Thursday, April 10, 2014

50 and Fro-Yo

The other day I came face to face with fifty. By that I mean I came to terms with it, accepted it, conceded, and dealt with the fact that I am no longer “around fifty” I am 53 and overdue for a bone density test. During Pilates my knees sound like Fourth of July fireworks. Also, whereas I used to be obsessed with commercials for sexy new perfumes and face creams, I am now way more interested in the ads for Fosamax and Cymbalta. What? Possible dry mouth, and diarrhea? But I won’t wake up counting the hours until I can go back to bed? Okay, I’ll take that sweet deal.

Anyway, the way it happened was this: I was on my way home from spin class wearing the bike shorts my ex wore when he competed in an IronMan triathalon fifteen years ago and a Nike sports bra that is so old I think it was from the time I was in Aerobics class,  doing routines to “Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton John. I mean the swish is long gone on this thing. WIthout getting too graphic here, the word BRA is being used loosely as I pretty much have to jam my boobs up into it and then hope I don’t see them later peeking out around my lap as I pedal away to TIMBER.

Suddenly I needed frozen yogurt, from the self serve place where I like to get a small cup, fill it half way with NATURALLY TART and then add like four cupfuls of chocolate sprinkles and a quart of hot caramel sauce. I knew that if I first went home and showered I would end up eating half a box of Cheezits and a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich and most likely after washing that down with a diet Dr. Pepper I would never make it to Menchies, and my body was really craving it. Therefore, there was a huge decision to be made. Do I actually go into a food establishment with sweat rings around my nipples or do I miss out on one of the few things besides Chardonnay and Mad Men that help me keep my mind off the fact that I only get six more years of alimony. It dawned on me right then, I don’t care what people think of me or my sagging bike shorts or sweaty boobs. I WANT YOGURT! I went in and loaded up. So, that is one way I know that I have come to terms with fifty. Ice cream over vanity. Here are a few other ways I think prove I have accepted the fact that I am definitely well into my sixth decade:

  1. I now stand at the Publix checkout after I have paid the bill going over my receipt like a radiologist viewing a bone scan. The line builds behind me but I don’t care, I have to make sure I got the BOGO on my Oreos.

  1. I will virtually try on any type of underwear that promises to hide back fat. Even if I       see that it is constructed with what appears to be toilet paper and Elmers glue I never lose hope. This could be the one.

  1. When I go out to dinner, instead of laying my purse on an empty chair or on the floor next to me I clutch it close to me on my lap and realize now it’s only a matter of time before I start sneaking sugar packets into it.

  1. I now say, “Will you share something with me?” when I am out to dinner as if later, I am not going to go home and eat a bowl of Honeycomb cereal while watching Millionaire Matchmaker.

  1. I invariably will tell my sister during one of our long distance cell phone conversations that “I’ll call you right back, I can’t find my phone.”


Believe it or not, I find there is a freedom in admitting to yourself that you are pretty much middle aged now, and it is more than eating yogurt in sweaty gym clothes. You can do what you want when you feel like doing it, (within reason, you don’t want to end up on Dateline or anything,) with the knowledge that those who love you will love you just as much with a little caramel sauce on your chin and even a tiny bit of back fat.

*Originally published on Post 50 Huffington Post 4/9/14

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PRESSING MATTERS

I am sitting in my office where I am supposed to be writing 1. a book 2. an article on the most over the top wedding items ever and 3. an interview I did with Frank a ten year old dachsund.   I am just about ready to get to work but first things first.  I have already checked Facebook, done some creepstalking on an old boss, and liked 3 funny pet videos.  I checked my Twitter though not sure why as still not really sure what it's supposed to be doing. I googled Season 7 of Mad Men to see when I need to set my DVR as well as season 3 of VEEP.   I am debating going to TJ Maxx for sports bras at some point today.  I am the only one wearing collared GAP t-shirts at Pilates.

I am ready to buckle down and get on with my business, but there are still some nagging thoughts keeping me from penning my masterpiece and researching swan ice sculptures.

