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Texas Does Not Equal Southern, Pacific Northwest Does Not Equal Yankee

Published June 30, 2015 by Tritrigirl

I got cut off the other day by an idiot teenage girl in an extremely large pick up truck touting stickers about how “Southern” and “country” she is.  I live in Austin, Texas and I hate to break it to this girl that clearly identifies with southern and country that she’s not all that Southern, but she may be country.  (I’ll give her that because we’re on the fringes of the urban area and it’s possible that she may be country..or cunty, given her driving skills)

So that got me thinking on Texas and Southern and reminded me of when I moved here and people would say I was a Yankee because I was from Idaho, which made me laugh.  Out loud.  In their face.  Then explain that the Pacific Northwest is not Yankee, it’s a whole other world.

Circling back to Texas and Southern.  Texas is not southern, honestly I don’t know many native Texans that would really identify as truly being SOUTHERN because Texas is it’s own little world.  And may be someday, will be it’s own little country, because there are some wacka-doos here that are in charge that think we’re a separate entity from the overall country.  So being from Texas, sure you can be country.  But you’re Southern-Adjacent.  Go into Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, then you’ll SEE Southern.  I don’t know that I’d even really consider Oklahoma as Southern.  It’s a state created to be a Native American reservation.  I don’t doubt there are pockets of Texas that could be considered “Southern” but come on…you live in Austin, Texas…Austin is atypical Texas in the first place…it’s REALLY not Southern.  But you can find southern food here!

Anyway, none of this has anything to do with the Confederate Flag business (I support it being removed).

Now on to Yankee / Pacific Northwest.  I’ve been in Texas for 17 years now or so.  (WHOA).  Almost as long as I lived in Idaho and as anyone from the Pac Northwest can tell you….we’re not Yankees.  We’re a whole different breed.  People make the assumption that I’m a country girl, because they no nothing about Idaho (except the BSU football field is blue).  I’m not country.  I grew up in a city, Boise.  It’s not a big one, but it is a city.  I more identify with being a mountain girl.  I can take you camping, fishing, and cook over an open fire.  I’ve never hunted but that’s because my dad liked to fish and not hunt.  I like the mountains, hiking, biking, skiing (when I was younger).  The Pac Northwest is beautiful.

This is where I grew up.

This is where I grew up.

Honestly, I’d love to get back to Idaho.  My family wants me back up there, but I do have my life here.  It’s hard to move as an adult.  I don’t work in an office, I don’t go to school.  I do have family, but I’d have to depend on them heavily until I had my own friends and life.  So, it’s up in the air.  My brother and sister-in-law just had their second baby yesterday morning.  I get to see them in 1 month.  (Yes, I’m counting)  And now my train of thought has derailed.

Have a great Tuesday!

Another dreary cloudy Saturday (sing to the tune of “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday”)

Published June 20, 2015 by Tritrigirl

So it’s Saturday and once upon a time my Saturdays used to be FULL of stuff, training, cleaning, training, training, shopping, training.  See when I wasn’t on a tri team and was winging it myself Saturdays and Sundays were the days of “the long workouts.”  Long run on Saturday, long ride on Sunday.  Now with my tri team I don’t do that.  My “long” workout on Saturdays is the only one I have.  My training calendar seems a bit sparse, but my coach swears by it.  I trust her certifications and her years of experience, but I often wonder if I didn’t do better when I had a stricter regime I held myself to.

Because, yeah, so not motivated.

To really do ANYTHING.

I’m beginning to blame the weather.  We’ve had an incredibly long stretch of cloudy days that are really starting to fuck with my mojo.  The last time it was sunny, I did a 20 minutes swim, a 13 miles ride, came home and weeded for 2 hours.  HAPPILY.

Let’s revisit that for a moment.  I HAPPILY weeded a flower bed for 2 hours.

