Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Confessional, At Its Best

A Confessional, At Its Best

Too much information:  If you are one that likes to limit the information highway from those you know best; well, consider this my fair warning.  Close this page immediately, as you are about to be thrown some facts you wish you may not have encroached upon.  (I dare you to look me in the eye hereinafter this piece.)

One gloomy morning on the ride to school, my son, with a ginormous smirk on his face, turns to me and says, “Momma, did you know when you were sleeping you let out a giant fart?”

Crickets.  Crickets.  Crickets.

Yes, I was momentarily embarrassed as I try diligently to keep my bodily functions to myself (and within the confines of my home walls where it’s safe).  I joked, I kidded and I tried to pass blame, “Well, how do you know it wasn’t dad?!?” I implored eagerly, hoping to cause flatulent confusion within my brilliant twelve year old boy.

“Mom.  Dad was already gone for work.  And before you say it, Reece CANNNNNNOT fart like that.”

Caught.  Red-handed.  Guilty as charged for having NORMAL bodily functions.

WAIT A MINUTE!!!!  Hold on.  Slow down and let me get my panties out of a bunch right here.

You see, my husband, like another other man, can root and toot and blow noxious green methane butt clouds almost to the tune of the alphabet!  But, <ACK>, the horror, if a woman, say a gal like me,  should squeak a melodic sphincter note or two .  Sounds quite like a double standard to me!

I have been with my husband for nearly 22 years and married for almost 17 of those years.  I am comfortable having to release in front of him.  I try not to, but if I have to, then so be it.  I would hope that my other over-achieving qualities that shine eminently from me on a daily basis would give me an Out of Jail free card for the occasional black bean inspired anal music I may produce.

Not everyone feels the same.  My sister-in-law still has yet to fart in front of her husband.  She’s been with this guy the same amount of time as I have been with my guy.  Yikes.  I get colonic spasms just thinking of holding in the magical fruit gas. 

Come on!  EVERYBODY FARTS!  The average is 19 farts a day!  Yes, people – it’s true (thanks to google).  I do not think women fart 19 times a day, but that can be a scientific study for another time.

Have no fear; I will never fart in your presence.  I will have my manners and excuse myself to the ladies room to “powder my nose” (and pray and hope that it is a silent one, so I do not have to hang out until the restroom vacates – I would NOT want to give away the identity of my anal rendition of Beethoven’s Fifth).

Never fear, I am also equipped to remain absolutely silent if one has an escapee in public.  After all, isn’t it “you smelt it, you dealt it?”
Stop giggling.  Stop shaking your head in denial and saying, "Oh noooo, not me!"  Free the farts.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top 5 Foods I Loathe

I didn't get to be curvy by NOT liking food, okay? So let's just get that little admission out of the way.
That said, there are foods I genuinely dislike. Although there really aren't that many. In fact, I was going to make a list of my Top 10 Least Favorite Foods and could only think of 5.
And because I have no sense of rhythm and pacing, I am starting off with my number 1 Absolute Most Disgusting and Hated Food of All time:
# 1 Gorgonzola Cheese.
I hate Gorgonzola cheese so much that I feel defensive about hating it. Sometimes I will mention hating it and someone will say "Oooh, but you HAVE to try it on this salad," or "in this dish" or "on that pizza."
To this I say, No Thank You. It tastes like coagulated vomit and I am all set with it in any recipe, but thanks for not listening when I told you I hated it.
#2 Grapefruits
I probably should have put grapefruit last because I really don't HATE it, I just don't LIKE it. And every once in a while, I eat one because I believe they are very good for me. But I choke that shit down like penicillin.

#3 Milk
One thing you will never see is me drinking a glass of milk. It's not that I'm opposed to dairy -- I actually like lots of dairy-ish stuff...yogurt, cheese. Whatever. But a glass of milk is one of the single most disgusting things I can dream up in my mind, and in fact even watching other people drink a glass of milk grosses me out big time. Me and my kids will probably all suffer some horrible brittle-bone-disease in the future and maybe that should make me suck it up and pour a big ole frosty glass, but I think I would rather snap into a billion pieces or crumble like a pillar of ash than drink a simple glass of milk. Blech.

#4 Pork
It is unclean and fatty and gross. Enough said.

#5 Salmon
For my final gross food, I have chosen another one of those items that people just don't want to accept that you don't like. They will tell you about a special recipe or offer to make it for you their way. And like grapefruit, salmon is one of those foods I occasionally will hold my nose and eat, only if someone else cooks it, simply because I believe it to be a healthy food and I like to eat healthy.
But if I never ate another bite of salmon, it would be too soon. The mere thought of it makes me want to swim upstream and die.

