Tag Archives: 2015

Three Cheers for the New Year

26 Dec


Photo Cred: Ani Vattano Photography

The 2015 Matthews New Year E-Letter

Brought to you by that family who brings you their sad sack stories. Every. Single. Year.


Facebook image inspired by Charleston shootings.

The fact that these greetings are coming your way after Christmas is over should speak for itself. The tumult that was 2015 was a stealthy little bastard. Poking it’s nasty head up just as we thought we’d crossed into some well-earned peace. The overview through September is here for a refresher. I notice that I omitted the horrific tragedies that befell our home state this year. Those brought on many, many bouts of tears and hand-wringing from afar as we watched and waited and hoped all would be okay. (And I couldn’t help but think, “How many times can one change their Facebook profile pic in one year in homage to yet another tragedy?”)


Percy home, safe and sound with Boone.

The other big event was in July — when some crack-headed idiot decides it’s time to up and steal a car. With my parents’ dog inside. Huge favors called in and multiple news stories later, Percy was found safe (albeit a little bit more whack-a-doodle ever since).

So you’d think that would be quite enough for the year. And it would. But then the hubby decided to take a nap on the conveyer belt at the Whole Foods check out and couldn’t get up. So we had that fun time visit to the ER, complete with MRI, to learn he had a compacted disk.

Then Teen Queen decided to break up with her cutie patootie boyfriend after homecoming and bean came home with THE LICE.

Then. I decided to post a photo of all of the kick ass peeps I know who’ve kicked cancer’s ass and, what do you know, that

We’ll miss you always, G-Man.

asshole fate decided to take another one of them just to mock me. So just as the lice prevention olive oil hair styles were at their peak, we flew to DC to bid an incredibly sad farewell to our dear, dear friend, Amy, who just didn’t get long enough to do what she was doing – which was inspire us and make us laugh and lift us up when another BFF gets cancer. It still makes me cry to think about it. The hubby was honored to be a pall bearer though he counts it as one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do.

RIP dear, sweet Gigi.

RIP dear, sweet Gigi.

November brought another terrorist act and another profile pic change and more sadness for lives lost. And then Gigi decided 99.75 years was quite enough and took her leave as well on December 2nd. So off we went to SC to say good bye to yet another person we held so dear.

And so we don’t end there with you face down in a gutter with a brown bag and bottle just from reading our year end retrospective, I’ll end on a high note (in chronological order):

    1. Excellent trip to Santa Fe in February for Teen Queen’s birthday. We ate our way across the town and kept the

      Chile ristra, La Posada de Santa Fe

      ghost at La Posada company for the weekend. What an incredible time we had

    2. Another family adventure to California for spring break in March found us in a VRBO in the heart of Venice.
      Bikes rented, we headed out in search of the best eats and got to see one of our favorite peeps while we were there — plus the Warner Brothers lot where Lucia decided I was destined to write for any one of her favorite TV shows and set out to locate every possible link toevery job posting she could find.

Welcome to…California!

  1. On my birthday in April, the hubby got the five-year-all-clear scan results we’ve been holding our breath for since his diagnosis in June 2010. Best birthday present ever!
  2. June found us in SC one row from the beach at Folly. It was a Simmonds reunion kind of weekend with my girl cousins (and memories of the third ever present), mom, aunt, brother, sis-in-law and all of their offspring. We even got a day visit from the wife of one boy cousin with all cousin kiddos. What a blast.
  3. The hubby landed himself a job in July and has been a working stiff ever since. He’s been traveling like crazy and it’s been quite the adjustment. You can read more about that here.
  4. We bought ourselves a sweet camper in May and got in more than one adventure before the

    Little surfer girl, Folly Beach, SC

    hubby was back tied to a desk and airplane. We even tipped the damn thing over on our maiden voyage…because that’s how we roll.

  5. We had visits from a boy cousin, a brother/brother-in-law and the parents/in-laws and got to celebrate the big 8-0 for Pop with all of his brothers and most of the ‘west coast contingent’ of the Matthews clan.
  6. I made a solo voyage to Ohio and got to party like it was 1999. Kentucky-border style.
  7. We got new windows.
  8. We watched the bean swim, run and kick a ball and the teen queen volley and do the bump-n-grind — I mean dance.


    You never know what will pop up.

  9. We survived one whole semester with a high schooler.

Now we have driver’s ed to weather and a shiny, new year that we are counting on being full of adventures far and wide and smack full of good health, mother nature 100%  in a good mood, and peace on earth without hearts full of darkness. Can I get an AMEN?

