Saturday: Or, Friday Night’s Flapper

I bought a house and moved into it three weeks ago. The first week, I was dealing with a tough personal situation while trying to work and get the rest of my stuff out of my old place. Then I went away for almost two weeks, with the kids, to visit my parents.

I’m finally home. I have spent some time unpacking. My lawn looked like hell, because the maple tree out back has black tar fungus and it’s dropping leaves. I couldn’t mow the lawn until I raked up and disposed of all the leaves. I didn’t have time this week until today. So, here’s my first real Saturday as a homeowner:

6 a.m.: Woke up on couch (oops). Went upstairs to my bed until 8:30, when I finally considered that I had a very full to-do list and had better get started.

8:30: Drank a cup of coffee. Raked back yard.

9:30: Went for a run. Stopped at town farmer’s market. Learned about local organizations, volunteer opportunities, the cultural council, fitness options. Bought bread, ran home. Drank more coffee.

10: Biked to hardware store in next town. Bought new supplies to fix my toilet, as the “universal flapper” I bought last night conflicted with my float, leading to a sub-optimal flushing situation. Also bought black Rustoleum, gloves (a 5-pack for $5! What a deal!), and black bags for the leaves. Biked home.

Lost track of time. Bagged leaves. Raked front lawn. Mowed lawn. Weeded flowerbeds. Ate some leftovers.

Made kidney beans in the pressure cooker.

Laid out about 1/3 of the rusty wrought iron metal fence thingies for my front lawn and painted them.

Moved a lot of furniture and finally put down a rug and set up the spare room as a playroom as well as set up my home office (which is in the dining room).

Returned to hardware store to return Friday night’s flapper (hey, that will be the name of my band if I ever start one) and buy more paint and a bigger dropcloth.

Stopped by local humane society, fell in love with two kittens and a dog, and filled out an application.

Ran other errands.

Cleared out most of the brush pile (that’s where the chicken coop will eventually go!).

Made chicken in the pressure cooker. Ate it standing up while prepping soup.

Cleaned hamster cages.

Currently: Am making French onion soup in the pressure cooker.

Next up: Dry and set up hamster cages, shower.

After that: Collapse on couch w/ French onion soup and a remote.

Tomorrow’s agenda: NOTHING. Ideally mountain biking and kayaking. Who knows?

Moving to Friendlytown, USA

We’ve moved!

We just moved yesterday. I’m still dazed. It was about a 13-hour moving day, from the moment I got out of bed at dawn to move my car in front of the house to save the spot for the moving truck (otherwise a commuter would park there for the day) to the moment I walked in the door of the new house with my kids and said, “Here’s our new house!”

It’s been a dizzying week. Fortunately my children were with their father for 9 days straight (vacation), which gave me plenty of time in the evenings to pack, sort, discard, organize. Stay up far too late. Get up too early. Do it again the next day, before and after work (and, since I work from home, perhaps I packed a box or two over lunch, or had someone stop by during the day to buy an outgrown bike or pick up something I no longer needed).

One of my older brothers offered to come up and help with the move. At first I refused. After all, this year I’d hired actual movers! Actual professional movers who came recommended. But then I reconsidered, and for many reasons agreed to it.*

He was amazing. He refused to let me leave the little piles of crap “for next week, I can deal with them then.” No, he wanted the apartment EMPTY. He bagged stuff. He brought a load to the new house himself, came back, and loaded my plants (including container-garden tomatoes and rhubarb, not just houseplants!) into his minivan while I followed the movers to the new place.

He’d hoped to return home (a different state) before traffic got too heavy, but when I couldn’t connect my new Internet service, he helped troubleshoot it. I was on the phone with tech support while he put together my kids’ beds and rolled out their rug. Then he jerryrigged something in the basement (missing coax and splitter) and got things up and running, and moved and set up the TV so that my kids could have their usual Friday movie night in the new place (keeping things normal for them…and the TV is an old street find, and I really truly don’t know what connects to what or how to make things work…but I do know how to use the Roku remote at this point, if everything is properly connected, and he made sure it was).

He hit the road, I picked up my children in our old town, and together we walked into the new house, furnished but of course with boxes everywhere. We ordered pizza delivery based on our new next-door neighbor’s recommendation. The lovely neighbor herself showed up soon after our arrival with homemade frosted cupcakes, chocolate for one child and vanilla for the other (she’d asked me their preferences a few days earlier).

