This one’s done..can I get another?

Image result for broken bodyThe world needs another post about Trump today like I need another 1st date. So instead I’m obsessing about how knackered my body is. Not just tired, but worn out. Done. Ready for recycling. Broken.

Ok, a little bit of an overstatement, but I so feel busted. Hot on the heels from an ENT appointment about my growing allergy to everything living thing, last week I learned that my nose is busted. One side hasn’t worked for a year or so, and the other side is thinking of decamping to Canada. The impact – that I start suffocating when I’m swimming, hiking, riding, running – is a bit of a challenge but “a simple surgery” with fix it.

The last “simple surgery” took a year off my life, left a hole in my shoulder and added a stone (14lbs) to my ass. I still hurt every day from the “simple-ness” of it all (though my  shoulder makes a great hook for a handbag and stores rainwater).

Next up my knees. I’ve always ridden bikes and I’ve run for 20 or so years including quite a few half marathons. Today.. my doctor says I have the knees of a 65-year-old with no cartilage left and torn fascia. But guess what…. ? A “simple surgery” can help eliminate the problem and have me up on the slopes by spring.

I”m noticing a trend here. I’m broken, but not beyond repair.

Except I’m scared of “simple” anything. After all, this election was meant to be “easy” back when we found out a Cheeto was running…

It seems as we age, anything becomes possible. Surgeries are so “simple” they’re not even called surgery anymore. “Procedures” sound more like what I do when putting on a sports bra.. but every doc I see is aching to offer me one in order to fix my failing bits.

Instead I’ve decided I’m opting for all new, all in one. I’m thinking about a full body transplant. An unemployed millennial fresh from a sofa. They’re not using their bodies, and it would be so damn wonderful to ride my bike without clenching at the pain, walk down the stairs like normal (instead of crabwalking with shrieks) or stand up without an ‘oomph’ and a moment to compose myself.

Yes I might have unshaved legs for the rest of my life,  wear a stupid beany while talking about my ‘woke baes’ but I’d trade it for what I’m working with.

No-one needs this many shrieks and moans at 44.  Not unless a Cheeto is talking.

Who’s with me?

 

 

Dear Mr. Leaf-blower

I know you wanted to be a Jedi Sir, but I’m here to tell you the truth. Your hourly walk up Image result for man leaf blowerand down the sidewalk by my house, armed with what amounts to an outside vacuum cleaner is no more protecting us from Stormtroopers than it is actually cleaning up leaves.

I understand the need to quell the rebellion Sir, but blowing leaves from the sidewalk onto the street, only to have a puff of wind skitter them back on the sidewalk is the very definition of idiocy. I applaud your tenacity Sir, I really do. Most people would give up on the leaf-blower at some point in order to go… well… have a life, but not you Sir. Not you.

Its been about 5 weeks now and as if by decree,  every day around 8am you begin leaf-blowing. I know you’ve run out of sidewalk at times Sir: I saw you heading up the street a few blocks, chasing those damn leaves to another street where they might choose to relocate. But then on your return, you see there are now new invaders to the street. Who.Must.Be.Denied.Vacancy. That seemed to really reinvigorate your search and fight against invading Storm-um – leaves. So I guess I’ll leave you to it. You will not be deterred I can see.

Until snow comes. Tee- Hee.

Oh shit.. I bet you’ve got a snow-blower.

Relaxing into spinsterhood

Image result for old lady walking her dog funnyThe other night I walked my dog in my pjs. Not content with one horror, I compounded it with a pair of wool socks, my retainer, some fetching Dansko clogs and an oversized down jacket. And it wasn’t even dark.

What can I say, I am the poster child for spinsterhood.

This journey started some time ago. After getting divorced in my 30s, one of the simple joys I rediscovered was taking off my pants and underwear as soon as I got home from work. Off with the confines of work, back on with comfort. A really bad day? Off with the bra and let everything have some freedom.

However back then, I still had some modicum of dignity. I suspected that I might meet some cute dude while walking my dog, borrow a doggy bag and be moved in by sundown.. so I dressed appropriately when I left the house. I mean I wasn’t throwing down at the park in a thong and some fur-lined heels, but I looked slightly cute. I wore jeans, t-shirts, cute tops even a bra on occasion.  I usually brushed my hair and spritzed on some perfume.  My level of male-dar was on full alert. After all.. you never know. He could be out there..

Fast forward 10 years and how things have changed.   These days as long I’m warm, pretty much anything goes inside the house. Flannel shirts, granny underwear, that 18 yr old pair of pjs, if its comfy.. it’s on.  Outside the house.. well.I’ve walked my dog in a bikini, clothesless under a Barbor jacket, in hole filled sweat pants (quelle horreur) and mostly in clothes I wore the day before (with or without the food I cooked on them). I wear a beanie or a hoodie on my head to hide my rat tails  and I mainly try not to get picked up for vagrancy.

I don’t worry about missing that cute dog walking guy or not looking appropriately attractive enough to draw the attention of that volleyball player. I’m too old for them now and I probably can’t even see them at a distance to be completely honest.

Plus I can categorically verify that no one is out there anyway. I’ve looked. I’ve done more than look, I’ve actually walked about 13,000 miles while looking.  So these days I am settling into my spinsterhood and everything that entails. No underwear after 6, no makeup after Friday and whatever the hell I want to wear while walking my dog.

I think I’ll just date the mailman.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Time goes by pretty fast if you don’t take the time to look around.

(Time also goes by Clichepretty fast after 40.. how is it almost July??? And where are my glasses).

Grey hair, sore knees, sad eyes and that’s just the dog. Its true I’m starting to resemble him these days, but I refuse to resort to spending my days lying on the sofa farting and snoring… no matter what I feel like.

A few data points from the last year or so to catch you up:

  • 3 new bosses, 13 keynotes, 6 conferences, 18 town halls, 300+ powerpoints and 1TB of new content created.
  • 2 heads of state, 2 ambassadors, 6 tech icons and many of the Fortune 100 CEOs. (Favorite was the Dutch Prime minister who was delicious, weird and still lives with his mother. Wonderful manners).
  • $$$$$ earned. I mean ridiculous.

And in non work life;

  • 11 procedures via 2 shoulder surgeries, 32 weeks of PT, knee cartilage busted
  • 7 glorious weekends in St. Helena, CA
  • 3 dates with men who turned out to be married.
  • 3 apartment moves
  • 1 old flame
  • And I finally saw BRUCE in concert (Springsteen not Hornby and the Range)

And the best thing of all?

I realized I prefer working with and being around nice people over most everything else.

Life is just too short to run behind Mr.Big in 4 inch heels hoping that you’re having some positive impact on someone somewhere. No matter the astonishing people you meet, the innovation you’re absorbed in, the resources available and the learning you do… nothing beats working with a team of people who have your back, who treat you well and who share your values. Seeing the impact of your work. Having a team who knows you and doesn’t think its weird when you lend a hand, offer or ask for help. It makes all the difference.

I’m sure this reads like every cliché in the book.. but its been an eye-opening, life changing 18 months for me.  I’ve always been independent, up for an adventure and embracing of change.. and this time might be the ultimate challenge. Putting my values first and building the life I want around them.

Now.. does anyone have a use for some slightly used high heels?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The family you choose

friendsI once had a brush with death.

Some sore patches on my leg emerged a few weeks after a surgery. Ignoring them until I was limping. I headed to my doc, who assured me, “no big deal”. Phew.

