January 23, 2014


This is lunch.

Going into week 5 of dairy free, gluten free eating. Which pretty much means all outer aisle stuff.

I just realized that before I worked to maintain eating from the outer aisle, but now I'm trying to lose. Differently this time too. Eating, yoga and swearing off the scale except once a month, the first of the month. 

Quinoa, chicken, fresh TJ'S salsa, tri color peppers, baby kale, chard, spinach, EVOO and salt & pepper. Tonight I'll show you how I prep for the day.

January 14, 2014

The Love Book.

Sometimes teachers comes in small packages, like 6 year old girls. 

Izzy wrote The Love Book tonight while I waited for her to fall asleep.  While I was getting annoyed that she wasn't asleep yet, she was pouring her little heart out with a sharpie.  She presented these pages moments ago and declared (shaking she was so excited) that each teacher and principal in her school needs a page.  

Izzy, my love, I think we all need a page.  Every day. 

Words and writing by Isabella, translated by her mom. 

1. By Isabella Zuzelo. The Love Book. 
2. Love Book by Izzy if you reach into your heart you can do anything. 
3. Love Book by Izzy me and my brother think we can do anything. 
4. Love Book by Izzy in this book we believe you can do anything. 
5. Love Book by Izzy we have to stand up for ourselves.
6. Love Book by Izzy I think we can do anything we believe in. 
7. Love Book by Izzy in the love book people believe we can do anything.
8. Love Book by Izzy in the love book people care about what we do together. 

Me: "Izzy what inspired you to write this book?"
Izzy: "What does inspire mean"
Me: "What made you feel like you wanted to or needed to make this book."
Izzy: "The love book? I decided to make the love book because my family cares about me and loves me. My class, my teachers, everyone surrounding me that knows me loves me."

Dear everyone that surrounds Izzy, and especially her teachers, thank you, thank you, thank you for making her feel so very loved that it overflows into these inspiring moments. 


January 09, 2014

Pizza Dream.


It happened again, I dreamt of something that I consciously decided to give up.  First it was the cake dream, then I had the brownie bites dream and last night, a pizza dream.  Again I woke up feeling sickish, with a headache and swearing I must have eaten the greasy cheesy saucey pizza sometime in the night.

Giving up dairy, wheat, coffee and sugar seems a lot easier in REAL LIFE than in my dreams.  Huh, who'd a thunk. 

David, my real sugar, is going through this food, yoga journey with me (thank goodness!) so I asked if he had weird food dreams. 

"No, but I did get an erection in the coffee aisle at Whole Foods today." 


Well there ya go.  Love him. 

I told one of my good friends who is in years into recovery about my dream and he said that was common for him to have dreams that he drank something or was drunk but then woke up without a hangover.  Apparently it is pretty common.

As we talked more, we decided it would behoove us to move away from the past and think about the future.  To Visualize where we will be in a year, 5 years.  It is hard to change, it takes a lot of momentum.  Visualizing helps so much because we don't always have the energy to PUSH ourselves there,but that future self....That self DOES have energy.  She is Wonder Woman or Superman and can pull, pull, pull hard to get the momentum to move the tired present self out of the rut, the sinking hole, the anxious dreams.

As much as I don't like the anxiety of feeling like I did the thing that I didn't, I will take anxiety over actually doing the thing.   

Try something with me. Let's write down where we want to see ourselves in 1 year; write10 things as if we have already accomplished them. For example, if you want to run a 5k, have an emergency fund, read 20 books, etc. write:

1. I ran my first 5k.
2. I saved enough money to cover 6 months of expenses.
3. I read 20 books, 15 fiction, 5 non-fiction. 
4. I binged watched Orange is the New Black in one weekend.

You get the idea.  Maybe this will change our dreams from what we thought we did, to what we will do. 

The end. 


January 08, 2014

Sweet Potato Soup.

With winter comes quite a few sweet potatoes. I love them raosted in EVOO and a little sea salt.

But I can only do that so often and I figured I'd try something new. 

So I just made this up. As my good friend Rob says to me when I get all food failure anxious, "if you've never done it before, you can't do it wrong."

Luckily, he was right and It did taste good. Here is what I did.....

6 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped.
One yellow onion, chopped
Garlic clove, crushed
1 apple, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1 chicken bullion cube
4 cups water
Salt, pepper to taste

In a soup pot heat EVOO and add garlic and onion. Cook until almost translucent. Add the sweet potato and cook for about 5 minutes stirring frequently.  Add the apples and pears and cook for another minute or so.  Then add water and bullion cube.

Cook until the potatoes are soft. Use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup. If it is too thick, add more water. Add some salt and pepper and done.

