Making Changes

A game changer for sure. This short documentary shocked my whole system. I know I’ve previously mentioned intuitive eating, but making the switch to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is something I’ve never considered. Until now.

Remember the post a few weeks ago (or was it just last week?) where I mentioned craving vegetables? It’s gotten worse. If you can even imagine. I literally can’t get enough. Bizarre at best. And it’s been surprisingly easy to not eat meat. My usual post-run veggie scramble was a little tricky though. The urge to add eggs almost derailed me, but with a quick reminder all the protein I truly need is found in the vegetables I added.

Bell pepper, spinach, cilantro, and tomatoes. And a peach

I ordered a salad and felt no desire to add chicken. During a chili dog dinner, at the request of mini me, I made a Frito chili pie instead. Yes, chili is often made of meat, but baby steps. Not sure where this journey is taking me – I’m just along for the ride. The strange looks among a family of carnivores is slightly unnerving. They’ll get over it. Can you imagine my first Thanksgiving as vegetarian?! Oh the mutiny. Although why it’s anyone else’s business I’ll never know. Moving on…

Clearly I have no timeline for this rather large change. The best information I’ve read is to start slow: substituting meatless meals or meatless days, then gradually crossing over to entirely no meat. To be frank, I have no problem with animals and my basis is not about animal rights (if this is your viewpoint, great!). I’m most interested in the physical and performance variations of those who consume animal proteins and those who do not. My research has taken me down some winding roads concerning blood quality, inflammation, and arterial dilation post-animal protein consumption. It does make sense most animals eat plants; therefore, a plant-based diet is the foundation for all creatures. Why should my body not thrive in this same environment providing I ingest enough proteins, carbs, and other essential elements from plants? And even if I don’t see a measurable difference, what have I wasted except my own time? But what if I learn to fly?!?!

I’m soliciting advice from other non-meat-eating peoples. Send them my way!

________________

I ask you –

Have you watched the documentary? What was your take on it?

Is this a crazy idea? Can’t be any worse than my others.

Share your thoughts on vegetarians because we all know the stereotypes exist.

Local Event and Saturday Morning Wine

Do not ride

After some deep thinking (and a radio bit I caught on the way to the gym), it rings true those without a sense of community have a harder time coping with life in general. By community I mean feeling included in what’s going on your local area, as well as the ability to impact any decisions made within. Feeling a little like being on the fence, a community event I’ve been wanting to explore is the market of farmers!

Tables of wares

There’s something innocent yet thrilling about waking up early to ditch your run until later in the day in order to peruse fruits and vegetables. Not everyone feels this way? Why not? I also heard there would be jam, jelly, and fruit pops. Count me in! P.S. I did not forgo the run. It was a very long day. More on that later.

My loot included a huge basket of juicy peaches from a local orchard (Morath Orchards) and 3 small, round lemon cucumbers. The lovely woman whose parents own the farm from which they were picked said the rind does have a lemony taste, the seeds are delicious, and they’re much better than any “normal” cucumber she’s ever tasted. I’ve always been on the fence about cucumbers, but I do enjoy English cucumbers so I decided to try something new.

Mr. Scott Poenitzsch of Horseshoe Bend Cellars Vineyard and Winery

What community doesn’t include wine?! I knew this was a great idea! The real beauty is the fact Horseshoe Bend Cellars is less than 5 miles from my home. Yes, I knew they were close but I hadn’t yet made it a priority to visit and now with the strange times we live in I’ve only prolonged my ability to frequently visit. From what I was told, the owners regularly host murder mystery events which include wine and dinner and all the mayhem one can expect at a winery. I can’t wait to attend!

You can find me here every Saturday for the foreseeable future. I’ll be the one stumbling about – wine glass in one hand and peach pops in the other. I’m kind of hard to miss.

________________

I ask you –

When was the last time you visited the Farmers Market?

Name your preference: fruits or vegetables?

Tell me what community means to you.

Adventures

Guadalupe Mountains

West Texas has many of the same features as San Diego, minus the obvious SD weather and, you know, the ocean. Details. Besides being hotter than the surface of the sun, a short visit proved successful. And I was careful to avoid heat exhaustion. Goal: drink at least a gallon of water per day.

Do you know how tough it is to drink that much water? It’s hard! For whatever time I’m not drinking, I’m going to the bathroom. An endless cycle. But I digress.

