Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bore the Scrap Out of Me. . .

One of my favorite things to do is scrapbook.

Scrapbooking is more than putting photos in albums. Scrapbooking is a creative process that tells a story with words, photos, and lots & lots of patterned paper, ribbon, rub-on letters and other arts & crafts supplies.

I started scrapping (or cropping, as some call it) when my oldest child was born. I got 5 albums done before his little brother was born 3 years later. The books tell a story of our home, which was filled with wonder and love.

Our home really WAS filled with wonder & love, so why does it make me throw up in my mouth a little when I write that down?

From a purely anthropological standpoint, my volumes and volumes (and volumes) of scrapbooks are an excellent snapshot the daily lives of middle-income, college educated married-with-kids family.

Volumes 1-4 are our life with a toddler. Every fricking day of it. "Here is Joseph in a red shirt." "Here he is in the kitchen!" "Joe in the bathtub!" "Here he is in a green shirt!" I honestly think the Joseph is one of the finest people God put on the planet, but I admit I went a little overbored. (yes, that is a pun).

Volumes 5-9 are our life with 2, then 3 kids. True to stereotype, Joe has more coverage than Luke or Paul. But, because I scrap, I know enough to have individual photos of #2 & #3 sons, instead of just photos of the 3 of them. (At least I think the photos are individual shots of each kid. My kids all kinda look alike.)

There are some pages about my husband & I. Some about other family. I've even done gift albums for other people. But mostly it's the boys. These kids better have good self esteem, because they are obviously adored.

I am glad I do these books. I enjoy them and my family enjoys them. They make great gifts. They evoke great memories.

But how often can I write of my love, gratitude and wonder? Maya Angelou I ain't.

I enjoy looking at others' scrapbooks. I even get scrapbooking magazines (yes, there are scrapbook magazines!). But scrapbookers are . . . boring.

I can't believe I said that.

I have lots of friends who scrapbook. None of them are boring. They are creative, witty and fun.

But how many pages about snowmen are titled "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow. . "? I would hazard a guess that every scrapbooker has at least one.

I am not going to stop scrabooking. I am not going to stop telling my family how much I love them. I am just going to try to be a little less . . . corny.

How's this:


I expect a lot from you. I expect you to be a good man -- like your dad. I expect you to stay away from drugs, trashy girls, and Dungeons & Dragons. You don't have to be a Catholic when you grow up, but I do expect you to believe in God. You need to pay your way in life because God knows Dad & I haven't saved up enough for you. Finish College. Get a job before you get married. Get married before you have a baby. Be a good husband. Be a good dad.

And whatever you do, son, marry a girl who appreciates scrapbooking. Or else all this work I've done chronicling your life will wind up in the trash.

Love, Mom."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

HGTV, I wish I could quit you. . .

I am a reasonably intelligent person. I know TV is. . . well, it's TV. I knew that Seinfeld's New York was more fantasy than fact. I knew the Friends couldn't afford their Manhattan apartment given their career choices. (Barista? Are you kidding me? A Barista can't afford an apartment in Syracuse much less Manhattan). I know that the wives in Something About Jim and King of Queens have better looking husbands in real life.

So WHY do I believe HGTV?

It all started on Designed to Sell when Tanya (or maybe it was Lisa. . .but I think it was Tanya) made a darling little bedside table out of a $10 drink tray. Adorable, chic, and cheap!!!!!!!!

I have been looking for chic yet cheap bedside tables. A few years ago, we got a great deal on a couple of bureaus. They are espresso with nickle accents. (Cheapo laminate, but by the time they look cheap, I'll want something new anyway).

The bureaus were affordable, but the coordinating nightstands just seemed too pricey. Maybe I just have a problem spending a lot of money on something that will never hold more than a lamp, a book, and a box of kleenex.

So when I saw Lisa's (or was it Tanya's?) cute idea, I had to try it.

I found 2 beautiful silver-tone trays to make into nightstands. They coordinate perfectly with the nickle accents on the furniture.

But they don't "pop" against the white wall.

So. . . .I had to paint.

I had to. What is the point of making adorable bedside tables if they don't pop?

And, as long as I am painting the bedroom -- just an accent wall, mind you -- I probably should repaint the bath. And ditch the cheap stainless etagerie I put in there a few years ago. It was cute for about six months, then it rusted like a Chevette on blocks.

My bath has that faux-wainscot look -- sage about 3/4 up the wall, then cream on the top & ceiling. Cute, except I believed Dutch Boy when he promised "One Coat Coverage". So now, a few years later -- we need to repaint.

Maybe "need" is too strong a word.