1.  I ate two Eggo waffles less than 30 minutes ago.  Why am I still hungry? I want cheese.

2.  In today's world would Don Draper be an advertising exec?  Do we still have those? Would he be in AA?  Would he be in rehab for sex addiction?  How can I meet Jon Hamm?

3.  Why didn't Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'wren Scott just ask Mick if she could possibly borrow the money to bail out her business and pay him back later?

4.  What exactly is Obamacare and do I need it and if so where do I get it?

5.   How do I get off the GILT website...I can't afford anything on there and I have already unsubscribed twice?

6.  What is the fake crab in the Publix sushi made of?  Should I get some for lunch or eat left over spaghetti?

7.  What time does TJ Maxx open?

Okay.  Now I'm ready.

Meet Frank, a 10 year old dachsund with a mind of his own!...

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Ramblings from a Golden Retriever Mom

Unconditional love.  Sure, we say we love our partner/spouse unconditionally, and we mean it.  We love you unconditionally, unless....you get too fat, contract halitosis,start telling knock knock jokes at dinner parties, suddenly decide it’s fun to push the cat in a stroller, take up rock collecting, get a Smart car,...well, you get the idea.  There may be stipulations to the unconditional love thing, or in other words, unconditional love may come with a few conditions.

And yet, true unconditional love is possible.  I know this because I have experienced it every day for the last 28 years.  How? you may be asking.  How does a person like me who considers bad breath grounds for couples therapy, find love that can endure through the years with no questions asked?  The answer is both simple and heart breaking, at times bringing such tremendous joy it’s all I can do to not run down the street shouting it at passersby, while other times causing a pain so deep it can bring me to my knees.   It’s simple.  I am a mother.

I am the very proud mother of four.  As a Jewish cancer-phobe I wake up every day and immediately do a quick role call. Yes, everyone is okay, they are all healthy, thank G-d.  There was that one terrible scare we had when my son J, then two years old, had swollen lymph nodes going up and down his neck. What I knew was a deadly case of childhood leukemia, turned out to be a raging case of Impetigo, contracted when he was playing in our koi pond and then ate this  Pizza Lunchable without washing his hands.  As my pediatrician Dr. Yusk explained, eyeing  me accusingly, “It is an infection from dirt.  From being dirty.  From not washing.”  I felt like the mother in Coal Miner’s Daughter.

“But Dang it Doc,” I wanted to say.  “I do the best I can with these four younguns.  Raising em all by my lonesome self, “ which wasn’t really true.  I had a husband at the time, but he did travel now and then on business.  In any case, other than the usual childhood illnesses, we have been lucky.

I have been reading little snippets here and there, (being a blog writer has made it impossible for me to read anything over 500 words in one sitting,) about Tiger Mom, Amy Chua.  She makes some very good points and her children certainly have proved her success as a mother.  In fact it made me look at myself and ask did I over-love?  Did I want their road to be so smooth, so flat and effortless that I ran ahead filling in the pot holes before they hit them?  Am I in fact, Golden Retriever Mom?  I want to run and play and lick you when you cry and growl at anyone who dares to cross you, whether you get an A+ or a C-, or worse.

From the time they were born my basic instinct has been to protect.  Protect from harm, protect from pain, protect from second grade teachers who send your son to the office for saying “vagina” on the playground.  Really Ms. Kettering? Yes it was seventeen years ago but I haven’t forgotten, plus he was just explaining that he doesn’t have one. Is it my fault he was brilliant beyond his years? Nor have I forgotten the coach who didn’t put him in the game when we went to the baseball championships at Disney World, nor have I forgotten my eleven year old daughter falling to the ground in tears on the lacrosse field when she missed the goal that would have sent her team to the state championship. My kids have long forgotten these moments and have gone on with their lives, I however, just can’t seem to get past them. When it comes to my children, I hold a big freaking grudge and every painful experience they suffer seems to leave a gaping wound on my heart. 

