Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Cute Story that gets told WAY too Often

It's New Year's Eve!

Time to tell the story.  The story I tell all the time.  The story that will embarrass Paul & "Lianne" someday.

I have 2 very close girlfriends.  I am going to call them Samantha and Lisa. 

We have babies together.

First Lisa had a baby girl.  Then Sam had a baby boy.  Then Lisa had a baby boy, then I had a baby boy.  Then Sam had a baby girl and I had a baby boy.  All within the space of about 5 years.

It was so fun to get together, to scrapbook, to play. 

Then Lisa got pregnant with number 3.

So Sam and I made fun of her.

Because we're assholes sometimes.

Lisa had a baby girl and I gottta admit, she had a pretty sweet baby girl.

Life went on, Greg & I were so happy with our complete family.  Sam and Todd were so happy with their complete family.  Lisa and Jared admitted that they were not yet done.  So we made fun of them some more.

One day, we all went to a baseball game.  Someone got box seats and we had an awesome time.

Not long after, I felt strange.  It was a familiar strange. 

No.  Oh no.  No no no no no no no. No.

Yes.  The pregnancy test confirmed it.

Dammit.  I just started a new job.  I was over 40 for Chrissake.

The first person I call was Lisa.  I was in tears.

She was ecstatic.  Not in a "nyah nyah" way, in a "I'm so thrilled for you guys" way.  She rushed right over to give me a big hug because she could tell I needed one. 

The second person I called was Sam.  I left a message that went something like this:

"Sam.  I'm pregnant.  Call me"

Sam laughed her head off and then called me.  As we were chatting she casually mentioned that she wasn't feeling quite herself either.

"No", she said, "Oh no. No no no no no no no. No."

"Dude", I said, "Take a test and call me back"

She called within an hour.


I laughed and jeered, Lisa laughed and celebrated and we waited for the arrival of our two new kiddos.

Did I mention that we had the same obstetrician? 

Did I mention that Sam is also our accountant?

Lisa has her babies on nature's time, but Sam and I set appointments.  I have to have C Sections, and Sam is just a scheduler. 

The OB said we could have the babies on December 31, so we could get the tax benefit.  That was a Stimulus year too. 

On December 31, 2007, Paul Zentaro A was born.  An hour later, Lianne Rachel M was born.  The hospital put Sam and I in adjacent rooms and we celebrated the new year holding our precious miracle babies.

When Lisa announced that her fourth was on the way, Sam and I hugged her and celebrated with her.

And kept our mouths SHUT.

Happy Birthday Paul and Lianne.  We love you very much!

Yes, you have to go to Prom together

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All About "Eva"

In my last post, I told you about my friend "Eva" who is going through her own personal nightmare.

She has something called dermatomyositis.  You can google it to see the symptoms.  Web MD describes it as  "a rare inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness and a violet-colored or dusky red skin rash."  I describe it as Living Fucking Hell.

Web MD doesn't tell you that the muscle weakness also means that you are too weak to walk. . . or to breathe.  It doesn't mention that the violet or dusky red skin rash feels like an acid burn.

I'm really pissed at dermatomyositis.

As I mentioned last post, "Eva" has counted her blessings through this whole thing.  As far as I know, she hasn't said FUCK THIS even once.  She isn't really a "Fuck This" kind of person.  So I am saying it for her.

A week ago last Thursday, she & I chatted on the phone for about 45 minutes.  We laughed and shared stories.  We planned on me taking her to lunch and a movie for the following Tuesday.  I was psyched.  She is always so fun to have lunch with. 

I bought her a journal as a Christmas present.  It's chocolate brown with purple, violet and pink circles on it.  I figured she could write down everything she is going through and then use it to write a book which will sell a million copies.  Or she could use it for grocery lists -- either way. 

We didn't make it to lunch on Tuesday.  Instead, she went to Houston to receive a chemo treatment at M.D. Anderson.  She really hoped that getting chemo would help get rid of this fucking disease.  Unfortunately, she wasn't strong enough for the chemo.

She had an awesome Christmas with her family.  She and "Tom" have 2 incredible kiddos -- "Molly" and "Evan".  "Molly" is about 9 and "Evan" is 7.  These kids have been so great with their mom -- helping around the house without being asked, and cuddling on her when she needs it.  "Eva" spent her Christmas with them and by all accounts, it was awesome.

December 26th she was in ICU on a ventilator.  As of this writing, she is still on it.

In my last post, I told you that she & I met when we were in the Junior League (JLCC).  Neither of us had kids yet.  The first year of JLCC, the provisional class spends each meeting at a different community resource, learning about areas where we might want to serve our community.  It's really cool.

One meeting we were meeting with nutritionists who were explaining the problem of childhood obesity. 

The Junior League tends to be composed of women who range from a size zero to a size 10.  I am not picking on them --they are nice people and they are my friends. It's just that "Eva" and I were hovering around the 22-24 mark. 

When you are a size 22-24 in a room full of size 6s, you tend to be self conscious when discussing childhood obesity.  At least I was.  I was a fat kid.  A really fat kid.  The kind of kid who gets sent to nutritionists to deal with my "problem".  All of those memories flooded back to me as I listened with my petite friends.  I felt gawky and morbid as hell. 

During her presentation, one of the nutritionists affectionately referred to her patients as "Chubbos".  The other ladies tittered. 

"Eva" looked at me and said "How insulting".

Here I was feeling like a circus freak and feeling guilty for being fat.  Eva had the presence of mind to be insulted.

Because insulting is the perfect word. 

This nutritionist is trying to help these kids.  But she didn't respect them enough to keep from calling them names behind their backs.   She didn't mean to be hurtful.  She just didn't think.  She didn't know what it is like to be a fat kid and to be called names.

I know what that is like.  And so does "Eva".

Instead of being self conscious and uncomfortable, "Eva" brought the insult to the nutritionist's attention.  She did it gently and kindly, instead of angrily and defensively.  She used it as a teachable moment.

That was in the year 2000. 

"Eva" is handling this illness with class and courage, but she's always had guts.  She's always had self respect and she's always seen the best in people.

In the year 2000, "Eva" gave me the courage to start standing up for myself. 

I never told her that. 

As soon as she is able to have visitors, I am going to go tell her. 

Pray for her, OK?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Wishes

I am feeling so grateful this Christmas.

Hubby got a great new job.  It's filled with promise and new challenges.

I'm in the best shape of my life.

My boys are wonderful -- funny, smart, and truly kind.

I have wonderful friends.  You know how you spend time with someone, and when they leave you think to yourself "I am so blessed to have her/him/them in my life?  I feel that way about dozens of people.

We are all healthy and happy.

Thank you God.

I have one wish.

It's for one of my dear friends.  I'm going to call her Eva, because I don't know if she wants me to share her struggles with everyone. 

Eva & I have been friends for about 12 years. We met through a service sorority.  OK, I'll admit it -- it was the Junior League.  Yes, I am a bow head.  I actually am no longer involved with the League, but I think it's an awesome group of women and I really enjoyed my my time there.  Plus, I made amazing friends.  Like Eva.

Eva is going through hell right now.

Hell is not the right word for it.  Pretend that you have been dipped repeatedly into scalding water and then are forced to walk barefoot over broken glass.  Oh yeah -- and your nose has been sealed shut and you are forced to breathe through a straw.  Your muscles are so weak you have to use a wheelchair.  And you have to go through this for a year.

Plus you have a two small children, a husband and a business to run.

That's Eva's life right now.  Only worse.

Her husband, Tom, gets my vote for Husband of the Year.  He is absolutely devoted to Eva and he is making sure that the kids still have a somewhat normal life.  Eva's parents -- Beto & Sara -- are great too.  Together, they are pulling together to get the family through this.

Here is a typical Eva Facebook post:  Went to doctor today.  Decided to undergo chemo.  So grateful to the wonderful professionals here who are working so hard for me.

Here's another:  Tom came by with a huge bouquet of flowers.  How did I deserve such an awesome husband?

This one made me break down and cry:  So proud of you Mary!  You inspire me!

I inspire herI inspire her???? 

Eva is undergoing the most harrowing experience of her life, but she is reminding us of the good in our lives. 

I wish she didn't have to go through this. 

I wish they could find a wonder drug, give it to her once and have her life go back to normal.

