Monday, April 29, 2013

Smoke and Mirrors

I was running down the street with my orange yoga mat tucked under my arm.  Wearing my favorite black tank top with a thong riding up my ass under my yoga capris.  My flip flops were slowing me down.  That and I was all strung out on leftover dog antibiotics for kennel cough.   That's when a car pulled over.  

"Did you register yet?" A stranger asked.  
"I can't find the community center!  I thought it was the visitor's center but that's closed."  I replied. 
"It's all the way down the street and you're already late.  Hop in and I'll give you a ride there.  But, then you'll have to book it all the way back into town."
"Oh, thank you so much!" I said and I climbed in.

So far nothing was going as planned.  I wasn't supposed to be sick, lost or late.  My nose was red and crusty and I looked vacant and stoned covered in sweat.  At least I had spent an inordinate amount of time choosing just the right black tank top from my substantial collection. If I couldn't dazzle  Rachel Brice with my complete lack of coordination, I wanted to look good.  So I made sure I didn't have any visible panty lines in case she happened to catch a glimpse of my ass.  I knew it wasn't important or likely, but it's the little things that give you confidence sometimes. I had already spent the whole week freaking out about today.  I'll take whatever boost I can get.  So a push up bra is definitely a must.

Image of Rachel Brice stolen from the internet
I went to the show the night before.  Equipped with my camera for any possible photo opportunities with my crap ass camera that's currently on life support.  Only, no photography was allowed.  I'm glad I didn't rush order a new camera for the occasion.  Finally, my slacking has actually paid off and saved me at least $20 in rush order charges plus the cost of a new camera.  So let's just say $250.

I am the fastest registerer in the west apparently.  Who knew?  I hoofed it back to town with a manila envelope, an official name tag and my yoga mat, water, cough drops, tissues, chap stick and some extreme exercise induced coughing (which is fantastic for your abs by the way).  And, I made it in time for the class and was in the same room as Rachel freakin' Brice.  The only space left was in the front of the room next to the woman who kindly gave me a ride to the community center.  I'm not a front row type A kind of person.   I'm a back row quiet stalker type b kind of girl.  So automatically, I was completely out of my element.  Cause I'm convinced my element would be something more like lithium. Unless it's argon.  I'm not sure.

Why the hell am I even here?  I'm taking up space that a coordinated person who can actually do tribal belly dance should be filling. Until class started.  And just like me, everyone was completely transfixed watching Rachel dance and listening to her soothing husky voice.  Then it happened, I just danced like no one was watching.  Cause no one was. Honestly, I did some of the best dancing I've ever done.  I can say this because there was still no video or photos allowed.  So there's no physical evidence to the contrary.  What I thought was going to be completely intimidating turned out to be completely inspiring.  Maybe the psychedelic dog antibiotics calmed me down enough to see that.  Does it even matter?

I danced in front of Rachel freakin' Brice and not just on a dvd in my living room.   Oh, she made direct eye contact with me several times.  Yes, several. And she didn't even laugh.  I can't say whether she noticed I didn't have any panty lines or not.  Not that that even mattered anymore by this point.  Now all that mattered was I didn't hit her with a projectile snot loogie during my hook turn.  Or start barking mid class, which I figure may be a side effect of taking leftover dog antibiotics.

At the end of class I took my little orange camera and all my goobiness right up to Rachel.  And I went right in for the only photo opportunity I had to show that Rachel and I are indeed black tank top twins. Sort of.  Obviously, I'm the taller, older, much less coordinated and talented twin.
Me and Rachel 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Photo Opportunity

I've had my cute little orange pocket sized camera for almost 5 years now.  It's been all around the world with me.  From a roller derby bout in Chicago to shitting in the Ambassador's toilet in Morocco.  Taping a bull fight in Portugal to riding camels over the dunes in the Sahara Desert.  That's where I thought she was a goner the first time.

Even though, I had carefully packed her in a ziploc bag for the journey, every time I took her out for a picture, she was sand blasted by the wind.  Mid trip, she was so sand logged she stopped working altogether.  But, I didn't give up on her. Mostly because I had no choice.  It's really hard to get a good camera shipped to you living in Morocco.  Sure, I could go into detail about the counterfeit cameras they sell in the medina and how the DPO will return anything that contains a battery back to sender and how frustrating that is, but I won't.

My little pocket pal has been with me to over 12 countries.  So have my 4 other little pals.  And it's one of them that dealt the fatal blow when they borrowed my camera and dropped it on the ground, repeatedly.  The last blow inflicted by the fumbling perpetrator's hands was fatal, splitting it open.  I tried cpr, pumping the on and off button, then gingerly pressed her back together.