Last weekend my modem died so I had to wait for ATT to come rescue me and I missed my morning workout.  Which sucked, but the weather was lovely and I cleaned my entire fucking house.  Now I will be honest and admit that it was partly because the technician was going to be going into all the rooms in my house.  But even after he was gone I still continued to clean until lunch.  (My house looks awesome right now.  That should hold me at least another month or two)

So it’s cloudy.  And there’s a race tomorrow, but I’m not racing, so I stayed out late watching Jurassic World (3D IMAX) and didn’t go to bed until 2:30.  Because there wasn’t an early morning work out I could justify this.  So I slept in, been lazy…it’s much easier to be motivated to do ANYTHING when it’s sunny outside.  I need to do yard work, I should go to the gym, I even have some laundry I could get started on.  But I’m tired and the cloudy makes me more tired.  It would actually be really great to go take a nap right now.  But then I’ll feel guilty because I didn’t do ANYTHING.  There aren’t even movies on Netflix I want to watch right now.  Everything in MEH, because the sky is MEH.  If it’s going to be cloudy can it just RAIN already??

I know I’m going to regret this later in the summer when the sun never ends and it’s hotter than hell, but right now I totally need some sun.  I’d even take 95F and 50% humidity right now if I could have sun.

Maybe just a short nap?

My Journey is Better Than Your Journey

Published June 18, 2015 by Tritrigirl

So this morning as I was showering I started thinking about JOURNEYS.  Not the shoe store and not the band (Although I do love me some Journey), but the recent (or seemingly recent) update to meaning of the word “journey.”

The Webster Dictionary defines Journey as:

Full Definition of JOURNEY

1
:  an act or instance of traveling from one place to another :  trip
2
chiefly dialect :  a day’s travel
3
:  something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another journey from youth to maturity> journey through time>

Lately however it seems that definition number 3 is used more often.  As in, “My fitness journey has been long and fraught with challenges” or “My journey from married to single has been scary, intimidating and amazing.” I hear a lot about fitness journeys because I’m on a couple groups on FB that are women in triathlon or just bad ass warrior goddesses in training.  There’s a lot of journeying in there.  Sometimes I wonder if we’re not journeying ourselves to death.  When I hear someone describe something they’re doing as a journey, my imagination immediately goes to stories of Odysseus or Hercules.  They’re battling Minotaurs and slaying hydras, even if it’s in the form of avoiding donuts, going to speed dating or fertility shots.

We all have our life’s journey, possibly fitness journey, mental health journey, beginning anew journey, closure journey and sometimes a good old fashioned journey, journey.  As in a trip.  Like a physical trip from where you are to where you want to be.  Not a metaphorical one.  I dig the idea of the metaphorical journey, I really do.  It means that one is making some sort of a drastic change and learning how to do it, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but my question is this:

Does a metaphorical journey ever end?

Take someone going through a divorce, at some point you move on, find a new (and hopefully better) life, you become comfortable with yourself again in this new “world,” so that’s the end right?  Not that it HAS to be the end, but more or less, you have arrived (to quote my GPS).  So it’s done, yeah?

A fitness journey…well, I think that can probably last FOREVER (not that any other can’t but bear with me).  So at what point is the journey part of your normal routine, part of your life?  The 4-6 workouts a week that you used to abhor and would take everything you had to just get out there and do it are now something you look forward to.  You’ve lost the weight or gained the fitness (however you want to look at it), you’ve met your goals or almost and proceeded to update them as you go along.  So as I asked, at what point is the journey part of your life?  Is it still a journey?

I mean, moving to another country would be a journey.  Not only physically but metaphorically.  Eventually though, you learn the language (I hope), you make new friends, you learn your town / village / city / hamlet, you have a new life.  So, that journey would be over, right?  You have assimilated.  Which I would think is the goal.

The journey to have children can be a nightmare, but once the shots are over, the tests are done, the probing has ended, you’ve had a successful pregnancy (or more) you’ve got that squalling bundle of joy in your arms.  That journey is over and you’ve got a whole NEW journey for at least 18 years coming.

