Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sluts, Whores, Cooks and Cleaners

I'm pretty quiet on this blog most of the time about my feminist leanings...but a couple of things today got me thinking...and fuming a wee bit. I just have to vent some steam.

It started this morning. A former NFL player, Steve Grant, came to my school today to give an inspirational talk to the 5th-8th grade students. It was a great talk--full of thoughts on choices, relationships, and how to succeed in life, etc. The kids seemed to like him; he was funny, engaging, and inspirational (not to mention, a former pro football player).

However, he had one point that bothered me--in his discussion of the roles men and women have in a relationship. Apparently, the man is the earner, the one who brings home the bacon to his castle. The woman's job, then, is to keep that castle fit for her king. He didn't use these exact words, but the implication was clear. He talked about how a woman cooks for her man, keeps the house nice for him, because "a man's home is his castle."

I quietly seethed. I'm very careful about what I say to my kids regarding feminism and the patriarchy. Frankly, I avoid the conversation altogether. At least 90 percent of my student population is Latino, and I know there are some unavoidable cultural views on the roles of men and women in society. This is not to say that all of my kids view the world this way--but it's definitely there in many of them.

After the assembly, I went to gather my 4th period class. Their homeroom teacher was discussing the assembly with them, and asked if I minded him keeping them into their VAPA time. I didn't, and I sat down to join in the discussion. Only to find that this particular teacher agreed with the traditional gender roles mentioned in the assembly.

He talked about how happy he was that he'd married his wife, because she takes care of him so well. She wakes him up with coffee and toast every morning, does the cooking, keeps the house clean, presses his shirts. She's "not the smartest woman in the world," but she's a good woman.

I wanted to scream. I watched my girls--these 8th grade girls who are so bent on having boyfriends to up their social value--and I wanted to cry for them. This is what they're getting? I try, when I can, to point out to them that happiness is not necessarily found in having a boyfriend/husband/lover. I wanted to shout, "If you're not enought without a guy in your life, you'll never be enough with one!!"

Instead, I just at there and seethed. And vowed to myself that I will counter these "lessons" they're hearing with lessons of my own from time to time.

I put it mostly out of my mind, and then I arrived home to read a post on a NASCAR board I read that my favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is reportedly responsible for the breakup of a marriage--two years ago.

First off, the "news outlet" reporting this story is National Enquirer, and their source is a friend or the father of the ex-husband. The divorce was finalized in 2008, and the only pictoral evidence they have is a picture of Junior and the lady in question riding in a golf cart at a NASCAR event. He's in the front seat, she's in the back.

Obviously, I'm reserving judgement. The rest of the Internet, however, is not. I made the collossal mistake of reading some of the comments out there on the World Wide Wierd, and it's not pretty.

Look, if this story is true, I will be disappointed in Junior. Will it make me stop rooting for him? Probably not. If this story is at all true, he is partially to blame--and so is the woman in question.

The amount of slut-shaming I saw on the Ineternet today, however, boggles my mind. Too many people made comments that leave Junior blameless. What did he do wrong? He's just being a man. Hey, he's a rich and famous racecar driver, of course he's gonna sleep with lots of women. That slut shouldn't have broken her vows.

It went on and on until I was seeing red. I hit the "back" button on my browser and got the hell out of that mess as quickly as I could.

Look, when you marry someone and take a vow to be faithful, you are, of course, to blame if you break that vow--man or woman. But it takes two to tango, and calling her a slut or a whore while allowing Junior the "boys will be boys" defense is hypocritical. Proving that women have come so far...and yet still have such a long way to go.

I just don't have it in me to judge. I may be Pagan Megan, but I'm also convinced that my job is to leave the judgement to whatever higher power there may be out there. Like I said, I will be disappointed in Junior if this is true, because I think he's a better person than that. I just don't feel I can judge him though. A few years ago (in England), I had a crush on and a close camerarderie with a married male colleague. Nothing ever happened--we were simply friends who supported each other in a crazy workplace--but I can't say with 100% certainty that I would have said "no" if things had progressed beyond friendship. I'm not proud of this, and I'm not making excuses for anyone. I'm just saying that being human is a complicated and messy business, and it's not my job to judge.

More Bits and Pieces

Heh. Must be a "bits and pieces" kind of week.


In my bits and pieces blog a few days ago, I mentioned Chorale. I started typing that I had tried out for a solo on Monday night, but didn't want to jinx things, and hit delete. Well, I found out today that I got the solo I tried out for in Robert Ray's "Gospel Mass."

Yes, little 5'2" pagan Megan (hee hee, it rhymes!) is going to belt out a "PRAISE THE LAWD!" type gospel solo. The words are (italics denote what the choir is singing under me in call-and-response):

We come to praise your name today
We want to serve you in every way
Let the loud hosanas ring
Shouting the praises of God our King...
...In the name. Name of the father.
In the name of the son. Name of the son.
In the name of the Holy Ghost, Name of the Holy Ghost. The Blessed Three in One.
The Blessed Three in One (followed by some ad-libbed ahhs and ooohs)

When I tried out on Monday, I was shaking in my shoes, but I figured it was best to just let go and belt that sucker out. Let my inner diva shine and all that.

