Sunday, November 26, 2017

Whole 30 Day 3 - Sometimes it IS hard.

The most often quoted statement in The Whole 30 plan is.... 
“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”
Personally I really liked it.  It's true.  Comparably speaking on the continuum that shows napping on one end and quitting heroin on the other end, The Whole 30 is definitely napping adjacent.

But apparently that pissed a lot of people off.  And three days ago when I first read that, I was pretty annoyed at those pissed off people.  Because it prompted the people who originally stated "It is not hard" to later write:

So today, for you, we re-write the tough-love portion of the Whole30, in the hopes that this language will resonate, and encourage at least one of you to give our program a try.
This will be hard. You will not be perfect. Don’t even try to be perfect. No one is judging, no one is keeping score, and there are no penalties for acknowledging that you are struggling. Be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, and remember that it’s not 30 days – it’s just one day. One meal. One bite. Do this one bite at a time, if you have to, because it’s for the most important and worthwhile cause on earth –  you.
I'll admit I rolled my eyes a little at the idea that anyone took exception to the statement that a 30 day meal plan is not hard in a big picture kind of way.
Then today I opened my big ol' container of pre-washed salad greens and they were slimy and wilted.  
Determined to not let this one little setback get me down, I dumped it into the sink and pulled out the container of NOT pre-washed mini-heads of designer lettuce that I bought on a whim (thank goodness) and prepared, chin up, to move on.
I dug out and dusted off the salad spinner, tore up my designer lettuce and put it in the strainer, an decided to run the garbage disposal to get rid of the old, slimy lettuce before washing the new stuff. garbage disposal immediately clogged up.  This happened yesterday too, and I'm not sure why.  But I dug out the tiny little hand-sized plunger and set to work...with no luck. 
I opened the cupboard under the sink in search of the big plunger and found....water.  Fortunately not a lot.  But enough that I had to empty the cupboard out, wipe it out and put a bowl under it.  
And as I was pulling wet, slimy lettuce out of my sink I found myself muttering under my breath "Screw you...this is hard"
Cancer hard?  No, of course not. But tonight I'm cooking enough chicken to feed a small army (some to use this week and some to freeze), making three salads (one for dinner and two for lunches), packing up and freezing what's left of Friday's chili and getting tomorrow's dinner into the crock pot.  And what I REALLY want to do is call Pizza Hut.  
So yeah, I'm having a little bit of a pity party for myself right now and I'm completely aware of how ridiculous it is.  So don't judge.
I made the Whole 30 Green Goddess salad dressing and I'm not really impressed. Not sure what it's missing but it's missing something.  I'll have to do some Pinterest surfing to come up with something better for next week.
Once tonight's prep-and-freeze-fest is complete I'll be set with leftovers for lunch and dinner 'till Wednesday.  I actually feel pretty good.  My shoulder feels AMAZING.  Seriously the best it's felt since LONG before the surgery I had seven months ago.  My knees and feet feel good too, though I haven't been especially hard on them yesterday or today.  I had some sort of odd fluid release yesterday.  Seriously peeing every 2 hours all day and night.  But good riddance excess fluid.
Breakfast was an apple with almond butter.  Lunch was chili.  Dinner was a big ol' salad made with stupid fancy lettuce, tomato, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, pine nuts, hard boiled egg, olives, grilled chicken and green goddess dressing.  It was good.  The only change I would have made if I wasn't on this plan is that I would have used ranch dressing and added a little bit of feta cheese.  Oh and cranberries, which I can totally have if I can find them without added sugar. Snacks were mixed nuts, a banana, and some apple juice.
Back to the kitchen I go.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Whole 30 - Day 1.5 & 2.

I'm winding down day two and here are the Cliffs notes.

1 - Oh my God I miss gum SO BAD.  Worse than iced coffee.
2 - I miss iced coffee pretty bad too. 
3 - Cut corners and you end up with a gross lunch.
4 - Pack food for longer than you think you'll need.

After I last posted I went grocery shopping.  It wasn't bad AT ALL.  The RealPlans app kept me SUPER organized and the food I needed was all pretty easy to find.  I know I keep comparing this to The Ultimate Reset but that's the closest experience to this I've had and I can tell you that shopping for The Whole 30 is MILES easier than shopping for the Reset.  I think that's mostly because Whole 30 lets you decide what you're going to eat.  Downside is I'm not likely to discover new foods like I did on the Reset.  Good news is I'm not driving 45 minutes to find jicama and liquid aminos. 

Also, without being told what to have when, I'm able to just quadruple a recipe and get two lunches and two dinners out of it. 

