Spinning makes you fat.. and other “facts”

hbz-september-2013-is-spinning-making-you-fat-quilt-lgRupl-bikeThe other day a friend’s Facebook page blew up when she posted a article from this month’s Harper Bazaar entitled ‘Is Spinning Making you Fat?” (with the accompanying photo on the left)

Now ignoring the fact that posted directly underneath this article is one entitled, “Is your cellphone making you fat?” (apparently HB considers all activities and products potentially responsible for that slight curve around your hip area (otherwise known as “your hips”)).. well lets dive in shall we.

After all, I’m a  spinner and a cyclist. I’d love to know how my burning 550 cals per hour is pushing me toward obesity.

But before we get to the meat of the article (sorry, low carb, low fat, organic, macrobiotic meat substitute.. this is after all, Gwinnies mag of choice), lets first consider the article photo.

I’ve been riding a bike since I was about 5  years old (yes I count the stabilizer years), and I can’t say I’ve ever ridden a bike in this manner. One may question whether the lady is in fact a good illustration for the article as she’s a) clearly not fat, b) she’s facing backwards so clearly hasn’t ridden or even seen a bike being ridden before,  c) is wearing 5 inch heels (probably a bit of a hinderance when climbing those inclines even if she was facing the right way) and d), appears to be riding a padded bike rather than wearing padded shorts. I’m going to skip right past the denim jacket and over application of oil to her legs and come out and say it. Chick isn’t a cyclist at ALL. In fact, chick is clearly deranged (and heading for a very fast accident if she insists on riding backwards). Which is weird because those two words -”deranged” and “cyclist” - typically tend to go hand in hand.

But on to the actual article.

While the author doesn’t discount the fact that a spin class can in fact burn 400-500 cals (apparently she’s not only of questionable intelligence, the chick appears to be somewhat lazy.. 550 MINIMUM lady), she goes on to the horror of the outcome ” Spinning can make your butt and quads bigger”

Whaaaaat?

In fact, she quotes some professor from Appalachian State University (no.. really), “Some cyclists get really big thighs”.

Wow. That university is on the cutting EDGE of research. Next up.. “Air… its so… breathable”

Now I’ll agree that some of my favorite riders have thighs I could gladly lose my life between.. (Tom Boonen comes to mind), but these guys ride 200-300 miles a WEEK. Often more.  A 60 minute spin class is hardly going to give me the glutes of Tor Hushovd (Google them.. they’re magnificant),

Sure.. I’d expect a firmed up butt and potentially a little less jiggle in my thighs as a result of riding, but isn’t that the point?

No says Harpers. Quoting Julie* (named changed to protect her from sane people who ride bicycles)  a 30-year-old publicist, who was forced to quit spinning when she noticed “my butt felt and looked padded and my legs felt heavy”

Yes dhaling. We call that muscle. And that heaviness? Lactic acid build up. It goes away. Take a valium.

But not for Julie. Scampering quickly away from her ‘heavy’ legs, Julie “gave up all exercise for a month to let the muscles atrophy”. I guess now she’s a limp and mushy size 0 but at least she’s happy. Mentally questionable.. but thin.

Even instructors need to beware according to HB, as Erica* (named changed because she sounds like an idiot), a 49-year-old indoor-cycling instructor gave up teaching eight classes a week after she noticed that her jeans were getting “really tight, uncomfortable in the butt and thighs’. Yes Erica. Teaching cycling for 8 hours a week would give you some muscles… didn’t that occur to you AS.A.PROFESSIONAL.INSTRUCTOR???

Apparently not.

(Next week: Ballet dancer complains about sore toes)

Harpers Bazaar really did find some smart people for this article.

Though they do , finally, consider the role of diet in the apparently fattening of the nation through spinning… after all “Cycling makes most people extremely hungry”

(omitting the obvious and yet simple fact that all exercise makes people extremely hungry. Its called ‘burning calories’).

Yes. Cycling can cause you to eat more.

Stop the clocks people. Game over. Exercise makes you eat MORE??? What kind of insanity is this??

Their recommendation. Stop cycling. After all who wants firm muscled thighs and a butt you can bounch a walnut off? Who wants to fill out their jeans and hold up their panties? Who wants to get strong, build up their cardiovascular system and get that endorphin rush when you hit your VO2 max? Who wants to discover new places, new roads, new mountain and vistas you’d never see if you were sitting in a car? Who wants to overtake a weekend warrior on a $7000 bike and mentally punch the air?

Not me. I’ll be sitting on the sofa waiting for my hunger to dissappear, my body to atrophy and my ‘lean’ look to return.

Hang on though.. isn’t that sort of the definition of ….well…dying?

Ah.. the things we do for fashion.

 

 

 

 

Posted in female role models, humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Spring fling

Yes.. its been a while. Let me explain.

Spring is sprung here in Colorado and once I could actually take off a layer of thermals/ feel my fingers/ remove more thermals.. well men arrived.

springfling
Spring Fling

And after a desert-like 2013, who could blame me? I had a little fling.

But as with all spring flings, they tend to get flung pretty darn fast. This one, faster than usual (this coming from the 2013 speed dater record of 23 minutes).

One minute I was revelling in sex on tap, the joy of having someone take me out to dinner (with tablecloths people, TABLECLOTHS), and telling me how gorgous I was as we polished off another bottle of Chateauneuf-de-Pape… the next.. meh.. not so much.

You see the spring fling is a weather drive occurance here in Colorado. We’re over our winter activities, its stopped snowing most days, but we’re not yet full speed into our summer obsessions. We’re on ‘slow’ speed and we’ve got time on our hands. The weather is tricky (75-32-65-17-50 can be a typical week) and honestly, what can you really do when its overcast and grey, cold and you don’t like shopping?

Have a fling. Its like a second job and certainly made my ‘mud season’ fly by.

I’d forgotten how much time a dude can take up. Like ALL of it.

I had to fight to make enough room for some yoga and a spinning class or three. And I’m sorry, but if I’ve seen you last night and we chatted until the wee hours, what on earth do I have to talk about tonight? And for 4 hours? Over the phone.

(Yes, apparently my fling was set in 1989.)

If I was suddenly wondering what I was going to do over a weekend where it was meant to rain, be hot, snow and with winds of 80 mph.. well here was my answer. Fling. Hours accounted for. Boredom = zero.

Unfortunately a fling comes with some serious downsides other than time suckage.

First there’s the waist expansion. After a spartan ‘clean eating’ winter which left me fairly lean and healthy, suddenly I’m chowing down on foie gras, rabbit and duck fat fries, desserts and wine. Twice, three times a week.

And did I mention the wine? I think I’m personally responsible for the current Syrah shortage on the West coast. I went from an occassion glass and a few martinis a week to what was verging on a daily habit. I think 50% of my nutrition was coming from olives one week.

Then there’s the financial impact. You see flings require that you suddenly refresh your wardrobe, (partly due to that expanding wasitline and partly because someone is suddenly actually seeing you in your smalls), invest in that French lace push up bra and ignore all of your financial good intentions by throwing down $65 for the matching panties.

Yes. $65 for panties.

(and no, they don’t come with a cappacino machine or gold stockings.. I checked)

You need cute outfits for date nights, cute things for after the date nights and more cute things so that you look cute while lounging around doing nothing. And apparently SmartWool doesn’t cut it.

Lets just say I am now set for plunging V neck tops, skinny jeans, low heeled boots (he was under 6 ft), dresses and make up for the remainder of 2014.

Yes my fling was time consuming, fattening and expensive…But oh it was fun.

After not being touched by anyone other than my OBGYN and my gastroenterologist in 12 months.. it was a lovely reminder of the wonder that is someone else’s skin next to yours. That your boobs are more than annoyances when running. That your cycling butt makes those $65 panties look AWESOME and having someone appreciate all that work you’ve spent on  yoga mat. Well.. I wasn’t saying no.

Whats best of all is the surprise of the thing. That after you’ve decided you’re content with your dog, your bikes and your friends.. you suddenly get the delight that is an unexpected lustfest plumped down in front of you out of the blue. Sort of like going to Whole Foods and someone slipping a whole chocolate cake into your bags as you walk out the door. Finding someone who makes you laugh, who thinks you’re the bees knees and who actually owns and opens a wallet (single ladies.. amiright?). Who wants nothing more than you to feel amazing?

Pretty cool… until it was a bit … well.. much.

You see the flimsey nature of the fling is that it flings far and fast.. and it burns itself out faster than you can say ‘with 3 olives please’.

As the temperature in Colorado started to rise, my desire to spend more time on the bike(s), with my friends, hiking, camping and actually doing stuff that doesn’t involve being horizontal or sipping wine started to increase. My tolerance for long phone calls and ‘doing nothing’… well it was bound to end. I mean I already have a job thanks.. and I really don’t want another one that involves inordinate amounts of time gazing.

Unless its at Chris Froomes butt.

And while yes, you can have a life and date someone, its hard to have an active life with someone who isn’t.. well.. that active. Who isn’t excited to watch Paris Roubaix this weekend and who couldn’t give a stuff about trails clearing above 8,000 ft. If all you have in common is each other.. well, I know I’m not that entertaining.. and sadly, neither was he.

Plus he paid to watch a Vin Disel movie on more than one occassion.

I can only bend so far.

So my fling is flung. No regrets, no ‘what ifs’ and certainly no reconsiderations. At 42 I might have wrinkes but I also know my own mind, and trying to become someone else for someone else… thats so 1990s. If that means I’m single.. so be it.

As of today I consider the bad juju from 2013 erased. My dry patch over and 2014 officially ON.

Plus I just ordered some new cycling shorts from Rapha. Maybe not ‘skin on skin’ loveliness but damn expensive lycra and a Cytech chamois  is a definite close second.

 

Posted in Dating, relationship end, sex, singledom, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Men and Women: Some-insane-planet-we-don’t-understand and Venus

cans of tunaI’ve always been a solid believer that men and women are homosapians with different wobbly bits and preferences for what constitutes a great Monday evening, but largely.. we’re the same.

As a kid, many of my friends were of the male persuasion and I found them more like me than most of the budding girlie tweens I was surrounded by. They certainly shared my disinterest in makeup, kissing and hair flicking.

Our time was more productively spent – building shit and then knocking it down. Dams, bonfires, cairns, forts (blanket and tree based), me and the fellas were practicing our future ‘masters of the universe’ skills while the girls giggled in corners and practiced putting on mascara.

Hmmm. And we wonder about the source of power imbalance between men and women? I guess when woman get rewarded for make up application and accessorizing, then we’ll rule the world. But I digress.

Over time I recognized that neither men or women were ‘better’ and that while we had different approaches to many things (professional sports, shoes, salary negotiation), we remained essentially of the same species.

We all want love. We all need to be engaged in something where we contribute and feel successful. We need connection, even if that means a text message to one person or an 6 hour chat to another, and we all feel a degree of stewardship for something – whether its our kids, our houses, the planet or just plain being nice to each other.

But lately I’m noticing that while men and women aren’t really that different, where we really diverge is on the small things. The tiny little everyday acts that go relatively unnoticed. These are the thing we don’t think about, but which lately has me questioning whether we really are the same species. Or maybe we’re all just a little wackadoo.

Evidence #1: My relationship to canned tuna.

