Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing



Social Distancing. Week 9.

Monday, May 11. Day 57

3 showings today. Can’t get anything done, but it’s a good problem to have.

People seem to love the house (how can you not?), but still no offers. Living in an 80-year-old house is not everyone’s dream. That’s far more made up for by the glorious 8 acres with barns and pond and peace and quiet.



Tuesday, May 12. Day 58

Corona hearings in Congress, listening in live to the Supreme Court arguments. All politics, all day.

I’m trying not to go off on rants here too much, so I’m going to just let this go. But it was cool as hell to listen in on SCOTUS oral arguments today.


Wednesday, May 13. Day 59

I’m the Executive Director of an international non-profit, Recovering from Religion. Our mission is simple and straightforward: To provide hope, healing, and support to those struggling with doubt and non-belief.

In the midst of the pandemic, we have implemented a new program we are calling RfRx: A Prescription for Coping. We have a guest presenter each week, and earlier sessions are available to watch on our Youtube channel.

If you are social distancing with religious family, and feel like you need a little help and support, please visit our website, call or chat with a trained agent, check out our Resource tab, and please join us on Monday evenings at 7pm central.


Thursday, May 14. Day 60

Tech people. I need you.

I need an app that lets me take over my mother’s iPhone. She’s 82, and tries very hard to manage her phone. She likes to play crosswords, she reads her church email to her, she can text, Facetime, and talk on the phone. She’s trying to learn to order her groceries, but that’s been a challenge. We just do that over the phone. She gives me her list, I Instacart, they get delivered.

She gets stuck. That’s her word for when she can’t figure out what to do. Sometimes an ad has popped up on her crossword and she can’t x out of it. Sometimes she gets into the wrong gmail tab. They’re all simple things to fix, but with her isolating in Georgia, and me here in Tennessee, it becomes a huge ordeal.

First, when she has a problem, I have to get her to put me on speaker so she can look at her screen while I talk her through the problem. They still have an old-school landline but it’s corrupted and sometimes it works and sometimes not.

Then we have to talk through getting to the problem screen.

Press the Home button.

The what?

The Home button – the button at the bottom that controls everything.

Oh, I remember that.

Now let’s find the app. Swipe left.


Swipe left. We’re looking for the crossword app.

I don’t see it.

Ok, mom, describe the screen you’re looking at.

It’s the one with all the little symbols.

Can you find the one with the crossword symbol?

Of course, why didn’t you say that?



And on and on and on.

I’m making light, but it really is her line to all of the rest of the family, and if I had the phone in my hand it would be sooooooo easy to get her out of whatever she’s gotten into.


Friday, May 15. Day 61



Saturday, May 16. Day 62


Facetiming my girls in Nevada and Oregon. This I’m sure hasn’t been the longest I’ve gone without a visit, but I can’t hardly wait to make a trip out to see them!


Sunday, May 17. Day 63

Beautiful powerful rainstorm came through today. Sitting on the porch swing, watching it roll in, covering up with a blanket with the wind blows the rain toward me, hanging baskets swinging, chickens racing to get in the coop, grass and plants soaking up the drops, made this the highlight of the day.


We’ve been doing nutrition experimentation while we’ve been sequestered, because it’s been so easy to control our environment. So far we’ve done an Egg week, a Carnivore week, and our usual go-to, Keto. Next week we’re going to try a little caffeine-free experiment. We’re switching to decaf, but keeping our morning bulletproof coffee in place. We only usually drink one cup a day, sometimes 2, and we don’t drink soda with caffeine, so it may not be a huge difference.

Thanks for reading!

Like water. No, like oxygen.

25 days.

9172 miles.

4 children.

I am at the conclusion of my multi-state, post-election, JordanTour 2016. I have been traveling since Wednesday, November 9. It began with a quick trip to Georgia to visit my parents, and included Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and Connecticut, not counting layovers and flyover states.

My narrative will follow the itinerary…not very creative, I know, but tells the story a little more coherently.

First stop: Las Vegas. Daughter Glenda is a performer there, and has been for 3 years. Recently, she and her honey have moved from apartment living to home living, and is it beautiful! Gives them a little space for their pets (Boomer and Ms. Whiskers) and guests (me). Eliott (my honey) joined me for the trip, and also a surprise guest (Amy! Glenda’s twin!) showed up. The more the merrier!

The Las Vegas Marathon is held the 2nd weekend in November, so on go the running shoes and off we go! Amy, Eliott, and I have run this race in some combination for the past several years. It begins at 4pm, and goes right down the Strip, which is closed for the day to auto traffic. Costumes, noisemakers, spectators – this race is awesome.




