Saturday, August 17, 2013


Posted by Melissa Baumgart
All I could see was the smoke all around me.  It was like a thick, gray-blue blanket that was laid on an invisible plane, twelve inches above the ground.   I looked toward the door, but I knew that was where the fire was coming from.  Trying not to panic, my eyes darted around the unknown territory of the hotel room.  Did the window even open?  What floor was I on again?  I couldn’t tell if I was starting to feel disoriented and delusional from the smoke inhalation, or if there really were sounds of fire trucks and people coming to save me.  

I knew I’d never fight for my life after what I had already lived through.  In fact, most of my adult life I have felt like I’d rather be dead and knew this day would come and find me.  As I passively gave up any attempt to get out of the smoke filled room, my mind drifted to my baby.  He was so sweet.  Always smiling and making the cutest little baby sounds.  I remembered how sharp his fingernails were and how I was too afraid to cut them, so I would just nibble on them while he nursed.  I remembered how his blue eyes had a thin dark ring around the outer rim of his iris, just like my own eyes, and how I could get lost in his stare.  I could almost smell his skin and feel his soft, chubby body in my arms as I held myself on the hotel room floor.

When the escape from Holland was happening, there was hardly ever any time to think.  You just did.  You ran.  You hid.  You stayed as silent as possible so the soldiers would never find you.  It’s impossible to keep a baby quiet though.  There were so many of us in that tiny crawl space under the house.  All the other kids were older and had already been frightened enough to know to stay silent, to not even move a muscle if they heard the clicking of the boots growing louder.  But my sweet baby boy, I couldn’t keep him quiet.  Why wouldn't he just stop crying?

All those eyes were looking at me, with a quiet despair I could never erase from my memory.  So many lives I could save, so many possibilities racing in my mind that maybe, just maybe, we could stop running one day.  But only if we made it past today.  I grabbed my soft, dark blue bag that carried what few clothes we had.  I held it over his face, hoping to just muffle his cries.  Everyone looked away.  I can only imagine they must have been profoundly grateful and yet completely horrified.  My mind went blank.  His cries stopped.  The clicking of the boots slowly became quieter, until they too were gone.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Photo a day 15: The Best

Posted by Amy Baranski

I'm jumping ahead to #15 on the FMS August photo-a-day list since I'm a bit behind. I'll make up the other photos I'm missing (#6-14). I just wanted to get in-the-moment with you all. Today my son and I found ourselves in a local P-patch garden and we helped ourselves to a couple of berries. I was impressed to observe that he knew to remove the green stem from the strawberry before consuming it. I was also impressed that he seemed to enjoy an under-ripe berry with equal pleasure as a ripe one.

GLWT iPhotography month challenge.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Photo a day 5: Early

Posted by Amy Baranski

I'm trying to catch up but had to wait until morning to snap this.

GLWT iPhotography month challenge.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Posted by Melissa Baumgart
She answered the door with a smile sloppily outlined in red lipstick.  “Hi, Welcome.” She said in an upbeat, slurry tone.  “Did you know my brother is dying?  Oh yea, his cancer has just gotten worse and worse.”  What the fuck was this lady talking about?  I barely knew her, and I certainly had no idea she even had a brother, nor did I really care.  After she walked me arm and arm into her huge kitchen, I made eye contact with another mom and exchanged an unspoken look of  "WTF is going on?"  She never again mentioned her dying brother, but moved on to other random topics like her getting in trouble for looking at her husband’s private files in the basement and creating a rhyming game with a circle of moms to try and remember our names.  It never worked, and honestly, I don’t know how the rest of us kept a straight face.  She was the kind of person, though, that you could laugh at and they would never know.

I only know her because our daughters play sports together.  I remember the first time I saw her.  We were at a softball game and I could hear her from the other teams’ bleachers.  She spoke a little louder than most, but it’s also that I am an involuntary eavesdropper.  It’s sometimes the only thing that makes my life worth living, making up stories about other people’s lives and adding them to my petri dish of hate for humanity.  So, I was listening to her and she was embarrassing.  I mean, her family had to be so embarrassed.  She could barely speak actual words and when she did it was inappropriate and sounded like she never developed mentally past Kindergarten.  She had a plastic, lidded cup in her hand that she drank from through a straw.  What was in there anyway?  And why was I kinda jealous of her lack of self-judgment?

Here’s what I found out that day at the soccer team party in the richest, most gated, part of Seattle: her husband (who oddly never seemed at all bothered by her lack of awareness or intelligence, and in fact, acted like she was totally normal!!!) was a psychiatrist.  He must keep her medicated, I thought.  But why?  Was this just another intriguing short story I would never sit down to write, or could it really be the sick and twisted, amazing truth?  How could I have done anything else but launch a full-blown investigation?

Photo a day 4: Fresh

Posted by Amy Baranski

GLWT iPhotography month challenge.

Photo a Day 3: Skyline

Posted by Amy Baranski

GLWT iPhotography month challenge.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

iPhotography Month!

Posted by Amy Baranski

Well it's iPhotography month! I chose this as kind of a repeat from last August's photography month. It seemed an easier bite to chew. Plus I've been really into my iPhone and all the different photo apps since I got one. In fact, I decided to invest in a new iPhone just for this month after I was ROBBED in a restaurant in Cleveland. But I digress.

I really enjoyed Melissa's photo a day project last year and was thinking of doing something like that. But instead of taking a picture at the same time each day I'm keen to follow a suggested subject list like this, plus exploring other subjects at my own whim.

Let's get our iPhoto on. #photoaday.

Photo a day 1: Something that begins with the letter N.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Personal Makeover

Posted by Amy Baranski

When I was pregnant I discovered interior stylist, blogger, DIY-er, and general creative Justina Blakeney. With close to 2M followers, she quite a popular person on Pinterest. I happened upon her through her board called "Boomba" - a nickname for her daughter who was incidentally born after my Babeski. I was looking for inspiration around baby things and just dreaming of the new shapes and colors that would soon take over my living space. Having a baby was a celebration for all the things in my life that would be wonderfully turned upside down.

This bookcase is a hot mess. What my style has sadly become.
I started following Blakeney's blog and Instagram feed. I find inspiration daily from the shapes, patterns and colors she shares. From botanicals to global textiles and MCM architecture to vintage curios her eye has helped me to get in touch with my own style aspirations.


I've always enjoyed staring at a blank wall. Literally just looking at a white wall--it gets me every time. I often write that way or problem solve. It's an open canvass--an abyss--but one that allows me to sort through my thoughts and the pictures in my mind.


When I had the idea for styling month I thought that it would be a fun way bring more intention to how my space looks and how I look. I also thought of it as a good opportunity to bring some more DIY elements into my life and exercise my creative muscles.

I'm starting late this month (hey at least I'm starting) I can say that my goals are three-part:
  1. To improve my living space
  2. To renovate my own look
  3. To set a beautiful table for a summer dinner

I have to make some changes to my apartment. It's stale and I'm tired of the current mix of things and arrangements. Since Babeski arrived and started moving, my interior styling has solely become abut function. I want the space to be safe and welcoming for Babeski so he can explore his environment and feel at home. I also feel stymied by the fact that I'm a renter and some of the changes I want to make to my home's interior would require a considerable investment--or DIY skills above-and-beyond what I'm currently capable of.