2 days later , out on a run I realized I couldn’t breath. My leg was throbbing and I suddenly remember a former friend who dropped dead while running due to a blood clot. I walked the rest of the way and headed to the doctor. 3 hours later I was told my weird sore patches had actually been signals of a 3 ft long blood clot that reached from my ankle up through my groin and up towards my heart. 1 hour later I  learned I had a pulmonary embolism (PE) in my lungs;

“But the BEST PE you could get” according to my hematologist.

Not really thinking about what this meant, I headed off on a date.

Only later, when telling friends, did I realize how lucky I was. How my bike fitness had probably helped break up the PE in my lungs.. and how ‘heading off on a date’ wasn’t probably the best response to a fairly major medical emergency.

That’s what your support network, aka your friends and friends of friends, are there for when you’re single. To remind you not to be a half-wit. To point out the sometimes obvious. To make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

Married folk have husbands who do that (or other moms who nurture everyone).  They kill the spiders, know when you’re sick and support you no matter what.

Singletons, well we have friends for this (or we do it ourselves in the case of those terrifying spiders). These friends become our chosen family. They’re the ones who we lean on when we’re feeling down, who support us, and who help us out in a crisis. They’ll listen to your wittering, and hand you a drink or a bar of chocolate when you need it. Family is family and while your biological family might be awesome, for many of us it’s not practical to ask them to pick you up from the hospital when they live 4,000 miles away.

I love my chosen family. They consist of my riding gals, current and former work colleagues, friends or friends, Facebook friends, old neighbors, school mates and the random people you meet as part of your everyday routine.

This week I lost one of my chosen family. The guy who calmed me down with whiskey after a slippery motorcycle ride. Waited with me for first dates. Raised his eyebrows at some of them. But who always, always had a smile and a ‘what’s up?’ for me as neighbor patron. I spent my last night in Denver at his bar, and many evenings collecting my thoughts and shooting the shit over a nightcap.

It’s the first time I’ve lost someone who propped me up. Who was there, Who provided a meeting place for other singletons and people seeking a chosen family. The oddballs, the tattoo and motorcycle nut cases, the Denver homegrown, those who loved a rockabilly band on a Saturday night. Or just to sit at a bar and chit-chat about nothing.

Today I’ve never felt more protective and appreciative of those who remain. To lean on, to reach out to, to care if they don’t hear from you, and who remind you of whats important. The surprising loss, and even more surprising impact on my heart, is a good reminder of the importance of our chosen family.

To my chosen family, much love.

RIP Gary Lee Bomar.

 

Nothing compares to you: Recovery blues

sineadIts been 7 weeks and 14 hours.. since you took your love away. Cos nothing compares, nothing compares to you.

(I always was a bit of a drama queen.)

After a very necessary shoulder surgery to sew up 10 years of riding and yoga damage, plus my brief foray into Crossfit, I found myself grounded, literally, for 8-12 weeks. No riding.

No jumps, rock hops, preloads or pumps, and for the first 8 weeks, no bikes outside of a gym at all. I have never felt more neutered.

I’ve been riding bikes since I was 7 years old. A late start that I’ve been trying to catch up for the last 36 years.I’ve ridden bikes to escape my parents as a teen, to reach the local lake to race sailboats 4 times a week, to school down the hill of death and even on dates. As an adult, I’ve ridden bikes to explore, to meet new people, to feel free and to forget that Powerpoint even exists. To see stars as my lungs explode, to indulge my geeky desire to build the best, fastest, most responsive machine and yes, I’ll admit it, to build legs I’m proud to show off in lycra shorts any day of the week. I’ve raised money for charity during a 98 degree August day, worked through a divorce over hundreds of miles, and quietened my anxious mind during a joyous descent that almost took my kneecaps off. I’ve found friends on my bike, and more than one love. I’ve been lost on a bike, and over the last 10 years, I found myself on a bike.

Sure, I’ve run into dogs, suffered concussions, torn holes my shins and of course the aforementioned rotator cuff, labrum and bicep tendon tears. But its small payment for the hours of joy, the endorphin rush or just winning the mental battle up a particularly steep and sandy climb while chanting swear words in my head.

To say I’m bereft is an understatement. I’m typing next to trainer, a gym is only 30 feet from my front door and I can still do any activity that doesn’t involve my upper body. But I’m miserable.

My mountain bike sits next to my bed, I’m obsessed with the new bikes I can’t try out and the days are already getting shorter which means mid week, post work rides might disappear before I even get to do one this year.

The elliptical, the stationary bike, hiking or walking my dog on the long, beautiful sandy beaches of Northern California .. everything pals by comparison to the memory of terrifying downhills, breathless climbs and the camaraderie that surrounds riding.

Even if you’re riding by yourself.

So with one more week to go, I excitedly signed up for a non technical, fire road climb with my favorite female riders.. not caring if I’m too out of shape to make it up without stopping, or they have to wait for me at the top.

Because nothing compares to some dirt, sweat and grit in your face.

Suck it Sinead. I’m off to ride my bike.

Not better, just different

sfContrary to popular opinion, I am still alive. I am also not incarcerated, incinerated or incapacitated. Sadly I have not been held captive by a silver fox off the coast of Belize and no, I did not win the lottery.

I’ve just been rearranging my life.

In the last month I found a new job, planned a cross-country move, completed my Christmas shopping AND grew my hair an inch.

NOTE: Growing the hair was the toughest. This mother will just.not.grow.  I am doomed to a shaggy pixie for the remainder of my days.

After the best summer ever drew to a close I realized that it was now or never. Things were good. Work was …okay. My little life was pleasurable and harmonious. Nothing too exciting and something too stressful. I could quite happily continue to live out my days in gorgeous Colorado, riding my bike with awesome chicas, spending my Thursdays on an ever-increasing spiral of bad dates and doing a bit of work to pay the rent..OR I could change things.

Why change things when life is good? When you’ve found friends who actually ‘get’ you and an apartment where you can leave the door unlocked. Where life has a rhythm and cadence that is soothing and predictable. Where you give Uncle Fester a second date because.. well .. he wasn’t that awful. Why risk ‘good’ for ‘different’? Especially when different comes at twice the cost, double the traffic and the need to wear actual outfits to an office on a daily basis?

I can’t exactly explain it except that I knew something needed to change when my neighbor asked why I was doing my laundry on a Friday night instead of my usual Saturday morning. When another neighbor said ‘I knew it was you walking your dog because of your pajamas’ and I found myself counting down the hours one Saturday night until I could reasonably climb into bed with my book. It was 7.30pm.

I’m 42. Not dead.

Life can be too good. Too comfortable. Too ‘nice’. Life without edges can make you sloppy and your brain fuzzy. You settle into routines that your grandmother would find boring. And when you realize you’re waiting out the days.. until…well..something different happens. Yes,  something needs to change.

So I decided to make a change.

In a few weeks, 19 years after I arrived, I’m leaving the rocky mountain state for the west coast. Back to water and Democratic majorities, GMO-hating hippies and Silicon Valley geekdom. I’m excited to use my brain again (the dust bunnies up there are something else), to explore a whole new state, to find new friends and spend a winter without thermals covering every square inch of my body.

