Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing

All about poo.

Don’t be hatin.

But if you don’t want to read a post about dog poop, click away.  Ok, forewarned.

On my hippie farm, with my cows and goats and chickens, I have the most delicious compost pile.  Cow manure, chicken manure, goat manure, hardwood leaves, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds – it makes the most rich, earthy, healthy soil you’ve ever seen.  I’ve got a dual operation going:

High tech.
High tech.
Inside the drum
Inside the drum
Did you notice his goofy, happy compost face?
Did you notice his derpy, happy compost face?

But I also have dogs, and if you read my last post, you know I’ve added to the canine contingency.  And 4 dogs generate lots of poo.

In an effort to figure out what to do with the abundance of dog waste that accumulates in the yard (I have 8 acres, but who’s gonna walk more than 20 feet outside in the rain?  Not my guys!), I did a little Shit Research.  I won’t go into all the science, but the poop of herbivores vs the poop of omnivores vs the poop of carnivores has to do with amounts of nitrogen, enzymes, bacteria, and parasites.  The short version is that dog waste can’t be composted with other kitchen and farm waste (and neither, therefore, can human waste – a post for another day).

Just to be sure, I contacted my go-to science guy (Sam, if you didn’t know), and he confirmed what my research showed.  So it was out of the question to put the poop in the big compost pile.  But I still had a poop pile problem in the yard.

I googled that shit and found a variety of commercial set-ups to deal with this issue, but they were all extremely low in complexity and high in cost.  I’m bright, I’m capable, I’ve got power tools – I can do this!

My Family Dollar $10 trash can.
My Family Dollar $10 trash can.
First, dig a hole.
First, dig a hole.
Fortunately, my hired hand is very into me, and showed up to finish the digging job.
Fortunately, my hired hand is very into me, and showed up to finish the digging job.
Next, cut off the bottom of the trash can.
Next, cut off the bottom of the trash can.
Drill a bunch of small holes, but be sure the holes are below the level that will be above the ground.
Drill a bunch of small holes, but be sure the holes are below the level that will be above the ground.
Now sink that bad boy up to the brim!
Now sink that bad boy up to the brim!
a layer of gravel in the bottom first...
a layer of gravel in the bottom first…
...then a layer of sawdust, which I just happen to have for my baby chicks!
…then a layer of sawdust, which I just happen to have for my baby chicks!
Now all I need is some dog poo...
Now all I need is some dog poo…
Where o where will I find some dog poo?
Where oh where will I find some dog poo?
Let's not name names, but there ya go.
Let’s not name names, but there ya go.
Eventually I'll add a little of this, but I'll wait until there's a little more...accumulation...and after it rains.
Eventually I’ll add a little of this, but I’ll wait until there’s a little more…accumulation…and after it rains.
Here it is in the yard - I still have to move the dirt pile, but the only thing you see is the lid, and it's at the edge of the yard.
Here it is – I still have to move the dirt pile, but the only thing you see is the lid, and it’s at the edge of the yard.  See the slack line?  I suck at it.

Doggie Dooley is already trademarked, as is Tidy Paws.  I’m thinking Doggie Dumper?  Doggie Doo-Be-Gone?  Poopmaster?

I think I’ll tag this post Cottage Living.  I don’t have a Waste Products tag.  Yet.  I think I’m going to draw the line at a pit latrine.

Thanks for reading!





Vaughn and Lucy

I loved Edwin Kagin.


Edwin died on March 27.  I loved him.  I loved his big, fat, beautiful, juicy brain, I loved his irreverent, dry, southern sense of humor, and I loved his unrelenting compassion, desire for justice, and concern for children.

Edwin was the legal director for American Atheists from 2006 until his death.  He and his wife Helen were the originators of Camp Quest, a secular summer camp for children.  It had grown from a brilliant idea in 1996, to overnight and week-long camps located in many states, and UK and Switzerland.  Camp Quest offers children the summer camp experience including educational activities that promote critical thinking, ethics, scientific inquiry, and philosophy.   Edwin was the brilliant legal mind behind many civil rights and religious freedom lawsuits over the years, but I believe it was Camp Quest of which he was most proud.


