Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Well shit.

On February 20th I handed my teenage son his first iphone. I should add with great trepidation. I had a lot of reservation but the bottom line for me, was the fact that I don't believe kids need to have the Internet at their fingertips.  Shit, half of the people I know don't need it and would probably make better company if they didn't have it. Reluctantly I gave in. No reason why, it was there, so I gave it to him.

Call me crazy.

Call me a clairvoyant.

February 22,  my son gave out his number to someone he "knows" through Instagram and almost immediately we saw the magnitude of the mistake.

I will take you back.

This person, who is probably 50 years old, befriended my son through IG a while back. Like so many "followers" you don't really investigate. I check and see who he is following because up until last week, I had no reason to think it mattered who was looking at his pictures. Originally I thought he would be safe as long as he was following "safe" people. Skaters, friends, Kashimo...

This thing that we are dealing with has legs like you would not believe. We are finding out, left and right I might add, how very susceptible our kid is. How very easy it is for even the "good" kids to get taken.

I say "good kids" not because I think my guy's is perfect. He is a kid, he has his days. But he is not one of those kids on IG tagging everything in sight to get followers. He isn't obsessed with that part of it. He really likes just taking weird videos with his friends and photos of his dog. He is not a typical kid online. Not for his age, so I guess what I am saying is I thought he was aware.

Well... he is now.

I hate to get all serious, as that is something I usually am not. I like to live free and not have too much drama or heavy stuff in my life but lately it is all around but unlike the other crap, this is important.

This is heavy. If you have a child, I suggest you read it, forward it, post it, share it and not because I am an awesome writer but because this wasn't going to happen to us. We were "prepared", we talked about this kind of stuff. Privacy and all of that but what I am learning about teenagers or kids in general- you kind of have to think of everything and if you don't- welp!, there's a window.

So I am sharing.

The "friendship" started with a common interest and comments went back and forth on pictures but if I am being honest, this guy commented way too much. He was like one of those people that introduces themselves by saying "I'm not a stalker..." we get that a lot. Anyway, then one day he PM'd my son. Private message for those who are still under that rock. After that he PM'd him a few more times, then he sent him a picture of his phone number and said he would send him a new phone case for his new iphone. This was the first time I knew he was "talking" to this guy. I didn't know it was a PM though, I saw the pic and the comment and we joked (Q and I) because Q had also, the day before, posted a message from Amazon about something he had ordered not coming until April, only problem was the message also included our address. I let him off the hook because it was an easy mistake. We laughed and said "well, he's go your address". Seriously, when I think back I see the magnitude. They (I) say "kids are dumb" but I now feel really dumb.

The guy was not on my radar at all and maybe he didn't need to be but I believe when you, a grown "man" ask a kid to text you, you have crossed the line. You are up to no good. You should know better and if you don't- well, if this guy didn't, he does now.

I wanted to share this because I believe that kids are really, really smart but at the same time, they are really really stupid. Just like us. They think something is harmless and then in an instant everything changes. I am the kind of parent that I like to teach my child about things that happen, without them always having to go through that thing. I grew up going through everything and I felt beat up a lot as a kid- I wanted better. This is something I felt was in my job description. I felt like I had this covered.

I failed.

Looking through this guys IG, he follows mostly young boys. He comments on his pictures a lot about being on the "sofa" and upon further investigation I noticed he goes to kids pages and tags other creepy guys, so that they will be made aware of the kids page. Some of the pages look like they are dummy pages for pedophiles. Like for REAL. It's all I can think about. What if he would have sent Q a picture of himself. Of something disgusting?

I would destroy him.

I know who this guy is. I know where he lives. If he ever contacts my child again I will absolutely plaster his name everywhere. Especially with the police.

After cutting ties with this freak, he posted this passive aggressive IG about how 'if you are going to post stuff on IG don't be shocked when people reply, that is what's supposed to happen'.
I know it was directed toward my child and it makes my skin crawl all over again. He didn't just reply to a post, he reached out privately to a child. A CHILD! When my son and I talked about it we were discussing how when he was little it was all "don't take candy from strangers". This guy knows teens don't want candy, so he offers something else. It is the same damn thing.

If I am wrong about this guy. I don't care.

I am pretty solid on my Momdar and it went off when I was privy to the fact that this guy asked for my sons number. As soon as I heard it I was seeing 100% clear on the matter. I'm grossed out. I am sick to my stomach and I have learned, along with my son, a very valuable lesson.

They say no harm no foul but I kinda beg to differ.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I don't like surprises.

