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  • Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

    There’s a short vlog/synopsis at the front and then a lot of is clips from the San Antonio Botanic Garden, Sea World, and the San Antonio Zoo. There’s a lot more from the zoo…I got a little movie happy on that end. Sorry for the ad, I found a song from Free Music Archive that is supposed to be an Attribution license under the Creative Commons license but You Tube is claiming the owner is monetizing that song—so…I may revise that section soon. A little frustrating!

    It’s a long one….feel free to skim around! I’ll have some other posts later this week with photos! We had a great weekend and I’ll share more soon!




    Chris and I first came across jeweler Dawn Vertrees at the Redland Orchid Show at the Fruit & Spice Park in Florida back in May 2008. Later that June Chris got me a ghost orchid necklace of hers for our anniversary, which I really love!

    Fast forward to the morning of Forest’s birth and he presents me with the necklace above. I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile and finally remembered to get a few photos the other night. Unfortunately babies and necklaces aren’t exactly a winning combination so I haven’t worn it very much. I could wear it to work but I often forget. A few weeks after we were home from the hospital Chris showed me Dawn’s post about creating the necklace.

    My husband is pretty cool! I could totally turn this into a collection. Hehehe!

    Instead of doing a long write-up I shot a video instead of how I make my lactation oatmeal as well as a review about some nursing tops I bought from Latched Mama a few weeks ago. The nursing sports bras I mention were these from Target but they aren’t showing up on Target’s site any longer. You may be able to find them in the stores still.

    There’s a cute baby apperance about halfway through. :)

    I’ve written about podcasts I listen to a few times before but I figured it was time for another list.


    +One Bad Mother
    +The Longest Shortest Time

    Fitness/Healthy Living

    +Rich Roll Podcast By far my favorite fitness podcast. I’ll even forgive him for having the Food Babe on a month or so ago.
    +Lift Like A Girl Podcast
    +Real Food & Beyond
    +Strong Woman Radio
    +Rise & Resist
    +No Meat Athlete

    +The Scot & Sassenach An Outlander tv show podcast
    +Picture Shows & Petticoats My cousin Elizabeth’s podcast for period piece tv shows. Usually they cover Downton Abbey but she’s also covering Outlander. I’ve been a guest a few times during the first half of season 1 back in August and recently joined for the first episode this half of season 1 and will be reappearing again soon!
    +I also listen to a variety of shows from AfterBuzz TV for Scandal, Mad Men, Better Call Saul, Homeland, Downton Abbey, to name a few.

    +Ferm Up A Fermentation podcast
    +Fermentation Podcast Another fermentation podcast

    +The Girl Next Door
    +Elise Gets Crafty
    +Pickled Okra My cousin Elizabeth’s podcast with her friend Jolene.
    +Radio Free Burrito from Wil Wheaton. Just discovered this one.

    +Pox & Puss Podcast AT related for the most part and generally hilarious!
    +Trailside Radio A PCT thru-hiker is doing this one as he hikes the trail this year. I really loved the second episode where he interviewed two female hikers who often hike solo.
    +The Trail Show I was interviewed by them about the Florida Trail last year! I like to listen in big globs, waiting a few months and then listening to a couple of shows at once.

    I also will randomly listen to episodes of Invisibilia, Freakanomics, This American Life, RadioLab, and a host of other NPR/public radio type shows. There are also other podcasts I listen to but not on a regular basis and usually just to check to see if there’s a topic I think I’ll enjoy that they are covering.

    Got any recommendations?


    I’m in one of those spells where I need to be quiet despite the fact that there is all sorts of stuff rattling around in my head that needs to be written here. Needs. It doesn’t necessarily need to be written, but I want to write. I like going back through my archives on occasion and seeing what I’ve done in some particular period of time. It gives me a reminder that when I feel like life is just hectic or complicated and hairy, that I was enjoying something at any given time—even if it was just that a plant was blooming in the garden.