We checked out the new neighborhood while the pizza cooled on the coffee table. (By “checked out the new neighborhood,” I mean that the children ran outside shirtless, and one jumped on the baby-toy inchworm-on-wheels while the other pushed him down the hill in the middle of the (no traffic at that time) street (yes I was by their side), lots of shouting and mayhem and observing some of our neighbor’s amazing front-yard fruit trees and joy, until I made them put shirts on and eventually made them come home for dinner and a movie.

I was so tired, I didn’t read to them, kept bedtime short, and crawled right into bed after saying goodnight to them.

AND THEN I COULDN’T SLEEP. WHAT IN THE HELL. I couldn’t find my regular blanket. I think that was part of it. It’s weighty but not hot. I like that. I had a lightweight blanket on me. And the window AC’s (which I’m not used to) seemed loud.

I fell asleep, finally. And then I woke up. Like, fully woke up. It was midnight.

Great.

I gave in, came downstairs, and made lists. Grocery lists (I mean, my kids were gone for 9 days, I ran out of everything, and I just moved. We need groceries; they’re not going to eat raw scallions, stale pita bread, and miso). Meal plans (ha!! As if I can find any pots or anything yet!). An IKEA/Target/hardware store list.

When I ran out of lists, I was ready to go back to bed. It was close to 4 a.m.

I slept.

Children piled in with me/next to me/everywhere (there are so many of them, sometimes, even though really there are only two) and I didn’t want to wake up, then they remembered they had to finish the movie from last night, so they scampered downstairs and I half-slept on for a bit until I realized if I didn’t throw food at them soon we’d all be sorry.

I had bought mini chocolate croissants the day before from the bakery, so I offered those and juice (yes! all the sugar! Sometimes I make exceptions to all my usual rules). We had no milk, anyway, and the coffee tasted like crap so I wasn’t about to offer that (kidding! about offering them coffee–but it did taste like crap).

For some reason the kids were gung-ho to go out and get what we needed: a water filter pitcher (because we agreed our tap water doesn’t taste good), a longer extension cord for the lawn mower, gardening gloves, groceries. These children normally hate running errands or going ANYWHERE on a Saturday morning, but they wanted to get stuff done. We stopped for breakfast, thankfully, because we were all running out of steam.

And let’s fast-forward the long sleepy day, we ended up at Walden Pond in a hard rainstorm that soon cleared and it was gorgeous and fun and refreshing, then we grilled dinner while playing in the yard.

Anyway, let me sum up. So an hour after we move in, the neighbor shows up with TWO PLATES OF CUPCAKES, each kid’s favorite flavor. Then tonight someone parked in front of my house (it’s a little neighborhood where everyone has driveways) and she ASKED ME IF IT BOTHERED ME THAT SHE PARKED THERE. My heavens. I said no, that I’m new here and don’t know the parking rules, but it doesn’t bother me, and thanks for asking.

Then TWO HOURS LATER some people knock on my door. They notice the car’s lights are on and want to know if it’s mine because they don’t want me to have a dead battery in the morning. We all introduce ourselves and I say that the parker of the car was going to visit “Leslie or Leah or something like that in the yellow house, but not the yellow house next door because the people who live there are named _______ and ______,” and the people knocking at my door, who live just down the street, said, “Oh, LEAH, right!” and say they will to go her house to tell her visitor about her car lights.

FOR REAL.

 

*And let me here give massive thanks to one of my other older brothers who showed up for the inspection and offered his advice, and to my parents, massively. Thanks, family, for all your incredible support and belief in me.

Hiking Home

I’m moving next week. To a new town no one’s heard of, apparently, except for the people who live there and know it and exclaim what an awesome town it is.

It’s an old mill town. Not sprawling, not huge, but it has a downtown. Which has (thank god) some restaurants I can’t wait to check out (like the tiny hole-in-the-wall Korean place, which you can barely tell is a restaurant from the outside). I feared ending up in a “meh” food desert — not that I eat out much but I am comforted by knowing that interesting, good, and genuine food is nearby.

Even if I cook at home almost all the time and rarely splurge on takeout.

