankful for the experience here.

Friends. Not just those from work, but I got to spend time with Kristy and her family before they moved again. I also got to see Jessica, whom I'd missed my last couple years in EP.

I may not have been able to lose the extra weight, but I started working with a personal trainer and feel that I'm getting better about healthy habits. Even eating out, I'm more conscientious of what I'm eating.

On a different note, I swear I have seen more shooting stars in my 6 months in OK than I did the whole 5 years in TX. All my early morning rides and runs, it seems I see at least 1 shooting star a week. It's amazing. The sky is clear and there are some gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

I may not have had time for all the camping and hiking I wanted to do, but I still had a good time. And now I get to go love on my god babies. Internet Guy is here. Better post.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Working On My Self

I've followed the first 2 weeks with Sasha, and after a binge-induced weight gain of 2 pounds at the very beginning, I got down to 159 for the end. So while I put those 2 pounds on, I managed to take them and another pound off. I also lost an inch or so on my waist and hips.

Let's analyze.

The workouts:

I enjoyed the workouts, and found myself motived to keep going. I even managed to get a good workout in with a migraine, just fewer reps and moved slower. For this new set, I have 2 longer days and 2 shorter days. On the short days, like today, I can do a half hour of cardio before doing the workout. Today, I ran the 3 mile track with pup, then did a core workout in the grass. On the longer days, I'll warm up with some cardio and then try to get in beast mode. Friday went well, working on my upper body. I was nice and sore for my bike ride Saturday.

I'm still putting long rides in on the weekend. Only 2 weeks until the Hotter'N Hell Hundred. I signed up for 100 Kilometers (62 miles). This weekend I did 40 miles. Next weekend I'll do 50, or just over, and then I'll tackle the 62. I'm told the route is very flat, which makes it a little more boring, but maybe I can maintain a good average speed that way.

The foods:

The food, oh the food, is always my downfall. Part of the problem is that I want to use up foods I have in my house before replacing them with healthier options. That means I ate instant velveeta shells and cheese cups, and other horrible for me foods. Now those are getting gone and I'm working on replacing them with healthier, fresher options. Going grocery shopping after lunch today.

This next 2 weeks, I got some meal ideas from Sasha to help me with menu planning. No microwave or fridge at work, so packed meals need to be the kind I can eat without heating up. My lunch box does well with a blue ice to keep things cold. Sandwiches and salads are mostly what I'm eating at work. I'm a little sad that I don't get any leftovers. I have some tasty corn chowder and some vegetarian shepherd's pie (doesn't make sense, but it's oh so tasty) in the fridge.

I did better with cycling nutrition this week. I cut my peanut butter bar in half, and it worked out well. half a bar is the right size to shove in my mouth on the bike and not end up with sticky fingers. I also used Nuun instead of my Osmo active hydration. Nuun is going to be my go-to again. Flavor options, no sugar, and very few calories. I do still like the Osmo recovery stuff. It has protein and other things to help me get back on my feet faster after a hard run or ride.

The mental:

I have managed to stress less about the upcoming move. I got some questions answered, and wrote out others. Just having a list, a source I can turn to for my questions, my to-dos, has calmed me. I'm still working on some basic Italian. I can count to 19, but you have to pay for numbers 20-100. Lame.

I'm also mentally prepping for my cousin's wedding at the end of the month. I was Zach's nanny for 2 summers as a teenager (he was a pre-teen), and how he's getting married. I'm super excited to go to Denver for this. I have my clothes picked out, bought new makeup since apparently the packers in TX stole mine (still seems so weird, to take used makeup), and finally found some dressy flats that fit my feet.

I still struggle with mental food issues. I eat when bored or emotional. Easing the stress helped, but unfortunately my job can be pretty boring some days. It's hard to avoid the vending machine. But we are moving this week, and we still don't really know how everything will work out since my place is combining with a bar/restaurant, but the food side of things isn't open all afternoon. At least it's not now. Oh well, not my problem. I just check out equipment to Soldiers.

So that's my world as of today. Time to eat some soup and go grocery shopping.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stitch Fix The Perfect (I Mean, Third)

This is my first Stitch fix in a while, and first since starting work again. It's also the first one in which I'm buying the whole box.

Yes, it is perfect. This stylist, named Jin, totally got me. My colors, my styles, and everything fits!! I will be incorporating probably all of these pieces into my long weekend in Denver at the end of the month. My cousin is getting married, and these pieces are great for travel and dress.

I got some sad news today, so this was a needed pick-me-up.

Here you go, pics aren't the greatest and I apparently need to dust my full-length mirror.

