Bluebird Down

The pursuit of domestic bliss, one glorious debacle at a time.

Enough. Enough now. January 19, 2015

It just recently happened that I put a name on emotions I’ve been feeling for the past few years. I slouched in the chair across from the man who taught me how to be a therapist and announced, “I think I’ve been grieving.” His response: “I know.”

Until I scrolled through my blog looking at past posts, I had no idea it has been three and a half years of grieving. Grief is funny like that.

In the Spring of 2011, Z came back after three years in Iraq. In the Summer of 2011, we found out that we couldn’t conceive our own baby. There were doctors and procedures and rolling waves of anticipation and disappointment. There were adoption seminars and background checks and financial wizardry. And there was a meltdown coming. I was on a mission and it took me too long to notice that Z was struggling to find his way back. Back to life at home. With me. With a kid that is already too much trouble.

2012 and 2013 weren’t good.

We at least had sense enough to know that you can’t bring a baby into that.

We fought for each other. We fought against each other. Foughtfoughtfought because it was uglyuglyugly. What wrung out after the sweat and exhaustion and anger was us, refortified.

And yet, I was sinking in the grief for the family that never was. There are two philosophies when it comes to therapy (well, there is more than two, but for the sake of simplicity…). There is the pro sports trainer version where you come to the sidelines with a sprained psyche, we wrap it up, give you some meds and send you back out into society to keep pushing. Then there is the deeper psychotherapy where you let the client come to their own realizations, in their own time, with your support. The first version is easier, but it doesn’t truly fix anything. The second version is more painful and you can sacrifice a chunk of your life to the greater good of your existence. That’s when you make the grand announcement and find out you were the only one that didn’t know.

In the midst, you have to live your life. You have to go to work, because the mortgage company doesn’t recognize existential crises. You have to make dinner. Do laundry. Be a wife, have friends, contribute to your community, when all you want is to be.left.alone.

I avoided babies. It’s embarrassing to admit now. I avoided babies like the plague. It wasn’t easy. While my ovaries were imploding, my friends’ reproductive organs were shooting off like fireworks. Why did I avoid your baby showers and first birthday parties? Because I didn’t want to be the weirdo crying in the corner. Trust me, it would have been uncomfortable for all.

I’m not even sure why I took it so hard. A blend of ego and mortality, for sure. Nothing like being told a major organ system has aged out to make you face your impending doom. And everyone was getting pregnant, why not me? What’s so wrong with me that the universe has decided to pass on me? How is it fair that I can’t have babies, but my job is still to sit down an 8th grader and explain to her that going to the doctor is kinda important when you are pregnant? Plus I really do think Z would have been a great dad. It’s my fault he doesn’t get that experience. Add guilt to ego and mortality, with a heavy dose of emotional exhaustion.

There’s not a good answer. There is only reality and how you face your reality.

And then someone goes and plops a newborn baby in your arms. I did not want to go on the family trip last summer. Babies were going to be there. In case no one was noticing, I avoid babies. Absolutely no respect for my neurosis. So here’s this baby, in my arms, wrapped up all baby-like, looking soft and sweet. I’m holding him at my shoulder level, presumably to chuck him back at his father the first second he threatens to expose me as a fraud. Instead he wiggled his itty bitty butt and settled in. Well, that’s unexpected. I tried to give him to other family members to hold. Nope, you hold him. He likes it. He slept. I relaxed my arms. Appears the coast is clear. I even fed him a few times. I told his mom that I hoped I was doing it right. She responded, “I’m never sure I’m doing it right,” and walked out of the room. Hmmm, how about that.

The second reality check came when someone asked me to write an article about being over 40 and childless. Hand to God, it shocked me that someone identified me as “over 40 and childless.” I suddenly had to focus and face the past three and a half years (that timeline still floors me). I haven’t gotten that article out, because this one needed to come first.

So I’ve been grieving. The sheer acknowledgment has made such a massive difference. Owning it makes a difference. Maybe the real difference is when a baby trusts you with their nap, you trust the baby. Thanks, baby.