THIS YEAR’S THEME SONG: Because a pause is the only time it takes for them to get a jump on us so if you’re staying in, you best be braced, but if you’re coming out then let’s just go. ~Ages and Ages







The Techno-Color Yawn Express

11 Jan

I woke up today feeling a bit reflective. It’s DAY 9 of this stinkin’ cleanse and I am prouder of myself than I can remember being. This is the longest I’ve stuck with anything remotely like this. Ever. I always have great intentions. But I usually toss those suckers out with the compost by day 4 or 5. And. I’m. Done. With. That.

But this shit has been HARD. Minutes after I posted last, I ran to the bathroom and began a two-hour vomit fest. And since that would be maybe the 6th time I’ve puked EVER, it was not a small deal. The hubby was calling out from the other room, “What are you DOING?” I could hear the bafflement in his voice through my yaks. And I had no answer. Just yelled, “Stay away!” Because really, Even after 21+7 years. Who needs to see that.

It was over pretty fast. Luckily. And I am still stymied. It definitely could have been a fast moving bug. But I’m still thinking that I am the Chernobyl of body toxins. (With a Vesuvius outcome.)

I was fine by the evening. Ate dinner. No mishaps. And even met a client for lunch the next day. Done.

Eating out was my first big challenge. But. Modmarket + Low Key Client = Easy. My favorite part of the lunch was when she said, “Do you watch Mad Men? I just started watching it and thought, ‘That’s what Cassy does.’” I laughed out loud and gestured to our salads and herbal teas. “Yep. That’s exactly it!”

The next big challenge was girls’ night. This is a group that I’ve been super tight with since our twenties. Pre-kids. And we still manage to gather a few times a year and whoop it up. These girls all have well-seasoned livers and we put them through their paces on these fine evenings. Wine bottles usually outnumber the group by a few. I was nervous. But I missed the last one because I was in Italy. So.

I planned for it well. Offered to be the DD. Decided that this would be my beef night (I’m allowed beef once a week, but only the grass-fed, organic super clean stuff). Planned out an herbal/hibiscus tea “cocktail.” Then packed my salad dressing, homemade chimichurri for my beef, some veggies and hummus for avoiding the inevitable cheese plate — and off I went.

There were a lot of questions. A lot of ribbing. And the night went fine. I probably ate more than I have been. But being the only sober one in the group was hilarious. My biggest realization was that the conversations rarely track. Luckily they had me to get them back on point. 🙂

I didn’t get home until 1am. The best part? Waking up the next day and feeling totally GREAT. Score.

Then came the b-day party. This one was going to be interesting too. But mostly for the girls. I prepped then and said, “Remember, this is all up to you guys. Do whatever feels right to you. But if you want to try to stick to this, I’ll support you too.” They decided to stick to it, so we opted to grab Chipotle as a consolation prize. Plenty of safe detox options there.

It was Mels Bells girl’s bday. At a trampoline place. So the exercise was ready and waiting. But when lunchtime came, the whoopie pies were a particularly hard thing to skip for bean. She came to me in tears, so torn about wanting one, but wanting to stick to the cleanse. I felt terrible for her. I told her that this was all up to her and that if she wanted it, she should have it. (But only a small bit. I was flashing back to my day o’ vomit.) She cried a bit more, dried her eyes on my sweater, and then opted for a small piece. Tragedy narrowly averted. That kid is so hard on herself…

Last night, I hugged her and told her how very proud I was of her for sticking to this like she has — what with being only eight and all. She teared up and got the biggest grin on her face. That. Made. My. Week.

So. Weekend 1. Challenging, But did it. The first eight days? Let’s just say I’m super happy to be upright, out of the powder room, with no headache and off to spend a few hours of girl time with the Teen Queen.

Sayonara week one. You can suck it.IMG_6044

TODAY’S THEME SONG (this one’s for Lady Lou, TRPL TRBL, HK, E, and Chad): Red Hot Chilis. Suck My Kiss. Do me like a banshee. Low brow is how. Swimming in the sound of bow wow wow.

The Five Finger Salute

7 Jan

The thing about a detox is your body has to detox. But leave it to us to be bitchslapped by those infernal toxins. Never even had the exit strategy in mind. But exit it has. The usual way (of course) and I actually won’t go into detail on that for once. And then there have been the headaches (which we don’t think are even from caffeine absence because we don’t drink that much coffee — just a latte a day or less) and the body aches. Even today, on day five, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and knocked in the head with a sledgehammer. Yea. Fun stuff.

Remember: This is happening to people who have eaten slow, farm fresh, organic, grass-fed, free range, and pesticide/chemical/additive/preservative/processed free (more or less) for almost 15 years. (Feel free to add in any other foodie buzz words I forgot.)

Miss-miss (from henceforth to be called The Teen Queen) said, “I thought this was supposed to make us feel better.” Patience, grasshopper.

