Monday, November 8, 2010

Sweaters and Crockpots

What is it about Autumn that makes us want to pull out our sweaters, boots, and crockpots independent of the almost 70 degree sunny day? Inner stuff. It's the same meter that reads "Eat more and pack on weight for the Winter" and then we need to hit the gym twice as hard.

Don't fight nature with salads and barbecue turkey burgers! Give in to your urge and make something from my favorite crockpot website A Year of Slow Cooking. Stephanie decided to make something in the crockpot for 365 days straight and blog about it. You'll find her recipes, ingredients, and verdict completely honest. You can count on her authentic voice and reaction of her family every time.

This weekend I was making a breakfast buffet for up to 45 people to be served at 7:30am. I had three choices:

1. Buy a big pink box full of fat, sugar, and regrets and serve with fruit salad;

2. Stay up all night and cook like a crack addict so it will be ready for the crowd; or

3. Make something in a crockpot

Because I trust A Year of Slow Cooking with my life, I decided to make Mexican Breakfast Casserole. Making a breakfast for 45 people from a blind recipe is like trusting your mom to pick out a blind date: It could go wrong in a way you cannot plan for. However, I knew I could count on Stephanie.

I put the casserole together at 11:00pm after working hard all day and evening. I was punch drunk and screwed a few things up. In fact, I did a piss poor job. But the next morning, in spite of my worst effort, it turned out great. I made two versions, one vegetarian with black beans, and one meatatarian with Jimmy Dean sausage. They both turned out extremely delicious and hardy. When I make it again, I'll make lower fat version with low fat cheese, egg whites, and more vegetables. It would make a great brunch dish and the leftovers are perfect for quick dinners before heading outside on a cool night.

There are somethings you can always count on, Stephanie's recipes, Mexican food, and crockpots.

Happy Autumn!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Run Faster and Reduce Pain

If you've experienced knee and hip problems that seem to be caused or exacerbated by running, you may find this technique to be your bag of magic beans!

I was having Thomas work on my hip and knees for months during my triathlon training. He'd fix me up, I'd feel great, then after a couple of runs I'd start limping around again. I was doing everything I was supposed to do to fix the problem, but it was chronic. I wasn't sure if I might have to give-up running alltogether and start competitive skipping or folk dancing?

A few weeks ago, I found this YouTube

Now I run faster, without pain, and I didn't have to buy the shoes. Although I would be interested to know if they work. I learned that I was a "heel striker" thereby putting significant force on my joints, not to mention putting on the brakes with every stride. Therefore, if you are a heel striker you are a bad person. At least that's what comes across in the research I've done.

In the video, they illustrate a natural running technique when you're barefoot. They suggest emulating that strike with your shoes on. Now I've heard of a lot of people jumping on the barefoot bandwagon and Five Finger Shoes (the funny rubber toe shoes). The problem I have with those methods are in the lack of arch support. There is none! I need it or my feet hurt.

I've shared this new technique with my running partner and she has improved her time and duration too! I highly recommend giving this a try. If you search for "Pose method of running" on YouTube you will find more instructional videos.

I hope this new breakthrough gives you the runs!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hot Weather Dinner - Salad Bar Tonight?

Too hot to cook. Almost too hot to eat. But since I'm the cook/nutritionist for my family, I'm not going to just throw in the towel. I'm planning on a salad bar tonight. I'll prep the ingredients and they can throw it all together. However, we always include The Big Three (Carbohydrate, Protein, Earth)

Tonight I'll be making BLT SALAD

Romaine Lettuce
Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes
Thick Cut Bacon, all torn-up
Sourdough Croutons
Dressing: Newmans Light Balsamic Vinaigrette

Here are some items you have laying around the kitchen. Pull some out and have a Salad Bar Night!

Leftover Cold Pasta
Crunchy Chow Mien Noodles
Cooked Quinoa
Crumbled Tortilla Chips
Corn (the grain most likely to be mistaken for a vegetable)

Canned Kidney Beans
Hard Boiled Egg (see my video!)
Garbanzo Beans
Black Beans
Cheese (grated, so we don't go crazy)
Sunflower Seeds
Tofu (Extra Firm, diced)
Edamame (cooked and shelled)
Frozen Peas
White Chunk Tuna (canned, drained)

Lettuce (Exception: Iceberg has no nutritional value)
Baby Spinach Leaves
Sliced red peppers
mandarin orange slices

After dinner, head out to frozen yogurt, then they can really build a delicious creation!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Let's Make Pop Star Smoothies!

Congratulations! You followed Cookie's advice and bought yourself some organic produce for a reasonable price. But is it reasonable when organic goes bad faster than conventional and you end up throwing away half? Nope. Does it make you wonder what they've done to the conventional produce to increase it's appearance and longevity? Yep.

Sometimes the family runs through fruit so fast that you'll need to make another trip to the neighborhood fruit stand. But there are days when the sad little creatures sit in your fruit basket on the counter and wither away like yesterdays pop star.

This leads me to my topic "How is fruit like a pop star?"

  1. When they're sweet and juicy, everyone wants them
  2. The smallest blemish is the biggest deal
  3. The first sign of a little aging and whamo, they're cast aside for the newest crop of sweet young things
  4. Being organic and natural is a bit trendy, but let's face it, they're just not as pretty
For these reasons, I suggest slicing and freezing them for later in order to preserve their potential. Hey, this works for fruit too! Let's make Pop Star Smoothies!

The Britney Spears Smoothie

  • Frozen banana slices
  • Fat Free Vanilla Yogurt
  • Low Fat Coconut Milk*

What's the matter, don't have any coconut milk? Just get your people to get you some or use any other kind of milk, just as long as it's white for gosh sake.

Vanilla Ice Smoothie
  • Frozen banana slices
  • Ice cubes
  • Protein Powder (We at Fetch like Trader Joe's brand, but powdered milk will do too)
  • Dash of Vanilla Extract
  • Dash of Ground Cinnamon
I like to say "dash"

The NSync Smoothie

  • Frozen Nectarine or Peach slices
  • Silken Tofu
  • Lemonade
  • Ice
Blend together and keep in the closet for 8-10 years.

Miley Cyrus Smoothie

  • Frozen Strawberries
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Vanilla Fat Free Yogurt
  • Orange Juice
This is so delicious, it will make you want to lap dance all over a 44-year old man!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Cost of the Dirty Dozen

So many opinions, even arguments, lawsuits, and sour grapes over whether or not organic produce is better for you than conventional. Before I embarked on this research and evaluation, I would have said "I would buy organic if it wasn't so expensive." But I've knowledged-up a little and found out some surprising information. Thanks to Fetch the Cookie, a pad of paper, and a little thing called Excel, I found that organic is not necessarily more expensive. If so, not by much.

In the northeast corner of Santa Rosa, California, I scoured four produce resources that I knew our readers would relate to: Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Safeway, and a little local fruit stand (Bob's Fruit Truck, to be exact). I focused my attention on THE DIRTY DOZEN. A list of 12 fruits and vegetables that are doomed by the The Environmental Working Group ("EWG") as being the worst for harmful chemical and pesticide residues.

I know what you're thinking "How can I rob my child of all those delicious pesticides, chemical sprays, and shiny wax coating?" Tough decision. Maybe we can help.

