Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Whole30 Day 20

Only 10 days left!  How have I made it through 20 days already?  Lots of good food, that's how!  Have I been tempted by goodies?  Yes, by birthday cake 3 times!  The moon cakes on the counter, that my father in law dropped off, almost derailed me. I had to ask my husband to hide them!  That chewey, waxy goodness sounded so delicious. I don't even know why!  But, I refrained and we are back to cruising along. 

I've found some new foods I enjoy. I've learned that potatoes and olives are pretty good together and that I enjoy raw carrots for breakfast. Would not have guessed that!  I've enjoyed cooking and taking the time to make healthy, delicious meals. Rob has enjoyed it too. He has liked everything I've made so far and I think the fact that nothing contains dairy for him is a relief. I'm starting to wonder what this will look like post Whole30.

I'm now convinced that something I was eating was literally making me sick. I don't yet know what it was but this has been the most humbling and enlightening part of this Whole30 experience. I had no expectations coming in and I didn't suspect any particular food sensitivities. But, what I found is that what I considered the natural state of my body really wasn't, and that it's changeable just with food. Holy wow.

I'm excited for the next 10 days and apprehensive about the reintroduction period. So, for now, I'm gonna rock this clear skin and skirt I haven't worn in 3 years like the confident girl I am today!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

One week in to the Whole30

I'm feeling better. Better than I've felt in a long time. I marvel at the quietness of my belly. "But, I just ate a salad, don't you have some complaining to do?" Apparently not.  Hmm.

This is probably the longest I've ever gone without dairy or grains. This is the most black coffee I've had in my life. It's not so bad on ice. Rather refreshing, kinda like tea. Hmm.

Day 7, feeling good. Wondering about the placebo effect. Is is that?  Is this real?  Do I need to make a major life change?  Do I have to give up foods I love?  Foods I've turned to in good times and bad.

Time will tell. I carry on!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Whole30 Day 1

I'm trying it out, folks.  I've been nosing around the Whole30 website for over 2 months now, and have finally decided to give it a try. I just turned, wait how old am I? I turned 30 something yesterday and it seems like a good time. I'm mostly curious. If I eat differently, will I feel different?  Can I really eat a bunch of vegetables and feel ok?  Perhaps my body has been playing tricks on me!  Will I have more energy?  Will I maybe lose that baby weight from my 2.5 year old?  I guess we'll find out!  So, here goes. Me on day 1.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

And, the winner is...Trump?

It hit me like a ton of bricks at 5:30 Wednesday morning.  I blinked at my alarm and waited to hear that Hillary had pulled through with the counting of the West coast votes.  Instead, I heard the phrase "President-elect Trump" from the speaker.  I stared in disbelief, thinking I must be listening to some alternative reality scenario that didn't happen.  Instead, they continued to talk about the upset and the factors that created it and I hit the snooze button.

How did this happen?  Hillary won the popular vote, but not the requisite 270 electoral college votes.  Thus, the victory went to Trump and Hillary delivered her concession speech.  Few know better than Hillary Clinton that the system doesn't always get it right.  But, we live in a world where you have to work within the system in order to change it.  America was ready for Hillary, even if the system wasn't.  That gives me hope. 

I couldn't really imagine a more qualified or prepared candidate for presidency than Hillary and I genuinely believe that she has the interests of the country at heart.  Trump, on the other hand...

But, since I subscribed to Hillary's "Love trumps hate" message, I need to practice that even when it's hard, because it's the right thing to do. 

We should give Trump a chance.  Maybe, given the challenges of a divided country, he will become the public servant that he needs to be.  Maybe by thinking differently, without a lifetime of politics behind him, he can devise innovative solutions to truly help people.

I have an MBA in economics (and finance), and I have spent a lot of my adult life thinking about Adam Smith's invisible hand.  I believe in free market economies, but I'm beginning to realize that they can only go so far.  There are people left behind in the economy when they don't have enough of their own capital to allocate among scarce resources.  In a pay to play economy, those without access to jobs and education are at a serious disadvantage.  Trickle down economics only reallocates a portion of the flow to lower levels, from spending at the top.

Growing up in a place where pretty much everyone looked like me and a popular "dream job" was the local union factory right out of high school, I have heard the types of arguments posed by Trump before.  The damage done to towns when manufacturing jobs leave was and is palpable in the area where I grew up.  There has been some progress but the run down houses and terrible school ratings are nothing to shout about.  So, I get it.  I see you, I hear your frustration, Trump supporters.

You know what else I hear?  I hear the fear of my LGBT friends and family.  I hear the songs sung by my son's Muslim teacher about how to wash your hands correctly and not throw your food on the floor.  I hear the struggles of navigating a new country and language so that your kids have the opportunities you had to forgo, from my in-laws.  I hear my children sleeping softly in the background as I hope to keep them insulated from all of the things in the world.

So, in the aftermath of this election, I think of all the work to do.  The American experience is not a singular one.  There are many Americas in this country, with different populations, valuing different things.  I hope we can all see more of these Americas, and, in doing so, see that what we come to value most is, each other.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

To The Kids On The Corner

I saw you today, outside, with your dad.  I saw him put the little one in the stroller and adjust big brother's pant leg.  I saw you cry because you didn't want to sit down.  I've seen your dad before.  He got out his cup.  He started to beg.  I watched in disbelief.  How could he bring you into this?  You're only what?  2 and 3 years old?  How long can you sit, begging for money?  Did you eat today?  How long has it been?  I've seen your dad before.  With his buddy.  Obviously intoxicated.  Laughing and falling over.  Now, right where you're sitting.

