Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fair Weather People

I'm not a fair weather person, never have been.  If I commit to something, I'm going to follow it through.  And I freely admit I'm rather intolerant of people who don't have the same sense of commitment that I do.   It's not as though I don't despise the rough times as much as anyone else, I do.  It's just that I've learned to plow through it, albeit a bit passive aggressively.  Atlhough 'a bit' is minimizing it, a lot.  

I walk my dogs every afternoon, and neither snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness can stop me.  Although pelting hail will.  And if it's more than a drizzly rain, I can't manage two dogs on two leashes with two pendulous bags of poop while holding an umbrella over my head. So ok, I admit, there are some limits.  But for the most part, I'm out there every afternoon with my dogs Bonnie and Clyde, who together outweigh me by about 40 pounds.  And they're not very leash trained.  Although I'm trained to curse every time I see a walker, biker, runner, other dogs, the UPS truck, bunnies, squirrels or deer. Because these are the things set them off. Clyde being the most prone to misbehave, lunge and chase. 

They love our walks in the winter most, especially when it's snowing.  Bonnie shovels the snow up into a pile with her snout before eating it. And Clyde likes to walk slowly, I would say because he enjoys the brisk weather, but it's actually because he's lazy. All year round. Then there's me, layered in a jacket with a hat, gloves and boots with snot dripping out of my nose like a faucet, freezing my ass off. And even though there's still wildlife and the garbage truck to contend with, which may result in me being pulled off the icy sidewalk into the road in chase, it's still better than when the weather is beautiful outside.

Because, when the weather is sunny and gorgeous, everyone is out.  Riding bikes, running, walking dogs and babies, not to mention the crazy lady who walks all over the west side of town talking to herself.  And I get so, so pissed off and go into a passive aggressive diatribe in my head or under my breath.  Depending.

"Oh yeah?  You're walking your dog today in the sunshine, Sunshine?  I have never seen you before in my life and I walk this same route everyday.  So where were you yesterday when it was overcast and chilly?  You were in your cozy armchair with a cup of tea and a scone reading a book wearing your cheetah print snuggy weren't you?  WEREN'T YOU?  Guess where I was?  I was right here walking my dogs who happened to see a herd of stubborn deer who refused to move in a standoff that lasted for 5 minutes while Clyde barked and pulled me across someone's yard.   This is right before they came upon a bunny carcass on the side of the road that Bonnie picked up, began eating and attempted to bring home while I screamed like a little girl. I don't even know what possessed the Jehovah's Witness to try to give me a pamphlet.  I mean, sweet Jesus, my hands were full with two Safeway bags brimming with poop and I was double dutch jump roping two dog leashes.  And really?  Clyde barks at everyone!  Why, for the love of god, didn't he bark and chase her off?  WHY I ASK YOU???"

So yeah, if you're a fair weather person, I WILL judge you!  And I just realized I may be the crazy lady on the west side of town who talks to herself...  

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Legend Lives On

It's tradition, our annual Halloween party.  It's also a helluva lotta work. But I love it. Kinda like our dogs Bonnie & Clyde.  And every year I try to outdo the year before with an even better costume.  This year I got my inspiration while taking my pain in the ass outlaw dogs out for a walk.  After which I promptly found myself at the Goodwill texting Craig.  Making him believe he had some say in our costuming.  He didn't.

Please note:  The cigar is fake, I don't condone smoking.
Though the real life Clyde was the mastermind of their crimes.  Bonnie is the mastermind of this Halloween party.  Or at least of making a leg band holster.

 Because I wasn't in charge of the scavenger hunt, that was handed over to Sky this year.

Nor did I set up a whole seance tent with a homemade Ouija board on the patio.  In fact, I told friends there would be no Ouija board this year, after last years incident, you can read about here.  Obviously, we never got around to destroying it.

So obviously, we used it again and were suitably freaked out. Again.  And now it's tucked back in the crawlspace in my house.  AGAIN.

I also, was not the master of karaoke and did not perform Otis Redding convincingly.  Although I may have performed Aretha unconvincingly.  And oddly, while we were being the reckless Bonnie and Clyde, Bonnie and Clyde the dogs were angelic.  It was weird.

But the real outlaw at the party, was a young girl I didn't even know, who wasn't even invited to the party.  She was a Halloween crasher.  Ok, not entirely.  She was the plus one friend of a party guest.  And she ate, sang karaoke and then stole my freaking gun and pointed it at me.

