Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Robin and Me

So much in my head. So much. Too much, perhaps. Let's see how it all comes out.

I got a job yesterday. They hired me on the spot. It went something like this:

My original plan included hitting every service restaurant within walking distance. That includes Ruby Tuesday [Hooray for salad!], The Green Turtle [although, can you see me working in a sports joint?], Bailey's [which to me just screams, "Consume a lot of alcohol!"], The Longhorn [but, I am not that country [regardless of what you may think]], and The Red Robin [BIG Burgers served at the speed of light].

As chance would have it [or God] I chose to make Red Robin the first stop on my journey. I sauntered in [not really, I can't saunter] and requested an application from the hostess. Now, I had the spent 20 minutes prior to entering the establishment realizing that this was the one and only time I did not have a pen handy. And of course I needed one. The hostess didn't seem to mind, though. She lent me hers [oh, crap, did I steal her pen?!].

Anyhow, I filled out the paper, which I found to be refreshingly short and to the point [one page front and back] and strolled back up to the hostess stand. She kindly asked if I would like to speak to a manager. She was so nice. It is my personal belief that the majority of hostesses do not come that way and I found her friendliness a pleasant surprise. I said yes, I would very much like to speak to the man in charge and she wandered off to retrieve him.

I took this opportunity to inspect the premises. Sadly, I think my nerves might have been in control of the situation because I am at a loss to describe to you what I saw. I do remember a mild mannered red-headed man, wearing what could only be referred to as "spectacles," quietly eating his lunch by the bar. I remember him because a moment later the hostess reappeared with an "oh silly me" smile on her face. She walked up to the man and handed him my resume. I was a bit taken aback.

Had I known that the manager had been in my presence while I completed my application I may have done things a bit differently. As he read over the paper he had just received it suddenly occurred to me that I was staring at him.

I began to pace nonchalantly. I walked up to the door, then over to the hostess stand, and then again to the door. I slowly turned to make my way back to the stand and there in front of me stood the Mild-Mannered Man. He introduced himself and shook my hand. I made a point to give him a firm handshake. It's not really my style, but I know it matters. We took a seat and began to make small talk slash discuss my qualifications. I don't really remember the conversation, except that I felt I'd made a good impression. He told me he wanted to get another manager and excused himself. At that moment I had a fantastic revelation.

I realized that I am fairly good with shy people [most of them anyway [and particularly in the professional realm]]. I am good at drawing people out of their shell. My bubbly personality sparkles in the light. On the other hand, I tend to be intimated by loud personalities. I am easily overshadowed and uncomfortable with the idea that I don't know what is about to happen next. Wow, I thought, what luck that the Mild-Mannered Man had been my interviewer.

Just then I saw another man approaching. He wasn't much bigger than the Mild-Mannered Man, but I could tell by his fast pace and the slightly wild look in his eyes [I could see even from across the room] that he did not share the same demeanor.

"Hello!" He boomed, reaching out to shake my hand, "How are you!"

I firmly gripped his hand and shook it solidly, just as I had done with his co-worker. I sat down trying not to show that I was bracing myself. My application had revealed that I was about to be a bride and we chatted about that, about my availability and other things of that sort.

"So," He said suddenly, devilish smilecrept upon his face, "A DWI, huh? Wow."

I smiled sheepishly, taking a deep breath and preparing to begin my shpeal.

"Yeah, well, I definitely learned my lesson," I began.

"Oh yes, me, too. That's about the same time I got mine." He laughed. Very nice.

We chatted for a while about the regulatory stuff. Eventually he morphed into manager mode.

"Why should I hire you as opposed to the next person who walks into the building?" He inquired. Oh, good grief. These questions are always a joy.

I thought for a moment.

"Hmm." I said, trying to keep a smile, "Well, um, I'm bubbly. And I'm reliable. And, um . . ."

I could see that the standard way of answering this question was not doing it's job. Let's take a different approach.

"You know what?" I stated with all the boldness I could muster, "I'm good. I'm really good. People like me, I like serving them. It just works."

My answer was met with another devilish smile. He turned his head toward the bar and called out to the woman working behind it.

"Can you please bring me a menu?" He asked. She obeyed. He smiled at me. "Prove it." He said. "I'll be back in two minutes, sell me something from the menu."

Oh crap.

That's not exactly what I meant. I wasn't talking sales. I was saying I wouldn't screw up their order and I'd remember to refill their drinks. No matter. Apparently it was game time. I scanned the menu. What would I get? Oh, yes. That's it. I didn't need two minutes. He sat back down and I took a deep breath.

"So," I smiled, pretending not to hate role-playing, "Have you tried our Whiskey River BBQ Burger?"

"No," He lied, for the sake of the experiment.

"Well, I'd like to recommend it. You see the secret to a good BBQ sauce is to throw in some alcohol. Seriously. It sounds funky, but it adds just the right tang. And this burger comes with our bottomless steak fries seasoned just right. You can't go wrong."

"I like your confidence." He said. It's all a facade, I thought, hoping I hadn't been stuttering. "You're hired."

Sweet! I think it was the handshake.


