Thursday, July 31, 2014


Since I gained a million pounds when I was pregnant, I have spent the last year making a concerted effort to clean up my act, drop the weight, and get in shape.

The first year after Ev's birth I did….nothing. Most of that year I was trying to haul myself out of a miserable, deep, dark pit of postpartum depression and then we moved overseas, so my enthusiasm for fitness was basically nil. I think I maybe took a walk one time? Yes, and then I looked down at little E in her pram, saw her turning blue in the cold and was like OK WE'RE DONE, NEVER WALKING AGAIN! and hightailed it back home.

After her first birthday and our move, I was ready. Because, hello! AMERICA! SUNSHINE! GYMS- everywhere! HAPPINESS! and did I say sunshine? Glorious sunshine! Also, I was very tired of wearing large pants.

Our sassy little realtor was a barre instructor who taught at a studio just down the street. I interpreted this as A SIGN and promptly signed up for six months of classes. Even though I don't really like working out and hadn't worked out at all since before my wedding.

I know.

But you know what? It was great. I've never worked out so much in my life!  I went to class religiously. It was seriously my kind of work out (if there could be such  thing). You get to wear cute clothes and fun socks. You don't sweat too much. It's air conditioned. There are peppy, well constructed playlists that I didn't have to put together. And I'll be damned if I didn't drop a size or two! 

Bliss. I signed up for another six months. More toning, not so much pound dropping or size dropping. Frustration. I started looking for something more "serious". I figured there was only so far I could go doing plies and lifting pink weights, right?

Enter Crossfit (cue dramatic music).

I started a Crossfit beginners class this week, which is essentially a series of semi-private personal training sessions. Y'all. I don't know what to think about this. On the surface, it is so not me at all. Everyone is REALLY! INTO! FITNESS! and very sweaty. Everything looks really industrial and is all metal. There is no A/C. But…. I'm kinda digging that I can just about do a correct pushup now, and squat and lift heavy things! I feel sort of, I don't know, tough? empowered?

But it's still super intimidating  and my knees kinda hurt and I'm just not sure if I can take it. I have mild anxiety just sitting here thinking about going tomorrow! What's the deal? I don't think I'm just a lazy anti-gym loser, but I feel like I'm flunking Crossfit. Crossflunk. Maybe? Aren't I supposed to LOVE IT?! Do I just need more time? 

What's your fitness regime? Got any tips for me? I need to do something but I'm just not quite sure I've found it yet.

(Also posted on the new site, The comments should be fixed and the RSS should be up and working- please update your feeds and let me know if you have any problems! Thanks for your patience!)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back in the Saddle

And so we return, in media res, to our wee family life.

We've been back in the US for about a year now- isn't it funny how time goes by and at the same time both everything and nothing is the same? I know. We're there. I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Welcome back, new friends and old. It's good to be back.

I promise I'll complain less about the weather and shopkeeping hours this time.

For more fun, visit and please pardon the mess. Jenny outed me a bit early.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Turn & face the strange indeed.
So so so many changes. I'm borderline unsure if I can handle it.

As everyone and their mom are already talking about, the Holy Father gave his two weeks notice. I'm feeling particularly sensitive about this since he is the Shepherd that brought this lost sheep back to the fold. Perhaps a story for another day, but for now I'll just say (along with bazillions of others) that I love him and will miss him.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand we're moving! Again. Very far away. But not scary far....awesome far.

We're moving here:


I am so ready.

Emotionally ready, not physically read.

Because I still have a house full of furniture and appliances to sell and bags to pack. I'm not exactly sure how we're going to get rid of this stuff since there is no Goodwill and no Craigslist and we live in the middle of no where, but we'll figure it out. I don't really care how it happens because I just want On.That.Plane.

T-minus two weeks until we leave the village and start again.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Barnacle Bill

Last Friday, my sister-in-law and I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous winter weather and head out to do some Christmas shopping for handmade curiosities in quaint, countryside shops.

Just kidding! It was pouring rain and the sun didn't come out and we went to Ikea.

I had to pick up some decor and plates and flatware and serving dishes and basically everything because Fr. In-Law doesn't want to host Christmas dinner after all and everyone else in the family decided it would be cool for us to host it. 

