Prequel to The Giants Excitation

Previously I posted pics from our last San Francisco Giants game and alluded to the fact that R has difficulty attending sports events due to his PTSD. I forgot to post pics of his first attempt!

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It is a scenic two and a half hour drive to San Francisco. What trip to the city is complete without going to Fisherman’s Wharf?

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We splurged at a restaurant on the wharf.

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Then we went to the game! We had great seats from Operation Care and Comfort.

It was not until we were seated that I could truly see how uncomfortable R was by being there. The hordes of people trying to get into the game, the rush to get to our assigned section, his chronic nerve pain, and just being around hundreds of people all contributed to his anxiety. He declared then and there that he cannot attend a major league sports game ever again. However, upon reflection later that week, he understands that he needs to try periodically. How often can only be determined by R alone. Only time will tell.

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GO GIANTS!

The Crocker Congruence

We got a family pass to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. There are so many wonderful events going on right now, including African-American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond.

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A even got a chance to contribute to the community quilt. She was so excited that she wanted to learn how to sew. I would help her but I’ve had quite a run in with a sewing machine that involved me at nine months pregnant, a fire truck, and kittens batting around the thread dangling from my index finger. Yes, I think lessons from Grandma or Joanne’s might be appropriate here.

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The girls found a hidden treasure at the museum. Who knew that a quaint space under a stairwell could hold so much potential for fun? They did!

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One of A’s favorite sculptures

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Here she is looking at a painting and saying, “Look at how many naked people are in this painting!”

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And more pics if their favorite art pieces:

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The Giraffe Juxtaposition

Having children in a year-round school has it’s pros and cons.

Cons:
- Having kids on different schedules. The girls are year-round but my son started junior high this year so there are three months of the year when one school is in session while the other is not.
– Having ME on a different schedule. I am on a different track than the girls!

Pros:
+ Kids are more likely to retain information over a shorter time span between grade levels.
+ Less burnout because kids (and teachers!) get regular breaks during the school year.

But the biggest pro of all is…

+ Making the most of the days that we are both off.

On this day, I took the girls to the zoo. We met another family who is on the same schedule as the girls. We brought our lunches and had a wonderful picnic in the zoo.

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The Vegan Variance

When we were stationed in Virginia nine years ago, I was everything. I worked full-time as a first grade teacher and took care of our two preschool age children by myself. R was hardly home and by hardly I mean roughly forty eight hours every six weeks or so when he wasn’t deployed for seven months at a time. I had to shop for our groceries and cook and clean and dozens of other tasks that single parents have to do alone.

Only I was still married. I started to think of myself as a married single parent. {Keep thinking about it. It will make sense soon.}

I found a routine for ourselves that worked. Sure, we ate out a couple of times a week but in an effort to not totally fill our diets with junk and to save money, we mostly ate at home.

We were pretty healthy. Veggies with every meal. Milk for the kids at every meal. Very little juice and very little carbs. Fruit for snacks. I started using the phrase “Sometimes Food” so that we wouldn’t think of certain foods as forbidden though the gamut of all sugar should be forbidden to me indefinitely.

I noticed that our meals mostly revolved around chicken or fish and rice. I liked eating red meat but didn’t care to purchase or prepare the fare; as a result, I learned to live without it. I rarely drank milk but I have been lactose intolerant all of my life.

Lately it’s been hard to avoid red meat simply because R enjoys grocery shopping and cooking. After all of the years we lived apart, he missed cooking for us. Who am I to keep a man from his dreams?

And also I’m lazy.

But being lazy has its downside.

I can’t control my food portions especially since the food is so delicious and made just for me! How do I say no to that?

About a month ago R had a very busy week at school which meant I took over the kitchen. I had the freedom to buy and prepare whatever I wanted. It wasn’t that R was anti-vegan yes he was, it’s just that he’d rather eat meat.

With turning forty in the month ahead and upon reflection of the plethora of health ailments from my parents, I started watching documentaries like Forks Over Knives with a keen interest in reversing what damage may have already occurred. What damage may be ahead.

Prior to my takeover, I talked to R about my concerns over our diet and my addiction to sugar. I wanted to change now so that ten to fifteen years from now I won’t have serious talk with my doctor about I needed to overhaul my lifestyle! We came to simple and completely doable solutions:

We would add more and quality vegetables to each meal.
We would have delicious fruits available at all times.
We would eat more fish and add a couple of meatless meals to our weekly meal plan.
I would talk to my mom about not bringing desserts over all if the time.

{More about Grandma in a future post. Oh, grandmas and their incessant need to spoil their grandchildren… which is totally fine but we do not need a new cheesecake and/or a dozen donuts in our house every day of the week and yes, this happened happens less frequently.}

We reasoned that by following those guidelines, we would have less room in our bellies for unhealthy foods.

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R made this salad with fresh tomatoes from my mom’s garden.

I began preparing more vegetables and cautiously served salads at dinner. Our kids weren’t anti-salad yes they were, it’s just that they hadn’t been exposed to different types of salads. While all of my meals were totally vegan, most of theirs weren’t. I splurged on delicious, ripe fruit and bought A LOT of it. So much that our counters looked like a fruit stand.

The verdict?

Thumbs up all around.

This isn’t to say we are totally perfect. Oh, far from it, but it is easier to bounce back to healthier habits than it used to be. We’re learning to get rid of the guilt of not eating better; by understanding that, it makes it so much easier to move on and try better the next time.