I had planned to talk about all of the other things happening in my life right now. Too much. This has been fun, but alas, the good times must eventually end. This apartment isn't going to clean itself.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Impatient Perfection

I'm not entirely pleased with my creation thus far. It doesn't feel organic. I dove in so fast I missed a bit of quality control.

I'm stumped.

I don't love the name. I don't know if I can change it. I don't know if I should scrap the whole thing and begin again.

Jermaine and I are so different. He relishes starting from scratch [the process]. He's so attuned to the details, the inner-workings. Everything he touches [and finally finishes after hours and hours of labor] just sparkles.

That's not exactly how I operate.

I want to have something to show for myself. I want to look like I've been hard at work - slaving over my computer. But, I've got things to do, so could we just wrap it up already?

I think, "Let's get it all out and then I'll make it pretty later."

I mean, that's all well and good for this particular venture. Blogging is just for fun. But, I take myself so seriously. I demand perfection without first putting forth any magnificent effort.

And then I complain about the end product.

My hope for this blog is that it will chart my growth as a budding writer.*

I don't know exactly what I'm going for. I think my original lofty expectations that this little blog would magically blast me into fortune and fame [I'm kidding - sort of . . .] were a bit misguided.

I think when it comes down to it, I just want to write. I hope I get better [it has taken me 10 freaking minutes to figure out how to say those last two sentences and I'm not even completely satisfied].

Good night [I can never think of a suitable way to end].


*This blog may or may not reflect the previously referenced growth.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Green Goings On

In honor of Saint Patrick, I am posting some of my greenest photography.

She really has to go to the bathroom.

Mr. PianoMan, your shirt is blinding me.

Surprise, you're on Candid Santa!

"Help, this little man trapped me in this green bubble and that girl won't stop playing her stupid piano to rescue me!"

Okay, this isn't really green. But, it is the back of Questlove's head, and I think that's good enough.

They're half-heartedly chasing a leprechaun.

I finally fit into the shorts! Unfortunately, I also have a tail . . .

My thoughtful Irish pose.

Yeah. No caption necessary.

"Yes, I am up to no good. Too bad I'm so freaking cute, right?"

When you're five, flying and horseback riding are virtually the same thing.

Us after a long day of class skipping and web-surfing.

Yes, kid. This is what talent looks like.

I hope you liked my pictures. I planned on writing an intense blog about going green [environmental damage, global warming, blah, blah, blah], but this is what materialized. I still might [just a warning(;].

Happy St. Patrick's Day [drink green beer].

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Will Blog for Comments

Some of my favorite quotes of the day:

"And you know what color God is?" My 6-year-old inquired shortly after explaining that angels come in all kinds of different colors [blue, green, red, silver, etc.]. The one she encountered had been white [the color, not the skin tone].

"What color?" I asked, genuinely interested.

"Blue. Light Blue."


"French toast is a lot like sex." - Jermaine

No explanation needed, of course.


Brandy: "Did they use correlated aluminum?!"

Jermaine: [big hardy laugh] "See, they know."

Again, pretty self-explanatory.


Tonight I made French toast just like my Grandma used to make [except that I got my recipe from an online resource and it was entitled, "Denny's Style French Toast"[and she never made it for dinner, I don't believe]]. My Grandma never dined at Denny's. I bet corporate America stole her secret recipe.

This is my attempt at interesting photography. How'd I do?

That's Irish butter in the picture. How appropriate.


Jewel made me cry yesterday.

"Please be careful with me. I'm sensitive and I'd like to stay that way."


Pieces of You debuted when I was a teenager. Listening to that album was like visiting a dear old friend. We reminisced about forgotten innocence. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Sadie and I bonded over songs like "Little Sister" and "I'm sensitive." She's the reason I put it on in the first place. She has really sophisticated taste in music [unlike her mom, who usually prefers the melodies of Rihanna and Ms. Aguilera].


I'm in a random mood. This has been a random blog.

I should probably get my kid to bed. Thanks for tuning in.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Two Turn-Tables and an iPhone

I spent $80 on Easter candy today.

Don't judge me.

I've never constructed Easter baskets before [I don't start out small [I'm making six total [my niece, my nephew, my kid, and my best friend's 3 boys]]]. There is a slight chance I went overboard.

We went to the Lancaster Dutch Market [to fill the baskets], one of my new favorite places. The vibe is all pleasant and yummy. Everything is laced with a homemade flavor. They bake their own bread and butcher and grind their own meat. And you can find everything from gummie bears to dairy to fresh flowers.

I love going there because [lately] when I shop at ordinary grocery stores, I find myself taking hours longer than I'd planned reading labels [trying to decipher how the product ended up in my hands [and whether or not the hands of the folks manufacturing it were well cared for]]. Sometimes you just can't tell.

I didn't feel the need to do that in the Market. It's calming to trust the people from whom you purchase [Is that even close to being correct grammar? [I was just kind of making it up]].

Good stuff.

I attended a Power Yoga class today. Every time I enter a yoga studio I am struck by the fact that I am so not zen. This truth doesn't bother me at any other point in my daily life. But put me in a classroom filled with bendy soccer moms and I sweat stress.