    Last week I spent a lot of time trying to work on another flower bed, weeding it and getting mulch laid down. On the weekend I would get spurts here and there, an spare 30 minutes or an hour where Forest would oblige me by chilling out in his walker on the porch or reclining back with his pacifier in the stroller. If it wasn’t the weekend I’d spend an hour—if I could—after Forest went to bed before the sun set, getting more work done. Weeds and overzealous plants that needed thinning were pulled, thrown into the grass nearby or into one of the bazillion 5-gallon buckets we have, to later be added into the compost pile.

    I miss the days where I would come home from work and hurriedly eat dinner and then spend 2-3 hours in the yard every evening if I wanted. I’d be on top of the weeding, mow the yard, weed-eat the edges where the mower wouldn’t get, pull the grass out from around the trees, weed and take care of the vegetable garden. I can’t do that anymore. My focus is tending to one thing at a time, which is to get the flower beds into a manageable condition before the heat of the summer takes over. Chris does a lot of what I don’t get to but even he isn’t keeping up to the pace he used to.

    Something I also want to do is spend time in my studio. I realized a few weeks ago that there are many hobbies that I just won’t ever have the time for or be good at, really the desire isn’t there. One of those is sewing. I have a ton of fabric that I had stashed over the years or it was handed down to me from my mom via my grandmother. I don’t need it. I’m not going to sew. I have done blankets in the past and even started one a few months ago for my friend’s baby, but it hasn’t been finished yet. It really just left me incredibly frustrated. So, I want to go through that as well as go through some of the general crap in my studio that I don’t need or want. It’s really all very low priority-wise but in my mind I want to do it.

    The blog here needs a re-design, too. My book needs to be completed on the editing end. Sometimes I get a rush of energy in my mind to complete it but then I just very blah with it because it doesn’t seem very appealing to me to complete.

    In other words, my creative juices are just not flowing. I can’t even finish reading books these days. I had a pile of them checked out at the library and renewed one of them three times before I just returned it because my head wasn’t in the game. Most of the time, at the end of the day, what sounds good is laying on the couch and watching tv or catching up on blogs.

    Hopefully I can get out of this creative funk someday soon.

    + Fitbit! I got one for Christmas from my parents and while I initially thought I wouldn’t be that into it, I really do love it! I took some time off from using it back in January but ramped it up in February. The goal is to get 10K steps a day. Prior to having Forest I don’t doubt this wasn’t a problem because I either worked out every day or did yard work in the evenings. Now it is much harder. I’ve started helping out my step count by working out during lunches when the weather is permitting and if I am not far off from my step count I have been known to walk up and down my driveway or do laps around the house a few times to rack up steps.

    + Better Call Saul: As someone who is usually late to the game for any good tv show, I’m happy to have hopped on this ride from the beginning. It’s a Breaking Bad spin-off and if you haven’t watched that show, go do it now! That said, you don’t need to watch BB to watch BCS, but it does help in some aspects.

    + Enjoy This Time Dear from Coffee & Crumbs and a similar post Don’t Carpe Diem from Momastery.

    + Beginner 5 Minute Ab Workout from Sierra Social Hub—holy crap, this hurts!

    + Chel’s Peerless Watercolor Storage….it’s just pretty!

    + Bird Spit from Pure Florida

    + Mungo from 6512 and Growing

    + Beginners Guide to Going Stoveless from Rambling Hemlock

    + Appalachian Trail: The Sheltered Life from OMails…shelters, oh shelters.

    + It’s not like you were interested from Ben Hewitt regarding math and unschooling. Love all of his thought provoking posts even if I don’t always agree. His comments section is also great fodder for good discussions and ideas. It led me to this Death of Math which was even more thought provoking, especially as a self professed math hater. As someone who does better when I can visually ‘see’ something, math can be difficult for me to understand. Plus, sometimes I think very abstractly and don’t always think in the manner more linear minded folks do which makes learning math from others difficult for me.

    + For some reason I’ve revisited the Myers-Briggs personality type tests again recently and got the same results that I got last year. I took it a few more times via different sites and still came up with the same results. I did this because INFJ is considered the most uncommon personality type and I didn’t want to be throwing off the results. I know I’ve taken it in years past but I don’t remember what the results were back then. Anyway, I started reading a bit more into my INFJ results and I’m not sure what I think yet. There are some YouTube videos with INFJ’s talking to other personality types, discussing differences, etc that I’ve also watched…anyway, just something interesting. You can take the test here.

