No Sex in the City

Like many chicks my age, I powered through my 20s inspired by that New York fantasySEX-AND-THE-CITY-3-PLEASE-NO of cosmos, heels and relationships, Sex In the City. I never went so far as to call myself ‘a Miranda’ or quote lines from the show, I do credit Sarah Jessica Parker for introducing me to the beauty of Manolo Blahniks. Kim Cattrall agreed with me on matters of sex, and Cynthia Nixon made it ok for me to be a bit obsessed with work. Kristen Davis was everyone I ever hated from high school…but hey, no show is perfect.

But when a friend of mine mentioned she was in a sort of ‘Sex in the City’ dysfunctional relationship.. it got me thinking about my oh-so SNTC life as singleton in Denver Colorado.

Cut to…

Clear blue Colorado sky, musings out of the window and she poses the question ‘what’s up with men over 40?’. She then realizes that’s stupid question, and she’s got better things to think about, and goes to the dry cleaner.

Passing a shop window, she stops dead and squeals at the shoes in the window. ‘Meee likey’, pivoting into the store while pronouncing loudly ‘don’t let me buy anything’. Everyone pointedly ignores her. She leaves with yet another pair of sensible heeled black boots.

Its Saturday night and she’s standing in front of her closet wondering which outfit to wear that says ‘I’m available.. but not too available’ and ‘I’m sexy.. but not in a cougarish, desperate kind of way’. She spins around clutching her favorite sweat pant/ hoodie combination and wonders what’s new on Netflix.

She’s on a date and it seems to be going well. She tries to remember which bra she’s wearing and wonders what he looks like naked. The anticipation is incredible and she’s looking forward to some R-rated fun. He tells her he has dinner at 8 with friends. She never hears from him again.

The guy she’s still half in love with from 2 years ago appears in her email inbox. Her heart beats wildly. Does he want to start something up? Has he realized how shitty he was and wants to apologize? Am I really ready to go through all that again? God I miss him. She opens the email to see a link to a Bruce Springsteen interview and the immortal words ‘thought you’d like this’. He never emails again.

She gets a great opportunity to improve her finances, working for a world-renowned company in an incredibly glamorous role. She takes the job and its hard work. No one gives her shoes.

Sarah Jessica Parker and HBO… you owe me money bitches. Or at least a pity fuck.

How not to get a tattoo

catbuttFollow these simple rules and avoid scarring your body with some unintelligible, stupid or downright embarrassing ink forever!!!!

  1. Do not awake from a dream with an idea that having this THING inked on you will bring you insight and joy for the remainder of your days. This is why it is called a dream. It belongs in clouds and your subconscious.. not anywhere anyone can see it while you are naked.
  2. Do not get a tattoo if you think it will make you cool. Tattoos do not make you cool. No one with the words ‘Mum’ on their bicep ever looked cool. Except maybe Johnny Cash and his said ‘Mom’. And, well .. Johnny Cash.
  3. Do not get a tattoo if it has taken you more than a year or two to think about it. People buys houses, get married and pregnant in that time. You’re clearly not an ink person if you’d consider having a baby easier than deciding where to get your death’s head or Mark Twain quote.
  4. Do not get a tattoo because it seems like ‘fun’. Hobby’s are fun. Tattoos are not a hobby. Unless you want to be covered head to toe by the time you’re 25, then its more of a lifestyle.
  5. If the idea for your tattoo came from the following sources, please exit the shop: Pinterest, the wall of the tattoo shop, a server/waitress/stripper, your friends leg, a dream, your computer logo, a video game. Buy a Sharpie and go to town. You won’t regret it half as much.
  6. Do not choose your tattoo shop by it proximity to the bar. This is not a selection criteria. Cleanliness, prior work, reputation, Instagram/Yelp/other artists recommendations are good criteria. Your ability to duck out for another shot while waiting is not a criteria.
  7. ‘Walk in’ tattoo shops are a dying breed. There is a reason for this. Artists do not like to draw and ink 73 Broncos logos every game day. Artists like to draw, create and ink something they’re proud of. It does not occur – generally at midnight on a Saturday in 60 minute intervals. You may luck out on an undiscovered speedy Picasso but its unlikely. Appointments people. Unless you want a Broncos tattoo of course.
  8. If you must, absolutely have to, right now, you will die without it – get inked immediately, read some online reviews.  Check out portfolios online. When entering the shop, find the artists portfolios and look at prior work. If it looks ugly, messy, blurry, jacked or downright terrible.. leave. Artists books are the work they are ‘proud of‘. Yes, that rose which looks like a cats butt is ‘the best’ Joe can do.. he’s not saving his best work in some secret drawer.
  9. If when waiting for the tattoo you change your mind, tell them you are going to leave.  You do not HAVE to be inked. It is your choice. There are no handcuffs (unless your shop is also a dungeon or you are in prison). Offering to pay for your tattoo even without getting it will save you from much laughter when your ‘Trump for President’ hits the beach.
  10. Finally, when the artist presses the stencil on your body and removes it … look at it hard. Look in the mirror. Move your arms and legs. If there is anything about that stencil that you do not like, open your mouth. Too big? Too small? Popeye seems to have feet bigger than his head? Open your mouth. Don’t assume ‘it will look better once its tattooed’. NO. It will look exactly the same once tattooed. Only permanent.

So there you have it. How not to get tattooed. Next up.. ‘How to Cover Up That Tattoo You Really Regret When You Ignored Your Own Advice’

Skillz

napoleanI was talking to a friend (who I am kidding, it was my therapist), about things we like to do for fun, and the topic of learning new stuff come up. I LOVE LOVE LOVE learning new stuff. Anything which makes me more self-sufficient, more ‘handy’, “better”  or less scared of something makes me feel like I stand a better chance in the face of the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

Shooting, riding a motorcycle, rock climbing, swimming, boxing, snowboarding .. I’ve learned quite a few skills over the years. So when she asked me what sorts of things I wanted to learn, what classes I might want to take now that I’m situated in CA and slightly less overloaded, I think she expected the usual ‘pottery class’ or ‘wine appreciation’. Maybe a ‘surfing’ or ‘kayaking’ since I am outdoorsy. But when I actually thought about it I’m not sure that the skills I want to acquire are actually ones they offer classes on.