I met Edwin in Des Moines at the American Atheist convention and was captivated by his charm.  He was lovely and encouraging to me as a first-year law student.   Edwin could be funny and serious and blasphemous, all in one sentence.  He was the quintessential cantankerous and curmudgeonly crank whose eyes twinkled behind his glasses under the brim of his leather hat.

Edwin was also an author and bloggerHere is a post he wrote about the death of his lovely wife Helen.  Not long after I met Edwin, he sent me a copy of his book Baubles of Blasphemy.  I rationed the readings of his writings because they usually had a profound effect on me as a new freethinker just coming out of the daze of religion, and I needed the extra moments to digest the profundity.  We corresponded through email and even in this cold, impersonal digital format, his warm, witty personality peeked through.

Edwin and I saw one another at various freethinkers conventions, and always stole a moment or two to catch up.  He never failed to ask me about law school and how I was doing and what my plans were.  I saw him last in Austin, Texas, and was looking forward to seeing him again in Salt Lake City in April.  Edwin died on March 27.

But my sweet Edwin left behind not only a legacy of epic proportions in the way of Camp Quest, but also his two canine loves, Vaughn and Lucy.  Edwin’s family put out the word that these two honeys needed a home, and they needed to stay together, if possible.  It took me about 10 seconds of reflection before I knew I wanted to provide a home for these babies.

So I introduce to you:  Vaughn and Lucy.



Big Vaughn
Meeting Elvis the steer
Meeting Elvis the steer
Hot mess of Freethought canines
Hot mess of Freethought canines
The sweetness that is Lucy.
The sweetness that is Lucy.
Precious Vaughn
Precious Vaughn

We’re getting to know one another.  When they learn to trust me, I plan to solicit any legal genius that Edwin shared with them, but I can be patient.  Right now we’re working on positioning in my office while I’m studying, and smelling everything that can be smelled on a farm.

What a delight these two furries are.

And what a joy and an honor and a privilege to have known this man.

Thanks for reading.


Before you return to wherever you were before you were born, it might be a good idea to so live that people remember you fondly. This is not a dress rehearsal. Life ends / Tao flows.
Don’t take life too seriously; you won’t get out of it alive anyway.

Edwin Kagin



Get busy livin or get busy dyin

I know I haven’t blogged enough when I am tempted to title the post as “An Update”, but there could be no more boring a post title than that, and I refuse.

I’m in my fourth and final year of law school.  This year’s subjects are Wills and Trusts, Remedies, and California Community Property.  Our schedule is a little different this year: these 3 classes finish in September, and Sept-Dec we have Capstone, which is a course intended to prepare us for the Performance Test, which is a portion of the Bar Exam.  Then in December I begin my Bar Review course, and take the Bar in February.

Exactly one year from today will be the Sunday evening before Bar Exam week.  The test is 3 days, Tues/Wed/Thurs consisting of 6 essays, 200 multiple choice questions, and 2 Performance Tests.  Just describing it is enough stimulation for now, and I’ll post more about it in the future, but after this week’s applicants take it, my countdown begins.

That’s enough about school, except to say that I still love everything about it.  I say with no disclaimer that I am going to miss it.  I’ve loved gaining the knowledge, studying the cases, and sharing with my classmates.  Here’s my post of when I announced I was attending – see if you detect any less excitement now than when I began.

And in other news, last year, darling son Sam, who is also an endurance athlete said to me ever-so-sweetly:  “Mom, I want to do an Ironman with you before you are too old.”  Without even the faintest tinge of humor.

In what turned out to be a much, much bigger commitment that I imagined in my wildest dreams, I once made a promise to my children that whatever they would ask or allow me to do with them, I would do.  It was based on my belief that you meet your children where they are if you want to be close to them.  This promise has taken me to the top of black diamond ski runs, down rapids in a kayak, to art museums in New York City, to road trips across America.

So, on September 7, 2014, Sam and I will be competing in the Rev 3 Cedarpoint Triathlon in Sandusky, Ohio.  Just to refresh:  It’s a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.  I started training in January in Tennessee; Sam’s doing his training in Colorado.

