Mia Ingalls-Wilder-Cupcake

"Blue Cochin" hen, in the kitchen ga...

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I know this may come as a shock to a lot of you who “know” me (and those of you who know me IRL)…..but I’ve always wanted to be a farm girl.

My parents looked into moving several times when I was growing up. All of the houses I recall had acreage, and my mother always talked about where she would put her kitchen garden, and where I could have horses.

I love horses. Wanted to be one of those 4H girls who showed horses….ANYWAY.

But my favorite part of pretending we would actually move into one of these houses was the promise of chickens.

I have no idea why. Maybe because I love eggs, and I love to bake and would totally use those eggs in my baking. Nothing tastes quite as lovely as a farm-fresh egg. Maybe now, it’s the idea of having a creature who doesn’t scream at me when I won’t let them watch Curious George 2 for the 800th time, yet relies on me to care for it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my adolescent daydreams of chickens. I’ve been watching YouTube videos on the Derveas family, and reading books about homesteading. I’ve been plotting out new garden beds for our backyard for next season, before the plants from this season have even taken root.

I am, at heart, a girl who needs to have her hands in the dirt. Who needs to feed her family with her own two hands and not with a paper bag from a fast food joint. I feel better when I open my pantry and see it’s mostly full of canned goods I made, not peaches in heavy sugar syrup in a tin can.

I’m the girl who will put on the fake lashes and heels and go out, and then come home and feed the chickens. I can do this.

Now to convince The Overlord we should have chickens.

 

My House Smells Like Berries.

My mom used to tell me a story about her friend Katie. Mommy Dearest loved to go over to Katie’s house because there was always something going on. Her dad was a member of a Pipe & Drum Corps (a marching bagpipe band) and would practice his big bass drum, twirling his mallets as they do in parades (and causing large lumps on his head as a result).

MD’s favorite part though, was the culinary aspect of it all. They always had something brewing in the basement, and some pot bubbling on the stove. She told me Katie’s family made their own dandelion wine, mead and something I assume was kombucha. There was always a pantry full of canned goodies and I believe Katie’s mom taught MD to put stuff in jars.

Jars ready for the canning pot

Another childhood memory of mine is “helping” my grandmother make applesauce in her tiny carpeted kitchen. I remember the paisley pattern of the well-loved carpet in that kitchen, and the paisley pattern of my grandma’s apron. I remember the “pock” sound the lids made when the seal engaged on the jars. I remember a well-worn spoon and a big flecked tin canning pot and waiting anxiously to use some rubber-banded tongs to help lift the jars from the pot.

I miss my grandma a lot.

So, I’ve been fighting some personal demons that have kept me away from my blog AND Twitter….(My Klout score dropped 6 points in 2 weeks. Ouch.) Lately, I’ve also been putting a lot of stuff in jars. I hosted a food swap at my house, and Kate Payne came.

I’m happiest when I’m feeding people. Or when I’m storing things for feeding people later. Or reading books about food. I’m good at it. I enjoy it immensely.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Planting a garden with things we enjoy eating. Putting stuff in jars to feed people later. Learning how to make my own butter. Creating a compost system for our house. Being “Suzy Homemaker”.

9 pounds of fresh sun-ripened, hand-picked-by-me WA berries. Nom.

I’ve been amassing books and blog posts and any resources I can find about preserving and pickling and homesteading. We’ve researched chickens, and whether or not Devil Dog will try to eat them. We’re planning on building a vermicompost system. We picked 9 pounds of berries yesterday to make jams and pies.

Feeding my family is necessary for my survival, both as a mother and as a human being. It feeds my soul and therefore makes me a better mom to my kids. Making our own food teaches my kids how things go from dirt to mouth (and sometimes dirt goes in the mouth….thanks Chuck) and gardening is teaching them how to be responsible, how to take care of something other than themselves, and teaching them to be patient as we wait for the fennel to get big enough to harvest, and how sometimes the deer eat all of our gorgeous rainbow chard and we have to problem-solve a way to keep them out of our garden from now on. (The 8′ fence we have isn’t helping.)

So expect some of the regular snarky posts interspersed with posts about what we’re doing this summer, and how our garden is growing.

And maybe even some recipes, like I’ve been promising forever :)

And for those of you who have been asking, we are all doing great, and we’re almost back to normal. Or as normal as we choose to be!

Your Mother Said So.

So there seems to be an epidemic of people apologizing for something they said on the internet and seeing as how I was in that same chair a few weeks ago (and yesterday too….whee!)…let me help y’all out.

I have some rules that I made back when I first got on the internet back in the mid-90′s when chat rooms were not nearly as fancy as they are now. As long as I’ve followed them, then I don’t piss off the people in the life I have when my iPhone is not attached to my hand, or my computer glued to my lap. (This life is also known as “reality”.)