  1. ‘In Da Club’ Dancing. No, I don’t want to learn swing, zumba or hip hop. I just want to be able to get down in ‘da club’ without looking like my Mum. Being born British brings with it an awesome accent and horrific stiffness of the body. We literally don’t have right bones to do anything more than waving our arms around and jumping up and down. Apparently these days.. that’s not quite the thing. Not that I spend a lot of time in clubs , but I used to LOVE to dance, and its a skill that I’d like to have. You know. Just in case the zombies require it.
  2. Motorcycle maintenance in English. Yes I know classes abound on mechanical type things, but unfortunately they’re populated by teachers who use the proper words for things. What I need is someone who can refer to the ‘thingy’ and the ‘coily wire’, ‘the lever’ and ‘the spanner with the round hole’, without complicating it with actual facts about how the wheels go round.
  3. Flirting. Sorry but I’m crap at it. I’ve had 20 odd years of practice but even my ex husband told me I was terrible. Not only am I terrible at it (I’ve thrown someone across the dance-floor, and punched them in the face while “flirting”), I don’t know how to respond appropriately to someone doing it (if I even recognize it in the first place). Apparently I have no game. There has to be a class for this. Or maybe I just need to subscribe to Teen Magazine?
  4. Face to name recognition: How do people do that? I literally have no clue how to remember people’s names. I recognize their faces.. but names? Nothing. I know their dogs names, the car they drive and even their drink preference, but trying to get their attention at any point? I’m Bridget Jones yelling ‘um….OY‘. Which is slightly awkward in a business meeting. With the CEO. Whose name you’ve forgotten.
  5. Sitting down in a coffee shop. I can’t. I just can’t. How do people do it? I mean I know they do it. I see them. Gazing through the window, or scanning a screen. Maybe just stirring their latte and looking peaceful. How do people actually go to a coffee shop and sit there for like an hour? I’ve tried it twice. The first time I set a speed record for cappuccino drainage. The second, I lasted about 10 seconds. I just feel so naked. Lost. Alone. Sitting a coffee shop and drinking a cup of coffee signals to the world a kind of confidence and peace that I just don’t possess. Nope, I’m the one trying to drink 160F latte through a pinprick while walking.   Help me .. anyone?

Needless to say I told my friend (analyst) that I would sign up for a map reading class in REI. I guess I can learn how to escape from zombies without using GPS. Personally I think a class on tolerating a massage might be more useful.. but hey. It’s a skill.

 

 

Small Talk

small talk 2I spent my first 26 years in the UK, so I always thought I was pretty good at meeting new people. Easy entry points included the weather (past, present and future), the journey to the event (roads, Tube, parking) and of course, if desperate, hope that the Rugby or Big Brother is underway.  Sure, I was a bit clunky, but by time we reached the bottom of the glass or cup, I could breathe out and cruise along nicely.

Then I moved to the US.

Here small talk is an art. Something Americans seem to acquire at birth along with self confidence, perfect teeth and a love of crap beer. And therefore a complete and utter mystery to me. 24 hours in the US and I moved from ‘slightly awkward but warms up quick’, to a nervous, twitchy weirdo who needed to find the restroom every 30 seconds.

I tried. Oh boy I tried. I asked my friends for topics, questions, entry points and guidelines for small talk. I watched and listened. I even YouTubed it. I’ve feigned interest in all manner of idiocy (the price of diapers at Target vs. Costco, how the local sports team’s manager sucks) and asked every banal question I can think of (how do you know so and so, home location, career, family trees, whether it will be a good ski season, parking restrictions, the price of milk), but still… crickets.

I don’t think  its all on me though. I also think that the people I meet bear some of the blame. Once they’ve gotten through their small talk standards, ‘are you married?’ ‘ how old are your kids?’ ‘where go to school?’ ‘what do you do?’ seem to result in a vacuum in almost every conversation. Once people have asked me ‘do you like America?’ and established that without a husband, family or a familiar background they have nothing in common with me,  I can guarantee my ‘new friend’ will need to find a drink/his or her partner/ the Tardis within 37 seconds.

But since I am an adult and small talk is a requirement for survival (and on a date ESSENTIAL), I’ve developed a few strategies to avoid being left staring at my shoes while trying climb inside my own intestines:

Men

  •  Ask about ‘the team’. I’ve never watched an American football game but asking ’bout the local team seems to have a 99% hit rate with men. I’ve found a lot of smiling, head shaking and ‘for sure’ comments can get us through the first few minutes of awkwardness. If asked about a specific game or player, I always bounce the question back immediately. Men love sharing their knowledge of the intricacies of a sport. And they assume that their opinion is valued.. so I value it. A lot. Just don’t be too enthusiastic or you might wind up roped into a viewing party. Which is basically small talk x 1000 with a specialist vocabulary.
  • Find his hobby or ‘used to be his hobby before the kids/house’. Ask about it. Express awe. You might luck out and find an overlap (men seem to manage to maintain hobbies after kids)… and who knows.. you could wind up with a activity buddy. Don’t be too enthusiastic though or you might wind up with angry and suspicious woman stalking you.
  • Weekend plans. Grown ups don’t just wake up on Saturday and wonder ‘what should I do with my day’, they have plans. Things already on the calendar. Ask about them. Just don’t admit that your weekend plans typically consist of ‘walk dog’ and then winging it.  That doesn’t seem to go down well.

Women

  • Ask about the family. 99.99% of women have families and love to share so it’s a surefire winner. Sure, hearing about how stressed she is about whether Jimmy is going to get into a specific daycare/kindergarten/school isn’t as scintillating to you as to her, but hey.. stress is stress. Joy is joy. Her husband/ partner is probably sick to death of the conversation, but women need to process… so be there for her. No woman has ever complained about someone expressing interest in her worries. EVER.
  • Complement her hair/makeup/shoes. I’m a sucker for this one so I KNOW it works. And if I luck out and its shoes.. the branches are endless. Foot pain. What to wear on a night out after 40. How you’re considering opting out of heels. Remember that women don’t like to make each other uncomfortable, so likely she’s trying as much as you are to find a connection point. And everyone wears shoes… the rest.. well you can wing it.

If all else fails…

  • Play the foreigner card. Turn up the accent. Laugh at your homeland. Applaud their version of your accent. Tell stories of your incompetence in the US. Your bad dates. Mention a blog…. hang on… is this just a very extended bout of small talk???????

…..Um. Do you happen to know where the bathroom is?  I really do need to get a refill. Actually I think I need to go feed the meter. I’ll be right back.

Indulging in some fantasy

tarotAs part of my ‘Furiously Happy’ campaign (Google it), I recently found myself in the local fantasist’s office. Aka the tarot card reader down the street.

Important Note: I do not, nor have ever, believed in fate, fairies, predictions or any type of woo woo. But I do enjoy a laugh.

Sitting in front of a waif of about 12, once I stopped dry heaving at the price, she solemnly told me to pick 33 cards from her tarot deck.

’10 for the past, 10 for the present, 10 for ‘the future’ and 3 for ‘lord knows what I sorta tuned out’.

Now I understood how the 45 minutes was going to be spent. Card selection.