I scheduled the movers for next Friday. Actually I scheduled them for next Thursday but they couldn’t show up until sometime between 2 p.m and 5 p.m., and knowing how moves go I knew it would be on the later side and also they’d get stuck in rush-hour traffic, adding to total move time/cost, so we agreed on Friday morning.

It should be quick. I’ve boxed up most stuff except our necessities (though without my constant handwashing [no dishwasher here] we’re constantly running out of plates/bowls/glasses. Also I realize we have about 3 real glasses and the rest are Teddy’s peanut butter jars).

Drinking glasses are on my IKEA list.

As are two new beds for the kids (they have bunkbeds now but we’re ready for regular beds, and I found a cool one on the street but they want matching and that’s fine with me).

And a fuzzy high-pile rug for their room, because we’re all sick of the flat hard rugs and they deserve cushy.

So the last weekend the kids weren’t here, I cleared out a TON of stuff. I purged a lot last year when we moved, but there’s always more! I sold a lot of stuff (including non-family antiques I have lugged around for 20 years). I gave away a lot of stuff. Today, some organization came by and picked up 3 boxes of stuff from my porch.

We’re down to clothes and furniture, plus the last few dishes.

So what am I doing this weekend? Going to IKEA to buy the beds and rug? Boxing up closet stuff?

Hell no. I am heading to the mountains, to my calm and happy space.

Because most high campgrounds are kind of (and I mean this kindly) an overcrowded shitshow this time of year, I will car camp down low, hike all day Saturday, camp that night, and drive home Sunday. I don’t need to haul all my gear up the mountain to end up in the absurdly over-crowded Guyot scene we ended up in last year (there were people pitching tents on the trail, the overflow camping was full, and if there were one more tent it would have ended up on top of the bearbox, I think).

I love Guyot. It’s beautiful and lovely and wonderful. But by george, it can get crowded in the summer!!

I reached out to an outdoors womens group about camping (most regular campsites are booked; I’m looking into “pull off the road and hike into the woods” stuff).

One suggested that the Whites are much too busy right now and I should look elsewhere.

No. I need to go to my familiar places. I need to hike the trails I’ve hiked so many times before, hike my favorite peaks (or nearby ones). I don’t want a whole new set of circumstances. I have enough of that right now.

I’ll be in the Whites this weekend, if anyone needs me.

 

Summer Favorite: Buffalo Kale Pizza Recipe

What would you do with a big box of organic baby kale? What would you do with four of them?

For a recent campaign for Stonyfield Yogurt in partnership with Taylor Farms organic greens (for which I was compensated and received product), I realized that when you have a lot of Whole Milk Greek and Whole Milk Smooth and Creamy yogurt and baby greens (Power Greens: Baby Kale, in my case), I came up with three recipe ideas.*

The first two — true to how I usually cook — don’t have actual recipes. I made a delicious pasta with baby kale, garlic, and Greek yogurt (I put the baby kale in with the spaghetti near the end of cooking time, then tossed all that with olive oil in which I’d cooked some chopped/minced garlic and red pepper flakes, then stirred in Greek yogurt — so good, though chopping the kale first would have been a good idea, as even the baby kale stems can be…chewy). 

Then I made a yogurt-based garlicky herb dressing to toss on the raw baby kale leaves.

And then, dear friends, I had the most wonderful idea of all: Buffalo Kale Pizza. I didn’t come up with that name myself; my friend Diana did. I’ve been on a big homemade pizza kick this summer. I make a batch of Mark Bittman’s pizza dough (whole wheat, and so easy!), then I have dough to make pizza whenever I want.

I make pizza on the grill. I make it in my oven, if it’s not a sweltering day. I have even made it in the toaster oven when I just wanted a small pizza for which it would have been hot and wasteful to heat oven or grill.

homemade whole wheat pizza dough from Mark Bittman's Easiest Pizza dough recipe

homemade pizza dough

So on a Friday night, after yoga, I invited Diana to come over for pizza, as neither of us had any plans. She brought some fresh-picked lettuces from her window box garden and some mushrooms while I rolled out dough.
Diana made a pizza with tomato sauce, mushrooms, and mozzarella. I wanted to use tomato sauce, blue cheese, baby kale, chopped yellow sweet peppers, and mozzarella.

Buffalo Baby Kale Pizza, before baking

While the pizza cooked, I had an idea for topping mine. I put some Stonyfield Smooth and Creamy Whole Milk Plain Yogurt in a bowl, shook some red chili pepper flakes on it, then poured some hot sauce into it, before whisking it with a fork.