Traditional after-race meal at Joe’s

Other highlights from the Vegas portion of the adventure include getting to watch Glenda perform on the tippy top of the Rio, at Voodoo nightclub. You can see her platform way up top when you are standing on the street below. Also, lots of good food, thanks to Eliott. We had one at-home feast prepared by everyone, that was sort of our pre-Thanksgiving. We also got to talk, commiserate about the election, talk some more, hang out downtown, and talk.


Glenda and honey Nick
Glenda’s veggie chowder feast

My Glenda is my passionate human rights activist. Her sense of justice has been finely tuned since she was a very small child. Injustice and unfairness offend her to her very core, and her activism includes reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and civil rights. My visits with Glenda include deep conversation about these issues, and this young woman inspires me to seek out hidden racism, sexism, and bigotry in my own life.

The visit was over before we knew it, and all of us headed out – me to Washington, Amy to Oregon, and Eliott back to TN for animal duty at the farm. I barely had time to be sad about leaving Glenda when Ben was there to pick me up at the Spokane airport! What a joy to see his sweet face!




So much to tell about Ben. He is currently almost finished with his first semester of law school at Gonzaga U in Spokane, Washington. That’s Gon-zaaa-ga (as in cat and bat and mat and sat), not Gon-zah-ga .Not only did I get to attend a few classes with Ben, and meet his friends, classmates, and professors, but I got to serve as the judge in a mock hearing the students had to do regarding a motion to dismiss. Plus, I got to see his new little home a mile or so from campus. PLUS I. Got. To. Study. With. Him. – what a dream. We covered Torts, CrimLaw, and CivPro. I even passed along the custom, sacred, Jordan-specific Flash Card Set. We should have made it a little more ceremonial.

We got to talk, commiserate about the election, talk, eat lots of good food, share a drink or 9, talk, and even watch a movie. We also celebrated my birthday together, and I participated in my nonprofit’s Thanksgiving fundraiser from his living room. We constantly joke about the name of our future law firm: Jordan and Mother. Jordan and Kid. Jordan².

My Ben is my passionate political science activist. This kid has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from U of Colorado, Boulder, and the patience he shows to those less educated takes my breath away every time. He could respond to a Facebook post with the tap of a couple of keys, calling out bigotry, sexism, racism, and downright ignorance, and instead, he chooses to respond with a word of encouragement to the poster, to encourage them to research and consider thoughtfully an opposing view. I’ve been amazed, over and over, how generous he is with his knowledge and education.

What a great time we had, and once again, the visit was over in a flash. I left Spokane on an early predawn flight and hated leaving.

30 minutes with Little Blue Eyes

I couldn’t be sad too long because after a quick layover in Salt Lake City (where I got in a serendipitous visit with grandson Aden, who was also passing through!), I was met at the Portland airport by sweet daughter #2, Amy! It was to have been the Eugene airport, but that didn’t quite work, so she had to drive 90 minutes or so to get me.


Home to her place, which is also her honey’s place, which is also his family’s place (hereinafter known as the Burgdorfers), in beautiful Eugene. Amy is looking for work, which worked out well for me, selfishly. We were able to talk, commiserate about the election, see a movie, talk, shop for Christmas, and talk.

Our Thanksgiving Day began with a Eugene tradition: hiking up Spencer’s Butte, to the summit complete with coffee (Bailey’s) and fresh,hot, homemade cinnamon rolls. It was a terrific hike, just arduous enough to be rewarding, and appetite-inducing for the later-in-the-day feast. The view from up top was gorgeous.




U of O arena right there in the middle


Our feast was a traditional one, with the families and friends that the Burgdorfers have been feasting with for years. What a joy and privilege to have been included in their annual tradition. The food was delicious, the conversation stimulating, and the environment resplendent.


After Thanksgiving, Amy and I took a quick road trip up to Banks, Oregon, where we got to spend a few precious hours with my cousin Stephanie. Reminiscing, laughing, sharing a beer, and reconnecting with my closest cousin was one of the highlights of the trip to Oregon. The shared experiences we had as children bonded us in a way that has transcended time and geography.


My Amy is my passionate outdoor activist. She has always sought work that allows folks who may not have the traditional ability to participate in the joy of outdoor sports and activity, to have that experience. Her undergraduate degree reflects that, and she has spent time as a ski instructor, a sea kayak instructor, and as an interpretive ranger in a state park.  Amy recognizes the value of the experience, in and of itself, and does everything in her ability to see that others are accommodated to whatever degree they need, in order to have that moment.

