Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Please stop telling me to use my "inside voice", it's "inside voices"...

I have often been told to use my “inside voice”, which always leads me to the question, “You mean most people only have one???” Hell, I have enough “inside” voices in my head to fill a wing at a mental institution. They keep me company. They make me laugh. They cause trouble…a LOT of trouble.

The truth is I have had a nearly constant internal commentary going on inside my head for most of my life, in fact, since I was a small child. If I blurted out even a small fraction of what I am thinking, I would be sitting alone in a closet, sucking my thumb and drinking vodka out of a paper bag – because I would piss off just about everyone, without exception, leaving me without anyone, except my damn inside voices. Most people already think I am fairly visceral and sarcastic with my comments and observations…and that is my kinder, softer “outside” voice. The inside stuff? Wow, that’s all I’m saying. Chelsea Handler has nothing on MY inside voices.

I had drinks last night with my dear friend, Sherrel. She and I try to get together at least once a month – just her and me, and a couple glasses of whatever the “girly drink of the evening” might be. Last night, it was sangria…that deliciously fruity, wickedly sneaky cocktail that makes otherwise perfectly lovely women totally giggly and annoying to the entire male population. We were indeed both giggly AND annoying…but I digress…

During our conversation, she pointed out to me that I make her laugh because I almost always say what everyone else is thinking, but no one wants to say. Hmmmmm…ok, I thought my inside voices were keeping a low profile, but apparently I was mistaken. Dammit, if only I could control my “inside” voices, keep a lid on ‘em, so to speak. They have no “off button”, no sort of filter to keep from saying something completely inappropriate at any given moment. No wonder I get such strange looks from folks on occasion. I’m starting to think I should give each of my inside voices a special name so I have someone on whom I can blame my bad behavior. The whole “blaming it on the booze” thing is getting old with my friends, I can tell.

My inside voices are crude, bawdy, loud and obtrusive. They are the ones that flip off the idiot driver next to me, while screaming obscenities out the window. And they are the ones who can verbally disembowel that creep at the bar whom everyone wishes would just go home, but no one wants to be mean. My inside voices are the true culprits of almost every embarrassingly obnoxious moment I have ever exhibited. On the upside, they are also observant, intuitive, and brutally honest. The last attribute is probably why they are not hugely popular. No one likes being called an a$$hole to his or her face. My inside voices derive copious amounts of pleasure from such outbursts. My inside voices, know no boundaries, and are always willing to cross that invisible line between “socially acceptable” and “batshit crazy.” In general, they mean no harm, unless you cut me off in traffic, but they can be mortifying to anyone who does not have the intestinal fortitude to endure their “moments of clarity”.

To those of you who don’t know me, consider yourself duly warned. To those of you who do know me, please feel free to suggest some names for these “inside voice characters.” Just don’t name any of them A$$hole. They don’t like that much. Maybe they should learn to take it like they dish it out...who knew they were so sensitive?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A pound is a pound...

An old high school classmate (a guy that I used to like until today) posted on his facebook wall that he lost 6 lbs...SIX WHOLE POUNDS! I was overcome with envy. I have been going to the gym four days a week for the past two and half months. My reward? I gained 3 lbs…THREE WHOLE POUNDS!!!! This has not pushed me “over the edge” on the scale, but it leaves me teetering on the brink. My trainer told me that it’s because muscle weighs more than fat. No Mr. Dumbass, a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh EXACTLY a pound, and now I have three extra ones. I hate that SOB too. I especially hate him on Saturday mornings when he is killing me with ab exercises. My conclusion on the whole “ab exercise thing”? I need a tummy tuck, topped off with a little lipo. That should do the trick.

Why is it that we, as women, are so wrapped up on that magic number on the scale? Every woman’s magic number is different, but when any particular woman reaches “her” magic number, suddenly every other woman’s “magic” number is adjusted. We look at each other, size each other up – “Is my ass bigger than hers?” “My magic number is bigger than her magic number…does that mean I’m fat???” I don’t know about you, but I can drive myself batshit crazy pondering “the magic number”. And when I go OVER my magic number? It’s not pretty, let’s just leave it at that.

I look at my friends and I wish I could be as accepting of myself. To me, they are all beautiful, with their own styles, their own individualities. I appreciate them for exactly who they are, and can find beauty that is unique to each of them, no matter what their shape or size. I am not so kind when it comes to critiquing myself. I've tried to overcome this personality flaw, but it is my mountain to climb. I wish the mountain wasn't so high. Most of the time, it just leaves me exhausted.