My pizza came out of the oven.

Buffalo Baby Kale Pizza, after baking

Looks so much prettier after the drizzle of sauce, right?

Buffalo Baby Kale Pizza, with hot-sauce drizzle

post-yoga pizza-making

Behold, homemade pizza and grown-a-mile-away lettuce! And while eating a slice of the pizza I’d made, Diana realized that the combo of blue cheese and creamy tang and hot sauce reminded her of…Buffalo wings. Except this wasn’t wings. This was homemade Buffalo Baby Kale Pizza.

So: Not exactly a recipe, more a method, because that’s how I cook. But I’ll do my best:

    1. Preheat oven with pizza stone, or grill, or just oven because you’re going to use a pan.
    2. Roll out/stretch pizza dough.
    3. Roughly chop a pile of baby kale and toss with a little olive oil so it doesn’t merely crisp up and dry out in the oven. Chop sweet pepper (yellow or red) if using.
    4. Prepare dough for toppings.**
    5. Spread thin layer of tomato sauce over dough.
    6. Sprinkle chopped oiled kale, peppers, and chunks of blue cheese onto sauced dough.
    7. Scatter mozzarella on top, followed by a little grated Parmesan.
    8. Bake pizza (timing depends on cooking method).
    9. While pizza bakes, put whole milk yogurt in a bowl. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, then add hot sauce. Whisk with fork.
    10. When pizza has been removed from oven, drizzle the hot yogurt sauce over it. Cut and eat.

*So…I was supposed to come up with and share a salad idea. Sorry! But really, you’ll be very happy with the Buffalo Baby Kale Pizza and you don’t even need a salad with it! You’re welcome. #efficiency

** Grilling: Throw flattened dough on grill for 5-8 minutes, then flip onto peel/cutting board to put toppings on grilled side.
Baking with pizza stone: Move flattened dough onto a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal.
Baking without pizza stone: Move flattened dough to a rimmed sheet pan that’s either been greased lightly with olive oil or sprinkled with cornmeal.

Mt. Washington Road Race: Recap

Last Saturday, I ran up Mt. Washington (getting an entry is a feat unto itself, then you have to run 7.6 miles uphill with a 4696′ vertical gain (assume your half marathon time and maybe a touch more). At the start, I heard people sharing their strategy: run the first three miles, then walk/run. Walk/run the whole way. Power-walk it.

Running is good for you, and so is oral hygiene. Slightly terrifying inflatable tooth race mascot by Northeast Delta Dental.

My ultrarunning crowd says to walk the hills; you’re going the same speed as anyone running it, but conserving energy. I tried this and passed a lot of people (I walked, they ran).

“We need to run up to there.” Photo credit: Rick Ando

Due to injury, I’d been unable to train. I don’t mean training on hills. I mean running at all. Two miles into any run, my tendonitis kicked in. I gave up months ago and knew this race — this getting to the finish line — would be a crapshoot.

Anyway, it’s up up up, no break, no flats, just up. At least it was shady for the first three or so miles (fact: I’ve done a lot of hiking in the Whites but have only been up Mt. Washington once, on foot, in winter, never by the auto road).

Occasionally, after mile five, I gave my calf injury a break and walked backwards a lot (hey, guy who said the relief was “all in my head,” nope. It was real. It gave my calf a rest and used my quads for a change and then maybe I passed you, but even if I didn’t, well, walking up backwards gave my injury some rest, so…).

Around mile 5, soon after that section of dirt road started (slightly steeper), I stuffed in one earbud and turned on my iPod shuffle to “Defying Gravity.” I tried to sing along but had little lungs left at that point. A guy in a Reykjavik Marathon t-shirt said, “Good for you!” as I tried to choke out the words. But what I thought about was me, defying gravity, taking a leap after way too long to save myself.

Up, up, up…Photo credit: Rick Ando

I looked over the edge of that mountain road, suffering and wishing for it to stop, and I recognized how much strength I have summoned over the past year and how much I’ve had to turn away from and hold my head high, and how much I’ve given up and just how much I have gained.

I thought about how calm and happy I am now, and how hard I have fought for that.

I ran as hard as I could, give the circumstances — OK, I walked. And yes, I got badly sunburned in the process. It’s a metaphor. I can survive this burn. I can survive this endless hill that is a metaphor for everything right now. I am strong enough.

