As much as I love fall, to me, September is not fall. I hate jumping into anything too early and with too much “both feet in” mentality. I laugh at those who wear their full length down coats the first time the temperature dips below 55 (whatcha gonna do when it hits negative 20, sucka?) I refuse to turn on my windshield wipers at any speed above “I can passably see out of the windshield” and no, I’m not ordering a pumpkin spice latte in September. Spoiler: although I use to love them, I now find their flavor cloying. Just give me my plain latte, thanks. So lets call a spade a spade: I’m not ordering a pumpkin spice latte.*
Anyway. September is traditionally a in between for me – so tired of my summer wear, too warm for fall wear which it isn’t time for anyway- and nothing feels quite right. Enter 2014, where up until 2 days a go it was in the 80’s, oh so warm. Then with a round of storms the temperatures dropped and it is now currently 68 degrees in my house with the windows open. It is 53 and rainy outside. We went from zero to 60 and I’m not ready. I have more tomato tarts to make! A corn, cheddar, and scallion strata! My sandals are still beckoning! But yet, here we are, wearing layers and needing socks and finding pants that fit the small people in the house (that would be Gracie).
I still haven’t bought the boots I need for the fall- I can’t seem to pull the trigger on Fryes (next year, Nordstrom anniversary sale, THEY ARE MINE) so, uh anyone have any suggestions? I’m looking for high quality thicker leather, flat sole, tan/brown/cognac color. Something comfortable but pretty that works with jeans and leggings and what not.
Anyway this entire post is dedicated to the “TOO SOON” nature of the temperature drop and the reluctant menu planning I’m doing (red beans and riceon Sunday, FINE) and my promise to never, ever drink a hashtag PSL.
*Last fall, in an attempt to enjoy what I once loved I found a pumpkin spice latte with no sprinkles and only one pump of flavoring was acceptable. But in the past year I’ve stopped liking any flavoring in coffee, so I doubt I get one.
I don’t like olives. In fact, I detest olives. I want to like olives because every word ever used to describe them is typically right up my alley (salty, briney, pungent) food-wise, but alas. I can tell when an errant olive made it into my slice of pizza, once I remove the offesnive bit I can still taste its essence in the bite and I am struck by how thoroughly vile they are. It makes me sad because I’d love to order a martini with blue cheese olives, the drink seems so very me, and yet, I don’t like martinis and I don’t like olives. It is a complicated disappointment to be sure.
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Gracie is really into “helping” these days and it is a little bit astounding what she is capable of. She helps me unload the dishwasher (I take the sharp stuff out before she meanders in, and I work on the breakables) by carrying silverware over to the general vicinity of the silverware drawer before carefully pushing each piece onto the counter while standing on her tip toes, she carries the cutting boards to the cupboard they go in and sets them on the floor. She helps me unload groceries, and if you turn your head away for just a moment you’ll find her carefully carrying a 28 oz can of tomato sauce over to where the food cupboard is (pantries are a pipe dream in the city) and you’ll worry she’ll drop it and crush her toes, but she doesn’t. She found a jar of applesauce in the bag on Sunday and carried it to the open fridge and placed it in the door, right where it goes. She helps vaccuum and dust and generally wants to “hap” at all turns. I realize she needs some actual chores so for now I think I’m going to ask her to put her dirty laundry in the basket and carry her empty milk cup to the kitchen sink. And for Christmas? She is totally getting a kids Dyson.
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For years I was terrible about folding and putting away clean clothes. We perpetually had a pile of clean laundry at the foot of our bed and then it would build up into this monster that took us 40 minutes to put away. For no real reason I suddenly became tired of the huge clean laundry pile and have put considerable effort into putting clean clothes away by the end of the day. I can’t tell you how much happier it makes me- the clean foot of the bed, the refilled closet. I’m hoping this new habit sticks around. I’m also working on moving empty clothing hangers to the front of my closet so when I need an empty one I don’t have to start out with the five minute search for the empties squished among my clothes.