Now comes two weeks of obsessing and practicing and avoiding milk, alcohol and other stuff that may dry out the vocal chords.

2. The Check's in the Mail

Sigh. I just wrote a check for the privelege of driving Rosie Pro on the California roads. $132. Then I wrote another check, this one for $995, for the privelege of having a roof (and a herd of buffalo who like to throw things at each other at all hours) over my head.

They call it "adulthood." It has its perks. Independence, career, freedom. But oh, watching that paycheck disappear before it even hits my bank account (tomorrow is Pay Day) is painful.

3. Week in Pictures...Week Off

I think I've taken exactly three pictures this week, or something like that. So, no Week in Pictures tomorrow. Such is life. I haven't had anything really interesting to photograph. Well, except for a picture of myself, wearing a size MEDIUM t-shirt that my friend Meegan bought for me at Coachella. It was very sweet of her. We were childhood friends who fell out of touch years ago. I'm talking before high school. We found each other on Facebook a few (or more) months ago, and it was very nice of her to think about me when she saw Muse.

Here's the pic:

Don't you just love the leggings? And my sweaty post-gym hair?

4. Speaking of pics.

Here's another recent pic of me wearing a skirt. My legs are still glow-in-the-dark from a long, rainy winter, but I don't care. I'm all over the skirts and shorts this summer!

P.S. I'm loving my hourglass. I have a natural hourglass figure and the more weight I lose, the more defined it becomes.
I need to buy one of those Marilyn-style swimsuits before summer's out.

5. Pet Society

It's no secret that I'm addicted to Facebook and Blogger. On Facebook, I'm addicted to Pet Society, and I've created a monster--my mom.

Mom and I have been sending coins, gifts, and everything else back and forth, and we have actual phone conversations that entail comments like, "Mom, I love what you did with Fancy's living room!" or "Meg, Harley's little Prom King crown is adorable!"

Yes, I named my pet after my real life cat. I even designed him to be a little orange cat.

I've even taken pictures of Harley, his house, and Fancy (who is loosely modelled on Mom's Duchess) and her house. From left to right: Harley in his Prom King outfit, relaxing in his kitchen; Harley (the Mad Hatter) visiting Fancy in her living room; Harley rocking out on another friend's guitar; Harley in his Beefeater getup.

My friends laugh at Mom and I, but I call it mother-daughter bonding.

Those are my bits and pieces for tonight. I have to pack now, as I'm going to Mom and Dad's for the weekend...right after running three miles with G. the Meanie tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh, Hell, I Give Up

I wrote the post below (the overshare) from school today. I have this great little feature activated in which I don't need to be able to access my actual blog to post--I can email my blog. Great for those little stories from school, right?

Except that tonight is a full moon and nothing is working quite as it should, and the formatting on that post went out the window and isn't in the font or font color that every other post on the LPB is. This bugs me. So I went in to edit it and what did it do? Completely obliterated all the spacing between paragraphs.

So I went back to edit it again and it's NOT doing what I asked it to do. Suck it, Blogger! I'm having a glass of wine now.

Weepy McCrybaby

I will never understand my menstrual cycle.
Oh, I get that once a month my ovaries send a little egg on its merry way to my uterus (well, in theory. I'm on the Pill, so no ovulating). I get that once a month, my uterus must shed the soft lining that it's built up in anticpation of that egg being fertilized and implanted. That makes sense.
What I don't understand is how my PMS symptoms can be so all over the charts from one onth to the next. I had my period last week. I started a new pack of pills on Sunday. Everything should be status quo, right?

Nope. I'm bloated. I weighed yesterday and was up a pound. And I'm weepy. I actually cried in front of my 7th graders today. I was so frustrated with some bad behavior I just cried and told them, "I'm counting the days to summer vacation. I'm so frustrated with you right now."
Their math teacher made them write letters of apology. The letters were quite sweet. Reading them, alone in my classroom, I cried some more.
How embarassing. Not the first time, though. And it was effective. My kids felt pretty terrible.
Also? I could really use a donut right now. Or chocolate cake. Instead, I'll go to the gym after work, go for a run (weather permitting) and then go home and have leftover spinach-lentil soup. That's how I roll these days, delayed PMS or not.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Just random bits of news from my life.

1. I Take It Back.

The other day, I blogged that I was referring to my trainer as G. the Meanie less and less. Well, we're back to Meanie status. He's going to make me run THREE miles on Friday. Non-stop. With him pushing me along. In public. We're going to do a big loop that I often run through my neighborhood. I hope it rains.

Okay, okay. Deep down, I know I can do it. But part of my job in this venture is to whine and make him work hard for his money.

