Friday, August 30, 2013

I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike.

[Currently listening to: "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" by The Mamas & The Papas]

For those of you who know me (and for those of you who stalk my blog because you're a BOE supporter and you like to point out on my SPEAK for DCSD Facebook page that I refer to the collective BOE members as "douchers" in my personal blog, a statement that I stand behind to this day--hey, if they don't want to be referred to as douchers, perhaps they should stop acting like a bunch of douchers, eh? What did I expect, though? Your group found a way to gain access to my personal emails between me and my children's teachers, so why wouldn't you read my personal blog that's published on the internet? /rant.) you know that I love CrossFit. I'm addicted to CrossFit. Mark my words: one day I will have a lean, mean, muscular machine of a body. I'm getting there. My thighs currently don't fit into my Rock Revival skinny jeans because they're becoming so muscly fantastic. I'm also having a difficult time with non-stretchy dress shirt sleeves because my biceps are growing. Yes, I know. I'm not the typical Highlands Ranch woman. We've gone over that, remember? You can't fence me in, yo'. When I go to CrossFit and hear women say, "I don't want to get bulky. I want to stay thin." I pretty much shake my head, look at my kick-ass muscular friends, Meredith and Ashley, and load up my bar with heavy weights. Well, heavy for me anyhow. That being said, I love, love, love shopping in vintage shops. Women in the 1950s and 1960s weren't exactly muscular (or had obnoxiously big boobs), so it limits my selection a bit. That's okay, though... when I do find something that I love AND fits me, it's a total thrill. Also, it keeps my shopping to a minimum because it's not like I can buy whatever I want. 

Unknown FACT about Rizzle: I have always loved riding my bike. By "bike", I mean my $99 Target Schwinn. 

Biking can be a bit intimidating when you live in Colorado. People out here take that s**t to a whole 'nother level. Speaking of which, what on earth do all you people do for a living??? No matter what time of day I'm out driving, I see you all on the road in your matching outfits and bicycles that cost upwards of all of my cars combined. I want your job (Seriously. Contact me if you're hiring because I need a job and I want one when I can be out exploring my state at random periods throughout the week.)

When I first moved back to the 3-0-3, I hit the trail with my Schwinn. Oh the looks that were thrown my way! You'd think I was in high school all over again, sitting at the nerd table while all the cheerleaders sit at the popular table. To say I didn't fit into the world of bicycling would be an understatement. I didn't have the helmet that matched the sunglasses, that matched the outfit, that matched the bike, that matched the socks, that matched the shoes, that hooked onto the pedals, that matched the water bottle. I also did not shave off all my body hair to make myself aerodynamic and knock nanoseconds off my time in the adult league of bicycle riding. If you're not from Colorado, I've taken a few pictures to illustrate my point. 

See that guy? He's got his act together. The fact that he has two water bottle holders also lets me know that he's serious about his sport. I don't even own a yellow "Live Strong" bracelet, for crying out loud! I would be cast out as an imposter for sure! Who wants to go through that shame?! Certainly not me. I gave up my pipe dream of being a bicyclist, hung up my $99 Target Schwinn and went about my life.

Remember the theme for this blog? Never say never... [see the PBR blog if you're confused]

My fella, Kick-Ass Chris, owns Big Kahuna Bicycles in Littleton. One day he surprised me with a mountain bike. I must admit, I noticed this mountain bike from afar in his shop one day, but never said anything to him. Out of all the bikes in his shop (he has a great selection) he surprised me with the very bike I had a crush on! I know, right?! CrossFit is awesome. It's the love of my life, actually. I do have to say, though, that I sometimes cheat on CrossFit. I know, I know. I've discovered the tawdry mistress of mountain biking. If it makes you feel better, CrossFit, I totally think of you the entire time I'm with my mountain bike (I don't), and my bike means nothing to me (it totally does.) 