Sure it’s going to suck. Its going to be exhausting and my expectations aren’t for some miraculous life change. Just something different. New roads, new trails, new weather, new vistas. Not better, just different. I’m 42 and we only get one time around. Going to bed at 7.30pm on a Saturday night out of boredom isn’t how I want to remember my 40s. That isn’t living.. it’s just passing time. So instead I choose change. I choose different.

I’ll keep you posted.

Only Commonwealth countries and Detroiters may now apply

flagLast night my dating pool hit a new low.

Following some insanely rational advice from a girlfriend, I decided to relax some of my ‘not that tight’ rules, and go on a date with a 50 yr old dude. Yes, I know I’m not a spring chicken and 50 ain’t that old.. but for me, 50 is 10 years from 60 which is .. well. OLD. And old means yellow teeth, gout and a weird funky smell from parts unknown.

But, as my friend pointed out, everyone my age is still in the midst of divorce drama, dealing with 5 years olds, custody adjustments or freakishly single (‘still waiting for ‘the one”), so I’m left with no choice. Go old or young, or go home.

Now I tried ‘younger’ this summer and while the eye candy was delicious, I did feel a little, well, ‘pervy’, on a date with a thirty something. Something about the lack of crows feet and totally optimistic outlook made me feel old and a little too weathered for his peachy ass. So I guess ‘older’ was inevitable really.

Tucking any thoughts of geriatric shoes and yellow teeth into my mental lockbox, I headed out on my first ’50-ish’ date. I was promised ‘no drama’ ‘maturity’ and ‘got it togetherness’. Plus the dude was a cute baldy and he was rocking those jeans in his photos. Who knows.. maybe this is where I’d been going wrong? Maybe 50 was the new 40?

Well…  maybe not just yet. Yes he was cute, but from the moment I entered the bar, he seemed more interested in watching the baseball that meeting his date.

Seriously dude? Hot chick in low-cut top, who smells delicious and is rocking her size 4 jeans is sitting by your side and you can’t drag yourself away from the tv screen to find out whether you might like her?? It wasn’t even a good team!!! (sorry San Francisco).

When I did manage to break his concentration (I think an advert was running), his conversation was right up there with the nutter dude you try to avoid at Whole Foods. I mentioned spending the weekend with friends and their 3-year-old then received a lecture on the eco-poison that is diapers.  I gently reminded him that I didn’t have kids, and at 40 something, it was highly unlikely that I would be buying diapers OR cloth nappies, at which point the game resumed, and his eyes slide off towards the screen. Wow.. diapers. That was the sum total of his conversational menu. Not so much ‘together’ as ‘past it’. Zero effort. Zero interest.

Now maybe it was my bad martini (how do you fuck up a dry martini?), my high expectations (‘dudes over 50 have it all together!’) or just bad luck, but from now on I’m only dating dudes from Commonwealth countries or Detroit.

If I’ve got to compete with a televised sport on my dates, let it at least be rugby or hockey.

 

Dating retirement

RetirementThere seems to be a worrying trend I’m noticing among my single chicas and dudes. Worrying because I seem to be part of it without actually checking a box or deciding.

Dating Retirement.

Warning signs include declaring ‘I can’t be fucked’ when someone asks you about whether you’re seeing someone, watching your match.com subscription finally expire with relief and spending your Saturday nights reordering your Netflix queue without embarrassment.

I mentioned to a guy friend that it had ‘been a while’ (I think my exact phrase was ‘100 days without sex, I am officially a virgin again’) and was met with sympathy and as much horror as one can convey via text. A few months later, I asked him how his love was going and was somewhat to amused to hear he too had adopted a monastic existence. I poked him about how that was working out and was met with the phrase ‘serene’.

Shit.. this trend is REAL.

When your girlfriend who only dates sporadically hasn’t had a date for the entire summer that’s one thing. When the dude you’ve known as ‘that guy’ who only dates hot 30-somethings (“I get older, they stay the same age”)… well damn. I guess we’re all giving up.

I know a few single people at work, and had taken their ‘non dating’ status as an overt and ridiculous commitment to work, but now I’m just wondering why it took me so long and why I didn’t pay more attention to them earlier. Clearly they’re not insane (though they do all work too much), but enlightened

Apparently the path to a joyful and harmonious existence isn’t from finding your soul mate, your ‘other half’, that one person who’s got your back.. but instead finding it buried in that German Chocolate Cake sorbet, or on that epic downhill, or hearing the world wake up from inside your tent. Joy and pleasure seems to come whether there’s someone in your life or not… and I have to say, after it being ‘not’ for a long 7 years, I’m really thrilled to realize that ‘not’ being part of a couple isn’t all half bad. Accepting the inanity of chasing rainbows in the hope that one of them might be attractive, sexy, humorous and svelte enough to not need one of those seat belt extenders on a plane just seems smart. After all, people who don’t date don’t spend their time hoping, being let down or wasting $39.99 on monthly subscriptions to ‘whatsleft.com’.

Is it lonely in retirement? I have to admit – not really. I was far more lonely in my dying relationship that I’ve ever been in the last 7 years… and if I feel the need for company, it’s certainly a lot more accessible than it was from within a crappy marriage. Now of course, non of those friends are accessible for sex, romance or late night flirting, (yikes), but if I seem to recall, there wasn’t that much of that in a romantic relationship after a year or two anyway.

So bring on the plaid pants people. I’m officially hanging up my garter belt and first date chit-chat. Saying ‘ta-ta’ to awkward cups of coffee at 3pm in the afternoon and judgy looks from 50 something chubsters. I’m moving on to the next phase of life.

Retirement. It’s not just for old people.

An ode to yoga

yogaAfter 11 years of downward dogging, my doctor measured me on Tuesday and pronounced me 3/4 inch taller than my last physical. Now any exercise that stops my ass from sliding further down my legs AND  apparently makes me taller is my kind of exercise…even if it has taken 11 years.

So in response, here is my ‘Ode to Yoga’. The only exercise where crotch sweat is ok and lying down with your eyes closed is considered an important part of it.

 

Dearest Yoga I bow to thee

You make me bend fantastically

swan diving over gracefully

While farting so discretely

 

Wobbling with delicacy

1 leg outstretched, bent at the knee

with arms spread wide so joyfully

Falling slowly sideways, yes that’s me.

 

Warrior pose number 3

Clearly an impossibility

Camel just makes me want to pee

Eagle pose, I disagree

 

Oh how I would love to be

A LuLumon devotee

But in leggings and a cropped t

I resemble a manatee

 

11 years on and I fail to see

how yoga made me 5ft 3

but downward dog, plank and tree

calmed my mind and set me free

 

If hippy chants improve my chi

and help me think more clearly

Add abs and buns of steel then oui

Yoga I remain, your devotee.

 

Jobs that Monster thinks I’m suitable for

01 monsterEvery summer, just as I’m starting to return to Planet Earth after ‘the-craziest-hours-ever-no-seriously-I-mean-it’, I tend to look up from my laptop, notice that the trees now have leaves and reconsider my worth in the marketplace.

No, not whether I’m a BOGO or what I could get for standing on the corner of Colfax and 17th at 9pm on a Wednesday.. but what’s out there is the job market, and is there anything to tempt me away from my life of 11 hours in from of a PC, but the freedom to fart at any point without worrying about coworkers.

Now I’ve not had to purchase a single ‘work outfit’ in 4 years (my dog couldn’t even care less if I wore clothes at all) and I do love what I do, so there really is no pressing need to move on, but I still retain the smidgen of ego and ambition I was born with, and I’ve had the occasional Wednesday afternoon wondering what it would be like to actually see a coworker more than once every year.

