Juice Fast, Schmuice Fast….I Want a Burger!

It started out innocently enough. Or, perhaps, not innocently, at all. My kids got sick.

Obviously, there was only one thing to do: I bought enough produce to feed an army, and then I set out to puree it into a variety of tasty combinations. It was my reflexive response to both children falling ill on the second Monday of the new year.

Salad in a glass

Salad in a glass

After the strep cultures (one positive, one not yet positive), there was a prescription to be filled, and a request for yogurts, and for chicken soup. Which I was more than happy to make, from scratch, because it’s one of the few things I do well, always.

As I chopped, sautéed, simmered, and stirred, I thought: Immunity. Must. Boost. Immunity. This would be my own kind of Survivor challenge—husband away for the week, children sick and hanging out ON MY PILLOWS in my bed, Sundance Film Festival looming. I would make many juices and shakes, in an effort to scare germs away.

Then, my dear pal Florida Keys Girl posted, on Facebook, that she wished she were the type of person who liked kale smoothies. I felt, in that moment, fortunate (and a little sorry for her). I LOVE kale smoothies. I like to drink my lunch—most of a salad, plus some protein powder and almond milk, and I’m good. It’s quick, effective, and I can sip while I work. Salad requires two hands (or one hand and more coordination than I posses), and a table. A smoothie is a one-handed operation, to be executed anywhere. The couch, the car. I can type and sip. I can drive and sip. And I am easily distracted. Often, I make a salad and forget to finish it. I’m not like this at breakfast or dinner, mind you. I like to eat. But lunch is hard–it’s a flow-stopper. One would argue (and I have argued) that the midday meal should be savored, enjoyed and treated like a proper break, a mental reset, if you will.

But, seriously, I don’t have time for that. So, I drink my lunch. And, yes, dear reader, it would be more fun to drink, say, martinis, for lunch. Or wine. Florida Keys Girl makes this point even more persuasively, by the way.

But I have to drive places in the middle of the day. So.

Anyhoo, I set out to follow this one-day Juice Cleanse. It had shown up in my e-mail, because health writers get those sorts of things in our e-mail in-boxes. Nevertheless, a juice cleanse is something I never, ever thought I would do. When other people announced their juice cleanse intentions, I would say things like, “I like food.” But I was starting it in the middle of the day. So, I reasoned, I could make half a go of it. So, I had about half the juices and smoothies (“Dad,” said Lance to Jeff on the phone, later. “She was running the blender, ALL DAY!”), and then I made soup for the kids, and decided I should eat some. Hey, it was liquid. With noodles. Yum. Of course, because I’d only half-cleansed, I was still hungry. So I had grape nuts. And almond milk. Which is a smoothie ingredient. Which is good for you, right? Right.

Grape Nuts in Almond Milk = smoothie? Maybe not.

Grape Nuts in Almond Milk = smoothie? Maybe not.

The next day, I made another round of smoothies and juices. All hail the Blendtec. These juices were filling, I figured, because I had not used a juicer to get rid of much of the fiber. Yes, I thought. I can do this. Then, for dinner, I made quiche for the kids, and, well, eggs are liquid until they’re cooked, so I ate some. And the roasted fingerling potatoes. Because, vegetables have a lot of water in them, so same diff.

Still, I couldn’t help notice that the Juice Cleanse had some mojo.

People, over those first days, there was, I dare say….a lot of peeing. Wow. Who KNEW? By the second morning, I found myself feeling decidedly not bloated. Which was sort of a surprise, because I hadn’t realized that I was bloated, at all, in the first place. Maybe this had some merit. Especially since running the infirmary here at the Rothchild Ranch had 86’d my gym workouts for the week. And (the ultimate insult) my Wednesday ski clinic. Anyway, I figured that not-bloated-feeling meant my two half-days were adding up to something. Then, a three-day cleanse came into my in-box. And I thought…maybe I can do this. I could try to do three full days, next. Or maybe two—since I had the equivalent of one day under my belt. Hmmm….

Day three as Nurse Mommy—one child goes back to school, the other does not. I make my morning smoothie. And then, I make a green juice–my favorite from the previous day. Avocado. Broccoli, kale, chard, arugula, lemon.

there's broccoli in them there smoothies

there’s broccoli in them there smoothies

Then, a berry smoothie. The cleanse instructions say you’re not supposed to wait more than two hours between smoothies (Courses?). But this is my issue—I can’t remember to stop working to eat lunch most days. Hence, the salad smoothie at 2:50 pm, most days. So, I got three drinks in eight hours, not six, and then I had a big gap in the hours that consisted of: pick up kid, collect assignments for other kid, pick up antibiotic for second kid who FINALLY got a strep diagnosis confirmed, buy more smoothie ingredients, unload said ingredients into fridge, prepare snacks for kids, take healthier kid to karate, call spouse on business trip….HOURS, and no food. Nothing but the smell of burgers grilling at the bar next to karate. Suddenly, there were no other foods in the world that seemed as appealing as a burger. Still, I went home, I made up for lost time, sort of. Green juice with celery, spinach and cucumber. Then, coconut water, berries and protein powder.