I never used to like tuna. It smelled like cat food and to be honest, didn’t look much different. Yewch. But right around 3 years ago when I realized that pasta + can of tuna + pesto = yummy 10 minute dinner, my attitude did a 180. Add in spinach and -wha-hey- you’ve practically made a gourmet meal. Where had tuna been all my life?

So I stocked up on tuna. Way up.

I think I ate that meal for around 6 weeks in a row by which time the checkout assistants  at my local Whole Foods were starting to raise their eyebrows at my singular shopping cart.

  • 12 cans on tuna
  • 3 bags GF pasta
  • 1 jar pesto
  •  3 bags frozen spinach

Not quite crazy cat lady, but I was easy to spot amongst the piled high carts of my yuppy mummy counterparts. Why 12 cans? Well… that way I knew I would always have a meal ready to go.. you know.. when I couldn’t be bothered to think. And apparently that summer I couldn’t be bothered to think AT ALL.

Sometime around fall, my palate woke up and said ‘No-more-fucking-tuna-goddammit’ and I moved onto a new obsession with broccoli and chicken sausage. Thank god.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stop the ‘got-to-have-a-few-cans-of-tuna-in-the-cupboard’ urge every time I hit the store, with the result that when I downsized from my house to a 770 sq foot apartment,  I took enough tuna with me to feed a small Asian nation (and completely fill my kitchen).

These days I’m ‘safe’ if I have about 6 cans.. but its taken a lot of mindfulness to ‘let it go’(and my therapist just bought a Lexus).

Other women I talk to have similar experiences.. whether its toothpaste or TP, clean underwear or mascara, we all seem to have our ‘blanky’ items that we just need to have ‘enough’ of in order to feel ‘ok’.

Men on the other hand. Men seem to lack this gene entirely. Evidence?

1. Toilet paper

No self respecting women, single or mother to 24 kids, buys her TP in anything less than a 12 pack. Most of us suck it up and lump around the grocery store with the 24 wedge (why can’t they put a shoulder strap on that fucker?) figuring its one less thing we need to buy this fiscal quarter. Men on the other hand.. men consider it good if there’s a box of tissues in the house. Stand in the paper aisle looking for the 2 pack before reluctantly picking up the 4 roll minimum.

I’ve witnessed guys teasing out the final 2 sheets to last a few days, who, when asked about lack of TP in the guest bathropom, will actively relocate a roll from another bathroom (after all, why have TP in every bathroom?). Guys seem to have no urgency or concern about having zero TP in the house, and yet..they too still have some of the same needs? (I’ve heard). I don’t know about you, but spying only 2 rolls in the house makes me nervous, but a guy, he’s set until June.

2. Laundry

A guy will look at his wardrobe, empty hangers connected by spider webs and a single pair of pants he hasn’t fit into since 1989 and turn to his second closet for his outfit – the laundry hamper. In fact he’ll do this until it rains or snows (he draws the line at wet jeans, c’mon he’s not a heathen). No clean underwear? Turn it inside out. Still no clean underwear? Go commando. Never mind that the laundry mountain has taken over an entire quarter of a room..he’s good as long as he takes a shower. After all.. as long as he’s clean.. his clothes? Optional.

Now ladies. Have you ever met a woman who turns her underwear inside out to ‘double dip’? How about picking a top out of the laundry not once, but 3 or 4 times? not so much?

See guys, when we say ‘we have nothing to wear’ we don’t actually mean ‘there are no clothes which have not already lain on the floor for a week or two, and may or may not be cultivating a new species of staph’. We just mean we’ve only got 12 pairs of black boots to choose from and non.of.them.are.right.

3. Dishes

I grew up in a house without a dishwasher so that role was filled by my father. In fact, it was his sole household chore for the 18 years I lived at home. So my belief that women and men had similar opinions about things such as dishes was clearly built on a skewed perspective of one household.

I now know better.

Women. We hate dishes. Loathe them. Hate loading and unloading them. But we do it. Hell, we even pre soak or pre rinse. Because – you know – god forbid that we’d have to wash them twice or *gasp* by hand. And if you’re feeding yourself, or other people, nothing sucks more than having to quickly scrub dishes or forks to make it work.

Men on the other hand…. Dishes are an optional activity, only stimulated by the usage of every plate, fork, bowl and knife in the kitchen AND the curbing of take out due to ‘end of the month syndrome’. Generally men can coordinate these two acts so they never occur at the same time, rendering the need to clean dishes more of a quarterly activity. I’ve known men who will buy more dishes rather than wash the dishes they have. And by wash, I do mean ‘put in the dishwasher and press and button’.

Even if they get that far, unloading? That’s for OCD people. The dishwasher is just a different form of storage for most guys I know. I remember visiting one guys house where the dishes were lined up for washing, and when I asked why he didn’t put them in the dishwasher was told ‘oh, there are some clean forks in there’.

I’m grinding my teeth even thinking about it and I haven’t seen him or his dishes in years.

4. Tidy vs. Clean

Women… even the slobbiest of us, keep a pretty clean house. And even the dirtiest of us… those who only clean the bath when they know they’ve having visitors (who me?).. we’re still pretty tidy. Some of us hardworking, saintly selves manage both (who are you and what is your secret?).. after all, there’s only so much crap you can endure before you lose your mind (and your car keys).

Men? Well I will not deny that there are men out there who are both tidy and clean. Their houses sparkle with Windex, no dust speck mars their LCD tv and you could eat off their floors should you so wish. I dream of these men and I’ve even met some. I realized no woman wouldn’t ever match up to this guys standards as I was blinded by my reflection in their toaster (after all, when would do all the other important stuff like reading gossip online?). But most of the men I know…

Lets just say, they’re one or the other. Rarely both. And largely neither.

I thank the lord for those who can afford cleaners, for those who know that a tumbleweed in the living room isn’t going to get him laid, and who hire, cajole or force themselves to moderate the chaos. But largely, if you’re a dude, married or single, I know you’re putting stuff in piles, swiffering the dust underneath the sofa and washing your shavings out of the basin with your hand and calling it good.

How men and women ever live together I will never know. I can only assume he comes with 12 cans of tuna or something.

Posted in humor, men, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Its awesome.. except when I’m not

woman-walking-aloneOne of my favorite bloggers recently wrote a post that stuck with me, and helped articulate my current conflicted feelings about the guy I’ve started dating.

After a long, long… loooong time of being alone, of hapless first dates, desperate drunken fumbles and one shocking dump-age, I find myself in a good place, with a good man, having an amazing time. He makes me laugh, he’s smart, cute and is willing to endure my sizable list of anxieties (this may change.. give it time) and I like him. He bizarrely seems to feel the same way. That never happens.

I like him in a ‘wow I actually can stand to be around you for hours at a time and still enjoy you’ type way. (Rare since I generally love people, but only in 1-2 hour stints) and after a first date of 8 hours, a second date of 9 hours and a third date of well.. a weekend.. I’m feeling like the 8 year old girl at school who just found their new bestest friend.

But as we move from ‘oh its amazing that I met someone who I like’, who doesn’t need to be lifted by a crane from his house, or need an intervention, whose ego isn’t swallowing him whole and whose lack of selfishness is – frankly- astonishing… well of course. Its time for my anxiety to swell to whole new levels and the deconstruction of his personality, his quirks, his ‘shit’… to start.

I wish I was a Buddist. I fervently wish I could ‘be here now’ and I really do try to just ‘be in the moment’ but my brain can’t help itself. Ifs its not spinning at 600rpm, its not comfortable. So while I’m basking in the satiation of a joyful weekend with my *gulp* boyfriend, my sentient brain is looking for the cracks. The flaws. The elements that make this guy human.. but which I just know, will drive me insane in about 6 months and cause me to run for the hills.

And while he’s busy being himself, eagerly sharing his great day, or ideas for a future weekend, I suddenly find my throat closing up and all of the air sucking out of the room. I can’t breathe. I need space. Its too much and my head might explode any second…to whit.. I have to get off the phone asap with a rapidly invented ‘class’ that amazingly starts in 10 minutes.

As soon as I hit ‘End’ on the phone the air rushes back in. My pulse rate returns to normal and this huge weight of expectation leaves my shoulders.

I know.. I know… its ridiculous. I’m a chick. We’re meant to love planners, and men who want to spend time with us. We want guys who talk on the phone and can’t wait to see us.

But I’m not that chick.

I’ve dated and married men with cool detachment. Men who call, but don’t have much to say. Who literally ask ‘how was your day?’ and then get off the phone in 10 minutes.  Who like silence. Who would no more tell me about their day than talk to me in the bathroom. Who understand the need for space.. in fact, need even more than I do.

Faced with someone who wants to close that space, engage with me daily, chat on the phone for hours and make plans 3 days out.

Well I’m sweating even thinking about it.

I know its my problem. He’s just acting like a guy who likes a chick. He has a life, I have a life. He’s not asking to move in (oh boy that guy was a piece of work) and he’s certainly not monopolizing my time (ditto).. but I can’t help but freak out every time he knocks on one of my carefully constructed mental walls, even if its just to check I’m ok and ask if I need another cup of tea.

It literally makes me want to run screaming.

(now you get why I’m in therapy). Intimacy… its kind of a bit of a problem for me.

I know this will pass. Over time I know I will be able to relax. Enjoy the attention and the connection – after all, its what I’ve been looking since I lost it back in my 30′s.

So for now, I’m trying to take it one day at a time. Speak with kindness. Try not to project my abject fear onto him and remember that its not ‘him’ and that yes, whatever we’ve got going on.. well ..it is kinda awesome.

Me? Well I’m not quite ‘awesome’ with it yet.

But I know its ok not to be and that as with all things.. this too will pass.

The sense of claustrophobia will ease, my desire to reinforce the carefully constructed walls around my life will fade, and who knows.. maybe one day, I’ll make like East Germany and knock those fuckers down.

I’ll always be someone who likes silence. Who needs space.. even if its to do nothing. Who recharges without words and who lives in their head. But after many years of trying to change, I know that to be with someone doesn’t mean that I have to lose these things. At 42, I’m not going to change… but I can flex.

I just need to open my mouth and start the conversation about how its awesome… but sometimes, I’m not.

Posted in Dating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bed hogs unite

dog cat sleepAs a single woman for most of the last 7 years I’ve gotten used to sleeping alone.

I’ve moved from my married self, clinging to my single bed edge and weakly grasping at duvet corners and lying as still as a corpse to fully embracing all 60 inches, star-fishing my way through the night, piling pillows into a souffle of goosedown and wrapping my 800 tog duvet around me like a pig in a blanket (sausage roll to my British readers). I am proud to say I  am now a fully fledged, out and proud, bed hog.

Which is the perfect time to meet a man who sleeps over.

The men in question has been vetted, tested and appears mentally stable. He is clean, smells delicious, makes me laugh and unlike the last 7 years of sleepovers, I was 100% sober.

Which is probably when I realized how much I don’t enjoy sleepovers.

Sure, I love love love all that goes before a sleepover (and after), but the actual sleeping bit? I have a hard enough time on my own. That required Klonapin, blackout curtains, earplugs, a retainer and something that covers my shoulders. Oh, and a temperature no warmer that 62 degrees.

Hey, I’m low maintenance in every other respect. This… this is my ‘thing’.