While all her vital signs looked good, she must have suffered a concussion or a stroke.  I'm not a clinician, so I can't say for sure.  All I know is, while her vision looked fine when I checked her screen, when I downloaded them, they looked like this...

River resting hiking Seven Bridges.
 And this...
Jade on bridge 3, unless that was 4.  One of the seven anyhow.

I'm hoping it's just a concussion and that none of the damage is permanent.  But, I fear the worst.  And the timing couldn't be worse.  I'm a couple days away from the photo opportunity of a lifetime. Oh sure, I could buy a new camera.  But, I don't want to.  I want exactly this camera because I've invested 5 years figuring out how to use the damn thing.  Cause, I'm not a girl who will read the manual.  Any manual, ever.  While they do sell the same model in stores, they only have it in orange on-line.  And you may have picked up I'm stubborn so I need it in orange.

If I order it on-line will it arrive in time?  If not, will she miraculously recover and refocus back to her 20/20 self?  Or will this be the biggest, worst missed photo opportunity of a lifetime?

Stay tuned...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Friday Night Smackdown

The Friday before last it was family fun night at the girls' school.  I was working the bouncy house with my friend, Kirsten.  What I didn't know when I signed up is it was an obstacle course bouncy house with two kids racing through it against each other.  I diligently collected tickets, made sure kids had their shoes off and paired them up.  Getting them to talk smack to each other was just bonus.  It was fun, but I was totally jealous.  I wanted a Friday night smack down of my own.  All I needed was a worthy opponent.  

Air Force Academy Mascot
That's when the Air Force Academy mascot sauntered in. Intriguing.  So I did what anyone would do, I challenged him-her-it to a bouncy house duel.  He-she-it, accepted.  Cause, I had no idea who was in the costume, which is what makes it so fun.  I took off my shoes and ever present sunglasses perched on top my head and I was ready.  The countdown commenced and then I dove head first through the circular opening, jumped over the air filled high bar, through the barriers and slid head first through the tube finishing the course and leaving the falcon in the dust.  Sure, he-she-it had a big head and feet to contend with.  That's not my fault, I won straight away.  The falcon was a good sport and recognized my supreme bouncy house skills with a high five.

But, it wasn't over.  Because, I had to know who the falcon was.  Who I obliterated with my athletic prowess. It was the end of the night and the costume had to come off.  So I did what anyone would do, I stalked the falcon.  Hanging ever so casually by the cake room, right across from the changing room where I saw the big bird enter.  Dying to know who I smacked down.  A good ten minutes later, the door opens and a 20 year old male Air Force Academy cadet emerges. YEEEEEESSSSSS!  Oh, I know he was at a disadvantage with his big beak and feet.  I get that.  But, the fact still remains, I kicked a very fit 20 year old guy's ass in the bouncy house.  And no one can take that away from me.  Just try, I dare you.

Last Friday was a whole different story.  That strangely also involves bouncing, but not me. I've already established my bouncy house dominance, so I can rest on my laurels for at least a week or two. The kids had the day off school and one of my very organized mom friends arranged an outing for the kids to a trampoline place in Denver.  That's right near the Ikea store there.  The plan was, we drop the kids off to bounce and we bounce on over to Ikea to shop.  It was all working according to plan.  Until we pulled in and parked in the Ikea parking lot. And the fire alarm was going off.  Since no one was running out of the building on fire, we decided a piercing siren couldn't stop us. There was lingonberry jam in there for god's sake.  It must be rescued!

This was a lot louder than it looked
Of course we got diverted by the Ikea staff.  But we did manage to get this photo as a souvenir of our botched Ikea trip.      

So I think it's obvious that next Friday I'll be looking for an Ikea rematch. What would their mascot be?  A big plank of unfinished pine wood?  If so, can I smack it down in the kid's corner ball pit?  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What's Cookin'

Dinner is really important to me.  So, every night I make a healthy dinner and we sit at the table together as a family without the distraction of the TV or radio. I don't cook quintessentially kid friendly meals. There's always a salad to fall back on, but I don't give other options.  Besides the option not to eat.  Now, you may wonder how I manage this without the kids whining and complaining.  It's simple, I DON'T.  Let me just be completely honest here, dinner isn't easy to pull off.  And it's even harder to sit through.