Speaking of, I've scrounged up the money to buy ten more sessions. Actually, eleven, because there's a buy-ten-get-one-free deal going on. We're going to space them out every 4-5 days, which will make them last into June. Maybe by then I'll be employed again.

At the very least, it gives me time to have some serious motivation in getting below 150 pounds...which is 15 pounds away (easy!) and within 20 pounds of my goal. I'm getting so close! And, as G. pointed out yesterday, this is the first time since I've known him that I weigh less than he does. Thanks for that, G.


I was talking to a colleague at my "nice" school today. Turns out, a few years ago, she was a non-reelect at a school in this very district.

And yup, she's been rehired at another school in this very district.

So in other words, if any VAPA or music jobs open up in this very district, this very blogger is applying.

In the meantime, in case this doesn't happen, the head of VAPA is writing me a letter of recommendation. She actually based her opinion of my teaching on what she saw in my classroom. Imagine that. I wish she'd been my evaluator.

3. Seen Any Good Flicks Lately?

In addition to having a more active lifestyle of late, I've also been making an effort to give myself some sit-on-the-couch-watching-movies time. In the last few days, I've watched the first four episodes (of seven or eight) of History Channel's WWII in HD. Very interesting documentary with real color footage from the war, narrated by actors and interspersed with interviews of the men and women who survived. It follows twelve people, including one Army nurse.

I've also watched "An Education," "Where the Wild Things Are," and "The Princess and the Frog." Here's what I thought:

"An Education" -- Very well-acted. Carey Mulligan is gorgeous and very talented. Emma Thompson (who I will always, always love) has a small but excellent role as the school headmistress. I enjoyed the movie, though it's not one I'll watch over and over again.

"Where the Wild Things Are" -- Very cute, but not one of those kid movies that I'm going to rush out and buy. It was a little slow for me, though I thought the music choices were beautiful for the mood of the movie. Still, it's really just a lot of wild rumpuses and howling. Let the kiddos watch it. I'll be out buying...

"The Princess and the Frog" -- Disney strikes again. LOVE THIS. First off, hurrah for some diversity in the Princess Family, but also, a huge hurrah for jazz music and trumpet-playing alligators. Oh, and heroines that are not sitting on their keisters waiting for their prince to come. Princess Tiana is a princess for 2010.

4. Hallelujah, PRAISE THE LORD.

Pardon me for a sec. I'm just SO HAPPY (in ALL CAPS!!) that the CSTs are finally done. CST stands, of course, for California Standards Test. Our yearly bit of dreadful torture for students and teachers alike.

Today the 8th graders finished off the science portion. I helped proctor in one classroom and as I sat at the teacher's desk, I almost fell asleep. It's so very, very boring! I'd much rather be teaching my kids, instead of watching them take a strenuous, our-school's-future-depends-on-how-well-you-do test.

Ahh, necessary evils.

5. Still Singin'

Our next Chorale concerts--last of this season--are in a couple of weeks. We're singing some gospel and spirituals this time around. This is a welcome break from the usual masses and Big Choral Pieces we usually do. I have to admit that Chorale has given me some musical opportunities I hadn't yet had, like singing Brahms' German Requiem, the entire first section of Handel's Messiah, and a really awesome mass by Dave Brubeck. Think church music with jazz harmonies.

After this concert, we'll be finished until after Labor Day. Part of me will welcome the break on Monday evenings, but I also know I'll miss my friends over the long, hot summer. My biggest, dearest wish right now is that I'll be back after Labor Day with these fine people.

6. Having Faith.

You might have figured out that I'm not the most religious gal on the block. Okay, okay, I'm practically pagan. But I do like to believe in a higher power of some kind and I'm almost convinced that angels exist...well, I'd like to think that's what Grandma and Grandpa Bean are doing--looking out for my family and being proud of me, and stuff.

Anyway, I digress.

I was thinking earlier tonight that I haven't been stressed these last few days about staying in Stockton or being forced to move. And it hit me--I have faith. Faith that God or the Sky Fairy or Life or Mother Nature or Whoever is going to help me find a way to stay where I'm happy. Because this higher power wouldn't have brought me here to Stockton (I know...Stockton!) and given me Chorale, Animal Friends Connection, and all the success I've had at my local gym, only to tear it away. I've worked hard to get here. And I'm staying.

I have faith.

7. The Terrible Torties Have Left the Building

Mom and Dad came to collect the Kitty Khorus on Sunday. They were serenaded the whole way home. Here on this end, things are back to status quo. I switched from using my fruit bowl as a water dish back to the smaller "Chico Cat" bowl I normally use, and have just one bowl of cat chow instead of two out. The litter boxes can be scooped every other day instead of every day.

Oh, and I have my bed back, now that Lady Fuzz, Duchess of Lincoln isn't monopolizing it.


