Yeah. Stuff Is Hard.

My old pal and running partner Sasha used to say that you can only do three things well. At the time, we both had small children and were training a lot for races. Her three things were running, writing, and parenting. Mine were….running, parenting, cooking, working, knitting….I might have been trying to do too many things, actually. I’m like that. It doesn’t mean I’m doing them well. It just means I “never have time” and I have too much going on.

I’ll be honest: I am having a hard time lately. Obviously, I cannot say too much here. But that is the truth.

A big part of it, I’m sure, is the damn election. As for probably every other woman out there, it’s triggering rage at the lifetime of sexism, minor assaults, etc. No need to belabor this point. At all.

And divorce. It’s hard. I’ll just leave it at that.

The cat I lost custody of* went missing for several days (one of which was cold, rainy, windy, stormy). Thankfully, she’s been found, and in other happy news, my landlord said I can get a cat, so the boys and I will start looking around for a kitty for our home. So that is very happy news.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  1. Parenting, trying to help my kids be happy and healthy and thriving during this big transition in their lives.
  2. Working (and I have an extra client right now, one I want to impress, of course, but it means the current couple of weeks are kind of a strain on me).
  3. Training for an ultramarathon (go ahead and say, “WTF are you thinking?”).
  4. Socializing and trying to recover myself and my interests (climbing, mountain biking, baking, etc.).
  5. Finishing unpacking and setting up this apartment (actually, screw that; I’m hopefully here only 10 more months and I don’t want to put much more money into this apartment or unpack anything else; we still need some rugs and some storage items, but I’m not doing much else).
  6. Figuring out what happens next regarding the divorce, where we’ll all live next year, future employment, and so on.

That is a lot. 

Honestly, fitness has fallen right out the window. I’m not going to the gym. I’m barely running. I should be doing multi-hour runs at this point. Instead, I’m trying to get sleep or get extra work-time in when I can.

And sometimes, like tonight, I just need to spend some time baking and vacuuming and then curled up on the couch watching old episodes of “House.”

So if, by Sasha’s rules, I had to pick three, it would be parenting, working, self-care/sleep. Some of that self-care involves time with friends; some of it involves baking; some of it involves time on Facebook, and I am not ashamed of that. Some days Facebook provides my only social interaction, since I work from home. Don’t judge.

Anyway. Lately things feel hard. Maybe I’m doing too much. The ultra training, much as I hate to say it, has to go. I just don’t have the time or energy for it right now, and it’s not where I should be putting my energy, and it’s becoming a stressor instead of something to look forward to. I hate to let go of it. But I need to take care of myself and conserve energy (physical and mental) right now.

So that’s where I’m at. Feel free to give me an unsolicited hug. Or ask how I am. Or tell me a joke.

*because when I found this apartment, it was “No pets allowed,” so C took the cat when we all moved in August. But now I can have a cat, YAY THANK GOD.

The Fresh Horror of Bike Accidents

*Warning: This is a horrible post. I saw something awful today (though not the accident itself), and it reminded me of another bike accident I saw years ago, and talking about what I saw is a way of coping. Feel free to skip this post. I completely understand. And if you’re a cyclist or pedestrian, please use all caution, and if you’re driving a motor vehicle, please check twice or three times, and yield the road.*

Today, as I was biking to meet friends/colleagues at a cafe for a work-date, I turned onto Mass. Ave. into very heavy traffic. I don’t normally travel Mass. Ave. at 9 a.m., but it seemed extra-heavy to me.

And then there was a cop, diverting traffic off of Mass. Ave. near Porter Square. I had a feeling…I asked someone walking what had happened.

“Someone got hit,” he said, gesturing up the street.

“Cyclist?” I asked. He shrugged.

I had to cross, because the street was not only cordoned off but screened off. Imagine big colored tarps hanging so you can’t see what’s behind them. I asked a cop directing traffic what had happened.

“A cyclist was hit around 8:08 a.m,,” he said.

“Is the cyclist…deceased?” I asked. Deceased. Why did I put it that way? Who says that? I don’t know. Maybe because I feared the worst. He gave a curt nod and, observing my bike/helmet/yellow cycling jacket, told me to be safe.

I joined the small crowd near a semi, which had its hood open. The screened area was behind it, and there was another, smaller truck behind that.