First of all, it smells like feet. It's not my feet [I actually take great measures to ensure that my feel smell rosy]. And the music? Come on.

Some of the stress is purely linked to my own, um, unique way of doing business.

Beyonce calms me down. If I want to relieve stress I scream at the top of my lungs and punch something with all my might [thankfully I'm not that strong]. I did that today in fact. But that's another story.

I have to say though, Power Yoga proved itself. My body [still] hurts so good [the instructor said that like four times [can't go around plagiarizing Yoga instructors] Is Yoga supposed to be capitalized? Anybody?

I had the pleasure of listening to the sweet melodious sounds of Zelos [Jermaine's Band] this fine night. They rock dude. Sadie acted as their makeshift photographer.

She rocks, too. She rocked out. Says she really really wants to learn to play the "ki-tar."

Good grief I love that kid.

These pictures were taken with an iPhone [by my 6 year old [in bad light]]. Imagine a pint-size person walking around a coffeehouse bursting with people. Her brow is furrowed as she studies the screen, trying to capture the band in the best possible light.

The coffeehouse I spoke about is formally called Ebenezer's. It's in DC and to get there we had get lost in Connecticut and Massachusetts [and then dissect a frog and feed his carcass to a pack of wild elephants]. Jermaine says he has a very comforting and predictable relationship with the District. He knows that every he comes through she's going to welcome him with an unguided tour that last a minimum of two hours and always leave him running late on an empty gas tank.

But fun was had by all.

Well folks, I believe I should slumber now. Toodles. Sweet dreams.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Truth about Santa Claus

Man, what a day. Filled with sweat, blogs, my true calling and the truth about the Easter Bunny.

You may or may not have realized that I spent the better part of the day creating my own little corner of cyberspace. 13th time is a charm. This is the last post, I swear. But I couldn't end on an old blog.

Where to start? Hmm. Well, you know about sweat, my other blogs are full up with sweat. You might also know about blogs, or else, how on earth did you get here?

Good question. I'll keep the ball rolling.

There's a chance you're less familiar with my true calling.

Up until about a year ago I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I went back to college in 2006 hoping I'd figure it out along the way. People would ask me [a 26 year single mom who'd quit her job to return to school full-time] what I was studying. I would smile and confess my uncertainty. That went over well.

And then one day I was driving home. I don't remember the exact circumstances. I just know suddenly it hit me like a lightning bolt. And I knew.

I wanted to be a preacher.

Yikes. What? Why? I don't know. I can't explain it. I felt so calm and everything seemed to make sense. Tears came streaming down my face. It just felt so right. For days I floated around the world. Yay God!

I floated all the way to cloud 9. My life had meaning, purpose, significance!


Then came the doubts.

First of all, I'm a woman. I'm young. My past is riddled with shadiness. I stutter. I'm not incredibly sure of myself. I don't have a commanding presence. I make rash decisions. And I'm not even close to being equipped enough to teach, counsel and minister.

I've been waffling for awhile now. Is this what God really wants? Really? It's a huge calling and I am so not worthy. For a year now I have bathed in my incertitude. Enough is enough.

This morning I prayed and asked for a sign [if He wanted to give me one]. I don't usually ask for signs. But I had a feeling I might get one.

And I did.

It came through Rob Bell [Pastor in Michigan of a church called Mars Hill]. I was listening to his most recent sermon while picking up my messy apartment. At the very end he went on this mini shpiel on doubting. He said that one of the painful parts of pastoring had to do with other people's junk. Not only did he have to deal with his own digressions, he must counsel others on their's. And after listening to the worst of worst [when things that would just go haywire] sometimes he felt like giving up. Like why even try?

He said that doubts are fine, but they need to be tested, probed and drop-kicked. You have to hold them up to the light, throw them in the deep end and see if they float. Like: what if he did quit? What if he gave up, slept in on Sunday, and threw it all away? What about the people whose lives have been changed because of Mars Hill? What about the saved lives? What would he say? Or do?

In that light, it begins to sound silly. And again, I had tears streaming down my face. So what if I'm a girl? So what if I'm young. And thank God for the mistakes I've made because they've given me the endless stream of passion and conviction that I possess today. So what if I stutter [so did Moses]? And as for the rest, if God wants this of me, He will use and mold my tendency to make rash decisions and my ordinary presence.

So, boo-ya, doubts! Take that. There's your sign.

As exciting as that was it wasn't the most eventful part of my day. I told her. I did it. The Easter Bunny. Santa Claus. Even the Tooth Fairy. It's all out in the open. And to be honest, it's a little heartbreaking.

I grew up on Santa. Even after I figured it out I lied to my parents so they'd buy me more stuff. My parents never told me about Jesus. I didn't know the story. Santa was the reason for the season, the only way I could rationally explain all of the hoopla.

