Category Archives: Confessions

This is not a “Lifestyle” blog.

Happy 2017 friends.

Here’s the thing.  I didn’t despise 2016 like some did.  It is the year I became a mother.  It was the longest-shortest year in which I lived a thousand lives and died a thousand different deaths.  But it wasn’t an peaceful year either.  I didn’t have an “easy” baby. Nearly all of our appliances (and one car) died.  I got some moles removed and biopsied and I got mastitis twice.  So I think it is okay to say I am tired.

When I was at yoga the other day, the instructor was extolling the virtues of letting things go that do not serve us.

Here’s the thing.  I have let everything go this year and most of it has not been by choice.  Running?  Let go.  My body?  No longer mine, nor will it be for the forseeable future.  Sleep.  Quiet time.  Friendships.  I have no intention to “let” anything else go because if I am going to be so honest, I am tired of having things taken from me.  When I was writing in the 365 day-five year journal I received before Critter was born, I remarked in response to one of the prompts that I was quite impressed by how much less I need in my current existence to survive/have some level of enjoyment and enthusiasm in my life/keep growing.

All of this is to say that I feel like I haven’t had a lot to say in the last two weeks and when I think about what I want to write or share with you all, I don’t even know where to begin.  Right now my “lifestyle” blog feels more like notes from a ship’s logbook. End dispatch. 

I have no resolutions and I have no “Intentions” because this is what my life looks like right now.


Toys and chaos, people. Toys and chaos. 

I have no idea what to promise you all for 2017.  I’ll keep posting what we eat because the Friday Food Round-Up! is something I have loved to do.  I’m sure there will be some updates on our finances and what that looks like with buying and selling a house.  And of course the odd missive about our boy baby who is soon to advance to the next level of big boy.  After that, it’s all a mystery.

If you’re still reading, thank you for coming along for the ride so far.  I hope your 2017 is a beautiful one. 

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Watching.

The last time I watched a marathon was probably nearly ten years ago.  I was still in college and over that period of time, a few sorority sisters decided they would like to train and run one.  I remember those fall mornings, standing on Minnehaha Parkway, watching them run by.

Today Whitney was registered to run the marathon and even though I am honestly the worst race spectator ever (this probably also has to do with the fact that I don’t like running with other people) I bundled up with my coffee and a bag full of cowbells, snacks and water (for me) and headed down to Lake Bde Maka Ska (FKA Calhoun).


My relationship with running right now is fraught.  I am not doing it.  I haven’t run regularly in nearly a year now.  I still consider myself “a runner” and yet I am not running at all as a combination of choice and circumstance.  The time simply doesn’t exist if I want to enjoy time with my son, spend time with my husband, eat a hot meal at night, or rest.  All of these things are non-negotiables to me but I cannot stop thinking of the people who would sacrifice food and rest in a heartbeat to move their feet.  Sometimes I doubt myself and think If only I was stronger.  More efficient.  More organized with my time.   But in my heart I know that I am.  I am doing the best I can with Right Now.  I have committed to starting again when Critter either starts sleeping through the night regularly (and I can wake before him), or when he starts to take a regular nap of at least an hour at some point during the day.  Then we can begin again.  Just not yet.

As I approached the Basilica driving down the  I-94 exit, I rolled down my windows so I could listen to the bells ringing for the runners.  It was really too cold for that, but this is the only time of year that they ring the bells for Other People and it is the nicest sound.

When I pulled my car over and parked it on the street, I saw dozens of other cars filled with people bundled up, getting ready to go and watch also.  Door after door opened and out hopped a cavalcade of spectators.  Some with signs.  Some with coffees.  Some with phones that they were eyeing intently.  Some ran toward the lake, afraid that they would miss Their Person.  Others enjoyed the walk around one of our prettiest lakes.  There were people on bikes and people in wheelchairs.  Moms.  Dads.  Grandparents.  Friends.  Babies.  Kids.  All traveling in the same direction.


Who are you here to watch? I asked.  Friends.  Fiances.  Brother-in-laws.  All Our People.


The lakes are one of the noisiest places to run and to watch.  From a half mile away I could hear the whooping and the clacking of the cowbells.  And then I was whooping and ringing my cowbell too.  Because I arrived so early, I didn’t see Whitney for nearly 40 minutes.  Even shouting for strangers, I had the best fun. 

Things That Are True Today: Packing Edition

Most important order of business: I Am Packed!  The amount of crap we’re bringing (read: clothing) is borderline obnoxious but I also have to keep reminding myself that we will be gone for 17 days and that is a really long time.  Whenever I think about how much less I could take, I also remind myself of That One Time In 2006 where our family “backpacked” through Europe for a week using school-sized backpacks and we were just filthy by the end of it.