Gilli Maxi Dress with Pomelo Cardi (pockets!)

Gilli Maxi Dress by itself

Pomelo tank with Chris&Carol maxi skirt
Renee C cross-front top and same skirt (my own cami underneath)

detail of the Pomelo tank

detail of the Renee C top
 Wanna give it a try? Please use my referral link.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Che Si Dice?

*warning* this is basically a rambling, stream of consciousness type post

That's Italian, basically asking, "What's up?" I downloaded a couple Italian language apps on my phone, but only kept one. I felt like it was easier to navigate and that I was learning easily. I have a long way to go. BTW, that app is called Learn Italian - Molto Bene. (Yes, I've been dieing about all the molto benes and the Doctor Who reference that they don't even realize they are making.)

I suppose some of you might not know why I suddenly gave up my love of German (well, set it aside, really) and took up Italian. Here's the news bomb: we're moving to Italy.

When I got the email with J's RFO (that's like, pre-orders, so there's a small chance the Army could still change it's mind) saying we were headed to Italy, I was so excited I wanted to scream and bounce around the room. I couldn't because I was at work. Then the shock started to sink in, and is still very present.

Italy was only given as an option about a week or so ago. It wasn't on my radar for the past couple months, then suddenly presented, and now becoming reality. I've never even imagined living in Italy. I've been there, but only spent half a day in Venice. I don't know the culture, the language, or much of anything, other than the fact that I will have a hard time not getting fat there.

I've only ever PCSed twice, and both times, obviously, it was stateside. So now I'm getting ready to PCS overseas. Holy crap. OMG. My brain is going to either explode or implode. Or it will explode and then immediately implode that explosion, sucking all the force back in on itself like a crazy sci-fi move.

I've started some online research. Fortunately, the base we are headed to has a great website with lots of information. I also got in touch with another army spouse I know who is currently stationed in Italy, actually not far from where I will be. I also plan to have a chat with my MIL who did a move to Italy around 16 years ago.

I found out that there is no quarantine for the pets, which is awesome. I just get forms filled out by the vet, make sure their shots are up to date. We should be settled in Italy before any of their annual shots are due. Maybe I should learn some of Rem's basic commands in Italian and start using both languages with him. That's a fun idea.

The hard part about this move is what come between here and there. J has a TDY assignment en route, which often means the spouse/family either stays in the previous location or heads to the new one. We have been planning on me going with him. It probably means leaving our stuff in storage for a few months and living in a furnished apartment. Ok. I can handle that. Then I start thinking about things, like what do we take with us, and what do we go ahead and let them pack up, and if we take stuff with us will they pack it and ship it from there, and, and, and...

*big sigh*

No wonder I'm on day 4 of a mild migraine. I don't know how to not stress about this. I'm constantly thinking about it and coming up with more questions and not many answers. UGH. Like, what about my christmas cactus? It hasn't bloomed, but I haven't killed it yet, and that's pretty amazing for me. Can I take it with me? Do you fly with a plant? Or should I leave it in the knowing hands of my sister and brother-in-law until we someday return stateside? I held off on my venus flytrap starter kit, and I'm glad now. I can start it in Italy, where it's humid (they like humidity), and let it get a good foundation before moving with it.

This is all rather overwhelming. Especially when I realize it's already August. OMG, where did the summer go? July was a blur as I was working both jobs. J is still very busy doing 2 schools at once, so that means I need to step up and take care of some of this, what little I can. I can get the pets taken care of. I can try to sort and organize our house (I suck at that).

Ok. Enough for now. I'm going to distract myself on the internet for a little bit while I finish my cup of coffee, then I have to go grocery shopping. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Plated: A Food Review

I got caught by one of the facebook ads that look like a post. However, I’m rather enjoying it so far.

Plated is yet another shipped box of goodies. This time, it’s ingredients and recipes.

For my first box, I ordered 2 plates each of 2 meals. We had Pollock with marinated cucumbers and dill yogurt sauce the night the box arrived. The recipe card is a full sheet that has easy to follow instructions and pictures for each step.

You supply the dishes and a couple basic ingredients like olive oil, salt, and pepper. Read through your recipe before doing it, then just follow the steps, and voila! Dinner.

The Pollock was very delicious. It had Israeli couscous, which I had never had before but enjoyed. We loved the yogurt dill sauce, and Pollock is often used for fish and chips, so it brought back fond memories for me, without the breading and grease.
Pollock, marinated cucumbers, yogurt dill sauce and Israeli couscous
We just had the other dish, Green Goddess roast chicken, tonight. I love it. J, not so much. Green Goddess sauce is a combo of basil, chives, lime, buttermilk, and anchovy. It’s the anchovy that we think threw J off. He said it tasted fishy and he really did not like the sauce. I might try it again someday without the anchovy and see if he likes it then.