My new Steve Madden shoes arrived yesterday. The only reason I haven't yet worn them is because it's rainy and I'm waiting for things to dry up.
Steve Madden's Fix Women's Punky (Green 8.0 M)

Are these adorable, or are they adorable? Yes, of course I bought them in green. You have just got to love Steve Madden.

9. Gimme a Beach.

Plans are tentatively afoot to spend a night in Santa Cruz soon with my friend Meghan. I hope it pans out because I really, really, really need some serious beach time as soon as I can get it. I even have a new swimsuit, and, even better, a new swimsuit body. First time in years that I haven't wanted to cry in the fitting room.

10. It's Bedtime.

Well, actually, it's past my bedtime. I promised myself I'd go to bed by 10:00 tonight. Here it is, 10:30, and here I am, at the computer. Hey, a girl's gotta blog.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Music: Weezer

This is a classic. I remember it (and the AWESOME video) from high school days. Enjoy "Buddy Holly" by Weezer--one of my favorite songs to run to.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Four Months

In a fit of curiosity/Sunday evening boredom, I started reading back through my December 2009/January 2010 blog posts this evening. I was looking for those earliest posts about my third (and hopefully last) personal trainer, one G. the Meanie. I'm still amazed at just how far I've come in four months.

He didn't start off as G. the Meanie. We had to get to know each other first, before I could come up with an appropriate way to keep him anonymous. Then he had to threaten me a little. From a post I wrote on New Year's Eve:
I had an hour-long workout with my new trainer. Well, it was our fifth session, so the newness is wearing off. Now we're into "Let's Make A Deal!" territory. I have to lose one pound by Monday or he's going to make me jog for 15 minutes without a break. I can't jog for fifteen straight minutes. I'll die.
I ended up losing that pound, and life was good. However, the next week, I didn't do so well. On January 11th, he made me run a mile-and-a-half without stopping. The pain! The agony! The whining!
I did not lose weight this week. Therefore, G., my sadistic unfeeling nasty trainer made me run today. A mile-and-a-half. Actually, it was a pitiful jog. But there was no walking. And I didn't stop. He wouldn't let me. The one time I did a little jog-hobble-walk move, he threatened to make it two miles. So I pushed. And wheezed.
A few days later, he was referred to as G. the Meanie for the first time (his reaction when I told him of his nickname on my blog was an incredulous and almost-offended-sounding, "G. the Meanie?!").

This was also when I really started to notice that he keeps tabs on me.
As I left a few minutes later, a voice came from a nearby weight machine.

"Hey, Megan! What'd you do today?"
I swear this guy has a radar. He can find his clients in a crowded gym. Then he checks up on them.
Though, according to a conversation we had the other day, he doesn't do this to all of his clients, only the ones he finds to be really committed to the program. I told him how I had to swallow my considerable pride to ask for help, and to keep going even after he has seen me at my very worst--falling (not to mention dropping a 25-pound weight on my ankle), throwing up, and even crying. I have actually told him, "I hate you," followed closely by, "I don't really mean that." He has heard me whine and bitch more than anyone else on the planet except for my parents. In the end, swallowing my pride has yielded some awesome results.

When I really think about it, I can't believe that it's only been four months since I first met G. I'd seen him working at the gym, and knew he was a trainer, but until I signed up for more sessions in December, I'd never had any reason to really pay attention to him. Now I feel like he's always been pushing me along, provoking me with comments like, "Are you going to quit?" It feels like so much longer than four months that he's been scrutinizing my food journal, looking over my shoulder as I weigh in, and pushing me to do things I never thought I could do.

Four months after that initial session, in which I assessed him as a trainer and he assessed me as a client, and the hurdles I have leaped over are many. I can run for 15 minutes without dying. In fact, I'm actually starting to enjoy running. I have great balance and way more grace in my movements. You can't entirely remove the klutz from me, but I am a lot better.

I have lost two clothing sizes (four overall, but two since working with G.) and almost 40 pounds (closing in on 60 overall). I have gained confidence and a whole new appreciation for working out and how good it makes me feel.

I've noticed I've been tacking "the Meanie" on less and less when I blog about my adventures in training. I'm not about to start referring to him as "the awesome trainer" or any such thing, as that would just go to his head (I often show him the blogs I write because I love showing off my LPB to anyone who'll read it). He's definitely less Meanie these days...or maybe I'm just more of an athlete.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Week in Pictures

Another installment. A little light this week, as I had to share the size 18 jeans pics right away. No way was I waiting another day!


Sunday was a gloriously lazy day of sitting on the sofa with my furbabies. If you've seen earlier blogs from thsi week, you know that I've got Bella and Duchess visiting this week while Mom and Dad are out of town. They're lovely houseguests. Here I am, propped up on some pillows on my couch, with Millie in the Sweet Spot behind me.


I wore my new khaki capris and my new leopard-print tank top to work on Monday, with a cardigan I've had for about a month now. It's a size large. It's almost too large.

