Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Head & Heart


I'm constantly fighting a battle between my head and my heart.  Torn between what I should do and what I want to do.  What I know to be true and what I want to be true.  And what I know to be lies, but still ruminate on as if they're true.  It's a vicious and exhausting cycle that I can't seem to stop cycling through.

I'm an emotional decision maker.  I always have been.  Which is odd because from the outside, I'm not an overly-emotional person.  I don't cry easily.  And I'm not an easy laugh either.  But, when I do either, they are genuine.  I also don't get attached to people easily, because when I do my soft heart is left defenseless.  Which is why my mind builds walls.  

My head is much smarter than my foolish heart.  My brain can rationalize, analyze the facts, consider the risks and predict the final outcome.  It's just that my heart is so much stronger than my head.  Because my heart can manipulate my head into conspiring with it.  Like the time I wanted and pleaded with my husband to adopt two more kids.  Luckily, unlike me, my husband's logic usually and easily wins the battle over his emotions.  Which is why we only have four kids instead of six.  And in hindsight, I can see he was right.  He's always right with that kind of stuff.  (I hope he doesn't read this.)

The problem is, while my heart is generous and compassionate to others, it tends to be hateful and vicious to me.  I carry all of my irrational insecurities around in my heart.   All the feelings that I'm not good enough.   Then I berate and brutalize myself quietly, chambered off from the rest of the world.  And reality.  It's what I've always done.  And not to brag, but I'm pretty damn good at it!

Except, now I know I'm doing it.  And that it's holding me back.  That I have to use my head to rationalize myself out of the situation.  But, I already know that my logic is underutilized and thus, ill-equipped to deal with the steady barrage of self deprecating thoughts and feelings.  And I know what I have to do. I have to fortify my head if I'm to have a fighting chance to rescue myself from my malicious and ruinous heart.  Riding out the emotions, while continuing to reason that all the lies I tell myself aren't true.  Hoping one day,  I'll believe it.  And that my head will one day win the war over my heart.  To save myself.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Proud


My oldest son graduates from high school today.  But, that's not why I'm proud of him.  High school is actually pretty easy to graduate from.  Plus, it's an expectation.  It's your job as a kid to go to school and to graduate from it.

Let me tell you about my son.  He's confident, charismatic and industrious. And yes, obviously he's adopted because he clearly didn't get any of these traits from me.  He got a work permit and a job at age 15.  Not because we suggested he get one.  But, mostly because we'd always told him we wouldn't buy him a car.  That he'd have to save up his money and buy his own.  Which is exactly what he did.  Last summer at age 17, he'd saved enough to buy a 1972 International Scout.  He was so proud the day he bought it.  He asked me to do the honors and start the engine so he could check the timing,  the first day it was home.  That's when I inadvertently crashed his car into my 1969 Karmann Ghia. (You can read that story here. )  Don't worry, his car sustained no damage.  Even though he had a car, he couldn't drive it.  Because he'd never driven a manual before.  After only two lessons with his dad, he was a pro.  Then he researched how to fix nearly everything on his car on the internet and spent countless hours fixing it up.  Spending about $2000 of his own money in parts.  He even painted it himself.


Photo Credit:  Ember Loerzel
Special Guest Appearance:  Clyde Loerzel
He loved that car.  I'd often look out my bedroom window and see him in the driveway standing and admiring it.  Who could blame the kid?  He'd worked his ass off to get himself the exact car he wanted.  Until one day, when he realized how much he could sell it for.   Then, unbeknownst to us at the time, he promptly quit his job.  And then to our complete shock,  he sold his beloved car and made $2000 in profit.  The man he sold it to was so impressed with my son, he finally asked him how old he was right before the sale.  18, he told him.

That's when he started shopping for a "new" old Scout to invest in.  And he found one.  A newer model from 1979.  In South Carolina.  That wasn't running.  And he had it shipped to our house sight unseen.  Not only that, when he couldn't secure a driver through a broker after trying three times, he cut out the middleman entirely and hired his own driver.  WTF was he thinking?  

One rainy day, it arrived and he rolled it off the truck and he and his dad towed it up the driveway.  He'd already bought the parts to get it up and running.  And within a week, he had a working vehicle again.   

Until...

he lost the key.  The only key to his new car.  He looked everywhere for it.  Then, he called a locksmith.  And determined that  $150 was too expensive.  Because, of course,  he'd be paying the locksmith with his own money.  So, he decided to hot wire the car.  And  buy a new ignition and key for $10.  Installing it took him a whole day.  But, he did it.  And promptly made two copies of the new key.  (The next day, when I was doing laundry, the old key fell out of the dryer.)  

That's why I'm proud of him. 
Because my kid has life skills...
and he can hot wire a car.   

Monday, May 15, 2017

Just Like Riding a Bike


The sun was shining, the temperature was balmy, but not oppressive.  None of my kids were home and my husband and I were headed to a wine tasting.  When I had an idea.  The tasting was only a few miles away and it was the perfect day to ride our bikes.  Never mind that I haven't ridden my bike in years.  Why haven't I done that again?  This is gonna be fun.

Just like riding a bike.

But first, my husband needed to perform emergency surgery on both of our bikes.  Because while we hadn't used them, our kids have.  And they left his with a flat and mine with wonky brakes that needed to be tweaked.  So after an hour and a half of preparations, we were ready to get on the trail.  Life slows down on a bike.  You notice how green the grass is.  How invigorating the breeze is on your face.  It's liberating.

That was the first two minutes.  When I was riding downhill on a smooth paved road.  And then we hit the dirt trail covered with small stones.  Still going downhill.   I'm so gonna wipe out.    Wait, why didn't I wear a helmet?  I always tell my kids to wear one.  And I've only been on this seat for about 5 minutes and it's killing my crotch.  It's all coming back to me now.  

Just like riding a bike. 

Now, I remember why I don't like riding a bike.  Because the bike rides your crotch.  And I'm a girl, with less equipment down there.  So, guys with junk....how does that work?  Where do you put your balls?   How can it possibly be comfortable?  And you can tell me about those padded seats and bike shorts, but I can't imagine it completely solves the issue.  This is why I don't like bike riding.  

Because it's just like riding a bike.  

And the worst was yet to come.  Because, after the wine tasting, we needed to get back on the bikes and head home.  Which was all uphill.  Because where I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at nearly 7,000 ft elevation, there is no flat stretch.  Not for miles.   So, we hop on our bikes and start pedaling.  

Life slows down on a bike.  Like how is it even possible we aren't even half way there yet?  I feel like my heart is going to explode.  Then, I notice how green the grass is.  And how it's filled with dog crap.  What kind of ingrate doesn't pick up their dog's shit?  How invigorating the breeze is on my face.  While a bug flies up my nose.  But it very well could've been my mouth or eye.  My ass burns, my thighs burn and so does my crotch.  

Nothing makes you feel quite like riding a bike.  
Which is why mine will remain parked in the garage. 




Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mother's Day Gifts


Not only am I a pathetic gift giver, I'm also terrible at receiving gifts.  Especially if the gift comes in the form of a compliment.  Those are the worst and I'll make you take it back.  The thing is, I'm both a little bit picky and a lotta bit practical.  Flowers?  They're expensive for something that's going to die in 3 days.  Jewelry?  I'm not going to wear it.  A spa gift card?  I'll regift it to someone who actually likes spa treatments.  

It's not that I'm a bitch,
I just really don't want gifts. 

Unless you can gift me my teenage metabolism back.  Or make my kids pick up after themselves.  And I'm talking every day, not just on Mother's Day.  Not that they'll do that on Mother's Day either, mind you.  Although, if I were presented with a trip to Bali, I wouldn't pass that up.  Because an experience is the best thing you can get or give.  A girl can dream, can't she?

Two years ago on Mother's Day my husband got me an Amazon Echo.  Which was a fantastic idea on my husband's part.  Except that, it doesn't follow any of my commands.  (Just like my kids.)  So, I end up shouting "Alexa" over and over before I start shouting obscenities, until I finally unplug it.  Last year, my husband got me a foot bath to soak my feet in.  Which I just took offense to.  Are you telling me my feet are gross?  Also, I'm going to have to clean the thing out after every time I use it, so obviously, I'm not going to use it.  Because I'm lazy and it's just one more obligation.  Not that my husband didn't try, he did.   Wait...maybe I am a bitch.

Anyway, this year, I bought my own Mother's Day gift.  I was shopping at Costco when I saw it.  They were on display, all shiny and beautiful.  And with a manufacturer's instant rebate for $35 off too.  New stainless steel pots.  And there's no way my husband could've bought them for me.  Because if he did, he'd be considered sexist.  Same as if he got me a vacuum or a blender.  But, if I buy them for myself for Mother's Day, I'm a fiercely independent, post-modern feminist.  The irony isn't lost on me.  Maybe next year I should get myself a cast iron Dutch oven even.

But, really my fondest Mother's Day wish is that buying my own gift means that my husband will buy himself his own gift for Father's Day.  Oh, well...that and world peace.  But, I think world peace is always implied.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Barefootin'


There comes a time, after the snow melts and also after a few weeks of anti-fungal treatment because you forgot to wear your flip flops in the shower at the RV park, for your feet to make their summer debut.  Most women delight in sandal season and kick it off with an industrial strength pedicure and a coat of bright polish.  But, I'm not most women.

I hate spa treatments, including mani-pedis.  Among the many reasons for this is that I don't want to pay for women to gossip about how gross my feet are in Korean.  Not to stereotype or anything, but in my vast pedicure experience, three times, I've had a pedicure, they've all been Korean.  Wait, I think I've only gone twice.  Anyway, obviously I have a huge pool of data to draw from.  And no one should see my feet that close up.  Even with a mask on after my feet have been soaked in disinfectant.  What kind of psycho wants to be a nail technician?  Or a dental hygienist?  They are two of the grossest jobs.  I'm personally doing my best to make the job go extinct, by reducing demand, but so far it's not working.

It's not that I don't take care of my feet.  I clip my nails regularly.  Well, when I finally locate the nail clippers.  They're usually in my sons' shower.  Which helps explain the 20 minute showers they take.  Then, I use a PedEgg a few times a year to cheese grate off the thick callouses.   And I push back my cuticles annually, whether they need it or not.  So, it's a very strict regimen, obviously.

After all the obligatory maintenance is complete, that's when I go full-on glamming them up.  Not because I want to, but because with age, toenails get thicker, yellow and deep ridges appear.  Even without my distance glasses on, I'm repulsed when I look down at my own toenails.  Never mind when I sit down, pull my feet in and inspect them close up with my reading glasses on.  It's akin to looking at your face with a magnifying mirror.  Which only an esthetician should do.  Which is the third grossest job.  Extracting blackheads and popping other people's zits, really?  Anyway, this is the part where I paint my nails a gorgeous extremely pale pink that makes it look like I don't have polish on at all.  And even with my reading glasses I manage to glob it up and I will have to remove it and do it at least three times.  The third attempt is marginally better than the first, but by then I've just given up.  Plus, all my friends are middle-aged too and can't see my feet clearly from 5 or 6 feet away either.  So,  it really doesn't matter anyway.

Then, it's time for the big reveal.  So I slide into my flip flops with the arch support because I traded in the cheap Old Navy ones for a more comfortable, stable and orthopedic-friendly version years ago.   And that's when I douse my feet in sunscreen.  Even then, after reapplying several times throughout the day, I'll still have a tan line from the straps of my practical flip flops all summer long.  Which will be the least hideous thing about you seeing my bare feet.

 Do not make direct eye contact with my feet. 
 You've been warned.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Graduated


Later this month, my oldest will graduate from high school. With lofty goals and dreams for the future just like every 18 year old.  Not knowing that the dreams he has right now are completely delusional.  I know this because all 18 year olds are delusional.

First of all, they're 18, technically a legal adult, but they're not actually adults.  Because adults pay their own car insurance, health insurance, utilities, phone, food and rent.  And that's the minimal list.  The more extensive list includes deodorant and q-tips.  Because hygiene.  Which means most people don't reach adulthood until about age 30.  Or even later.  And some never even get there at all.

I was no different from any other 18 year old, other than the fact that I had a really sweet mullet and looked like Jeff Buckley's twin brother.  Yes, I said brother because I was a huge tomboy back then and I had no chest to speak of, so I was mistaken for a boy quite a lot.  Also, because I dressed like a boy back then.  Which might be why my dream when I left for college was to get a business degree then move to New York City and open my own men's clothing store.  Getting married and having kids weren't a second thought.  No.  And nope.

And then I went to college.

But, that summer before I did, I met a guy.  Yes, I still looked like I drove a Subaru.  But, I didn't.  Not that there's anything wrong with driving a Subaru, cause there's not.  But now, two of my big plans changed overnight.  I wanted to get married and have this man's babies.  I know it's gross, but that's life.  Also, the gross part is over and you can open your eyes and keep reading now.  My big plans didn't even make it to freshman orientation and they were already defiled!  

Who am I?  

The thing is, who really knows themself at 18?  All I knew was I was still going to college for business so I could pursue my dream of living in a concrete jungle, as my mom used to say.  It was only after my sophomore year that I finally figured out that I hate business.  I hate selling things.  I hate money.  And I hate numbers.  None of these things interested me at all.  Which became really obvious after I failed an accounting class.  There's no better teacher in life than failure.

So, everything I thought about myself was a lie.

But, I had to come up with a major.  And fast.  Then, I thought about all the classes I really liked and came up with Political Science.  The best thing is, there's no actual science in Political Science.  Also, no math.  Which is secretly why the US doesn't have a balanced budget.  No one in politics can do math.  It's not a prerequisite.  All you need are ideas and words.  And you don't even have to be accurate with those.  This is how I got a degree in something I hate.  Because I found it horrifically fascinating.  I may as well have a philosophy or liberal arts degree.  It's that useless.  Which must be why I went on to get a master's degree.  Obviously, I didn't get one in English Literature, cause I had to look up whether you capitalize master's degree or not.  And then I went on to start two additional degrees I never finished.  Because if I had my choice I'd be a student forever.  

