~Sometimes I need to stand on my head to see things clearly~

I went on a trip. (see blog post #5)   Update: The children are alive. I am alive. My husband is alive. A few things got broken while I was gone but none of them were bones.

It has taken me a couple of weeks to think of what to say about it and what I don’t want to say about it.

If I had to sum up my experience with one word it would be…Amazeballs.  That is not a Sanskrit word but we say amazeballs in our house often and it conveys the mood I’m after.

I meditated. I did yoga. As in, I took 11 yoga classes in 7 days. I ate delicious, healthy meals, that were delivered to me while I stared at the ocean. I got massages. I actually got a “I am a skeptical person but I’ll just push past it because this is a new-age type massage and oh sure I’ll just hang onto these crystals while you clang a gong in my ear massage”.  (highly recommend it)    I had acupuncture. I did Zumba. (this was more difficult for me than the crystals or the needles in my head. I have 0 dance ability when I have to follow someone else at a rapid pace)  I spent A LOT of time on this platform.


I attended a full moon ceremony.

I attended a cacao ceremony.

I found a live sand dollar.


I met some really lovely new people.  Some were in their 20’s and some were in their 60’s and it was  so much more enjoyable and interesting because of the age range. It felt like a multi-generational women’s slumber party and it was fun. We were so all so much more alike than we were different.

I had a chance to enjoy and appreciate some people who I already know. We had some good laughs.  I rode a horse on the beach at sunset.  I watched a horse ahead of me (carrying my friend) collapse onto the sand, crumpling from exhaustion at the end of a long day and I nearly peed in my pants laughing.  (The horse and the friend are both fine)

One day, my eyes were closed (while I was still awake) for six hours.   And apparently, I become a much calmer person when I do this.

I drank Mescal out of this and then I took the cup. Don’t tell.


I danced. Wildly. If a video surfaces of this, I am denying everything.

I saw baby turtles hatch and walk into the ocean.


I cried. I laughed. I wrote. I read part of a book. I didn’t miss reliable wifi. I didn’t miss text messages. I stopped importing emails. I loved leaving everything in my open air hut with no lock.  I relaxed into rotating my same 5 items of clothing.  (Turns out I didn’t even need my fleece socks that I brought in 88 degree weather) Everything fell away and the things that don’t matter really didn’t matter. I missed my people at home but nothing else.

I let my guard down. This was tougher than the Zumba.

I was thinking about what it is about travel that is so appealing. It is more than the sun, the lull of the ocean, the escape of daily responsibilities, the novelty of a foreign place.  Okay, the scenery was pretty incredible.


But I think even more than that, it’s the perspective gained.  It is being able to take 5 minutes to resolve something that you have been trying to resolve in your head/heart for weeks at home.  Or to decide you are done with it altogether.  It is doing one thing at a time.  It is the indulgent 30 minutes spent on thinking about a dream, a plan, a possibility, a change you want to make.  It is the simple pleasure of having a conversation in its entirety.  It is the decadent hour spent on nothing but being.

I have been thinking about how once you are a ‘certain age’, you are surrounded by people and reminders of things you no longer do. I hear things along this vein daily.  Things that people used to do that they can’t do any longer.  The losses.  They used to ski but now their knees are bad.  They used to drive but now their night vision is poor.  They used to go out and hear new bands play but now they don’t.  Used to. Used to.  Then there are the losses of things that never happened. Things that they wanted to do but they can’t. Or think they can’t.  They wanted to go to Venice but now they won’t make it.  They wanted to live in a rural area but are stuck in a big city.  They dreamt of being a painter/doctor/singer but never thought they were good enough.  Maybe logistics or family or money or health or circumstances  or previous choices are standing in their way.  Maybe we all stand in our own way sometimes.

But for a week I was encouraged to do everything.  I can’t tell you how restful it is to be given a blanket permission slip to do everything or nothing with equal value placed on both.  Restful.  I was exposed to things I had never tried and surprised myself with this:


Yeah.  That’s me.  I had no idea I could stand on my head.  I’ve never done it before and when the instructor asked if anyone wanted help trying it…the elderly woman behind me said, “Go on. Just try. You should.”  And it worked.

So that is what I am going to try desperately to hang onto at home…Life isn’t full of things I used to be able to do.

The world is abundant with experiences I haven’t even yet entertained.

Me: Patron Saint of Doughnuts


I just read that Cauliflower is Food of the Year for 2015.  I’m disgusted. First, gross…I don’t love it and instead of my paltry 3 piece per year consumption, it will now be everywhere and people will offer it up raw, cooked, mashed, grilled, in a smoothie and for dessert. It will be on every Food Network show, every food segment on late night, every magazine, and on every restaurant menu. Second, I’m growing very weary of our ‘eureka culture’ that seems to arbitrarily nominate something as the next magic bullet, the cure-all to everything that ails us but then everything still ails us. The unwavering belief in our own expertise and our faith in untested hype is becoming an ailment unto itself.

