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Archive for June, 2010

I can have my cake and eat it too

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Last week I found myself face-to-face with yet another denim crisis. Thankfully this time didn’t include shredding fabric; it was far less permanent, but it was legitimate nonetheless…they were too tight. I had managed to squeeze into them first thing in the morning and blamed the snugger than usual fit on the fact that they’d just come out of the drier. By mid-day though, when the drier induced shrink should have been stretched out, they were still too tight…so tight, in fact, that I had to unbutton them when I sat down! This definitely was more than some drier shrinkage. The jeans – my third favorite pair (with the heart shaped pockets on the butt) – were too small. Hmmm…apparently my current plan of eating everything and doing nothing was not working.

I needed to figure something out that would yield immediate results with little or no effort from me. My first thought were those Fit Flop shoes. They seemed like the perfect plan…I mean, I have to walk around anyway, so I might as well get in shape while I do it. The problem is that I’m not so sure they actually work. Every time I see a pair of feet in them, I plan to ask the owner how well they work, but 100% of the time it is perfectly clear that they do not work. The only toned legs I’ve ever seen attached to the sandals are the ones on the billboard. Back to the drawing board.

Next, I went to amazon.com (where you can buy Not Quite a Bride and Not Quite a Mom if you haven’t yet…hint, hint) and bought Naturally Thin – how to Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting, by Bethenny Frankel. Sounded perfect…skinny without dieting. Screw the Fit Flops, this was the plan for me. In the past few weeks, Bethenny Frankel had pushed Tori Spelling out of the #2 position on my list of favorite reality stars (Cortney Novogratz remains in the #1 slot). Even I was surprised by this since during the last season and even the beginning of this season of Real Housewives of New York City, I was a loyal member of Team Kelly, but something about her Virgin Islands breakdown combined, perhaps, with Bethenny’s legitimate success (as opposed to the wannabe success I’d considered her to have during the show’s first two seasons) made me look beyond her ridiculously rectangular face and completely fake boobs and made me decide that the girl knows her shit.

Two days later, the book arrived on my doorstep. I eagerly sat down with a homemade chocolate brownie in hand and the book in the other, ready to begin the unleashing process. At the moment, I’m only about 35 pages in to her 300 page instruction manual, but I have to say, she makes some good points – my diet really is like a bank account! I also bought the Body by Bethenny DVD which I fully intend on removing from the shrink wrap in the next 1 – 2 weeks. In a similar, but far less devoted style than Julie Powell, I will keep you posted on how my dying-to-get-out Skinnygirl is doing. For now, I’m pondering rule #2: You can have it all, just not all at once. I can have my brownie, and eat it too…I just can’t have it ala mode? Interesting thought…stay tuned.

I made it by the skin of my teeth

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

I spent most of Tuesday feeling really disappointed in myself. It was election day, and as the day wore on, it looked like I wasn’t going to make it to the polls. I tried to console myself with reminders that it was only a primary…but in the back of my mind, I knew the truth – it was an election that I wasn’t going to be part of. I was letting my state down and I was letting myself down. As I completed every item on my day’s “to do” list, except vote, all the good citizens with their “I voted” stickers only served to make me feel worse. I just couldn’t seem to find the time to get to the poll; first Baby #2 fell asleep, then I had to pick Baby #1 up from school, then I needed to take Baby #2 to his school…
Then, I got my chance. I was laying on the floor of our family room, ready to wave my white flag and admit that the day had defeated me when Hubby #1 got home.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, confused by my dramatic state.
“I just worked so hard to make this dinner and when I served it, Baby #1 looked at it and said it wasn’t what she wanted,” I whined, feeling incredibly stereotypical and more than a little lame.
“Did you get a chance to vote?” he asked.
“No,” I answered feeling even worse than when Baby #1 rejected my pork tenderloin.
“Do you want to go now?”

I sprang at the chance. Faster than you can say, “We the people,” I had my sample ballot in hand and was heading out the door. For a moment, it occurred to me that my eagerness to get to the poll had as much or more to do with getting away from the kids for a few minutes, but it didn’t matter why I was going to vote…what mattered was that I was.

A few minutes later, I found myself standing in a short line in a garage a few blocks away. I admired how neat the garage was and noted that our garage would probably never be neat enough to serve as a polling place. Then, it was my turn. I proudly entered the cubicle and cast my votes. Over my shoulder, I heard a fellow voter sounding upset about something, but I wasn’t focusing on him. By the time I was watching my ballot go into the box and receiving my long-awaited “I Voted” sticker though the man in line had gone from sounding upset to loudly ranting about a connection between our current administration and communism.

“You can’t talk like that at a polling place!” the elderly man who was checking people in told him.
“It’s freedom of speech,” the angry man countered.
The old man stood up and pointed to the clearly posted rules for polling place behavior. “It says right here,” he said. “You have to leave if you’re going to talk like that.”
The angry man’s attacks moved from President Obama to the polling place volunteer.
“David, sit down!” the volunteer’s wife, and co-volunteer, anxiously shouted at him in a faded New York accent.
David was getting upset too though. “Get out of here!” he yelled in defense of democracy.

