Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hidden Treasures

As the kids get older, they are much more aware of their need for privacy. I get it. It's only natural. I also get that they firmly believe that they are the only person in the house entitled to it. Because they all trample all over everyone else's privacy. Especially mine. I get it. It's only natural.

Unfortunately, I know from experience. Cause, when I was their age, I also snooped through the house. I knew where my mom's chocolate stash was. And I helped myself. Even though many years later I'd learn it was actually my dad's cache. I found out there was no Santa Claus when I poked through the attic. I found my my mom's hospital size maxi pads complete with belt and they were so confounding I demanded to know what they were. I regularly stole gum from my mom's purse and took coins from the jar to buy more gum. Then later in my early teens, I stole some of my dad's cigarettes. That's when I discovered I am in fact, a non-smoker, especially if they're menthol. I rummaged through my dad's closet and freely stole shirts and a suede jacket, convinced no one would know. But, duh, I was wearing them. I never claimed to be bright, by the way.

Looking back now, I guess was a petty thief back in the day. That must be why karma has come around insisting on paybacks.

It started out little. A rice krispy treat here. An m&m pack there. The gum I keep in the hidden zipper for run ins with acquaintances at the grocery store which always seem to occur the day after garlicy penne night gone missing. So, I reduced the amount of the treasures we had on hand. That's when it took a turn for the worse. Without as many kid friendly treats, they got desperate and started rummaging through the more sophisticated adult variety. Then, the dark chocolate wasabi bar disappeared. I was sure it was too mature for their sugared up taste buds and at most there would have been just a nibble gone. Or that maybe Craig had taken it and didn't tell me. But, that wasn't the case. One of the kids had endured hot wasabi in order to get their sugar fix on.

On the way home from Costa Rica, in the airport in Panama, I opened the secret compartment in my purse to dole out some gum to the kids for the flight. But, even though I was positive I didn't finish the pack, there wasn't any left. Not only that, the two emergency tampons I also keep in the not-so-secret secret compartment were mysteriously unwrapped. Which made this mystery very easy to solve. Because, only one of my kids would mistake a tampon for an elaborately wrapped secret stick of candy. And that's the only one who doesn't know what they are for. The youngest. The worst was yet to come.

A couple of weeks ago when my husband got home from work and went to change, he noticed things were a bit disheveled our closet. This isn't unusual, one of the kids likes to wear my high heels and belly dance costumes. But, that's not what was disturbed. It was a little black bag on the very top of my shelf that can't be seen unless you know it's there and use a chair to reach it. And now, it was haphazardly hanging off the top shelf. That's when one of my kids got the worst punishment that a kid can get. Knowing that your mother has a vibrator.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reese's Method

I've always been relatively fit. But, over the years, my reason for staying that way has changed. When I was in my 20's it was about trying to look good. In 30's it was mitigating my slowing metabolism. Now, in my 40's I have so many more reasons for staying healthy. Not only that, I have a completely different attitude and focus. And I no longer do the minimum, just to get by.

Maybe because the minimum no longer works. Probably because I want to be a good example for my kids. Definitely because if I don't, my mind and my body feel sluggish.

So I started doing what I now call the Reese's Method. Mmmmm...chocolate. Mmmmmmm....peanut butter. Random collision of a person walking down the street eating a chocolate bar with someone on a steamroller chowing down a jar of peanut butter and a Reese's is born. It's like that. You do things you like to do. You can even mix them with other things you like doing. You could take something you don't like to do and mix it with something you do. Then you could learn to like it because it's fun. Cause are you gunna stick with something that's not fun? I mean if you're not a triathlete, of course. I've never seen anyone train for one of those things who looked like they were having fun.

Today I was trying out this combo. You know, for fun. To spice things up.

The thing with the Reese's Method? There are no rules. Which could also be a bad thing. I would not suggest swimming with roller skates on. That just seems like a bad idea. It's all just common sense. There aren't any hard and fast rules with your diet either. Eat healthy real food that doesn't come out of a can or a package most of the time. And every once in a while, treat yourself. Because denial leads to obsession. Just maybe don't King size it. And if you do, you do. It's not the end of the world, forgive yourself and move on.

I'm probably going to have to forgive myself for this later.