So this little activity was kind of lame. It sounded like a good idea at the time -- a good way to fill my blogging privilege, But as it turns out, I really like food. Almost every food I have ever eaten. And I will continue eating my way through the world at least until I can find 5 more foods I don't like, whenever that magical day may come.
And that is today's Confession... from this (now very grossed out and un-hungry) Curvy Girl.

One Change Challenge

Whooooooooo came up with starting a diet in the dead of winter? Who thought: New year! New you!?

 I can see the whole fresh start for the new year, new chapter, new notebook, no mistakes kind of view. I think, however, it should be that January 1st you can put in your request for a diet resolution that starts in late March or early April. 

Not now when every fiber of our beings tell us to add a layer of fat! Get under the covers! Stay in doors! Or when the new year's months have holidays that include chocolates and soda breads and, for me, cake!

Last year, I went for it on Jan 14th (after cake) and followed my husband on his weight loss journey. Let's remember, though, I did a lot of hikes with the kids. It was 45/50 degrees often. It was such a mild winter that I could punch Pot Pie in his friggin' face! Then a year later we both got caught up in the food and beers of the season: his Birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, my Birthday. He is now back on track and I am doubled over, hands on my knees, winded a few blocks behind him waving him on. Go on without me. I will catch up to the band wagon when I can stand to walk outside. When I can put away all the roux recipes I can possibly think of. When I can stop obsessing about the trail mix in the cupboard (read: next to wherever I am sitting).

I don't really have to get "bathing suit ready". Those words have never been a part of my life. At this point I am just playing the game of "Kate, you can go ahead and eat that. It will be more you have to deal with later". And I try to listen to the other side of the argument telling me to not eat it now, but I can't hear it because Kisha's cookies are extra crisp and noisy when I chew. And you know, the way the flu is going around? I could possibly have a 10lb weight loss diet thrown at me that I can sleep through. THAT possibility alone has lead to a Little Debbie hang out.

Here is a neat little thing. My husband's company pays each employee and their spouse up to $400 each (as in- takes it off the insurance bill) if they work on a healthy life change. We are very fortunate to have such a cool company employing Rob (and they are equally as lucky) but they are also wise. Computer awesomeness peoples (read: geeks) tend to sit allllllll day in front of the computer. So this company is making sure their insurance bills aren't as high by getting their employees healthy. Loads of healthy foods in the cafeteria, free gym and health assessment, and this program. The one I am doing now is called One Change Challenge. You tick off a box if you did the one change that day that you have chosen to stick with. You have 35 days to get 20 points. And it can be anything. An extra cup of veggies a day. Stretching for 5 minutes a day. 2 minutes of meditation a day. One less soda a day. Etc. And you don't need the company for it. You can do it just because it is 1 thing. As detailed as you want it to be. I am doing 1 minute of planking a day. (Baaaaaaaaaaaaby steps) 
My children love it. 
Mom. You are shaking. 
Mom. You are jiggling. 
Why? Why is everything all shaky on you? 
Mom. Mom. Can I put my book on your back? 
Mom. Mommy. Your face is red. 
Mom. Are you praying?" 
And B just usually climbs on my back.

Though I won't be handing out $100 if you do, I invite you to ease into change by picking even the least painful positive change you can think of and do it for at least 20 days out of the month. 20 sit ups a day? 1 minute of jumping jacks? 10 push ups? 1 cup of green tea? Run up and down your stairs for 1 minute? 2 minutes? Letting 1 stress go. 30 days of not worrying about one thing! (because worrying about it isn't helping, is it?) 
You get the gist.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Surround Yourself