But, you've gotta graduate sometime.

And get on with living your life.  You're gonna screw up.  You're gonna doubt yourself.  You're gonna realize you can't run away from problems or numbers.  That there's no perfect job, no matter what it is.  And you're gonna be depressed about all of those things and all your myriad of failures along the way.  But, none of these things define you. You do.  By what you put back into the world.  The truth is, it doesn't matter much what you do, as long as you do something in your life that fills your soul. So, share, give, create, inspire and love.  This is what you're here for.  And when you come to this realization, that's when you've truly graduated summa cum laude into adulthood.

Monday, May 1, 2017

On Reading


Every day in the late afternoon, I sit with a hot cup of tea and read.  While it may sound indulgent to make time for books, it's more of a necessity for me.  It's my solace from the responsibilities and constraints of adult life.  With my nose in a book sitting on my couch, I can go anywhere and live a thousand lives with none of the pesky real life consequences interfering.  I know this sounds all sentimental and Reading Rainbowish.  But, it's not all that simple.  I want....no...I need, a challenge.  Lately, in response to the politics of our president, I've made a conscious effort to read more books written by foreigners, minorities and women.  Bonus, if the author fits all three categories.

I'm aware I'm not saving the world. 
I just want to understand it. 

When a friend recommended I read, Reading Lolita in Tehran, it seemed like the perfect fit for me.  1.  It's a memoir.  2.  It's set in Iran.  3.  It's about a secret gathering of women from Iran reading forbidden Western classics.  A perfect fit in theory anyway.  Because: 1.  I've requested Nabokov's  Lolita from the library no less than five times and returned it unread every time.  2.  I can't get over the fact that in the book an adult male obsesses over his sexual interest in a 12 year old girl.  3. And this is the big one...I currently have a 12 year old daughter.  But, I'm not actually reading the book Lolita, I reasoned. I'm reading about other people reading it. I can do this.

So, I started in on the first chapter.  About how Professor Azar Nafisi established the reading group after she resigned her academic post in Tehran.  And then, they began reading Nabokov and that's when I lost interest and put the book down, which I almost never do, not sure if I'd ever finish it.  In the interim,  I read three books before I finally picked it up again to give it another try.  The truth was, I didn't lose interest in reading the book.  That's just what I told myself.  I was so averse to Lolita, it was to the point of being hostile.  This about a book that I'd never read.  Which when I think about it, seems utterly ridiculous.  Especially, when I think of myself as an unprudish, open-minded reader.  It's just a book.  But, it's never just a book. 

Books have power.  
As evidenced by the power Lolita has over me.
And I haven't even read it.

I was ready to give Reading Lolita another chance, reluctantly at first.  But, I did love hearing about the women in the group and what their lives were like a world away from mine.  If nothing else, this was worth another cup of jasmine tea and a couple more hours of my time.  They'd already finished discussing Lolita and now were on to reading The Great Gatsby, and other books after that.  Not only did I end up finishing the book, I really liked it.  What I look for in a book is transformations.  I want the characters I read about to evolve.  And I want to cultivate an understanding as to why they did.  

But, this book only left me with more questions.  Why am I so antagonistic about reading Lolita?  After all, I've read and loved books that are confrontational.  Ones that are gruesome and horrific.  With repugnant characters.  Why is this book holding me hostage?  Obviously, there's only one solution.  I have to read Lolita.  After all, it's a classic for a reason.  And I need to know why.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

First Impressions


Every once in a while I'll meet people who only know me from my book, blog or social media.
I really try to portray myself accurately and authentically in everything I put out there.  However, there are confines.  I have kids I try desperately not to embarrass.  Not to mention, my husband.  And I try to preserve some sense of privacy and restraint in a world that thrives on TMI.  Luckily, my dogs don't give a crap about any of this and they love me unconditionally, provided that I feed, walk, pet and share my nightly popcorn with them.

The thing is, no matter how much you put out there for the world to see (or don't),  you can never be sure what impression people have of you.  Because ultimately you have no control over how someone perceives you.  And how someone sees you usually has more to do with them than with you anyway.

So, with people who only know me through my writing, I'm always a bit nervous to meet them.  First, because I'm socially anxious, so I always feel this way about any social interaction.  Second, because I don't want to be a big, gaping, letdown.  About a year ago, I was invited to a small, intimate get together by a woman who'd read my book.  At the end of a truly lovely evening, she told me she'd wondered if I'd be funny in person or not.  And then I had that "oh shit" moment and I had to mentally run through everything I said.  Please, tell me I said something funny tonight so I didn't disappoint her.  I can actually be funny in person.  But the truth is, I'm really quite serious too.  Most of all though, when I'm in a group of people, I don't want to be the center of attention.  I'm much more comfortable one on one.

Because I'm an introvert's introvert.

When I hear things like, but you don't seem like an introvert in your writing, I'm happy to hear it. But, please know, when I'm writing I'm completely alone.  I'm not standing in a kitchen trying to make conversation with someone I've never met before with cilantro stuck between my teeth while juggling a paper plate of food and a stemmed wine glass I have nowhere to put down.  I mean, I probably have cilantro in my teeth at home too, because I love it.  But, who cares?  I'm alone.  And I'm at my most comfortable when home alone.  Unless I have workmen in my house repairing the damage from my overflowing toilet going on two and a half months now.  Then, I'm at home, but completely uncomfortable.  The only thing worse than being at a party trying to make small talk is trying to make small talk in your own home with uninvited guests.  That or trying to pretend that my house is usually clean.  I admit right now, my house is never clean.  Ever.

Anyway, skip to yesterday, when I met someone I've followed on social media for the first time one on one.  And he turned out to be exactly the way I imagined him to be.  And he said the same of me.  Which is the highest compliment and best first impression to make with a new friend.  After all, we all just want to be seen for exactly who we are, only way better.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Beauty Marketing 101



There are lots of great things about being a woman.  Like being able to bring new life into the world and being the only one who can properly replace a roll of toilet paper.  Not to mention knowing how someone is feeling before they even feel it and then there's the constantly feeling like you're not enough.  I didn't ask for these gifts.   It's just that they come absolutely free with the price of estrogen. Like it's Clinique bonus time all the time, but everything in the bag isn't your color and makes you break out, so you just use the cute bag it came in to carry around your tampons.  

As women, we're all insecure about our looks.  All of us.  Lucky for us, we have the beauty industry to confirm just how hideous we are.  Not to mention Snapchat, which corroborates, you really are a dog.  And even at that, you need an industrial strength filter to pull that one off.  

