This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Grace #10: Baseball caps

This is how my hair actually looks. It's not horrible, but very short.
This is how I wanted my hair to look. I wouldn't mind my face looking like hers, but I thought I should start with the more easily attainable hair style.
Yep, you guessed it, another BAD haircut. I thought I came fully prepared for this haircut: I went to HGTV's website and searched for the host of Desperate Spaces, Lise Simms whose hair is so incredibly adorable I knew I had to copy it. Unfortunately, the only picture I could find was a headshot and I wanted to make sure I could show my stylist how the back should look SO I patiently waited for TiVO to record an episode of Desperate Spaces. I had my camera all charged and ready, the TV positioned perfectly for lighting and my printer loaded with photo paper to print out the photo. I painstakingly forwarded to shots of Lise Simms, paused the show, took the picture, waited for her to turn her head, paused the show, etc. You get the idea. I put some time into this endeavor. I wanted the stylist to be able to duplicate the hairstyle exactly.

Fast forward to now. I brought in the picture. The stylist said no problem. she cut. She blew dry. I looked in the mirror. Sigh. Clearly the pictures show that something went terribly wrong!

So now when I drop my daughter off at school and I haven't showered yet my hair sticks out like Annie Lennox on a really bad day. I have tried to wet it down. I have tried gel. I have failed. BUT, wearing a ball cap works wonders and so I am very very thankful that they were invented, that I have one in pink that looks cute, and that hair grows.

As for my stylist, she will not be nominated for a Grace, that's for sure!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Weekly Wellbeing: Seeking out people with different problems

I just watched an episode of Jon&Kate Plus 8. I really enjoyed seeing a full 30 minutes of someone else's life that is clearly, on a daily basis, much more chaotic than mine. As I sat, folding laundry, in my quiet-child-in-school-and-no-one-melting-down home I realized how incredibly blessed I am. I get overwhelmed easily. I get freaked out by too much chaos. I am the absolute most perfect person in the world to have only one child. And, if the reality show is real, Kate is absolutely the perfect person to have 8 kids.

I think it's good to look at other people's lives. I have never found someone whose life I would rather have. We are not rich, I am not beautiful, I am not famous, and I will probably not win a Nobel Prize, but I have a good life that suits me well. Even lives that look really good on the outside seem to have problems on the inside that I would not want to have. My daughter is healthy. Steve is healthy. I am healthy. My parents are both still alive. I have fabulous friends. I have enough to eat, good books to read, a roof over my head, and comfy flannel sheets on my bed. I may not have my own reality show (which, let's face it, would be one boring show), but neither do I have to divide my attention between 8 children each afternoon.

I like hearing about other people's problems, not so I can judge how messed up they are, but so I can appreciate how perfectly suited my problems are to me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Basically, you have bad taste

I love HGTV. With the exception of American Idol, the only shows on my TiVO are from HGTV. I will watch almost any show on HGTV with one exception: Rate My Space. Rate My Space is a show where people post pictures of their houses on HGTV's website and then other people vote on how much they like the rooms. If you get a low enough score, you may qualify for a visit from designer Angelo Surmelis who will then transform your room. I have noticed that the people who are chosen face a real dilemma when it comes to how to respond to the honor of having the worst rated room on the website. Do they appear humble and grateful that someone will finally pull them from their decorating misery or do they appear slightly embarrassed and angry that their space was rated so poorly? Usually the woman looks pretty excited, I mean after all, she's getting new furniture!, but the man frequently looks offended and shell shocked. I get it -- if I put up one of the rooms that Steve and I had painted, furnished, and accessorized and then told Steve that the rest of America thought we had no style -- he'd be a little offended and shell shocked too.

Let's just assume for a moment, however, that these style-challenged individuals (SCIs) are grateful for this dubious honor. They then have to humiliate themselves further by choosing 3 inspiration rooms from other Rate My Space website participants who were rated much higher and therefore given 'Expert' status. Then, while Angelo looks on lovingly, the SCIs ask the 'Experts' how they could possibly have achieved their look without the help of a designer and a network-funded-budget. The 'Experts' always grind the knife in a little further by saying things like 'Oh, we just moved in 2 weeks ago and since I work 12 hours a day I had to pull this look off with only 3 hours of work time and the spare change found in the couch. It looks great though, doesn't it?' Good lucky copying me.'