At some point, slightly dizzy and hoping for a break (I don’t do well with sun and heat), I sat down on a rock and put my head down between my legs. A person in our group (with whom I’d started, he having done the race several times and planning to take it slow, me having no idea what to expect from myself and intending to go it alone), came by and said “hi.” I felt obliged to get up and walk/run with him for a while, but his race strategy wasn’t mine, and I let him go on ahead.

Turns out before he’d come upon me on my rock, he’d come upon another person in our group, also untrained and sitting on a rock. And he got him back up running, too.

Photo credit: Rick Ando

I was going to get up again, anyway. I always do. I knew there’s no exit on the Mt. Washington Road Race. I wasn’t about to hang out in the blaring sun on the side of the road waiting for the road to re-open so I could hitch a ride. I knew I’d get up there to the top.

Eventually, near the very very end, the road leveled out for about two-tenths of a mile, and it was glorious, and I saw some of our group.

Then I looked up. It was only about four minutes of hell in front of me, but it was some seriously steep road (steep) that I had to get up before I could cross the finish line.

Did I dive deep and run up that hill and switchback to get there?

up up and away! Photo credit: Rick Ando

Hell no. I was sunburned and hot and had a terrible dehydration headache, despite drinking at every single water stop, and I decided that since I wouldn’t make the sub-two-hour mark, forget it. I’d get there when I got there.

Slog, slog, slog…Photo credit: Rick Ando

Then for the last 30 feet or so (I could be wrong about that distance) it was somewhat level and I managed to run to get myself across the beautiful finish line.

There I am (yellow visor)! Almost done! Photo credit: Rick Ando

Finally done!! Photo credit: Rick Ando

And that, dear people, is what it is like to run up the Mt. Washington Auto Road in blazing sun on a warm day when you are injured and haven’t been able to train and are going through a lot, life-wise.

The only other time I’ve summited Mt. Washington was in the middle of winter, and we came up Lion Head trail with snowshoes and crampons, and it was cold and snowy and beautiful, and we were careful to keep an eye on each other for signs of hypothermia — a very different scenario.

Do I want to do it again? Yes. 

97-year-old going up Mt. Washington Auto Road; apparently he participates in the race every year

(With more sun protection next time…)

Ugh. Just, ugh. Too hot for a shirt, but I wasn’t expecting so much exposure! Oops.

Ahhhhh….

 

Changes

Today I took the kids to visit our new town.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m supposed to close on a house July 14.

This has taken major effort. I had to figure out which towns I could afford around here (hint: not many). How far in what direction it made sense to be (for several reasons, but in great part due to my ex-husband’s job, as we need to stay within half an hour of each other).

Then, I had to talk to school staff, SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) people, parents with kids in the schools, and so on. Loaded with information and recommendations, I zeroed in on a town near a town my ex-husband wanted to move to.

Time to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Our current town is overcrowded (in terms of schools, and certainly in terms of after-school programs), and we haven’t been able to get a spot in any of the school or town after-school programs (this year was so bad that many of the programs, at registration time, warned they couldn’t accept any new families but could only put them on a waiting list…and some families who had spots last year didn’t get spots this year. It’s bad.).

Anyway, this means we haven’t been able to work regular full-time hours. School pick-up is at 2:30 except on Tuesdays, when it is 1 p.m. Yeah. I work full days on my ex’s custody days, and he works full days on my custody days, and the rest of the time…short days.

Fortunately, my job is flexible and my boss is very understanding, and she works around my schedule so that if I can start work at 5 a.m. some days, she’ll give me assignments ahead of time (I’m a freelance editor in the glamorous world of educational publishing). And I take on extra clients when I can, working nights or very early mornings.

Anyway. Despite my part-time hours, I managed to get pre-approved for a mortgage. I had exactly one week from having my offer accepted to get an inspection and complete my mortgage application (people, let me tell you, it’s a lot of paperwork to download and present!).

The seller was/is fast-tracking the sale. I decided I could keep up the pace. So far, so good.

I’ve hinted to the kids but at this point it’s close to a done deal (*fingers crossed*) and today I brought them out to see their new town/the new house.