What Came First, the Apple or the Burpee? June 17, 2013

I’m soaking my fruit in vinegar. Have you seen this on Pinterest? I’m giving it a try since I spent a third of my grocery bill on blueberries, cherries and peaches. I tried a cherry mid-soak to make sure it wasn’t going to turn out like some bastardized version of vodka soaked fruit. It wasn’t. The vinegar rinsed right off. (Which is weird, right?)

So I bought the cherries and bypassed the chocolate chip cookies because it’s time to get my eating on track. My meal plans have to transition to timely visits to the grocery then to actual meals made in the kitchen. Tricky how it all depends on the other.

And it’s time to get my eating on track because I’m spending a lot of my time in the gym… and something isn’t clicking. I can hold a plank like a beast. I can do a decent squat. I can savasana with the best. And, yet, my curves roll on.

Here’s the summer training schedule:
Monday: Train with Kristin (personal trainer), Yoga with Kate
Tuesday: HEAT (a functional fitness training class – lots of planks, burpees, jacking jacks, that sort of thing), Cycling
Wednesday: Train with Kristen, Yoga with Kelli, Couch to 10K with Running Club (Wednesday are going to be tough!)
Thursday: HEAT, Cycling
Friday: Couch to 10K
Saturday: Cycling, Yoga with Katherine
Sunday: Yoga with Kimber, Couch to 10K with Running Club

When I was little, Richard Simmons had a TV exercise show. I distinctly remember Richard saying, “It’s OK to eat a candy bar sometimes. You just have to work off an extra 200 calories that day.” (Apparently candy bars were only 200 calories in the 1970’s.) I’d say that was true when I was 20 years old. It’s not so true now. And I bet Richard Simmons knows it.

Kristin posted on Facebook today, “You can’t out train your fork.” Which means run as far as you want, lift as many weights as you want, but you aren’t going to get fit unless your eating gets right. Dang it.



It’s a good thing I love to eat healthy as much as I love to eat chocolate chip cookies. Last night I had a genuine healthy meal victory: balsamic pork tenderloin and sauteed kale with tomato and avocado salad. You should try it. It was delicious.

Hey, and guess what, I’m running the Rock n Roll Half Marathon next April. So you’ll hear a lot about training this summer. You’ll hear a lot about food. And, in between, life will still go on, so you’ll probably hear a few stories about severed limb near-misses during the bathroom and back yard renovations. Hooray!


Post 2 of 68
Days Until Half Marathon: 300


I’m *huge* in Germany. June 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized,Writing — Teri @ 3:23 pm

As a teenager and a Gen X 20-something, I was obsessed with music — buying music, live music, MTV (yes, we all know that was before The Real World ruined… well, the world), reading about music, I loved it all. I hung out with a crowd that obsessed over music. And in that crowd, there was always one kid in the crowd who would pull the most obscure, crap band out of the pile and proclaim it as the next ____________________ (Fill in the blank with The Beatles, Sex Pistols, Rolling Stones, the Hoff.) Every time. The piece de resistance for the inevitable argument was, “Dude, they are *huge* in Germany!” (Or Japan. In the mind of the American teenager, the two are indistinguishable.)

I had a flashback to those arguments during a conversation recently. One of my former professors asked me how my writing was going. Seriously, my cheeks flashed hot. I fumbled with words to write back to her that, well, yeah, I had kinda didn’t do much with it. I told her I had a blog for a while, but I didn’t really have anything to say anymore. I told her I had freelanced for a local paper for a while, but reporting wasn’t really my thing. I told her I can write a mean grant proposal… and I’m *huge* in Germany!

I thought back to my classes with her. She would give back papers by slamming them on your desk and then with her finger jabbing at the paper, say, “Yes. Yes. Yes.” If she didn’t like a passage, it would come with a note to see her during office hours. Then you would sit beside her as she had you dissect your own writing and do it better. She would tell me I had natural ability. When I would demure, she would burst out, “You have a voice, Miss. USE IT.” Grammar and sentence structure can be taught, she said. Writing with a true voice is a gift, she said. But still you must write, she said. Or the voice will become a whisper. (Yeah, she had a flare for the dramatic.)

Her response to my feeble email was short. “I could wax poetic about wasted opportunity, but I will just send this instead:”

Apparently a picture is worth a thousand words.

Apparently a picture is worth a thousand words.

Above her signature it said, “I expect a writing sample from you tomorrow.”

