Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday "Art," Happy Thanksgiving, Internet! edition

Oh, just a little something Abby whipped up on a snow day last week.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Care Package Project: November

We did something a little different for our November Care Package Project, because when an opportunity presents itself, you may as well go for it, right?

I did a story not too long ago for the newspaper about Operation Christmas Child, and while I could tell you all sorts of things about the organization, let's keep it simple: People fill shoe boxes with small gifts for a child in need in... I can't remember how many different countries. A lot. 

And P.S., "need" can mean anything from "living in a war torn country" to "suffering from some terrible disease" to "living in extreme poverty" to "dealing with natural disasters" to "homeless" to "orphans. Plus all of the above." It's kind of disheartening, really, because many countries don't have the safety nets we have here in the US--in our small town, we have food banks, an emergency voucher program, safe houses for battered women, a foster care system, mentoring programs, and a warming shelter for the homeless. That doesn't include Christmastime food and gift projects. Not that people don't still slip through the cracks... just that there are many avenues available for help. I (naively, I guess) thought every country had such programs. Apparently, not so.

And one more thing: most of the time, the kids receiving these gifts have never received a present before. In their entire lives. According to the woman I interviewed, giving gifts (especially to children) is unheard of in many parts of the world. It's hard to wrap my mind around that in the very consumer- and child-driven culture I live in.

Well, anyway. Because we have girls, we chose to fill a box for a girl between the ages of 10 and 14. Easy enough, since I have girls who are 9 and 15; I just went for things they'd both enjoy (namely: art supplies). Our Christmas Child program coordinators also provided a list of ideas, which was great--I'd never have thought to include personal hygiene or a sewing kit on my own.

WHY did I not take a photo of Johanna with our little offerings spread around her as she packed them into the box? I was distracted with putting away groceries, that's why. Totally missed an opportunity. But I can show you this:

Figure 1: The top layer. :)

Here's what we packed:
3 pairs of colorful socks
3 sparkly hairbands
Small notebook
Pencil pouch
Colored Pencils
Pencil sharpener
Watercolor paint set
2 glue sticks
3 colorful erasers
Solar powered calculator
Small sewing kit
Bar of soap
Lip balm (in Mickey and Minnie Mouse tubes. Well, why not?)
...And $7 for shipping

Figure 2: All packed up and ready to go.

I didn't have to send it (which always seems to be the downfall of any of our CPPs), but I did have to get it to the drop-off site, one of our local churches, by a certain date. Whew! Made it!

So that's November. Our December CPP will also be a little different... but that's another post for another time. I'm kind of trying to decide if we're going to continue the CPP Revolution in 2015; it's super-fun, but stressful. :) Too bad I only look like I'm organized...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Project 333 month two round-up

Oh, that's just my closet.

Again, I say to you: It's way easier to dress with less in the summer months. I mean, I'm totally dressing with less now that winter has blown in with a vengeance (we went from the 60ºs to the 20ºs in two days, from beautiful blue sky and russet leaves to 7-inches of snow and... well, still russet leaves, which is a nice contrast, I think), but it's different. I'm editing my wardrobe weekly, it seems, because there are things that just do not make sense to hang onto now.

I'm a big fan of decluttering.

Like tank tops. What the hell am I supposed to do with a tank top in the snow? If our office had a heating system worth anything, maybe I could pull it off, but right now I'm wearing fleece-lined tights and long sleeve t-shirts under everything for extra warmth. I feel like a sumo wrestler.

Whatever, I guess.

Here's my original list; October additions are underlined, items ushered to my standing wardrobe to await warmer climes are crossed out, and those now languishing in my Goodwill donate bag are blue, crossed out and italicized. (Overkill?)