My Christmas wish -- actually, my daily prayer -- is that Eva & Tom and their family continue to have the strength to endure this.  I pray that this suffering leads to untold blessings.  God blessed Job, I know he will bless Eva.

I love you Eva!  I am so grateful to have you in my life.  Merry Christmas my beautiful, strong friend.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Deck the Halls with OW OW OW OW. . .

Because I work for a college, I get TWO WEEKS OFF AT CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!

I Snoopy Dance every time I think of it.

Because 2 weeks off is AWESOME.

Because I am OFF, I have time to drive all the way to the Island to work out with Gabe!

Let me explain something to those of you who do not live in South Texas.

One of the nice things about living here is that everything is 30 minutes away.  We have virtually no traffic.

Having lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Phoenix, I can tell you that the short commute is awesome.

Until you live here a few years. 

Then you realize that everything important is only 5 minutes away.

Five minutes to church.

Five minutes to work.

Five minutes to the grocery store.

Five minutes to V-Fit.

So going ALL THE WAY to the Island feels far. Really, really far.  Hell, I pack a lunch to travel to the other side of the freeway.

Today I went to work out with Gabe.

Good ol' Gabe.

Quiet, gentle Gabe.

First thing he makes me do?  Walk outs.  Then burpees.  Then more walkouts.  Then suicides, push ups, and more walkouts.  Oh yeah -- they have this big rope.  I think it's for mooring ships in hurricane force winds.  It's about 5 inches thick.  I have to take one rope in each hand, squat, and then whip the rope as hard as I can.  So fun.  For about 30 seconds.  Then it's pure agony.

Basically, Gabe hasn't changed a bit.

I can't wait to go to the Island tomorrow! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Playground Justice

I took my boys to the mall playground yesterday.

They love that stupid place.

For one thing, it's inside.  For another, it's got a cookie store and a candy store right around the corner. 

The area is really designed for littles 5 & under.  I figured we were OK because #2 is 6 and #3 is almost 4.  (#1 is on a camping trip with his dad). 

I warned the kids that they had to be careful of little kids.  I reminded them that I would be watching.

Then I watched. 

I watched them jump.  I watched them run.  I watched them climb. 

I watched the other kids too.  For some reason, every boy in there was named Luke & every girl was Nevaeh. (Plus Paul.)

I know that because every time I told Luke to be careful, six or seven little boys looked at me for a minute before determining that I was not admonishing them

Also, one mom spent her time between sucking on her grande moacchino, checking her iPhone and occasionally screeching "Nevaeh!  Stop it!  Nevaeh.  Niv-E-YAH!" 

All the other Nevaehs looked up, while the targeted Nevaeh continued to pound on the fish tank or pull on some Luke's hoodie or climb on the potted plants.

She was a little hyper.  Whaddya gonna do?  Kids are hyper.

I try not to be Judgy McJudgermom.  I try SO HARD.

Because my kids aren't perfect. 

But the more I watched Nevaeh, the judgier I got. 

She was wearing a spaghetti strap top.  It's Texas, and pretty warm here, but not spaghetti-strap top warm.  Yes, my son was in shorts, but that's completely different.   Nevaeh is starting to develop, and spaghetti strap tops are not her friend.

She was mean to the other kids.  Not just pushy - she was mean.  She frequently pushed her way to the front of the slide line, and knocked kids out of the way at the fish tank.  She stuck her tongue out at one of the Lukes. 

Every now & then, she ran to her mother to get a pull off the grande moacchino. 

I wouldn't have been surprised to see her mother give her a drag off a cigarette.

I noticed another mom eyeing Nevaeh as well.  Every time Nevaeh did something obnoxious, other mom & I would exchange eye rolls. 

Finally, Nevaeh pushed Paul. 


As he tearfully came to me for comfort, I looked at Nevaeh's mom to see if she noticed.  She was too involved in her pinterest account to notice that her kid was being a bully.

I hugged and consoled Paul and looked for Luke.  It was time to go. 

Luke -- my Luke, not the other Lukes -- was chasing Nevaeh. 

"Hey!" he yelled "Hey!  You PUSHED my brother!".  He maneuvered himself in front of her and forced her to acknowledge him. 

"You PUSHED him" Luke reiterated.

"Sorry" said Nevaeh.

"You need to tell him," insisted Luke, and he steered Nevaeh over to us.

"Sorry," said Nevaeh to Paul.  She patted him on the shoulder and then tore off to do more terror.

I didn't say anything to Nevaeh or to her mother.  Nothing I said was going to make any difference, and I am pretty sure that had I said something, I would have gotten a very aggressive retort.  I didn't need to get into a mom-brawl in front of my kids.

I figured Luke did a pretty good job of handling it. 

Playground Justice was served.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tight Spot

When I was little, my mom dressed me up for the holidays in a Christmas (or Easter) dress, white tights and black Mary Janes. Occasionally, she would try to clip a bow in my baby-fine pixie cut hair.

I didn’t mind the dress so much, it was the tights I hated.

They bagged. And sagged. And the crotch usually lurked around my knees.

This season, tights are in style.

Textured tights! Colored tights! Patterned tights!

They are so cute I want to buy a pair in every style color and texture.

I have been wearing my tights with my boots. So cute! So wintery! So warm!

Yesterday, I wore my boots with pants. Also cute, wintery and warm.  I love my boots.  For one thing, they come to my knees.  Anyone over a size 12 knows how hard it is to find knee boots that actually fit over your calves.  I love my boots.  Plus, they look awesome with tights.

But I wore boots yesterday.  I didn’t wanna wear 'em again today.

So in my mind, I planned my outfit:

Black turtleneck, black skirt, black patterned tights & ropy pearl accessories.

But instead of wearing my boots, I would wear my grey herringbone mary janes.

How chic! How Vogue! How classic!

In my mind, I resembled a Talbots ad.

About 10 am, I realized that my boots had pilled the tights. So they looked fine from my hem to my knee, but the knee down looked as if I had waded through Styrofoam.

About 11 am, the ankles were sagging.

By 3pm, the crotch started creeping towards my knees.

In my mind I just stepped out of Talbots.

In reality, I looked more like “Real People of Walmart.”

My Mind's Eye

Closer to the truth

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Giving Tree - a repost

I posted this on December 5, 2011.  Feel exactly the same way this year.

Fair warning -- this post is going to be sappy as hell. Sentimental. Cloying.

I am in that kind of mood.

When I went to mass this morning, I was so grateful to Greg for staying home with the boys so I could go to mass on my own. No one pulled off my pants, stuck their hands down my blouse or repeated "Look Mama! It's Father Roger!" all through mass.

The mass was beautiful. I love the advent colors -- purple with gold. I love the candles, I love the symbolism, I love the prayers. Mostly, I love the people at Mass.

The Giving Tree was up -- this is our way to provide The Ark with gifts and needed items for the year. We select an ornament off the tree. The ornament has a child's age and gender on it, with an item that needs to be purchased. These kids need toys, but more than that, they need toiletries, clothes, medicine. What they really need is a safe and loving home, but unfortunately, the Giving Tree isn't much help there.

The Ark is an emergency shelter for kids who have to be removed from their homes. Usually, they have to be removed because of violence, neglect and abuse. Frequently children are removed in the dead of night, when drinking and drugs bring out the worst in those who are supposed to protect them. These kiddos come from all ages, races, religions and income levels. Most of them come from poverty -- if only because the poor have fewer mechanisms to control the damage done by the violence.

As soon as mass was over, families descended upon the tree -- taking one, two or three ornaments. People where waiting four and five deep. I know many of the families clamoring for the ornaments. When you know people, you learn their struggles. I saw people who suffered layoffs this year. People who have suffered miscarriages and other medical emergencies. People who have several small children at home. People who are caring for terminally ill parents. I saw people who struggle with addictions of their own. I saw single parent families and even a family that lost a child. Struggling families who couldn't wait to help the kids at The Ark.

We're going to do what we can too. We'll give. It will be nothing compared to what we have received. I am grateful for the chance to attend mass on my own. More than that, I am grateful for the chance to be a part of this Parish family.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mary Christmas!

You know how much I LOVE fitness challenges!

They REALLY motivate me.  I'm not competitive or anything, I just wanna reach new personal bests.

And also win.

Because Victor knows that I LOVE challenges, and because he knows that I MUST get down to 229 by 2/1/12 and because he knows that I love Christmas cookies almost as much as my children, Victor has set up a new challenge for me.