Getting back to the perceived "problem" with organic produce: The cost. I've created this spreadsheet highlighting the lowest priced organic (green box) and the lowest priced conventional (orange box). As you can easily see, there is very little difference. What I found most surprising is the difference in suppliers. For instance, we all kind of knew that Whole Foods would be the highest, right? But aren't you surprised that Trader Joe's only came in second for economical organic produce? I'm happy to report that the local fruit stand won first place! I like to give support to the farmers who grow things around here. They live here. Pay taxes here. Raise their children here. Plus they don't have to load up trucks and drive them from Mexico, or even worse, ship the crops in from Chile.
When asked, the friendly employees at Bob's Fruit Truck can tell you what farm the produce came from, sometimes just blocks away. Given the choice, with a small difference in price, wouldn't you rather buy organic and local?
Bob's Fruit Truck is located at 4358 Sonoma Highway, Santa Rosa, CA (707) 537-6686. Their deliveries are made on Friday and Monday, that's the best days to load up on your produce. However, they are open every day 9-7, except Sunday 9-5.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Day I Set a World's Record

When I was a little girl, the teacher would say "Find a book to read for the next 20 minutes" and, if I was quick enough, I'd snatch the Guinness Book of World Records off the library shelf before anyone else could.

I would drift away from my adolescent angst for awhile staring at the world's fattest twins riding their matching motorcycles. (Nowadays you can see that anywhere.) Or be grossed out by that creepy man with the world's longest fingernails. I'd try to imagine how he could eat or even go to the bathroom. I assumed he must have had servants to do everything for him so he could just sit around and watch TV. He was sort of a hero to me.

This weekend, I was invited by Brad and Sally Lowder of Sonoma County to attend a Hoedown, but not just any Hoedown, we'd be trying for the World's Largest Virginia Reel for the Guinness Book of World Records!

I wanted to cover the event for Fetch The Cookie and had envisioned my terrifically unique and bold interview that I'd have with the Guinness Judge. Probably the best of his career. His name would have been Archibold or something cool like that. He would have worn a dark suit with long shiny European shoes. He'd be wearing an ascot and sporting his legendary bad teeth. Disappointment set hard on me when I found out Guinness would not be there. You see, if you want to have an official judge set foot on your event, it costs thousands of dollars. Instead, Brad followed the rules, filled out the applications, took pictures and videos, and had an official witness. Being a bonafide real estate agent, that's just another day at work for him.

Our Official Witness was BRENT FARRIS of KZST. Everyone knows that radio jocks are about as official as you can get. I'm pretty sure they had him fingerprinted and x-rayed. The IRS probably did a background check . We searched his car for unethical contraband. He was clean. So far.

After we signed in at the official table, on the official paper, we found an official place to stand on the grass until we could rope some strangers into dancing with us. I brought six "tween" girls who giggled and snickered like crazy when the group of Japanese exchange students joined us wearing straw hats, bandannas, and cowboy boots. I would love to read their Facebook pages to their families back home after attending their first Hoedown. They probably think we do this all the time.

The "caller" talked us through a couple of practice runs and then they announced we'd be doing it for an official NINE MINUTES. From the first clap of my hands to the last stomp of my foot, I smiled and laughed with my new dance partner, Kathy. We bowed, doe-see-doed, swung around, and skipped. The little girls' straw hats blew off in the wind as they were spun around by their partners. There was cheering and clapping and laughing everywhere. Just like all fun and wonderful things it went by too fast, leaving us all with a gallant feeling of achievement mixed with a sad feeling of completion.

If you'd be interesting in making or breaking a World Record, here's how. So get your family together and see what you can dream up. What are your skills? How about the world's largest lemonade stand? How about the most blog comments in the world (hint, hint). Currently, our family is setting the record for the world's largest pile of laundry.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Crepe (3.5 Points!)

I love fruit stands and I'd like to stop at each and every dirty little shack along the long stretch o' highway. But fruit stands work like husband repellent. I guess it's the combination of girly "gathering" plus interfering with the perfection of driving from Point A to Point B with no bathroom, eating, or stretching breaks.
Too bad, because fruit stands will always be the best place to find your strawberries. I don't waste my time eating the tart ones because they make me feel sad that I was tricked into buying substandard produce, after I had my hopes up and everything.
Strawberries are best when picked ripe from the vine. They should be little and dark red. Forget about those giant ones you get at the grocery store with a little bit of greenishness near the top. You're lying to yourself if you believe "it will get ripe at home" because it never really sweetens up, it just gets softer ... like me, for instance.
Yesterday I brought home two baskets of fresh strawberries from the Central Valley here in California. I'm hoping to gorge my way through these before they start wearing little green fuzzy sweaters and become inedible. It's so sad to see those sweet little strawberries go to waste like a prom dress that never got worn. So this morning, I set out to use at least half of a basket. I made real crepes and they were fabulous and easy. Really very easy and only 3.5 points on Weight Watchers!
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup sliced strawberries
Whipcream (I use Lucerne Low Fat. Only 1 point for 2 TBS)

Beat first five ingredients until smooth. Let sit for 15 minutes before cooking in nonstick pan with nonstick spray. Pour 1/3 batter in hot pan and swirl to make a circle. Cook for about two minutes. Flip and cook an additional one minute. Don't get all sissy about flipping the crepe. It is not as hard as you're making it out to be. If you make a hole in it, just hide it under whip cream and strawberries.
Serves 3 fabulous people

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pancake Cookies for Breakfast

We love quinoa! We've been using it for years and now, it seems, it has gained quite a bit of popularity. This sneaky little grain is packed with protein and fiber. It's also gluten-free and tastes delicious. There are tons of things you make make with it, both sweet and savory. I'll get you more information on that soon.

This post I want to share my all-time favorite recipe for pancakes. I originally found a recipe on a box of quinoa flour from Ancient Harvest, but I altered it to fit my daughter's allergies and then altered it again to decrease the fat and make it more tasty.

What we're left with is this golden pancake with a slightly nutty/crunchy charm. My daughter puts Earth Balance Buttery Spread and syrup on hers. But I'll eat mine straight from the griddle. They are THAT good. When she has her little friends over, they'll all be eaten up as soon as I can lay them down.


1/3 Cup Quinoa Flour
1/3 cup uncooked yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 Milk (Rice, oat, almond, cow, soy milk)
1 Egg Replacer to equal one egg - or just a plain ol' egg

Mix together dry ingredients. Add milk, egg, and oil. Pour onto a prepared griddle and turn when the bubbles spread across the pancake and the bottom is golden.

This makes enough for 2-3 people. If I eat half the batch, I count it as 7 points (Weight Watchers).

I like to make little pancakes for the kids and call them "pancake cookies" so that I don't have to cut up their food. For various reasons, you cannot trust children with a bottle of syrup, so I found it best to pour a serving into a little medicine cup. Then they can dunk their "pancake cookies" for a sticky little swim. Yum!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Get Ready for the Next Potato Famine

"Saints be gloried, we haven't had such as a wee crumb in a month, Sharon. Tis a blessed ting that the good Lord provided us with your fat wings to sustain us through this wretched Potato Famine".

I'm a perfect amalgamation of German and Irish that equates into an amazing ability to store fat. I'm a little French too but I didn't get any of that lovely olive skin, delicate features, nor the tousled hair. Just some b.o.

It doesn't matter how much I exercise and diet I will always have some tummy fat and, of course, my lovable fat wings. The Italians have the ass fat and, as much as they'd like to complain about it, it's way better than tummy fat. Nobody's writing rap about lovin' the big bellies.