I’ve amended them several times, with the invention of social media and leaving AOL….but without further ado, the rules you should follow if you use the internet ever (and do it, because your momma will thank you):

  1. If you wouldn’t say it directly to the person’s face, don’t put it on the internet. THIS INCLUDES EMAIL.
  2. Read what you post/email/tweet before you send it. Would you say this out loud into a megaphone in a crowd full of people?
  3. Don’t email/tweet/post angry. If you want to, write it out and put it in your draft folder. Calm down, and then re-write.
  4. Messenger is a horrible thing. Don’t use it unless you really have to. Instant communication is a great way to instantly tell someone you think they’re an asshole and then instantly regret it.
  5. Don’t do the internet while drunk. Then you wake up the next morning and find webcam pictures of your boobs and have a hard time explaining to your mother what a webcam is and those are not really your boobs.
  6. Don’t send naked pictures to anyone you’re not married to. Unless that’s your thing. Then you go. Otherwise, make sure you delete that ish off of his hard drive before you break up with him.
  7. Don’t ever assume that nobody else can read your emails. Inevitably you screw up and leave your email or your Facebook or your Twitter open and that communique that you worked so hard to keep from whomever is right there on their computer screen and then they’re irrevocably angry at you.
  8. Not everyone has a sense of humor.
  9. Tone is hard to read in the written word. If you’re being sarcastic or pissy (i.e. “Would it be illegal if I kicked someone in the face?”) make sure to say so. (“I would never actually do this. But I just want to know for future reference.”)
So just to review – if you’re questioning if what you’re about to hit “Send” or “Post” on might get people to hate you in your real life, don’t do it. Sleep on it.
Also, don’t worry about pissing off the trolls on the internet. They’re inevitable and just a sign that you’re awesome.

Mamavation Monday: Post-Apocalyptic Workouts

Fruits and vegetables from a farmers market. c...

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So as I hinted to in my last post, I had a pretty big week. I had a giant explosion of “OMG” and have been dealing with the resulting fallout.

And often in times like these, people (like the “Old Me”) seek comfort in food.

New Me has a different approach. All veggies.

I ate a lot of veggies this week. And I put a lot of stuff in jars. I’ve discovered that if I am feeling bad, I don’t necessarily want to EAT food, I apparently want to CREATE it.

So I made yogurt. And cheese. And bread. And Rhubarb BBQ Sauce. And more jam.

And all of that movement through the kitchen (even though I didn’t work out a stitch) and cleaning the house and moving furniture and generally not doing a lot of sitting down….I maintained this week.

No loss, no gain.

Usually when I hit a point of stress (and this is the most stress I’ve been under since I worked at The Evil Empire), I expect to gain at LEAST 10-15 pounds. If not more.

So maintaining is a good start.

And now I’ll work on getting workouts in to my schedule. And making sure I continue to do good things for my body.

Because my body is NOT A TRASH CAN. I need to stop putting garbage in it.

Hope you all are having a fabulous week!

Side note: whomever created glittery bathtub “crayons” should come over to my house, look at my sparkly bathtub, my glittery Twilight vampire baby and the side of my face (which seems to have broken out in a glittery rash) and tell me that glitter belongs in the hands of toddlers.

That is all.

Protected: Hard for me to say I’m sorry.

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Laying It All On The Table (Mamavation Monday)

happiness

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I think “laying it all on the table” has something to do with poker.

Which has nothing to do with this post, but “My 6 Years Spent Standing On a Scale In Pursuit of Happiness” doesn’t really fit as a post title. But would be appropriate.

(as usual, since I don’t have any good visual aids, I am picking the photo that WordPress suggested that has the least to do with the subject matter. I like to keep y’all on your toes. Also, I am not a hairy man. Just so you know.)

Also, this is a super long post. Go to the bathroom first, grab a (healthy) snack and a drink. It’s gonna take a while.

I used to be anorexic.

There, I said it. It wasn’t that I thought I was fat (but I totally did, because I was teased a lot about having “junk in my trunk”), but I was so busy in high school (and my one year of college) that I didn’t have TIME to eat.

When I did, it was total crap. McDonald’s, chips, sodas, ice cream, whatever struck my fancy in the 15 minutes I would take to eat, that’s what would go in my face.

And unfortunately, that eating habit stuck.

I moved my body a lot back in the day; I was on the track team and I worked with the football team and I walked a lot and the weight would stay off because my “junk in the trunk” was not adhered to the couch.

Now it’s adhered to the couch.

After my son was born in 1999, I realized I had gained 100 pounds while I was pregnant with him. Nobody said anything to me about it, not even my doctor. I was a whale…went from 112 on my 20th birthday to 222 the day Short Stack was born (9 months later).

I was depressed. I didn’t know what to do, and I was afraid if I exercised incorrectly, I would injure my baby. I don’t know why I couldn’t get it together.