Cut to the chase.. first the past (cue woooooo music)

  • Apparently I have a divorce in my past (no ring and I don’t look like roadkill, so not a stretch out of the gate).
  • I have a sad aura from this divorce (does anyone go through divorce happy? Hmm.. maybe Donald Trumps former wives?)
  • My ex “didn’t get me” (actually he got me more than most)
  • I am sad (hey lady, 8 years have passed, I’m sorta over it?)

Which was kind of it. Nothing else has apparently happened to me in 43 years. Moving to the US, traveling, achieving stuff, meeting people, some crazy medical stuff, a lot of online dating, adventure??). Nope. Apparently my entire past is a divorce.

Girl needs to rethink her approach. At least mention 1 other thing?

Next the present (more woo music).

  • There is no love in my life (geez lady, not even my dog??)
  • There won’t be love in my life for 2 more years (really? I’m mean REALLY???? You have got to be fucking kidding me. I’m not believing that on behalf of being human)
  • I am on a 7 year cycle (she didn’t mention periods or bikes so I’m guessing she means something else). She said I have 2 more years to go.. so maybe it was something about menopause??
  • My present is all about my work. (No shit lady. We’re in Silicon Valley chickadee. No-one is paying $3K in rent for the culture. They don’t even have good Mexican food here)
  • I need to figure out my work (my boss would agree)
  • I need to be happy (but apparently it doesn’t involve orgasms based on the earlier prediction)
  • I have work to do (no kidding, does anyone NOT have work to do? even my dog has shit to do)
  • It isn’t about the money (try telling my bank)

At this point I’m considering slapping her for bringing me down.  Just on the basis of return visits, shouldn’t she be throwing in some ‘you will meet a tall dark stranger”  or “you have much wealth in your friendships”??? Isn’t this meant to be fun? This just sounds like a very depressed picture of the saddest person in the world. Pass the steak knives.

Moving onto the future (she must have seen my murderous looks)

  • I don’t belong in America (Fuck off lady, I’m a citizen, you xenophobe).
  • I don’t fit in America (seriously.. does she expect to get PAID???)
  • I will meet a man in Australia who is my soul mate (??????)

Sorry but I have to pause here.

  1. Never been to Australia
  2. Not on my top 10 list of places I need to go in the next 10 years
  3. That’s it? One guy in the whole world for me and he’s in Australia???

The douche bag can get on a flight cos I’m not going anywhere.

  • Oh and did I mention, he’s married with two kids right now??? (how does this chick stay in business???)
  • But I will meet him in August? (doh?)

Hang on. So I’ve got no love in my life for the next 2 years but I’m meeting my soul mate in August?? How does that work?  I meet him and ignore him for a year? It takes a year for me to destroy his marriage? He meets me and I’m so amazing that he divorces his wife and then asks me out in 2017 and we move to Australia?

Oh fuck NO. (to any Aussie readers, I love your humor, your complete dearth of political correctness and in general, every one of you that I’ve met is a delight. But I don’t break up marriages and I’m not moving to Australia so sorry).

  • I will give birth to a son. He will be a miracle baby.

At this point I do start to smile.

Not as she might think, at my joy of a baby in my future, but at the sheer implausibility of that fact.

  • I’m 43 and I’m not getting with “Mr.SoulMate” until I’m 45. I think by 45 my uterus will resemble Utah. i.e. nothing grows there.
  • I’m unable to have kids. Literally. A fact.
  • I’m terrified and slightly horrified by babies (they’re basically shitting machines that can break if you drop them. Terrifying)

 

Well I did this for fun and finally she made me smile so I headed home.

Just to see, I pulled out a deck of cards and pulled three cards for my past, present and future.

  • Past: Queen of Clubs. I was really into hitting the nightclub scene right up to my 30s. I ruled the dance-floor. I was the Queen of the Clubs. TOTALLY TRUE!!! AMAZEBALLS!!!
  • Present: Six of Diamonds: I have 6 diamonds in my life. CRAYCRAY!! My old wedding ring had 2, my necklace has 3 and I have a diamond tipped drill bit!!! HOLY COW!
  • Future: The Joker. I will stop taking everything so seriously and remember how to have fun, especially when confronted by a 12 year fairy queen with a hatred for Brits.

You know, I think there might be something in this card reading thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing the newest iCrap accessories

iwatchCUT_2497756bFrom the company that bought you the phone that can give you directions, the watch that can program your tv and glasses that frankly we’re still laughing at, we’re proud to announce  the very latest in technology driven accessories for the time crunched yuppie. Our goal is to provide you with the best ergonomic, automatically obsolete crap you don’t need, but soon won’t be able to live without and we’re delighted with these latest additions to our range of overpriced must haves, for the person who already has more shit than they need.

1. The iKnow

No longer will you need to guess whether you can get another day out of those dress pants, subtly try to sniff your own armpits or spray your feet with perfume in the hope of disguising that 90 degree foot funk. Introducing ‘iKnow’, the world first aroma detector. Powered by insanely complicated technology that you don’t need to understand, the iKnow provides you with the security and comfort of confirmation that ‘no.. you don’t smell bad’.  The iKnow comes in black, white and nude to coordinate with your outfit, and can be worn discreetly around your wrist or neck. The iKnow buzzes gently when your aroma slips into ‘slight pong’ territory, with vibration frequency increasing as your personal stench expands past ‘bit whiffy’ into the ‘who died?’ arena. Should your hygiene slip into ‘what-the-fuck’ territory, the iKnow will automatically ignite all clothing and douse your flaming corpse in Calvin Klein One. Only $5,999.99.

2. The iShower

Since hygiene does play an important role in the ongoing health of our species, here at iCrap, we’ve found ways to really improve your productivity while going about that tedious task of washing yourself. The iShower, (available in both High Powered American and Dribbly European versions), not only washes, soaps, rinses and waxes you without any manual  intervention, its host of features ensures that ‘your day doesn’t delay while you’re waiting for the suds to disperse. Equipped with voice activated  internet capability, the iShower can fulfill all of the functions previously found on your iPhone, iTV and iMac (rendering them defunct), but through our new relationship with Whole Foods, can deliver breakfast via your nearest shopping drone. NOTE: iCrap cannot be held responsible for any burning or scarring that may occur as a result of drone inaccuracy. Version 1.1.3 will correct for any accidental toilet deliveries. Starts at $199,999.99 (dependent on model)

3. The iShoe

Here at iCrap, we take your time very seriously. After all, we were the company that enabled you to watch TV, text and check email at the same time. But we know you need more time back in your day. Take that time you could be spending checking Facebook instead of walking down the stairs? How about that long walk back to your car when you could be swiping hotties on Tinder? Well welcome those precious minutes back into your day world.. introducing the iShoe. Simply slide into a pair of iShoes (sold separately), and you’ll no longer have to endure the tedium of moving your feet, looking up from your media to avoid hitting people or watching for steps and potholes. Through its use of small jets implanted in their soles, the iShoe propels you about your day, automatically correcting direction, trajectory and height when facing obstacles, uneven pavement, steps or people in your path. Don’t worry about slipping off that curb or bumping into someone while you’re busy posting to Instagram, just slip on, stand up and let your iShoes take care of getting you where you need to go without interrupting your precious Amazon time. Comes in black, tan, navy and red (as worn by Bono).

