Friday, February 17, 2012

What I Have Learned in 38+ Years

1.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - most people suck until they prove themselves otherwise.
2.  There is nothing that can't be cured with a bottle of wine and a pint of Ben and Jerry's.
3.  Panty hose should not be worn with open-toed shoes - EVER.
4.  Toddlers are the spawn of Satan.
5.  If stuck on a desert island, the only food one needs to survive is peanut butter. 
6.  Whoever invented peanut M&Ms should be taken out and shot.  I cannot have that shit in my house.  I can, and I have, eaten an entire pound bag in one sitting.
7.  Eat what you want, exercise like hell.
8.  Yoga is the best reset button.
9.  The two best smells on earth - fresh coffee and movie theater popcorn. 
10.  Hair bands do make real music.
11.  There is no need for a man to take an hour in the bathroom every morning reading a newspaper and doing his business.  Learn from a woman - get in, get out, nobody gets hurt.
12.  Email is the best thing ever invented and the worst thing ever invented.
13.  Only Heidi Klum should wear skinny jeans.
14.  They say that the memory of being pregnant fades over time.  Let me assure you, it does not.
15.  Men who get pedicures are creepy.
16.  People who don't take their kids to daycare and say that they are working from home are BIG FAT LIARS. 
17.  I can fry an egg and boil pasta noodles - what else do I need to know about cooking?
18.  Most women do not appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night for sex.  Rolling over in our sleep does not equal an invitation.
19.  Not even a supermodel looks good in a polo shirt. 
20.  Sushi is the best food EVER.  Red velvet cupcakes run a strong second.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why Hair Bands Still RULE

As many of you know, I am a child of the 80s.  As such, I was (and still am) a huge fan of hair bands.  My apologies to the students in my spin class who are continuously bombarded by the music of Poison, Skid Row, and Motley Crue.  It's not gonna change.  It's what gets me pumped up at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
Now my husband, on the other hand, has a very different set of tastes.  He is into Electronic music (you know, the kind that goes on, and on, and on, and on...and then a new song starts...but  not really) and something he calls "Euro Trance".  I am just stating the facts and will not judge, but I will say that it's not something you will EVER hear out of my car stereo speakers.   Ever.

So occasionally (and usually in jest) he and I have a 'discussion' about the type of music that is appropriate for our two year old daughter to hear.  He plays Mozart and something called Above and Beyond; I play Metallica and Megadeth.  His argument that my type of music is harmful and will 'make her stupid' is ridiculous, and here is why:

1.  Talent.  Argue with me if you will, but, no one can deny that Tommy Lee is an amazing musician.  Forget the piercings and tattoos (I dig it, but it's not for everyone) - that guy can play the hell out some drums.  Most hair band members are great guitar and bass players; some even play the piano (think Motley Crue "Home Sweet Home").  On the other hand, today's music is most often generated by a computer.  Now I will concede that it does require talent to be able to formulate this type of music; however, it does not take the place of raw, God-given, inherent musical abilities.  The guys I am talking about have REAL talent, and how they look on the surface is frankly irrelevant.  They can play, and they can sing.  Well, most of them can.

2.  Nostalgia.  Okay, who doesn't get a little misty-eyed when they think about dancing with their junior high sweetheart to "Never Say Goodbye"? (If you don't know who sings this song, please stop reading b/c you are too young to appreciate my musings).  I hear at least one "yes!" every time I play "You Give Love a Bad Name" in one of my spin classes.  It really can take you back to some memorable (and often) good times in life.  Sometimes hearing just one good hair band song can really make my day.  Seriously.

3.  Setting an Example - both good and bad.  So, believe it or not, Brett Michaels had another life before "Rock of Love" (thanks LA for the quote).  In fact, hair band members make most excellent reality show hosts and guests.  I tuned in every week to watch the antics of an aging Vince Neil (again, if you don't know who this is, stop reading) on MTV's Celebrity Real World.  Most of these guys look ridiculous now as they try to relive their youthful days of unlimited booze, drugs, and easy women.  At the same time, they are an example of how that kind of lifestyle can really catch up with you in the end.  I mean, who wouldn't agree with me that Ozzy is a walking billboard for why you should never do drugs?  Seeing David Lee Roth with fried, bleach blonde hair and a really bad face lift is quite sad to me.  But again, it shows the youth of today that while living in the now is not a bad thing, they should still think of the future repercussions of their actions.  Now Jon Bon Jovi on the other hand with his short, mussed up hair and tight jeans, AWESOME - so it can go the other way as some of these rock icons get better with age.   

