Category Archives: marriage

But hey, I’m just the step-mom


The kids have gone back for what was supposed to be a week, to register for school and do some back-to-school shopping. It’s very quiet here, but a nice break. I was able to work downstairs today where it was cooler and didn’t feel forced to flee the house.

Yesterday, hubby drove the kids to meet their mom. They were supposed to come back here for the remainder of the summer in one week. But of course, things changed at the last-minute again, and suddenly my older step-daughter is going to stay at home for the last few weeks of summer, supposedly so she has a chance to hang out with her friends, and the twins are coming back on Sunday instead of Tuesday. (This was an eleventh hour decision offered to her by her mom—she didn’t even pack for more than a week). Did anybody consult me on this? No. But hey, I’m just the step-mom.

Sure wish I would have known that I wouldn’t see her for a month when I said goodbye yesterday. And we had things we were doing over here—she was putting together a vegan cookbook binder full of copied recipes to take home, we were regularly walking Pilot Butte and making great fitness progress, going through the Engine 2 Diet challenge, etc. In fact, now she’ll miss Rip Esselstyn’s visit on the 23rd. I’m happy she gets to see her friends, but I’m pretty bummed. Plus I think she should be here with her Dad, since we get so little time with them. But hey, I’m just the step-mom. I know that those of you who are step-parents completely understand my frustration.

Nobody seems to be annoyed by this change in plans, but me. So I’ll get over it. I’ll just concentrate on quality time with the twins for the last few weeks. At least that’s my working plan—until things change again.

A small reprieve


Ahh. Silence. Things stay where I’ve put them, for the most part. No questions or stories when I’m still waking up. Nobody just sitting there, staring at me. Nobody probing me for what we’re going to do next. No having to ask that the Hulu or Netflix get turned down, or off. No kicking kids out of the room so I can have a conference call. No hiding in my room just to have time to myself. No yelling. No pulling out my hair. No having to leave the house because I’m feeling stabby because nobody will pick up after themselves and I am sounding like a broken record (and channeling my mother). No having to get dressed to leave the room (it’s amazing how much I run around half-naked when there are no kids around). No doing dishes and laundry several times a day. And best of all—I went grocery shopping on Saturday—and there’s still food in the house!

On the flip side… No spontaneous hugs, no excited storytelling, no pals to go on walks or to First Friday with, no helpers for VegNet events or potlucks. No family game nights. No special cooking or baking. No general silliness. Nobody is doing art, or painting their nails, or reading Harry Potter books. Nobody is bugging me to walk up Pilot Butte.

A small reprieve… from the step-kids.

It’s the only one we get, and then they’re here for two more long months. I love having them here—and it drives me crazy to have them here. That’s family.

Here’s to weekends at home


In spite of the fact that my husband and I have been sick for a week (is this turning into bronchitis?!) and I’ve been feeling crappy off and on for a few weeks now, I just had a great weekend. Sometimes a quiet weekend at home is exactly what I need. No need to leave the house (except for the yard, or a walk around the neighborhood), and certainly no reason to drive anywhere.

Hubby and I did mostly our own thing, except for watching Rome together, an old series we’re working our way through on Netflix discs. I read most of Will Potter’s excellent Green is the New Red, which I’m going to finish after this post. I caught up on a bunch of vegan podcasts while doing stuff around the house. I henna’d my hair. I started some lentils sprouting in a jar, which is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while. 

It was a slightly warm and sunny weekend, so I was able to take Pip, Isis, and the dogs out into the backyard to hang out a little. (Gordy and Nevermore were not very interested, but Gordy logged some good time on the porch. Caesar even came out to the porch for a bit.) I took Ruby for a walk, trimmed the dog’s nails, and brushed Bubba and gave him a bath, which hadn’t happened for a looong time. Due to his health issues, his coat has not been in the greatest shape lately, and he seems to always be shedding and shaggy—half a pug of fur is now in the back yard. This evening I even had a little time to research some news for the next show.

Poor Pip, the pain med that the doctor gave her for the extraction seriously cracks her out. Fairly immediately, her eyes glaze over and she loses coordination. In fact, we’ve had to keep an extra eye on her. This ordinarily very agile cat is having problems judging the leap to the cat tree, etc. And she somehow banged herself up in the night—she has a divot of fur out next to each eye (worse near her right eye). It could be that she had a tussle with one of the other cats, but I don’t think so. So tonight we’ll make sure to confine her to the bedroom. I’d almost rather not give her the pain med if its going to mess her up like that, but then I don’t know how bad the extraction might be hurting and she can’t tell me. Yesterday she did seem to be uncomfortable eating, so it probably does hurt—a lot. At least I know she loves going outside and was able to do that for her.

Both days I began to feel tired after about 4 hours, so it was great to have nothing that had to get done. Hopefully it was enough rest to kick this and be able to start my work week feeling good.

Don’t hit your head on the balance beam


A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus  – Week 11

Okay, so this week is pretty big . . .


The word doesn’t even look like it’s spelled right when sitting all alone. Look at it for a while. Does it look funny to you? It does to me. Just like everything – we understand our lives in context to other things. Balance is all about that.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that BALANCE is what I seek most in life. Am I? Anytime I put too much effort into one area of life, many other things suffer. It seems to hold true for everything – relationships, health (physical and mental), work, play.