Then, while helping a child with homework, I roasted the remaining head of kale. Because it’s yummy. And I couldn’t blend another damn thing.

Kale, chewable version. How novel.

Kale, chewable version. How novel.

More peeing. I must be doing something right. Except there are four drinks left unmade in my day. And I’m good at juice cleansing until 10 pm. Which is, I’m told, a very bad time to eat. There is actual food in the fridge. Things I could chew, swallow. Feel in my belly. Enjoy. I’m all for this. Except—I’m feeling, good. Energized. Plus, I don’t want to feel bloated. Yet, I can’t shake the feeling that the only juice worth drinking is grape–aged grape juice. From Napa. Or Sonoma. Or Burgundy. Or the Loire Valley. Or Trader Joe’s in any other state than Utah. (I can hear my pal, grapefriend, cheering madly from the bleachers.)

I’m pretty sure that I’ve confirmed that I cannot live on salad smoothies, alone. But I’m glad I have this little weapon in my arsenal—fun new recipes, and a nice little pick-me-up to remind me why I should not eat too many burgers.

All of which just underscores my favorite mantra: Everything in moderation. Including moderation.

Just Remember, This Was Your Idea…

We watched the Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London, and while I remain baffled by most of the content of last night’s presentation, I feel like we’ve embraced the spirit of sport with renewed zeal in our house.

To wit:  I went out on a limb to conquer my fear of riding my mountain bike down hills. This is not to be confused with the super-extreme body-armor-required sport calledDownhill Mountain Biking. I just want to ride some single track and go downhill and not think, “I’m gonna die.” So I took a lesson—which I’ll write about for the Deer Valley Blog, soon. I did this because, unlike in the family skiing hierarchy, I’m the wuss biker in our family. The kids haven’t done single track, yet. But they will, and they will leave me in their dust if I don’t up my game. Which is the same motivation I had to learn to ski in the trees. So, the lesson. And the charity of a bunch of girlfriends who love the sport and want me to love it enough that they will actually do wussy rides with me to build my confidence. Which seem to me to be karmically appropriate (and still, so generous), since that is my vibe when I ski with my friends who ski, shall we say, with a lesser dose of balls-to-the-wall than I employ. (Which, until the Mahre Training Camp at Deer Valley Resort, wasn’t that much, but that’s another story, altogether.)

And while I always had a healthy respect for friends who learned to ski as adults, I had no idea, NO IDEA, what I meant by that until I tried to overcome my fear of the downhill ride. The whole way down, I wanted to call my pal, Grapefriend, with whom I’ve discussed that very phenomenon, to say, “I know what they feel like, those newbie adult skiers! This is freakin’ scary, sister!”

And, in the spirit of scaring the rocks out of myself only once in a week, I decided not to try to keep up with my kids in their new chosen sport. They can skateboard without me, I thought. And then I realized, since they don’t yet know how to skateboard, and they had these shiny new boards to try out, that I had to accompany them to the skateboard park. And it was 4pm, and I thought (incorrectly) that I had already maxed out on feeling old. As in: every minute I spent in Zumiez, the skater shop in the Tanger Outlet Mall near our house. It is this chaotic, well-stocked place (staffed with polite, clean-cut kids, in fact) that seemed to scream at Jeff and me: “You are out of your depth here! Abort mission!” Our kids, high on the whiff of excitement and rebellion that emanates from the sound system in Zumiez, would not stand for anything less than leaving with sweet new rides. Still, we giggled a lot. Jeff found a “Nerdy Bird” T-shirt for me, which he said he’d only buy if he could also buy me the Daisy Duke-sized gym shorts with the Corona Extra logo on them. And I said, fine, if you’re willing to hire me a personal trainer five days a week, and then he put them back. He tried on three hats with a logo that spelled out OBEY, and we had a good laugh. Mostly because they are that big-huge-boxy style baseball hat that makes a 40something guy in ironic fashion-forward horn rims look…well, absurd, really.

photo: courtesy Zumiez.com, where you can buy this hat, if you want. Jeff’s birthday is in February.