Pants: Jeans, black, grey, beige, dark beige
Skirts: Grey, denim, beige, multi-colored t-shirt
Tank tops: Navy, blue multi, orange multi, black/white
Blouses: Grey, black/white, teal, white
Long-sleeve t-shirts: Black, navy, nicer navy, light blue
Sweaters: Teal cardigan, grey turtleneck, grey cardigan, black cardigan, navy cardigan, blue pullover, black turtleneck pullover, grey sweatshirt, plum cardigan, grey stripped pullover, purple zip-up, brick pullover
Jackets: Denim, beige
Scarves: Red, navy and grey, navy and teal, orange, blue/black flowered, black
Shoes: Boots, ankle boots, Danskos, Cobb Hill cuties,Converse All-Stars, Cobb Hill flats
Outerwear: Coat, gloves and hat

So what, you might be asking yourself, is up with the bolded, underlined items?

Ahem. Well, I went shopping.

I know, I know. Look, when Eric went hunting for a week, I was sad, and I used it a an excuse. On the upside, my very black/grey/navy wardrobe has more color. I don't know what else to say about that. I'm not sorry, but I feel bad. Um, because I should be sorry, and I'm not.

I'm not sure where that leaves us, friends.

Moving RIGHT along. This month, I let go of my grey button-down blouse (which I am sad about because this thing is awesome, but the last time I wore it, I felt so uncomfortable and constricted. I just don't like button-down blouses) and my beige pants (which are actually fairly new, but they've shrunk so much that they're almost high waters, and I said goodbye to that era of my life circa 1993, when styles finally began to change for the longer).

Before I saw the list, I thought I'd gotten rid of so much more than I apparently have. Huh. Well, between the idea and the reality, as ol' T.S. and I are fond of saying. Maybe it just feels like more because I've taken out 10 things, except only half are gone forever.

So that's the State of My Closet. The end, I guess.

P.S. I know this looks like 39 items, but technically only 26 count, since I like to group scarves, shoes and outerwear together. Because I can, yo.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grocery fun time

Last weekend, the Walker Four took on the grocery store together, which now I'm remembering why I generally go alone, i.e. we spent a crap load of money because everyone kept throwing things into the cart. Well, and it didn't help that the organic section was having a sale. I overbought, I won't lie.

Anyway. Not the point. The point is that while Eric was looking in the beer section (he ended up with Sierra Nevada Celebration and Deschutes Inversion--we've been to both breweries and even eaten inside, who cares if we're posers?), which is near said organic section, so the girls and I amused ourselves by looking at the teas while Eric made his selections.

And we saw THIS:

On sale!

Now, look, it's true that Abby was a little grossed out by all three of these, but I am not opposed to drinking something that will help my menstrual cycle not suck (looking at you, cramps), and I can see why someone might want help with lactation (although thankfully, those days are way behind me). But the Smooth Move--chocolate flavor!--had me rolling on the floor.

And then this guy we go to church with happened to be right there on that very aisle, looking at us funny, and I'm all, Smooth Mooooove!, and he's like, um, do you know what that's for?, and I was like, sure, but look! Chocolate flavor! and that was all I could get out because obviously, that is some funny shit.

HA HA HA. That tea is really the gift that keeps on giving. Best shopping trip EVER.

P.S. So what's a tea that doesn't suck? I'm almost out of my cinnamon vanilla tea, and I'm wanting to try something else. Preferably coffee flavored.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Random Act of Kindness-ed


Let's set the scene: It's late Monday afternoon, it's freaking FREEZING in the newsroom, and things are fairly quiet as we work on our various components for the upcoming issue.

And then Stacey and Kelly (who is the new Deb in Reception, not to be confused with Deb in sales, except both Debs are gone now, so boooooooo) come back with two trays of Dutch Bros. coffees.

The big ones. With flavors.

And we're like, uh, what? because Stacey and Kelly are grinning and asking us what we'd like. It took a minute to figure out why they were giving us coffees. Turns out the Boy Scout troop brought coffee as a "random act of kindness." And Stacey was all, they're just asking you pay it forward.

So here are these delicious foo-foo coffees, just waiting for us to drink them, and Baby Ben is actually sitting there, trying to decide if a Caramelizer is worth having to do something nice later. And I'm like, are you KIDDING ME? It's COFFEE.