P.S. My boobs look great these days. Just sayin'.


Tuesday was rainy, but in the evening, there was a teensy bit of clearing up. I got a picture of the sun hitting the trees outside my apartment, then turned around and saw my sweeties watching me.

Cuties who steal the cilantro from my kitchen counter when my back is turned.


On Wednesday, I hit my head at work. I had bent over to retrieve my water bottle from my bag. I was in the music room where I teach kinder music in the afternoons. I cracked my forehead against my colleague's printer, and I swear I had little birds flying in circles around me for a minute there. Then I realized that I was bleeding! Not a lot, but still, the ladies in the office freaked out a little.

"Do you need the HOSPITAL?!"

"No, I'm fine. Just an ice pack, please."

Fortunately, no bruising, and only the tiniest of bumps. It probably looks more like a zit than a bump on the head. You can kinda-almost see it in this picture. It's sort of white, surrounded by red, above my left (your right) eyebrow.


On Thursday, I let my kids make friendship bracelets from some of the gazillions of yards of yarn I have. I spent my prep period cutting yarn into 2-foot strips.

I get bored at work sometimes...what, you don't?

Thursday night, of course, I took out the size 18 jeans. For comparison, I put my size 10 jeans over them on the bed.

And that's about it for this week. Nothing from today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rock Star

Last night, I pulled out my old size 18 jeans.

As the weight falls off, I've sent many a piece of clothing to Goodwill, but those size 18 jeans (Old Navy Womens The Sweetheart Boot-Cut Jeans) were tucked away into Dad's old footlocker with assorted cards, letters, old diaries and my old high school letter jacket. I am always going to keep them, as a reminder that I never, ever, EVER want to go back to being 5'2" and 220 pounds. Ever.

I mean ever.

I bought size 10 jeans on the weekend, so last night, I was interested to see how the old 18s would look. I stood in front of my mirrored closet doors in the 2nd bedroom for about 15 minutes, giggling and scaring the cats with my mirth. The jeans won't stay up. I swim in them. It's absolutely amazing.

I tucked them into my gym bag, thinking, "G's gotta see this."

Today when I arrived at the gym after work, I saw him working with one of the gym counselors--the girl who signed me up for training with him back in December. I walked over and pointed at the jeans I was wearing, holding up my splayed fingers triumphantly when he called out, "Hey Megan, what size are those jeans?"

"But I have something even better you have to see," I said, setting my gym bag down on a bench. I dug out the 18s and held them up. Then I watched G's jaw drop to the ground.

"Size 18. This is where I started."

G. has only known me since December, and I was wearing a 14 then, maybe leaning closer to the 16 end of things.

A huge smile broke out on his face and he held his hand up for a high five. We marvelled at how far I've come.

Before I set off on my run, I weighed in. 165! I was 167 on Monday. I scurried off to tell G., who was quite pleased.

"But why do you always weigh without me and spoil it for me?!"


I had to do a big long run today--I haven't run since Monday because of the rain and my new-found hatred of the treadmill. I set off from the gym and ran about four miles. When I got back, I gathered my things from my locker and walked back over to the scale. There goes that curiosity again. And while I know that I sweat off a lot of water weight in that run, I was thrilled to weigh in at 163. Goin' down, people!

I decided I had to show off my jeans to B. the Gym Manager and three counselors that were at their desks. I held them up and watched everyone's jaws drop. B. said, "Put them on!" So I slipped them on over my leggings and laughed as they all just stared, shook their heads and said, "Wow...awesome."

Tonight I find myself emailing my after pics to both G. and B. so they can show me off (I guess I sell training). And I post them here, with huge pride. I've worked my ass off--literally!

Meg in 2007 (that's my brother Aaron and I at a family reunion in Utah):

Meg, about 20 minutes ago:

I am a rock star.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why I'm Not a Mom

I'm sort of freaking out right now.

Mom and Dad are on the east coast this week, visiting South Carolina and Georgia. They are in Georgia tonight, and as of yesterday, were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

I got a text from Dad this morning. It was a picture of a meal they had yesterday (a TON of food). I texted back, but wasn't surprised that I didn't hear back after that.

I got home at 4:00 (7:00 where they are) and called Dad's cell. I have continued calling his cell every 15-30 minutes for the last three hours, wondering where they are, if they're okay, or if Jekyll Island has sunk into the ocean. Nothing on Google News, so I figured they're out living it up while I'm working myself up into an anxiety attack.

I'm not being cute for blogging's sake. I could really feel one starting.

Finally, I got desperate enough to actually call the hotel. The kind lady (cute accent!) put me through to their room and Dad sleepily answered the phone. They're fast asleep while my overactive imagination is going into overdrive. Oy vey.

Turns out that Jekyll Island is out of all cell phone and Internet range, so they can't get a hold of me--and this also explains why Dad's cell has been going straight to voice mail all evening.