And then I saw it. The bicycle where no bike should be, under the cab of the truck. But then I could see the body, through a corner of the screening, covered in white, on the road, well behind the truck. An hour after he (it turned out to be a he, age 60) had been hit.

Cops were all over the scene, not just directing traffic but rolling on those little mechanic’s dollies under the truck, checking things, studying the underside of the truck. The whole scene was cordoned off.

Two younger women walked by. “Ohmigod, why is everyone staring? Is that truck, like, about to explode?” one asked her friend. “I think it broke down. Why don’t they just tow it away?” said the other. They stood watching.

It was time for me to go. I was shaken and had seen enough. I paused as I passed the two young women, who were still staring at the scene. “The truck didn’t break down,” I said. “Look under the cab.” I said this as gently as possible. “A cyclist was hit and killed.”

Their faces registered the awful bike, the awfulness of it. Their hands flew to cover their mouths. I don’t know why I had to tell them except maybe I wanted them to understand the gravity of this, that we weren’t a bunch of dumb-asses staring at a broken-down truck. People get killed, and it could have been any of us on our bikes.


I used to bike to work all the time. From North Cambridge out to Lexington. From Central Square to the South End in all weather. From Medford to the far side of Waltham. It was such a nice way to get to work. I knew accidents happened. I joked that the 77 bus was out to get me (seriously, that bus was terrifying). I refused to ride on Mass. Ave. in Boston because it was too much of a mess of traffic and buses and trucks and too scary and dangerous. I had other routes.

One day, in 2002, my friend Lisa drove me home from work for some reason. As we approached Central Square, we saw emergency vehicles and the road being hosed down. Being hosed down. We were diverted. “I bet there was an accident,” I said. “I bet it was a cyclist.”

I don’t know how I knew.

It was a cyclist indeed, named Dana Laird, doored by an SUV and thrown under the back wheels of an MBTA bus, and it was horrible, and a nearby light post was covered with flowers and notes for a long time.

Her death has stuck with me. I stay well out of the door zone, when possible, and try to give buses a lot of space.


I left the scene, finally, walking my bike until I felt I could ride it again. I locked it up when I got to the cafe, amazed. “I’m alive. The rest of us are alive. It’s all chance,” I thought.

And on the way home, going through a tricky part of Harvard Square (also up Mass. Ave., of course) a car tried to edge me out of the lane (there was no bike lane or shoulder). I know my rights and took the full lane, which you’re allowed to do, and glory be but then there was a sign: “[Bicyclist] May Take Full Lane” and I pointed at it as I biked past. And the car passed on my left, the driver shouting at me, something about “Cambridge” and “bikes,” and he drove on, and I biked on, thinking Don’t you know? Don’t you know we can take a lane? Don’t you know bikes can travel on these roads, and another person just died this morning?

…and then I went through Porter Square again, more than five hours since the accident had happened (and please leave now if you’re squeamish, but I need a place to put this). The body had been removed; the screens were down. The truck was still there. The driver (the poor driver! Yes, I have sympathy for him; he may have been careless, but I’m sure he didn’t mean to harm or kill anyone) was gone.

The bike had been removed from under the cab and was at the side of the street. And this, this is the awful part: Three people dressed in full medical-type protective gear and headcoverings (the surgical kind) were under the truck, with spray bottles and small brushes, carefully spraying and scrubbing the treads of the rear tires, and I want to throw up when I think of it.

I’ve just recently gotten back into biking everywhere, in part because I reclaimed an ancient Fuji steel-frame total beater 10-speed I’d lent to a friend, which is a comfortable ride and I can park it anywhere, even if I’ve forgotten a bike lock (yes, really — let’s hear it for ugly old bikes). But today reminded me to be more careful than ever, to assume nothing, to trust no cars or trucks and to get off and wait on the sidewalk and walk my bike on the crosswalk in some places rather than make the left turn I’m legally allowed to make. I’ve been so lucky for years.

But the Greater Boston area has a long way to go in becoming a safer place for cyclists. And as-yet-unnamed cyclist, your death was needless. And truck driver, you’re not evil. I hope you can get some sleep at some point.

I trust a ghost bike and memorial will appear tomorrow.

Be safe and careful, everyone.

This just in: A bunch of elementary school students saw the crash.