In the end we all have our journeys, be they metaphorical (almost typed metaphysical…I guess it could be that too) or physical.  I talked a little about my triathlon journey, weight loss journey and mental health journey, so what kind of journey are YOU on?  Talk to me Goose.

Today I Miss Being Happy

Published June 16, 2015 by Tritrigirl

I realized last night as I sat on the couch attempting to enjoy a nice cup of Chamomile tea that I am not happy.  Even surrounded by loving puppies and holding a nice cup of tea while watching Brad Williams doing stand up (BRILLIANT). My laughter was forced, the dogs felt clingy, my HEB generic tea was not nearly as fulfilling as Tazo’s brand is, I was a grump.  It dawned on me this morning as I attempted to put on my bike kit and get a ride in before Tropical Storm Bill pisses all over central Texas that I am really depressed.  There’s no sun.  There’s rain (I totally hate to ride in the rain so I didn’t end up going).  There’s clouds.  There’s my boss who’s driving me batshit crazy so I have to stop what I’m doing every hour to answer her inane questions that piss me off even more.

I’m turning into a little ball of hate.

Or I’m having the world’s worst PMS again…early…

I probably would be happier if I would have made myself go ride.  But that wasn’t happening and if I did it would rain harder and flood while I was riding.  I live around a bunch of creeks that have flooded in the past resulting in at least 2 water rescues and 1 death.  I’d really rather not deal with that, thank you very much.  So instead I’ll go to the gym.  Where a pool work out will most likely turn this little ball of hate into a wet little ball of hate.  I’m hoping for a better mood after I go to Body Pump.  Usually that will help.

This is one of those depressed moods where not only do I want to punch happy people (it’s malicious jealousy) but I’m also re-evaluating every decision I’ve made for the past 10 years.  I think part of that is because some of my friends may or may not have gotten married in Vegas last night.  I think it’s a joke, honestly I really hope it is.  Not that they aren’t good together, it’s just…well…I don’t know.  It’s not that I necessarily want to get married even.  One of my best friends and her boyfriend are trying to get pregnant.  (Ever notice how awkward THAT conversation is?  “We’re trying to get pregnant.” “Oh, good for you!  Thanks for sharing about all the sex you’re having.”)  Again, not that I necessarily want children, but there’s a part of me that goes, “Oh.  Oh shit.  Did we miss something?  Am I too late?”

In reality I’m not…but is it too late to find someone, get married and get knocked up?  These eggs do have a shelf life and I’m not used to living with another person so maybe it’s just not for me.

So today I miss being happy.  I miss not caring about any of that shit and being able to focus on what I wanted.  I miss the drive and discipline I had once upon a time that pushed me to the pool no matter how much I loathed going.  That didn’t care what the weather was going to do, I’m going to ride anyway!

Today, I miss me.

Life Hacks For Raising Boys

Published June 1, 2015 by Tritrigirl

So I’ve already discussed how annoyed I was by Oz’s blog about what a fabulous (vomit) mother she is.  So fabulous in fact that she sends her oldest to a lock in at school after he get busted for skipping class.  Um…SURE!  Let’s reward truancy with a treat!  Way to go!

Anyway, I know single parenting is hard.  Truly I do.  I’ve many friend who do it and I’ve seen and been a part of many of struggles.  I’m amazed at the strength, perseverance, flexibility and resilience of all of you.  In fact I’m going to go ahead and include those who are in a partnership of some sort, but still end up finding the bulk of the child raising falls to them.  The shit’s hard, everyone needs support and understanding.

In the spirit of all this, I thought I’d take a moment to share what I’ve learned in 9.5 years of raising 3 2 boys. and their father.  I’m sure many of you (especially with boys) will relate.