Here's our week in dinners:


Teriyaki salmon
Parmesan quinoa with asparagus
Grilled pineapple
Salad with feta, pomegranate with chocolate balsamic dressing

It was all gluten free because they had a friend with celiac stay for dinner. Which meant our kitchen table that only seats 6, was overflowing. So Craig and I ate in the dining room by ourselves, which was really nice.  They could have been talking about boogers and secretly feeding the dogs their food.  Who cares, it was peaceful for a change.


Dog food
Caesar salad

Not dog food out of a bag.  It's a recipe I cook up containing brown rice, barley, pumpkin and ground turkey sprinkled with shredded cheese.

It was comfort food for a very cold day after the kids were frozen from tennis and track.  They were too cold to fight and this is one of very few recipes the whole family likes.  Even Bonnie and Clyde who got the leftovers. So they had a war about which kid didn't have homework that night.  Who was coldest.  Bragging about who has almost saved up enough money for a hypothetical ipad they'll never get because they'll blow it on something else way before then.


Portabello mushroom and spinach enchiladas
Caesar salad

I had portabello mushrooms and googled recipes and this vegan one came up and sounded fun.  I cheated and added cheese because we're not vegan.  I had avocados that needed to be used up, so I made some guacamole and then told the kids they could have chips with it if they ate it. Then we got a call that one of my good friends sliced her finger making dinner and came over for Craig to look at it and see if she needed stitches mid-dinner.  So mid-dinner, we all crammed into my unsanitary bathroom to ogle her laceration.  Afterward, I forced her to eat some enchilada to ensure the kids it was good. Which she did.  This didn't convince my mushroom hating kids they liked it.  But, my tortilla/guacamole bribe worked.   So, they all ate mushrooms, spinach and avocado.  Yeeeeesssss!


Kale, brussel sprout salad

My friend Suzanne gave me her lasagna recipe, so I had to try it.  And I hadn't made lasagna in years, the kids were totally stoked.  Of course, I had an eggplant laying around, so I felt a nutritional obligation to throw that in. No one was on to anything, except Ember, the eggplant detective.  She picked out every thinly sliced piece with expert precision while making unappetizing gagging noises.  While 1 out of 4 isn't bad odds at all,  all the kids fought about whether there'd be a snow day the following day (today).  Thank god there wasn't.


Slow cooker coconut pork curry
Madagascar pink rice
Kale, brussel sprout salad

Ok, so I've never made this before. But, I'm so excited to try a new recipe.  I always am.  And come on, pink rice? Does dinner get more fun than that?  I don't think so. Wait, why the hell is it pink? Is it finger lacerated blood rice or something? Whatever, that just means more iron.  They don't have school the next day, so they're going to be so excited bragging about how they're each going to have a better day off than their sibling.  It doesn't even matter if the food's good or not, there will be some reason for dinner to suck.  Like constantly reminding them not to pet the dogs at the table. Or hiding vegetables in their napkins.


Papa Murphy's pizza
Cut up veggies and ranch (Which I put out prior to pizza and it gets devoured)

TGIF!  This is our traditional Friday night dinner and my night off cooking.  Because, by the end of the week I just can't take it anymore.  I can't muster up the energy to prepare dinner, fight through it and then have to clean it all up afterward.


Sober (non-vodka) penne with spinach
Caesar salad

Normally, I wouldn't have a clue what the hell we're having on Saturday, because I don't usually plan that far ahead. But, this Saturday my sister and brother-in-law will be visiting us.   Maybe we can have a kids table and an adult table.   Wait.  Unless we make my sister and her husband eat with the kids and Craig and I go in the other room again.  Hmmm...

Before it starts all over again next week.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Po-lem-ic noun an aggressive attack on or refutation of the opinions or principles of another

I had the song picked out months ago. It's one of my all time favorites with a very political point. I know what you're thinking. No, it's not "Pour Some Sugar on Me". The question was, could I make a pole routine that would do justice to it? The answer of course is "no".  Despite this, I pushed forward anyhow.

So on the week I completed and submitted Rock The Kasbah, the book to my editor. That Saturday I danced on a pole to Rock the Casbah, the song.

In case you're not a neurotic hipster audiophile who knows that the song was written about the ban  Islamist authorities had on popular music from the West from the 1970's through the 1990's in Iran, that's what the song's about. Not only is my dance polemical, I also have a poleax to grind.

Because I think the best way to make a statement about what's going on in the Islamist regime in Egypt right now and the treatment of women there is best expressed while dancing provocatively scantily clad on a pole.