They were so excited that they got into the car three hours early and buckled in. OK, then. We drove to the new town and got lunch at the Mexican restaurant (there’s only one. And they’re strong with the upsell game. And the food is mediocre). Then I showed them the ancient diner, and we went to the candy store, where I bought them their first Pop Rocks (yes!! Pop Rocks!! Sugar/dye/artificial flavor/have fun, kids!).

Then we went to the mill pond to fish for awhile, then it was time to see the house.

They love it. There was the SLIGHTEST touch of disappointment that they’d be sharing a room (as they have for life so far), but they loved the bathroom (??) and the yard and the fact that the bedrooms are upstairs (“I’ve always WANTED a house with an upstairs and a downstairs!”), and they’re very excited about owning our own home for the first time.

As in, we can dig in the yard. We can put in wall-mounted shelves. We can paint the walls.

It will be ours.

They’re so happy about it. Then we rented a canoe to paddle on the river, then we got ice cream (their first soft-serve, somehow). Then we got home and I let the younger boy haul the charcoal grill out of the basement, even though I was cooking on our little trusty propane grill, and they roasted marshmallows on the coals for s’mores.

So yeah, we didn’t go camping this weekend, but we did what we needed to.

 

One Race Down…by which I mean, down…

Tonight I set out for a very optimistic 4-miler, fueled by earfuls of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Hole and Lady Gaga. It would have been my longest run since early March. I’ve tried. I went through PT. I stretched and did things with the band (wow, that sounds much more…intriguing… than it actually was) and did those weird specific PT exercises.

See, this year I got into not one but two hard-to-get-into races, two weeks apart. The first one is a half marathon whose registration closes about 20 minutes after it opens. The second is by lottery. Somehow, I got into both.

I underwent a few Graston sessions by my trusted PT, who apparently thinks I have no pain boundaries (um, dude, we need to talk). It helped a lot (though it brought me to tears at least once).

I wasn’t fully better, but things were much improved.

Then I stepped on broken glass. Barefoot.

I did my best to remove what I could, using a clean razor blade. My brother tried (very briefly) to help get the last bit out. Then my mom insisted I go to the ER (it was a Saturday night).

The first doc couldn’t find it so she went for “the pro,” as she called him. He couldn’t find it, either, and wanted to send me for X-rays.

We had a little chat about the realities of our current healthcare system for self-insured people, after which he agreed that I could skip the X-rays and go home and would be able to tell in a few days if the remaining bit was still in there or if I had, in fact, managed to get it all out.

I think it’s all out. I’m quite certain. But the ball of my foot does feel as though four different people were fishing around in there with sharp instruments, leaving an actual hole. (Yes, there’s a hole.)

I’m doing OK and can walk pretty well now, especially with cushioning, so I thought it was time to try a run.

Well. In short, things are still broken. The calf injury spoke up first, two miles in, so I walked a little, then tried running again. It was ok, but then the foot injury kicked in. Not unbearable, but then the calf again, so I walked. Then the foot became really hard to walk on. 

So. It’s Wednesday. The race is Sunday (the half marathon). I’d be a flaming idiot to attempt it, even just walking, because even if the calf held up, the foot injury would cause me to change my gait, which would lead to yet another injury.

I’ve decided to accept this (I think!!). I will still go to Vermont and have a beautiful weekend and be with friends. And maybe by sitting this one out, I can get (SLOWLY) to the finish line of the next race.

I’m going to be smart about this. Right? Aren’t I? Feel free to chime in with supportive reminders about how skipping this race will not be the end of the world. Thanks!

Stonyfield, prAna, and #TheWholeYou (well, the whole ME!)

I have long espoused the virtues of full-fat dairy products. They’re more natural. We need fat in our diets. They taste better. So many reasons! And skim milk seems weird to me. My kids have never had skim milk and have rarely had low-fat milk, only when we are visiting someone else’s house.

These views have now become mainstream. Many new studies are showing that full-fat dairy is the better choice, for everything from staying lean to normal cholesterol levels to lower sugar intake to reduced incidences of type 2 diabetes.

Oh, and it tastes a heck of a lot better than the low-fat stuff!

Whoops, bought French Vanilla instead of plain, but that’s OK!

Diet

One thing I’ve always liked is whole milk yogurt, especially whole milk Greek yogurt. It’s so much tastier than lowfat or 0% (ugh). My kids like it too, especially as a bedtime snack: plain whole milk yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup on it. If they’re going to have a bedtime snack, I know a dose of fat and protein will keep them sated through the night!

