Whole30 Week 1: Feeling great!

I have a feeling going into Week 2 of my Whole30 will start to open up some mental margin to think about and do normal things like work out more regularly, clean house, do laundry and, heck – blog and find my dead people!

It sounds ridiculous, but this Whole30 thing has taken a serious chunk of time – at least at the outset.

Note to self: If I had to do it over again, I’d pre-cook meals or staples before starting Whole30.

First: Lessons learned

My challenges so far have been mostly logistical. I’d pre-cooked some different foods during my first week, but when I ran out of food Saturday after we’d come home from church, I ran out good – everything at the same time.

¡Ay, ay, ay!

At this rate, I feel like I’ll learn at least one valuable lesson each week. Hopefully, I’ll learn each lesson only once.

whole30-week1

My meals looked a lot the same last week, but they were colorful, balanced and super-yummy.

Anyway, the way I’ve done meal prep so far is to pre-cook different meats so I wouldn’t feel like my choices were terribly restricted – basically, so I could feel as “normal” as possible about food choices. This was my way of looking at Whole30 as a set of guidelines rather than a bunch of really strict rules.

I prepped chicken and steak last week, adding sweet potatoes (my go-to staple for sustained energy, especially on tennis days), hash browns and sautéed veggies for starters.

I also tried these awesome, Whole30-compliant hot dogs in case I get caught in a pinch. That’s a big deal for someone who doesn’t eat hot dogs.

This week, I have pulled pork and will also cook up some ground beef, both for use in lettuce wraps, salads or possibly even stuffed peppers. I’ve laid off the hard-boiled eggs at the weekend but use them a lot during the work week. Tomorrow, I may take them to work as part of a niçoise salad I can assemble there.

Pre-fab recipes vs pre-cooked staples

I admit, my approach may be a little too shoot-from-the-hip for some people. There are meal plan calendars out there, if you need more structure.

My hubby tells me I need to make a bunch of recipes from the Whole30 book, which I totally agree with – once I feel more secure about having choices in pre-cooked meats.

Feels like I’m rounding the corner

I feel like things are changing. I know I’ve already lost water weight – not a permanent loss (bummer), but it does give me more physical comfort.

I’m really hoping the ketosis switch is about to go off, if it hasn’t already:

  • I noticed the other day my headaches have stopped, so I feel better and better every day.
  • My hubby tells me my energy level seems to be going up, too. Also a good sign.
  • I’m forgetting about food or hunger now, and that’s new. My energy remains strong now until my body tells me it’s time to eat.

It’s also important to be learning the type of planning that works for me – and what I’d do differently if I did this again. But I’m mostly hoping the main switch that goes off is one of lifestyle change.

It’s not that we ate horribly before, but aside from learning new cooking techniques, I also love learning how to make simple things, full of flavor and healthy benefits. Yes, the grocery bill has gone up, but so has my energy level. That’s the best part so far.

I can also feel my clothes fitting looser (I’m not allowed to weigh myself during my Whole30), although I suspect that is mostly water weight.

My sleep wasn’t a problem before, but I’m really snoozing well now. And I feel rested when I wake up in the morning.

I know you didn’t ask, but I would want to be aware of this if I were considering doing Whole30: Thanks to a cheapo form of “Bulletproof coffee” (I use coconut oil in mine), a balance of fibrous and starchy carbs and the almighty prune, my bowel movements seem to be normalizing after a few uncomfortable days. Many people complain of this going on much longer, so I feel fortunate.

Coming up: The true test

It’s a good thing I’m feeling an energy boost and some sense of normalcy with my diet, because next week it all gets put to the test when I go visit my mom. Can’t wait to see how that goes.

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Corners

house-appartement-corner-pmg

Corners are meant for one thing – for getting around to another side. They’re made for turning.

I’ve encountered lots of corners lately, and I’ve been trying to make sense of them the last few weeks.Here are a few of them and what I’ve learned.

  • Cooking: On a limited budget, you get better at a lot of DIY things. My experience making meals from food we grow has been so great. I’m so glad we know what it’s like to know the benefits of fresh, garden-to-table food. Even for meals that don’t come from the garden, I’ve found cooking to be incredibly relaxing.
  • Sewing/Making: Something I never thought I’d take on, especially since I’m building on skills I first gained in, oh, 7th grade. Time to quilt is getting slimmer, but I am promising myself that I’ll make it work. I plan to keep that promise.
  • Writing/Blogging: One of my best experiences in recent years. For all the hiccups that can cause someone to come to a full stop when blogging, my activity has slowed a lot lately (more about why in a minute), but I have no intention of stopping. I just hope Poor Mexican Gone will keep being about learning, discovery and connecting dots.
  • Employment : You may know I’ve been freelancing for the better part of the last handful of years – something that followed me more than I pursued it. Still, I took it as a smile from God during a season of intense questioning of my identity.