Here's the new man in my life: 

It's as if this bike was designed for me! It's called "El Mariachi" and it's made by Salsa. [insert grito yell here] For those of you who haven't figured this out yet, I'm Mexican. Throw in the awesome Spanish names AND add the vibrant green color, and you've got yourself a recipe for the perfect Chérie bike! I haven't named my bike yet, but I feel as though it needs an awesome Spanish name... like Vicente, Juan Carlos or Miguel. I'm totally open to suggestions, so let me know if you think of something. Not only did Kick-Ass Chris surprise me with this stellar bike, but he took it a step further and tricked it out. I have nice wheels, cool tires, great grips and a fancy, schmancy seat among other things. Oh, I also have a water bottle holder. Apparently those things don't come standard in mountain bikes. This thing is seriously nicer than my swagga' wagon, which is fitting for living in Colorado. 

I'm a novice when it comes to mountain biking. The thing I have going for me is the fact that I love the thrill and, thanks to CrossFit, my thighs are bigger than most dudes' thighs, so I can pedal a little harder than most novices. See, CrossFit, I told you I thought of you. I go on trails with Chris, who is a phenomenal mountain biker, and I look like a wimp. Riding with Chris actually makes me feel like less of a person. That's okay, though, because one day I'm gonna take him to CrossFit. That'll show him. ;) 

One of my favorite things about mountain biking is that I can do it by myself. I can mount my bike onto my van and the world becomes my oyster. One of my favorite trails is the Two-Brands Trail at
Hildebrand Ranch in Littleton.

This was also my first single track trail. It was super fun and just enough of a challenge for me. Chris let me use one of his Big Kahuna bicycle shirts so I could look like the other bad-asses on the trail. Kelly gave me her padded bicycle shorts so I didn't have to sit on one of those inflatable donuts due to a sore booty. 

Chris then took me to ride a trail in Buffalo Creek. Let's just say Buffalo Creek was a totally different experience. It kicked my butt. Also, I may or may not have ran into a tree.

The scenery was beautiful! Since we went during the week, we pretty much had to trail all to ourselves. Mark my words, Buffalo Creek, I will be coming back to conquer you.

After our long ride, we stopped at the town store to purchase a refreshing beverage. No bottle opener? No problemo!

Yes, he's opening our Coke bottles with his bicycle pedal. They're multi-functional--they can open beer bottles, too! It's the little things that excite me. I haven't reached the point of having fancy shoes that clip into fancy pedals, but one day...

Here are things I've learned about mountain bikers: they're much different than road bikers. They're laid back, rebels and don't conform to the matchy-matchy outfits of road biking. Don't get me wrong--matchy-matchy outfits is cool if you have them. [in my ghetto accent] I ain't got no money for no matchy-matchy outfit. Besides, I would look like an idiot because I'm not nearly as good as the people who wear the matchy-matchy outfits. I've decided that I stand more than I sit while mountain biking my favorite Hildebrand trail. That being said, I became tired of getting the weird bicycle short tan. I couldn't find booty bicycle shorts anywhere, so I came up with a solution. 

Me: "I'm tired of getting the weird bike short tan. Would it be frowned upon if I wore bikini bottoms on the trail?"

Chris: "Um... men might be distracted, but I think you'd be the hit of the trail." 

Me: "Done."

Who has two thumbs and doesn't have a weird tan from her bicycle shorts? This girl! I was so proud of my discovery that I almost Pinterested (is that a word?) it. 

Here's my latest trick-outery:

It's a computer thingy to tell me my mileage, distance, etc. When I went to pick it up from Chris' shop, I noticed he also added a thing to my handlebars so I could put my favorite beer cap on. Since my favorite beer comes in a can (Mama's Little Yella Pils), Chris took the liberty of putting a Bud Light Lime cap on to match my bike. :) 

If you have never been mountain biking, I highly suggest giving it a try. It's so freeing and fun! Plus, you can do so many things to make your bike awesome. Personally, I'd like to add a basket and a coconut cup holder to my mountain bike, but Chris says it will be frowned upon on the trails. I said I didn't care. Then he put his foot down and told me no. It was worth a try. ;)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oooh, Child, Things Are Gonna Get Easier.