So now, I suddenly have to factor in another human being. One who I’m not legally able to drug or restrain without his knowledge,  One who, while not immense in size, does require at least 20 of my 60 inches of pristine and virginal new mattress. (can you smell the bitterness than man sweat has now permeated my beautiful, much adored Serta?)

I guess I could have asked him to sleep standing up, but I am, above all, British and therefore polite to a fault. I’ll wait a few more weeks.

Until then, I’m just pondering potential solutions to the multitude of complexities that are now part of my sleep hygiene.

1. Space.

Despite my best intentions and my relatively small size, in the coma of sleep, those 60 inches are all mine and I need every single one of them. His limbs be damned. I tried slowly nudging him through progressive ‘hug and roll’ (thankyou ‘Friends’) maneuvers towards the edge, which gained me about 60% of the width, but just as I thought I could plant my flag and actually get the full 80% (well the man does have body), the fucker rolled over on his back and I was back to a meager 50%. Plus an arm and a foot. Would it be unethical to saran wrap a sleeping partner? Just asking.

2. Touching

I am a British American, but the British part has the foothold when it come to physical contact. 26 years of hand shakes and shoulder punching will do that to a girl. It took my about oooo 10 years to spontaneously hug a friend.. and even then it required a funeral, my dearest and oldest ‘Merican girlfriend and the crushing loss of her mother who I adored.

I don’t do touching very casually.

And after 7 years single, I now notice every single time skin makes contact on my skin. Whether its a placating hand on a forearm, a guiding hand on the back or – *gasp* someone holding my hand, its as novel and exciting as landing on Mars. The hairs on the back of my neck will rise, my skin feels electrified and my awareness of physical proximity goes into overdrive.

Which is a bit strange if you’re my boss and you’re just saying hello.

Factor in attraction (my date NOT my boss), and you’d think I’d be an erswhile kitten of joy at all the touching. I thought so to. But apparently it takes a while to get used to it and in the meantime, I am walking around with a permanent ‘fight or flight’ arousal response and skin that feels as sensitive as a new born. I’m mainlining Xanax just to act normal.

Now factor in 7 hours of nakedness, attraction, a defined boundary of space and, well, there’s touching.

(sorry Mum)

Which I fine with until the sleeping part happens.

At which point I kinda, sorta wish he’d turn to stone. Just lie in his designated area, not move, not make a sound and you know, not touch me. Heat generation is fine. Movement is not. Wrapping arms around me? A sue-able offense.

How can I sleep when someone in breathing on my neck? When there might be a stray Angelina-esque leg cutting off my circulation RIGHT AT THIS SECOND? What if I wake up, my leg is blue and I’m forced to amputate? Spooning is acceptable if I’m the one doing it.. after all, its an effective tactical strategy for shuffling him over to ‘his’ side and away from me. But the other way around? Oh hell no sir. I invented that move.

Ok, you can touch my foot with your foot. That I can do. But anything else.. beware. I do own duct tape and I am not afraid to use it.

3. Noise

I am super noise sensitive. Always have been. Growing up in a tiny village on the edge of open space, the only sound of night was the click of milk bottles being put on the doorstep and golden, peaceful, nothing. Total silence.

Except for the awesome, never-ending, ear drum busting snort and snore of my father. Closely followed by the sounds of my mother walking out of the bedroom and taking up residence on the living room sofa.

My father would win the Olympics of snoring.

I discovered earplugs out of necessity (as did everyone in our house) and -despite feeling like a 108 yr old neurotic when using them – they’ve gotten me through 18 years of a very loud snoring father, 4 years of traveling to random hotels (I was a consultant, not a hooker), houses situated on train tracks, rooms next to elevators, midnight talkers and even a car crash outside my house.

I always vowed that I’d never be with a man who snored. My mothers morning black circles and nights on the sofa warned me of the down side of the man who can scare dogs and small children while asleep. ‘I’ll be with someone who sleeps like I do.. silently’. In fact, if I have to check his breath with a mirror to confirm lividity, all the better.

And I’ve been lucky. I have. My ex husband used to shout words in the middle of the night in the midst of a dream, but since they generally made me laugh (‘horses’ ’33′ ‘who?’) and the other 6.5 hours he mimic’d the dead, I felt it was worth the trade off.

With this guy.. I’m having flashbacks to my youth.

The nights spend trying to construct a full head wrap from pillow, blankets and duvet. The scientific testing of ear plug varietals in search of the one .. the one that actually blocked him out. The questioning whether we could build him a separate house, just for sleeping, say…. 15 miles away?

Clearly the deficit of sleeping with a man who sounds like a deaf, 300lb pig, is outweighed by his otherwise wonderfulness, as my parents remain married after 43 years.

I am telling this to myself repeatedly as I contemplate another sleepover this weekend.

I’ve also bought 4 varieties of ear plugs and a new blanket for the sofa.. you know.. just in case.

Posted in Getting older, Life after 40, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Hang onto your uterus

Low Hurdle RaceWhile most of the Olympics passed me by (I can’t get excited about people who are swathed from head to toe in bad outfits), one fact did catch my eye and stuck in my brain.

This, 2014, was the first year that women were allowed to compete in the ski jump.

Okaaaaay? And….?

The reason they were precluded from participating from 1924 through 2010;

“Don’t forget, it’s like jumping down from, let’s say, about two meters on the ground about a thousand times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view,” Gian Franco Kasper, president of the International Ski Federation (2005).

So, basically they thought our uterus’s were going to fall out.

“All women’s parts, tissues, and fibres were finer and more delicate than men’s, because their grace, beauty, and gentleness had to be preserved and because overly fatiguing activities tended to produce rheumatism, muscle inflammation, nervous exhaustion, and premature ageing, and worst of all, endangered their ‘peculiar function of multiplying the species,’ it was noted by Donald Walker in 1836,’women should not be encouraged to exercise’.

Now I don’t know about you but I’ve never considered the idea that women having babies ‘peculiar’ but hey, Mr Walker clearly was of the ‘ladies are but a delicate flower’ school of thought. And landing a jump from 2 meters in the air? Clearly our uterus would just fly up out of our bodies and impede our ‘peculiar functions’. Also of note, Mr Walker cautioned against ladies horse riding as it ‘deforms the lower extremities’.

I think he was confusing ‘deformity’ with ‘firm thighs’.

Which got me thinking about other sports that women weren’t supposed to do, and were actively prohibited from doing in case their lady parts were affected.

Running

According to strength coach Michael Boyle, who penned the infamous ‘Why women shouldn’t run’ article (2010), ‘the only good runner is a women who looks like a man. Because men were made for running and women weren’t’.

Yes… let that sink it a bit.

So if you have say, breasts or hips, Mr Boyle suggests, you’re more likely to wind up in the doctors office with the result ‘likely to be hurt and saggy instead of the cute and little’.

Never mind everything that’s wrong with that statement,there’s actually a long and storied history of women being excluded from running races alongside men. And its not through lack of desire, or a fear of  becoming ‘hurt and saggy’.

In the first Olympics (1000 BC) women are excluded, yet the urge to compete was such that women established their own ‘Games of Hera’, to honor the Greek goddess who ruled over women and the earth and yes, included a short foot race. Oh, and one lady decided to run the marathon (illegally) anyway and was forced to run the final lap outside the stadium as she was banned from entering. She finished in 4.5 hours.. in case you were wondering (not as fast as Oprah, but hey, the chick didn’t have shoes or a sports bra).  No record was made as to whether her uterus fell out during this run, but I’m going to take a leap and say it probably didn’t.

The Olympic committee finally allowed women to run – at all- in 1928 (after the British team boycotted the 1924 event), but after witnessing ‘the exhausted state’ seen in some of the females finishing the 800m event, officials deemed distance running too stressful for women, and women were restricted to Olympic races shorter than 200 meters (half way around a regular track) until 1960 (where 800m was added back to the program). (Apparently uteri only fell out after a lap)

But it still took until 1984 before women were allowed to run the Olympic marathon. At which point, the Olympic committee finally had a women on its board who no doubt argued that no uteri would litter the track and we’d keep our ‘exhaustion’ to ourselves.

Soccer

In 1921, England’s Football Association banned women from playing soccer on Football League grounds because the game was deemed “quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.” This ban came hot on the heels of the December 26th match  between two ladies teams at Goodison Park in Liverpool in front of a crowd of  53,000 people. 10,000 people had to be locked out of the park due to overcrowding.

Clearly people were lining up to see those uterus’s flying.

Unbelievably this ban stood for 50 years and it was only in 1995 that a national women’s league was established, with a professional league following in 2001…no doubt aided by this photo (taken in 2000). Suddenly men were a whole lot less concerned about our uterus’s if sports bras were on view.

AP QUICK HITS THE 99ERS S SOC FILE USA CANOTE: Brandi now has kids, so we can assume her uterus remained in place and functional despite all that running around.

Cycling

With the introduction of the bicycle in 1817, you’d assume we’d have had more time to make some major strides in this area, but nope.. concern about our lady parts and our modesty prevailed right from the get go.

Since the corsets and skirts of the day made cycling safely near impossible, the adoption of the ‘bloomer’ became the centerpiece of the women’s suffrage movement with the launch of the ‘Rational Dress’ movement in 1851.

“The Rational Dress society protests against the introduction of any fashion in dress that either deforms the figure, impedes the movement of the body, or in any way tends to injure the health. It protests against the wearing of tightly fitted corsets, of high-heeled or narrow toed boots and shoes; of heavily weighted skirts, as rendering healthy exercise almost impossible.”

Women, previously limited in their movements, found a new freedom and sense of self control when riding a bike, most famously recorded in 1895 by Francis E. Willard in ‘How I learned to ride the bicycle’. (its a fascinating read if you have 20 minutes). Francis concluded that ‘all failure was from wobbling will, rather than a wobbling wheel’. She also assured fellow lady riders to the ‘healthfulness of the wheel’ noting ‘it will be delight to girls to learn that the fact of their sex, is itself, not a bar to riding a wheel’ and that ‘she is in no more danger from riding a wheel than a man’. Francis.. I salute you.

Unfortunately society’s response was less liberal and the bicycle it was argued, would ‘disrupt the delicate sphere of the family unit by allowing the woman to travel beyond her previous limits without the surveillance of a knowing husband nearby’. Younger women  were ‘vulnerable to a bicycle induced lapse in morals, for it allowed her to stray farther a field with members of the opposite sex during courtship’.

Maybe this is why women weren’t allowed to ride in the Tour De France until this year (2014). In fact, the UCI, World cycling’s governing body restricts women’s stage races to eight days in length, with each stage no more than 130 kilometers.

Clearly the urge to keep women within 80 miles of their menfolk still holds some sway today. And while studies are still urging women to protect their lady parts… these days it more about ensuring you don’t damage your ability to orgasm rather than keeping that damn uterus in place.

So if the thought ever strikes you that women don’t need to keep banging on about equality and that the days of sexism are long gone…spare a thought for those lady riders who’ll get to ride a whole single stage of the TdF this July. Distance has yet to be announced.

Posted in humor, ideas, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

See ya sucka. Goodbye to February

crocusI’m not going to lie. I hate February. Its right up there with celery, support tights in a size too small (the mid thigh gusset bridge, amiright ladies?) and ATM card rejection.