Which leads me to this: I start a new job at the end of the month. As good as freelancing has been for my freedom, healing and, heck, my tennis game, I’ve truly missed the social interaction that comes with being part of a team. So I’m joining one.

It’s not just one corner that led me to this. It’s more like a long series of four corners. You might even call it a full circle.

After a busy freelance season this summer that included shotgun international travel, it’s time to settle into a job offered to me on that trip. I couldn’t be more pleased, humbled and grateful.

I fully expect to pivot around a few more corners in my lifetime, but for now, this one is a great turn at a great time and, I hope, with the potential for great impact in the lives of others.

Chip off the old block

My mom works hard. As in, she works hard at her job. And she’s 82, going on 83 (I like to talk about age like a first-grader; it’s more fun).

Not only has she worked since she was 12 (you could call it child labor, but she would probably just call it survival); she still shows up 4-5 days a week at my brother’s tennis retail store to manage his bookkeeping and vendors.

When I call my mom during the day, she’s usually at work. Being “all business” like she is, she doesn’t have much time to talk. Usually she just wants to get back to her duties.

Thinking back through my career, I was much the same way – all business. I was “in the zone” all day, every day, sometimes even on weekends. If I got a phone call between meetings, it was always brief. Or maybe it was just me who was brief. Yikes.

Anyway, it’s a few years later and I feel like I’m just now relearning how and when to draw boundaries around my family life, my marriage and other important relationships so I know what’s important outside “the zone.” Heck, even to remember that there is life outside “the zone.”

I’m also re-learning how to work.

A friend challenged me several years ago to consider that work could actually look different than the traditional 9-to-5 workday. I’d wanted that for years.

Still, I couldn’t get my head around it for me. In fact, it’s taken until now to get the picture. Honestly, I’m surprised I like it. I had no idea I could be that stuck in old ways.

Why did I fight it for so long? I love teams and collaboration, and it has been hard to be alone this much. But the truth is, you can be around people as much or as little as you want when you work on your own. I need to get with that program, too.

Work ethic vs. family: A both/and decision

It’s great to see my parents’ work ethic in myself, especially now, without the distortion I added for so many years.

Going forward, I want to value my own life and my family’s as much as I can — not to mention the limited time we have together, never to be taken for granted.

While working hard is something I love to do, it’s also a means to an end. It’s what allows me the freedom to enjoy the many beautiful relationships in my life. And for that I have a newfound, heartfelt gratitude.

Where the fishies bite

Shore of mountain reservoir with fog rolling in as fisherman waits for catch

A shot of my hubby on the shore, with a snowstorm threatening just beyond.

So I sent the hubby off on his Annual Ice-Out Fishing Trip over a long weekend – the 19th such event. Family and friends from Texas and Colorado met in western Colorado to go on the offensive for some hungry fish.

Little did they know what they’d be up against – because, logistically, something always goes wrong.

Fish Tales ( << I know…like that’s never been done before)

I’ve concluded fishing is like any other sport. It has its own terminology and its it own breed of competition, which includes a certain brand of stories.

For example, if the fish are biting in a certain area, it’s not uncommon – correction, it’s downright custom – not to tell inquirers what the fish are biting on (i.e., lure/bait). I guess it’s the accepted way of protecting the watering hole and tomorrow’s catch.

On the other hand, when one has caught fish, he/she is likely to stretch both story and fish size to nearly unrealistic dimensions.

Lo the angler. He riseth in the morning and upsetteth the whole household.
Mighty are his preparations.
He goeth forth with great hope in his heart — and when the day is far spent he returneth, smelling of strong drink,
and the truth is not in him.

—Unknown

Rain or shine … or snow

Last I’d checked (yesterday morning), there was a winter storm warning, with 6″-12″ of snow predicted for the area where they were fishing. The last time I heard from my hubby, the bites had been few.

Cold fisherman braving snowfall while night fishing. (Not recommended)

Note for 20th Ice Out: Don’t bother fishing in the snow.

And all the fisher guys weren’t even there. One had gotten held up behind an accident on a mountain pass, so he had to spend the night in a nearby town.