Five Nights/Six Days

My babies left tonight. I dropped them off on a chilly soccer field as it was growing dark. I hugged and kissed them goodbye on the way there, because I’m aware of what’s socially acceptable for these boys. And after I waved goodbye, the older one ran after me for a final hug.

We’ve had six days and five nights of bliss together. Normally our schedule is 2-2-3, meaning two nights with me, two with their father, three with me (including a weekend), then it switches: two nights with him, two with me, three with him (including a weekend).

It’s a lot of going back and forth. And it’s hard. And it’s hard to keep track, sometimes — “Whose night is it tonight, Mama?”

But this long stretch? It was gorgeous. Relaxed. The three of us were calm and happy. There were none of the usual transition challenges, no anger, no tough behavior, no fighting between the boys that didn’t also involve a lot of laughter. We all just settled in happily for our extra days together, and it’s been beautiful.

There were two days of school, of course (today was a holiday — Happy New Year!). And they got to choose what we had for dinner (“Sloppy joes!”, declared one, but the other wanted a burger, but since both involve ground beef and buns, everyone got what they asked for). They did their homework. We had hilarious drawing sessions. They made a new neighborhood friend and spent hours outside with him (and other kids). We ordered pizza in the next town and wandered around in the rain waiting for our dinner to be ready. We finally had our first movie night in this new apartment.

We bought pumpkins and made lunches together and went to the trampoline park with friends. We spent a few hours in the woods, hiking and climbing around and listening to a red-tailed hawk screaming in the distance. We lounged around together on the couch, all in a pile, laughing and sometimes reading. Some mornings I woke up to find both or just one in my bed, snuggled against me. Other mornings, I woke alone, finding they’d stayed in their own beds all night, warm and snug.

They’re gone now, at their father’s for the next two nights. Their room is dark and empty, and the apartment is quiet. I kept up on the dishes like a pro for the past many days, but now that the boys are gone I’ve already fallen into a kind of ennui and the sink is already piled up. I don’t care. I’ll have the place clean and tidy before they return.

For now, I just listen to the crickets outside, all of my apartment dark except for the kitchen, and feel so, so glad my boys and I had a long stretch of time together. We all needed it.


Fall Baking With Bob’s Red Mill and Stonyfield

Finally, fall is here! I don’t know about you, but the change in the weather makes me want to bake up a storm. I’ve cranked out cranberry coffee cake and monster cookies so far, but the baking season is just getting under way!


In partnership with Stonyfield, Bob’s Red Mill sent me Organic Coconut Sugar and Steel Cut Oats. Steel cut oats are also known as “pin oats.” They make an excellent, slightly chewy bowl of oatmeal, and you can make them in the slow cooker overnight to have them ready in the morning. Or just make them in the morning (they do take a little more time than rolled oats), topped with nuts and fruit and yogurt.

Or, you can do what I do and use them in cookies! Here’s a handy round-up of cookie recipes that use steel cut oats — without having to cook the oats first!

  1. Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. I list these first for a reason. These wonderfully crunchy-chewy cookies are darkly chocolatey. You do have to roll them into little balls (which, if you’re like me and prefer an effortless cookie, might seem like an extra step) but this recipe is a must-try. They’re really good.
  2. Super Simple Sweet Steel Cut Oat Cookies. With bananas, almonds, and (optional) flax seed, these cookies would pass nicely as a nutritious breakfast cookie.
  3. Fatherly Cookies. These oatmeal raisin cookies have all the same ingredients as regular oatmeal raisin cookies, but they use steel-cut oats instead of rolled oats. Sounds like a crunchy oaty treat!
  4. Steel Cut Oatmeal Walnut Cookies. These use both rolled and steel cut oats. And while this recipe, like the last one, calls for raisins, remember that it is always appropriate to substitute chocolate chips for raisins, in any situation.

Bob’s Steel Cut Oats are also available in a gluten-free version, which is nice, because everyone should be able to enjoy the cookies listed above.

As for the coconut sugar, I’d never tried it before. It’s brown, with a slightly caramel scent. It’s made from the nectar of coconut palm blossoms. I was baking a big cranberry coffee cake for an annual weekend camping party in Vermont (imagine a field full of tents, children running wild on the hillside cutting down trees and building forts and piling up leaves and adding fuel to the bonfire, only returning to the barn when they got hungry), the musicians and singalong at night, long and spirited games of Capture the Flag, s’mores, coffee and oatmeal and toasting bagels over the bonfire in the cold morning air (well, near the bonfire, so not too cold)….