So don't be hating on those of us who proudly blast Hair Nation from our XM radios and are in the process of teaching our daughters the words to "Talk Dirty to Me".  She will thank me for it, guaranteed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Perfect Parent...NOT

I am not a conventional parent.  I probably never will be.  It started even before Lucy was born.  I requested a C-Section - yes, voluntarily.  We named her after the infamous Peanuts character who snatched away the football from the ever trusting Charlie Brown.  After she was born, I chose not to breastfeed.  And so far, so good. 

Most folks who know me would agree that I am a perfectionist.  Okay, I'm downright anal and extrememly competitive.  I have to be the best.  At everything.  But for some reason, I do not strive to be the perfect parent.  Why?  Because 1.  No such animal exists and 2.  I would be setting myself up for certain failure should I attempt to attain such a lofty (and ridiculous) goal. 

I don't play by the parent rulebook, if there is such a thing.  Now that being said, what I am about to describe is working for me.  I am by no way encouraging other parents out there to behave as I do.  You will find your own path, and your child will guide you. 

1.  Food.  Lucy eats pretty much whatever she wants.  We give in to most of her food requests.  This often means a dinner of chicken nuggets, cheerios, and ice cream.  Now the good news is that her daycare teachers have opened her eyes to the beauty of fruits and vegetables, so it is not unheard of for her to ask for broccoli and oranges.  The main thing that we try and control is how much of a certain 'treat' she consumes.  I wholeheartedly believe that children should eat a well balanced diet and exercise.  However, I do not believe in such over-the-top dietary restrictions that a child never gets to enjoy the sweeter things in life.  If they don't get them now, I promise you they will find a way to get them when they are older. 

2.  Bedtime.   Doesn't exist at our house.  At least not in the sense of "Lucy is in bed every night by 7:30".  We have more of a range of time during which she goes to sleep.  While she does not usually request going 'night night', the telltale signs of crankiness and eye rubbing are always present when Lucy gets tired.  It's just that these behaviors don't always happen at exactly the same time every evening.  So rather than force her to go down when she does not appear ready, we let her demeanor dictate bedtime to a certain extent.  Rarely does she fight us.  Now - I hope I don't eat my words soon since she is approaching the Terrible Twos...

3.  Music.  Admittedly, there is something a little disturbing about watching your child bob her head to "The Humpty Dance" while riding in the backseat of the car.  But it has happened.  A lot.  In fact it started way back when Lucy was in mommy's oven.  She was continuously bombarded with music from the Hair Nation station on XM.  Motley Crue and Metallica were the source of many lullabys.  And I refuse to change the station even now that she is alert and impressionable.  Frankly, I think musical exposure of any kind is a great thing.  Much to my chagrin, her father's musical tastes are the polar opposite of mine, so she'll be getting her Eurotrance and Classical fix from him.  Ewwww.   Now I am not completely insane in this area of development -- if you listen closely, you might hear me singing along with Lucy during the ABC song or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  If you're lucky.

4.  TV.  Along the same lines as music, I am not a big believer in restricting what a child watches on TV.  I will not be cancelling my cable or flipping out if Lucy hears a curse word (she hears them anyway) during a show.  As a child, my Friday night lineup was The Incredible Hulk (AWESOME by the way), Dallas, and Falcon Crest - drama/violence followed by two nighttime soaps.  And I turned out relatively okay.  I would prefer that Lucy watch TV under my supervision and ask questions if need be. 

So despite my perfectionistic inclinations in other areas of life, I would actually say that I am a pretty laid back mommy. And again, so far, so good. Lucy is normal. She is healthy. She is happy. Some have even said that she is bright. Well, DUH.   

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 New Year's Resolutions

I am not a big fan of New Year's resolutions.  They should be called intentions (like in yoga), which is different from a goal or a promise.  I think that the reason most people fail at keeping resolutions is that their hearts are just not in it.  It's what you're 'supposed' to do at the end of every year.  I am the first to admit annoyance at the throngs of people crowding my gym on January 1st with the #1 resolution of all time - to get into shape.  Don't get me wrong, I truly hope that they stick with it.   Sadly, few do.

Each year on December 31st I make my list of resolutions, and often I tape them up on my bathroom mirror.  As such, they are staring me in the face multiple times a day.  How long does that paper stay intact?  Not as long as I would hope, unfortunately.  So this year I am putting my New Year's INTENTIONS out there for the world to see.  I hope this will make me more accountable to myself, especially when others who read my blog ask "hey, how's that ----- going?"