It was kind of like butternut squash soup, but a little sweet-earthier.  Makes sense since where do potatoes grow....der.

I bet this would be awesome with fresh rosemary too.

How do you like your sweet potatoes?

January 06, 2014


My girlfriends and I were talking about the "click" you know the one that you get when you KNOW you have a habit and are walking the walk.  Sure it is hard every day, but there is something about the "click" that even when you know it is going to be a long journey you are still ready to take it one step at a time. 

We are so happy when it happens. 

We are so happy when it happens for others even if we can be incredibly jealous. Yes, we can be both! I know I was.  On my way up this go around I watched others going down and while I was happy for them, I couldn't find it in myself.  And it pissed me off.  What was wrong with me!  I KNOW how to do this.  Just do it. But the harder I tried to find the click, the more I gained. 

When we do find it, it is magical.  We want to bottle it and give it away (or sell it and be rich). 

The thing with "the click" is that you could put anything in there; fighting depression, or addictions to food, booze, sugar, sex, drama, weight, work, anger --- what ever demons we are facing, "the click" is telling the demon to go Fuck off. 

(Sorry parental units reading this...some times f-bombs are the best way to describe said effing off to the beasts.  I won't use the Lords name in vain, but give me a well timed swear word, and I am totally there.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

I hit the one week mark of no sugar, no dairy, no coffee, no wheat gluten. Dude! I feel better than I have in a long, long time.  My kids are happy because I'm not gassing up the car as much....."eeewwww, what SMELLS so bad???!!!"

Maybe it IS like Sister Anne says, "you crave what you eat". She says, cut sugar out for 3 days and you won't crave it. Maybe.  I'm only one week in.  I don't know that I will stay on the no, no, no, no eating pattern, but I do know that eating a half a loaf of bread and canola butter in one evening is not ok, even if it is whole wheat, even if it is the heels that nooner else will eat.  So bread is out.  This simple shift is my head and my heart giving my body a time out.  A grace period. 

Isn't it funny how we say "grace" before meals, before the ones that are often mindfully made with care, yet we don't say grace before we eat a "meal" standing up in the kitchen of franken crusts, picked over chicken and spoon fulls of Nutella?  

My friend Deb says the click happens when we are in the right time, right place, and right head space.  Like an eclipse, you can't make everything allign it just does.  

Maybe it is that or maybe it a little grace has got me clickin' away. 

What is your click? How do you get it and how do you know?

January 05, 2014



I was very humbled by the people that reached out to thank me for writing again.  Your hugs and prayers and candles and thoughts have meant a lot to me. 

I have the most amazing friends. I love you guys.  I feel warm like a cozy, healing blanket.

One good friend commented my posts have been pretty heavy, no pun intended of course!

So today I figured a salad post would lighten things up a bit.

This has been my go to staple.

When one gives up sugar, wheat and dairy - fresh greens is one of the few foods one can eat. But who wants to chew like a cow eating cud????

The trick is to chop the heck out of the salad.  

But first, please pick green GREENs. Iceberg lettuce has barely ANY nutritional value. And no taste.  I swear my nose wrinkles like a rabbit every time I think of iceberg.

David, our wonderful household shopper, gets a big 'ol smooch when he comes home with a big box of organic baby kale, chard, spinach from BJ's and a roast chicken. We chop it up, add some sea salt, pepper, EVOO, lemon or vinegar of some sort, (I like white balsamic or champagne wine vinegar). Sometimes I add quinoa or tuna or egg for some complex carbs and protein. Yum.

I beleive in chopped salad so much, I keep a cutting board and knife at work to prep my lunch. 

So there you have it. A light salad post, just heavy on taste.



January 03, 2014


Georgia O'Keeffe Ladder to the moon

Sunday we talked about and drew our dreams during our all-ages service. It was my turn to be the lay liturgist, prepare my talk, my own confession and lead the church in a unison prayer of confession.  The scripture reading was Matthew 2:13-23 where he talks about 4 dreams; Joseph's, and the 3 Magi. 

I thought a lot about my dreams leading up to and after Sunday. I'm a pretty vivid dreamer and I can usually remember even the tiniest details in my dreams. (Makes sense, it is my brain. Duh.) Some of them are funny or bizarre, some are unbelievable and some are very scary. 

Like take for instance a few days before I was to speak in church.

I dreamt I went to church, completely unprepared for my liturgy, frantically scratching it with an un-sharpened golf pencil on a scrap of paper, only to fall asleep right there in the Godly play room and sleep through the first service and wake up some time during the second. Pastor Jeff somehow knew I would wake up so he saved the confession for last, which made me even more anxious because the service and the liturgy was all out of order and I STILL had to speak and you all saw what an anxious mess I was AND see that I failed because I wasn't prepared.