Here at iCrap, we’re passionate about designing stuff you don’t need that takes up more of your day that you ever imagined and which you now can’t live without. With the iKnow, iShower and iShoe, we hope we’ve brought a sense of anxiety, frustration and laziness back into your empty vapid lives.  You’re welcome.

 

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.

 

Signs you’re succeeding at life (even if it doesn’t feel like it)

01 success-babyI read this blog post the other day after a weekend spent feeling like failure. Examining your financial affairs will do that to a person, and I needed cheering up. Google delivered ‘Signs that you’re succeeding at life’.  According to the list I’m actually ‘succeeding’ across the board, but the list was dreadfully earnest so I thought I’d take a crack at one myself. Something a little less earnest, a little more realistic, something we can all aspire to.

“Signs you’re succeeding at life, even if it doesn’t feel like it”

1. You have a box of tissues in your house.

A box of tissues signals to visitors, friends and family that you have elevated the process of nose blowing to the next level. No wad of toilet paper, piece of kitchen towel or shower drain for you! Owning a box of tissues signals a level of maturity, a level of concern for the sensitivity of the nose tissue itself, and an acknowledgement that the sweating the small stuff can be amended with a quick wipe from a peach colored Kleenex. NOTE: if you disguise your tissue box with a knitted, sewn or felted cover you’ve overreached and probably need a new hobby. It’s just a fucking cardboard box of snot rags after all.

2. You no longer believe that those jeans from 1992 are worth hanging on to

Sure, you were 2 sizes smaller back then and yes, if you did happen to catch Ebola you might, just might be able to get them on, but a little known fact is that hips continue to grow well into your 40s so those bad boys are never getting anywhere near closed. Even if your innards are leaking out your butt. And you’ve accepted that. Plus does Pepe even exist any more? and girl, you wouldn’t be seen dead with a boot cut any ways.

3. You only hit the snooze button once

I know, I know, not everyone is a morning person and we all wake up differently. But a person who only hits the snooze button once is demonstrating that ‘yes’ they will be up in 6-8 minutes, and no matter how boring that conference call is at 8am, goddamn it, they’re not going to be late and yes, they’ll even have showered. Not for them 30 minutes of extra sleep metered out in 6-8 minute increments. No Sir, they have willpower. They’re succeeding at life.

 4. You have enough room to leave things off your resume

Remember when you tried to stretch and pad your resume to make it onto a second page? Citing your interest and hobbies as ‘legitimate’ employer ‘need to know’ information? How about the bogus ‘cert’ you added ( ‘typing speed’ anyone?) in lue of business school or anything to put under ‘Other Achievements’. These days you’re deleting years  and previous roles all over the place as your wealth of experience (and years), mean you no longer need to cite your time at the Cheesecake Factory as evidence of ‘customer service focus’ or your temp job as ‘a flexible, ‘can do’ attitude. In fact, trying to get it onto 2 pages is an exercise in ruthless editing and that includes summarising 2 years in one role as ‘Project management’ which mostly involved emailing your friends and checking out the cute new guy in Marketing.

5.  A house move no longer means bribing friends to help during happy hour the night before

Now one can be successful at life by celebrating the bonds of friendship during team activities, but moving is not one of them. As an adult, you’ve recognized that asking people you like to give up their Saturday and carry your sofa across town is testing the limits of anyone’s patience. Unless you’re committed to a minimalist buddhist lifestyle or your move involves walking across the street, you know to hire a truck, suck up the cost and get your own damn self moved. You know to invite friends over after you’ve moved to celebrate with drinks you’ve provided.

6. You remember to bring a reusable bag to the grocery store

You’re a sensitive soul. You care about the planet. You recycle your milk cartons and shit. But you know you’re succeeding at life when you remember to bring that $0.99 reusable bag you bought last time, with you on your grocery run. Bringing that bag says ‘I care’ and ‘I’m responsible’ signally to all those plastic and paper squanderers your obvious ‘winning-ness’ at life in general. Goddamn you’re cool. That bag is totally saving the plant yo..

 7. You know what to order in the bar, and it’s not Coors Light

Remember your first few trips to a bar? The nervous approach, the frantic search for an idea of what would make you seem a) older b) sophisticated and c) fuck you up. These days you chuckle at someone who orders Southern Comfort and coke, the poor sod who waves a $10 note for anything ‘Lite’ or the chick who simpers for ‘a nice glass of white wine’ from across the sticky bar. You know that a bar calls for a specific order, and you have your favorites. You can order a few cocktails without uttering the phrase ‘furry nipple’, your beer actually has calories in it and yes, you’ve sunk some tequila or vodka just because its Tuesday. Your days of ‘anything’ are long gone. You have tastes and damn it, what comes in your glass is an expression of who you are. Even if it has a cherry in it.

8. You order a salad, not because you should, because it sounds good

Remember when salad was what you ordered because you didn’t want your date to think you were a Neanderthal. Or because your mothers reminder to ‘eat your vegetables’ hadn’t quite dissipated from your head.. or maybe because your pants were feeling just a tad bit tight? You know you’re succeeding at life when you actually choose a salad because its something you want. No, not for you the greasy, juicy cheeseburger will chilli fries that will satiate all desire for the next 12 hours.. no, you like the sound of the spinach and walnuts and that goat cheese stuff. Wow, it even comes with raspberry balsamic dressing? Winning my friend. Winning.

 9. You said no to that second date even though you totally could have

One clear sign of success is being able to express your desires and evaluate whether they’re likely to be met by the pale, wan, bespectacled loser who’s mumbling across the table at you right now. Sure, you might not have been laid in 8 months and you’ve not had a signficant other since Bush was in office but you say ‘no’ to that second date because, hey… you have standards.  So as you’re driving home wondering whether you’ll ever remember what it feels like to go on vacation with a person of the opposite sex ever again, remember that you’re succeeding at life. (if not at dating). Go you!

10. You totally can fit in that spot.

You can see those people in life who aren’t quite succeeding at life as they approach a parallel parking challenge. They slow down. They evaluate. They chew their lip and maybe try to drive forward into the spot. They can’t remember where the front of their car ends and despite turning the steering around like a 45, they’re still 4 ft from the curb. They decide to suck it up and head to the pay parking where spots are the size of duplexes and no skill is required. But not you my friend. You see every and any gap as a potential parking spot. You deftly evaluate and challenge the laws of physics as you pilot your 3500lb beast into a space no larger than your old dorm room bed.  Your wheels are the requisite 2 inches parallel to the curbside and wouldn’t you know it, you’re right outside the restaurant. You sir, madam.. are succeeding at life.