In terms of my wardrobe I'm totally ho-hum. Having my body go through so much change this past year I feel that I have lost some of my personal self-expression. I can't fit into some of my older pieces and my newer pieces just feel way to "Mom" for me. I need clothes that can cross from weekend-casual to professional pretty easily so that I represent myself better at work. I also don't have much time to shop. It's one of my least favorite activities to do with Babeski. It just feels so commercial and weird to do with him. So my new method of shopping is to go to Ann Taylor loft 2 times a year and buy all the tops I can afford that accommodate nursing. Then to Old Navy to purchase cheap pants that fit me. But this is so unsatisfying. I desperately need to improve the current Baranski dress code.

Lastly, I'm interested in teaming up with my blog partner on how to style food and place settings for a summer dinner. I haven't talked with her about this--but I'm remembering our beautiful urban farm to table sidewalk feast and Pallea celebration that was so spur of the moment and DIY it caught us all off guard. I don't want to recreate the past but I do want to conjure that same kind of energy to see what we can do next. Plus who doesn't love an occasion to break bread with friends.

There's not much time left in this month--exactly ten days excluding today. But next month's iPhotography challenge is a great cross-over month since styling necessitates a lot of before and after pictures as well as styling for the camera!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Clothes comfort zones

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I have to admit, I have not been very "styling" the past couple days.  I was up, literally, all night long at a birth night before last and have been in yoga pants and a t-shirt since then.  I had a total of 30 minutes of sleep in 36+ hours.  Sometimes I kinda like that sleep deprivation, like you're not really in everyone else's reality, but floating through your own.  That is, until your slammed with driving your kid's everywhere (Oh, hello, reality!  I've not missed you in the least.) and it's just too much.  I had a crazy sobbing meltdown while driving home, at least I hope it was good fodder for my fellow drivers to make up some great stories.

Back to styling, though.  The thing I am most "stepping out of my box" about this month is shopping for a bikini.  I can't believe I am telling everyone this.  Before you get all proud of me for loving my body just the way it is, you must know...I am on this crazy diet to drop as many pounds as possible before Aug. 2, when I have a trip planned to go to Palm Springs with a couple  (of skinny) girlfriends.  I think if I can lose as close to 10 more pounds as possible, I'll be ok to try to wear a bikini.  People, I am 40 years old and have NEVER worn on in my life. It's kinda a big deal for me.
In other fashion news, I bought this skirt, but I am going to return it.  Maybe go for an all black version.  That's the thing with this month that even I am confused about.  Black is my go-to color for clothes, but if black and white stripes just don't work, do I have to step out of my comfort zone?  

I am also thinking of finding tips for styling on a budget.  Because I found this amazingly perfect rug for my living room, but even at half price, I just cannot justify the cost.  But let me tell you, I would feel so stylin' every time I walked into my apartment if I could.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fashionably Late

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
There are some months in GLWT history that just don't take off.  I think sometimes it is the subject matter, and other times life gets in the way.  I can remember salsa month back in the first year, I really wanted to do it, but Jamie and I kept fighting and never wanted to dance together.  Then there was writing month, I was shocked I never really wrote that month, since I picked it.  I suppose we all need a break sometime.
Lily and her BFF Lili, these girls are "styling."

This month was supposed to be "Styling" month.  And there's still time, so it still is!  I think what Amy had in mind was re-styling our wardrobes, our homes and anything else that needs a little boost of extra creative attention. 

I looked up online definitions for styling and here is what I found:

From the Free Dictionary -
  • A quality of imagination and individuality expressed in one's actions and tastes: does things with style.
    • A comfortable and elegant mode of existence: living in style.
    • A mode of living: the style of the very rich.
    • The fashion of the moment, especially of dress; vogue. A particular fashion.
 From Urban Dictionary -
  • Verb - To be pursuing someone for romantic purposes or sexual purposes.
    "I was styling Cara-Ann there for the longest of times, but she was tighter than a Catholic school girl, so nothing came out of it."  (OMGMust start using this one.)
  • To be wearing an outfit or to dress in a mismatched, individual interesting and ultimately fashoinable and attractive way.  First heard in Bolivar, OH.  as in "that sweater vest and oversized hat are rather styling."
I make no promises over the course of the next two weeks about how styling I'll be, but just know that we haven't gone anywhere.  We're still here, and I expect next month's iPhotography to be really fun.  Oh, and my toe doesn't hurt anymore!  It kinda feels like it's not really attached to my foot, but that's ok, the pain is over.  Maybe I can start running again!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What I didn't mention about my toe

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
It sure is nice when I can turn this off.

I went for a 33 minute run last night.  Yes, 33.  I was shooting for 30, but went a little farther, and I had to mention the extra 3 minutes.  Because, it is three minutes of running, which doesn't really come all that easy.  The crazy thing is, is that my toe doesn't really hurt when I run.  I don't know if it is the way my foot hits the ground differently during a running stride vs. a walking one or if there are other distractions when running (Like the ongoing mantra....You can do this.  You won't stop breathing and fall over.)  Whatever it is, it felt good.

Until I stopped running.

Then my toe felt like a balloon.  I was limping worse than ever.  Even worse than after I went dancing the two nights after I broke my 3 inch wedges.  I know, it's terrible.  And I didn't even admit to it before.  I was all, "Poor me and my toe.  I can't run.  I can't be active."  Meanwhile, I was out dancing at the club until 2am two nights in a row!  Look, I was planning those nights out and off-call (i.e. NO pager.  Yes, I actually use a pager, like it's the 1990's) for a month, and I wasn't going to let a broken middle toe stop me.  Somehow, it didn't hurt while dancing either.  Maybe the wedges acted as a brace?  Or maybe the drinks I had eased the pain?  Or maybe dancing is just so flipping fun that it didn't matter in the least.

This week's goal: run 30 minutes a day, Monday - Friday.  One day down, four to go!

Monday, June 24, 2013

How not to run on a broken toe

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I went for a run today!
(Late post due to technical difficulties), this happened two days ago...those in Seattle will be able to tell as they look out to the gloomy weather and think, what gorgeous Seattle day is this?)

I know, I said I would go the other day.  But then I wore shoes all day, just to see how it would feel, and it was terrible!  My toe hurt so bad by the end of the day, I couldn't bear the thought of running on it.  Plus, I sat in Seattle traffic for an hour and fifteen minutes...and let me tell you, going constantly from the gas to the brake does not feel good on a likely-broken toe!

Today was a gorgeous Seattle day, and I started it off nicely with a trip to a new skate park.  Haha, did you think I went skateboarding?  I love taking my kids to the skate park.  I find it relaxing and inspiring to see these super skilled skater guys flowing swiftly over the smooth concrete.  I left there inspired to do something physical, and proceeded to sit on my ass at the park and at home for most of the day.