And that's ok, cause it's not about perfection. Although, I do hope they're perfectly spicy...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Since we've gotten back from Morocco, I have been extremely busy. I blog at least twice a week, belly dance, added pole dance to the mix and started writing Rock The Kasbah, the book. Of course, I'm trying to balance these things out with the kids, Craig, the dogs and maintaining a social life, seeing my friends as frequently as possible. Notice I didn't mention cleaning the house, because that's my least favorite thing to do. Anyway, all these things have left me feeling energized and like I want to take a nap on the floor at the same time. Completely unconscious.

Funny thing when you're really busy, they way life is when you're in your 40's, there are opportunities everywhere. And I've been feeling super opportunistic lately, knowing how fast life passes by. So, I recently added a new hobby, one I never thought I was even interested in. Surprise. I guess I am. More about that in another post, at another time. I also had a couple other opportunities come my way. This is where the drum roll comes in....

I am now a featured writer at Conscious Shift Magazine. A magazine that's all about health and wellness. I know what you're thinking. You? Writing inspiring stuff about mental well being? Isn't that a stretch? Yes. Yes, it is. I promise not get all Tony Robbins on you. Because I honestly have no idea what he says, because I've never listened to any of his crap. Excuse me, alleged crap. Shhhh...don't tell my new boss I just said that. Or that I'm semi-conscious while writing this because she might fire me. But, that's impossible, because I don't even get paid. So don't worry about me getting a big head or calling myself a "Writer" or something crazy like that.

Plus, boss lady already knows I'm not conscious of very much, because we've known each other since we were 16. Go ahead, check out my mullet in this photo of Tracey and I at Niagara Falls. I had just let the sides of my hair grow in after I had shaved them off completely. So, the prequel to this photo was very Flock of Seagulls-ish. It was the late 80's, don't judge.

If you want to check out my new venture, the March edition of Conscious Shift magazine will be out soon. And if you made fun of my mullet, I think you know you owe me...

Just sayin'.

For a free subscription to Conscious Shift Magazine, without anyone selling your address to some internet douchebag even, click here.
Or check us out on facebook here.  See how I did that there with the "us" comment?

I in no way receive any compensation for this, by the way.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Restaurant Impossible

Last Monday, next to the coffee pot, a little basket adorned with a hand shaped paperclip appeared filled with treats and promises.  Every morning last week, another basket appeared.  Every evening a part of me got massaged. The last basket was a tagine pot.  Friday night, Craig took me to a Moroccan restaurant for Valentine's Day.  

Now, we don't normally celebrate Valentine's Day.  So,  I felt like a complete heel after his very thoughtful, romantic gifts.  Not to mention, his paper clip shaping skills. But, I had heard somewhere that men are visual creatures and decided to work that angle.  So, I got two outfits, one being a dress to wear to dinner. A cute, sexy, funky dress with a neckline that required I go bra less even though the dress was sheer.  

I can solve this problem, I've seen those adhesive thingys that cover your nipples and I was gunna go get some. At Target.  Of course, they didn't have what I needed.  In the store, I was on the phone to my friend telling her about my predicament. "Go to the sex shop on the way home.  They'll have them. And for god's sake, pick up something for Craig while you're there." The only nude pasties came in heart shapes. How befitting. Now, I could either go on a date with my husband or dance at a strip club.  

When we got to the restaurant, the heat was broken.  With it being only 20 something degrees outside, it was a meat locker inside.  They promised they were working on it and it would be warm soon.  So, I  kept my jacket on, just for a little while.  Or so I thought.   

I wondered if  American Moroccan food would compare to the real thing.  The meal started with harira, a traditional Moroccan lamb and lentil soup.  Delicious. We were off to a good start.

The second course was tabbouleh and hummus.  Which, you may not realize, are NOT Moroccan.  And I'm freezing, with no prospects of getting warmer.  Even with a bottle of wine.  

Next, is chicken bastilla.  A very popular sweet and savory Moroccan dish, often made from pigeon with honey, almonds, stuffed in phyllo dough with cinnamon and powdered sugar on top.   I've had it a few times in Morocco and it's amazing.  But here, I'm completely underwhelmed.   It's mostly dough and hardly any chicken.  My legs are cramping from tucking them so close to my body to try to stay warm.  And I'm getting a little pissy.