And Mary.

And Mary.

It's the Tri-Mary Challenge.

See, there are three Marys who work out at V-Fit.

We all happen to be alumna of the University of Wisconsin.  (One of us received her Doctorate from UW.  One of us just drank a lot of beer and kissed as many boys as I . . .I mean she could get her hands on.  I don't know about Mary.)

Mary & I also have the same birthday. 

Wild, huh?

Victor's stated goal is to foster a spirit of competition while improving the overall fitness of three of his most dedicated clients.  We all know he secretly wants us to get into a cat fight.  (What is it about guys and cat fights?  Seriously.)

We aren't going to get into a cat fight.  We are going to have some competition, yes.  Mostly though, we have a sisterly collaboration to reach our individual goals.  We are going to rejoice in each others' triumphs and fortify each other when times get hard.

We are going to run towards the prize with arms linked! 

I just hope the prize isn't a portkey. 

Mary says it's OK if it's a portkey as long as it takes us to the Bahamas.

I'm just really, really glad my name is Mary!

Go Mary!

Go Mary!

Go Mary!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In The Can


Done 12/3/11

I cried a little bit on my way home.

I love you guys. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Brotherly Love

I don't often tell stories on my siblings because. . . .

They would be pissed.

Let's just say that I am the oldest of 4 kids.  Let's just say that we were all close.  So close that sometimes we bugged the crap out of each other. 

Because I am the oldest, wisest, and the biggest, occasionally I would strike one of my siblings.

I hit like a girl, it can't have hurt that much.

Except for the red hand print that I left on my sisters bare back.  Or the apple that hit my brother right between the shoulder blades. Big crybaby.

I remember one day vividly.  My family was at Sears.  Mom was looking at washer/dryer combos.  It was a Saturday.  In June. 

I was lovingly correcting my younger brother.  We'll call him Tim. 

Tim had enough of my helpful suggestions and decided to belt me one.

Right in the solar plexus.

As hard as he could.

It still hurts.

Because I had been struck for no good reason, I took the tack that always seemed to work for my siblings.

"MOM!  Tim hit me!"

My experience was that once Mom found out someone (usually me) was hitting her precious child (usually him), that the perpetrator (me) would be punished.   Naturally I expected similar retribution in this case.

Instead, Mom said:

"Good.  It's about time he started standing up for himself".

The reason I share this with you today is because I now have three boys. 

Two of the boys are being chased by their brother who is shouting vaugue but convincing threats about pending injury.

I gotta admit, they asked for it.

I would call my mom for sympathy.

But I know better.

Karma's a bitch.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Before I talk about Thanksgiving, I want to let everyone know that there is a Giftoffat page on Facebook!  I am supposed to be able to put a button on my page to link you to it, but I can't figger it out.  So "Like" me. OK?

Back to Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving was YUM.

I got up early and went downtown to run in the turkey trot.  You could choose to walk 2 miles or run 4 miles.

I chose to run 4 miles.

They do the 2 mile/4 mile thing so that the walkers and the runners can be done about the same time.

Except this runner.

I came in last.  Everybody was waiting for me.

Sorry to all of you off-duty officers who came to work the race, hoping you would get home in time to watch the game before the family started to show up.

But it wasn't about winning or losing.  It was about finishing.

Finishing and guilt free Thanksgiving dinner.


Turkey, asparagus, salad, a bit of corn, a dab of mashed potatoes, a touch of cornbread stuffing.  More salad, another helping of asparagus.  Then a big piece of pumpkin pie.  A BIG one.

The crust was gross, so I just ate the pumpkin.  And the fresh whipped cream.

And it was AWESOME!

How was yours?

Thanks Luisa for shooting this pic!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Giving out my number. . . .

I have a new goal. 

Well, it's actually about a month old, but I've been too chickenshit to write it on the blog.

See, with the Challenge over, I need something to keep me moving.

I need something to keep me progressing.

I worked out a whole year before this last challenge.  I saw some pretty good results.  Slowly but surely, the weight was coming off.  Six months after my last baby was born -- June, 2008 --I went to the doctor and stepped on the scale.

It said X98.

I am going to pretend that you have no idea which integer the X represents.  I know that you know that it's a whole number between 1 and 3, but you are too polite to notice.  Thanks.  I appreciate it.  You know how Kirstie Alley lost a bunch of weight after dancing with the stars and told everyone she was 105 when she was really more like 140?  I totally get that.

When I started working out with V Fit in July 2010 I was at X77. In 2 years, I dropped 21 lbs.

By the time the last challenge started, I was down to X59. In 1 year of working out harder than I ever have in my life, I was down 18 lbs.

More importantly, of course, I had dropped blood pressure significantly, stabilized my blood sugar and was no longer considered pre-diabetic. I was also very strong and people started telling me how great I looked.

To some people, 18 lbs sounds like a lot of weight.  For me, it was less than 10% of my total body weight. 

When we started 2011's challenge, I wanted to have an impact.  I wanted to win dammit!

So I went to weightfuckingwatchers and worked out harder than before.

Ninety days after the challenge, I was at X44. I had lost 15 lbs.

Amazing the difference those annoying little 15 lbs made.

My clothes, which were getting baggy, simply did not fit anymore.  People who hadn't seen me in a long time really noticed a difference.  One friend thought I lost 100 lbs.  He wasn't trying to flatter me -- he's not that great a friend.

The fact is, since I'd seen him almost 4 years ago, I had lost 54 lbs.

But now the challenge is over. 

And I want to keep it up.

Not the weightfuckingwatchers part.  I'll be honest -- I quit WFW about a month after I started.  Because I hate it.  (Have I mentioned that before?).  I hated giving them $13 every week just so I could step on their fucking scales.  So I decided to step on my OWN fucking scale and pay myself $10.  I call it Date Watchers because when I meet my goal, we're getting a babysitter.

I do like the concept of losing 15 lbs though.

I like it kinda a lot.

But the thing is, I don't have a very public competition to motivate me.

Until now.

Here is the new goal:

By 2/1/12, I will be down to at least 229 by working out 5 or more times a week and eating at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

I did it.  I said the number. 

Now everyone knows what I weigh.

I know you knew it already, but jeez.  Seeing it in writing, it looks so. . . .big.

Big in that 229 is still a big number. 

But 15 lbs is even bigger.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grocery List

This year, we are having fresh food for Thanksgiving.

Plus canned cranberry sauce. 

No boxes of stuffing.  No instant potatoes.  No jars of gravy.  No cool-whip.


My son wants to try a turducken.

I am sure you all see enough Food Network to know what a turducken is.

Instead of turkey, some people are now enjoying turducken as part of their holiday experience.

It's a duck, inside a chicken, inside a turkey.  Or a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey.  I am pretty sure the turkey is not inside the duck.  Whatever it is, it is a freak of nature and we will have no part of it.

I'm not even eating cool-whip this year.  Turducken?

Forget it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Repost: O to be a child again. . . .

Because I can't think of anything new to say, I looked through old posts to see if I felt like re-posting anything.  This one was posted on August 28, 2010.  Funny how some things have changed and some remain the same. 

Yesterday my 2 older boys stayed home from school. They weren't sick or anything -- Joseph's pet jellyfish were being delivered yesterday, and they wanted to make sure to be home for delivery.

Yeah, we have jellyfish for pets.  (They're dead now.)

After the pets made it into their tank safely, I wanted to work out.

I actually wanted to. Weird, right?

We packed a bag full of toys & books and headed out to V-Fit.

The toys and books amused the boys for 25 seconds.

Hardly anyone was there, so it was OK for them to walk around a bit. I was doing jump squats. Jump squats aren't my favorite. Especially when I have to do 4 sets of 25. Especially when the boys thought the squats looked like fun, so they decided to do it too. (4 setsof 25????  Bwahahahhahahah)

When I do jump squats, I jump-squat-grunt. Sometimes I jump-grunt-squat.  (yeah.  still do that)

When my boys do jump squats, they jump-say WHEE-squat-giggle.Then they say "Look, I can go fast!" and do about 30 in quick succession with perfect form and don't sweat.