And again, the visit was over as soon as it started. However, this time, Amy jumped on the plane with me as we made our way to our last visit, to see son Sam, who is in graduate school at Yale, in New Haven CT. Amy and I concocted a little scheme to surprise her sweet brother, so after he had picked me up at Baggage Claim, and loaded my suitcase into the back of his pickup truck, he got to see his little sister sneaking out to smile and giggle and give him an unexpected delight!


So much to say about this visit. I have spent very little time in New England, and it was just barely close enough to the tail-end of the fall season, that we got to see the colors and leaves and the architecture of this Ivy League institution in all of its glory. AND we got to attend classes, and a faculty panel, see Sam’s lab, stay in his tiny little studio apartment, eat clam pizza (srsly), and spend the day in the Yale museum. We got to talk, commiserate about the election, sightsee the campus, tour the law school and library, and the main library, and meet a few of Sam’s colleagues and professors.




Rare book collection at Yale
Law library
Looking for owls



Even the coffee shops are liberal

My Sam is my passionate environmental activist. We even attended a panel on Sustainability Under the New Administration, which broke my heart. Sam has a love for our natural world that was manifested when he was in grade school, when he wrote a letter to Tennessee legislators expressing his concern over some ominous leaking 50-gallon barrels he observed in the rock quarry near our home.

Like all of the others, this visit passed in the blink of an eye. Amy and I loved every moment of our visit with Sam, and left him studying for his final research papers. We can’t wait to go back, and we both left feeling a little smarter just from having been on that campus.

A couple of days visiting with my parents in Atlanta, and just like that, it was time to point that 2003 Corvette back toward Murfreesboro. My honey had been on farm duty since the Vegas portion of the trip, and he greeted me with a hot dinner, a clean house, and chilled white.

I posted pics on Instagram, FB, and Twitter with the hashtag: #electionrecoverytherapy, and it was that it every sense. These kids have a way of putting in perspective for me all of the toils and troubles I experienced, both with my own election, and the national election. If the hope for the future of our country lies with these millenials, we’re all going to be okay.

Harder than I thought, but not for the reason you might expect.

This post was written in late May 2016, and was published on Nov 15, 2016. 


This morning is all campaign stuff. Yesterday was all campaign stuff. Tomorrow is all campaign stuff.

I’m running for the Tennessee Senate, and I’m loving it. I’m loving the excitement, meeting the folks in the district where I’m running, the infectious enthusiasm from the campaign volunteers, the camaraderie with the other rookie candidates. I even love the tedious fundraising calls and district research to find contacts, events, elected officials, etc.

I’m in the early stages of the campaign, and the election is still 5 months away, so I’m spending some time doing some preliminary stuff before it really kicks into high gear. One of those things is “cleaning up” my Facebook page for inappropriate pics (kegstands and all that. JK. I’ve never done a kegstand). I’m also going through my blog.

I am running as an openly secular person in a very red, very Republican, very religious district. I am neither campaigning on my lack of belief nor hiding from it. In other words, I’m handling it very politically. It will become an issue at some point in the campaign, and I have a prepared response for it, but I believe it will ultimately become a dealbreaker for being able to win, but that’s another blog post.

What I’m struggling with right now is making private those blog posts where I specifically deal with my secularism. My atheism. There is a difference in the eyes of most believers between the statement: “I’m not a religious person” and “I’m an atheist”. To those of us on the secular side of the spectrum, there’s not a gnat’s whisker’s difference in those statements. These blog posts often use the word Atheist, and some are harsh in their judgment of religion and religious ideas.


I am running because I think that the people who live in my district have needs that are not being met and voices that are not being heard. I want to be able to speak for those folks, to represent them. I’m aggressive and articulate and unafraid, and I want to use all those skills to fight for the people in my district. But I can’t do that unless I get elected. I can’t get elected if I don’t proceed cautiously with how I handle being a non-believer. Religion is very important to these people (and don’t get me started on whether their beliefs factor in to why they often vote in opposition to their self interest).

So I’m taking these posts, these posts that I’ve labored through to write, these posts that express how I left my religion behind, and why, and how painful, and making them private. I’ve made private the most aggressive. But I can’t hide them all. I won’t hide them all. Some of them may help someone understand, and may reach someone who needs to know they are not alone in their unbelief.

