Friday, November 30, 2012


Tomorrow I'll turn 43. I always get reflective near my birthday. Taking a mental inventory of the past year, how I've grown and things I've accomplished. Or not accomplished. Yet. Recycling them for the upcoming year's to do list. Last year, in my post Forty-Two I wrote about my struggle with self acceptance. This post is about what I'm doing to battle it.

Let's start with the basics. I eat cleaner. Not comet cleanser or anything. I mean I eat really healthy. Once you're in your 40's and your metabolism slows down, you can't eat like a 20 something anymore and get away with it. When I eat well, I feel well. When I eat crap, I feel crappy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not obsessive. If I want to eat a cheeseburger and fries, I totally will. But now I don't delude myself rationalizing that I just played roller derby for 2 hours and now I can eat an entire bag of doritos and a king size kit kat bar. I own the consequences of my food choices now.

I challenge myself physically more than ever too. I mix it up doing things I like. And I don't like to run. So, I usually don't do that. But, every once in a while, I will. My fitness staples are Jillian Michaels dvds, belly dancing, pole dancing and sprinting in my roller skates at the park. I find when I eat right and exercise, I am much more focused, more energetic and feel better about myself. Even if I need an advil for the tennis elbow I get from the pole or if I need more recovery time from a work out. Being active gets me in the right frame of mind to tackle other things.

Like writing. Where over the past year I've written about some of my insecurities. I posted this picture of me without make-up or my hair brushed first thing in the morning. Which doesn't make me nearly as uncomfortable as the videos I've posted of myself belly dancing and pole dancing. I flippin' hate those and would love to delete them and all the embarrassing imperfections in them. But of course even if I delete them, the imperfections still remain. Instead, I'm just trying to accept them. Even if I can't look at them. And, I'm working up to performing in front of a real live audience this year. I've passed on 3 recital opportunities since I've been back in the states because I have severe stage fright. But, this year, I'm going to force myself to do it.

After all, I can physically balance a sword on my head.

And, I can finally do the upside-down Jesus.

Now, I just need to conquer the mental part. Which, of course, is the hardest part.

I've taken solace in writing and I've started writing Rock The Kasbah the book. Even though saying it out loud makes me feel ridiculous and self righteous. Which is kinda how I'm feeling about this post at the moment. So, I hope I don't sound all "check-me- -out, I-got-this-all-figured-out" but more "dude,-if-I-in-all-my-screw-ups-and-imperfectness-can-do-this, so-can-you." But, if you think I'm a narcissistic jerk and you don't want to read what I write or follow me. Then don't. My self worth isn't based on what you think of me. Anymore.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rocky Mountain High

I first went to Salt Lake City about 4 years ago when my sister moved there from the east coast. Since I live in Colorado Springs, now all I had to do was drive 8 hours full of majestic mountain scenery to the flip side of the Rockies to see her. I didn't think at all about what Salt Lake City would be like. Until I got there. And discovered, it's flippin' weird.

The first clue is on the highway when you enter town. Like most big cities, you're accosted by billboards. Which seems pretty normal, until I realized most of the ads are for plastic surgery. And that conflicts with the whole natural fresh-mountain-air-granola-free-to-be-you-and-me vibe I was expecting. Maybe that doesn't exist outside Boulder, land of elitist acceptance.

Then, I noticed the houses are humongous. Later, I learned that the houses are so big to accommodate the huge families that live in these here parts. But what's weird is for a city that has a lot of kids, you don't see them out playing in the neighborhood like you would in Colorado Springs. I know that they do get out because most huge houses have a huge RV parked in their driveway. You'd never see an RV parked in my neighborhood because the HOA forbids it.

While out and about, I noticed the general population was tan, dressed in the latest fashions with their hair and nails meticulously groomed. My sister and I, on the other hand, are pale, adorned in our thrift store finds, my hair is wet, hers is unwashed and our nails are short and naked. Completely naked. So when I take off my shoes and holey socks for dance class it exposes my callouses and the lint stuck between my toes.

Christmas lights go up promptly after Thanksgiving, like they do all over the country. Except, I'm not talking a couple of strands either thrown over a bush. We're talking huge front yard displays with lights that rival Las Vegas. I bet you can probably see Salt Lake from space too during the holiday season. It looks very professional. Probably because a lot of them are strung by professionals. Which is an even bigger expense than the big electricity bill.

It just doesn't add up. Or it all adds up too quickly. This lifestyle is way to expensive for the average person.

It's too perfect.

Stepford wives perfect.