For me, my magic number is my happy place--I can still eat, my clothes fit perfectly and I do not look like I’m pregnant at that weight. I've weighed more, much much more, and was miserable. I’ve weighed less, and was thrilled with my accomplishment, but as a magic number, it simply wasn’t realistic. A girl can only eat so much lettuce and drink so much seltzer water before she wants to gnaw her own arm off to fight off starvation.

For some reason, the male population only adds to the magic number angst. They, no matter what their age, simply cut out soda and drop ten pounds. It’s not fair, if for no other reason than the fact that they’re not all that wrapped up in their magic number to begin with, at least for the most part. They are not tormented by their need to be a certain weight. They are not plagued with “do I eat that piece of chocolate and exercise for an hour to burn it off?” syndrome. They simply eat the chocolate and that’s that. I eat the chocolate then punish myself for being weak. Sometimes I swear that I can see the piece of chocolate residing right there on my hip, clear as day, mocking me.

I will continue going to the gym, despite my three pound gain, because it is GOOD for me. I can see that I have made progress, I feel stronger, and I could be imagining it, but I seem to look better in my clothes. I will continue to watch what I eat during the week, give myself a bit more freedom on the weekends, and I will try to reinforce in my head that I’m “slightly beyond 29, so it’s all good.” Above all, I will remember that life is short. If I’m gone tomorrow, no one will ever notice those three pounds. Hopefully they will simply see someone who loved with all her heart and did her best. That’s really all any of us can ever hope for, on any given day.

To my old friend Thom, whom I still adore…congratulations on your six pound loss, now shut the hell up.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And the ink isn’t even dry…

So today I heard that Kat Von D and Jesse James are engaged no more…Splitsville, moooooving on. Imagine my utter shock. Those two? Really? And here I thought it was going to last forever-what a crushing blow to romantics all over the world. I cannot wait to see what next world famous tattoo artist Mr. James move onto, or should I say into…I wonder if he gets a good deal on his ink?

Just one more seemingly perfect couple who has left us feeling robbed of “the happy ending.” Don’t you just love how these celebrities toss aside relationships like they are last season’s Prada? For those of us slightly beyond 25, we look at these dumba$$es and generally roll our eyes. The fact that anyone takes anything that comes out of their mouth as anything more than an momentary exuberant utterance is amazing. I just hope Ms. Von D was not gullible enough to have “Forever Jesse” emblazoned on the inside of her upper thigh. That’s going to leave a mark, especially on the next lucky fellow who finds himself “up there.” I guess the one statement that can be made about these lovebirds is at least the ended it before the deal was “inked.”

I was buoyed by a recent news story that said after many years of divorce steadily rising, it is now in fact on the decline. I can actually see that being the case, since no one, no matter how unhappy, can afford a decent divorce attorney these days. ($350-$500 an hour…really??? Damn, I should have gone to law school.) Let’s face it, there are those out there who just can’t afford to make the leap back into single life, so they choose to stay in an unhappy, loveless relationship…reduced to a lifetime of “hallway sex.” (If you need me to explain the definition of hallway sex, leave me a comment, and I will be happy to oblige.) I’m sad for those folks. What if they died tomorrow? No one should die that miserable. Life is just too short for that kind of tragedy. Ask Amy Winehouse…her boyfriend Reg left her, and now, well, let’s just say she’s feeling a bit “cold” about the whole thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way condoning divorce. While I am indeed divorced myself, I still believe in love and marriage. In fact, I have recently married my soul mate and “forever love” after what felt like a lifetime of searching. Being married to the right person is bliss. Being married to the wrong person is nothing short of hell (been there too.) Maybe that is why I feel that it should be really really hard to get married, and really easy to divorce. Isn’t it possible that if the act of marriage were as difficult as the act of divorce, most of us would consider it much more carefully? (Of course, given the amount of idiot parents out there, I kind of feel the same way about having children, but that is a whole other blog.)

So, Mr. James and Ms. Von D, along with Ms. Lopez and Mr. Anthony and others, please stop…stop having your publicists plan your weddings and subsequent divorces. As a matter of fact, stop naming your children ridiculous names. (Who names their kid Apple???) Just stop because mostly we find you boorish, and contrived, and morally and ethically bankrupt. And mostly, we just wish you’d go about your lives without making us live it right along with you. If you feel the need to live your lives so publicly, then go the route of others and make a reality show. At least we have the option of changing the channel.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

They should be babies for five years and teenagers for a year…

Instead of the other way around.

I can remember every moment of the day my daughter was born. That day is deliciously etched into my memory. Then...I blinked. I flinched. My ADD kicked in and I was momentarily distracted. When I turned around, she was on the verge of being a teenager, and the world’s most naturally talented drama queen. I want those first years back, but they’re gone except in my mind's eye and in the million photos of her childhood, stored on a hard drive. Thank God for digital photography. Tricia’s life is well documented. National Geographic could not have done a finer job.