February is the month when hope goes to die. Its cold. The snow which we welcomed with glee in November is now just an aggravation that stands between you and clean floors, and did I mention its still cold? Valentines day is a vague remembrance of a hangover, and the only ‘holiday’ to look forward to is … Easter? A non holiday that isn’t exactly associated with fun, frivolity and parties unless you’re 6 and get excited about eggs.

February is the point of the year when you realize your Christmas excesses are going to take a little longer to pay off. Those holiday appetizers are still bulging over your skinny jeans and you’re going to be needing those SSRIs for at least another month or two. 3 or 4 months of indoor living has turned you into a flaky dry pale moonface and you think you can actually see the blood moving through those skim milk white legs of yours. You can’t get motivated to do anything but the pervasive sense of restless boredom seems to fill every weekend.

(NOTE: Skiers and winter sports enthusiasts .. suck it. You like fluorescent clothing way too much and your relentless desire to be cold and covered in snow is beyond comprehension. Clearly you were dropped on the head as a child)

The movies are crap, the weather is crap, the holidays are ridiculous non events (unless you’re selling mattresses or candy) and face it.. if you slept for the entire month.. what would you miss? The SAG awards?

I’m seriously thinking of going for one of those ‘sleep therapy’ cures in Switzerland next year. Wire me up to some vitamins and put me in a coma for February. Wake me up for March. No-one will miss me except my pharmacist.

But -hark- around the corner, I hear the cries of angels, a trumpeted chorus of crocus and daffodils twining with chirps from happy wrens. Why.. its March!

March. It just sounds fat, solid and purposeful. Its a motivated and  ‘take charge’ kind of month. It says ‘screw you’ to that pussy that is February, and kicks that withered skeleton to the curb. March takes a seat and blasts out the dog hair from under the sofa, highlights your dusty windows and fills you with the urge to restock your 409 supplies.

March says ‘shape up fuckers’ and its not taking no for an answer. So it might snow one day and hit 65 the next, March doesn’t care. Its says ‘stop whining’ and kicks your butt out the door. Suddenly ‘outside’ becomes a destination instead of a torture and whats this? Green things? Wow… outside is actually enjoyable, not something to be dodged as you run between house and car. The sky even looks friendlier.. instead of something you scan every hour looking for signs of the next polar vortex.

Sure, heat, BBQs, a tan or even just a warm evening is still 4 or 5 months away but March tells us to stop being a wuss and get something done. Me, I’m already writing my list and getting my bike tuned. Hell, I might even break out some Lycra this weekend.

Fuck you February. March is arriving tomorrow and he’s taking no prisoners.

Hell, I might even go on a date to celebrate.

Posted in This is 40, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Getting old

Granny3-532Just call me Grammy.

No, I haven’t been moonlighting as a fantastically bodacious, twerking tween..

Think less Miley, more Granny Moses

NOTE: if you don’t get the reference, you’re too young for this post.

After contracting what I’m referring to as ‘the lurgy scourge’ this weekend and spending the better part of the week coughing up my lung innards, I decided to seek medical attention. After all, I’ve only got my fancy pants medical plan for 1 more year so I might as well get every damn doctor visit I can get while its still covered. Plus I still have room in my pill box and I can’t stand an empty space.

Heading into urgent care (told you my medical plan was fancy.. ), I figured I’d get my usual diagnosis. Walking pneumonia (2012), ‘that bug that’s going around’ (2011) or ‘pulmonary embolism’ (2008). Any doctor visit for me is generally a unexpected trip into future compulsive WedMD searches and (if I’m lucky), new prescriptions I have to take for the rest of my life. I had high hopes for something sexy.. black lung? SARs? the white plague?

What I didn’t expect was scoliosis and arthritis.

How someone enters a treatment room with a bad cold, a Barry White voice and serious snottage, but leaves with xrays and a orthopedic specialist appointment is beyond me. On a good note, they did give me some meds for the bug thingy but now I have a new medical issue to add to the list.. essentially ‘old lady’ back.

Give me strength.

Since this particular urgent care has seen me for random Memorial Day and Labor Day adventures, they were taking no chances and decided to x ray my chest for pneumonia.  (last time they didn’t and I did, so … fast forward, now they do ALL the tests).  The doc cheerily told me I was clear for the pneum… but ‘boy your scoliosis is looking pretty bad’.

Just what you need to hear on a Wednesday.

For those not up on spinal deformities,  Scoliosis is a medical term for old lady curvature of the spine which is generally associated with kids wearing body braces and retirees walking with their heads lower than their shoulders. I know. Sexy.

Add in arthritis in my lower spine and man, a whole new aisle of Walgreens just opened up to me.

Up until now, I thought my posture was most excellent. After all, after being plagued by sensible shoes throughout high school and warnings to ‘stop slouching’ throughout every meal from age 8- 16, one could be tempted to assume that some of that was worth something.

Apparently not.

As I stare at my twisted and deformed toes (no amount of Clarks Stride Rites were straightening those fuckers out), and now my twisted and deformed spine (it snakes like a question mark in 3 dimensions), I wonder  what’s next on my list of medical maladies and random surgeries.

On a good note, scoliosis doesn’t require any pills, it won’t kill me and there’s bugger all I can do about it. The arthritis will just sit there being annoying when I slouch, so my Mum’s job has been eliminated (there’s always an upside). Doc’s recommendation? Cancel that Crossfit membership, stop running and start working on building abs of steels to counteract my Gummy Worm like spine.  Oh, and he recommended ‘aqua aerobics’

I told him I was 42, not 102.

Though he might have a case. Next week I’m having a massive clotted varicose vein removed from my leg.  For the second time (it grew back).

No. I’m not kidding.

On the plus side of my new diagnosis, I’ve never had a better excuse to invest heavily in corsets. Cheaper than a back brace, equally supportive and who knows…maybe burlesque can be part of my new fitness regime? If nothing else, a new corset will distract from the nice beige support stockings I’ll be donning for the next 4 weeks.

Just call me Grammy.

Posted in Getting older, Life after 40, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

New Relationship Energy

ryanWe’ve all experienced it. If not for ourselves we’ve seen it in others and marveled at the glow, the pulse that seems to emanate from someone who’s just started a new relationship. They seem so energized, so animated, so… not like us.

New Relationship Energy (NRE) can be observed in both men and women during the first 6-8 weeks of entering into a new coupling. They’re the ones laughing loudest, who only need 3 hours of sleep, who glow and twinkle (yes you do ladies) or grin for no reason (even you dudes) secure in the burgeoning obsession that is ‘the new dude/lady’. They know enough to be smitten, but not enough to be annoyed yet. They’ve shared the basics on life but not yet watched the other pick popcorn out of their molars while driving. Its.all.good.

But whether its endorphins from all that sex they’re having or simply excess goodwill at the thrill of finding someone who seems perfect, NRE folks are excruciating to be around. They’re so goddam happy and relaxed. Energized and yet mellow. And hey can’t wait to find an excuse to bring up his or her name in conversation.

And I’m one of them.

Yes, I’m delighted to announce that there is a new person in my life.

(no Mum, I’m not coming out… EVA. That leather cap was a bad fashion choice in the 80′s, not a declaration of a sexual proclivity)

His name is Steve and he’s the BEST.

I met him online, he was available and within 3 days he was in my bed. I know.. pretty fast right?

But that’s Amazon for ya.

You see Steve is my new body pillow. He’s white (I’m not racist, he’s just gotta match the rest of the sheets), he’s huge (I like em tall), and he sleeps next to me every night.

Now I’m not a cuddler in bed. In fact, people trying to cuddle me largely wake up bruised and offended, but I do like the feel of another body in my bed. Whether its the weight, or having someone’s back to mine… there’s just something very comforting about it.

Which is where Steve comes in.

Steve doesn’t move, he doesn’t want to spoon and he’s too big for me to push around. So he just lies there. Taking up room and giving me something to feel against my back as I sleep.

Now I didn’t buy Steve with this intention (I’m not completely nuts). The intent was to help heal my torn rotator cuff (thanks Crossfit!) by limiting my movement in bed at night. A chronic stomach sleeper, I wake up every morning in a full ‘Superman’ pose, arms above my head and rotator cuffs screaming in pain. I had two options according to my physical therapist. Sleep with my hands strapped to my sides (how very S&M) or get myself a Steve, and use him to pin me down.

I opted for Steve.

(I considered the straps but I’m a 2am pee-er and there’s no way I’m wrestling with bondage at that time of the morning).

So, now I have Steve. I lay him next to me in bed every night and trap one my arms underneath him. Effectively pinning myself to the bed. For some reason, it tells my brain not to ‘Superman’ my arms and I wake up without screaming rotator cuffs.

In fact, I wake up every morning smiling these days. I’m enthusiastic about life again and I’m well rested and relaxed.

I think I might love Steve.

My PT chick tells me I can replace Steve with a real guy whenever I get the chance with the same effect. Just pin my arm under a heavy lump of snoring deliciousness and I’m good to go. And of course the bondage option is always an option should I choose to branch out.

Posted in aging, Embarrassing admissions | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Well I don’t like you either…

wigEnergized by my sleepy time fantasy dreams about random dudes and my friends tales of hot sexy times, this weekend I decided to take a quick monthly dip in the pool that is match.com. Its been a long time. Its starting to feel a bit like spring is on the horizon and  it would be really nice to remember how a date goes before I hit 43.

Well either I ate the ugly cake over Christmas, or 42 really is unfuckable, because damn, I am not feeling the love this time around. In fact, I’m starting to feel a little rejection in this here hot tub of chubbiness.In fact, its been 2 weeks now and I’ve received 1 ‘wink’ (from someone in another state), and 1 email which said ‘hi’ (literally that was it) from a 60 year old.

WTF menfolk? Is 42 that gross?

Now if I were younger, more naive, a US Weekly reader or less self aware I’d think it was me. After all, what’s not to love about a short, tight, tattoo’d smart woman who errs on the side of sarcastic but who readily pays the bill, likes a good laugh and collects corsets? I don’t bite (unless requested), and I have been known to be an entertaining date, especially if you cut me off after the second martini.

Have I suddenly aged? Well looking in the mirror, it looks pretty much the same. I definitely haven’t grown any new chins, acne or had any botched lip implants.

Did I get fat? Well I did stop Crossfit (body parts were starting to lose their basic functionality) and take up spinning, but other than a slight decrease in the size of my ass (I miss burpees), it all looks the same.

Is my profile somehow repugnent? Well its the same one I’ve had since last year.. and it didn’t seem too horrific then.

And then it hits me… I now have short hair.

Nothing has changed except the addition of 1 year and the cutting of approximately 14 inches. So either 42 really is the cliff for dateable women, or I’ve run into what I’m horrified to admit… men don’t find short hair attractive. Well.. on me at least.

Which is a pity, because I sorta do. Its sassy. Freeing. Funky. And I never get helmet hair. But since my hair grows at a glacial speed anyway, its not something I can or will fix anytime in the near future.

Of course it could be more than the fact that average Colorado Joe likes his chicas with a little less sass and a little more blonde highlight. Maybe its broader..these guys want a little more of a conventional woman, with a more ‘normal’ approach to life. A ‘woo-hoo’ chick who you find wearing a Broncos jersey in a bar sipping on a Coors Light and laughing at all the guys jokes. Someone who loves kids and wants to play momma. I guess to an outsider what could be signs of youthful exuberance at 22 (tattoos, motorcycles, radical hair colors, mad passion), at 42 are probably signs of mental illness. I sort of get it. I guess my long highlighted hair ‘disguise’ helped me fake my way through more than few first dates. Without it.. well… its just me. And apparently, the Colorado dudes no likey me.