Franklin Mountains

There’s really not much between NE Texas and W Texas. I mean that quite literally. Emphasis on NOTHING. Wind farms, two lane roads, pump jacks, and desolation. Oh, lest I forget tractors for aforementioned desolation. Most of the roads are 75 mph with no police presence to prohibit you from doing 80+. I don’t trust bare fields with their wild cattle and brazen deer so I kept it to a modest 70. Unfortunately for you all, my loyal readers, I forgot my camera, but I would have loved to share photos of dusty, minimally-inhabited downtown squares reminiscent of days gone by. The love I have for old photos such as that prompted a future post of my current city. Standby.

Wind turbines in the distance

Not that I know much about wind farms, but I do find them fascinating. From a distance they can look so small in comparison to the oversize load tractor trailers who cart their wings down the highways. I’ve heard – or seen, rather – signs and rallies proclaiming the negativity of wind farms; apparently the sound alone is enough to drive people nuts. No se. Spoken from an ignorant mindset, I really don’t know what else could be done on the open fields of such a huge expanse of land, besides solar panels, which I also saw huge “farms” of dotting the land. For miles and miles, it was either wind farms or solar farms. Energy is big business. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing, just simply reporting on what I saw.

From a generalized standpoint, the people I came into contact with are very unpretentious and quite friendly. What state uses the slogan the land/home of friendly living? Maybe it’s a city? But I guess when it’s so hot and there’s really not much to do, it is expected everyone is struggling and why not give them a break. Nonetheless, I’d suggest visiting at a time when there’s leaves on the trees (Jokes. There were very few trees.) or when things fully reopen because this closing at 8pm trend is a little frustrating.

__________________

I ask you –

Ever ventured out into the wild wild west, Texas or otherwise?

Have you experienced wind or solar farms?

Living in the desert: pros/cons. Go!

Nuance. The Polite Term.

If only we were so lucky

As promised (or threatened, whichever way you choose to see it), the inevitable post on things that annoy me. Pull up a chair. These are numbered only for you to comment on your favorites; in no way does it signify preference.

  1. The populations’ propensity to legally plagiarize another’s words. As the saying goes: imitation is the highest form of flattery. I disagree. It’s okay to occasionally repost and republish memes, etc on your social media account, but if you have time to repeatedly do this throughout the day, then you have time to come up with something original.
  2. A previously mentioned annoyance: wearing a mask the incorrect way. If your nose is uncovered, you’re doing it wrong. Look it up. Perhaps you could use your imitation time (See: #1) for self education.
  3. Lack of common courtesy. Move yourself and your shopping cart out of the middle of the aisle. Give the right of way. Use some situational awareness! I actually see this more on the running trails and tracks than anywhere else. It’s not designed for 4 abreast. Get out of the way!
  4. The amount of emails I receive is ridiculous. It’s mostly junk or advertisements, but what most annoys me is I signed up for these things! Sometimes I spend much longer than necessary debating should I unsubscribe. Then again, when we receive junk mail, for a minute don’t we get excited there was actually mail in the mailbox?
  5. When I have to pee really bad and can’t find the tampon string. Sorry, maybe I should have put a warning on this one. Ladies, you get me.
You can draw your own conclusions

The polite thing to do here would be to leave you with a tiny glimmer of my humility and good-natured humor. But what would a mostly complaining post be without some cynicism? I received the Newcomer’s Award during the 2nd Quarter Awards in my workplace. Truth: someone took the time and effort to nominate me and route a package. Cynic: with hiring at low levels, fairly certain I was the only option. Realist: I’m quite flattered and proud of my first award in what I hope amounts to a long line of many.

________________________

I ask you –

Can you relate to any of my complaints? Which one really hits home?

Please share your additions to the above list!

What award are you most proud of? Extra points to something with the words “Guinness” and “World Record”.

Matters of the Heart

Quite possibly there may be nothing more difficult than repairing a friendship. Even running very long distances doesn’t compare. Physical work can be trained for; emotional work requires time and patience. If it was so easy to chalk it up to a simple misunderstanding, perhaps we could do the I’m sorry routine, hug, and all would be right in the world again.

