Co-schooling has been going fine, if irregularly. For the first four weeks of the school year, my family was traveling in Europe. Then we had a series of mishaps and scheduling faults -- we had a respiratory virus, and then H's family went out of town for a wedding, and then H's daughter sustained a nasty scalding burn that kept her recuperating in her own house for several days.
So yesterday, Thursday, was actually the first co-schooling day we've managed to hold at my house yet this school year. I anticipated a late start and a late end, so for dinner I put on a pot of minestrone at the end of the day. It's done in twenty-five minutes or so, with not much chopping or stirring, and no meat to bother with. A zucchini, a carrot, onion and garlic, half a cabbage, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, herbs, beans, pasta. That's the recipe. The onion and garlic are quickly sauteed before everything goes in. Sugar and balsamic vinegar adjust the sweet-tart balance at the end.
With minestrone we always have parmesan pita chips. I only ever make these with minestrone, and I always make them with minestrone. You know the kind: you cut up some pitas, split them into thin triangles, brush them with olive oil in which there is a bit of crushed garlic and some dried basil, top with fresh grated parmesan (only a little per chip) and broil till brown and crispy.
And with minestrone we always open a bottle of red wine. I know I spent an entire year learning how to be a beer snob, and I learned a lot about matching beer to food; but one of the things that I learned was that no beer goes with minestrone as well as cheap red wine does. And good red wine is even better.
All that is to say that we came pretty close to finishing the bottle, and sat around quoting The Princess Bride to each other, and later playing old clips on YouTube for the kids of Bob Newhart doing stand-up comedy, and I never got to the gym last night.
So I got up at 5:20 this morning to go to the pool instead, and was back by 7.
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After I got back from Europe, I didn't take up the weightlifting again. I mean to get back to it eventually, but I ran into a few problems.
First of all, I've kind of hit the limit of what I can safely lift without a real squat cage.
Second, I missed the therapeutic effects of swimming: swimming makes me feel good. It's meditative, and the peculiar achy tiredness of having swum is a peculiarly good achy tiredness. Stress and worry just seems to lift away from me, and I get to finish with a nice hot shower, which itself is one of my favorite petty luxuries. Weightlifting was interesting, but sometimes I don't want interesting.
Third, I was struggling with the protein requirements. Muscle fiber repair and rebuilding takes a lot of it, about a gram per pound of body weight each day. At first it was kind of fun eating four-egg omelettes for breakfast and downing chocolatey shakes after each workout. But I found after I came back from our trip that I didn't want to eat quite so much. And I still was hanging on to fifteen extra pounds (and a couple of dress sizes) from my pregnancy, which is being borne ceaselessly back into the past, which tells me I still need to re-teach my no-longer-pregnant self how to eat. I think I'd rather get back to the baseline, learn how to maintain again, and then re-start experimenting with weights. Supposedly if I went full Paleo I could get the protein I needed, build muscle, and still drop some of that extra body fat; but I don't like full Paleo. Back to portion control.
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That's what I was thinking about as I went back and forth across the pool between 5:47 and 6:17 this morning (yeah, 30 minutes isn't great, but it let me get back to the baby in time for Mark to leave for work). That and the annoyance of becoming boring again, as I devote precious hours and energy to the work of paying attention. If I don't pay attention, then just when things start to look easy again, my body tricks my brain into thinking I need cake.
So I'm back to old habits like half-sandwiches, only sharing beer with dinner (last night's wine notwithstanding), measured servings, a small ice cream after dinner to remind myself not to go back for seconds and thirds, and sticking with fruit and cheese and nuts for an afternoon snack. Experience has taught me that when I attentively do these things, and go for a swim two or three times a week, I see the numbers on the scale slowly go down.
"Attentively" is the hard part. We'll see how I fare with the Halloween candy tonight.