And then bean, who has been playing the butt flute with gusto since this started (oh, hello fiber) says, “Ahhhh. So much better.” That kid never would have made it as a debutante.

So distracted we’ve been by the side effects and general malaise, that we haven’t missed the eliminated foods much. It wasn’t until yesterday that I had the thought of blue cheese. And it coated my every thought for four solid hours. I could’ve eaten my own hand if it had blue cheese on it.

The saving grace of this experience is it isn’t detox via starvation. I’m not one to go ‘round hungry.  So when dinner time came and the hubby cooked up this deliciousness (see photo) with a fresh salad and oven sweet potato fries, I was a happy camper once again.

Turkey burgers with scallions, mushrooms, fresh ginger, parsley, and lime sauteed in coconut oil.

Turkey burgers with scallions, mushrooms, fresh ginger, parsley, and lime sauteed in coconut oil.

We also realized that once we started up the exercise piece, we definitely felt better. Sweatin’ out the oldies works. Hell, I might even put on a sweatband if it will stop my head from pounding. (Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I must be one TOXIC SOB.)

Yesterday was by far my hardest day so far. There was this internal dialogue I had with myself that went something like this:

Just eat a damn steak with blue cheese. What’s the big deal? It’s protein too! And who cares if you have some red wine? It has ANTIOXIDANTS in it! And what are you planning to do after this whole debacle, huh? Are you really going to feast on the bulk bins forever, sister? Let’s be realistic. The minute this shit is over, you are going for a loaded baked potato with a side of L’Explorateur and an Asher Green Bullet (or whatever the hubby has on tap).

And so my thoughts derailed to:

I’m never giving up dairy. That’s bullshit. So why not just eat some yogurt or a little blue cheese on your salad to make this a real party?

The good news is, my thoughts ended with this:

You’ll NEVER EVER change your wicked ways if you don’t do this for the whole THIRTY DAYS, you wretched wench. So stop sobbing and pull it together!

Sweating out the oldies. (Piggly Wiggly Hat. Check.)

Sweating out the oldies.

And so the night ended with a cup of detox tea and a new board on Pinterest. Chock full of bulk bin and produce aisle recipes that I can actually get my taste buds whipped up about. The hubby does make a mean ass turkey burger too.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Strut on a line, it’s discord and rhyme. I’m on the hunt, I’m after you. Mouth is alive with juices like wine. Hungry Like the Wolf. Duran Duran.


Kicking off 2015 by Eating Nothing. Nothing at ALL.

3 Jan

Today begins my first day of being more Boulder than I’ve ever been in my 20 years of living in this fine city. Today, I start a detox/cleanse/fit program/eat seaweed and love it for THIRTY DAYS. It is also the official start of my becoming a walking, talking cliche like millions of others across the globe who pick this month to get fit.

Let me tell you. Coming from a family who loves food and finds mocking the growing GF contingent endlessly entertaining (I’ll have the quatro DAIRY on my GLUTEN please, thank you) — this was not an easy decision.

I told my mom about it and she said, “You always have to do those programs. I just don’t eat.” Which is true. That woman can live on box wine and box wine alone. Yea. No.

Our plan is a bit more complicated and has transpired from multiple years of prodding (me), poking (me), and researching (also me). The prodee/pokee/research recipient being the hubby.

The idea started in those idyllic post-cancer treatment days when I was blazing a Google research trail. I uncovered endless info sets on how various foods cause inflammation and consulted a number of nutritionist friends who corroborated my findings. Inflammation is the hospitable host to cancer cells it seems. I also uncovered the whole acid vs. alkaline piece which was underscored by a friend of a friend who was up against the ultimate foe: brain cancer. And he later succumbed.

So I kept at the hubby for a while there. Trying in vain to convince him to just try going dairy free/coffee free/alcohol free/gluten free/red meat free. Just to see.

He wasn’t having it. And I subsequently gave up (though revisited the concept quite a few times over the last few years to deaf ears.) He was celebrating LIFE and I decided that was the path I’d take as well. Much to the dismay of his doctor (and I’m sure others), we just went for it. He was most definitely NOT going to jump off the cancer train straight into some strict dietary and exercise regimen and I had to agree. He’d been through hell.

And we were more than pissed. We’d been 100% organic and ran, hiked, biked – you name it. Had been proselytizing against Micky-D’s and their ilk for years. And it landed him straight in the cancer canoe on the river chemo. So fuck that.

We didn’t chose fast food. Still can’t go down that hard. But we have been celebrating for over three years with fantastic meals, plenty of cocktails and pairing that up with very little exercise. Add in some death in the family/job loss/house flooded stress and here we are.

I spent a lot of 2012 and 2013 traveling for work and lived pretty high on the hog. Fantastic steak dinners at some of the top steakhouses in the country. Flowing red wine. Lobster mac and cheese on the coast. Italian in Little Italy in NYC. Authentic BBQ in Kansas City.