We all have some basis for feeling less than.  Mine was acne. (There are more issues than that, but let's stick to the zits here or this is going to be a novel.)  Not only did it cover my face, I also had backne.  I was extremely self-conscious about it and never went anywhere without foundation to try to hide my blemishes.  And I envied everyone with clear skin.  I tried every over the counter product to make it go away, mixed with some prayer, cause god knows it couldn't hurt.  Finally, at the ripe old age of 40, my acne disappeared and was promptly replaced with fine lines, blotchiness and rogue chin hairs.  Yay!  How can you grow a 2 inch long straggly chin hair overnight?  Ugh.  Turns out, the only thing worse than estrogen for a woman, is testosterone.  

Even though I have clear skin now, I'm still self-conscious about it.  Not only that, almost two years ago when I went for a mole check, I had a dermatologist suggest I get laser treatment on my face to smooth out my skin tone.  And I was really offended, but only after I considered it because she's a skin professional confirming I'm not good enough.  She must be right.

It took me a while to realize, there's nothing wrong with me.  Or actually, there's lots of things wrong with me, but my skin wasn't actually one of them.  Is there no such thing as aging gracefully without an expressionless Botox filled, laser burnt face anymore?  It's not that I'm so secure in how I look, cause I'm not.  It's that I don't want to look like that celebrity cautionary tale.  You know the one.  Cause there are lots of "ones" out there.  

Anyway, let me get to the point of this whole tale already.  So, I found this completely great homemade face mask a couple years ago that I love and faithfully use twice a week.  It clears up blemishes (which I still get every now and again), plus it brightens and doesn't dry out my sensitive, combination skin.  And bonus: there is no marketing to make you feel inadequate or coax you into using it.  It just works.  Imagine that!

So, why when I'm perusing the beauty aisle in Target, would I buy an expensive mask when I have one I'm extremely happy with at home?  Also, why do I go down the cosmetic aisle every time I'm in Target?  Marketing.  And preying on my old, blotchy and wrinkled insecurities.

Want to know how to sell to me?

1.  Package your product in one of the most sublime shades of green.  
2.  Mention kale or any other vegetable that I can simply apply topically and don't have to eat.
3.  Tell me it's vegan and cruelty free so I feel absolved of any societal guilt.
4.  Make me feel completely and totally inadequate by using the word "overhaul". 
5.  Jack up the price, so it's kinda affordable, but still way too expensive so it feels luxurious.

The only thing that could've made the mask I was ogling over more appealing to me is if they mentioned that for every tube sold they planted a garden to feed starving children kale in Africa.  I probably would've paid double for that!  

I knew I was being manipulated by my insecurities and yet I bought it anyway.  Oh yes, I did!  And I know what you're thinking: does it work?  I might get some.  And I bet you already know the answer.  No.  Don't do it.  It's a total waste of money.  And now I'm back to my homemade, completely guilt-free mask.
  
Don't believe the bullshit.  
Not the beauty industry's.
And definitely, not your own.
Most stupid decisions in life begin with feeling insecure.


Matcha Green Tea Face Mask:

1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1/2 tsp honey
2 or 3 drops tea tree oil
1 or 2 drops water to make it into a paste

Leave on 10 minutes.  
CAUTION: it stains.






Thursday, April 20, 2017

Almost OCD


Let me be clear, I do not have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  But, you don't need to be diagnosable to have ritualistic things you do that don't make sense to anyone else, that you can't stop yourself from doing.   I call it Almost OCD and everyone's got it.  It's the equal opportunity mental illness.  The only prerequisite is being human.

It all starts for me with my morning rituals.  Coffee and twitter.  Compulsively scrolling and searching for content I can share by retweeting it.  Which is exactly where my compulsion meets my addiction.  After that it's time to get the kids up and off to school. Which requires at least three rounds of attempting to wake the dead before I get the teenagers out of their beds.  (Please note: this part is not voluntary.)  By this time, the coffee has kicked in and I'm really ready to start obsessing.

When the kids leave, the counter stools are all pulled out cockeyed.  Every single morning.  Why do they do this?  Why can't they push their chairs in?  My adrenaline starts.  And I have to push them all back in and line them up perfectly.  Which is how they'll remain until the kids return from school.

It's about this time that I have to decide what's for dinner.  I can't plan a week of meals ahead of time.  Because dinner depends on two important factors: the weather and my mood.   And how am I going to know these things ahead of time?  I'm not psychic.  Well, I am in that I know whatever I make my kids are going to hate it, so none of this even matters anyway.

By the time I get in the shower, I've figured out dinner and made a list of things I have to go get to make whatever comfort food for whatever emotion needs to be fed that day.  If I don't have it figured out by then, I start to get panicky.  Yes, at 7am, I'm stressing about what to make for dinner.  And that's when I'll forget to shave a leg, which will drive me insane for the rest of the day.

When I get out of the shower that's when I need to take all the laundry downstairs to the washing machine.  Because I do.  I'll tell myself not to go in the kids' rooms and check their floors or the floor in the bathroom.  But, I can't stop myself.  And I'll begrudgingly pick up their clothes they failed to put in the hamper, even though I told them I wouldn't.  I hate that! And take it all downstairs in one heaping pile I can't see the stairs over.   I don't know why it's so important that I make it in one trip because I will go upstairs and re-check the 2 hampers, 2 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms at least 3 more times, just to make sure I got everything before I start the load.  It's imperative every article of clothing that's dirty be in there.  Even though 5 minutes later there's more laundry.

Then, I'll stretch and work out on the pole where I'll either attempt to do something new and/or perfect something that's old.  And I will do the same move over and over.  Sometimes in excess of 50 times.  (Or until I've broken the capillaries in my knee pit, pull a muscle, get motion sickness or start to get a migraine because I tweaked my back again.)  And it still won't be good enough.  I'll tell myself that I'll only try it one more time.  But that's a lie.  So I bargain with myself.  I'll keep doing it until the end of the song.  Or, I'll stop at 9:30 or whatever arbitrary time I make up.  And when I do finally stop (well after I promised myself I would), that's when I start berating myself for not being better.

Now, it's time for errands.  I'll hop in the car and find a radio station I like.  But, only after searching from all the available choices.  And then constantly checking to see if there's a better song on another station.  And then volume needs to be on an even number.  Or a multiple of 5.

If I have an appointment, I'll plug the address into the GPS, even if I know how to get there.  It's just a little insurance policy.  When I arrive at my destination,  I'll check the address, to make sure I'm in the right place.  Then I'll re-check again.   And then again.   I'll still be at least 10 minutes early because I'm always habitually early for everything.  If I'm on time, in my mind that means, I'm late.  I've tried so hard to break myself of this habit because it sucks to be the first person at any social gathering.  Although, I reason that if I'm the first person there, I can leave first.  Which totally makes sense to me.

