Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No Shield From The Wind

This is what happens when you're driving a hatchback that has no rear windshield:

1) other drivers are all about the double take. As in, it takes them a minute to figure out what, exactly, is wrong with your car.

2) after they realize "hey, that car's missing a windshield!" they try to get a glimpse of you, the person who is driving said damaged car, possibly to try to alert you: "um, Excuse me, but are you aware that you're missing a rear windshield?"

3) if you're me, this is what they see: woman in tweed coat and glamazon sunglasses, singing along with the radio with abandon, like a rock star, like someone who DOESN'T EVEN NEED a rear windshield because she is fully wrapped up in fabulous.

4)And at that point? Other motorists start giving you a wide berth. Because there is something significantly wrong with someone who confidently drives down the highway with no rear windshield...

... or IS there?

Anyway.

As you've probably guessed from the above, I recently experienced a vehicular mishap. Or, more precisely, I parked my car in the same place I always park it -- RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE -- and some jackalopes decided to smash the rear windshield and break into it. Which, of course, makes one ask:

1) Who looks at a VW Rabbit and thinks: I bet the pickings are good in THERE!

2) Who breaks into a car that's parked in a well lit area? Directly in front of a window?

3) Who breaks into a hatch and not the driver's side window? What did they think they were going to get? My snow shovel and windshield washer fluid?

Anyway. They were busted, and according to Officer Friendly who came to my door and ruined my day as kindly as possible, "They're in ALL kinds of bad trouble." So, yay to the local PD.

And yay to my insurance company, who is awesome.

And yay to the fine people at the glass company who fixed my car (in the nick of time, too, because it's totally snowing today).

And also? Yay to me. For rocking the driving with no rear windshield like it was something I do ALL of the time. Nonchalance for the win!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Frustration, Thy Name Is Cold Toes

My feet are cold.

Which, honestly? Is the least of my problems right now. But having chilly toesies is the thing I can fix. So I’m concentrating on that. Because you can only deal with one thing at a time, right?

Right.

Here’s the thing: Life. Some days, it’s fairly simple. Some days it’s not.  Well, okay, a lot of days it’s not.  I like to think I’m a positive person, but there are days – and sometimes, weeks -- where it feels quite a bit like fate and karma and whatever there is out there are testing me.

Usually, I like a good test.  I’m dorky like that. Give me a number two pencil and a bubble sheet and I’m all over it.

But I’m starting to feel as though I can’t handle any more tests.

Which is lame, I know. And frankly, not very fun to read about. No one comes here because they want to read about the fact that I have days where I want to throw in the towel (though I do like that image, of slinging wet towels about with abandon) and just be done.

One of my favorite bloggers mentioned a few weeks ago that she was skipping about the internet when she came across the admonishment: Do The Work. I’ve been doing the work. I keep doing the work. And maybe it’s foolish or na├»ve of me, but at some point I feel like the work should start to be rewarding. Intellectually, I know that it will be. But emotionally, I am starting to ask how long I can do the work for, how long I can keep plodding along without feeling like I’m getting anywhere. I’m running on a treadmill – I’m racking up the miles, but I’m still standing in the same damn place, and the scenery is boring and I’m tired and I kind of want to go find a comfy place to curl up and take a long nap.

So instead, I’m going to concentrate on something else.

Like having cold feet.

Because that, at least, is something I can change.

And the rest of it will come, right? It will come.

It has to.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Return of Captain Obvious

Captain Obvious here.

I’m almost embarrassed to bring this up, but recent events have demonstrated that it’s necessary. 

What recent events, you ask?

It’s like this: the Captain was recently out to dinner and, while enjoying a quiet evening, found herself listening to what was theoretically a private conversation.

Now, let me say this: I don’t usually listen to private conversations, because they’re private and not meant for public knowledge. However, the circumstances were as follows:

*The young lady was on her cell phone.

*The young lady was speaking at a slightly above average volume.

*The young lady was discussing relationship issues that, perhaps, she did not want everyone to know about.

People.  Listen to the Captain: If you are on your cell phone and you are in public, you are NOT having a private conversation. Especially if your phone habits cause you to raise your voice ever so slightly.

I know, it SEEMS like a conversation between you and whoever you may be talking to, because you’re on the phone and you can hear what your conversational partner is saying and it’s coming directly into your ear and it feels like an intimate situation.

It ISN’T.

Oh boy, how it isn’t.

