That’s Not Hummus

I pride myself on healthy eating.

It’s my thing.

But I’ve been slipping lately. I work from home. It’s intense and hurried. I cram my work into the times my children are at camp and daycare, and I cram my food in, too.

I love my job. I do. It’s dreamy. I work on a cause I believe in, use many of my skills, and get to work from home with flexible hours at a respectable salary. I’m lucky. It’s a privilege. Most people don’t get to balance their profession, family, and personal time like I do.

But somehow, with all this blessed flexibility, it’s still hard to take a break. You know what they say about how you can take the workaholic out of the cube, but you can’t take the cube...? No? Well, I said it, anyway. Now it’s a thing.

I work hard. I’ve been called “intense.”

Apparently, however, I’m the poster-worker for self-care and balance because I seem to be one of few people who has put parameters around my availability on evenings and weekends. With fibromyalgia and four kids, there is no way I could handle the 24-7 intensity so many others engage in.

Also, I guess I’ve learned the hard way in other jobs that if you say yes to everything, people will start to take you for granted. It actually devalues you, and it’s a trap many women fall into considering how so many of us want to make nice and please people¹, especially when you work in the helping professions and on social causes.

(Psst! Look at that! I figured out how to make a footnote!)

So, considering my poster-worker status, I was asked to co-lead a workshop on time-management and self-care at a training in a couple of weeks. Never one to present a training without doing some research, footnotes notwithstanding, I was googling around for resources on self-care and found some great materials at the University of Buffalo School of Social Work.

While I was reading them, I started thinking about how I need to take breaks and prioritize healthy eating, exercise, and getting outside. According to their self-assessment on whether you are burned out, I’m heading down that road. (Or else I’m just a chronically grumpy person who happens to be sleep-deprived thanks to my lovely children.)

Deciding to practice what I preach, I put together a healthy and delicious lunch of lentil salad, hummus, olive ciabatta bread, and watermelon (left-overs thanks to my husband) and took it outside to eat at our new table under an umbrella in the shade. I brought my iPhone but resisted checking emails and Facebook. Instead, I enjoyed the garden, the visiting hummingbirds, and decided to breathe deeply and focus on all the sounds of nature: chirping birds, a cawing crow, an occasional barking dog, and a neighbor’s clucking chickens.


Now, I’m someone who frequently drips food on my clothes, and looking down I saw a blob of hummus and lentils and quickly swiped it up and popped it into my mouth.

It wasn’t hummus.

Hummus isn’t gray and white and slimy and sourish.

I spit it out and gagged. I tried to eat my lunch, but kept gagging. I had to take extreme measures and just… let it all go. I ran inside and visited the porcelain throne. Goodbye lentils and hummus.

Goodbye olive bread.

Goodbye watermelon.

And good riddance guano!

Annnnnndddd that’s the last time I’ll be taking a “healthy break” outside. It’s cookies at the desk from now on.

¹I’m sure there’s research on that somewhere on the internet.

What’s the grossest thing that ever happened to you?

Heading to BlogHer ’14 next week? So are we!


Come hang out with Michele W., Emily of The Waiting, and ME on Friday 10 am!!

Originally posted on News:

BlogHer 2014, the 10th anniversary celebration of the popular women’s blogging network, kicks off next Thursday, July 24th in San Jose, California. There’s still time to register, and we hope you do — we’ll be there, too!

This year, along with a Happiness Bar offering in-person support for your WordPress sites, we’re hosting a series of short workshops on the topics you care about most. We’re also excited to welcome some of the amazing WordPress bloggers nominated as BlogHer Voices of The Year — they’ll join us for a series of informal panels where we can chat all things blogs and blogging.

Interested? Here’s the schedule:

Friday, July 25

  • 10 AM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
  • 11 AM: or Self-Hosted: Which One is Right for You?
  • 12:30 PM: Own Your Content: Tips for Switching Blog Platforms
  • 1:30 PM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
  • 2:30 PM: Getting Great…

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Pretty Awesome

Do I look pretty?

“Yes, you look pretty. So, so pretty.”

Here I am with another 3-year old going through that “Pink Phase.” This time around, however, I’ve given in to the pink. I’ve surrendered.

I’m encouraging it, even.

The first time around, I bought my daughter blue, green, and purple clothes–even black. I urged the wearing of pants, the breaking of stereotypes, and the development of a self-image independent of “pretty.”

She had other ideas.

She insisted on wearing long dresses, and after too many morning battles that made me late to work, I gave in and bought a bunch of secondhand holiday dresses with ruffles and bows, fit for a princess. Yet despite believing she was the most adorable creature ever, I shied away from calling her pretty and beautiful. I focused more on what she did and said than on how she looked. I wanted to protect her, while I could, from the social forces that mold girls into carbon copy “in girls” and social rejects. I didn’t ban Barbie or Disney, but I didn’t allow them to take over the joint either. I bought her trains and tools and blocks in primary colors. Cars. Balls. “Boy toys.” (But not toy guns–because I don’t see a reason to teach kids that it’s fun to kill each other.)