Stacey handed me a White Chocolate Mocha and was all, you have to take one of these little cards, too.

That made me laugh. I thought a random act of kindness was something you just did; passing out a card afterwards seems a little off the point to me, but hey, I'm not going to question the Boy Scouts. I married an Eagle, which is probably why we're always prepared. ;)

And, you know: COFFEE.

I felt compelled to announce that this unexpected delivery was the best thing that had ever happened to me, and Ben was like, really? You're life sucks! And I was all, well, you know, besides the birth of my children and marrying Eric, but it's definitely up there.

It didn't take long for the newsroom as a whole to hit a sugar high, so we went from quietly working to bouncing off the walls. It was awesome.

But now that the coffee is gone and the sugar rush has faded, I'm left pondering what I've gotten myself into. Do I really need to keep this card and pass it on? Can I just do something nice anonymously? Will I be letting down the Boy Scouts if I do? Why did I think I could drink a White Chocolate Mocha at 4 p.m. without any repercussions? Also, how in the world did I miss Dutch Bros. $1 coffee day? Those Boy Scouts are tapped in.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hamming it up

Sunday was our church's annual Ham Dinner and holiday bazaar--holiday because we somehow meld Thanksgiving and Christmas together into one big feast/baked goods and craps crafts sale.* This thing has been going on for years and years. Mom and I used to take a shift serving dinner (from the time I was in fourth grade through college), but then she was a genius and took over the baked goods table, and yes, while this means 10 hours in the church basement instead of three, yeah, still easier than serving people.

I guess maybe I should mention I at least got out twice, once to go get a sandwich at my favorite little bakery and another to take Abby on an errand of mercy. Abby was only in the basement for seven hours, the amateur, although she did spend about two of those serving, which is like seven months in dog years.**

Anyway, the whole ordeal is really kind of terrible, but also sort of great. Mom and I got to catch up, and solve a few of the world's problems (we're SO SMART), and laugh a lot, and chat with people we don't always have the time to talk to. So that's fun. And then Abby livened things up quite a bit, especially when she decided we needed Christmas music and started serenading us with traditional carol/rap hybrid mixes. Complete with air guitar.

Johanna was with us for the last hour and a half, and in that time, she joined in on the Christmas Rap with  Abby, wrote a song about our booth to the tune of Frosty the Snowman, got mistaken as a dinner server, drank eight cups of water, fetched more water for a coughing gentleman, and completed several rounds of self-taught Irish Step Dancing.

By the time we got out of there at 6:30 p.m., I was beyond done and I won't lie, I kind of ditched my mother. I was like, see ya, Nance, I'm out, and I have a sneaking suspicion she had to clean up all by herself. Oh, she'll forgive me, but I still feel kind of bad. I was just hungry is all. I can't eat ham dinners with boxed mashed potatoes and gravy, that's why. (Allergies! Are super fun!)

Huh. I'd hoped to end this with myself not looking like a jerk, but I see that is not in the cards. Damn words! They're so unforgiving.

*Abby used to call crafts "craps" when she was a toddler. I think she was on to something, honestly.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday "Art," Monday vs. Thursday edition

Monday. iPod Touch. Instagram filter.

Thursday. Big girl camera. No filter.

News flash: I found out yesterday that my ankle boots aren't all that great in the snow. Wet socks are kind of disgusting. Ah, well.

P.S. Sorry, I know we're photo-heavy this week, but you guys, I'm so tired. Too much writing. Too many deadlines. Too much reading Mara's book, which, incidentally, you should go download right now. And that's not my bias talking, either. It's fantastic.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Eric + Trisha = Power Couple

This is JUST like us!
Except with more pride and way less prejudice.

Once upon a time, like on Monday, Eric and I were standing on the sidewalk between our respective offices (we work next door to each other because we're adorable like that) talking (I brought him his phone because he left it on the counter that morning), when who should walk up to us but the mayor-elect.

And he's all, Walker and Walker! I've never made the connection before! And then we exchanged pleasantries for a moment before he continued on his way.