And of course this one is private. I have 5 more months of campaigning. As much as I’m enjoying it, I’ll be glad when it concludes. I’ll be changing those posts back to public in November, win or lose. I’m an atheist. Proudly an atheist.

Thanks for reading.

Bar Review Summary

This post is the third in the series linking to the actual Bar Exam experience and law school graduation. I’m going to hold off on commentary until results are released in May, 2015, so it will be void of helpful hints and suggestions. I kept a journal during Review that I plan to post later; until then this is simply a summary and description of what I did in the months and weeks leading up to the California Bar Exam.

I attended and graduated from Concord Law School. Concord is a non-ABA-approved online law school. Graduates are allowed to sit for the California Bar Exam, and with a passing score, are allowed to practice law in California. Some graduates have been admitted to Bars of other states, although on a case-by-case basis.

I chose Kaplan Bar Review for my review program. Most law students choose a commercial Bar Preparation program. It’s a review of all the law learned through the years in law school, in a format designed to prepare the student to take the Bar Exam of his or her state. Typically these programs are marketed as a 2-to-3 month, 6-day-per-week, 8-10 hours-per-day review.

Let's get this out of the way. I'm a color-coded, dry-erase, schedule junkie. This is early review.
Let’s get this out of the way. I’m a color-coded, dry-erase, schedule junkie. This is early review.

I began my Bar Review in October, in preparation for the February, 2015 Bar Exam. The months of October and November were spent in a soft review of all of the testable subjects, on about a 6-hour-per-day schedule. In December I transitioned to longer days and more intense study.

I stuck with this pretty closely; I know once you begin negotiating with yourself, everything gets too loose.
I stuck with this pretty closely; I know once you begin negotiating with yourself, everything gets too loose.

There are 3 portions of the California Bar Exam, each of which requires a different type of study. Additionally, there are about 14 topics upon which the testing can be based, and the California Bar does not reveal before the test the subjects that will be tested. Predictions are made, some with more accuracy than others, but ultimately, students have to be prepared for any subject that may appear on the test.

A very important part of Bar Review: Vaughn and Darwin. My constant companions, exercise buddies, room odorizers, bed warmers, and rule statement practice audience.
A very important part of Bar Review: Vaughn and Darwin. My constant companions, exercise buddies, room odorizers, bed warmers, and rule statement practice audience.

On a personal note, in October, my honey reached out to my social networking family and sought a little note of encouragement – one for each of the 100 days leading up to the Bar Exam. He got an overwhelming response, and each day’s study began with the opening of the envelope. Each note was encouraging and sweet and kind and loving and supportive, and I am grateful to him for starting the project, and to everyone who participated!


Besides the world’s best partner, I also had in place a tremendous support group in family and friends. I live alone, which is very conducive to study, but left to my own devices, I would overstudy and underrelax. My kids checked in with me regularly, and my local girls’ group (the Ish Girls: we meet a noon-ish, for a glass of wine or 2-ish, for a couple of hours-ish) held me accountable for taking some down time. Emily, Susan, Caroline, and Maddie Mae – you will never know what that half-day off per week meant!

November. I had lovely, lovely people taking care of me to be sure I didn't stay hermitted up in my home, which is my inclination.
November. I had lovely, lovely people taking care of me to be sure I didn’t stay hermitted up in my home, which is my inclination.

Because each segment of the exam tests a different set of skills, each must be studied differently. For the most part, I followed the guidelines given by my Bar Review.



The essays use compound skills, and each skill must be developed both separately and jointly. Legal essay writing is not like college essay writing, where those of us with the gift of gab can just prattle endlessly about any one topic for an hour. Legal essay writing is structured and concise, and requires recognizing a legal issue, declaring a memorized statement of law, analysis of facts to that law, a reasonable conclusion, and so forth, catching all legal issues in the hypothetical.

The skill of essay writing has been practiced in law school, and becomes refined even further during Bar Review. There are anywhere from 60 to 160 statements of law, so to speak, in each subject, for a total of about 1400 statements. Do you have to memorize them all? Only if CalBar tests them. So yes.

There is debate about the detail and length of the definitions. CalBar clearly states that the analysis portion is much more important than the memorized rule statement, but the analysis can only be done if the elements of the statement are present.

During the course of my Bar Review, I submitted 60 essays for grading, and outlined nearly 40 more.

Another shot of my support team.
Another shot of my support team.


