Taco Tuesday

Recently Oxnard made the news because one of its restaurants - Carnitas el Rey - landed on Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in 2017 list. The restaurant is in a not so nice part of Oxnard, across from the train station in a somewhat dilapidated building. I drive past at least once a week but have never even considered stopping. When my coworker decided we should try it out I was game. This spot literally only sells carnitas which is seasoned, slow cooked pork that is shredded. When we got there, the line was out the door and every table was full. That line stayed out the door the entire hour we were there. 
Come on in!
 Just a little counter with only six items on the menu: a pound of carnitas, a taco, rice and beans, tortillas, pico de gallo, and salsa or chiles. They didn't need anything else. 
 That's me and Edna and Spenser waiting in anticipation.
I got this and a pop for $12 and that included a tip. What looks like onions in those gigantic tacos are actually pieces of pork fat to make the taco even more moist and savory than it already was. Every bite was delicious and one taco filled me full. Spenser was more adventures and conquered three but he is also a 29-year old male who happens to be about 6'5". This spot basically only stays open until they run out of pork and considering the crowds, things will likely stay that way. Delicious.


Weekend Pics

 Someone should not be left to her own devices.
 Miss Kitty slept over and is now Christa's favorite because Snapchat.
 One of MANY
 Casey as Harry Potter
 First Costco trip since before the holidays means ice cream!
 Christa going to school in her new packpack
Shaking off a long day with daddy's flask


Haiku Friday

Need to stop reading
The White House and its flip flops
Orange Dick-tater
Diarrhea of
The mouth will get us all killed
See that Doomsday clock? 
This shit is no joke
Fascism is on the rise
How's this gonna end?


Throwback Thursday

My mom found this in the archives. She's sorting through old photos my Gran had in her albums and distributing them to us. This tickles me so and makes me want to make Tutti dance so she can wear fluffy costumes she hates as much as I used to. Sigh.


Weigh In Wednesday

Weight: 215.8
Down 1 pound from last week, 7.2 since September 1. Yesterday was the last day of my period so I'm hoping for more loss next week when I'm not worried about water retention and what have you. I bought a pair of size 16 jeans that are not very tight and tossed some very loose 18s in the donation pile. Pretty stoked about that.

Lifetime Steps: 1,301,672
That's 72,816 since last week, which averages out to about 10,402 per day. Hit or exceeded the 10K on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Came VERY close those other days. This excessive rainfall in the hood was not helping things much but I gave it the ol' college try and walked despite the weather as much as I could. Like, with an umbrella. In the wind. Yeah.

Frame of Mind
Whoo, this one is a doozy! I feel great. Saturday's march was very inspiring and motivating. I am, for the first time ever, being politically active. I have decided to donate $25 each pay period to worthy nonprofits. I have signed petitions and sent emails. It feels good. It also felt SO GREAT having a day alone with BFF reconnecting sans our spouses and children. I spent all day with her around thousands of people and didn't get an ounce anxiety. I am actively making plans to help combat my anxiety and remember that I used to fly solo a lot and I was so brave before I had the kids.
I need to focus on cutting back on reading the news and Facebook. Unnecessary to be this informed. I don't need the headache or the fear. No, thank you. I am reading more books and have some ladies that want to do a book club so that's neat. I've been real good about meal prepping. I'm trying real hard to keep to one beer a night and no snacks after dinner. The period, man, really throws a wrench in things. Here's to a new week!


Two for Tuesday

You guys, I'm really trying to read more grown up books this year. I was so excited to finish two in January! I grabbed The Handmaid's Tale off the shelf and lord only knows how long it has been sitting there. For having been written just shy of thirty years ago, it is as timely as ever. Maybe dystopian books are just that way, always expressing a fear that may or may not actually occur yet the danger seems reasonably probable. This book is about a time in history where pollutants and Darwinism (thanks to birth control and abortions) have rendered most of the population sterile. Rights are gradually taken away from women like their earning and spending their own money, reading, until eventually all of their freedom is gone. They end up in a concentration camp of sorts where their societal purpose is whittled down to either procreating or serving elite men and women. I can't tell you how many times I cringed or audibly gasped at the stuff I was reading. The books is a jumpy retelling of a terrible time that feels trapped in the dark past while seeming simultaneously quite modern and futuristic. There is no tidy ending but the way the book ended left me shaken. I highly recommend this one which has inspired me to maybe dabble back in required reading of my youth like 1984, Animal Farm and Brave New World.

