Monthly Archives: March 2014

March 10th, 2014: spring!

20140311-205229.jpgIt’s another beautiful day today, so here’s the view from my bedroom window, at left, looking across to other homes on the next block over.

It feels like spring today: the air is soft. Walking home last night, I could just pick up on the smell of the park, with all the grass exposed again after a month under snow. It smells like spring is coming. I missed this moment, in L.A., where there were no seasons. I missed the moment just when a northern city starts to see spring appear.

It is so nice out there that I actually walked to Staples and back to pick up construction paper for the Scout opening craft tomorrow. It’s just nice to be outside again, in soft, cool air, instead of the OMG face melting cold that we’ve had this winter. It’s nice to walk for pleasure again, and be able to smell the grass and leaves that have been under the snow for months.

Finally, I finished CrossFit Foundations this morning. I’m now clear to actually start taking classes. This mornings mini-WOD was really tough, and I still hurt from it (that, and learning “the clean” weightlifting technique), but I am probably going to go back and keep training. This is the kind of muscle building training I was looking for, that I knew I needed in order to shift my fat/muscle ratios.

And since I’m blogging again, I may as well start writing up more of my diet and exercise in my blog posts:

Sleep: 5h, which is pretty terrible. Need to get to sleep earlier tonight.

Exercise: WOD was AMRAPs, with a partner. We took turns doing a 130m sprint, followed by 12 wall balls (squat and medicine ball throw). I did four rounds, and I know I maxed out on effort, so go me.


Breakfast: eggs with cabbage/broccoli/carrot shred mix; paleo banana bread with grass-fed butter
Post-Workout: plantain grain free tortilla with half a chicken breast
Lunch: chicken salad (paleo mayo, curry powder, apple, celery, collards, the rest of the chicken breast) and garbage soup (beef broth, turnips, yam, carrot), with three quarters of an apple. Ended up eating the salad at lunch and the soup and apple with a few almonds after getting back from meetings at 3.

(Also, I brought two servings of soup to work which I am reheating in a mini-crock-pot at my desk because I am THAT BROOKLYN)

Dinner: Cowboy chili (made with stew beef and butternut squash) with spinach and avocado, a few lamb meatballs, and a plantain tortilla with avocado.

Evening snack: another apple and some raw almonds. I am not supposed to be eating evening snacks, since it’s teaching my body to rely on more glucose after dinner when I’m supposed to be winding down, but I was desperate for energy so I could get back up and work my “second shift” (finish work for the day & prep for tomorrow’s Scout meeting) I was exhausted when I got home, and had to take a half hour nap before I was able to get up and function again, and then I just wanted that apple because I desperately wanted the fruit sugar to jumpstart my body again when I woke up.

And now, it’s time to go work that “second shift”: finish the work I didn’t get to complete because I had to leave early for a parent teacher conference. Prepare for Scouts tomorrow, by preparing the opening craft/activity and revisiting marching band commands for parade practice. Tidy the kitchen and set up meals for tomorrow (Paul is back at work, since he had to take the afternoon off to keep an eye on Ben, who had a half day due to parent teacher conferences. Therefore, I want to do something nice to help him, which will consist of kitchen cleanup)

But first, I’m going to drink a cup of tea and chill out for a few minutes. It’s spring. I’m going to open a window and enjoy that for a few more minutes.

from santa monica to the sunshine coast

And now, ten years later, here I am with a child of my own, and another troop of six and seven year olds to spend time with. A decade has passed, and I still feel the same way about being a leader: that I’m lucky if I’m able to give these kids great memories, that I’m lucky to see them experience joy in Scouting. But most of all, I’m on the motherhood journey that I realized, as a Brownie leader, that I might someday travel on.

Jillian's Blog

In the course of a week, I have gone from Los Angeles to Sechelt. That’s the most extreme contrast I can think of inside of a week, inside the boundaries of my known world of the West Coast.

I sneaked out of the campsite last night while the kids were asleep and went down to the beach to make phone calls. I finally connected with the girl at the house in Los Angeles I want to live in. I’ve been overstressed since Thursday night with regards to the whole roomate and housing issue.

I’m better now though, because I’m going to be living at this Mar Vista house, which is right around the corner from my adopted aunt in Westlake Village. It’s also less than three miles from my office in Venice Beach. And it’s in a house, with a yard – which is something I really like the idea…

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six year symbol:iron

Paul and I are celebrating our six year anniversary this month. While our real celebration is happening on the 22nd, our actual date was the 8th (For those of you who didn’t remember that, you should have checked your reusable shopping bag we gave out at the wedding). March is also special to us because it is the month we met. We met on the 18th, a date I only remember because it is the day after the St Patrick’s Day my sister met her husband.