But, as they say on HGTV, paint is cheap & easy to change.

The paint is cheap. The dropcloth, brushes, rollers, tray, primer and blue tape? Each item is cheap -- except the blue tape. I paid $7 for a roll of tape? I don't spend $7 on Greg's Valentine's gift.

As far as easy to change? It's not too difficult, if you don't look too closely at the finished project. That crisp blue-tape line? Don't know how they do it. Also, I can tell where I "cut in" and where I rolled. And my second coat may have missed a few spots.

Also, the tee shirt & cropped jeans I am wearing are now splattered with tiny blue splatters. I didn't like that look in the '80's -- I sure don't need to wear it now.

I haven't put the nightstands up. But it will have to wait until after Design on A Dime.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Madison Avenue, here I come. . .

Ok -- I have an idea, and I need to know what you think.

Sometimes I like to think of new applications for existing products. For example: Depends. Yes, Depends. The adult diapers.

For a long time, I’ve thought that if Depends had a product geared towards professionals, they would make a killing. They could call it Depends Office. Here’s how I envision the commercial:

Scene - a hectic office, people hurrying around looking harried. Zoom in on boss surrounded by panicked lackeys.

BOSS: “We must get that report to the board TODAY or the whole project could be delayed”

LACKEY 1: “Sir, it’s impossible, we just found out about it yesterday!”

LACKEY 2: “Maybe if you called them you could buy us some time!”

Enter a calm collected professionally dressed woman carrying a folder.

WOMAN: “Here’s the report. I had it formulated on this thumb drive for you as well.”

Boss and lackeys look at woman dumbfounded

BOSS: “How did you get it done so quickly?”

WOMAN: “I just worked all night”

Woman turns to the camera and says in a whisper “With a little help from Depends Office! Thanks Depends!”


Great idea, right? But that’s not the one I wanted to tell you about.

I got the idea for my NEW application when I was doing my workouts this week. This week my workouts were all plenty intense, because I was STUPID enough to post on here that I was getting used to them & they are easier. There was NOTHING easy about my workouts this week. NOTHING!

This week I worked out with Ricky helping me. Ricky is a nice young man who works for Vic. He looks like a fitter version of Leonardo DiCaprio. I think he’s somewhere between 19-23 years old, and he treats me with the same courtesy he would use towards his mother’s old high school chums. (Except he probably never hands one of his Mom's friends a 6 lb ball and tells her to squat. One Hundred and FIFTY times.)

As I am working out next to this handsome, polite young man, I look in the mirror (which are all over that place -- I’m hoping they are there so we can ensure our form is correct. Because otherwise? This place needs an HGTV intervention). (I'm going to pay for that crack next week, You watch!)

In the mirror I can’t help but notice that the more I do my exercises, the more soaking wet with sweat I become. About half way through it looks like someone has poured water down my shirt and I seem to have wet my pants.

The damp t-shirt I can live with, but the peed pants? Next to Ricky DiCaprio? If I wasn’t already so red from all the physical exertion, I would have blushed.

So THAT’S when I came up with my great marketing idea!

Depends Active!

Here’s the ad:

Scene: A busy, tastefully decorated fitness studio with lots of red faced sweaty people.

Camera zooms to two women working out. Both are obviously working hard, but one looks more refreshed than the other.

LINDA: “Leonardo sure has us on a tough circuit today, Amy!”

AMY: “I know, Linda! We will be ready for that marathon in no time!”

LINDA: “I know you will be! I’m just ready for a shower!”

AMY: “ No time for that today, Linda. I have to pick up the kids, then run Don’s clothes to the cleaners, then head to the grocery store before I can even THINK of a nice hot shower!”

LINDA: “You’re lucky -- you still look so fresh!”

AMY: “It’s not me, Linda. It’s Depends Active!”

LINDA: “Depends Active?”

Scene: locker room, where Linda & Amy have towels around their necks.

AMY: “Linda, just put on a pair of Depends Active before your next workout, and you’ll be ready to pick the kids up from soccer practice and then stop at the market before you go home. I never workout without Depends Active!”

Scene: back at the fitness studio. Linda & Amy are wearing different workout outfits.

LINDA: “Amy! Thanks for the tip about Depends Active! After my workout today, I am heading straight to the OB/GYN for my annual!”

AMY & LINDA together: “Thanks Depends Active!”


Great idea, right? Right? Guys? Anyone?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


When I was a kid, grandmas were sweet, little old ladies.

I am blessed to have known both of my grandmothers. Grandma A, who weighed about 75lbs soaking wet, was the most wonderful, affirming, lovely lady I have ever known. her house always smelled of fresh coffee, Dove soap and bran flakes. There was always a rosary and a prayer book on her bedside table, and in the evenings she could be found enjoying a martini and a few cheese nip crackers.