Phase 1: it's time for the makeover to begin. The room is cleared, the carpenter's tent is opened and Angelo begins giving his insults-masking-as-tips to the SCIs. 'You always want to choose a color palette for the room before you begin decorating. Your room didn't look pulled together because you had too many different colors competing with each other.' Translation: you have bad taste.

Phase 2: the SCIs lose control of how their home will look. The SCIs look doubtfully at the paint colors Angelo has chosen, look disappointed when the see how cheap the construction of their new media cabinet is going to be, and look horrified when they see the patterns on the new furniture/curtains Angelo proposes to put in the room. Gamely, they paint, work with the carpenter, and laugh at Angelo's jokes.

Phase 3: the Reveal. This is where we really get to see who can act and who is just too disappointed to put on their game face. I would love to know the amount of editing that must be done to turn "How could you completely ignore my personal style and likes and dislikes and throw together this poorly constructed-cheap-MDF crap?" into "Wow! I love it!" My favorites are the people who are honest and say things like "I don't even know what to say!" Angelo always beams especially proudly at those folks.

Now I am all about personal responsibility. If you are willing to post pictures of your home on a website to be rated, well, you better be willing to accept whatever rating you get. Still, the whole concept seems a little harsh.

I have been rating a lot of spaces lately. The MLS of homes for sale is really nothing more than a big Rate My Space website, except you only win big if you have the highest rating, rather than the lowest. I have seen a lot of homes occupied by SCIs. I won't be showing up at their doors with my checkbook anytime soon, but hey, there's always hope: maybe they'll get Angelo.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grace #9: Bond Movies

I have always loved 'Bond' movies. I think it all began with my grandfather, a huge fan of 007, and a man whom I admired greatly. He had the entire collection of Bond movies (those made prior to 1988) on VHS, and when he died it was the only collection of his that I wished I could have had. Bond movies have, for me, always been the perfect blend of sexy, comedy, fantasy, and action. I am always excited to see what deformity the villain will have, what over-the-top name the Bond Girl will have, and what wonderful new gadgets Q will have created.
I would have sworn that Sean Connery would remain in my heart forever as my favorite Bond until Pierce Brosnan came on screen. Pierce lacked a little of the aggression and brawn favored by Connery, but he was so pretty and suave I was willing to overlook this deficit.
That is, until Daniel Craig came along.
Ladies, ladies, ladies, Daniel Craig has all the aggression of Connery, the quiet elegance of Moore, the man-does-he-look-good-in-a-tux of Brosnan, and a body sculpted by Michelangelo himself. I thought the torture scene in Casino Royale was cinematic genius.

I personally think this shows growth on the part of filmmakers. For years the only scantily clad body in a Bond film belonged to the Bond Girl. Now, finally, Bond himself is coming into his own and taking center stage as the one with the bod.
Quantum of Solace came out on DVD today. I didn't particularly understand the plot when I saw the movie in the theater, and I thought there could have been more nudity, but I still can't wait to see the movie again.

I'm sure Steve will tease me about this blog entry, but that's okay. I've seen his eyes glued to the screen when Ursula Andress (Dr. No), Maud Adams (The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy), and Halle Berry (Die Another Day), came on screen. He looked pretty thankful for those girls.
It's my turn for a little eye candy and Daniel Craig sure looks sweet to me.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Feng Shui for Lazy People

I would love to read a book titled Feng Shui for Lazy People, perhaps I should write one because I, more than anyone I know, is all about combining Feng Shui and being lazy.

I am not lazy in the typical sense of the word, I am not 'resistant to work or exertion' or 'prone to idleness or sloth' I am more of a procrastinator. I keep busy all day long, it's what I'm busy doing with which I sometimes take issue.