If you see this girl in the Colorado Springs area, she's armed and dangerous.  Do not approach her.  Especially if she ate the chili, because then she's even more dangerous...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Case of the Lost Keys

It was a chaotic Monday morning just like any other, but I had a 9am pole dance class to look forward to.  Which made pushing the kids out the door after a long, long weekend of family togetherness even more rewarding.  When they were finally all gone, after a brief moment of solitary bliss, I went to leave for my class.  But, I couldn't find my keys.  I looked in all the usual places, to no avail.  There are two things that drive me completely crazy, losing things and staying home all day.  And today combined them both.

My keys were lost.  And so was I.  

After an extensive search, I called my husband to see if perhaps he had accidentally taken my keys.  And as we replayed the events of the previous day we concluded that my oldest son used them last when he moved the car the afternoon before.  So I called him.  And texted him.  While seething.  Of course, he was in class and had no idea I was a prisoner in my own home.  And head.  But finally, mid-day after more looking, re-looking and obsessing over my keys, he got back to me.  No, he didn't have them.  Which only made me certain he didn't even look.  

Which only made me more obsessed and more enraged.

And even though I was positive the keys were in his cargo shorts pocket, it didn't stop me from tearing the house apart.  Looking in new more obscure places like the cleaning closet.  I mean who would go in there?  And old places I'd already looked about a hundred times.  I kept telling myself to stop searching, but somehow that only fed my urgent need to find them even more.  Until he came home from school and I was nearly in tears.  Because by this time, I realized that the keys to the safe where our passports are kept are also on that ring.  And I didn't want breaking into the safe and then replacing the safe on my to-do list.  Among other things.  Although my son assured me again, he did not have the keys, he did do a good faith search to help me find them.  Which after about a half an hour, he did.  

Right here. 

Now, I know what you're going to say, "Good god woman, you're a moron! They are right there on that hook on the side of the fridge."  And yes, this is completely true and valid.  However, I'VE NEVER SEEN THAT HOOK BEFORE IN MY LIFE!  Neither had my son or my other son. Trust me,  I did a full CIA interrogation. Until I called my husband again.  He'd found the hook in the Halloween decorations the day before, but did not put my keys on it.  Jade did because she thought it was the perfect place to store the keys.

My name is Marie and I'm a moron.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fright Night

While I love halloween, I don't like scary movies or haunted houses.  Maybe because my childhood home looked exactly like the Amityville Horror house.  No joke, creepy attic windows and all.  That and that haunted house I went to when I was in college in Alabama.  Where one of the gory characters chased me down through the enitre house.  Ok, it's because I lost a barrette and he was trying to return it to me.  Of course, at the time,  I had no idea that was the reason.  And that year I spent in Alabama for college?  That was a horror story of a completely different kind.

So when Craig suggested it would be fun to go to The Haunted Mines here in town, I was immediately looking for an out.  Until he told me he already bought the really expensive tickets for all of us and then broke the news it would take 30 minutes to go through it.  Then I searched even harder for an exit strategy.  But, in the end, I couldn't come up with one.

Before I even stepped foot inside, I was terrified.

It started in line, where we waited for over an hour just to get to the front for our turn.  It's not that the suspense was building so much as it was the teenage couple who made out directly in front of us during our wait.  Talk about grotesque!  Then they started to play guess which movie on the outdoor screen, yup, Amityville Horror.  "Look kids, where the flies attack the priest, that was where my bedroom was in grandpa's house." 

Then finally, it was our turn.  

And a funny thing happened.  I became hilarious.  Oh, I'm not joking.  Let me assure you, I definitely didn't go in first, cause the only funny thing about that would've been me peeing myself.   But, when I knew exactly what was coming because Jade's brave friend went through first, then I could devote myself fully to trying to make the actors break character and laugh.  And it worked.  Not just once, but several times.  

Cause when I'm trying to cover my unease, I always try to make people laugh.

So, when a zombie crept up behind me and whispered in my ear that he wanted to take one of my children, I responded the only way I could.  "Take them all, they're expensive.  Dude....the college years are coming.  Oh, not the really blond girl though, she's not mine.  But, the other four, definitely."  This was after I complimented the creepy dolls on their synchronized messy pigtails, asked the guy in the haunted saloon if they served alcohol and introduced a guy to the group the Pet Shop Boys by singing West End Girls to him.  He even stopped my husband, who was at the end of the line, to ask him what the name of the song was again, so he could look it up later.  That's how compelling my performance was.

OMG, zombies and other creeps totally get me!