I was saved shortly before my daughter turned 3. Since that time I have been wrestling with this whole Santa dilemma. My mom is a huge Santa fan. And she gets even more excited about Easter. Every year we have a big egg hunt, search for baskets and finish the day with a home cooked meal. And I love it. It good clean family fun. But still, how can we justify lying to our kids [and then punish them for lying to us]? I know it's not exactly that simple. And I loathe the idea of bursting my daughter's magic bubble. So in the 3 years since this first came about, I've kept my mouth shut.

But a couple of weeks ago I heard an argument that I found hard to ignore.

Santa knows when you've been naughty or nice; and he can be all over the world in one night.


God knows when you've been naughty or nice; and He can be all over the world in one night.

At least one of those sentences is not true. But, if we lied to them about Santa, who's to say we're not lying about Jesus?

And why, for goodness sake, does some supernatural fictional character dominate both of the major Christian holidays?

I could ignore my conscience no longer. And there is no day like the present. We sat her down. Jermaine did most of the talking [thank God]. He spoke about Jesus and the resurrection [we decided to focus on Easter first, seeing that it is upon us]. She had lots of questions. He told her the truth and explained the reason for the charade [fattening the pockets of corporate America, of course]. She asked about Santa and the Tooth Fairy. We confessed it all. She was sad, but I think overall she took it pretty well. We asked her to let the parents of her Santa-loving friends do the telling when they were ready. She agreed.

These are not the greatest photos. But they do capture "the talk."

I feel compelled to do something really nice for her. I'm dreading telling my mom. But, I think we did the right thing.

I'm dying to hear what you think. I know this is a touchy subject - touch away.

Ms. Jillian Michaels

So, having embarked on this venture for [I hope] last time I feel pumped, ready and powerful.

And so you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon the book, Making The Cut by Jillian Michaels [bad-ass Biggest Loser trainer]. She vows if you are fit and have less than 20 pounds to lose you can achieve a smoking body in 30 days. Here we go, yes indeed.

I bought it and am on day three of putting it to the test [already I'm exhausted].

No cheat days.

No alcohol.

This is exactly what I need[exclamation mark! exclamation mark!].

According to her plan, I am a "balanced oxidizer" and my diet should consist of:
30% Protein
30% Fat and
40% Carbohydrates

Let's see how I measure up today [today being two days ago - again with the restructuring].

Scrambled egg - 100 [100 - P]
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread with Low-fat Cream Cheese - 90 [70 - C] [20 - P]
Coffee with sugar and vanilla soy milk - 150 [70 - P] [80 - F]
Tangerine - 30 [30 - C]
Chocolate-Covered Frozen Banana - 130 [80 - C] [50 - F]
Taco Bell Steak Supreme Chalupa - 380 [207 - C] [120 - F] [56 - P]
Starbucks Short Non-fat Mocha - 112 [11- F] [85 - C] [27 - P]
Black and White Cookie - 120 [80 - C] [40 - F]
1/2 Ham Sandwich with Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, and Onion - 250 [130 - C] [100 - P] [20 - F]
Blackberries - 20 [20 - C]

Total - 1382
Carbs - 702 [ideal - 552]
Protein - 353 [ideal - 414]
Fat - 321 [ideal - 414]

I didn't realize I ate so many carbs today. Hmm. Better luck tomorrow.

Editor's Note: The following morning I would go on to discover a little bit of weight loss. So, as it turns out those carbs didn't hurt me all that much.

Día Uno [a-freaking-gain]


I don't know if that's the correct way to say "day one" in Spanish. And I didn't look it up because I couldn't think of another way to begin this blog.

Let's get this out of the way.

Intake for Friday March 7th [3 months to the day - ahhhhhh!]:

One large brown egg with a little bit of buttermilk - 150
Whole-wheat cinnamon raisin bread [the end piece] with low-fat cream cheese - 70
Coffee - 70
A few strawberries and blackberries - 20
One turkey sandwich on a mini whole-wheat bagel with handmade mozzarella, spinach, tomato, and a tiny bit of onion with miracle whip and Dijon mustard -220
A small oatmeal raisin cookie - 100
One chip with Mexican dip - 50
Coffee - 50
Spicy California roll sushi [8 pieces] with aioli sauce - 320
Raspberries - 20
Two bites of Sadie's soft pretzel - 50
7 bites of a radial cake [fantastic treat from the Dutch market] - 200

Equals = 1320

Not bad. Not bad at all. I was aiming for 1050, as you know, but I think this is a good start.

I woke up this morning and consumed some hot lemon water [which I actually like]. Then I pilated my way to my morning coffee. Later in the evening I finished my daily workout with a fairly intense Zumba class.

I'm feeling pretty optimistic. I really think I can do this. I guess that's a good way to start out this whole thing. Oh, by the way, I decided to start today(;

And so one big Yay God [for mental mindset, willpower and focus]!


Brutally Honest Confession

Hastily written after a nasty bout of Hindsight, this is some of my "workings on."

I just wanted to add this. I think the main issue is my relationship with food. I abuse it. I practice gluttony and greed. Then I try to control everything. I have some food addictions that need to be dealt with. I'll go into more detail later, but it just crossed my mind and I wanted to get it out while it was fresh in my head.