It's quite an extensive list this year, b/c let's face it, I can be one messed up gal. 

1.  "No phone,  mommy!  No phone!".  It's time to unattach myself to this God-blessed iPhone. Seriously.  There is no need for me to be checking email, texts, and Facebook every 30 seconds.  I came to this realization recently when my 22 month old daughter tried to pry the phone out of my hand as I was halfheartedly helping her with a puzzle.  Information is at our fingertips these days, literally.  We don't have to run out to buy a newspaper or even to check out a book at the library.  How many of us make phone calls instead of sending a quick text? Is it THAT satisfying to click all those icons?  For me, well yes it is.  But not at the expense of precious time with my family.

2.  "I can't believe I ate that".  Ugh.  This is a BIG one for me.  I am sure that the majority of folks including myself have daily mental discussions about food - what I ate too much of, why I ate it, how I'll do better tomorrow.  It is difficult for me to admit this in writing, but, these thoughts fill my brain on an hourly basis.  I want to learn to enjoy my food more.  To stop eating when I am full.  To not hoover down a box of pop tarts when my work day goes into the toilet.  To know that it's okay to eat a red velvet cupcake instead of 50 grapes that just aren't doing the trick when I want something sweet.  I need to use my daughter as a model.  She eats what she wants, when she is hungry, and stops when she is full.  She asks for sweets daily (dad's fault) - sometimes she gets them, sometimes she doesn't.  And she is okay with it.  Food issues are a big negative in my life, and honestly I will probably continue to struggle long after 2012 has begun.  Now that being said...

3.  Stop being a garbage can.  In other words, start making smarter, cleaner eating choices.  It is not always good to be consuming vast amounts of fat, sugar and (yes) booze.  All things in moderation.To put it simply, I am going to make an effort to eat more protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies.  I know from past experience that when I really stick to a healthier eating lifestyle, I feel better.  When I feel better, I am a nicer person.  And everyone benefits from that LOL. 

4.  Be nicer to my husband.  Um yeah, I can be a real bitch sometimes.  And poor Mark often finds himself in my crosshairs.  Most of the time it's not even him that has pushed my buttons.  He is such a good guy - an amazing father and adoring husband who deserves to get the best of me, not the shoddy leftovers at the end of a hard day.  I used to be a very touchy, affectionate person, and I am not sure when that behavior stopped (or why).  But I need to make an effort every day to let him know how much he is loved and appreciated. 

5.  LEARN TO LET GO of issues & situations beyond my control.  I have been working on this one for the past couple of years.  Yoga has helped.  But I need to take the lessons off of my mat, out of the studio, and into the real world.  The time has come for me to practice more patience - with my family, co-workers, and most of all, myself.  I am a self-confessed perfectionist who expects the moon from everyone b/c I always do my best to deliver it myself.  I want to be the best mom, the best yogi, the fastest spinner, the hardest worker...and it makes me and everyone around me nuts at times.

It all comes back to priorities, and more importantly, what I will be remembered for at the end of my life.  Will it be that I could do a headstand?  Get into a size 0 pair of designer jeans?  God I hope not (although at times those trivial things seems vastly important).  When it all comes down to it, how will I leave my mark on the world?  I'm asking you...because I still have no idea.  I heard it in an Aerosmith song - "life's a journey, not a destination".  So in 2012, I hope to start leaving permanent footprints as I go.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Clean-ER Eating, Weeks 2 and 3 - Um, Well....

I was rolling along pretty nicely with this new clean-er eating plan.  I even took a 3 day work trip and managed to avoid most pitfalls (I limited my alcohol consumption, I had only one dessert the entire time).  But then something happened.  Some trigger that sent me face planting into a box of frosted cherry pop tarts.  And a bag of Reese's Cups.  And a box of cookies.  I could go on.  Seriously, I could go on.

It dawned on me (yes, I have a college degree, two actually) that I am an emotional eater.  I always had this tidbit of information in the back of my mind, but it really came full circle this week.  I was mad, I wanted to eat.  I was happy, I wanted to eat.  I was tired, I wanted to eat.  And I did.  And unfortunately I did not reach for an apple or some greek yogurt (still hate it, by the way, no matter how much Splenda I add).  My mom was an emotional eater.  I remember finding her up at 3 a.m. during my parent's divorce knee deep in a carton of Breyer's ice cream.  Unfortunately, she has struggled with her weight ever since.  And I have watched that struggle with the fear that history will repeat itself.