(I couldn't figure out how he even knew who I was, until Eric reminded me that I work for the newspaper. Oh yeah! I forget sometimes that people actually read what I write.)

After he left, Eric was like, we're like a power couple because even the mayor knows who we are, and then we discussed how we're climbing the ladder of success and notoriety, except it's more like a stepping stool. You know, the kind that helps little kids reach the sink. Because it's a very short ladder. Um, never mind.

Now, though, whenever we do anything, we're all, is this something power couples do? This feels like something a power couple would do, and then we laugh like loons because A) We don't get out much and 2) We're hilarious.

(I'm saddened to report that the girls care not one bit that their parents are a power couple. They just roll their eyes. It's very disappointing.)

P.S. The current mayor thinks I'm drunk because I called and left a long rambling message on his cell last week for work. In my defense, it was at the end of the day and I was tired. Anyway, instead of just saying, would you send me a picture for this article I'm writing about Veteran's Day? (the dude does a lot of photo archiving for the county museum), I tried to explain the project and what I wanted and... well, by the middle, I knew it was a disaster and that I really just needed to hang up. But I still kept talking. I'm kind of terrible with messages.

The end.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Zero Waste Wednesday: "Homemade" castile soap

You know what I love? A theme. And do you know what else I love? Eric. I'm also kind of into zero waste, except that's a little trickier because I tend to get bogged down in the mire of failure instead of celebrating my (usually minimal, maybe that's fitting) successes. Or not successes. Sometimes all there is to celebrate is the fact that you tried.

And since I'm also a fan of alliteration, I present Zero Waste Wednesday, which I hope to make a monthly or bi-monthly kind of ordeal to step up my zero waste game and to share what I've learned. Fun fact: We live in a tiny tourist-trap of a town with limited options. Realistically, we're never going to reach zero waste, but hey, we do what we can do, right?

Here's a project I've been meaning to try for ages: Turning a bar of castile soap into a gallon of liquid castile soap. I first read about this insanity in Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home and I haven't been able to get this idea out of my head.

Final result looks suspiciously successful.
Spoiler alert: Don't get your hopes up.

Maybe because I tried this several months ago with an unwrapped bar of organic olive oil soap that smelled like sandalwood, and let me tell you, it was a disaster. It smelled amazing, but it was the consistency of thick snot. Also, it turns out that sandalwood is not really the scent I'm going for when I'm cleaning. I don't particularly like smells, and that one just did not do much for my general constitution. It was all wrong.

I chalked that failure up to the brand of soap I purchased. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be anything but a bar? I used the entire gallon up, of course (because that's what a responsible person does when she's pissed off at snot soap) and then bought a nice bar of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap because hello, this dude also makes liquid castile, so logically this should work, right?

You guys, I am a huge fan of Dr. Bronner's liquid peppermint castile soap. It's one of the few smells I like, and at this point in my homemade cleaner career, I now associate peppermint with cleanliness. True story. But Dr. Bronner's liquid soap is expensive--even when I buy it in bulk. And the bars, comparatively ounce for ounce, are not.

Or maybe they are. I never claimed to be a math genius.

Yadda yadda yadda, that bar has been sitting in my kitchen for literally six months. During my blogging break, I decided it was time to quit looking at that thing and just get 'er done already.

Also, I was completely out of liquid castile and needed to fill up our soap dispensers.

I didn't bother to get out my copy of Zero Waste Home because I was pretty sure I remembered the directions and also because Johanna was on my iPad, where the book resides. (It's also on my Kindle, now that I think about it, but it's not as pretty.) Eh, what could happen?

So I grated the soap. I had to do it by hand, which wasn't actually all that hard, but I was kind of regretting throwing away the shredding attachment on my food processor, even if it did almost take two of my fingers off this summer.*

When I was done, my bar of soap looked like cheese:

It's the cheesiest. Just kidding. Don't eat the soap!