Of course as kids get older, saying vagina on the playground can turn into more serious trouble.  How can I forget the night, when, just as I had fallen asleep, there was a knock on the door.  Standing there were two police officers.  First thought?  This cannot be good.  Second thought?  I hope my boobs are not hanging out from under my tshirt.  They were simply inquiring if my son had made it home safely, and would I mind checking.   I thought, now this is why I live in a gated community, everyone keeping an eye out for each other.  I peeked in and saw my 18 year old darling boy, fast asleep, safe and sound.  I reported back to the officers, "Yes he's here, sound asleep!  Thanks for checking. Goodnight!"  They then asked if I would mind stepping outside to inspect his vehicle.  Whenever a cop uses the word VEHICLE you know you are screwed.

"We think your son may have been involved in an accident involving property damage."  I started to argue that there is no way that sleeping boy in there could have done anything like that, when I noticed black tire tracks coming from the gate leading into my driveway, where my sons' car sat with 2 flat front tires and a piece of concrete stuck to his bumper.  Case closed, but in his defense....SEE?  This is where I struggle!


In any case, they are grown now and what’s done is done.  I am totally guilty of not making them toe the absolute line and of trying to right their wrongs so they could just go about their merry way.  Did I do them any favors? No, probably not. If I could go back and do it again would I have been a stronger parent? I like to think so.  Could I possibly love them any more than I do at this very moment? Not a chance. I may not roar, but just thinking about them sure gets my tail wagging.

(reprint from Huffington Post Women's section March 15, 2014)

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Spin Cycle

I guess it's okay to tell you now that I was never considered one of the popular girls.  Starting in junior high and most likely due to the short shag that made Davey Jones a teenage idol,  but didn't really do much for me, I just could not break into that inner circle.  My hopes for being a cheerleader were immediately dashed when I showed up to the first tryouts and was surrounded by a gaggle of Heidi Klums all doing the split.  No I couldn't do it, not to mention I think it ruined what I was supposed to be saving for my wedding night.  I was immediately cut.

I went home in tears.  "Oh they're just jealous of you," was my mother's standard comeback whenever the mean girls fired another shot into my already sagging self image.  And she really believed it, that's the funny thing. Still she made me wear those queer anklet socks when the popular girls wore buffalo sandals and tennis shoes- sockless.  However,  maybe she was right, I mean why wouldn't they be jealous of  a girl with no chest, bow legs and head gear?  Take that bitches!

Fast track, like forty years.  Here I am, an independent, confident woman with five pounds around my middle that don't seem anxious to go anywhere. Unlike my ex-husband and much beloved "Thirty Rock", they are telling me,  "Don't worry kid, we're with ya for the long haul."  Much to my dismay (See post How Can iSaygoodbye) I knew something had to be done.

My sister suggested I try spin class.  Again.  Fortunately for me, this was right around my birthday and instead of the Dr. C.  gift certificate for Botox I was hoping to receive, my parents bought me a pair of real spinning shoes, that attach your feet to the pedal thereby making it impossible to ever stop pedaling without calling attention to yourself.  Pretty cool.  I went to the local cycling shop,  and after being approved for the loan, made the ensemble complete with biking shorts, a special breathable shirt, Pearl Izumi socks and gloves, yes I said gloves.  Yes, I said indoor spinning.  Shut up.

Upon viewing my new duds, M pointed out to me that you "Never, never wear your spinning shoes outside," and pulled a gym bag out from the top shelf of his closet.  "Here.  Use this and carry your shoes in it for class."  Not that I don't appreciate his looking out for me, but I believe this may have been the bag he used for sleep away camp in the 60's.  It contained a toothbrush with what I believe is a very faded image of Johnny Quest on the handle, and the lining was smeared with 40 year old Crest.  Still, just having a "gym bag" made me feel cool.

Monday morning, 9 am, I show up for MORNING RYDE with instructor Don Finley.  I am excited, though my new bike shorts remind me of how I felt in seventh grade when I had my first period and was walking through the hallways hooked to a maxi pad the size of a down comforter. Still, I am anxious to meet my cycling cohorts and though this is my first time in class, I know I will look like a seasoned pro in my new attire.