So unless you want everyone within hearing distance in on the details of whatever you’re speaking of – be it dinner plans, or the fun filled weekend you just experienced, or the (kind of naughty) details of your last romantic interlude? Find someplace where you are literally – LITERALLY! – alone to have that conversation.

Otherwise an entire restaurant full of people will know about your latest experiment with a particular type of fetish… which, frankly, could potentially put someone right off her sushi.

Capitan Obvious … out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

... And Now My Left Eye is Twitching

New Hampshire is proposing a law that would make it legal for businesses and employees of businesses to refuse services to gay couples who are getting married – which, by the way, is legal in New Hampshire – on the grounds that, essentially, it “Offends their sensibilities.” So if you owned a bakery, and you don’t support gay marriage for religious reasons, or moral reasons, or whatever reasons, you could refuse to sell a homosexual couple a cake.  And it would be legal. *

You can imagine how I feel about this.

Outraged starts to cover it, but doesn’t really come close.

The idea that New Hampshire – or ANY state – would consider putting a law on the books that legalizes discrimination of any kind makes me feel like I need to throw up.

And I want you to feel like you’re going to throw up, too.

Here’s why:  this legislation, should it pass, sets one of the ugliest precedents I can imagine. Once it becomes legal to refuse services based on sexual orientation, what is next? If I can legally discriminate against someone because I don’t like that they are gay – if I can discriminate against someone because my religion finds their lifestyle unacceptable – then should I not also be allowed to legally discriminate against other groups because I find them unacceptable morally or religiously?

For example, if I am a neo-nazi, my beliefs are pretty clear on where, say, Jewish people stand. Am I then legally allowed to discriminate against people who are Jewish because of the way I define my morality and politics? And before you say no, of course not, that’s extreme, I would say this: it’s not extreme. When we start creating laws that enable people to discriminate, it opens the doors for further acts of legalized discrimination because – what the hell, you already have one law on the books.

I am sickened by this proposal. Sickened and ashamed to live in a state where it is being considered, ill at the thought that it could possibly pass.

This is not okay with me. And it shouldn’t be okay with you.

Let’s stop the hate.



*Here’s the language: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person, including a business owner or employee thereof, shall be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request is related to the solemnization, celebration, or promotion of a marriage and providing such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges would be a violation of the person’s conscience or religious faith.

A person’s refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such person."

Which I think ALSO makes it legal to discriminate against interracial couples, now that I think about it, which makes me wonder if this is in violation of the Civil Rights Act?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Porcupine Pincushions

I would like to tell you about the last two days, but I can’t. Mostly because I don’t have the essential vocabulary, I don’t think. So if you’d like to sort of recreate my recent experiences, here’s what you should do: 

Go outside.

Find a porcupine.

Insult the porcupine until its all a-bristle with rage.

Pick it up.

Plunge your face directly into the angrily-bristling quills.

 You get the picture.

The thing about having a couple of difficult days, though – and also, having a face full of spikies – is that they pass. You pull the quills out, one by one. The problems get solved.  Everything passes.

Eventually.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make A Difference Monday: Save An Animal!

So, um, I have this cat?

Let me tell you a little something about my cat. She wasn't technically a rescue. Technically, she was given to me by a nice lady who had a lot of kittens all at once.

When I picked up my cat, my friend Marilyn took me aside and said, "I think you need to take this kitten to the vet."

I took her to the vet. She was not, as I had been told, 8 weeks old. She was four. She weighed about a pound. Her eyes were infected, she had a lung infection, and she had ear mites. The vet didn't think she would make it.

But she did. We got lucky. It was expensive, it was kind of traumatizing for everyone involved, but we pulled her through thanks to a very patient vet staff and persistence of her human family. Now she's 8 years old and weighs 14 pounds. Whenever someone exclaims "That cat is huge!" I remember holding her in the palm of my hand, and trying to give her tiny eyedropper of medication.

I sometimes wonder what happened to her littermates. If they made it. I bet some of them didn't, and all because a very nice, well meaning lady didn't have her pets spayed and neutered.

Animal rescues are nearly always operating on a shoestring. They depend on donations, volunteers, and the efforts of the people who live in their communities and who want to make sure that animals are cared for and loved.

You know who can help? You can!

You can go here: http://www.aspca.org/

You can also go here: https://www.thehungersite.com/store/ars/site?3 (When you buy things here? They donate a portion of the sales to food for shelters and such)

If you want, you can also go here: http://www.cochecovalleyhumanesoc.org/ (They're local to me and they do good work.)

But one of the best things you can do, if you can't or don't want to donate money or time? Be a responsible pet owner. Spay and neuter your pets!