So how do we celebrate our anniversary? This year, we are going to see Gary Numan! You know, the guy who sings that “Cars” song, which is actually really atypical of his work. His newer albums are all a mix of synth samples and filtered guitars, and the latest one is amazing. Some of it sounds so much like Nine Inch Nails. good Nine inch Nails, Downward Spiral era – that I had to check to see if they had the same producer. (They do not). But there’s a good reason I hear the similarity, in sound and tone: Trent Reznor loves Gary Numan, and actually had him guest performing at the “farewell” tour in L.A. Years ago. What happened there was all the old school fans – who were all goths – went crazy screaming and singing along with “Down In the Park”. The newer, KROQ era fans mostly seemed confused. But Pretty Hate machine is heavily built on Gary Numan and Skinny Puppy, and Gary Numan falls squarely into that dark, melodramatic sound I am hopelessly addicted to. (See also:Depeche Mode)

Paul was actually the one who picked this up and started working through the last ten years of Gary Numan tracks. So we have been listening to his newer work together. So when tour dates came out, I suggested it for our anniversary. Paul actually lit up and said he would like to go. And it just happens to be the same night as Salvation, who we may be able to make an actual night of it if we can stay awake past midnight.

But because the concert is still two weeks away, I wanted to do something this weekend. So I tweeted the host of Darkwave, the classic alternative and goth show that runs on SiriusXM:


Also, I added some background to explain why this song is significant. And then because I mentioned them, I was immediately retweeted by Bar Sinister:


The DJ responded right away!


To which I thought I would remind SiriusXM that the reason they get their money is because I greatly enjoy being able to listen to three hours of classic goth every week:


(Well, that, and I get the CBC on Sirius for when I’m driving to and from Pennsylvania. And I like listening to the Lithium station and reliving the good parts of the 1990s)

So on Sunday night, Paul and I actually tuned into the live stream at 10pm…only to find the show at its tail end. It was scheduled for 10. I checked the listings: 10pm EST. Why it was already over by 10:30, I have no idea. I had been looking forward to the romantic moment when the DJ would dedicate a song inspired by a swamp monster as a tribute to our love.

(It’s not really about a swamp monster:)

So tomorrow, we will listen to the Darkwave podcast on demand, once we get through work, the parent teacher conference, and our general existence as adults. And we will remember the two most important dances of our life to “Swamp Thing”. One: the night we met, eight years ago, when Paul FINALLY came over to ask me to dance. And two: the day of our wedding, six years ago, when it was our first dance together as husband and wife.

Happy anniversary, my love.

weekly cook up: march 9th


Inspired by The Clothes Make The Girl, I started doing a weekly cook-up where I just do two hours of hardcore cookery.  I plan out some meals that can be prepared ahead of time and reheated, and some meals that can be cooked quickly with ingredients around the house.  This will save both Paul and I at least three hours during the week, since dinner prep time is cut from 45 minutes to 15, and lunches are easily packed out of the leftovers.  And now that we’re cutting Ben’s grain intake, I’m also preparing more baked goods, things like grain-free banana bread, grain-free tortillas, etc.  

Here’s what’s in our fridge today.  This doesn’t include the pre-cooked leftover chicken breasts for my lunch salads, nor the fruit we pack for snacks, nor does it include the few packaged foods we eat (organic hot dogs for Ben’s lunch, yogurt for Paul’s breakfast, etc).  But it should be enough to keep this family of three going until we have time to shop again this weekend. 


Shrimp & Fish Tacos

Cowboy Chili with Squash

Moroccan Meatballs


Zucchini-ginger soup

“Garbage soup” (leftover kale, turnips, sweet potato, ground beef)

Baked goods:

Plantain Tortillas

Paleo Banana Bread

Veggies for Cooking:

Cut up broccoli


Raw veggies for salads:

Red Lettuce

Purple Cabbage

Broccoli/cabbage/carrot slaw mix


Condiments & sauces

Paleo Mayo* (made last week)

So how does all this get done in one night?  It gets done in an intricate ballet of cooking.  I put on some music (in this case, Darkwave, the weekly classic goth show on First Wave on Sirius) and then just go for it.  I broke down all the prep work and actions for timing so I could multi-task everything smoothly:

The Weekly Cookup Action Item List! 

1)      Mix banana bread & bake

2)      Put shrimp & fish in fridge for defrosting

3)      Sear the stew meat for the chili

4)      Cut up 5 onions (1 for chili, 1 for zucchini soup; 1 for garbage soup; 2 for meatball sauce)

5)      Crush 1 head of garlic

6)      Start the onion and garlic cooking for chili

7)      Put stew meat, onion, garlic, 500mL broth and 1 can tomatoes in slow cooker

8)      Start soup pot with oil, onion, garlic

9)      Add spices; cut up & add zucchini

10)   Start peeling & cutting up vegetables for garbage soup (celery, carrots, turnips, kale, sweet potato)

11)   Add chicken broth to zucchini soup; move to small pot

12)   Start garbage soup in big soup pot with onion & garlic

13)   Add celery to soup pot; finish peeling & cutting up remaining vegetables

14)   Add remaining vegetables & leftover ground beef to soup pot with 1L broth

15) Mix plantain tortillas & start in oven

16)   Start Moroccan meatball sauce in large skillet

17)   Mix Moroccan meatballs; place in sauce

18)   Put in 2nd batch tortillas

19)   Peel & Cut up butternut squash & add to chili pot

20)   Finish cooking tortillas; set aside to cool

21)   Simmer meatballs until done

22)   Package and label everything!