So I bought all my gear  and we went back to my sister-in-law's place to decorate her tree and get her house looking spiffy for the holidays. Mission accomplished, her tree looks awesome. After all, I have to get my tree-jollies from other people this year. I'm okay with that.

Anyway, after many hours of hard holiday graft, the Agent came to pick me up and we made our way back home. Too tired/lazy/whatever to stir up our own meatless dinner, I finally gave up on my post-baby moratorium on fish and chips and suggested it. Because a) in the village, that's the only take out you're going to get anyway and b) Englishmen never say no to fish and chips. Win-Win.

Our local chippy is called Barnacle Bill's. Barnacle Bill is both awesome and hilarious. He's always talking about weird village gossip and politics and won't tell you his real name. Or won't tell me anyway. I never have any idea what he's talking about. I just smile and nod because he makes delightful non-soggy fish. You'd be surprised at how often fish and chips are soggy. It's gross.

Last time I saw him I was still pregnant. When I waddled in to collect our Friday usual, he says to me…

"You know me' chips have sent off women in the village before!"

Yeah, ok Barnacle Bill. I seriously doubt ye' chips are gonna send me into labor because I'm not due for three weeks and everyone knows first babies are always late and also they're just chips and can I please have some tartar sauce thankyouverymuch.

We went home, had our tea (which incidentally means dinner,  a cup of tea and also afternoon tea in the UK, so don't get confused!) and I told the Agent about Barnacle Bill's latest round of crazy. We laughed about it and then he very soberly reminded me that I wasn't allowed to go into labor anyway because he was leaving for a secret mission early in the morning.

And then I started having contractions.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cultural Adaptation

Yesterday I needed to go to the post office to put a box of Christmas goodies in the mail to the good ol' US of A. I packed up the box, wrapped up the baby, wrapped up myself and trotted out in the cold on down to the village center to take care of business.

When I got there, the post office was closed. Because as we all should know, on Wednesdays everything in the village closes at noon. Everyone else knows this instinctively because all of the other residents have lived here forever, as have their parents and grandparents etc etc on back until probably the Roman occupation.

I was pretty heated. Major irritation. Mind you, not because I had to walk to the post office, or even walk in the cold, or walk in the cold with a baby...and not even because the post office was closed at a completely unreasonable time in the middle of the week.

I was mad because I would have to get in the car and drive three villages away down to the next post office.

Three! Whole! Villages!

Mind you, it would've been like a ten minute drive and less than 5 miles.

But it was still three villages and I was just NOT going to do that.

I guess I just might be getting used to this place after all.

But maybe not, because I still throw a minor fit every time I do the dishes by hand or hang up clothes on the line. I mean really, how are the clothes supposed to get dry a) when it's raining or b) when it's so cold that they'll freeze before they're dry? Hmmm????

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Some Holiday Cheer

When I packed my life up and moved over here to marry the Secret Agent, I didn't pack up all of my Christmas decorations and awesome vintage ornaments and all that jazz. Obviously.

So needless to say, I was feelin' pretty sour about not having a Christmas tree. And I made sure I acted as a travel agent for guilt trips every time we saw trees for sale at any retail establishment...not that we'd have a place to put a tree, but that definitely didn't stop me from laying it on reaaaaaaaaaal thick.

I thought that I had maybe taken it a little bit too far when I started saying how beautiful the trees looked on some BBC Christmas special when the Agent just got up and left the room in the middle of my sentence.

Um, wow. Okay. I seriously crossed the line.

But then he came downstairs with this sweet little thing:

Yes, I'm repeating from Instagram. Don't act like you don't!

Turns out he and my mom conspired fix up this little faux battery powered tree. Mom hot glued all the little lights and ornaments on and then the hubs smuggled it back in his luggage. I have the best family.

So then the Agent gets out his Leatherman and I start freaking thinking he's going to destroy my precious mini tree. He kindly tells me he's going to wire it so we can plug it into the wall and not use a zillion batteries from now until Epiphany. Wise man! (Oh yes I did....)