Friday, January 20, 2012

It Takes A Village. A Virtual One.

I know that there are people who don’t understand the concept of social media. I kind of think of it the same way I think of some musical genres at this point: if you don’t get it, then maybe it’s just not for you. That’s okay.  We don’t all have to like/need/want the same things.

But I do get a little offended when people are dismissive of the social media outlets, and it’s not just because I like to think of the internet as my personal playground.

No, the reason I get a little … fired up … when I hear someone talk about the fact that they think Facebook is stupid, or they don’t understand Twitter or blogging because “Why do people think I care about what they’re doing or thinking at any given minute and why do people write some of this stuff and seriously, who even cares about any of this” is this:

Social media allows for the creation of community in a way that didn’t exist before. I am friends with people via social media that I might never have met if left to my own, real world devices. I feel like I am able to put myself out there via Facebook and my blog in ways that my regular, occasionally shy, socially dorktastic self might not allow to be seen through the layers of awkward.

Also? I have seen SO many people receive huge outpourings of love and help and caring via social media while in times of complete crisis. I have seen little celebrations become big celebrations as people joined their voices in support and joy. People band together over causes in a way that isn’t always possible in real life. They make themselves heard.  

There’s something amazing – and to be honest, really beautiful – about the way our little virtual communities come together to support and love and honour one another. I’ve been fortunate enough to receive encouragement and support when I have been struggling, and I’ve also been blessed (and there’s no other word for it) to be able to reach out and lend a hand to other people.

So yeah, I get a little defensive when someone goes a little postal about the stupidity of Facebook and blogging. Until I remember – they don’t know. They can’t understand.  And I need to hope that they find a community as amazing, as friendly and loving, as the virtual ones I have found myself in.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mostly Inoffensive

So I'm trying to clean up my language. Kind of. Mostly. Here's the thing -- I work alone, in a home office, which means that I don't need to mind my p's and q's. However, lately, I catch myself nearly (or, um, blatantly) cursing like a longshoreman in public.

EMBARASSING.

But not un-fixable, since I have these non-offensive curses as backup, and I do also tend to use them a LOT. So in case you're also a person who thinks "Hey, I'd like to try not to drop the F-bomb in front of my 8 year old nephew" -- or if you're just trying to figure out what I mean when I say one of the below -- then this one is for you, my friend.



Egad. Origin: Not quite certain. Use:  expresses the following notion: “HOLY HELL WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE TODAY AAAGGGHHHHHHHH.”
Example: You: "Hey, how's it going today?"
Me: "EGAD."

Zoikes.  Origin:  “Ziokes, Scoobs, where are Daphne and Fred?” (By the way, when I was a kid I totally DID NOT GET that Shaggy was a complete stoner. Ah, the innocence of youth.)  Used to convey a bit of alarm and surprise.

Example: Zoikes! My rent is due today!

Gadzooks.  Origin: I don’t know. Use: “Are you kidding me?” (Or, as my friend Tess likes to say, AYFKM. Which is my favorite, honestly. )

Example: ANOTHER negative political ad? Gadzooks!

Oy Vey.  I picked this up from a roommate once upon a time. (Hi Nora!) See also, WTF. However, WTF is generally saved for moments of complete anger, and Oy Vey conveys – oh I don’t know – a general sense of disbelief and is sometimes shortened just to Oy.

Example: TSA:“I’m sorry, Ma’am, but I’m going to need you to step aside for further investigation before we allow you to board this plane.”

Me: “Oy vey.”

Holy Monkey. Origin: My cousin Jay says this. And if you ask him what it means, he’ll say “You don’t KNOW?” until finally you realize that, oh yeah, you DO know. It means whatever you need it to mean.  I like to use it as a mild expletive.  (See also “Holy Schneikes” “Holy Hannah” “Holy Crazy, Batman”)

Example: (Dipping toes into icy cold water) Hoooooolllly Monkey!

Zut Alors! Origin: The Little Mermaid. Can only be said with an exxxxxxaggggerated French Accent. Used for “Dammit!” (See also, “Dammit, Jim!”)

Example: (Upon putting a toe through my last pair of pantyhose) Zut alors!

There. Now you can go forward and swear a little less. (Unless you really want to keep swearing, and then -- more power to you!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Return of the Out of Contexts!

The usual disclaimer: Some of the below are conversations the author participated in, some are things she overheard, and some are things she said. Make no assumptions ... just enjoy them out of context.