Sixty-eight days of summer with a blog post for every day. One down, 67 to go…


Breakin’ the Law: Pinterest Style June 24, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Food,Recipes — Teri @ 10:14 pm

I’m a ripper. A magazine ripper. I rip out recipes and gardening tips and pictures of Julia Roberts so I can copy her eye makeup one day when I actually wear eye makeup. But mostly I rip out recipes. The result is an unwieldy tattered mess in a pile on the bookshelf.

One of my first summer projects was to turn all of the collected pages into a cookbook. I figured it would take me an afternoon and the better part of an evening to finish. I just finished a few minutes ago, having started last Monday. Factor out moments of extreme ADD and you still have a project that took 18 hours over six days to complete.


This isn’t the first time I’ve compiled recipes into my own cookbook. My first version is a forest green photo album where I peeled away the protective plastic to stick recipes to the pages. The book must be 20 years old at least. I doubt I’ve used it 20 times in those 20 years.

This time the book was made with the user in mind. This time the pages are sheet protectors that can be removed one at a time. This time there is only one recipe per page. This time everything is held in two 2” binders with tabs. This time no recipe was allowed that required any type of crust to be created from scratch. Let’s not kid ourselves.


Functional, not fancy. Might stand a chance.


I was so impressed with my organizational skills, I figured why stop with the mess on my bookshelf? Let’s tackle my Pinterest boards too! My food category, Num Num was split into Num Num: Desserts!, Num Num: Eat Your Veggies!, Num Num: Party Starters and Num Num: Thirst Quenchers (which is really just where I hide all of the alcohol drenched fruit). I was ready to break things down even further when Pinterest put the kibosh on my pinning practices for excessive repinning.

Now I could understand their apprehension if I were creating boards titled In the Kitchen: Poisons or Gifts: Holiday Mail Bombs, but I can promise you I was not. I was simply subdividing my chaotic food board. No need to go all Patriot Act on me.


Scene of the Crime


I really don’t think this is what George W. intended. I should appeal to him directly to get my pinning privileges reinstated. He would agree with me that the summer salsa with its corn and black beans would be a fine appetizer for a cookout (he’ll call it a barbeque though). And meatloaf made in a muffin pan? Shut the front door. He’d make a phone call and I’m free to pin again. Then he’ll whisper to the Secret Service agent to save him one of those cupcakes that look like a watermelon. The seeds are really chocolate chips, he would say with delight!

And that’s how you get a presidential pardon, y’all.


Recap: Hockey Roadtrips 2011-2012 (or How I Almost Bought a Max Talbot T-shirt) April 15, 2012

This post wasn’t supposed to come so early. It was only to be written after the Pittsburgh Penguins won the 2012 Stanley Cup. And, right, the Pens aren’t out of it yet, but they are down 3-0 to the Philadelphia Freakin’ Flyers. And, you are right, they could have a gut (and heart) check to come back blazing Wednesday night. Stranger things have happened. (See: Boston Red Sox, 2004 or watch the movie Fever Pitch — and don’t go to any costume birthday parties Wednesday night.)

Patterson and I went to our first NHL game in February 2011 — the Pens at the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. Pens lost. Our second game was in Pittsburgh for the last game of the season in April. Pens beat the Devils to make it into the playoffs. We were officially hockey fans, specifically Pittsburgh Penguins fans, and it was going to get extreme.

The evolution of our hockey love is kind of a long and arduous story, but it goes a little something like this: Local minor league hockey coach’s wife starts working with Patterson in Fall of 2010 > Local minor league hockey coach’s wife doesn’t like to sit alone at games > Local minor league hockey coach’s wife gives us tickets to the games > Local minor league hockey coach’s wife gives us the behind the scenes scoop of the real hockey action > A sickly afternoon marathon with HBO 24/7 featuring the Pens and Caps takes it to the next level > Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours.

After the misguided dismissal of local minor league hockey coach at the end of last season (and pretty much the entire team, for that matter), we went to a few games this season, but it wasn’t the same. Good job on those dismissals, by the way. We went from just missing the playoffs last year to being dead last (with a bullet!) in the league this year. Best laid plans, I suppose.