Carefully** following the directions I thought I remembered, I added some water and then let that whole ordeal sit overnight:

I was supposed to add a gallon of water, but who has time to
measure? From making iced coffee all summer, I have a pretty
good estimate of what a gallon looks like in my favorite pot.

Then all that was left to do was walk away. The next morning, I checked my pot and found this:

Not the most attractive concoction ever.

I know this is completely disgusting, but my heart lifted a little bit when I saw this because my last attempt did not look like this at all. I mean, it was kind of looking like liquid castile already, which is most of the battle right there.

Next you're supposed to use an immersion blender to get it all nice and mixed, but I don't actually own an immersion blender, so I just got out a whisk and did the best I could. Which sort of worked. And then I went to pour it into my containers.

Which is when I discovered that this soap was also the consistency of thick snot. "Pouring" it into my jars created a pool of snot on my counter. Ah, well. So I got out my ladle, which would slink back to half-filled every time I dipped it into the pot.

So it took a while is what I'm saying.

Hey, though, the real test came when I poured said mixture into our foaming soap pumps. With Snot Soap I, there was no foaming action at all. Would Snot Soap II be any different?

Nope. And I tried various rations of soap vs. water, but to no avail.

So the moral of this rather longish tale is that again we have liquid castile soap failure, and I'm not going to go for a third attempt because:
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it. -- WC Fields
I mean, it's not a total failure because I've been using Snot Soap II to clean my dishes in the sink, and it works pretty well, although news flash: Castile isn't really the foamiest of soaps for that kind of thing, so if you're used to a sinkful of suds, this might be a bit of a stretch for you. Having used castile before for dishes, I'm fine with it.

Oh, and P.S. I thought maybe I just needed to add more water to make Snot Soap II not quite so snotty, but those attempts haven't been successful, either. But maybe that's just because I have limited patience and at this point, I honestly don't care anymore. My liquid castile soap dreams: Crushed.

To recap:

Recyclable wrapper on Dr. Bronner's bar
Zero waste all the way around
Gets dishes squeaky clean

Doesn't work in my foaming soap pumps
Bruised ego

The end.

*Well, more like almost took two fingers off, if by "almost" you mean "took about ten layers of skin and bled like mad." I seriously thought I was going to need a transfusion, that's how much blood loss we're talking about. Also, it was rather terrible timing because Abby had a friend over and they were in the kitchen checking on the progress of dinner and all of a sudden I'm bleeding all over the floor and that kind of killed the moment. Anyway, I threw that blade in the trash ASAP. I need my fingers, that's why.

**Just kidding. "Carefully following" and "directions" are not words that usually meet in my world.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dear Diary: My non-processed food week

Lady Bird Johnson? Or Trisha Walker? Hint: Not me.

Monday, Oct. 27
Day 1
Dear Diary,

You know what's interesting? "Diary" and "Dairy" are pretty much the same, and yet so different. Words are weird. You know what else is weird? Purposely taking yourself off processed foods--I like to define that as anything with more than four ingredients, unless you're Fritos, in which case your three ingredients don't cut it, Mister--during this season of Halloween candy and gluttony and treats galore. I guess you have to do something to pass the time. Also, it's possible I'm a masochist.

Today I woke up with sleep in my eyes and resolve in my heart. Breakfast: Plain yogurt sweetened with homemade blackberry jam. One-point-five cups of coffee laced with milk because that's how I roll. Felt strong. Felt like I could do this thing.

Lunch: Asian pear, Braeburn apple, nut butter from the organic bulk aisle, and a lettuce-cucumber-cream cheese sandwich on a ciabatta roll. You may or may not count ciabatta as processed. It's from the grocery bakery, and claims to have six ingredients, one of which is water. Wait, what the hell is soybean oil? Oh. Yuck. Sounds like Monsanto has its hands on my buns.

Well, that's depressing.

Had a rather nutritious snack of whole almonds and dried apricots (both organic), which I was happy to have packed because I had a photo shoot at 5:20 p.m., and that is right smack when I should be eating dinner. I also had two cups of cinnamon-vanilla tea. Doesn't that sound delicious? Spoiler alert: It's not. Tea is just crappy water. Which is what everything tastes like when it's not coffee.