Cursing as he left, the angry man got into his car and screeched down the street. Then, because it was a cul-de-sac, he came screeching back up the street. At this point, proudly wearing my sticker, I was heading out of the garage and toward my car. As I heard the angry man’s black jeep speeding back toward us, I had a fearful flash that he was about to go postal and plow his car into the formerly peaceful voting location. I thought to myself, “Great, I actually do the right thing and go vote and now I’m going to get killed.” The situation seemed like the kind of event the eleven o’clock news thrived on.

Thankfully, the angry man sped past, only assaulting us with more obscenities as he went. Relieved, I went to my car and headed home to my family, where I was pleased to see that Baby #1 had eaten almost all of her dinner. I felt my shame replaced by pride in the knowledge that I got out there and did my part. When I first entered a voting booth at 18 years old, I remember feeling part of something bigger and promising myself that I would never miss an opportunity to vote. Thankfully, this time I made it by the skin of my teeth.

I am older and wiser

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

My birthday is on May 29th, which means that every so many years my special day overlaps with Memorial Day. This year was one of those years, so I was able to drag my birthDAY celebration out into a three-day birthWEEKEND. I chose to drag it out not so much because of my uncontrollable urge to celebrate turning 33, but more because it was a perfect and unarguable excuse for me to be completely lazy. I didn’t have to change a diaper or wash a dish. We did what I wanted when I wanted for 72 hours straight. And, really, the only downside was that it made Tuesday morning, and my return to my real life, a total bitch.
The theme for my birthday weekend was lazy, lazy and more lazy. I completely retreated; I disengaged; I went off the grid. It was great. When I resurfaced Tuesday morning, I found birthday well wishes in all forms awaiting me. Below, I will categorize and rate these greetings.
1. Birthday Cards
Sending cards falls under super thoughtful on my birthday greeting rating scale. To send a card you have to remember a person’s birthday is coming far enough ahead of time that you go to a store, buy a card, write in it, and then mail it. Few people send cards anymore, which is kind of a bummer, because I love getting them. There is something so nice about seeing a bright pink, hand written envelope mixed in with the gas bill and the Penny Saver. I proudly displayed my birthday cards on my entryway table even though they kept getting knocked over by lunchboxes and other pieces of mail. Cards do make me feel a little badly though because even though I love them, I am almost never organized enough to send them – even if I buy them, I drop the ball and don’t follow through with the writing and/or the sending. Nonetheless, I am always happy to receive a card.
2. Birthday E-mails
Birthday e-mails earn a thoughtful mark because they aren’t quite as thoughtful as a card since they don’t require the same kind of forethought, but they are still quite nice to receive. Also, unlike cards,they make it simple to thank the sender since it only requires hitting the “reply” button. Plus, birthday e-mails don’t cause as much guilt for me since I occasionally remember to send them myself.
3. Birthday Phone Calls
Speaking of guilt, birthday phone calls are massive guilt inducers for me. They are super duper thoughtful, but tend to make me feel like a horrible person since I almost never remember to place them. They require the sender to know the exact date of the person’s birth (unlike cards which really only need a general ballpark and any inaccuracy can be blamed on the USPS), and require the caller to commit to giving up an undefined amount of their time depending if the birthday person answers the phone and if he or she is feeling chatty. Birthday phone calls really high-light for me what a shitty person I am and how I really don’t deserve the wonderful friends that I have. For example, my friend Devin left me a birthday message, but I really have no idea what she said because the whole message I was thinking Shit! Devin’s birthday was two weeks ago!! I suck!!!


4. Birthday Facebook Messages
On the opposite end of the spectrum from birthday phone calls are birthday Facebook messages. For birthday Facebook messages, I’m going to have to make a division and assign two different ratings.
a) Birthday Facebook Messages from people who use Facebook like they used to use e-mail
These messages, from good friends with some sort of personal note attached, are thoughtful.
b) Birthday Facebook Messages from people who send birthday messages to every single person on their friend list.
These are the birthday wishes that actually get on my nerves. I am going to rate them as huh? These are the messages from people who only know that it’s your birthday because Facebook told them. These ones really stump me. We both know the sender doesn’t care it’s my birthday. Why did they send the message? I even got one with my name misspelled. Not to be ungrateful, but I’d rather not get a birthday message than to get one with my name spelled the wrong way. That being said though, it did make me feel a tad special to have my the message bell on my phone dinging away like a Vegas slot machine.

I know I am sounding ungrateful, and perhaps at 33 I am already beginning to sound like a crotchety old woman. I assure you, I am neither. I enjoyed every birthday message in every form, and I truly appreciated them all (sans the misspelled name). At 33, I feel like I am getting closer to getting my shit together, I might be a little older, but I feel a little wiser as well. Perhaps this will even be the year that I finally reciprocate to all the good friends that I have, starting with Devin. Happy Belated Birthday to you, Dev, and I’m sorry that I suck.