I pull open the glass doors labeled SPINNING and there they are.  Lined along the back wall, leisurely pedaling hands free, are all the Heidis (Tiffanys, Brittanys, Nikkis,) from cheerleading practice.  They have cut their hair, have a few lines around their mouths and unmovable foreheads, but it is DEFINITELY them.  They are all wearing sports bras and yoga pants and talking amongst themselves.  Where are their gloves?  Where are their special $5,000 shorts?  They each have two bottles of water and have draped their handle bars with towels.  I have a half empty bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper.  I do not have a towel.  Are they planning to bathe in here?  WTF?

No one is speaking to me.  In fact, they are pointedly not speaking to me and if it weren't for my new neon lime breathable shirt, I would think maybe they haven't noticed me yet.  I climb onto my bike, which due to my late arrival is right in the front of the room, where my ass can be seen in all its' jiggly glory by one and all.  I know the mean girls are pointing at it with their french manicured fingers dripping with huge wedding rings, reminders that unlike me, they were able to hold onto their husbands.

Spin class starts.  By the end of it I have the head of  a wet ferret and my new outfit is drenched with sweat.  The popular girls climb off their bikes and do some stretching with their legs draped across their handle bars.  Are you serious?  Will this never end?  Not happening for me.  I pretend like I am checking my phone.

The gang and Don Finley go next store for green juice and bran muffins.  Green juice makes me shart.  I head on home, wondering if Dr. C would be willing to trade a slightly used pair of spin shoes for a few shots of botox.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Just Bag It

I’m cranky today.  So I have decided to take this time to write a letter to the checkout people at my Publix.  I just want to clear the air so that from now on, I don’t have to make conversation, I can just hand them a copy of this letter and be done with it.  Let me preface this by saying I hate grocery shopping.  I would rather be doing just about anything other than reading Kim Kardashian tweets or getting a mammogram, but a girl’s gotta eat so...(A girl’s gotta drink too but the folks at ABC liquor GET IT.  They keep their head down and don’t judge me when I come running in with a martini shaker on a Friday night, screaming out “Hurry! Where are the olives?” and then, grab a jar of jalapeno olives off the shelf, and immediately dump a bunch in as soon as they ring me up. THAT’S how you do business!)

So anyway, here is a list of answers to questions the Publix folks like to throw at me.  Let’s hope this takes care of that making friendly conversation problem.

  1. Yes this is a mop.  Yes it DOES look like a really good mop.  What?  You’ve been needing to buy a mop too?  Fascinating.  Haa haa,yes...it does look like the mop head is washable.  You’re kidding. Your mother still only uses sponge mops?  Wow.  I have an idea, shut up and put it in the cart.
  2. Yes I did notice that if I buy five cartons of Publix soda the fifth one is free.  However, I’ve been thinking lately that I really want to hold on to the teeth in my mouth, so I think I will just take this six pack of diet Coke for today.  What?  Your kids drink that stuff like it’s going out of style?  I would have never guessed.  What say we just go ahead and load that into the cart for now, before the top of my head explodes or I end up stabbing you with my car key?
  3. Yup, this is a dog bone.  Haa haa haa, yes he IS one spoiled dog.  What?  He is an English mastiff.  Oh, about 140 pounds I guess.  Yes, I know. You already said that is one giant dog bone.  Oh wow, how interesting.  You have a dog that weighs only 10 pounds? You’re right it probably would take years for him to finish chewing this bone. How bout loading it in the car before my 13 year old mastiff succumbs to old age and I return to find him fossilized on the floor waiting for his rawhide?
  4. Yes, SOMEBODY IS making spaghetti sauce.  Yes these are the best tomatoes to use which is why I am buying them.  Yes you will have to try them.  Nope.  Not putting any meat in this one. Yep, I agree.  Any sauce can taste great with browned up beef in it.  No that’s okay.  I don’t want you to send the bagger to get me a hunk.  What I do want is for you to load these tomatoes into double bags, and let me get the hell out of here before I start to cry.
  5. Please, NO!  I DO NOT WANT HELP OUT TO MY CAR.  Not that I would not enjoy you accompanying me to the parking lot where I will no doubt wander for a few minutes looking for my car while you regale me with your Superbowl party plans and the chili dip your sister in law will be bringing, and even though you hate her new boyfriend because he drinks all the beer and doesn’t bring any,  you DO love her chili dip.  Thanks anyway.  I can get it.