I hate cooking WAY more than I hate monotony.

I spent $96.91 at Aldi and $47.83 at Giant Eagle.  And some of it was things like olive oil and almond butter (holy $12 jar of almond butter) that will last me far more than the one week.

As I was waiting to check out I was eyeballing the candy shelves and the little cooler with all of the pop and bottled iced cappuccino, and reminded myself of the little bottle of apple juice I picked up from the dairy isle.  I LOVE APPLE JUICE.  I don't like apples much, but I LOVE apple juice.  So I had that in the car on my way home and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It truly was almost better than candy.


When I got home and went to put all that away I realized my cupboards and fridge were in desperate need of clean out.  To be fair my freezer is too but I only bought one tiny little bag of frozen asparagus so that was no problem. Clearly Whole 30 is very geared to ward fresh and simple ingredients.

So an hour after getting rid of an embarrassing amount of expired canned and boxed food, I realized I had 45 minutes 'till I needed to leave and I had yet to have lunch. 

My planned lunch was chicken avocado salad.  First, I cut the corner of using canned chicken.  Technically compliant but not ideal.  Combine that with an under-ripe avocado and my lunch was, in a word, gross. 

The olives made it edible.

So lesson learned...never use canned chicken in anything that doesn't include a sauce to camouflage the odd taste of the tuna.  

But I made it out the door only 10 minutes late for a doggie play date, at which time it was discovered that my dog was peeing blood.  So from the parking lot of the dog park I made a vet appointment for 7:30 the same day.

Normally when I leave the dog park I hit Starbucks drive-thru before I get on the highway to head home.  And the urge was STRONG y'all.  Seriously.  But I made it home without a stress-induced snack.

Fortunately I had a few hours to kill between dog park and vet appointment so I was able to make my dinner recipe, which was chili.  

I think my house is going to smell like chili for a week but it was pretty good.  I'll use the recipe again when I'm done with the Whole 30, but I'll add tomato paste and beans....and cornbread...and cheddar cheese.

But it was good.  I can't share the recipe because it's part of the Real Plans Whole 30 subscription, but next week I'm going to use only Pinterest recipes so I can share them with you guys if they're good.

Of course about the time the chili was ready to eat, and I was good and hungry, it was time to go to the vet.  The appointment went well and Rue is on the mend thanks to antibiotics.  But I found myself driving home at 8:30 at night....right past McDonald's.  But I did not submit.  I came home and had my chili.  I try really hard not to eat after 8pm but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I ended day 1 feeling very positive.  Like "I can do this" kind of a feeling, which is nice.

Day two started with apples and almond butter, and stepping on the scale.

I didn't want to record my day-after-thanksgiving weight as starting weight for this, so I waited 'till day 2 to weigh in.  Good news is I've only gained 0.2 lbs in the last two weeks, Thanksgiving inclusive.  Bad news is my weight is just not acceptable.  

But I knew that.  Weight recorded and moving on.

Anyway, I don't think I've ever had almond butter before and this was pretty good.  $12 a jar good?  I'm not sure.  But pretty good.

I added a hard boiled egg that I didn't even really want but I knew lunch was going to be very late so I had it.

I knew I was going to be gone 'till at least 3:00 so I packed a 100 calorie pack of almonds and a banana, and thought I'd just have a very late lunch and dinner.

Well around 1:30 I realized I had made a huge mistake.  I was starving, starting to have blood sugar shakes and a good 3 hours away from getting home.  

Oh and I was also within walking distance of McDonald's and nothing else.  No stores that sell food. No gas stations.  Nothing.  

I got a sausage, egg & cheese McMuffin, without cheese, and threw away the muffin.  This breaks the rules because the eggs were cooked in non-clarified butter, and while pork is allowed, it's supposed to be lean.  In retrospect I should have ordered a plain grilled chicken sandwich and thrown away the bun, but I'm not beating myself up over it.

When I got home I had stuff I wanted to get done, like feed animals and blog, so I had about 1/2 cup of mixed nuts (no peanuts) to tide me over 'till dinner, which will be chili.  The plan was to make roasted potatoes with sausage & peppers but since I didn't have chili for lunch I'm going to just heat up a bowl of that and move the potatoes & sausage dish to tomorrow.  Another nice flexibility that The Ultimate Reset doesn't give you.  

And I may pair it with a nice full of apple juice.  

Friday, November 24, 2017

Whole 30 - Day 1

You guys. I feel like shit.