Last week I wrote about "Spike" - that evil gremlin that takes up residence in my big head.  Many of you related and had your own version of "Spike" within your mental abyss as well.  Some of you just ooze with self-confidence on the surface and for that, I know I remain a teeny bit envious.
In any event, I am trying to stop wasting valuable energy fighting and duking it out with Spike.  As part of my resolve to make 2013 truly my year and to hit my milestones bigger than ever, I have no choice but to kick Spike to the curb.  The reality is I cannot kick Spike out without some help, some support, and without my friends.
As you know, my very core, my inner nature is to take care of those who need it.  My deepest desire is to help others; it is simply how I am hard wired.  I guess you can say I have a little Mother Theresa complex - I cannot help it, it is my way and I will not apologize for it.  I love to help others.  Anyone who has paid it forward can attest to the glorious feeling of doing good in the world.  Many can see the ripple affect that acts of kindness can perpetuate.
However, as part of my 2013 mission, I realize that I need to be a little more selective of whom I help and how - as part of a balance to help ME.  Yes, I will struggle with this and it will be a great lesson learned in making better choices.
Better choices.  Yes, that does not only apply to nutrition and exercise but in life in general.  I will always wonder a tiny bit if I had made better choices earlier on in life, would I have avoided a breast cancer battle.  Who knows?  It is really irrelevant, but I will be truthful and admit that sometimes I do skip a beat and consider this question. 
If I had made a better choice and let my parents figure out their life problems; perhaps I would not have been so eager to let them move in with my family.  Would it have been a better choice for my family and for them?  Who knows?  It is also irrelevant at this point.
I do know that part of my 2013 plans allow me to surround myself with the people who bring out the very best in me.  I am focusing on finding friends who support me in my fitness goals; including a group of ladies who will put me in the dust in our race in May.  However, training to race with them will push me out of my comfort zone and the push will allow me to be the very best physical me.  I have training buddies right now that know me all too well and will not allow me to skip out on a "Spin and Sink" workout.  We laugh, we sweat, we curse and we keep on going!  These friends do not let Spike within a 100 feet perimeter - in fact, I am fairly certain one has taken out a restraining order against Spike!
I am selecting friends who share similar nutritional goals and like to swap crazy recipes.  Go ahead, pick on me for my latest healthly food craze - I will smile and go get a giant big ol' bowl of veggies with a mutually adoring friend-fan.  I'm not the only kale-lover or veggie sushi lover!
I am picking friends who will let me be me....crazy, silly, full of life and share my inner less than positive thoughts.  We will cry tears over the trials and tribulations of life:  parenting woes, marriage headaches, financial disturbances and dysfunctional families.  We will toast a glass (okay, okay, a bottle) of wine to our successes:  wonderful children, weight losses, small cash windfalls, vacations, a clean house and many more.  We will plan bucket lists, we will dream big and we will chase goals that will enable our inner greatness to shine bright.
How about you?
Can you surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those that see greatness within you, even when you don't see it yourself?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Life is Better With Cookies

Look, I'm having a crappy week, okay?

You've had one before like this, I'm sure. Nobody likes me, I'm simultaneously invisible to everyone and parading my worst traits before their face. I suck at my job -- don't worry, they copied me on the memo. I suck at losing weight, I'm a horrible mother according to 2 out of 3 children, and I'm beginning to think I am the reason my husband needs antidepressants. I might quite possibly be the worst friend ever despite my very best efforts, and if I can get out of this dark hole with even one pal standing, it will be a mircale.

There's dust on my guitar, there's dust everywhere actually. The laundry pile is about to swallow me whole and I am a terrible cook according to 3 out of 3 children and I think it's possible that I will never amount to anything professionally.

I wasn't going to blog today, because frankly I know I sound like a downer and you guys are so nice to even bother reading anything I write anyways so I hate to drag you through the mud that is my life.

But thanks to one of those random facebook friends (that I am not even sure how -- or if -- we know each other, where she lives or anything else other than I keep stealing her stuff and posting it here), I found a beacon of light during an otherwise miserable day.


Now here's the thing. I'm curvy. I can't eat cookies with wild abandon. Cookies are approximately 42% of the reason I am curvy in the first place, with the remaining 58% having much to do with cupcakes.

But I found y'all a little something you might like....a cookie recipe that makes exactly TWO delicious little cookies. Orginially posted by Melissa at Number 2 Pencil, this is a recipe even the curvies can feel good about indulging in on an off day.

Print it out, ladies. Put it somewhere super secret, tuck it away for a rainy day.

But when you are having one of those Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me, I'm Gonna Go Eat Worms kind of days....don't eat worms. Eat cookies.

Perfect Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookies
by Melissa at No. 2 Pencil

Makes two large chocolate chip cookies

2 tablespoons of butter
2 firmly packed tablespoons of dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 egg yolk - discard or set aside egg white for a different use
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
3 heaping tablespoons of semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat butter just until it starts to melt and is softened. Blend softened butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla together by hand. Add egg yolk and stir again. Add baking soda and flour and stir until combined. Then stir in chocolate chips.

Form cookie dough into two balls and place on baking sheet. The cookies will spread during baking, so make sure they are several inches apart. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

Remove baking sheet from oven and give the baking sheet a firm, but careful bang on the counter top. This will deflate the cookie and give it a perfect wrinkly appearance.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Only Divorce

I have been divorced once in my life and it was between me and one of my best friends ever. And I do see it as a divorce. There wasn't paper work starting the friendship or lawyers ending it, but it was more significant than a falling out. It was more than a fight or a break up. I separated my life from a person who knew every piece of me and it felt pretty epic.

We bonded instantly and shared absolutely everything. She had moods. I had rages. But we were so comforted by each other and so enamored with one another, so loving and giving to each other. She was my first marriage.