Then it was time to do these horrible things where I sit on the floor, balance on my butt, keep my feet 6 inches off the floor, and take a 4 lb medicine ball and weave it in a figure 8 around my legs. When you do it right, it looks really, really smooth. When you've had 3 C-Sections, it doesn't look quite so pretty. (still not pretty)

Plus, it's hard to keep everything in. In other words, I go grunt-weave-pfft-grunt-weave-repeat. The "pfft" part made my boys laugh hysterically. Especially because I have always told them that going pfft is very rude.

Only Daddies go "pfft".

Never mommies. (no comment)

Next I did leg presses on the machine. Luke wanted to sit on my lap, but I said no.

"Is it because it will make you fart again?"

"No! Just go play for 5 minutes, willya?"

Finally it was time to do the pit. My boys love the pit. They run down, say "Chase me Mama!" and scoot back up. Over and over. Laughing and giggling while I wheeze and huff.

"Mama - remember when you were playing with that ball and you farted? That was funny!" said Joe, as if it happened years ago and not just 30 minutes ago.

Finally it was time to leave.

We see Victor on the way out. Victor cut his hair short, which really brings out his big brown eyes, his lantern jaw and shows the sinewy muscles of his neck. Sigh.

Victor says "Hey! How was the work out?!"

Luke says "Mama farted!"

That kid is lucky to still be alive

Monday, November 7, 2011

My First Time With A Girl. . .

I admit it, I was nervous.

Self conscious.

I mean -- she's incredible.  Her name is Clarissa, and she is gorgeous. 

Don't believe me?  She produced this video:

I asked if I was her first, but I'm not. 

I'm glad.  Because I needed someone with experience.

By the end of our first time together, I was panting, sweaty and exhausted -- but strangely exhilarated.

She was cool and confident.

Each time I returned, she coaxed me into doing more.  She showed me how to do it right. 

I never thought I would like it with a girl, but honestly, Clarissa has shattered my defenses.  If I can't have Gabe, I'm glad I have her.

She's the new trainer at V-Fit.

What did you think I was talking about?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wants, Needs, and What We're Getting For Christmas

Christmas is around the corner.

The lists are starting to come in.

"Mom -- I want a DS" ($149). 

"Me too!" ($149)

"Mom -- we need a new portable DVD player" ($99)

"Honey -- we really should replace that computer." ($500) "What we really need for Christmas is for #3 to have his own bed" ($300)  "I need new school shoes" ($50) "Air Conditioner needs to be replaced!" ($3000) "Tuition is due for the big kids" ($605)  "Also, the after care bill" ($140)  "Also #3's daycare" ($460)  "I'm taking Management 5311 next semester.  The university wants $1100 by November if I'm going to get the good rate."  ($1100)  "School Fundraising is due!" ($350) "The Saturn needs new tires!" ($600) "What do you mean our portion of the MRI cost $350?!"($350). . . . .

"They cut my hours again"


I know we are not alone here.  The "I wants" are part of the season.  The "I needs" are part of life.

Funny enough, I am not worried.

Stressed, yes.  Worried, no.

Greg & I have been following Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University since 2006.  If you don't know about Dave, check him out here.

Dave is all about getting out of debt and building wealth.  I hate debt.  I love wealth.

When I first started listening to him, we had about $3,000.00 in credit card debt.  That's a lot.  But I thought that was all the debt we really had.  I couldn't figure out why with both of us working full time, professional jobs, we could never find any "extra" money.

Imagine my surprise when I added up all of our debt and discovered that we actually owed about $96,000.


We had credit card debt, car loans, and student loans.  Oh yeah -- and we have a mortgage -- but that's on top of the $96K.


That was 2006.

As we head into 2012, We owe less than $20K on the student loan, and we still owe about $40K on our house.    That's pretty good progress.  We aren't handling it perfectly. Honestly, if we cut everything to the bone, we could pay off that $60K by 2013. But that would mean public schools for the kids, no school for me, no scouts, no sports, no workouts, no eating in restaurants all year, no nothing.

We could do that. We will do that -- if we have to.

We don't have credit cards anymore.  We don't have car payments.  We bought our last car with cash.  I am paying cash for grad school.  I used to drive a BMW.  Now I drive a Saturn.

We simply don't borrow money.

That's why I am not worried. 

We have a plan.

We have a backup plan too.

Funny enough, when we were $96,000 in debt, we barely gave any money to charity.  Now we are tithers.  That means that 10% of our income goes to our church. 

It might seem like giving 10% of your income away is a stupid thing when you are trying to get out of debt.  Turns out that it is the smartest thing we could have done. 

Once we started tithing, weird things started happening.

Like --I got a better job.  I mean a REALLY better job.  We got pregnant with #3 and he was perfectly healthy despite the fact that the doctors told me I was too old and too fat to have another baby. Greg got a better job.  The debt started shrinking, even though we weren't following the plan perfectly.  Weird.  It gave us. . .peace. 

We know that by the time #1 son finishes high school, we will have ZERO debt including the house.  We'll be in our early 50's.  Young enough to build enough wealth to secure retirement.  Young enough to save enough money to take a big trip to Europe.  Or Asia.  Or Africa.  Or wherever we want to go. 

That's the light at the end of the tunnel that makes me say "no" to things like a DS for a 6 year old. 

We'll have a very merry Christmas anyway.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Past

I dropped Buzz Lightyear off to school this morning.

He was enthusiastically greeted by Spiderman, Batman, about 6 princesses and a zombie. 

Really?  A Zombie?  He's 3 years old for chrissake. 

The sad thing is, I KNOW the Zombie idea was not Caden's.  It was Caden's Daddy.  Or Caden's Mommy's Boyfriend.  Whatever. 

The thing is, I was feeling sorta sorry for myself as I loaded Buzz into the car this morning.

Not sorry -- that's not the right word.  Wistful maybe? 

What do you call it when you see your kids growing and making decisions on their own and not asking or wanting your opinion?  That's the feeling I had this morning.

He's only 3.  Shouldn't I still have SOME influence on his choice of costume?

OK -- we would definitely NOT do Zombies.  Or Vampires.  We still have Veto power.

But the truth is, the choice is his. 

He gets to decide what to be.

That's kinda hard on me.

Because I miss the puppy years.

This is #2 son, not Buzz Lightyear.  But all 3 have been this puppy. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wish I Had a Better Solution

Georgia thinks that this will help end Childhood Obesity.

Maybe it will.

I admit that I may be a wee sensitive on this issue. 

I was a fat kid.  But unlike Bobby's Mom, my mom isn't fat.

Oddly enough, I am fat like Bobby's mom but my kids aren't fat.

There is no question that being fat increases your children's chances of being fat.

I am aware of that EVERY DAY, which is a big reason why my family is so focused on my workout and weight*fucking*watchers regimen.  

I'm all about celebrating the gifts of fat, but fat is one gift I'd rather not pass to my kids.

When I watch the above video, and I see the mom's dejected sigh, my heart breaks for her.

And then there is that charming tag line: Stop Sugar Coating it Georgia. 

Oh I get it.  Sugar.  Because fat people like Sugar.  And High Fructose Corn Syrup.  And Molasses.  mmmmmm.

When I watch that video, I don't hear Bobby's cute voice asking "Mom, why am I fat?"

I hear a mean kid saying "Hey Fatty!  Your kids are fat because you're so fat, Fatty.  So stop being so fat you big fat Fatso!"

I kinda think that's what Bobby's mom heard too.  Because she sure looks like someone hurt her.  It hurts Bobby's mom that he is fat too.  She didn't want that for him.

But she doesn't know what to do about it.

She knows he needs to be more active.  She knows he needs to get a lot more exercise.

She just doesn't know how to make that happen.

She buys healthy food, but she also has snacks in the house.  Sometimes she doesn't buy snacks.  But if there is nothing snacky in the house, she seems to drive through McDonald's a lot more.

Bobby is at school most of the day, then after care.  She picks him up at 5:30 or 6:00, which is the earliest she can get away from the office.  Her husband has started dinner, but he just got back from the office, so he makes a pan of frozen lasagna.  They eat it with a salad.  But Bobby won't eat his lettuce.  They argue, and finally he eats some of his salad. Bobby is still hungry after dinner, so they let him have another piece of lasagna.  They figure it's better than giving him dessert.  They don't always eat dessert at their house.  Weekends usually.

By the time dinner is over, dishes are washed, homework is done. . . it's dark.  Too dark to go out to play.  Plus, dad is so tired.  So he and Bobby play a couple of video games before bath and bed.