I’ve never been a doting mom, a fact my daughter will attest to without any hesitation. I was the mom who would brush off her little girl’s knee and wipe away tears after a spill at the playground, saying “There’s no blood, I think you’ll live.” It wasn’t always what my daughter wanted to hear, but today she is pretty tough kiddo who has learned that in life, just like on the jungle gym, falling down and getting hurt is part of the experience. It’s ok to feel bad, but it’s more important to pick yourself up and continue on your merry way.

The one thing most people will tell you about my parenting skills is that I am a tough mom. I don’t see it, but I’ve been told that enough times to think that it is at least a possibility, not that I care. Am I strict? You betcha (in my best Minnesota accent.) But what else can you do as a parent? There is so much "stuff" out there-really scary stuff-that can not just hurt your child, but take his or her life, and in an absolute instant. I am constantly trying to educate Tricia about such things, and help her to understand that while someday she will be an adult, and she will make her own choices, those choices will have consequences. There will be responsibility, and even more importantly, accountability. You can’t screw up and blame it on the rest of the world because, ultimately, you have to own the decisions that you make for yourself. And while it’s true that life can offer second and even third chances, other choices we make affect us forever. You don’t always get a do-over. She knows that while she will certainly make mistakes, the important thing is that she learns from those mistakes and moves in a positive direction. Our experiences make us who we are, even the bad ones. What you take away from those experiences will hopefully make you stronger, and that is the true lesson in all of it.

Watching another human being suffer is a very difficult thing, at least for those of us who are compassionate and caring individuals. Watching your child suffer is gutwrenching, often in ways that cannot even be put into words. I am fortunate in that my daughter is young and her experiences and mistakes are still pretty mild on the crap scale of life. I am also aware that, more than likely, this will not always be the case. I am constantly trying to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We do not know what cards will be dealt to us as a parent, until they are on the table.

Being a parent is, by far, the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever had. Yes, some days it is frustrating, and some days it is heartbreaking, but every day it is so very rewarding. I see a lot of myself in Tricia – that can be a good and a bad thing. But what really counts is that I give her all the ammunition she needs to make solid responsible decisions for herself. It would be lovely if we could keep our kids under our wing forever, but it’s just not realistic. Better to make sure they are sufficiently armed to protect themselves, since we never really know how long we will be around to do the protecting.

Sorry for the seriousness today, it’s been a tough week, but one that has reminded me of how lucky I am to be Patricia’s mom.

Now go hug your kids.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quick! Hide the Nutella in my mouth!

Well, it’s Friday. Usually on Fridays my thoughts turn to happy hour and cocktails, but all I can really think about today is Nutella…Nutella and peanut butter on pretzels, Nutella on English muffins, Nutella on a spoon inside my mouth. Nutella, that blissfully silky substance made of hazelnuts and chocolate. It melts on your tongue and just makes you happy. Wow, my ass is going need its own zip code if I don’t step away from the damn jar of Nutella.

Who invents this stuff? I mean really, is there a group of people sitting in a room somewhere just thinking about the next great food product with little to no nutritional value, that will add numerous inches to your waistline, and cost you a small fortune at the grocery store? On the nutritional scale, ten being the most nutritionally healthy, Nutella is about a -20. It is made with palm oil…PALM OIL??? Isn’t that a heart attack in liquid form? Wait, let me ponder that for a moment while I put this Nutella and peanut butter-slathered pretzel in my mouth.

I seem to be going through some sort of phase the past couple of weeks. (Of course the fact that this week my boss brought back a one pound bar of the most delicious Swiss chocolate from Geneva has not helped my cause. By the way, it’s half gone.) For the longest time-and I’m talking years- I have measured, weighed and calculated every morsel of food that I have consumed. I’ve counted calories, carbs, protein, fat grams and fiber content. I’ve said NO more than YES to the foods I love. I’ve given up most everything that is white – rice, pasta, sugar, flour and whipped cream. Yes, I lost a ton of weight, and yes, I’m much happier thin than heavy. But you want to know something? I’m freaking STARVING!

I’ve joined a gym and have been going at least four days a week in order to hopefully maintain my current weight while eating more. I am up to at least 15 miles a week on an elliptical along with lifting weights, but the truth is, I would have to burn at least 100,000 calories at the gym in order to counteract the amount of crap I have put in my body the past week. And still there is this little voice in the back of my mind whispering “BUY THE GRANDMA UTZ’S LARD FRIED POTATO CHIPS!!!!!” I’m not sure who that whispering little bitch is, but I’d like to beat the crap out of her, then cover her mouth with duct tape. Of course, the most effective method I have found for shutting her up is feeding her chocolate, and Nutella.