Distance training involves a progressive program of adding longer/more often/more intense workouts over time.  Over the months leading to September I plan to do several shorter triathlons.  There’s one in Tullahoma in June, a great race in Chattanooga in July, and I’m looking for a half-Iron for August.  I’ve done a couple of half-marathons since the new year, with a couple more coming up.  I’ve got some 5, 10, and 15ks mixed in as well, and then triathlon season starts this spring.

Watch for race previews, race debriefs, and pics of the adventure.  Suggest a race if you know of a good one.  And you’re welcome to come to Ohio in September – the race is held at Cedar Point Amusement park, which is where my team support will be as Sammy and I are out on the course!

Thanks for reading!


Hawaii Wrap-up

Traveling, putting away Christmas, starting back to school — are any of those good enough reasons for having taken so long to write this post?!

Picking up where we left off…Sam, Ben, and I are in Maui.  Sam was completing a housesitting gig for his boss.  We were anticipating Eliott joining us for a few days, but on the way out he had an unexpected episode of claustrophobia on the first flight and wasn’t able to make it.  It left the three of us to our own devices on arrangements, and we are nothing if not resilient and flexible.

The Maui Bird Recovery Project was very accommodating and allowed us to bunk with the interns in the staff housing.  If you’ve ever priced accommodations on the island of Maui, you can imagine how grateful we were!

Our days were spent in a variety of Hawaiian activities – snorkeling, surfing, kite-surfing – and by we, I mean the boys.  I was a little puny for most of the time we were there, and opted out of the big stuff.  Ben got to try every sport he wanted to, and Sam was a patient, if novice, teacher.

We cooked at the cabin in the evenings, and that was a delight.  With Ben’s experience in the restaurant, and my interest in cooking, we had some fabulous dinners, accompanied by local avocados, bananas, lilikoi, and coconut.  Sam had to work one day and Ben and I drove the famed Road to Hana.

Whatever.  So we're tourists.  It was yummy.
Whatever. So we’re tourists. It was yummy.
Bounty from the roadside honor stands -- all delicious!
Bounty from the roadside honor stands — all delicious!
This is what it looks like - a random poinsettia bush in full bloom.
This is what it looks like – a random poinsettia bush in full bloom.
Cliche double rainbow on Maui!
Cliche double rainbow on Maui!
Another lovely shot
Another lovely shot
Along the Road to Hana
Along the Road to Hana
This is the area where Sam has been planting trees
This is the area where Sam has been planting trees
Became obsessed with this little sweet/sour fruit - lilikoi
Became obsessed with this little sweet/sour fruit – lilikoi
One more shot
One more shot
At a little Friday night street festival, this vendor offered, in the upper right corner, a bacon cookie.  No, I didn't.
At a little Friday night street festival, this vendor offered, in the upper right corner, a bacon cookie. No, I didn’t.
Punctuation problems everywhere.
Punctuation problems everywhere.


I had to leave ahead of the boys, and as I described in an earlier post, the pass travel back home was hideous.  I couldn’t get out of LA to anywhere but Minneapolis, and then I couldn’t get out of there.

And after all that lovely sunshine...
And after all that lovely sunshine…

This was during the first pass of the Polar Vortex, and flights were cancelled everywhere.  My honey was back at home on the internet, looking for any flight I could get on.  He finally found one late that evening to Birmingham, Alabama.  I flew, he drove, and I landed back home in my snuggly little cottage with memories of the white, warm, sandy beaches of Maui, and a few delicious days with my boys.


Life is good.  Thanks for reading!












The one with all the pretty pictures

In the last post I wrote about getting out here, but I don’t think I wrote enough about what Sam is doing.

He’s had an internship since September with the Maui Bird Recovery Project, which I linked to in the last post.  Here’s their Facebook page – give them a like, and a donation if you’re so inclined.  Sam has spent a lot of time in the field planting trees that support the bird recovery.  He and his crew are helicoptered in to remote areas and plant seedlings of the trees.  His internship is almost at an end, and in late January he’ll go to Crested Butte Colorado where he’ll work until the spring and he goes back to Salida, CO, as a river ranger.