    Got anything good to share??

    I knew it was there.



    I thought I’d come to terms with it, but it bubbled up when I saw the Bradley Method book tucked in my nightstand drawer a few months ago. It came rushing to the surface when I tried to listen to a podcast interview of a blogger I like describing her most recent and second Bradley birth. I got a few minutes in and had to turn it off. I hated her and hated that she got what I didn’t. AND both of her babies were larger than Forest.

    I’m still a bit pissed off that I didn’t get the labor and birth I wanted. What’s ironic is that I’m actually not upset with having a C-section, if that makes any sense. That doesn’t bother me. My scar doesn’t bother me. No, what bothers me most is that I didn’t get to experience what I had prepared for.

    In my head this is how it was going to go down, or some version of this scenario: I was going to be doing some evening gardening and walking around the yard and feel the first twinges of contractions. We’d go out for dinner and come back and watch tv or a movie. Throughout the night labor would progress. Sometime the next day I’d reach the point where contractions were coming one right after another, maybe even get to transition, and we’d rush out the door for the hospital. In the birthing room at the hospital I’d be able to breathe through the contractions and maybe it would take longer to push than I thought, but Chris would be right there helping me along. I would be in a position I’d feel comfortable in and then *bam* Forest would be out and in my arms, all gooey and sweet. I’d get that first hour of nursing and bonding right away. There’d be pictures and quiet talking, glowing smiles and tiredness all wrapped into it all. We’d text and call our family and friends and have several hours together as a family before anyone arrived.

    What bothers me are the what-ifs that will never be answered because hey, I have the most awesome child in the world (as every mom says) and he got here safely (despite some scary moments with the epidural). What bothers me is those moments the week before, the feeling of being pressured into induction because of the fear he’d be too large. But, what did we know? We wanted a safe delivery of our child and despite knowing about all of these pressures for induction and c-sections from the childbirth class and from all of the birthing books that I read, we went with the flow and lead from our midwife and ob. What else would a parent do? I am sure someone with more fortitude or the experience of another birth might have fought it, but when you aren’t sure of the outcome of it all and you just want your baby to be safe and sound…what else do you do? Sometimes I think maybe I shouldn’t been so scared of the c-section and held out to go into labor on my own and if nothing progressed well once I was in labor on my own, then gone ahead with the c-section. It does nothing to think of the what-if’s though.

    I just feel cheated. Which is really a very stupid thing to say and to read. In fact, re-reading what I’ve written here I know I sound very selfish. But the feelings are still there. It’s a loss, the loss of a moment, of something I’d been thinking about for many months prior to the actual events. And it isn’t like I think about this every day. I don’t. Not even once a week. But it’s those little times where something triggers the feelings that are still there in my heart.

    So there it is, a postpartum battle wound that is healing but likes to rear its ugly head every once in awhile. One day I’ll be totally at peace with it, but for now I think I’ll attempt to avoid triggers when I can and accept the feelings as they come.

    I went for a jog at lunch yesterday. We’ve had some great weather recently and I have been missing all of the good running days. Either I was sick or Forest was sick or something was up and I just never got out for a jog during my lunch break in the last few weeks like I had been wanting. Finally, though, the weather was still nice again and I was feeling good, so outside I went. Luckily where I work is tucked next to a neighborhood. The neighborhood is comprised of larger, wooded lots with small houses or mobile homes on them, the quality and upkeep ranging from not-very to respectable. Loose and barking dogs abound; I had to fend one ankle biter off with claps of my hands and strict repetitions of “Go Home” before it finally meandered back to the house it originated from.