Bobby's mom knows the family needs to do SOMETHING about their health.

She knows.

And then the State of Georgia calls her son a big fat fatty and tells her that Bobby is a fatso because she is a fat ugly whale.  At least, that's what I heard.  And then they say "Oh, we don't mean to be unkind, but you are fat and so is your kid and we don't like it.  Fatso."

Hope it helps, Georgia. 

You fucking inbred rednecks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Halloween

I hope I see a lot of Harry Potters this Halloween.  And Cinderellas.  And Storm Troopers. 

I hope to find a Barack Obama and maybe even a Nancy Pelosi.  (Scary!)

I hope to see bumblebees and fairy princesses.  I hope to see dinosaurs and pumpkins. 

Buzz.  Woody.  Jesse. 

Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

Snow White.  Maybe a witch.  A ghost or two would be good.

I can even stand Bella, Edward & Jacob, although I am not generally a fan.

Skeletons, vampires and even a devil.

That would be a great Halloween.

So far, however, I've seen some costumes I never want to see again.

Like 8 year olds dressed as bloody zombies and Freddy Kruger.

Or 13 year olds dressed as Stripper versions of Bo-Peep.

A tween dressed as a "hippie" wearing a micro-mini skirt, thigh high stockings and high heeled go go boots.  Hippies didn't dress like that.  I looked it up.

I am sick of Sexy Nurse costumes, sexy maid costumes, sexy anything.  Tired of bloody, violent, angry monsters and other nightmares. 

To me, those are costumes for grownups.

Not for kids who are barely in high school. 

Or younger.

Happy Halloween 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Like a Virgin

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I work out at V-Fit Studio.  You know that Gabe "The Silent Assassin" is my primary trainer and the studio is owned by Victor.

Handsome Victor.  Dreamy Victor. Victor the Giver

Vic the Basterd. 

Last week, Gabe wasn't feeling well, so I did my workout with Vic.  Vic, true to form, came up with a deceptively simple workout, then made me do 10 sets.  With suicides in between.  TEN sets.

Gabe only makes me do 5.

What the hell, it was only for a day.  Besides, Victor is funny, and he flirts, and he laughs at all my jokes.  It didn't hurt that bad. 

Then on Tuesday, Gabe is still not in, so Victor helps me again.  He gives me 10 lb weights and tells me what to do. 

I say "Actually, Gabe has me use 12 lbs on this one".

Victor smiles and says "trust me".

Uh oh.

Victor has an interesting new regimen. 

Low weight, high reps, no rest, many many many sets.

Many many MANY sets.

And no rest in between.


My arms are sore.  Not the pang of muscles pushed hard for a long time.  Not the sore that I get after Gabe puts me through my paces. 

My arms are sore as in I-have-never-worked-out-my-whole-life-and-I-think-I-overdid-it-my-first-time sore.  My muscles burned so much you could have lit a cigar with my shoulder. 

Haven't I been working out for OVER A YEAR?

Haven't I been doing things I could NEVER do before?  Like push ups from my toes, dips, walkouts and don't forget the Around-the-Fucking-Worlds.  Haven't I participated in TWELVE 5Ks?  Didn't I just WIN the CHALLENGE??????????????

Apparently, all that is behind me.

It would be OK if it was just for a day or two, while Gabe is out.

Apparently, Gabe is going to open the new facility on the Island.

Gabe got promoted.


I mean, good for Gabe!  He deserves it!

So I get Victor.  Dreamy, Handsome, Sadistic Victor.

And I'm starting all over again.

Vic. And Gabe.  I know they are good looking, but DAMMIT!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Put the FUN back in Fundraising!

Who wants Popcorn?  Wrapping Paper?  Scentsy candles?  Bar-B-Q?  Car Wash? 

How about children's books?  School photos?  Pie?  Cookie Dough?

Christmas Ornaments?  Waffles?  Jewelry?

Cookbooks? Candy? Coupon Books?

Raffle tickets?  Magazines?  Donuts?  Tupperware?

Fundraising season is upon us.

I am not opposed to fundraising.  I sit on several boards and I see budgets.  I know that the funds being raised are needed.  It's frustrating, because costs are so high.  We pay a lot of money for our older kids to go to Catholic School.  We pay a lot of money for #3 son to attend a decent daycare.  We also want to participate in Scouts, Karate, Soccer and other fun activities. 

The fact is, if these organizations charged what it cost to run the operation, most people couldn't afford it. 

We already had to cut music lessons and school lunches for our kids.  We just can't afford it any more.

I was going to make this a witty post about selling schmaltzy stuff.

But then I realized how much the organizations that I count on need the money.

Now I'm depressed.

Wonder if it's too late to buy more popcorn.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lustful Dreams

Zap again.  And drool.
But the platforms in my price range all look like stripper shoes.

shoe carnival
also shoe carnival.

Anyone know where I can find cute, non-slutty platforms for less than $75?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Envelope Please. . .

As you may know, I recently competed in a friendly competition with some other community leaders to help bring about increased fitness awareness in our community.

Friendly my ass.  I wanted to win.

It was tough.

For one thing, Victor and Gabe are sadistic basterds who think up exercises like around the world and make me do things like dips.  I love those sadistic basterds, but still.  Dips. 

For another, my competitors included people like Tony.  And Mary.  And Robert.  And Kirby. And Megan.

It was tough.

My partner was Julia.  Julia is a dark haired beauty who works with children.  She is gentle and kind.  She is friendly and smiling.  Fortunately, she is also focused and unstoppable. 

Julia jogged to the bootcamp, worked out as hard as she could, then jogged back home.  Julia worked out 6 or 7 days a week, and then in her spare time played kickball.  Julia was the best partner ever.

At the end of the challenge, I lost 14 lbs, a  percentage of body fat and several inches off my waist, hips, thighs, arms and most of all -- boobs.  At the end of the challenge, Julia had arms like Michelle Obama's. 

Between the two of us, we lost 30lbs, 17inches & 6.9% body fat.  Overall the V Fit Challenge Teams lost 84 lbs, 66 inches and an average of 6.7% Body Fat.

This is one contest where everyone who finishes is a winner. 

I'm not being trite -- I mean it.  I didn't take top prize last year, but participating in the 2010 challenge was one of the highlights of my year.  It started me on a path I never expected to follow.  It made me strong and healthy and gained me lots of friends.

So I am not lying when I say that Tony emerged a winner just for competing.  And Mary.  And Robert. And Kirby.  And Megan. And everyone else that participated.  All of them are winners.

As for me & Julia, we both felt it was an honor just to compete.

Vic announced the winners on October 8th. 

Drumroll please. . . . . .

Kirby, Julia, Caitlin & me.  It was a 70's workout.  Shaddap.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011



I love writing this blog and I love that so many people read and comment on it.  So cool.

Ideally, I would blog 3-4 times a week.

Lately, I got nuthin'.


Nothing inspiring, nothing bitchy, nothing tacky and worst of all -- nothing funny.

I hate that. 

Ah well.  I'll try again tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you have an idea for me to blog about, feel free to post your idea.  I need a creative nudge!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Subtracting Ads

Blogger has this feature called Ad Sense where bloggers can agree to have ads posted on their blogs. That way, blog readers can learn about great products and features and bloggers can earn millions of dollars. And since there is nothing wrong with my life that a million bucks can't fix, I signed up. 

I'm still about $999,998.21 shy of a million bucks.

After having Ad Sense on my blog for about 6 months, I only accrued about a buck and some change in ad revenue.


It could be because I don't have enough readers.

Or it could be that all  my readers are too cheap smart to buy things from blog ads.

It's probably because Ad Sense notes key words on your blog and posts ads that seem to be related to your topics.  Consequently, the only ads I seemed to attract were ads for Weight Watchers (who I hate) and Jillian Michaels (who I also hate).  Telling my readers how much I hate these products is not the most effective way to earn ad revenue.

Know who I love?  V-Fit

If you want to spend money to get fit, don't spend it at Weight-Fucking-Watchers or Jillian-Horseface-Michaels.  Spend it at V-Fit.  Skype workouts are available.  And really, really, hard.  And really, really effective. 

I won't earn any ad revenue, but at least I know that all of my 81 wonderful readers will have access to the best. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


OMG!  I am so excited!