Getting in shape for the next triathlon requires me to exert myself. I must run, ride, and swim. And I do. I have been changing my eating patterns thanks to Weight Watchers - I love it - but I started to gain weight. I had lost over 17 pounds since October and then it started to come back again, like an ex-boyfriend that just won't go away, no matter how many times you don't return his calls because he has the sex appeal of your Uncle George who doesn't clip his toenails and when he walks on the wood floor it sounds like castanets.

I complained to Thomas, he's my pit crew for the upcoming triathlon, and he asked me if I've been tired lately. "Oh my God, how did you know?" I had been sleeping 9-11 hours a night and practically falling asleep in the afternoon. Then he said something that made me happy and afraid all at once: "You are [suffering*] from overtraining. You need to increase your calories and decrease your exercise."

This assignment is not as easy as it sounds. After all the hard work I've done, it's a big risk to start eating more and decrease exercise. It's downright counter-intuitive. But I had tried everything else and I just kept gaining weight, feeling sleepy, and wanting to give up the whole Weight Watchers thing. Fuck it.

I read this article and decided to give it a try. Since then, I lost 1.2 pounds the first week and 1.6 the second week. The weight is still coming off, I feel great, look pretty good, and have a ton of energy for exercising. Now, if I could just do something about my cheap Irish skin.

* I think he should have said "suffering" so I added it here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Marathon 5k ... is that an oxymoron?

I ran in the Windsor Green Half Marathon last weekend but I didn't qualify for the hat or shirt because I didn't register for the race until the day before. It's important to have a hat or shirt because when you wear it you feel better than other people. Which you are, because you were in a marathon. So what if you only ran the 5K (3.1 miles for all the Americans unable to grasp metrics). It sounds like a really big deal anyway, doesn't it? Try it out:

"Ya, I ran the 5K this weekend. What did you do? What's that? Oh, you went to the Outlet Mall? Well good for you."
See, doesn't that sound superior?

On the up-side of registering late, I got a reduced entrance fee of only $35 plus a pancake breakfast served by the Windsor Fire Department. Naturally it was important for the Fire Department to pose in a picture with me. They are trying to improve their public image. After much begging, I acquiesced. "Just one picture, fella."

I was running with my friend Kelly who pushed her infant in a stroller while her kindergartner held on to a strap attached to the handle. "Walkers on the right!" I'd yell at the crowd of wanderers spread out like lost cats on the course. The ones that heard me moved over and looked at me with a sort of terror and some said "Oh, thank you. I'm sorry." I have quite an air of authority, but that all comes from being tall and bossy.

About halfway through the 5k, Kelly's son was running serpentine and I had my head turned for just a second when whafamm! I tripped up the little guy and he went down like a flying squirrel on a low branch, all spread out and trying to grasp at nothing. Schlice! went his little kindergarten knees on the concrete. So I quickly picked him up by the armpits and screamed "You almost made me fall!" No, just kidding. We scooped him up and, to his credit, he didn't even cry. I almost did though. We kept cheering him on and telling him how awesome he was. "Next year I'm running the 10k!" he proclaimed.

Meanwhile, we passed an angry mom and her son. She was whining in her best awful mom voice "Come on! I Want to Finish This Race!" and I thought she was the worst motivational speaker ever.

When you run to the finish line, no matter what, you feel like a winner because, if for no other reason, you finished something today. I can't say the same for the breakfast. I couldn't finish it because Kelly's husband Roy held up the sausage and said "You could run the whole course and burn off this one sausage." True. I ate the eggs.

Thanks in part to Thomas and his Body Mechanical know-how I finished 10th in my age group! Outstanding result considering I spent a good amount of time tripping little children, handling traffic control issues, and contemplating the vast superiority of Kelly's mothering skills compared to the rest of these chicks.

I took some pictures for Blogger Queen that I thought you'd enjoy. This one is my favorite. Here's an innocent woman trying to get off the grass and I'm such a big asshole that I thought it would be a pretty funny picture. I'm the shadow standing there unapologetically.

The Best Part of the Race: Kelly picked a hat up off the ground and said "looks like someone lost their hat." I grabbed it and happily put it on my head. "This one fits just right" said Goldilocks. I only felt a tiny drip of guilt. It wasn't until I wrote this post and looked at this poor lady's picture that I realized exactly where that hat came from. See it? It's laying there on the ground, right next to the shadow of my head. It seems that the destiny of this hat was to be on my head. If she ever sees this post, I'm in trouble.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Run in the Rain

I'm getting ready for a little ol' 5k this weekend. I got my Body Mechanic tune-up and I'm looking forward to possible rain because I envision lots of people running through the streets with their hands over their hair like little pink carports. But not me, sister, I'm tough! I just have to make sure I'm wearing my waterproof mascara.

I assume there will be some cream puffs with umbrellas too. I hate umbrellas for a couple of reasons:

First, and I know this is horrid of me, but I would never have agreed to marry Kent if he even owned an umbrella, much less carried an umbrella. Might as well have shapely curved eyebrows and carry a man purse with a dangly keyring attached.

I'm now thinking about my metro-man friends who do carry an umbrella, have shaped eyebrows, and might have something in their closet they call their attache' or travel bag (but really it is a purse). I feel bad now for making disparaging remarks in the previous paragraph.

The second reason I hate umbrellas is that I'm tall. It's always short people that have the umbrellas. In a crowd of people on the street, they twirl those pokey spikes around like buzz saws cutting through hair, shopping bags, and eyeballs. They have no concept of life above the umbrella. It's like they have their own little rain forest world of 5'4" and under. Everything above the forest canopy is theoretical and invisible. Someday I'm going carry around a cigar and burn drip holes in the tops of umbrellas.

Still, I don't know what to wear to the 5k. I wish had a Bead-Dazzler.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Roasted Scrotum

"Roasted Scrotum? I have a roasted scrotum" I asked as I lifted my head up from the soft, warm table to read what was written about me on the grease board. "No, it says Rotated Sacrum" corrected Thomas, my Body Mechanic.

Competing in the Super Jane Triathlon with the T.W.A.T.s in 2008 was the first publicly competitive activity I ever participated in, except for walking through nightclubs in my 20s. I was really good at that and let me tell you, it wasn't easy in those shoes.

After the triathlon, all us T.W.A.T.s were on fire and ready to sign-up for the next one. But right after the triathlon my back seized up on me. I couldn't run or sit without severe pain. I hate being broken. I feel like I have all this strength and energy in my brain, but my body just slows me down like a shopping cart with a rusted wheel.

After my last triathlon, I had to sit on the floor to put on my pants for over a year because I couldn't lift my right leg. My back was in distress and it simply would not fire to lift my leg. I had to hoist it around with my hands like a dead dog strapped to my waist. Thankfully, I could at least tell people it was a triathlon injury instead of something lame like a pedicure mishap or a Wii accident.

I gave up real workouts for a while, telling myself "Well, that's it for me. No more triathlons, or running, or weight lifting. I'll just find exercises that are more conducive to my advanced age of mid-forties."

I started researching dance classes, dog walking, swimming. Meanwhile I gained 15 pounds and started smuggling my food babies in maternity pants.

I tried to fix my back problem:

1. Ibuprofen .... until my stomach hurt

2. Chiropractic .... felt great for the time being, but had to keep coming back week after week, month after month, check after check.