Connor, the nice high-school kid, egged us on. He tried to get us to buy our own boards.He was unbelievably patient with my kids, and kept extolling the virtues of helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards. I LIKED this boy. And when he asked me if I followed his mom on twitter (and we figured out that, yes, we follow each other!) I tweeted to her about how great her Connor is. And felt for all the world like an old biddy. But whatever. The kids were happy, and also asking if they could learn to race Downhill Mountain Bikes like Connor, who also coaches the youth mountain bike club in town. My darling husband made sure to put me in my place when I told Connor I was working up my nerve to ride down hills. “You know that’s different than Downhill, right, Nan?” “Yes, I was about to say that the Downhill guys totally smoked me on the hill the other day, and yet, were VERY polite about that, and I like that Mountain Bike Racer people are polite.” Sounding ever more like the old biddy. So you can see how that maxed-out feeling had been achieved.

Connor, left, trying not to laugh too hard at the crazy Rothchilds

Which brings me to 4pm, when I marched into the skate park at City Park, determined to support my kids’ latest dangerous sports endeavor. And there was no way around looking or acting like a helicopter mom. So, I owned it, and very loudly told my kids to rub dirt in their scrapes and try again. And very loudly explained that every good rider in the park had fallen a ton when they first started. Because maybe the people who belonged there would decide I was ok if I was loud and pushing my kids to be tough. This, of course, was all guesswork. I made friends with another skater’s dog. I didn’t narc out the guy who was smoking in the corner. And I wished, fervently, that I had been a cool skater chick as a kid, so I would know how to teach the boys–and so that I might have a hope of earning a place of belonging in this foreign land.

By the way—no skater chicks in the park, save a lone in-line skater in derby garb, who was adorable. And who looked not at all like Florida Keys Girl and I looked some 20 years ago, when we took to the outdoor rink at Chelsea Piers in New York City,  in effort to become fit, cool in-line skater chicks—in a day. Um, so, anyway……There I was, not sure how to feel about the fact that Jeff was on a plane, bound for a conference. We would have been TWO useless grown-ups there, if he’d been present, after all—but I hated for him to miss the whole scene. I cemented my heli-status by videotaping incessantly and sending footage, via text, to Jeff-on-the-plane.

One little guy’s mom sat on a blanket on the other side of the ramps’  gates, venturing in once—to give her boy a rain warning, shooting me looks of empathy and solidarity (and not at all pity-fueled) before scurrying out again to her blanket. That kid was a seasoned-enough boarder, age 9, who told me, with a world-weary air about him, that he had learned a lot about riding by getting knocked over by the expert skaters in the park. Seth asked him why he wasn’t wearing any pads or helmet, and he said, “I’m practically a professional.” But when my kids—the only ones in full protective padding (I resisted the urge to buy a couple of rolls of bubble wrap and just swaddle them in it—aren’t you impressed?) on elbows, knees, wrists, and only two of five wearing helmets—told their new buddy that he should be in a helmet, at least. “I agree,” he said. “But my mom can’t find mine.” He was matter-of-fact, noting that he’d like some pads, too, but his parents weren’t in a hurry to buy them. With a “whattayagonnado?” shrug, he rolled over to try his next trick.

Well-padded children, photographed by Heli-Mom

I watched as Lance gained confidence and a little speed—trying new angles and turns over and over, figuring things out, making up “beat you to the other side” games with the other boy. Seth vacillated between fear, frustration, falling and regaining his courage, teaching himself to scoot, balance, glide. Quickly, he deemed himself “A PWO-Feshhional.”

All the while, my mind raced—did I have any friends who skate? I have thrown myself into improving or learning other sports—maybe I could learn skateboarding? I recalled the time my friend Juliann broke her leg, benched for the entire ski season, because she’d decided to hop on her longboard, in flip flops, to go get the mail. And how the paramedic had to repeat the report twice in his radio-call to the ER, “38 year-old female…..SKATEBOARDING accident. No, not 18…THIRTY-EIGHT…” Sigh. Frankly, the prospect of missing a ski season is the thing that’s keeping me from acting on my Eureka moment….The one when I realized I have a Facebook Friend who is a legit skater chick, who is definitely in my age bracket, and often— like me—decries the fact of our age bracket, because, we feel SO MUCH YOUNGER AND COOLER THAN WE ARE. We have mutual friends here in Park City. Skater Chick lives in the Skater Chic capital of the world: Southern California. And in my new fantasy, she comes to Park City to visit our other tragically-hip-minded friends and, charitably, teaches me to ride. Or, maybe she can just tell me about shredding, over drinks.

All the while, Jeff’s parting words as he left for the airport, rang in my ears…”Just remember, this was YOUR idea…” So, as soon as we got home, from our Apres-Skate Slurpees and First Aid Stop, I signed them up for Skateboard Camp at Park City Recreation, which, of course, has classes for everything, as long as you are willing to sign the waiver.