As YOU continue in YOUR mindfulness practice this week, think about your balance – or lack thereof, both on the mat and off. Is your practice balanced? Do you push yourself too much, or do you chill when you should be pushing? What about other areas of life? Do you work hard so you can play hard? Is work consuming you? Do you have too much free time? Life is all about balance – and mindfulness is key!

Balance? I think I’ve put off responding to this prompt and the ones following, because this is a very unbalanced time in my life. Everything has come to a head these past few weeks months with work being suddenly busy, professional disappointments, the step-kids reappearing in our lives, relationships needing extra nurture, personal tragedies happening to friends, non-profit plans getting pushed aside, taxes needing preparing, robbing Peter to pay Paul, extra radio show commitments, etc. I’m really struggling to just get through this time and not flake out in a major way in any one aspect of my life. I really don’t want to fall off the beam and hit my head.

Things are bound to even out in a few weeks, right?

In the next few months, I’d really like a way to find balance in more time away from the computer. Everything seems to revolve around sitting in front of a computer: work, researching, recording, and editing the radio show, non-profit planning, blogging, even Hulu & Netflix for down time. Physical activity has been on the back-burner. Yoga is a distant memory. I’m so tired of the screen.

Like a capuchin monkey – recap 2010

Capuchin Monkey

Is the painting done yet?

Apparently, another year later, I’m still one of those annoying people who starts a blog and then rarely updates it. Significant events since November 2009:

  • Kicked my VegNet Bend volunteer efforts into high gear, becoming a key board member and helping to plan and lead group events. We’re doing a lot of vegan advocacy, and having fun.
  • Continued to thrive on a Vegan diet and consequently lost 15-20 lbs (and a lot of inches) over the last two years. I’m now back to approximately college weight/size, which is nice. And I’m very rarely sick, only my once a winter lung issues.
  • Got into a very regular workout routine. Jonathan (NoExcuses) is such a nice guy yet tough virtual coach – I recommend listening to his podcasts for inspiration and following his free program. Regular workouts helped to keep the weight down and keep me healthy. (I was working out before becoming vegan, but wasn’t yet seeing any weight loss, so I think nutrition has more to do with the weight loss than anything else. Yeah, I know they’re both important).
  • Did regular yoga for a long time. This summer my yoga teacher moved away to the Bay Area for new adventures (I’m so happy for her), and because I didn’t immediately click with the new teacher and the price went up significantly, I stopped going. I liked the ritual of yoga every Saturday morning and I feel that yoga helped me manage my stress levels and health. I really miss it and hope to figure out a way to fit it back into my life.
  • Survived a very rough fall and winter with a lot of personal drama.
  • My oldest friend in the world, my cat Connecticut, died February 13. She was nearly 16 years old and had been my constant companion through relationship changes, animal companion flux, and many moves since she was a pet store kitten. She is greatly missed.
  • Grieved hard for Connecticut, making myself ill again with Pneumonia/Bronchitis and a deep depression.
  • Dug myself out of the above.
  • Went from never seeing my hubby because he worked nights, to seeing him all the time (unemployed, like much of the rest of the country).
  • In April we had to put Big Kitty, originally meant to be a foster and always in slightly ill-health, to sleep.
  • Reluctantly got used to not seeing my step-kids and having a lot more free time on weekends (long stupid story, out of my control).
  • Went to Portland a bunch of times this summer after a few years away. Attended a bit of the Let Live Conference over my birthday weekend and all of Portland VegFest. VegFest was fantastic – excessive amounts of yummy vegan food both at the fest and at local vegan eateries like Blossoming Lotus, Bay Leaf, The Bye and Bye. And getting to stop by Food Fight and Herbivore on several different trips was definitely a highlight.
  • Got my cholesterol tested at VegFest – a great number. Go Vegan!
  • Started mountain biking with friends from yoga. A great group of ladies and very supportive. I definitely surprised myself with my guts a few times.
  • Started a vegetable garden after a year’s hiatus. Doubled the size of the beds from the previous attempt. The kale, beans, peas, carrots, and zucchini did great. Hope to plant a bigger variety next year and keep learning.
  • Stopped mountain biking to do gardening and paint the house during my weekend free time.
  • Finished painting the outside of our two-story house that I had started last year. Got my “tree legs” on the super tall ladder and then was scrambling up and down it like a Capuchin monkey.
  • Painted the two-story inside foyer of the house. Again, with the Capuchin. Unfortunately, the color is rather Twinkie like.
  • Got a radio show approved at KPOV, our local community radio station. Our first Powered by Plants (working title) show will air Dec 17. It will focus on vegan issues and my friend Judy and I from VegNet will be the hosts. Pretty excited about this.
  • Began volunteering with KPOV for practice being on the air leading up to the show. Have done a couple of pledge drive spots, some DJ mentoring, and interviewed two authors. I enjoy interviewing the authors and will probably continue to fill in with those when something especially interests me. Kind of a nice way to combine a love of literature, reading, nature, and animals. If I can’t write it, I can review it and give other people a way to share their ideas and creations.
  • Read a zillion books – nature/science, animal issues, people and animal memoirs, veganism, scifi, fiction…
  • Listened to hundreds of podcast episodes while painting, most of them vegan related, but also Jonathan’s, Flylady, Chaos Chronicles, The Moth
  • Met and worked with a lot of compassionate, creative, motivating, and interesting people.
  • Oh yeah, and that SharePoint thing.

Think that’s about it.