Next comes couscous, the national dish, consumed by every Moroccan, every Friday.  Sky and I made couscous together in Morocco the traditional way, which didn't turn out nearly as good as couscous made by Moroccans.  But ours, was way better than this, which had absolutely no flavor and had potatoes on it.  Really?  Potatoes? Where's the cabbage, pumpkin and caramelized onions? 

Next came 3 tagines.  Lemon chicken with olives, which is probably the most popular tajine in Morocco.  Again, this dish has no flavor.  The lamb and strawberry one that was actually good.

Then there's the shrimp tagine.  Which, I've never heard of  before.  It's got a nice spice to it, but they forgot de-shell the shrimp. The restaurant isn't any warmer at this point, by the way.

They bring us Moroccan tea, which is authentically much too sweet, just like in Morocco.  And most important, it's warm.  They serve it with baklava.  Which is homemade and delicious.  And, yes, baklava is Greek.  A traditional Moroccan dessert is fresh oranges dusted in cinnamon. If you've never tried this before, it's strangely addictive. 

So I bought this dress so I could look all 40-something-brunette-Taylor Swift-ish-sexy-yet-cute (I'd even completed the look with cat-eye eye make-up) so Craig could stare at my cleavage throughout dinner, only to be curled up in my jacket freezing, eating disappointing food and then coming home only to have to rip those pasties off my nipples.  Which really hurt, just in case you were wondering. 

Since I really didn't get to give Craig his gift, I took this picture so he could remember what I didn't look like the day we didn't go eat Moroccan food.  I can get it framed for him and give him a big heart shaped box full of authentic Moroccan baklava.  I could even make the outline of Morocco out of a paperclip and stick it on top.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Worst Mom Ever

I've always tried really hard to be the perfect mother.  I know that just like unicorns and Barbie's disproportionate body shape, they don't exist.   But, that doesn't stop my irrational quest for the title.  Truth is, most days I feel like the worst mom ever.  Or at least, that I'd rank on the Billboard top 100 worst mom's ever.   Because claiming I'm the absolute worst would be a little cocky, right?  Although, I do have the certificate to prove it.

I started this vicious cycle even before I was a mom.  I had these delusions of perfection and when I fell short, I often resorted to self-hatred.  Which I was really, really awesome at, by the way. Since life is chock full of falling short, disappointment and mistakes.   This happened with some regularity.  Which means I spent most of my time in the pit of self-hatred hell.  It was toasty warm there though, so I set up a nice little tent and where I could stay for days, weeks, months, years.  You know, as long as it took.

Even though I wanted to change, I rationalized, I was only hurting myself.  And she's a total loser bitch, so she really deserved what she had coming to her. But, I was containing all these emotions inside myself, like a terrarium. Where it rains a lot, but hey, it's still  pretty warm and comfortable.  Only now, I'm a mom.  And even if kids can't see self-hatred, they can smell it.  Which is puzzling to me because they can't even smell dirty socks.

I saw all play out  this week, when one of my kids made a mistake. Of the big, hurtful variety.  And then made it  even worse by covering it up.  Because admitting it, would also be admitting being imperfect.  Being human.  Which I didn't allow them to see me be.  Damn it!  I totally f^%$&^d that up!  This is all my fault.  I taught them this.  What the crap was I thinking?

In life, we all make a million, make that a billion, mistakes.  There's no way to escape it.  Trust me.  I really really investigated this.  The important thing is learning to accept that.  And learn how to clean them up and make it right.  With the person you hurt.  And maybe even more important, yourself.

So, I've decided from here on out to be the imperfect mess I already am.  I just know I'll be perfect at it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


V-day. It only comes around once a year. You put on your favorite bra and panties. You know, the only set you have that actually matches. Shave all your nooks and crannies. Including your big toe. Checking for any wild stray hairs around your nipples. Make sure that you don't forget the deodorant because you know you sweat when you get anxious. Cause today's not just any day. It's your pap smear. Otherwise known as, Vagina Day.