And me? Am I still vegan?

I did really well the first month, allowing 3-4 carefully selected meals that were not vegan. I ran a mile without stopping for the first time in months and this after only a week of cutting sugar and meat products! I am now up to 5 miles a day 3 times a week. I didn’t even notice the first few nights that I did not take my antidepressants. I took them every other day and finally stopped altogether.

And then the school year started. A colleague at my new school passed away suddenly. I had the opportunity to work with him during long term job in sixth grade. He was still young, only fifty-five when he passed, and he biked to and from work several times a week (roughly twenty miles one way?). I hadn’t had too much time to process it because just a couple of days before he was congratulating me on getting a contract and I was listening to his sarcastic comments under his breath during our staff meeting.

He passed away the day before our school year started. The entire campus, or rather the entire district, was devastated. District psychologists were brought in for the first few weeks to help his students and our staff cope with this sad and sudden departure. Flowers came from schools around the district.

Add to that my, ahem, monthly woman friend came to visit.

Well, well, well. What do we have here?

We have me. A woman trying to navigate through her new job. A woman who stopped running altogether for four days because there have been two violent crimes committed in our area. A woman who has been saying EFF IT to her diet because what else can she do?

Me who loves her job and loves learning something new about her profession all the time. Me who despite eating two fracking slices of three meat pizza still took the giant puppy on a five mile jog around the neighborhood. {He looks scary; that is, when I’m not tripping over him and when he’s not running away from chihuahuas.} Me who still can’t quite let go of her sugar addiction but knows that there will be more opportunities to make better choices tomorrow.

Yep, that’s me.

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Above: chocolate peanut butter tofu pie. Below: BBQ Vermicelli from Loving Hut. I could not believe how delicious this was!

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Delicious lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. Chef honored my “no cheese” request. I think you’ll like it too!

The Sac-Con Convention

It started in April. I didn’t think it was a big deal.

Boy, was I wrong.

The huge Comic Con in San Diego was curious but I thought it was too expensive, too crowded, and indeed the most hipster way possible, too mainstream. So when the local comic con came to my attention, we thought WHY NOT?

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I don’t know too much about Wizard World, only that this year was the first in Sacramento and next year should be even bigger.

We went on two separate days and the kids got really into to it. The oldest M cosplayed as the Eleventh Doctor and as Darryl from The Walking Dead. The youngest L dressed as her favorite My Little Pony and as Merida from the movie Brave. We all picked up a cute souvenir (note to self: make sure each child earns his/her own money to buy what they want) and while we did pick up one thing for each child, I imagine it will get more expensive as this convention is the first of three we are attending this year!

R came with us the first afternoon it opened and he will never do that again. While we all had a wonderful time people watching and finding unique posters, t- shirts, and collectibles that only die hard fandoms would appreciate, the crowds and noise were still too much for him.

The oldest and youngest came back with me the following day and they had a blast, especially since they changed their cosplay! They both got stopped by other convention goers so families, children, and other cosplayers could take their picture with them.

Recently we went to Sac Con. This convention was much smaller but the best parts of people watching, geek t-shirt acquiring, and socializing were the same.

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I picked up this awesome shirt

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And used my teaching powers for good as in, “Please sign this postcard for my class!”

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After hearing it was for a classroom, the Power Rangers Samurai did one better and all signed a poster for free! Wow! I will never stop talking about their kindness and commitment to children long after their show has ended!

Next month we are heading to Sac Anime which reminds me… We have to get our costumes ready!

The Giants Excitation

Thanks to Operation Care and Comfort we were able to watch our third San Francisco Giants game for free.

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R was unable to attend the game so he rested… at my niece’s apartment while she took his place! The last game he came to was really difficult for him, especially with his PTSD and anxiety issues, but he really wanted to try just for us. I’m really proud of how far he has come but part of all of this is knowing his limits. Maybe a smaller venue for him next time. I have faith that he will keep trying.

The kids and I were ready with our fan gear… only to find that they had a huge sale going on outside of the stadium! The kid got this beanie for only $3! It was a hit!

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Also we stood in line to win more free Giants gear. I think I may be raising some Giants fans…

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The Aquarium of the Bay Reaction

Like most families, we try to stick to a budget. We will go out to eat once or twice a week but that’s our cheap fast food indulgence. Once in a while, we will splurge on a great sushi place or a nice sit-down at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Last week I got free tickets to a San Francisco Giants game from this wonderful organization. Since we were at Disneyland only a couple of weeks ago, we decided that we would go sight-seeing at Fisherman’s Wharf but forego a visit to Aquarium of the Bay.

And then this happened.

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{In case you’re wondering, my husband’s contact name says “The Luckiest Man in the World” and also he does not have a smart phone. I do an impression of him texting and it goes like this: BOOP BOOP BOOP BOOP BOOP BOOP BOOP…}

We saved about thirty bucks by buying our tickets from MWR. Also, we packed a ton of fruit, chips, juice boxes, and water. We ate at Burger King for lunch. The boy and I picked up sushi from the comissary; vegetarian rolls for me and the boy still ate more at BK!

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Yes, I caved. The girls go back to school in less than two weeks which makes for a very short summer break. I think I made the right call.

And also, we aren’t going out to eat for a while.