Friday, September 09, 2011

I've moved... a new URL in cyberspace. A few days back, every time I clicked onto this blog I got a malware virus warning. It scared me. Then it inspired me. I've owned the rights to my name-as-domain for years. It's older than Hamish. So I finally bit the bullet and paid up to actually use it. My new address is

It's been a great six years here at blogspot. Please come on over to my new digs. I'd love to see you!

Peace out y'all,

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Random smatterings, Insomniac haze

Bryan and I got busy. Busy in the kitchen. Oh yeah. We lacto-fermented more than we did last summer—zucchini, cucumbers, salsa, gingered beets and carrots with cardamom—used more veg from our garden than last summer, since Bryan grew more, since he got serious (I look forward to participating in the planting more next year), and now we are enjoying the sometimes fizzy fruits of our labor. I've been downing salsa like nobody's business—on eggs, on taco night, and drinking the brine for a digestive boost. I'd like to thank salsa for my poops. Sniff. 

I have insomnia. I think it's from the steroids I'm on for the fluid the ENT detected behind my right eardrum, Lord knows how long that's been there.

I went to the ENT because I have this weird ear thing where my ear pops open and I can hear myself talking inside my head. I can hear my breathing, my heartbeat, my footfalls. According to the world wide web it's called Patulous Eustachian Tube, and it's rare and it's barely fixable. Hooray! It doesn't hurt but it's annoying as hell and makes me want to lie down, because when I do it stops. Or when I bend over. It doesn't happen all the time but when it does, oy. Unfortunately losing weight and exercising are prone to worsening symptoms but hell no, I won't sit around and gain weight. Anyway, PET is one of the few things Primal can't fix. In fact, since losing weight and exercising more (and by exercising more I mean walking barefoot around my neighborhood until I grow the balls and the funds to try this), it's been worse. What a buzz-kill. Actually, wait. Scratch the exercising more thing. I am not even exercising more. I am exercising less. But I am moving around more and I am sitting less.

I've had PET for over a decade. It obviously took me a while to get it looked at.

The fluid may or may not have anything to do with the PET. The PET happens because my eustachian tube doesn't stay closed the way it should. The fluid has me slightly deafer in my right ear.

The kicker is that the steroids make the PET worse and may have no effect on the fluid. God I love Western medicine!

I already tapered off the Prednisone thank God but I'm still on the spray. And I'm thinking about kicking it to the curb tomorrow. I can't stand this shit.

This is what I learned: I hate steroids. They make me mean and unsympathetic. Or maybe it's the kids. Or maybe it's my diet. I'm looking into this since reading this Primal blogger's account of her vulcan-like apathy. Could sweets really make you sweeter? Maybe. Still, I'll choose apathy over anxiety any day of the week. The steroids, though. They give me a headache and interrupt my sleep. I love sleep.

I've wanted to blog for a while but haven't had the chance. This seems like the perfect time, five AM. Is insomniac blogging the same as drunk blogging?

Summer is done. My tan is fading. But I look forward to dropping my kids off at school. Oh I do. This week has been rough, ladies. Men. Puppies... 

Okay these pics are Stella-heavy but these are my flagged shots so here we go. Above, a rare shot of Stells with her hair neatly kept. Below, looking scarily grown up. 

Below, twirling. It reminds me of the cure's The Head on The Door album cover. But it's just a five year-old girl showing off the twirl power of a new, already beloved dress. 

Sweet dreams, y'all. And happy last summer weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Growing up

I've heard throughout my forty-two years on this planet that it's not a good idea to give too much thought to critics and naysayers, flamers and assholes.

And yet. Isn't that exactly what we do sometimes? Cling to that one little negative thing someone said, turn it over and over in our minds until it morphs into something completely different—bigger, more offensive, infuriating even. You shake your fists and foam at the mouth—Ooh why I oughta!

I used to do that. Before I went Primal. (Yes, two months into my experiment and I'm still reaping rewards. Pooping regularly, thank you, wee! Getting nuttier over it too, but that's a post for a different day. It involves bare feet. And chairlessness. I guess you could say it's the rabbit hole that keeps on giving. Bryan's still waiting for me to implode before he takes any of this seriously. He's given me till December, the six-month mark. Um, that's my disclaimer. He's an uber-rational guy, see.)

Okay. Back to the assholes. I received a nasty comment on my previous post. I hadn't gotten any negative comments in the six years since I started this blog—well there was that one a few months back when some anonymous poster told me to get a job. I cursed at the screen, deleted their comment, took their advice and wrote a novel.

Silver linings everywhere, right?

So this recent anonymous poster wrote, "You are a really crazy woman. Don't know you but maybe there was a point to that experience especially draining that animal looks like great fun for your kids."