This could only mean one thing: a very long weekend, to include multiple stops at various streams on their way home.

As is common with fishing trips, communication between base and the homestead was scarce, so I didn’t hear anything else until they got home this afternoon. And this is what I got:

While the hubs and pops-in-law unloaded the car, I asked hesitantly whether they’d caught anything.

Stranger things have happened

Dad mentioned they’d run into a group of fishermen at a nearby store – 23 of them – who’d just caught over 300 fish in the same area over the weekend. Naturally, I was hopeful our guys had gotten some good intel – and fish – before trip’s end.

To his surprise: “We asked them what the fish were biting on, and they told us!”

Followed by, “We asked them where they were biting, and they told us!”

I know now it was the truth, because tonight my hubs just vacuum-packed over a dozen speckled trout – the largest at about 16″. Whew! They didn’t get skunked by a bunch of fish.

So a good trip all-around. I’m just waiting for the story about “the one that got away” – as in, the 24″ kind.

The Big Cabin

Next year is The Big One – the 20th Annual Ice Out. The Big Cabin is reserved, the caps and t-shirts are being brainstormed. Other than that, I haven’t a clue what that this means in fishing terms. I’m sure there will be some great stories, though.

There is life after a layoff

doctor-is-inIt has been a week.

A number of my friends and former colleagues were laid off. Some saw it coming, but I think many didn’t.

And just like that, it felt like old times. Having an open door, (OK, a phone, texting and Facebook) being the sounding board, fielding lots of questions. Why? Who? When? How?

In the end, when a layoff happens to you, all that really matters is What.

Having been there not once, but three times – twice in the last few years – it’s hard not to feel their pain. And surprisingly, at first it was hard not to relive my own.

Thankfully, getting to the other side does happen. It takes time, healing, rest, resetting and, most importantly, getting back up and dusting ourselves off.

Also in there somewhere , but absolutely necessary, is re-prioritizing. Values change, focus changes and, eventually, we learn how to negotiate back into our lives the prerequisite margin we need to live life fully – preferably more fully than before.

Ultimately, though, we have to be there for each other. Not only would I never wish a layoff on someone the way they happen these days. I wouldn’t wish on anyone to go through it alone.

It’s not perfect, but it is the first of many

My first quilt ever - and definitely not my last.

My first quilt ever – definitely not my last. Although, I might photograph it differently next time – like with hubby help.

Thanks to those of you who encouraged me to continue growing my new quilting skills.

Feels a little naked to share it here, but on the other hand I’m really proud and happy to have finished it. I’ve heard stories about these things nearly getting sidelined for years because no one likes binding them – or maybe even quilting them (sewing all the layers together).

So here’s the first one in all its glory. I gifted it to my friend’s 2-year-old son, who she said was really happy when he opened it himself (slight exaggeration?).

Aaaand we’re back – back to Braulio

Marriage record for Mariano Cavello and Ambrosia Lesa

Ay, ay, ay.

I think I could be doing this for a long time – this one family member.

It’s OK though. In a month of Aha! moments, I’ll take any clarity on my ancestors I can get.

And whoa is me, I’ve been running down the wrong trail for quite sometime. U-turn!

So why didn’t I think of this before? My paternal great-grandfather Braulio Cabello remains a mystery, but there are two big (I think) hints that have stared me in the face for sometime:

  1. His marriage record cites a Mariano Cavello (Cabello) as his father and Ambrosia Lesa his mother.
  2. His death record, however, cites an Anastacio Cabello as his father and, again, Ambrosia Lesa as his mother. Anastacio (Anastasio), more often than not, goes down in the record books as his dad.

Braulio’s birth/christening record is still AWOL, but now I’m motivated to give it another go by (re)starting with what I already “know.” Even if there’s a discrepancy around his father, it’s one I know about.

This critical link, after all, means we might – juuuuust might – tie back to the founders of San Antonio. There’s lots of cool stuff in that. Maybe we also founded Mi Tierra restaurant. A girl can dream.

Right under my nose

For too long I assumed Braulio’s different father names was just a discrepancy. (What?! Silly me.) Aside from seeing the other side of my family (my mom’s side) and the drama that can happen in the name of love, I also know marriage customs then weren’t what they are now.

For example, when a woman was widowed, often she would marry her brother-in-law. Not sure that’s what happened here (other way around), but now I know exactly where to go and what to do next. I am determined to find out.

And I. Can’t. Wait!