[Currently listening to: "MoneyGrabber" by Fitz & The Tantrums]

Lord, help me to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can...

I think that's how it goes. I probably botched it like I botch most song lyrics, but you get the gist. I have control issues. [Insert gasps, shock and awe here] What can I say? My "job" (some people don't think that being a stay-at-home mom is a real job. Ha!) was raising my children, and organizing every aspect of our household. I was so used to doing everything that I forgot my son suddenly went from one to eleven. It felt like it happened overnight. Setting out clothes when your child is one: appropriate. Setting out clothes when your child is eleven: notsomuch. Going through a divorce has taught me to let go of most (okay, some) of my control issues. For instance: I let the boy dress himself. He is going to middle school, after all. Does he wear two different shades of blue? Yes. Does he think that bed head is appropriate? Absolutely. I also let the 7-year-old dress herself. Even though she sometimes looks like a canvas of mismatched colors and patterns. Even though she sometimes insists on combing her Rapunzel-length hair into a somewhat braid.

Speaking of control, I'm learning to let go of control when they're with dad. This is downright difficult sometimes. After being the primary caregiver for twelve years, letting go of some of the control has proven to be God's way of testing my patience. Speaking of testing my patience, I'm currently weaning my son off The Minecraft, and electronics all together. Since Chloe's idea of fun is playing outside, tagging fences with water squirters, reading beaver books and doing arts and crafts, this isn't an issue for her. Trevor, well that's a different story. On day one, he went a little "cray-cray" (as he says), but now he's getting used to the swing of things. If I had my way, we'd be electronic free... except for my iPhone... and my iPad (used to update my SPEAK page)... and a desktop computer for long emails and blogs. I've been trying (key word: trying) to disconnect while I'm with the kids. Now that I have to share time with them, it's become quality versus quantity. Oftentimes I put my phone on silent, ignore the problems of the Douglas County School District and the Board of Education (seriously, guys... can you give me one week without being complete douchers?!), and spend quality time with my kiddos. I live in an amazing state with lots to do... it's about time we start exploring it for all its fun and beauty.

That being said, what do you all do for fun with your kids? I need some fun (cheap) ideas for the summer. Minecraft will NOT win, I tell you!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Twenty-Five Hundred?!

[Currently listening to: "If I Ruled The World" by Nas feat. Lauryn Hill]

In honor of 2,500 "likes" on my SPEAK for DCSD Facebook page, I've decided to share the post I wrote to my SPEAK peeps on my blog. Happy reading!

Happy 2,500 "Likes" on SPEAK Day!!!

As I was driving this morning, "If I Ruled The World" by Nas and Lauryn Hill came on my iPhone shuffle playlist. It made me think to myself, "Self, if I ruled the world, what would I do?" After some pondering, here's a list of things I came up with:

1. Fire Fagen. I'd replace her with a superintendent who could actually step foot into a classroom and interact with our children and teachers. We could use that "Rainy Day" fund to buy her out of her contract. I think that would be a great use of the funds, don't you?

2. Fire Betz. I know what you're thinking, "We can't fire her, Chérie! She has that magical pocket in her jeans where she conveniently finds money!" I'll compromise with you all... we'll make her leave her magical jeans behind.

3. Fire Cinnamon and Randy. This is probably more personal than anything. I tend to get all Momma Bear when peeps release personal information regarding kids to crazy people. Yes, PLR, I just called you all crazy.

4. Replace Meghann Silverthorn with someone who has stepped foot into a DCSD school before running for office, and someone who actually has/had children in Douglas County public schools. I'd also replace her with someone who doesn't say one thing to teachers, then does another.

5. Replace Dougie B. with someone who doesn't snicker condescendingly at every public comment who dares to oppose his viewpoints (i.e., privatization). Speaking of condescending, feel free to "like" this post, Dougie, since that's how you roll.