(The video starts a little late and I screw up, see if you catch it.  Ok, there's more than one mistake...)

Suck that Morsi! Not to be confused with Morrissey, whom I have no poleax to grind with.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Discomfort Zone

I woke up again in the middle of the night.  Only this time it wasn't my head racing, it was my fatigued muscles keeping me awake.  Particularly my sore overworked biceps.  As a woman, my natural strength is in my legs, but my power is in my arms.  It's power well earned.

Amidst the frenzy of submitting my book to the editor, I didn't realize the pole dance recital was so close.  I had chosen a song months ago, but I didn't have time to put much together.  Which left me scrambling at the last minute to come up with something, anything that worked to fill that three and a half minutes.  What I ended up with isn't a  flowy routine loaded with dazzling moves.  It's more a series of athletic maneuvers thrown together.  At first, I was kinda disappointed.  I can do more, I thought.  Before I concluded,  this is what I want to do and it fits my personality perfectly.  So I'm gonna do it.

I used to live in the discomfort zone.  I still have a condo there and visit quite frequently.  But over the last few years, I don't go as often as I used to.  Because finally, I've figured out that the cure for discomfort is making yourself even more uncomfortable by doing it.  Whatever "it" is for you.  For me it was being in a room full of people I don't know in my underwear dancing on a pole.  Singing in public.  Writing a book.  Submitting that book to an editor who's gonna rip it to shreds, cause that's her job.  (I keep reminding myself of that one.)  And several other smaller, but no less significant, terrifying life things.

And while things like singing in public may not seem significant, it is.  Taking the first big leap is the hardest part.  After you do that, the discomfort actually becomes more comfortable.  It's true. Your fear is slowly being replaced by courage.  Sure, you'll probably screw it up. But who cares?  Because courage's tag team partner is confidence.   It's worth the risk. No matter what happens, even if you fall flat on your face, you still win.

So what are you waiting for?  Stock up on some tiger balm, band aids and maybe a suture kit and step out of the discomfort zone.  Improved strength guaranteed!  (Sadly, Linda Hamilton Terminator arms are not.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


It was Sunday and there was an emergency.  I had just finished reading Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain.  I needed something to read stat.   And the library was closed.  That's what led me to Barnes and Noble that fateful day and that's how I learned about Snoop;  What Your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling.

Funny, this weekend I had two friends come to my house for the first time on two different days.  One knows me well, the other doesn't.  Can you accurately define my personality by my house?  Here's your snoop tour.

This is the office where I spend most of my time, narrowly beating out the kitchen.  It's cluttered, it's messy with a hodge podge of stuff.  I know you can't tell but just days before I had "cleaned it up".  And by cleaning I mean straightened.  Sort of.

When you zoom in you can see it's loaded with dust.  A recurrent theme in my house.

This is my bookshelf.  Sort of categorized by travel on the top shelf, spirituality on the second shelf, my favorite fiction on the third and psychology/sociology stuff on the bottom.  With some misshelved exceptions. Also, loaded with dust.

I have lots of buddahs in my house, but this is a shiva she's a deity in one of the levels of heaven.  Although, I don't know which one.  I'd personally be happy to make it to any of them.

This is my unpainted and undecorated bedroom.  The bed is never made and the night stands don't match.  I prefer unmatching unique pieces I get second hand or from my travels.  Or World Market.

Here's my stripper pole in the bedroom.  I know that sounds kinky, but it's really not.  The kids play on it more than I do.  It's usually the place where they hand cuff each other to.  And no, the handcuffs aren't mine, nor are they kinky.

Then there's the bathroom with my messy collection of expensive sunscreens and face serums.  But if you peek under the cupboard you'll see my do it yourself box of hair color and you won't find a hair dryer because I don't own one.

You might think from the planted seeds in my bed room that I have a green thumb.  Nothing could be further from the truth, I'm a serial killer to all things green.  This is where my daughter put her seeds, as it's the place that gets the most light in the house.

Here's our stage and graffiti wall.  No, this wasn't built for me to dance on or for our rock band to perform on. My husband built it years ago at my insistence that it would be cool to have a stage for the kids to play on.  And the graffiti wall, well, it just seemed cool.

The main floor is painted bright colors. I have a very green kitchen and an extremely orange dining room.   Recently, I've made my own foray into color too.  Which is odd for me.

From the photos you may pick up  I'm open, conscientious and agreeable with a real love of dirt.  And that's true.  