“Hey, sorry I missed your call yesterday.”

“I didn’t call you yesterday.”

“It says I missed a call on 1/15.”

“That was two days ago.”

“Oh.” Pause. “I’m on vacation. I don’t need to know what day it is.”

*****

“Maybe Santa will bring you a toaster.”

“Why?”

“Because maybe Santa was at your house,  and didn’t feel well.”

“Did you –“

“SOMETIMES SANTA WANTS TOAST!”

*****

“Prevents the following symptoms: Gas, bloating, stomach discomfort…”

“They don’t put projectile vomiting on the label. I think it’s an unwritten rule that no one wants that.”

*****

“Oh my God. I’m rambling. I’m going to shut up now.”

Laughter.

“Are you laughing at me?”

“No, I’m definitely laughing with you. If I was laughing AT you, I’d also be pointing.”

*****

“Honestly, I don’t know how someone as smart as you can, at the same time? Be so dumb.”

*****

“I was thinking –“

“I could tell. I was about to ask you not to.”

*****

“Do you think he likes me?”

“Did he SAY he likes you?”

“Yessss…”

“I love questions that answer themselves.”

*****

“You know what the people need? Wasabi. You know when they need it? Now. Occupy Sushi!”

*****

“Heeeeeyyyyyy.”

“What?”

“I have no idea. Apparently, I was having an Arthur Fonzarelli moment.”

“Who?”

“Oh God, I’m old.”

*****

“She’s a sassy girl. She’s fun. But a little scary. A lot scary. Oh hell, I’m scared of her.”

*****

“Maybe he thinks you’re respectable?”

“Why would he think that?”

“I don’t know, but there’s a first time for everything.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Make a Difference Tuesday (oops!): St Jude Children's Research Hospital

In case you don’t know this, St Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. So, even though I was pretty much raised in a brand of Christianity that thinks “Saint, Schmaint” I always think, that if I had a patron saint, it would probably be this guy.
St Jude Children’s Research Hospital doesn’t believe in lost causes.

They DO believe in providing patient support and care to critically ill children who are suffering from catastrophic illnesses.

They also believe that keeping a child healthy – in some cases, keeping a child alive – should not financially destroy families that are already on edge. So they don’t charge for treatments that aren’t covered by insurance.  Instead, they rely on donations and support to help them to do their good work.

And people? The work they do is REALLY good.

There are lots of ways you can support St Jude.  I tend to do it through shopping, either here: http://shop.stjude.org/GiftCatalog/index.do or through giving donations at stores that have partnered with St Jude. (For example, I was checking out at Pottery Barn before Christmas and I was asked if I wanted to donate.  Easy. No effort. Donation made.)

However, you can also help out in other ways.  You can volunteer your time – if you are interested, you can find events here: https://www.stjude.org/volunteers

If you want to donate without actually buying something (I get it, some people don’t need more stuff), you can also go here: https://shop.stjude.org/GiftCatalog/donation.do?cID=13522&pID=18290&fnl=FaceSuperNav

And if you know someone who might need the services of St Jude? Their doctor can refer them; the instructions for patient referrals are here: http://www.stjude.org/referapatient

To say that it’s difficult when a child is catastrophically ill is, maybe, the most ridiculously understated thing I have ever written. To say that an organization that has dedicated itself to helping those children in a way that supports both the child and the child’s family is worthy of support is, again, an understatement.

So if you’re looking for a cause that literally saves lives? This might be one for you.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fat Blogger, Part 2

So my doctor's office called this morning with the results of all the lab work etc from my visit last week.

Are you ready for this?

Post-The Lecture, it is determined that my health is as follows:

1. Blood pressure: Perfect. If anything, a little low.

2. Cholesterol: Perfect.

3. Blood sugar: Perfect

4. Range of motion (except for the bum shoulder?): Perfect.

5. Blood oxygen levels: Perfect

Who wants to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's out of spite right now? THIS KID.

However, who will also stubbornly stick to her plan, again out of said spite? That's right. Me again.

But still. I don't think The Lecture was warranted. I'm just saying.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fat Blogger

I'm afraid that y'all are going to have to put up with a post or two or a hundred about dieting this year. Here's why: as if I wasn't kicking my own (oversized) ass, today my doctor also kind of let me have it.

Which, in case you were wondering? Stung a little. Because let's face it, I used to weigh waaaay more than I do now, and I never once got The Lecture.

I HATE The Lecture.