Finally, I talked Tallulah into skating with me as I ran around the neighborhood.  My goal was simple - one mile.  As I started running, I couldn't believe how much it didn't hurt.  The running shoes are where it's at.  I felt supported, and even though I had a slight limp in my run, it felt so good.  It would seem that running imparts less impact on the toes than walking.  The whole mile, my toe felt really great.  That is until the very end, when I tripped over a bump in the sidewalk, stubbing my toe right into the cement.

Yeah.  Real nice, Melissa.  What was that I said about not being accident prone?  Let's hope I didn't mess it up even more and that I can get more than a mile in tomorrow.  And I have been doing the push-ups and sit-ups too...and I can do 50 push-ups in a day, split into two sessions!!  That's huge for me.

It's the little things in life...the ups and downs...the push-ups and broken toes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Get back on that horse and ride

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
My toe and foot are much less swollen, but the toe itself really hurts.  And when I squat down to pick up the numerous pieces of trash and other kid items strewn about my house after a long day of clinic, it feels like my toe isn't attached to my foot.  It feels like it is just there, with no direction or purpose. 
Full Speed Ahead!! Or not, but always, forward.
Oh my god, is my toe a metaphor for my life right now????  Holy shit.  Funny how sitting down to write can take you to a place of understanding that you never knew existed prior to fingers hitting the keyboard.

Ironically, I feel more purpose this morning than I have in weeks, if not months.  And with that as inspiration, I am going to try on my running shoes today and see if I can do one mile.  If I cannot run the mile, I'll at least try to power walk.  And if I cannot do that, I'll stick to push-ups and sit-ups for the rest of the month.  I know I am at 20 push-ups right now, and let's see how many more I can work up to.  I'll do 100 sit-ups/crunches for now.

Any other suggestions on low impact things I can do? (And not swimming because I am not going to make it to the pool, but otherwise, great idea.)  I suppose I could also get my hands on some weights and do some of the upper body things I learned at STRENGTH studio this Spring. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

No more running for me

Nursing my wound
Posted by Melissa Baumgart
This week, our living room and dining room floors were just transformed from an old crappy indoor/outdoor-like blue carpeting to sanded and finished wood floors.  It totally changes the whole living space and our home feels a million times better.  It almost makes all the whining and fighting amongst the kids bearable, until I realize that the acoustics have increased the volume of said noises. 

In the midst of the floor being worked on, we had to move most of the furniture and decor to other parts of the apartment.  Our apartment isn't that large.  It's not that small either, but with 5 people's things in it, it gets crowded.  So, all through our long, narrow hallway were a string of tables and chairs with various photos and kid's art stacked on top of them. 

Any guesses what happens in the middle of the night when you get up, in the dark, to walk to your bathroom when there are all these "not usually there" pieces of furniture in the long, narrow hallway? And remember, I've given birth lots, so I usually have to RUN to the bathroom as I cannot hold it very long.  TMI?  Too bad.

That's right, the answer is... Bam!  My toe rammed right into one of the beautiful metal chairs from our dining room, that is now in the hallway.  Where it doesn't belong.

Not only did I do this once on Monday night, but again on Wednesday night.  The latter incident was so bad that I can barely walk.  My middle toe looks like one of those gluten filled sausages Amy tried to get me to eat during Paleo month.  It's the kind of bruise that takes days to show up, but the pain is so great, you know it must be there somewhere. 

It may very well be broken, but what can be done for a broken toe?  I don't think anything can be done.  So, for now, I'll limp around town and wince when I step the wrong way.  And pray that no one steps on my toe or drops anything on it!  And sadly, not run for at least a week.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Super Hero Race - 5K

 Posted by Melissa Baumgart
This morning I ran in the Super Hero 5K for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  It was fun to see everyone all dressed up in their costumes, and even some dogs were dressed up. 
Here the thing though, I don't know what my time was.  I was kinda struggling, honestly, toward the end of the race.  My trusty iPod was cranking my favorite rap music to keep me going, as well as tracking how much further I had to run.  The lady that talks to me and encourages me through the earbuds from my iPod said "Workout completed" well before I was at the finish line. 
By the time I got to the finish line, my iPod said I had run 5.75K.  Almost 6K! 
Who knows if they were off, or I was off.  But it looks like I averaged a 10 minute mile, which is fine by me, considering I have only been running again this week.  So, maybe I'll try for a 10K by month's end.  Or maybe I'll work on getting my 5K time under 30 minutes.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A week in the life...

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Just do it.

Highlights of This week:
  • Monday - Really?  You think I remember what I did on Monday?
  • Tuesday - Clinic from 8am-8pm.  Ran 5K
  • Wednesday - STRENTH studio workout to "Ferdinand the Bull."  Every key word was associated with an exercise.  For example, every time she read the word "Ferdinand" we had to do 5 burpees.  Do you know how many times that word is in that book?  A Lot!  There were no breaks in story-time, and I thought that while the workout was creative, I was likely to not live to tell about it.
  • Wednesday night - Levi's baseball game and got to see my brother!  Homework, homework, homework...until the wee hours of the night, close to 1am.
  • Very early Thursday - Woke up at 3am to go to a birth.
  • Thursday - Left birth at 8am.  Ran (actually, I drove) home to shower.  Clinic from 9am-6pm.  Meeting from 6pm-8pm.  Homework.  Bed.
  • Friday - Meeting 9am-10am.  Cleaned the house and did laundry. (Well, really just kinda tidied house and now there's a mountain of laundry unfolded on my bed.  I seriously hope some fairy is back there folding it right now so I don't have to shove it all on the floor as I crawl into bed.)  Homework.  Ran 5K.
I think I did my best to squeeze in some me time this week.  It's not always easy.  And honestly, I probably spent hours each of those days on the computer not doing important tasks.  It was a full week (both emotionally and physically), and I can't believe it, but I feel really good right now.

Tomorrow, I wake up and run my first race since I was pregnant with Levi back in 2001.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I can't go for a run!

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Album of choice on my run.

I think it had been at least a month since I last ran, maybe longer.  The last time I ran, I had just gotten over being sick and instead of energizing me like I expect a run to do, it laid me out.  I could not get off the couch for 2 hours.  Honestly.  Then, I made up a story about how I must have adrenal fatigue, and I stopped running.

It's June.  I signed up for a 5K that is this coming weekend.  I kept telling myself that even if I didn't do anything, I could still get out there and run a 5K.  True?  Maybe.

Yesterday, on the way home from a long clinic day, I saw many people running.  At one point I was on the phone with Jamie, and I saw at least 8 people at once, all running across the same intersection near Volunteer Park.  Runners were coming at me from every which way.  Before I realized the consequence of words, these were coming out of my mouth, "Hey, when I get home, is it OK if I go for a run?"

WTF?  Really?  - Those were my next two thoughts.  And then the litany...I have SO much homework to do.  The house is a mess.  My day was shitty and I need to talk about it.  Felix is pitching.  What Jamie is sharing is really important.  I can't go for a run.  I don't actually say those words, I can't go for a run, but I live them through my actions.

