Category: FTS

My Fashion Doppelganger

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

For the past couple of weeks at music class, another mom and I have worn the same article of Target clothing, a gray pocket V-neck tee and a gray cocoon cardigan.  Here’s a visual:

Only, I look like a schleppy mom and she looks fabulous.   While I use my sweater to cover my chubbamunk arms under a tank with dark denim bootcut jeans, she wore it atop a white camisole with orange cords, an orange bib necklace and matching earrings. Sounds funky, but it worked!

With my v-neck tee, I wore the same jeans.  The same jeans I wear every day.  I have two pairs that get rotated and reworn until the kiddo stains and schmears form the words “WASH ME!”   Yeah, I’m sexy and I know it.  She wore the t-shirt over well-fitting yoga pants.  Not the kind of faded, threadbare yoga pants that I wore around the house for oh…8 months following Emme’s birth.  We’re talking the kind of yoga pants that actually see a real, live yoga class.  I know, they do exist!   Prior to her wearing those pants, I couldn’t tell if she were just naturally “thick” or a chunky monkey like me.  Now I know – she’s just thick but fit.  Bitch.

So now I need two things happen:

  1. I need to get my FTS on ASAP so that I can look equally fabulous in my Target frocks.
  2. My living, breathing Pinterest fashion board that is this woman must sign up for the music class summer session, so I can continue to get outfit ideas.

Chop! Chop!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

In an attempt to reduce meal prep stress and wrangle the food budget, I’m FTSing,* HomeEc style.

Dan does most of the cooking while I’m tasked with grocery shopping and prep work.   The prep work is typically done during Em’s naptime.  It’s a great system with two kinks: I have a  toddler with free will and clients who don’t stop needing things during naptime.  Don’t you know that when there’s a list of 10 ingredients to chop, roast, marinate and/or pre-cook, that’s the day Em either refuses to nap or awakes early in a crappy mood with a case of koala clings, or a needlessly needy client call requires excessive attention.

I’d been making multiple trip$ to various grocery stores (Whole Foods, HEB, Costco, Trader Joe’s) throughout the week.  Grocery shopping like that (especially at Costco) can get crazy expensive all too quickly.  I’d go for two forgotten items and end up with a $60 bill.   Our monthly grocery expenditures got out of hand to the point my easy-going husband mentioned it.  Now we have a weekly budget to follow with the help of three F.T.S steps:

STEP 1:  Plan It.

Every Saturday morning, we set our weekly menu.  We typically cook 3-4 times per week, eating leftovers in between.   Take this week’s menu: Dan grilled a tri-tip for fajitas yesterday.  We’ll have fajitas tonight before chopping it up and making beef fried rice tomorrow.   It makes life so much easier, and we’re never left with a fridge-full of leftovers.

STEP 2:  Shop ONCE.

On Saturdays, I snap an iPhone pic of our grocery list.

Yeah, I’m so 2000 and late like that.  I could type a list, but why bother?   I go shopping sans kiddo.  Savvy shopping with a toddler proves oxymoronic when the focus on getting in and out quickly and avoiding tantrums leads to impulse buys.  Sure, let’s buy those freshly made tortillas we don’t need and let you shove one in your mouth, because you’re getting antsy, refuse to eat the snack I brought and won’t stop screaming “TORTILLA!”

I use coupons when available, but it’s rare when I can use them.  I typically don’t buy brand name products.  I stick to the HEB/Central Market brand salt-free, additive-free, organic items.  Those rarely go on special, and I’m not willing to buy a name brand that isn’t as healthy just to save a few cents.   But when one of our regular items goes on sale (ie: SunButter), I’ll buy an extra jar or two.

I also make a weekly trip to Trader Joe’s for strawberries.   “Just for strawberries?” you wonder.  Yep.  In SAT terms, Emme: strawberries = Lindsay Lohan: vodka.   HEB’s organic strawberries mold within 1-2 days after purchase.  Trader Joe’s organic strawberries are cheaper, taste better and last longer.

Once I make my HEB and Trader Joe’s run, that’s it.  There’s no going back until the next weekend.