This is us

Adult human relationship just aren’t this easy. Or if they are, I have not located them. Believe it or not, I don’t share everything here. If you thought I did, so sorry. Long story short, my best friend of over 15 years and I disagreed on some fundamental beliefs. Now before you wonder how these belief systems could have never come up in all the years before, rest assured they did. She and I agreed to disagree; best friends are like that. As with any strong relationship, we vowed to support the other while remaining true to ourselves.

Upon moving back to Texas, I began to see things I wasn’t comfortable with and I felt impacted the small girl I am responsible for raising into a strong, capable, independent woman. I believed her fairy godmother was on a path impossible to continue overlooking. In all fairness, I have also been down some troubled paths and was never truly confronted about them. For this I’ve asked much forgiveness.

Maybe unforgivable though was my best friend was facing a complicated, unfair time in her own life. One I promised to be there for her through. Instead, I bowed out ungracefully. Be kind. I’m no saint. And so this brings you up to speed on the last 10 +/- months.

We may be clowns but guaranteed we have the most fun

The repair part of this discussion is slow going. We have short bursts of conversation and try to leave the past behind. Our tone is guarded. As to be expected. Will we ever find a new path, together? I honestly don’t know, but I have hope. One doesn’t quit a decade long relationship without giving everything they’ve got to make it successful.

Best night of our life

I realize this isn’t the post many of you are accustomed to; however, on the off chance my best friend finds it, maybe it will serve its purpose. Love finds a way.

____________________

I ask you –

Words of advice?

How long have you and your best friend been a part of each other’s lives?

Tell me how you and your friend met. She and I worked together. I was responsible for training her (I think) and she got in my face to demand why I was “talking sh*t about my family”. I hadn’t said anything about her family, my ex-husband had but you know how small towns are. From then on, we were inseperable.

Fickle Life

Literally nothing but net

I didn’t realize how short this post was until I got ready to publish. As much as I debated on editing this to make it longer, nothing came of it. Better luck next time.

Bad news. The mud volleyball tournament is cancelled. Well, rescheduled to Labor Day. Still gonna be hot so what’s the difference haha I was disappointed for a minute, then I remembered this past weekend’s long run went to hell within 2 miles so now I need to ensure the next long run doesn’t do the same. And if I was playing volleyball all day the chances of running anywhere except to get snow cones was nothing short of nada. It works out.

I’m just filling the time with activities until my mini comes back from her Tennessean summer with her dad. Typically we alternate months but after the stay at home order radically changed our plans we had to make up for it on the back end. Happy to report she’s healthy, happy, and spoiled. And she’ll be home in a few weeks, just in time for vacation!

Physiology, not pictured

PSA. Did you know the average person can’t answer 5 random questions on 5th grade anatomy? I made up the stat; thought I’d join the club. Seems par for the course lately. But this is clearly true because the amount of people who don’t know the nose and mouth are connected is staggering. Otherwise why would their mask be covering the latter and not the former?

Stay tuned for a post on things that annoy me, currently in development.

_________________________

I ask you –

Name your favorite flavor of snow cone! Dragon’s blood, I think.

Submit your thoughts on things that annoy you so I don’t sound like a complete ogre when I make my own list.

Should I go play volleyball by myself this weekend or run? Don’t answer that, I’m easily swayed.

Collections of Collectibles

So much more than displayed

I believe everyone, young and old alike, share an inherent need to collect things. No? Just me? It’s fascinating why we do this. There’s a premise called “concept of collecting” which allows us to relive our childhood, among other reasons. For me, this is very true. As a child, I regularly visited my paternal grandparents in the Dallas, TX area. Somewhere along the lines of age 7, my ‘Granddaddy’, as we called him, settled on I Love Lucy for me to watch. The very first episode I saw was “Lucy’s Italian Movie” (Season 5, Episode 150). I was hooked!

Black & White, just like I watched it

I can’t name my favorite episode because I truly love them all. May I mention I do a great impression of “Lucy Does a Commercial”, specifically Vitameatavegamin? I even crack myself up!

Thankfully, my family really encouraged my collecting habits of all things I Love Lucy. Presently I own posters, photos, glassware, trinkets, movies: both VHS and DVD, and any other memorabilia you can think of. I have it all. The few photos I have included here are but a minimal illustration of the huge totes and areas in my home showcasing how much I love Lucy.

