The teenager has committed herself to her fitness goals at the same time that I have to use some serious discipline on my own behalf.
As the woman in her mid-forties with lower body cerebral palsy and a history of anemia, I have to join her.
The stress of my job has impacted my sleep and my blood pressure and the exhaustion that comes everything—from turning to various comfort eating techniques, drinking too much coffee and working too hard—leads to me not getting enough steps and not doing cardio or weight training.
That makes me look different, feel different and act different.
I like being a strong, fit woman, even if my body isn’t athletic.
My daughter informed me that she can’t work out with me. She doesn’t want her success or failure to have anything to do with anything other than herself. I respect that heartily, but I hope soon we can at least go to the gym together.
She downloaded the Instafitness app onto her phone. I purchased this app for $5 six years ago and it helped me make my body sleek and lean. I went all the way from 142 pounds to 110. That was too thin.
By the way, today I’m 142 pounds.
But why we like Instafitness— it divides workouts several ways:
By body group
By equipment (body weight exercises, dumbbells, and resistance band)
Some are labeled as weight loss
Each work out ranges from 10-20 minutes so you can mix and match to build a routine.
Today I tried an arm workout on FitOn. It was a 10-minute burnout session for upper body. I liked how complete it was, but man, I was not prepared for ten minutes of non-stop high intensity dumbbell pounding.
So far, and the reality of our need to get in shape has only really hit us this week:
We have made smarter food choices.
We have eaten most of the remaining “junk” in the house.
I have eaten less refined white carbs.
I have eaten more fruits and veggies.
My steps were averaging a sedentary 2,000 to 4,000 a day; now I am in the neighborhood of 6,000 to 8,000.
I lifted today. Briefly.
The teenager is killing it— yesterday was chest, abs & lower body. She repeated chest & abs today.
I might even try to get up early tomorrow and do yoga. Maybe.
There are several reasons why I love vegan cooking, but there are also several reasons why I won’t go vegan.
Why I love vegan cooking:
When done correctly, it usually features fresh, whole foods.
Gaz Oakley, the avant garde vegan. Look him up on YouTube.
It’s a great way to empty the fridge.
It reduces the impact of seasonal allergies by lowering the body’s production of phlegm.
Why I won’t go vegan:
I have a high metabolism and I require an unusual blend of macros higher in fat and protein and lower in carbohydrates than a lot of my peers. To reach those macro goals via veganism requires a large amount of food.
I can’t drink my coffee black.
I was vegetarian for eight years, which ended when I was diagnosed was gestational diabetes at the beginning of my second trimester of pregnancy. I remained primarily vegetarian until my daughter was about 18 months old. At that point, I started craving bacon cheeseburgers even though I hadn’t eaten red meat in a decade and I hated bacon.
Why I went vegetarian:
I hate touching meat.
I hate modern factory farming practices (luckily I live in the middle of some great family farms and can buy milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, honey and meat from them if I want to be ethical).
It’s so healthy, when you’re not living on refined white carbohydrates— which I was.
Why I stopped being vegetarian:
The teenager is a huge carnivore. As a preschooler she told my mom she had to go shoot a bear so she could eat the ham out of him.
A French cookbook. A friend brought me a cookbook in French, from France. I had to cook the recipes.
The onset of anemia, which is when I started craving bacon cheeseburgers.
Today I experimented with some vegan cooking. Do not try this at home until you read this whole post.
A few weeks ago, I made vegan tacos with sweet potato in the filling. They were so good! (Recipe here) So I wondered if pumpkin tacos would be similar. The answer is NO!
I heated some corn tortillas— 3 — because you know what’s worse than a vegan pumpkin taco, three vegan pumpkin tacos. It reminded me of the vegan hot dog recipe that recommended steaming and sautéing a whole carrot and placing it in a bun and eating it like a hot dog.
Don’t do it.
Then I filled each tortilla with some canned pumpkin, organic black beans from the Grocery Outlet, and lots of lettuce that I got on clearance for 50 cents at Lidl, 10 days ago.
And I sprinkled each with fresh lime juice.
I ate them. But never again.
My second vegan experiment today involved making my own creamy, tangy hot sauce.
Now this, my lovelies, I encourage you to try.
Vegan Black Bean Citrus Hot Sauce
In the Nutri Ninja (or high powered blender or smoothie mixer) combine:
Hot peppers to taste— mine were from my mother’s garden and may have included habanero. I used about the equivalent of one cup.