So, they're fine. And I still have issues with anxiety from time to time. I always will. It's just one more reason that I'm pretty sure motherhood will never be for me. I freak out when Mom and Dad don't call as scheduled (we talk every day). I freak out when my cat gets pancreatitis. Imagine how high-strung I'd be if I actually gave birth to a human child, bonded with it, and then set off on the rocky road of raising it? I'd be a mess.

I think I'm calm now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dear Mommy,


We get it. Every once in a while, you have to jet off to another part of the state/country/planet and leave us behind. And despite Duckie's tendency to poop in the cat carrier (every time you take us to Meg's place!), we really don't mind it here...much. Meg is really nice, and we've known her since we were teeny babies. She keeps the food stocked, the water fresh, and the litter boxes scooped. Plus, she's good for lots of cuddles and baby-talking. She sounds just like you, which, apparently, she finds funny.

And we love Millie. She pretty much ignores us, which is her perogative as Queen. As long as she gets her tuna, her uninterrupted naptime, and cuddles from Meg, she is pretty happy.

Then there's the so-called Little Dude. Goodness, Mommy, but he's a nightmare! Always trying to sniff our bottoms, accosting us in the hallway, in the bedroom, in the living room, even in line for the bathroom! Harley just doesn't know his place on the totem pole and our patience is wearing thin.

When are you coming home, Mommy? We're mostly happy here. Duchess likes to cuddle with Meg's pajamas (Meg leaves them folded up on the bed during the day). I like to sleep on the back of the living room chair. Meg kindly turns the lamp on for me when she gets home, and it's quite toasty and cozy. She even gave us some canned food, which I liked a lot.

So yeah, it's nice here, but it's not home. And Meg is not our mommy! We miss you and look forward to seeing you soon. In the meantime, here's some pictures to remind you how much you love us and miss our sweet cuddles and purrs. You know you do.



After the bum-bath: Lady Fuzz, Duchess of Poopybottom! *giggle*

We are suffering so without you, Mommy.

"What do you mean, where are you going to sleep? Lady, it's called 'The Floor.' Bed's taken."

Watch Out, World

I'm now officially wearing size 10 jeans. And t-shirts from the junior's department (though it looks really bulky 'cause I've got a tank top layered under it because that cheap Miley Cyrus for WalMart shirt was practically see-through!).

Pardon my arm flab--it's going away, slowly but surely, and there are some kick-ass muscles in there.

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Tacos

Late last week, I had a sudden craving for chicken tacos. In corn tortillas. Flavored with cilantro and lime. I can't recall ever having had cilantro-lime chicken tacos before, but nothing else would do. I mentioned this to G. the Meanie at our Friday appointment and received the reply, "That sounds really good."

Yes, it does.

So on Saturday, I went for it. At the request of my friend Miz Minka, I am posting the "recipe." (In quotes because I didn't follow any recipes and I didn't measure anything.)

The Ingredients:

Boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used a couple pounds so I'd have days' worth of leftovers)
Lime juice (in the plastic bottle)
One lime
Lots of chopped onion
Lots of chopped cilantro
Cumin seeds
Chili powder
Garlic powder

How I did it:

1. I boiled the chicken in a large pot for about 10 minutes, until it was cooked through.
2. When the chicken was cooked, I set it aside to cool a little, wiped out the pot, and then started cooking the onion in some lime juice. Maybe about 4-5 tablespoons of lime juice.
3. I added garlic powder, chili powder (not a lot, I wanted flavorful, not spicy for this recipe), some cumin. Then I added lime slices.
4. I chopped up some cilantro and added it to the mix.
5. I shredded the chicken by hand, adding it to the pot. I cooked everything for a few minutes, until the onions were golden and the flavors had blended.
6.  I served them in white corn tortillas (way fewer calories than whole wheat, and they taste better, too).

I also made guacamole (two avocados, some onion, fresh cilantro, lime juice, garlic powder, cumin and a potato masher) to serve on the tacos. A little bit of fresh cilantro, black beans and tomato on top and voila! Done. Delicious.

I mentioned my delicious tacos to G. at yesterday's appiontment, and how good they had turned out. This afternoon, I had a message from him in my voicemail when I got home.

"Hey Megan, it's G. Got a question about the chicken...[wanting to know how I'd boiled it, as apparently, he's never boiled chicken before]...and how do you season it?"

When G. the Meanie is asking me for cooking tips, I must be doing something right.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wait, What?

Warning...rambling ahead. A lot on my mind tonight.

I laugh when I think about how, a few months ago, I delicately approached the subject of my monthly cycle with G. the Meanie.

"Well, next week is...that time of the month. So I don't know how the weight loss is gonna look."

I'm not embarassed by my period--it's a fact of life, deal with it--but I also don't go around yelling about it to everyone.