Grandma C was more robust. She would clean our kitchen while complaining about what slobs we were. She drank beer from a can & used to threaten to beat my cousins with "a board with a nail in it". When we were sick, she'd make us drink 7-up and hot toddies with honey, lemon & whisky. She watched Family Feud every day, but would never admit it. Her house always smelled of Dove soap, Youth Dew cologne and laundry soap.

Both grandmas had beautiful white hair, "done" each week & held in place by a hairnet made of fibers finer than cobwebs. They each had bright blue eyes and wore lipstick and face powder. They lunched with friends every week, and they had handbags to match all of their shoes.

They bragged about their grand kids, although they would never admit it.

They were grandmas.

My own mother and mother-in-law are more modern than my own grandmas -- mom's house smells like Benson & Hedges, coffee and pot pourri. Toshi's house has a more Asian smell - moth balls, seaweed and talcum powder. Both Mom & Toshi have pretty white hair, but they don't bother with hairnets. They each wear stylish casual clothes. Mom gets online and writes freelance articles. Toshi does freelance bookkeeping. Both volunteer at their churches 30+ hours per week. Both brag about their grand kids -- and make fun of themselves for doing so.

They are grandmas.

I want to be like them someday.

Someday, as in 2036. Not today.

I am 44. I had my children a little later in life: my first child was born when I was 35, my last when I was 42. I don't look like a grandma (I don't think). My hair is not a pretty white color, it's a fabulous, expensive red. I don't have many wrinkles despite years of sun damage. (A gift of fat? nice, smooth skin) I never use Dove soap.

So when I take my littles to the grocery store, and the checkout girl tells me my grand kids are cute, I get a little. . . .I dunno.

When it's my husband -- who has salty salt & pepper hair -- I get it. He has WHITE hair for chrissakes. It's an honest mistake. But me????

I have friends who are grandmas that don't come close to the little-old-lady model that I grew up with. One of my friends still gets hit on. She's in her 50's, but she looks like she's 40. Another of my friends had her son young, and now, at 42, she is a grandma. Grandma Diva, she calls herself. She's beautiful. I bet when she takes her grandson to the grocery store, the checkout girl tells her her baby is cute.

So maybe it's not so bad to be confused for grandma.

Then why does it make me feel like I should be buying hairnets?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Progress so far. . .

It's been a week & a half since I started the Bootcamp.

Don't tell Vic, but it gets a little easier every day.

My weight hasn't changed yet. I have always said that it's not about the weight, it's about the fitness. And I believe that. I really do. Truly. (It would be nice to be down a couple of lbs tho.)

The biggest impact so far?

My boobs are shrinking.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Me on TV

I like being on TV. I think it's fun -- usually.

In my last job, I was the "Hot Jobs" girl on KIIITV evey Tuesday. I came on the 5pm program, read out the week's hot jobs, and bantered with the anchors.

It was fun.

Oprah started on local news, so. . . .

I'm on TV again, but not quite so composed this time. Here is a story the local news did on our workout challenge:

(you may have to cut & paste into your browser. Sorry.)

I am the one in the bright blue shirt struggling up the stairs, making a lame attempt at bravado by raising my arms over my head. The problem was, I could only do it for like 3 nanoseconds, so you might miss it.

Vic's cute tho, right? Although he's getting less and less cute to me as he practices his "cruel-to0be-kind" torture on me.

Three more sets indeed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Planning a Wild Nite Out. . .

Tomorrow, I get to have a Girl's Nite Out!

Whoo hoo! Soooooo excited!

I really am lucky I have such an understanding husband. He watches the kiddos, feeds them, bathes them and puts them to bed while I yuk it up with the girls. I don't do it often, but sometimes you gotta let your hair down!

Before I had children, a night out meant dinner at a trendy bistro, followed by cocktails at a club, maybe dancing. Sometimes we would go chic, sometimes we would go casual. Depends.

I have LOTS of wild stories from the past. Lots.

Remember the party scene in Sixteen Candles where Long Duk Dong (played by Gedde Watanabe) opens the door wearing a toga? We had parties like that all the time. (You know the girl wearing Jake's Mom's fur and pearls, and the pearls broke and she cut her best friend's hair off? That was totally me and my friends.)(I am NOT exaggerating.)

These days though, I gotta admit, a nite with the girls looks a little different.

For one thing, I don't drink anymore.

For another, my new idea of a great evening out is going to a Baptist Church with all of my scrapbook supplies and working on my photo albums.