We bow before you.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

I’m not looking honest

men-yoga1I, like many other women, like yoga. I’ve been attending classes since 2002 when I moved to Boulder and they mandated it as part of our rental agreement (or so I assumed). I love yoga – its very calming and yet energetic, it can kick your ass and your abs without you noticing and you get really comfortable with  screaming pain discomfort on occasion.

(you try balancing on your forearms in a handstand.. there’s some “discomfort”)

However, yoga seems to be a very gender based activity. In 12 years, I’ve seen a man in a class, on average, once a month. They come in two types; hairy old man and douchebag.

Hairy old man (HOM) is typically in his 50-70s, has grey stringy hair, age spots covering 100% of his body and he’s generally the dude at the back of the class (maximum orbital access to ass). These guys laugh a lot, they can be leery on occasion, but tends to make friends with all the 50 something ladies at the back so he’s pretty harmless. The HOM can’t touch his toes yet, despite attending class for 15 years, but he doesn’t take any of it too seriously, and likes to rock his old saggy gym shorts and a baggy t shirt for every class.

Douchebag (D) is typically between 28 and 48, has a shaved head (or dreads) and goatee , has the requisite Hindu tattoos up and down his arms, legs and back and loves to take off his shirt during class. This guy is always a brunette, probably a vegan and has no compunction about wearing clam diggers and a wife beater to class. He’s usually on his way from, or off to, India/ Tibet/Cambodia/ Vietnam and  seems like the male equivalent of the manic pixie dream girl. Douchebags love doing inversions, handstands or anything where they demonstrate their shoulder strength.

There are no other men at yoga.

(Just sayin’ dudes)

Except. Except on very very rare occasions there are. Whether a girlfriend bribed them to attend, they were told to do yoga as part of injury rehab or they’re just trying new things, on occasion a new dude shows up in class.

The ladies up to this point have been fairly tuned out to our surroundings. We ignore the douchebag talking about the fabulous new brand of seitan he’s found. Ignoring the HOM laughing about his grandchildren. We’re just thankful to not be sitting in front of our computers or in a car, or in front of the tv. We’re on our mats and waiting for class to start. Most of us are gorping off into space, completely oblivious to everyone and everything. In fact, thats why we’re there.

Then you can almost hear the ears prick up as we sense something different, a strange dynamic has entered the room….but before a single one of us can turn around to see what it is, class starts and we’re all instructed to close our eyes.

Which signals the start of a 90 minute class where 20 women are all trying to simultaneously check out a new male in the class while focusing on our inner selves and holding extremely steady poses.

‘Bending at the waist into triangle’… the girl in front of me, tries to pivot her torso, so her head faces towards the ‘mystery man’.

‘Moving into crow pose’.. the chick to my left crouches into the pose, then topples over as she tries to catch a glimpse.

‘Extending into full dancer’.. I stretch my arms backwards to catch hold of my foot which is approximately level with my head, and casually look towards the stranger…as I slowly fall sideways into another chick.

Hmm.. can’t see any tattoos. Doesn’t seem to have shaved head or dreadlocks. Isn’t that old. Is just wearing regular gym attire… Hmmm… do we actually have… no.. it couldn’t be.. a straight normal guy in class!!!???

Poor things. They must feel the stares. The assessment. For some, the delight in some new eye candy. For others, a source of future obsession. But for now, he’s what every single woman in the class wants him to be.

To that chick with the matching Lulumon pants and top? He’s a consultant, single, no kids and extremely wealthy. Probably taking up yoga to keep his stress under control. Definitely dateworthy and probably could be lured by perky butt if he comes to class often enough.

To the woman who’s well into her 50s but immaculately Botoxed into her 40s’, he’s a well managed 40 something, post divorce, loves fine dining and is looking for friends with benefits with no strings attached.

For the slightly chubby chick in her twenties, he’s a 30 something guy who’s been out in the sun too much and loves everything she does. He’s a vegan, drives a Prius and works for a solar panel company.

And to the instructor, he’s a source of amusement as the women all around her swivel their heads, check out his right hand and his ass while trying to maintain some composure. Yes, they’re all emptying their minds.. sure…

Funny really, how those guys never come back to class. I wonder why?

 

The alternate ‘It Gets Better’ project

It-Gets-Better-LogoAnyone who knows me from a hole in the wall knows that I love Dan Savage. The smart mouthed advice columnist who is responsible for introducing the world to the term ‘Santorum’, ‘GGG’ and ‘monogomish’, Dan and his hoooos-band Terry were also responsible for the remarkable YouTube campaign ‘It Gets Better’.

The couple produced a single video in response to bullying of teens (LGBT in particular), promising that no matter how crappy things are now, it does ‘get better’ as you get older. If you’ve never checked out the actual first video, I highly recommend it (along with the 50,000 other videos on the site) and the overall project was incredibly inspiring to not only LGBT teens, but anyone who felt ‘different’ or was bullied at school. I only wish it had been around when I was a kid.

But… I’m no longer a teen and I’m no longer bullied, but I feel we need a few more ‘it gets better’ projects to help those who feel awkward, different or just having a plain old, ‘life is sucking right now’ period. And I know you’re out there grown ups… I know that we all need an ‘it gets better’ now and again. So here are some of my proposals – Dan – should you want to help out some lesser known ‘minorities’ who are suffering in silence;

1. That bad hair cut

We know the current trend of pixies got you excited and you just decided to go for it, but don’t worry. It will get better. It will grow out. In the meantime, try some blond or red highlights and always remember to wear lipsticks so people don’t call you ‘sonny’ in line at Target.

2. The hole your career slid into

Things have been looking pretty grim of late I know. You were right. You’re boss really doesn’t like you. (Sorry). But it will get better. You’ll find another ally somewhere else in the organization or you’ll land an awesome project where you get to shine for a little while. Or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be laid off and get to start afresh somewhere where everyone doesn’t know that you slept with Dave from sales. Plus their healthcare plan can’t be any worse!!!

3. Thursday night TV

I know. I hate The Voice too. In fact all singing shows should be sold to Japan and immediately replaced with tap dancing, cooking or dog training shows. Anything except someone else murdering Maria Carey songs from 2003. But don’t worry. It will get better. Parks and Rec will be back in January and hey, maybe by then they’ll have something else to put before and after it that doesn’t make you want to stick a fork in your eye. Maybe it won’t even feature married overweight guys with hot wives?!!!!