Ahem…now…

1. Cliche as it might be, it’s a reality – BUY YOUR TOILET PAPER AND PAPER TOWELS IN BULK.  (And dish soap, and hand soap, and toilet bowel cleaner and body soap)

2. Understand that there will be accidents (either bodily, kitchen, bathroom or in public) and prepare yourself.  Try not to lose it when the entire jug of milk has ended up on the floor and the dogs are now walking through it.  Also, be prepared for clogged drains and toilets.  Industrial plungers are a must.  Tater Tot can easily clog damn near any toilet in the world…and his dad’s almost as bad.

3. Milk – Remind them it’s not water…but be prepared to buy gallons weekly. (French Fry will drink about a half gallon over the course of dinner if we don’t remind him to drink water)

4. Always have on hand an abundance of fruit or raw veggies or yogurt or fruit snacks or relatively cheap and relatively healthy snack options.  Apples, oranges, yogurt and grapes are what “my” boys love.  We have a rule that these are “free reign” foods and that unless someone is in the process of cooking they can eat as much as their tummies can handle, without asking.  This prevents growing teens from hiding in the bathroom eating soup or tuna out of the can because he’s hungry again and embarrassed to ask for more because we just finished dinner 30 minutes ago.  (Sidenote: we are not food nazis, when they started growing we weren’t prepared for the constant hunger and it wasn’t until they spoke up that we realized it so we made these things available)

5. Those with younger kids, inevitably you carry around some sort of bag or pack or alpaca to assist with the needs of your youngling.  I recommend also adding crayons, coloring books or pictures to the mix.  Grad some kiddie menus from Chilis or somewhere that hands out crayons and stock up.  I still carry crayons to this day and it’s amazing how often they come out.

6. Chores – teach your kids to clean the bathroom, loading / unloading of the dishwasher, tidying the kitchen / living room and folding laundry as soon as they’re old enough.  They need to know how to clean up their messes and gives them a sense of responsibility.  Tater tot cleans the kitchen, loads the dishwasher and cleans the downstairs bathroom.  French Fry unloads the dishwasher, cleans the living room (once everyone else has picked up there shit) and the upstairs bathroom.  Both help with laundry.  May seem like a lot but they’re 12 and 15, they are relatively small spaces and it makes them think twice about throwing their underwear all over the place.  Which brings us to…

7. Nudity – when they’re little it’s just a part of your day.  Now that they’re older we’ve had to remind them that they need to at least have undies on when walking around the house.  Tater tot still strips to his skivvies when he walks in the door…so does his dad.

8.  Teach them table manners.  I’m not saying that you don’t but I see so many kids that have terrible manners.  We wanted to be able to take the boys to nice places to eat so there’s the following: No chewing with your mouth open or talking with your mouth full, say please and thank you, don’t eat with your hands UNLESS it’s meant to be (French Fry was the worst with this, he’d eat damn near everything with his hands), say excuse me after any burp or fart, and stabbing the large chunk of meat then gnawing on it, is not attractive.  When they’re with us regularly this is not an issue, I’d like to think I’ve taught them well little by little, but when they’re with her for long periods of time they forget half of this.  She just laughs when they burp out loud…just because they’re boys is no excuse, I was raised with brothers, who have manners, my 2.5 year old nephew says excuse me after he burps, I think the 12 and 15 year old can handle it.

9. You will have to remind them to brush their teeth…repeatedly.  Funnily enough showering is not the issue.  They shower without being asked, but it’s a constant battle to get them to brush their teeth.  But you may have to remind yours constantly to shower too…just depends on the kid.

10. Car rides – Books, music (either their own MP3 players or phone or previously agreed upon trip music), movies you can stomach listening to over and over (or wireless headsets in your vehicle) and the strict “KEEP YOUR BODY PARTS TO YOURSELF” rule.  Now, if it’s just one kiddo, you’re lucky in this sense.  If you’ve got more than one, you feel me?  😉

11. FOOD HACKS (This could be the topic of it’s own blog but I’ll try to sum up my wisdom)  We’ve already discussed the snacks and milk issue.  I also encourage you to have your boys in the kitchen helping when they’re old enough, sometimes it helps to have a chef’s assistant and they like knowing they contributed.  For intricate recipes I chase everyone out of the kitchen with my “bacon spoon” while wearing my apron.