I’m hoping this is just a phase. Maybe it is hormones. Most likely it stems from over two years of deprivation. I think the thing that I need to keep in mind for myself is balance. Balance makes things bearable. Balance keeps us sane. It’s ok to have the cheesecake once in a while. Hell, if I died tomorrow, you know damn well I’d be wishing I had ordered it. It’s good to be healthy, but it’s good to take joy in the simple pleasures once in a while as well. And there is no more basic human joy than the joy of food.

Someday I will retire, and someday, I will cast away vanity and “let myself go.” It probably won’t happen anytime soon, since the whole aging thing makes me break out in a rash, but eventually I will give in. Until that happens, I will limit my Nutella purchases to once or twice a year, and stay out of the potato chip aisle. Chocolate? Nah, I’m never giving that up. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's a hairy situation...

So I woke up in a wonderful mood this morning – it is after all, not only a Friday, but a Friday followed by a three day holiday weekend. I bounced out of bed, despite a rather unrestful night. I cleaned up the house, fed all the critters and hopped in the shower. After washing my hair and exfoliating enough to take off several layers of skin, wrinkles, and dry patches, I headed to the mirror for my daily survey of the personal “real estate.” As I turned on my overhead light (which is brighter than a solar eclipse) I leaned over to see if any new lines had appeared while I was off in La La Land. Nope, not a one. We’re off to a good start. I leaned in closer...what the hell is that??? Closer...closer...OMG it’s a freaking NOSE HAIR! I started to hyper-ventilate.

Before you accuse me of overreacting, please understand that I am a fair-skinned redhead. Body hair is not something I have had to contend with as my Greek, Italian, or African American female counterparts have. I don’t grow any wild witchy chin hairs, have any hairy moles, or have five o’clock shadow on my upper lip that could be mistaken for a pornstache. Hell, I don’t have to wax my eyebrows. Even shaving my legs and bikini line is a big “so what.” But hair has taken on an entirely different meaning, and not in a good way.

Now, I know nose hairs have been in existence since the beginning of time, along with ear sprouts. And while my dad didn’t live long enough to sport such accessories, I have seen a veritable smorgasboard of older men (and occasionally old women) who have. There is a reason why Wahl is in business, and for years, I have laughed incessantly while walking past the lame “Dad Gift Display” at whatever department store I was in during the holidays or around Father’s Day. Invariably, there it was, next to the automatic change counters and soap on a rope...THE WAHL NOSE HAIR TRIMMER. For the first time in my life, I wondered why I didn’t own one. My life is over.

But here is where my neuroses really kicks in. Unless that one nose hair, which was staring back me in the mirror, was curled up inside my nose waiting for just the right moment to make it’s debut, there is no way it was there yesterday! I mean, in the name of all that it is holy, it was so long that if it had two friends, I could have braided them together and added some beading at the end! It was longer than any of the hair in my “nether-regions” for Chrissakes. I mean, seriously, if it had been there the day before, I am damn sure I would have seen it. I’m meticulous about these things. Suddenly I was wondering if Bill had put Miracle Gro in the saline sinus spray bottle as a practical joke. How could this have happened overnight? If THIS could happen, then who knew what was next. I considered putting the Botox technician on speed dial, but obviously it would have to wait. I had more pressing issues at hand.

I quickly grabbed my tiny scissors and plotted this menacing hair’s demise. I needed a magnifying glass because, of course, along with everything else, my eyesight has gone to hell. But there was no way I could hold the magnifying glass AND the scissors with any sort of grace and skill. I opted for my reading glasses and leaned into the mirror as close as I could. OMG there was a whole ARMY of those little F&#ckers in was if they had declared war and were preparing for a surprise attack.

I must warn you, if you have never stuck a pair of scissors up your nose in an attempt to actually CUT something, this is no easy feat, even with a pair of the smallest scissors. I momentarily considered using tweezers but decided that unless I started drinking beforehand, that was going to be WAY too painful for me to endure. The scissors would have to do. I carefully committed to my first snip and lopped off the most obtrusive offender. If fell helplessly onto my dresser. I swear I heard it scream. Then I ended the lives of all his little buddies in both nostrils. More light, I need more light. I surveyed the battlefield. It was over. I had won. Not a hair in sight. I was victorious.

So if any of you would like to share your nose-hair story, so I don’t feel like the only female under the age of 75 who has had to endure the heat of battle with these unscrupulous little f$#ckers, please feel free to share.

And for those of you wondering what to get me for Christmas, you can find it in the “Lame Dad Gift” section at your nearest department store.