He’s had housing as a part of his internship, but for the 2 weeks of Christmas and New Years he’s had a housesitting gig in a charming place just outside of Paia, HI, which is near Kahului.  It is in a beautiful setting, and today’s post is simply my afternoon walk around the house.  If I had the mad camera skills (and the mad camera) of my girl Suzy Q. Steen I could do a better job of capturing all the beauty, but you’ll have to settle for my iPhone wannabes.




The house is situated by this beautiful ravine
The house is situated by this beautiful ravine



See the little guy pretending to be a bean pod??
See the little guy pretending to be a bean pod??




Don't think I didn't want to.  They're the landlord's.
Don’t think I didn’t want to. They’re the landlord’s.



sunset across the ravine
sunset across the ravine
These boys.
These boys.


Happy, happy, happy New Calendar!

Thanks for reading!

The Glamour of Pass Travel

I’m in Hawaii!!  I’ll post about the adventures we’re having in the days to come, but I wanted to get a quick post out about how I got out here.  Literally, not philosophically.

One of the employment benefits of working for an airline is what is known as Pass Travel.  This little post is about what that stand-by experience can be like.  Good and bad.

Son #2 is at the conclusion of an internship on the island of Maui.  He’s doing a bird recovery/reforestation project.   Son #1 and I, both students, found ourselves with a window of opportunity to visit Sam over the holidays.  Both girlies are working, Glenda in Vegas and Amy in Utah, so Ben and I are the lucky ones who get to do the trip.

There in an internal employee website that gives information about the “loads” on any particular flight, so that we nonrevs (non-revenue) fliers can make choices about the best time for travel.  This site lists the flights, how many seats are on the airplane, how many of those seats have been sold, and how many remain for us freeloaders to use.  (Technically, pass travel is not free – there are minimal charges that are attached to each flight, based on mileage.)

The holidays are never a good time to attempt pass travel, but if you are strategic, choose your flights well, and are flexible, sometimes it works.

Ben lives in Denver and it was his plan to fly from Denver to Salt Lake City to LA, and then on to Maui.  I would start from Nashville, fly to Atlanta, then LA, then meet up with Ben for the flight into Maui.  The flights online looked tight, but doable.

From years of pass travel, we’ve learned to check your main bag (with items you won’t grieve losing), put some overnight stuff in your small carry-on (toothbrush, clean undies), dress comfortably and in layers (Denver in Dec vs Maui in Dec), and prepare your attitude.  When the children were little, we developed a family motto specifically around pass travel:  Life Is An Adventure.  If you’ve ever tried to keep 4 preschoolers happy in the Memphis terminal for 36 hours, you will understand.

Off we go.  I leave my home in Murfreesboro at 11am on Saturday, Ben leaves his home in Fort Collins at 3pm.  Getting from Nashville to Atlanta didn’t present a problem.  It was in Atlanta that the plan began to deteriorate.  My honey was at home with the employee website pulled up, guiding me on the phone.  LA had become out of the question.  The first 3 flights I watched push back were oversold and 35 standbys were left standing at the gate.  I began to seek other options (keep in mind it’s December 28th) it was clear that Atlanta (Delta’s main hub) was overwhelmed, and I couldn’t find a way ANYWHERE.  Every flight out of Atlanta to any city was overbooked.  I saw a sliver of opportunity in a flight to Seattle (by now it’s about 9pm), and sure enough, I got the last standby seat.

Last seat, last row
Last seat, last row

In the meantime, Ben was having the same experience in Salt Lake City.   He hadn’t had a problem leaving Denver, but SLC (another Delta hub) was a clusterf*&k.  His squeeze was doing the same as mine, and guided him to grabbing the last seat on the last flight to San Francisco.