My partner in crime during this debauchery and I had been talking. A lot. So when he and his wife decided to do a fit challenge last summer, I was intrigued. No way in hell was I going to DO IT. But my interest was piqued.

I couldn’t fathom going without my morning latte or evening vino. Much less the weekly cheeseburger. Or brie. Cheese is my most favorite food group. Even surpassing dessert. Give me a cheese plate with some house cured salumi and I am one happy girl.

I also knew that we are fairly healthy too. We are scratch cooks, eat very little processed food, zero fast food, and nothing with hormones, antibiotics or pesticides. But still.

I watched as my friend and his wife transformed themselves to the point that I barely recognized him in a recent picture he posted. Not sure if that was when the light bulb was relit or not. But it was a wake up call.

I decided that after the season of eating, drinking and being merry, it was going to be my turn. With or without the hubby.

I called my friend’s wife and told her I was in. She set me up with some supplies from the company she is a rep for (Arbonne) and the box arrived on Christmas Eve. I hid it in my office post-haste and didn’t even want to think about the implications of what was in that box.

At this point, the hubby was starting to be intrigued too. Then the girls had some questions. So it was decided. We were all four going dairy, sugar, gluten, soy, alcohol and coffee free for THIRTY DAYS.

My plan is to re-educate myself on slow and healthy food. Following the Michael Pollan religion of “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Get myself up and moving and away from my desk in spite of the stress of being self-employed and the sole bread winner (for the moment).

So yesterday was our planning day. I sat down with the program guides and menu plans and started working through the week.

The dinners were a breeze. I do a weekly menu plan for dinners already. But when I started trying to figure out lunches and breakfast, I stumbled. It was complicated to figure out what to feed all four of us for three meals a day and snacks and in a way that will translate to work and school schedules and lack of prep ability at those locations.

Trying to navigate the nuances of what is allowed and what isn’t and aligning that with smoothies, lunches and snacks almost made me quit.

It seriously took me until almost noon to wrap my head around it all. Then, factor in that the hubby currently does the bulk of the meal prep — and he needed to be up to speed on it all — well. My head exploded.

The fact that I was sitting there, researching brands of almond milk (Califia FTW!) and trying to determine the glycemic index of an orange on January 2, 2015. Well. Looks like this is going to be a brand new shiny year.

So yesterday we took ourselves to Whole Foods as per usual. And we left with two extra bags and even got a compliment from the cashier, “Lucky girls. Eating so healthy.” (I heart Anna. She’s watched the girls grow up on our weekly treks to that foodie mecca over the years.)

You can buy most of the grains, veggies, fruits, non-dairy milks, etc. at Trader Joe’s or Costco too BTW. But we bought three meals for seven days for four people and it came to $10 per person per day. At Whole Foods. And that included organic, free-range chicken and turkey plus wild caught salmon. (I love when I get to step up on my go organic pedestal and bask in the limelight.) I know I live in the very expensive kingdom of Boulder, but I would love to see what some of your weekly food bills are (including eating out). I think $10 a person per day is pretty damned good. Especially when it’s 100% organic.

And here is said menu for week one (my masterpiece) in case you think we are eating only nuts and berries:




Farro salad with winter fruit & pistachios

Falafel Salad

2 Days: Butternut squash soup with green apple

Chicken & Rice Soup

Quinoa Fried Rice


Whole Roasted Chicken with Steamed Broccoli & Baked Sweet Potato

Turkey Chili & Salad

Burrito Bowl, Homemade Salsa & Brown Rice Chips

Veggie Loaded Spaghetti & Roasted Green Beans

Grilled Chicken, Veggies & Onions with Brown Rice

Turkey Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa & Brown Rice


Celery with Almond Butter and Raisins

Hummus with Veggies


And now, today is the day. We did our weigh-ins and measurements and I threw up in my mouth. Then vowed to ignore the numbers and focus on the feelings of better health. Got support texts from True Blue and Mels Bells and another from the friend who created this monster. (Thanks Hemp.)

I have no freaking idea if this cozy first morning curled up with my detox tea and almond butter protein smoothie will turn into my worst nightmare. I may be coiled around a grilled cheese in a venomous, fangs-bared stance in two days flat. Or. I could just drink the damned tea.

And, that, dear readers is my Serial-esque cliffhanger ending. For now…

TODAY’S THEME SONG: When I grow up, I wanna work at Alfalfa’s where the cheese is dairy free. A birkenstocks, spandex, necktie, patchouli grocery store. I’d have a job, picking through the produce — no pesticides for me! I’d be a working moderate income socially conscience Boulder hippie. Alfalfa’s. Leftover Salmon.

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