MBE stands for Multi-state Bar Exam, which is the multiple choice segment of the exam. These questions are written in a manner to test very fine distinctions of law. I once heard a lecturer say that the answer can turn not just on one sentence, not just on one word, but on ONE LETTER of one word. (The defendant LIVES in the house with his girlfriend/The defendant LIVED in the house with his girlfriend: in one sentence the defendant has standing to object to an unconstitutional search, in the other he does not.)

There are hundreds of concepts which can be tested, and thousands of ways in which to test them. There may be a more productive way to study for these without practicing them, but I don’t know it. My posse of fellow students all experienced a similar phenomena in that, toward the end of bar review, after having practiced piles upon piles of these questions, they became the most “enjoyable” part of our daily study. I think it was because they were short, and contained, and eventually you begin to get good at them.

I worked over 2500 multiple choice questions over the course of my review.

December. What would I have done without my girls? For one delicious half-day per week, I ran away from the books and lectures to these beautiful faces.
December. What would I have done without my girls? For one delicious half-day per week, I ran away from the books and lectures to these beautiful faces.



The final segment of testing is the Performance Test. We call it the most lawyerly portion of the test. If you’re interested, they’re posted here, complete with 2 good answers for each test. If you weren’t under such time constraints, they’d be fun; it’s a puzzle with clues to the answer, and it’s a challenge to find the answers. However, when you feel the pressure of the minutes ticking, it takes a little of the joy out.

Bar review suggests working 2 PTs per week for the 8-10 weeks leading up to the test. I submitted 12, and outlined 12 more.

Brought out the big guns for January.
Brought out the big guns for January.

In January I transitioned from 6-8 hour days with a focus on review and outline construction to 8-10 hour days of skills and memorization.

Oh well, good study weather.
Oh well, good study weather.


Did you doubt my devotion to the Almighty Dry Erase?
Did you doubt my devotion to the Almighty Dry Erase?



My study group was a fabulous bunch of brilliant women from law school. In particular my study buddy (and class co-valedictorian), Liz, was patient and tolerant as we messaged and skyped and emailed questions back and forth. Our freakouts parallelled, and having someone who understood where you were, what you felt, and the emotions you were going through was one of the most valuable things I took away from Bar Review.


February. Ran out of propane on the day of the big ice storm. Oh, hello, Murphy.
February. Ran out of propane on the day of the big ice storm. Oh, hello, Murphy.



A last few shots of the Bar Cave:




Law school in a bookcase
    Law school in a bookcase





Off to California!
Off to California!

Thanks for reading!


What a day.

Today I graduated from law school.

I have been thinking about this day literally for 4 years, and in the abstract for over 50.

Graduation for Concord Law School is held at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. It’s always held on the Saturday following the administration of the California Bar Exam. See an earlier post about that experience.

Beginning with the Thursday night at the close of the test, my large and expanded family began arriving. First on the scene were my twin girls. Amy lives and works in Eugene, Oregon (this, this, and this), and Glenda lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada (this, this, and this). I was so happy to see their beautiful smiling faces after the 3-day beatdown.

Feelin the love
Feelin the love

Friday morning was transition day, from the test site in Ontario, California, to the graduation site in Sherman Oaks, California, just outside LA. But first, a quick trip to the airport to get my Steen. Her name is Susan, and we’ve been friends for years. She is as sweet and lovely as I am loud and snarky. I think that’s how we work so well. We share a love of eating well, of reading, and of writing (here’s the link to her column in our local newspaper). She is also a fabulous professional photographer, and produced most of the grad pics here and on my Facebook page.

My beautiful friend Steen
My beautiful friend Steen

Steen brought along our friend Flat Emily. Emily and her 2 beautiful babies and ever-loving and patient hubby John live in Murfreesboro. Steen, Emily, and I make up the Ish sisters, which is part support-group, part wine-tasting, picnic-sharing, group-texting, mother-daughter-sister love fest that meets regularly to laugh and cry and share and partay. Emily and the fam cheered me on from Tennessee, and on her Flat Emily stick girlie!

Ish girls
Ish girls



Flat Emily enjoying her salad!
Flat Emily enjoying her salad!

Friday night was the Grad Bash. Because my school is online, our students reside all over the world. The night prior to graduation, our Student Bar Association sponsors an evening at the pub for graduates and alumni. For some of us, it’s the first time we’ve met face to face! And an added bonus for us: a classmate of the girls’ from high school in Tennessee, Kim, who now lives in LA was able to meet up with us!


Sweet Siegel girls!
Sweet Siegel girls!

And this is where Ben and Kirsten (this, this, and this) come in from Colorado!

Great big happy!
Great big happy!