6. Replace John Carson with someone who can speak politely to people, and someone who cares about public schools. I'd also replace him with someone who doesn't have to constantly go onto radio shows, like the Mike Rosen Show, to do damage control. While we're on the subject, Mike Rosen, it's offensive when you refer to moms like myself as simply being a "nice soccer mom who loves her teachers but doesn't understand the politics of public education." As if you're so much better than we all are. I am a concerned parent in this district. I am an informed parent in this district. I am a voter in this district. Do not discount the hours I spend trying to make our district a better place for the majority of our children by simply saying I'm a mom who has too much time on my hands. What positive things have you done for our district lately, Mikey? That's what I thought. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to put a pot roast into the oven for dinner and cut orange slices for the big game.

7. Replace Carrie Mendoza (guilty by association)

8. Replace Justin Williams. I know he's not up for election, but this is an "if I ruled the world" scenario, remember? I'd type up a list as to why, but I don't have that kind of time on my hands. Goodness, Justin, you make it so gosh darned easy!

9. Restore the money back to the high schools so they can get off of this silly schedule. [Old person rant in 5...4...3...2...1...] Back in my day, kids actually went to school for most of the day. Telling me that you gave a few kids a survey and they really liked being out of school for many hours a day tells me nothing. My kids would love to have ice cream for breakfast everyday, but that doesn't mean it's ever going to happen.

10. Listen to the principals, teachers and staff in the schools. Wow, what an idea, right?! The thought of listening to the professionals who are actually IN our schools, and have the education to back up being IN our schools? As my 11-year-old would say, "That's just cray-cray!" (Translation: "That's just crazy!"

11. Sleep. I often wake up in the middle of the night thinking of these things, and knowing they're all taken care of would do wonders for my beauty sleep... and gray hair... and wrinkles.

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for all you've done to help SPEAK be as successful as it is today! THANK YOU for volunteering to make our schools a better place for our children. THANK YOU for getting involved and becoming informed. THANK YOU for your patience with me in regards to posting the SPEAK Form, and THANK YOU for all of your hugs, well-wishes and encouragement. I never thought SPEAK would reach 2,500 likes, but look at it now.

Please continue to share posts on your Facebook walls, and encourage others to "like" SPEAK. November is just a hop, skip and jump away!

-Chérie Garcia-Lewis
SPEAK Admin. (who wears a lacy apron and pearl necklace while she cooks and cleans, because after all, she's "just" a mom... who has 2,500 "likes" on her silly little page ;))

Friday, May 17, 2013

Suck It Up, Buttercup

[Currently listening to: "The Scientist" by Coldplay]

I've learned to have a love-hate relationship with my iPhone (sorry, Steve). I'm tied down to my phone. Whether it's a text message, an email, a Facebook post, a post to the SPEAK for DCSD page, a Google alert, a calendar reminder, an appointment reminder, an alarm, etc. They used to not bug me... I actually used to look forward to receiving text messages and whatnot. Now, notsomuch. I either receive something that makes me smile, or something that brings my entire day down. It's the yin and the yang that has become my life, and quite honestly, it's exhausting.

To say that my life has been chaotic these past few months would be an understatement. I had three choices: I could either swim, sink or drown. Since I was a kick-ass swim instructor and lifeguard through high school and college, I've chosen the "swim" path. If you knew my past, you'd know why this choice was a no-brainer for me. Have I received judgements from people? Absolutely. Will that change the way I act, feel or see things? Absolutely not.

I've posted some fun stuff on Facebook, but for the most part, I've kept a huge part of my life private. I have also been keeping my head down and my eyes on the two most important people in my life--my kiddos. Divorce is a funny thing. Not only are you divorcing your spouse, but you're divorcing friends, too. There is definitely a line drawn in the sand when a divorce happens. The "his" and "hers" side, depending on who they decide is the innocent one in the divorce. If I was ever that person, I apologize. I never want to be that person. People are people. You will never, ever understand what went on behind closed doors in my home, nor will I ever understand what goes on in yours. These very reasons are why I have disconnected from many people in my life.