We turned to the NHL to keep our hockey buzz alive. We went to seven games and had a 5-2 record. I’m starting to think we should have shown up for the playoffs.



Patterson swears Marc-Andre was practicing proposing to her.



Saturday, November 12 — Pens at Carolina Hurricanes (L)
We had hoped to see Sidney Crosby back after being out for nine long months, but we were a week or so too early. Highlights included sitting beside the bench, good naturally harassing the security guy at the end of our row and meeting the Pens Knitting Lady and her husband (who takes amazing photos of the games, by the way.)



Sid's back! (This is my screen saver on my phone. Is that creepy?)


Saturday, December December 3 — Pens at Carolina Hurricanes (W)
Sid was back and it was the first time the entire Pens team was healthy and on the ice after a litany of injuries. It didn’t last long though — Jordan Staal was nailed in the face with a puck, right in front of his parents, and spewed blood all over the ice. I swooned, and not in a good way. Highlight of the game was discovering that sitting behind the goal is pretty dang cool.



Got a Sidney Crosby doll for Christmas. Took it to Tampa. This is how we found Sid after housekeeping cleaned the room.


Sunday, January 15 — Pens at Tampa Bay Lightning (W)
Good grief, this trip started out as the Journey to Hell. The drive down was dull and slow. We arrive at our hotel to find it covered in feathers. Patterson is highly allergic to feathers. She turned a weird color and oozed from every pore. It was gross. And she still had to haggle with the front desk to be released from our reservation. (This was after they claimed to have hypoallergenic feathers. No joke.) We moved to the lovely Marriott that was, hands down, the best hotel of the trip. We walked past Tyler Kennedy as we were leaving Precinct Pizza. Now, poor Tyler Kennedy has taken a bit of a beating from me because he’s the only non-beautiful kid on the Penguins. I mean, tell me he doesn’t resemble one of the pigs from Angry Birds. Yeah, see, I told you. But let me tell you, put TK in a suit and set him out in the Florida sunshine and that kid sparkles. I kid you not. We were still giddy when we watched Geno score a hat trick later that day. [Hockey Bucket List Checkoff: Witness a Hat Trick]



Flower took the pow-wow literally.

Saturday, February 16 — Pens at Philadelphia Flyers (W)
I was slightly afraid of walking into the Wells Fargo Center with my Crosby jersey. Flyers fans are, um, serious. Happy to say we made it out alive with only mildly hostile razzing from disheartened Flyers fans. We beat them pretty squarely. Further convinced that behind the goal seats are the way to go.



The guy in the front row's big head was blocking all of my photos of Zach Parise.

Saturday, March 17 — Pens at New Jersey Devils (W)
I like the New Jersey Devils — OK, I like Zach Parise. Pens won and we went into NYC to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. A good time was had by all.



James Neal in the penalty box. (He had just fixed his hair.) Wish I had video of Geno in the box. He talked to himself the entire time.

Sunday, March 18 — Pens at Philadelphia Flyers (L)
Hockey insanity. We decided that since we had to drive by Philadelphia on the way home from Newark, we should stop in for the game. Our seats were behind the penalty box. That game was intense. Pens lost in overtime with .9 seconds left on the clock — there is a point in front of that 9 and that’s less than a second. The crowd was crazy. I had to tell Patterson to stop talking about James Neal’s hair because we were on the verge of being beat up. In fact, an older lady in a Flyer’s jersey had her husband watch us as we walked to our car because she feared for our safety. We were so dejected by the loss, we didn’t even realize we were in harm’s way. On the way out, I almost bought a Max Talbot Flyer’s t-shirt because I loved Max as a Penguin. I wanted our relationship to continue. But he switched sides and it’s time to let him go. Good-bye, Max. It’s for good this time. [Hockey Bucket List Checkoff: Overtime Game]



We became besties with Matt Cooke during warm-ups.


Saturday, April 6 — Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh (W)
It’s officially tradition. Our second annual last game of the season in Pittsburgh. We ponied up for glass seats and it was totally worth it. I don’t know how I’ll ever go back to the third row.