See also: Heidelberg 2006.

Heidelberg

And London 2006.

London

I know that last week I did some shopping.  For those of you needing your LOL of the week, I am pretty sure that the leggings I bought are maternity.  No I am not pregnant and No they were not listed as such, but when I tried them on I discovered there was a full-on belly panel.  With that in mind, when I tried them on, I also realized that by day 10 of the trip, depending on how our feasting is going, I may be really glad to see that belly panel.  No Shame In My Game.

I made the executive decision not to pack riding boots for this trip.  I am Hardcore Conflicted About This, but at the end of the day, I simply don’t want to commit to wearing them each time we travel to a new city, nor do I want to have to deal with hauling them about in my suitcase.

Anyway, right now I’m enjoying a Manhattan and watching QVC by myself on Marcus’ side of the bed (AKA The Ultimate Luxury).  Tomorrow night at this time, we will be on an airplane! The forecast for Friday in Florence is 61 degrees, which means that it is very nearly springtime for our family.

Confessions OR Things That Are True Today.

I just felt like I had to do a bit of sharing tonight.  Here it goes.

  • I forgot to brush my teeth this morning and I didn’t realize it until I was five minutes into my commute.  After another five minutes of debating whether or not I actually did brush my teeth (it was an intense internal dialogue), I stopped by a gas station to grab a travel kit.  Related/unrelated: Thank God I had a vague memory of the extremely spartan toiletry section that seems to occupy all gas stations.
  • We’re having dinner guests tomorrow night for Tu B’ Shevat.  To cover the “grain” portion of our Seder, I baked Vermont Maple Cupcakes with Maple Icing from the Best Bake Sale Cookbook.  Don’t mind me, just accomplishing my February goals over here with a semi-broken oven.  The repairman comes on Friday!
  • I cannot stop listening to Call Your Girlfriend: A podcast for long distance besties everywhere.  Kate blogged about it the other week and now I am hooked.  Also, if you’re not reading her blog, you really should.  I’ve been reading for years now and this lawyer-turned-stay at home mom of two is so down to earth and full of real talk.
  • Speaking of blogs that I read, I am looking for new blogs to read.  I feel like a ton of my favorite bloggers have either drastically cut their content in the last year or they have outright quit.  Which is fine, but I need some new things to fill up my Feedly.  If you have any favorites, please share them in the comments!  Also acceptable in the comments: Tributes to Google Reader (RIP), which I still miss.
  • After a few weeks of unseasonably warm (and dry!) weather, we’re back into the thick of Minnesota Winter and tragically it is even supposed to snow tomorrow night. The snow shortage has actually been pretty problematic for a number of winter activities (I’m looking at you, Nordic Skiing), but I’ve mostly been enjoying the fact that a “brown” winter means a much faster commute for me. At this point, the end is in sight: the end of March is when most of us feel comfortable declaring that it is Spring. Only 57 days to go! Or, 41 days to go if you subtract the time that we’ll be enjoying pre-Spring in Italy!

Butterscotch Pudding Confessions

Pudding

Last week, The Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for Butterscotch Pudding.  I don’t know why I read that post and was compelled to act.  I rarely read full posts from her anymore and I never put pudding on our grocery list.  But apparently it spoke to my soul on some level.  So I made pudding and that was good and Marcus was sort of confused because it was like 8:00 PM and I was whisking away.  I had never made from-scratch pudding before so that was a mildly exciting challenge in the way that combining six ingredients can be and I was proud of myself.

Related/unrelated: the pudding tasted like manna from the heavens even though I am positive that by all other standards, it was mediocre at best.  I think I may have scalded the milk a bit.  (oops)

Anyway, yesterday I was once again compelled to Make Pudding and as you all know, I was quick to heed that call.  I actually had to run to the store to buy more milk and more cornstarch but it didn’t really matter because pudding was on the way.  This time, I used a pot instead of a pan and the result was even more delightful, if that is possible.  Would it be even better if I were to use whole milk/heavy cream?  Most assuredly yes, but the only thing we ever have in the house is some version of low-fat.  This is something to aspire to for next time.

My 2000th post. OR Cilantro Lime Tilapia: A Confession

You guys, I can barely stand to talk about this, but considering the lead photo in yesterday’s post was a selfie of me brushing my teeth, for all of our sakes, I need to keep going with the writing.

Also, though I started this post with only an idea that I could be reaching this milestone, today is my 2000th post.  Which is absolutely insane.  And sort of emotional in an odd way because the thought that I have created 2000 of anything is a little bit much to fathom and those 2000 electronic footprints have brought so much and so many people into my life.