Shopping isn't any better.  Say after an exhaustive search, I finally find a denim shirt on-line to replace an old, dying denim shirt that I love and buy it.  Then it arrives and it's not denim at all, it's chambray.  And chambray isn't denim!  But, otherwise I love the shirt.  And even though I keep the shirt, I can't wear it.  Because I have to wear my old one out completely before I wear the new one.  But, I can't wear the old one out, because I don't like the new one as much because it's a lighter fabric and therefore not a good replacement for the old one.  So, now I have two shirts I love that I won't wear for fear that I'll never find an equivalent replacement for either of them.  It's the same with jeans.  And sneakers.  I know it's stupid...


but, I can't stop.
Maybe I have Overly Critical Disorder.

Monday, April 17, 2017

ID Check

My kids go to high school on the Air Force Academy. Which requires, that all of us have special ID cards to get us through the security checkpoint and onto the base.  I get it.  It's imperative that our military installations are secure.  I'm all for that.  



Except...
that
think  
the
photos 
on 
the 
ID 
should 
be
a
good 
picture
of
the 
person.

Not for vanity reasons.  For security reasons.  Maybe a little bit of vanity, but mostly the security thing. 

Exhibit A:  

My old ID to get on to base taken in 2014.  


I don't know if I was chewing gum, trying to get something dislodged from my teeth with my tongue or about to sneeze.  But what the hell was I doing with my mouth?  Also, why don't I have a neck?  I look like Beaker from the Muppets.  And why would anyone let me onto a military installation with this ID that: 1.  Doesn't look like me 1.5 Please tell me it doesn't look like me  2.  Makes me look like a terrorist.  Please note the sunglasses on top of my head.

So, I was so excited my ID expires this school year and I had to go get a new one.  Because really?  You can't get worse than this photo.  Or so I thought before I went in to get my new ID.  I asked the guy at the counter if he was going to take a new photo.  He said he could.  And it was settled.  I sat down and waited to be called back to the counter while contemplating if I should smile for the photo or not.  Then I remembered my last photo.  Smile.  I'll definitely smile, but I'm not showing teeth.  Because: 1.  It's unrealistic, I rarely if ever smile and show teeth 2.  It's too much pressure and it's bound to look forced and make me look even more like a terrorist.

Finally, it was my turn,  so I could stop staring at the official photo of Trump that hung on the wall.  No matter what happened, I wasn't going to look like an orange, smug asshole like he does in his pictures.  The guy asked me to take off my sunglasses that I'd pushed up on top of my head like a hairband.  So I did.  Ok, there's a set protocol for the ID photos, this is a good sign, like there is for a passport photo.  He snapped it, checked it and then printed up my ID card.

Then he handed it to me...


...and I look like a blurry, orange, smug asshole.  
Maybe it's the Trump filter. 
And just like Trump, this ID doesn't make me feel any more secure about anything.   

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Floored


It all started with a toilet that overflowed in the middle of the night and a subsequent call to the insurance company the next day when we discovered it was raining toilet water in our basement.  I admit, I didn't expect much.  But our insurance company had someone come out the same day with an estimate on the damage and a plan to fix it.  Including new wood floors on the main level and carpet in the basement, adding up to thousands of dollars of damage they'd cover.

I was floored!

Of course, we'd have to move out of our house and into a hotel while they were sanding, staining and polyurethaning the wood.   Then, the insurance company picked up the tab for 6 people and 2 dogs for 2 weeks.  Which was another few thousand dollars.  

Again, I was floored!  

When we finally were able to move back into the house, there were still baseboards that needed to be put back, drywall to replace, doors to be stained and polyurethaned, painting and a new toilet and vanity to be installed.  Adding up to two additional weeks of workmen in and out of my house.  And trying to schedule my workouts, writing, dog walks, carpooling and meals around them.  Because you know what's really weird when you have people in your house all day?  Eating.  Do I offer them some?  Are they judging me for what I'm eating?  Or that I'm eating again?  I mean, I did gain weight during the hotel stay and then again on spring break.  You can't really work out in an RV, you know?    

The thing is, when you get near the end of a project and then you get a cold and start slamming hot tea to hydrate and soothe your dry throat cause you're mouth breathing, you have to pee a lot.  And I mean a lot.  So, since I don't have a bathroom on the main floor, that means I'm running either upstairs or downstairs to pee.  While it's a fantastic StairMaster workout, by the time I get to the bathroom (any bathroom) there's either a kid showering or using the toilet.  Now, after running up the stairs, my nose is running like a faucet with snot headed due south, straight for my mouth.  Nooooooooooooooo!!!

I'm floored that this work isn't done yet! 

So yesterday (the day before yesterday by the time you read this), the plumber was supposed to come  and install the toilet and the sink in the vanity.  I waited during my designated window of 3 to 5pm for him to show.  Which he didn't.  Today, for round 2, his window to redeem himself is from 1-3pm.  Right now as I sit in my old, creaky office chair and finish writing this, it's exactly 1pm.  So I don't know how the story ends.  But, I sure hope it's with a flushing toilet.

Either way, I'll be pretty floored!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Ladies Night Out

My delusion of what we look like on Ladies Night Out
PC:  soheather.com
The five of us have been friends for over a decade.  Four of us have birthdays in December and one in March.  So semi-annually, we have a ladies night out to celebrate, which at our age is actually more commiserating our birthdays together.   I'd say it's a big affair, but the biggest affair is trying to schedule it.

Seriously, why do I have so many Scorpio/Sagittarius friends?  November and December are already insanely busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not to mention Christmas vacation.  THIS IS A REALLY INCONVENIENT TIME FOR BIRTHDAYS!  I don't even like my own birthday for this very reason.  March is usually a tad easier.  But, there is spring break to contend with.  The e-mails to organize LNO started in February.  And yes, old people make arrangements on AOL.  Which is precisely why we're not old yet, because we have Gmail or yahoo accounts.  Duh.

After several proposed dates and a month of e-mails back and forth, finally we confirmed a date all five of us could commit to and we marked it on our paper calendars in ballpoint pen.  Ok, maybe I'm the only one who still has a old school calendar featuring beautiful vistas hanging next to my home phone. Yes, I still have a land line.  Although, my girlfriends are more tech savvy than me, making me the old bitty of the group, even though I'm actually the youngest.

The week of LNO, that was scheduled for April because no one could do March, one of us bails.  Three of us have kids who are seniors in high school and she's taking her daughter for one more look at a college before she makes her final choice and she's leaving the Friday night we're going out.  Ironically, she's the one with the March birthday we're going out to commiserate.  And we can't reschedule because do you know how long it took to schedule in the first place?  Plus, April and May,   are chock full of attending senior breakfasts with our kids, sending out graduation announcements, organizing parties and scheduling a session to go cry at our financial planner's office because how are we going to afford all this?  So, the birthday party will go on without the birthday girl.

And that's what we did.  In our mom jeans paired with breathable cotton tops and sensible flat shoes.  We all wore earrings though, which in middle age in casual Colorado basically constitutes evening wear.  When we arrived at Till, a hip new restaurant filled with millennials, just before 6 we ran to the bar to catch last call before Happy Hour ended.  Because we're practical like that.  And we're saving money so our kids can come home from college at Christmas.  Forget Thanksgiving, it's way too expensive to fly your kid home then. They'll have to find another student with a family that's local to take them in and be thankful with on that holiday.