We lived next door to each other for years and then lived together for years. We saw the effects of dates gone wrong and dates gone right. We filled in where partners did not, keeping us in relationships that seemed far richer than they probably were. We provided hugs and kisses for each other when away from family. We had each others' backs and knew when the other was vulnerable and stepped up and took the helm. We shared a couch under one blanket, we shared laughs and sorrows and insane ideas. We chose places to go to in our pajamas as a part of our series entitled: Pajama Adventures.

One day I noticed that I was in it alone. That I was loving, outwardly anyway, alone. I was throwing out all that I had and it was being absorbed at times and flying away in the wind like dried grass other times. I watched it fly away, bereft. Eyes stinging from the tossed debris. Nothing coming back to me but what she ignored.

And I gave warnings and heartfelt yearnings and she swore, yes, she would come back.
And I wrote angry emails, and caring letters and she swore, yes, she would come back.
And I fed her and I warmed her and I cried by myself.

And I gave up.

Then I declared our relationship over.

My husband asked why I had to make it a thing? Why not just let go of my end like she let go of hers and let it drift away? 
Oh, no! No no no. 
I hurt too much for that. And not a seething- after an annoying fight- feeling hurt- thing. I was broken hearted and I wanted to shut the whole thing down and fold it away and throw letters out and put drawings in closets and take down her photo or cover it with a new snapshot. And I did. I did all those things. I let her know this was happening. That I was hurt and that I didn't want to have her try and fix it. I wanted her to not send me cards or my children cards. I wanted her to no longer exist in my life. But she wouldn't stop. She kept randomly reaching out. I contacted her husband telling him to make her stop. But every birthday a card would appear. My children didn't understand who this person was who was sending them cards, and I would let them read them and that night while cleaning, I would recycle them.

I missed her. I mourned her. And the person sending me letters and cards was not even the person I loved with all my heart. It was a farce and it infuriated me and depressed me. It felt like a bad scene in a movie- me looking out the window, through old photo books, punching a wall and saying "I can't quitchooo..."

Then enough time passed. Enough space. And I turned 40. And people were diagnosed. And people passed away. And I got an email from her wishing me a happy birthday. And I didn't feel punched in the gut. And I had no spark at the base of my throat seeing the email address. I was at complete peace.

She said, "I hope you are having a happy and joyous day."
And I wrote back, "I am. Thank you. And you know what? I love you."

And now my divorce is complete.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oh the Places We'll Go

We have a little tradition in our house, something I invented to spend some of my suffocating wanderlust once required to settle down and be a dutiful wife and mother.
I offer each of my daughters, upon the occasion of their impending 10th birthday, a chance for a trip to anywhere in the continental US, just the two of us.
This brought me, two years ago, to Boca Raton, FL with my oldest and it will bring me to Hershey, PA next September with my middlest. It scratches an itch in me that has existed since childhood -- a thirst for new experiences and adventures without sacrificing the stability and comfort of home. For them, who knows. Some one on one time with mom, which they get in regular doses anyways, the thrill of a new place, the experience of being someone completely new and different.
Of course, as I plan #2's trip, #1 becomes increasingly jealous. So the planning doesn't always play out like a Leave it To Beaver episode. There have been tears.
And so my oldest, who has never openly paid me high praise or offered me anything short of poetic criticism, surprised me while I was making breakfast yesterday.
"Hey mom -- when I turn 21, can we go on another trip? Can we do round 2?"
"Aw, honey. That's so cute. But you are not going to want to spend your 21st birthday with me. You will want to be with your friends."
"Mom, I totally am."
"Trust me, Ruby. You're not."
"Trust me, I am."
Maybe she is. And wouldn't that just be the kicker? Can you even imagine? Me and my daughters, kicking back margaritas on their 21st birthdays? Taking planes, trains and automobiles once again to explore new places together, have new experiences? Maybe she'll talk me into zip-lining, maybe I can get her to read some of my favorite books while we lay by the pool.
Maybe by this simple process of offering them a 10th birthday present that can't be wrapped up in string, I will have nurtured their wanderlust too. And maybe -- just maybe -- they will still want to spend it with me.
I have no idea where #3 will want to go when she turns 10, but we have a few years to figure it out. Every now and again, I ask her and every once in a while, she has an answer.
"Where do you want to go with mommy for your 10th birthday, boo? What are you thinking?"
"Everywhere. I want to go everywhere with you."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Personal Shopper

If I am ever wearing a nice sweater, a skirt the perfect length, or an outfit completely en vogue, you can bet I received a box in the mail from my mom. When my hair looks it's best in a new cut and smells...important. Like it knows what life is about. Then that means my mom took me to her hair dresser. This has been going on for years. My whole life. My mom has always done her best to make me look my best, no matter how I was "looking" at the time.