All this leads to Feng Shui because I have lately been trying to make peace with my circumstances (renting, having no storage, having 2/3 of my household goods still in boxes in storage) and thought perhaps bringing the art of placement to this home would help me to attract a new home more quickly. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately I have found myself plagued by a lack of motivation to do anything to this home. Unclutter a cabinet? Well, I know I should, but the cabinet is only cluttered because I have only 3 cabinets in the entire kitchen and if I take anything out, where would I put it?

The biggest nightmare is the bathroom. Having all 3 of us and all our sundry stuff squished into a bathroom with only 1 upright wall (the others are all slanted with the eaves of ceiling), a pedestal sink, no countertop, and no linen closet has been challenging to say the least. Feng Shui recommends that I transform the bathroom into a haven for relaxing, cleaning the body (inside and out), and devoting time to grooming rituals. Wellllllll, my bathroom is more of a chaotic blend of too many grooming products fighting for space with towels, sheets, bathroom cleaners, and a (gulp!) litter box. That's right, it's not just us 3 humans using the bathroom, Princess the Cat is a resident as well.

Couldn't I just get all the benefits of Feng Shui without actually having to organize anything? (I believe we have uncovered the lazy part, yes?) Sadly, it doesn't seem to work that way. So here is my plan: I am going to begin packing. We are all going to pretend we are at camp for the next several months and make do with only the bare essentials. I am going to pack all the towels, except for 6. I will pack all the sheet sets, except for 2, etc. Not only will I get the benefit of having less packing to do when we buy a house, I'll get the decluttering benefits as well. I will take each room, one week at a time, figuring out what we can do without. Hopefully the added benefit will be that when we do actually move into a house perhaps I can chuck the whole lot in storage and we'll all live simpler, more streamlined lives.

Okay, I have my plan. Armed with plenty of packing boxes and my feng shui books I am ready to begin. I can't get started right now of course because I need to start dinner. Then I'll help my daughter with her homework. Then I have to pick up Steve. Then eat. Then wash dishes.

I think I'll start tomorrow...

Friday, March 20, 2009

The End of an Era

This week we turned in my husband's BMW and officially became a one-car-family. The lease on his BMW was up and for the first time in years we opted not to get a new one. It's the end of an era. Now before you start thinking "oh, poor little rich girl doesn't get to ride around in her husband's big bad BMW anymore..." I write this not to garner sympathy, but to show growth in our maturity. The first BMW came into my husband's life when he was in the army in Germany. It was love at first sight and he really missed that car when he opted to not spend the money to transport it back to the States with him. The next BMW came as a surprise gift that I arranged for Steve to celebrate the completion of his MBA. We lived in Cincinnati at the time and this was definitely during the 'Stepford friend' time in my life and I felt that a flashy car was necessary to show we had arrived. The only problem was that like every 'status' symbol, you have to keep outdoing yourself to convince yourself you've still arrived. Each successive BMW had to have a bigger engine or more features to keep our upward mobility intact. The one thing truly going upward was the payments.

As we began discussions about this year's car purchase, neither of us felt totally sanguine with the idea of spending so much of our monthly budget on a car payment. Maybe because of Steve's new job, maybe because the roads in Massachusetts are so full of potholes that riding in a low-slung sportscar was actually painful, maybe because nobody here seems to care what we drive, or maybe just because we are older (wiser?) we were more concerned about safety features, gas mileage, resale value, and hauling capacity than WOW factor. Perhaps we are actually learning maturity.

It seems the gods-of-car-ownership have another lesson for us to learn as well. Patience. The plain-vanilla-white-Subaru-Forester that we planned on buying seems to be adrift on the Atlantic Ocean with no arrival date in sight. So, each morning I drive Steve to work, take our daughter to school, run errands or workout, go back to school for volunteer duty, back home for laundry/housework, back to school to pick up daughter, take daughter to various afterschool activities, pick up Steve from work, pick up daughter, go home and make dinner. It's a lot of 'together' time for a family that already spends a lot of time together and frankly Steve is chafing a bit being chauffeured around. That's okay, just like all 3 of us fighting for space over one pedestal sink each morning, this too will end.