Oh, and confession: I had two coffee-flavored candies. Nine ingredients. Oops. But they are natural, and since I usually eat 10 at a sitting, I'm counting that a win.

Dinner consisted of leftover homemade black bean soup and a quesadilla (both mostly organic), and some leftover apple slices from lunch, and then two homemade chocolate chip, what?, cookies. It took all my willpower not to eat a third. Night is the hardest for me on the food front. Give me sugar or give me... well, salt, I guess, except I'd rather have the sugar when push comes to shove.

Who cares, sugar craving be damned, drinking water, yummy yummy water, just kidding, water is terrible, but on the upside, at least it's not tea.

And I'll probably sleep GREAT tonight without all that sugar in my veins, right?

Tuesday, Oct. 28
Day 2
Dear Diary,

Up all night peeing. Tired. Cranky. Made myself a cup of hot chocolate this evening because I needed a treat, too many ingredients to count, don't judge me, it's organic and practically a health food and I'm premenstrual.


Wednesday, Oct. 29
Day 3
Dear Diary,

New resolve! Can I just give a shout-out to my breakfast mainstay, Brown Cow plain yogurt, sweetened with maple syrup? Because that's my go-to, and it serves me well. The other day the store was out of plain yogurt, so I bought my previous go-to, maple flavored, and found it was too sweet. When I started with the plain, it was too sour. Now it's delightful. Taste buds are freaky.

So I've been trying to cut back on the coffee, which is why I bought the cinnamon-vanilla tea, and yes, I'm still drinking that. It might taste like crappy water, but it's hot crappy water, and my Ron Swanson mug feels good in my hands. But today, I made the trek to the coffee shop for my usual decaf Americano with room, and even though I was behind a couple of guys, the barista recognized me, asked if I wanted my decaf and put her hand out for my Kleen Kanteen. I'm not sure if that is awesome or indicative of a greater problem.

This morning before I left for work, I threw a pork roast and fingerling potatoes into the crock pot, so we had barbecued* pork sandwiches for dinner. Ciabatta loaves were on sale at the grocery bakery this week, so I bought a couple for the freezer. I'm afraid to look, but I'm sure Monsanto has its hands on my loaf, too. Dammit, you guys! Just quick sucking, okay? Jeez.

So not the worst day is what I'm saying.

*Barbecue sauce made locally by our one barbecue joint. More than four ingredients, but none of them is corn syrup, and most are spices. I'm calling it a win.

Thursday, Oct. 30
Day 4
Dear Diary,

For lunch today, I went to this cute little bakery and ordered the three-cheese panini (with caramelized onions) and a bag of sea salt Kettle Chips. And an Americano. Because I just couldn't face that damn tea.

And it was delicious. And I only felt slightly guilty. This bakery is all about fresh and local, so... that's something, right?

Friday, Oct. 31
Day 5
Dear Diary,

This day? Was a total fail. Ah, and I went into it so hopeful.

Since we're pretty much out of every foodstuff imaginable in this household, packing a lunch wasn't really an option. But I had a plan. I threw in an apple and some nut butter--that I did have--and hit the grocery store on my way to work, to pick up a croissant from the bakery (didn't read the ingredients because I'm afraid of the soybean oil), a cheese stick and a small carton of Brown Cow cherry-vanilla yogurt (mmmm!), but then I also bought one box each of crackers and granola bars. The croissant wasn't organic, but everything else was, and... I'm sorry, Diary, but I can only make so many good choices when I'm on my period. (TMI?) Plus I hadn't had breakfast yet and I was starving.

Back at the office, line editing, eating a granola bar, ignoring the pan of brownies inches away from my desk, feeling pretty good about myself. Then the general manager announces she's ordered us Subway sandwiches for lunch.