When I was a little girl of 3, we were all going to the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade that they threw for my mom....

Oh. Yes. That gigantic parade was for my mom. Her birthday is March 17th and she told us, joking, that the parade was for her and we believed it for a long time. Maybe an embarrassingly long time.

So she took me to Elizabeth Arden and had them cut my hair, not hers, to celebrate the trip to the city. She loved how curly my hair would look after sitting under the heat lamps. But in the more realistic world, my hair was cut at the barber's with my 4 brothers. But when she could, she would bring me to Elizabth Arden. Until I was older she would tell the hairdressers how to cut my hair. I wanted it long. She knew I would never be able to manage my crazy hair long.

When we would go clothes shopping, a loathsome chore for a long time that one day became quite fun, she would send me into the dressing room after some initial walks around and gathering of clothes on my part. She would then proceed to throw over the door all the clothes I had made a face at as she held them up. "You're in there already. Humor me." 90% of the time the clothes she threw over the door came home with us, fitting me well and suiting me. "You can't tell from the hanger. You have got to try it on."

My mom has always been vocal about my fashion don'ts. "All of your taste is in your mouth." And when I got it right. "Well look at you! My little, little lily! You look FAB!" 

She told me when to tuck things in. "Always. You need to show them you have a waist." was the mantra in my heaviest days. "Always. You look finished tucked in. And buy a belt!" was what I was told when thinner. She finally got fed up and bought me a belt. I was 6 months pregnant. 

(Cue the crickets.)

When I was starting a new school year as a teacher, she would take me to Talbots. I could get the nice stuff there and then wear mainly my more 1st Grade teacher friendly clothes most of the week. I was all set for Parent Teacher conferences and School night... Last year she took me shopping since it was my birthday and I was teaching again. Like old times. We had fun as always, but the change is that I don't need her to buy my clothes anymore. She knows I have my style and that I can afford clothes. And that no matter what that I will avoid an iron, a tailor, and a Dry Cleaners and that just makes her want to throw her hands up and curse me to damnation. It cuts out a lot of the clothes she wants me to get.

It is harder now for us to schedule an outing like that for reasons that come with age and change. So every few weeks I will come home from errands or work and will find a box on my porch. Big names. Foreign names. Fancy names. Inside those boxes are clothes I would never in a million years have seen, let alone buy. (They all need to be Dry Cleaned for the love of Pete) I drop what I am in the midst of doing and try on the garment and walk into my daughter's room for the almost full length mirror. 

It is a hit. 

90% of the time it remains a hit. My husband will see it and say, "Wow! When did you buy that? I like that. It suits you!" and I will say, "Trixie. Of course." and give him a hard time about not liking my Eddie Bauer wear.

The clothes she sends will never be corduroy. 

Never a pair of jeans. 

If it is a sweater, it won't be cotton, but it also won't be wool because she knows I am sensitive to it. It will most likely be a cashmere situation and Oh. My. Lord. 

It won't be a turtle neck because she knows I can't bear anything on my neck.

It will be in a color I never buy. 

It will be a style I have never tried.

If it is Spring or Summer it will be clothing of the softest family of pinks and I know that is because I am always, always her one and only baby girl.

I used to wonder how she felt when I was heavy having to take me shopping when she was so petite and lovely. She never made me feel this way. Never. I just thought about it. I have come to realize that though some of the battles in the dressing rooms were bloodied, and that the pain I felt in having to go up a size was nothing compared to the pain she felt for me having to feel such pain, the whole experience was about having a day together. A memory every time I put the new article of clothing on. She keeps that connection going through the mail. I call her immediately and she cheers that it arrived and fit. It is great.

I went to her house a few weeks back wearing a lovely, soft brown sweater jacket.
"That is a fabulous sweater! I have one like it in blue! Where did you get it? TJ Maxx?"
"I got it from you, mom."
"Of course you did. It looks wonderful. And it was TJ Maxx."
"Thank you!"
A hand waving the thanks away. 
My arms, warm in her sweater, surrounding her with all the love right back.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Guest Blogger Monday!!

And it could be you! Email any one of the ladies and we will get your writing up.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Meet Spike

My gremlin, she lives inside my big head
She opens her mouth, suddenly my heart fills with dread.

"You're Ugly!"  "You're Stupid!"  "You're Lazy!"  "You're Fat!"
She screams, she yells, she deflates me

Some days she can be rather scary, like god forbid, I lack time
For a razor and my legs end up hairy!

At least once a month, my pants seem much more snug,
That bitch Spike, she delivers a debilitating, demeaning and crushing hug.