Exercise

A healthy diet makes me feel whole. So does exercise, even more so. And so does supporting companies whose values I share, such as prAna. My favorite climbing pants have always been prAna, and I use some of their gear for yoga, too. For this campaign I was given the opportunity to get the Dreaming Tankini in Pink Riviera. I like my body and like wearing bikinis (even though, to be honest, I’m at my heaviest and least-fit condition in over a decade), but you know what’s even better? Not having to deal with a ton of sunscreen on this pale, pale skin. So covering up a little with UPF 50 is awesome.

 

Of course, I’ll still need to sunscreen my upper back unless I want a really cool web-pattern burn from the beautiful back on the tankini:

I recently got another prAna top for yoga with the same back web–I’ve gotten so many compliments on it!

Discount Code: 

Some of my fellow Stonyfield ambassadors chose a beautiful dress or pants. You can get a discount of 15% now through the end of May on an prAna item with this code: WHOLES17NLC. 

Enjoy! And be #TheWholeYou

 

 

 

Easy Tasty Angel Hair From an Empty Pantry

The cupboards are bare. Or nearly so. My kids haven’t been here the past few days, and I’ve been very lazy about grocery shopping. I’ve lately been living on flatbread (locally-made flatbread which I top with homemade arugula pesto, whatever veggies I have on hand, maybe some diced tofu, and cheese) as well as eggs.

But I don’t feel like going to the grocery store at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night. So I grubbed around and realize I have the ingredients for three great meals tonight:

    1. Spring rolls (filled with tofu, carrots, cilantro, and bean sprouts, as I recently sprouted a bunch of mung beans). I happen to have a bunch of spring roll wrappers, rice vermicelli, and a sweet chili dipping sauce.
    2. Stir-fried bean sprouts on rice. Probably tasty, but not at all what I’m in the mood for.
    3. Angel hair with the last few tired cherry tomatoes, (jarred) garlic, fresh parsley, and fresh Parmesan. That sounds like the most appealing (and low-effort) option right now.

I went with option #3…easy comfort food. Much needed, today.

So here’s how you make yourself a quick, easy dinner with no recipe and very little on hand. And I’m sorry that all the images are sideways/upside-down. New plugin, see.

Get a pot of salted water boiling. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet. Add a glob of jarred garlic if that’s all you have, or a pile of minced fresh garlic if your pantry is better stocked than mine.

Chop up your last tired cherry tomatoes. Toss them into the skillet. If you have some remaining fresh spinach leaves, add them, too. Add any other leftover veggies you might have; I had steamed broccoli in the fridge, so I put in a few florets and mashed them as best I could.

Squeeze in a healthy dose of tomato paste and half as much anchovy paste. These are things that you should have in your fridge at all times, even if you run out of bread and milk and beans and everything else.

Stir it around. Add about half a cup of the pasta cooking water to the skillet.

Drain the pasta. Add it to the skillet, tossing everything around. Let the extra water cook off.

Shower it all with a pile of freshly-grated Parmesan. If you need to use pre-grated cheese, I understand and won’t judge, but do yourself a favor and grate it fresh if you can.

Because you’re worth it and had the absolutely shittiest and most disappointing race/run of your life today, because you ignored your tight calves and sore creaky Achilles and went into a six-hour trail race on ice/snow/mud with very little training,

and at mile 4 your calf pain shifts to a sharp Achilles pain and you know the day is over, and you are at this point down to a T-shirt and capris (no hat or gloves or any warm layer tied around your waist) and it’s 40 degrees out and you try to shortcut back through a snowy bramble field,

possibly crying with anger and disappointment, and when you’re back on trail, scratched and bleeding and limping and shivering, you reassure concerned passing runners that you’re fine and making your way back to the start/finish, and one woman looks extra-concerned and you burst into tears because THIS IS YOUR FAULT,

and she turns around and walks back along the course with you and is very kind and doesn’t even attempt a hug until you’ve gotten yourself under control and are able to recognize that you knew going into this race you had some physical issues you’ve been ignoring and at least this time you didn’t run through the pain but instead stopped when it felt significant, and then you hugged and thanked her and sent her on her way,

and because you drove four other 6-hour runners to the race, so you had to wait around another five-plus hours in the cold drizzle waiting for everyone else to finish.

anyway, toast some bread crumbs in olive oil and toss them in with the pasta. It is delightful. You deserve it. Sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley on it if you have it.