STEP 3:  Stay One Prep Ahead.

Starting a couple of weeks ago, I started prepping ingredients a day ahead of time.  This avoids the potential day-of stress.  Today, I took my prep to Pinterest-level by pre-chopping a week’s worth of ingredients.   Everything on the tray was for roasting.   The kiddo is a roasted broccoli fiend, so that stash will be a part of her dinner tonight, her omelet tomorrow morning and then our fried rice dinner.

You’re thinking “Oh, must be nice, Ms. Work at Home Mom, to have all that time.”  Ha!  It took all of 30 minutes.   As soon as Em went down, I checked my work email to make sure nothing was pressing, popped a TJ pizza in the oven and got to chopping.   By the time it was all packed and loaded into the fridge, my lunch was ready.   I switched into work mode until the kiddo awoke an hour and ten minutes later.  Not too shabby.

As if the time management benefits weren’t enough, there’s another serendipitous offshoot: it makes the fridge more user-friendly.  Our fridge is typically jam packed following Saturday’s grocery shopping run.  By chopping it all up, I can see what we have.

But the best part?  It means less time spent in the kitchen and more time focusing on what’s most important:


* FTS = Fix This Sh*T

I Had the Bobopsy

Friday, December 14th, 2012

In early December, I went for my first mammogram since August 2010.

Em’s arrival in August and subsequent breastfeeding meant skipping the 2011 checkup.  When I went to my 2012 well woman exam, it was decided that I’d need to delay my mammogram three months to allow the girls to return to their pre-BFing condition.  I went for my test on December 7th.

That resulted in a callback.  I was told the technician didn’t get the right angles of the “calcifications.”  I went back this past Friday, considering it more of a nuisance than anything.  I figured I’d walk in, they’d capture the same benign cyst I’ve had tracked since 2005 and walk out.   I went into the post-exam room and waited for the nurse to release me.  Instead, a radiologist walked in and closed the door behind her.

She started explaining “suspect breast tissue” and the biopsy procedure to me.  I interrupted her to explain I knew all this…I’d had a needle aspiration in 2005…yada yada.  She only had my 2010-2012 chart, so she excused herself to look at my entire history.  She came back in, smiled and in an oddly enthusiastic thick Eastern European accent said “I see what you meant.  Nuh!”

“Nuh?” “Knew?”  What was she saying?  Oh.


Instead of a lump/fibroid, I had small calcium deposits (microcalcifications) throughout.   While there was the option to wait 6 months and chart their growth, she suggested a stereotactic biopsy.  ASAP.  This is where I started to panic.  She then told me she was 80% certain it was benign (whew), but if it wasn’t, we would discuss treatment based on the pathology report.    A nurse walked in with a Monday morning biopsy reminder card.  As if I would forget over the weekend.

I went in this past Monday morning while Dan’s mom watched Emme.   After caffeine-loading in the waiting room, I realized that might not be a brilliant idea considering the process involves laying still atop a table at length.   Luckily, the procedure went quickly.  There wasn’t any pain thanks to the 3 local anesthetics.  The first comes before the incision, the second as the needle drives through the tissue and the third as a pen tip-size permanent marker implants.   The anesthesia burned slightly, but it was nothing compared to the 14-hour IV antibiotic drip I had during labor and delivery.

They sealed the incision with Steri-strip tape and a dressing and sent me to mammography.  I’d been in a good place mentally until I started talking to the technician. Upon asking my age, shook her head and solemnly said “You’re just too young to be dealing with this” as she stared at my films.  Friday’s utter terror returned with a vengeance.

I was sent on my way with 3 restrictions: no showering for 24 hours, no anti-inflammatories other than acetaminophen and no heavy lifting, including 19-lb toddlers.   Dan worked from home Monday afternoon and Tuesday to hold me to that last one, but it was a lost cause.  Em wasn’t having any of that “no lifting” BS.