The really interesting thing here is that I FEEL like shit when I eat like shit.  The good sugary chocolate stuff did not make me feel any better, physically or emotionally.  In fact, I have been a slug all week.  I have been struggling through my morning workouts.  And frankly, I have been a BITCH to live with b/c deep down, I know I need to do better.  For myself. 

Now I could (and have) blamed my husband for bringing home that box of Krispy Kremes or that bag of mint MnMs (my absolute fave at Christmas).  And in all honesty, I do think it's kind of a shithead thing to do to your wife who is trying to clean up her eating habits.  BUT - at the end of the day, I am responsible for my own actions.  While he may have put the goodies at eye level for me, he did not force them down my throat.  I did that to myself. 

So it is with renewed resolve that I vow to start my clean-er eating habits again.  I have a grocery list in hand and plan to head out to Whole Foods to stock my pantry anew.   Now I must confess that I am attending a party tonight with an "all things peppermint" theme (you're jealous, I can tell), so this new plan will start...well, tomorrow.    I mean really.  How can I NOT indulge in a chocolate peppermint martini?  'Tis the season.  Hell yeah it is.  So wish me luck. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mommy's Advice to the L-Bomb

Parenting is the hardest job that anyone can do.  Period.  It is also the most rewarding.  I mean, how can you love someone so much the first time you lay eyes on her?  What is even more amazing is that your love continues to grow.  And grow.  And grow. 

I am an only child of divorced parents.  Surprisingly, I turned out okay.  I mean I definitely have my issues.   My mom was super duper overprotective.  She lived in constant fear that something bad would happen to me, and as a result, I was not allowed to do much as a kid.  Which means that when I got the freedom in college to be on my own, I did everything she told me not to do.  And I did those things very well and very often.  My father was very loving but not overly expressive.  We did reconcile our tumultulous relationship before he died, and I will always be grateful for those last few months with him.  My only regret is that he did not live long enough to meet his beautiful granddaughter.  Sadly, he missed her birth by only one month.

So as I sit here thinking about how influential our parents are (can be good, can be bad), I often wonder what Lucy will say about me in 30ish years.  I hope she will say to others that I was an awesome mom - that I listened to her, that I supported her, that I comforted her, and that I would lay down my life for her.  And I would. 

I am sure that she and I will do battle many times in her life.  And I will always be right.  Well, most of the time.  And when I look back, I hope that she will have learned a few things from dear old mom.

1.  Never let anyone steal your power.  Be strong in who you are.  It is important to know your own mind, stand by your opinions, and fight for what you believe in.  You can't always make friends.  But you almost always will earn respect.  So always go down swinging.

2.  Be passionate about everything that you do.  Choose things in life that you love to do.  And really do them.  This is how you leave your mark on the world.  It is better to be known as someone who lived life than someone who watched it pass by.  Taking risks with a watchful eye is a good thing. 

3.  Be loyal.  Whether you choose to surround yourself with lots of friends or just a few close ones, be undyingly loyal to each and every one.  Open up to them with abandon, but keep their confidences.  Defend them if needed, and stand by them even if you do not always agree with their decisions.  Have one friend whose house you can run to at 10:00 at night when you find out that you are unexpectedly pregnant.  Yes, there is a story there.

4.  Have empathy.  Always put yourself in the other person's shoes before making judgments.  And it is okay to make judgments.  Everybody does.  Just make sure you have really thought about how a situation is affecting someone else, not just you.  It will be a challenge for you as an only child to look through the eyes of others.  Mommy has trouble with this one.  I am still a work in progress.

Lucy - I want you to experience an amazing life and to become an amazing woman.  You are the one thing in my life of which I am most proud.  And the best is yet to come.  As I always say, mommy thinks you hung the moon, kid.

Respect My Turf, Dammit!

I love exercise.  I mean LOVE.  Those who know me would say that I am addicted to it.  I probably am.  Big friggin deal.  So it stands to reason that one of my favorite places in the world to go is to a fitness facility, whether that be a gym, a yoga studio, or even a hotel exercise room.  These places are like sanctuaries to me, 'mother ships' if you will.

I have been working out since college (I am a little embarrased to admit I did pretty much ZERO physical activity up until then, but oh well), so I have had years and years to observe the various behaviors that occur at gyms.  And given that I am a person who 1.  loves to people watch and 2.  gets easily annoyed, well, you can see where this is going. 