In lighter news, Casey and I finished another chapter book last night. We read Ralph S. Mouse because I hadn't ever read it before but I remember Beverly Cleary having quite the impact on my youth. Plus? Scholastic Book Order is my favorite thing and this was there so I bought it for nothing. Anyhoo! There are two other Ralph books (currently on our next Scholastic order) so I'm not sure on the timeline but this is about a mouse who has and can ride a motorcycle. He lives in a hotel with some nice folks, some of whom he can verbally communicate with. Ralph gets mad about sharing his motorcycle with his other mice relatives and decides to hitch a ride in Ryan's backpack and hide out in the school. The kids find him and make him a class project so there is a lot of classroom talk and some local newspaper coverage. Ryan and his classmate, Brad, are sort of arch nemeses who have a bullying conflict-slash-misunderstanding to resolve by the time the book wraps up. Not a lot of drama here but it was a cute read. Casey seemed to enjoy it. Between reading to him and his sister and then reading myself, this brain of mine is getting a workout these days!


Women's March Los Angeles Weekend Pics

 Early Saturday morning I got on the road to BFF 
and got to see the sun rise over the Conejo Grade.
 Our first selfie of the day at her office building, where we parked. 
Very grateful to not have to rely on public transportation.
 We were in deep.
 My in my pussy hat and BFF looking flossy.
 A tiny activist I literally lifted up to oversee the crowds.
 My entire sentiment of the day.
 The sun setting as I drove home.

There are many more photos on my Flickr. Los Angeles estimated about 70K people for the march but more like 750K showed up. It was a peaceful day of peaceful protest. Police presence, if there was any, was hardly noticeable. Even when we shut streets down, drivers of stalled cars cheered us on. People hung out their windows to cheer us on. The vibe of the huge crowd was positive and polite, especially when we were stalled and chants of "Left on 7th" steered us on to our alternate route. Elderly and babies and ages all between, people of all races, men and women, gays and straights... a true rainbow of a crowd. There was no violence, very little vitriol. It was a day unlike any in my past and likely unlike any I hope to see in my future. I believe in the majority, even if their votes weren't meant for the president we elected. I am grateful my best friend is a strong woman that was essential in my participation of the events of the day. I am proud to have participated in this monumental event and look forward to being more politically active than I have ever been. As I said on Facebook: My reason for marching had less to do with our President and everything to do with my staunch belief that a woman should be able to make her own choices without obstacles in place to slow her down. We may not like or approve of some of her choices, but that, my dears, is freedom.


Haiku Friday

A soggy Friday
That is both me and weather
Rain, rain, go away
With lots more to come
I wonder if they're saving
Any of this rain
There's a drought, you know
But I prefer the sunshine
With minimal wind

Lunchtime walk edit:


Weigh In Wednesday

Weight: 216.8
Up 1.6 since last week. It is officially day one of my period. I hope this is water retention. However, I have been enjoying sweets a bit much lately. My meals are pretty on point though so not all hope is lost. On Saturday, I drank a total of 4 beers and got absolutely sick drunk. I guess this a sign that cutting back is going to have to happen seeing as I've lost my ability to hang.

Lifetime Steps; 1,228,856
63,443 since last week for an average of 9,063 steps a day. Good but not great. I only hit or exceeded my step goal on Saturday and yesterday. Came very close on Wednesday and Sunday, though, only short a few hundred steps. The hike on Saturday was so wonderful and the inclines were definitely felt in my calves and thighs.