Which brings me to my summer activity ‘job reviewing’.

I’m not hungry, so there’s no ‘hunt’ involved, but on occasion I do wonder if my title is destined to remain the same for the next 20 years and whether I will still be aligning fonts at the age of 62.. so I set up some RSS feeds, logged on and updated my LinkedIn profile (because that works..not), and reposted my resume to see what bites. It’s actually how I wound up in the job I have now.. and apparently I have the optimism of a millenial with a trust fund in the hope that ‘Perfect Job v2.0’ is also going to land in my inbox.

This year has been an exercise is reevaluating this approach.. and thanking my lucky stars that I’m not actually ‘on the hunt’. Here’s a sampling of Monster’s suggestions for my skill set. Just for some background, I was a management consultant for 17 years and a communications leader for 4 yrs at Fortune 100 companies.. but to Google.. I’m potentially any of the following;

1. Agile Coach

When I first read this, I immediately felt flattered. Maybe my 6 year commitment to yoga and my personal willingness to do anything for my CEO (from helping him grow tomatoes to writing his speeches) had shone through on my resume. I do love guiding and helping people, and while I don’t have much direct experience ‘coaching’ per se.. I was optimistic that somehow, the new field of leadership development was being opened up to me.

Then I read the job description and realized it actually means someone who does a certain type of project management around software development. Yawn. Not so much Agile as ‘willing to be glued to your PC for 12 hours and talk in 3 three acronyms for the next 15 years while surrounded by men in Dockers and bad fitting golf shirts’.  Actually, pretty anti-agile. Mind numbingly static really. Next.

3. Histotechnologist/ PRN

I admit, I actually didn’t know what this was, though my first thought was ‘something to do with history?’ Post Google, I learned it ‘centers on the detection of tissue abnormalities and the treatment for the diseases causing the abnormalities. Essentially the perfect job for someone who compulsively worries about their health and overall ‘normalcy’. Oh talk about taking your job home with you.. I’d be self diagnosed with MS, Huntingdons, and Parkinsons’s before the end of the my first day.

But what does a Histo..whatsit..actually do? “As a histotechnologist, you will prepare very thin slices of human, animal or plant tissue for microscopic examination”   How my past 20+ years of writing Powerpoint, talking to clients and trying to put people at ease with change would prepare me for slicing up brains and tumors I’m not sure. But since the certification is only a year, I added it to my growing list of ‘back up plans’. After all, I chop myself an onion pretty fine.. maybe I’d be good at slicing up grey matter? As long as no one is asking me to saute it afterwards, it wouldn’t be so bad?

4. Division Director – Child Support services

Anyone who knows me, knows that I treat children like you would a moving cactus. With extreme caution, thick gloves and sturdy sneakers.. you know, for running away. How Monster thought I could be in charge of ‘child support’  for a whole division I don’t know. Unless that division is ‘middle ages dudes who have the mental age of 12’ then I’m willing to admit I’d be hopeless at this job. (Actually, at this point I’m starting to think that the guys at Monster didn’t actually read my resume at all, and that they’re just shooting me rando jobs in the hope that suddenly I’ll realize my dream to become an insurance salesperson or admin assistant). Me, have responsibility for kids who are risk, who need help and assistance… are you kidding me? Unless it came with a lasso and a stable, I’d be about as useful as a penguin in this role. Next.

5. Drama Instructor

Well, I know I’ve been known to act out, but I take this suggestion with a pinch of salt. I know I kind of made a big deal about my lack of progression at work, and I might have overemphasized the awfulness of a few dates, and yes, I know that I can tend to blow things out of proportion but me? teaching drama? Nooooo. I could never… could I???

6. Taco Bell Shift Lead

Oh now the gloves really come off Monster! Thanks. Thanks a lot. My 4 years of college, my 17 years of 70 hour weeks, hour upon hour of client negotiations and deliverable prep has led to…. supervising the insertion of dog meat into a chulupa? Monitoring the cheese usage? Reordering tortilla chips? Oh thankyou Monster.. I’m flattered that you see the potential in me. Time to take any indicators of ‘customer service’ off my resume.

7. Retirement Plan Lead

Well I can’t say I’m surprised Monster. After all, I am getting older and I have, on occasion, thought about what retirement would look like. You, clearly, have me already moving fast on the downslope of my career. After all, why not get more prepared and informed about how I’ll be living on cat food and the leftovers at Chiplote come age 65.  Now I don’t know a damn thing about numbers and Excel screams with laughter when I open a new spreadsheet, but I’m sure I could pick it up. And I’m betting their dress code is pretty lax as long as your Depends adult diapers don’t show through.

So I think I’ll sit on my hands this summer. Maybe just enjoy having a job a love, coworkers who make me laugh and sure, I could be a VP of Corporate Communications somewhere, but I could also be a Taco Bell shift lead. I’ll take my chances and stay where I am. You know, until I have a hankering for a Gordito.

 

The CSC Guide to swimware – Mens edition

01 man thongIts summer, its hot and, unless you’re Amish, that probably means its time to break out the swimwear. But – quelle horror! – what to wear? Swimsuit, Bikini, Tankini, Monokini, Brazilian briefs, the David Beckham pocket pouch or your Eurotrash speedos? So many options. But before you swear off the pool/beach/park or start ‘googling’ ‘Mormon swimwear’ (I dare you), I bring you my guide to swimwear for all ages, shapes and situations.  There’s something for everyone…yes, even you. Starting today with the guys. Ladies.. read on for a preview of what you might be seeing this year around the pool.

1. The Douche Bag

01 baggy boardFor many years, the Douche bag, long baggy short was all you saw at the pool or on the beach in the US. It hid chicken legs, pot bellies and god forbid, any chubbies that might *ahem* arise. I get it – it was safe, plus you didn’t need to change if you headed off somewhere and what’s a dude if not lazy. Now beloved of funneling spring breakers and spotty adolescents at the local rec center, the Douche bag signals a man with no control over his erections, a predilection for pushing people in the water or trying to drown them for no reason, or a fast approaching weight problem. If non of these resonate with you, its time to evolve. Ditch the Douche bag and move on. The ladies will love you for it.

 2. The New Baggy

01 perfectOk, so maybe you still can’t control those erections and despite just knocking out 20 sit ups you’ve still got a bit of a pooch. Check out the ‘new Baggy’.

No Douch baggery here.

They’re not short shorts (no-one is checking out your sphincter muscle when you bend over) and they’re somewhat form-fitting. So us ladies can actually check out your butt when you get out of the water, AND you can hide the result of cold water.

And no, they don’t may you look gay, they’re innocuous and most importantly, you won’t look like a member of Justin Beibers posse.

3. The Daniel Craig

01 daniel craigGratuitous shot for the ladies, but honestly guys, what’s wrong with this picture?

Nothing.

The Daniel Craig – a short for real men. Yes they’re tight, but they still cover all of your “assets” and there’s not even a suggestion of man thong going on here. Goddamn it, they even have racing stripes and a safety drawstring for those strong rip tides. Of course, if your upper body looks like Mr. Peanut these might not be for you, but if you’re in possession of even a suggestion of a pec or an ab, you might want to pull the ripcord and declare your manhood. These shorts say ‘I’m in control and if you can check out my packet, have at it ladies’ You know, but in a classy way.