We're lucky, I know that. Lucky because I know many families for whom one car (and one bathroom) are the norm, not the exception. Most of those families have a lot more kids than we do. Lucky because we had a choice about which car to buy because my husband is employed. Lucky because our lives, no matter how much I do love to complain, are really good. Great. Blessed, even.

It may be the end of an era, but it feels more like the beginning of a life ruled by priorities that feel a lot more comfortable to me, more comfortable even than those butter-soft-leather-BMW seats.

Oops, I better go, it's getting late and I need to pick up Steve...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Letter to my Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. I am going to do the gift-giving a little differently this year: this year I am giving my mom the gifts of gratitude, acceptance, acknowledgement and love. I have held back on one or more of these gifts for the past 30 years, I think it's time. Here is the letter I sent to my mom:

Dear Mom,

This year for your birthday I am giving you four gifts: gratitude, acceptance, acknowledgement, and love. I hope they fit. I hope you like them. I hope you already have them. I hope you can always use more. I have spent plenty of time telling you the things you did wrong the last 39 years, now I want to tell you what you did right.


Thank you Mom for my childhood. Thank you for surprising me with a canopy bed and matching dresser. Thank you for attending all my band concerts and soccer games. Thank you for staying home with me during my 100+ bouts of strep throat. Thank you for taking me on emergency "Mom! I don't have anything to wear tomorrow!" shopping trips. Thank you for my adulthood. Thank you for buying my first set of dishes and towels. Thank you for buying my wedding dress. Thank you for attending my wedding and giving me away. Thank you for believing in me when I said I wanted to go to law school, medical school, be a computer programmer, a personal trainer, a teacher, and now a writer. Thank you for ooohing-and-aaaahhhing over my new house(s). Thank you for baking chocolate chip cookies for me when my daughter was born. Thank you for helping me leave the house in Cincinnati and move forward to Toledo. Thank you for not breaking down when I told you about the brain tumor. Thank you for staying up all night, every night, with me in the NICU after my brain surgery. Thank you for not looking away from my scarred, shaved head. Thank you for introducing me to Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer. Thank you for imbuing me with a deep spirituality that transcends Catholicism or any organized religion. Thank you for sharing your love of nature and Mother Earth. Thank you for introducing me to Karen Drukker's music. Thank you for giving me my first Janet Evanovich books. Thank you for understanding when we moved to Massachusetts. Thank you for being my mom.


I accept you Mom, exactly as you are. What ever relationships you have, with whomever you choose, for however long they last, they are fine by me. I accept your parenting. I accept your friendship. I accept your grandparenting. (I'll even accept your chocolate chip cookies, if you're offering them, though that is really another letter...).


Your parenting, your personality, your genes, and your spirituality have helped to shape me into the person I am today and will be tomorrow. It is from you that I inherited my spirituality, my love of laughter, my silliness, my ability to budget, my sense of responsibility and work ethic, and my appreciation for fine chocolate. (You also contributed to my unibrow, but again, that's another letter...).


I love you Mom. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Weekly Wellbeing: Magazines

The annual Magazine Drive at my daughter's school has just come to an end. I have never really been very interested in magazine subscriptions, but I have recently discovered how much I like magazines. Frequently I will stand at the checkout, bypassing even the candy, to peruse through brightly colored tomes that promise I can walk off the weight, create family-pleaser meals in under 30 minutes for under $10, or spend just one weekend to transform any room in my house. I rarely buy the magazines because I always get kind of hung up on the $3.99 - $5.99 price tag, but I always enjoy looking.

Now, I'm going to buy. Just a magazine here or a special edition there. No commitment, except to nurturing myself by allowing myself the little luxury of owning those glossy pages and reveling, if only for a moment, in the 10 minute organizational tips for spring cleaning. I love decorating magazines. I get inspired seeing 'Before' and 'After' photos. I like reading about ways to simplify my life or alphabetize my spices.

I don't need subscriptions, long-term relationships, or renewals: just occasional glimpses at what life can be like when professionally lit and staged. That's enough wellbeing for me.