Frame of Mind: 
Not great. All this weather is making me feel not so motivated. Rain in the forecast today, Friday, Sunday and Monday. Kind of thwarts my step effort. Plus there's that period thing. And the bummer of this week's weight gain. Slow and steady wins the race though. I'm still down in weight overall and my slacks are quite loose so I know that since May, when I bought them for the new job, my body has gotten smaller. I've been making more time to read actual books and that is making me quite happy.


Weekend Pics

 Saturday was hike day because it was dry and sunny.
 This is Paradise Falls at Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks
 This is a boy who nearly died of exhaustion after the end of four miles.
But he didn't. Because it was never as serious as he made it for many minutes of complaining that his legs were going to fall off.
 This is his sister who got carried most of the way up.
 Date night at Levity Live. Tom Segura killed it.
 A perfect representation of our lazy Sunday.
 Lunch by the Scarlett Belle 
 Farmers Market Flowers
 Cookies baked upon Casey's request. YUM
Much more fun than the healthy food prep I spent most of the afternoon working on.
 Fire the Fish with more flowers from Farmers Market
 Pie in the Face game
Pretty silly.


Haiku Friday

New Year, Better Me
Less than four months til forty
I'm feeling in charge
Doctors appointments
Had a blood draw this morning
The scale's going down
Getting organized
Writing lists and making plans
I am all fired up


Book Review

Last year was not a stellar year for me reading books. In August I completed Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, a tome that took me about three months to conquer. Since then, I've stuck mostly to children's books so I decided to give that author a second chance. BFF had given me many books prior to moving to New York (I believe) and South of the Border, West of the Sun is one of the titles that has graced my shelves, unread, for way too long. You may be asking yourself why I gave Murakami another shot after that first questionable experience and truthfully, I'm not certain. I guess 1Q84 was just so out there, I wanted to see if his other writing was a bit more reigned in.
South focuses on the life, specifically love life, of a man named Hajime. We start out with his friendship with a disabled girl named Shimamoto, meander into his first romance with a girl named Izumi, and end up in his marriage to Yukiko. Hajime never quite got over his relationship with Shimamoto that was cut short thanks to a childhood move, destroyed his relationship with Izumi by cheating on her with her cousin, and later finds himself contently married to Yukiko, the mother of his two daughters. He is an only child who seems most comfortable being alone, without being weighted down by relationships. His day to day existence is successful but meaningless until the day Shimamoto strolls back into his life.
Shimamoto appears to bring a certain excitement to Hajime's life that comes in the form of the unknown, the what if. She is a secretive and mysterious woman that pops into and out of his life without warning and quickly becomes an obsession for Hajime. He's convinced he belongs with her at the risk of losing his family. At the climax of their newfound relationship, she has Hajime wondering if his time with her was even reality. Essentially, I took this book to be about a midlife crisis.
Murakami definitely has a way with words but in both books of his I have read, those words tend to meander. He spends a lot of time painting the picture, complete with soundtrack, but all that description doesn't seem to contribute to the story itself. By the close of the book, I had to wonder to myself why I needed to learn so much about Hajime's world, only to have what was essentially a cliffhanger ending. Hajime's midlife crisis was relatable because I think it's fair to say we all wonder about how our lives could be different. I just would have liked a tidier end to his story other than "There is no going back." I think it's time for me to end my relationship with this author now.


Weigh-In Wednesday

Weight: 215.2
Down 1.8 lbs since last week. Thanks to the flu/cold I had, I've successfully been able to cut way back on beer consumption. I went several days without even 1 beer and managed to keep it to 2 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. Unheard of. My taste buds are fried so I just don't even have a taste for it. It's crazy. Makes me sound like an alcoholic but really I just love the taste of beer so this is just a weird time for me. Late night snacking has not been happening due to early bed times and fried taste buds. Between meal snacking has dropped to practically nonexistent. Reaching my goal of 190 (25 more pounds) seems unrealistic in the four months I have left until my 40th; however, if I can just get down to below 200 I will feel successful.