There are times in our lives when we need to suck it up, pick up the pieces and move on. I'm an expert at sucking things up... or pushing them down, depending on how you want to look at it. I've always been a go-getter, and I'm a problem solver by nature. I'm kind of like a dude in that way--you tell me your problem and I will help you solve it.

As many of you know, I was recently in an accident (fell into a ravine, concussion, etc...). I am also in the last stage of divorce. All this being said, I've had to ask people for help, which is difficult for me since I'm usually the one helping people. I love to help people, but I absolutely hate asking for help. [Insert humbling experience from God here] I have a few close family members and friends who have been my crutch during this chaotic, emotional time of my life. I honestly have no idea how I would function without these people.

I know this blog has been rambly (I'm officially making that a word), but my brain has been a bit rambly lately. Maybe it's the concussion; maybe it's the divorce. Divorce makes you question everything in your life... your past decisions, emotions, reactions... or as I like to call them, the "shoulda, coulda, woulda" moments in life. Today has been a bad day. Quite honestly, today has been the suck. I woke up this morning thinking this day would be much different. This weekend would be much different. Then I stepped out of bed and poof! Suck day. I can't complain too much, especially since I am completely responsible for Suck Day 2013.

As a mom, I've put everything aside for my family. My school, my life, my career. It has all been about my family. Now I am the person who is left with nothing. No career. Part-time mom. No house. Nothing. The man gets off much easier. He has a career. He has his life established. I think that men sometimes forget how much their wives do. If you're a married man reading this, thank your wife. Buy her some flowers or something (make sure they're not imaginary, mimed flowers... women tend to frown upon that sort of thing). He has everything, including "one less person to take care of" in his life. Please don't think I'm discounting the man's role. If it weren't for my ex busting his rear at work, I wouldn't have been able to raise our children. We had a partnership, but just because I didn't bring in a physical paycheck, it does not mean that I didn't work. Remember how I said this blog is rambly? Don't say I didn't warn you.

I'm learning how to focus on me. It's difficult when you're a people person, but I have to. My world right now consists of my children and me. I am in survival mode. I will survive, too. [Insert "Survivor" by Destiny's Child here] I am resilient; I am strong. I refuse to let myself or others beat me up simply because I was the person who waved the white flag in the air and said, "Enough." I'm also not going to apologize for having happiness in my life. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be respected. I deserve to be loved. Life is too short, folks. I refuse to lock myself in my house and cry my life away. Been there, done that. I've said before that I won't go into the awful details, and I'm keeping that promise. I know I put off the confident, strong girl vibe. Deep down, I am really sad, hurt and angry. I'm allowed to feel those things. I've learned that all I can do is hold myself accountable, accept the consequences, pick up the pieces and move on. In short, I've decided to suck it up, Buttercup.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


[Currently listening to: "Been Down This Road" by Railroad Earth]

Thirty-three. It's not really a monumental number. Surely there are much more important numbers out there. Take the number seven for example--people go apeshit over that number. You get three of those in Vegas and you're set. I suppose the only special thing about the number thirty-three is the fact that it's two consecutive 3s, side by side.

I remember turning 21 (that's another monumental number.) I was young, naive, and thought I knew everything. Ha! Didn't we all? Then I turned 25. I remember the only thing of importance about turning 25 was cheaper car insurance. Thirty. Well, things were looking up for me when I turned 30. We had just purchased a kick-ass house on a primo cul-de-sac in Highlands Ranch. I started my catering/personal chef business. Those are just things, though. I've never been into the materialism of "things". Things can't make you happy. Things can't make you fulfilled. On the positive side of being thirty, Trevor had a third grade teacher who literally changed his life and inspired him to utilize his talents. Chloe was becoming more self-sufficient and smart. And me? Well, I was there, somewhere in the background. I know I'm a loud, outspoken person (I've been told on several occasions that I need something called a "wife muzzle" because of my outspoken tendencies. Eh, it's probably true. I tend to be quite loud.) Where was I? Oh yeah, the background. I tend to be in the background. It's okay, really. I have two young kids who have needs that will always come before mine. That's what you sign up for when you become a mom. Background duty. I have always been focused on questions like, "Is Trevor being challenged in school? If not, how can I help to challenge him at home?", "Is Chloe developing and performing at her highest abilities?", "Are my kids happy?", "Am I feeding them the best possible food?"