What I hate the most about The Lecture is the knowledge that I brought it upon myself. Fat is not an illness that comes upon one unawares. It's a direct result of too many cupcakes and not enough activity. (Having said that: I am aware that there are medical conditions that cause one to gain and/or retain weight. My thyroid is bring tested even as I type. This, however, does not negate my responsibility for my weight. I don't think.)

So, yeah. Annoyed. Mostly with me.

Today was the LAST time I will EVER hear The Lecture. Ever.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Random Thursday Nattering

1.       Snow. Oh, snow. So lovely.  I’m so glad I don’t have to drive in it. (Though I am thinking of tramping down to the river to take some pictures while it’s still snowing.  And also? I’d  like to make a snowman, I think.)


2.       I have an issue with my eyebrows. You might be thinking “Wow, that’s … really stupid” which is a perfectly understandable reaction, until I tell you that my issue is this: My eyebrows? NOT LEVEL.  This means that when I have my glasses on? They always look crooked. (It also means that when I was a little girl and my nana was cutting my bangs, they always ended up REALLY short because she couldn’t figure out how to measure if they were even… sigh.)  In case you are interested, here’s what you can do to fix un-level eyebrows:


That’s right. NOTHING. You can try to minimize the impact they have by, say, switching to contact lenses (it’s less apparent without glasses on) and by growing out asymmetrical, sideswept bangs (working on it) or by getting a huge tattoo of a bug on your face so that no one ever looks at your eyes. (Okay, I’m not going to do that. But it’s a thought.) Or, you know, you could accept your own, flawed, quirky beauty and try not to fixate. (Clearly, I am not there yet.)

3.       The heat in my bedroom cannot be turned on. It’s a long, kind of stupid story, but I have electric heat in my apartment and, due to register placement and where the furniture needs to live, I can’t turn the heat on in there. Which means that in the winter? At bedtime? It’s a bit chilly. As in, here is what I currently have on my bed:

Flannel shets

A quilt

A down comforter

A bedspread

A fluffy throw


Here’s what I’ve been wearing to bed: socks, flannel pants, a tank top, a long sleeve shirt, and a flannel shirt.

Here’s WHY: when I get into bed? TOTALLY COLD BRRRRR FREEEEEZING.

And then the down comforter begins its super insulating powers, and I become like a hiker, shedding layers.  By the time the alarm goes off, I’m down to the tank top and the flannel pants.  If anyone has any suggestions for a better system, one that doesn’t make me feel like I’ve gone from the arctic tundra to the everglades in about 3 hours, please feel free to share, because this is ridiculous.

I’ve been working out faithfully, and I’ve discovered something new about myself: I would rather poke myself in the eye again and again and again then do squats or lunges. Holy hell.

 And yeah, that’s about what’s going on in my head right now. Hope your day  is a little more coherent, less superficial,  warm, and squat and lunge free!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chopped

On Monday I got a very lovely manicure.

I still have a (mostly) lovely manicure. I have 9 fingers that sport perfect polish, and one that’s just a little … chipped.

However, I don’t feel badly about the chipped nail. I feel kind of good about it. Because I did it myself.

With a chef’s knife.

And it could have been SO much worse than a chipped nail.

This is what happened: I have this cat, which I may or may not have mentioned about 162165749879874 times. She’s big, she’s goofy, she’s needy. So needy, in fact, that you could classify her as a stage 5 clinger. If she were a human, she’d probably end up as someone’s stalker. I’m just saying – this is one needy “love me love me love me” kind of a cat.

I work from home. You’d think this would kind of temper the neediness because, well, her adoring human is always nearby.

It doesn’t.

When I’m working? She is in my lap. Purring. Which is awesome except that she won’t relax and kick back in my lap. She perches there, so she can see the computer monitor and where my hands are – and if said hands are not actively typing, then they’d best be scratching that spot behind her ears, because otherwise? There’s going to be some nipping. (When she starts the “I’ma bite you now game” I give her the heave ho which usually gives me a good 45 minutes before she’s back to start all over.) If she’s not in my lap, she’s laying on the floor, staring at me with sad, pathetic eyes as if to say: “I don’t know why you’re not down here, playing with me.”

If I get up to, say, use the facilities? She follows me.

If I get up to get coffee? She follows me.

It’s cute. It’s also kind of weird.

At any rate,  the end of my workday is her favorite thing. I know this because she usually celebrates by doing several victory laps around the house, and then being as up my bucket as possible.

She’s underfoot a LOT. I have nearly punted her – purely by accident – more than once.

I think yesterday was an attempt to exact revenge for a near punting incident.