In fact, I have deliberately shielded both my kids from the toy aisles so as not to infect them with the messages they so clearly send: pink, barely-there dresses, and babies are for girls; guns, cars, and fighting are for boys.

Now, five years later, I’ve found myself scouring secondhand racks for another generation of pink, ruffly dresses. Hair bands. Flowery shoes. Tight shorts.

This time around, they’re for my son.
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Strange Customs

I’m not trying to be disrespectful. I’m just thrifty.

My husband swallowed a laugh as the customs agent replied that I would have to give the banana peel to the Agricultural Inspection Agent.

Beginning to comprehend the gravity of our situation, I quickly stuffed the banana into my mouth, passing the rest to my ever-helpful husband.

They’d already taken my adorable tin of authentic Canadian maple syrup, I thought. They were NOT going to get my banana too. That tin was a gift for my mom from the public market! If only I’d remembered to pack it in our checked bag. What was I thinking?

The agent handed back our passports and walked us to the back-room. You know, that special, scary, glassed-in, high-security, back-room where they interview suspicious people, smugglers, and would-be terrorists. Also: thrifty travelers who pack healthy snacks for international flights.

As we waited for the Agricultural Inspection Agent, we solemnly took in the poster taped to the front of his desk. Who knew fruit-flies were such a grim threat to international security? If only our banana had retained the sticker firmly identifying it as a product of Central or South America, from a farm owned by Dole or some other trusted corporation, we’d be on our way home by now.

Instead, we sat in the chairs and quietly waited. That banana could be from anywhere. Even though it was in stage 3 of the digestion process by now, the peel could still bring our native country to its knees, and there was no trashcan to be seen.
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That Weird, Creepy Feeling #NotOneMore

I stood up to a guy in college who was always playing with a switch blade and writing stories about killing people. I reported him to our RA. The college suspended him for the rest of the school year so he could get mental health help. Meanwhile, his friends shunned me and one even body-checked me at a concert. As if I was the bad guy. Looking back, I now understand I may have prevented the sort of thing that just happened in Isla Vista.

I am so amazed by Richard Martinez.

He is speaking out for his murdered child, shot and killed in Isla Vista, CA. (At least it happened in a state that limits magazine rounds to 10. Think of the scale of the massacre if there were no limits, as in most states?)

He is saying the things most of us (probably) think and believe, but just haven’t gotten to our own personal last straw to finally starting DOING SOMETHING.

Did you know there are already videos on YouTube claiming he’s a ‘crisis actor’ and the massacre is a government hoax? I’ve had it with fringe, conspiracy theorists dominating the conversation in our communities and in our legislatures. I’ve had it with the bullying.

This is not my America. This is not the country my father died serving.

This is not what patriotism looks like.

Richard Martinez is what patriotism looks like.

We all need to stand up and speak out, like Erica Lafferty, daughter of the slain Sandy Hook principal, who speaks out about the disgusting bullying received by other survivors: stalked at their homes, spit upon, threatened with rape and murdered children.

Where are all the responsible, sane, normal gun owners in this conversation? Where are you? Speak up!

Don’t let the fringe speak for you. Don’t let them represent you. Don’t let them bully our country, our legislators, our everyday heroes with threats veiled and not so veiled. Who would want a domestic abuser to be able to buy a gun from a private unlicensed seller online or at a gun show? Who? Abusers. Not you.

Who would want felons…. oh say, for an example from my own town this week, a group of meth-distributing white supremacists, to be able to slip through that same loophole? Who?? Felons. Racists. Criminals should not be able to buy guns at gun shows and online from unlicensed dealers. They shouldn’t We need background checks.

Who in the world could possibly want to allow this to keep happening? Follow the money.

And when you get that creepy feeling about someone? Speak up. Maybe you can help prevent the next one.

I am crying as I write this. Crying for all the murdered children and loved ones. Crying for all of us who go on, every day, afterward.
Crying for the people who have been shot and live with their scars and injuries and broken bodies. Crying for the amazing, courageous people who don’t let it stop them. Don’t let it silence them.

And crying that so many people may finally be stepping up to ask for #NotOneMore. (Read about a campaign on BuzzFeed!)

Not One More Richard Martinez

Not One More

#YesAllWomen #NotOneMore

Which Way to Go?

Living without regrets is a slippery aspiration.

My heart leads the way, but the way is puddled and bogged with ‘what ifs’ rained by a mind that rushes back and forth and never follows.

The quicksand threatens.

Must quiet. Focus. Find now.