Read THIS.


Isn't Nicki awesome???!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I am a blog writer, but mostly I am a blog reader.

There are some amazingly talented writers out there.  Some don't even mean to be great writers -- they just are.  Case in point:  Andi at Bitchy Pants.  Andi's writing touches your heart.

Some are writers IRL and share their talent FOR FREE on the blogosphere.  Niki at The Loaded Handbag is a writer and photographer and all-around creative renaissance woman.  (God bless you Spell Check.)  Nicki's writing touches your soul.

Some are just regular folks who like to make me laugh.  At least I think that is their goal in life.  Like Al at Penwasser Place.  The more I read Al the more I wish he lived next door.  Maybe Al would actually mow his lawn, which would be a double benefit.

The thing is, as wonderful as these blogs are, I can't always comment on them.

Not that I don't always HAVE comments on them.  I just can't do it.  Blogger won't let me.

It's probably because I am reading at home.  When I comment at work, I rarely have problems.  Not that I read blogs while I am at WORK you understand.  I don't.  Much.

As a blogger, I know how valuable comments are.  I live for comments.  When I write something  I think is funny, I check it over and over to see if someone left a comment. 

I read two great posts today.  I really need to comment, but the settings won't let me.  So I am going to comment here:

Penwasser Place
You think THOSE are man boobs?  I need to introduce you to my dad. 

The Loaded Handbag
First of all. . . .I LUV YOU NICKI!  Your summer photos make me want to pack up and move to Boston today.  I can taste the cucumbers and smell the flowers.  Summer in South Texas is like winter in Chicago.  There comes a time when you have to get inside and stay there for weeks. 

Finally, I love you a little bit more today because of the red beads with the Cat in the Hat top.  Accessories are what separates us from the lesser animals. 

So Al, Nicki, Grams, Scout, Miss Sweet Tea and all my other blogpals - - I am reading.  Please keep writing!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dr. Phil Pissed Me Off

I don't normally care about Dr. Phil.

But he really made me mad yesterday.

I was actually kinda liking him, because my favorite fave-fave waiter-blogger, The Bitchy Waiter was on his show Monday.  That was cool.

I don't think BW got any money for his appearance.  I know they flew him to LA.  Coach. 

But yesterday?

Yesterday Dr. Phil's guests were the Anthony's. 

Remember them?  The people who didn't love their daughter well enough to teach her that she shouldn't neglect her baby?  The ones who didn't love their daughter well enough to help her be a good mom?  The ones who perjured themselves?

Remember how we weren't going to support them making millions off of the story of their horrible parenting?

Remember how we all posted on our facebook and blogs and other media how we weren't going to support that?

Dr. Phil had them on his show yesterday.  And I'm betting he gave them more than airfare on Southwest to appear.

Shame on you Dr. Phil!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Need a New Bucket

I have 3 more 5Ks to run before I finish my goal of 1 5K every month for the year.


I like 5Ks.  They are fun.  They are hard for me.  I feel like I've accomplished something when I finish one.

I don't LOVE 5Ks. 

I haven't gotten much faster since I started.  Hell -- I haven't gotten any faster. 

In 2012, I am not going to run a 5K every month.

I AM going to run Beach to Bay, because B2B is the ultimate.  I will run anything that my guys at V-Fit put on.

But 1 a month?  Nah.

Which begs the question:  what is my fitness goal next year?

Don't tell me to do a 10K, 1/2 Marathon or Marathon.  No thanks.

I do need to accomplish something though.

Something hard for me. 

Something that I have to work on all year long.

Something I can blog about.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Big Mouth

When I was 5 my neighbor Mike was being mean to me. 

In order to get back at him, I said in my sternest Olive Oyl voice:  "You. . .you. . you . . .BRUTE!"

"Shut up Big Mouth" was his reply.

My mother heard us fussing and told me to be kind to Mike.

"Shut up Big Mouth" was my reply.  (Hey -- it worked for Mike). 

Of course, I got a spanking.  A spanking I remember 40 years later.  Don't ever tell my mom to shut up.  Also, don't call her a bitch. . .but that's a story from the teen files. 

Here's the thing.  Mike was right.

I am a Big Mouth.

I have no inner filter.  If it comes in my head, I say it.

I am the person who says what everyone else is thinking but has the good sense to keep it to themselves.

When my leadership group used a cartoon of 6 kids in a spaceship as a "symbol" of our team, I pointed to the redhead & said "This is me".  I pointed to the cute black girl & said "This one is [Black friend's name]!".  Everyone else looked embarrassed.  I don't know why they were embarrassed.  [Black friend] knows she's black.  She also knows she's cute. 

I guess it wasn't polite. 

Yesterday I was at a "town hall" meeting of sorts.  The goal of the meeting was to openly discuss issues at work.  The meeting was run by the President of the College.  The President of the College is the most awesomest awesome guy in the world next to Greg A.  I love this guy like a brother.  He is an incredible friend and leader and mentor. 

He also has had a really tough year.  If you've read the newspapers at all last year, you know that FY 2010/2011 was a tough year for higher ed.  It was a horrible year, but at least we had him at the helm.  He made the hard decisions that needed to be made.  He protected the staff as much as he could.  When someone needed to take the fire, he took it.

The last thing I want to do is make his life harder.

The meeting was attended by lots of people.  All of them care about our organization.  Some of them don't like the decisions that have been made.  They haven't been shy about venting their spleens via the organization-wide e-mail system.  They have a right to make themselves heard.  Open and candid discussion is important.  I truly believe this.

I also believe that words are powerful and that the words one chooses to use have an impact.

In other words, there is a way to complain without whining.

Unfortunately, group e-mails at our organization tend to be less about constructive criticism and more about anger.

When I mentioned something along those lines in the town hall meeting, I should have chosen my words more carefully.

Or maybe I should have just kept it to myself.

I'm sorry Dr. E!  I didn't mean to open the can of worms.  I didn't mean to make things harder on you. 

I'm such a Big Mouth.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The winner is:

"Anonymous said...

Yeah...stoopid skype! hahahahaha!!! We live in a world were big brother is always watching and as it turns out, can make you work out too. The guys a VFit are kinda scarey on the occasion but danggit, I look past that cause they are so cute! I know you do too!!!! Thanks so much for being a cheerleader for everyone all the time. I read your blogs because I can relate, I get what you are talking about and I feel like you do. You just let EVERYONE thanks for everything. Now...let's go get some Mexican food...we can Skype it off later."

If you left me this comment, e-mail me here by 9/18/11 & I will get you your FREE SKYPE SESSION!

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1

Max: 6

Result: 1

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time Management

I am busy.

I have a husband & 3 kids. 
I work full time (where I take occasional blog breaks.).
I am in graduate school.
I workout.
I teach CCD.

and now. . .

I am a Scout Mom.

I am a big believer in Scouting.  I think the Eagle Scout program is an incredible leadership experience and will benefit my boys for life.  I really, really, really, really want them to be Eagle Scouts.

I won't FORCE them to be Eagles.  That would be counter productive.

But I will do anything I can to help them be Eagles.

It's gonna take some time.

Sometimes, I am so busy, I feel sorry for myself. 

Oh poor me.

Then I invariably meet someone who puts my schedule to shame. 

Like Pam.

Pam (not her real name) also has boys in Scouts.  She is also working on her Ph.D, works full time, and -- get this -- she is a ROOM MOTHER.


Don't you know that the only thing keeping me from being a room mother is my BUSY SCHEDULE?

I truly appreciate room mothers.  I just don't ever want to be one.

Don't forget to enter the SKYPE-WORKOUT GIVEAWAY!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Miracle of the Internet. . .(and the coolest GOF giveaway EVER)

I was in Austin last week.

For work.

So I couldn't work out.

Or so I thought.

I thought that since I was in Austin for work, I would have to get together with my colleagues, eat rich Mexican food and order dessert.  Because it is a BUSINESS trip.  And also, I would not be able to work out.


It's important.

So when I told Gabe that I couldn't come to the gym on Monday, I had on my very saddest sad face.  Poor me.  Have to work.  With Mexican food and dessert.  (Flan.  Yum).  Or maybe Italian and tiramisu.  But it's for WORK. 

Gabe saw through my saddest sad face and said "I can Skype you".

Blink blink.