…anyway, the coffee cake. I doubled the Cranberry Almond Cake recipe from Budget Bytes but left out the almonds and almond extract and used an oatmeal crumble topping (with rolled oats, in case you’re wondering). I used coconut sugar both in the cake and in the topping.

The coconut sugar definitely made the cake darker and added a slight (and pleasing) caramel note to it.

Dark, right? But tasty.

Dark, right? But tasty. I’d use more cranberries next time. This was obviously before the entire 80-or-so people found their way to the breakfast table.

It’s National Breakfast Month! With Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs

img_9421.jpgSeptember is National Breakfast Month! To help me celebrate, the nice people at Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs sent me coupons for a few dozen eggs, plus some handy egg rings to make, well, round eggs. Circular.

I grew up on a little farm, and I was in charge of feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs. We sold some at our little farm stand. I grew up on very fresh (and tasty) eggs from a reasonably happy little flock of Rhode Island Reds, who had a roomy coop and a nice outdoor space.

While I can’t have my own chickens right now, because of where I live, I still want good fresh eggs…and eggs from chickens that have room to move around, not factory-farmed chickens. So if I can get local fresh eggs, great, but living in the city, that’s not always possible.img_9424.jpg

Egg labels can seem confusing, can’t they? “Organic,” “Natural,” “Cage-Free”…what do they all mean? “Organic” generally means no pesticides were used to grow the feed. “Natural,” well, that varies. “Cage-Free” means the chickens aren’t kept in cages…but it doesn’t always mean they have enough room to move around, and some have said that “cage-free” can be cruel to chickens.

Make 'em round!

Make ’em round!

“Certified Humane,” however, is the label to look for if you want chickens who have a happy life. “Certified Humane” means that the chickens (or whatever animals) have been certified by a nonprofit organization called Human Farm Animal Care, whose mission is to ensure kinder and more responsible farm animal raising practices. For Pete and Gerry’s, “Certified Humane” means that their chickens have gentle handling, low stress, plenty of room and fresh air and water, and freedom to dust bathe, roost, and stratch…plus good, quality, hormone- and antibiotic-free feed.

Here’s more information:

Sounds good to me! I like eggs. They’re one of my main forms of protein, in fact: eggs with pasta, egg soft tacos, eggs on quinoa with kale, egg sandwiches, scrambled eggs…



Scrambled, anyone?

Scrambled, anyone?

Oh, yeah, on a corn tortilla with cilantro and hot sauce...great post-run breakfast!

Oh, yeah, on a corn tortilla with cilantro and hot sauce…and some quinoa, roasted eggplant, and peas…great post-run breakfast!

Or on corn tortillas with sauteed arugula and cherry tomatoes, topped with avocado and, yes, hot sauce! Another great post-run breakfast!

Or on corn tortillas with sauteed arugula and cherry tomatoes, topped with avocado and, yes, hot sauce! Another great post-run breakfast!

Know your eggs. Know what you’re buying. Support small family farms (the kind of farms that supply Pete and Gerry’s). Support happy chickens.

September may be National Breakfast Month, but you should eat good breakfasts every day!

Disclosure: Pete and Gerry’s provided me with product coupons, egg rings, and compensation to facilitate this post. 

The Quiet Blog

Hi! You may have noticed this blog has changed a lot over the years. I can’t be as open as I was before, for so many reasons. For one thing, it’s not as private anymore (which is fine, mostly, and not a surprise, but it’s funny/awkward when someone I don’t know well tells me they read my blog, and they seem embarrassed about it, like they’re confessing to reading my journal, and I’m wracking my brain to remember if I wrote anything especially personal or embarrassing recently). I can no longer write about the kids, because they’re not anonymous babies doing Every-Baby types of things. They’re actual people (not that babies aren’t people, but you know what I mean). They want privacy, and I respect that.

I’m going through a divorce. That shuts down a lot of what I might talk about right now, for various (obvious) reasons.

My training and nutrition are undergoing an overhaul but not (in my opinion) terribly interesting. I’ve been encourage to try to exercise every day, and I’ve been trying to stick to that (not so easy with my current schedule). There’s been a lot of 6 a.m. runs and Tabata workouts and boot camps and yoga. It’s great. And mountain biking! I am mountain biking again! Last weekend I went up to New Hampshire to explore some fun singletrack I haven’t been on in a decade or so. So much fun. And last month I reconnected with a local mountain biking group (alas, and then they ended their weeknight rides for the season and don’t seem to have the weekend rides they used to).

