Good Morning

I’m pretty sure my alarm went off at 6 a.m. this morning, and I’m pretty sure I turned it off. I was awakened from a terrible dream about Todd being too busy for me on our vacation when Owen knocked on the door. I staggered out of the bedroom with sleepy eye (yes, that’s no typo – I could only see out of one, and even that was questionable), down the hall, and into the kitchen.

My firstborn was now standing in front of the toaster bobbing his head to the tunes in his iPod and the kitchen was silent but for Oliver, who began an instant diatribe on the urgency of food in his bowl. I scooped out his food and delivered it to his bowl with a ping! I then turned to the coffee maker and started a brew. Still no words from the young man, now actively stuffing a series of mini bagels into his mouth. Todd walked around the corner of the doorway and ridiculousness ensued.

O: Good morning, “AC/DC!”

T:  Hey! Good morning, “No Excuses!”

If you’re lost at this point, you are not alone. They were greeting each other’s tee shirts.

O: Going to work today?

T: Yeah… going to school today?

O: Yeah.

And so it goes.

“Former” Skinny Girl Shuts the Hell Up

I’m an ass. I complained about my pants being too tight, and how I wanted to lose weight because I can no longer pull my 20-year-old-sizes up over my thighs (for the love of GOD, I am 46!). All my life I was petite. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I never gave a second thought to pizza, or loaded fries, or ice cream, or that whole Entenmanns’ Thick Fudge Golden Cake I devoured one late night in college. I can hear those of you who weren’t as lucky telling me to shut. The. Hell. Up.

Ya’ll don’t have to say it – I can hear the collective groan and a massive SHUT THE HELL UP!

I think what really got my attention was seeing a friend yesterday who was struggling with her weight and it seems she’s doing everything right and getting nowhere. And I stood there commiserating. And then I left, and felt like a complete ass. Would she have told me to shut the hell up? Maybe inside her head she was looking at me and thinking, bitch – will you just shut the hell up! because she really wanted me to shut the hell up and just leavebut we have never talked to each other like that and it wouldn’t be right to start a war over something stupid with someone who’s not your best friend who would just laugh you off and then eat a pan of brownies with you.

I’m going to try to stop obsessing over my weight, or – at the very least – stop posting about it. And before you yell at me again to shut the hell up! I want to emphasize that if we are doing all the right things – eating sensibly, exercising regularly and/or daily, drinking minimally (or not at all) – then aren’t we really doing all we can do?? Short of seeking medical intervention? Shouldn’t it be enough to be healthy from the inside out?

Another friend said what matters most is the size of your heart. Nothing is truer. And you know what else? Some of the nastiest people I’ve met in my life were skinny people. And church goers. Not all church goers, but that’s another post and has nothing to do with food.  Well, except for the sacrament, but one nugget of bread and a wine chaser is not going to turn you nasty. Unless you went to church without breakfast and you’re crabby because you want to get to the coffee and donuts. Which really sounds like poor planning on your part, but who am I to judge?
I am hereby… shutting up.

Why I Stopped Running, And What I Did Today

A few years ago, at the encouragement of a friend, I picked up an exercise habit I swore off in high school. Back in high school, we were required to run a mile and a quarter within a time requirement that I, for one, considered pure hell. Nevertheless, it was cathartic for me when I decided to finally try it again. I believe I did it because I needed a way to de-stress, a way to “escape” from the chains imposed by my ex-husband and my daughter’s diabetes care. I’ve written before about the constant care she required as a very young child, and how it always fell on me. I never got a break. Did I mention that I N.E.V.E.R. got a break?

I announced one day that I was going to run. I was met not only with incredulity, but with the assertion that “you can’t do that.” Or maybe it was, “you’ll never run a 5k.” Whatever it was, I had a reached a turning point in my life where I was sick of being told what I could and could not do and dammit! I was going to prove I could do it. I’ve written about that first run, and the feelings it raised in me – the freedom, the searing pain, the hope, the searing pain, and the pure joy to be alone with myself for the first time in what seemed like years.