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Dinner with Gracie has become a bit of a battle. I try not to worry too much, she eats well at daycare (organic food! hot lunch! lots of fruits and veggies!) and I had some old standbys (soup, all the soup) I could lean on when I felt like she just wanted to subsist on crackers. Lately though my standbys have been fails and I’m at a loss as to what to feed her that she will actually eat. Applesauce, coconut chips and crackers are the only sure choices, past favorites like bananas, berries and soup are now met with a “no” and a clenched jaw. Sometimes she’ll eat macaroni and cheese, sometimes she’ll eat grapes, sometimes she’ll eat smoked salmon or yogurt. Peanut butter sandwiches are now for playing, meat is generally rejected unless it is sausage and even then it is 50-50. Veggies at home are a total joke. I thought she liked yogurt covered raisins until I realized she was just chewing off the yogurt coating before spitting them back out. Food battles: ugh.
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I went to my first Pure Barre class last night (thanks ClassPass!) and I think I liked it? Some parts were so absurdly difficult I wanted to laugh and I can feel it in every muscle today. Interestingly, my typically stiff lower back was a lot more loose after class and today I feel like I have a little better range of motion. I also can’t sneeze without it hurting, so you win some you lose some. Later this week I’m taking an early morning yoga class and on Sunday I have a spin class. So far so good….
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Rhett Butler had been worrying us a little bit lately, he’d gotten stiff and sore and seemed to be moving more slowly. After last weekend (we visited friends in Michigan) playing with another dog for two days he seems to have returned to Chicago with his usual level of energy and range of motion. I can’t tell you how happy this makes us, although we plan on chatting with our vet about his senior status at his next yearly check up.
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Gracie starts swim lessons and gymanstics classes soon and I’m really excited. Both are once a week and are “Mommy and Me” type classes. The gymanstics class is a bit of a whim but I’m hoping as the weather turns cooler it is a nice outlet for energy in a big indoor space. I don’t anticipate Gracie being a future Olympian but I think she is going to have a blast playing with ribbons and walking on a mini-balance bean. I might even get in an arm workout or two as I help her. The class is titled “Moms, Pops, and Tots” so I keep telling B his leotard is in the mail. He seems unenthusiastic. (Most likely he won’t be able to attend most of the classes due to work obligations, but we knew that from the get-go)
I shall start this post by confessing that I haven’t worked out in a really long time. Like…since I found out I was pregnant with my now-19 month old child.
For reasons that are entirely in the past (and will not be dwelled on), I had surgery, I found out I was pregnant, I was put on modified rest (no physical activity), I threw up for essentially the entire pregnancy, childbirth recovery, breastfeeding woes (limiting cardio work out abilities) and then…well that was a long time off, so hey, this couch is super comfy. It isn’t to say I’m entirely stagnant, I eat a pretty hefty amount of fruits and veggies and I do live on the 3rd floor of a walk up and lead an active life with a toddler and a dog, both of whom require daily walks or jaunts outside.
Anyway. Here we are. It isn’t to say I am an amorphous round blob, but there are some pounds to shed and areas to tone. (Side eye upper arms, side eye). I found an age spot near one of my eyes on the morning of my 31st birthday, a literal slap in the face reminder that, HEY GIRL, YOU ARE NOT GETTING YOUNGER.
So now at the end of the summer and two things happened in one week. It was like Jillian Michaels herself was yelling in my ear. One: my work announced this big walking challenge (more on that in a moment). Two: I got an email from ClassPass which is launching in Chicago, inviting me to their launch party at Flywheel, a spinning gym I’ve been wanting to try since the beginning of the aforementioned timeline. ClassPass invited me for free, but didn’t ask me to blog about it, so uh, consider that your FTC transparency. So last night I attended the launch party where I had my ass summarily handed to me, which I’m pretty sure was the point, and as it all ended and I could barely move my limbs I thought “What an amazing workout” and “Huh, go figure, I miss doing that.” I then contemplated how I was going to get into my house, which is a 3rd floor walk up and generally requires mobility on my part. ClassPass is offering me a month trial of their “system” which traditionally costs $99 a month and garners you workouts at all the hottests speciality/boutique gyms that participate. In Chicago the list is pretty extensive (all the different bar method-y gyms, a Crossfit gym, a few spinning studios, some fancy pilates and yoga places) and considering most of them charge around $24 for a drop-in class rate, I’m thinking ClassPass is the better deal. There are some limitations (you can only visit one studio three times within a month for example) but regardless, if you are looking for variety, it might be just what you are looking for. I’ll report back I’m sure.