3. Physical Therapy .... made my back worse because stretching is the last thing I should have been doing!

4. Denial .... I just pretended that it wasn't happening and kept working out anyway. Same results as (3).

Finally I took my back to the shop: My Body Mechanic. I suppose if I had to describe Thomas' services to a stranger, I'd say something like "It's like a sports massage with all your clothes on, but instead of feeling good on the table and leaving with your original injuries, you'll leave without the problem you came in with. He's amazing." But that's the dumbest explanation ever. He has all sorts of credentials and you can read them for yourself.

So amazing is Thomas, that I've decided to compete in another Triathlon in October. I have confidence that:

A) I will prevent a debilitating injury, months and months of treatments, and medical bills.

B) I will beat my prior times, even though I'm now 45.

C) I will get more women involved in Triathlons.

My friend Kelly and I decided to do the Tri-Girl-Tri in October. I'm just excited about having new blog material. There's the locker room etiquette, outdoor drills, and of course we still need to come up with a new team name. Kelly and I have some ideas: The Moaning V's, Beadazzled Bitches, and more. We can't be the T.I.T.s because Team In Training already swiped that one. Any ideas?

Oh, and my rotated sacrum (aka roasted scrotum)? He fixed it. In one visit. Back pain is gone. I'm afraid my knees are jacked too. So he gave me some things to do about that with a giant roller. And I run like a dorky girl, but that's another post.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three E-Z Steps for Better Grocery Shopping

I've been thinking of a new "invention" if you will. It serves to alleviate every one's headaches with grocery shopping but mostly it will just make me happy. Behold my draft letter to all grocery stores.

Dear Sir,

I am assuming that you are a man. I've never seen a picture of a woman grocery store manager. Forgive me if I'm wrong; however, if you are a female grocery store manager that looks like a man, you're probably used to the confusion.

If grocery shopping was a recognized skill, I would be considered an expert by now. However, I'm just another consumer. But what I represent is all consumers. I know you are gathering my statistical information from my debit card transactions. You're wanting me to take brief surveys. The clerks are always inquiring "Did you find everything you needed today?" and "How are you today?" Your information gathering leads me to believe that you're interested in my opinion. How beneficial for both of us, because I'm ready to talk.


1. Re-think your carts.
Does it make sense to have the coffee holder at the END of the cart? No, that's stupid. It needs to be on the handle. You'll also need a horn to make people move out of my way. I know you're concerned with the horn sound, so you should make the horn say different useful phrases like: "Tickle Tickle Tickle!!" "I'm more important than you!" and "This isn't a parking lot Fucker!" I would like a GPS ("Grocery Pointing System") that will point me in the right direction of the millet and other things that a 17-year old store clerk has never heard of. I would also like pointy things to shoot out of the end at other people, but I'll assume you will not entertain that suggestion due to liability and injury.

2. Segregation.
It's impossible for us all to shop together. I've taken the liberty of outlining some groups that would be compatible and the times they should be allotted.

a) Hootchie Mamas and Mid-Life Crisis Men. Men are the hunters, women are the gathers. This presents a traffic problem for both sides. Here, the Hootchie struts around with her "Juicy" sweats, CFM Pumps, Wonderbras, and Bump-its just demanding sexual attention. The Mid-Life Crisis Man is thereby side-tracked and stays in the store longer, throwing silly things in his cart to impress her like extra large condoms and Mens Health Magazine. The optimum shopping period is between 9:00 and 11:00 every night. The MLC Man will sneak out of the house to "pick up some shaving cream" and the Hootchie is getting her Cooks Sparkling Wine for later that night. Once there, they'll spend extra time and extra money. That's good for you, right?

b) Old people and Women without Children. Our senior citizens need someone to help with getting things off the shelf, counting their change, clipping their coupons, starting the scooter, reading the labels, etc. Obviously a woman without a child is the only person equipped to help, a man can't even touch a coupon or their masculinity will be tainted. A woman dragging their kids to the grocery store already has too many other jobs to do. It's only fair.

c) The Moms and Firefighters. This is a perfect pairing. We mothers have many unwritten rules that we follow that include, pulling your cart the right side and parking it. Having payment ready before you're at the register. Chatting with friends. Going down every isle just in case we're forgetting something (i.e., gathering), touching every single fruit and vegetable. We also forgive other moms when they have to say horrible things to their children like "No! Just hold in your poop, I'm not stopping in the bathroom AGAIN!" and "I will buy you anything in this store if you'll just shut up!" and other secret sayings we have. We are perfectly paired with firefighters because we make them feel great about themselves, and I just like having them around. So do my kids. We should have absolute control and power in the grocery store from 2:00pm to 8:30pm. During which time no old people, Mid-Life Crisis Men, Hootchie Mamas, or Women without Kids, are even allowed.

3. Buttons to wear that express your wishes.
a) Don't talk to me.
b) Extra Free Samples, Please.
c) I'm in a hurry.
d) P.M.S.
e) I'm usually better looking

I don't expect you to initiate all of these suggestions at once, but you should really consider the underlying message here: Get your act together and figure out what we really want!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

5 Things People Don't Tell You

If you've ever had a sneaking suspicion that there are things people aren't telling you, you're right. The paranoia you feel around a group of strangers is justified. Here are 5 things that I think you should know:

1. You know the Thank You cards that you hate to write? You put them off as long as you can. It's worse than ironing or doing the bills. The guilt you feel for not being a caring thoughtful person seeps into your psyche until finally you get those little suckers out in the mail. The secret is that's how everyone else feels too! It's not just you. Every Thank You card you've ever received preceded along the above path. Most people would sacrifice the present rather than write another obligatory Thank You card. That's why whenever I give a present, I say "... and as part of your present, I'm letting you off the hook for the Thank You card. I insist that you do not send me one." They are forever grateful. For real.

2. If you have to ask someone if the pants make you look fat, they do. Follow your instincts on this one. By the way, it may not be the pants, it might just be your butt. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm only trying to help. Sometimes the truth hurts, but so do tight pants.

3. Everyone is tired. So don't expect any pity from us.

4. When someone says "Well good for you" and their head tilts just a little to the side and their voice sounds sweet like a nurse about to give a shot ... they're really trying to say something else like: "Are you fucking kidding me?" or "You bitch! You get everything I want!" or "You are a complete moron." Just wait until the next person says "Well good for you" and you'll understand what a patronizing passive aggressive slap in the face this really is. So you should just flip them off and walk away and scream "Well good for you too!!!"

5. If you believe you know what your teenager is doing, just you wait until they turn 23 and tell you all the things they got away with. You are not as cool as you think you are.

The aforementioned 5 Things People Don't Tell You is based solely on own my self-centered perspective and wretched experiences. You may see things differently. In any event, I'm still right.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Feel Better About Yourself in Five Easy Steps!

Feeling bad about yourself? Lost your job? No relationship, or worse, a shitty one? Stop what you're doing and take these five simple self-help steps to improve your self-esteem.

1. Find a spiritual self-affirmation book. Perhaps something with rays of sunlight or footprints on the cover. Say a daily affirmation each day for seven days. On the eighth day stop. Reflect on the past seven days and thank God you're not the kind of person who has to do that shit every single day.

2. Play a board game with a child. It's really easy to win and you'll feel smart.

3. Hang out with people fatter than you. If you cannot find any, hang out with skinny people and visualize them sticking their fingers down their throat and eating snickers in the closet. There, now aren't you glad you're not like them?

