Tuesday, September 11, 2012


When Josh first convinced me to watch Princess Bride (a couple of decades ago now!) I was not so sure.  After all he had also convinced me to watch Army of Darkness not too long before he suggested it.  It probably goes without saying that I love one of those films.  I just didn't know how much it would play out in my own life.

While I am not married to a former pirate and I am certainly not a princess sought after by ill-intended suitors I have now watched my dear love fight off a rodent of unusual size (ROUS for you PB newbies...stop reading this and go watch the film immediately).

At 4 am we heard a terrible racket coming from the backyard and sadly it involved yowls and chicken squawking.  Having recently lost one of our girls to the heat, I was resigned to the inevitable knowledge that now we would lose one to a raccoon.  Defeated, I told Josh- as he jumped up to throw on some outdoor suitable clothing- that there was nothing we could do.   I covered my ears and tried to slide as far under the summer weight blankets as I could.  BUT! No, that man didn't stop, because if there is one thing my amazing partner will not accept it's defeat.

I, in my infinite not brave princesshood, called out through the window to see if he needed anything and his only last request was a pair of shoes, as his flip flops were not possum fighting shoes.  As I raced to his rescue with a pair of running shoes (cause that's what I would want when going head to head with a chicken killing ROUS) he proudly announced that both our chickens were still alive and he had trapped the offending rodent into their hen house.  He stood there with an axe and his flip flops and I am pretty certain in the background I heard swelling music and a subtle aura emanated in the air around him.

Every great possum fighter needs a partner in crime. I have mentioned before just how much we love our neighbors, so of course who shows up with his own super hero music playing in the background, but Zero! With much better shoes might I add.  (Apparently his princess knows something about footwear in ROUS fighting...)

There at 4:15 stood two men and their axe, shovel and yard rake with a possum trapped in the hen house and the hens free ranging the yard a bit confused and certainly not interested in me checking them out.  I must look more like a possum than a princess.  (One girl lost a lot of wing and tail feathers, but it is obvious with the help of her swarthy pirate in shining flip flops she will be fine).

And now here I sit blogging while the two amazing chicken fighters debate over what is best.  Because as the superhero Zero said, sometimes even pirates and superheros aren't equipped to take on a pissed off possum who didn't get his dinner.  Okay, he didn't say it exactly like that, but I imagine he would've if he'd been on stage tonight and not in a dark backyard helping out his neighbors.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Death of a Chicken

I don't even know where to start.  My beloved Butterscotch passed away yesterday and I am moved to sadness whenever I think about it.  Of our three "chicas' Butterscotch was by far the friendliest. She loved to be petted and she was always the first to run up and cluck, "hi" when we stepped into the backyard.  Lone Chicken and Flicka are at a loss today without their fearless and humble leader.  They are walking slowly around the yard clucking and chirping while cocking their heads waiting for her reply.  It is such a pitiful and tear inducing sight.

Her passing has also shown me what an amazing family and group of friends I have.  Silly, I know since really she was "just" a chicken.  But if you had been in my kitchen when Josh came in after finding her permanently roosted in her nest box you would have seen what I saw on his face and known that he was the man for me.  My son at nearly 14 years of age openly cried when I told him and spent the better part of the evening in his room saddened.  When I asked him what it would take to keep him out in the living room with the rest of us he simply replied, "An alive Butterscotch."

As for the friends involved, just moments after Josh found her our dear neighbor arrived with beer in hand for a leisurely post work drink.  When he entered and found us in our state of shock, he stayed and helped to make the removal of her body and the cleaning of her box more tenable for Josh while I left to go get our son from practice.  He even stayed as we finished prepping dinner (ironically BBQ chicken caesar salad...of which I couldn't bring myself to eat) and kept the tone in the house light as Josh and I prepped ourselves to tell our daughter.  His wife, one of my dearest friends, even messaged me from her vacation on the East Coast to check in on us and that says a lot because she is not an animal person at all--yet she accepts it of us and knew that it would be an emotional loss in our world.

The friend I called immediately shared her own remembrance of her first lost chicken and talked me through the stages of "I should've could've" that came washing over me in guilt as I wracked my brain for what could've taken our sweet 1.5 year old Butterscotch from us.

Then there is our dear chicken/dog/cat sitter and family like neighbor whom cried with me on the phone when I told her about it.  I dreaded telling her the most because if there is anyone that feels as close to our animals as us, it is her family. 

Ah, sweet Butterscotch, I hope it was quick, painless and peaceful.  You died in your cozy bed atop your last eggs.  There will never be another you--our first, boldest, most social lady! We miss you terribly.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I want to be loved like that...