The days I walk, swim, bike and run
The voice I hear removes all the fun.
"Move you lardass!  Go!  Go!  Go!"
As much as I counter with a "Shut it! You fugly ho'!"
I push, I wince and I continue to carry on,
Much like that of a controlled devil's pawn.
People say I am very smart, the same of which I often doubt.
Why, oh why, can't I hold myself to the same clout?
I need to learn to tame this controlling shrew.
She's evil.  She's conniving.  She's frankly a piece of poo.
I do not know how to lock Spike down.
I'm going to practice dousing her ego-crushing frown.
I shall say!
Screw you, Spike!  Rebecca is here to stay!

I will have no choice but to believe it, very soon, some day.

Book Review :: Taming Your Gremlin

I made a resolution for 2013, which was not to make any resolutions -- particularly with regard to my weight. Do I want to lose 20 pounds? Yes, I do. I always do. It's something that is continually on my mind -- not so much for health reasons, but strictly for vanity and feelings of my own esteem. But I don't want it to be tied in with New Year's.

However, my subconscious had other plans. As I was working on a story for a local publication concerning weight loss and New Year's Resolutions (see how the mind does that? It got around me in a very clever way), I found myself on the phone with a weight loss therapist whose angle really spoke to me.

It was her life's work to help people uncover the messages they received as children (prior to having the ability to construct ideas based on logic, so before age 8) and how they have interpreted and formed behavioral patterns based on those messages.

But then she stopped me dead in my tracks -- she referred to the sub-conscious as a Gremlin, and referenced the work of Rick Carlson, who wrote Taming Your Gremlin.

I bought the book and thanks to a little blessing in my life known as Amazon Prime, it came to my door within days.

I can't relay it all to you. It's a good little book and I recommend it. It won't shatter the earth you walk on or send lightning bolts careening into your psyche, but it's a book that gets you acquainted with calling out that negative voice in your head -- the one that tells you things that seem to sabotage your best intentions and cause you  misery.

And of course it got me thinking about that voice in my head -- my Gremlin, who is a total bitch, by the way, and spends much of her time telling me I am a disgusting fat-ass who will never succeed in trying to be anything but a disgusting fat-ass.

On a good day, when I have managed to lock my Gremlin in a trunk in my head, I know the truth. The truth is that while my body is imperfect, it is mine and I am incredibly lucky to have it. I am healthy, I am vibrant, and most importantly, I am a thousand things that have nothing to do with my body at all but have everything to do with my character.

But the Gremlin, as you all know, has a different agenda.

And so while I would love to go on and on about all the things my Gremlin has to say, I think it's best not to pay that drunk chain-smoking loser another moment of mind, and instead to share with you the best piece of advice found within the book's pages.

When your Gremlin rears his/her ugly head, and this could be in the form of negative self-talk, an irresistible bad habit, or putting limits on your own abilities, simply take a moment to acknowledge it and then move on.

Take a deep breath in, and breathe out the words "I am taming."

Take one more deep breath in and breathe out the words "My Gremlin."

I am Taming. My Gremlin.

And then let it go.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Speak Up. You Matter.

In a book somewhere, written by some Dr. or other, there is a time line of when babies do things. Apparently my children smiled extremely early compared to this. One of my babies went ahead and set the record straight at a follow up appointment when she was super wee. I can't remember the week count, but it was low and the Dr. asked me was she meeting this and that milestone. I said, "Well, she smiles which is great. I really needed that." He said, "Well, no, she isn't giving you a reactionary smile. She is just moving her face." I blushed at the challenge and said, "I really think it is real, but..."

He gave me a kind smile and stood behind me as I was holding Evelyn tight to my body, her chin on my shoulder- a fave position as she felt herself wrapped up in me. He looked at her face and said his coochie coos and she beamed one at him. An Evie smile. He said, "Huh. That sure seemed reactionary." I said it had been going on for a week now. He made eyebrows at me again and then went behind me and gave another shot at the coochie cooing and I could feel the headlight of her smile hit him. He sat back down and said "Huh." And he smiled and he wrote it down. This was the same place that told me babies don't have colic. (All y'alls know that. some. do.)

I was going through some off and on stress periods that at times were unhinging. When I confided in a friend, she understood completely what that could do and said I should talk to my Dr. because I could maybe get a Rx for a when- I- need- it- pill. She had one and it was so helpful. I went to my Dr., something I don't do often, and I talked to the person who saw me about it. She said I could go to a therapist or I could take an every day pill. I said, no, I just want something for when I feel it coming. Like a migraine Rx when you feel one coming on. Just a nipper in the bud something. She said no. All or nothing. And I left. My husband was furious that in the few Dr. appointments I make about something driving me to the brink in pain or stress, that I come home with nothing. As a female, I am very used to this. I have often been told I was depressed, I was effected by weather, maybe it was hormones, I should do dishes by hand so the warm water would soothe my joint pain, that something seemed strange but they shrugged. And not just this one place, this is since graduating college and things for me or for what I am explaining about my kids....