So instead of meeting in LA on Saturday night, I’m in Seattle, and Ben’s in San Fran.  We had good chances in the morning for both of us to get to LA, and that was the plan.  In true pass travel fashion, we both find a nice, comfy, slice of carpeted floor in our respective terminals.  Here’s a pic of mine from my viewpoint:

backpack as a pillow, and scarf as a blanket
backpack as a pillow, and scarf as a blanket

And in a turn of fortune typical to pass travel, I got a first-class seat on the early flight from Seattle to LA.  This is the breakfast they wanted me to eat:

another post for another time, and I'm an ungrateful brat
another post for another time, and I’m an ungrateful brat

Ben was having the same experience on his flight out of San Francisco to LA, and he got there a few minutes before I did.  After our joyful reunion (around 9:30am), we decided to spend the 8 hours waiting for our flight somewhere besides the LA terminal.  In true Jordan-adventure fashion, Sam had previously scoped out the terminal-proximity-food-and-shade scene, and he was able to tell us the direction to head out.

I'm never happier than this.
I’m never happier than times like this.

We ended up grabbing a six-pack from the grocery, 2 animal-style, protein-style double doubles from In N Out, sitting in a park under the glide path.



One more trip to the grocery for the remaining 2 hours’ entertainment:

If you're stuck in LA, call me for the down low.
If you’re stuck in LA, call me for the down low.

Then, finally, at the gate in LA, waiting for those elusive seats, listening, listening for:  “Passengers, Jordan, party of 2” to be called over that loudspeaker.


Sweet Sammy met us at the airport with leis, fresh pineapple, chocolate-covered macadamias, and Hawaiian beer.  Stay tuned for more blogging about the Maui adventures.


So, pass travel.  Is it worth it?  Yes, absolutely, 100% no doubt.  Among my children’s friends, I often encourage them, if they are unsure of what direction to go in life, to consider working for an airline purely because of the benefit of pass travel.  But pass travel requires a mentality, a combination of a sense of adventure, flexibility, patience, a letting go of control, patience and flexibility on the part of your eventual host, and maybe even a little diplomacy thrown in for gate agents and fellow pass riders/passengers.

Life Is An Adventure!

Thanks for reading!





Adventures in Cottage Living


Do away with the nasty-ass, 1970’s trailer park, ugly, dark brown paneling in my bedroom.  The squeeze is out of town, so there’s no one to talk me out of it.


a) Tear it out, replace with sheetrock.  Good choice, but expensive, and above my pay grade.

b) Wallpaper over it.  No bueno, I hate wallpaper almost as much as I hate the paneling.

c) Paint the paneling.  Cheap, quick, looks like painted paneling.  Perfect.

In a justification of all the time it would take to do this, I listened to law school lectures the entire time (with maybe a little Pandora mixed in).  Finals are December 11 and 13.  Gah.

To give a sense of how yukky the paneling is, here are the before pics:

Even midday with 2 big windows it looks dark
Even midday with 2 big windows it looks dark
From the other side.  Still dark.
From the other side. Still dark.  And you can’t hardly see that there is a fireplace there.

And just for funsies, in case you don’t remember old Aunt Bertha’s house, here it is close-up:

Mmmmm.  Beautiful faux-grain.
Mmmmm. Beautiful faux-grain.

The door jambs, however, are heavy stained hardwood, and I love them.  I want to emphasize them and have them really stand out.  I have less-than-zero interior design sensitivity, and I could be doing this all wrong, but as always, that’s how I roll, so full speed ahead on the remodel.  Youtube is my friend, so I watched dozens of short videos on painting paneling.  I compiled a list of the most consistent supplies and techniques and off to Home Depot I went.

What I most wanted was a sunny yellow room.  I had a yellow kitchen a lifetime ago and loved every day in it.  But I know that the fastest way you can make yellow ugly is to pair it with brown.  So I looked at pale aqua, mint green, light lavender, and barely blue.  I found this click-happy Glidden website to play with colors.  I live alone, so I get to choose what color I want, but the downside is that there’s no one to turn to when it’s done and passive-aggressively say “Hmmm…wonder what the other color would have looked like?”  In the end, I went with my first choice – a warm, pretty yellow that went by the name of Morning Sun.

My cart from Home Depot
My cart from Home Depot

Here’s my supplies and cost list:

Gallon of primer  $17

Gallon of tinted paint $26

Quart of trim paint $12

Sandpaper $8

Sandpaper holder $8

1 roll of painter’s tape $5 (plus one-half a roll I had at home)

Paint roller $5

Roller holder $4

Paint Brush $12 (I know, right?)