4. The Man Bag

01 metallic suitAre you supremely confident? Do you possess the body of a professional athlete ?(sorry, bowling doesn’t count) Do you have a body fat percentage in the low digits and want to show it off? Are you willing to shave off your ‘highway to heaven’?

These are the shorts for you Sir.

The Man bag still leaves something to the imagination (well, we can’t actually see the details of what’s in the bag), but not so much that us ladies can’t decide whether we’ll date you. Full coverage at the rear (you’re aware that no-one needs to see your steroid pimpled ass), but wowser, a metallic, wet look display case for your frontage. These babies put you on display, and, unless you’ve got the buttocks of a Russian Gymnast, watch out for any strong waves.  The Man Bag.. for a man who’s got plenty in the bag and isn’t afraid to show it off.

Disclaimer: These shorts should not be used by anyone under the age of 21 or anyone in a long-term relationship with anyone of either sex. We might be laughing, but we admire your confidence. Best used while reading Camus or Dostoevsky around the pool (you don’t want sand in these babies) to indicate you’re not a total douche.

6. The Frightener

01 low cut briefDo women routinely chat you up in bars? Are you always getting hit on when you’re doing your grocery shopping or just filling up with gas? Fed up with women approaching you for no reason? The Frighten-er is for you.

A thong brief for the supremely fed up, the Frightener does what it says on the label. It literally scares away those who might otherwise be trying to find out where you live or your marital status. With full baggage on display both front and back, plus a back up ‘transparent when wet’ app, only the most foolhardy or ocular challenged would dare approach you in these babies. Perfect if you just want a quiet day by the pool or on the beach. Best of all, you’ll find the Frightener only works with women, so they’re great for meeting new fellow Frightener wearers or very old European men.

 7. The Display Case

01 frighteningFinding the Frightner a little too conservative for your taste? Want to stand out from your fellow Frightener while maximizing your tan? Already shave every inch of hair from you body?

The Display case is for you!

Simply, it does what it says on the label – displaying your wears for fellow beach goers to admire.

Yes, we’ll admit that your tan might be a little stripey and, yes, your ability to hide any “limitations” is extremely challenging in this swimsuit, but if you’ve got it, we say ‘flaunt it’.

Display case wearers rave about the attention that their ‘case’ attracts while out and about during the summer;

“My Display Case is ‘full’ of achievements”

“The dollar bills fit right through my slots!”

“It’s also great for filing business case cards during a busy day at the pool”

8. The Sling shot

01 uniballFed up with those annoying tan lines from your other suits? Blessed with a small package? Want all eyes on you, and only you this summer.. The Slingshot is for you.

A feat of modern engineering, the Sling shot cups your external features and hooks over one leg to provide a modicum of support and a stylish place to rest your cellphone. Rotate the direction of your Slingshot on a daily basis to equalize your tan. Oh, and you might want to spend the day thinking about your grandma or Margaret Thatcher so you don’t get arrested for indecent exposure. There is, of course, only so much the Slingshot can cover.

NOTE: This swim suit is not appropriate for Lance Armstrong, Tom Green or anyone with one ball or possessing human dignity. CSC will not be held responsible for any car, bike or Rollerblade accidents as a result of your Slingshot appearance.

So there you have it guys, every option for every guy who’s ever wondered ‘what should I wear to the beach’. And no matter which way you go, you’re safe in the knowledge that you look better than this guy.

01 man swimsuit

Chub

muffin topAt the advanced age of 42, I’ve recently noticed an alarming trend.

I’m developing chub.

Sure, I’m not on the path to being airlifted out of my house and certainly I don’t need a forklift to get to the doctors yet.. but after viewing some photos from a recent social event I noticed the beginnings of ‘chub’ around all of my girlie bits.

(wah wah.. first world problems.. worlds smallest violin etc.. yes, I know).

One of the upsides of crippling anxiety is a naturally fast metabolism. Sure, I have had to quit several jobs that required me to manage people or work more than 60 hours a week, and yes, I’ve developed a very nice relationship with Klonapin over the last few years, but damn it, I’ve never had to worry too much about getting chubby.

Anxiety generally makes you not hungry, and worrying for 18 hours a day tends to burn calories faster than most spin classes. Add in a natural need for exercise (got to burn off that anxiety somehow), celiac disease (rendering all yummy deliciousness out of reach), and you’ve got a recipe for someone who’s been the same size since high school.

Sure I’ve wandered around the scale; having your jaw wired shut for 6 weeks and a liquid diet gave me Mike Jagger hips and cheekbones you could slice ham on. Being dumped the day I sold my house for a $40K loss, drove me into jeans a size bigger and my first experience of saddle bag thighs within a month. Luckily I discovered crossfit and FWB.. result.. back to normal size.

But as I approached 40 I was told by many friends that I’d find myself at ease with the world and find a ‘new confidence’ in myself, and that my metabolism was about to shut down.. so I should just accept that pudgy was going to be something to fight from the here on out.

Well at 42 I just had to up my Klonapin dose and I’m still questioning whether I offended a coworker with an email that corrected her grammar, so I’m not quite sure about life becoming so much easier and more laid back at 40, but the metabolism thing.. that is RIGHT on track.

I eat well. No one has ever called me skinny and, thanks to cycling, you could easily balance a pint on my ass should you so desire. But what I had reckoned with was a layer of overall chub that seemed to appear out of nowhere overnight.

First I wondered if I’d been sleep eating.. but while my doctor found it amusing, he assured me that my anti anxiety meds made you sleep harder and deeper. So no dice there.

Next I looked at my diet, wondering if some how they’d started slipping fat into my 0% fat Greek yogurt, or coating my veggie burgers with lard. It’s not like I suddenly started eating fries on a daily basis or chowing down on deep-fried Snickers on the weekend. A quick survey told me that nope, nothing had changed.

Finally I looked at my exercise. Have I somehow fell prey to the dreaded ‘slowing down’ of old(er) age without noticing? I sure felt like I was working out as hard as ever – god knows my legs are beaten up to shit from mountain biking lately, and I  out walk my dog on a daily basis. So no… no answers there.

In exasperation I hit the internet. Which told me I might be growing a large tumor in my lady parts, suffering from every type of cancer under the sun, my endocrine system was finally going kaput (after slowly failing steadily over the last 7 years), I’m accumulating alcohol weight or that it’s all part of Obama’s socialist agenda.

Maybe you do just get chubby as you get older? Yet another thing my mum was right about. (dammit)

But as a single woman, I intend on getting naked with semi-strangers at some point this year (one hopes), so  I’ve decided to embark upon my first proper, bona-fide “diet” aka, stepping away from the Ju-Jubes in the candy aisle and snacking on less fattening alternatives than avocados and handfuls of almonds.

In fact, I just bought an apple. Kale salad is not far behind.

But know this. The difference between a 42-year-old on a diet and a 20 something… as soon as I can see my knees again and my arms stop jiggling like Beyoncé’s ass, I’m over it.

I have no desire to ‘thinspirate’ myself into anything less than my normal clothes and life is honestly too short to eat apples. (Unless you like apples)

But for the next few weeks its apples, kale and chicken breast. Right after I finish this tostada.

 

 

 

The death of FWB

doorbellIf you don’t know what that means .. you probably shouldn’t read on (Mum, this means you).