That's when things really got wild.  I ordered a spicy, carb-loaded green chili gnocchi.  Spicy food often triggers my Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  And after just coming back from vacation, the last thing my sluggish middle aged metabolism needed was carbs.  But, this was a special occasion.  My friend's birthday.  My friend who wasn't even there.  And since we're breaking the diet anyway, we need to get her a cake.  And then text her a picture of us eating it.  Happy Birthday Bailer!

We sat at the table for hours talking about our kids.  Because we're lame and had no plans to go out to a bar afterward.  Where would we even go?  Downtown?  Are you kidding me?  That's like 15 minutes in the other direction!  Then we'd have to find parking and shout at each other over the music. The waitress kept coming around.  "More water?"  Which everyone knows is server code for "Get the hell out of here already!"  So after a few rounds of water on a Friday night, at about 9 or maybe 9:30 we all headed home.

When did we go from Girls Gone Wild to Girls Gone Mild?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My Baggage


I've done a lot of travelling.  And if there's one thing I'm pretty good at, it's packing a suitcase.  If there's one thing I'm terrible at, it's pretty much everything else.  I'm not good at timing a vacation, making the correct travel arrangements or having the right visa when I get there, among other things.  So, let's just focus on the luggage then, shall we?

I rarely take my massive orange suitcase anywhere anymore because it's just too big. Not to mention, the broken zippers and torn handles from being manhandled all over the world.  These days, I've replaced my cumbersome luggage with a brick colored backpack that's smaller and more portable.

But, every once in a while there's an opportunity to break out my old school rolly bag.  Like last month when we moved into a hotel for a couple weeks while my wood floors were being refinished after a toilet overflowed.  I didn't need anything easily maneuverable, because it was only going into my car and then driving it 3 miles down the street to the Staybridge Suites.

However, it was still too much suitcase for me as I travel light these days.  Mostly because these days I'll wear the same clothes for a couple of days.  This is the advantage of working from home.  No one knows I picked yesterday's outfit up off of the floor to re-wear it the next day.  So, no one cares.  Especially me.  This also works on vacation.  Because are you going to see anyone you know on vacation?  Ok, so I just ran into someone I knew at the Grand Canyon last week.  So, it happens, but she didn't know I was on day 2 or 3 in those clothes because I didn't wash clothes on the trip.  Unless she saw the food stains on my shirt.  But, they could've been fresh stains.  How would she know?

Anyway, back to my baggage in the hotel room where I washed clothes all the time because they had a free washer and dryer at the hotel.  And because I have 4 teenagers who are clothes whores.  

To solve the too-much-suitcase-dilemma, I decided to share it with my husband.  Which we have done many times before in our earlier, more bumbling travels.  So we know to share it exactly 50-50, just like our marriage.  Maybe 60-40.  Or 70-30.  Whatever.  It depends on the day or the year, really.  Either way, when we're packing up to leave, there are no suitcase squabbles.  Even when we get wherever we're going, there's no issue.  My husband prefers to take his clothes out of the luggage and put them in a dresser or on a shelf, depending on the space.  While I prefer to commit to the suitcase and sprawl out onto his side of the luggage.  It's like getting the whole bed to myself.

Packing back up to go home is when the argument starts.  The same recurrent argument we have every time we share a bag: fold or cram?  My stance is, everything is dirty and going into the laundry when we get home anyway so why bother folding?  And his take is that folding makes things fit into the bag better.  Even though I am a master crammer and I can get everything in that bag and still close the zipper and he's totally wrong.  Maybe the caveat is "better".  And better is always subjective.  To me the least work is better.  To him, not ruining the suitcase by breaking the zipper from cramming everything into the suitcase is better.

Six of one, half dozen of the other,  I suppose.
Even though I'm totally right.  
This is my baggage.

Monday, April 3, 2017

RV Road Trip Rules


For spring break I spent over a week in an RV travelling to the Grand Canyon with my family of four teens, my husband and his mother.  Here is some practical advice if you're considering a similar trip.

1.  NO SHIT, SHERLOCK

No one poops in the RV.  I think it goes without saying that 7 people should never share one bathroom.  Ever. But, put that toilet on wheels and contain the other 6 people with the noxious fumes of one and now we're just talking the preservation of humanity here.

Unless of course, you boondock at a free State Campground and the toilets are all closed.  

2.  DON'T CUT THE CHILL WITH CHILI

While it might be tempting to make a batch of down home chili for the road, DON'T DO IT!  Everyone knows, no one eats chili without farting.  Little known fact: Eating chili is the leading cause of homicide on RV trips.

Turns out, that black bean pasta with a queso-salsa sauce wasn't a good choice either.  Neither was hummus...

3.  SOCK IT TO THEM

Remember to check that your kids packed a change of socks and underwear before you leave on the trip.  Don't wait until it becomes revoltingly apparent your kid who's old enough to know better didn't actually know better and only packed 1 pair of fresh socks.

Also, the same kid will probably be down one pair of underwear after he drops a pair on the ground on the way back from the shower.  Only to be discovered the next morning after a night of freezing rain.  

4.  WET WIPES SAVE LIVES

On days you can't shower because you're boondocking or you have to walk a mile through the cold to pay $2 for an 8 minute shower in a national park,  that's when you take a baby wipe shower.  Including all the crevices and feet before putting on fresh underwear and socks.  (Please refer back to #3)

I know you're thinking, but you have a shower in an RV.  But, the shower is used as a wet bar for beer and the storage of other beverages.  Duh.

5.  ALCOHOL:  DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT

After a whole day of listening to your teens fight over who gets to charge their phone in the one working outlet in the RV, you'll need some alcohol.  And yes, you can get alcohol while you're on the road. But...

...you don't want to be in the bad part of town in Albuquerque buying your Colt 45 when the cashier is behind bulletproof glass and you're not.  Safety first.  

Sure, I could give you lots of other little tips.  But, I've got this bottomless pile of laundry to tackle and an empty fridge here at home to fill.  I'm sure you'll figure the rest out when you're on the road.  Safe travels!



Monday, March 20, 2017

In Other News...

For those of you who are new around here, I lived in Morocco for two and a half years with my family when my husband worked for the Peace Corps there.  (I also wrote a book about our time living in Morocco, which you can find on Amazon.com)  Even though my husband didn't work at the U.S. Embassy, much of our life in Africa was heavily dictated by the Embassy rules because my husband was working for a U.S. government program.  Even if we were just a bunch of hippies, two standard deviations from the Foreign Service norm.

We lived in a massive house that was built both to impress and entertain, chosen from a pool of houses pre-approved  by the Embassy.  Complete with a house staff and lots of security.  We got to use the U.S.P.S. to mail and receive packages at the Embassy.  We had diplomatic passports for travel.  Our kids went to the American School, where the kids from most of the Embassies located in Rabat went. Where the general of the Moroccan Army's kids went and the King of Morocco's niece went.  We lived in a social bubble of privilege; hobnobbing with people from all over the world wondering who was gathering intel from whom for what end.  And everyone speculated about it in whispers from the comfort of their own informal cliques, which form spontaneously when you're an expat.  