Dropcloth $2

Paint Tray $4

Day One, as Day Ones always are, was all about the prep.  I keep my house pretty neat, so the room was already clean.  I had to Tetris all the furniture to the middle of the room, leaving access to dresser drawers, and make a pathway around the perimeter.  Next was removing all the faceplates for the outlets and light switches.  Then of course I had to vacuum under where all the furniture had been cuz that too is how I roll.

Then came cleaning the walls, then sanding the walls (to rough up the paneling surface to take the primer better), then washing again to eliminate any sanding dust.

Finally it was the actual prep for the painting – taping all the trim with the painter’s tape.  That was tedious, but I know that extra work here pays off when the painting begins.


Day Two was Primer Day.  First, cutting in all the edges:

It all looks like this, so I'll just post this one picture.
It all looks like this, so I’ll just post this one picture.

This took a long time, and as I was working, I realized that I would have to repeat all of these steps the next day, with paint instead of primer.  After cutting all the edges, it was time for the roller work.

My bathtub served as my staging area for cans and brushes.
My bathtub served as my staging area for cans and brushes.

I call the next phase the panic stage.  This is after I’ve rolled the primer, so any hope of the old paneling is gone, but I have no idea how the painting is going to turn out.  Count in another hour or so to rinse and wash the tools.

I went to sleep looking at this.  Scary.  No guarantee I haven't rurnd my bedroom.
I went to sleep looking at this. Scary. No guarantee I haven’t rurnd my bedroom.

Finally, Day Three.  Keep in mind I’ve chosen my color because of its name, and how it looked on a little picture online.  Here goes nothin…

PANIC!  It looks like a hideous lime green under the fluorescent lights in my bathroom!!
Moment of truth.  Here’s my color.  No going back now.

Again, the cutting.  All the edges, around the 2 windows and 3 doors, the ceiling and the baseboard.  Then back to the roller for the really fun part.  One section at a time, my room transformed.  I had to keep working at a steady pace because, well, paint, but I couldn’t stop looking at the parts that were finished.

It's a preview; still needs trim work done on the upper moulding.  That's my constant companion there on the bed.
That’s my constant companion there on the bed.
My bathtub creeper, who doesn't want me to be lonely, even when bathing.  Just so you know, that's not a law school lecture on the laptop.
And my other constant companion, who doesn’t want me to be lonely, even when relaxing in the tub after a long day of painting.

The final half-day started with assessing whether I needed another coat.  I had used the gallon of paint I bought to the last drop, scraping the sides of the bucket with my brush and painting it onto the roller to get the last few inches.  No, don’t need another coat, but now I have zero yellow for touch-ups, so I’ll probably still have to buy another quart.

Then came Tape Removal.  I’m going to say it’s not so much Removal as it is Convincing the Tape It Wants to Come Off.  I know nothing about physics (gotta C in Physics 101 in college, and I remember one thing – the Doppler Effect), but I do know that when you put tension on the tape, there is a point that the adhesive will release, and a point where the tape will tear, and that amount of tension is a magical mystery. And it’s measured in microstretches or something.  Me, tweezers, and an exacto blade.  Just sayin.

Anyhoo, after that most gratifying of experiences, I had a moment of indecision.  There is a narrow piece of crown molding, that when the room was paneled was almost unnoticeable, but now that the walls are yellow, may need to be painted.  If I keep it natural, it kind of ties together the door and window jambs, but kind of stands out.  If I paint it white, it blends the white ceiling with the walls, but there is no other white in the room, so it may be too much.   I decided to add the next few pics and ask you to help me out!

Look at my beautiful sunny room!!!
Look at my beautiful sunny room!!!
What color do I paint those exposed bricks on the fireplace?
What color do I paint those exposed bricks on the fireplace?  They’re kind of Chipped Red right now.
My painting buddy and me.
One of my painting buddies and me.

I could not be happier with how it turned out.  3.5 days, just over $100 (plus I have the equipment now for the other 2 rooms in my house that have paneling), and my DIY bedroom transformation is done!

I’m an expert now, so let me know if you have any questions.

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!

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