My female single friends and I often end up in a similar discussion around the 2nd martini. The difficulty of locating and securing a reliable source of ‘FWBs’.  (‘Friends with Benefits’ for those over 50 or living under a rock). See while us singletons are mostly content to be single, live out rewarding and fun times in groups or alone, we all miss touch. We miss kissing. We miss sex. And no amount of group hikes or expensive monk fish wrapped in banana leaves is going to replace that. Which is where the beauty of a FWB is meant to work.

FWB. A friend, someone who you like and trust, who comes with some additional ‘benefits’. Now maybe your desired ‘benefits’ include caulking a sink or unscrewing the salsa jar, but mostly us single ladies prefer those who look good naked and who don’t want to sleep over. Oh, and all the good stuff that happens in between. Oh the good stuff. We miss and enjoy the good stuff.

But finding it? Jez. Its harder than finding a good guy to date. I’m 7 years into both projects and I’m not having much luck on either front. Am I too picky in finding a FWB? After all, most guy friends tell me I could find a FWB by walking into any bar, any night of the week. Riiiiight. Because its that’s easy fellas. FWB is actually harder than finding a guy to date. Because for women… we actually need the FWB to be a FRIEND who delivers BENEFITS.

Why?

In order for a woman to be safe , any FWB has to be a known entity. Unless you’re into risky situations and carry a weapon, heading off home with a complete stranger for the physicals is just nuts. We can’t do FWB unless we actually know the guy and can trust him.

Now trust can mean a whole portfolio of things. Is he likely to come over and beat the shit out of you (no joke, this does happen.. read the news)?; will he steal your wallet on the way out (happened to a friend)?; will he turn into a psycho stalker? (been there) or the alternative? (pretend like you don’t exist the moment he’s done). Has he been tested for STDs anytime lately? (I don’t need any ‘visitors’ thanks) And is he actually able to .. you know… deliver the benefits? In a state where weed is legal, the opportunities for FWBs took a dive starting January 1 as every potential single dude decided that if he didn’t have a date, his new date was a vaporizer and the latest Xbox game. Which means an ad hoc FWB might be late, high and unable to..*ahem*.. perform. Which is great on the violence front (stoners are too lazy to do much other than hit the joystick and open the Cheetos), but not such great news in the sack. This is where the ‘friends’ part of FWB comes in for women.

So to find a ‘friend’, you probably need to actually like the guy. Unless you’re a big fan of the ‘open the door and start screwing’ approach (hey, it can be fun), you’re going to be talking for at least some period. Which means he can’t be someone who pisses you off or who you find insanely tedious. Neither of which leads to fucking, to be sure. And vice versa. If every time you’re around him his left eye starts twitching, it’s probably not from desire.

Next up  – attraction. Now sure, most women do have a ‘guy friend’ tucked away in their back pockets. Someone they dated for a nanosecond but didn’t feel any chemistry for so they stayed ‘friends’. He’s still hoping it will turn into something one day; she’s hangs out with him when she doesn’t have a date for dinner or just wants to ‘hang’. So why isn’t this guy her FWB? After all, she trusts him and he’s a friend? One reason and one reason only… Attraction. Most women can’t FWB a guy they don’t want to fuck. No matter how much tequila they imbibe. No one wants to get the ‘benefits’ from someone they treat like their little brother. Ewww.

Which brings me to the final point.. he/it has to be good. Whats the point of a FWB if it’s not any good?  Now most guys can get ‘good’ out of anything. We all know that most men will fuck anything if they’re desperate enough (sailors have been known to fuck wet sand for gods sake), and still have a good outcome. Women.. ack.. it can be tricky. And if the FWB isn’t known for delivering.. well…. fooling around can be fun, but at some point you’re going to want to do the deed. And you… you starving for affection, horny lady.. well, you want someone with some skills. Which is where, if you trust him, you like him, and you find him attractive… it can all still fall apart. Not every guy is blessed with skills. So go ahead.. give him a whirl but if it’s not any good, retire that FWB stat. Invest in a new Rabbit and some erotic literature if your FWB isn’t any good. Nobody is that desperate.

Finding someone you like, trust, find attractive and you know can deliver in the sack. Gold dust my friend. Gold dust.

But what about guys looking for FWB? Surely they’re in a similar situation???

Actually guys (at least based on my male friends) are positively awash with FWB opportunities. That chick they dumped who still harbors a longing for ‘one last try’. That chick they know through work who’s always flicking her hair and flirting during happy hour. Or maybe that chick who he knows is mad crushing on him but who he’s not really into the idea of dating. Add in all the drunk chicks, the oversized chicks, those who’ve been single a few months too long, those with poor judgement and any single chick in a bar over 35..and FWBs are everywhere for guys.

Plus guys don’t need all of the criteria that women do. They don’t need to be ‘friends’, since most guys can nod through a boring conversation and it doesn’t affect their genitals one bit. He doesn’t need to trust her – she’s hardly going to beat him up or rape him now is she? She doesn’t need to be good in bed – getting off for guys seems a lot simpler than most women I know, and if she’s attractive… bonus… but not necessary as long as she’s under 200lbs and has a full set of teeth. FWB for men seems to be finding ‘ some chick who’s up for it’.  Not exactly ‘Friends with Benefits’ more just ‘Benefits’.

In fact, the only pain in the ass for guys is the woman who tries to actually be a ‘friend’. Many guys have been burned by a chick who tried to make a FWB situation something more, so any chick who sends a text post coitally or randomly appears anytime in the next 6 months..triggers the fear response in a dude. ‘Shit she’s stalking me’. Delete that phone number.

She’s trying to be cool and he’s wondering how long before she shows up on his door in a whipped cream bikini claiming her girlfriend privileges. .

So…FWB. It sounds perfect… but women can’t find them and dudes are terrified of them sticking around. For women it’s as tough as finding a unicorn; men.. it only works if she disappears as soon as its done. No ‘friends’ thankyou.

Frankly, its astonishing we ever hook up at all.

So I propose a new paradigm. The ONO. One Night Only. Its only one night. Its only for friends who know each other (no drunken hook ups with strangers); its only for people who like each other; find each other attractive and just.want.some.physicals…Once. No strings attached. No Facebooking, no texting. ‘ No ‘what if’s’ or ‘are we dating now?’. No need to get drunk to avoid feeling guilty. No ‘will he think I’m a slut?’ or ‘maybe this could be something more’. Safe sex and no boiled bunnies. Both parties show up, get lucky and leave. One Night Only. It’s what FWB should be.

I tell you…It’s gonna catch on.

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.

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.

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?

Who needs sleep?

SleepyGirlI used sleep like a wind up clockwork doll. Wind me up with breakfast and watch me go until those 10 minutes before bed when my spring would wind down and I’d stop, pass out and sleep for the next 8 hours.

It was a beautiful thing and I totally took it for granted. Every night, 8 hours for the first 35 hours of life. Falling asleep was a simple as getting into bed, opening my book, turning a few pages and then bam.. out like a light. Didn’t matter if I had been drinking, if it was 6pm or midnight, whether I’d just drank a cappuccino or eaten a curry. Bed, book, out.

I haven’t fallen asleep like that for over 7 years.