Recently I reconnected with my best friend from high school and all through my young adulthood, Cathy. As Cathy and I caught up on each other's lives during the past decade, I felt great talking with someone who knew me when, but a lot uncomfortable when she was asking questions about my relationship with my mom. It was when Cathy said "you're still having problems with your mom?" that I realized how long it has been since Mom and I have been totally sanguine with each other.

Like many teens, I had issues with figuring out where my childhood ended and my adulthood began. After my parents divorced and my mom went back to school I took over much of the household duties for my younger two sibs. This "playing house" gave me a really inflated sense of myself as an adult. I justified that if I was taking on adult responsibilities (like cooking dinner and helping my younger sibs with homework), then I should be allowed adult privileges (like not having a curfew or wearing whatever I wanted). With my dad temporarily out of the picture, I resented any parenting by my mom as interference. Unfortunately, as I was only 16, my maturity hadn't caught up with my ego and I was still naive enough to believe that my mom knew everything that was going on in my life (especially with boys and dating) and that her silence was acceptance. By the time I matured enough to realize that my mom had been oblivious to much of my teen-hood due to her preoccupation with her own personal life, I was married and had a child. Add to the mix that no one in either of our families ever thought Steve and my marriage would last (18 years and counting) and that my mom has very little relationship with my daughter (20% geography, 40% her, 40% me) and you have the perfect recipe for a mother and daughter that really don't know each other very well.

I'm not entirely sure how to go about reconciling this situation, especially with an 800 mile distance between us, but I know that it is time. I think I'll start the way I started when I reconciled my relationship with my dad: with a letter. I sent Dad a letter thanking him for all the things he did right in my childhood. I'm going to think about that letter and I'll blog it tomorrow.

I am grateful for reconnecting with Cathy. She has brought more dimension to my life because she is able to look at the 15 -year -old me she once knew and see what's changed and what hasn't.

I've certainly grown older, it seems to me like it's time to grow up.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another Realtor rant? Well, why not?

Oh dear, I seem to have had yet another run-in with a group that does less to earn their money than your average pan-handler. Yes, I know that not all Realtors (why do they always capitalize the 'R'?) are bad, just as not all blondes are dumb and not all used-car-salesmen are dishonest, but this is my blog...soooo...

I recently woke the family up early on a sleety Sunday morning, got everybody showered and breakfasted, and braved the elements to go to an Open House. The house was advertised on the website, on a flyer, and in the newspaper, thus I felt safe in assuming the house was really 'Open.' When we arrived at the house there was no sign, no balloons, no evidence of anybody being home, including a Realtor. I called the number on the For Sale sign and left a voicemail for the listing agent. As I was leaving the message the door to the house opened and the listing agent herself came outside, appearing as though she was getting ready to leave. I hopped out of the car and asked her if the house was really Open and she replied that she was going to a birthday party for her nephew and thought because the weather was bad that no one would really come out anyway so she was just showing the house to her mother and then they were planning to go to Toys R Us. Let us all keep in mind at this point in the story that this woman ADVERTISED the house would be Open. She told me she would show us the house if we wanted. We wanted. After seeing the house, which was so out-of-date the ceiling in the dining room was made of canvas (?) she thanked us for coming and told me that if I "get serious about finding a house" I should contact her.

Excuse me? Get serious? How much more serious can one be than to drag their family out on a sleety Sunday morning to see an Open House, including calling the listing agent to ensure the house is really Open? What was she expecting? Should I be toting a wagon full of the purchase price in cash around with me as I look at these houses?

As I was still digesting this latest industry-idiot, Steve received an email from the Realtor who sold our house in Ohio. She wants to know if we can tell the new owners how to work the garage door opener because the keypad isn't working and they have had to use the front door to go in and out of the house. Steve said yes he can help them: they should go to the store, buy 2 AA batteries, put them in the keypad and Voila! It's really not magic, folks. I admit that the new homeowners probably aren't too bright, but how about the Realtor who relayed the message? How is this our problem?