Why I obsess (intermittently) about cooking

Readers of this blog, and of my FB page/Twitter feeds, will notice that I am a little obsessed with the fact that I’m a crappy cook. My husband, bless him, repeatedly lets me off the hook for this, “Nobody expects you to cook dinner…so don’t.” And I find that when I heed this, I do better. I plan on a few low-pressure dinners a week—picking up prepared stuff at Whole Foods—sushi, rotisserie chicken, sides; baking a frozen lasagna (I like Michael Angelo’s, because it tastes fresh, believe it or not); making “cheater’s flatbread” from Pillsbury Pizza Dough in the can, with some goat cheese, rosemary , EVOO, and balsamic and tossing a salad to go with it. Then, when I have the time and patience, I’ll put together a low-key, low-effort dinner. Garlic roasted chicken and tomatoes, roasted cauliflower tossed with red peppers, pine nuts and balsamic was a recent hit.

But in case you are wondering why I put so much pressure on myself, it’s because not only is my husband a killer amateur chef, but so are some of my best friends . Just check out this post from my pal Florida Keys Girl, and note that we were the guests at the first dinner party. Yum. She did leave out that more than a splash of wine wound up on my white jeans—for which Florida Keys Girl was quick to provide a spray of WineAway. My new favorite product.  (I could have cared less, FlKeys Guy, if you’d actually ruined them, given that they were $17 pants from TJ Maxx, but you didn’t!)

Wine Away Signature Pack

(photo borrowed from Wineaway.com Go there and buy this stuff. It’s awesome.)

 

My four year-old stylist rocks!

I’m not ashamed to tell you that my four year-old dressed me today. I’m very lazy about my style. I live in the mountains and feel like I need an excuse to dress nicely. Seth, on the other hand, is big on dressing up, looking “handsome,” and finding the occasion in the everyday. Hence, he often shows up to school or some other function in full cowboy regalia, including leather vest, or a preppy look with sweater vest and khakis. When he dresses me, he does it because I just helped him get dressed, and his sense of fair play dictates that he should return the favor. He knows my basic style includes some sort of sweater—light fabrics in spring, heavier knits in winter—and jeans.  And that’s when I’m “dressing up.” Much of my day-to-day look involves fleece. And yoga pants. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Just ask my friend, Florida Keys Girl, who once said, “I don’t actually do yoga, I just like the pants.”)

So this morning, he marched into my closet and announced: “I’ll get your sweater.” A moment. And then: “Mommy, how about this jeans sweater?”

Ah, yes, my very favorite denim jacket, purchased about 12 years ago, when I was shopping with my friend and colleague, Sue, after we wrapped a photo shoot. Wearing this jacket always takes me back to that day—we’d rented a convertible to tool around LA, driven up the coast to Gladstone’s On the Beach, and then, to the Santa Monica Pier for shopping. The denim jacket looks broken-in in just the right way. I smile every time Iwear it. Sue, you see, is a lot of fun, and a great friend who I don’t see nearly enough. Later, I enhanced the jacket with a brooch in the shape of an apple, festooned with rhinestones in the pattern of an American Flag. I bought it in an Israeli-owned accessories store in Grand Central Terminal, on my first trip to NYC after 9/11, just weeks after we’d moved to Utah.

Ok, so what to wear with a “denim sweater”? Jeans were out. Dammit. The Old Navy black cropped-and-cuffed pants (yes, I know, I’m 5’1 and have no business in a cropped pant. I should go to Banana Republic and buy these.); a black t-shirt from eco yoga, with an abstract black and grey silk-screen that has some rhinestones scattered in the pattern, just-so. And, my trusty running-around-after-kids shoes, Dansko Sela sandals.

So, thus suited, I plopped down on the floor to put together a big puzzle with my “stylist,” then managed the dogs, loaded us into the car for errands and day-care drop off, and headed to my mobile office at Park City Coffee Roaster. In the parking lot, I ran into my friend Joanna, who said, “Look at you, GLAM GIRL! Do you have a meeting?” Which shows you how much more frequently I cheat with jeans and a fleece, or yoga pants and a fleece, or shorts and a fleece.

I think, too, that my accessories for the day—my new every day accessories—might have added to her shock. I used to carry some amalgam of canvas totes and reusable shopping bags, plus a tiny little purse from H&M. But last week, while I was visiting Naples, FL with my husband, I splurged. Actually, it was at his express urging, plus a well-timed chime in from my high-school pal Rosana, who happened to be there, too.

