Thank you for dropping by!

I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.





Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Dirty, Little Secret

If you read my Facebook updates, talk to me, know me at all, I have a pretty good life.  I have a career that I am passionate about, a fun husband and two amazing- and I mean amazing- kids.  I even like my mother-in-law.  Still, I was surprised a few weeks ago, when one of my closest friends commented that she was jealous.

Wow.

Jealous of me? 

I was stunned.

Yes, my life is good, but it is definitely far from perfect.  I think the fact that I'm a generally optimistic person has a lot to do with people's perceptions.  I also don't post my dirty laundry on Facebook (although, a big thank you to those of you who do-- it's like a live Jerry Springer episode for some folks- hugely entertaining.  Here's a heads up- if you're changing your relationship status more than once a month from 'single' or 'it's complicated' to 'in a relationship', you're not in love, you're just sleeping with a whole bunch of people for all the world to see.  No need to announce it.  Just a suggestion.).

But my world is not altogether perfect.  In fact, there is a major flaw.

So here it is cyberworld... my dirty, little secret...

I am fat.

What?  You already knew that?

But how? I  hide it so well in giant, oversized, single colored sweaters.

No?

Crap.

Actually, I already knew that.  I've always joked that the downside of being fat is that people can see your "issue"- heroin, I might be able to hide.

But aren't I a jolly, happy fat person?

Heck no.

There are no happy, fat people.  I'm here to tell you that.  Yes, some people may convince themselves that they are pleasantly plump, but they are full of crap.  Utterly.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that a little junk in the trunk is a bad thing.  I know that you can't make a pug look like a doberman.  I was born with hips.  I don't mind being curvy.  I really, really mind being fat, however.  Especially obesity.  PERIOD.  It will kill you.

It's not even the fat part that REALLY bothers me.  I honestly have never been obsessed with looks.  I'm happily married, my kids love me- I'm good.  What bothers me about it is that I know better.  I absolutely know better. 

If you knew me in college, I was perpetually on my way to the gym or on a walk.  I believe that without health and fitness, the rest doesn't matter.  I know this. 

I would also like to point out that I do not carry weight well at all.  I am not big boned (unless there is a giant, undiscovered bone in my butt).  I wear a size 4 1/2 ring.  Even now.  (I have taken it off and given it to many skinny friends who have questioned this and watched their faces, in shock, as my ring gets stuck at their knuckle, horrifying them into realizing fatness could happen to them, too).  I have a friend that is my height.  She weighed 165.  She wore a 6-8.  At 165, I'm in a tight 16.  I have fluffy fat, apparently.  I have the cotton candy equivalent of fat.  I have always looked heavier than I was.  Which really sucked.

But now, I really AM that fat.  Ick.

No, make that obese.

I have read enough diet books to become a nutritionist or a personal trainer.  I get it.

Sorta.

I mean I get that more calories in than out is a bad thing.  I know that I didn't gain it overnight (well, 14 pounds I did gain in a week- hormone thing).  I also know that if the apocalypse were to come tomorrow, my metabolism would outlast the cockroaches.  Woo hoo!  That's something to look forward to!!

I started reading a book a few days ago called "If I'm So Smart, Why Am I Fat?"  Wow.  It's not a diet book.  It's like it was written for me.  It skims over the obvious stuff- quick lists on good food, encourages exercise, but it's a completely different approach.  It gets to the why behind how I got in this position in the first place. Yes, part of it was a sedentary job, a switch from tea to coffee (those little creamers add), but it's really about not prioritizing my health.

If I had to draw a pie chart of Me over the years it would start like this- the 20 year old me:




Now, the pie is sliced up a bit more....


And I'm not complaining.  There's not one thing in my pie that I don't love.  And I loves me some pie.

However, I've apparently been squeezing in "health and fitness" and now there's no place to squeeze it in.

Well, there is.

And that's the point of this book.

Without making it a priority, I'm dead in the water. And I just learned to swim.

What I loved about this book- and I'm still reading through it- is it addresses all those "other" issues that so many trainers and doctors have poo-poo'd.  The why's.  Let's face it, if it really was just about diet and exercise, we'd all be thin.  The Biggest Losers wouldn't gain most of their weight back.  And they do.  Nearly all of them.   That's crazy.

It's about being conscious, being aware and making it part of the pie.  Right now, I can honestly say, I haven't.  Unless it's Marie Callendar's Chocolate Satin... wait... here I go again...

And it's not like I haven't tried.  One of my best friends who's an avid cyclist, went to a spin class with me a few years back.  Half way through, sweat pouring off both of us, she turned to me and said "Well, it's not like you're dialing it in."  Nope.  I think I've probably lost over 100 pounds in the last 10 years.  Sadly, I've found them all as well as their friends.

I go through these phases where I get all focused on something, it doesn't work, I get busy at work, the kids get sick and can't go to the daycare- whatever it is- and then I give up.  Just when my body is probably ready to jump on the bandwagon with me, I let the rest of the pie control me.  Mmm... pie.. wait... focus... focus...

And can I tell you, I'm sooooooooo sick of shopping at the fat chick's store.   I hate buying clothes because they fit and not because I actually like them.