I have never really been on the receiving end of any amazing ones, although one time my friends and I were celebrating my birthday and my Mom and sister showed up. In Michigan. Unannounced. I think it was my 23 birthday. It was not such a good surprise. I mean it was good to see them, of course but I think there were  about 12 naked people in the hot tub- girls from my work... which was another surprise (more for them than me) they found out where I really worked. Ha! Good times.
So yeah... in general, I don't love surprises.

They are usually not purely a surprise and the thought of acting like you had no idea is not that appealing. Or like the above. What do you do when the surprise isn't good? What do you do with all of that?

The other thing that comes to my mind is the thought that you could have made it better. That is such a woman thing to think but I am being honest. Sometimes surprises aren't good for lackluster planning skills or bad timing OR the person throwing the surprise for you is really the one wanting the attention.
That is the worst.

I am thinking about surprises because I am planning a rather big one soon. It has been awhile since I have had the energy to even think about something fun, let alone pull it off. When you have kids it is hard to plan it all and the thought of putting in all the work for it to just get canceled at the last minute keeps me from really diving in. But I guess that is life, right? You have to either shit or get off the pot. Is that the saying? It's gross but I love it.

I am going to shit. I am not going to just get off the pot without shitting.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Why aren't we talking about this?

Recently it has been brought to my attention that people are not blogging/talking about teenagers anymore. How there's so much information when you have a little person and then once they get a little older, oh say 12, 13, 14... we are all left in the dark.

Now I am not sure what the ratio of parenting books for little vs teens happens to be but I know the exact answer as to why there isn't much chatter about this species.

They are all assholes.

I am not even kidding.

I have one of the sweetest kids on the planet. Even at 13 he is really one of the best. He doesn't cuss, he still wants to play board games, he is really comfortable with himself so he doesn't constantly get into trouble pretending to be someone else (which isn't the case for most teens). So I really think of myself and ourselves as lucky to have him. He is our first teen. My husband and I are learning so much about what is to come. We have 3 kids! We need all the lessons we can get.
But still. He is an asshole.

There's a certain time in a kids life when they go from being really awesome 80-90% of the time and then they have their bratty 10-20% of the time to a swift shut down. (Averages may vary:). Around 12 you see the change, however subtle it seems as first, it will soon kick your ass. There is a little more crying (for no reason) there are new battles (forgetting everything) and the laziness kicks in. Like real, honest to goodness laziness.

By their 13th birthday you have 100%, pure grade A assholes.

I get it though. It wasn't THAT long ago. I do remember thinking I knew everything and feeling like the adults in my life didn't know what the hell they were talking about (which, hey, maybe they didn't). I do get it. But THIS is why no one talks about it. You aren't "allowed" to call your kid an asshole.
But... I'll be honest. I do. I am a straight shooter. I tell him to shut up when he is poppin' off and I call him an asshole (no, not an "A hole") when he is being a teenager... oh wait.
Not all the time (all the time), not every single day (every single day).

I love my kid(s). Don't get me started but I would like to just put it out there that this is why we don't read endless blogs about the amazing life of a Mother of a teen. There are no articles that post "Top ten Christmas gifts for your teenager.". It ain't happenin, I dont have a single book about this glorious phase (please tell me its just a phase). Maybe I should write one?

Chapter 3, "It's a phase, stand your ground and love them."
Translation, "He's a dick,  you're the boss, try not to slap him."


Day 3

Okay. It pains me to say this but this does not suck.

My son, Quattro and I have two days of vegan (plant based) eating under our belts.
This thing all started when I was reading about Jay Z and Beyonce going on a 21 day vegan "cleanse".
You can read all about it in a previous post, but basically I challenged myself after a friend pointed out how easy this diet/cleanse/whatever would be for someone like them. They don't shop, cook, clean or have to wrangle the whole deal with their kids climbing up their leg while they are trying to rinse the quinoa or the fact that they don't have three kids that need to eat before they have time to make their "green monster" drink.

SO, anyway... I got to thinking that it must be hard for people, normal people, to get this kind of lifestyle under their belts. Whether it be for a lifetime or for a little time. I have been on a quest to find something that will help me lose weight, as with my third child I just sort of got stuck with some lbs that I loathe. I don't hate the way I look but this is not my body... it just isn't.

Okay. Back to the food.