I could consider this karma for my deleting all those older dudes, chubbier dudes over the last few years. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so picky about his 3+ children under 10? Or that fact that he’d never been married at the age of 52 but still said he ‘definitely’ wanted kids? Maybe I should have been more thoughtful about my decisions and ….fuck it. I refuse to second guess or rewrite the past. It is what it is… and hey, if its my age, my personality or my hair.. its probably not meant to be.

On the  bright side, I just filtered out 99.999999% of unsuitable dating candidates!

So, while my best intentions were to get back out there, heart on sleeve and Starbucks card at the ready.. it looks like the universe has other ideas. I might actually have to meet someone in the ‘real’ world.

Or maybe I need to invest in a long blond wig?

Posted in Getting older, Hair, match.com, online dating, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Friday inspiration (courtesy of The Oatmeal)

log_outHappy Valentines Day! or as I like to think of it ‘Discount candy’s eve’

(thanks Oatmeal)

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10 reasons why Feb 14th is awesome

shaveI used to love valentines day.

Back when I was 7. Back when you might receive a hand made card with check marks for indicating your level of interest, and the smell of Pritt stick glue scented your desk throughout your day. Yep, V day was awesome.

Then I hated it.. for oooooo…. (what year is it???).. eleventy million years. Largely because I didn’t receive any cards or flowers, and I tended to date men who verbally derogated the Hallmark holiday.  But I liked the original intent of cards sent to indicate interest from anonymous admirers. These days we only have Craigslist Missed Connections, and dickpics tend to feature a little more heavily than they did back in the day. I guess romance has changed since 1978.

For us singletons, the run up to Valentines day is peppered by numerous articles in every form of media telling you how to ‘survive it’ or ‘celebrate yourself’ in lieu of a lover. You can ignore the whole thing, host a ‘singles party’ (I can’t think of anything sadder), or grinch through Friday with gritted teeth and your head down while inwardly chanting ‘commercial bastardization of affection’. Its all fairly trite since anything you plan to do, specifically on that day (with the exception of a mammogram or a colonoscopy), is just a variation on celebrating love  or consoling yourself for not being loved (not be a downer on non invasive procedures, but I don’t consider them a sign of love).

Even the most extroverted party girl, who’s hosting a ‘I love myself’ party with other singletons is going to end the evening wishing she had someone to make out with. Sorry, but its true. So whether you’re forcing yourself to ignore Michelle’s squeals of delight at the red rose delivery, rolling your eyes at the pink candy display at the grocery store or ordering Hellraiser OnDemand with a manic grin, here’s some positive things to consider about being single on Valentines day.

1. You are not going to be spending  the weekend with a UTI/ major chafing

2. All that pink wrapped candy goes on sale on Sunday and it’ll be 50% off by next week.

3. You don’t have to spend Monday realizing how annoying your boyfriend/spouse/partner actually is

4. You can probably get laid on Friday night just by walking into a bar (partnered people don’t hit the bar on Valentines day).

5. You can skip that shave on Friday night/ keep those legs stubbly for another weekend. And don’t even think about a Brazilian.

6. Since you’re not going to be wining and dining on Friday night, every low rent joint in town is going to be empty. Time to make the most of those $2 beers and $3 shots.

7. Junkfoodapollosa! Time to indulge in that 2lb smothered burrito washed down with a few pints of beer and a tub of icecream. No one is seeing you naked so go.crazy.

8. Activities that no-one does on Valentines evening: Bowling, hitting the gun range, art walks, yoga… anything which involves sweating. No lines!

9. Since V day hits on a Friday this year, both Friday and Saturday night are ‘romantic’ evening’s out for the coupled up. Thursday and Monday you’ll have no problems snagging a table at the hottest restaurant in town.

10. Need extra cash?.. baby sitter fees are $$$$ this weekend. Any thing a 14 yr old girl can do, I think we can handle. Ask around and rake in $80 for watching TV and eating pizza….

So whether you’re a ‘kick V day in the balls’ type of a person or ‘ignore it’ type of a dude, just be happy that you’re not shelling out $$$$ for 12 sad sack roses or trying to get sexy after scoffing that chocolate lava cake.

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Your Online Profile: Some advice for the fellas

Man_laptopOver the years I’ve had the occasion to read more than my fair share of online dating profiles. And, since my job is communicating stuff, I’ve also been asked to repair a fair few profiles by friends who are questioning why their only interest is coming from AARP members. ‘Consulting’ is a term I like to use, since I won’t actually write someone’s profile for them, but I do enjoy holding someone’s hand as we fix the glaring issues and hopefully get a better, more truthful version of them out into the world.

A caveat: My own online profile, sucks balls (I’m not the most objective writer), but when reading someone else’s ‘About me’.. the ‘yikes’ moments just jump off the page. I  put on my judgmental hat on and off we go.  So today I thought I’d hope across the aisle and share some of the tips I pass on to my online dating fellas. Don’t sneer … you need this…and they actually work.

1. Photos

Just like the ladies, you fellas need to think more strategically about your photos. We’re not going to be trying to estimate your chest size from that beach shot, but we do want to know if your version of ’5 ft 11′ is our version of 5 ft 11′. Whether ‘athletic’ means ‘runs daily’ or ‘walks into McDs rather than driving through’.  And don’t go posting those shots from before your divorce when you were 40lbs lighter, had a whole rug of hair and non of those grey bristles. Own who you are – TODAY. It’ll save a very awkward, and short, first date. So guys, you need to post: 1 photo headshot (not taken in your bathroom and smile goddam it), 1 full body pic and 1 or 2 pics which show you doing your usual type of activities. If you’re a skier, a slopeside pic is great, but if the last time you skied was during the Clinton administration.. probably not the most honest representation. If hanging out with friends is how you spend your time… include a photo of that.. even if its just you  and them enjoying a night at the pub. And if you insist on posting 14 photos of you doing awesome stuff (paragliding, scuba, windsurfing, hiking Everest, teaching yoga in Pakistan) go for it… but if we don’t see any other people in your shots, we’re going to question whether you have a friend in the world… so bear that in mind. Its not a ‘whose lived the most amazing life’ contest. Its ‘what my life looks like’ peep show.

2. Content

An easy way of thinking about your profile is four sections;

  • Intro – the thing that grabs attention.
  • Your personality; what your personality is like
  • What you like to do: activities and hobbies, things that you find interesting
  • What type of woman you’re attracted to (‘the list’)

Section 1: Intro

‘This is really hard’ ‘I hate writing about myself’ ‘V2.0′, ‘blah blah.. will fill in later’ ‘Just looking for a great women’

No. Just no. Post your profile when its ready. When it gives us enough information to judge whether you’re worth checking out. Don’t spend the first paragraph telling us how modest you are, how long it took you to write a paragraph or what your sister/coworker/mother thinks of you. We.do.not.care.

Think of your intro as your fishing hook. The thing that reaches out of the screen and grabs us, pulls us in to reading more about you. If you’re spending 3 or 4 sentences saying blah blah blah, we’ve already moved on. Say something witty, interesting or just different and we stop skimming. Ramble on about nothing..we’re already gone.  What does a good intro look like? A synopsis of who you are. A taste of your personality. A peek into your mind. Therefore…I advise you to write it LAST.

Section 2: Your personality

Next you need to tell us the 5 most positive attributes associated with your personality. Things which your friends would nod along to (ask them if you’re not sure). Are you a relaxed, easy going mellow fellow, or an energetic, driven planner who strives to wring the maximum enjoyment out of every day? Are you someone who likes to lead, or are you willing to go along with whatever everyone else wants to do. Are you introverted or extroverted? A dominant personality or everyone’s favorite team player? Are you a sarcastic fellow with a dry humor, or a goofy laugh out loud kind of a guy who loves nothing more than a good Will Ferrell pic? A cultured city dweller or a nature lover? This is not about what you look like (she’s got photos for that) or what you’ve done… its what she needs to know about your personality and character. Whether your flavor is Vanilla or Mint Choc Chip, Pistachio or Frozen Soy Yoghurt. You don’t need to list everything about your personality.. limit yourself to 5 traits. For example, ‘I’m a driven guy who loves his job and the adventures that it affords me in my spare time. I’m energetic and optimistic, a leader and a planner’. She can learn the rest when you buy her a drink. Women know what type of guy they’re looking for and your summary tells them about your basic compatibility. Oh.. and don’t have this be more than a paragraph. No one likes a braggart or a narcissist (except other narcissists…).

What you do

Don’t spent a heap of time listing out everything you’ve ever done. That’s what dating and marriage are for (you’ve got to have something left to talk about in your 50s). If you played college football, awesome.. but after the age of 30, we don’t care (just like you don’t care about our major after freshers week). Its fine to tell us about your travels, your past accomplishments or significant moments in your life, but we’d prefer that you tell us what you actually do TODAY. After all, I used to spend 2 hours every day in the gym…. (but not since 1999). Use the last 18 months as a mirror. What have you done, how have you spent your time and be honest. If you’re a couch potato, its ok to say that you love watching movies and cooking. If you’re someone who works out everyday, say it. Don’t tell us what you did once, or what you’d like to do at some point in the future… we can talk about that on a date. Save your dreaming for off the page unless it a major lifestyle change that you’re actively planning for.  After all, I’d love to sail around the world, but I’ve not stepped onto a boat in 20 years… so its not going in my profile. The woman who wants to date you, wants to know what type of guy she’s potentially going to spend time with and you can only ‘act’ your profile for so long. So unless you want to commit to running marathons or lying about your love of Camus, don’t go there. Some women like a homebody. Some want a predictable guy who’s going to be home every day at 6.. others would wither and die with that level of routine. There are women out there who like to do everything you do… (well, probably not as much porn… but you get the picture). Don’t pretend to be something your not, or something you once were. If you need a reality check, stand naked in front of a full length mirror and think about your greatest assets. If you can see them all in the mirror… you’re not really looking at what women want to know. (we don’t look for men based on your pecs or dick size.. just sayin’).

What type of woman are you attracted to?

This is actually the third most important part of your profile. Yes. Third. Your photos are #1 (we’re as judgy as you are), and your overview is #2 (we skim as much as you do). Women are flexible, we’re adaptable and most women will see a little bit of an overlap of what your looking for and round up. (NOTE – so should you). After all, we’re not signing up for perfection.. just a guy who seems to be looking for someone like us.

So go ahead, be specific, but – and here’s the catch – you only get to be really specific about 3 things.

3?

Yes 3. You can write out your list of 25 things and say ‘I don’t have a laundry list’ but you do. We all do. So write your list… then start deleting the ‘nice to have”, the would be nice’ and the ‘preferably’. Think about the absolute essentials for you. All 3 of them. It can be as broad as ‘a positive attitude towards life’, or as specific as ‘I love tall women’… but you only get to ask for 3. Loyalty. Honesty. Warmth. Physically active. Stable… these are traits you might want to consider. Sure, you can include ‘takes care of herself’ and ‘hot body’ but what if she’s a lying manipulative unstable weirdo? You can add more than 3 traits (of course), but each extra requirement signals your rigidity and limits your pool of candidates to a very specific subsection (which may not correspond to what your lady reader thinks about herself). What you consider ‘takes care of herself’ might mean ‘stays skinny’ to you, but to her might mean ‘gets her nails and hair done weekly’. Be specific and honest about 3 must have things. Now many guys want to date someone who’s slim, mentally sound, financially stable, loves her job, has great friends, collects lingerie and would love nothing more than spending every Sunday watching football… but if she responds to you with a whole lot of ‘yes’s?