I’m also trying to follow a vegan diet but sometimes I just need to eat what’s available, with limited prep time, and I don’t have a microwave for some of the wonderful frozen vegan Indian wraps and burritos I bought before the move. (And no, I don’t have the patience or desire to heat up my entire oven to spend an hour reheating one frozen burrito.) (And no, I don’t want to buy a microwave.) So last night for dinner, much as I would have liked a kale salad topped with crumbled sauteed tempeh and roasted beets (I have the washed kale and roasted beets in my fridge and had them for lunch, but the tempeh was still in the package), by the time I got home from Back to School night I was so tired I could only pour myself a bowl of cereal with soymilk and yogurt (cow milk yogurt — thanks, Stonyfield!). I need to eat, and if salmon or beef or pork or yogurt come across my path and I’m hungry, well, so be it. I’m accepting what I can spend energy on right now, and I’m cutting myself some slack, and that’s OK.

Well. So things will be quiet around here for a bit, on the personal level, but I’ll be back, in full, at some point. I’ll still be blogging but it might be more of a lighter version of me. Thanks for reading.


How to Scare Your Child Away From Running: Vegan Black Bean Nut Brownies

I whirred the blender after the boys’ bedtime.

“Mom!” called Max. “What are you doing?”

“Sorry about the noise,” I said. “I’m making vegan black bean nut brownies.”

Even in the darkness I could see the horror on his face. “Who would eat that??”

“I’m bringing them to a race on Saturday,” I said. I have a trail race Saturday. Despite my grand training plans, I barely ran in August: according to my Garmin, I got in 4 slow miles per week (PER WEEK), withhttp://training plans no running at all in the last two weeks. I mean, come on, I’ve had a lot going on. But I have a trail half marathon Saturday followed by a trail 5-miler Sunday. I will slog through. Wonder how I get overuse injuries?

“But who would EAT that?” he repeated, his face still curled in horror.

“Oh, the runners,” I answered.

“But WHY? Why would anyone EAT those? Why would RUNNERS eat those?”

Let’s hope the runners eat them. Two months ago, I was making a recipe that I ended up not having a key ingredient for. I’d already ground walnuts, cashews, and pecans in the food processor with soaked dates. So I froze that mixture.

Now, both in hopes of having a nice treat to bring to Saturday’s race and to make room in my tiny freezer (I sold my chest freezer before the move, and my new fridge/freezer is SMALL), I pulled out the mixture, thawed it, and decided to make energy bites.

But after adding coconut and cocoa and cinnamon, I didn’t feel like rolling a million little balls. So I added a can of black beans, ground flax seed, water, oil, vanilla, and maple syrup, threw it into the blender (at least the beans/flax/water part) and now I have a pan of weird vegan brownies in the oven. I hope they’re edible!




Gather Chocolates: Eat Chocolate, Help the Bees (and a Giveaway!!)

SUPER update (12/1/16): I have a discount code for you!

Looking for a great gift idea? Salem, Mass.-based @HarborSweets suggests: artisan chocolate that saves the bees!
Solo or bundled in a gift set, visit and use code GATHER4FUN through 12/14 to save 10% off your shipping.
Pro tip: check out the Gather Tea Set – a great gift idea for the tea lover and gardener on your list, or for an anytime gift.



I like good dark chocolate. I like bees. I like good causes. I like pretty boxes and nice packaging. I am a fan of pollination and small businesses and local companies and good food.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the honeybee declines in recent years. The USDA reported that pesticides and parasites caused a 44% loss of honeybee colonization in just one year. The White House has a Pollinator Health Task Force to study and address the problem.

Harbor Sweets, an artisanal chocolate maker in Salem, MA (and long recognized as one of the top women-owned businesses in Massachusetts), has a new line of chocolates called Gather. And yes, I was lucky enough to be asked to review a box.