These days, sleep involves a wrestling match between me, my mattress, my pillows, my overwrought brain processing every mistake or error or worry that I’ve collected during the day, and my ever shrinking bladder. (isn’t aging awesome?)  Oh, and occasionally my dog deciding that something smells scary 3 floors down and I need to be protected by some erstwhile barking. (shoulda got a cat)

Frankly its a miracle I get any sleep at all.

I thought it was a phase bought on my divorce. After 5 years next to someone – even one who talked and shouting in his sleep, his absence was disquieting. I was used to falling asleep with our feet intertwined, no matter how distant our heads and hearts were at the other end of the bed.When he was gone.. my feet felt untethered. My head started whizzing and sleep became something I used to do.

I tried sleeping pills and therapy. A year later, I was pretty much done with both since neither was particularly effective. Ambien knocked me out within about 15 minutes, but I found myself awake every morning at 3am no matter when I took it. Lunesta worked better, but I kept dreaming about death night after night, crazy ways of dying that even Michael Bay hasn’t imaged yet.. waking up at 3am as usual. Except this flavor was covered in sweat and terrified. They don’t put that in the advert.

I tried melatonin, light therapy, green tea extract, cutting out caffeine after noon, staying up late, going to bed early. Yoga, meditation, cold room and warm room. Milk at bedtime, book and no book. Ear plugs, eye masks and white noise machines. Lavender on my pillow, in my bath, lavender everywhere until the dog refused to come into the bedroom.

No wonder, it smelled like a AARP convention (sans the pee)

3 am still feels the same no matter what prep you’ve done for it. Too early to get an ambitious jump on the day. Too late to take another pill or try to wait to fall asleep (I tried it and missed a plane, a half marathon and too many conference calls to count).

I went back to therapy wondering whether the loss of a warm body in the bed next to me was the cause, whether I still had “issues” with my divorce, maybe I wasn’t dealing with something else that I just wasn’t aware of?Maybe I’d been taken over by demon spirits.. (hey I was tired, and not a little desperate)

I adjusted my anxiety meds. I tried new ones. I stopped them all.

Still wide awake.

Apparently 7 years in to my insomnia, I’ve now forgotten how to go to sleep like a normal person. Falling asleep is as foreign to me as swinging across the monkey bars. Something that seemed really easy a long long time ago, but I can’t even hang on the first bar these days.

I’ve resigned myself to pills. After all, as parents know, there comes a point when you just need sleep, and cold turkeying it just resulted in me making major mistakes a work, starting to nap at my desk and once, alarmingly, nodding off while driving.

The new pills knock me out hard enough that a plane could crash into my apartment I doubt I’d wake up. Dangerous sure.. but at least I can get my 8 hours and I do wake up alert and ready to go. (note, this is not an invitation to rob my apartment – my dog is a fierce protector ..hahahahahahahaha)

The one unfortunate side effect. Once you’ve taken the pill, you have a 30 minute period during which you believe you’re fine, but you’re actually starting to be drugged and losing your coherence.

The result? Unintelligible scribbles of book outlines that make no sense. White board bullet points that feature a lot of exclamation points and no logic (boil the black cat?). Pens everywhere. Post it notes with no notes. Glasses set out with no water or contents.

What I’m actually doing in this semi drowsy, drugged up state I have no idea. I never remember and just have to follow the trail of things that look different and ponder what I might have been trying to do. Since no-one has complained I’m assuming it doesn’t involve emailing, calling or texting. I check my bank account and I’m not online shopping. I know I’m not driving or eating. But I am wandering. Writing things down. Taking notes. Starting to do things but then clearly changing my mind.

And to be honest I don’t really care. At least I’m getting some sleep, I don’t dream about being killed and I’ve not woken up at 3am for any reason in a very long time.

Who knows, maybe one day the ability to sleep will return. Girls gotta have dreams.

Boycott this!

boycottIn light of Kanye’s recent request ‘Everybody in New York City right now, don’t buy any Louis Vuitton until after January’ (impacted me and so many, not a jot), I’ve decided that ordering a highly specific boycott to a targeted demographic in response to not getting your desires met (the head of Louis Vuitton, Yves Carcelle, refused to meet with Yeezy the last time he was in Paris) is something we all need to consider. It might not be terribly effective, but hey, its a great way of showing someone you’re pissed.

Now I’m sure Mr. Carcelle is just quaking in his boots at the potential impact on sales as a result of this action. His company is only valued at $28.4B, so those 6 Kanye fans who can actually afford LV could threaten the 130 year old empire.

But a boycott isn’t just about saying no. A true boycott is defined as ‘withdrawal from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest’. And Kanye’s wants to punish Mr. Carcelle. Calling for this boycott is his  ultimate  ‘fuck you’ aimed at injuring, negatively impacting or undermining LV.  After all, I’m sure Mr. Carcelle wouldn’t meet with me either, and WTF up with that?

Is it effective? Probably not. Does it send a message? Ummmmm. But hey, it beats stamping your foot, snarling down the phone at the call center rep or leaving the store in a huff. So for the remainder of the year I’m taking a leaf from Kanye’s book and boycotting the shit out of the people or organizations’s who are pissing me off.

Quake suckers, quake in the face of the power of me and my readership. All 11 of them. 

1. Boycott Whole Foods in the Denver metro area indefinitely in response to their so called ‘Buy Local’ campaign. Sure WF, I’ll buy local.. right around when you do. Do you expect any sane person to pay $5.99 for a head of garlic grown 14 miles away when you’ve carefully stockpiled identical heads of garlic grown 1400 miles away in sunny Mexico for half the price? How about that organic carrot at three times the price? Hey Whole Foods.. don’t tell me what to do. You buy local. After all, I’m only buying three carrots this week and you’re buying a whole truck load. Who’s having the biggest impact here? Here’s a suggestion.. its not my 3 carrots.

2. Destroy any media pertaining to any Kardashian, ‘Real Housewife’ or anyone who’s notoriety is linked directly to a reality show. Immediately. All of it. Yes, that includes your DVR recordings. This boycott is non negotiable and if ignored will subject you, and the rest of the world to another 10 years of this ongoing onslaught of fake, talentless celebrity worship. You’re only making it worst for yourself. Every magazine, every 10 minutes of mind fuckery that is ‘Honey Boo Boo’ signals your own inanity, your lack of intelligence and your willingness to be fed a diet of sugary nothings to escape the banality that is your life. Is your life that worthless that you’re willing to spend it on millionaire dating shows and KIM KARDASHIAN?

(NOTE: This boycott excludes Top Chef, Ink Masters and Project Runway since they’re actually skilled at something. And when I last checked, making ‘getti’ sauce or shouting at your girlfriends when you’ve drunk too much isn’t a skill).

3. Every single person in Denver over the age of 40 please get off online dating sites and leave the house immediately. You’re not ‘slim’ or ‘above average’, your daily walk from parking lot to office does not count as ‘hiking’ and no matter how many times you click on her profile, she’s not responding.

Your chances of meeting someone online (who’s pictures were also taken back in 1998 and hasn’t hit the gym since the 80s) and falling in love is less likely than Edward Norton texting me for a booty call. I urge you to boycott Match, Chemistry, eHarmony and the rest now! They want you to spend your $38 a month and stay at home on a Friday night reviewing profiles and ‘winking’ at people waaaaaay out of your league. It keeps you single. Which keeps your $38 a month coming in. I urge you to turn off your subscription, say ‘screw’ it, put on your best plaid shirt and comfortably untrendy shoes and head out into the world. The world is where you actually meet people. And even better – its FREE!!! Unchain yourself from ‘fake’ online you and talk to some people whose salary and star sign aren’t etched into your brain. Lets stick it to the man who’s keeping us all sleeping in the middle of the mattress and watching Pay Per View on a Saturday night. No.More.Match.