Lifetime steps: 1,165,413
That's 64,187 since last week for an average of 9,169 steps a day. I hit or exceeded my goal of 10K on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Considering I was knocked on my butt, literally and figuratively, with a nasty flu/cold for several days last week, I'm happy to see this. The rain has yet to inhibit my walking so that also makes me happy. I really want to hit that 10K a day and competing against my fitbit friends (I'm talking to you, BFF!) is a great way to stay motivated. I even got some new sweats and a windbreaker so I have no reason to not walk in this chillier weather.

Frame of Mind: 
I'm tired from this dumb sickness but I'm not quitting or slowing down. I did my meal prep for the week so I was better prepared for breakfast and lunches at work. I'm trying to be very conscious of what I'm making for dinner and how much I am serving myself. I went to the doctor yesterday to make sure that I'm entering 2017 on the right foot and she was quite pleased with my weight loss. I have a blood panel pending to make sure my cholesterol is where it needs to be. I've been reading an actual grown up book that's just for me and would like to keep that going. The weather has been not great but it has not kept me from walking and I'm hoping I can continue with that momentum. Walking makes me feel good and I think it helps to step away from this desk at lunch and away from all this horrible news and just zone out to some tunes and steps. Seeing results is so satisfying. It's been four months but that scale is going down and that makes me feel great!

Yesterday's Stats:
Blood pressure: 99/70
Heart rate: 77 beats per minute
Height: 67"
BMI: 33.9
Weight, clothed, at 1:30 pm: 219
(I feel it worth noting I weigh myself first thing in the morning, before eating, nude, for my Wednesday tracking)


Mom Blues

Yesterday was back to school for Casey after a three-week holiday break. Tensions were running high this weekend, probably due to that extended period of time where we didn't have the routine of school and homework. It also probably had to do with a little bit of cabin fever that one feels after being home-bound thanks to the entire family being sick and rain keeping us indoors. Maybe it's the return to normalcy after months of holidays and related activities.
On Sunday morning, I finally snapped after telling the children for the thousandth time to be seated at the dinner table and at that moment, Christa spilling her milk all over our table. I truly felt like I was at my wit's end, like one too many tiny instances of discord had resulted in a giant explosion. A Xanax was popped. Children were reprimanded. Mommy vented loudly to daddy. Things settled down. An excursion was executed. Fresh air was breathed. Fun was had. So seems to go the ebbs and flows of being a family and having a mom who can only take so much before her fuse is lit and her bomb is detonated. Despite the drama, everyone went to bed feeling loved and at peace.
Last night, after I picked the kids up from Mamamia's and when I got home, the phone rang. It was Casey's principal. There had been an incident in the morning where another student was "stabbing" Casey with some sort of screw and had told him, "I'm going to kill you." From what it sounds like, Casey got a teacher to intervene, the principal sat them down and apologies were exchanged. I got the phone call simply as a courtesy and an explanation that "We probably made a bigger deal out of this than was warranted but the children need to be reassured that this sort of talk is unacceptable." I explained to the principal that this was the third time I'd gotten a call from the school where Casey had been a target/victim of this sort of nonsense and I wasn't sure what the heck was going on over there but I am not a fan.
How much of this stuff is just the school being cautious? How much of this "bullying" is simply normal childhood behavior? From what I am told and what I can see, Casey is a kind boy who avoids confrontation and is kind to everyone. I've found myself questioning whether I'm doing all I can as a parent. Do I push him harder to be a bit colder, more independent? Have I done enough to help him grow? Is it my fault the children can't sit still and have trouble listening? I talked to a doctor today to see if these thoughts and my constant craving for more control would be best treated with medication. She said it would help the OCD tendencies but instead recommended couples therapy which I am currently considering. I don't feel depressed; I've been down that road and know the signs. My anxiety is not expressed in fear but more like rage. I just sometimes wonder if I am up for all the things being a wife and mother demands of me and if my husband and children are at a disadvantage due to me and my own character flaws and peccadilloes. 


Weekend Pics

 Got almost 15K steps in on Saturday because I finally felt better!  
 Really trying to cut back on technology
 Christa was making me strip the Barbies so they could dance for Dad.
A good distraction from the whooping the Lions were given.
 Then she stripped off her pants...
 And got funky with foam fingers.
 Jellyfish at the Santa Barbara Sea Center
 Pulling up the crab trap. Very fun, interactive museum.
 Selfie at the park (Husband's eyes were closed otherwise so good!)
A view of the pier and some beautiful afternoon skies.