I reached another milestone roughly a year later, when I ran my first 5k. By this time, I was waiting on the divorce decree, and life seemed more than a little magical with Todd back in my life. The 5k benefited the American Cancer Society and I scribbled the names of my Poppop and my uncle, both of whom lost their battles, on my each of my hands. When I reached the final lap around the track, the backs of my eyes were burning with tears. I had done it. I did it with them on my mind, but I also did what he said I couldn’t do. I ran a second (and my last, to date) 5k two months later AND I placed. It was “only” 4th place, but I did it. And, while it hardly mattered much to me anymore, it was sweet vindication to rub that medal in his face.

The months following this became more and more emotionally difficult, as my ex filed for full custody of the children and I fell quickly into the abyss of court hearings, incomprehensible fear, meetings with my lawyer, insurmountable anxiety, and paperwork. Gosh, all that paperwork! So much negative stuff happened during that period. I dropped to 113 pounds under the weight of the overwhelming stress. The one thing that I should have been doing, the one thing that I knew made me feel good before, was the one thing I stopped doing.

Fast forward four years. Over these last few years, I have run periodically – mostly because I know I “should.” But the desire is lost. I can count on two hands how many runs I’ve completed each year. Every time I thought about it, I had a really good reason why now wasn’t a good time. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. I’m out of shape. What if that dog comes after me again? We should just buy a treadmill. But at the end of the day, I felt bad that I hadn’t done it. But, I just didn’t feel like running. And – I was really happy otherwise.

A lot of good things have happened to me – to us – in the last two years. While we are still working through all the stuff that had us turned around, we are definitely moving in a forwarddirection. The alien gnawing at my gut has been extinguished. Life is good. And with that comes contentment, which begets noshing, which begets a certain careless disregard for weight gain. And wow.Have we gained some weight.

While I certainly don’t want to complain in the midst of so many who struggle with weight, I must say that I’m not happy to be 27 pounds heavier than I was in those early custody trial days. TWENTY- SEVEN pounds. The only time I ever came close to or surpassed this was during pregnancy. So, while I’m not complaining, I have noticed that pants are awfully tight and seem to be growing tighter. Because I don’t want to have to keep buying pants, I decided it was high time to take a more organic approach. I’m so tired of how round and heavy my face appears in pictures.

SO. Todd and I got away last weekend, just the two of us. He already started a diet but I fell off the wagon when PMS struck, and so I was still drinking and eating complex carbs. The final straw was Monday night when I was writing the last blog post, drinking wine and then I opened a bag of spicy sweet chili Doritos. I woke up Tuesday morning, weighed in at 147, and started cooking the “Miracle Juice” for the liver cleanse my stepmom gave me.

The first day was a lot easier than I thought it would be, except for the Miracle Juice that by glass #4 had me gagging and holding fresh basil to my nose while I swallowed it, just to keep it down. This juice is alternated throughout the day with only water. Wednesday morning I was down to 142. The next two days were all raw veg and fruit, with lean protein thrown in. Today – day 4 – I am 140 pounds. Now THAT’s what I call results. And it is what inspired me this morning, along with the no-excuses beautiful weather, to go for the first of many runs to come.

The motivation that started me on that first run so long ago is no longer relevant. I am not running away from anything anymore. So what will I run for? Do I really need a “reason”? It occurred to me on this run this morning that it’s always been about me, even then, and it’s still about me.


It’s not terribly late, yet everyone in the house is asleep. I’m sitting at my computer with a glass of wine, trying to look back on another getaway Todd and I had that was entirely too short, and got distracted by a comment directed at me on Facebook that made me realize I might have again been taken too seriously, or – at the very least – the writer needs to lighten up. I mean no disrespect, it’s just that I remember being young – in my 20s – and taking life so seriously and getting my panties all twisted over the world’s injustices.