You didn't do anything.  To be here like this.  I see you.  I walk by.  I go back to my desk.  I can't stop thinking about you.  What if you were my kids and I couldn't feed you?  What would we do?  Where is your mother?  Does she know what's happening? 

Society is failing you.  I could do something!  I leave my desk.  I look for you, determined to buy you some dinner, at least.  You're not there, boys.  Where did you go?  Did you get enough to eat or only enough to feed your dad's apparent addiction?  I could have fed you.

But, I didn't.  You weren't there.  I missed you.

This time.  Next time, I'll buy you ravioli.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Where I Am

I never thought I'd make it this far.  I never thought it would look like this.  I never imagined myself at this age.  I never imagined myself here.  Here.

So, where am I?  I've done better and gone farther than I ever imagined.  I've got more and done more than most will ever achieve.  But, who am I? 

Who am I, to have all this?  Who am I, to be here? 

I'm just a naïve girl from Wisconsin. 

Who am I?

Yes, I've been thinking too much.  Because, why not?  I have more than I need.  There are so many who don't have enough.

I have enough food to feed my kids.  Even when "there's nothing to eat".

I have a steady job, even one that I'm good at, (thank you very much,) and so does my husband.

My son rides the bus to an excellent school.  My father in law helps him every morning.  My other son goes to a child care center that probably offers more fun and enrichment than I could possibly provide.

I drink wine in the evening.

So, what does it mean?  I take a close look.  I see the disparity.  But, what can I do?  I'm only one person.  Who doesn't know much.  About anything, really.

I take a small step.  It isn't enough.  So, what do I do?  I take just one more.

I have to keep going.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Ummanim.  That's what she asked me to call her when my husband and I got married.  It means mother.  The word for mother-in-law in Korean is Shi-Ummanim, but she was adamant that the "Shi" wasn't needed.  The appropriate word was Mother.

For the first couple years, I awkwardly avoided saying "Ummanim" or "Abonim", Father, as I wasn't sure I was pronouncing them correctly and my in laws seemed to not respond whenever I tried.  "Um, blah blah blah" it is, then. 

Then we moved to their US home town.  It wasn't a big move for us, about 5 miles east, but it was a big lifestyle move.  We bought the big house, that, I think, my husband and his parents always wanted for us.  By then, I was a stay at home mom and it was my job to manage the various contractors and updates that the house needed.  My in laws came to help.  I wasn't sure what to think of this, as up to this point, my mother in law had been a somewhat scary and rather intimidating 5' 0" woman I didn't know very well.  But, she spent time with me.  We sat at the kitchen table and she talked.  She talked about all kinds of things.  Things she hadn't necessarily shared with her own kids.  She told me about "her way" of doing things.  It sometimes, often, varied from mine.  And, for the first time, I began to see Ummanim as a real person and not just as the imposing figure in the room.

Ummanim began to cook for us.  She cooked all sorts of things.  Pickled stuff.  Burdock burned 9 times in a pan.  Potions to improve my husband's health and virility.  I tried not to giggle.  She brings rice, Goguma, Korean sweet potatoes and the fishiest soup and stinkiest kimchi I've ever smelled.  I know my husband's eating it from upstairs.  Her best dishes are Moo-guk and kalbi.  Mmm.  I look forward to those surprise dishes appearing in the kitchen.

Ummanim talks about all kinds of things.  Sometimes it's about the things she wants me to know about her.  She talks about her days as a nurse and hospital administrator in Korea.  About how her sister has the job she should have had.  About the power she wielded and the controversy she incited in those early glory days of her career.  Ummanim tells me about when her kids were young and how she suffered 2 little ones (my husband included) in cloth diapers and a husband occupied with furthering his education.  She tells me about her in laws.  Life in America wasn't easy for her.  She tells me about the war in Korea.  How she witnessed executions outside her house on a daily basis while troops used her family's home as a base in Seoul.  She was 5 years old.  They went into hiding and survived on acorn jelly.  I get choked up remembering the story when they serve it as banchan.

Ummanim is so proud of her kids.  She talks about their accomplishments from baseball games to college graduations.  Nothing is more important than education.  I never know what to say.  There was no such thing as a prestigious high school where I grew up.  Not so for her.  A good education determined your lot in life.  In fact, that's how a prestigious granddaughter of the Mayor wound up marrying the son of a rice farmer.  He had the best education in Japan.  She tells me of her culture shock when staying with her in laws.  I can only imagine what that was like.

In the last three years, I have developed a profound appreciation for my in laws.  Their responsiveness to our needs is astounding.  Their desire to be involved with our kids' daily lives is humbling.  The thing is, they seem to enjoy it too!  Ummanim tells me it's her way of doing things, but I often feel it's too much to ask of them.  I can only say thank you, over and over.

The next stage for us is an unwanted one.  A health challenge so ugly that it makes us all sick.  Ummanim will be fighting.  She tells me it's times like this that we need religion.  I wear the prayer bead bracelet she gave me and pray she is healed.

I don't know what the future brings.  It's early and there are new treatments.  I only know that we'll be there.  To help.  To support.  To host other helpers.  To be there like she was there for her own mother in law.  To become, simply, "Daughter".