Back to the hotel where the last of the Jordans arrived – Sam and Jess from Colorado (this, this, and this), and my law school bestie Rosine (this) and her wife Myra from Castro Valley!  We must have been partying pretty hard, because evidently we didn’t have time for pictures that night. The next morning brought champagne toasts at 8am and dressing for the ball!



All my beautiful people!
All my beautiful people!












This was without a doubt, one of the most spectacular days of my life. I am so grateful – to Concord for the opportunity to go to law school, to all my professors, to my friends and family for being so loving, and to my honey for being so patient and supportive. I am still so overcome with emotion from the day, I don’t know how long it will take me to process everything. During the weekend, I tried to open my senses and memorize everything – what I was seeing, and hearing, and tasting, and feeling. It’s my plan to take this memory out of storage over and over and relive every moment.

The day was everything I wanted it to be, and so much more. To have my tribe with me for this event, both in spirit and in person, after this long, arduous, gratifying, challenging journey was beyond anything I could have hoped for.

And not to forget my support back home:

Mom and Dad in Georgia
Mom and Dad in Georgia
Sassy Em!
Sassy Em in Tennessee!

Thanks for reading!


Greetings from the Bar cave

Good evening!

Oh how I miss writing for leisure! Recreational reading and writing are on my Things-I’m-doing-after-the-Bar list. Want to know some other things on that list?

–Go to lunch.

–Have wine without calculating what time I have to start studying in the morning.

–Binge-watch Project Runway.

–Travel to see every child I have – Colorado (x2), Oregon, Nevada.

–Spend a few days with my piggies in the sand and my face in the sun.

–Get to know my honey all over again.

So this will be a short, boring update. I’m about 6 weeks in to a 16-week Bar prep program. I finished classes for law school in September, so the JD is done. (Woot.) The Bar Exam is a 3-day behemoth in California on the 24, 25, and 26 of February. Simple really: 6 essays, 2 Performance Tests, and 200 Multiple Choice questions. Easy Peasy. There are 8 subjects from which the multiple choice come, and 14 subjects from which the essays come. The Performance Test is a closed universe that’s a special level of mental gymnastics unto itself.

See? Boring. What’s not boring is how wonderful and fabulous my precious posse has been. Whether friends or family, I have felt more love and support and love than anyone ever has a right to. I’ve had visits and gifts and notes and sometimes all those in one day. I’ve been grumpy and frustrated and hermit-y, and my lovely people just keep bringing the sunshine! When I have those inevitable moments of doubt, all I have to do is look around at my expressions of support and encouragement and I just can’t stay in that despair for long!

I’m keeping a diary of the whole experience, which I plan to turn into a blog after the test which will be more interesting, with pictures, and the excitement of the physical journey too. Graduation is the Saturday following the test, and the highlight of that will be all of the kids in the same place at the same time! We also have a post-graduation Vegas extravaganza planned too, so that will be worth checking back for.


So in the meantime, here’s a picture of Bevo the Longhorn from the University of Texas, because look at him!

That’s the study break for now. Thanks for being patient,

and thanks for reading!

Our massage experience.

I love Groupon.  Last spring, I bought a Groupon for a couple’s massage.  Eliott and I have had one or two of these before, once in Tunica, and once in Vegas.  They were glorious, especially after a good hard workout.  I should mention that in one of these, when the therapists left the room for us to disrobe and get on the table, we both got on the same table, stacked.  How cute were the women when they came back and there we were, lying completely still.  They were good sports, even if we were corny old people with dirty senses of humor.

Back to Groupon.  This was to be a surprise for Eliott, since he’s always gotten massages for me (FYI – El gets abundant massages from his own personal therapist, as any therapist with a partner knows).  It’s taken several false starts to get this one scheduled; they even let us extend beyond the expiration date since we had tried so hard to find a time.

Our massage was last Saturday.  I told El I had a surprise for him, so at 2:30 I told him to just hop in the car with me and not ask questions, which he did joyfully.  Off we drove toward Nashville.  (Just so you know, I’m not going to reveal the name or location of this place).

We pulled into the parking lot, which was as close to a trailer park as I can describe.  We had a moment where El realized what his surprise was, flashed his beautiful smile, and up the rickety stairs we go.

The door was locked.  Not too unusual for a small practice.  Sometimes the therapist is finishing with one client, and must keep the door locked until he or she is finished and can greet the new clients.  We rang the bell and were buzzed in….to a room that might have been 6′ x 6′.  We each took a seat and filled out our clipboard forms on the same desk behind which the therapist sat (did I mention it was close quarters?).