As a parent, you always want what's best for your children. You also want better for them than what you had as a child. When we had kids, it was decided that my role would be at home with the kids. It was a difficult role at first (it's not the most rewarding job, especially when they're tiny and you're catching poop in your hand so it doesn't get all over the brand new stroller--true story), but I learned to embrace it and love my new role in our family. I also learned to appreciate my job. There are women out there who would love to stay home with their kids, so I was blessed to be given the opportunity to do so. I began obsessing over my kids and giving them the very best, or at least what I thought was the best. From volunteering for hours at their school to making all of their food, including sandwich bread, from scratch. I even started brewing beer. I did the housewife thing, and honestly, I rocked it. I made housewifery my bitch.

In the midst of all this, I realized I had no idea who I was as a person. When you have kids, it seems as if life flashes by in an instant. They will one day grow up, move out of the house and find their niche in society. Then what do you do? Do you turn into that person who resents their life because you have no idea who you are on your own? Do you give up, eat dinner at 3pm and complain about the weather whilst watching The Antique Road Show? Do you turn to the bottle of tequila and decide that it's probably okay to become obese by eating bags of Flaming Hot Cheetos while living in your bathrobe? All of these are lovely possibilities. Truthfully, I'd probably turn to the latter of the three.

Thirty-three. When I turned thirty-three this past October, it was uneventful. I figured it was going to be another year that passed me by while I was busy being in the background, like my previous thirteen birthdays. I was unhappy. Really unhappy. I could fake happiness, though. I'm sure you all thought I had an amazing life in which I was completely fulfilled. I've always had to pretend that things were okay since I was a young child, so it wasn't that difficult to do in adulthood. Plus, I'm not an emotional person. Friends who are close with me know they have to warn me before giving me a hug. Yes, it's one of my weird things. I finally decided that I needed to do something for myself. I began working out. I liked the results, so I began going to crossfit. The beautiful thing about crossfit is that you compete with yourself. I was instantly hooked. It was at this point where I started experimenting with new looks. I was a 1950's housewife, so why not look the part?

Thirty-three has been quite the year for me thus far. I've improved physically, mentally and emotionally (I actually like hugs now--who knew?) I've learned that I have a voice, and people actually listen to what I have to say. I have also been separated from my husband for quite some time. I've kept it private because it is private. I know I'm usually an open book, but there are some things I need to keep private. I won't be complaining or blaming. It is what it is. I won't be giving any explanations, either. Just know that it's for the better, and my children are my number one priority. They are adjusting, and we are both working together to ensure they are taken care of and happy. The kids get to see a lighter side of mom, and dad doing things he's never done before (word on the street is that he can actually make quite the breakfast.) I also lived for over a week with the possibility of having breast cancer. It felt like the longest week ever. Talk about putting things into perspective. (FYI: the tests came back negative. :)) I'm finally making myself my number two priority. I have no idea what the future holds for me. I do know, however, that I'm happy. Quite happy, actually.

Have you ever experienced something that you know you'll never forget? For me it's going to be thirty-three.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not-So-Fat Tuesday

[Currently listening to: "My Song" by Brandi Carlile]

Whenever I'm in a mood I "cook it out", crossfit, and/or write. I've lost my appetite, I have no energy to crossfit (I got my arse handed to me at this afternoon's WOD), so that leaves me with writing. And music. Speaking of music, I don't know if I should be grateful or freaked out that my iTunes playlist knows exactly what mood I'm in when it's on shuffle mode. Wherever you are, Steve Jobs, I feel as though you're watching out for my musical needs. [Pouring out some PBR for my homie] To those of you who are celebrating Fat Tuesday, feel free to indulge in my portion.