I’m not saying that I don’t eat healthy food in an effort to be healthy. I do. I try to avoid chemicals and preservatives when I can. I’ve been known to buy organic fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. I do think of food as fuel or food as medicine or food as a drug (depending on your philosophical bent). Anyone who has spent time with me after 3 cups of coffee and a blueberry muffin has seen the full display of that shocking cause and effect.

I cook for myself and for my family in an effort to provide some balance in our diets. We can’t live on noodles alone (although the children try).  I don’t ingest much that is processed or shelf stable mainly because it makes me feel bad. But I’m not at all convinced by all the nutritionists, doctors, institutes, research studies, food coaches, shamans, trainers, bloggers, fit persons, etc. that they have the answer let alone all of the answers. I’m just not sold on cauliflower. There is nothing new about cauliflower and I don’t think it’s special…even wearing the crown of food of the year.

Eventually all the experts’ subjects that support their theories are dead just the same and there are a multitude of factors far beyond how many ounces of açai juice they ingested. Although açai juice is so three years ago….substitute kale, quinoa or kefir into the equation and the result is similar.   Plus, the professionals keep changing their damn minds as they learn new information. Hence, my anger at the 2015 favorite cruciferous food. It cannot possibly be that simple. If it were, I would think we would have century long longitudinal, mass scale, research and professional consensus internationally and all be doing X and would not feel the need to designate anything a ‘super food’ ever again. We would just call it food.

Many years ago I worked with a woman who I will call Sharon. (Her name actually was Sharon. Pseudonyms confuse me.) She was always on a diet. In the two years I knew her, she did The Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, something with pure cranberry juice, a grapefruit torture as well as other things she cobbled together on her own like the “Drink chocolate flavored slim fast all day plan”. She wanted to lose weight and have more energy.

Sharon’s diets resulted in 3 things. She always had what she called “diet breath” meaning a strange atrophy of her tongue and mouth that was hideously unpleasant. This couldn’t have done anything positive for her professionally as she was a salesperson meeting face to face with clients all day long. Also, she screamed at everyone when she was on a diet (we quietly prayed behind her back that she would just eat a sandwich so she would calm the heck down and we stocked the break room accordingly). Lastly, she never lost weight.

I did once see her order a side salad with two glasses of wine at lunch. We were at Ciatti’s in Eden Prairie, MN. I was likely shoveling pasta and baskets of bread sticks down. (remember those glorious bread sticks?)  This was before the whole “calories in calories out” sensibility and some carbs were still our friends. Frankly, I was thrilled she had the wine. She was way nicer that day. More energy. Nice energy.  The part of her diet odyssey that always fascinated me was her absolute conviction that the new diet was going to work. She dragged around the current book, measured out food like a mad scientist and despite the fact that none of them yielded the results she was after, she eventually gave into the absolute abandonment of the previous diet in search of the next magical fix. Hope triumphing over experience I guess. I fear Sharon is somewhere right now cramming cauliflower into her refrigerator planning on making it taste like a steak. Angrily.

I like healthy food. I like unhealthy food. I like food. I love to cook. I love to bake. I bake better than I cook.  That guy who does the severe calorie restriction for health and long life looks insane and emaciated to me. I don’t think severe a calorie restriction diet would add 5 great years to my life because I would hurt anyone if they denied me gluten packed, flour filled, buttered, leavened, nutritionally shallow bread every once in a while.  I really believe I’d have a lower quality of life if I didn’t share good meals made with some non-super foods with people I love.

Reading the labels for calories seems ridiculous to me because I would never actually keep a log of how many I ate, how many I burned, what weight I’m at. We don’t own a scale.  Our scale is this…pants fit or pants don’t fit. I can’t put forth the mental energy into making my food intake a research project. It would be like me setting goals each day for breaths taken. It’s just going to happen whether or not I’m counting them. I’ve got other things more enjoyable to me and more important to me than tracking myself like a lab rat. Plus, I fully grasp that I am eating things often that will likely kill me. I’m just not always sure what those things are. I don’t want to know because I’m doing the best I can…the best I’m willing to do.

Here is my non-expert, not even rooted in science thought process with food (post 35 years old):

  1. Try not to eat junk because it makes me feel terrible. Often I don’t, sometimes I do. My passionate love affair with Frito-Lay and everything they make has cooled off. Goodbye entire family sized bag of chips…it was beautiful while it lasted. Sadly, a cocktail of MSG and salt gives me a serious hangover.
  2. Do I want to wear this doughnut on my thighs for the next month? Often, my answer is yes. Yes, I do. That doughnut is so worth it to me, I will walk around until it falls off again. The doughnut pictured above?  I ate it yesterday.
  3. Should I finish this even though I’m full? (Oh full cycle of guilt ensues: the cost of food, wasting food, feeling overfull, general tempting yumminess, etc.) Before age 35…eat it. Every single time. Now…leave it. Even at a restaurant-even if it’s my favorite.  My pants still fit. I’d rather waste $4 worth of food than endure the cost of purchasing new pants PLUS the mental anguish of finding said pants. My metabolism used to be a star sprinter but now it only walks along leisurely.