The biopsy center told me to start stalking my doctor on Friday for the results but said it would likely be Monday before I heard anything.  I knew it would be a long week.  Thankfully, I was kept busy with Em and work.  Dan was super-supportive, reassuring me things would be okay…telling me to focus on that 80% chance it would be benign.  Still, I had my moments.  I was reading “Night Night Little Pookie” to Em, had a vision of me not being there to read it to her and started choking up.  I held the book up so Em couldn’t see the tears as Dan quickly picked up where I left off.

My 2005 biopsy lacked two major factors that weighed heavily on my thoughts during this ordeal:  Dan and Emme.  The thought of how a cancer diagnosis would affect them was pretty horrific and led to many sleepless nights spent making plans for the worst case scenario.  Plus, there was the added dread of knowing chemotherapy and/or radiation at my age would make Wiggles II an impossibility.  I want Em to have a sister (or brother) to help her through life, and the thought of a cancer diagnosis ruining that experience for her exponentially increased my dread.

I went into my office this morning only to have my mother tell me I needed to just have baby number two already.  As she went on, I was thinking “Oh, if you only knew…”   I made a point of telling no one about the biopsy, especially family.  I’m a private person.  (And yet you have a blog?  Yep, filled with things I choose to share)  I figured if there was something wrong, I’d need time to research options and take it all in.  If everything were okay, then why needlessly worry loved ones?  So I listened as my mom urged grandchild numero four’s conception and danced around the topic.

When Dan suggested I start calling the doctor’s office, I left a message for the nurse, not expecting a callback until Monday.  Within the hour, another nurse called requesting the biopsy center’s phone number and assuring me she would have an answer by day’s end.  One hour later, she called back, explaining she had the doctor’s permission to give me the results over the phone.




Her exact words were “First, he wants me to start off with ‘GOOD NEWS!'”

Move over, Rolaids, there’s a new way to spell relief!  G-O-O-D-N-E-W-S.

She went on to read the pathology report that described the calcifications as benign (KOW) and the radiologist’s recommendation that I be put on an annual mammogram schedule.  I’m already on an annual schedule, so wahoo!

So now I need to get serious with getting my act together.  I have 20 pounds to drop, a caffeine addiction to shed and a vitamin regimen to kickstart.   I’m giving myself until August to meet my goal.

That’s right… it’s time…

F.T.S., Part Deux!

Birthday Resolutions

Friday, August 24th, 2012

So last year’s sole birthday resolution was just to survive life as a brand new mom.  I didn’t fake my death or run away with the gyspies, so I hereby declare my resolution a success!

Mayan predictions nonwithstanding, here are the goals I’ve resolved to reach before August 24, 2013:

  • Be okay with being thirty-sss…sssiii…sssix. Actually, I’m okay with it only because I can’t really wrap my head around being closer to 40 than 30.
  • Get back to allergen diet weight.
  • Date my hubs.
  • Proof read closer before posting.  (Can I get an “Amen” from my regular readers) 😉
  • Learn how to make at least one of the following dishes well:  ropa vieja, chicken tikka masala, spaghetti bolognese or paella.
  • Clean out junk rooms and have shutters installed.
  • Purge my wardrobe of clothes and accessories that I do not, should not or rarely wear.
  • Keep my car clean.
  • Socialize with more toddy moms.





Baby, Come Back

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

And by “baby” I mean my energy, chutzpah, whatever that thing is that motivates my enthusiastic errand running and task-tackling.

It went on the down low around the rushed holiday season and went full-on MIA during my New Year’s plague.

A quick tour of my house would show the extent of my slackerdom.  No white glove needed!  I’m lucky I have Dan.  Just this morning I  told Dan that I needed to vacuum under the bed and clean out the dryer vent.  He jumped outta bed and tackled both tasks.

But today I said enough is enough.  I made myself hang laundry (which Dan had washed and dried) and  I did dishes.  I even managed to whip out TurboTax to configure our 2010 return!

I’m adopting the fake it til you make it approach, concertedly crossing off each task until my Virgo joie d’organization returns.

And if that doesn’t work, then I’ll seriously need to consider incorporating something new into my diet.

Like Pixy Stix.