So many beautiful love stories out there and none of them are the mainstream melodramatic novels of modern lore.... true love stories can't be written out of some fantasy or author's imagination.  If we want to see what "true love" is we need to look for what REAL true love does:

check out this man fighting to keep his wife close by:

or this guy who created a work of love that took years for fruition:

I want to be loved like that. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Defeat does as Defeat is allowed to do

I was so excited this past Saturday when I ran an 11:30 mile with my amazing husband. My goal had been to get to a 12 minute mile by our anniversary trip on the 16th of August so that we could lightly jog on the beach....cue romantic music.  BUT!  when I blew that goal out of the water with my practice run this past weekend I was sooooooooo excited (too many o's, I know, but I couldn't delete them as I was truly that excited).
Then Sunday we strolled all over downtown Portland for our actual anniversary,  Josh thinks about 4 miles.  All that to say I took Monday off knowing I'd be back at my pace on Tuesday.
Cue ominous music...Tuesday.  Sigh, sigh. sigh.  I stretched, I rolled out my muscles with my "stick," I laced up my running shoes, I stepped out the door and made it precisely 3 sidewalk square lengths when the shin splints shot straight up both legs and I writhed in agonizing pain.  But stoically (also read stupidly, but hey this is my post...) I limped and cried and writhed in agonizing pain for 1.66 miles cringing with every step, tears streaming down my clenched jaw.  I didn't even get a 17 minute mile out of it.
So I did what any good runner does when they have 1 bad run.  I quit running for good in my head.  I beat the heck out of myself, told myself that Saturday's amazing run had been a fluke (regardless of all the good runs leading up to that one...) I looked in the mirror and I saw a failure.  Told myself I would never run with my best friend and life partner on our fabulous trip.  Got ready to post some asinine comment on google+ and then I saw a picture of an adorable baby gorilla--I kid you not! that actually happened:
(https://plus.google.com/u/0/117626995016997279347/posts Mitch Wagner) 

And then this happened.  I totally felt better.  I kinda forgot why I was so upset.  And I washed my running clothes instead of throwing them away.  I was going to keep the shoes, cause I got a new pair and they are adorable (yes, and practical cause that is way more important then looking good while you run, but frankly they are rather spunky shoes).
Then today I stretched, I rolled out my muscles with my "stick", I selected a 14 minute mile coaching on my runkeeper app (Shameless plug cause I love that app.  The lady coach is both the most encouraging and the most condescending and either way I pick up my pace when she speaks).  AND Then I blew that goal out of the water with a 12 minute mile.  Followed by buoyed spirits and a 13 minute mile walk with my dog (she had been rather dejected when I took off without her for my run).  
I felt great, I looked in the mirror and I felt I could do it.  I remembered my goal of a 5k on Labor Day.  I felt like running another mile.  Then I laughed (somewhat maniacally until I realized my kids were in the house) at that thought and chowed down a fried egg atop roasted sweet potatoes--man running tastes good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Running to the beat of a different drummer

I took up running...as in I am officially doing things to make running easier on my shins/calves and am tracking my every nanosecond shaved off my time.  I noticed three things this week about my run.

1) having a running coach is very helpful and motivating--even if it's an electronic one.  I get a burst of energy when she tells me I am ahead of my goal pace.  I also get a burst of energy when she says I am behind my goal pace. So either way, I am improving.
2) the music playing on the headset is crucial.  I have a playlist but some songs are just so much more invigorating.  For instance, today my run began with the Teddy Bears remix of Stayin' Alive.  Frankly a perfect beginning because I am running to be healthier and to in fact "stay alive."  This song gets me through the first few minutes with gusto.  A few songs later Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" comes on, this song depresses me, I slow down, I am tired, I feel every step, I must remove this song from my playlist.  Luckily another couple songs in and Aretha Franklin is there to tell me that, "I will Survive."  I love running to this song, I also loved dancing and singing to this song in my preteen angst years but that's another blog post.  I realized today the playlist goes in the same shuffle order, I must fix this...or at the very least figure out just what I need at each .25 mile. The end of my run is always, "YMCA" and it gets me running in bursts of joy...kind of a fun round out of a mile run.