I lost something like 35 lbs on Weight Watchers last year, but I've gained it back and then some.  I've been off plan for about a month and don't seem to be able to find any sort of balance between weighing and measuring every bite I put in my mouth (every split second of which I loathe) and shoving everything in sight into my face hole.  My knees hurt. My hands are swollen.  And, worst of all, when I look in the mirror (or down at my hands, feet, knees, stomach), I see my mother. 

Weight Watchers is obviously not working. Well that's not fair.  It works when I do it but I don't seem to be able to motivate myself to do it in spite of paying for a full year up front something like six months ago.  Every Sunday night I tell myself that tomorrow I'm getting back on plan and by Monday dinner I'm so far off plan I can't even see its tail lights.  Something has to change.

I am literally (in the true sense of the word) afraid of what kind of damage I could do to myself between now and Christmas.  If I continue like I have been I'm about a week away from having to buy new pants.  And it would be highly unlikely I'd JUST continue as I have been because, if history is any indication of what I can expect, the break room table will be a foot deep in candy and cookies in about a week. 

So I decided day before yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving, to do The Whole 30 between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I start today (the day after Thanksgiving) and day 30 will be December 23. 

The timing is ideal, and not ideal.  I have a couple of events coming up which will be difficult to navigate without alcohol.  And temptation will be almost constant at work.  But the black and white thinking (which I'm pretty good at) will be an advantage because I'll just have to leave the sweets alone entirely, rather than convincing myself I'll just have one, which results in chocolate covered Oreos for lunch, and leads to KFC for dinner.

Also my complete lack of advance planning is ideal and not.  I don't have time to talk myself out of it, but it's currently 9am and I have NONE of the ingredients I need for lunch.  Breakfast was two hard boiled eggs and an orange, because that's just about all of the non-processed, unsweetened, chemical free, Whole 30 compliant ingredients I have in the house.

There's a cool app/website called Real Plans that looks like it's going to be a big help.  It supports several plans including Whole 30.  Gives you recipes which you can schedule into the plan, lets you import recipes (yay Pinterest), makes your grocery list for you and even tells you today that you need to, for example, thaw chicken for tomorrow. 

And even with all of that help it took me half of yesterday to get my week's plan together. 

I've done The Ultimate Reset twice.  This is similar in that it takes out all of the processed crap and artificial sweeteners.  But it doesn't take out caffeine (thank God) and doesn't force you to be vegetarian or vegan.  I like that I can pick my foods from SO MANY recipes and so many sources, or I can just go simple like a chicken breast and asparagus.  And I LOVE that I can set it up so I get 2 or 3 meals out of each recipe.  If anything, I'm having a problem with too much choice.  The Reset gave you a grocery list each week and told you what to make when.  I am a little bit of a deer in headlights with all of the options here.

Lunch today will be Avocado Chicken Salad and dinner will be Chili.

I'm not sure I'll be able to blog every day, or that you'd even want me to.  But I do miss writing and have found myself at a loss for what to write about lately so where I can find time between shopping, cooking, the holidays and year-end I'll check in here where I can.

For now, off to Aldi I go.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Triage: The process of sorting people based on their need for immediate medical treatment as compared to their chance of benefiting from such care, when limited medical resources must be allocated to maximize the number of survivors.

I've been feeling lousy and writing it off to stress. Pushing through. Doing what has to be done. That landed me in the ER yesterday.
I've been working too much. It's been nonstop. 14-15 hours a day during the week. "Only" 10-12 on the weekends and holidays.
My job is always high stress and somewhat demanding and I think that's why I like it. I'm rarely bored. But these are extraordinary times. We have a new system, piled on top of year end, piled on top of big changes in my department. I have a team at work, including my boss, who want to help but precious little I can delegate. It's nobody's fault, it's just how it is right now. The bottom line is that 3000 people rely on me to get their money into their bank accounts every two weeks and they don't care that I'm tired, that our system is new and a bit glitchy, that I'm only one person. Their landlords and power company don't have two fucks to rub together about my situation. That's the reality in Payroll.
Long story short-ish I left work yesterday feeling nauseated. On the way home I thought I was having a heart attack. Saw the ER sign and went. Turned out I was having the mother of all panic attacks. I've had a lot of them in my time, but this one was a doozie.
Sitting in the ER listening to a woman with an obviously miserable but not in danger kid bitch because the elderly woman with chest pains (not me) was taken in before they were, I thought "Lady, Triage. Look it up"
And then I realized, that's what I HAVE NOT been doing. I mean I triage my work tasks. I am good at putting the issues that aren't keeping people from getting their next check aside in favor of those that are. But I haven't been looking at my life as a whole and figuring out which issues are life threatening (rest, sleep, exercise, healthy food) and dealing with those first, second or really at all. And let's be honest, if I end up hospitalized or dead, the employees' rent isn't going to get paid. And their landlords are still not going to care.
I'd like to say I'm going to make myself a priority moving forward, but let's be real. None of us has the luxury of doing that all the time. But I'm definitely moving myself up on the list. What did I do with that list?
I'll find it right after this nap.