It's really quite pathetic.  I've never been a shopper, but I certainly had more style than simply "comfortable."  Yikes.

So there you have it, cyber world.  My dirty, little secret that all of you already knew.  I guess I needed to know it as well!

I promise this won't become a weight loss blog- because I can't promise that I will lose weight.  I will keep you posted- good and bad.

Plus, my comment from my friend really made me think.  I wanted to let you know that if you read this, or my Facebook posts and think "Wow, that chick has really got her stuff together" it's not all entirely true.  We all have our issues.  I get the pleasure of wearing mine around with me every single day. 

For now.

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Me and the Girls

I had the most hilarious experience today at a women’s luncheon meeting.
I tend to run from these types of events on a regular basis.  I think it’s because I’ve been accused of being part guy.  Even in grade school, my best friend was a boy up until 7th grade.  In college, same thing.  I always had guy friends with a few more avant garde female friends thrown in.  I was in a sorority for all of 6 weeks.  To say I hated it, would give it far too much value.  I most definitely mocked the experience.  I’m about as far from a girly girl as you can get.  Not that I don’t like to look nice, it’s just not my number one priority.  A day of manicures, People Magazine, E Network, giggling and shopping is my idea of a day in hell.
As I became an adult, I started in a largely female career- human resources- and ended that rather quickly and found myself in finance.  I work predominantly with men, in a predominantly male industry.  While I often make jokes about all the sports references (largely made by nerdy men who have never thrown a ball or been picked for a team) and the leering (which I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy somewhat—c’mon, you would, too), at the end of the day, I’m much more comfortable in a group of men than in a group of women.  Plus, there is never a line at the restroom.
This, however, does not mean that I am not proud to be female.  Quite the contrary.  I am very loud in my support of women’s rights.  I’ve stood up for myself more than once and without care of being labeled a bitch.  I am proud that I belong to a book club full of smart, intelligent women who have been a huge part of my life for the past 12- yes, that’s right TWELVE- years.  I love having a bright, vibrant daughter who has taught me so much.
But….
And isn’t there always a but?
I hate when women- or anyone for that matter- plays into a stereotype.
So back to this women’s luncheon.  It’s a group of female business owners.  I’ve been in business 15 years and have never felt compelled to join.  There were a few things that lead me to change my mind- all good things.
I walked into the luncheon and wow- my fears were cast aside.
The energy was amazing.  Music was playing.  This wasn’t a Rotary club meeting, folks.  It was women.  Women like me.  Women who owned businesses.  IT WAS FABULOUS.  You could feel the estrogen in the air.  Some of it was probably prescribed by a doctor, but still, it was there.
I ran into some business colleagues and sat at a table with one woman I know fairly well, and 2 women we didn’t know joined us.
One owned an etiquette company.  I thought “Cool, maybe I’ll ask her about doing a client event…”
The speaker was exceptional.  Motivational.  Funny.  Wonderful.
I was feeling my X chromosomes jump with joy.
Then I overheard the other 2 women at our table chatting.  The Etiquette Queen—let’s call his Miss Mannerless- was TRASHING THE OTHER WOMEN.  “Oh my God, look at that… I can’t believe she would do that how rude!  No etiquette whatsoever…”
Seriously?
Because talking about people behind their backs is SO much classier?
Was this the junior high lunch table?
My jaw dropped.  I wanted to say something, but I’m a new member, and honestly, I’m sure my shoes weren’t right, I held my glass wrong- so what could I know? 
And then I remembered why I hate women’s groups.  The backstabbing.  The nastiness.  The pettiness.  The girliness.
Fortunately, I took the time to look around the room again.  I was surrounded by dynamic women who had broken through glass ceilings.  Women who had probably burned a bra or two.  Women who made it possible for me to have my career.
The yappy gossips next to me were silenced.  At least in my mind.
I wish that women could support each other more.  I wish that the girl’s club was as powerful as the boy’s club. 
So I decided, as part of my new 2011 attitude, that I was going to make it that way.  That I would participate and truly be a part of a great group of women.  Despite the women at the table.
If there's one thing I learned from my love of John Hughes movies, in the end, the mean girls lose. 
And I bet they don’t put back their shopping carts, either.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Putting back the shopping cart and my Tao of Life

For our book group this month, we read "This I Believe"- excerpts from the NPR series in the 50's and revived recently.  It's a collection of essays written by every day people, famous people, and infamous people which are then read on the radio show.  We tasked each other with writing our own essays.  Since I'm blogging and time is a premium item I'm using it for both!  

********************************************
I believe in putting back the shopping cart.  

I think that the world is split into 2 types of people, those of us who put the shopping carts back into the corral after using them and those who do not.


I put the cart back for a number of reasons:


  1. They put the corrals all over so they must want me to put the cart back.
  2. If I don't put it back, it could scratch someone's car.
  3. I don't like to take up an extra parking space with a loose cart.
  4. I think it's a safety hazard to have carts roaming freely throughout the parking lot.
  5. It saves the bag kid the hassle of chasing loose carts around.
  6. It's very simple to do.