4. Stick a dime in someone else's parking meter and save them from a ticket. Leave a note on their car telling them what you've done. Make sure they know that you did it out of the kindness of your heart because you are a selfless and generous person. Then just sit back and wait for your karma reward.

5. Wear a turtle neck and listen to public radio in your car loud enough for people to hear it and think "Wow, she is so evolved."

Have a better day!

Monday, March 2, 2009

"You're Fat"

I had a stirring deep in my belly like goldfish swimming in Jello. It was a funny tickly feeling that was pulling at memories from years ago. I placed my hand gently on my soft belly and noticed that, yes, it was larger and more smushy than before. I casually wondered if I had stomach cancer, because I always think I have cancer. For instance, when I'm tired, I think I might have a touch of sleep cancer. When I have a headache that feels serious, I consider brain cancer as a diagnosis. Then there's the lovely note I got after my very first mammogram "We have detected an area in your x-ray that is irregular" and then it goes on to say "Check back with us in six months for another x-ray" What?! I could be dead by then.

So a sea monkey in my abdomen sounds like either stomach cancer or a spiky green parasite that I must have picked from grocery store sushi. Either way, I'm screwed. So I went to the doctor. He was not my regular O.B. who looks like Professor Honeydew from the Muppets. This guy looks more like Herman Munster without the heavy pancake make-up and platform Doc Martens. He fully examines me on the table. We know what that means, right girls? He's quiet for a minute then says "Get dressed and we'll talk."

Like I said, I'm screwed. I don't know what kind of bomb he's going to drop so I'm completely unprepared for my dramatic reaction. Throughout my life I've rehearsed all my reactions to terrible news, just in case: The crying like a Baptist Minister's Wife; the stoic Angelo Saxon widow; off the deep end with drugs, booze, and men like Marilyn Monroe. But what roll shall I play today?

I'm dressed and waiting. A quiet pause from the doctor is accompanied by averted eyes and shifty body movements, like a 14-year old boy at a school dance. He finally says "Sharon, I have good news and I have bad news: The good news is that you're not pregnant. The bad news is that you're fat." And then I wake up.

I had that dream when I was turning 40. I had reached my largest weight ever and I had tried buying new shoes and more make-up, but nothing worked. So I got a personal trainer and he kicked my ass into a beautiful piece of art.

That was four years, one ass, and a spine ago. You see, after I competed in the triathlon last year, my back and neck have not been the same. My exercise has been very limited. Like, swimming only. I can pretty much just swim. That's okay for a while, but I've gained back almost all of my yucky weight. On Saturday I decided I needed to organize my nutrition so that the monster that I turn into at night, the one who makes me eat Napoleon Dynamite style nachos and frozen taquitos, will be beheaded. My personal trainer put me on a great program a few years ago. The only problem is that I HATE math. I also have no memory. I just want someone or something to keep track of it for me. Is that asking too much? I mean, I keep track of the girls' sport schedules, my husband's work schedule, both school's schedules, my daughters food allergies, and all the other things we all do. So for once, can't someone else just help a girl out?

I'm trying a free 7 day trial from Calorie King and so far, I'm pretty happy. What I already learned is that my night time feeding shark crazy sessions are probably due to the fact that I haven't had enough protein during the day. So last night I had some tuna and voila, I stopped eating. I have already lost one pound.

This morning I went to see my chiropractor and he asked me if I was pregnant. I was laying down on the Spine-o-lator, or something, and I turned my head like Regan from The Exorcist and said "What did you call me?" In a tone reminiscent of my teenage years as a bad-ass. He assured me he was just joking. You see, two of his other patients in the room were pregnant and we were all there at the same time. I had no choice but to go over his head and tell his chiropractor wife "Will you please explain this to him?" She gave me a nod of assurance. Boy, do I feel sorry for him. Well, not that sorry.

Bye bye fat wings!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Honeymoon is Over

The only meaningful thing I've heard Mr. Doctor Phil say is [insert southern drawl] "Marriage is not a long date."

Dating is easy. Anyone can hold their shit together for four hours at a restaurant. If they cannot, then they're cast aside. "Next!" You'll say, and in comes the next applicant. Well, when you're married, you have to hold your shit together every day and every night. You can yell "Next!" all you want but the same person keeps coming back to the table.

My husband and I have been married for twelve years. That's a record for me and a first for him. During our honeymoon in Hawaii, we signed up for a kayak tour with a side of snorkel. Our guide was a young, presumably single, slacker who was probably wearing everything he owned. There was another couple with us who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

The guide, let's call him The Big Cooter, told me to sit in the front and Kent to sit in the back. I decided The Big Cooter was a egocentric male chauvinist pig because he unceremoniously puts the "husband" in the steering seat on the sheer presumption that since he has a penis, he'll steer the boat better. But sure, I totally understand that. I mean, what if I'm menstruating or PMSing and I just flip out and stand-up in the boat shouting "Fuck you all!" and I jump in. This, of course, will cause all the man eating sharks to circle our party and then men will have to come to our rescues by slinging their giant dicks over the side of the kayak so I can grab on and pull myself to safety. I had, in fact, been boating throughout my life, and Kent had not. I was also a firefighter and did not lack upper body strength. So, I was pissed.

As we tried to follow the guide in his kayak, we fell farther and farther behind. The old couple was keeping up just fine, but we could not coordinate our stroking and steering. We were talking "pissy" to each other and not being very supportive, to say the least.

By the time we got to the diving spot, I never wanted to get in another boat with THAT MAN again. I chatted with the other woman for a while before I had the courage to ask her "How long does it take before you can kayak together" and she smiled very knowingly and said "Years."

She was right. It did take years and I'm still not perfect and neither is he, I guess. We have not gotten back into a kayak together, but we've done other things that require cooperation: Family vacations, dinner, raising children, dishes, sharing a bathroom, deciding on cars, choosing a movie. All these moments of partnership and I've learned something about myself: I'm imperfect. I sometimes have to spend days of arguing in my head with a voice that nobody else can hear, I have to call other women I respect and beg for wisdom, before I can say something that's helpful instead of hurtful. I've learned that sometimes it's better to give in and go with the flow. I've learned that nobody wins an argument, but everyone grows.

If I were to go on that vacation again, I'd take one look at the kayak and say "The Honeymoon is over, Pal. Let's just go lay on the beach."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


When you get a call at 1:17am from out of state and its your son’s girlfriend saying “Sean’s in the hospital and they’re doing a spinal tap” I might make some “Do” and “Don’t” suggestions:

Should Do:

Get the name of the hospital, just in case the cell phone batteries die and you have no idea where the hell they are.

Make coffee, you’ll be up anyway.

Find a quiet place to receive your multitude of telephone calls and bring your favorite blanket and new robe that your husband got you because he’s nice.

Be calm (at least while you’re on the phone) you can freak out when you hang up.

Plan to fly there immediately, even if you cannot.

Pray. Hard.

Eat chicken taquitos and diet coke for breakfast. You'll feel better.

Call your bitches (aka supportive friends who know just the right thing to say).

Act like you’re making rational decisions when speaking with your husband about flying out that very minute.

Start some laundry, because heaven knows you’ve waited until the last minute AGAIN and the luggage sniffing dogs would surely find your period panties and bark like crazy to alert everyone in line that there is a homicidal slasher boarding the plane.