Our sides tonight were purple potatoes and roasted scallions (green onions). I was surprised at how much I liked roasted scallion. It didn’t have much onion flavor at all, and was actually quite sweet. Just spray with olive oil and sprinkle on a little salt, roast, and enjoy.

Green Goddess roast chicken with roasted scallions and purple potatoes
All in all, I think I will use Plated again. One of the biggest selling points can be summed up in their Manifesto, so I’m copying and pasting.

We believe food should be really fresh and really real. For us, living well means eating healthy, high quality foods that are fresh and full of flavor. We keep our ingredients whole to ensure everything arrives in nomnom-worthy condition.
We like knowing exactly what is going into our meals by seeing, holding, chopping and cooking the raw ingredients. We avoid processed foods because we prefer our mashed potatoes without a heaping tablespoon of carcinogens.
We use local and seasonal produce whenever possible and source our meats from local, family-owned purveyors. We partner with responsible companies like Sea to Table to make sure that our fish is always fresh, and wild-caught when possible.

Why did I fall for this? I am trying to move away from processed foods and use more whole produce in my cooking. This month I barely had time to get to the store, let alone cook much. I saw this as a chance to get at least 2 dinners delivered to my door and all I had to do was cook it. Healthy dinners, with fresh ingredients. 
The box was delivered overnight and fully insulated with 4 ice packs (which you can keep and reuse). The food is portioned and labeled so you know what's what. It really makes it rather simple, and I think someone who struggles to cook could learn a lot from this. I didn't use it, but they say they have some how-to videos on the website as well. 
I won’t be using Plated all the time, but once a month might be a nice treat and help us build a clean recipe collection using all fresh ingredients. If you want to check it out, please use my referral link!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Workin On My Fitness

I tracked 5 days of food for Sasha and she came back the next day with a nutrition and fitness plan. I have a list of good foods and a list of suggestions for swaps and healthy cheats. She also included some herbs that can help migraine, so I picked those up and will be giving them a try. One helps calm you when you're anxious, the other works similar to aspirin (anti-inflammatory). 

Now, Thursday and Friday didn't go so hot. I ate too much. Ugh. 

Saturday was the Dehydrator bike ride in Duncan, OK. Jason did the full 80 miles. I, however, hadn't been on my bike in 2 weeks, and not much before that either, so I only did 25. I tried to push my speed a little and managed a 16mph average pace. That's good for me. I felt like I could have gone farther, but not 50 miles, which was my next step up on approved routes. 

But I finished strong and felt good. J finished a little over 4 hours. I tracked all my nutrition that day and noticed that I was eating more than I was putting out. I can see a few easy adjustments I can make that will keep me fueled on my ride, but still give me that calorie deficit needed for weight loss. I also have to remember to not always listen to that little voice named Jason that wants to tell me how to fuel a ride. What works for him won't always work for me. 

Sunday was our rest day, but I still did pretty good and watched what I ate. Today (Monday) I got up and hit the gym. It was rainy, so it was a full gym, but I had plenty of room for a lower body day according to the plan from Sasha. I added one exercise to it and it rounded out to 6 total, so I split them in half. I did the first 3 in a row for 3 sets, then the next 3 for 3 sets. It worked. My legs feel worked, even now after grocery shopping. 

I think I will be going to the gym on strength days, even if it's stuff I can do at home. I find myself more motivated at the gym. I think I push myself harder there. She wants me to do 15-20 minutes of cardio first, and I can set the treadmill at a higher speed and push myself on there, or I did the bike today and tried to keep the MPH setting at 15-16. (Now if only they would let me use the nicer spin bikes.) Tomorrow I'm going to run. I might do the 5k track twice, or I might try a different route and just watch my time. Have to go for an hour. And I'm still walking the dog at least once a day.

I'm trying to really push myself to eat lots of fruit and veggies. I tried to buy fruits that I can eat as snacks during the day. I need to find sugar snap peas, but they didn't have any at the commissary today. I love those things. I like smoothies, but they work like a laxative. Not always feasible. 

I'm only working at the RecPlex now, so I have mornings to work-out. It's helping. I tend to do opening shifts as well, which I like; it means I'm home to have dinner with J and walk the dog in the evening. 

Still no news on where we are headed next. It makes me anxious, but there's not much I can do about it.