There must be Prozac in the water here or something. So, when I got home and I researched. In fact, there really might be Prozac in the water. While Utah has the lowest illicit drug use in the nation, they have the highest rate of prescription drug abuse. They also have one of the highest suicide rates in the country. And you probably thought this post was gonna be about Colorado legalizing pot. Colorado isn't the only state that's Rocky Mountain high.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

'Tis the Season

In our family of six, five of our birthdays are in November and December. As if this time of year wasn't stressful enough, then we have to fit birthday celebrations into the chaos. Not only that, guess when the birthdays of four of my closest friends in the Springs are? Yup. It's always been like this for me because my mom's, my brother's, my sister's, my other brother's and my birthdays span the same time frame. I am surrounded by Scorpios and Sagittarius. 'Tis the season... to be really freakin' exhausted.

So, since I'm gonna be real busy, I thought I'd just knock out what I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving right now. Then, I was like oh my gosh, why don't I just multi-task and include my Christmas wishes?

Thanks: We've moved back in the states.
Wish: That I felt as safe here as I did in Morocco and that the vegetables were as cheap.

Thanks: I have two dogs to love.
Wish: That my two teenagers would love and appreciate me the way the dogs do.

Thanks: Starbucks holiday blend.
Wish: That the caffeine will help me get everything done that I need to do before Christmas.

Thanks: That we're living in our own house in Colorado again.
Wish: That our house wasn't totally jacked up, sinking into the ground, that our windows would close or that the insurance company would cover fixing at least some of the expense.

Thanks: I can watch tv and listen to the radio in English.
Wish: That it was actually worth watching or listening to.

Thanks: We're driving to Utah to see my sister and her family that we haven't seen in 3 years for Thanksgiving.
Wish: That our two big dogs fit in the car with the six of us so we don't have to choose which kids to leave home.

Thanks: We have a couple more years before Sky, our oldest, can drive.
Wish: That I don't draw the short straw and have to teach him how.

Thanks: I can mute my Jillian Michaels workout dvds.
Wish: That she comes out with an interactive game where I can kick her ass kick-boxing her.

Thanks: Jade's birthday is in June.
Wish: We start celebrating everyone's half birthday by buying half-priced gifts at half-off sales. But, that would be really half-assed.

Thanks: That the Mayan's weren't right.
Wish: Our big trip right after Christmas won't be a disaster. The only way that would happen is if the Mayan's were right. Then, bonus, I won't have to teach any of the kids to drive.

Oh, I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but here's my Christmas present to thank you for reading. Oh and I'm sending holiday wishes your way, just not in a Christmas card, cause I stopped sending those a couple years ago.


1 1/4 cups cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup lime juice
3/4 cup tequila
1/2 cup orange flavored liquor, such as Cointreau
3 cups coarsely crushed ice

Swirl in a blender. Cheers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Freaky Friday

My kids all have plans tonight, a Friday night. The girls are going to a costume surprise party. The boys are having a friend over at our house and watching the movie Battleship. Me? I'm writing birthdays and anniversaries in my new 2013 calendar that I bought at Whole Foods today. I was super stoked cause it was $3 AND the proceeds go to charity. So, on a friday night, I feel like a champ drinking a glass of Zin and anal-retentively noting and highlighting the highlights of my friends and family on my calendar. Until, I realize how my kids social life has surpassed my social life and that I'm a complete dork. Which is of course completely different from when I was younger.

You know, those crazy college days....

Except, that I've always been a complete dork. Really, truly, I'm the girl who in college who voluntarily took classes at 8am because that class on politics in the middle east made me salivate. No. I'm neither joking, nor lying. If you knew me in college you can testify to this fact because my early morning alarm woke your ass up. I also ate oatmeal and 5 fruits and veggies a day during that time. No freakin' joke. So, while Jade dressed up like a nerd for her party tonight. I truly was, ok, still am, a total freakin' nerd.

Oh dude, it was even worse in high school. I went to exactly one party in the 10th grade at Corey Gleeson's house. Whom I briefly dated before I broke up with him by way of a note I sent to him via a friend of mine. Honesty, I'm not sure he even got the note. I never checked with anyone on their 9th grade follow-through. Maybe almost 30 years later he still thinks he's dating a total dork. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure he's pretty hung up over it. Ok, I'm sure he doesn't even remember me. But, on the night of his party in 10th grade, At the time, I assumed he was mocking me. Anyway, I was too busy empathizing for those affected by Chernobyl at the time to really take it seriously. Two years later, the same guy asked me to senior prom and I still didn't have a clue that he might actually really like me. So I declined, and I was too caught up in Gorbachev being elected President of Russia. At the time, I was preoccupied writing a research paper about the cultural changes in Russia for Mrs. Swanson's 12th grade English class. God, I loved that class...

Did I mention I've always been a dork?