Should Not Do:

Don’t try and catch up on your sleep with a nap, as your mind will go places you never want to wander.

Don’t look up “fluid on brain” on the computer.

Don’t book a flight, just yet.

Don’t say scary things to the girlfriend because she’ll freak out too.

Don’t try and do math (this always applies to me).

Don’t forget to pray. Hard.

Here’s a quote from that spells it all out for me:

“ … dealing with some very sad family news. Its been very difficult to want to write anything funny.

Sometimes I wish I were back in second grade. Making people laugh was so effortless back then. All I had to do was stand on a chair in my classroom and say “Penis farts!” and I’d have people doubled-over screaming “Bravo!”, “Brilliant!” and “Get this man another chocolate milk!” But sadly, I’m somewhat of a grown-up now, and that material doesn’t fly so well. […] thanks or being patient with me.

Penis farts.”

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The First Triathlon - Part II

The continuation and finale of my two part series (read Part I first)

I had what I perceived to be at the time a moment of clarity. I had a stern talk with cheerleaders in my head “You’re wrong about me and you’ve been lying this whole time! You almost killed me in the swim portion, Jesus H. Christ, what’s your trip? Then, as if hanging off a lifeguard’s surfboard isn’t humiliation enough, then I get passed by old people, large people, and anything else on two wheels. The only thing I passed was the dead raccoon in the middle of the road. I’m a failure and I hate this triathlon. I’ll be happy when it’s all over because this was the biggest mistake, in public, that I’ve ever made.” So all the voices in my head that once said “You can do it - it's gonna be easy” and “It’s not about winning, it’s about finishing” walked off the job and probably went into someone else’s head where they’d be appreciated for once.

My legs felt like poorly fitting prosthetics and denied me anything but a slow draggy swagger. I looked like a drunken cowboy walking uphill in sand. Since all the cheerleaders in my head were on strike and pissed off that I was so hard on them – after all, they were just trying to help, I had nothing left to make me go. I just moved forward because I was too tired to figure out what else to do. I was in the pack mentality and I forged ahead. But inside my head there was a dimly lit “vacancy” sign.

After a quarter mile of playing the part of Zombie #8 in Night of the Living Dead, I realized that if a jogged I could end this horrible day faster. I passed a couple of tables with lovely people handing out water and power drinks to the zombies/participants. I passed signs that See Jane Run had hung upon the trees, very inspirational quotes from people like Eleanor Roosevelt, I just love her. There were the official motivators that were clapping and cheering and helping us not get lost. All these people held me up when I was empty. They told me I could do it and then, to my astonishment, my interior cheerleaders put down the strike signs, picked-up their pom-poms and walked back on the job and said “You know what, Sharon? This is getting easy and you’re running pretty fast. See all those people your passing? I think you’re going to make it!”

I ran for a while and then slowed down for a fast paced walk. A woman I don’t know went gliding past me and as she did she looked over at my worn spirit and said “You’re almost home.” I did feel close to home, not the home that I live in, but the home at the finish line and I sprung into a run that lasted the rest of the race. I ran uphill and downhill, which is what I hate the most because it always makes me pee a little. At first I was worried that all the other runners would know, but then I thought “Screw it, man. Am I going to worry about what people think of me – a bunch of total strangers? Or am I going to make this the best leg of the race?” So I went for it while the little sprinkler in my pants gently sprayed the ground behind me.


I could see the Finish Line and hear the cheers of the crowd. This made me run a little faster until I approached the last four official motivators and they were yelling “Only 200 more yards to go!” As I passed them and looked toward the Finish Line, I noted two women between me and the ultimate goal. I said out loud “Watch me beat those two women up there”. I put my 34” legs into full speed ahead, tucked my head down and approached them for the pass, but just as I was about to pull ahead, one of them spotted me and the race was on. We were neck and neck and just as we were about to cross the Finish Line I pulled in front and won.

I have yet to receive my Finish Line photo, but I’m afraid it will tell the whole ugly story. We’ll see what the expression on our faces will portray. I’m pretty sure I’m horrible – I can’t wait!

I completed the race in 1:35:25:3! Why so proud? Because I met my two goals: 1) finish the race and 2) beat Gina (1:38:09:7). That’s right race fans; I beat the toughest woman I know. She has kicked my ass in a lot of other departments:
1) Style and Grooming
2) Income
3) Education
4) Bad-Ass-ness
5) Math skills
6) a lot of other crap …

But on this day, I won.

BECOME A T.W.A.T. ("Tough Women Are Triathletes")

You must first understand what we are. We are women who are not afraid to try. We hold each other up and cheer each other on. We don’t allow anyone to embarrass us, we insist on embarrassing ourselves. We want other women to laugh with us along the way. We want fun.

You must also know what we are not. We are not serious athletes; we’re just plain people with hang-ups and foibles, and special gifts. We are not bad people just because we shout “Go TWAT!” and we’re not forcing you to join us. But if you want to be a T.W.A.T. you just have to do a few things:
1. Try to do a race. Any race.
2. Don’t be afraid to wear a T.W.A.T. t-shirt
3. Support other women in their goals and dreams
4. No whining or making excuses


I would like to send my love and gratitude to all the T.W.A.T.s for making me try harder and commit to something that I almost bailed out on, but I just couldn’t let down my team by quitting. Now I’m hooked and so are they. We are all looking forward to our next Triathlon.

Thank you to See Jane Run for making this a celebration of phenomenal women. The participants were 8 to 70 years old, and they ranged from high-ranking athletes to women kind of like us. There were the Super Jane girls in the hero costumes and they were so awesome. All of the employees and volunteers were completely into it. I wish I could be that charitable, but I’m more of a “taker” than a “giver.”

Thank you to our loyal and loving T.W.A.T. supporters which consist of our husbands who were proud of us and encouraged us to do it. Our children, who set an example for us every day just by their very existence. My best friend in the world, Kathy, who showed up and cheered me on just like she has for the last 25 years. And all our friends and enemies because we just had to prove to you all that we could do it.

And we did.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The First Triathlon - Part I

I'm not the cute #273, she's "Hot Lips". I'm the one 5" taller than everyone else who looks like a dude.

My car pulls up and stops on my driveway and waits for the garage door to open. I flop out like a flaccid penis from a pair of briefs. I’m dirty, hungry, and so tired that I cannot imagine anything but laying on the couch and watching Abbott and Costello for the next 24 hours. My family gleefully bounds from the house to greet me and hear all about Mom’s first real triathlon.

I hold up my Super Jane medal strung on the red ribbon around my neck and smile. My 7-year old looks impressed and asks if I was first, second, or third. I was 642nd, no lie. There were 785 participants, so that puts me pretty low. Even though this is exactly what I would have expected, there was a secret little voice in my head the whole time I trained. It said “Hey, what if you got first place?” I know that’s completely impossible considering there are real, live athletes competing, but I just couldn’t help it.

I always believe I can do anything. This mentality is described as Optimistic or Stupid, depending on what kind of person is doing the evaluation. That’s why I almost died in the first leg.

We were to swim 400 yards in open water which is pretty scary. You might be surprised at how many people asked if I’d be able to touch the bottom. So I trained more on my swimming than my bike or run. By the triathlon, I was swimming well beyond 400 yards without resting (or touching) and this led me to believe that not only could I do it, but that it would be easy for me.