4. Those Burpees

Sure right now you’re lying on the floor, coughing your guts up and wondering whether you have the strength in your arms to push up, but one day it will get better. One day, you will be able to jump from a standing position into a full push up and then bounce right back to standing without losing control of your bladder, your lungs or your vision. One day, you will knock those suckers out without even thinking about it. One day, you won’t struggle around on the floor like a dying worm, and you will not want to die… one day. I’ve not yet met anyone who’s reached this place, but I’ve heard a rumor that someone’s girlfriend did them easily once.. so I’m holding out hope that it gets better. I mean, it has to … doesn’t it?

5. Dating

You’ve online dated, you’ve casually hooked up, you’ve proactively searched and you’ve even tried joining those ‘activity groups’ in the hope that you might find a suitable mate who doesn’t annoy the shit out of you after 20 minutes. You’ve considered marrying your dog, and you’re most significant relationship this year is with Showtime.But it does get better. Sure, that goober your sharing a drink with right now isn’t qualified to clean your bathroom but you will meet a nice guy/girl one day, even if you have to clean a Brazilian rainforest of frogs to find them. Plus another martini and even this potential stalker is going to seem a lot more attractive.

6. Those $250 skinny jeans

You were so thin when you bought them and yes, you did look ahmazballs that one time you wore them, but we know the pain you go through in order to even attempt a zip up at the moment. It will get better. You will wear those jeans again and that money won’t be a leering pile of denim that your friend/partner/spouse uses in every argument about money for the next 3 years.  You’ll lose that muffin top, you’ll remember that nothing looks as good as skinny feels or you’ll learn not to give a shit and make like everyone else by wearing a super baggy sweater that comes down to your thighs. Or you can wait another 3 years by which time everyone will be back rocking the boot cut or grab some Taco Bell and you’ll be in them by the weekend.

7. Your bank account

We totally agree that you needed that thing that you just bought on line that you really couldn’t afford, but it will get better. When it arrives and you’ve hidden it from your spouse/ self for a little while, you’ll remember why you really needed/wanted it and man, its going to make you feel soooo good. Especially when you put it to its intended use and I promise, people will literally fall in love with you, now that you have that thing. You’ll be smarter, sexier, hotter, faster and damn, you’ll probably get a pay raise as a result. So hey,don’t feel bad. Its going to get a lot better real soon.

Another rich girl won’t apologize for being rich

the rich are differentAfter yet another one of my friends was stigmatized after totally rocking that Mulberry sample sale last week, I knew I had to stand up, (in my new ‘nude’ Loubatins’), and join in her to fight this alarming trend of ‘everyone not liking rich people’.

Its not my fault that Daddy is a plastic surgeon and gave in to my every whim to compensate for his glaring lack of involvement in my childhood. I mean, he can spend his money however he wants, and by spending it on me, it’s actually very charitable. It helps two people feel better – him and me. And if he insists that I buy Balenciaga not Banana, who am I to fight him? Why make two people unhappy? Plus I hear Banana is a Republic and I’m not sure if he’d be happy if I supported extremist groups. He was really peeved when I went to a Tea Party meeting (I was totally excited for some petite fours and the latest Hamptons’s gossip). How was I to know it would be filled with frightful shouty people?

(And I didn’t see a cucumber sandwich anywhere. People really need to learn a little more about appropriate catering.)

And its not like I’m that rich. My friend Bethany had a chauffeur growing up and my first car wasn’t even German (I went with a Volvo just like Edward (squee!)).  I don’t know why I should pretend to be poor by driving one of those Japanese cars or flying economy. I mean poor people are always complaining that planes are too cramped. I’m actually being helpful by flying first class or jumping on Daddy’s jet. More room for everybody. I know, I’m totally a philanthropist. Giving makes me feel so good. Maybe those people who sneer at me when I’m loading up my Dean and Deluca bags into the Volvo should do some giving.. it might cheer them up some. They do always seem very frowny.

But just because I’m rich doesn’t mean that I can’t relate to poor people. I went into Nine West once (Kanye’s designs weren’t quite up my street) and my horse Crispin was totally second hand (we practically stole him from the Seinfelds). The place that Daddy helped me buy after college doesn’t even have a pool. And it wasn’t like he gave me the house.. I paid for the furnishings with money from Grandmother. I know what it feels like to have to make tough decisions – I totally could have summered in the Maldives if I hadn’t had to buy curtains for the living room.

People like to say that rich people live in a bubble and surround themselves only with other rich people, but that’s totally not true. My friend Cristal, her father is in oil, which is terribly working class and Jacqueline’s mother is practically a seamstress at Chanel. I used to talk to the maid all the time when I was growing up (she was super helpful at finding things), and Naomi over at Bergdorfs is pretty much a besty (we’ve known each other since Trinity) – especially now that her Dad made her an SVP. The working class people I know are lovely. I totally understand that their life is a little different than mine – but hey, we can all agree on Sunday brunch and bloodys at Calliope, right?

I think  it would be wrong for me to pretend to be poor just to make other people feel more comfortable. Why should I pretend to be someone beneath me in order to escape the bitterness of people who made poor choices?  I mean luck can change, and maybe if those people who think my lifestyle is a ‘slap in the face’ made better decisions, they’d be able to join me at the next Mulberry sale.

I mean, the bags are just a steal. What else could you buy with 3K?

People I’ve taken agin’

thumbs downIn Ireland, there is a commonly used phrase ‘ I’ve take agin’ that I think the US needs to adopt. Lord knows we all do it, but we just don’t talk about it. Maybe its because no-one has co-opting this phrase. Yet.

You might be asking.. what on earth is ‘taken agin’?

In British it’s defined as follows; “to take against someone is to begin to dislike someone, often without having a good reason.” In Ireland, whether its due to all that Guinness or just the accent, it gets shortened to ‘take agin’ (ag-in).  Used in a sentence; ‘I’ve taken agin that Mavis Prewett’ means you just don’t like Mavis, though you don’t have a specified reason why. Maybe she gave you stinkeye at the Post office once..? Or maybe her hair just annoys you. Either way, you’ve taken agin’ her and that’s that.

Hey, we’re British. We’re known for being small minded and judgmental. And lately I’ve been adding to my list of those I’ve taken agin’.

1. My dermatologist.

After assuring me that the new freckle/mole on my chest wasn’t cancer, I took agin’ my dermatologist when she looked up from my chest to my face and started frowning. ‘Have you considered a laser treatment for all those age spots?’ Well I hadn’t. But now apparently I need to. I asked what that entailed, trying to clarify what was so horrific that I was straining her Botoxed forehead (trying to frown), she also mentioned that my crows feet were quite deep and preventative maintenance was something I needed to start thinking about at ‘your age’. While I’m thrilled I don’t have cancer, I can’t help but hold her judgement of my crone’s face agin’ her. She will not be getting a Christmas card from me, no matter how wizened and crinkly my face becomes.