And let's not forget the original Realtor with whom I have already had to dissolve a relationship due to her incompetence.

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be on Sabbatical...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grace #8: My cell phone

Remember the days before cell phones? Call waiting? Caller ID? Having to find a pay phone, scrounge a quarter, and hope the line wasn't busy? I remember those days, but it is with a certain head-shaking-wonder that I think of all the dates I went on, girls' nights out, road trips, and sleepovers I had with absolutely no way to contact my parents or vice versa. Safety is the just beginning of the uses for cell phone, how about convenience? I love having a cell phone and being able to chat with a friend while waiting in the school parking lot for band practice to end. I have frequently handed my daughter the cell phone so she can entertain herself whilst I talk with a realtor, a car dealer, or a mortgage lender. I have entertained myself while waiting to meet a friend for lunch by adding to or cleaning up my contact list, changing my settings, or updating my ringtone. My husband has not been seen without his iPhone for months.

Cell phones aren't perfect, as anyone who has experienced the frustration of dropped calls can atest, but they add enough safety, value, convenience, and ease to my life to qualify as a Grace.

I'm on Sabbatical

I've always thought that whenever someone says they're on sabbatical it just sounds like they are important and have amazing ideas just percolating away inside them while their body rests. According to Webster the word sabbatical actually has 2 meanings: 1. of or suited to the Sabbath; 2. bringing a period of rest that recurs in regular cycles.

I like both of those meanings and both can be attributed to me. What am I resting from, you may ask? House hunting. There is only so much disappointment one person can take before you must scream "No mas!" I am there. House hunting is not just looking for a home, it's choosing a lifestyle. How will I live? Will I be urban, rural, suburban? What's important to me: a close shopping center or a close park? How many trees do I want? (How many leaves do I want to rake?) Is appearance (curb appeal) important to me? How much of my monthly budget do I want to put toward my home? What will I give up in order to afford this house?

I thought those answers were obvious and easy until I actually started thinking about the questions. This is the most time I have ever taken to look for a home. Our last three homes had to be chosen in a matter of weeks and while at the time I felt restricted by the deadlines I now see how freeing they were. I didn't have time to think.

I am disappointed in the inventory that is currently on the market. I am frustrated with myself for caring so much about image. I am overwhelmed by the number of trees and the yard work that comes with them. I am astonished at the home prices in what is supposed to a buyer's market.

So I'm taking a Sabbatical. I am going to re-focus, re-calibrate, and re-direct my energies for awhile. I know the right house is out there but I can't possibly find it with my eyes squeezed tight from tension, and it's hard to write an offer with clenched fists.

Sabbath: \'sa-beth\ (noun) a day of rest. That's what I need, a time to close my eyes so that I may see clearly when I re-open them.

Grace #7: '80's Music

By now it's probably a cliche, the late-thirty-something woman listening to her '80s music and teasing up her bangs. I don't care. I love '80s music. My favorite songs at the gym are all the '80s songs. I listen to '80s music on the radio and through my cable TV at home. I can't decide if the music is really more attractive to me or if it's the incredible sense of familiarity I have whenever I hear it. Like many teens in the '80s I logged hours listening to my clock radio. I patiently waited for the DJ to announce when the song would be played, held my tape recorder just so close to the radio and groaned with frustration when the DJ talked over the music thus destroying my perfect recording. I don't know where any of those tapes are anymore. I imagine there's probably a box in my mom's attic that contains carefully lettered tapes detailing all the songs for that week, month, decade. I imagine on those tapes there are probably other things as well: my mom calling me for dinner and my irritated reply "Mo-om! I'm trying to make a tape!" or one of my brothers banging on my bedroom door and the sound of me striking them as Boy George croons "do you really want to hurt me?" My baby sister asking me a question while the Go-Gos insist that their lips are sealed.

Steve is around college kids all day, so he is way more hip than me (does using the word 'hip' kind of prove that?) and my daughter hasn't ever met a Jonas Brothers or Cheetah girls song she didn't like, but me, I'm loyal.

And I'll always party like it's 1999.