But I didn’t. And 100 pounds in 8 months is a lot to haul around.

So after he was born, I got back to moving my body. I would walk with him, play with him at the playground…I got out and got moving. Mostly to keep my brain from dwelling on the horrible breakup I had just gone through and the custody battle that ensued, but also because I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror with that much extra weight.

So I avoided mirrors and purchasing new clothes at all costs. I dropped to 165 pounds.

A few years later after another pretty horrible breakup, I went back to the anorexic thing because it was comfortable (and cheaper), and I was tipping the scales at about 190. I wanted to stay out of the “2 bills” range because I couldn’t stand the idea of letting my recent ex know that I was falling apart.

And I started running.

After my son would go to bed, my roommate would watch him and I would run around our neighborhood until I couldn’t move. I wanted to punish myself for being who I was. I wanted to run away from what I had to deal with.

I would run until I threw up, and then I would run another mile.

I ran until I couldn’t figure out where I was anymore.

I ran until I stopped crying because I was so dehydrated.

It was not a healthy place for me.

Fast forward 3 more years and I’m in the middle of another terrible breakup (bad things come in threes, right?). I’m hovering around 170 because the most recent ex told me I wasn’t allowed to be heavier.

I switched to an all-vegan diet for almost a year after that. Was no need to run because I was working for the Evil Empire, who kept me so busy and running everywhere that I had no time to use the free gym membership that came from being a slave to the Empire an employee of the lovely company.

I just didn’t want to eat anything that reminded me of the abusive bullshit he had put me through. Which was pretty much anything that wasn’t green….so I ate all green.

I felt amazing. I felt like I was alive for the first time in my life and I didn’t have to sleep for 10 hours a day and wake up tired. I didn’t have to smoke. I didn’t feel like drinking. I stopped being a mess.

Eventually I got off the vegan diet (during massage school, it was hard to stay on it when I didn’t know when I was getting a break to eat…excuses, excuses.) and I started dating a man who didn’t suck.

Towards the end of my schooling, I started getting really sick. Every morning. And then certain smells started making me nauseous. And then I took a pregnancy test.

Pregnant with my second baby, I vowed to make it different this time. I wouldn’t gain another 100 pounds, because I COULD NOT afford to be over 300 pounds.

Then came the hyperemisis gravidarum. Translation: I literally spent the next 4 months not eating, or not being able to keep anything but Gatorade and a bit of pasta down.

I lost 35 pounds and my midwives worried I was going to lose the baby.

So they told me to eat.

And eat I did. I weighed 244 the day I walked into the hospital to have Chuck, and 247 carrying her out to the car the next morning.

I excercised my butt off after she was born. I got all the way down to 220 in 5 months. I was so proud of myself! I stuck to something for a long period of time, and within 3 weeks of giving birth to my precious hellion, I could fit in (AND BUTTON!) my pre-pregnancy jeans.

Then came this.

I kind of stood around for a week, staring. Not knowing what to do and being in a rather large case of limbo until that 2nd opinion came back.

CANCER.

Cancer is a big word. A big scary word. A word that requires a lot of testing, and a lot of “pelvic rest” (no sex, no strenuous exercise and no other stuff) and after 7 months of being cut into, and then recovering just in time to be cut into again, I am finally in the clear.

I got the heads up from my doctor on Friday that I can start light exercise, and by March 1st, I’ll be cleared for anything I want to do.

So I’m going to start small. And build on that. Because I know that works for me, and this time, I’m not f*cking around. I’m done being this size.

I haven’t worn jeans in…um….well, I think the very last time I wore jeans was to the “Cancer Announcement” appointment. I don’t even think I could FIT in those jeans anymore, and they were my fat jeans.

I’m bloody tired of wearing yoga pants. I have a whole closet-full of gorgeous clothes that I can’t wear.

So here’s my plan:

  1. Quit smoking. (I’m down to 4 a day. From a full pack a month ago. So I’m breathing so much easier.)
  2. More veggies.
  3. Less crap. (I’ve been keeping away from the fast food and myriad snacks the Overlord keeps around the house, and I’ve been cooking more!)

That’s my small plan for now, and for the last week, I’ve been kicking my plan’s butt. I’d like to say I’ve lost some weight, but I can’t lie…I gained a pound. (Here’s hoping it’s muscle!)

I’ve been through so many crazy weightloss periods (and weight gain periods) that I think I can really help the Sistahood. I can see when people are starting to deviate from their goals, and I like to encourage people to stick to them.

I would love to have a group of women like the awesome chicks on Mamavation (AND all of you blog readers and Twitter followers!) to support me in the same way!

Cheers :)

All images, ideas and text here is property of Mia Cupcake/Bruises in the Frosting, unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy without express permission from blog author.
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