But something kept clicking, no matter how hard I tried to un-click it.  The thoughts of me taking care of myself and me smiling more kept clicking together.  Going on this run was a way of taking care of myself.  Not to mention, a double-check to see if I really can still run a 5K!

When I got home, I started usual patterns of talking with my family, connecting, walking over to the computer, processing our days as a family.  All (mostly) important things.  But I AM IMPORTANT TOO.  (Sorry, I have to shout it, because I have a hard time hearing those words.)  I stopped dead in my tracks and got on my running clothes and shoes and went.

I ran a 5K.  I ran it in 31 minutes and 40 seconds.  My pace was just over 10 min/mile.  It's not under 30 minutes, but that's OK.  I didn't shy away from hills, which is really huge for me. 

The point I need to remember is that I did it.  I made a choice to take care of myself, in the midst of lots of other things being important.  I can only hope it carries me closer to my highest self, whatever that is.

If you want to support the cause (Muscular Dystrophy) I an running for this weekend, check out this link and donate!  (Leave me a comment if it doesn't work!)  Thanks!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Run a Race

Posted by Amy Baranski and Melissa Baumgart
Welcome to June!

We're ready to lace up our running shoes (We are????)  and get out there to record some "Personal Bests"!!!
So, bring it, June.  Or as you are known in the PNW, June-uary.   Melissa is signed up for one race already, a 5K and she plans on getting in a 10K by the month's end (Good Luck With That!)  Amy is not yet signed up, but hopes to get some running in this month too.  Time to whip out the jogging stroller!

Anyone else running some races?  Post your race on our FB page, and maybe we'll join you!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My version of America

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Rainier Chapter, in Capitol Hill.
Thankfully, I got an email from a friend this morning reminding me it was genealogy month and that I had said I was going to apply to join the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).  She was more subtle than that, sending along a link to local chapters that she is thinking about joining.  Turns out there is one within walking distance to my apartment. 

Honestly, I have no idea what to expect from joining the DAR.  Do we get dressed up and have tea?  Do we stand together, holding hands, and sing Battle Hymn of the Republic in our most patriotic voices?  Do we sit through a boring meeting just for the sake of saying we belong to something linked to the earliest history of our nation?

I have never been particularly patriotic.  OK, not at all, really.  I begrudgingly stand up during the National Anthem at baseball games just because I don't want some drunk American to start yelling at me.  I don't know why this is.  I think I just feel so incredibly bad for being a white American, that I can't seem to muster up the pride for it.  I feel terrible about the Native Americans, the black slaves, the Mexican Americans.  I have a hard time reconciling feeling pride for a country that stole land, tortured human beings and took ownership of them. 

I can be pretty all or nothing in my thinking.  I have a hard time finding things that I love about America.  It's not that I am not grateful for what I have.  I feel incredible gratitude that I don't have to raise my children in a war zone.  But some Americans still do.  I feel blessed that I can feed my family everyday, but I live in a country that allows for so many to go hungry.  I live in a country where people think if you're on welfare, you can't have an iPhone.  As if, being poor means that you can't enjoy life, or have things that make life just a little bit easier and more enjoyable.  I live in a country where people believe that being on welfare automatically equates to being lazy.

We haven't walked in other's shoes.  How dare we judge someone else's experience?  Especially when systemically, things are not in place to make the playing field equitable.  I see people from where I grew up in Ohio posting degrading things about others less fortunate than themselves all the time, and it saddens me.

Then, it angers me. 

And then I sit and ponder the "great" country in which I live.  I ponder the greed, the inequities, the "I-Me-Mine" mentality of so many that call this country home...and I'm sorry, but I cannot muster up pride for that.

Feel free to correct me where my thoughts may stray, where my vision of this country is clouded by my individual perception.

For now, I try to remain as true to myself as I can, while living in this seductive land we call America the Free, Home of the Brave.  Trying to find a way to teach my kids that it is OK to give to others, that you don't have to hoard all of your resources and get more and more and more...there's enough to go around, if we all just open our hearts and give.

I really hope the DAR isn't a bunch of rich white people "giving back" just to assuage their white guilt and to hide from their white privilege. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

John Darling Terry

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

Below is an article that recently appeared in the U.S. Army News about my great-great-grandfather.  It's long, but it really is a great story.  Hopefully it makes up for my lack of posting this month.  I plan on using this month as inspiration to get in my application to the DAR. (Daughters of the American Revolution)  I hope you enjoy reading a bit of my Terry family history...

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 5, 2013) -- A Union Army war hero and Medal of Honor recipient was recognized recently by the Army for brave and honorable service, when a past injustice to his record was corrected.

That Soldier's story begins in the early days of the Civil War.

In May 1861, young John Darling Terry left home in Montville, Maine, for Boston where, on the 23rd, he joined the 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment. He was only 15.

Just a month before Terry enlisted, the Confederate guns had fired on Union defenders at Fort Sumter, S.C., signaling the opening volley of the Civil War.

The final chapter of Terry's story was not completed until nearly 150 years later.

This year, the highest echelon of Army record reviewers, the Army Board for Corrections of Military Records, or ABCMR, heard Terry's case and completed that work.

Robert "Bob" Haddon Terry, Terry's great grandson, was instrumental in providing critical documents, obtained from the National Archives, to the board for their review. Much of what follows is a result of his decade of diligent research.

Terry's service with the 1st was short-lived. His father notified the Army that his son was underage; so on July 5, just two months after he enlisted, Terry was discharged.

But he was persistent. On Sept. 5, 1861, just two days after turning 16, Terry joined the 23rd Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, despite Army policy that a young man needed to be at least 18 to don the uniform.

Six months later, Terry would be tested in combat.


In March 1862, Terry arrived in North Carolina with the 23rd. Since many of his fellow Soldiers came from fishing towns along the New England coast, the Soldiers embarked on Union gunboats and attacked Confederate vessels and forts in a naval engagement and amphibious operation around Roanoke Island near the Virginia border.

Terry's gunboat blew up and his clothing caught fire. He jumped into the water to quell the flames, but survived with minor injuries. The Union forces were victorious.

On March 13, 1862, Brig. Gen. John G. Foster led the 23rd and sister regiments in battle against Confederate forces near the town of New Bern, in northeastern North Carolina.

During that epic battle, Terry was shot in the lower left leg, which later had to be amputated below the knee.

In 1882, Terry was interviewed by John S. Pierson for the book "Sabre and Bayonet: Stories of Heroism and Military Adventure." In one of the passages, Terry said:

"On the 13th day of March, 1862, the 23rd Regiment Mass. Vols., landed some 15 miles below Newbern, N.C., my arm still very sore and lame from a contused wound received in the fight at Roanoke Island, some few weeks before. Company E, in which I was a sergeant, was recruited in the old historic town of Plymouth, Mass., strong, healthy, robust young fellows, all of whom were accustomed to the management of boats, and therefore we were detailed to man the boats and disembark the regiment.

