Tag Archives: Changes

Vegexperiment: Day 13

Day 13 of a 30 day vegetarian (accurately, pescatarian) November, and…..screw this. Just kidding.

But I’m sad to report there’s been some serious dissension in the ranks. The eldest child (who kicked off this undertaking by announcing it on facebook) and the eldest, paternal member of the household (who rallied the family to join her in support) have been at odds. Both have confessed to meat cravings, yet both harbor differing opinions on whether or not we should continue on in our noble quest.

To my daughter, my husband said, “You need to follow through on your commitments.” And my daughter countered with, “But I’m 11. I latch onto ideals and speak passionately on all sorts of topics I don’t yet fully understand. I also haven’t the benefit of much life experience; the kind that might aid me with the follow through on such a major lifestyle change. Because, again, I’m 11.” She didn’t say that, of course (because – all together now – she’s 11), instead she sulks in pouty silence and avoids his gaze, but that’s the gist of it.

Her heart still breaks at the idea of suffering animals, but her stomach revolts at the sight of beans and tofu. She loathes them, and many other foods, with the fierce passion that only picky children can irrationally muster. My God, I presented a dish this week that was heavy on quinoa (light, tart, savory, highly recommended) and, by her reaction, you’d have thought I’d just shot her cat. No. Worse. It was like I’d taken her iPhone away. She was positively despondent. And the little one, who refused meat beforehand, also refuses all this substitute bullshit. Making my job so much more not at all any fucking easier. YAY!

Full of Beans

Still, the mister is insisting we persevere (see: stickler). Not so much for personal reasons, but as a lesson to the eldest about sticking to one’s guns, finishing what one starts, and all that character-building jazz. Though I understand and sympathize with his position, our daughter’s pre-existing reluctance to ingest about 8,000 varieties of food means she’s not ready to limit her diet further. She needs to grow past her childhood pickiness and expand her palate before she can truly commit to a meatless way of life. And she definitely needs to be down with the tofurkey on Thanksgiving – which, as of now, she is most assuredly NOT.

And then there’s me, the once self-proclaimed connoisseur of the burger; I’m the only one in the house who enjoys meat yet hasn’t had any longing for it. And that’s a big deal. Quick story…

Once upon a couple years ago, my husband, my children and I joined my ex-husband, his wife, and their small daughter for dinner. It was the first time my husband and my ex-husband had ever met, and the tension was not high but…not exactly relaxed, either. Many details of that meal went swimmingly (another story for another time), but most memorably, my husband and ex-husband’s unexpected bonding moment. I was reviewing the menu and maybe said something about ordering a burger, because my ex piped up, “Yup! Take Niki to a nice restaurant and watch her order a cheeseburger.” And my husband chimed in, “Oh, I know! The Queen of Cheeseburgers!” And they laughed together, like best buddies. Ha. Ha. Ha. (Batsards)

It was then that I realized how your ex(es) and present significant other should NEVER be allowed to convene! It won’t play out the way you think it should. Perhaps you imagine it would go something like, “Ah yes. Indeed we both agree she (or he) is amazing, in countless ways, and made a thoroughly positive, unforgettable impact on our lives. A saint and a goddess (or god), really. How lucky we are to know her (or him).” But in reality it’s more like, “Oh I KNOW! And how she (he) always does this one thing? What a dummy. And, oh wow, she (or he) STILL does THAT other thing? Holy crazeballs!”

And I didn’t even order a stupid burger during that meal. (Bro-moment havin’ bastards).

Yet the anecdote illustrates a point: anyone who knew me before 2008 would assert me to be the “Queen of Cheeseburgers.” I really do love them. And for me to not crave that flesh any longer, it says something. It says I can change. Rather, that I’m ready to. But my daughter, I think she jumped aboard an emotional bandwagon that her taste buds aren’t yet tall enough to ride. You know, she’s always disliked dairy, even cheese (insanity!), so maybe she’ll make an excellent vegan someday. And possibly, in a year or two, she’ll judge the portions on her plate not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their tastiness.

But not today.

At any rate, I’ll be stocking the cupboards this weekend and she’s asked, “Let’s just not have as MUCH meat.” Already done. And this experiment paved the way. Take the fajitas we regularly make for dinner, substituting tofu for steak went over splendidly and everyone agreed to pass on meaty fajitas in the future. A small success. And as I learn more new, appetizing vegetarian recipes that might please my children, we’ll keep taking our baby steps toward discovering a brand new way to eat.

But if you happen to see me out at burger joint (saucy juices running down my chin, something akin to celestial ecstasy in the whites of my rolled back eyeballs)……don’t judge.

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Game Cheats for Lovers

Commiserating with an old friend today, I remarked that the most valuable token of wisdom I’ve received of late, from some brief marriage counseling last fall, was the revelation that our subconscious minds choose the mates we marry. And that same subconscious will purposefully choose a person who will poke at ALL of your sublevel sore spots. Every last one. In order to heal them. We choose partners who will pick at the concealed yet open wounds, forcing us to recognize and remedy them, rather than the easier route of leaving them to linger (and fester) in the dark recesses of the mind.

Aint’ love GRAND?!

For example, my counselor noted that though my first husband – on the surface – seems so very different from my second, he said, “They may seem night and day, but you still married the same man. The first one was chocolate flavor and this one is just strawberry flavor.” And he was right: nail, meet head. Because, despite the seeming disparity between my first spouse and my second, they both possess that special somethin-somethin’ that happens to hit on all my inner-turmoil triggers. That, and they’re both Virgos – which doesn’t mean anything (which totally means something).