I went to the store set out to fill my house with things that are strictly plant based and living in Seattle, there are so many options, it is a wonder why it would ever be a problem. The closer I looked at stuff labeled "vegan" and "gluten free", I noticed that it was full of other crap. Chemicals in fact. So this quickly changed the way I wanted to do things. I went from being curious about ready to eat, so I could actually accomplish this "challenge", to knowing that I would be making everything.  Like, everything.
My diet is consisting of almond, rice and soy milk. I use it to make things more than eat, so I know that I am getting calcium but there's nothing like cow milk. I love it. Lots of greens. Spinach to cooking nad for the morning smoothie. Quinoa and lots and lots of veggies and beans.
I made a huge batch of hummus. I didn't have any tahini so I just used a little grape seed oil and 2 lemons, roasted red pepper. It was amazing. I am eating some right now with plantain chips and carrots.

I am going to stop right here and just say that I know how this sounds. It sounds crazy and a month ago I never thought about animal products being "bad" and I don't think they are bad but I do think (hope) that they are linked to my lack of weight loss. That is what this is about. I want to shed pounds to feel better. My baby is 20 months old. I am still breastfeeding so dieting isn't something I feel comfortable doing- I don't believe diets work. I think if you change the problem you change the outcome.
Will I become vegan forever. No. Probably not. Will I have a better sense of what is working for my body and what isn't? I hope so.

So back to the food...

Starting with cheese. There are many vegan "cheese" products and they sound disgusting. After a little research I found that if you soak cashews (or any raw nut) that you can blend the shit out of it with some nutritional yeast (weird?) and a little water and lemon, you can have some "veese" as we are calling it. It is gross right off the bat but when you get it nice and cold, it changes it's texture and therefore the experience is better. It's rich and that is a good sub for cheese. Is it better? Hell no.

Sauteed cabbage is one of my favorite things. I slice it thick and use balsamic and oil and put it with everything. Over quinoa is my favorite right now.
Yesterday we made split pea "stew". I used one whole sweet onion with olive oil and chili powder. I added two sweet potatoes, a bag of dried split peas, large can of my favorite tomatoes, 4 cups of water and it was amazing. Amazing. The kids made crispy cornbread, so we all ate vegan and gluten free and it was simply delicious. (the only thing we did different was when we flipped it, I put it directly on the oven rack and let it broil until it was starting to char- about 8 minutes).

I have three kids, so ridding my house of dairy, meat and wheat isn't something I can do. Although we do eat a relatively clean diet, animal products are a plenty. Kids drink milk, eat yogurt by the tub. And cheese? Please. It goes on everything. So this journey is more about not eating it than not having it. Making the kids eggs in the morning is rough and the quesadilla was looking pretty good but I am determined to make this work. I want to know if it works.

The one thing I know for sure is that I feel less bloated. That's gross but I do. My stomach feels lighter and I am not lacking energy at all. I need to drink more water, I need to do that for sure.

Stay tuned.

Go check out our family podcast on itunes, The Spaghetti Family Podcast and visit our website too!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I have figured out the worst part about being a full time, seemingly single parent of three kids.
Up until this recent discovery (epiphany?) I kinda thought I shaved the "worst parts" into a mere drag... but then it hit me. The worst part is not having time to do fucking anything.

Like really. I don't have time to do anything that doesn't revolve around them. I don't get to have a cup of coffee without someone climbing on me, leaving me to set my cup out of reach, and subsequently out of mind, which leads me to warming it up 3 times and then it is a cup of crap with scalded cream and that filthy scum on the top.

Ha. Gross.

Most importantly I don't have time to write. And write is what I do.
I don't really like to say "have" time in my real life. I think if you make time it's important and see that is another epiphany. I am totally going against something I feel strongly about. I think when people say "I didn't have time to shop for your birthday present" or "I didn't have time to stop by" or call or... 
I think they are all full of shit. And for anyone who knows me, knows that I either MAKE the time, or I don't. 

So here I am sounding like a drab, idiotic "housewife" which I am so not. I relate to the term housewife just as much as I do, astronaut. I have a house and I am a wife, but I am many, many things and a writer is one. It is THE one. It is the only thing about myself, my true self that I really believe in. I will do it when I am old, I have been writing since I was young. Making up stories, writing about my life. I go to sleep a writer and I wake up a better writer but the problem I am facing is that I don't have... er, I mean make the time to write, so in a sense I am a... dare I say it? 

I am nothing? 

I cannot seem to make the time and I am becoming afraid that I will only be able to make that time when my children are all grown up and moved out of the house and then I think about all the amazing shit I wanted to write about. I mean, parenting is to a writer what crack is to a crackhead. 

It's good. 