… she’s probably lying.

Of your list of 25 things.. she’s probably got 3.. maybe 5. So keep it simple and focus on whats important.
NOTE: Focus on positives ONLY. Don’t list all of your ‘nots’ (signals ‘dude has baggage’) and don’t mention ‘recent pictures only.’ (signals.. ‘no fat chicks’). Her pictures are probably as up to date as yours, so use that guideline. Focus on what attracts you rather than what you’d like. I’d like someone who looks like Ryan Gosling and rides a bike like Contador, but what attracts me is a smart positive guy who pursues new adventures and loves his job.  He might not even ride a bike. He might resemble Woody Allen. If you’re not sure of the difference think back to previous girlfriends and what attracted you to her… was it her massive smile? her goofiness? her long legs? her adventurous spirit or just her ability to waste Sundays playing Xbox? These are your attractors and say way more about you than a laundry list of bland attributes. FYI ‘Nice’ is not a trait.

And finally… we’re back at your intro

You’ve written out your 3 main sections (and edited it down/ bulked it up to a reasonable length). Now its time to create your intro. This is where you get to be clever or smart, show your edge, or simply outline what type of guy you are in 3 sentences.

Yes. 3. Your first paragraph is short and ‘grabby’. It spark’s her interest. That’s all.  It doesn’t need to be witty or intellectual, but it should give her a flavor of who you are. Think old school ‘Personals’ ads from the paper.

You can summarize a few points from your other paragraphs, or use the intro to include something that didn’t fit elsewhere. But please, please don’t tell us what you mom or your sister or your friends think of you, and don’t even consider telling us that you don’t look your age, or you can’t believe you’re still single. Yawn. No edge.

So.. here’s my shout out to the fellas who are online or thinking about dipping their toe into the online pool. Be real. Be honest. Be positive. And yes, that beer funneling photo might be cool.. but its’ really not working for us.

Posted in advice, Dating advice, online dating | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Spring is here!

budIf spring is defined as ‘the season of growth’ then spring is most definitely here.

After hibernating since November, freezing my butt off through December, and starting to defrost in January, this month (despite the 3 degree temperature last Thursday), the buds of spring are pushing through my winter miasma. It might only be buds showing, but I’m waking up my enthusiasm for living after a sad few months of hibernation and sloth. Growth and the desire for new experiences has arrived.

After wrestling with 6 months of injury, I’ve set down my weights and taken up spinning, something my shoulder is thanking me for, but my ass is mightily pissed off about.

With 4 years in my current professional position, I’m re-energized about my career for no discernible reason other than the nagging suspicion that I was never cut out for ‘cruise control’.

I cut out sugar and chocolate for an entire week and didn’t die.

And most importantly, I finally listed out some things I want to do. You know.. goals.

Now I’m not a goal setter. I don’t plan ahead and I’ve never really been sure where I’m going until 4 seconds before I make the decision. Signaling while driving is about as ‘forward thinking’ as I get and my life has been a series of random decisions, some informed, but mostly not. Its astonishing to me that I’m in a career which itself was a random selection based on my liking the font of the companies logo, but there you go. If you make enough random decisions, some are bound to be good ones (lets just ignore all the scars from the bad ones).

But since hitting 40 I’ve been trying to get more focused. After all, life is short and I don’t want to check out with a bunch of stuff I didn’t get around to (especially when I realize I’ve watched all 11 seasons of Top Chef). As a result I now ride a motorcycle and a scooter, I’ve watched the Tour De France a foot from the riders, and I can shoot my Beretta without my hands shaking. I’ve backpacked the Napali Coast trail, learned how to curl my eyelashes (both equally terrifying), and mastered the art of running in heels and snowshoes (though not at the same time). I’ve talked openly about my ‘feelings’ with a man (the most terrifying of all), and survived a ‘therapy session’ without expiring from shame.

So this weekend, as my mind was spinning for things to do which didn’t cost much and which would keep me on my toes, I finally started listing some goals.  Stuff which.. if I could.. I’d want to experience. budget or not. Reality or fantasy (hey, it was a slow Sunday). Some I wrote out and immediately deleted..’jump out of a plane’ (who am I kidding?),  ‘run a marathon’ (fuck off..) and ‘live in NYC’ (London was plenty thankyou). After all, at 42, I know what I actually want vs.what sounds good. But as I wrote, the list went from typical to completely random; ‘catch a fish’, ‘surf a wave’, ‘apologize to my college boyfriend’ and ‘use a sword’.  I’m not sure where ‘get a lap dance’ fits in… but its in there.

After looking at my list I think its not so much ‘goals’ but experiences I want to have.. just once.. at somepoint in life. These aren’t one time things I can plan, but hell, if I get even a few of these in my life I’d be one happy chicken.. So here goes…’living goals’ for this 42 year old chica..

  • See Ryan Gosling in the flesh (I’ll also take Edward Norton)
  • Take a year off (I’ve had a job for 29 years… I need a holiday)
  • Not worry about money for  year (sort of goes with the one above)
  • Babysit (yes, I’m 42 and I’ve never been in charge of a live baby.. I just want to prove to myself that I can keep it alive)
  • Dance without stepping on my partners feet
  • Be proposed to (the marriage kind, not the sex kind)
  • Sword fight
  • Meet a bear and not want to pee my pants
  • Outwit a ‘tail’ while I’m being followed
  • Kill a zombie
  • Visit Nepal (yes, I know you can plan this.. but its about as likely as zombies right now)
  • Get a lap dance (a good one)
  • Catch a fish, gut, cook and eat it (without dying)
  • Surf while standing up
  • Apologize to college boyfriend (I was mean)
  • Start another business
  • Ride 100 miles (not just say that I’ve done it)
  • Hold a conversation in French
  • Cook a rabbit
  • Go 21 days without complaining or saying anything negative (proving to be a longer term goal than I originally thought)
  • Have something published under my own name
  • Hold the controls of a plane (makes me sick to even think about)
  • Race a sailboat again
  • Live in the mountains
  • Take care of my parents (not in the mafia way.. the loving way)
  • Host my nieces for a summer
  • Shout my head off at the top of a mountain
  • Bake a cake at altitude that doesn’t resemble a pancake or biscotti
  • Cycle Scotland
  • Visit a family’s house in India (mutually agreed, no burglary or kidnapping involved)
  • Figure out what my reoccurring dream about cruising to a country that doesn’t exist is all about
  • Make ‘Director’ of anything (except a country or a play)
  • Feel powerful and totally in control… (just the once)
  • Eat a gluten filled, fresh cream stuffed, chocolate eclair (and not get sick)
  • Ride a galloping horse without losing all sensation in my nether regions
  • Stroke a penguin (I just want to know how it feels..  nothing strange in that)

Even now I can think of stuff I need to add, and I’m excited that I even started. They’re not huge things, or even that particularly difficult (though the zombie one might be tricky as would be curing my celiac disease). But I’ve done a fair amount of living in my 42 years, and actually have a idea of stuff I want to experience in the next 42…? well is a big step forward.

And who knows? Ryan Gosling could be just around the corner.

Posted in advice, Life after 40 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Falling off the wagon

online addictionHello. My name is Ms Idiot and I’m an online dating addict.

I really thought I’d kicked the habit, I really did. Its like that I guess. Addiction.

After two horrific dating experiences in 2013, (one which terrified me into changing my locks, one which caused me to rethink my perception of academics), and a 22 minute encounter (I won’t dignify it with the title of ‘date’) I hit bottom. I knew I couldn’t go on with the month to month renewals, the endless profile trolling, the sagging wish that there is a single dude with a penchant for tattoos, bicycles and IQs over 140 who isn’t addicted to pornography or pushing 250lbs. My self loathing was such that I even considered Tindr, a site for kids with ADD who still think funneling beer is an attractive trait in a man. I was desperate. I was pathetic. I’d have traded my last $39.99 for a date with a normal sane hetero guy. Just one… one…..

A girlfriend watched my downward spiral from afar; the first flush of excitement (“this time its going to work”), the second guessing (“maybe I sound too active?”), the anger  (“why are all the guys my age only looking for 30 yr olds?”), the depression (“I can’t even get laid, never mind a boyfriend”), switching from one site to another (“this one definitely seems to have more guys without kids or Jesus”) led to bargaining (“so he confused ‘righting’ with ‘writing’ …it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s stupid”) and finally the acceptance that online dating…. just wasn’t going to work for me.

The result of 6 years of sporadic sign ups? Several 3 month flings, two marriage proposals (sanity not guaranteed), numerous casual dates and 1 x 22 minute ‘encounter’.  I had better luck in high school when I had braces, an extra 10lbs and Billy Idols haircut.

So I tapped out. I got sober. I deleted all of my accounts and white knuckled it through Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and yes, even New Years Eve. 6 months went by without so much as a ‘wink’, never mind a date.. and I was feeling good. Strong even.

I didn’t find Jesus, I didn’t do meetings and I accepted the notion that I’m a single person. Indefinitely. And I felt good with that. Like most ‘sober’ people, as long as I stayed away from dating sites, set ups and random flirtations, I was ok. I really was. I hung out with friends, I made new friends (male and female), I cut ties with my boomerangs.

But then, just when I felt immune to the siren call of ‘more marriages than any other site’, I had a dream.

And it certainly wasn’t of the MLK variety.

Lets just say its been 24 hours and its still burning in the front of my brain. It was sexy, it was hot, it was endless and oh my god.. it made me miss men like a drowning man misses air. I miss being touched. I miss someone looking at me with desire. I miss flirtation (even my appalling version of it) and I miss forearms. Oh god I miss forearms.

I can’t even think about how much I miss sex. After all, I do have a job and I already feel like a neon sign is flashing on my forehead ‘Man Wanted. Apply within’. The next 12 hours is entirely focused on not thinking about sex.

Margaret Thatcher.

Cockroaches.

Mitt Romney’s hair.

That leery old guy in yoga class.

I don’t know where to turn, and frankly, its too early to call my match.com sponsor and have her talk me off the ledge.

So I did it. I clicked, I typed and clutching my 1o month celibate chip, I logged on to a dating site and dove into the sweaty pool of loserville that is a divorced guy with 2 kids, living in suburbia ‘a few extra pounds’ and ‘loves sci fi’. no… No… NO….

This is my cry for help. Help meeeeeeee…..

Posted in Embarrassing admissions, match.com, online dating, over it, sex, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Complaint Free! … well for about 4 hours

Complaint DepartmentMonday afternoon I spent a good 90 minutes with my therapist trying to figure out why my two abhorrent friends (Debbie Downer and Negative Nelly) have come for an extended stay.

Yes. I have a therapist.

No.. I’m not ‘one of thoooooose people’

But I am all in favor of therapists. Especially when you live alone without a significant other, your family is 3200 miles away and you don’t want every social occasion to turn into a Dr Phil moment. Yes, friends can be great to unload on, to discuss ‘what should I do’ decisions or ‘why did I do that’ moments.. but they’re only human and its not fair to ask them to gaze at your navel for hours every week.