Since my family doesn't laugh at my jokes anymore or acknowledge how funny I am, even though I've assured them many times that I am, I think I'm just going to have to go to haunted houses just for the validation.  Although,  I'll make sure I'm completely barretteless first.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wine Enthusiast

A sampling of my wine cork selection.  
By now you may know I really like wine.  Only red though.  And I prefer it to be bold, full bodied and not come out of box or have a screw cap.  I have nothing against screw caps per se, it's just that removing a cork adds a little more pageantry to the process.  This is in direct contradiction to everything else in my life, which I like to keep casual and understated.  Everything except my wine.

I want it to be an experience, to savor it.  
But, maybe that's because I'm spending at least $10 a freakin' bottle.
In my defense the labels are beautiful...

Bring on the freakshow!
Ok, not so beautiful, more confused, as was I when I bought a $6 bottle of crap
solely because the question mark on the bottle was my favorite color,
And come on, this bottle of red is perfect for when Aunt Flo comes to visit.
Of course I like my red served up with a gourmet meal
with a side of deep, meaningful adult conversation.

And I also love to enjoy it outside in a stemmed glass sitting at the tiki bar.
(Don't even get me going on those new sub par and less elegant stemless wine glasses....ughhhh.)
But, if I have no other choice,
 I will drink it out of a clearly labeled plastic cup.  
And I think we all know how a night with a nice bottle of red with a cork sipped from an elegant stemmed glass with  a gourmet alfresco meal  with deep, meaningful adult conversation has to end.  With some spicy dark chocolate, preferably
while getting spicy in the hot tub.

Please note:  This post is pure fantasy void of all the realities of 4 whining ungrateful teenagers ruining a gourmetish meal I slaved over for an hour.  Completing the picture with broken corks crumbled into the wine served in dusty chipped wine glasses that fruit flies have committed suicide in while we're fighting about who got a window seat when we flew to Portugal.  And someone forgot to put the chemicals in the hot tub, so I end up falling asleep on the couch.  AGAIN.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Special Report

Interrupting your regularly scheduled blog post to bring you this special report.

For those of you who may not know, I'm now a writer at Jummp on-line travel magazine.  And for my second article with them I was assigned the topic of pot tourism in Colorado.

So you jump on over and see what I had to say here.

And here's last months article on traveling with kids I wrote.

Oh and next month, I'll have an article on toilets you won't want to miss...

Monday, October 13, 2014

That 70's Post

Last week I found this vintage Mountain Dew t-shirt at a thrift shop.  While I hate the soda, I love old things, like the Adidas sneakers I paired with it.  The same ones I always wear camping and hiking.  The ones my friends make fun of like I should be in a Run DMC music video.  I don't care that they aren't fashionable anymore.  There's just something about the 70's that makes me feel connected to a simpler time.  Maybe because it was my childhood.

And don't we all idealize the past? Like if we just go back far enough we'll find the part where it all started to take a turn for the worse.  Which of course started with the Big Bang.  But right now, sandwiched between ISIS and Ebola, what's the harm in a bit of reverie?

They called the 70's the "Me Decade", obviously no one could have foretold that the "Millennials" would take individualism to a whole new level, until everyone was so individualized that everyone kinda became the same again.  Like Sneetches.   But alas, this was the only epidemic in the 70's which was sandwiched between polio and the HIV epidemic.  There wasn't a major health scare.  In fact you could smoke anywhere and everywhere and no one wore a seat belt ever.

The biggest crises of the day were the oil embargo, stagflation and at the tail end, the hostage crisis.  The hostage crisis which the charismatic Reagan gets credit for ending, when modest Carter was the workhorse behind it.  Environmentalism from the 60's was picking up steam and Greenpeace and granola emerged on to the scene.  And I had a pet rock, earth shoes and desperately longed to have my very own Sunshine Family complete with pottery wheel and jeep like my friend Lisa,  instead of the hand-me-down metal roller skates that strapped on over my sneakers.  Cause really how stupid are metal wheels?  All I wanted was to watch roller derby on tv and own the new fangled all in one Adidas sneaker skates.

No, the 70's weren't perfect.  Need I remind you of Nixon?  And that Ford pardoned him in the same decade.  The song Afternoon Delight was on the radio as was the group Wings.  I don't care that Paul McCartney was in it, it sucked.  Even as a kid without access to an ipod chock full of songs tailored to my own personal taste, I knew this.