1/2 can organic black beans, rinsed—mine came from the Grocery Outlet
About 1/2 clove diced garlic
Juice of one small lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime
A few tablespoons water
Two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil—I like the cold-pressed imported from Lebanon that I buy at Forks Mediterranean Deli
If you try it, let me know what you think.
Nala approved, she kept sticking her head in the dirty Ninja cup.
So, after such an action packed four days yesterday seemed no only boring but exhausting. This post will be on the rather ordinary side but I think it may set the tone for adventures to come.
The teenager and I have been pretty consistent with our attempts to join the spiritual walks and reflections championed by our friends celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.
Tonight we took a 5,000 step walk in the gentle but steady summer rain, walking the neighbor’s dog.
The teenager and I discussed fitness goals as she needs to lose weight and I need to reclaim my previous fitness levels so I stop falling down. The two goals compliment each other well as we both need exercise, good food and hopefully some weight training. I love a good weight training session. If I had more discipline I would be a body builder.
I typically handle public relations and social media for the non-profit agency where I work and today one of my favorite grocery stores gave us a donation— Grocery Outlet! I love Grocery Outlet so much they have their own tag here on my blog. Check it out!!!
So I know I’m jumping all over the place but before I tell you about the donation I need to tell you what we had for supper because some of it coincidentally came from the Grocery Outlet.
Tonight’s meal featured:
Thin pork chops from the Grocery Outlet topped with my homemade sweet apple glaze
Canned peaches (cooked in the sauce with the pork)
Riced broccoli, cauliflower and carrots from the freezer section at Grocery Outlet
Sesame sticks (from the Carmelcorn Shop in downtown Easton)
This morning— I put on my pandemic finest and headed to The Grocery Outlet for the donation.
There I met owner Josh Bartholomew and met up with the rest of our team who were loading the truck.
It has been about 13 hours since I made the Facebook post and it’s been viewed more than 2500 times— it was fun to see that number climb all day.
Finally, in case you don’t care about food like I do; here is a cat photo of our Oz.
And a mysterious feline decided to deposit a hair ball on the couch on the sun porch. So I tried my best to clean everything up and I took down the cork boards only to also remove great portions of the paint. The teenager assured me we have the paint to touch it up.
Somehow we made it downtown on time— and met our friends. The teenager spent her birthday money on a strawberry plant and some pickles and stuffed olives.
I bought her breakfast at Pie + Tart (apple turnover for her and mini strawberry rhubarb pie for me) and beverages from Fieldstone Coffee Roasters (mango black tea for her and bubble tea for me— which the server gave me a yellow straw to match my yellow pants).
After saying goodbye to our friends, we strolled the downtown so the teenager could visit The Loving Peace. They did not have any supplies she needs.
The teenager then directed my attention to The Carmelcorn Shop. She let me have anything I wanted!
In this video we review our haul from The Carmelcorn Shop. The biggest surprise was, as the clerk recommended, the tootsie roll balls were amazing. I don’t even like tootsie rolls! Review of Candy Haul
So, I emailed Chewy about the bird seed explosion in my package and they are mailing me a replacement. See today’s earlier entry for details. (Cockatoo Mischief)
The teenager and I had made special plans as she just turned 16 years old and she was excited to donate blood.
My pulse clocked in at 102, and the cut-off to donate is 100. So I was disqualified.
Then they couldn’t find a vein on the teenager.
We were both very disappointed.
And, as the final culinary stop of her birthday tour, she asked for KFC.
And then we went to Into the Myst in downtown Bethlehem, where the teenager stocked up on her incense and is seriously debating a silver pentacle pendant adorned with amethyst. I think it would be a good protection amulet for her.
Then for dinner we visited our favorite familia—and on the way to their house the teenager and I discussed our ideas about what happens after death.
Our favorite familia features my charming writer friend with her Judeo-Catholic French-Celtic California roots and her also charming Puerto Rican husband and their crazy animals and now 90% adult children who have grown into impressively beautiful adults with wicked intellects.
Over grilled chicken and various types of potatoes, diverse conversation on employment, dog training, travels, the NSA, Sartre, customizing shoes, Russian Blue Cats, Russia, philosophy… flowed effortlessly with sprinkles of laughter.
The teenager remarked that she always admires how we don’t catch up with them for years, but the energy always feels like we’re best friends.
I knew when I brought home a cockatoo that there would be lots of frustration in my future.
Having a cockatoo— even a small Goffin’s cockatoo like my Nala— is like having a bratty toddler with a teenager’s sharp mind and destructive attitude.
So it takes a special person to coexist with that for the next 40 years.
I recently rearranged the bird cages and Nala was not happy with me— the teenager pointed out that I moved her house to a new neighborhood and put the parakeets where her spot was.