Weekly Wellbeing: I have started drinking!

Water. I have started drinking more water. Perhaps it is intuitive to everyone else in the world that our bodies, which are made of 80% water, need water to live. For some reason, this has not been intuitive to me. I frequently forget to drink water. In fact, on the rare occasion that I don’t start my morning with a smoothie, I may not consume any liquid the entire day! I know all about the wonders of water: beautiful, glowing skin, strong, smooth finger/toenails, glossy hair, faster metabolism, healthier lymph system, healthier intestines…I am sure the list goes on and on. I know these things, but I haven’t internalized them.

I have a lot of excuses:

Bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment and the world’s water supply. Reusable water bottles may be leaching dangerous toxins from the plastic into the water. It takes forever to refill my Brita filtering container. I don’t feel thirsty (well, frequently I do but I mistake thirst for hunger and I eat instead). I eat a lot of foods high in water content. I intend to drink more, but I just keep forgetting.

Yes, they all sound lame, even to me.

The truth is that drinking water is a habit, like brushing my teeth and exercising. Once I’m in a good rhythm then I have no trouble remembering, but any little change to my schedule and the water habit flies out the window. But really, that’s just another excuse. I have had many changes to my schedule and I never forget to brush my teeth. I could have my schedule turned upside down and I wouldn’t forget to eat! Once drinking more water becomes a priority for me, I’ll remember no matter what happens in my schedule.

So, Cheers! Bottoms Up!

There are supposed to be serving sizes???

I was recently reading an article in a magazine that said that the most common saboteur to losing weight when you've recently begun a new exercise program is consuming too many calories. I have never in my life counted a single calorie so I had absolutely no idea what my caloric intake should be. I went online and found several websites that agreed that for my height, weight goal, and level of activity my caloric intake should be about 1800 calories a day as long I do one hour of high impact of aerobics. I'm only supposed to have a startling low 1400 calories on days I don't exercise (yeah, right!). I decided to add up the calories I was eating each day for about 3-4 days to see what I was actually consuming.

That was certainly an eye opener!

All this time I was supposed to be using 2 scoops of my whey protein powder so I'd only ever been getting half the protein I thought I was consuming, but using 2 scoops rocketed the calories in my smoothie up to 340! I had always assumed that a fruit smoothie had, maybe, 100 calories at the most. Not so. I did pretty good at lunch, eating only 430 calories. I thought I did great for a snack as I only had a Starbucks Grande-size chai tea latte made with soy: well my friends, that little number cost me 260 calories! Ididn't even get to chew! Then I had 2 of my daughter's gummy vitamins (15 calories), then a piece of gum (5 calories). I was already at 1,050 calories and as far as I was concerned I hadn't really eaten anything! By limiting the dressing on my salad to 2 tsp. I was able to keep dinner to only 680 calories, but let me tell you, I could have eaten a lot more.

Portion control. Serving sizes. Moderation. Let's just say that I ran through 1,730 calories like it was nothing and honestly couldn't find anything in the house I wanted to eat for my remaining 70 calories. Not that I didn't want to eat, mind you, just nothing with only 70 calories.

I am either going to have to ramp up my exercise or buy bigger clothes because this calorie counting is for the birds.

Going Commando in the Classroom

Now that I am devoted to taking my exercise classes I frequently find myself in the position of having to shower at the gym. First let us be clear on one thing: I despise showering at the gym. I will drive completely out of my way to go home and shower rather than showering at the gym. I am one of those freaks you see squishing into the stall in shower shoes clutching a bag the size of which is suitable for 2 weeks of European travel. I then plaster the sides of the just-a-little-too-narrow curtain to each end of the stall and try to disrobe while not letting anything touch that floor. Imagine if will a space not larger than 3 feet across and 2 feet deep, a gigantic gym bag containing every known toiletry item (in miniature, of course), a woman attempting to peel off spandex which is glued to her body with sweat while not touching the floor, the walls, the too-narrow-curtain, or fall over, and you have a pretty good image of me showering at the gym.