So as he's tinkering I  say, "You know how to diffuse explosives don't you...?"


"you aren't allowed to tell me, are you?"

Agent says: "Yeah, something like that. Now if you would please take our daughter out of the room- this thing is either going to work perfectly or explode."

Friday, December 07, 2012

7 QT: A Very English Holiday

1. This year we're staying in the UK for Christmas. It was a tough decision for all, and by all I of course mean only me because I'm kind of a selfish brat and viewed it as an affront to justice that I wouldn't get to see my family over the holidays. Even though we spent Christmas with my family for the past two years. See? Major Bratitude.  However, I was an emotional terrorist played major hardball and bargained that I would stay and mostly not pout about it if I could go home at Thanksgiving. For a whole month.

2. I do have to say that I'm actually kinda looking forward to having a big family Christmas here where no one is trying to kill each other. You see, my husband's family are basically kindly Hobbits from the Shire with not a single contentious bone in their bodies, whereas my extended family are the Hatfields and McCoys. Ah finally, Christmas without a flak jacket…

3. There is one thing standing in our way though….SPACE. Since this is Europe, we basically all live in dollhouses so nobody has room to host a Christmas dinner for 20+ people. Or even 10 people. Except for the priest in the family, who lives in a giant Victorian mansion-presbytery from the days when priests got to live in mansions with 10 bedrooms and 4 floors and servants quarters and a special room for a pool table. It's funny because I'm not even kidding. But he's not playing ball, so we're kind of in a jam. So if you could, please pray that Fr. In-Law changes his mind, otherwise my Christmas will look like this:

Drunk, alone, in PJs all day, watching infomercials with a tissue paper cracker crown on on my head a la Bridget Jones. Can we please avoid this? Kthanks!

4. That aside, I'm having wild fantasies about what I can cook for our potential-big-family-Christmas dinner, constantly mulling over what fantastic American culinary specialities I can force them all to try. Because sweet baby Jesus knows that I am not going to eat bread sauce (blech) and mushy boiled brussel sprouts (double blech). What's your favorite thing to cook for Christmas? Do I feel a link-up coming on….??? I hear they're all the rage these days.

5. Can we just talk about how cold it is y'all? I'm dying here. Until this afternoon I hadn't actually left the house all week. Too cold. And dark. Like the sun sets at 2pm dark. I was wondering why I was starting to feel cranky, sad, and short fused. Luckily my sweet husband sensed the impending stir-crazy meltdown and took me out for coffee and scones at our favorite fancy country hotel. Yum. 
6. Speaking of the cold, my skin never does very well in winter. Does yours? If so, don't tell me because I'll be terribly jealous of your freak-of-nature-super-model-good-skin fortune. If not, let me let you in on a little secret! Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream. Don't be afraid because it's called "Cream". It's   light and lovely and silky and super hydrating. I'm talking make your face feel dewy and perfect kind of hydrating. So hydrating that the Agent touched my cheek and said "Your face feels kind of like our baby's butt…. I mean that as a compliment".  And (almost) best of all, you only need a tiny bit of it for your whole face- the small jar does me just fine through all the cold months, which are many since I live about 15 miles south of the Arctic Circle.  It might be my favorite skin product ever, which is saying something since I've tried approximately all of them (except for the reeeeaaaallly expensive bee venom and other crazy ingredient ones). So ask for some for Christmas. Or just buy it yourself. Whatever. You won't be sad.

7. I was feeling extra bold today so I decided to try on my two biggest pairs of pre-baby pants. And guess what? THEY ACTUALLY ZIPPED UP.  I'm not saying they looked good (they didn't), but they went on and zipped up and I didn't have to lay down on the bed and inhale or do the pants-dance to get them on. Which then inspired me to try on my real wedding ring, which I haven't worn in many many moons. And you know what? IT FIT TOO! I had been wearing some rings which were an anniversary gift (originally sized to fit my right hand…) as a wedding ring, but now I can wear the real deal. I am so happy. Looks like my mediocre attempts at weight loss have been a semi-success. Only 23 enormous pounds to go. Wish me luck.

Bored yet? If not, go see the Quick Take Queen for more.