I also thought she would no longer be prone to eating my cork boards.
Apparently she not only ate the cork boards, but the items on them. She hid the stickers I had collected and periodically gets them out to destroy them.
I hope I found them all.
Additionally, I ordered one of her favorite toys from Chewy.com. And parakeet food. Cat food. And a new treat.
The pineapple popcorn treats are new. So far she is refusing them. I tasted one. I thought it was good. She also refuses the yogurt dipped seeds. I like them too. The healthy bits treats are her favorite. She adores them.
But the parakeet food exploded… so I have bird seed everywhere.
The best stories start with “it began as a typical day,” but in this case it did not.
The teenager turned 16 on Tuesday and my employer had scheduled our annual meeting for Tuesday so I planned to take off today and tomorrow to celebrate with my offspring.
With Coronavirus changing everything I could have taken Monday and Tuesday instead.
Last night, I curled up in bed with a gin cocktail and watched some more of Harlan Coben’s: The Five on Netflix. (Mini review: my friend, brow maintenance person and nail tech Beth recommended the show—and I am enjoying what I feel is edgy cinematography, rapid paced story telling, complex writing, and realistically complicated and tragic characters. It’s like watching a comic book.)
So I got to bed later than I normally do and I slept a little better than I normally do. I fed the kittens, made coffee, started laundry and finagled a cake carrier into the dishwasher.
After a cup of my favorite Archer Farms Direct Trade Cafe Mosaica from Target on my breezy enclosed sun porch, I slapped some clothes on… and ended up trying to accessorize a basic outfit.
Which is funny because I was going to pick up Nan, who is blind and won’t see my efforts anyway.
And then I was surprised to find out that the teenager made me breakfast— a mini bagel with greens, cucumber and fresh bacon.
After we worked on some poetry, Nan and I went to Lidl. And I took her home.
When I arrived home, the teenager informed me that her plan for today involved not wearing pants. So after a brief respite, I went to Wendy’s for a Frosty-ccino.
That was when the real adventure began.
I decided to take Nala, my four-year-old Goffin’s cockatoo who joined the family in January. Now, recently we took Nala to Dunkin Donuts to try hash browns and that went well.
So I ordered my Frosty-ccino and a junior fry for my baby girl bird on the mobile app and got into the drive thru lane. And then I did what we all do in this day and age. I took a selfie.
That’s when I realized Nala had pooped on me in fear. And I had no wipes in the car. Green bird droppings now stained my white t-shirt and Nala was walking in the mess.
But everyone in the drive thru window loved her— three employees cooed at her from afar.
I pulled into a parking space and offered her a French fry and she was too scared to eat it. I drove her home, put the car in the garage, gathered the waste and the food and started up toward the house.
Now, the teenager’s father moved some heavy original doors from the house across the garage so he could use my great grandmother’s hutch in his apartment. He did this a couple week’s ago. The doors block a portion of the stairs.
I got tangled up on the stairs/with the doors and fell, to the left onto the doors to avoid smashing Nala who was on my right shoulder.
I almost spilled my coffee and French fries fluttered like hail.
But luckily Nala is a bird, and a forager, so she doesn’t mind a little dirt. I gather them all carefully and climb up from the floor, some contusions and cuts causing minor pain.
I bump the doors and they almost fall on me. This time the French fries scatter to the four winds.
I notice how much blood and dirt cover me and I head inside to discover Nala has pooped even more.
I set her down.
I remove my shirt. White tee shirt. Vivid blood. Green poop.
I wash up and count my blessings— I was very close (too close) to breaking an arm.
I put on my lucky shirt once I cleaned up.
Addendum: I posted this link on my LinkedIn profile and wrote this introduction as to why I felt this piece was important especially as part of a discourse on social justice.
I don’t like to admit I have a disability— #cerebralpalsy. But it’s important to note that with all the stereotypes and institutionalized ideas people have about “others,” whether other cultures, races, religions, sexualities, identities, educational or social class (the list goes on and on), for those of us who have tried to “pass” as “normal” or “mainstream,” our experience is difficult. As all life is difficult to one degree or another. But if you are obviously “different” and you can’t “pass,” those notions of who you are based on quick judgments can be catastrophic. Or lead to people doing harm to you or someone you love. #blacklivesmatter
In that context, allow me to share with you what a typical day looks like for me. Warning— I end up bleeding by the end of it. Different isn’t inferior. Or threatening.
On Saturday morning, the teenager and I went down to Easton cemetery to support the Palmer Kiwanis team as they participated in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community to support my employer, ProJeCt of Easton.