So the short and the long of it.  I set a running goal of 15:30 for my first "official run" this past week with hopes of being at a 12 minute mile in a couple weeks.  Zoe and I have been walking 1.66 miles every day all summer so I knew we could easily "walk" at a 17 minute mile. 
Day one: I took Zoe, she is both a huge help-- when she sees a squirrel we go much faster then I ever thought possible until said squirrel is safely up a tree. Then she is a huge hindrance because I am dragging her forlorn 65lbs along behind me and the drag effect is damaging to my endurance.  BUT we came in at 13:30! I was so excited.  So excited that I left her home on day two for the first mile and managed an 11:30 minute mile on my own.  A striking 4 minutes ahead of my original goal and 30 seconds ahead of my two week goal.  Don't worry about Zoe though, I picked her up for mile two and we walked it in 15:30.  She was a bit confused (heartbroken?) when I left the first time, but happy to see me when I swung around to pick her up.

 1) Coaching is a must. 2) Music is a must.  3) Squirrels are a huge help. I may put some squirrel feeders along my route at strategic mile markers.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Coming to Terms with the Honey Bear

I know, he's cute.  A little plastic bear filled to his cute little yellow cap-hat with sweet honey.  He smiles at you, his paws on his little belly just begging to be bought.

I loved the bear as a child, remember being so excited to pour his honey onto my toast.  And then he and I separated.  It was a gradual letting go, so casual I don't remember the exact moment that I grabbed the glass jar instead of him.

I didn't even miss him, it was as if he had never been in my life.  Then one day he returned, showed up in my grocery cart next to the cherubic face of my child who had a smile on his face to match the bears and one that triggered memories long forgotten.

How sweet that moment was, my child, my long lost friend the honey bear. 

Yet, time has shown me why that sweet, innocent looking, narrow lidded, concave in all the wrong places bear had been dropped from my shelves replaced by the sleek glass jar with it's large round opening perfect for dipping a spoon into.

As an adult I wish my childhood honey bear would just go away! There, I said it! But unlike before when he made his slow and unnoticed disappearance, now he stays.  Tormenting and taunting me with that honey stuck in his bent knee AND up in his ear. 

The things we do for our children...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What my Body Can do


I spend so much time wishing I could do certain things.  Which inherently isn't bad.  It's good to wish and dream, if I were truly thinking about those things with an action plan in mind.  But, I am not usually planning on changing the things I can't do into things I can do, I am mostly beating myself up for what I can't and won't ever do. 
On my way to work this morning I was thinking about the Regina Spektor song, "Folding Chair." It's been playing in my head since I read the post I shared yesterday on this blog. And I kept coming back to how much I love that line,
"I’ve got a perfect body, though sometimes I forget
I’ve got a perfect body cause my eyelashes catch my sweat
Yes, they do, they do…"
so true! They really do catch my sweat just as they are supposed to.  And I got to thinking about everything else my body does exactly as it is supposed to.
My body sleeps soundly when it is tired. And for that there is no substitute, nothing I'd rather it did instead.
My body conceived, nurtured, and birthed two amazing children. And I wouldn't have asked anything more from it.
My body walks me across parking lots in rain, sunshine, snow, and I don't even have to park near the door because my body does not care about distance.  I recognize my amazing body whenever I see someone with a handicap parking permit painstakingly move from one place to the next and I am grateful.
My body bikes alongside my partner and pushes itself to complete a ride no matter how much it wants to quit. And when it's done, my body feels the pain and revels in it.
My body loves the taste of food and savors in each bite. Even better, my body can prepare that food for its' own pleasure.
My body can lift big objects and carry them to wherever they need to go.  Sometimes I lift heavy objects just because I can. I love my muscles in that moment--no bulk about it.
My body can laze in the sun and ski in the snow. And both are exactly as it should be. Because sometimes I want to be still and sometimes I want to move and my body can do both.
My body knows when to smile and when to laugh and does both with abandon.  It also knows when to cry.  If I had my way I'd try to micromanage the crying, but my body knows what it needs and it does it.
My body CAN and it DOES and it WILL DO.
"I’ve got a perfect body, though sometimes I forget
I’ve got a perfect body cause my eyelashes catch my sweat
Yes, they do, they do…" 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Guest Post for Body Image Warrior Week

It is Body Image Warrior Week and I am sharing a blog post from, "A Blog of Her Own,"  as part of a community effort to share body positive posts.  I do not have bikini pictures on Facebook.  Maybe I'll take some this summer...