There’s an election coming up and you know what? We’re all gonna vote, and there’s gonna be a new president, and guess what??  Nothin’ gonna change. Bush Sr. – went after Saddam and f@#$d up our economy, and everybody complained. Clinton –a saxophone-playing breath of fresh air, reinvigorated the economy, and got things done, including Monica, and everybody complained. Gee Dubyuh – f@#$d up our economy, took down Saddam. Handled 911.  Still, more complaining.  Then we done got ourselves a black man president and well, didn’t he go F^%$ things up worse with this, and with that, and with this and etc, etc.  And everybody’s complaining.  **Disclaimer: I am in no way aligning myself for or against any political party, so cool your jets and enjoy the sarcasm.

I digress. This isn’t a political post. I have no strong opinions right now other than that no matter who “wins,” ain’t nothing gonna change. And before somebody blows a gasket, I’m not downplaying the importance of a smart decision. But I’m not ready to decide and I’m not doing it on social media either.

We had a robbery in the neighborhood last night. One of my neighbors, who happens to be a police officer, told me the news. Someone broke into a shed three doors down and stole some items, and rifled through their car in the driveway.

I have to say, btw, that timing is everything. I’m usually on top of locking things up, but sometimes the cars go unlocked. We live in a peaceful cul de sac and there’s not much action here. One night I left my purse in the unlocked car overnight, and marveled how wonderful it is that I didn’t have anything to worry about. Last weekend our house was empty all day and night. But the thieves didn’t pick that night, they picked the night we were home and sound asleep in our beds. Not that this should make us feel any better – it doesn’t.

The rest of the night was spent discussing the robbery, and whether they’d come back, and Todd reassuring both kids that we’re perfectly safe. Ava was the most concerned, talking about the possibilities long into the night before she finally fell asleep. I spent a good 15 minutes checking all the windows and doors to be sure they were secured, and lighting the exterior all the way around. We have flood lights that are motion-sensitive which, according to the insurance company, are a huge deterrent, and I’m betting on these and the two attack dogs vicious poodles that live here.

So anyway – I’m sitting here with another glass of wine, which I wasn’t going to have in the first place because after yesterday I decided it was time to jump on the diet wagon with Todd. For the record, I was planning to start it with him, but was hit with a sudden, unexpected, and particularly intense bout of PMS …and found myself sheepishly explaining myself with a mouthful of carbs (seriously, if you’ve seen Kung Fu Panda – picture Po shoveling cookies into his mouth). I was driven to wine by issues of wayward, irresponsible children to the news of thievery in my neighborhood…oh! And the clusterf@#k in the middle school parking lot!

The clusterf@#k in the middle school parking lot. I don’t know what it is about this school district – I think someone seriously underestimated their parking needs. There’s a small front lot and slightly larger back lot. The driveway to the latter is barely wide enough to accommodate 2 cars – but then the school was built in the 60s when cars weren’t quite as large as military tanks. So one of us always has to pull off a bit to allow the other to pass through. The lot is square, very easy to navigate – unless, of course, you’re a moron who doesn’t know how the natural flow of cars should go. And you know where this is going….

Common sense would dictate turning left down the last row (which runs along the football field) and turning left again at the end of this row where the obvious drop off of cheerleaders is, and continue on. No. Everyone turns up different rows and cars and trucks are going this way and that, and then we have to alternate cars pulling out, and there’s kids walking all over the parking lot (another hazard all its own), and tonight I stopped to let Ava out and there’s these two men – presumably coaches who ought to know better and be more courteous at least – who stopped to talk to each other… wait for it… right in front of my car. So now I’m waiting for them to move, and this other woman in the car behind me pulls around me and continues on. And then another car does the same. Imagine the status of the nerve endings on my skin. Finally they move, still having taken no notice to the fact that they were holding me up.