So–cauliflower. I’m already over you. You are not new or super to me. If I find out that in addition to fiber and vitamins, you smooth wrinkles, inject me with super human strength, improve my linear algebra ability, clean my house and make the DMV feel like Vegas, I might be willing to give you a chance.

I’m assuming though…there will be someone who has newsworthy GI issues from a Cauliflower overdose this year and you will be knocked off your pedestal replaced by something else for 2016.

I’m holding out for BANANAS! Listen up Dole…get out the studies on bananas for 2016: Super food of really lazy people. One of my faves. They need no refrigeration and come in their OWN biodegradable wrappers. Plus, I’m not a doctor, but I’m guessing people are going to welcome some bananas after they down all that cauliflower.

An anniversary that is no joke…


My dad died twelve years ago today.  He was a lover of the BWCA, John Wayne, L.L.Bean, Bookers Manhattans with extra cherry juice, American history, pickled herring, Pavarotti and Dolly Parton (pretty much in that order).  An avid fisherman, outdoorsman, hunter, chef of 40+ (probably 60 clove) garlic chicken.  He was a great father and a delighted grandpa to my daughter for the 18 months of her life that he witnessed.  He was always around.  Present.  He was at the most important moments of my life and all of the unimportant ones.  One of the things that I loved most and miss most about my dad is his ability to tell a joke. The man could tell a joke. 

My dad had a great sense of humor that ranged from painfully corny puns to a very dark wit to some very inappropriate jokes that were reserved for telling on an island in the BWCA with no women within earshot.  And occasionally he performed some theatrics.  Example: When I had boys over in high school, he would clean his guns.  He found this hysterical.  I did not.  Now I get it.  I need to get some guns soon.  He was so damn funny.  Quick.  He laughed easily.  When he really got going he took long involuntary inhalations that resulted in a barking seal sound.  He made others laugh easily.   His jokes were usually long and involved, almost always told in the first person that would cause you to get drawn in like a story.  He never let on that he was going to “tell a joke.”  And often, much to my delight and to his, his jokes had a double punch line.

I cannot tell a joke to save my life. I can’t even remember them. Somewhere in the middle of telling I realize that I never mentioned the Rabbi and I have the sequence wrong, and I accidentally said monastery instead of bar and I start to have no linear thoughts.  Anything beyond a basic Knock Knock joke is beyond my skill set.  I wish I could tell them like my dad.

So in honor of him today…I’m going to tell the one and only joke I can remember.  He told it to me.  I googled it today and it is a well known joke but to me…our family owns it.  Also, it seems the original manifestation of this joke had the genders reversed.  I don’t know how he heard it but like his version best. 

I’m announcing it…I’m going to tell you a joke.  Get ready. 

~So the weirdest thing happened to me the other day…I was coming out of Caribou Coffee (insert your own plausible location here) and I saw a hearse go by.  Actually, I saw a hearse, followed by another hearse…weird right?  Yeah…right there at Caribou near Target. (insert plausible detail) And behind that was a lady walking with a dog on a leash…a huge dog…it was like a pit bull (insert plausible threatening dog here) and behind that was a long single file line of dozens and dozens of women walking behind the woman with the dog.  It was the craziest thing.  So when the lady with the dog got near me…I just had to ask her what the deal was.  I said, “Sorry to interrupt but…what happened?”  She stopped in the middle of the street and said, “Oh…we had such a family tragedy.  My dog attacked my husband. We were arguing and the dog just went crazy…protecting me I guess and my husband tried to fight him off but in the end the dog killed my husband.”  Isn’t that awful?  I told her how sorry I was and asked her about the second hearse.  The woman told me,  “That is the really tragic part…my mother-in-law saw the attack and tried to step in to stop the dog.  But the dog got even more aggressive with her and attacked her and killed her too.”   I couldn’t even believe the story she was telling me!  And then she started to walk away following the two hearses down the road…and this whole line of women continued to follow her.  I told her how sorry I was again and then just asked her , “Hey, any chance after all of this I could borrow your dog?”  

She gestured behind her and said, “Oh definitely,  just get in line.”

That my friends is a double punch line joke, courtesy of my dad.

Do me a favor and tell someone this joke today so it lives on…the simple gift of laughter lasts. Maybe tell someone other than your husband or mother in law.