Even though my life is jam-packed with the normal day-to-day routine, I am frequently alone. I'm okay with being alone. I remember longing for solitude when my kids were babies. I'm sure the moms who are reading this remember the days of standing in the shower forever just to have some peace and quiet. Chloe was quite the crier, which is odd because she's so quiet now. It's as if she got it all out of her system when she was an infant. If you're currently going through that stage of life, hold on--it gets better and much more rewarding. If you never did that, kudos to you... you're probably a better mom than myself. I actually miss those days at times. Weird, right? 

I could write about how crazy my life is right now. I could write about really tough decisions. I could write about many things--too many to list, in fact. I won't bore you with those details, because let's face it, you probably read this to be entertained. I don't have much to entertain you, and the last thing I want to do is make you feel like you want to cut yourself with a butter knife. I've had a PBR and I'm sipping some Casa Noble Anejo on an empty stomach (loss of appetite, remember?), so I'll share a kick-ass recipe instead. I went to the EVOO Marketplace in downtown Littleton on Main Street, so here's a Paleo-friendly recipe I made with the goodies I brought home. I think it's become one of my favorite stores.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 1/2 lbs. Brussels Sprouts
Infused Olive Oil 
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
2 Cloves of Minced Garlic 
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

Organic Tuscan Herb Olive Oil and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar (aged 18 years)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash the brussels sprouts. Cut off the stems and remove any discolored leaves. Pat dry with a paper towel to ensure the oil coats the sprouts.
3. Add the brussels sprouts to a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil (approximately 2-3 tablespoons), and sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt (enough to season them nicely--remember, they can be bland) and freshly ground black pepper and minced garlic. Toss to ensure they're evenly coated.
4. Place the brussels sprouts in a single layer on a jelly roll pan/cookie sheet lined with foil for easy cleanup.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until tender and nicely browned.

 Even if you think you don't like brussels sprouts, I encourage you to give these a try!

Friday, February 8, 2013

"It's a no-frills American beer."

[Currently listening to: "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys]

Never say never.

It's a phrase I'm learning to embrace. I'm experiencing many things in my life that I never thought I'd be experiencing. If you would have told me a few years ago, or even last year, that I would be doing the things I'm doing in my life at this very moment I would have laughed in your face. I never thought I'd be as active as I have been in the efforts to save my kids' public school district from corporate greed. I never thought I'd be addicted to crossfit. I never thought I'd actually be somewhat okay with my body (yes, I have body image issues). I never thought I'd [insert crazy thing I'm doing today here].

I'm a beer snob. I brew beer. I drink beer. I heart beer. It's the one non-Paleo indulgence I allow myself (okay, so maybe there are a few from time to time.) I don't drink it often, especially since I'm more of a tequila girl--and tequila is Paleo (you have NO idea how happy that makes me), but I do drink it on a weekly basis. Every time I go out, I see the hipsters drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. I sneer at them, mostly because I hate their ironic, pretentious, bearded faces, but also because they ironically drink Pabst Blue Ribbon out of cans. Idiots. Do they not know that we live in one of the best beer places in the United States? Have they not tried the plethora of local microbrews, brewed with our fantastic Colorado water? Go ahead, hipster guys, drink your dang PBRs. I'll be the chick at the bar who is ordering a real beer, and can probably kick all of your asses simultaneously with my newfound stronger self.

Remember that whole "never say never" thing? Yeah. About that... I tried Pabst Blue Ribbon. I had it a few times actually. A few friends came over to watch the Super Bowl, and one of them is fond of PBR, so we always make sure to have it stocked in the beer refrigerator. Yes, I have a refrigerator just for beer. It's even converted into a kegerator with a tap on the door for my home brew. Don't judge me. Anyhow, I decided that I didn't really want to drink a heavy microbrew, and I didn't want to drink water, so I cracked open a PBR--which in my mind is a step above water. Then I drank another. Followed by another. They were quite good! We then started talking about Pabst, and how I was beginning to judge myself for actually liking it. Then Chris held up his Pabst Blue Ribbon, very commercial-like, and stated, "It's a no-frills American beer." It was at this moment that I decided to question myself, and make excuses for why my taste buds were liking this glorified Commerce City water. I justified it by telling myself that I was simply in a good mood because the Ravens were winning, my belly was full with delicious carne asada and guacamole, and the beer took up the flavor of the really good tequila I was sipping. Yeah, that's why I liked it. We lie best when we lie to ourselves, right?