Our own version of NHL Awards:
Best Venue: Consol Energy Center
Nicest Event Staff: Carolina Hurricanes
Best Fans: I can’t believe I’m saying this… Philadelphia Flyers. Sure, they are homicidal, but they know hockey.
Best Restaurant: Marra’s in Philadelphia with the best buss boy ever, Mario. Honorable Mention: Jerome Bettis Grille 36 in Pittsburgh
Best Hotel: Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina

On Tap for Next Season:
Washington, DC to see the Pens play the Capitals
New York City to see the Pens play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden
Boston, MA to see the Pens play the Bruins
The first and last home games in Pittsburgh
Every game the Pens play against the Hurricanes

But this season isn’t quite over yet…




March Eats March 4, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Food — Teri @ 7:32 pm

I hate to keep beating up on February, but included on it’s list of offenses was lazy, indulgent eating practices. We practically ate out every night — which fattens your waistline and makes your wallet skinny. Not the effect I’m going for in March. Most recipes are from the March 2012 edition of Cooking Light, unless otherwise noted. And I’m very excited to put my hours on Pinterest to good use this month — those are the links toward the end of the month. I had to weed through a lot of martini recipes, so enjoy!



Considering eating shamrocks this month for extra luck.



March 5 — Potato, Mushroom & Leek Croquettes with sauteed spinach
March 6 — Chicken & Sausage Stew
March 7 — Crispy Herbed Sprimp with asparagus
March 8 — Grilled Sirloin with Broccoli Rabe
March 9 — Cheesy Pigs in Blankets
March 10 — Cheesy Pasta Bake
March 11 — All American Meat Loaf with Potato & Root Vegetable Mashers and broccoli

March 12 — Dinner out for Z’s birthday
March 13 — Hamburgers with Creamy Potato Salad
March 14 — Tempeh and Broccolini Stirfry
March 15 — Tarragon Chicken Salad with salad greens and biscuits while wearing a toga [Southern Living, March 2012]
March 16 — Roadtrippin’ with P to see the Penguins play the NJ Devils
March 17 — Saint Patrick’s Day in NYC [Squee!!!!]
March 18 — Bloody Marys. Lots and lots of Bloody Marys.

March 19 — Mushroom & Manchego Panini
March 20 — Cheesy Brown Rice Gratin with Zucchini & Eggplant
March 21 — Cheesesteak with Oven Fries
March 22 — Chicken Risotto with Spring Vegetables [Southern Living, March 2012]
March 23 — Baked Chicken Nuggets
March 24 — Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili
March 25 — Spinach & Artichoke Baked Pasta

March 26 — Steak House Mac & Cheese with salad
March 27 — Smoky Chicken Panini [Southern Living, March 2012]
March 28 — Kale, Sausage & Lentil Skillet
March 29 — Chicken & Mushrooms in Garlic White Wine Sauce with Baked Rice and Peas
March 30 — Pan-seared Scallops with spinach
March 31 — Chicken, Avocado & Bacon Quesadillas
April 1 — Spinach Lasagna Rolls


Are You Feeling Lucky? March 1, 2012

Filed under: Lucky List — Teri @ 8:04 pm

Happy March! I’ve never been so happy to see the turn of the calendar page. For as rotten as February was, March is going to be epic in it’s awesomeness. Welcome to the debut of the Lucky List, All Things I’m Lucky To Love:


Nothing lifts the spirits like clear skies and warm temperatures. Let’s just keep it under 90, fellas.


How cool are these little lunch containers that I picked up at Target? Love the measurements on the sides. I’m too lazy to actually measure out 1/2 cup of brown rice. They come with ice packs too, so your blueberries will stay nice and cool.



I know I just said it’s warm, but this hot chocolate is a-mazzzzing. Amazing. It will change your life. But go easy, because it will also change your waistline at a whooping 150 calories a pack [not counting the milk].



I predicted a Pens shootout win against the Dallas Stars last night. How much more evidence does the NHL need that I am simply incredible?
[Pictured from left to right: Fleury, Malkin, Crosby and Engelland.]



Do you know about Birchbox? If you don’t, you need to get hip. For ten bucks a month, you get a cute little package with fun beauty samples. It’s great for replenishing your road trip bag. [And if you don’t have a road trip bag, this is a great reason to start one!] It sounds a little on the pricey side, but I say we are all worth it.

So what’s bringing you luck this month?