My chesticals maybe… navel… not so much.

So I like to spread my musing around a bit, and if I have to pay one of them.. its worth every penny. Plus she has mints.

Anyhow, after both of us navel gazed for an age about my startling negativity of late, she suggested that I go ‘complaint free’ for 21 days.

Somewhat like any recovery program (but drinking allowed), the goal to go without complaining, ‘negging’ , moaning, being rude or sharp, critical, whining or gossiping for 21 consecutive days. At the end of which you’ve apparently broken the habit.. aaaaaaand hopefully not been sectioned to the local pysch ward or recruited by the Mormons.

21 days without a single negative word? Now that’s a challenge for a Brit. We’re brought up on moaning. Its second nature to be sarcastic and don’t get me starting on complaining. Its wrapped around every strand of our DNA. Brits are polite to a fault, but behind closed doors or under our breath, its a whole other story. We need it. All that rain, dealing with the class system, lack of ice and foreskins… you need to moan a bit.

This challenge was designed for me. If challenge means ‘literally impossible’, ‘requires no training’ and ‘doesn’t involve heights’. This is my Annapurna. I may check out North Face and see if they have anything suitable to assist me in this herculean task. A gag perhaps?

What do I have to lose? It might help me kick my inner Eeyore to the curb before I get fired and if I fail? I’ve been a bit nicer for a bit.

To help with recording complaints, (since complaining doesn’t give you a hangover or cost anything), you wear an elastic band on your wrist. Every time you complain, whine, moan or bitch, you switch the band to the other wrist. Goal = band stays on the same wrist for 3 weeks. If you switch the band just once … you go back to Day 1. You don’t get to progress to Day 2 until you’ve made it a whole 24 hours without complaint. And even if you’re on day 20, one moan and you’re back to Day 1.

Now this doesn’t mean that you’re sallying around chattering about butterflies and unicorns; you’re not expected to become Tony Robbins either. This isn’t thought police either – you can think whatever you want.. but the words. The words can’t be negative or gossipy or mean or rude. And if the facts invite a negative discussion, you have to stick.to.the.exact.facts. Without adding a tone, a sneer, a sarcastic remark or chiming in on someone else’s negative moment. If you have nothing positive or neutral to say, you say nothing.

For those who know me… stop laughing. I’m not that bad.

Except I am. *sigh*

I invite you to try it for just a single conversation with someone you know well. Its so very  ridiculously strange. And alarming to realize how much you say without actually saying very much at all. Suddenly I realize how often my default is sarcasm or rudeness. How sharp I can be in simply stating facts and under pressure?

Not surprisingly I’m three days in and still on Day 1.

Day 1 (my first Day 1), started out easy. I live alone and I didn’t have any calls for a few hours. By 4pm I’d made it through 2 conference calls and not a harsh word, sarcastic comment or criticism made. I was verging on smug, after I’d been warned ‘you’ll be on Day 1 for quite a while’, here I was only a few hours from bedtime and, well, call me Miss Positivity.

Until I stepped outside to walk the dog and ran into a neighbor.

We chatted for about – ooooo – 10 minutes. By which time I’d switched the band about 5 times. My mind was scrambling to try to direct our conversation away from complaints to something positive, something neutral… but I couldn’t help it. I dived right it and complained along with her. I literally couldn’t stop my mouth from moving even as my brain was screaming ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOO’.

Later on the phone with a friend I resolved to make it through one of our usual hour long chats without a complaint or a negative comment, even though I’d already fucked my Day 1 chances of moving to Day 2. After a while I noticed that having to pay 100% attention to her words (and mine), not only energized the shit out of me, but I felt good. Really good. For no reason. Now obviously chatting with a friend should make you feel good. You’re connecting, your laughing, you’re nattering on about nothing… its fun. That’s why you’re friends. But this was something else. As I hung up the phone, I felt … well… joy.

In really engaging with her, focusing on the great things happening in her life, I found myself talking about the awesomeness that is going on with me. She responded to my positivity in kind and in an hour, my mood was positively giddy with joy. Something that I’d not been able to locate for myself with a therapist or a bottle of wine. Apparently focusing on the positive…. makes you positive?

Day 2 (though its still Day 1 according to my wrist). A full day of conference calls and face to face meetings, and by mid day I’ve noticed that I need to give my full attention to each meeting in order to stay positive and factual. I’m more careful when I speak, and I’m actually having to think about my words before I use them (first time in 42 years kids!). I still failed to make it through the day without a neg sentence, but my awareness of doing it – switching my elastic band each time – helped me try harder with each call. And most strange of all, I felt more positive overall. I was excited about work. I noticed more of the good, less of the stuff which generally drives me nuts. Its so unbelievably weird.

If your life is really determined by your thoughts, and your words reflect those thoughts. Then words really do matter. But can you really change your thoughts, by changing your words? I don’t know, but I’m interested to find out where this goes.

I’ll be over here, snapping my elastic band and frantically trying to steer the conversation away from the weather.

Posted in Embarrassing admissions, ideas, Life after 40, new challenges, observations, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Negative Nelly and Debbie Downer come to stay

sad-eyesWe’ve all been there. A rainy Monday, a crappy Wednesday or even a particularly slow Sunday afternoon which seems to echo with melancholy (and historically Songs of Praise – British reference, sorry).

Yep, its January which means the Negative Nellys and Debbie Downers are in town.

I’ve always considered myself a bit of an optimist. I can see through the crappy times enough to know that everything evens out in the end and have found humor in many of my dark days. Looking back, life has been largely unbelievably awesome and very rarely cruel and I know that I’m lucky. Extremely lucky. I really don’t have any reason to be down. I’ve never been unemployed for longer than a week, I’ve never had to beg for food or money or clothing (unless my sister was involved, in which case, all three were involved and an awful lot of whining). I have a lovely, flawed family, and those who’ve left life.. well I got them while they were around. For 8 or 9 months of the year I bounce off the walls with joy and energy, rolling right over the ugly stuff and looking onward and upward. I’m lucky. I’m healthy (*ish). I have nothing really to feed my blues.

But apparently no-one told my serotonin levels. They’ve buggered off to Hawaii for the foreseeable, leaving me with two house guests who just won’t leave. Negative Nelly and Debbie Downer.

Shakespeare said that April is the cruelest month, but I say January is the crappiest.

Your credit cards are still injured from the holidays, you’re toting around an extra 5, 10, 15lbs of turkey weight, and wouldn’t you know it… its fucking freezing and dark. No major holidays to look forward to and only taxes on the horizon.. January is a fucknuckle of a time.  (February isn’t much easier, but at least you know that there’s a mid month sale on chocolate (Feb 16th.. best.day.ever))

But January… January blows. Always. And this year???

Nelly and Debbie seemed to come early this year, inviting themselves in for an extended stay through the beginning of November, taking over the TV remote in December, and now, at the end of January, they’ve figuratively repainted the living room and are receiving mail.

I don’t know why. But damn, I wish they’d leave. I keep trying to ignore them, move to a different ‘room’ in my head, but no matter where I go.. there they are… pointing out all the bad stuff and moaning to each other about it. Money, work, friendships, weight, fitness, getting older, ASPCA adverts. the plight of the polar bear… oh boy. Its quite the party in my house once Debbie and Nelly get going.

The result for me? I’ve regressed to the 3 year old who just learned how to say ‘no’. Everything that comes out of my mouth for the last few months has been a ‘sorry I can’t’, ‘it won’t work’, ‘nope’ ‘sorry’ and did I mention ‘no’? I can hear it, I am aware of it, but somehow I can’t stop the words from coming out of my mouth. Even as I hear them tumbling out of my mouth ‘ It wont’ work’ ‘We don’t have time’, I want to stuff them back down my throat and slap myself for being such a pain in the ass.

What’s frustrating is that I don’t even believe or intend the words as they come out. Its as though Nelly and Debbie are standing between my head and my mouth, and even as I’m thinking ‘yes’, ‘sure’ ‘ok, no problem’ ‘maybe’, the words never actually reach my mouth. Instead out comes my inner ‘Eeyore’. I’ve tried saying nothing but Nelly never sleeps and once she gets going Debbie joins right on it.

So today I officially am asking the girls to leave. I’m done with the word ‘no’ and ‘We can’t’ and I hate that I’m identifying with the most depressed donkey in history. Plus if I don’t start saying yes soon, I’ll end up fired and really have some problems. This January malaise has to end and so my visitors are officially kicked to the curb as of Friday.

After all, Saturday is February 1st and I’ve got some chocolate scouting to do.

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I’m an excellent…..?

excellentA recent study conducted at Montana University, was looking into the difference between men and women as ‘self promoters’. With the advent of ‘Lean In’ and the noted unbalance of women in executive leadership positions positively ‘the norm’, the study asked 60 female college freshmen to write an essay about their personal accomplishments. The “winner”, reflecting the reality that learning to self-promote is rewarded in the professional world, would receive $5000.

I read this and thought ‘suckaaaaaz’ That $5G would so be mine. I can write, (they didn’t imply that bad spelling would be penalized), and I am extremely self aware. Or so my meds suggest. I got skillz. (as mentioned, my spelling.. needs work)

As a challenge, I decided that I’d give it a go.. see what a natural self promoter I was, and hey, maybe use it as a primer for my upcoming annual review.  Since they always go so well. It couldn’t hurt.

3 hours later…..

Its really really hard guys…

I’m here to tell you that my list is shabby. It features a lot of crossed out words. At one point I considered firing myself for incompetence. I certainly am amazed I manage to remain employed at 42. Since my skills, my ‘be excellent in her presence’ (bonus points if you catch the reference)… well, they’re sort of random, and none… is particularly helpful in the professional world. Unless its 1842.

Here goes…

I am an outstanding grower of heirloom tomatoes. I can rock my toms from seeds to weighted glorious bounty with little more than a few minutes each day, water and access to sun. One year I produced 50lbs of them and became so sick of them, began gifting to random neighbors, strangers I met while walking my dog and even my bike mechanic. This skill definitely shows my nurturing side, and I believe that my ‘coaching’ of these plants exhibits my strong managerial skills, and the ability to see potential beyond the person.

I am an excellent camper. With little more than 10 minutes notice I can be packed and ready with my backpack (or car camping tote), fully kitted at approximately 38lbs. (the bag, not me). Once reaching the camping destination, I can put up a tent, prep the bedding and have tea on the boil/ beers cracked within 15 minutes. I do not moan. I do not whine. I am happy to s-t in the woods (as long as you’re not timing me or in the vicinity – that’s pervy). I can give myself a shower with 1 Nalgene of water and a Wet wipe, (you don’t want to watch, the contortions are somewhat unappealing). This strength exhibits my resilience, ability to deliver above expectations (girls can be whiny in a tent), resourcefulness (yes, you can have sex in a single sleeping bag) and delegation  (you sip beer and build a fire, I’ll do the rest). I firmly believe that my excellence while camping demonstrates that with more resources (a lighter sleeping pad, a bonus of $5K), I could accomplish even more for the company.