Getting My Mind Right

Editor's Note: A second [unnecessary] attempt to explain myself. Written in the month of Love 2008.

I'm going to have one more go at this [I think]. Bear with me [or bare with me, if you really want to get crazy].

I'm not there [my whiny voice].

I'm so conflicted. I'm fit. I want to enjoy this time. And the dress fits [and looks great]. I know, we've had this discussion. Why would I want to lose anymore weight [J says it's not about the number and I know it's not, but that's the best way I know to judge my progress]?

And there are many more important things than losing the last ten pounds [in my life and in the world]. I have had serious thoughts of truly throwing in the towel. But see, that's the thing - I wouldn't be ceasing to lose in order to better myself, I would be giving up. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for not continuing towards my goal weight but they are not my reasons.

Okay, so blah blah blah. I'll stop explaining myself.

I really want to do this. I'm so freaking close. There is something that can be good and pure about finishing something you started. And I'm convinced it's a God thing, because the only way I'll be able to pull it off is through some intensive prayer. 1050 calories is taxing mentally. I think I've got about a month [before dress alterations need to be finalized and I need to be where I'm going to be size-wise].

So here's the plan:

One day at a time
Plan out my meals for each day
Record intake on this blog
Prayer time each day - making sure my focus is not primarily on me
1-2 hours of exercise 6 days a week
1 day of fasting a week [tentative]
Aim for being there by mid-April

I haven't decided whether to start tomorrow morning or Saturday. I'll let you know.

Thanks, by the way, for reading this. It means a lot to me.

27 Dresses [that don't fit yet]

I didn't lose yesterday. I didn't gain, but I didn't lose. It's alright. The cheesecake was worth it.

The part that sucks is that when I lost all that weight I went out and bought some new clothes because my old clothes didn't fit anymore.

Now it's the opposite. I did take a fantasticly difficult step class, though. Good stuff.

Here's where I weigh in [got to make this short so I can get to work].

cheerios 200
coffee 100
cookie 100
orange 50
sandwich, chips and green peppers with hummus 300
half a cookie 50
taco 400
short non-fat mocha 100
chocolate-covered oreo 150
half a chocolate-covered fortune cookie 50
cheesecake 350

total 1850

Wow. Praise God I didn't gain. I hadn't realized how much I ate. Ooh, and Valerie and I went to a private showing of 27 Dresses [The absolute best movie when you are planning a wedding!]. That's where some of the snacks came from.

Happy Friday.

A New Day Seven

Yet another Editor's Note: Written January 10th 2008.

I gained weight on Tuesday. And then again on Wednesday.

It was so depressing because I was trying so hard. And I know this time is crucial. If spring semester is anything like fall semester I am not going to have time to hit the gym everyday. On the plus side, I am taking a a volleyball class 2 days a week [yay!] and that's nothing to sneeze at.

Oh the stresses of planning a wedding [who am I kidding - I love it]. It's hard, but I love the hard stuff. But, sigh, we've only just begun. And there's so much work to do. I am officially a busy beaver [where did that expression come from?] and so let's get down to business [and by business I mean intake].

First off, I had a Niagra amount of water [if that's not a phrase it should be]. Too much to calculate. But it worked. I was down from 141ish to 138.8 this morning [jig for joy].

I started the day off with hot lemon water which helps to clean out your [er, my] system. I like the taste of it. But there's a possibility that it's aquired.

French Vanilla Yogurt 170
Fajita Wrap 300
Coffee [x 2.5] 250
Cookie Dough 200
Actual Cookie 100
Scrambled Eggs 100
Hashbrowns 100
Sausage 160
Red Wine 100

Total 1480

I might be forgetting something. Ohs well.

To get some exercise I went running with Sadie. We happened to run past a playground and she was too tired to run anymore [not too tired to play] so I ran around the playground 52 times. Good times.

To all the berries I have loved

Postdated Octoberish 2007

I had a fantastic story that I could not wait to blog yesterday.

We went to pick raspberries; my daughter, myself, and a sweet young girl I look after named Bethany [chees'n here with her sister]. We got to the field and geared up to produce cartons full of sweet berries and fingers stained red and numb from the tiny thorns.

You must understand, I love picking berries. It is one of my most favorite things. Cue examples:

I used to pick them as a child near the creek by my grandma's house. I'd spend hours down there [and usually come home with an empty container because they tasted too good to gather].

When I was ten we moved to this huge house in a tiny town in Virginia. One of the perks was the large tame blackberry bushes growing not 20 feet from the door. It produced the biggest, sweetest berries I have to this day ever tasted [except for the ones I buy at Sam's Club, randomly] and was completely thorn free.

Every summer my mom and dad and I would drive to the Omish village where we were immersed in endless fields of strawberries.

While pregnant with my daughter I lived with her father's mother for a short time. I used to walk to the woods near the house and before long I would stumble upon lots of luscious [you don't want to know how long it took me to remember how to spell that - lushess? lushious? lussus?] berries. Yes, at one point in my life i was a wood-wandering, berry-picking teenage mom. Random, right?

And the surrounding forests of every place I've ever called home has been thoroughly examined for wild berries.