A Blog of Her Own

On Why I Have Bikini Photos On Facebook (And You Should Too)

Right now, if we’re facebook friends, you can see a bunch of photos of me in a bikini.
They’re not retouched. They’re not photoshopped. They’re not even waiting for me to de-tag them. Nope, I’ve seen them and I’m letting them stay there, on the internet, where my friends, family, and frienemies alike can oogle them and note my ghost colored skin and not-quite-bikini-ready bikini clad body.
A short time ago this would not have happened. I would have de-tagged myself as fast as possible. I would have scowled at the belly rolls and the fleshy arms. I would have used the unflattering shots to urge myself into a strict diet and exercise regime for a few weeks until I grew tired of calorie calculation and abstaining.
So? What happened? Why did I decide to own my bikini pics, warts or, in this case, chub and all? Well. The answer is, I’m tired.
I’m tired of not practicing what I preach, I’m tired of the constant skinny talk in my head, I’m tired of the women I know picking themselves apart on a daily basis. Here’s the thing, I identify as a feminist. I’ve participated in Love Your Body day, I’ve written scholarly papers on the online culture of pro-eating disorder websites and thinspiration, and yet I de-tag unflattering photos on facebook?! What kind of message does that send? I felt like the girl at the lunch table who tells all her friends to stop knocking themselves down and then writes angsty poetry about her own body image issues. I felt like a fraud.
And you know what? I know my body isn’t perfect by society standards.  I also know it probably won’t ever be. But it is healthy. It carried me across the finish line at a 14k the week before those bikini photos were taken. It can do 50 push ups. It teeters on the line between a healthy BMI and a slightly overweight one (let’s not talk about how screwed up the entire BMI scale is, that’s a subject for a different day), and it isn’t limited by a single health issue. Why should I ever be ashamed of that?
One day, when my body has collected a lifetime’s worth of scars and stretch marks and tokens of a life well-lived, I’m going to look back at my twenty-five year old body with pride and nostalgia. I don’t want to look back and think, “you thought you looked gross in that photo? Sugar, you didn’t know how gorgeous you were.”
So, the photos stay up. To remind myself that I am hott. Two t’s. And that my body as far as health goes, is perfect, just as it is.  Warts Rolls and all.
“I’ve got a perfect body/but sometimes I forget/ I’ve got a perfect body/ ‘Cause my eyelashes catch my sweat.” – Regina Specktor, Folding Chair

I’ve decided to include this post in a fantastic project, Body Image Warrior Week. Check out the rest of the participants and join us in being body image warriors!

Broken Scale

I was reading one of my favorite blogs: Eat the Damn Cake (admit it, it's a great title full of excellent advice! Just eat it, it's CAKE!) and was alerted to a great cause, Body Image Warrior Week, so I am dedicating this post to that cause and joining as a supporter. 

I stepped on the scale Monday morning, as I do every Monday morning.  It's a silly ritual, if my pants fit there's really no reason to know how much I weigh.  And if my pants don't fit then the number on the scale isn't going to change that fact.  But I do it any way.
And then, when I don't like the number, I suck in my stomach.  And I look at the number again, truly expecting it to have changed! Because when I suck in my stomach I look thinner so I must have lost weight.  It's obvious the scale is broken.
Then the internal dialogue begins--"you don't look good, you are so ugly, that number on the scale means you are hideous."  So I suck my stomach in tighter and I separate my legs just a little bit more so that my thighs aren't touching and I stand there in my duck legged, rib cage protruding feeling all good about myself.  But I can't walk. And truly, I can't breathe. How attractive is that?
So, this past Monday when the number on the scale didn't change no matter how far in I sucked my stomach I let it out, and I stood up straight even though my thighs touched. And I thought about how much sexier it was to have a slightly rounded belly and thighs that weren't afraid of leaning on one another.
I have worn the same size pants for the past 13 years.  I am considered "average" size.  My doctor does not worry about my weight.  I am muscular and strong.  I have never been teased about being fat.  I have never been afraid of eating dessert or having that second IPA.  My pants get tight, I increase my activity and my pants fit.
And yet every Monday I get on the scale and I suck in my stomach when I don't like the number. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Passive. Aggressive.

See, the funny thing is that I am funny.  I mean, pretty. damn. snarky. So, when I bite my tongue, the world misses out on the snark.  Which, in my opinion, means the world misses out on a bit of laughter.  The kind of laughter that comes with a bit of fear and embarrassment.  You know, the laughter that one hides behind their hand.   The laughter that comes from being actually shocked (and somewhat elated) that someone would ACTUALLY say out loud that which EVERYONE thinks privately.
Well, I used to unabashedly say out loud that which I thought.  And people laughed (even if it was in shock and awe.) Now I bite my tongue.  And it has done wonders for my relationships, but it has deflated my ego. Sigh. Besides, my tongue hurts.