Friday, December 25, 2015

This is Christmas

I'm sitting here on Christmas morning feeling very much at peace for what is probably the first time in my life.  I've been very VERY guilty of wishing my life away up 'till this point.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be a grownup.  When I grew up I wanted to be married.  When I got married I wanted a baby.  When I had a baby I wanted to be single again.  When I got single I wanted a relationship.  When I got a relationship I wanted my freedom.  About ten years of waffling back and forth between relationships and freedom and now I am free once again.  Except this time I'm enjoying it.

Times before when I've found myself single it was always because one relationship had ended and the next one had yet begun.  I had lost one and was looking for another.  This time I intentionally got rid of one (a big difference from losing one) and I really can't imagine looking for another.  They say when you stop looking for Mr. Right he will find you, but I'm not even sure I want to be found.

I have The Boy, and I'm so proud of the man he's turning into.  It has been a VERY long and hard road but he really seems to have matured five years in the last six months.

I have SO MANY wonderful friends.  And I'm discovering that what I thought was a fear of being alone was actually a fear of having no choice BUT to be alone.  Today I spent my Christmas morning in my jammies, with my dogs, watching A Christmas Story on TV.  And I haven't felt sorry for myself once.  I think it's not only because I saw The Boy last night, and I have somewhere to go in a few hours, but also because I know that there are multiple places I could be and people I could be with rightthisverysecond if I wanted to.

There's a very big difference between alone and lonely.

I have my animals.  My loyal lap dog Boo, always there for a snuggle.  My House Pony Rue, making me laugh every single day.  My lap cat Smudge, who I swear thinks he's one of the dogs.  And my new baby Spot, my shy boy who surprises me with a snuggle every time I think he'll never really be "mine".

As I sit here, rotating between writing this, watching Ralphie nearly shoot his eye out, and scrolling Facebook, I see people sharing many different kinds of Christmas.  I do have a little twinge of missing the past when I see the lit up trees with all of the presents underneath.  As much as I always dreaded Christmas and all of the work that was involved in the process, Christmas morning with kids in the house was a joy.  Then again I was in bed by 10 last night while those friends were up wrapping and assembling 'till long after Santa's rounds were done.  I'll leave my clean-ish house this afternoon, carrying one made dish and one bought one, and come back to the same clean-ish house with a belly full of food I didn't have to cook, and a heart full of love from my family that isn't blood but treats me as if we were.

So far in my life I've experienced many kinds of Christmas morning.  I've been 14 months pregnant on Christmas (I swear it's true).  I've been on the receiving and giving ends of the ridiculously overflowing Christmas of an only child.  I've had the warm, precious and rare "look they're getting along" moments of two kids in the house.  I've had lonely, sad tear-filled Christmas mornings, and now I have peaceful, contentedly alone Christmas mornings.  Some day soon I hope to have Christmas mornings full of grandchildren's laughter.  All in due time.

But for now, this is Christmas, and it's perfect.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Greetings From the Fountain