After this, we met our two therapists.  Lovely ladies, who showed us toward the restroom (one, which we took turns using).  We were shown the room, which, had it had ONE massage table in would have been a little crowded).  No pads on the table, not even covers on the face cradle, but massage-therapy-school folded pillowcases covering the face cradle.  We disrobed and climbed precariously onto the wobbly tables (no double-stack this time).

The therapists enter the room and begin the massages.  Disclaimer:  I am a massage therapist.  I’ve been a therapist for about 7 years.  I know a good massage.  However, Eliott is not a massage therapist.  I’ll include commentary from both of us.

My therapist was wonderful.  I thought her pace, pressure, and pattern were spot on.  I thought it was a little sketch when she worked my glutes.  I go Full Monty for massages, and when she worked my glutes she pulled the drape back, well, all the way.  There I was, twat to the wind, but, honestly, she did a great job.  I had told her I was an athlete and was not modest.  She apparently believed me.  Eliott was having the same experience, only his version was balls to the wind.  Typically, in a tandem massage, the therapists follow an identical pattern, so we were having this “exposure experience” simultaneously.

Our therapists chose to have us face-down first, so the second half of our massage we were face up and the therapists were working on our thighs, chests, shoulders, and neck.  I can’t leave out Eliott’s comment after the massage was over and the therapists left the room:  “I’ve had lap dances where the strippers have not put their t*ts in my face as much as that woman”.  I admit, I was having a bit of the same, um, phenomenon.   The only thing missing was a pole and platform shoes.

In spite of the ventilated glute work and boobilicious front work, I actually had a good massage – good, deep pressure, good rhythm, and apparent knowledge of muscle innervations, origins, and insertions.

Later, when we googled the name of the establishment, we read several accounts that described their experiences of overhearing requests for the proverbial Happy Endings.  Caveat Emptor:  Google BEFORE you go get your massage.  If you have a bad experience, here is the TN Dept of Health site to report, and PLEASE REPORT.  It elevates the profession, and improves it for everyone!

If you want a recommendation for a professional, effective, functional massage, contact me.  I know some really good therapists.  =)

Thanks for reading!

Nutrition Wrap Up

Here’s the catchall post, where we look at things that didn’t really fit into the other topics, or that I just didn’t get to.

Let’s review.  If you are feeling good, and don’t have excess fat, and are sleeping well, and have the energy you need to do whatever it is that you do, and your medical markers for health – blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, etc – are all within healthy parameters, and your body parts are doing what you require of them, and you recover from injury the way you’d like, Congratulations!  You are healthy!  Keep doing what you are doing!  And I’m really not being snarky when I say that; I really mean it.  There’s enough variation in physiology and disposition and habit to account for a wide variety of experiences in nutrition and fitness results.

If however, some of those things are not optimal, I’d recommend giving ancestral nutrition a try.  The science is sound, the results are consistent with the science, and if you don’t have success, what’s the risk?  Which leads me to my first point:

How to begin?  There are a couple of approaches.  One thought is that any improvement will benefit your health, and therefore if you start small, by changing one nutrition habit a week, incorporate one new rule at a time, you will be more likely to manage a lifestyle change that you will stick with.  Another idea is to go all in, whole hog, the full monty in one big step.  I’d like to suggest a hybrid of the two.

Go all in – for 30 days.  Do a little research, hit up some of the websites I’ll add links for, pinpoint a starting date for sometime this week, plan your shopping day before you begin, and then do it.  Go grain-free, sugar-free, grass-fed meat, scads and scads of veggies, a little fruit, healthy fats — for one month.  Don’t look for 30 days 4 months down the line when you won’t have a wedding or party or trip – that ain’t gonna happen.  Do it now, in spite of the wedding, party, or trip.  Just commit – it’s 30 days!  But don’t cheat!  Not one cheat day or cheat meal or even cheat bite – full-on clean eating for 30 days.

Then at the end of the 30 days, reevaluate.  Are any of those markers better?  Feel better, sleep better, work better?  Lose a little fat?  Focus a little better?  After that evaluation, have a little sit-down with your bad self.  Decide if it’s worth it.  If the answer is no, have another little sit-down, because it should be.  It’s your health, folks, the only body you’re gonna get.  And for those of us on the backside, evolution is not very nice to us.  Once we’ve passed those child-bearing years, nature is kind of over us, so to speak.  You’ve gotta give back a little, and this nutrition is exactly the way to do that.