That was last week. 

So guess what my resilient-renewed-outer-aisle-eating self dreamt this week.....

I ate a whole cake. 

At a restaurant. 

In public. 

In front of my whole family. Extended too. 

I was going away at this four layer cake, completely forgetting my choice to cut out sugar. Then I downed a glass a milk forgetting I cut out dairy.  Then back to the cake. It dawned on me during the 2nd round of cake eating that I failed. Again. I asked the server to take the cake away. 

Still in dreamland as we were leaving the restaurant I whispered to David that I felt so sick and asked if he would help me remind me how sick I felt in that moment so I would never do it again. 

I woke up thinking I really had eaten cake. It took some time to get my head wrapped around the fact that it was just a dream and I didn't have cake. 

The way Matthew tells it, my cake and unprepared dream was nothing compared to Joseph's dream.  I can only imagine how anxious Joseph must have been feeling.  His life was turned upside down, and then he dreams about an impending doom. This random scary being (be not afraid. Angels are scary???) shows up and tells Joseph to take his wife and unborn kid and get the hell outta dodge and go into hiding before Herod finds them and kills the kid. 


Dude. Joseph and me, we're like this [crossing fingers]. Behind the scenes supportive.  But man does he know how to breathe after a crazy dream.  He didn't just take his anxious dream and stew over it, he took action.  He moved, exercising all the way to Bethlehem or Egypt.

When we have dreams that are sometimes scary or anxious, like Joseph, we need to act.  We reach out, we talk to one another, we talk to our parents, our teachers our friends, our pastors, we pray to God, we blog. 

As we talk about our fears sometimes we find out that other people feel the same way.  Sometimes If we really listen we realize that God not only was calling attention our anxiety but also putting the people in our paths to help us, even from within our dreams. 

I am pretty sure that was God in my two dreams since my liturgy was pretty much written by last week's dream and I asked for help to get out of the vicious cake cycle. Yay me!

If you are struggling. Reach out. This prayer I addapted from Sunday helped me this week. Maybe it will help you too. 

Forgiving God,
Even as I celebrate your birth into the world, I struggle to feel your presence.
It seems like so long ago that you were here - It seems so far away.
Sometimes I get a little confused about how to celebrate.
When you feel absent, I fill the absence with other things like cake or dramatic dreams.
Baby Jesus, be born in my heart.
Come alive in my deepest and darkest recesses.
Plant yourself like a seed
And grow up in my dreams.

January 02, 2014


I promise you this is not a New Year's resolution post.  In fact, I don't believe in New Years resolutions.  I do believe in redemption and falling down and getting back up again and resolve and resilience.

So this is a resilience post.  My resilience started a long long time ago, but my most recent one started last week.  I can explain.

Somehow in all the changes that have taken place this year - starting a new job, going solo on my teaching job, officially out of the "littles-stage" with the kids old enough for all day school, losing my step-dad James - I still managed to complete 2 half marathons this year in May and October ---whoooo me---- yet somehow, this freshmen year at my new place didn't get me the freshman 15, but the freshman 40. 

Yes. You heard me. Forty. 

I maintained my goal weight for FOUR years.  Then graduated and with that I found 40 pounds in a 10 month time frame.  I guess it is good I trained and ran 2 half marathons this year or otherwise I'd be on my way to losing 60lbs 4 times over. Bright side???

It isn't the pounds so much that bother me, but how I got there, eating quick foods, leftover second lunches, sugar, sugar and more sugar and not able to stop the nightly ritual pantry raid.  

The failure.  The shame. The embarrassment. 

When I started to get fed up with myself I went back to old habits.  Unlimited diet soda and freezer full of lean cuisines.  Frankenfood.  

It didn't work. I gained 10 more pounds. 

Anne Lamott knows this well.  Recently she posted a cautionary tale for all those planning to diet on Jan 1.  "Oh, you are going on a diet? How much do you plan on gaining?"  

Like Anne, when it comes to some foods and such, I don't have a. "off" switch.

So I am taking my resilient self and I am turning off sugar, franken foods and this go around I will learn to LOSE myself in the outer aisle so I can maintain once again. It is much easier for me to stop the sugar roller coaster if I don't start in the first place. 

I'll leave you with the words of Sister Lamott that have served me well in my 30 something's. 

"It's really okay, though, to have (or pray for) an awakening around your body. It's okay to stop hitting the snooze button, and pay attention to what makes you feel great about yourself, one meal at a time. It's an inside job. If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and serenity you long for is not out there. It's within. I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it's true."

To all the beloveds, you.  We are resilient.  It IS an inside job. And we do have it in us. Just watch.  For me, my inside job is in the outer aisles, so back there I will go.