Pick up is no better, since everyone is pulling out of everywhere, and there are kids all over the place, and there’s always one asshole blowing into this tiny lot like they’re on the Maple Grove raceway. SO, I choose to arrive about 30 minutes early for pick up, park the car, and read my book in peace. I got lucky today to park next to empty cars (no one blasting music so loud my eyes water), but my focus was interrupted by my daughter’s squad – at the far end of the tennis courts where they practice – doing stunts. Since she’s told me she’s fallen and/or been dropped twice, I’m feeling kind of anxious about her. And then this man gets out of his car with his little fluffy dog (strict rules about no pets, btw) and starts walking towards the football field when the dog starts squatting frantically. And there it is, poop.

And so I leave you with this cliffhanger… until next time.

Ima Need Mo’ Medication (and a Nice Stiff Drink)

Changes are heading my way and I’m so not ready! I decided after our party to give up alcohol – at least temporarily – to see if my weight will drop again. However, given recent developments in my kids’ lives, I may have to reconsider. Because I know my medication isn’t going to cover the nerve blitzkrieg disturbance headed my way.

Owen, my one and only son, my first-born, the baby boy who melted in my arms and let me smother him in kisses for the first 5 years of his life, the little man who built Lego sets with the precision of an engineer, who has spent countless hours immersed in video games and vehemently swore off sports after his last soccer season in the 1st grade – decided this spring to try out for football. What. The. F*#&.?!?!

I said to him, c’mon, let’s go for a walk and talk about this. And we did. We walked to the end of our cul d’ sac and circled back, while I presented him with my reservations. I’m a mom, I said. And you worry about me, he said. Yes, I said, and you know there’s a very real possibility of you getting hurt out there. You mean concussions, he said.  And broken bones, I said. I then recounted the tale of a friend who shattered his wrist in a game back in high school. It had a profound effect on me, for more reasons than I care to elaborate on here, but suffice it to say it awakened the reality of our human fragility in my invincible teenaged self.

You’re worried I’m going to get hurt, he said. You could, I said. And then there’s the issue of the heat exhaustion, which NFL players have died from, I said. He was nonplussed. Typical invincible teenaged attitude.  I’m a mom, I said. I’m a mom first. And I don’t want to stop you from doing something you really want, and I admire that you want to try this.  And I’m not going to stop you.  It doesn’t mean I’m going to like it, but I support you. I just need you to hear what my worries are. He nodded solemnly. What I really wanted to do was go all Marie Barone on him and tell him to go ahead, you go play your football and don’t think about how you’re killing me. But, I’m not that kind of mother.

Still, I take a deep breath each day I drop him off at practice. And again today, as he began his first of five days of state-mandated heat acclimatization training. I drove away looking skyward and remembered to praise Him, the Creator of all things, for this beautiful boy who transformed my life nearly 15 years ago.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the crib, is child #2. She’s a born athlete. She’s built like me, but she is tougher than I ever tried to be. But this little 10-going-on-14 girl has decided to go the way her momma did – and turned cheerleader on me. It’s all good. I won’t say I didn’t want to see her engage in more aggressive sports, because I think she’s tough as shit, but it’s kinda cute that she decided to show off her prowess as a cheerleader (“which IS a sport too,  you know”).

Until today. Today when I picked her up from practice she announced that she’s going to be a flyer. Oh lord Jesus help me. You know, those flyers who get flipped up in the air and stand on their teammates’ hands. And then they spin around and fall down into the waiting arms of 4 or 5 other 10-year-olds who hardly seem qualified to “cradle” my precious offspring. The coach asked me today if I was okay with it, and I looked at my offspring and asked, are you okay with it?  And she is.
So, Ima need more medication.  And a flask filled with Don Julio. Or vodka. Or wine. I’m not picky.

Why I’m Exhausted, and a Smarty Pants

In the days leading up to our Cookout, I had been running kids around from cheer camp to football training to work, furiously cleaning our “home space,” and finishing the rec room with fresh paint. Todd has been feverishly painting old patio chairs, laying laminate flooring and carpeting in the apartment, and painting walls. I helped finish the apartment painting, including the doors, cleaned the bathroom to look less like an old garage station restroom, and cleaned the refrigerator so we could use it without contracting E. coli. I weeded the front gardens at 9 a.m. on the hottest day of the week until my fingers were sore and I was soaked to the skin with sweat. It’s been 5 days and my legs are still sore.