On this beautiful day in Crocker Park, 90% through an uncharacteristically difficult work week, I opted to have my lunch outside.
As beautiful as my work neighborhood is, I rarely leave my office for lunch.   This is not due to an affinity for lunch at my desk, but more a result of my increasingly busy schedule and the difficulty and frustration that comes from trying to run a growing Jamberry business or process dog adoption applications from an iPhone 5.
So I eat at my desk, with my ergonomic keyboard and my dual monitors, breathing the recycled, too-cold office air, envying the ladies who lunch outside my window, and wonder why I’m burned out.
But today, in an effort to circumvent this week's plague of computer issues, I brought my trusty laptop to work.  And, as expected, I didn’t need it.  The morning was blessedly free of technical difficulties but as sure as I sit here enjoying  the fall sun, listening to children giggle as people take group photos in front of the fountain (WHAT is so interesting about that fountain?), I know that had I not brought my laptop I would have had to go home for it and wanted to punch things the whole way.
So when lunch time rolled around I thought to myself, “Self…why not sling the trusty laptop over your shoulder, grab that leftover Subway sandwich and go have lunch in the courtyard?”  To which I replied, “Self, that’s a great idea!”
Alas, none of the available wifi networks are public, and my phone is not being a cooperative hotspot.  So I am disconnected.  Well as disconnected as I get, given that I do have my phone.  While I do have things I should be doing with a full sized keyboard and screen, it’s just too pretty out and days like this in Ohio are numbered.  So I’m not going back yet.  And the WiFi Gods can’t make me.
So I write.  It’s been a while.
As I approach the half-century mark, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned.  They say life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.  But I find that as I get older, while the time DOES move faster, I also seem to cram more learning into each quickly passing year.  The last ten years, in particular, I have become infinitely more aware of myself.  Of what I need and what I won’t tolerate, what I’m capable of and what I just don’t want to bother with.  What is important and what is necessary.  What comes easy and what I have to work at.  And what’s worth the work.
Blog Over Lunch is worth the work and, truth be told, it usually comes easy...once I get started.  I just have to get started.  It makes me feel good and I’ve been told it means something to a few people.  So I need to start putting it higher up on my priority list.  And you, one of my four dear readers, are probably sitting there thinking you’ve read this before.  And I’ve meant it before. 
For now I have to get back up to the office wifi so I can post this and finish out the last four hours of this horrendous work week.  But I promise it won’t take a lack of WiFi to get me started again.  Soon.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My name is Rue. And I'm a good girl.

My name is Rue, and I'm a good girl.  That's what they tell me anyway.

I used to live in a house with little people and big people.  I'm also what they call "a big girl", and somehow that means I tend to make little people fall down and cry.  I didn't mean to!  I was just playing.  Little people fall down REAL easy! And even when I kissed their little leaky faces they still were sad and leaky.  So even though I tried to be nice and stop making the little people leak they kept falling down and I got sent away to a scary, cold place.  And that made ME sad.

The people at the scary place were nice, but they weren't MY people.  They didn't play with me much.  They just gave me food and water and talked to me some, but the floor and the walls were cold and hard and it was SO noisy with other dogs crying and crying and crying for their people just like I was.  Maybe lots of dogs knock little people down and make them leak and have to go away.  It didn't make me feel any better though.

The people were nice, but they sucked at taking pictures.

After a long time at the scary place (I heard someone say "two days", which must mean a long time) a man and a lady came to see me.  They took me outside and petted me and walked me around a little bit and talked to me real quiet and sweet.

Me and The Man.  

They didn't have any little people with them so nobody fell down and leaked.  They had a little dog, but we sniffed each other's butts and decided we could be friends.

After they walked me around and I sniffed the little dog's butt we went back inside the cold noisy place and I was so scared my new friends were going away!  But they talked to the nice people and wrote some stuff down and then I got to go for a long ride in the car.

Car rides are THE BEST.  They had a big car!  So big I could stand up and even stick my face outside the window and sniff all the smells as they whizzed by.  The Lady kept telling The Man I was going to get a bug in my eye but The Man kept the window down anyway.

I wonder if a bug in my eye would be fun.

After a long time sniffing the smells that flew by the window we visited a nice lady with three little people.  I was so scared the little people would leak but The Man held my leash real tight while the little people hugged and petted me and didn't fall down or leak.  The nice lady gave us a big mattress which rode in the car with me for a while.

We went to the store and got a big fat collar with a handle on the side, and a short leash, and some food and treats that I couldn't have yet but oh my GOSH they smelled so good!  And then MORE ride in the car with more smells flying by.

And just when I thought I'd die of excitement from all of the new smells, we got to a house where I got to go inside with the little dog and sniff in all of the corners.

They said this is my yard.

And the mattress and the food and treats and stuff came in the house too. I slept on the floor for a long time.  It was so nice to be out of the noisy place.

I miss my people.  Why did they send me away?

When I woke up the mattress the nice lady gave us was inside a HUGE crate.  The people gave me treats so I would go inside the crate with the mattress.  I went, because I'm a good girl, but I didn't like it much.  It wasn't like the cage at the scary place.  It was soft and warm and quiet.  But still, Why do I have to be in a cage?  I cried for a while, but I saw that the little dog was in a cage too and he was happy and sleeping, so I tried to be a good girl and go to sleep too.  It's not so bad I guess.

I hope all of the dogs in the cold, scary place get to go for long, wonderful smelling car rides and then get a warm place to stay like me.  Nobody should have to cry and cry for their people like that.

I don't understand why I don't get to see my people, the little ones and the big ones, anymore.  But The Man and The Lady seem nice enough and they keep telling me how good I am.  So I'll try to  keep being good so I get to stay.