Gather is a new  small-batch line of chocolates Harbor Sweets. Contained in a honey-yellow honeycomb-shaped box is a flight of six filled chocolates and truffles, each coated in excellent dark chocolate. Inside each chocolate is a filling with a subtle note of local honey. The flavors include:

  • Caramelized Honey Truffle
  • Pomegranate Molasses
  • Sesame Crunch
  • Cashew Caramel
  • Coconut Cluster
  • Sour Cherry

img_9383.jpgGather shot (2)Inside the lid is a little map to indicate which is which (unless your brother eagerly opens the box and everything gets mixed up and you’re not sure which is which, but it doesn’t matter — they are all good! And, ok, maybe I was yelling, “No, wait, I’m a blogger!! That’s not how we open things to review them! Put the lid back on and let’s start over!”).


And then, like crazy people — or because I insisted we each try every single flavor — we cut each beautiful chocolate into four pieces, to share. Please, don’t be like us. Eat a whole piece, and buy your family and friends their own boxes. Or buy a few boxes and go halfsies.

And, they’re pretty. The Sour Cherry has a flower on it. Caramelized Honey Truffle has a bee. There’s a beehive on Pomegranate Molasses.


Gather was inspired by the plight of the honeybees. A portion of sales (2.5%) will be donated to the Pollinator Partnership, a 5013c NGO that educates about and advocates for best practices for honeybee protection.

Here’s a nice little video on the backstory (plus, you can see how chocolates are made!):

So: Good cause, good chocolate, good company. You can order Gather from Harbor Sweets ($12.50 for a six-piece box, $18.50 for a 12-piece box) or use their store locator to find out what retailers sell the chocolate. Plus, they ship coast to coast. These chocolates make an excellent hostess or thank-you gift.


But wait! One lucky person will win a six-piece box of Gather Chocolates from me! I have to ship it to you, so the winner needs to be within the contiguous 48 United States.

To win, leave a comment telling me what’s most appealing about these to you: the cause, the chocolates themselves, or the company itself. (Please make sure your comment is connected to or contains your email address so I can email you if you win! — and if you follow me on Facebook, I will give a little shout-out there to the winner, in case you don’t get the email).

You can leave an extra comment (another chance to win!) telling me if you’re going to eat these yourself, share them with a friend/loved one, or give them as a gift.

A winner will be randomly drawn Wednesday, September 21, 2016, at 8 p.m. EST and notified by email (see above, re: Facebook). Winner will have 24 hours to respond or else I’ll pick another winner.

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations, Michelle G.! Thanks, everyone, for entering. Go try these chocolates!

Back to School: Packing Lunches With Stonyfield, Justin’s, and PackIt

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 5.24.30 PM

It’s back-to-school time! Which means it’s time to pack lunches again. Unless, like us, you’ve needed to pack lunches for camp or outings for most of the summer. I’m kind of a professional lunch packer at this point.

It still seems daunting, though. I don’t know why. And last year the second grader was packing his own lunches. Why did this stop when he started camp this summer? I don’t know. I think both kids will be packing their own lunches this year, with my support.

And it’s not just knowing what to pack — how many snacks, who’s eating what this week (turkey? salami? hummus and cucumber? leftovers?) but who can eat what. Like when a particular upcoming first grader has a wiggly tooth, so you have to slice up his apple before you pack it because otherwise he can’t bite it.

But if you have the supplies and a formula, lunch-packing doesn’t have to be a drag.

Here are some key tips for packing a lunch:

Food Containers
We use reusable containers for snacks and lunches. For the main lunch, we use EasyLunchboxes three-compartment lunch boxes, with snacks in other small reusable containers. Yes, I wash a lot of containers, but I’m OK with that.

Lunch Bag
A sturdy, reusable lunch bag can last for the whole school year and sometimes for a few years! PackIt makes a great freezable lunch bag which contains a freezable gel. Just put it in the freezer overnight, then in the morning pack your child’s lunch in it. The lunch bag will keep the food cold for hours.img_9328.jpg

Lunch Food
Sandwiches are popular with my kids:

  • salami
  • PBJ
  • hummus and cucumber

Sandwich alternatives:

  • mac&cheese in an insulated food jar
  • leftover pasta with pesto
  • hummus, veggies, and crackers
  • cheese and crackers

I also pack veggies and fruit in the other compartments of the bento box.