"I had charge of the vessel's 'cutter,' and worked very hard in order to make the most landings. After the regiment was all ashore we took up line of march by the right flank towards Newbern. It came on to rain very hard and the narrow road was in bad condition. Just before dark we went into bivouac in the woods, on the left of the road, having marched about 13 miles that day, very hungry, cold, wet, sore, and tired. My arms became very painful, and to sleep was entirely out of the question, and to make a fire was contrary to orders."

"Daylight, however, broke at last and with a little half cooked coffee and well soaked crackers, we were soon on our way to 'do or die,' and almost before we knew it, were under fire, shooting away for dear life. In going from the road into and up through a little ravine, column of fours, the Col. (John Kurtz) passed us and called to me to go with him. I had been acting as right general guide of the regiment. Soon afterwards the colonel ordered me to go down the rear line and find the lieutenant colonel."

"In obeying this order I saw that the regimental line was very ragged; everybody seemed to be all mixed up with one another, and badly scattered from their own companies. I sought out Company E. and found the men brave as young lions, but in bad order and no officer in command, captain wounded. I immediately reported these facts to the colonel, whereupon to my great astonishment and delight, he ordered me to go back and take command of the company. I did so, and succeeded in getting the men well up and together, and they very soon became steady as old veterans."

"We had been firing some little time when the lieutenant colonel came to me and asked if I saw a single gun (12 pounder) that the enemy had got out in front of Fort Thompson, this fort contained 12 guns. I answered him that I did. This single gun was doing our ranks great injury."

"The lieutenant colonel then asked me if I thought we could charge and take it. We charged, we got the gun, the very last shot from which, before we reached it, got me with seven other comrades, including the lieutenant colonel, killed. My foot was gone, and we were left on the field in very nearly the same spot as where we fell. Our regiment claimed this gun, and (Maj. Gen. Ambrose) Burnside ordered that it should remain with the regiment. Some days after the fight (and my foot had been amputated) Col. Kurtz and Gen. Burnside visited the hospital and the colonel told me that I should have a commission. I got that, and the Congressional Medal of Honor besides."

Terry's actual Medal of Honor citation is terse but telling: "In the thickest of the fight, where he lost his leg by a shot, still encouraged the men until carried off the field."

That would have been the end of the war for many, but Terry had different ideas.

He was sent to Lexington Army Hospital in New York City, where he was fitted with what was described as a wooden "peg leg." He remained in the hospital for rehabilitation, serving as the sergeant of arms until he was discharged as an "invalid" on March 20, 1863.


While remaining in New York, Terry attempted to re-enter "active service." In July 1863, the notorious draft riots broke out. The protestors were angry at Lincoln and Congress for initiating a Civil War draft, since the war at that time was unpopular in many areas of the North.

Protestors took their anger out on African-Americans, killing an estimated 100. Police, augmented by Union Soldiers and volunteer militia, were called in to quell the riots.

Terry, now classified as an "invalid" by the Army, volunteered for service with the outnumbered military forces in New York City, where he was ordered by Maj. Gen. Harvey Brown "to deliver the muskets and ammunition to the Custom House and Post Office authorities for their defense," Terry wrote in a letter.

He continued: "I was assigned to command a body of convalescent Soldiers and ordered on guard duty in Gramercy Park by order of Gen. Brown, where, on the corner of 21st Street and Third Avenue, I was struck a severe blow over the left eye with a club by a rioter and was badly hurt. I was mentioned in orders issued by Gen. John A. Wool, for the 'Very signal service rendered.'"

It was on day three of the riots while reinforcements were arriving from the Battle of Gettysburg that Terry got word of his appointment as a lieutenant in the 1st North Carolina Colored Volunteers.

Terry headed back south to New Berne to join with his new regiment.

The Army welcomed him back. Brig. Gen. Edward A. Wild did the honors of promoting Terry to first lieutenant in the 1st North Carolina, which was later renamed the 35th U.S. Colored Troops in February 1864.

The 1st North Carolina enlistees were former slaves from coastal Virginia and the Carolinas.

Wild too was an amputee, having lost his left arm at the Battle of South Mountain in Maryland.

Incidentally, Col. James Beecher, commander of the 1st North Carolina, was the half-brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the famous abolitionist and author of the influential novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin," a depiction of the lives of African-Americans slaves.


In February 1864, the 1st North Carolina participated in the Battle of Olustee, just to the west of Jacksonville, Fla. Fighting alongside them were African-American Soldiers from the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, who had previously fought in the Battle of Antietam.

As an aside, men of the 54th were portrayed in the 1989 movie "Glory," based on the true story. The film, starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman, was nominated for five academy awards.

Once again, the fighting was intense and Terry was in the thick of it. And once again a bullet struck his leg. Fortunately, the leg that was shattered was his peg leg.

On March 2, 1864, the Hartford Evening Press in Connecticut reported the engagement and Terry's ordeal:

"A lieutenant of the same regiment, who had lost a leg in an engagement in North Carolina, and who had supplied in its place with an artificial member consisting of a stout oaken peg, was present at this fight, and, a rebel sharpshooter put a bullet through his trousers leg and his wooden peg. He felt the blow but escaped the twinge of pain that generally accompanies the passage of a pellet through genuine flesh and muscle, and enjoying a keen sense of the ludicrous, he forgot the battle and its dangers, and gave way to the heartiest and most explosive laughter.

"He pushed along the line and approached the colonel, to whom, after a severe effort, he was able to communicate the cause of his mirth. Almost convulsed with laughter, he exclaimed, 'colonel! By George! The dammed rebels have shot me through the wooden leg! Ha! Ha! Devilish good joke on the fellows!' and he hobbled back to his position on the line, and chuckled to himself immensely over the sell [sic]."

Terry left the Battle of Olustee with his regiment in the trailing troops, who along with the survivors from the 54th, had to push a disabled train by hand for more than 10 miles back to Jacksonville. In the months that followed Terry was fitted with two new prosthetics in order to remain in the active service.

A week after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on Palm Sunday 1865, President Lincoln was assassinated. Then on May 9, 1865, the war was officially declared over and on May 23, Terry accepted a promotion to captain by Brig. Gen. Rufus Saxton.

On Sept. 19, 1865, the Army withdrew Terry's promotion to captain, citing his disability and that a captain of a company is expected to march with his command and perform duty on foot with his men.


On Sept. 23, 1865, Terry was assigned to Saxton's staff at the Freedmen's Bureau in Charleston, S.C. Creation of the Freedman's Bureau was initiated by Lincoln in March 1865, with the purpose of assisting freed slaves. The bureau was under the Department of War and played a major role in post-Civil War Reconstruction until it was disbanded in 1872.

In January 1865, Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman was said to have directed Saxton to provide families of freed slaves "40 acres and a mule" by order of the president.

In October 1865, Terry wrote a letter to a family friend, former New York state Sen. Preston King, asking that he look into restoring his rank to captain. Maj. Gen. John G. Foster, who heard the case, denied the senator's petition. King could not reply because he died shortly after receiving Foster's letter.

On Nov. 25, 1865, Terry submitted a letter of resignation, saying he didn't want to serve as a first lieutenant after having served as a captain. On Dec. 16, 1865, Terry had second thoughts about leaving the Army and withdrew his letter of resignation.