But when things get stressful and look dire, this is where I go back to in my mind.
The 70's, a simpler time, if only in my mind.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

That Magic Moment

Have you ever been in a moment that is so magical you want to suspend it in time so it can last forever?  Yeah, well mine is gone.  Ok, it was more like a stream of moments put together that were my kids' single digit years.  And though my youngest,  Ember, isn't double digits until next month, we've bridged one of those major magical milestones, confirmation that Santa (the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy) isn't real.

I couldn't wait for this magic moment to come or so I thought.  Hiding the gifts "from Santa" was getting exhausting with 4 snoopy kids.  In addition to answering the increasingly intricate questions of how he gets all those presents to all those houses.  Putting out and eating the cookies and carrots on Christmas Eve was a burden.  Maybe that wasn't so hard.  And to be honest, we didn't eat the carrots, we just put them back in the fridge and pretended the reindeer ate them.

Though I couldn't wait for the charade to be over, I still didn't want to tell Ember quite yet, except we're going to Thailand over Christmas.  And I don't have the energy to hide stuff from Santa in the luggage and try to pull off a magical Christmas after 24 hours of traveling with 4 kids and little sleep.  But I really feel like an era is gone now.  And I want to take it all back.  To pretend that magic still exists and try to keep my kids in a suspended state of innocent wonder where good things come to good people forever.

But instead, I'll have to accept that the magic moment is gone.  That they need to experience all the wonder of the world.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  And they'll need to learn how to make their own magic.   And how to savor and celebrate it in all its fleeting delight.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Timed Out

Sometimes, I want to show you new things I can do on a pole.  But, you might not know how difficult these things can be to capture.  Because I take them with a self timer.  Meaning, I have exactly 10 seconds to set the timer, determine the best angle for the shot, hop on the pole and hold it.  Often with blood rushing to my head and it's hard not to look ridiculous with a vein popping out of your head, especially when you're in pain on top of that. And there are so many times I can't even get into the move in 10 seconds.  So I have a lot of shots of me in weird positions looking pissed.  Really, really pissed. Cause I am.  If I shot it in video, it would be a stream of curses.

This is one of my favorite moves,
 bonus, it's fairly easy to photograph too

Butterfly is also highly photogenic.

This was me attempting superman,
which looks nothing like this, I just timed out.

This is an attempt at pyramid,
which I did get later.

And this is an early dismount from something,
I have no recollection of...all that blood rushing to my head and all.

This is Gemini, unless it's Scorpio.  I'm turning my smile upsidedown here
 cause I don't particularly like this pic

Pyramid, nailed it!
Unless it's called tripod...

This is triangle or "d" or in my case backwards "d".

Just made it, you can see my hand is still in motion.
This knee hold must've taken about 15 tries
and I still have the bruises to prove it.
If you haven't timed out and want to see me at my last recital with the lights on even, here it is...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Body Image Post

I'm almost 45 and the most fit I've ever been.  Achieved through nothing less than hard work and making a commitment to staying healthy every day.   So when I recently saw some professional photos of a friend, I thought maybe I'd like to get some done.  So I started researching "boudoir photos".  And for 24 hours, I considered it.  Until I realized, this kind of photo isn't me.  Lingerie and lots of make-up aren't my thing.   Maybe that was the temporary appeal of it all, to feel and look like someone else.  Someone I'm not. 

Gabrielle Reece
Then, I asked myself what it was I really wanted out of this whole photo shoot thing.  And the answer is, I want to accept myself for the way I am: short legs, small chest, thin straggly hair with receding hairline, a giraffe neck, accompanied by an extremely long cheekboneless face with a big chin and forehead.  By seeing my body for what it is and what it can do.  Not my body in comparison to other women.  And not to make anyone else feel inadequate, but to send the message that with dedication and sweat equity, anything is possible. Especially in your forties and beyond.  Especially for my daughters.  Especially in a world of feigned photoshop perfection.

Malia Jones
The women I find the most attractive are those that live their passion and push themselves beyond their limits.  Doing it with a sense of grace that makes it appear effortless but only comes from failing a million times over only to get up and try again.  Women who don't cover up their flaws, but instead flaunt them and the imperfections that make them beautiful.    These are the women I want my daughters to look up to and emulate.  Which is exactly why I'm going to stay true to myself.

 Never been a fan of lingerie. I like comfy, cotton underwear dammit!
And stilettos? I'll stick to my chucks, thank you very much.

But, who knows, if a photo opportunity for a natural over 40, non-surgically enhanced fitness model who's really uncomfortable in front of the camera comes along, maybe I'll take it.   But, I definitely won't be sitting around waiting for that to happen.  I've got pole moves to master and Jillian Michael's ass to kick.  


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