2. Simon Cowell

I don’t watch American Idol, in fact I don’t watch anything he’s ever been a part of but I took agin’ Simon Cowell the moment I heard he uses black toilet paper. Irrational yes, but justifiable? Perfectly. Who uses black toilet paper? And why? Who even spends that much time thinking about toilet paper that they’d actively seek out and buy a specialty type. I looked into it and the company who makes it bills itself as ‘Fashionable, Sensual, Sophisticated, Fun, and Unique’. Just the words I want associated with fecal matter. Sorry Simon.. but I’m agin’ you and your fancy pants loo roll.

3. Oprah.

*gasp*. I know, its worse than nailing an upside down cross on the wall or denouncing Obama to take agin Oprah but I can’t help it. Once she gifted several pairs of Louboutin’s to Gwyneth Paltrow on her show in 2002 (a girl who clearly needs more free shit), I lost all faith in the almighty O and her ‘common touch’. Louboutin’s are ~$700 a pair. Common touch? What planet are you on woman? That’s a months rent in middle America. And don’t tell me that my Louboutin’s will manifest if I buy that ‘Secret’ book garbage. The world doesn’t need any more people wishing on vision boards in the hope of finding love or money or happiness. That’s for rich people. Sorry Oprah, but you’re on my agin’ list until I spy you lugging a gallon of milk from the grocery store in yoga pants and flip flops like the rest of us.

4. Vegans

I know and like many vegetarians and even a few vegans.. but I’ ve had to take agin’vegans who are intent on converting me. I hold no grudge against anyone’s dietary whims (though Mr Man eating a MacDonalds on the plane last week got a serious case of stink eye from me) , but quite a few vegans seem to insist on trying – with all the zeal of Mormons. I’m already highly restricted by my celiac disease and blood clotting disorder, so Ms. Vegan, I can’t help but take agin’ you  when you want me to stop eating whole other food groups on the basis of ‘healthfulness’. ‘Healthfulness’ isn’t even a real word. And if I cut out all of the animal products in my diet, in addition to the stuff I can’t already eat because it will, literally, kill me, I’m left with 2 stalks of celery and an eggplant. Sorry vegans, but I’ve taken agin’ your dietary quirkiness and your need to share it with me. I’ll be over here with my cheeseburger, quietly glowering at you.

5. The girl who snaps her gum

You know who you are. The one busy sighing as you stand in line because waiting at the checkout is just.so.lame. Really. To quell your boredom you’ve decided to treat me and the other 5 people in line to the musical sounds of your saliva squishing, lip smacking and gum snapping as you chomp on your wad of gum. I wish you no ill in reality, Ms.Gum Snapper but you should know that I have taken agin you and will be considering psychic strangulation if you don’t close your mouth in the next 3 seconds.

***

So the next time you’re waiting in line, driving your car, standing in a bar or casually watching tv and you are hit by a sense of intense irritation for no specific reason.. know that you’ve probably just taken agin’ someone. Congratulations! You’ve just joined the legions of us mentally disliking someone for no good reason. The list is long and completely irrational.. but don’t worry, we all have them. And if you don’t.. well I might just take agin’ you too.

Cross Fit: The Retarded Workout

confusedCrossfit brings you to some of the highest highs  or lowest lows you’ll ever experience (ok, generalization, I’ve never climbed Everest or had a kid so I can’t judge them against WODs Angie or Fran).. but you get the point. Its intense.

And while I’ve talked about the pain, the highs and the companionship of Crossfit, I’ve not delved into the joy pit that is the retarded WOD. The one you don’t write down or high five with a smile. Nope, the retarded WOD has you hating yourself, hating Crossfit, slumping off to your car feeling like a loser.

You wonder why you bother .. in fact…why hasn’t all of this work made anything easier? And why can’t you do anything?

I define the retarded WOD, not as the one I limp through or wobble to completion, the one where I get dizzy due to lack of oxygen or see stars when I stand up.. No its worse than feeling like you’re losing a lung… its the feeling that you didn’t even come close. And its not because you didn’t try.. it’s because you literally couldn’t do the moves to get you to the point of sucking wind. For some reason as soon as the timer went off, your brain decided to take a nap and you just spent 20 minutes falling over your feet, miscounting jumps or pulls and for me, forgetting how to do the most simplest of activities. At one point I may have started drooling with confusion.

Minute 1: I’m standing at the bar trying to remember how to get my knees to elbows (I’ve done it twenty times at least, but suddenly my brain turns into Homer Simpson). I settle for swinging on the bars like a 3 year old.

Minute 2: Despite the fact that I jammed out 4 double unders during warm up, I can’t remember how to skip rope. At all. And wind up with wire wrapped around my shoes that I have to sit down to untangle. When I stand up, I can’t remember what I’m meant to be doing or how many. I know its double unders but I can’t remember how many or how I did them. They’re as illusive as a Yeti.. despite the fact that I did them 5 minutes ago.

Minute 3: I know its a front squat. I know there are 15. The action is in the name… squatting.. with something in front of you.. but me,  I’m scratching my head and wondering ‘How do I bend my knees and hold the bar?’ I’m not kidding. It happened.

Minute 4: I’m back at the bars but I can’t remember what I’m meant to do. I achieve a feet to bar and am so pleased I immediately fall off.  I repeat this 4 times before I get fed up and return to my jump rope. For…. 15-20-30 double unders? How do I do that again?

I don’t know what happens but at least once a month my brain doesn’t come along to Crossfit and frankly, its astonishing that I don’t expire from just forgetting how to breathe.

I’ve forgotten how to count (I got stuck at 8 burpees for at least 4 sets of burpees once), I’ve forgotten what comes next (check out the chick wandering around the mat squinting at the wall trying to read without her glasses) and one time, I skipped an entire set of something because I saw someone doing something else. Apparently I was totally in ‘monkey see, monkey do’ mode by then which led to me dropping my bar after 2 reps and sprinting out the door .. much to the amusement of my fellow WOD-ers who were busy squatting. Doh.

During the retarded WOD, I forget that I have ab muscles (apparently they fell off), which hand is left and right, and even when to stop rowing or turn around on the run. I am literally an idiot. I really should wear a sign.

On a good note I’ve not killed anyone with a flying kettlebell and I’m sure I’ve given a few people a chuckle if only from the vacant expression on my face when I’m reminded to ‘harden up my core’. That’s near my glutes right? Note: when my tongue is sticking out I’m trying really really hard to remember what I’m meant to be doing. Its my only training tool.

But next time you find yourself air-headed and confused in a WOD just remember that no matter what you do, or don’t do, you’ll still be offered a high five and a smile at the end. And whether its because you’re having a ‘senior moment’ or just temporarily having a time out from thinking, someone usually tells you when to stop.

Driving home..thats your problem.