Terry was given a brevet promotion to captain on Feb. 21, 1866.

A brevet rank comes without the additional pay of the higher rank and exercise of authority is limited. The practice was common during the Civil War. For example, George Armstrong Custer was promoted to brevet major general but after the war his rank reverted to captain. He was later promoted to major and then lieutenant colonel and was later killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.

On Jan. 23, 1866, Terry was transferred to Headquarters, Department of the South, in Charleston, under command of Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles, who was still serving within the Freedman's Bureau.

Like Terry, Sickles lost a leg. It was shattered by a cannonball during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Terry was mustered out of the service on June 6, 1866, with the rank of first lieutenant. On June 22, 1867, the Army officially recognized Terry as a brevet major but his final rank remained first lieutenant.

After the war, Terry had a 50-year career at the Customs House in New York City as a deputy collector in the audit department and he also served as a clerk.

Terry, who was born in 1845, died on March 4, 1919 and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York, Plot: Section 141, Butternut Plot, Lot 14454.


Donald Terry MacLeod Jr., the great, great grandson of Terry and also Bob Terry's cousin, has a special interest in Terry. He said his grandmother shared memories with him about Terry, since she had conversations with him. She was 18 when he died.

"My grandmother told me that when they were children he would sit on the porch of their home in Westchester County, N.Y., and take off the wooden prosthesis and show it to them," said MacLeod. "He would also apparently bang it on the front steps and make them laugh. He supposedly joked that the South had bad aim because when they shot him in the leg the second time they hit the wooden leg."

MacLeod also shared his thoughts on America's evolving attitudes toward race.

"We do feel strongly that his rank of captain was withdrawn due to the change in attitude after Lincoln's death about the officers who were close to the former slaves and working for their good, masked of course by the premise that he couldn't function as a captain with his disability. This is a larger story that is only exemplified by what happened to John D," MacLeod said.

Bob Terry shared his thoughts as well, in a letter to the ABCMR.

"In a twist of irony, officers who became amputees such as Gens. Wild and Sickles were allowed to remain in service, but enlisted personnel were not," Terry's letter read. "Additionally, Maj. Gen. Foster obfuscated the issue because he not did attempt to revoke my great grandfather's commission, but decided simply to demote him from captain back to first lieutenant on the basis that my great grandfather could not possibly perform the duties of a captain with only one leg."

"Extensive records in the National Archives provide clear evidence that my great grandfather's commission was not fraudulent, that he was already serving honorably as a permanent captain at the time of his demotion, and that he performed admirably as a brevetted major after his demotion. Documentation also shows there was no attempt to hide his disability at the time of his permanent promotion to captain."

During an interview with Bob Terry, he echoed his cousin's thoughts on race as a factor, although Terry himself was not an African-American:

"The idea of correcting the record was his family carrying on a fight that we found he waged up until his death in 1919 to gain justice. The injustice was because John Darling associated with officers like Maj. (Martin) Delaney, the highest ranking black officer in the war and John's commander of the 104th U.S. Colored Troops; Maj. Gen. (David) Hunter and Wild, who recruited former slaves in South Carolina and North Carolina respectively for the Union Army; Saxton and Sickles, the latter who on Grant's recommendation replaced Saxton after President Johnson fired him for refusing to take back land grants awarded to freed slaves."

"My great grandfather and all these officers suffered greatly for the stands they took," he said. "But they stood for what was right and fought the war after the war in spite of having to sacrifice rank, position, and peace."

Bob Terry said as a result of his research, he feels for combat veterans today who are struggling from losses of limbs, other physical injuries, and mental wounds suffered years after.

"Terry lost his limb because he was left on the battlefield for five days and gangrene set in," Bob Terry said. "At the time, there was no ambulatory service and medical care that was provided was appalling by today's standards."

"Also, there was a stigma associated with being an invalid," he said. "But Terry refused to be labeled as such. He was offered positions in the artillery, home guard and even in the newly formed Invalid Corps. But he turned them all down, wanting instead to go back into the field where he would have to move about on his feet."

"I hope Terry's story will be an inspiration for vets who were injured and are struggling today."


Based on evidence that Bob Terry, the great grandson obtained from the National Archives and elsewhere, the ABCMR ruled in favor of Terry.

"Our board has substantial authority and equity and we made the decision that Terry did in fact prove he could serve and lead from the front as a captain, even with the peg leg. Our board felt revocation of his promotion was unjust," said Conrad V. Meyer, director, ABCMR.

"Therefore the board determined that the evidence presented was sufficient to warrant relief and recommended all Army records be corrected by reinstating his permanent rank to captain."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Bob Terry and MacLeod welcome inquires and conversation about Terry. They have a lot more information about Terry and events surrounding his service and they plan to eventually put it all in a book. To get in contact with the two, send an email to to ask for their contact information.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What works best for you?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Yesterday was my son's semi-final game for the State Cup soccer tournament.  He put up a good fight, but they lost, 3-0.  While standing on the sidelines, making small talk with the other parents, I found myself in a conversation about gluten-free/paleo/high protein diets.  Imagine that?  This mom I was talking to is hilarious, and gluten-free!  We laughed and admitted to our judgement of "those sensitive people" that can't just eat everything like we could, prior to experiencing life without grains/gluten.  And how much better we feel since removing those items ourselves. 
Paleo is everywhere, even on the soccer sidelines.
It's not like I think everyone should stop eating grains today.  I can only say how surprised I am at how much better my body feels without them.  And how easy it is to not eat any grains.  I also find that it helps curb my emotional eating.  Without the quick carbs to stuff my face with, I tend to not stuff my face with anything.  I will turn to the foods I can eat, but how much meat and veggies can one eat at a sitting.  These foods just don't have that same effect when it comes to emotional eating.

I get stuck between trying to figure out the science of why this diet might feel better, and just taking the inherent cues from my body and believing that.  There's all the paleo websites and books, there's the new Abascal Way -TQI diet (To Quiet Inflammation) that seems to be the rage on Vashon Island and beyond, the Diet Cure book I many resources out there that claim high protein/low carb diets are the way to go.  But I bet there's just as many that say eating a vegan diet or eating no meat is best, and that you need carbs to be healthy. 

That's the thing, right?  Find what works best for you.  Why not try different ways of eating to see what works best for your body and your lifestyle, so you feel your best?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paleo Cheat? Or not?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I bought a pint of Luna and Larry's Dark Chocolate Coconut Bliss Ice Cream from the co-op yesterday.  I don't even really go for ice cream usually, but I like dark chocolate, and I was feeling down.  I wanted something.  Anything.

I looked all over the internet for an idea as to whether this is "paleo" or not.  Which actually brings up a whole other part of the paleo thing for me.  I don't get paleo pancakes, paleo bread, paleo cake.  I just don't get still seems processed and even though you're using "paleo" ingredients because they're allowed (like almond flour), it doesn't fit the mold for me.  But that's just me.  If you search paleo recipes on Tastespotting, you'll see I must be in the minority on this one.