So it is probably no surprise that in this process, sometimes things go astray. I was sure I had put fresh underpants in my bag. Positive they were in there. I undressed. I showered. I stood, shivering, trying not to let any part of my body touch anything and I desperately searched through that bag. I went through it several times. I took everything out and juggled it with one arm while searching with the other. No underpants.

Now it's decision time: do I attempt to pull the old-sweaty-rolled-into-a-tight-elastic-ball underpants back on??? do I go without? What will my mother say if she finds out I've been running around town without my underpants on??? I'm sure I'll get a lecture about rashes and urinary tract infections at the very least. I looked at those sweaty underpants for along time, but alas, I couldn't do it. I chose commando. Unfortunately I was showering at the gym because I had to be at recess duty at my daughter's school so that meant performing a volunteer job at an elementary school without any underpants. I feel confident that violates some child protection and safety rules somewhere.

And just in case you're wondering what type of pants I was wearing whilst going...bare...they were loose fitting cotton yoga pants, not jeans or (God forbid) more spandex. So there Mom, I was wearing cotton, which as I've been told many many times breathes! Well, I don't know about the breathing part, but as it was a very windy day, I can certainly attest to the air flow...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A group of diverse and highly educated women

Recently I was invited to spend the evening with a group of diverse and highly educated women (the words of the invitee, not me). I was immediately intimidated because how does one even dress for an evening like that? I consulted my friends and family, who were no help at all, offering suggestions like 'I see a caftan and turban headwrap' (that was Deb), or 'what about a bunny costume? Everyone loves bunnies! (that was my daughter), or even 'wear that low-cut wrap shirt, I like that one a lot! (that was Steve). I finally went with (wait for it...) black pants and a white blouse. I know, I know, but c'mon! it's a lot of pressure spending an evening with a group of diverse and highly educated women!

We had dinner. Dinner was normal. Dinner was do-able.

Then we went to a show. An 'Off the Beaten Path Jazz and Tap Odyssey' it was billed. Now for the record, I am not a huge fan of jazz or tap but when a group of diverse and highly educated women ask you to go out with them, you do not refuse. The show began much as I expected the show to begin: a sixty-something woman, short cropped white hair, black turtleneck, black yoga pants, flowing, shimmery, silver caftan (you were right, Deb!) tapped onto the stage and began a dramatic reading of poetry accompanied by a jazz quartet. Her silver tap shoes winked and sparkled as she tapped offstage and 5 dancers, clad completely in black, tapped onstage whilst the lights flashed purple, then blue, then dissolved into an underwatery-feeling-purple-and-blue-wave pattern. The show went on. And on. Dancers, poetry, jazz. And on. More dancers, more poetry, more jazz. Just when I began to worry that this evening was a little too educated for me, the diversity part took center stage in the form of the single male dancer, now clad only in a silver thong covered with silver disks and a chain mail vest with silver disks over his nipples and one single silver disk stuck to his forehead. He stood there for a moment under a single spotlight: head down, legs spread wide, knees slightly bent, fish-white belly gleaming under the chain mail. Then he began to dance. At first he just moved his feet from side to side making the little disks jangle and clank. Then he stood up straight, threw back his head, closed his eyes and began to pound on parts that were barely hidden under the thong. He banged on those parts for all he was worth! Sweat poured down his face and neck, his feet pounded the stage floor rhythmically, his knees flexed, and his flat palms just kept banging those disks. Occasionally one hand would come up and clang the nipple disk, or the head disk, but mostly they concentrated on the ...genital disks.

It was a sight to see.

There was a moment of complete silence when he was finished, then the crowed erupted into applause, cheering, and foot stomping. He was the piece de resistance.

And what was I doing, you may ask? Well, after the initial shock wore off, I was more amused than I had ever been by any other sight I have ever seen. I couldn't stop smiling and my fingers actually ached to call Steve and tell him what I had just witnessed. I kept it together until I reached the privacy of my own car, then I laughed so hard I cried. I laughed all the way home and then laughed some more. I am still smiling as I write this.

I don't care so much about the educated part, but these diverse women really know good entertainment!