I have, for the record, a lovely and SHARP chef’s knife. I love this knife. I use it for everything. But oooooh boy is it sharp.

I was using it to chop some veggies when the cat decided that she should probably see what I was doing. So she should probably get as close to me as possible. And then she should twitch her tail in my direction so that when I shifted my feet? I would step directly on it.

(as a side note, I’m beginning to think that she does the underfoot, potentially getting harmed thing because she knows that, after said incident, I will feel guilty and lavish her with attention. And treats. She might not be smart, but I’m beginning to think she IS manipulative.)

So anyway, that’s what happened. She sidled in. She twitched the tail. I stepped on it. She freaked out. Between the stepping and the freaking out, she startled me and I sort of – for a split second – missed with the knife control.

You know what you don’t want to do when fine chopping veggies? Lost track of your knife. Because you know what’s down there on the board with your carrots? Your FINGERS.

I’m a big fan of my fingers.

I saw the knife come down – not at the angle I meant for it to – and it was like a bad, slow motion film. There was nothing I could do. I waited for impact.

But – and God bless the shellac manicure – my hard as a rock thumbnail caught the blade first and deflected it. So I lost some nail polish? But I got to keep my thumb.

I may have sworn, though, loudly. I may have put the knife down and sat directly on the floor, somewhat shaken, due to the fact that my need to have pretty nails just protected me from an unscheduled fingerectomy.

As for the cat?  Once I was on the floor, she climbed into my lap and began licking my face. So I guess it ended well for everyone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

12 Weeks

You know how I mentioned the other day that I was dieting (whee) and that I’d discovered smoothies (yay!) and given up red wine (boo)?

Well, almost immediately after writing that post, I did something a little … crazy.

Okay, “crazy” is a strong word. “Completely and totally out of character” might be a better way to put it.

Let me back up.

July, 2011.

There I am, lounging at the beach.  Nearby (but not too close – maintaining a respectful space distance) there is a woman basking in the sun, working on her tan. She is fit.  Super fit. ANNOYINGLY FIT. I immediately dub her “JWoww” out of simple snarkiness.

We begin seeing her every week. She parks her chair near us and … well, I’m going to use the word “preens” here, although I don’t think it’s super accurate.  She stretches out her (perfectly toned) self on her chair, rubs lotion on her (completely muscular) self,  plugs in her earbuds, and essentially radiates health, albeit the kind that is exposing itself to skin cancer.

Have I mentioned that I find her infuriating?

Because I do.

Granted, I have a few more miles on the old chassis than JWoww does – I’m probably a good ten years older than she is – and I am always of the mindset that a woman of my particular vintage can’t compete with a 20-something. Because the 20-something? Is ALWAYS going to win.

But still. She has ABS.

And I have … um. Well, I’m sure I have abs SOMEWHERE.

You know, underneath the stuff that’s on my stomach that is NOT ABS.

Right.

So one fine summer morning, my bestest beach buddy (AKA Flinkie) and I were sitting there, contemplating the gloriousness of a life lived at the beach, when JWoww sauntered past.

And of course, I said something stupid. Something like, “I could totally get in shape.”

“Right,” Flinkie said, supportively.

“I could. I could completely get in shape and rock a bikini next year.”

Flinkie wisely said nothing.  “Well, I COULD.” I said.

And then I DID something stupid. Of course.

I BOUGHT a bikini.

And swore that next summer? Come hell or high water, it would be worn to the beach.

January, 2012.

You would think that, after purchasing the bikini and vowing to knock JWoww off of her beach chair, I would have begun exercising.

You would think that.

You would be wrong.

Because, after all, there was no way I was going to be in the bikini last summer. No way no how no sir. So I might as well continue eating cheez-its with impunity. And exercising? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH no.

But now I’m realizing – um, I might have some work to do before I can go to the beach.

Just a smidgen. A tiny bit.

Yeaaaaaaaaah.

So that’s when I signed on for a 12 week, diet and fitness challenge. See, there was this book. With 12 weeks of diet and exercise chronicle-ability.  12 weeks? I thought. I can do 12 weeks. That will take me into April and then I can reassess the bathing suit situation. And maybe find a hint of an ab. Or something.

So yeah. 12 weeks. 12 boozeless, diet makeover-y, going to the gymmish weeks.

You should start praying for me now, I think.

And you should definitely pray for JWoww. Because I’m planning on kicking her bikini-clad butt.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Make A Difference Monday: Share Our Strength

Sometimes, I wander around my kitchen, thinking: I have nothing to EAT!

