Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Climb

I'm on a slope. A valley. I'm settled in the bottom of it, waiting for the inspiration to climb out. Nothing serious - just an end-of-winter/birthday-approaching/children-getting-older slump. (Plus I picked up a virus of some sort at the waterpark, which is just too gross to think about.)

But April is the month I get out of it. I will read, write, exercise, and eat my way out of it.

As you might recall, April happens to be Autism Awareness Month, so I'm going to read John Elder Robison's new book "Be Different." If you haven't yet read his first book, "Look Me in the Eye," please run out and get it today - it's a good story regardless of whether you're affected by autism, but it's a great story if you're trying to understand how the Aspergian/high-functioning autistic brain works.

As for writing, this seems to be the only place I do any writing that isn't related to a corporate strategy, so I'm committing to blogging every day for the month of April. This is a little bit daunting given my track record of posting once a week, but I'm sure I can come up with something to say. I can't promise it will be super interesting, but you know, it'll be therapeutic.

Exercise...I fell off the exercise train again. It was easy and I honestly haven't missed the stress of trying to fit it into my day. But, I know I need to do it and I'm still paying for it every month, so get back on that train I must. I have to make it to class twice a week for the month of April. It should really be three times a week, but I'm being realistic...twice a week.

The eating part is where I want to say I'm going to lift my mood by indulging in all the chocolate and ice cream I want, but unfortunately, that's not really how it works, right? I'm not swearing off those things, mind you, but I'm trying to eat more fruit and vegetables. Less processed crap, more fresh stuff for all of us. Hallelujah.

So that's the plan. In 30 days, I will climb the hill...which is really just a tiny mountain, and as the wise Miley Cyrus says, ain't about what's waiting on the other's the climb.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring break = inner tubes

We've reached the insanity-inducing stage of Minnesota winter where we've started remembering life without snow...we've even had a couple days above 40...but spring will keep teasing us for another month (or two) before actually giving up the goods. And then it will be spring for a week, and then we'll all be complaining about how hot it is. Oh well.
The one spring-related thing we can count on is spring break, which closely resembles winter break here, except that everyone flies to Florida or Mexico. We could have (should have?) jumped on that bandwagon, but apparently the idea of planning a beach vacation for spring break was too obvious for me. I don't even know if I really considered it since I was so busy conjuring up more creative adventures...including our road trip down the PCH this summer.

But man, a beach vacation sure sounds good right about now. I've got to work on my distrust of things everyone likes.

So anyway, instead of jetting off to a sandy beach with palm trees, we are heading down to waterpark central: Wisconsin Dells.

Last year for spring break we took a one night staycation to the Waterpark of America (which is 5 minutes from our house) and the boys acted like we'd taken them to Disney, so this year I thought we'd go nuts and make it a two-night stay out of town and include both a gigantic waterpark AND a MagicQuest ("Like being inside a video game!").

In retrospect, I'm wishing we'd just planned a trip to Chicago, where we could alternate between kid things (like ESPN Zone) and mommy things (like Topolobampo) but that's mostly just because I hate waterparks...and wearing a swimsuit...and screaming children. But, you know, it's their spring break. I'm just happy to have a few days of uninterrupted time together.

And that is what I will remind myself when I am trapped in the lazy river tube-jam with six dozen strangers, staring at my unpedicured toes, while my pasty white legs chafe against the plastic raft.

Somehow this means I love my kids.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Oh, blog. How I miss you sometimes.

I've been wedged between work and utter laziness. Which is to say that I've either been overthinking this work project or not really doing anything.

The weight of the work project will be lifted tomorrow...I'm hoping the weight of the laziness will be lifted when spring actually gets here. Maybe that will be tomorrow, too.

Suffice to say that I'm probably just a little too psyched when I look at my calendar for the week and see nothing scheduled outside of work. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

I do actually like to get out and do things, but sometimes...I don't. For now, I'd rather just stay in my pajamas and plan our summer trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. And eat cookies.

Monday, March 14, 2011

8-Minute Dinner

Exciting news! It's light outside past 5 p.m., which means I don't feel like putting on my pajamas and getting in bed as soon as I get home! (I wait at least one hour.)

More importantly, it means that even though I really didn't feel like making dinner when I got home with the boys tonight, I resisted the urge to grab fast food and instead, got creative. And so, I present to you my 8-Minute Fancy Shrimp! (I'm sorry, I have no photo. I didn't realize it was brilliant until we'd eaten it.)

8-Minute Fancy Shrimp
You will need:
-One bag of frozen uncooked shrimp
-One bag of "themed" frozen vegetables (I used Archer Farms Southwest-inspired corn and black bean seasoned vegetable blend)
-Barbecue sauce

1. Boil a pot of water
2. Microwave vegetables according to package
3. When water is boiling, throw in frozen shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes (until they're pink)

Put vegetables on plate, top with shrimp, make fancy criss-cross drizzle with barbecue sauce.

Ta-da! It's like you went out to eat for free!

You could do this with any theme. For example, with "Asian-inspired" vegetables, you'd just sub teriyaki sauce for the barbecue. I'm pretty sure the possibilities are endless.

(And btw, I just learned that you can boil frozen shrimp - my life is transformed.)

Top Chef, here I come!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A thousand words

It would be boring for me to tell you how I've wanted to blog for days and weeks, but haven't found the time, or how I couldn't think of anything blog let's just assume going forward that anytime it's been more than a week between blogs, I feel that way - deal?

In case you haven't yet discovered the simple pleasure of Patti Digh's 37 Days blog (I've only mentioned it here a gazillion times), I urge you to check out the month of stories she just posted. It's from one of her other projects, in which she and two friends post a photo and a note every day for a year (you can read more on her site). Just a photo and a note.

How amazing would it be to have a photo and a note for an entire year? Imagine if you had one for every day of your life? Involving two other people is genius, of course, because it holds you accountable. Accountable to this thing that you supposedly want to do but will forget about or bump to the bottom of the list when things get crazy...what I'm saying is that I want to do that.

Maybe that's sort of the idea I had when I started my photo blog a couple years ago. My photo blog that I have since deleted because I couldn't stick with it. Maybe I should start again. Maybe there are a couple of you who would also like to photo blog?

If I had had a photo blog over the last week, I would have undoubtedly posted a photo of my sweet Lola mouse, whom you may remember I adopted at Christmas-time. Of our three mice, Miss Lola has been the most outgoing and friendly. And she's gotten the fattest, which I think means she's the happiest. But last Saturday, Lola was not so happy. Actually, I thought she was injured because she kept rolling to her left and it looked like she couldn't use her leg.

It was then that I learned two important things:
1) Veterinarians close early on Saturdays.
2) Most veterinarians don't treat rodents.

Those two facts left me the option of either taking my tiny mouse to the emergency vet, or letting her roll around, and possibly be in pain (it was hard to tell), until Monday. If you're like most of the people I've talked to about this situation, you would have just waited it out until Monday...however, Lola is our pet and we love her. So, although I definitely considered the expense of carting her out to the emergency vet, I decided that the fact that she's tiny doesn't mean it's okay for her to suffer.

So we spent a lot of last Saturday at the emergency vet, waiting for our turn amongst very sick dogs and cats. One ate poison. One had a tumor. One needed emergency surgery. And there were my boys and I, with our little Lola cuddled up in my hoodie.

But it was worth it! It turns out mice sometimes get inner ear infections that disrupt their equilibriums. But after a few days of antibiotics (have you ever tried to give a mouse antibiotics?), Lola has made a full recovery. And this could be my photo for today:

Healthy mouse, happy house.