For years I had this fantasy that someday my whole family would create a fabulous tradition of gathering berries, complete with mason jars and scrumptious jam.

Alas [and a deep sigh].

I will probably [and most definitely hopefully] marry my current boyfriend, Jermaine. And though I love him something terrible; he calls me country and claims to want no part of the berry picking fun. So I am forced to cultivate my love of berry picking in my little one all by myself. But, that's not so bad, mother/daughter bonding never is.

So, yesterday we went to Butler's Orchard, and the entire outing was delicious. Even, it turns out, this next part coming up.

I hate bees. With a passion. You could probably replace the word "hate" with "am irrationally afraid of." I wouldn't say it's a phobia, but I'd probably be wrong.

We entered the field and began to fill our baskets. Suddenly, I became very aware that we were not alone. I've heard it said that bumblebees don't sting you. I don't buy it.

But, I'm supposed to be the adult, right? I can't go around whimpering, frozen in fear. What sort of example would that set? I must be brave! I must push past this anxiety and focus on the berries. After all, I reasoned with myself, they were worth it [the berries, I mean, but the kids are worth it, too].

I've also made it a point to not show irrational fear in front of my daughter whenever possible. It's a good rule of thumb.

We're going along and it's going well. It seems my love for this particular fruit is stronger than my fear of horrible stinging insects. Then, Sadie, my daughter, let out a gasp. I looked over as she bravely and stupidly swatted a bee away.

"Don't make sudden movements like that. " I said, "Just ignore them and they won't bother you."

"What does "ignore" mean?" She wanted to know.

"It means to pretend they aren't there." Chimed Bethany. "And, I have to be extra careful. Because if I get stung I have to go to the hospital."

"You're allergic?" I asked.

"Yep," she answered.

Everytime I have ever disclosed to anyone my fear they have inevitably asked me, "Oh, you're allergic?" No, I always reply, but getting stung hurts. Is that not enough?

But, now, seeing this brave little girl, I realize that no, it's not enough. I am inspired. And a little scared for her. But if she can stand in this field and not be terrified, good grief, so can I.

Afterwards, while driving home, I praised her for her braveness and explained that she'd helped me to get over my fear. She began to laugh.

"What is it that is so funny?" I asked.

"I've just never seen a grownup scared of bees." She giggled. Sadie joined her and the backseat lit up with a flurry of laughter.

What do you say to that? Out of the mouths of babes . . .

And then, later, her mom told me that she'd lied. She had not, in fact, ever been stung. She had to call me and apologize for lying.

[Oh, I've been there. I stole my friend Amy's NKOTB watch in 4th grade.I told my mom Amy gave it to me, but she knew better. She made me call and tell the dreaded truth. I sobbed as loud as I could and tried to slur my words so Amy would think I took it home on accident. Wow, I was a bad kid.]

And so last night I was left feeling a bit silly. I didn't blog my story. I felt bad for having gotten the child in trouble and also as if I'd been tricked into a false sense of braveness.

But this morning I woke up and thought, hey, I'm still not afraid of bees. I'm so glad Bethany lied to me.

This has not been much of a blog about my endeavor to lose the last ten pounds. I could have blogged of how I walked to school yesterday. And that I biked to Jermaine's house, which proved to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. How by doing those things I'm saving gas, and a trip to the gym and helping the environment. I could have also wrote out my daily intake, which I used to do every blog and probably wils still do from time to time. Yesterday it included a caramel apple, a Mexican pizza [that was delicious! [that I created myself!], a barbecue chicken pizza and a great deal of water [so please let go of the notion that I am starving myself].

I could have written of all of these things, but instead, I'd like to dedicate this blog to all the sweet juicy berries in my life. Well, and the special little girls.

Tired Tuna

Everything is spiritual. My cellulite is spiritual. Toilet paper is spiritual. The fact that I am a horrible typist who is struggling to repeatedly type the word "spiritual" is spiritual. Your kid's bath toys are spiritual. Consumerism is spiritual. Horseradish is spiritual. Where the heck am I going with this?

Food is spiritual. The earth is spiritual. I was listening to a sermon from a church called Mars Hill in Michigan. Rob Bell, the pastor, told this fabulous story about tuna. Did you know some of the best tuna in the world for sushi comes in right off the east coast of the United States, in Massachusetts? Once it is caught, it's driven to JFK airport in NYC. Next, it is flown to Toyko, to the best fish market in the world. Brokers from restaurants all over the world come to shop at this market. It will be bought, driven to an airport, where it will then fly back to JFK and be shipped to a restaurant in Manhattan and sold under the label "fresh tuna."

Next slide [if you go to Mars Hill, you understand this reference; I don't because I can't see the blooming slide through my computer, but he says it a lot and I think it's poignant and clever].

You need tomatoes, or green peppers or [insert vegetable of choice] in January. Do you:

A) Sigh a long sad sigh and restlessly await summer's return.
B) Fly to Brazil and pick up a couple.
C) Drive to the supermarket, buy what you need, drive back home, make yourself a salad and not think twice about where in the world Food Lion got tomatoes in the middle of winter.