This is a lie.

There is always food in my kitchen. There may be times when I don’t care to eat the things I have purchased, but there’s always something.

This is not true for everyone.

You might be thinking, well, right, I’ve seen the ads on television, the ones about sponsoring hungry people – mostly children -- in other countries. I’ve even thought about doing it.

It’s a good thing to do.

However, there are hungry children everywhere. There are hungry children in your community. In fact, 16.2  million children in America  struggle with hunger.

What does that mean?

It means they get sick more quickly and recover more slowly.

It means that they don’t learn as quickly and don’t do as well in school.

It can mean that they struggle socially, and have a tendency to be more anxious or aggressive.

None of these are surprising. Think of when you are hungry -- how do you act? What are you like? And then realize: you’re just a little hungry. You probably need a snack. You have a snack, you feel better.

Now imagine feeling that way nearly all the time.

So what can you do about it? You can go here: http://www.strength.org/ Share our Strength has multiple programs and ways in which you can get involved with eradicating hunger in America. Ways in which you can donate, if you feel like that’s how you would like to help, or volunteer, or advocate for children in food deficient households.

It’s so simple.

And it’s so important.

Friday, January 6, 2012

So Smooth(ie)

I’m on a diet (again, always, whatever) and, during the duration of said diet, have given up my beverage of choice (wine, red, glorious) for water (boring, not fun) and other oh-so-good for me things (meh).

This should be easier for me this go-round for about a zillion reasons, not the least are:

1)      I can no longer have ice cream without my digestive system going into full reverse

2)      I can no longer eat cheese without my digestive system going into full reverse

3)      Due to one and two, I no longer have the will to live and will fade quietly, with a whimper … okay, just kidding. Sort of.

3.5)      I never have sweets or snacks in my house. I just don’t. Sometimes I’ll get nutty and buy – popcorn. I know, someone should stop me.

4)      I eat the most ridiculous amount of soup EVER. Seriously. Made in my own kitchen, by my own hands. It’s a diet-y kind of food. (Especially since there are no chowders in my house, due to the reaction to dairy (see 1 and 2), so it’s mostly water.)



At this point, you may be wondering to yourself, “Self,” (and I would take a moment here to ask why you talk to yourself in the third person, and if so, why you don’t just call yourself by your actual name, but hey, it’s your internal monologue, so do with it what you will) “all of that seems well and good, but what does she do for a treat? Where’s the FUN in this soupy diet craziness?”

And to that, my friend, I would say this:

Smoothies.

I don’t know how I missed getting on board the smoothie boat until now – okay, that’s kind of a lie. Here’s how I missed it: most commercially sold smoothies are more fattening than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. (I can mention my boys without sobbing, which is an indication of dietary resignation. Finally.) They’re delicious, but not healthful. And frankly, if I’m going to blow a day’s worth of calories and fat on something, it needs to be sold in a pint container and involve little chocolate dinosaurs (or dinosnorts, as I like to call them for no obvious reason) like my lamentably retired favorite flavor Fossil Fuel.

Because, seriously.

But then I got to thinking, as I looked at my sad little wine glasses, all lined up in the cupboard and seeming neglected, you know what’s delicious? Boat drinks. With fruit and ice and frothy goodness.

You know, basically, drunk smoothies.

So if I make them myself, and there’s no booze in them … and put them in my fancy stemware with an umbrella … well, that’s like a little diet party, right?

It’s totally a diet party. Which may not be the most outrageous party I’ve ever been to, but still. Fun. Delicious. 

Things that I have smoothified so far:

Bananas

Coconut milk

Orange juice

Assorted berries

Peanut butter

Chai tea

Pineapple

Mango

Pomegranate juice

Peaches

Cherries

Now, apparently, all I need are drink umbrellas. Oh, and maybe a cabana boy.

Cheers!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Framed

I have an eye appointment tonight. This is exciting because I’ve been out of contact lenses for … um, let’s see … MONTHS. While I love my glasses, the frames are almost five years old and their fabulousness is being taken over by fragility, which is a problem.

However, as anyone who relies heavily on corrective lenses knows, picking out glasses while you’re yet wearing glasses is a challenge. You have no idea how they look, because … well, because you can’t SEE yourself. (If you COULD see yourself, you wouldn’t be there picking out glasses, now would you?)

