Thursday, March 6

Taking a bite out of a world that bites back

The last time I saw a yard full of grass was December 31, 2013. That's the day we left our Disney vacation to head back north.

The last time I saw MY yard full of grass was sometime in early November. I have witnessed a couple of patches peeking out around the edges of the house on the two days a couple of weeks ago where the temps managed to sneak up past 40 degrees.

But the smell of grass, the feel of it on my bare feet, witnessing it become a deep, vibrant green right before my very eyes? It's been awhile.

So, yeah, this week, when I awoke to a snow-covered driveway on two consecutive mornings, it was tempting to hole up, hide under the covers, rent a bunch of movies, and eat a few dozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

But I didn't.

I decided to bite back. Have a fist-fight with the gloom. Pretend that, while I was shoveling, I was erasing all of the cold to make room for the warm. Thank God that I even have the capacity to shovel.

And in a way, that's a lot of what tackling my 40-by-40 list has been about. Biting back. Not being satisfied with accepting what is, but instead wondering about what isn't and trying those things out. I love me a good routine shake-up.

So. Where did we leave off?

15. Take a spontaneous trip. I'll admit this was sorta on the list because I sorta didn't know how it was going to happen. And I am sure my original vision included a more exotic locale than the Kalahari Water Park in the Dells, but that's OK. Because I was as excited as I had been in a long time to accept my friend's last-minute plea to get our families the heck out of dodge during another bout of extreme cold. I love when last-minute plans actually happen - probably because I am such a planner, this feels more adventurous to me. It was a great day/night of swimming, conversation, games, and friendship! I felt very blessed.

don't they look so happy? we all were

16. Donate to a new cause. Well, this one came about pretty easy. I have my stand-by charities and had been researching new places to give. And then Peyton came down with the Big D, and it was a no-brainer: We donated to the JDRF because we are going all the way for a cure, baby ... (It's what Grandma wanted for her birthday present, too, so we made that happen.) There's a walk/run in our future and more research to do as we get behind the organizations getting behind a cure.

Let me interrupt my numbering to point out how blessed I am to have friends who want to take this 40-by-40 journey with me, and who come up with ideas to make it happen. Case in point - #15. Also, #17 and #18. See, we all need a little "new and different" in our lives.

#12: ice skating lessons I mentioned in a previous post. it was so dang fun. adults being kids again, only
without the need to impress and being OK with looking a little shaky trying something new. good stuff. 

17. Snowshoeing a Wisconsin trail. So the funny irony here is that we planned this excursion awhile ago, knowing the snow would be plentiful this "late" in the season. And wouldn't you know it that the only 2 days it got warm-ish were right before this outing, which made the trails icy. Snowshoes not required! But the trail experience was new and - as always - the company and conversation was amazing (again, blessed!). If you are a local, try the CamRock Sport Cafe in Cambridge. You can rent snow equipment there and hop on the trail right out their back door. And when it is all over, you can kick back with a drink by the fire. Which we did - and totally earned after realizing that neither of us make great navigators.

rock star hiking friend

18. Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris
Wise words from the 1980s, people. Another friend suggested a random, sorta planned/sorta not day to ourselves. A day where we tried a handful of new things and didn't play by the rules. We cruised all around town, trying a new breakfast joint for us (Lazy Jane's on Willy St), a new thrift shop, a new furniture place, a new nail salon, and a new brewery (Next Door Brewing on Atwood). Neither of us were able to find a parade float to hijack where we could sing but we did attempt to recreate the movie scene where they visit the lakefront.

Only ours was a wee bit icier ...

nothing says friendship like someone who entertains your own crazy schemes without batting an eye!
Ferris: Cameron, what have you seen today?
Cameron: Nothing good.
Ferris: Nothing - wha - what do you mean nothing good? We've seen everything good. We've seen the whole city! We went to a museum, we saw priceless works of art! We ate pancreas!

19. Walking on the frozen lake. I know, I've done this before, but never in Madison, and never on a lake this large (Mendota). And I am claiming it because I have always wanted to do that here. And also because it was unbearably cold so I feel like I earned a #19 out of it.

20. Try a new workout. I am so very excited about this one! I finally took the step to get outside of just running and spend more time toning, after talking about this forever. I joined a gym right down the street - Edge Fitness - where we do all sorts of circuit training in a group setting and I leave every time in complete exhaustion. It is awesome. Better yet, it is right down the street. No excuses.

21. Try cooking something bizarre. Well, thanks to the Big D, I have had the chance to explore the sugar-free world. Originally, when this idea came about, I thought I would choose a random fruit to incorporate into a meal or some strange cut of meat. But early in Peyton's diagnosis, when I was attempting to keep his carb count to a minimum to help facilitate lower numbers, I had to find an alternative to the post-dinner sweet he was accustomed to having. I came across a recipe for Mock Whipped Cream. The recipe called for gelatin and milk powder and other randomness I never tried to use in a recipe before.

I am here to tell you that this is nothing like whipped cream. And if it was me with diabetes, real whipped cream would be totally worth the insulin. Luckily, Peyton's not much of a fan anyway.

You are now caught up. Let me address the obvious here - I am only halfway there. And I have just about 1.5 months to make it happen (what?!)

I have plans. We will get there - somehow, someway.

Get out there this weekend and make some fun new memories, friends.