Me? I'm totally ambivalent about the sex of the person checking my coochie pop. Nor do I care if they're a nurse or a doctor. Maybe that makes me bi. I don't know. I don't really feel like I need to label myself. All I know is, the best pap smear I've ever had was given to me by a young male doctor in Hawaii. I even told him so when he was done. Which I instantly regretted as soon as it came out of my mouth, but the damage was already done. I sounded like a perv.

Today, I was seeing someone new, she's a nurse. I had a bad experience last time I was seen by a woman many years ago. She was rather rough with the cold speculum which meant I had no choice but to clench her head between my knees. Not that I intended to react that way, that's why it's called a reaction. I do hope she learned a valuable lesson in vaginal etiquette that day. Like, inform your patient that you're going in before you do. And for goodness sake, warm up your hands and speculum before you make crotch contact.

Likewise, I try my best to be courteous to the person who's got to look my va-jay-jay in the face. Taking special care that I'm appropriately groomed in the nether regions. That on the spectrum, I fall somewhere close to the middle between Hairy Mary and Bald Barry. That's not all, because sometimes they check the back door too. So, I also check for dingle berries and stray toilet paper pieces. Cause how embarrassing would that be? My biggest fear is that I'll pee on the person. They do say the greatest fear is fear itself. Although, I would argue it's golden showers. Unless that's eating chili the night before and farting mid exam. I'll have to re-think that.

When I finally get to the exam room awaiting my vaginal professional, I always change like I'm a Victoria's Secret runway model. You know, really fast, like you have to be ready in 3 seconds because someone could walk in on you at any second. Even though, I've made sure I don't have the panties with the blown out elastic on or the bra that got a bit eaten up when I accidentally put in the dryer. Even though I look as gyno-chic as possible, I still don't want anyone to actually catch a glimpse. It's just my back up plan in case they do. It's pretty likely that they'll see them in the heap of unfolded clothes I've hastily left in the corner.

I think sitting in a paper gown that opens to the front with my legs in stirrups looking directly at a cross section of a baby in the birth canal might be the best birth control. This, of course, is the moment I realize I forgot to take my Yaz this morning and when I see the socks I choose because they don't have a hole in them, actually do. At least I scrubbed my feet extra long in the shower so they don't smell. Even though I didn't extract the black sock lint out from underneath my unpolished toe nails. Which is why I'm not taking the holey socks off.

She arrives with a courteous knock. I'm always at a loss for exactly what to say in response. I'm dying to say, "Who's there?" But I'm trying to edit myself, so I don't say something stupid like... "How many different shades of pink nipples do you think there are? On a scale of 1 to 10 how does my vagina rate? What's the weirdest thing you've ever extracted from a vagina?" Cause that's what I really want to know. But, before I even had a chance to say something I'd totally regret later, wham, bam, thank you ma'am, she's already hit second base and rounded third. I'm done in less than 5 minutes.

I didn't even have time to tell her she won first runner up for my best pap ever.  Maybe next time.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Valentine's Secret

Valentine's Day, that one day of year when you freely give away your heart. Unless, someone already ripped it out of your chest and shattered it into a million pieces. In that case, you're entitled to win the free give away of that big red heart filled box jam packed with chocolates at Walgreens so you can scarf them all down. Oh, and you don't even have to share it! This year, I'd like to reveal a little secret. I'm not the world's biggest romantic. So, don't go killing any roses for me.

But, in keeping with my plan to be the new and improved 2013 version of Marie, which is so much better than the 2012 version because I have upgraded from the +1.50 reading glasses, to the +1.75 pair. Not that I actually use them, of course. Anyway, my point is, I have decided to attempt something a little more romantic this year than last year's St. Valentine's Day Massacre. In other words, the bar is set really, really low.

So, I started where most women do for this occasion. Victoria's Secret. I feel like I'm cheating on GAP Body just going into the store. I'm not a girly girl. I firmly believe lace is itchy especially when its a lace thong. And I don't look sexy pulling a lace thong wedgie out of my ass. And I'm too old to pretend its comfortable. I also despise pink. Of course it's no secret that almost everything in Victoria's Secret is either pink or has some kind of bow or bling on it. Which would make me look a 14 year old prostitute.

Of course, she doesn't look 14. Because she's got a couple things I don't. Ok, a few...