    It’s been so long since I’ve sweated and felt the warmth on my skin. As much as I feel like I’m out of the deep, deep fog of those initial postpartum weeks and months, things are still hazy a lot of the time and I can get into a routine where I’m feeling like all I do is keep up with chores, take care of a baby, and do a few self care things to keep myself sane. Being outside doing yard work or getting some kind of physical exercise was one of the higher up self care items pre-baby and that has definitely fallen by the wayside over the last five months. I had some time during my maternity leave where I took walks with Forest in the mornings or afternoons, savoring the time outside of the house. Those moments were gone once the sun started setting early and I returned to work. Even on weekends getting outside can be difficult, because like I said, I feel like I’m just trying to catch up from the week with chores or errands. I don’t do the errands during the evenings like I used to—there’s no running to the store for groceries or out to get some item that I might need. No, it all gets crammed into the weekends.

    Needless to say, pounding the pavement ever so slowly through the neighborhood is refreshing. Seeing nature, even if it is neighborhood nature, is exhilarating. Squirrels cracking acorns, a tree sneaking an early peek at spring blossoms, mockingbirds—that I instinctively want to call mockingjays—flitting about on the powerlines, all of these tiny things are energy for my soul, bits of brain food for my nature-loving self.

    Today I was out for my jog, more walking than running since yesterday’s run killed my quads, and it came to me that I could rollerblade again. I love rollerblading and thought about the last time I had done any ‘blading. It’s been well over a year now, which is hard to believe. As soon as I found out as I was pregnant in December of 2013 I stopped doing things that were a fall hazard, like rollerblading. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since I’ve done it, really it feels like I could say that it was last week that I went rollerblading on my regular loop in my neighborhood at home. It’s great cardio, and I can go for a further distance and longer time than when I’m running.

    Tomorrow, I’m going to strap on the rollerblades.

    *Writer’s note: A shower at the office makes lunch time workouts a pleasant possibility.

    It was on the Appalachian Trail that I realized just how much coffee was more than a morning elixir of caffeine. It was a symbol of morning congregation, of talking and laughing, of slowly waking up, enjoying sunrises and dreary days, and of savoring the warmth radiating off of the mug. By the time we’d started the AT I was a coffee addict but I’d made the decision not to carry instant coffee for a morning cup, mostly because I didn’t want the hassle of needing to stop to find a privy or tree every twenty minutes after leaving the shelter or campsite in the morning. Plus, I knew how caffeine headaches worked and I wasn’t interested in dealing with those, so I saved my coffee indulgences for town. When we did get to a town there was nothing better than those first few sips, the tiredness and miles falling away as the coffee swirled down my throat.

    I have a memory, or maybe it is one of those made-up memories that one pieces together after hearing anecdotal stories about something after the fact, about stealing sips of coffee from my neighbor that babysat me when I was little, like 2-3 years old. For some reason I’m seeing one of those flat bottom coffee cups sitting on the side of a chair. I can visualize the house, too, complete with early 80s decor. I know I had sips of coffee here and there growing up but my parents never really let me drink it. Mom and Dad had a morning routine of coffee in the house, the coffee pot autmatically kicking on at a certain time every morning, mom preparing the filter and coffee the evening before.

    It wasn’t until college that I started drinking a little more coffee, mostly frou-frou versions like lattes and cappucinos from the automatic machine in the cafeteria. My friends were into chai tea lattes that were available but I remember liking the cappuccinos. I mean, these weren’t any kind of high-end coffee drinks, but they were just the right amount of sugar and caffeine to get going for a study session. We probably even drank those instant, flavored Maxwell House cannisters while sitting around our dorm rooms. I think it was when Starbucks started showing up in Target stores that I started trying other coffee drinks on the menu, getting my grasp on what all of the differences were. Some drinks still frightened me, sounding too strong and jolting. Drinking coffee without some kind of sugar and cream? No way…it had to have both of those.

    I started drinking more regular coffee with powdered creamer and packs of sugar when I had my first job out of college. I’d fill a paper cup up with the Folgers that brewed in the break room of the micro lab I worked in and sip on my coffee during my mid-morning break. Later at my next job I took coffee drinking even further, having multiple cups throughout the morning and began weaning myself off of the sugar by switching to Splenda and then finally only adding creamer without any sweeteners. Then I managed to start having black coffee on occassion, but it had to be brewed right. My coffee love started heavily at that job but I was never able to bring myself to have a café Cubano that was highly popular in my office and all around Miami. You could get shots of it and café con leche’s at some Publix grocery stores where they had coffee shops set up in the front (not a Starbucks) or at various random coffee stands at gas stations, either inside or in the parking lot.