3.  Leave the makeup at home, honey.   I want to poke my eyeballs out everytime I see someone (and let's face it, we're talking females here, sorry to call y'all out) who comes to the gym with a full face of makeup, the PERFECT ponytail, and a clearly never been used, $300 ensemble from Lululemon.  If you are coming to the gym straight from work, then I will cut you some slack here.  I sometimes take yoga in the evenings and often leave on my makeup as I am coming from the office.  But still.  There is no primping involved before I step onto my mat.  Period. 

I get up at 5 a.m. every weekday (7 a.m. on the weekends, sucks I know) to exercise.  There is simply no other time in the day for me to do it.  Most of my evenings are filled with chasing around a 'spirited' toddler who is currently looking for any and all excuses to avoid going to bed.  As a result, I am not in my Sunday best when I arrive at the gym.  I have literally rolled out of bed, brushed my teeth, poured my coffee (you didn't I could workout that early un-caffeinated, did you?), and made the drive.  All within probably a 15 minute time window, if that.  And I venture to guess that most of my fellow early morning gym comrades do the same.  But there is always that one person (sometimes two, as they are known to travel in pairs), who arrives to class (usually late) ready for her Victoria's Secret photo shoot. 

I do NOT want to see that shit at 5 in the morning.  Seriously.  I look like hell, I know it, I accept it, and everyone else pretty much is in the same boat with me (they accept that I look like shit).  We morning gym rats are here to work.  So we would appreciate it if everyone would arrive equally skanky, please.

2.  Shut the hell up.  I am not the chattiest person at 5 a.m., but I do my best to be polite and make at least 2 sarcastic remarks before the sun comes up.  It's what I do. 

I LOVE the folks that work out with me in the mornings.  It's an amazing group of committed individuals who manage to be friendly at an ungodly hour.  That being said, once class starts, we transform into 'please kick my ass mode' and social time is over.  An hour later, we look even worse than when we arrived (which can be pretty bad in my case, see #3 above).  And we keep coming back for more. 

So I can appreciate the social network and sense of community that a gym provides.  I think it is awesome.  It is one of the main reasons that I go to the places that I do.  BUT...I am going to go postal if you are continuously yapping and laughing during a class and thus disturbing the mojo of my work out (and that of those around me).  It is just rude.  I am not talking about the occasional "jesus, this is friggin hard today" comment said under the breath to the person spinning beside you.  I am talking about full blown conversations that take place.  Loudly.  If you are doing the class right, you should not have breath left in you to run your mouth.

I took a spin class a few years ago during which two ladies sat in the back and talked for the ENTIRE hour. And I mean, the entire hour.  All 60 minutes. It was so bad that several of my fellow cyclists were turning around and staring at them along with me (I am not usually subtle if you haven't figured that out by now).  And THEN -- they had the nerve to complain about the class and the instructor.  I mean, how the hell would they know what took place during the class?  They didn't actually participate but gingerly pedaled along while checking their nails and giggling repeatedly.  I could raise my heart rate more by reading the mail.   Rude, rude, rude.  Enough said. 

1.  B.O. - I mean, really?  Do I even need to discuss this issue?   Why yes, I think I will. 

HOW is it possible in this day and age with every flavor, fruit, and scent available in body washes, deodorants, etc. that someone can show up at the gym with B.O.?    I forgot to mention in #3 above that I lather on a significant amount of Secret before I head out to the gym in the mornings.  I mean, duh.  Now I realize some folks are heavy sweaters, and well, sweat does eventually smell if there is enough of it.  I'm talking about the folks that walk into the room and immediately there is a discernable funk.  And everyone knows who the funky person is. 

Being the conscientious person that I am, I am actually nice enough at an early morning hour to do a self check first before judging the potential offender.  I mean, if the smell is that ripe, maybe it IS me, b/c otherwise, how in God's name could it be so strong (strong = close by)?  It is NEVER me, by the way.  If you want a good laugh, see if you can catch me casually looking underneath my armpit at some very interesting object behind me.  Yep.  Stink self check.  Had you fooled.

The really sad thing is that I don't think these persona are aware of the 'aura' they are spreading around.  And despite the fact that I am in general pretty tactless, I have never said anything to any of them.  In fact, I don't think anyone usually does. I know my feelings would be hurt.  Or I would get super pissed.  Or both.  Then again, I would want to know.  It's a tough call.

So to be on the safe side, everyone please take a good long swipe with your Speed Stick before you hit the gym.  Especially my gym.