So this will be one part retrospective and also one part hilarious confession.

As some of you may know, the most popular posts I have ever written were about that one time that Billy Regretsy-ed me for Christmas (which will never stop being funny) and that other time where Rush Limbaugh made terrible comments about women who use birth control pills and so I had to break the silence about that.

However, day after day, week after week, month after month, there is one page on Tenaciously Yours, that continues to get prolific numbers of page views for reasons unbeknownst to me.

Yes, kittens, the most popular page on the blog is this ridiculously simple recipe for Cilantro-Lime Tilapia.

A simple dish, yes, it marries the flavors of cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, with the intention of filling the fish tacos on your dinner table.  Since the blog informs me that the last time we made tilapia was in 2013 (and it wasn’t even this recipe), it’s safe to say that it’s not something I’ve really made an effort to broadcast…ever.  And that tilapia is not something I generally try to eat…ever.  Which only serves to make this situation all the more mysterious.  Yet still, the siren song of the search terms, baked tilapia with cilantro, how to marinate tilapia overnight, and tilapia with cilantro still sounds proudly.  Herding our fellow kittens back to the flock.

While so many others spend time on recipe development, staging, and photography, this culinary creation brings us back to the good old days of LiveJournal and Xanga, where it was virtually impossible to upload a photo because We Didn’t Have Digital Cameras Yet.  Ah, to live that simple, unfettered life again once more.

 

#YesAllWomen

When I started to read the #YesAllWomen tweets last weekend, in the wake of the UCSB shootings, I will honestly say that I knew not very much at all about the horrors that had taken place on that campus or what drove another young man to destroy so many lives that were not his to take.

As I read more articles and watched more CNN, as we all did, I was horrified to hear his misogynistic rant and his “reasons” for unleashing a hellstorm.

And then I sat back and thought to myself, what else is new, really?  These are not New Things or even Different Things.  These are the leering men, the crass jokes about our bodies and our gender, the cat calls and the honks that we silence daily.  The things that we are forced by our mothers to ignore at an early age because Those Are Bad Men, and as we grow-up, we end up ignoring because It Never Ever Stops.

Hundreds of school girls are kidnapped in Nigeria, daughters are sacrificed by their families in honor killings and still more wives are attacked by their husbands with acid in the world over.

And yet, this is all just noise, because it is only a matter of time before a new and different atrocity replaces the school girls and the honor killings with something else equally as dark and terrible.

So I write about this today, about me, and about my sisters because this is our reality.

I remember in middle school, I was sitting through some self-defense seminar or other and one of our instructors was enthusing about the virtues of self-defense in parking garages/parking lots/really any time we found ourselves alone.  The tactic we were taught was to take our set of keys, separate them, and place each key between our fingers with the ring in the palm of our hand.  From there, by making a fist, we became able to fashion something reminiscent of a bear claw.  We were to use this technique not only to keep our keys at the ready so that we could get into our cars and away from these abandoned spaces quickly, but also to turn upon our assailants, fight back, and through the virtues of our sly thinking, be able to provide the police with a DNA sample via these newfound metal talons of ours.

Gold stars ladies.  Getting attacked is inevitable, but at least we’ll have their DNA.  What a comfort that is.

Then there was the time when I was 21 (or maybe I was 22). Marcus and I went out to the bar with a bunch of friends.  Even though It Doesn’t Matter If You Are Or If You Aren’t, I wasn’t drunk and I wasn’t dressed provocatively.  Plus, I was with my boyfriend.  We all know that often times the presence of a “boyfriend” or a “husband” provides us with a sort of shield.  So imagine my surprise when one of his friends took it upon himself to full frontally grope me, in front of everyone.  Both hands.  My breasts.  All eyes glued on me.

And the reasons offered up for this behavior?  It’s funny.  He’s just drunk.

No. No. No.  I am now a sexual assault statistic.

But those are just the things I have personally experienced.  There are also the things I haven’t experienced, but I now almost instinctively know.

For example, danger is everywhere when I run.

Yes All Women

There are gorgeous trails in our community that I will not run alone on because (1) I know women have been sexually assaulted on them and (2) there are areas secluded enough where if I were to be attacked/taken, I know that no one would even begin to know where to look for me. (3) It is no secret that people attempt to and successfully kidnap women while they are running.

And if that does not make it real enough for you, Dru Sjodin is buried a mile away from our cabin.

The day that they found Dru Sjodin’s body was the day that my mother started teaching me the most sober lesson of all: if someone ever comes after you, in a parking lot, on the running trail, in the mall, you have to be ready to fight them right then and there and die in that parking lot because the alternative to dying in plain sight will be worse.

That is my truth.