I'm not kidding. I am really going to do that.

And I can't wait.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Liar, Liar. . .

George Washington, age 10, hat in hand: "Father, I cannot tell a lie. It was I who cut down the cherry tree."

Me, age 10, eyes cast down, tongue poking my cheek out: "I don't know who ate the last donut. I don't! Really! I am not lying!"

And I haven't gotten any better at it either.

Integrity is a Gift of Fat.

I wish I could say that my integrity comes naturally to me, that it has always been clear to me that Honesty Is The Best Policy, but unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way.

I suck at lying.

And that's the truth!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who I am following right now. . .

These are the blogs I read pretty much daily.

Thought you might like them too:

Jennsylvania -- Jen Lancaster is the original. She's a bestselling author (Such a Pretty Fat is my favorite). When you read her, you'll see a lot of similarities. I want to be her. (sort of.) (I suspect her mother gave her the same talk by mother gave me about not swearing so much, because she hasn't cursed in her blog for a while now.)

Annabel Manners -- love this girl. She's elegant, preppy and cute. And brief, which is what a blog should be.

The Beauty Boomer -- this is a blog about makeup & style. And she's also really funny. Who knew makeup could be so hilarious?

The Bitchy Waiter -- this guy is a RIOT.

Robert Reich -- I don't know why I read him because he is so depressing, and I rarely agree with him. But it's important to maintain perspective on the economy, so I read him.

Ali Edwards - if you like to scrapbook, Ali is a great designer. Her work is gorgeous. She's very feel-good tho -- never snarky, never bitchy, so. . .I just read her for the pictures.


Sunday, July 11, 2010


If you've been following my blog, you know that I like to defy what the world thinks of what fat people can and can't do.

So when I had the opportunity to participate in the City's Leadership Fitness program as Dr. Mark Escamilla's partner, I signed right up.

Saturday was our first Boot Camp.

I wanted to be a model camper. I showered. (On a Saturday!) I put on a cute pink skort, a white v-neck and my Nike's. My hair was tucked into a baseball cap rather than scrunched back in a chongo. I was going to look CUTE when I worked out!

I showed up early, as directed, so that my measurements could be taken. (Yeah. ick.) The staff at V-Fit are all very nice, and discreet. And no, I honestly didn't mind having dreamy, dark haired, dark eyed, Vick wrap his strong arms around me to position the tape, as long as he didn't call out the numbers. (I am a happily married mother of three,and not the least bit inclined to Cougar. . . .but if you saw Vick. Sigh.)

The staff was being very cheery and peppy. They were cheery and peppy in that "We-are-going-to-pretend-we-don't-notice-that-you-are-a-size-24-even-though-the-rest-of-us-make-Jillian-Michaels-look-like-the-Pillsbury-dough boy" sort of way.

Vick gave me a tour of the circuit, nothing looking too intimidating. Until he showed me the pit.

The pit is a lovely, carpeted stairway. That doesn't go anywhere. Seriously. The stairs end in a brick wall. It's very Winchester Mystery House. Only much, much scarier. Because at the Winchester Mystery House they don't actually make you run up and down the weird stairways.

After my tour, my fellow bootcampers began to arrive. Dr. Mark, of course, along with Scott Elliff, the superintendent of Corpus Christi ISD; Mayor Joe Adame; (yeah. . .the MAYOR); Tim Fitzpatrick, Athletic Director for Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, and other A-Listers. (Did I mention that THE MAYOR was there?) It was like a Chamber Mixer without the business suits, makeup & high heels. Also, no one was drunk.

Not that anyone would have believed that after seeing my first task on the circuit.

I was stationed at the step. Not the mystery-house-scary-steps, those would come later. It was a simple aerobic step-class step. I've taken HUNDREDS of step classes. (not recently, but still.) I certainly wasn't afraid of some stupid step.

So the whistle blew. And I hopped on. And then I fell off.

Not just a quiet little misstep.

I sent myself tumbling ass-over-elbows onto the floor.

In front of THE MAYOR.

And stupid me, I tried to break my fall with my arm, so of course I sprained my wrist & elbow.

What a maroon.

I was able to get up & finish the camp. I am sore all over today because of all the exercises dreamy Vic made me do. But my arm hurts worse.

I'll be fine.

And I am going back to bootcamp on Tuesday.

I have to work off the calories from that Humble Pie.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Irish Eyes

Obviously, genetics has something to do with your looks.

That's why I've always wanted to be French. In my mind, French girls are frail, bird-like creatures who can wear anything and look fashionable. It's a stereotype, but it's a flattering one.

But I'm Irish.