It's a testament to how comfortable I am working with G. that these days, I've abandoned euphamisms altogether and have moved on to the very blunt, "Dude, I'm on my period." He's a trainer, he knows that women can maintain sometimes up to five pounds of water weight. So if I have a "bad" week, and Auntie Flo is in town, I'm quick to tell him so that he doesn't just assume I'm getting lazy.

Last week, I finally weighed in under 170. I weighed on Monday, even though I didn't have an appointment that afternoon. On Wednesday, for an "official" weigh-in, I was 170 again. Argh! On Friday, G. opted to not weigh me, saying, "I don't want to weigh you until after next week. Let's just get through that."

But my body is funny. Last month, I got stuck at 179 for two weeks waiting for the water retention to run its course (and I climbed a freakin' mountain!), and this month, apparently, I'm not holding on to anything. I weighed today, out of curiosity, before my appointment. G. was returning a phone call, and as he waited for an answer, I said, "You need to see this for yourself."

"Is it good?"

"Very good."

"Dramatic weight loss?"
I just smiled and said, "Mmmhmm."

"But I thought this week is supposed to be a bad week!"

Turns out it's not. And despite the reprieve I'd been granted from a Monday weigh-in, the, *ahem*three*cough* glasses of wine I had over the course of the weekend, and the fact that I took Sunday off from working out in favor of showing my recently-neglected sofa some love, I weighed in at 167.4.

I'm also rocking the size 10 jeans now. Since I have just continued buying the same Old Navy Sweetheart Boot-Cut Jeans every time I need a smaller size, they seem to be a pretty good barometer of how the weight loss is going. When I started this whole crazy Odyssey, I was wearing size 18.

So my weigh-in today was definitely a "Wait, What?" moment. So was the moment at the end of our appointment in which G. and I realized that I have only THREE sessions left (two of which are freebies I'm owed from a promotion the gym had in February). I either have to come up with the money for more sessions soon, or I need to swallow bravely, take off the training wheels, and go it on my own.

I tried to go it on my own in September, and I wasn't ready. C. the Sweetie gave me some workouts to do, but looking back, they were nowhere near as hard as what I do now with G. She hadn't insisted that I become a runner, only suggested. G. doesn't suggest, he mandates.

I think part of me is scared that if I stop working with G. now I'll fall back into the habits that took me back to training in December. I had all but stopped working out regularly, and running was a joke. I wasn't even trying at that point, but sticking to the elliptical, which was comfortable.

In December, I bought five sessions, explaining to my new trainer that I needed "a quick little kick in the butt" to get back into working out regularly.

It hasn't been quick, and it hasn't been little. Thanks to my meanie trainer, my whole life is different now.

These days, I want to be a runner. I am a runner. I know what a good workout feels like, and I know when I'm half-assing it. I don't feel like a jerk, using equipment that other, more serious atheletes are waiting to use. I know my way around the various machines and equipment. I wear leggings without feeling like a sausage.

And yet, I still feel like I need the training wheels.

Part of it is my current state of being totally resistant to change. After the last ten years of moving, graduating, new jobs, long journeys in 747s, ups and downs, different states, different countries...I'm ready to stay in one place for a while. The uncertainty of my employment situation, my resistance to leaving Chorale, the level of comfort I've acheived at this particular gym, are all things I am reluctant to let go of just now. So I'm kind of freaking out tonight. Because taking the training wheels off and going it on my own is totally doable this time. I just don't want to.

Tomorrow I'm going to a job faire in Sacramento. I am ready to explore my options in non-educational fields. If it helps me stay here, I'm all for it.

Monday Music: Michael Buble

I tried so very hard to resist this song, but damn, it's just so cute and catchy! Plus, he can sing. This is Michael Bulbe, and the song is "Haven't Met You Yet."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reality Sets In

March flew by so quickly, a blur of workouts and work. It was easy to forget, for a few weeks, that I'm facing imminent unemployment.

But now April is here, and I have six or seven weeks left of a job that I love--or at least, I did until one person decided I shouldn't be allowed to do it anymore--and then...the big "Who Knows?"

I was driving home from a meeting on Thursday, down the street I live on, admiring the homes and their neat yards, lovingly-tended flower beds, and old trees. I was so happy, almost two years ago, to discover that I had picked a pretty nice part of town to live in. I want so badly to stay here, that I felt a sudden rage directed at my boss. How dare she try to take this away from me? HOW DARE SHE?

I'm starting to understand something, however. Just because I lost this job, it doesn't necessarily mean I have to leave Stockton. I might have to be on unemployment for a while, which will suck. I might have to leave teaching, which also sucks, because I love it.

In the past, when I've left a job, it's also meant moving. Big moves. Folsom-to-England. England-to-Washington. Washington-to-California. I tend to leave places and not go back. I'm so very tired of leaving places. I don't want to leave now. I want to stay here, plant some roots, and watch them grow.

To stay in teaching, I'd have to leave. I would have to go where the jobs are (if there are any), and I'm just not prepared to do that. But staying, and trying to find a job that will take me, is a scary prospect, too.