We participated in the mandatory fun of Christmas parties at the U.S. Ambassador's house and the Hail and Farewells that welcomed new arrivals to the Embassy and to say goodbye to those departing at the DCM's  (Deputy Commander of Mission) residence.  It was all part of the gig.  Mandatory fun was rarely any fun at all, but it provided lots of fodder for the bubble gossip circuit. Although, we never suspected anything as salacious as the story that hit the papers a few months ago.

The news that the DCM's husband, Labib Chammas, was convicted of sexually abusing their Moroccan cook.  I'd met him on a few occasions at some obligatory functions and always thought he was a bit weird.  But then again, I thought that about at least 50% of the population of the Embassy bubble. The expat world is a magnet for eccentrics.  However, I never expected sexual predator weird.  Which is exactly how sexual predators operate.  Covertly.

But, what is truly remarkable about this case, is an American man in a position of power (his wife was next in command at the Embassy after the Ambassador) was convicted of sexually abusing a Moroccan woman.  This in a country where women rarely receive justice for crimes of sexual abuse.   In fact, they are often victimized by their abuser and then the justice system.  Just a few years ago in 2012, a 16 year old Moroccan girl named Amina Filali was raped by a Moroccan man and her court ordered punishment for his crime was to marry him.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Rather than comply with the judge's order for her to marry her rapist, she killed herself by ingesting rat poison.

In a world full of atrocities where men often get away with crimes against women.  In a time when the world seems more divided by nationality than ever.  Where the only certainty is that injustice exists and even thrives, especially for women and those without financial means.  This time justice was served and a Moroccan woman prevailed and an American man served prison time for sexually abusing her.  An outcome that wouldn't have been likely if it was handled by the Moroccan system.

While the outcome in this case is promising, it's only one story out of millions.  And  it only leaves me with more questions.  Like, how many other women have been victims of this man or other men like him?  And how many victims are likely to endure the shame, humiliation and condemnation to speak up and be heard in the pursuit of a conviction that isn't likely to occur?   Even here in America. And how many more sexual predators are out there because sexual crimes are under reported?


The article detailing the matter in The Daily Beast can be found here.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I'm a Cheater



He's twenty years younger than me. We both have someone else. But, it doesn't matter. He makes time for me.  And he makes me feel young and beautiful.  He appreciates that I'm older and I can afford the finer things in life.  Especially him.  Because nothing is free, especially kept men. Because he's paid to  keep my secret. Driven only by my desire.  The desire to look like a natural redhead.

I'm ready!  Let's do it!

It all started out innocently enough, as these things do.  He was my dance instructor by night and by day he's a hairstylist.  One day six months ago he texted me out of the blue looking for a hair model.  You know, a real challenge.  Like someone who has mousy brown hair and insists on coloring it herself from a box.  Someone so careless she doesn't even bother to use the same color twice.  Who only uses semi-permanent color out of fear of commitment.  With more stubborn grays by the day, that are anything if not impermanent.  Where could one find a woman so desperately in need of a color makeover?

I'm your girl!  Have your way with me!

And he did.  His capable hands knew exactly what to do.  Taking me from a dark auburn to a bright copper.  It was everything I didn't even know I wanted.  Before I knew it, complete strangers were stopping me to compliment me on my hair.  Which, I'm not going to lie, is a little creepy.  But, in a nice creepy way.  Except for the woman at the wine tasting, who remembered seeing me (specifically, my hair) somewhere before, but I'd never seen her before in my life. I think she was either on a lot of meds or off of her meds completely.  But, definitely one of the two.  And then there was the drunk lady at the hair salon who said I looked like Merida from Brave. (I can't even write the completely inappropriate stuff she said to my hair stylist.  Suffice it to say, she wanted him to have his way with her.)  So what if the compliments I get come from inebriated people?  Either way, I was on a hair high when it hit me.  

I'm a cheater!  

My long-standing hairstylist is going to notice that I've changed.  How do I tell her that she's not the only one anymore?  That I'm seeing someone else?  That I didn't mean for this to happen?  It was just a one time thing that accidentally turned into a regular thing.  It's not you. It's me.  I've changed.  But, I don't want to lose you!  We have a history together and I still want you in my life cutting my hair.  It's just that I have someone on the side now.  Just for color.  It doesn't mean anything.  It doesn't diminish our relationship.  It's just that I want you both.  For different reasons.  Please tell me we can stay together and work through this!  




Monday, March 13, 2017

Million Reasons


I could give you a million reasons why I hate that song Million Reasons by Lady Gaga.  But, this post isn't about that.  It's about me writing my novel.   The first draft is three-quarters done.  But, the deeper I get into it, the more I stall on sitting down to write.  I have a million reasons for doing this.  And not doing that.

First of all, my kids.  I mean does anyone finish anything after they have kids?  No, they don't.  You live a life of potential, complete with incomplete projects and thoroughly disappointing yourself once you're a parent.  Your life isn't about you anymore.  It's about providing for your ungrateful kids and embarrassing them even when you're trying not to.  And I know you're thinking, but your kids go to school and they're teenagers, you must have tons of time on your hands.  (And if you thought this: A. you don't have kids  B. you have toddlers C. you home school D. your kids are grown and you're senile.)

I spend roughly 2 hours nagging my kids to get up, clean up after themselves and get out the door every morning. Every other day I spend 3 hours, because my senior has a late day.   Oh, but then you have time right?    Well, then I work out, run errands and walk my dogs.  After lunch is when I write.  But, not if I have to take a kid to the dentist, pick a kid up cause they're sick, take a dog to the vet.  And then, that senior who goes to school late every other day?  He gets home two hours early from school every day.  Basically, he goes to school for lunch as far as I can tell.

Never mind when your toilet overflows, ruining a wood floor and a basement ceiling, and you have an impromptu home improvement project to deal with.  Plus your insurance company, shopping for new carpet, toilets and a vanity.  Not to mention, workmen coming and going to repair your house.  Sometimes calling 10 minutes before they intend to come over.   Then moving into a hotel with your family and two dogs for 10 days (maybe longer) while they refinish wood floors.  Who knew it took this long?

So now, in addition to my family, the dogs, the insurance company and the workmen,  I also need to work around the maid who cleans the room at the hotel.  I know you're saying, but you don't need the maid to clean the room.  Have you ever stayed in a confined hotel room with gross teenagers and shedding dogs for an extended period of time?  Maid service is not optional.  So, in order to make this work,  I  take my dogs in the car with me on errands and then take them for longer walks to make sure they don't get into mischief at the hotel and to give the maid ample time to clean the rooms.  Which means I have to go to the bank to get singles to tip the maid every day.  Then I have to explain to the teller exactly why I'm getting the one dollar bills.  Because I do, if you know what I mean.