Sprinkle salt over all of it.

While it’s good and hot, eat it. Unless you are me, in which case you realize your younger son’s hamster, in his new hamster ball, has been too quiet for too long, and you discover this:

Where is the hamster??!?

Eat your cold pasta, after you finally catch and re-cage the hamster. It will still be tasty.

 

Print Recipe
Empty-Pantry Easy Angel Hair
Haven't shopped in awhile? Make this easy, healthy angel hair with what's in your fridge and pantry! Angel hair with tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan.
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Heat 1-2 T olive oil in a skillet.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes. Add spinach if you have it. Sautee 1-2 minutes
  5. Add broccoli and smash with your spatula.
  6. Add a squeeze of anchovy paste and twice as much tomato paste.
  7. When pasta is done, splash about half a cup of the pasta water into the skillet before you drain the pasta.
  8. Heat oil in another skillet. When hot, add bread crumbs and toss until lightly toasted.
  9. Add drained pasta to the skillet. Toss with tongs. Keep on heat long enough to evaporate extra water.
  10. Shower with grated Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley. Add toasted bread crumbs and toss.
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Step Right Up! Circus 1903 Is in Boston (Review)

Two nights ago my children and I ventured into Boston to the historic and lovely old Wang Theater (now called the Boch Center) to see the circus. The circus? Yes! Circus 1903! More “Cirque de Soleil” than Ringling Brothers, this show imagines how the circus used to be.

Oh, just one of the fancy emergency exits. #WangTheater #BochCenter #Circus1903 Photo credit: Itsnotlikeacat

You should see what these guys can do when they get airborne! Photo credit: Mark Turner

But instead of clowns and trick ponies and dancing bears, the audience is treated with acrobats; “foot juggling” (think acro-yoga times 1000); aerialists tossing each other through the air (“is he really going to catch her by her ankles?!?”); a gorgeous aerial hoop performance by a former rhythmic gymnastics world champion who, like some of her fellow performers, has previously performed with Cirque de Soleil; and a spectacular juggler.

Photo credit: Mark Turner

We can’t leave out the Cycling Cyclone, who inspires me to get my single-speed bike…working again, at least. I will not be doing handstands while cycling backwards anytime soon. Or the balancing guy, “The Sensational Sozonov,” who I kind of expected to come tumbling down at any second. Bikes also appeared in the Los Lopez highwire act, which practically started with someone riding a bike across a highwire while another person got on the stunt pegs and then did a handstand on the handlebars…and it went from there (“Mom! I have stunt pegs on my bike!” “Child, I’m so glad you’re inspired. What are you going to start practicing first?”).

Please don’t fall!! Photo Credit: Mark Turner

That’s the beauty and reality of a circus on opening night. You get the sense that things are still being perfected, which makes it beautifully real. I think there was an actual stumble or two during the show overall, a great reminder to all of us that these performers work hard and have to practice.

While the show does have something of a storyline, I was too caught up in the physical feats to notice. The ringmaster occasionally called children up on stage. I’d say that encouraging your children to get on stage might not be ideal for kids under age 6 unless they handle surprises and strangers well and have a good sense of humor.

As for humor, my older child found the show amazing and hilarious (when it was funny); my younger son didn’t seem to notice the humor, but he was still mesmerized by the show.

Oh! The elephants! How could I not tell you about them? The elephants are life-sized, a mother and a baby! They look very real, but they are entirely human-powered. They are so beautiful that I wanted to cry. They are moved and supported entirely by puppeteers. You should go see Circus 1903 if only to see the elephants (though you’ll be delighted to all the show has to offer).

So beautiful, this elephant. Photo credit: Mark Turner

Baby elephant. Photo credit: Mark Turner

The show only runs through March 12, so don’t miss your chance! Go this weekend! I have a discount code for you. See below.

Discounts:

Save 25% on tickets to see CIRCUS 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus  at the Boch Wang Theatre!  Visit  http://www.bochcenter.org/buy/show-listing/circus-1903  and enter code MOMS to buy your discounted tickets.  Discount applies to all performances, while supplies last. Valid on all levels, excluding Orchestra Pit.