I look Irish. I have blue eyes, a ruddy complexion, and people who have never met me before think my red hair is authentic. (Thanks Kasey!!!!) I wish I looked more Nicole Kidman in Far & Away and less Brenda Fricker in Home Alone 2, but I do look Irish.

I'm not really Irish. I'm American. But Americans like to hyphenate, and when I hyphenate I'm always Irish-American. I claim the ethnicity, but I don't have any relatives with brogues. No one in my family makes soda bread. We're sorta Lucky-Charms-Irish. (Magically Delicious!)

Most of my ancestors were Irish. I think. My maiden name is German, so some in my family hyphenate themselves as German-Americans. But to me, German-American sounds so thick, so solid, so strong. I prefer to evoke ethereal images of fairies, shananchies, limericks and leprechauns.

Except I am about as ethereal as a bus.

My husband's grandparents came from Okinawa, which is a small island in southern Japan. Due to the small gene pool, my husband is allergic to everything. Especially fish. (He's Japanese & we can't even go out for Sushi.) But he's good looking. His whole family is good looking. His sisters are lovely petite girls with thick dark hair and almond shaped eyes.

At my wedding, my dad couldn't stop talking about how beautiful they are. In fact, as Dad & I were dancing the traditional father-daughter waltz, dad raved to me about Greg's sisters:

"Dad?" I said

"Yes?" he replied.

"You know I paid $1,500.00 for this dress right?"

"Oh, you look nice too. I am just saying that Joyce & Suzanne are GORGEOUS."

They are. They really are. They are beautiful inside and out.

And they aren't even Irish!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Blame Game

When my mother was in seventh grade, Sister Urban Maria sternly advised the girls to eat a hearty breakfast every morning. “I don’t want to hear that you are taking after these fashion models”, she said, “All they have for breakfast is a cup of coffee and a cigarette!”

With this in mind, as soon as class let out, my mom and all the other aspiring fashion models ran to the corner store to buy their first packs of Chesterfields.

Philip Morris owes Sister Urban Maria a commission.

Sixty years later, my mom still smokes.

Mom is the most polite smoker in the world. She would never smoke in someone else’s home, or car, or in a non-smoking designated area. She won’t smoke around my kids, although it doesn’t bother me if she smokes in front of them. They see her for a couple of days a year. It won’t kill them to be around cigarette smoke for a few hours. I lived immersed in second hand cigarette smoke for 18 years. I am fine. Mostly. Nevertheless, my mom wouldn’t dream of smoking around the boys.

I don’t smoke, but I can identify with smokers.

Smokers are bullied. They are bullied socially, medically and legislatively.

Just like fat people.

Here’s an example:

When a smoker gets cancer, people shrug and say “what did you expect?”

When fat people get diabetes they say the same thing.

It’s the Blame Game. Blame the sick for causing the disease. People behave as if smokers deserve cancer. Fat people deserve diabetes.

Remember in the 80’s when HIV and AIDS emerged? Remember the awful jokes? The irrational fear? Remember how people shrugged and said “what did they expect?"

Those were dark days.

I am not denying that smoking is a cause of cancer. That does not mean smokers deserve cancer.

I am not denying that obesity is a cause of Type 2 diabetes. That does not mean fat people deserve diabetes.

I am standing up to the social, medical and legislative bullies.

Sister Urban Maria, pray for us.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

In All Fairness to Jillian Michaels. . .

Sometimes I wanna yell at fat people too.

The other day, I took my 2 year old to the grocery store. As I was walking in, I saw her. You know who I mean: a big girl with greasy hair and no makeup wearing a sloppy, oversized t-shirt, baggy shorts and chanclas (that’s flip-flops to those of you outside of Texas). She had a filthy dirty kid in her cart. The kid had a binky in his mouth, even though he had to be at least 2 years old. A real White Trash Wanda.

And I admit it. I started to judge. I am not proud of that, but I did. The first thing I thought was “have some respect for yourself”. Then I thought “Please God, don’t let me get stuck in line behind them”. Because I just knew that she would load up her cart with Ho-Hos and bacon rinds and I would have to listen to her gripe to the cashier about how her Lone Star Card wasn’t working. I knew I’d have to look at the whiny, snot nosed kid drinking Coke out of a bottle, while his mother yelled at him to “shut the eff up.” I had the whole encounter mapped out in my sanctimonious little mind.

Then I realized that I was looking at my reflection.

The filthy kid in the cart was none other than my precious miracle baby. (With a snotty nose, a dirty shirt and a binky.) (But he does not drink Coke out of a bottle. He uses a cup.)

Jillian Michaels would have had a field day with me.