We made two trips to Home Depot and one to Ace Hardware, one Costco run, three liquor runs, several grocery trips, and one – as it turned out, wasted – midnight run to Walmart for a volleyball net that never got set up.

I got in a text message argument with my ex, because apparently we’re overdue and he has a new girlfriend so his balls have grown back. What’s the problem this time?  Last weekend (his weekend) he just assumed I’d take Owen for his football equipment since it was at 11 a.m. and ex had “plans for the kids that [he guesses]  now [he’ll] only be taking Ava to.” I simply pointed out that no one even asked me and that I require consideration of MY time as well.  This launched him into a lengthy, accusatory message about me moving his kids “so far away” from him and he’s missing out on things and “now it’s affecting me every single day.”  Since he followed that by saying he didn’t want to talk right now because he’s very upset, I chose not to point out how many “things” he didn’t show up for when the kids attended school less than a mile from his house.

But I did point out how it was no trouble for him to drive his kids an equal distance to his then-girlfriend’s house  each weekend to spend time with her and not miss her 3 bratty sons’ sporting events. Of course he denied it because “it wasn’t every weekend, smarty pants” (for reals, ya’ll) and then went on a tirade about my obligation to provide all transportation of kids to and from his house before admitting we were getting off topic.  The point was, he “made plans that can’t be changed and wasn’t aware about [getting the football equipment] and wasn’t reminded.”  I pointed out that he had a copy of all the football information since early June and I assumed he’d noted all the important dates and not my responsibility to remind you.  Can’t argue with that!  And he didn’t, but he’d have taken Owen if it wasn’t for these plans he can’t get out of!  So by now I’m thinking, omigosh, he must have Phillies tickets!…. but apparently girlfriend’s brother must be some REALLY big deal that one cannot escape his backyard birthday party without forfeiting a refund. 

Anyway, Owen got his football equipment, which took no less than an hour while I waited in the car playing Bubble Witch Saga on my phone – because, after all, we’re NOT expecting nearly fifty people at our house the next day.  Nevertheless, all the preparations, including cleaning, got done thanks to an unexpected night off of work (though I still had to drive Owen to his dad’s). Speaking of cleaning, I’d like to acknowledge herewith how radically different the standards are between the-five-of-us-alone clean and 50-people-are-coming-to-dinner clean.

In the afterglow of a great party, I cleaned most of it up with some help from my drunk little brother and found myself in bed at 10, falling asleep and wishing someone would just cut off my feet.  When my daughter is away, sleep is blissful and strange because I don’t have to get up to check her, but the dog more than made up for that by vaulting me out of bed at the sound of her retching at four o’clock in the morning.  Alas, I couldn’t get her outside in time and she vomited on the edge of the carpet.  WTF?!  Why is it they always stop just TWO INCHES SHORT of the hardwood floor???

I was up again at 5, feeling dizzy, to shower and wake my brother up twice so he could get home when I picked up the kids at 7.  The rest of Monday was spent racing back to our town to drop the car off for service by  8:30, a consult with a new orthodontist at 1, then cheer practice at 6, and a quick stop at the store two hours later to replace a gallon of spoiled milk. (Seriously, this has been the summer of spoiled milk.)

Yesterday we commenced more running by rising at 7, departing for PA at 8:30, and dropping the kids at my dad’s for a pool day while Todd and I attended a funeral in our old home town. We rushed back for the kids at 3 so we could be home in time to pick up the car from service, eat a quick dinner, change out Ava’s pump site and drive her to cheer practice at 6 again – where, btw, I sat in my air-conditioned car for two hours out of concern for possible lows after swimming all day and two hours of outdoor cheer practice, and hand wrote this blog post. 

I’m beat.  And, having been so busy, am behind on my writing… like my beach trip two weeks ago and our party on Sunday, plus random thoughts.