Every episode

Even thought I named this post “collection…”, I really have only one other thing I collect. Clocks. Warning! Although it may not be funny to you, in writing this post I realized the importance of spell check because if you miss a particular letter in the word clock and then proceed with explaining how you collect them, perhaps this blog format is not doing you any favors. I don’t remember what prompted my love for clocks – spell check don’t fail me now – but I own more than is acceptable in most rooms. Who wants a clock in every room? Me! I do!

Truth be told, only a small percentage of my clocks are in working order. And even if they are I usually remove the batteries. The times are set to important dates in my life, i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Neurotic? Probably. Creative? I like to think so.

______________

I ask you –

Favorite childhood cartoon?

What do you collect?

Is my crude humor too much? Nevermind. This isn’t a real question. Rhetorical at best. Forget I asked.

Hobbies and Hot Weather

Growing up surrounded by four walls and forestry, all the benefits of country-living have been experienced. Minus what is affectionately referred to as cow tipping. You people are insane. I’ve been involved in not only the stupidest activities but also many that have no statute of limitations so we won’t be speaking of such. One and the same. If you’re like me, you are no stranger to mud. You know, the yucky brown or red stuff that plagues your vehicle and clothing the minute it’s considered.

That being said mud can be a secondary word in some sentences. For example, mud running, mudding (you have to say this with a southern drawl and drop the ‘g’), and something I’m particularly interested in, mud volleyball!

Add a little water to the fields of happiness above and magic will happen! Basically what I’m saying is I joined a mud volleyball tournament for July 4th weekend. Aptly named Pig Pen Mud Volleyball, the entry fee is donated to charity – though I do think there is a monetary prize for the winner. My focus on winning could best be classified as zero. I’ve never played mud volleyball, but surely all my years on a junior and high school court will easily translate, right? I know for sure this same tournament happened last year – from what I hear this is year 5 – but I was working a million hours a week and driving about as much so there was no way I could participate.

Fast forward to 2020: things are starting to look up! I’m incredibly eager to play with my teammates whom I’ve yet to meet and most likely won’t until day of. Upon sign up I was informed there would be no practices, the only requirement is to have fun, and most, if not all, my team will consist of city employees, presumably with a median age of 50. I’m not judging. If I wanted to form a more similar to my age team, I would have recruited them. Who has time for that? Alas, beggars can’t be choosers and I’m content to meet new people and not break any bones.

Do love some sand volleyball

Will I be keeping you all abreast of the tournament, complete with mud-attired non-uniforms and lots of alcohol? So glad you asked! Indeed you can count on me to provide a figurative and literal play-by-play of the day’s highlights. If any of you have a desire to travel to this remote area of Texas to cheer me on, I will gladly welcome you with a cold bottle of water and muddy hand print on your rear end.

Good game, everyone!

___________________

I ask you –

How many “muddy” activities have you ever participated in?

Does volleyball appeal to you? I adore playing volleyball.

Gordon Lake and Oscar Park Volleyball Courts, 10am, July 4th. In case you need something to do.

Well, this wasn’t included in the brochure

Until recently – shortly over a year ago – is that considered recent? I don’t know – home ownership was only a future possibility. Yes, it was always my dream and something I envisioned would happen eventually, but it was on the medium-to-long-term list. Semi-suddenly, the possibility of moving back to our home state was a very real decision and one we literally jumped at.

Texas, my Texas

Fast forward to today: home owners! But it’s been a rocky ride. For example, no one explained how much work goes into owning a home. It was easy to be complacent when we knew the landlord was only a phone call away and was legally required to fix whatever issue was in question. Now? If I was to pick up the phone and call myself, it makes sense why I refuse to answer!

No one explained to me potential issues. I mean, how could they?! No one shared the underlying expenses. Grass seed. No one gave me a list of all the things that could go wrong. Hello, $700 water bill. No one will be at your beck and call. See “calling myself’ above.

Am I complaining? Yes, but good naturedly, I promise! Investing in something to call my own, to watch my mini grow up in, to be a reflection of my personality and lack of decorating technique: priceless. Until I see the mortgage statement each month. Holy crap. But when I consider the amount of money paid in rent each month for the past, oh, 15+ years, I could have paid for a whole house. Well, back in those days when a house didn’t take 30 years to pay off. Again, I’m not complaining! Just a little.