Another point I want to make is that there is more to Paleo living than just nutrition, although nutrition is a major part.  There’s movement, which is a whole other series of posts, but I’ll link to my favorite sites where you’ll find info from the experts.  There’s footwear, which is a surprisingly big deal since it affects our posture which affects our digestion and skeleton and muscles.  There’s play, and community, and sleep, and a whole lot more!

I want to quickly touch on managing life swimming upstream.  How to handle the pizza, pasta, cake, ice cream, donuts, pancakes that surround us every minute of every day?  Here’s what works for me (most of the time):  Making these choices of what to eat are no longer dependent upon willpower, like other calorie-counting-based diets.  When you are empowered with the information of what foods are healthy and what foods are not, your choices are based on reason, education, and logic, and that beat the hell out of willpower!  One of my dearest besties has had such a recovery of her health eating cleanly, that she says she can’t even bring herself to eat those former treats and temptations.  That’s the power of good nutrition!

The next little mini-lecture is about the time and money it takes to eat this way.  Yes, it takes more money to buy grass-fed meat and local produce.  Yes, it takes longer to chop and prepare all those veggies, and it’s a whole new way to cook, which has a learning curve.

A. When you’re not buying all the other crap, it’s actually better than even, depending upon how much interior-grocery-aisle shopping you’re currently doing.

B.  Eating should be an event.  The instant availability of food is what has gotten us where we are in the first place!  I have learned to love this part.  I have these beautiful clear stacking containers and when they are full of colorful veggies all chopped and ready, it makes me joyful!  Plus, the weekly chopping task goes well with a partner jamming out in the kitchen after a bike ride to the farmers’ market and back!

So now the links:

This is Protein Power.  It’s a husband and wife MD team who have been nutrition physicians for years.  Theirs was the first book I read on my journey, so even though other blogs are more active, I have huge loyalty to them.

This is Mark’s Daily Apple.  I met Mark in Atlanta in August at the symposium.  His blog is active, and he has great freebies at his website, including several free ebooks. His site is a great resource for the fitness piece of the lifestyle.

Here’s Robb Wolf’s site.  Robb is one of the Ancestral Health rockstars.  I got him to sign his new book and chatted with him for a while.  He gave several presentations and was interesting every time he spoke.

Here’s Dr. Peter Attia.  Peter is the most brilliant physician I know.  I visit his blog, and understand about 20% of what he posts.  Check out this TED talk he gave.

Now for the recipe sites:

Here’s The Clothes Makes The Girl.  Melicious!  You will love her!

This is Nom Nom Paleo.  She posts a lot of family-friendly recipes, and she’s great!

Here’s PaleOMG.  More great recipes, with lots of funny commentary.

Here’s Paleo Parents.  They do lots of creative stuff because they have 3 little guys, so lots of lunch box foods and treats.

Now, back to law school, farm living, traveling, and kids!

Thanks for reading, both this post, and the whole series!

We made it!

Here we are!  1880 miles and 3 days later, we’re here!

We started out in Albuquerque and this morning did not even have to backtrack to get to a Starbucks!  We started (and ended) the day out like we have the other 2 mornings:  listening to the Money song by the OJays.  Then it was back to her Vegas mix.

Today was a huge variety of landscapes and vistas.  In particular, we had no idea that Flagstaff, Arizona was a little ski town.  We’d been driving along in scenery that was expected from the southwest, and suddenly we drove through a green, forested, mountainous section.  We checked the GPS a couple of times and kept on driving.

Colorado, right in the middle of Arizona!
Colorado, right in the middle of Arizona!

As soon as we crossed into Nevada, we got to stop and see the Hoover Dam.  There’s a reason it’s the touristy, obligatory thing to do.  Glenda gave me a primer on the whole art deco movement of the era while we took in the mindblowing engineering that the dam was and is.





Here are a few interesting sights we saw along the way today

If you are going to panhandle outside starbucks, you might not want to wear this shirt
If you are going to panhandle outside starbucks, you might not want to wear this shirt
This was special
This was special

Then we finally rounded the bend…

It's hard to see, but that's Vegas!
It’s hard to see, but that’s Vegas!

Instead of staying in a La Quinta out on the edge of town while we do our apartment hunting, my darling squeeze surprised us with reservations at the LVH!

Glenda’s excited and nervous and happy to be here.  Mrs. Whiskers was a trouper, and hasn’t had much to say about being a Las Vegas kitty.  Watch here for an update on apartment and job hunting.

Thanks for reading!


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