Finally, yes I have coupons.  On my counter right next to my sunglasses that I also forgot.  We all know that’s not going to help me at this point.  So please, just ring me up, let me pay, and let’s both move on with the rest of our day.  I can tell the woman behind me is dying to tell you about her Swiffer.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

WRITE THIS WAY 2


My Santa Fe writing conference is now becoming a blurred memory, however two things stand out.  First off, I met some fabulous women that I plan to stay in contact with.  We all sort of bonded over lunch on the day of our sessions, as we sat around the table watching the wine sauce on our chicken congeal while one woman waited for her gluten free, organic, hypoallergenic, soy/tofu based, sauceless chia noodles.  During this time, we all told about how we had come to be in Santa Fe at this moment in time.   One woman with beautiful, long silver hair, told us she came here from Dallas.  She begins to tell us her story but she chokes up a bit when she shares with us that eighteen months ago her cat died.  Luckily, when she was at her lowest point, thinking she could not go on another moment without Mr. Pum Pum, angels came to her.  They appeared before her and told her that she needed to attend this conference.  They brought her here she said.

Well frankly, I was a bit put out.  Where are my angels?  I had to pay $450 for an airline ticket and then another 25$ for a shuttle full of rich people who were staying at real lodges with bars that stayed open past 8 pm.  I couldn't even get one of my kids to bring me to the airport, much less a bunch of angels to bring me all the way to Santa Fe.  I'm not sure if they drove her here or what, but in any case, some  people are SO lucky.

Of course the high point was  meeting the very talented author of my favorite divorce book.  I had booked a private session with her and she was going to give me a critique on my work.  When she opened the door and I came face to face with her, it was like my back stage pass experience with David Cassidy in sixth grade.  I tried to act cool and sophisticated and bit my tongue in order to keep from yelling out highly intelligent statements such as, "I have a cat!" or "I love cheese!" due to my nervous excitement at meeting a celebrity.

All in all, I found the conference exhilarating, and inspiring and loved every minute of it.  Until.  Until I found that my flight had been cancelled and that I would be spending another night in the frozen tundra of Santa Fe.  Sure.  It's all fun and games until the Dallas airport shuts down.

I woke up in the morning and after turning on CNN and seeing what amounts to a small country sleeping in the Dallas airport, decided to make the best of the situation.  I headed to the bar.  (See my last post.)  A few hours later I was heading up to my room for an envigorating game of PONG when I received a text from one of my new favorite friends. "Just got invited to a poetry reading in town tonite.  You in?"

"Sure, " I thought.  Nothing else to do and it sounds like a fun experience.  Also it was in a coffee shop, where I assumed they would have real coffee, as opposed to the watered down Sanka left over from 1978 my "lodge" had been serving.

That evening we met in the lobby where the hotel shuttle driver/bartender/concierge was waiting to take us into town.  He dropped us off at our coffee shop where I became intoxicated with the smell of fresh brewed coffee.  And look!  They have muffins!  Unfortunately, we had arrived at the last minute and were being told to take our seats which were two fold out chairs by the door.  In the corner was a little make-shift stage with a microphone set up waiting for the first reader.

Thirty seconds into the first poem, I remembered something very important- I hate poetry readings. The reader is saying something about an owl, an abyss, time passing...WTF?  After the reading a collective "Ahhhhhh yes, " comes from the audience.  I am thinking about the muffins.  Do they have blueberry?  Should I try to get two?  Will they get crushed in my purse?

Afterwards we made small talk with a few of the authors. The locals asked us, "What did you do today, since you had some extra time you hadn't planned on?" One woman said, "I went into town and scoured the Georgie O'Keefe museum. Unbelievable."  Another answered, "I walked the grounds and spent some time petting the horses and enjoying the unbelievable beauty of nature."  Please don't ask me, please don't ask me....too late.  They are waiting for me to chime in..."Um, I had a few drinks at the bar and watched Orange is the New Black on my Ipad."  That pretty much brought the night to a close.