Haiku Friday

Welcomed the new year
With the flu I guess. It sucks.
I even missed work
Casey was sick, too
Of course it's Husband's turn now
Christa is okay
Appetite was gone
It's been all sleep and no beer
Perfect weight-loss plan



In order to get things going on the right foot, we started off the New Year with a movie, Sing. Since all we do is go to children's films, we have been seeing previews for this one for some time now. I actually wanted to see it because it had a good cast and catchy tunes so I think my expectations may have been higher than usual going in. It's the story of a koala who loves the theater and has a failing one of his own. In order to pay off his debt collectors and save his name, he puts on a singing contest. There is a snafu at the beginning and he promises way too much reward money and basically writes a check he can't cash.
There is a British gorilla whose family is a bunch of professional cooks. An elephant with stage fright. A shady mobster mouse who sings standards. A stay at home mom pig with 25 piglets and a neglectful husband. A rock star porcupine. When things go horribly awry, they all pull together and save the day. The kids really liked all the songs (I'll admit the soundtrack is great) and are straight obsessed with the singing toys McDonald's has in their Happy Meals currently. I feel like we could have easily shaved at least 20 minutes off the 108-minute run time. I liked it but didn't love it. But I guess my opinion doesn't really matter when it comes to making the children happy.
While I have you here, though, I will take a moment to recommend a cartoon that flew way under our radar: Storks. Casey went to see it with his camp crew and asked me to buy it for him at Vons just before Christmas. He and Christa have basically watched that thing on loop since we've had it. In a nutshell, it's a story of storks that run an Amazon-type delivery service but accidentally find a baby to deliver. It's very cute and funny and I recommend that one by far.


Weigh In Wednesday

Weight: 217
Down .8 since last week. Probably helped that I had a fever last night and had crackers and tea for dinner. I am down 6 pounds since I got the Fitbit in September. Slow and steady wins the race.

Measurements on 11/16/16 vs. Today
I'm very aware of the inaccuracies of measuring oneself especially with a tape measure that is not cloth. However, I think it's a fun exercise.
Bust - 44; Today - 42
Chest - 36; Today - 38
Waist - 39; Today - 38
Hips - 45; Today - 44
Thigh - 27; Today - 26
Arm - 14; Today - 15

Lifetime Steps: 1,101,226
That's 71,140 since last week or an average of 10,163 steps a day. I hit or exceeded my goal on Friday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I was only shy 590 steps on Saturday. I made a conscious effort to walk on our days off for the holiday. I walked at work yesterday. However it looks as though I will be thwarted because A) sick and B) rain all week n the forecast.

Frame of Mind: 
Honestly? Not great currently. At home sick with sick kids. It's raining. Not exactly what I want to be doing on this Wednesday. I am happy about the weight loss. I am hopeful this week's rain and sickness is not too much of a setback. Bert Kreischer, the comedian we went to see last weekend, did a weight loss challenge with Tom Segura. At weigh-in, I think I weighed what Bert weighs now at the beginning of my own challenge and as much as Tom at the end of his. Nothing like seeing big dudes weigh what you weigh to get you motivated. I have 18 weeks to lose at least 18 pounds if I want to meet my #fitby40 goal of not weighing 200-anything on my birthday.


Weekend Pics

A nice quiet weekend to welcome in the new year. Some of us were sick. It's fine.
 Date night with Christine & Alex
Got to see and meet Bert Kreischer (swoon). Also got drunk. Whoops.
 Christa got a blow out
 Cuddle puddle
 Toasting out 2016
 Said goodbye to Dalton & Family
Christa looks like a teenager here.
 We made it til 10:30 pm. Whoopsie.
 Sing with Gaga
 My lap dogs
 Mama Magnetism. A huge couch but only one corner ever used.
 Our babysitter gave me this candle and Christa thinks it's her birthday.
Goddamn delicious.