So, this weekend when everyone is talking about the new Twilight movie and my boys are watching some sci-fi-ish movie and my girls are out socializing, I'm home on a Friday night dying to see the new movie Lincoln. So much that I think I might even be able to endure any crowds that may be there. But, let's be honest, Twighlight just came out, so I've heard. So, there won't be any crowds. I would even *gasp* pay full-price (whatever the crap that may be these days) to see it. In an actual theater. Yeah, that's how bad I want to see it. So, yeah, I'm still a dork. But, what I lack in coolness, I make up for in consistency.

So tonight, while my kids are partying and having way more of a social life than I ever had, I'm thinking about tomorrow night. When I'll be going to dinner with 3 of my girlfriends. Things are gunna git crazy up in here when I might stay up until 10pm out par-tay-ing with them. Well, now that my calendar is updated and all. Maybe. If I don't convince them to go to the theater and see Lincoln instead of going out for an after dinner drink at a bar.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Why do we Americans allow our self worth be defined in numbers?

After all, it doesn't matter:

What your annual income is.

The size pants you wear.

How long you stayed in an abusive relationship.

Whether you came in 1st, 101st or dead last in your last triathalon.

The statistics or lack thereof on your blog.

How many sexual partners you've had.

Your IQ score.

Whether you've indulged in some 420.

How many awards you've won. Or haven't.

The amount of times you've tried to quit smoking or lose weight.

The running tally of places you've travelled.

Your age.

How many times you've reinvented yourself and started over.

Your klout score, number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers.

Life isn't paint by numbers.

Your quintessence is innumerable.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Old Yeller

I confess, I'm a yeller. I've always tried to be soft spoken and patient with my kids. And most of the time I hope I do that. But, it's those other times that make me feel like a complete and utter failure as a mom. The times where I become so frustrated and overwhelmed that I yell at my kids. After I apologize for my attrocious and inexcuseable behavior and vow never to do it again, then I try to bury my shame. But, it just waits soft spoken and patient for just the right conditions before it resurfaces.

I didn't intend to be this way. I had the same idealistic ideas that every woman does before she has children.

I was going to play guitar while lying in the grass singing Ben Harper songs with my kids. During which time, I would also teach them to play guitar.
(Please note: I do not play a musical instrument, nor do I sing in public, but I do like Ben Harper.)

I was going to make them try every vegetable on the planet while making them so delicious they'd actually ask for seconds. In a quaint British accent.
(I still do kind of have this fantasy, although I do now realize the accent is a little over the top.)

I was going to sew the kids clothes out of old curtains. Or teach them how to sew their own clothes out of curtains. Or did I get that from a Chinese documentary I saw?
(I did in fact buy a sewing machine and make pajama pants with the kids a few years ago. But the ice cream cones on the girls ended up upside down. So they didn't want to wear them. And they turned out to be really expensive too.)

I was going going to play games in the car and sing "99 Bottles of Beer" on road trips with them.
(Do you know how long that lasts? Less than 5 minutes. And it ends with the kids fighting. Actually it starts with the kids fighting, it ends with me putting ear plugs in.)

I wanted to introduce my kids to volunteering for the less fortunate.
(But, I'm just so busy doing all the things I have to do for my own kids and I'm not sure I even do a good job at that, sometimes I think they're the less fortunate.)

Among many, many other things.

Now, I realize, some of those might be unrealistic, unreasonable or just really unimportant in the big picture. Like the notion that I can be a perfect mom. I can't. And maybe if I give up that ideal, I won't be Old Yeller anymore. Maybe I'll magically transform into fun mom. Or maybe I should just start an alpaca farm, we can spin the wool and I can teach the kids to knit sweaters, we can build a yurt and sell our wares in there. Of course, all the profits would go to charity. And that just might be earplugs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Electoral Race

He pulled in right before me in a white pick up truck. I nabbed the empty space that wasn't really an actual parking space. I raced out of my car and followed him down the hill, past the winding stairs to the Northeast of the building. Even though I'm a very fast walker, I just couldn't catch up to him. When we rounded the corner, I caught sight of the line. The very long line of voters all looking right at me.

I lined up directly behind Mr. White Pick Up Truck. It would be an hour wait. He popped in his ear buds to his i-pod. I scrounged through my purse for anything. I usually have a book in there, but not today. Sometimes I carry a notebook, but the kids finished off the last page of that a couple days before. What I did have was my cell phone. So I sent a text to 4 friends looking for sympathy.

"Holy crap its an hour wait to vote at woodmen chapel right now" (I would have added an exclamation mark, but the punctuation doesn't work on my phone.)

My friends are all smarter than me and voted via mail. And reminded me of that via text.

One of my friends responded "No way! Do you need me to bring you a sandwich? I can bring you a sandwich!" (Obviously, her punctuation works.)

Which made me laugh out loud, with a subsequent snort in a painfully quiet congregation. So I embarrassed myself? What's new? And who the hell do I know here anyway? Ok, so I know the Vice Principal of my kids school. And now she knows I have hilarious friends who make me snort in public. Whatever.