Oh, and getting the laundry done at the hotel is no easy task either.  Running upstairs and downstairs waiting for an open washer and timing your loads intricately so no one dumps your wet clothes on the floor and/or steals them.  (I've had both happen in the past, so I'm a bit paranoid about doing my laundry in communal facilities.)  And have you tried to cook in the kitchenette at the hotel with the can opener that doesn't work and cutting up chicken on the world's smallest cutting board with a dull steak knife?  Everything is taking me four times as long to get done at least.

And really, why would I want to finish writing my novel anyway?   Because then I have to decide what to do with it.  And then the scariest part, having someone else read it.  And failing.  Or succeeding.  Both are equally as terrifying.

I've got a million reasons not to write this book.  
And only one really good one to finish.
Because I don't know how it ends.  





Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Only Good Thing About Running



Being away from home in a hotel means I can't keep my regular fitness regimen which is pole dance.  Because this hotel is family friendly and doesn't have a stripper pole. Thus, forcing me to cross train.  It'll be good for me, I thought.  Because being away from home in a hotel also means I'm off my regular healthy eating regime.  Because there's a waffle maker at the breakfast bar, not to mention an array of other carbs. Some with frosting even.  But, everyone knows hotel/road trip/vacation calories don't count.  Somehow, even though I don't count them, somehow they still add up.  Which is why I need to work out.

The first morning after carb loading, I went down to the fitness center to redeem myself.  I'll just use the Stairmaster.  Hops on and can't figure out how to change the settings.  Ok, the treadmill it is!  I can't get the start button to work.  Seriously, what is wrong with me?  Alright stationary bike, looks like it's you and me.  You know what's worse than riding a boring, monotonous stationary bike for 10 minutes and seeing you've only burned 10 calories?  Watching Fox News while you do it because you  can't figure out how to change the TV channel either.  Ugh...this is just not working for me.  And I was desperate.  Not desperate enough to not eat waffles though, but desperate enough that I decided to run the next day.

I HATE RUNNING.
The only thing good about running is when you finally stop.

But, for the love of free cookies (which I'm also eating every day, because come on, free deliciousness), I've got to do it because god knows I'm not going to stop eating.  

So, I drop my youngest off at school and head to the park next to it where there's a nice trail with a view of the mountains.  I start running.  See?  This isn't so bad.  And it's gorgeous.  I feel so engaged with my surroundings.  Mostly because I was being cautious on the rocky trail so I wouldn't roll an ankle.  And also because I was watching for rattlesnakes who call Ute Valley home.  I should do this every day!  Also, I may have been running downhill when I thought all these thoughts. 

I had different thoughts running uphill.  I should mention, I live at almost 7,000 ft.  Hey, I bet it burns more calories running at a higher elevation than it does at sea level.  So, I could actually run less distance for the same result, I think.  That sounds right, right about now.  Oh wait, you know what's even better than a sustained heart rate for optimal fitness?  A variable heart rate.  Stops running and starts walking. This is completely justified. I only stopped running for my health, not because I wanted or needed to stop.  Even though I totally wanted to stop.  That doesn't count.  Sees someone coming.  Starts to run again.  Passes a 75 year old man walking so I can claim I passed someone while running.  Starts walking again when I get in front of him.  Hears him catching up to me.  Starts running again.  I will not be passed by a 75 year old man walking at almost 7,000 ft, I have my pride, you know!

When I don't run into anyone for a while I remember that mountain lions also call this area home.  Then I remember there's lots of deer to eat, so they have plenty of food so, they wouldn't want to eat me.  Except, I run slower than a deer.  Runs a little faster.  Wait, does running entice mountain lions to give chase?  I should probably stop running, not because I want to, but for my own safety.  Which bonus, also varies my heart rate.  WINNING!  Encounters other people on the trail.  Remembers reading the sign at the trailhead that said,  For your protection, secure your valuables in trunk.  Also remembers I left my purse in the front seat of my minivan.  Runs faster.  Gets the parking lot in my sight line and starts walking. Everyone knows you need to cool down by walking after a run.  The fact that my run contained a lot of walking is just a technicality.  

The only thing good about running is when you finally stop.
RUNNING IS STUPID!

The only running that isn't stupid is when you're racing to be the first to the waffle maker at the breakfast bar.  Which totally counts as cardio if you do it right!







Monday, March 6, 2017

This is No Vacation


Today we're moving into a hotel for five nights while our water damaged wood floors caused by an overflowing toilet are being refinished.  And while I'm excited about the new floors, I'm not excited about moving my 4 kids, 2 dogs and 1 husband into it.  Mostly, because I'm the person most affected by this temporary relocation, since I work from home.  Which also makes me the go to person to work around the workmen's schedule for at least the next month.  So, while my kids look at this like a fun vacation, this is no vacation for me.  Well, it is kinda a vacation in that I won't get any work done writing my novel.

Like any vacation, my kids are super excited and asking a million questions.  The same ones over and over.  You think that once they're teenagers, they wouldn't do this anymore.  But, really, it just means they have more detailed questions than toddlers and no matter what you say, they always think your answer is stupid.  And then they google it to prove you wrong.  When they're in their 20's do they skip asking and go straight to google?  I'm being too optimistic aren't I?  Don't even answer that, I don't even want to know right now.

So, as my kids ask me if they still have to go to school when we're in the hotel (Ummmmmmm....YES!), I have other concerns.  Namely, my labs, who are used to their routine and having a lot of space.  Not so much Bonnie, who's very sweet and docile.  But my dog, Clyde, who thinks he's the protector of the house.  Who fiercely and foolishly thinks he defends us from other dogs, deer, bikers, the postman, people he doesn't know in general and sometimes just the blowing wind.   Oh and sometimes he has accidents, especially when anything veers from his normal routine.  What if I go to the workout room and they (meaning Clyde) completely defile the room and/or bark incessantly?  Or will I forget to put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and he mauls the housekeeper?  There is so much potential for disaster.

But, first we have to get to the hotel.  And the kids need to pack everything they'll need for the week. Including sports uniforms, a dressy outfit for the basketball banquet, work uniforms, contact lenses and solution.  Not to mention books, backpacks, laptops and hopefully a writing utensil or two.  And guess who gets to remind them of all this while they fight over who gets what piece of luggage.  And then guess who gets to take all this luggage to the hotel because everyone else will be at school and/or work?  Me.  It's the worst part of the vacation, without the actual vacation part.

My days will be spent running to and from the house to let the workmen in and lock up when they leave every day.  Driving the kids to and from school.  Ensuring the dogs get a long walk so they're less likely to destroy things.  Figuring out what to make for dinner, since we'll have a stove and a fridge.  Doing laundry. Driving kids to sports. And going to this basketball banquet I tried to get out of with the excuse that we were in a hotel and it would just be too much of a pain.  (When my kid called me out on anti-social...which is totally and completely true.)  Wait. This is basically what I do every day.  But now I'll just be doing it in a tiny apartment instead of a house.  And then the next week we'll be doing the same thing, when they stain the floors.

What could possibly go wrong?

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