    Coffee was on my mind most recently when my mom came down for two nights as Chris went out of town. It was going to be my first time alone with Forest since he was born and while I knew I could handle it, I was still nervous about being alone at night. I thought of the idea for her to visit at the last minute and wasn’t even sure if she could shift her schedule around with the care of my niece and nephew during the day, but it ended up working out. I got up earlier than I usually did those two mornings and had enough time to sip a cup of coffee with her at the kitchen table while Forest was still waking up. It wasn’t just that time that I thought about the relevance of coffee, the comaraderie of it. Any time my family comes to visit we usually have long, lingering breakfasts with multiple cups of coffee, reading various things on the internet, talking, looking out the picture window in the dining room to the pond as the sun comes up in the morning. If I’m at my parent’s house, it’s something similar but usually flipping through the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram instead and chatting.

    I know coffee isn’t the only warm brew to elicit this response, tea enthusiasts I’m sure feel the same about their flavorful leaves. But coffee, there’s just something about coming into the kitchen to the brew of whatever roast was put into the filter and pouring it into your favorite mug and taking the time to just be.

    My other themed post for the week is strictly writing based. It’s going to be mostly stream of conciousness/free writing/whatever it becomes. Not necessarily looking for comments or input, just want to be present and give my brain a creative workout.

    I’m driving down the road exiting off the main strip to the side road, heading to the grocery store. The grocery store is my little bit of solitude these days. For weeks it was Chris who made our weekly grocery store runs and I’d stay home with Forest. Of course there were instances when we all made the trek together but in those early days with all three of us invariably Forest needed a trip to the changing station in the women’s restroom at least twice and by the end of the trip he would tell me he was hungry, or maybe he was just fussy and was sick of being in his car seat and at the grocery store. Eventually though, I started wanting to head to the grocery store myself so I could peruse the aisles and get the things I wanted to snack on during the week. Chris was generally pretty good about getting the things I wanted but if I didn’t elaborate on what the ‘good bread’ was I usually got his version of the ‘good bread’.

    As I’m exiting the road that will soon become a toll-road but is now just a 50 mile-per-hour four lane roadway, Don Henley’s The Last Worthless Evening comes onto the HD radio station I’m listening to. Don Henley is an insant trigger of flashbacks to Florida. Before I lived in Florida for eight years his songs recalled the vacations I spent there with my family. Post living in Florida I can instantly recall all sorts of scenarios from times in Florida. For some reason this day I recalled a trip down U.S. 41 from Sarasota with my former boss (Hi, Steve!). We’d visited a parcel of property there and he’d decided to take the scenic route down U.S. 41 to Ft. Myers and Naples instead of jumping onto the faster I-75 to the east. The drive was scenic through small towns filled with retirees in winter and vacationers in summer. When we came to Ft. Myers I remember wishing I could just exit off and head to Sanibel Island, one of the vacation spots from my youth. Sanibel was why I wanted to live in Florida.

    The last time I was in Sanibel was Christmas of 2009, before we left Florida in February 2010 and went hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It was a spur of the moment trip with our friends Marc and Eliana after we’d had Christmas with them at their house in Miami, they’d invited us to trek along with them over to the southwest coast for a few days. For some reason Florida felt so much more ripe for exploring than Texas does—maybe it’s the crappy public to private land ratio we have here.

    Sometimes I catch glimpses of Florida here in Texas. Usually its the way the light is hitting at a particular moment in the day, sometimes it is the smell of the pine needles in the sun, or the whine of a hawk overhead. The funny thing is sometimes in the north-central part of Florida I’d see a scene, usually some lumbering live oak in a field, and think “That looks like Texas.”

    Memory, it’s a peculiar thing.

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