6 Signs that it might be spring

In Colorado spring sort of creeps up on you, shouts ‘BOO’ and then runs away laughing.  Then repeats this process about 16 times by which time you’re leaving the house in a ski jacket and shorts and half of your dog is molting (and other half can’t decide). One day its 34 and your hair freezes as you get into your car, the next day its 71 and the sweat is creeping down your back as you sit in the office in a wool suit. One spring I went into the mall in a tank top and shorts, came out 45 minutes later to a full on blizzard. So naturally, it can be be hard to know when Spring is actually here. I’ve stopped looking outside the window for my guidance.. Here’s my suggestions for deciding if its actually spring.

1. You’re woken by birds. And its fucking annoying. I’m an insanely light sleeper and I relish the cold winter nights because a) people don’t linger outside my window chatting loudly at 3am and b) the birds have buggered off somewhere warmer. I love nature.  I think all creatures are lovely and fascinating and yes, I do take photos of hawks and eagles at every opportunity.  But please, for the love of god, could you take it somewhere else at 4am? Even chickens aren’t up at that time so what do you have to do Mr. Sparrow, that is so damn important?

2. Your skin is so pale that you no longer need a nightlight to read. I spend most of the summer outdoors and with 300 days of sunshine in Colorado, its hard to be pale. I actually wore shorts from April until November last year and hung onto that tan until Christmas at least. But you know that its spring when you’re lying naked next to a highly desirable hotty and all you can think is ‘wow, I can actually see the blood moving in your veins right now…’ Sure it saves on expensive MRI’s and I won’t be losing him in the dark, but no-one looks good the color of skim milk.

3.  The local department store already has a sale on bikini’s, tanks and flip flops. Never mind that its 41 degrees outside and your vacation is 3 months away, now is the perfect time to stand in a fluorescent lit booth of hell to view your cellulitic ass in a 3 way mirror. And yes, everything you ate from October – February is now hanging from your thighs. And yes, it is going to take you until September to get rid of it.

4. You could hump a table leg. Actually maybe that’s what all those birds are singing about? Spring resurrects certain parts that have been hiding in thermals all winter long and suddenly the opposite sex looks more interesting. Sunny days brings out men in running shorts, cyclists and the joy that is a fit man in a tight tee shirt. Women of course still don’t look great since we’re trying to resurrect our pale thighs and gnarly toenails, but cleavage looks good in any color so rock that shit girlfriend. 

5. An new episode of ‘CSI’ is no longer a ‘good plan’ for the evening.  With the longer nights and the increased sunlight, you suddenly find yourself looking forward to the end of the day not so that you can collapse on the sofa in a nest of blankets and fleece socks, but in order to go outside and do stuff. Your Seasonable Affective Disorder has dissipated and suddenly you’re bouncing off the walls at 6pm instead of drinking your dinner in your PJs. Sneakers are pulled out from the bottom of the closet, the bike chain is lubed up and your dog finally gets that long walk he’s been waiting for since October. You find yourself standing in the garden looking at dirt, eying the grill or even *gasp* making plans to go out of the house. In the evening.

6. The growing ‘baguette’ of flesh around your middle. Winter is the time of bulky sweaters, cord pants, layers upon layers and yes, the delightful opportunity to eat and drink with no regard for the impending impact. One day you’re tucking into your lunchtime tuna melt with a side of mayo and a bag of chips, the next, you have to unbutton your jeans in order to drive your car. You know its spring when you’re wondering if you overcooked your jeans in the dryer and your back jiggles when you walk. You find yourself clicking ads which read ‘I lost 20 lbs with this one simple trick’ and order yourself a juicer. Ah, spring, the reemergence of hunger. 

So there you have it. Yes you can look for crocus, budding daffodils and warmer days but I find a jiggling arm, a blue tinged leg and the desire to stalk my mailman a much more reliable indicator that winter is finally over. Plus Amazon has a great deal on juicers right now…

The joy of laughter

Last night I sat on my sofa and laughed my ass off. I mean howled so hard that at one point, my dog jumped up and licked my face because he thought I was crying. I could barely catch my breath I was laughing so hard, and it was a stretch to not pee my pants. Sure it was a sit com (Parks and Rec) and it probably wasn’t that funny, but something got into my head and I couldn’t stop myself. I actually replayed pieces several times in order to keep laughing.. at which point the dog tucked his head under his bed and decided to leave me to it. I think he figured I wasn’t going to die and he doesn’t find Ron Swanson as funny as I do.

Here’s the thing. I laugh a lot. I mean I actively seek it out. I have to. I’d lose my mind if I couldn’t find something to laugh at on a daily basis.

My job (which I love), isn’t particularly humorous and working from home means I often go 8-24 hrs without a social conversation. Sure I’m on the phone all day, but ‘how’s it going?’ hardly counts as a conversation when its interrupted by 72 beeps as the other participants join the call. I like my work mates but since I’ve only met a few of them in person, its not like you’re going to spend 20 minutes chatting about the latest episode of The Office or New Girl as you fill your coffee mug.  We’re all too busy for something as frivolous as ‘conversation’. My friend Hope cracks me up – we both have the same dirty sense of humor and sense of the ridiculous – and my sister has never failed to kill me with her reminiscences of our father’s camping skills or my mothers 70’s dress sense. Our phone calls usually end with me grinning like The Joker.

But phone calls are precious time and as we all get older, time is a limited commodity, especially for those with kids and families. So when everyone else is busy, I dive into my expansive collection of comedy podcasts.

If you’ve been trapped under a rock in Utah, podcasts are generally free, weekly (or daily), and there are literally hundreds to chose from. No matter your taste, predilection or mood, there is something available to make you smile. I’ve been listening and downloading for a couple of years and comedy has kept me company through the laying of a patio, painting a house, 6 trips across Montana and 3 years of lawn mowing. During this time I’ve maintained my contact with the mother-ship (and my accent) via BBC Radio 4 Friday Night comedy, regularly reminisce about my college years in Birmingham with Frank Skinner, and join the ranks of Greg Proops fans to worship the Smartest Man in the World every Monday. Jay Mohr is both brilliant and funny, Aisha Tyler swears like a sailor and while Adam Carrolla is lewd, sexist and a misogynistic, he’s hysterical on pretty much every topic. 

Podcasts don’t actually need to be ‘about’ anything, and many of them are just one or two people chatting, which is where the joy comes in. Its not standup jokes… its really just eavesdropping on banter. And maybe you think its sad that I have to eavesdrop on strangers rather than find humor in real life, but to be honest, how many of your friends make you laugh your ass off? And as I get older, I really appreciate laughing more. Because insurance, dog food and bills just aren’t that funny.

I listen to my podcasts as I walk my dog, run around the park or just clear my head. An unfortunate result is that my neighbors think I’m a lunatic and I’ve regularly had people cross the road as I walk along, howling to myself.
And now, as I prepare myself to clean up the poop from my dogs late night diarrhea attack.. well I think I need a laugh.