But the part that excited me about this information is that we do this to ourselves so we can heal. There’s a POINT to the madness. And the point is to fix what is broken inside ourselves, not suffer and exacerbate that suffering. The silver lining is that you can mend what requires mending and move forward into a happy, healthy, truly loving relationship.

And, the real kicker is, if you don’t make it work with chocolate flavor, or figure out your bullshit with strawberry flavor, you’re doomed to repeat the heartbreaks with somebody named vanilla.

(And nobody wants that)

It makes great sense to me, since I believe we’re here on the planet to evolve and grow inwardly. It’s why I believe in kooky things like reincarnation: ain’t no way you’re gonna get it all right (or be able to soak it all in) the first time around. No. Way.

Anyhow, I’d mentioned to my friend that I wasn’t attempting to preach or dispense sage advice. It was more that this bit on the wiley ways of the subconscious (which feels true as blue) was like passing someone a helpful game cheat. Someone stuck on a particularly grueling level of the game called LOVE. Press Up, Double B, Right, Left, Left and then Start……and you can finally level up!

In a Suburb of the Soul

I watched my two girls play in the backyard while I scrubbed soiled dishes. I watched them through my small kitchen window. My eldest, catching me spying, decided to improvise a play. The toddler, having no idea what a play is, devotedly and obediently looked to big sissy for stage direction. And mostly she just emulated her older sister’s every move. Pure idolization.

As often it does, my heart swelled at the sight of them.

At the same time I gave thought to the countless throngs of suburban mothers who have similarly watched their beautiful children at play through kitchen windows – since the dawn of the suburbs themselves – and it may sound very common, and it may seem ever so unspectacular, but that’s where you are mistaken.

Because it was, and is, extraordinary. It was singularly magical and whole.

And in that moment I knew we’d be okay, no matter how it rings of cliché (or attempts to rhyme). We’ll make it, just the three of us, while he’s away. And I can only hope these happy days, these shining moments that come alive in things like kitchen windows, take shape someplace eternal and scared. That, as they say, wouldn’t suck.

Here, Now and Tomorrow

I went a week without working out for the first time in eight months, and though the rational side of me knows I won’t automatically gain the baby weight back, the easily-spooked, guilt-ridden, nutty side of me thinks my ass already feels as though it is hanging an inch lower, and seems slightly mushier.

Being healthy is hard WORK, man. And I will never make it to All Organic Optimal Fitness Zen Master status. I don’t want to. Let it be known, right now, and for all of eternity, I AM NOT GIVING UP RED WINE OR COFFEE! YOU CAN KISS MY DRUNK, YET SEMI-ALERT ASS FIRST!

In other news – the possible moving, hubby going off to war, me running to Seattle with the kids, losing 20 thousand crazy dollars on the house news – the news that had me in such a tizzy a month ago….. it goes back to the back burner to simmer. My husband is having surgury on his elbow to correct a right hand that’s half numb, and has been so for over 6 months. Now, since that hand also opperates his trigger finger, therein lies a complication in sending him to war just now.

So, as it stands, they (Uncle Sam & Friends) will wait out his recovery before they determine our collective future. Three months recovery, at least. The news brings sighs of relief, mostly. My daughter gets to finish out the school year. My littlest toddler monkey gets more time to bond with a daddy she’s grown to really love and enjoy. We get to wait out this piece of shit housing market, and perhaps recoup a couple measly grand on our heart-sickening investment loss. AND…well…there are basically lots of “ands” that all equal upsides.

Where that puts me currently is that I’m in a place where I need to figure out what I’m going to do. I have 9 months to figure out if I’m going to get a shitty local job? Go to school? Pen my masterpiece? Eat, sleep and drink more?
The possibilities are not endless.

And I almost got away with it, too!

So many thoughts running through my head since Friday.
On overload, hyper-drive, warp speed since last night.

We’ve gone from, “So, what do you think about moving?” last Wednesday to, “What do you think about Germany?” on Friday to, “They want to send us to a hole in Texas and send me off to war in Afghanistan for a year or more” last night.

Son of a bitch.

I wrote to a friend: “Whatever happens, the fact is the days of having him work Mon-Fri, 8 to 5, home on weekends, never away, happy-nuclear-family-time, those days are over. All this time I bitched about getting out of AZ and now I’d be sooooo grateful just to stay!”

And that’s the gist of it. From the moment he caught the scent of this – on the winds of change – and we began to discuss it, I have been looking around this house, our life here, even this stupid little town, and I do NOT want to let it go!

I’ve been incredibly lucky, see. I’ve been with him for five years, his wife for two of those years, and in ALL of those years I’ve never had to do without him for any extended period. Wait, there was the 6 months it took me to move to Arizona to be with him, there was the week he left in 2007, and that other week he left in 2009 and…..that’s it. That’s IT! In fact, the longest we’ve been apart is when I take extended vacations home to Seattle without him. I’M the one who leaves all the time!

And I really thought I was going to stay lucky. I’d convinced myself of it. I really thought I was going to be married to him and never learn what it was like to be a real “military wife”. My daughters would never really experience being “military brats”. Somehow we were going to buck the system, slip under the radar, and remain stable in a completely unstable environment.

It was a semi-reasonable delusion. After all, we’d done it this long. We’d escaped fate for 4 years, only had another 4 years to go, and it looked like he was going to retire here. I could keep my family, intact, in the suburbs of Arizona, living the pleasant suburban life of a TV sitcom family.

Happy. Together. Safe.

I feel like the villain at the end of a Scooby-Doo episode.
“And I would have got away with it, too – if it wren’t for YOU, pesky Uncle Sam!”