Personally I fly to Brazil because that's just how I roll. But I'm going to guess that a lot of people chose C.

And just how does this questionnaire relate to The Last Ten Pounds? Well, since this is my cyber voice I want to use it to do more than just slim down. I've been thinking a lot about where food comes from. Were the people who worked the fields that produced those vegetable paid a fair wage? How far did the food have to travel? What was the cost of fuel to transport it?

If everything is spiritual then that means this blog can either help bring me closer to my Creator or push me towards vanity.

But, I can't rant about this subject on some High Horse of Gardening, because it hadn't even entered my mind until several weeks ago.

Sure, I recycle. I use those cool new light bulbs [and really I can't for the life of me understand why anyone wouldn't want to [they last for five freaking years [I've heard naysayers claim thir light is "unflattering" [and they take a second to turn on [what? [maybe I just look good in any light, but honestly, I see no difference [and did I mention they last for five freaking years?]]]]]]]. But I never gave food a second thought. Aside from the fact that I believe eating out might be my love language [yeah, I know, that's another blog [and maybe also a trip to my therapist]].

But if God is green, and I think He is, then He cares about this stuff. Just like He cares when I devour a whole cheesecake [gluttony, what?].

So, I am going to make it a point to figure out where at least some of my food is coming from. It's a process. I'm not going vegan tomorrow or anything [praise God, don't know what I'd do without licorice]. If that means I do some research on growing some of my own grub, so be it [and if anyone wants to pitch in and buy me an earthbox, sweet]. If that means I spend some time and money at the farmer's market, super.

Whatever it takes! Whatever it costs! No matter the distance! I'm in.

As long as it doesn't add up to more than 1050 calories.

And so, we meet again.

These pictures were taken last August, right before an intense fall semester. By December, I'd gained 10 pounds back. As of now, I have lost 7 of those. This post is all about revamping and revving up my exercise and food regimen.

Editor's Note: This was written in 2007's November Rain under the blog title, "The Last Ten Pounds."

I know I need this more than you, but, please, just humor me.

I started this whole charade at 148lbs on May 23rd of this year. I said I'm gonna blog til I'm skinny. And that's just what I've done. More or less. Less being more. Whatever that means.

Anyhow, the point is I did it, well, almost. I've come so bloody close. I can't not finish it now. Yes, the shorts fit [although, I have to say, there is mom cellulite that may never go away]. But, I am not at my fittest. Not yet.

And it may really be the last 17lbs. Or, the last 5. Because, like I said before, I'm not really sure where my fittest is. But it's like your wedding dress. When you find it, you know.

So here is where I weigh in. Feel free to judge, applaud, condemn and the like.

I am stuck somewhere between 132-134lbs. It fluctuates.

My measurements are: 34-31.5-37.5

I'm 5'3" and a 1/2 and "they" say your waist should be half of your height. So actually, I'm sorta there. But, it's the home stretch. I know I could still stand to lose some flab. Not a lot of flab, but some. And, I don't want to be stick thin, I want to be strong and healthy.

In all of this I don't want to get stuck on myself. And if I'm honest I have to say I struggle with vanity and self-centeredness daily. I'd like this to be bigger than me. Right now, I'm studying to be a fitness instructor. Hopefully soon I'll teach other women to feel strong and beautiful. For a long time I thought I could never do it. Now I want to teach others that they really can.

Okay, enough of that crap. Let's get down to business. Here is the regimen:

1050 calories a day. If you didn't read my earlier blog than you probably think I'm crazy. And, if you did you still might. But there's a method behind the madness: The Biggest Loser Book said so. So there. And if it's on television, you know you can trust it, right? 400 cal. of fruits and veggies, 300 cal. of grains, 200 in dairy, and 150 extra - to be spent at my leisure [probably on coffee].

80 ounces of water a day. ish. 16 ounces will be hot lemon water.

And then, I'm going to try to work out for at least an hour 5 to 6 days a week.

That's pretty much it. Please note, once I get there, I'll go back to eating like a normal human being. The party starts on monday. I'll be posting here and on myspace, so choose your blog of choice.

And now, it's time for another chocolate chip cookie. Good night.

My Big Fat Green Wedding

December 15th 2007. We were just minding our own business, celebrating Sadie's sixth birthday. He got down on one knee. I was floored. Everything just got interesting.

And now comes the fun part. The planning commences [yes, I am one of those girls [I have waited my whole life for this].

But . . .

. . . I want to be green! It's not easy. I know. Kermit is so cute, though.

This is probably one of the biggest parties I'll ever throw [thank God]. It's mind-blowing how much damage can be done in an ordinary day, but a day of wedded bliss - oh! My goodness.

I have had plans to do this from the start, but I can't say I have, exactly. I'm about a month into the wedding planning process and some things are set that cannot be changed:

The Church [although the decorations can still be ethical]
The Reception [ditto]
The Food [it's at a hotel - so it's their food - but - I'm going to find out if leftovers can be donated]
The Groom [although in the right light he's a little bit green]
The 20+ people in our wedding party [no comment] and their attire [Victoria's Secret and Calvin Klein[check out the groomsmen tux - D-lightful, ay?]