Since I am filled with EPA and B vitamins, I didn't get too bent out of shape about it. I feel sane to the point of rejoicing each night as I lay myself to sleep, which makes plenty of other people seem WACKO, even though I'm the one thanking my clasped hands in the dark. I simply replied, "anonymous—grow some balls and reveal your identity. It's the least you can do, coming to my blog to bash me, you ignorant tool."

It felt so good!

But then I thought some more about it. I didn't receive too many comments on my last post and I wondered if maybe those photos of my daughter watching a deer getting skinned grossed people out. Maybe they were offended and thought I was crazy too, but since we're friends they didn't want to ruffle my meat-eating feathers.

Maybe Anonymous has a point, albeit a cowardly, disrespectfully presented point, with little care given to punctuation...

So what is the story with my five year-old daughter and the deer carcass anyway?

The story is simple: she wanted to watch. Bryan and I asked her repeatedly if she was sure she wanted to watch and she said yes every time, blowing not only our minds but the minds of the farmers too. She remained rooted to the ground and stared as the deer was skinned and sliced, beheaded and butchered. At one point, illustrated above, she stomped over to me and said, "It's sad but I can't stop watching." You know, car crash style. I offered to take her away. She said no. The next day when we dined on backstrap she politely declined as she had planned to do. She did eat the venison burger however.

And seven year-old Hamish? He opted out of the viewing but relished the steak. He wants no part of death, sensitive soul that he is, aside from consuming its spoils. We respect his wishes.

I have no problem with my daughter witnessing the butchering of an animal that is to be consumed if that is her wish. I am in good company, too. Anyone read The Dirty Life? Kristin and Mark Kimball are modern agricultural heroes and it makes me proud to have a tiny something in common with them. How do people think meat makes its way to their plates anyway? It's not elfin magic. Death is a part of life and in my omnivorous view, it's childish to pretend it's not. Better yet, demystify death and familiarize kids with the reality of it early on. (Now if only I could use this truth-logic to tackle Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy...) Anyway, a whole lot of animals die to grow vegetarian delights like lettuce and soy, corn and wheat. Entire ecosystems are wiped out to plant and sustain monocropsI used to have a huge problem with the eating of animals which is why I was a vegetarian for a dozen years. I could have been that anonymous a-hole back when my main source for nutritional information came from John Robbins

Growing up beats pretending you can outwit death at the table. But the news is good. It's called mutual indebtedness
, and it's one of the reasons I am so thankful every night. For my food, my health, and for you, Kind Reader.

Thanks for tuning in,

Friday, August 19, 2011

wwoofing it

Call it overkill. 51 photos. I could split them into multiple posts. Edit them down to a paltry sum. Add a ton of text. Instead I'll serve them raw and unadulterated like the goat milk we helped to procure during the few days we stayed on a farm that was kind enough to share itself with us.  

Saturday, August 06, 2011

happy ending

While Bryan and the kids are camping I am supposed to be revising. Instead I am playing hooky. I napped for three thousand hours today. Two thousand yesterday. I will be up forever this evening surfing Netflix Instantplay. But it is so worth it. Naps are my new favorite pastime, especially when my insides are on strike.

Last night, filled with collards, freedom (and other, ahem, things) I drove to Whole Foods and confessed in hushed tones to the silver-haired vitamin guy, the one with the buzz-cut and the architectural glasses, that I am constipated.

Dear Reader, it's come to that. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I told Dr. Whole Foods that a friend recommended liquid magnesium but we both decided it was too expensive at $24.99, too much of a gamble, even though my friend has much expertise. The box, for some reason, looked menacing. I couldn't do it.

Dr. Whole Foods mildly criticized the bacon in my basket so I knew he wasn't down with traditional foods or saturated fat. He asked me what kind of cooking oil I use and I tried to look proud and self-assured when I mentioned pastured lard. I wanted to explain the benefits of grainlessness and animal fat but I get mealy mouthed when trying to convince the unconvinceable, especially when they're in a position of relative authority and I poop once every five days. Something is obviously wrong. I was not in a position to be touting my ways.

In the end, his eyebrows escaped the edges of his slick specs in uncharacteristic excitement. He told me to eat not one but two apples, that the pectin would help me, and ooh, ooh, he'd just read this study, it would help me avoid coronary heart disease too. And also, I should use flaxseed oil. I bought a bottle of that for $6.99, a stultified sheep in the Whole Foods headlights.

Back at home, I ate a spoonful of the oil and wanted to die. It was almost as bad as the cod liver oil I have tried and failed to integrate into my eating habits. Then I ate an apple, peeled, sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon, my favorite way to indulge. I topped each slice with slather of almond butter, the kind that comes with roasted flax seeds. I figured it would help. In a delicious way.