I then decided to test out my hypothesis. We went to watch The AquaSonics, Chris' band, play at The Oriental Theater this past Wednesday. I walked up to the bar and saw a plethora of Oskar Blues beers in a case. It was as if I was in a desert, and a beam of light was shining upon one of my favorites--Mama's Little Yella Pils. As difficult as it was to do, I ordered a PBR. It was at this moment when I had an argument with myself, and the science loving, nerd side of my brain won. In the name of science, I had to order a Pabst to prove my theory.

Crap. I really liked it. A lot. It was at this moment that I began to doubt myself. Was I becoming a hipster? At that moment I felt as if I should run out, buy a flannel shirt and don my black rimmed glasses. You know how in the movies when people see frames of their entire life in the span of a few seconds? That happened to me. I pictured my closet with its many flannel and plaid shirts. I saw my plastic framed black glasses, and my clear tan glasses. I saw how I liked shopping in thrift shops for great deals, and how I can never pass up walking into a great vintage shop on Broadway. I saw myself in my strategically ripped jeans. The fact that I like to frequent dive bars. S*@t! Am I a hipster?! What the heck happened to me?! I began to question my entire existence thus far. It wasn't pretty, folks. I then decided, aw, eff it--it is what it is.

Hello, my name is Chérie and I like Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. [Hello, Chérie]

I went to buy a six pack at the liquor store. When I took it out of the case, Trevor started laughing because he thought I was making a joke. When he realized I was actually buying it, he said, "Wow, mom. Did you turn into a hipster over night? Are you going to make ironic jokes now?" [shake my head]. Do you know what the best part was? It's only $4.99 for a six-pack of cans. FOUR NINETY-NINE! I usually pay upwards of $8 for a six pack of my microbrew. I could get used to this PBR! I decided to buy the bottles for $1 more, because let's face it--I'm worth it. ;) I walked up to the counter (sadly, they know me there), slammed down my six-pack and proudly told the guy, "They're not for me. They're for a friend who really likes PBR. My friend is coming over for dinner." I then paused with conviction and said, "Okay, they're for me." He laughed, I mentioned how it was a "no frills American beer and I'm a no frills girl" then I smiled, paid the man and went on my way. I then came home and watched the following commercial:

"It says well done, here's your refreshing reward!" I then reflected on my day and thought of all the great things I did to earn my refreshing reward.

List of Chérie's Blue Ribbon Moments for Thursday, February 7, 2013:
 1. I made a nutritious breakfast for my children before I lovingly dropped them off at school. [+1 PBR]
2. I went to crossfit and did 27 dead lifts, 45 push-ups (dude push-ups--not knee chick ones), 45 burpees and 42 box jumps. [+1 PBR]

3. I updated the SPEAK page several times, which enables teachers to have a voice in the district without fear of losing their jobs for speaking against the current Board of Education and upper-level executives administration. [+1 PBR]
4. Drove to South Denver for Tyrone's basketball game. [+1 PBR]
5. Unclogged 2 bathroom sink drains, and the shower/bath drain in the kids' bathroom. [+2 PBR]

Honestly, I should have given myself 3 PBR points for unclogging the kids' shower/bathtub drain. I could have made a wig with the amount of Chloe's Rapunzel's length hair that I pulled out of there. It was absolutely disgusting, so I decided to spare you all by not posting a picture. You're welcome. 

I encourage my judgmental, microbrew drinking friends to try a Pabst Blue Ribbon this weekend with an open mind. It speaks for itself. Give it the opportunity to speak to your heart.