And this is Valerie, one of my lovely bridesmaids rocking the fantablous bridesmaid dress:

In a "the glass is half full" sort of light, there are some things that do glow green:

My dress [wedding consignment - $200]
The black and white cookie favors I'm attempting to make:
Our ethical shaded registry []
Fair Trade flowers
Cloth napkins [hey, every little thing counts]

All aspects of the planning process will be put through a 4-point inspection to discover what glows green and what sinks. I found a really helpful website on this subject [] and will let you know as I find more.

Tips, DIY projects or guffaws are wholeheartedly welcomed.

Oh yeah, the date is set for June 7th 2008. That's less than 3 months, so I'd better get a move on.


Editor's note: I posted this last October in my "Girl's Eye View Blog." This is the post that started it all.

I want to be a writer. I suppose the fact that I just typed that sentence makes me one. Someday I might be able to call myself that magnificent "p" word. No, not that one.

Alas, the enigmatic word "published" does not yet grace my resume [unless you count my stint at my community college's paper, which in all fairness, I should, but I'm too snobby]. For now, I'll blog. And I'm quite content to do so.

I'm an avid MySpace blogger, but I've never had the urge to join a real blogging community before today. I don't know why today is the day. But, it was a nice day.

Ok, that's a complete lie, I know exactly why. Her name is Jessica Inman. She is my present muse, my inspiration, my - whatever, you get the picture. It all started a few days ago . . .

Imagine flashback sound: doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo (sp?)

In an effort to find good solid writing I can really sink my eyes into, I've taken to reading lots and lots of archives. Right now I'm on page 25 of the Radiant Magazine archives [not really impressive, there are 26 pages, and I started backwards [also, though not as amusing, it's relevant to mention I've read the first couple pages as well]]. More than once I've stumbled upon an insightful piece from Ms. Inman. I was intrigued and her byline mentioned her blogs here at Blogspot. Naturally, I ventured over. What I read saddened me.

Her latest blog told the tale of an article she'd written for Relevant comparing The Office and Grey's Anatomy and a not-so-nice comment she'd received. The article itself was lighthearted and funny. The comment read:

"Go read a book instead."

I felt like her overprotective big sister reading this whole scene. How dare he [or she, I really don't know]? Instead? Instead of what? Slinging mean words out of your computer?

She handled it nine times more graciously than I would have [exactly nine times, in fact]. What resonated the most was that it truly hurt her feelings. I know I've been there. The comment wasn't incredibly spiteful, but the fact that someone took time out of their day to bring her down was a real bummer.

What's worse is that the whole point of Relevant Magazine is to lift people up. I was left staring blankly at my computer screen, silently screaming, "Why don't you just be nice?!"

I thought about commenting Jessica, but some others had, and this all had taken place a while ago. No sense in stirring up old Kool-Aid. I decided to write this blog instead. If she ever happens upon it, I want her to know she's aces in my book.

So. There you have it. My first Blogspot blog. I think it's the beginning of an era [which is one way to say "I was" in Spanish [as in, "I was going to eat fettucini. I think I'll have coffee instead."]]. Actually you wouldn't use "era" in that sentence at all. You would use "fui." But I digress.

Editor's Note: I feel compelled to add that I don't really watch The Office or Grey's Anatomy. Though I hear good things.

Welcome to my world.

My name is brandY. And I love you. Or if I don't, please just be patient. Currently, I'm working on loving all people. Eventually I believe I will actually love you.

In the past I've tried to compartmentalize my blogs and keep 3 or 4 [or 11, let's be honest] going at one time. The statistics are in and survey says that way of doing things sucks [lollipops] and is headache inducing.

So, I'm lumping my life into one big blog. I'm going to add posts from my blogs in an attempt to reuse and recycle. But, before I get to that, an introduction is in order.

When people have trouble remembering my name I tell them it's, "Like the wine." They like that.

I'm a lot like wine. I can be sweet, bitter, fruity or sparkling. I smell tantalizing. I can be white or red and I only get better with age. Some years I produced a better product than others. If you drink too much of me you run the risk of becoming silly [or sick]. I am the perfect compliment to almost all celebrations. And, I used to be a clear, tasteless sort but Jesus turned me into something magical.

More about me? I am:

a single mother [but not for long].
getting married this June.
done been green [but glad it's "in" now].
in college.
learning how to cook.
getting ripped.
hecka blessed.
learning Español.

I heart:
Sadie [my kid].
Jermaine [my man].
mis amigas y mi familia [por supuesto].
Rob Bell.
the Lakers [a family tradition].
planning my wedding.
thrift store shopping.
C.S. Lewis.
good food.
being healthy.
The Parent Trap.

I don't want to be complacent about:
modern slavery.
molested children.
rape victims.
abuse of any kind.
saving the planet.

When I grow up I want to be:
a pastor.
an actress.
a writer.
an aerobics instructor.
a blogger of note.


If you've made it this far, you have a special place in my heart.

Ya'll come back now, ya hear?