After I munched (not before, God forbid) I Googled Dr. Whole Foods's advice and found that raw apples have been found to negatively affect the innards of lab rats, but cooked apples are our friends, that the pectin can indeed aid constipation sufferers. Great. For insurance I drank a mug of Smooth Move tea, which has senna leaf in it to stimulate the bowel. You're not supposed to use it regularly because you can become dependent on it. But I was on a mission. A poopy mission.

I awoke at one-something AM in the blooming insomniac night to my abdomen dancing a raging hula, all to little effect. Groggy and hopeful I visited the bathroom. Once, twice, thrice, and struck out. Damn you laxative tea! I shook my fist at the indifferent ceiling.

I lay in bed tracing the undulation of my abdomen with my fingers, wishing for sleep but also noting the still curious absence of anxiety. This would have been a fantastic time to worry—to regret blogging about how much I love Primal, to become as filled with angst as I was with poop. This would have been the time for my heart to race with desperation, cringing and wondering, is this grain-free diet worth the aggravation?

The answer came sure and simple and clean. YES. It is worth it. My mind, unlike my intestines, remained calm and untangled. All the reason I needed to soldier on.

In the quiet dark, instead of berating myself for being a damn fool, I decided it all makes sense. I was bottle-fed as an infant. My high school diet consisted of Reese's peanut butter cups and bong hits. Before that it was Pop-Tarts and Cap'n Crunch. Throughout my twenties and thirties it was soy, rice and pasta. I'd taken my fair share of anti-biotics for myriad ailments. My guts were simply not accustomed to the new regime, not without the scouring agent they'd been trained to depend upon over their forty-two years. Constipation among Primal and Paleo eaters is typical but it has to be fixable, I thought. Then I fell asleep.

In the morning I tried yet again to ingest the flaxseed oil, this time mixed in a mug with hot filtered water, lemon juice, Celtic Sea Salt, Bragg's raw apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. It was a hot mess, a foul tribute to all the natural remedy ideas I'd picked up on. Flaxseed oil, God bless if you love it, but ew, Jesus. Eating it felt like punishment, and I have little patience for disguising disgusting-tasting foods, no matter how nutritious.

Eyeing my receipt I remembered Malibu Mark Sisson recommending a couple extra fish oil pills in the case of a sluggish bowel, and I already had a bottle of those on-hand. $6.99, a voice whispered. Six ninety-nine.

I opened my laptop again. Still groggy, still determined, I learned that a number of Primal/Paleo eaters found relief with a product called Natural Calm, which is a powdered magnesium supplement. They spoke my language, suffered what I suffered, and found a way to poop. I felt calm just looking at the container.

I grabbed the flaxseed oil, receipt and car keys. I flew out of the house.

The Natural Calm was there on the bottom shelf. It was $21.99. I was at a crossroads. I didn't want to spend that much on a constipation remedy. Bryan already breaks out in hives whenever I bring home some new superfood. But spend I did. At home I mixed it up and drank it down. Not bad at all. Chalky and tart like a children's aspirin. Totally do-able. Then I sauteed some apple slices in cultured butter, chewed them thoughtfully, took a probiotic capsule, a couple fish oil pills, and mowed the lawn.

Eventually, Reader, things began to move. And move. And move like they haven't moved in days.

The clouds parted. The angels sang. And I sat reverently giving thanks.

My insides and my outside met. They shook hands, smiled at each other, and promised to see each other again real soon.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

kitty litter

I woke up this morning feeling anti-blog, feeling like, why why why do I share myself in cyberspace, what kind of masochistic narcissistic nut am I? Maybe it's time to delete the whole damn thing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

temper my temper

This week the kids are in sports camp. They'll be going camping soon, at that place called Crap Creek where I no longer venture. And then the whole lot of us are off to a farm vacation. Have you heard of WWOOF? I should put the word vacation in quotes. We will be earning our keep after all, working on the farm. I hope the kids like it. Bryan hopes I like it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

new development

My drive to write usually comes from a need to be understood, to be heard, a need that for me is almost primal, as it feels ancient, and stems (you guessed it) from my childhood. This is probably why I feel so comfortable sharing my deepest darkest.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

giddy up gato

For her last day of horse camp Bryan and I finally got to see Stella ride. Her horse's name is Gato. He is big and brown.

I "filmed" her circuit with my new super 8mm app. The "filmstock" is "Sakura," chosen by Stella because Stella likes pink. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

backyard bounty

Now that I've lived in this house for three years, and maybe now that I'm um, into my forties, ahem, I can feel the cyclical nature of things. Things like pre-menstrualness, holiday shoppingness, and seasonal fare.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's just a milkshake

The scene is only twelve seconds long but it has gotten under my skin to the point where I'm quoting it to the children.

It's just a milkshake.

Friday, June 10, 2011


This is one of my favorite hipsta pics so far. A complete accident. My face looks mean and ragged, not my best angle, but for the composition I will sacrifice my vanity, just this once. I like the depth. 

Yeah, um. So.