So in addition to ClassPass my work announced this walking challenge and while I suppose deep down I’m grateful for the opportunity I’m participating for two reasons only: (1) I love myself a competition; and (2) I’m cheap because the challenge comes with a free pedometer and for different benchmarks, you are entered into various raffles, the grand prize being $1000 off your annual healthcare premium. FINE. I GUESS I’LL PARTICIPATE. Truthfully I’m annoyed, I think I have to log into the system daily to enter my steps (snooze) and the system includes an already obnoxious amount of cheerful reminders for things like “write down something you are thankful for” and I’m just like, since when did my employer turn to Pinterest for its wellness intitatives?
Anyway. That was a lot of word vomit to say: I think I need more workout clothes. And a larger bottle of anti-inflammatory pain killers.
Sometimes, when the headlines are dominated by bad news, it is hard to come over here and blog. It seems so trivial in the grand scheme of things- the happenings in St. Louis, Iraq, Israel and Gaza, Robin Williams, missing planes, planes being shot down….but here, let me talk about my life/dog/baby!
Yesterday I saw a lot of snide comments on social media about how *of course* everyone cares about the rich white comedian that dies but no one cares about any of the other above situations. It isn’t that easy of course. Expressing sadness of a generally well-loved figure isn’t political, alienating, anger inducing, or any of the other things that can cause hesitation before typing out on a Facebook status or Tweet. I don’t have a nagging feeling that I’m not well informed as I opine that, oh man, I’ll really miss Robin Williams and what he brought this world. At least not the way I would if I tried to discuss the world political landscape or the unrest in St. Louis. I think some of the snide commentators would be best reminded that having sadness for one event isn’t mutually exclusive of having sadness for another….but I digress.
Amidst all of the bigger world troubles, Gracie has had a fever. Nothing else, just a fever, enough to make her cranky and keep her home from school. I don’t typically mind being a working parent- it is what I know, and with some organization and the ability to laugh at myself, it works for us. But when Gracie is sick the reality of being a working parent isn’t so rose-tinted and B and I struggle with who needs to stay home, what does your week look like, how can we make this work. All of that and the poor pumpkin doesn’t feel well, so as I rock her and I flash my calendar and to-do list in my head I am overwhelmed and want nothing more than to not be a working parent. Once she is feeling better and it settles back out, I’m reminded again why I like working, why it is what is right for our family, why I’m happy to do what I do…but in those fevery, fussy moments, I wish for anything but.
I’m continually reminded that fall is on the horizon, and a tiny part of me thinks “Fall is fun! I love fall!” and then the other part of me struggles with some sort of PTSD from the winter of 2013-2014. I’m making lists of freezer meals to be made, boots that need purchasing (I wore mine into the ground last winter), winter coats that need a quick trip to the cleaner, 10 passes to indoor playgrounds that I need to buy, hats that need finding, toddler snow pants that need procuring. I’m determined to be ready for the winter, to not be sucked into the misery that was last year, but in the meantime I keep reminding myself to focus on August not pumpkins.
Gracie’s daycare is working on improving communication with parents (we get a daily report but they are going more tech-savvy so we can see photos and get a little more info in real time) and part of me is thrilled, but it also makes me a tiny bit sad- more solid reminders that she spends a great part of her time with others, not with us. I know it is good for her, I know she enjoys “school” and her teachers and her friends, and again, I know working works for me….but somehow the photos of her happily painting her day away make me a little sad, a little “oh…” a little…I don’t know. Melancholy I suppose. Defensive that I’m a good Mom, I paint with her too! It isn’t rational, and I know that, but it doesn’t stopping the nagging thoughts from creeping up every now and again, making me wonder about every life choice that led me to here and would I do anything over….even when the reality is nope, not a thing.
Whew. Pen to paper is cathartic. Or…fingers to keyboard I suppose.