Then there I was in the co-op ready to pummel the next toddler that almost rammed into me with those tiny carts, all crabby and desperate for some food to save me and everyone else from myself, and I bought it.  Agave Syrup and all.  23 grams of carbohydrates per serving.  And I ate it.

It was satisfying and I felt a little better when I was eating it.  But I have to say, I didn't feel any better afterwards.  I didn't feel worse either, just not better.

So, paleo cheat or not, it's still just something to consume.  It's not some magical antidote for ridding yourself of emotions.  Actually, I would assert that most things we look to for that kind of relief only eventually make the problem worse.

Sometimes growing up sucks.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Why am I doing this?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I said no to this twice this month.  Why?

 I had to get on the scale today.  I had a doctor's appointment because I need to get vaccinations to be in a clinic with pregnant women. (I start clinic tomorrow!!!!)  I stepped onto my scale this morning, because I didn't want to be caught off guard in public when I stepped onto the doctor's scale. 

My last weigh in for Weight Watchers was on 3/22, so nearly a month ago, and after paleo for three weeks.  I was kinda excited, for once, to step on the scale.  It felt strange to pull it off of the shelf where it had been sitting, dead silent for weeks.  Then the familiar steps of setting it down, making sure it wasn't sitting too close to the moulding between the floor and the wall so as not to mess up the reading, making sure the the towel wasn't hanging in my way form the rack above, sucking in my stomach (as if that helps) and slowly stepping on.


I lost 2 pounds since that last weigh in.  TWO POUNDS!

I don't even know what to say.  I wasn't necessarily in the paleo for weight loss.  Or was I?  Either way, I was hopeful that I had lost weight.  And I was clearly devastated by the low number I have lost. 

I wonder if it ever truly goes away?  This desire for the magic number on the scale?  Or if the time it takes to process the emotions around it just gets shorter?

I'll still do paleo, because I feel better eating this way.  And that's all that matters.  Right?

Paleo downfall

Posted by Amy Baranski

On day 11 of the Paleo diet I fell so far of the wagon that I don't know if I'll ever get back on.

Not only did I have McDonalds I ate a large bowl of spaghetti for lunch and topped off the day with a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake from Burgermaster.

The unfortunate part of the day wasn't even eating McDonald's it was the sad fact that I ordered a sausage mcgriddle not knowing what that was. Holy fucking vomit. It's a pancake thing instead of an English muffin thing. I couldn't tell from the picture on the menu. I also thought "griddle" = less fattening. It was so gross. There was syrup inside the pancake. I ate it anyway because I was starving and Babeski was asleep in the car. He had been sick the night before and was finally resting. I was so hungry. And it was so unsatisfying.

Since my downfall I stopped taking photos (shame) but can list some of the things I've consumed: spaghetti, red wine, white wine, chocolate croissant, lemon lavender coffee cake, pecan shortbread cookies, mint Milano cookies, top ramen, pizza, thai food, indian food, subway, soda, Doritos, Ruffles, peperoni sticks, cow milk, cheese, English muffin, crackers, bread, and on and on. My bloat is definitely back.

I don't even know if I have the will power to course correct this sinking ship. I feel really cranky today. Maybe it's all the disgusting food that I'm eating that's making me feel so bad. Who knows. All I can think over and over in my head is FIA (thank you Melissa!).

Friday, April 19, 2013

Paleo Thoughts for the week

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Paleo Thoughts:
A great movie, I highly recommend this!
  1. I ate 5 of those Jammers this week.  SO GOOD.
  2. I had moments of fantasy today during my cranky hour(s)...stuffing popcorn in my mouth, grabbing a slice of bread, rushing over to guzzle the soda my kids cracked open, sneaking into the van and drinking a whole bottle of wine, etc.  Happy to say, I did not act out on these fantasies.
  3. I have a new obsession in place of the scale, checking my back fat.  I don't have a hand-held mirror, so I use this fold out mirror from a free sample of make-up.  I think there's progress.
  4. After thinking I HAD to finally crack after 19 days of paleo and consume large quantities of carbs, I ate three huge meatballs and felt so, so much better.  Funny, I guess protein and fat really do work.
  5. Friday Night Pizza Night is getting easier.  Especially when I order meatballs for me.
  6. I feel best when I have at least one meal be mostly salad with some protein.
  7. I don't feel good when I only have nuts on hand because they are easy to carry around, and then that's all I eat for several hours (like at a 14 inning baseball game).  Nuts are good, but not in excess.
  8. My fingernails are way stronger, and I bite them less.
  9. After seeing a movie with my thirteen year old about the importance of girls across the globe being able to access an education and seeing how in some countries they are sold for marriage at age 11 or are working for a master from sun-up to sun-down at age 6, my struggle with whether or not to eat popcorn while watching seemed rather trivial.  Perspective.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jammer Time

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Believe it or not, worth every 275 pennies it took to buy this.

I found this at the cafeteria at my school.  It is SO FLIPPING GOOD!
(Aside from the name.  Jammers?  Come on, Jenise, you can totally do better.) 
I mean, I get it, maybe it is because I haven't had sugar in almost three weeks.  Maybe it is because there's honey and carob in it and they might not be paleo.  I don't care what it is.  It has been my treasured indulgence this week at school.  Before being paleo, I saw it sitting in it's wicker basket and always thought, "Ew."  Who knew the Jammers would make my whole week. 

I think it might have made me happier than when I first discovered Thug Kitchen.  (I'd like to add, before Gwyneth blabbed all about itWhy is she always on my tip?)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"You mean not as fat."

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
She is NOT paleo.  And keep away from her treats.

This morning I was getting ready for the day and Tallulah was sitting in the bathroom watching me.  We were both in our own worlds, within 2 feet of each other.  When I was done blow drying my hair, she started talking.
"Mama, I think you've lost weight."

"Really?  What makes you say that?"

"Well, I am sitting here looking at your tummy and it looks not as skinny as before."

"You mean not as fat."

"Yea, not as fat as before.  Can you weigh yourself to see?

"Nope, I promised myself I wasn't going to get on the scale for this whole month, until May."

"You can break your promise."

"I don't like to break promises I make to myself."

"Well, my friend breaks her promises all the time."

Even with the begging and pleading of a 7 year old, I resisted.  I just know that I will become obsessed.  I want to enjoy this month of Paleo, and continue to be satisfied and guilt free with my eating, instead of seeing that number on the scale staring up at me.  Bringing with it, either joy or defeat.

Paleo infractions

Posted by Amy Baranski

I don't know if it's because my son is teething or my husband seems to be working 100 hour weeks, or the fact that I haven't slept more than 4 hours in a row in about 18 months but this past week has been tough to resist alcohol. I've just needed a glass of wine (or 3) to unwind after what feels like long days. Last night as I was putting Babeski down for sleep my husband made dinner which was really sweet. He was a little unsure of what I'd eat since I'm on the Paleo. I got one chicken Italian sausage with marinara. It was so nice to get something made for dinner. I did have to cook the remaining two sausages that were in the package because one sausage these days doesn't even come close to cutting my hunger. For some reason I didn't get a salad (what's up with that?) and was too tired to make mine - so another day with limited greens.