I love Skype.  It allows me to talk to my friends and family far away and Gabe knows this.  I love Skype almost as much as Facebook, and that's a lot.

Apparently Skype can also be used to schedule a one on one appointment with your trainer for anywhere in the world.

Stoopid Skype.

Then I thought -- how hard can a Skype workout be?  I won't have any weights with me.  I won't have any equipment.  A few jumping jacks and that should do it, right?

Ummmm.. . no.

We started our workout with Leg Cranks.  (24 squats, 24 lunges, 24 jump squats, 24 jump lunges).  Five sets.  Then 5 sets of walk-outs. . . I may have mentioned those before.  Lots and lots of sets of bicycle crunches.  (don't ask). 

After 30 minutes, I was just as out of breath and soaking wet as I always am after working with Gabe.  Only this time, all I had to drink was the $10 of bottled water they put in the room.

And. . .since I did a brutal and sweaty workout, when I went for my Mexican feast, I ordered carne asada tacos on corn tortillas and charro beans.  No cheese.  No enchiladas.  No flan. I looked it up on Weight-fucking-Watchers.  The whole meal was only 10 points.  I only had about 6 chips before dinner too. 

I didn't mean to make sensible food choices, I swear.

Stoopid Skype.

Here's my giveaway:

Because of stoopid Skype, you too can workout with my friends at V-Fit.  Even if you live in Pakistan!  (Hi Mariam!)

For my give away, I will give the winner one 30 minute Skype workout with V-Fit.  All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog.  Not on facebook, not on my e-mail. 

I will announce the winner next Friday (September 9, 2011).

You should totally enter. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Repost: Tenacity

Originally posted June 2010:

For some reason, I hate to be told I can't do something.

It's childish, really.

But it has worked to my advantage.

My mom used to tell me "not to feel bad" if I tried something & failed. "Don't feel bad if you don't get picked for the team", "Don't feel bad if you don't get asked to the dance", "Don't feel bad if you don't win the election". . . .When I tried & failed, she usually would say "You didn't want to do that anyway", or "He'll never amount to anything anyway", or "They are all stuck up."

But when I tried & succeeded, she was always excited . . . . and surprised.

Because Mom thought that fat girls couldn't do everything thin girls could do. She never said so, and I am sure she would deny it even now. My mom loves me. When I hurt, she hurt. It's not that she didn't believe in me, she was just trying to spare me pain & humiliation.

But for some reason, pain & humiliation never bothered me much. I guess I was used to it.

I knew I would never get anywhere by relying on my looks, my brains, or my connections. I'm attractive, but not beautiful; bright, but not brilliant; and I'm not exactly an A-lister.

But I'm funny. And I don't give up.

One of my favorite quotes is something I found in a sales journal years ago:

Don't Quit.

Is that what you want to do? Quit?

It takes no talent, it takes no guts.

It is exactly what your adversaries want you to do.

So get your facts straight.

Know what you are talking about.

And keep going.

I don't know who wrote it, but I have never forgotten it.

My other favorite quote is from Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

So, I don't quit.

When I was 16, I worked for Osco Drugs. It was supposed to be a great job. I made more than minimum wage, I was inside, didn't have to mop floors or serve food. But I hated that job. The management was vile. There was one little man who made it his personal mission to belittle & insult the teenagers who worked there.

I hated it so much, that I used to wish I'd get hit by a car on my way to work so I wouldn't have to go in. (psycho, right?). For some reason, I felt I couldn't quit until I worked there at least six months.

As soon as I hit six months, I quit and went to work at Showbiz Pizza Place. (It was a precursor to Chuck E. Cheese). I worked at Showbiz for about 3 years, making pizzas, mopping floors, dressing up like Billy Bob Bear for the birthday parties.

It was WAY better than working at Osco.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Seriously -- About Irene. . .

Hurricanes SUCK.

I have lived in Texas since 1997.

Every year, a hurricane threatens our shores.  Every year, we evacuate.  Every year, we come back to boarded up windows, a few downed tree branches and no damage.

Every year, we've been lucky.

If you are in the "cone of uncertainty" get out.  Head inland.  Take your kids, your photos and your pets.  Leave.

I hope nothing gets damaged but your wallet. 

I hope in a couple of days I can post about how "the media" LOVES to prep for hurricanes.  They love the 24 hour coverage, the dire warnings, the duh duh DUMMMMM music.

I'm going to wait until after tho.

God bless.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jealous of Irene

Hurricane Irene is threatening the East Coast.

It is frightening and potentially damaging.

I pray that there are no lives lost and that the property damage is minimal.

I also pray that Irene decides that the east coast isn't what it's cracked up to be and decides to come to Texas.

How effed up is that?

We are SO DRY here that I am praying for a hurricane.

I HATE hurricanes.

At least I did.

Now I hate droughts. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Intervention

After a killer-owie Leadership Workout on Saturday, a couple of fellow sufferers joined me for breakfast.

We spent much of the time gloating about how well we did on our stats that morning.  Victor did a mid-challenge weigh in.  As a group we lost over 50 lbs!  That's as much as last year's group did FOR THE WHOLE CHALLENGE! 

We're a little excited about it.

Excited enough to go to breakfast.

Not excited enough to get french toast though.  My breakfast had spinach in it.  Yeah.  I still wanna win.

One of my companions complimented me on my journey.  She also gave to to me straight.

"You have to get rid of the skort". 

The other girls nodded silently in agreement. 

"But I love my skort!  I can exercise without looking as if I've peed my pants!"

"I know", she said gently.  "I know you like it.  But it doesn't look good on you.  It's time to let it go."

I wanted to scream and cry and tell her she was wrong! wrong! wrong! wrong!  There is nothing wrong with the skort!  I can put it away anytime I want to.

But in my heart, I knew she was right.

The skort was a crutch.

How can I criticise other people's unfortunate fashion choices if I am going to continue to wear the skort? 

I would be living a lie.

Thanks to my good friends Mary, Rachel & Megan, I got the courage I needed to put the skorts -- all three of them -- in the Goodwill bag.

Goodbye dear friend!  *Sniff!*

And thank you!

The skort saw me through tire tosses

Suicides.  And burpees.

70's day

I'll never forget the day we danced

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fun and Pains

I never shoulda told Gabe I could do push ups from my toes.

When you can do push ups from your toes, you are eligible for lots of other fun exercises. 

Like "walk-outs".  Walk-outs start from a standing position.  Then you bend down, touch the floor, walk your hands out to a push-up position, do a goddam push up, then walk your hands back to your toes, then stand up.  I get to do 4 sets of 10.  Or 15, depending on what else Gabe has for me.

You also get to do planks.  A plank is a push up position held in place for a period of time.  Gabe says it's only 60 seconds but I think he meant 60 MINUTES.  Because that's how it feels.  Sometimes, just for fun, Gabe puts a 25lb weight on my back as I plank.  I am not lying. 

Today we did a fun one.

Around the World!

Doesn't that sound cute?  Doesn't it evoke images of happy children in national costume holding hands and dancing in a circle?  Doesn't it make you think of exotic places with women in colorful fabrics handing you glasses of the local refreshment?  It makes one think of fun drinking games and nights of hilarity.  Around the World.  How delightful.

I think a more appropriate name would be "Circle of Agony". 

To do an Around the World, you begin in a plank position.  Then you do a push up.  Then you walk your hands a few degrees to the left - or right, depending on which hemisphere Gabe is working on -- and do another push up.  The you move your hands a few more degrees, push up, walk hands, push up and so it goes until you have turned a full 360 degrees. 

You may have heard the expression "Horses sweat, Men perspire and Ladies glisten."  My glistening left a perfectly round mark in the carpet that won't dry for a few more days. 

I bet next week Gabe makes me do a variation he'll call "Mary-Go-Round".  An "Around the World" with Victor standing on my ass.

I just hope he takes his shoes off first.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Not His Fault

Ever since I started working out in July 2010, the team at V-Fit has challenged me.

Every day it's harder.

Every day I am stronger.

Gabe, known as "The Silent Assassin", has a knack for getting me to try things I NEVER would have considered on my own.

So when I got home from my workout on Monday, I wasn't surprised that I was a little sore.  Nothing major -- I could just tell that I had worked out.

Tuesday morning, however, I was really sore. 

My back was stiff and painful. 

Nevertheless, I had kids to get to school and a job to get to. 