I am extremely good at walking the dog. I’ve not lost one yet. (just kidding.. but he did come back a day later). I am prompt, varied in route and consistent in timing. I fulfill all expectations of a dog walk that includes

  • Willingness to stand around staring into space to allow for excessive sniffing of a leaf
  • Picking up of what is frankly astonishing amounts of shit for a medium sized dog
  • Leash allowance to enable squirrel chasing, other dog butt sniffing, goose investigations and random sprints
  • Recognition for excellence performance in ‘come’ ‘stay’ and ‘sit’
  • Commitment to 5 miles per day rain, snow or 5am wake up required.

While canine perambulations might not seem relevant in this discussion, I believe that this skill demonstrates my capability as a leader who is willing to let her charges explore their limitations (especially regarding aforementioned squirrel hunting), provision of firm objectives and goals for the team, recognition and resource management (I do have a job you know). I also show flexibility in my willingness to substitute walking with swimming, hiking or hysteria upon the spotting a cat.

Other strengths which you may want to consider include; ongoing commitment to bedding hygiene, low maintenance girlfriend at relatively low cost and ability to rock a kick ass curry. I am able possessed of the ability to stand on one leg for an inordinate amount of time, can maintain a handstand for over a minute and can bench-press my body weight. This may be useful should I be considered for promotion, though I’ve not yet figured out how.

Opportunities for improvement

My willingness to identify opportunities for improvement indicates my self knowledge and frankly, fucking useless, modesty. However I am compelled to list them should the aforementioned list indicate that I am, in fact, gods greatest gift to earth.

While I possess excellent skills in loving and caring for others, my ability to practice and maintain this skill has been somewhat limited by the range of dateable men in the Denver metro area. I have instead focused this skill on my dog, my friends and several crushes which I’ve nurtured over the years. However I know that without regular use, all skills can wither, hence I may be in need of refresher training should this skill be required in the near future. Evidence of improvement opportunities was indicated by my rejection of the date offered by my maintenance man, and my fading interest in ever going on a date again.

I consider my written communication skills to be fairly strong, however I have noticed that my willingness to curse has increased over the past year. I have, sadly, come to find that the use of fuck, motherfucker and fucking to be the only suitable response to some of the situations I find myself in on a daily basis. This includes the recent ticket I received for not stopping long enough at a stop sign, the photo ticket I received for not stopping behind the line, and the 4 parking tickets I have received in the last month for overstaying my reservation by mere minutes. Mother-Fuckers.

Finally, I am aware that I have an increasing tendency to interrupt you mid conversation, ramble on for way to long or sit in silence during one on one interactions. Working from home, while excellent for my productivity, wardrobe expenses and tea consumption, has somewhat deprived me of regular social interaction. This has the unintended consequence of lessening my social ease and verbal communication. I am working on it. In the meantime, please excuse me while I tell a completely inappropriate story, appear unduly rude or insult you without reason. I’m a fucking idiot. What can I say.

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I was actually just adjusting my underwear

realitySome of you may have recently seen or heard that real life Tracey Flick (aka Anne Hathaway), almost drowned when swimming in Hawaii. There were pictures of her waving from the sea, head dunked under the waves, and then finally her return to shore and collapsing on the sand. The media speculated that Anne had been caught out by the notorious undertow (something like the Notorious B.I.G but less dead), had been struggling to not drown.

She almost drowned people!

Except, non of this actually happened. According to Ann, she was ‘playing at Titantic’. (girl needs to get a life, no?)

Its amazing how the media interprets images and creates a whole novella around their notion of what is going on. So with this in mind, I wanted to lay to rest a few things you may have been led to believe about me in the past few months via the social media (aka my Facebook page) and even actual interactions.

1.When I was standing in line for my muscle relaxants yesterday wearing sweatpants and Christmas socks, clogs and a down jacket (despite the 63 degrees of heat), bent over like an 80 yr old sciatica sufferer, I was not ‘having a bad day’ or ‘in too much pain to give a shit’.

I was actually researching a role for an upcoming book I’m writing that focuses on the lives of the homeless. I wasn’t sporting unbrushed hair and blotchy skin due to a lack of concern about my appearance, it was to help me gain artistic integrity and authenticity for my personal narrative. My general grumpy demeanor and weird ensemble was intended to mirror that of your average homeless person in order to observe the reactions of those around me. Which, true to form, resulted in most everyone not meeting my eye and one lady taking a step back from me at the checkout line. Coming to a Barnes and Noble near you in 2015!

2. It may appear to several readers that I have been unable to find a suitable romantic partner despite dating furiously for the last several years. This has not been the inevitable outcome of ‘poor decision making’ or ‘low self esteem’ coupled with ‘proliferation of weird men in the online dating community’ and ‘low standards’, but actually something completely different.

My romantic status has actually been a real time meta play that lasts for 432 scenes. My ‘life’ play considers the role of friendships vs. romantic partners in society, the characteristics expected from women vs. actual female traits, and the impact of the declining male role in the female psyche as a backlash symptom following the publication of Susan Faludis’s ‘Backlash’ in 1991. It explores the genesis of failure, the impact of repeated rejection on future tenure and emotional intelligence.

3. The recent increase in girth and slothlike energy levels I have been exhibiting lately is not due to post-holiday blues and overindulgence. It is not due to a lack of self control when receiving a holiday food parcel from the UK, or an decrease in physical activity due to a attitude of ‘who gives a shit’ or ‘no-one is looking at me naked any time soon’. It certainly is not due to the existential sadness of reaching mid life, a slowing metabolism or my eating my fears about my upcoming performance review.

Dear readers, I am delighted to inform you that I am actually pregnant with a phantom baby. Mainly composed of gas, chocolate and the side effects of celiac disease, my phantom baby has reached the 12 week period, and obviously is started to show. While my gastroenterologist has sternly told me to ‘just cut back on the beans and broccoli’, and ‘double check the labels for gluten’,  I find myself unable to deny my phantom baby what it desires. While I’m not sure of what sex it will be, I just want it to be healthy. So please, send more chocolate and vodka martinis since my cravings are just out of control. Baby shower in July girls!

4. You may have taken offense at the frequency with which I’ve been declining your invitations and ignoring your calls, and have interpreted this as me ‘being a bitch’ or ‘totally antisocial’. That I cancelled our activity last minute via text, or that I had to rescheduled 3 times as indication that I’m ‘totally disorganized’ ‘unreliable’ or even ‘a pain in the ass’.

I want to assure you that you’ve actually been enrolled in a stealth new social media vehicle that I will be launching shortly called ‘DoNothing’. While you might have complained to your partner that ‘that bitch just cancelled again‘ or thought ‘why do I bother?’, you’ve actually been successful participants in the beta testing of ‘DoNothing’. ‘DoNothing’ is the anti Facebook, the reverse Meetup and the category slayer of ‘leaving a phone message’. By enabling the person to ignore all requests for interaction, ‘DoNothing’ enables you to get on the important things in life like …. sleeping. Eating. Sitting in front of your SAD lamp. Double checking you’ve taken your Klonapan. Watching reruns of Nurse Jackie. Not leaving the house for fear of ‘cold’. ‘DoNothing’ will be IPO-ing in the fall once we’ve worked out the bugs (we’re still leaving the house on occasion), and this my friends, this is going to be BIG.

Oh, and that wriggling, squirm you saw me just do while walking the dog, wasn’t a new dance move or sign of insanity. I was actually just adjusting my underwear.

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Quitting Crossfit

swaggerThere’s likely two responses to this title from readers;

‘See I told you that you’d get hurt’

or

‘Nooooo. Work around it. Happens to everyone’

What few people will understand, is that being told to quit Crossfit is like your best friend telling you that you need to break up with that boyfriend you totally adore, but who regularly lays you out.

I love Crossfit.

I love my box (CFWP), my trainers, my fellow lunatics who have sweated it out, burst their lungs and agonized through Murph, and the Filthy Fifty and 13.1 with me. While Crossfit pushes you harder than any sport, any exercise I’ve ever done (including 9 half marathons), it also creates an amazing community, an endorphin rush that is better than sex (as I remember sex.. its been a while), and an ass you can bounce a quarter off.

I don’t want to leave.

But, if you’ve read my blog for any time you’ll know I’m somewhat prone in injury and illness. Crossfit has made me stronger, but also exposed some new weakness. Despite 10 weeks of physical therapy and hours of rehab exercises, needs surgery. My back, despite hours of yoga, rollering, a fetish-like addiction to Bengay and now, muscle relaxants, is permanently hurting. And I’m scared that something else is going to go.

I love Crossfit. I don’t care that it hurts. That it leaves me unable to sit down, walk up stairs without adopting a crablike crouch, sit on the toilet without holding onto the sink or lift a glass of water to my lips.

(all totally normal Crossfit results)

But I don’t like being told that I need a second surgery on my shoulder that only has a 50% chance of relieving me from constant pain, and that I now need  10 weeks of physical therapy for my back as a result of my Crossfit love.

(Turkish getups, Thrusters and DLs were my nemesis, in case you’re wondering)

I’ve lifted lighter, I’ve lifted better ((my GREAT coaches)), I’m not a slopping exerciser and I don’t push myself beyond what I know I can do. But …. I’m still getting hurt beyond anything that Tylenol can fix. I can’t lift things above my head, it hurts to even lift my dog into the car, and I can’t bend over without crippling pain. I’m 42 but from a distance I could be 82.

Maybe I’m too old. (that I don’t believe) or maybe I’m too prone to injury (seems like it)

I know Crossfit won’t ever change. I know I will always love it and it will love me back, even if it hurts me sometimes. But for now, I need to take a break. I need some space to lick my wounds and give my body a chance to be pain free. I’ll still love from a distance, go through my rehab and hopefully get to a place where lifting something over my head isn’t going to require Vicodin. But for that to happen, Crossfit, we need some time apart.

But like any relationship, taking a break is hard. There is always the knowledge that you might not reunite. My shoulder might not heal. My back might not recover. And even if  in 3 or 6 months, I’m back to great, there’s always the chance that Crossfit will kick my ass all over the place again and I’ll wind up back in the doctors office or the surgery.

Sure, its a risk. What isn’t?

I could get hurt stepping off a curb (Achilles partial tear), parking my scooter (took off both my kneecaps), riding my bicycle (Achilles full tear), rowing (rotator cuff tear), or just shutting the car door (broken finger). I’ve had a pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis while out jogging, and an massive asthma attack while lying in shavasana at yoga (and that’s just lying flat on the floor).

I get hurt all the time. Clearly.

But I’m only 42. I don’t want to proactively seek out ways to get hurt in ways that require surgery. I already have one scheduled for  2014, and I don’t need any more. That shit is expensive and while I love hospitals (I feel so safe), I’m a high risk patient now due to my blood clotting disorder.

I love you Crossfit. You’ve taught me so much about what I can do, against all notions of what I thought. In fact, you’ve taught me to power through the pain and exhaustion. But this isn’t the ‘good’ pain. And I can’t power through it.

When my doc told me yesterday that I needed to stop my first thought was ‘where else am I going to find that camaraderie?’ My second was ‘oh, I’m going to lose all my strength’ my third was ‘what sport can I pick up instead’.

So I’m asking the internet, the universe, and specifically my loyal 15 readers, what sport can I pick up in the meantime that will bust my lungs without busting my body? That doesn’t require any overhead movements and won’t jack my back? That will keep me challenged and won’t let me slack off. And if it requires knee length socks, even better.

 

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