Paleo granola, hamburger + bacon n greens, apple.
Not pictured: 3 chicken Italian sausages with marinara & 3 glasses of red wine.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thai Steak Salad

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Thai Steak Salad
I was inspired by Amy's Thai Steak Salad she had the other night and decided to try and make it at home.  I didn't measure, my apologies...I eyeball everything when I am cooking rogue without a recipe.  But I tried my best to explain the dressing ratio, and for everything else...just use enough for the amount of servings you want.  Or use a lot and have leftovers.  That's usually what I do.

Grass-fed beef (I used tri-tip sirloin, or something like that)

Dressing and marinade
Tamari (Wheat-free)
Toasted sesame oil
Hot red pepper sesame oil
Juice of two limes (Use 3 and skip the rice vinegar)
Brown rice vinegar (oops, guess that's not paleo, but it needed some more kick and I was out of limes)

Salad Stuff
1 head of Lettuce
1/2 Red pepper (sliced thin)
1/8 of a small Purple cabbage (Sliced thin)
1 Cucumber (sliced thin and halved)
1 Carrot (shredded)
3 Scallions (white and green chopped)
Cilantro (minced)
Mint (minced)
Thai basil (Minced)
Sesame Seeds

Mix together the marinade ingredients to your liking.  I use a little more of the acidic than the oil, and add as much tamari as you like for the salty taste. 

Marinate your meat with half of the dressing for at least half and hour.

Cut up the veggies and herbs and arrange veggies on a platter or toss in a large bowl.  Set aside avocado and herbs.

Grill or saute the beef.  Mine was thin, so I did about 3-4 minutes per side, so that it was still pink and tender inside.  Let it sit for a few minutes off the heat, and then slice thinly.

Place the meat, fresh herbs and avocado on top of the salad.  Drizzle the remainder of the dressing over and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  If you use Sriracha, I would add some of that in too.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Paleo Parfait

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #11

I didn't have much time for cooking today. Bob was gone all weekend and I juggled house work and baby, which was fun. We had a blast together. I'm really into nap time right now so I organized my Sunday around getting Babeski his three naps, or so. Last night he did not sleep well. Naps were a success with two solid 90 minute stretches plus a late afternoon cat nap. I started dinner during the first nap - rub a flank steak with spices and throw it in the crockpot. Everything else was quick and easy. I even ate the meatball cold. My son and I discovered the PURE BLISS of coconut cream together today. I had a parfait with strawberries. He had coconut cream with vanilla and blueberries. It was a delight all around. Today felt more like a snack day. I can't believe it's been 11 days already. Oh and I'm pretty sure I've lost around 5 pounds. Yay!

Paleo granola, apple and bacon, a lone turkey meatball, banana, coconut cream and strawberry parfait
and steak carnitas in lettuce wraps. Not pictured: sweet potato fries.

Carb Addiction and Adrenal Exhaustion

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
(These are suggestions from a book, I am not a doctor.  If these ideas peak your interest, get the book or see your healthcare provider.)

I had my first intentional non-Paleo bites of food yesterday.  At Cafe Flora, they were serving gluten-free sunchoke hush puppies.  Hush puppies!  I couldn't pass up trying one, and eating Tallulah's that she didn't like.  They weren't as good as a traditional hush puppy from the classy places I used to eat at as a kid, like Long John Silver's.  But still, it was deep fried.

I have been really enjoying the book that I mentioned earlier this month, The Diet Cure, by Julie Ross M.A.  The title set off my alarm bells right away.  Cure?  Yea, right.  But I have to say, something about this book makes a lot of sense to me.  There is a quiz at the beginning, after which, you will know which chapters relate most to your specific needs.  Given my scores, I am starting with Ch. 3 (Unstable Blood Sugar: Carb addiction, Hypoglycemia, Diabetes, and Adrenal Exhaustion) and Ch. 11 (Balancing Your Blood Sugar and Reviving Your Adrenals).

Ch. 3 - Unstable Blood Sugar: Carb addiction, Hypoglycemia, Diabetes, and Adrenal Exhaustion

This chapter starts out with a great analogy about sugar and carbs in the body.  "Your body and brain are built of protein, water, fat, minerals, and vitamins.  Like auto parts that must be made of specific materials such as metal and rubber - muscles, hormones, nerves, bones - must be made from water and solid nutrients like protein, minerals and fat.  Carbohydrates have a very different function.  They are the fuel that your body uses.  Yes, they are important, but you cannot build an engine or a tire out of gasoline, you cannot makes muscles and bones out of carbs."

If you find yourself eating carbs after carbs (and sugar too! or alcohol, the super-sugar), craving another dose throughout the day, then this stress moves from your pancreas, making enough insulin to keep up with the glucose in the blood, to the adrenals.  The adrenals are there for stress, and if they simultaneously have to deal with making sure your body doesn't bottom out on blood sugar, then over time you will find yourself in adrenal exhaustion. 

Once you have eaten yourself into any part of this cycle, you can be literally powerless over your food choices.  While your mind and will power say, "This isn't healthy or good for me," you're body's biochemical reactions are so powerful that you likely will find yourself picking up that croissant or glass of wine.  Through the process, your body is likely being depleted of important minerals, amino acids and nutrients. 

Ch. 11 - Balancing Your Blood Sugar and Reviving Your Adrenals

So, what to do if you it feels like you don't have a choice?  What about all those times that you do so "good" for a while, only to end up so cranky and irritated that you give up?  

You might be depleted in chromium, a mineral that the body uses to stabilize blood sugar.  The book asserts that it also directly prevents carbohydrate cravings.  I found a study that demonstrated an effect of lower cab cravings for depressed individuals after taking chromium picolinate supplementation.  The stories shared in the book are nothing short of miraculous, as far as how quickly the craving could subside.  Again, a red flag for me.  But, still, there is enough there for me to want to give it a try.

This amino acid can stop the blood sugar fro diving into the "must-eat-candy-or-have-a-beer-or-hit-someone" low blood sugar state that the brain can get into.  If the brain is low in glucose, which it needs to do anything, it can burn glutamine instead. 

Protein and Fat
High enough protein diets can help stabilize blood sugar as well.  Foods high in protein stimulate the release of glucagon, which in turn stimulates fat burning instead of fat storage, like glucose does.    What's enough protein in a meal?  3 eggs,  4-6 ounces of meat or fish, 1- 1 /2 cups of beans. (20-24 grams of protein)

Fat also helps in this process.  Your body needs fat, it you don't need a lot of it, but if you don't get any you may find yourself eating more and more carbs in it's place.  You may be eating low-fat everything, and your body is creaming for some fat, but you interpret it as you eat more of everything else.  Butter, olive oil and coconut oil are some great fats to add into your diet.

And of course, eat lots of fresh veggies and fruits.  Whole, with the fiber intact.
There are other things to offer support if you are over-stressed too.  Interestingly, do not over excerise if you are in adrenal exhaustion, as this adds more stress to the adrenals that they may not need at this time.  Find relaxing yoga classes, ways to decompose at lest twice a day, take long walks.