So, I now carry this great LV monogram zip-top tote to take the thinking out of what bag I’ll carry.

The tote, for the record, holds my laptop, an iPad, snacks for the kids (and me), miscellaneous paperwork that I always seem to need on-hand, and a pouch filled with band-aids, ibuprofen and lip gloss. After dark, I take out the electronics and it’s lightweight and still polished-looking.

I’ve never been a label-hound. Frankly, I don’t love logos. But I scoured for a logo-free tote that met all my needs, and, still, this one best fit the bill. And, I reasoned, if I can afford this bag, I can afford to donate a similar sum to charity—so everyone wins, right? Oy, the guilt.

Then, I splurged again on Tom Ford sunglasses—because I’d never had a really, really nice pair of shades before, and these were really pretty.

I mulled this as I booted up my MacBook in the Roaster, and wandered over to my former colleague Marlien’s site, LeCatch. Because procrastination is the writer’s first line of defense.

Still, I’m glad I went there. Marlein’s style choices reflect the closet of my dreams. That is, a mix of designer and trendy-chic-on-the-cheap. She’s likely to pair a skirt from H&M with a JCrew top and a designer bag. I wasn’t an expensive-bag kind of person until a week ago—and I bought the one I did because it meant I didn’t need a bunch of bags. And, frankly, the whole of my wardrobe is early-century outlet mall, at best. Every few years I buy something a little more upscale—a piece here or there—and pair it with basics from TJ Maxx. But reading LeCatch is giving me the courage to figure out which items in my closet  should be swapped out for better-grade items, and which I can wear with impunity. Granted, I’m still recovering from investing in an expensive bag and shades—so you’ll find me trawling TJ’s for deals as a way to “cancel out” the splurge. But maybe I need to get used to the idea that investing in a few great things is better than a closet full of also-rans. And maybe, just maybe, LeCatch will help get me there.

As for you, dear reader, LeCatch is your must-read. Why? Because my stylist is not for hire—it would violate all sorts of child-labor laws.

So go check it out–and let me know when you last splurged—and on what?

Counting snowflakes

“Look, I see one!”

 

“There’s another!”

 

“I KNEW it would snow today!”

 

“I love snow! I love it because then we get to go skiiiiiiiiiiing!”

 

There were probably—and this is just a rough guesstimate, so bear with me—four snowflakes today. But, apparently, that was enough to get my kids gabbing, yet again, about skiing.

It set off the running checklist in my mind—the missing gloves to be located or replaced, equipment to be checked for fit, and traded up for size at Utah Ski and Golf, where we enrolled Big Guy in the Grow-With-Me program (you pay a flat fee, they provide equipment as the child grows until age 12 or so.). Little Guy has 70 cm skis that we purchased, since he started skiing so young that no rental shop carried gear in his size. Thankfully, Surefoot, where his “Ski Aunt and Uncle” purchased a pair of boots for him two years ago, offers a trade-up program for kids, as well.

Then, I’ll remind myself, like I do every year, what it takes to enjoy skiing with your kids. Click on that hotlink, above, and you can see what I wrote about it on my Deer Valley Blog this week.

This weekend, we’ll go have our photos taken for our season passes at Deer Valley. We’ll sort out the gear issues. And then, we will wait, not terribly patiently, for the first snow.

100% Chance of Snow

That’s tonight’s forecast. And tomorrow’s.

And…

I am SO ready.

View from our kitchen door

This is what autumn snow looked like last October

Except for the fact that I don’t currently own a pair of functional skis. But I can’t get bogged down in the details (and, also, I can take comfort in the fact that Florida Keys Girl stores her skis in my garage, so I’ll be able to start the season by making sure her oft-neglected boards get some action.  (Anyway, she just got a dog, who is so cute my Little Guy insisted on eating dinner with this new pup’s picture displayed on the screen of our kitchen computer…my point is, I will be surprised if she and Florida Keys Guy can tear themselves away from little Babka for as many ski days as they usually spend in Utah. Which means it falls to me to see to it that her skis don’t feel neglected, what with the new family member and all.)

Anyway, I had to smile this afternoon, when I heard “100 percent chance of snow” during my favorite afternoon show on KPCW, as host Randy Barton started handicapping the snow line—official reports called for somewhere in the mid 7000 feet range, but Randy noted the temps and started calling for a lower line. We’ll see.

The truth is, I’ve been antsy for a couple of weeks—and started gabbing about it with some of the folks at Deer Valley who are charged with preparing the resort for the season. You can find out about my skiing daydreams—and get some inspiration from some people who really have the inside track (ahem)  on perfect ski days at my Deer Valley blog. What’s YOUR perfect ski day?