This is not an attack on the medical profession.

For all the demands I put on my friends and my kids to advocate for themselves, there is just something about a woman that won't. We assume the people with the stethoscope are right and we are being silly, getting old, are being hormonal. I just recently had a wake up call. 

Someone I love very much was in pain. And she put off making an appointment for a while because she is a mom, works, a woman in general. When she finally went they did a,b,c, and found nothing. When she went back they said they would do a,b,c and she said, "You did that. What about d?" And they said, no, d wouldn't be what they needed to do, go into the room and get ready for a,b,c. She did when a nurse came in and they chatted about her symptoms. The nurse asked, "a,b,c?? That sounds like you need d!" and the Dr. was consulted. The right test was done and the wrong thing was found. Cancer.

I love that nurse- whoever she is. I love the nurse that pulled me into standing position in stirrups to get Colleen out of me. I love the nurse that told me my son was fine when the Dr. insisted he wasn't getting enough food. I love the nurse that rolled me on my side when the Dr. rolled me on my back and said I should stay there even though I kept passing out. I love these people, and yes, it has always been nurses in my experience, who listen to us women who do not complain much. I don't know if the Dr.s have too much on their plates? Or are so knowledgeable that they forget the person. And I am certainly not saying all Dr.s are like that. 

It is just that when we talk women's rights, we must start with ourselves because those nurses aren't always there. We have to put our foot down and push and say we need just one more look, one more minute (since we gave you 45 in your waiting room) just one more listen to what we are saying.

Speak up. Speak up. You matter.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ode to Brazil Nut (There is no love for you) (Healthy fat be damned)

Who is it that loves you, Brazil nut?
Surely it is not I.
With your overwhelming nut size
and your taste of watery dirt.
You are the water chestnut in my cashew chicken.
Your place is unwanted in my foods
In my nut mixes
In my life.

I remember you well, Brazil nut
from my childhood Christmas seasons.
From my mom's inappropriate name for you.
From her pewter bowl of mixed nuts
that we, small children, must crack to eat.
You, in your dark armor.
You who never came out cleanly.

I began my dislike for you then as I reached for the pick.
My solid distaste for you when you alone remained
When all hazel nuts and almonds were gone.
I turned to the pecan's hard labor before
I turned to you.
I turned away from you.
I turned the nut cracker away......

Thursday, January 3, 2013

40 is the new.......chin hair?

Age.  It sneaks up on you.  Oh, yes, dear lordy it does. 
One day, you are a kid frolicking through the days of youth without a care.  The very next, you are plucking a chin hair.
A chin hair.
Eeew.  What woman has a chin hair?  Oh noooo, you don't.  Don't you do it - you cannot hide behind denial because I know the truth.  I see the truth, of all of us,  jutting out of my chin occasionally.  What the peanut butter......and I am definitely NOT a witch.
Crows feet.  Yup.  Check.
Age spots.  I prefer just another freckle; this one just seems to be slightly larger than any other taking up residence on my skin.
Stretch marks - well, duh, three kids later and no photoshop nor plastic surgery expense line in my budget.
Yes, sometimes I fart when I sneeze.  The doctors say that happens; especially after the aforementioned kids.  Okay, sometimes I pee a teensy eensy bit with a giant gesundheit.  Whoever said kegels is the magic answer is just a liar....or did not have three kids.
Since we are on the topic of bathroom discussion, I have had to make that mad beeline to the nearest restroom, shoving anyone and everyone  You do NOT want THAT to happen.  I will blame that on the kids as well.
Snap, crackle and pop is not coming from the kids' cereal bowls in the early  morning hours.  That would be my joints, my cartilage (or perhaps lack thereof) and my bones shaking off the evening slumber.
Age.  It finds you a lot earlier than you would have ever thought possible.  Heck, I am not even 40 yet. 
So, I am determined to push this little age bitch away.  I am NOT ready to admit any of it -none of the tell-tale signs of years gone by.  I hear you laughing as I  just shared way too much info on a way too public blog.  Well, take this - I have tweezers.  I will continue to pluck that ugly little mofo chin hair that thinks it can mess with me.  I will blame that sneaky sneezy fart on the person closest to me.  I will rub massive amounts of Oil of Olay into my crows feet and onto my age spots so my skin has nothing but reversal.
Actually, I will count each wrinkle in my face as a memory - of years of laughter etched into my skin like a stroke of art, layer upon layer.  My stretch marks are one way to keep all three of my children close to me - again, memories of a time when they pushed and stretched their boundaries within my very being.  My cracking joints, a reminder to keep young -by eating healthy and pushing my physical limitations through various forms of exercise.
2013 is about me.  As of January 5th, I will have precisely ONE year left until I am 40.  I intend to roll into 40 looking better, acting better and damn well with more attitude than I had at 20.  I will walk the beach with utter confidence.  I will smirk at the 20 year olds with their skinny little bikinis and their insecurities.  Because damn, I can wear a chin hair better than any one of them.  Bring it sister.  Bring YOUR chin hair along for the ride.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ringing In 2013