It's funny how something like this can break a person's resolve completely. Lunches were brought in, and I won't lie, I picked my sandwich based on the Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips included in the bag. The sandwich ended up being ham, and I can't tell you the last time I actually ate lunch meat; that's one thing I haven't really gone back to since Lent ended in April, and I haven't missed it, either.

Ah, but it was good.

The included cookie was a white chocolate chip-macadamia nut ordeal, and there's no way I could eat that, even if it wasn't non-processed week, so I passed it off to Adam in sports. There's nothing like giving away your cookie to make you a hit with your co-workers.

So that was one for the plus side, but then Baby Ben (not to be confused with Old Ben, who is probably 10 years younger than me but worked in the office before Baby Ben, hence the nickname) got permission to crack open the pop machine, and I kind of lost my head. I had a Pepsi in my hands before I even knew what was going on.

Lovely, lovely GMO corn! Irony: I voted yes on Measure 92.  Also, that was sarcasm, the lovely GMO part.

So between the pop and the chips and the preservative-laden sandwich, I was like, well, this day is screwed, so I ate as many coffee-flavored candies as I wanted, and then came home and ate two Reese's Peanut Butter Cups out of the freezer. When we took Johanna trick-or-treating (that's another post for another time), I ate two cookies at my parents' house. (Well, those ARE natural, they just don't count as non-processed because of the chocolate chip eyes the pumpkins were sporting.) Came home feeling like crap.

But I accept that fate. I knew what would happen. And there's always tomorrow to auto-correct.

Saturday, Nov. 1
Day 6
Dear Diary,

What was that I said about auto-correct? Just never you mind.

Because this day was also a total fail. It started out okay--I made Johanna and I scrambled eggs for breakfast, from a co-workers pet hens that seriously live the good life--but then dissolved into crap. For lunch, I had crackers with nut butter (again, organic, just not non-processed), and then a beautiful Comice pear... with leftover caramel sauce I'd made for Johanna's classroom Halloween party at her request. Technically not processed (it's just sugar, butter, vanilla and cream--I decided to forego the salt), but when you're coming off a sugar fest, probably not the best idea ever.

Yadda yadda yadda, throw in some more coffee-flavored candies (why do I buy those again? They're obviously made of crack), two more Halloween cookies at my mother's house, a lovely slice of New York-style* Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza, and another Pepsi, and you're just looking at a gut bomb of epic proportions. And it's all my fault, so I can't even be mad at anyone but myself.

Why, Diary? Why am I such a slow learner? Why is my resolve so, so weak?

*Keep in mind the farthest east I've been is Wisconsin, so I have no idea how New York this New York-style pizza really is, except Baby Ben seems to think it's decent enough, and he is from that state, so there you go.

Sunday, Nov. 2
Day 7
Dear Diary,

Here's what I learned from my non-processed week: My diet is far from non-processed, even when I'm actually trying. There's a prevailing feeling of if it's organic, it's healthy! in my general constitution, which makes no sense because organic crackers are still crackers.


Abby has declared today to be Vegetable Day, mostly because it's been Carb Weekend and she's thinking maybe enough is enough. We have a weird relationship with food in this household, I'm beginning to realize--we mostly eat very naturally, but we just can't help ourselves with the crap sometimes. And by "sometimes," I mean "daily."

Today is my grocery day, so that's what I put in the cart: Lots and lots of fruits and veggies. And then made sure those which could be prepared for ease of grabbing were thus prepared accordingly. Actually, because my choices were cook or clean, I chose "cook" (obviously!), so our fridge is now brimming with all manner of options, from homemade rice and beans to plain ol' carrot sticks to banana muffins. Abby might be on a carb cleanse, but I am not.

I don't know, Diary. I started strong, got depressed, revived, and ultimately failed. It's been a whirlwind of emotion in the Walker household.

Here's to next week's attempt.


I have linked a lot of product sites here, but that's just in case you're not sure what I'm talking about, my international friends. This is NOT in any way implying you should go purchase any this stuff. Actually, please don't. Thank you.

Um, but that caramel sauce recipe? I do recommend that one. That's just good stuff.