Besides the “main course,” I include:

  • fruit — berries, a sliced or whole apple, cut-up oranges, grapes
  • veggies — baby or big carrots, grape tomatoes, sliced cucumber
  • something crunchy/salty, such as pretzels
  • Stonyfield YoKids Squeezers (these are great to keep in the freezer)
  • a granola bar (in case an extra snack is needed)img_9329.jpg
  • Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and Pretzels snack packsimg_9334-1.jpg
  • maybe a packet of Justin’s Honey Almond Butter (who am I kidding, these are for me! Great pre-run fuel and a handy afternoon snack at my desk)img_9338.jpg

A reusable water bottle. That’s all I send my kids with. But you could also include a juice box or milk.

By the way, could you sense a theme here? Reusable containers, few processed foods, and products from companies like Justin’s and Stonyfield that make sustainable practices their mission? I like supporting companies that have values similar to mine.

Oh — not that I’m telling you what to do, but because these tips can help you save time packing lunches — if you have some extra time, check out the recipes on the Justin’s site! I want to try the spicy peanut soba noodles and the granola bars, for starters.

Happy school year, and enjoy packing healthy lunches!

I Have an Apartment!

Today’s exciting news is that after a cliffhanger week, in which I was finally approved for one apartment — after a complicated and tricky application process — but was delayed on seeing a better one until the tenants moved out — and then had to go through another complicated application process and wait to be approved for that one before letting the first one know I wasn’t taking it — so basically I developed a little muscle tic under one eye, which happens when I am under a lot of stress, well, I have a signed lease in hand and a place to move in eleven days!! We have a new address!

Eleven days. Talk about cutting it close. When the kids ask where we’re moving to, which they’ve done for much of the summer, I can finally tell them. And it’s the place they liked best. The place I liked best. The place that seems best for us.

This has, in some respects, been not our best August. The kids had no idea where we’d be moving to. I had no idea. Someone asked them if they’ll be going to the same school this year, and they turned to me, confused, because none of us know, and I said, “Probably” — hoping at the time that their father would get an apartment in the school district — they had such looks of joy on their faces and said, “REALLY???” and I had to smile and said, “I think so!”

Ugh. I had no idea where any of us would end up.

Soon after, their father found an apartment in the school district. Yay!

This week, after submitting multiple documents (about 10, in all) from both me and their father, plus a personal letter from me, plus being sent to meet the landlord in person, I was accepted for an apartment. Without the cat.

But there was another apartment I wanted more, this one nicer and in a better (for me) location, same price. Prettier, quieter, with a bathroom that didn’t scream “I’m totally ugly low-budget and you’ll live with it, because this is what you deserve!”


No, but seriously, that first bathroom really sucked. Is installing a vanity that hard?  Plus this second apartment had onsite laundry, which is key when you have kids.

Anyway. I had to put off the first place for a few days, which I felt bad about, but I had to keep them in play until I knew about the second place, which took longer than expected. And It was awkward and stressful. I ended up having to call the realtor on the first place to let her know what was up, and she was of course pissed off, because she could have been showing the place in the meantime, but really that’s what this rental market has come to, so don’t blame me.

For the past three days the kids have been asking if we are moving to the place on the bike path (like that’s the kind of stress kids need??), and today I took them to sign the lease and was able to tell them, “Yes.”

We’re all worn out by this process. And I would have loved to shield them from it except unfortunately I had to take them with me to see so many apartments, and things were so uncertain, and there was no way to hide it.

I have eleven days to pack and move. Hopefully I can get into the new place sooner. I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff and packed a lot already. I can’t wait to pack the rest and move on from here.

The cat is moving in with their father, whose apartment is pet-approved. I will miss her. Will miss stepping out each morning to call for her and watching her jump the fence and trot until she’s halfway to me, then slows to a walk, raising her tail. She loves when I pet her, brush her, talk to her. The kids like to feed her, play with her, turn on the faucet for her. She will be happy with C, I know, but I’m (for now) home more than he is. It will be weird for me to be without a pet. I’ve had cats since I was a child. Since I was 19 (there was one year off, first year of college). I’ve had a cat forever. Now I can’t.

Normally August is more fun for us. This August hasn’t been. I’d love to take the kids away for a few days. We have a week planned on the Cape with cousins but it turns out that’s the week I have to move (I’d really hoped to move earlier), so I might not be there with them.

We need a vacation, but it might have to happen this fall instead. For now, we have a place to move. And I came uncomfortably close to having no place to go, eleven days before I have to move out.

I think I can sleep better now.