Prior to the triathlon, experienced triathletes warned me to swim behind the pack and to the outside and I heard them. I believed them. Until I got in the water and said to myself “shit, this is no sweat.” The horn blew and we all started running through the gushy mucky lake bed until we were deep enough to start swimming. I was with all the T.W.A.Ts “Tough Women Are Triathletes” except for some of the youngsters (under 40) who decided to go in the previous wave.

By the time we were one-fourth through the water course, I was in what has been referred to as “the washing machine.” This is when you’re getting kicked in the face, squished on both sides, and run over from behind. There was nowhere to go and I lost my stroke and thereby lost my breath. I could not tread water, float on my back, or side stroke to rest, as I had previously planned on doing. I was being pulled down into the abyss. That’s when I spotted the lifeguard on the surfboard floating on the sidelines. She had four swimmers hanging from her board. I needed desperately to reach her, but it was like trying to swim though an elevator full of people; they just wouldn’t move. That’s when I started shouting “I’VE GOT TO GET TO THE OUTSIDE! I’VE GOT TO GET TO THE OUTSIDE” and I just plowed through the bunch of them like a lawnmower. What could I do?

I felt like giving up. I didn’t think I could finish and I was going to ask one of the lifeguards to disqualify me. That’s when I remembered how much money I sank into this. How much work I put into this. And, most importantly, how many people I talked into doing this. I couldn’t let down the T.W.A.T.s. So, after resting, then swimming, then resting again, then swimming some more, I approached the beach. I kept lowering my legs to, please God, touch the bottom. Finally I felt the familiar soft gush wrapping around my toes and I started to walk to the beach. Then I remembered that my next leg was the bike ride, but I needed to pee first. I continued to walk toward the shore and pee as fast as I could. But before I new it I looked like a Russian dancer all squatted down and stepping forward. So, to use a manly reference, I pinched it off.

I found my “Transition Area.” This is where my bike, helmet, towel, and rubber poop is. I brought my rubber poop in order to mark my territory. I guess it worked because nobody took anything. I had two transition neighbors; one of them thought it was pointless and stupid. The other one laughed and said “good one”. I think these two women accurately represent most people’s opinion of me. As I slopped up like the creature from the black lagoon on heroine, I see Nellie standing there waiting and smiling. I wasn’t sure if she was waiting for me, but we got on our gear and our bikes and headed out.


I start off on the road, Nellie in front as usual, but then we heard a weird clicking from her bike and she had to pull over. I rode right past her and shouted “good luck!” It did not take me but about four pedals to realize some things. This is the order in which I realized them:
1. I should stop and help her
2. I am no help, because I’m bike-stupid
3. She was waiting for me in the transition area so we could ride together
4. This is a race, not a day at the park
5. I am a selfish bitch and very competitive, too

By the time I’ve processed these five facts, I’ve rode too far past her and its impossible to turn around. Luckily before too long she comes clicking up behind me and happily passes me. So does everyone else in my wave. Then comes the next wave and they pass me too. Because they’ve written our ages on the backs of our calves I’m fully aware that 60 year-old women are passing me now. This was probably karma for leaving Nellie on the side of the road like a bad date. Between the swim/drown and my biking skills, I’m officially getting my ass kicked.

We started up a really steep hill and I had to stand up on my pedals and grunt out the last few yards. A woman approximately 250 pounds passes me and declares “I’m sure glad I trained for this!” and I wanted to reply “Oh, well I’m really fucking glad too then!” but I didn’t have the breath.

Along the course, there were volunteers to motivate us. Now, while this kind of cheery backslapping happiness would normally make me want to roll my eyes and walk right past, I was so needy of the nourishing support, that I totally bought it. They were mostly college age kids, clapping and yelling “keep going, you’re doing great!” I loved each and every one of them and while most people just passed them by, I said "thank you" to every single one of them. They were like the people I keep in my head that tell me “I can totally do this!” except they weren’t imaginary.

After 11 miles on the bike, I had a full-on bicycle seat episiotomy. It was so sore down there that I’d lost all feeling. I rode the streets wondering if all the other women felt the same way or if, perhaps, I was special. Maybe my vagina was more fragile and bony. I would like to think of myself as very delicate down there, so I imagined that I was in more pain than anyone else.

When I got off the bike, my legs stopped working and I shouted to the cheering crowd around the gate “Where’s my legs? My legs are gone!?” I hobbled like a 10-month old baby toward the Transition Area for the last leg of the race.

…. Tomorrow I’ll continue with THE RUN and THE FINISH and supply pictures of the T.W.A.T.s with some of our favorite T.W.A.T. supporters. You’ll also learn about this marvelous event that, in the end, changed my life and the lives of all the T.W.A.T.s and how you can become a T.W.A.T. too!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Moms = 1; Ungrateful Children = 0

Here’s a story for every mom who drew the line.

A few years ago, my daughter was involved in a show. It was truly an extravaganza that took hours to set-up and perform. Because we must be there for such an extraordinary amount of time before the show, we the mothers wanted to feed our girls to prevent pre-show breakdowns and scorn from other mothers who’ve noticed that we don’t feed our kids. But the girls are all excited and running around with their sparkly blue make-up and hair buns. They’re making up games to play and sneaking around to avoid parents. They don’t want to stop and take a bite of anything that remotely resembles something possibly a little bit healthy. But we try, bless our little mommy hearts, we try.

One mom walked past me with a plate. On this plate were two warm cheesy pieces of pizza. I admonished her for not bringing enough for everyone, because that’s just rude to stomp around with a plate of warm cheesy pizza in front of me. As I love, love, love pizza because I never, ever get it.

Ever-so-sweetly she offered this plate of love to her daughter who was darting past her with her gang of other little girls. Stopped in her tracks, her daughter looked at her like she had a hairball hanging out of her nose and said “I hate pizza” and tried to scoot out of there to catch-up with the gang. Mom and daughter lovingly discussed the pros and cons of eating some nourishment before the show. It went something like “Look, if you don’t eat this pizza now, you’re going to be hungry later and don’t come crying to me!” The daughter scoffed at such a ridiculous prediction and rejected the love-on-a-plate.

This has been the threat handed down for generations. We all heard it as kids and we’ve all said it as parents. Yet we mostly just give in later and buy them a bag a chips just so they’ll stop that incessant whining campaign. After we’ve slaved and saved and microwaved our brains out just to bring them something warm and yummy. They don’t care because children are completely ungrateful and don’t deserve us most of the time. There’s always a piece of something that looks weird or it's touching something else so they refuse it. They reject us, as parents and caretakers. We are thrown out of the car on the freeway of life. Tumbling to the side of the road and they don’t care.

Later that evening, I’m in the changing tent and I hear the little pizza hater say to her friend “Can I have a piece, I’m starving.” Her tone was both pleading and pathetic. The other little girl says flatly “no” and I look over to see what she is asking for and that’s when it happened. Karma! The Girl was asking for a piece of … Pizza!

So poetic was this moment that it had to be reported secretly to the mother. The threat paid off and she lived through it. If the mom had been standing there, I’m sure the little girl would have never admitted her hunger nor her desire for a piece of pizza. But I was the spy and the informant and I couldn’t wait to tell Mom that it was a complete success.