4. And finally, to any company that sends me a catalog, I am refusing to buy anything from your store ever. I’ve never bought anything from you (The Company Store, LL Bean, Dogs and Co), I’ve no interest in any of your products (Empire Flooring, Andersen Windows, Pottery Barn), and I certainly can’t afford most of them (Tiffanys, Nieman Marcus, Stuart Weitzman). So why, oh why do you insist on sending me catalog after catalog in the hopes that one day I may, actually need a cement rock (West Elm), or a new pair of slacks (Boston Proper) or a kids party kit (Birthday Express)? I not have kids (Boden Kids, Pottery Barn Kids, Restoration Hardware Kids), I do not own a house (Design Toscano, 1 Day Blinds, Lamps Plus, Lumber Liquidators), and I certainly am not over 50, (AARP, Active Seniors, Hearing Help Express).  As a result of your excessive catalog postage (I’m talking to you Althea, Orvis, TitleNine), my actual mail gets ripped, shredded and oftentimes placed in another’s mailbox (maybe someone who isn’t actually considering a new wheelchair). No, I say no. I have enough bathroom reading and I’m already hiding from my web browser’s attempts to seduce me with crap I don’t want or need. Stay AWAY.

Steel Horse Riding – an anniversary and an ode

moto-guzzi-cafe-racerThis Thursday will be one year anniversary of my first ride on my own ‘steel horse’, my black and gold, 2010 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic. Its not a fancy bike by today’s standards – in fact its downright ‘manual’ in a world of computerized everything. (The thing doesn’t even have a petrol gauge). It doesn’t go very fast (with only 744 cc it barely makes 85 without some groaning at altitude) and with only 48 hp, I won’t be setting any land-speed records anytime..not even downhill with the wind at my back in a hurricane.

But she’s my baby.

I love my bike. I get a thrill just looking at her sitting in the garage. She’s 70’s styled, she’s as comfy as all get out and even when downtown traffic and parking dictate that I ride my -ever-so-practical- scooter, I’m sad to leave her waiting until next time.

She thrums like an older bike should – nothing Japanese or whiny about this baby – and just starting her up makes me heady. Where will we go today? Which new road do I want to explore? What do I want to see? Is it a roller day? A 100 mile plus adventure or just a heads down spin down the freeway so I can access the windy, pine scented twists of the front range? It really doesn’t matter where I end up – the place in my head is always the same. A sense of calm presence, contented peacefulness and all of those niggles that worm around my head have magically disappeared. I’m guaranteed to sleep like a baby.

Its hard to explain to someone who doesn’t ride what it is that compels you to ‘waste’ a few hours, a few days and several tanks of gas riding someplace for no real reason other than to ride. I know I never got it. The idea of driving somewhere – recreationally – for fun? That’s for Texans and people with Ferraris. But riding… its a whole other thing. And don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

No, its not about going fast. Certainly not for me. I’m a nervous nelly on a bike  (my instructor thought it was hilarious that I was even trying to learn, and peed his pants when I white knuckled my gear change into 3rd), and to be honest I hope that never changes. I have no desire to wheelie my way into a speeding ticket or instant death. I’m happy at 50, maybe 55. Anything over 70 and I’m grinding my teeth.

Its not about that ‘wind in your hair’ feeling that ‘Easy Rider’ portrayed. My helmet barely lets in oxygen, and my hair is plastered to my head throughout any ride. With all of the gear, its astonishing that you can move at all really – never mind rock a long haircut, some fringed waistcoats and flares. Clearly a movie. Today’s riders – well lets just say its certainly given me insight into why the S&M community embraces leather – this shit is binding.

Its certainly not about looking cool. In thermals, bulky leathers, a helmet that exponentially expands the size of my head to a Halloween pumpkin and shit kicking boots, I’m indiscernible from a dude at any speed. Add in my frequent ‘stalls in 2nd gear’ and ‘bike drops at the gas station’, I couldn’t be any less cool if I was wearing a Learner Sign on my back. I have more street cred in my PJs, and at least I don’t fall over quite as much.

Its not about turning 40 either. Sure its a ‘thing’ that people do crazy shit at mid life, but I’ve been doing crazy shit since I was 18, so I don’t think this is much different. I mean, I hitchhiked from Birmingham to Paris with no money when I was in college. In the middle of the night. By comparison, riding is one of the saner decisions I’ve made. If anything being older has given me the confidence and maturity to do more crazy shit but in a way safer way. (I don’t ride at night, I don’t ride and drink and I certainly don’t hitchhike anywhere anymore). Post 40, I’m less concerned about what people read into it, or what they infer from my actions. And if they want to see the tattoo’d, short haired jock woman getting off her bike as a ‘lesbo dyke’ or a ‘short dude’ (I’ve been called both at gas stations), so be it. (I’ve also been called ‘sweet cheeks’ and ‘hot ass’ while riding.. but hey, who’s counting?). But mid life crisis? Na.. I had mine back in my 30s when I got a divorce, cut off all my hair and decided to start doing what I wanted, not what was expected.

Riding my bike has been about doing something purely for the experience.  There is simply no other reason to ride a bike. Its not logical, its not practical and its certainly not a way to save money (though I’ve rationalized all of the above several times over, especially as I’m saving for new shocks).

But again and again I come back to the notion of my sitting in my dotage, clapped out, heavily lined and slightly demented (aka 2015) and having something exciting to remember. I know for sure I don’t want my memories to be about trips to Home Depot or shoes I once owned. Curtains I bought or baby showers I attended. No.. while all of these things are – in the right circumstances – the small things that make up a life, they’re not what I want to remember as I cruise towards my AARP membership. I’m done waiting for someone to come along and join me in my adventures, waiting for a partner to make it easier, less scary, more acceptable.. Life is too short to wait. And I’ve got a long list of stuff I want to experience before my brain wanders off into the never never.

I want to remember fear. And pride. Excitement. Shouting ‘wheeeeee’ inside my helmet while riding down a steep road or just the sound of my breath when I crest the Continental Divide. I need to know that I did stuff. That I can and will do stuff – no matter how old I am, or what people think. Even when its scary or lonely or without rationalization. I rage against being too comfortable in my life, (even as I layer up my  reinforced jeans with my silk thermals for a winter ride). Comfort, too much anyway, spells death of adventure. And life without adventure.. in whatever form, isn’t worth living.

Riding – by eliminating the noise, the cushioning and the distractions of today’s transportation – brings all of the small things right back to center stage. Which turns them into big things. The sight of a falcon following a rabbit over a field. The sight of two cyclists creeping up an 11,000ft mountain. Mule deer grazing on the foothills and yes, even the dead coyote on the side of the road that had a really bad day. The fisherman casting and recasting as they enjoy the last days of standing thigh deep in Rocky Mountain runoff. Things I’d never even notice, never mind ponder, as I pass through small towns and open spaces sit with me for miles.

And in a world where we walk and text, talk, Facebook and IM while trying to simultaneously navigate through the streets, spending a few hours noticing the small things, and the big things, isn’t a waste of time at all.

Here’s to riding the steel horse. My own black beauty.