The next day I took another shuttle to Albuquerque, spent the night at an airport Hilton, ate chicken wings in my bed, and flew out the following morning at 6am.  Even with the flight issues, I had a fabulous experience and can't wait to do another writer's conference.  Just waiting for my angels to tell me where it will be and how I will get there.



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Saturday, December 14, 2013

WRITE THIS WAY Part 1



I am sitting at a bar in what I call a Santa Fe hotel, but what Santa Fe people refer to as a “lodge.”  If by lodge they mean a place to sleep with three year old coffee packets in the room, an Atari game station with PONG, and one guy who doubles as bell hop, waiter and shuttle driver then yes, this is a lodge.  

There was a day when the thought of sitting in a bar alone was on par with the thought of say, attending the neighborhood pool party in a bathing suit instead of long denim shorts and a billowy coverup or drinking decaf coffee.  NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.  But desperate times call for desperate measures and I have been snowed in here for two days.  Not only am I sitting at the bar, I have my lap top out and am on my second Bloody Mary.  “Salted rim?” the bartender/breakfast waiter/concierge asks me.  “What do you think?” I answer.

Behind me a chipper wedding planner/hotel maid,  is trying to talk a young couple into having their wedding here.  Over the strands of “O Tannenbaum” I hear her telling them that they can only use biodegradeable flowers under the gazebo.  No rice.  She tells them that this is an all green facility, which explains that weird growth of foliage around my bathtub drain.  They are having an outside wedding in the Spring.  It must be beautiful here in the Spring, I bet a wedding here in the Spring would be amazing.  I am just tipsy enough to walk over there and wrangle an invite.  Then I hear the bride say they will be having a cash bar.  

Never mind.  I’m out.

For those of you who don’t know, and that would be anyone other than my immediate family and five facebook friends (My daughter was like, “You’re where? I had no idea!” and she lives a block away,) I have been in Santa Fe for a writing conference.  One of my favorite authors was putting on a writers intensive and I decided it was time to branch out and be with other wildly creative and talented writers. Luckily, I had just enough room on the credit card I had recently acquired for facial fillers to cover my travel and the seminar fee.  And so, here I am.

I have to say, there is something very freeing about traveling alone.  You can be whomever you want to be.  I totally got into it.  I found myself actually starting conversations with people on the plane just so they would finally ask “So what do you do?” and instead of saying “Nothing,” like I usually do, I would answer, “Oh, I’m a writer.”

“What do you write?” they would then ask.
Nosy fuckers.  

In any case I was really enjoying the journey...until I landed in the Santa Fe airport, which is about the size of my kitchen.  Also, I thought that New Mexico was warm.  WTF?  I got off the plane to 34 degrees and a blinding wind.  After collecting my bag from the runway, I exited the the airport, still feeling glamorous in my boots and tunic, though slightly chilly in my Florida cotton sleeveless wrap.

I threw open the doors and searched for the cab line.  Ten minutes later with numb extremities and a wad of frozen snot under my nose, I asked a woman next to me where are the cabs?  She said, “Oh, cabs don’t wait here, you have to CALL a cab. You can sign up for the shuttle inside.”

Which I did along with ten other people all going to different places.  First stop was actually the home of a gentleman and his cat.  Twiggy had done great on the plane ride but was getting a little antsy in the shuttle, which was why they were stop one.  From there we dropped people off at one gorgeous lodge after another.  I became more excited with each stop.  I couldn’t wait to get to MY lodge and have a nice glass of red in front of the fireplace.

Before long, I was the only one left.  The driver looked back at me and said, “Where did you say you were staying?”  I told him and he muttered, “Ugh.”

15 minutes later we pulled up in front of my lodge which though far from town, looked warm and cozy.  I began to lug my bag in but a young man suddenly appeared and took it from me.  He walked me in and then took his place behind the counter.  He gave me my room assignment which from what I could tell in the dark was about a mile walk away in what was now a blinding snow storm.  He then informed me that the restaurant and lounge had closed at 8 but there were complimentary chips and salsa in the room.


So, as this is getting long, and we all have very short attention spans, I will stop here and pick it up in WRITE THIS WAY 2.  Stay with me.

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