While I'm texting, I'm also totally sizing up the guy in front of me, from the back. I ascertain he's about 6'2" tall. He's got a short haired dog. Well, at least one, maybe two because he's got dog hair all over his black Quicksilver sweatshirt. I'm going to venture to say he's single and currently doesn't have a girlfriend because he's also got several stains on said hoodie. And if he had a girlfriend, she'd probably Shout those stains out. Anyway, I'm going to guess he's either a plumber or an electrician because he doesn't really have an ass. And I associate those jobs with being professions that don't attract asses. That's probably prejudiced of me, but I don't care. Prove me wrong, ok? His flip flops further confirms he's on his feet a lot. But, he doesn't exfoliate them often.

So, I get all this info from the back of him. Oh, I also caught a side profile and while he shaves his head, he did miss a couple beard hairs. If I had some tweezers in my purse I would have helped him out with that. But, as luck would have it, I didn't. That might have been a bit awkward anyhow. I've now had over 45 minutes to ponder his life, but the thing is, he has sunglasses on. So, I can't tell if he's hot or not. And frankly, after having pondered it over for the last 45 minutes, I really, really want to know. You know you want to too.

We're almost inside. He'll take his sunglasses off in there. The anticipation is freaking killing me. Finally, it happens. Glasses are off. But, I don't want to look right at his face, cause that would be socially inappropriate. Kind of like me stalking him, making up crap and writing something I'm gonna post on the internet. That inappropriate.

When I finally catch a glimpse, you know, subtly, I'm shocked to see he has blue eyes (not what I was expecting) with light brown eye lashes (also, not what I was expecting). What's your vote on this combination? Hot or not?

I get my ballot right after he does. I head to my not-so-private-privacy-cubicle where I search through my purse, only to discover I left my reading glasses at home. Don't worrry, I'm positive I didn't inadvertantly vote for the douchebag. Anyhow, I finish and end up in line to turn it in to the election lady who doesn't know how to stick my ballot in the weird printer looking vaccuum thingy either. But, guess who's right behind me in line? Yup, Mr. White Pick Up Truck. I totally beat him to the poll.

I won!

I won!

Now, let's just hope the douchebag doesn't!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Family Game Night and Other Recurrent Tragedies

Last night we had family game night. Some families have one every week. I can just see it in all it's Waltonesqueness, a big bowl of shared popcorn and the room filled with laughter. We can only muster one every other month. Sometimes less. Because ours aren't anything like that. It takes at least 60 days to forget that family game night at our house totally sucks. And even that doesn't dispel the memories of shouting matches over who really justifiably monopolized Monopoly. Or who's not at all sorry in Sorry.

As I set up, the kids squabble about what color pawn they want. Even though no one actually wants the same color, this is just part of the pecking order to determine total dominance. Unfortunately, this doesn't end with pawns. Or game night. Anything and everything is fair game for conflict at any time. I read recently in the book The Sibling Effect, that siblings fight every 17 minutes. Times that by 4 kids with 2 dogs to battle over and that is more like every 17 seconds in our house. Seriously, you do the math or just come over and see for yourself. We're always in need a new referee.

Last night we choose a new game to play called Last Word. Wait a minute. The rules sound so familiar. Everyone shouts out answers and races to get the final say before time runs out and a winner is delared. After 10 more minutes of bickering where everyone tries justify their right-ness? It didn't help that the kids were munching from their Halloween candy as we battled. I mean played. Which meant not only was the night feuled by sugar, but also that projectile shards of candy were spit accross the table during the yelling matches. I mean deliberation process. Whatever you want to call it. I call it a recurrent tragedy.

One of many in our house. Like sleep overs. A staple of adolesence. Kids watching movies until their eyes sting, nestled in a warm cozy sleeping bag next to their friends, giggling into the night and trying to see who can stay awake the longest. It all sounds so fun and innocent. Until the next day. When you're left with an exhausted cranky kid who's a whiny, pain in the ass. Just when you think it can't get worse, you mention that their behavior is due to lack of sleep. They offer up their unequivocal denial before confirming that they think you're the most unreasonable parent ever and their life sucks. And nothing seems innocent or fun anymore. This is why I dread sleep overs. And why I refer to them as sleep unders.

I wish I could blame it on the kids, but I can't. Because, of course, I'm the one who approves these things. Is it my unending optomism that things will be different this time? I don't think so. More likely it's guilt. And a heaping dose of denial. That same denial that got me to buy those 6 tickets to an exotic international destination next month. Never mind that I should be saving money to fix our jacked up house. Or that this trip is celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and we're bringing kids with us. And maybe you don't know our worst recurrent tragedy of all time is traveling together.


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