When I got to work, I had my morning coffee, laughing to my coworkers that Gabe had once again kicked my butt.

The coffee made my stomach a little bubbly.  That happens sometimes.

But my back was really really sore.  Owie and sore and hurty. 

And my arms were stiff too.  Gabe had me do several push ups with one hand on a medicine ball.  Very good for the chest.  I stretched, joked to my friends that I shoulda worn Bengay instead of Chanel No. 5. 

My coffee tummy was worse.  It made me break a rule.  (Technically, I didn't break the rule because no one was in there.  But still.)

I spent my busy day attending meetings and whining to anyone about how hard my workout was.  Because my back hurt.  My arms were sore.  My chest was owie!  My legs were stiff and achy. My hair hurt.

Wait.  Gabe didn't workout my hair.

When I got home, my head was aching.  My stomach still bubbly.  I didn't want dinner. Everything hurt -- including my hair and my fake nails. 

I went to bed.

I stayed there for 18 hours.

Then I felt LOTS better!

No more back pain.  Arms, chest & legs - fine.  Hair - messy, but pain free.  Tummy -- hungry. 

So it wasn't Gabe's fault that I felt so miserable.

I had the flu.

Hmmmm. . . kinda scary that I didn't know the difference, doncha think?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Week With My Boys

Since school started this week, I decided to take last week off and just spend it with my kids. 

It didn't hurt that keeping them home saved us $250 in camp fees.

We went to the Aquarium, the water park, the arcade, the beach and got raspas almost every day.  (Raspa is Tex-Mex for Snow-Cone).  We went to the movies, and hosted a small dinner party where the guest of honor was one of our beloved priests. 

We also got haircuts, bought school shoes, and had the pre-school physical.

Two observations:

1.  SAHMs are rock-stars.  I haven't been so tired in I don't know when. 

2.  The mundane was as fun -- or more fun -- than the "events". 

There is just something cool about watching a 6 year old put on a new pair of tennies.  (Sneakers, gym shoes, I don't know whachacallem.  Tennies.)   Remember when new tennies made you jump higher, run faster and stop on a dime? 

I had to giggle when the 3 year old looked at his new haircut and exclaimed "I'm handsome! Right, Mama?"

I was proud of my 10 year old for helping his brothers navigate public restrooms, crowded aquariums and kept them entertained while I did my (almost) daily workouts. 

All in all, it was a great week.

God, I need a nap.

The boys with our guests -- Father Pat, Declan & John.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Competition Intensifies

We're already in week 4 for this year's Leadership Fitness Challenge.

Last year's challenge was amazing.  Humbling.  Eye opening.  Enriching.  My favorite part of last year's challenge was the people it brought into my life.  Vic.  Gabe.  Ricky. Scott.  Mary.  So many others.

Mary is the leader for Spohn Hospital.  She, Scott & I are the only three of the original LFC that worked out with Vic all year.  We are the only 3 back in this year's LFC.  Mary's team won the challenge last year. They earned it -- I gotta give her that.

Mary and I have a lot more in common than first names. We both went to University of Wisconsin and we have the same birthday. Weird, right? Mary is funny and beautiful and smart and successful and she works out so hard. Apparently she also was a size 24 not too long ago, although you'd never know it to look at her now. Mary and I are now friends. Real friends. Let's-grab-lunch friends.

Mary and her awesome husband Ron have a beautiful daughter named Rachel who works out with us, and who is also one of my kiddos' favorite babysitters. (They also love a beautiful blond girl named Natasha. I think my boys already love blonds. Should I worry?) Anyway - I love Mary to pieces.

I really, really, really want to beat Mary in this year's challenge.

I have a good start. For one thing, my partner this year is AWESOME. Her name is Julia and she is SO committed. Julia works for a part of the college that I rarely get to see -- our Early Childhood Development department. Julia is just the kind of person you would want working with your kids -- smiling, gentle, kind. Beneath that glowing exterior, however, beats the heat of a tiger. She works out almost every day -- and get this: she RUNS to the studio and then she RUNS home. I can already tell that her arms are defining, her waist has whittled and she is glowing strength and fitness. With a partner like that, don't I have it in the bag?

I'm not counting my chickens.

For one thing, this year we have A LOT of really committed people.  Kirby.  Megan.  Luisa.  Caitlin.  Jason. Robert.  Yoli.  Any of these incredible people have a chance of bringing it home.

But Mary is playing dirty.  Mary has Tony.


Tony will not be easy to beat.

Not easy to beat at all.

Tony is big. Tony is strong. Tony is funny and smart and likable. Dammit.

Tony is like many of us who have hit our forties -- he put on a bit of weight (which is rapidly coming off), his joints are a little creaky, and working out was pretty foreign to him until Mary enlisted him as her partner.

But Mary knew what she was doing. Tony isn't your run of the mill work-out-for-a-few-weeks-lose-some-weight-and-call-it-a-day kind of guy.  Tony is a I-am-going-to-win-even-if-it-kills-me kind of guy.

Tony works out until it hurts and then he works out some more. Tony keeps us laughing throughout the workout -- I think it's a strategy to weaken our focus. Tony has been sticking to the diet plan religiously and already has lost over 10 lbs.  He is getting smaller and stronger by the day.

Tony has become my buddy.  How could I not like him?  He's from Chicago for Chrissake.  He's like a brother to me.  Tony reminds me of where I started a year ago.  In spite of myself, I really, really want Tony to do well.

That's what scares me. 

If I am going to beat Mary, I hafta beat Tony.

It won't be easy. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Stupid Article About Why We're All So Fat. . .

A friend sent me this article by Zinczenko & Goulding on the habits that make people fat.  Kinda like it.  Kinda hate it.  Mostly hate it.

Habits 1-4 are pretty standard.  Nothing too controversial.  Get enough sleep, don't eat the free chips at Mexican restaurants. 

I was excited to see that habit  # 5 - Drinking pop -- even diet pop -- is a fat-producing habit.  O.M.G.  This is so me I can't even believe it.  I have said this for ages.   I drink WAY too much pop.  I drink pop like my mom smokes cigarettes.  It's definitely a bad habit!

Habits 6,7,8. . .yada yada yada.

But then we get to habit 9 - Ordering Combo Meals.  This is the Happy Meal Debate all over again.  Ordering combo meals does not make you fat.  Eating combo meals makes you fat.  There is a difference.

Habit 10 - Facing the buffet.  Sigh.  Look -- I know that most buffets are filled with fat people.   But most fat people DO NOT GO TO BUFFETS.  Seriously.  We don't. You are beginning to piss me off.

Habits 11-15.  Nothing notable.

Then we get to Habit 16.

Having fat friends makes you fat.  

Wait -- WHAT?

So. . . my friend is fat because I am fat?  Or I am fat because she is fat?  What if she was fat when I met her?  Is it our other friend's fault?  WHAT?

Zinczenko & Goulding suggest "Rather than ditch a friend who starts to put on a few extra pounds though, suggest healthy activities that you can do together, and avoid letting him or her dictate the meal (“Let’s split the cheesecake!”) 

Nothing says "I'm your friend!" like judging someones eating.

What, exactly is "dictating the meal"?  "Hmmmmm. . .gee Michelle, I know you wanted the Buddha's Feast, but get the Kung Pao Chicken instead, OK?  I'll be your best friend!"

I notice that in order to give credence to this premise, they quote research in the New England Journal of Medicine.  PrestigiousI went to the New England Journal of Medicine to read the research for myself. 

I found a synopsis of an article that I think they're using as data.  The NEJoM synopsis does not list friends as a contributing factor, but the full text might.  The full text of the article costs $15.  I didn't buy it since $15 is roughly the cost of 12 Coke Zeros (which are keeping me fat, damn them!).  If Zinczenko & Goulding used a different piece to justify their claim, I hope they will let me know.

I took stats last semester.  Zinczenko & Goulding claim that having fat friends "ups your chance of obesity by 57 percent."   If you look at the data in the NEJoM article, however, "other lifestyle factors associated with weight gain" are P<0.001.  That is a very very small number.  So my question is, 57% of what? 

Could Zinczenko & Goulding be using the NEJoM's prestigious data to shock, amaze or enrage their readers?  Look, I get it.  You sell diet books and you want to sell more of them.  By hurting and insulting fat people with your prestigious "research", you might be able to sell a few more.