When I do MAKE time to write, which is usually at odd times of the night, I am so god damn tired whatever it is I am writing is so sub par. And I think it is complete crap. Such crap that sometimes when I pull out the computer and grab a seat I just think, "Ah, fuck it." and I close the computer and hope the next time goes better.

It's sort of like sex. You know when you are really in the mood and you are standing in line to get coffee? Then once you get home, have dinner, get the kids to bed and MAKE time to have the sex- you aren't as good as you would have been earlier.

Ya. It's like that. 

So that is what I need to do for myself. Write when it strikes and apparently have sex while in line for coffee.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jay Plea- Z

So I have been reading and watching all the "news" (ha!) about Beyonce and JayZ's diet. Their vegan diet to be exact. I guess they went on a 22 day vegan diet to better their health and after reading about it, I have come to the conclusion it is to better their wealth.

I know what you are thinking, "OF COURSE IT IS!" but I am just a ridiculous consumer and I will believe stuff like that. My cousin is vegan (like a real vegan) and so this didn't sound insane to me really, I am all for wellness. Mental and physical. I am currently on the quest to lose the rest of my baby weight. I will be real, I weighed 190 when I had Z. 190!! I am pretty comfortable at 140-145 lbs normally and lets just say I have a ways to go. Like a long ways.

So I have begun my quest to find a better way to lose weight and to just be healthier in general. When you have a kid you slowly start to think about all of that, when you have 3 you quickly realize you need to be on top of your game and I have found myself out of steam sometimes.

I have no interest in dieting. Like weight watchers and that stuff. No thanks. No judgement but no thanks. I like to eat healthy. I am not a label reader nazi but that is because I usually don't buy things with too many things on the label. We eat a lot of whole foods (don't interpret Whole Foods the grocery store- that's for another blog. We like to call it "Whole Paycheck")
Anyway, I make 3 meals a day but we aren't opposed to ordering pizza, grabbing Chinese or cereal for dinner. I am healthy, not crazy. I don't buy a lot of candy but that doesn't mean I don't like candy.

But it has occurred to me (the last time I put on my, snug, size 10/12 jeans) that I might need to do a little something extra. The first and most obvious thing was to stop ordering pizza for dinner. Done. I no longer picked up take out and I stopped eating cereal altogether. Like seriously. I stopped eating bread. I thought it would be hard but turns out it really isn't. I still eat whatever meat and dairy I want so I am doing pretty good. Oh and I stopped sugar. That was tougher. I use that super yummy (crappy) creamer in my coffee. I put sugar in my tea (and milk). So that was rough but after a day or two it wasn't so bad. I miss tortillas. Today I made the kids some quesadillas for lunch and snuck a bite or two and it was so good. BUT I am on a mission. I am on a m=other fucking mission.

Do I want to be a gluten free, sugar free, vegan? No.

Do I think I should try it? Yes.

Back to Jay Z.

So I am reading about this vegan 22 day diet and I am thinking this guy is pretty great. He was turning 44 and he just wanted to give his body a flush. He wanted to cleanse himself of animal products, what he was doing (with his lady) sounded cool. It wasn't a diet bar they were trying to sell. There were no meals that would get delivered to my house... I thought it was a real thing. Real people doing a real thing and I liked it.

Then my friend started pointing out that they have chefs and nannies and they don't go shopping or clean up. This is something that they can do because someone does it for them... she was right. She IS right. They don't have to do anything and so I was immediately challenged. I was immediately in.

With more investigation I have found out that J & B are probably doing this for money. Their friend hosts this website that IS THE 22 DAY VEGAN CHALLENGE. Say what now?
You mean they are not only NOT doing this all themselves, the cooking, cleaning, shopping (with kids)... AND THEY ARE GETTING PAID?!

Well shit.
Lucky them.

I'm not. Or, I am. I am not getting paid and I am doing it alone.
22 days? Probably not. 7? Hell yes.

Tonight I bought every vegan item I could find. I am actually surprised at everything out there. But that sort of takes away from my low processed food. Everything is made from plants into something else, so it is really processed. Or it can be.
I didn't buy the butter. I use coconut oil instead of butter already. And I LOVE butter but CO is better for me. I heard there is a cheese that is pretty good, but the two words "pretty good" better be no where near my cheese. I love cheese and I would rather go without.

I bought an ass load of veggies. Zucchini, spinach, carrots, broccoli. Lentils and beans, some tofu... the milks they have out there. I love the coconut milk by Silk, its so good. SO GOOD. Like a dessert.