 I saw all the photos of young couples smooching as they rang in 2013. I saw them in the morning when I rolled out of bed, crumpled tissues and throat lozenge wrappers strewn about. That used to be me.

I haven't gotten my first New Year's kiss for 2013 because, well, first of all I have been married for a bajillion years and second of all, I rang in 2013 with a flu/cold and nobody -- including my husband -- wants to get within 20 feet of me.
But the fact remains that I have always felt New Year's Eve was one of the most overrated party nights of the year, and believe me, nobody loves a party more than me. But let me tell you what I don't love: Staying up past 10 p.m.
And I could blame this on age or lethargy, but it's a personality trait that goes back to my teens. I have never liked staying up late, and therefore New Year's Eve has historically been one of my least favorite celebrations.
Lucky for me, we have some awesome friends that throw a party for families, and nobody raises an eyebrow when you leave at 10 p.m. So this is a more appropriate photo-summation of my New Year's:
 My family, sacked out in bed. Me under the influence of Tylenol Cold Severe, the kids and husband passed out after a notable sugar high and a full buffet of delights. And somehow, just the mere acceptance of what is makes me feel incredibly blessed and lucky.
For a broad who likes to party a little and go to bed early, I may have found my most ideal posse.
My family rules.
Happy 2013 to you and yours -- may the year bring all your dreams right to your front door.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hard Lessons to Learn and Share

It was a snowy morning when my husband was going to the store to pick up a few things. He asked who wanted to go. 2 of my kids said no, but my 9 1/2 year old, Colleen, said she would. She went to get dressed and came back to me and said, "I am afraid to drive in the snow."
"Then don't go, honey. You don't have to."
"Yes I do." 
"Why?" I asked.
"To make sure everything goes OK."
My heart hurt a bit. "How can you make sure everything will go OK?"
She shrugged. "I don't know."
"It isn't your job to make sure everything is OK. You just need to worry about you. Not something like this."
She looked at me with a nervous smile, put on her coat and shoes.
"Do you understand that it is perfectly fine for you to stay here?"
And off she went.

Not 10 minutes earlier had I read this article: 

10 Things I Want My Daughter To Know Before She Turns 10

I had read the article and asked myself, "How do I impart these wise thoughts on my ever pleasing eldest girl when I don't know how to live by them myself?" I have decided it has become another instance of: Do as I say, not as I do. Learn from my mistakes. Let me guide you around the road blocks still present in your mom, 4 times your age. 

I don't think I am some terrible type of person I don't want her to be. I just know that I was the only girl in a family of boys. I learned so many wonderful things through that experience, and I love the nurturer it made me. Even as the youngest, I knew where all my brothers' shoes were and reminded about back packs and baked them treats. I was proud of it all. What also came with it was the need to please others and make sure everyone was happy and OK. I can't honestly say what came first: The nature or the nurture. I was the baby and I was that way. Colleen is the oldest and she is that way. I don't know if it is just something built in to a girl or something built in to my genes. 

Something that hasn't showed up in her yet, or maybe ever, is the bite that my mom and I have. The bite that allows us to rebel in words and in our thoughts. We still do make ourselves crazed with pleasing, but at least we have the rage about it that allows us to speak out about it every now and then. It may be the only thing that makes us sane. Of course, no one is asking us to please them, really. It is a demand we have put upon ourselves. We have only ourselves to rage against.

I have talked to Colleen about asking for help. Told her about the deep wells I was plunged into when I never asked a question in Math class and could never catch up. I have held her hands and said, "Don't do that to yourself. As someone who suffered it, it was horrible. And as the teacher I became, I am heartbroken for the Kate who never reached out and for the teacher who never noticed." She nods fervently at me with big tears in her deep blue eyes. But I know she won't ask a thing. I hope she will, but...I just pray my husband and I can keep up with the "new math" until she graduates.

I think my next talk may be about how she and I, together, are going to work on making sure we are kind and helpful to others, but are better care taker of ourselves. I don't need to pass on panic attacks with my poor eyesight and acne. I don't need to pass on worries about friendships along with crazy hair and a weighty bum. 
It can be my gift to her future and my 40th Birthday present to myself.