In the past, I’ve resolved this by taking someone well meaning (and brutally honest) with me. I need someone there who knows the way I like to look, and who will steer me in the correct direction. On occasion, I have made a poor choice of companion, such as the year I took someone with a sexy librarian fantasy as my “picking frames” buddy (“Okay, now take your hair down, and shake it out, and take off your glasses.” “Dude. You are now banished to the Food Court.”)

This evening, I am flying solo. Which should be okay, since I have a better idea now of what suits my face. To be honest, if I can’t get the frames I’m currently wearing, I’m going to try to find the closest approximation as possible because I LOVE these glasses. They’re not subtle or shy. They don’t pretend to be something they’re not. They make a statement.

That’s how I like to look and, to be honest, how I prefer to think of myself.

This makes me think about when I was younger and choosing frames. When I was in high school – and to be honest, in college as well (you know, back in the day when the dinosaurs roamed the earth) – my frame choosing end-goal was to find frames that were so nondescript as to fade into the background. The saddest, wimpiest frames ever.

I never thought about it then, but I’m thinking about it now, because just as I believe the frames I’m currently wearing reflect who I am, I think those frames did too. They didn’t express confidence. They didn’t make a statement. They nearly apologized for their presence on my face, as if they were sorry to bother anyone, but, um, you know, we’re here at the moment. Feel free not to notice.

The fact that I spent so much of my time when I was younger feeling that way makes me … well, it makes me mad. I am annoyed with myself for feeling like I had to apologize for being who I am, when who I am – outspoken, goofy, ridiculous as that is – is someone I actually enjoy being, who I’ve become quite proud of, and who is deserving of some attention.

So tonight? Bold frames. Statement frames. Frames that make you sit up and take notice.

Because we ALL deserve to be proud of who we are.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Better Living Through Chemistry

This post is brought to you by a benedryl fog, which is enabling me to breathe, but which is sort of making actual coherent thought kind of challenging.

Which is to say, I've started this post nine times and keep changing my mind, or deleting, or deciding that what I'm trying to say is not what I want to say at all and might drag some poor unsuspecting souls into -- well, it's hardly limelight over here, but might make their lives a little more open then they're necessarily comfortable with and that, frankly, doesn't seem like a nice thing to do, now does it?

(The previous sentence? TOTALLY fueled by allergy meds. Hey, I warned you.)

So lately, I've been thinking about my life, which is probably a normal thing to do around one's birthday, and I have come to realize that I wasn't always the, um, best person. I mean,I don't think that I'm the source of all evil, but still? Not the kindest person I could have been, or the most open and trusting, or -- and this is the one that's really sticking in my craw-- the most honest

Not always the thing you want to know about yourself, I think.

It's bothering me today. (It might bother me less if I wasn't doped up with Over-The-Counters, but this is what I've got.) Again, I'm not trying to say that I think I've lived a life where I trampled willy-nilly over other people's feelings, but I do think that I could have been more sensitive to them, or more honest about my response to them.

So yeah. I guess that if I have a resolution for this year? That's it.

And I so hope this post makes sense.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Made Up

I have a group of friends who occasionally remark about a woman, as what I think is probably an innocently meant disparagement: “She wears makeup.”

It never fails to amuse me when someone says this in front of me because, for the record?

I always wear make up.

ALWAYS.

As in, I work from home and I wear make up for that.

As in, I can’t think of an occasion that doesn’t require at least mascara and lip gloss.

But that’s just me.

I’m not mentioning this because I want to extol the virtues of cosmetics. I don’t think everyone should wear makeup.  If you don’t like the way it feels, if you don’t like taking the time, if you prefer not to wear it – that’s your choice.  I don’t care. I’m not going to judge anyone for preferring not to wear foundation.

However, I don’t enjoy being judged for it, as though being a person who likes to be made up (and I do enjoy the whole process, immensely) makes me somehow artificial or shallow or … and this is what I suspect is the real kicker … inauthentic.  

It’s not about the make up, though. It’s about the amount of time I think people spend judging each other. I think we’re all guilty of putting people into categories based on kind of goofy criteria. We make assumptions based on very arbitrary things, and then we make statements based on those assumptions, and are sometimes dismissive of people who might otherwise be incredibly awesome because we haven’t taken the time to question those notions.

And I want to make sure I say this: We ALL do it.

Even as I write about how much it bothers me? I know that I am guilty of it.

I also know this: I’d like to be LESS guilty of it. I’d like to be more aware of where my snap judgements live, and how I can rethink them. Because if there’s one thing I really want, REALLY want in this new year? It’s the ability to meet people where they are, for who they are, which is where and how I want to be met.

Eyeliner and all.