G. the Meanie asked me the other day, "What exactly is your degree in?"

I just chuckled mirthlessly. "Music...option in education."

Then he asked a very good question. "What do you want to do?"

"Honestly? If money and making a living wasn't an issue, I'd want to write. Not write novels--I don't have the patience for that. Be a travel writer, that kind of thing."

At this point, all I really know is that I'm not ready to leave the Most Miserable City. I want to help Chorale find a new director, then stay to work with that person. I want to keep working at my gym--even when my sessions with G. run out, I want to know that I can go to him for advice and inspiration. I want to be an adoption counselor for AFC, and spend a couple Saturdays a month helping other people find their own love matches.

If I had my way, I'd get a fabulous job and buy a home--maybe one of the small but well-tended homes I drove by on Thursday--and I'd continue to nurture the young friendships I've started making in this town.

So it's time to leave the Land of Denial and face things head-on. I bought a suit this weekend (size 12!), and I'm attending a job fair on Tuesday. I'm applying for education jobs, and hoping to find opportunities in non-educational fields. With unemployment, I can stay in my apartment until the lease is up in July. Worse case scneario will find me spending some time living with Mom and Dad for a while, or moving to Timbuktu.

I'm far away from where I used to be. I used to respond to big career changes with one question, "Where to, now?" Little Miss Anglophile, unafraid to hop on a London-bound 747, or who impulsively took a job in Stockton because she was never afraid to go somewhere new...she's hit her 30s now. She's tired of drifting.

Wish me luck.

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Week in Pictures

***Urgh! I've got a newer, better formatting center for Blogger, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to make a few of these photos actually be alligned to the center, as they say they are. I'll figure it out eventually.***

I had so much fun bringing back the My Week in Pictures feature last week, that I had to do it again this week. Here goes.


Weekends mean laundry. These days, I manage to accumulate a lot of dirty clothes. I wear the same pajamas for 4-5 nights at a time (if you think this is gross, I don't care. I shower right before putting them on, so if you ask me, they're clean). But I go through workout clothes like no one's business. I might wear the same pants for 2-3 workouts, but t-shirts and sports bras tend to get thrown in the hamper right away, because I sweat. A lot.

So Sunday night found me folding laundry, and marvelling at the variety of colors I have in sports bras.


Monday brought rain and allergies. On my way to Chorale, however, I saw that it also brought me a rainbow. I snapped this picture while sitting at a red light in downtown Stockton.

That night I came home from Chorale to the Kitten Emergency. It reminded me to hug my babies and appreciate that they are healthy and happy. I was also happy to see that my normally black-thumbed self is having success growing some basil and chives.


On Tuesday morning, there was all kinds of excitement at school, just before the state testing started. A bird had gotten into the middle school pod, and the 7th and 8th graders went wild, screaming, laughing, and getting out of their seats to have a look.

The poor bird was FREAKING. OUT.

A few of us got it into the middle of the pod, where it settled down in relative peace and quiet on top of a box. Mr. Assistant Principal brought a butterfly net and handed it to me, as I had inched closer and closer to the bird as slowly as I could. I very gently placed the net over the little feathered dude (or dudette), and we got him safely outside, where he promptly settled in the nearest tree. I swear he took out a little flask and had a good, long drink.

Tuesday evening found me reminiscing about the stories my passport has to tell.


Wednesday was slow with the pictures. I took a picture of a sample I was working on of yarn painting, and a picture of the surprisingly yummy gluten-free dark chocolate I bought at Trader Joe's as a treat.


On Thursday, I forgot my lunch, so I had to get Subway. I got in my car and...EEEK!!

I may be a card-carrying "I can take care of myself!" feminist, but I still freak out at spiders.

I went to the gym twice on Thursday. The second time, I walked over. On my way home, I found that my favorite duck couple are back in the neighborhood. This made me happy.

I took some pictures of the back side of my apartment building. The rust-colored building on the left of the picture is my building. The apartment you see on the bottom is my next-door neighbor. The second picture shoes the little corridor-type walkway between my building (on the left) and the building that faces it.


This morning, I took a picture of a big ole bruise on my arm. I don't know how I got it. I probably knocked into a door handle or something.

Then I took a picture of my new Liberty of London blouse from Target, 'cause Britni had asked me which top I'd bought. I love this top!

I took a picture of my mouse pad, because I have been anything BUT this particular character with my kids the last couple of days.

Fortunately, it is Friday, and I had a very light afternoon. I put my feet up, read several poems from The New Kid on the Block, and watched kids out my window, while listening to my Anglophile station on Pandora.

Now it is Friday night. I've worked out, cleaned the apartment (I even mopped!), had dinner, and now I'm waiting for Mom and Dad, who will arrive any minute with the Kindergatos in tow. Brace yourself for a week of Crazy Cat Lady updates as I babysit Bella and Duchess!