Nonetheless here they are:

  • Frozen veggies are your friend.  I love taking the time to steam or grill or blanch or saute produce, but the reality is I’ve thrown out too many good veggies and have had too little time during the week to do this.  So frozen it is.  Green Giant makes some tasty ones with various sauces, Target’s brand is pretty damn good too.  Bags of frozen peas, carrots, broccoli florets and corn should be kept around at all times.  Easy for soups, sides, curries, etc.  Melt some butter, throw in some basil with corn and peas, YUM.  I also get couscous and quinoa blends for sides.  In the end my intricate produce prep recipes wait for the weekend when there’s less time constraints.
  • Keep on hand ingredients for easy to cook meals.  My go-tos are chili and chicken fajita bowls.  I always buy the ingredients so I can throw it together at the last minute if need be.  Preseasoned meats are good too (chicken leg quarters, chicken breasts, pork or beef ribs).  Find some easy ones where the ingredients have a decent shelf life (where the preservatives don’t make you cringe) or are frozen and keep at least 2 batches worth stocked up.  I recommend an easy baking mix such as Bisquick too (there’s a heart healthy one out there).  There are also some great saute, crock pot and oven sauces out there.  Find some favorites and stock up.
  • Double any soup, stew or crock pot recipe (and invest in a variety of freezable storage containers).  Last time I made gumbo, chili and even chicken and dumplings I doubled it and froze half.  Another easy meal.
  • BUY A CROCK POT.  If you don’t have one already and if you do get another one.  I have 2 different sized ones and yes, they get used.
  • If you have the time and desire, you can cook up large quantities of meat on Sunday or the last day of your weekend (whole chickens, pork carnitas, hamburger meat, sausage, brisket, preseasoned / marinated chicken, etc) and store the leftover for dinners throughout the week.  We used to bake a whole chicken every other Sunday when the kids were smaller and save about half of it for meals the next day or two.  Now that they’re older, there’s not much left of a small chicken once the teens have gotten into it.  So the big meals I cook with the intent for leftovers have gotten bigger.
  • Don’t knock the frozen pizzas.  There’s a lot to be said for having these around, you can also find relatively healthy ones.  Pick up a large deli salad and violá!  Same goes for the rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.
  • You don’t need fancy cookware, but you do need: Large and small saute pan, rectangle and square casserole dishes, sauce pan and pasta pot (as I call them, basically a medium and a large pot), a good knife, a cutting board or two, a couple cookie sheets, a ladle, some wooden spoons, a couple spatulas, and measuring spoons / cups for dry and liquid ingredients.  They don’t need to be the expensive ones, Wal Mart and the Dollar Stores are sufficient.
  • Baking – use parchment paper for pastries, cookies, etc.  Use foil for meats, fish, etc.
  • Pay attention to raw meat on kitchen surfaces and wash your hands thoroughly.  Seems self-explanatory but it happens.
  • Drinking wine while cooking is perfectly acceptable.  Even if it’s breakfast.  😉

Go-To Meal Ideas:

Chili, Chicken Fajita Bowls (black beans, chicken fajita meat, corn and / or rice, peppers, guacamole, cheese), Tacos, Spaghetti, Chicken Curry (I keep Thai Green Curry from Campbell’s Skillet sauces in the cupboard), preseasoned ribs, pork chops with raspberry chipotle sauce, preseasoned chick leg quarters.  Usually all thrown together with some sort of frozen veggie and / or side.

I hope I shared some good ideas.  If anyone has anything else to contribute I’d love to hear it!  I add new recipes all the time.