So defeated, I headed to GAP body. Sure that there would be something really, really sexy in a nice non-pink breatheable 100% cotton. (There's not.)

It's not that I can't get in touch with my inner slut, it's just that she's gotten older. And as she's gotten older, she appreciates the finer things in life. Like being comfortable. And being in bed, asleep by 10pm.

What the crap am I going to do to make this day special and yet not spend $80 on something really uncomfortable I'm only going to wear for 2 seconds? And don't say you can do anything for 2 seconds. This is not the answer I'm looking for.

This is going to require thinking outside the box.

Ok, I've got it. I can use stuff I already have and dress up as a celebrity he thinks is cute. Like Jennifer Love Hewitt. Brown hair? Check. Brown eyes? Check. Sexy black lingerie recycled from my closet? Check. Huge boobs? Crap. Ok, this isn't going to work...

No. No. I've got it this time!

Brown hair? Check. Brown eyes? Check. Small perky boobs? Check. Same 100% cotton black tank top and cute stripy bottoms I wear to bed every night? Check. Reading glasses that make me look a little Tina Fey-ish in the dark from across the room with my head buried in a book right before I fall asleep? CHECK!

Yes, tonight honey, you can sleep with Tina Fey! And you know what I mean by "sleep with" right? Let's just make that pre-10pm, ok? Betcha can't wait for Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The American Obsession

Americans are obsessed with one thing.  It's as if we have taken Maslow's Hierarchy of needs and placed it right on top.  The pinnacle of life. Above self actualization. There sits happiness.  Something we Americans strive for.  But, kinda like sustainable capitalism, it's a myth.  Unless, I've been misinformed and some entrepreneur has already canned sustainable capitalism for export. Which is of course ridiculous, because the only thing America exports anymore is the crazy notion anyone, even if you’re completely devoid of talent and integrity can be a celebrity.   And with everything that comes with that, then you’ll finally be happy.

Years ago, when my kids were little, I had this mom friend.  An acquaintance really.  Her kids were both in elementary school and any time they had a problem, they came to her to solve it.  Which she did.  Then she asked them "Are you happy?" Not in a condescending way.   In a hopeful way where you knew the answer she was looking for was "Yes."  I had never ever in my whole life asked any of my kids if they were happy.  I'd never even asked myself that question, until I met her.  Which is why I thought it was so odd.  

When I did give it some thought, I realized I don't want to know if my kids are happy.  They probably aren’t.  After all, I rarely give them candy, I restrict video games, going to the dollar theatre where we can see a movie everyone else has already seen and given the ending away is an annual event, at best.  Even then, I sneak in food from home and have embarrassed my kids when we got caught.  I think, at this point in my kids lives If they tell me they're happy, I'm a complete failure as a mom. Cause it's not my job to ensure their happiness.  It's my job to give them the tools to succeed in life by solving their own problems.  Which may, or may not, result in happiness.

On any given day I go through about 25 different emotions.  Very rarely is happy one of them. That's not to mean that the majority of my feelings are negative.   I can be disappointed, frustrated, depressed and enraged.  I can also be content, proud, pleased and inspired all within 15 minutes of one another. But, happy is more illusive and more fleeting than the others.  

Why does our culture chase happiness like it’s a perpetual orgasm.  I can tell with complete certainty it’s not attainable. Definitely not sustainable.    

In American culture I feel like a freak.  That I'm supposed to "Follow my Bliss", "Have a Nice Day" or say I'm "Great" when I just might feel like stepping off a ledge.  Also, do not tell me to smile.  I got that one all the time as a sullen looking little girl.  I will not fake a smile to make you comfortable. Anymore.  

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not miserable.  Anymore.  Because I've been working really hard to get to a place where I feel good about myself. So I can defeat the bad guy.  Me and my apprentice, lack of confidence.  After much introspection and many walks of shame to the self help section over the years, I’m closer than I’ve ever been to contentment before.  I’ll meet happy half way when it flitters by.  But, I’ll also feel all the other emotions that come with being human.  Let’s face it, the pursuit of happiness is destined to become an unhappily ever after.  And no one wants that.

If you would like to break the cycle of chasing happiness check out  This is How by Augusten Burroughs. 


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