But, you could also be fooled by the bright colors, pole and stage into thinking I'm an extrovert.  However, I rate extremely low on the extroversion and neuroticism scales.   

The question is what does your stuff say about you?

Friday, April 5, 2013

You're a Writer if...

Next week I'll be sending my book off to the editor.  Which got me thinking about being a writer and how you know if you are one or not.

You're a writer if...

1.  You have an item of clothing you need to wear to put you in your comfy, writing place.

2.   A hunchback is forming from hours spent sitting in front of the computer.

3.  And a deep seeded fear that you'll die from deep vein thrombosis with a hunchback.

4.  And a deep seeded fear that you'll die from deep vein thrombosis with a hunchback wearing glasses.

5.  You're so obsessed with what you're writing you think about it all day long every day.

6.  Which is why your favorite sweater smells and so you do because you neglect personal hygiene.

7.  Also, you either forget to eat or mindlessly eat trying to think of an adequate synonym for enraged.

8.  The thesaurus is always tabbed, but still there is no synonym synonymous enough for enraged.

9.  It's too late when you realize you shouldn't eat honey on an english muffin whilst typing.

10.  When you wipe it off with a wet wipe you instantly freak when the screen starts flickering.

11.  You take your notebook with you everywhere and write in it furiously while talking to yourself.

12.  Which is why no one talks to you in public.

13.  Either that or it's the drool seeping from the corners of your mouth.

14.  Writing envy prompts you to quarantine yourself to reading books you don't like.

15.  And from hiding people who are too witty and eloquent from your facebook.

16.  Because you've become completely insecure.

17.  But, it's time to face it, you were all along.

!8.  Just now that you're putting yourself out there in writing, you're also vulnerable.

19.  Cause you realize you can't spell for shit without spell check.

20.  And you just lost track of time writing and forgot to pick your kids up at school.

Holy crap, I think I'm a writer now!

Monday, April 1, 2013



A facebook trend where instead of using a real picture, a user uploads a picture of a celebrity with whom they vainly perceive shared physical features but is in reality much more attractive. DOPPELGANGER

First of all, I'm the youngest of six kids. So one of the worst things you could say to me is "Hey, you know who you look like?" Cause yeah. I KNOW. I look exactly like my dad and my five siblings. I know this I've been told this my whole life. Not like it's a bad thing, but it's kinda like living in the shadow of someone else. And all I've ever wanted to be is my own individual person. NOT Cindy Brady! Cause that's where I am in the line-up of the 3 boy, 3 girl split in my family.

In my 20's I used to get "Hey, you know who you look like" a lot. It was usually the same actress over and over and I didn't even know who she was. At first. Just so you know what we're dealing with here. Here's a glamor shot of me circa 1990. In my defense, the photo shoot was a gift. And what a gift it was. My kids can make fun of me for years to come and now you can too. While the rest of the world was perming their hair to make it look that frizzy, mine is natural. With the help of lots of Aussie Sprunch Spray back. Yay me.

Of course that's me dolled up by a professional. I didn't look like that on an average day. This is me on an average day, back in the day...

You can't tell in this photo, but this picture was in Paris when I was a foot masseuse. Ok, I wasn't a professional. But, I was really good at sneezing apparently, at at least threatening to sneeze. I LOVED, insanely loved that white v-neck t-shirt WITH shoulder pads I got at Express. My slouchy posture? It's totally natural like my frizzy hair. Don't be jealous.

Naturally, my kids have seen some of my old mortifying photos. So, we were watching an old movie the other night when River was like "Hey, you know who you look like? Her. When you were younger." This was a new one for me. I don't think anyone had ever told me I looked like Elizabeth Perkins from Big before. I think it's the hair. (Interesting factoid: This is pre-Weeds deep smoker voice that she has now. That's what 20 plus years of smoking does to you.)

No, back in the day I used to get "Hey, you know who you look like? Anna from General Hospital. Now, I'm not a soap opera watcher, so after I heard this a few times, oddly mostly from guys, I looked to see who she was and what people thought I looked like. Even though she's gorgeous and I was flattered, I still wanted to punch them in the face. It was only a few years ago when my friend Sara told me the actress who played her, Finola Hughes, was also in Saturday Night Fever. Which I'd never seen because in addition to hating soap operas, I also hate dance movies. That was until I saw this still from the movie of her looking all confused ninja. The awkward pose, frizzy hair and a superhero looking costume.

 Ok, maybe we do look alike...

I totally see it now.

We're doppelgangers for sure!  I could totally kick her ass though.  Just sayin'.


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