Anyway, I am starting on Monday.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Carrot, ginger dressing.

Hey guys! So I have been busy holding down the fort and trying to keep up with
which is our website and a great way to listen to the podcast!
Anyway, the other day I posted a pick of this amazing ginger, carrot dressing and was asked to post the recipe. Which I love and I wish I would do it more. I am a pretty decent cook but the main problem is that I make everything up, I only follow recipes when it comes to baking because I am not so good at that. Baking is a science and cooking is an art. Get it? Good.

So here goes.

I used my Cuisinart with the shredder blade attached at first then I changed blades at the end to official pulverize the shit out of it.

2 carrots (I was going to use 3 but Elvis and I ate the other one)
2" of ginger peeled (if you don't know, you can use a spoon to scrap the peel off. Sometime when you cut it you lose a lot of ginger)
1 lg shallot
1-1.5 T tamari (aged soy sauce, which is just fine but you should try tamari)
1/2 cup good olive oil or grape seed
1/4 cup (or to taste) of seasoned rice wine vinegar (you can use any light vinegar, even reg vinegar but you will need to add some garlic powder and maybe a hint of cumin if you do)
2 T honey

So shred the carrots, ginger, shallot. If any chunks remain, it will blend in the end. If they get stuck on the top of the blade, just open it up and send them back through.
Change blades.
Add spices if needed.
with the machine running, through the top add the vinegar, tamari and honey.
Scrape down sides.
Then turn it back on and add the oil (while running).
You may need to add a bit more acid if it is too oily or the other way around. Like I said, I don't use a measuring spoon or cup at all when I cook so it is a (good) guess-timate.

I used it on a salad that night then the next day I added it to tuna (instead of mayo,etc) and it was amazing. AMAZING!

Oh yeah, I am on a clean diet. Staying away from sugar and gluten and all processed foods. It is easier than I thought but I'm only on day 2. Time to lose the baby weight!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Mother, the monster and everything between.

It always happens like this. Eddie is home and at first it takes us all awhile to get into a groove, then once we are- we are a well oiled machine. We all work together and we are amazing, it's as if we do it everyday of our lives.

But we don't.

Truth is, he is gone a lot more than he is here. He is always a strong force for us as a family, but present he is not. It's not tragic but it is difficult. It is sad. Oh man, is it ever sad.
The kids faces at dinner when they glance over to the calendar and see the impending "Daddys' trip" just a mere days away from that day. To have Elvis ask "will you be gone a lot of days?" and Quattro ask if we are going to fly out to any shows... more and more the answer has been "no". For a lot of reasons really but mostly financial. To be honest, them are just the facts.

But we make it through the conversation. We don't shy away or change the subject. Ever. It is unrealistic to think we can do what we do and keep things from them. I have a 5 week calendar on the fridge and as soon as the impending travel day is up, it is up. I can't imagine sneaking anything past these kids. I can't imagine holding back. Even though there are a LOT of questions and sometimes few versions of an answer, I feel like since this is our situation, since this is the life we are raising them in- we owe it to them to keep it real. But then the week before he leaves turns into days and I see how quickly the days will turn into hours- I freeze.

I am stuck between keeping the machine running or just pulling my parking break and stepping away from the day to day. I feel like I can try to save my gas so I can start up the single Mom again, without having to suffer. It is always my plan to just relax and have tea all day in bed, writing for hours, researching for even more hours. Watching crappy TV, going to the movies that will go by the wayside when he leaves. It is a bit like a vacation for when he is home. My time to get a little selfish and I am not without guilt but I have gotten better at it. It has gotten easier to let myself off the hook. I pretty much give up everything from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. when he's gone. I am the mother, the monster and everything in between.  I fear if I didn't take advantage (guilt or no guilt) I would not be as good as I am . I know it is not PC to say you are good at something- maybe PC is the wrong category but you know, as women, we usually downgrade ourselves constantly. We are too fat, too slow, too tired, too everything. That is exhausting to me.

I am really good at what I do and I am adding to that list every day. I am not as satisfied with the way some things are and that is not to say that they are bad but I believe satisfaction can only come within. Which is why we are planning our journey next year.

If you don't know, Eddie and I are taking the kids and will be touring for a year. When the band is off we will go do whatever the fuck we want. No school, less bills. The world (US in general) is our oyster. In that time, he will be writing a new album and I will be writing a (second) book. I will self publish my short children's book this summer and begin my journey as a real god damn writer. My book will start with the first say on the road and go all the way back.

I can't wait.

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