We Won! The Moms Won. It wasn’t just a win for her; it was a win for all mothers everywhere. So, I’m dedicating this post to her, for her perseverance and mostly because she let me eat her daughter’s pizza.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Flashlight in my Mouth

Kent and I were having lunch together at Wendys. While he was ordering I went to the bathroom. Really had to go, bad. On the bathroom door, a handwritten sign was taped to the door that read “lights don’t work – out of order”. As I mentioned, I really had to go and I remembered the little maglite in my purse. I love it when I’m prepared with tools. It’s a holdover from the fire department days. Also reminds me of mom, as she could pull anything out of her purse that you could possibly need: sewing kit, plastic baggies, maps, or dirty Kleenex to wipe your snotty nose.

Having the right tool at my disposal, I felt confident to go about my business, so to speak. I entered the pitch black one room bathroom and twisted the head of my maglight. A soft white dusting of light emerged but did little to light my way. I stuck the maglight in my mouth to free my hands. I could barely see the toilet because my batteries were as old as my purse. The eerie ambiance of the room reminded me of a Blair Witch scene, perhaps the unsuspecting teenagers were chased into this very Wendy’s and the killer was hiding here! In the corner! My imagination is so unkind to me and it always tries to trick me and scare me with rewinding old scary movies I’ve seen. I’ve seen many.

I’m holding my light tightly in my mouth for fear of dropping it on the floor and having it brake, or worse, fall in the toilet where it will surely not be retrieved by me. I’m roving the weak light back and forth in order to catch what lurks there before It catches me and I lower my bare bottom down onto the seat but “what this?” a few extra inches to drop tells me the seat is up! This is unexplainable in a ladies room. At the very moment I drop to the cold hard horrifically damp seat, I cast my dim light to the far right where I find a urinal. “I’m in the men’s room!” I don’t care how old I am, how open-minded or enlightened I am, I cannot handle being in a boys’ room even if I really, really have to pee, I’m totally embarrassed to be in the Anti-Girls Club. There’s something revolting about the urinal and I frankly cannot understand how men can stand there and hang their stuff out together in a line, but get all weird when you start talking about another guy’s penis?

I’m mortified when I make this discovery and I quickly stand-up and wipe. I do not even wash my hands because I don’t want to touch “their” faucets. I decide I need to leave quickly but what if there’s a man standing outside? Without thinking I flick the light switch before I open the door and to my astonishment, the lights work. So I do not understand why they’d put a sign on the mens’ room that said otherwise. That is, until I tried to flush the toilet and it started to overflow onto the floor. With the lights working well, I was also able to see the nasty water puddle onto the floor and start spreading toward me. Great – Now I have to exit a mens’ room that has a sign on the door stating the lights are out. And if that doesn’t make me look like a weirdo, how about the big giant puddle I’m leaving behind. Will they think I peed on the floor? I want to leave as quick as possible, as now I’m afraid that I’ve added “taking forever in there” to my list of weird things to chalk up about me.

I burst out of there with the pen light in my mouth, wet foot prints, and my heart racing because more than anything, more than the humiliation, or worry from an overflowing a toilet, I was afraid of some scary haunted creepy thing that might have been just about to slice my throat and pull me down the toilet into the Hellraiser dungeon. But it was worse. There was my husband standing there with a smirk on his face.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Locker Room Hummer

Why are there always weird old guys in the pool with me? Whenever I show up to do laps at the pool, there is always an old guy standing in my lane. When I’m forced to share a lane with one, I’m not sure which side to swim on. Usually we’re supposed to have the ‘rules of the road’ for the lanes. But when there’s a senior citizen stalled there, what is one supposed to do? Go around or perhaps they need me to give them a jump? I look at them with my goggles under the water to see if they’re practicing water aerobics or doing something nasty but nope. Just standing there watching me.

I hate one thing more than anything else at the gym and that’s The Locker Room Hummer. I’m not talking about giant SUVs or b.j.s, which would also be pretty inexcusable in the locker room, but not quite as much as people who hum.

The other day, I was minding my own business, that’s locker room talk for “not looking at any naked people around me, no matter how fascinating they might be.” When I hear a hummer. “Oh God, here we go” I say to myself QUIETLY so I don’t bother people. She’s humming softly but she’s not satisfied because we’re not all gathered around her with tambourines so she gets a little louder and I hear that it’s “In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle, the Lion Sleeps Tonight …. A weemba wap.” Her voice sounds like a cross between Julie Andrews and Janet Reno and I don’t understand what her purpose is.

Let’s pretend I’m a Locker Room Hummer: I decide that “In the Jungle” is what I’m going to bless the locker room with today because for Gosh Sakes, who wouldn’t love to hear that song without words, just my lovely gentle humming. So I start low and then build in volume so that everyone will enjoy the song that I’ve chosen for them. I’m going to add a lot of vibrato just in case there’s a talent scout in the locker room and I can be discovered. I’ll put my gym bag and towel and blow dryer and stupid rafting sandals all around my area so that my fans will know where to stand and admire my humming. I think I’ll work on my hair just a little longer … for the encore!

Does that sound mean? Okay, play this scenario out. How about next time I’m in the Ladies Locker Room, I burst out with the Ramones “A Wanna Be Sedated” or “Beat the Brat with a Baseball Bat, Oh Ya” and I just go full on air guitar too? Then I take out all my tampons and line them all up on the floor in front of me like stage lights. I’ll sing into a blow-dryer, not mine, that nice Japanese lady’s. At the end of my concert , I’ll go from locker to locker and ask all the uncomfortable naked ladies for some positive feedback. How’s that? Sound good? Alright then, I’ll see you at the gym.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I can see clearly now that this Triathlon was a bad idea. I cannot believe I sunk my teeth into this! I should be smarter and more discriminating by this phase of my life. I have worked out consistently everyday for a week. Each day I’m biking, swimming, running, or lifting weights. And do you know what I noticed today? When I rest my arms, just let them hang there, they don’t hang straight down. Instead they are at an angle so that they can rest comfortably against the fat wings I’m apparently growing under my arms. I’m horrified. I just hope to God they help me with my swimming in the triathlon.

Its times like these that I wish I had cancer so I could take off a few pounds. I know that’s wrong. Perhaps I just want the chemo, without the cancer on the side. In any event, I’m in this Triathlon with my Bitches no matter what. That’s what a commitment is: Doing what you say you’re going to do. Its also being who you say you are.

I did a 10 mile bike ride today with my teammate Nelly. She had the nerve to wake me up at 8:36am to ask if I’d like to ride. I told her that my mind thought it was a good idea, but my body dislikes her intensely. After six cups of coffee and some kind of energy bar that seemed like a candy bar to me, I put on my bike pants and my helmet. That’s when my first triathlon injury occurred: I snapped some of my loose skin from my turkey neck right into the buckle. SNAP “Shit!” I yelled. My daughter looked at me like my hair was on fire. “I snapped my neck skin in the buckle” I pleaded pathetically whilst hoping for a little understanding. She looks at me like it's no big deal and says “oh yah, that happens to me sometimes.” Little lying 10-year old girls do not have enough turkey skin under their soft little chins to be victimized by such a catastrophe. She’s always trying to be like me.

Nelly and I rode around for about an hour. She was patient and fun to be with. She laughed at all of my jokes and didn’t laugh at me when I had to walk my bike on narrow pathways and walk up the big hills. When we got back home she WD40’d my chain and told me we’d have to do this twice a week.

Nelly’s a good person to know. She always follows through on her commitments to family and friends. She just gets up a little too early, that’s all.

Warning: Do not look at yourself in the mirror to see if you have fat wings