The real story here is new appliances. Rightfully considered an investment, the available options are overwhelming. Colors, sizes, functions, and the list goes on. Thankfully we bought a home which included all appliances, minus a washer/dryer. Being the realist I am, I fully expected to purchase other appliances as the need arose. So within the first 3 months, we installed 2 new water heaters. I concurred the idea of waking up to a water-logged floor because the over 10 year old water heaters had leaked/exploded/whatever water heaters do when they die was not in my best interest. Price tag: $1200.

Then came the above mentioned water leak issue. I hope you’re seeing a pattern because I’m not done yet. After getting over the initial shock the bill wasn’t a cruel joke, we discovered the culprit. An underground water leak the previous owners probably knew nothing about because they had been paying the minimal water bill while the house was vacant for over a year. As angry as I was about the bill, I was more worried about my home sitting atop an underground swimming pool I didn’t have the luxury of splashing in. Excuse me, where’s the ladder to enter said pool? Price tag: $1800, not including water bill.

Enter my superstitious mind. The power of 3. Approximately 2 months ago, the refrigerator began spewing ice upon kindly asking it to please drop a select number of cubes into my glass. The spoiled nature of this story can not be overlooked. I guess it just had enough of being nice as ice cubes continued to flow from its confines, long after my glass was full. I must share my mini human has a fantastic sense of humor because watching me panic and yell and rush to find a large vessel to collect all the ice was quite comical to her. Even I laughed at what I thought was my own look of utter defeat. In an honest effort to remedy this error, I cleaned and consoled the refrigerator. Begged is more like it. For a time, we figured out how to get ice without the excessiveness. And I began shopping around because I know my luck.

6 weeks later, ta-da! Shipping delays, par for the course.

My first choice was the ocean

Did I mention I own lake-front property? I’ve already encountered my 3 water-related issues. So I should be good now, right? But, just in case, I have great flood insurance. Superstition only takes me so far.

______________

I ask you –

What was your biggest surprise upon owning a home?

Barring the differences, or because of them, do you have a preference: rent or own?

Share your favorite story of appliances gone wrong!

Some things

Reading of other great moms and parents who devote themselves to their children’s artistic and mind-blossoming activities, I decided to jump on the proverbial bandwagon. I promptly fell off. In January, we began asking my knowledge-thirsty, small human what her favorite part of the week was. Each Sunday, I pose the question, then draw her memory on a much-too-small piece of paper, date it, then drop it into the unicorn bucket. Mostly, she recalls whatever was done within the past 48 hours; occasionally she surprises me with something from earlier in the week. Let’s be real. It’s my job to remind her of the week’s highlights then she chooses.

I believe it’s going well! The plan is to read all 52 weeks sometime around New Years. Give or take. The joke has become “She tried her best!” I’m the ‘she’ and, yes, I do my try my best but clearly I’m no artist.

My animals look like their evil counterparts and even the stick figures are lacking in depth. I can draw a really great tree, though! Is there anyone who can’t? Nonetheless, maybe I’ll look back on this upon the great unveiling of each week and see how my skills have improved. Just in case, I’m not holding my breath. You shouldn’t either.

Bring on the tacos!

Anyone else have a love affair with cilantro? I absolutely understand it’s a love/hate relationship with this particular greenery. You either believe it is heaven sent or it is what one may envision Dawn dish soap tastes like. I’m of the former. Small favors. Interestingly enough, there was a short period in my life where I was an unwilling participant in cilantro’s soapy side effects.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved cilantro. Raw, in foods (hello, salsa!), I would eat it to my taste buds’ content. However, during pregnancy, and unbeknownst to me, something awful happened. As I sat down to eat one night, I placed a heavy dose of cilantro on my taco, took a bite, and probably made the worst face of my life. Hubby, who can’t stand cilantro in any form, looked appalled. As I stuttered and mumbled along the lines of “It tastes like soap”, I registered complete sadness. I wanted to cry. How could my beloved cilantro turn on me? And during my time of need!

For many months post-pregnancy, I recounted the terrible taste, afraid to try it again. What if it never returned to normal? As anticlimactic as this post is, it should be clear now that my love for cilantro returned. I’ve never had another soap experience. Hallelujah. But all this does lend itself to the fascinating way our bodies and hormones work together.

So what’s the moral of the story? Draw pictures, laugh at yourself, and, for the most daring, try cilantro again.

_________________

I ask you –

Do you have any talents, hidden or otherwise?

Name your most/least favorite vegetable.

Thoughts on cilantro? Bonus points if you’ve been through a similar situation.