In summary, I put the cart back because it's the nice thing to do.  It's because I care about your car and your safety as much as I care about my own. 


People who do not put the cart back- and you know who you are-- simply do not care about anyone except themselves.  They are far too busy with their lives to be worried about you.  They feel they are more important than the rest of us.  They don't have to follow the rules.


Quite simply, they are assholes.


They are the people who text while they drive, tailgate, talk on cell phones during movies and at restaurants, cut you off to be first at a light, don't use turn signals, yell at the flight attendant because they overpacked their carry-on, treat the Starbucks barista like he is a personal servant, or if they are the barista act like you're a moron for taking more than 5 seconds to order, and generally think the world owes them something.


Perhaps I am being a bit harsh, but this is what I actually believe. 


Now I realize that from time to time, you have a screaming kid, the wheel is jammed on the cart, you have to pee, the corral is full- no one is perfect. 


But honestly, it takes about 2 minutes to return the cart.  That's it.  It takes 2 minutes to make sure that you do your part to make the world a little more organized, a little safer, and little bit better.  Of course it's easier to ditch the cart and expect someone else to deal with it, but what if everyone took 2 minutes to do something that had no immediate benefit to themselves- how nice would that be?  Wouldn't it be great to to see an empty spot, turn to pull in and NOT have a wayward cart rolling back and forth blocking you?  Or to come out and NOT have a big scratch along your car door?


I believe that cart-putter-backers (CPB's) are always hopeful that the non-cart-putter-backers (NCPB'S) are going to change.  They have hope that the NCPB's are simply having a bad day.   I believe, that most NCPB's have no clue that the CPB's even exist.  If they do, they mock us.  Silly rule followers we are.


As a CPB, I think we need to ban together and accept, on some level, that if we want a safe, scratch-free parking lot that we will have to put back a few of the NCPB's carts.  I also think that when we see someone abandon a cart, we should politely say "Excuse me, do you need help putting that back?"  Or the more subtle "Oh, if you're going to leave that there, I will use it.  I don't want it to scratch my car."  We need to wake them up and make them care.  We need to show them that by not returning their cart, they are giving the rest of the world a giant middle finger.

We need to hold them accountable. We need to let them know that it is NOT okay to be inconsiderate.  They should not be left off the hook.  It should not be cool to not care.   

Our society is continuing to gravitate toward the goal of being cool rather than kind, looking out for number one.  That terrifies me.  I don't see how that could ever work.  Shopping carts would be running amok.
  
We need to be more polite.  We need to be more aware of how our actions impact others.  We need to worry less about what's cool and more about what's kind.  Like putting back things when you're done.

Granted, I may never have been the cool one (as evidenced by the many photos of me in hats) but I've always tried to be kind.  When things go wrong, I have a very long list of people that will be there for me.  To me, that is success.  Fancy cars, big houses, don't define a person.  I have a hard time thinking that the guy who wedges the cart between two other cars cares about anyone else; and my guess is. eventually no one will care about him.  If you struggle to complete your In Case of Emergency list, this is you.

So maybe if everyone in the world started putting back the carts, simply because it's the nice thing to do, the world would have a lot less dents and scratches.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

41 Things I've done in 41 years

Last year on Facebook for my birthday, I made a list of 40 things I learned in the first 40 years- the things I know are true.  Then recently, I posted about my perpetual bucket list.  While I generally try to drive my life looking through the windshield, I believe sometimes it's good to look into the rear view mirror to see where you've been.  I get tired of the motivational seminars that have you write down where you want to be, where you're going, etc.  When do we ever get to appreciate where we've been? Our funerals?

My personal goal in 2011 is to be more grateful for what I have and not resentful of things I've lost or jealous of what others have.  With the past recession, the political discourse, the war- the last 10 years have slowly turned me more negative than I've ever been.  This exercise made me smile and appreciate how fortunate I am for the opportunities I've had, my husband, my terrific kids and the amazing circle of friends I've acquired over my life time-- so far!

While there's a lot I still want to do, looking back, I've had a pretty fun and amazing life so far!

1.  I was the mascot in college.
2.  I've hiked to Tortuga Bay, a hidden bay in the Galapagos Islands which had the most beautiful beach I've ever seen.
3.  I relived 45 minutes of my life when I flew back from Tokyo and landed before I took off.
4.  I've been kissed well in the pouring rain.  And yes, it was as romantic as in the movies.
5.  I survived a ruptured appendix when I was 10 and had been told it was just a bad stomach ache.
6.  I've bailed a friend out of jail. 
7.  I've been to 4 continents.
8. I've been to 43 states.
9. I've danced the merengue until the wee hours of the morning.
10.  I started a business 15 years ago that had a 5% success rate and am doing well.
11.  I started my masters when I was pregnant and finished in 2 years because someone commented "Well, I guess you're never going to get that done."
12.  I've conducted a marching band in the former Silver Dome and Hoosier Dome (whatever they are called these days).
13.  I have a Ducktorate Degree from Disney University's college program.
14.  I've made both my kids laugh so hard they've puked.  They are the best.
15.  I've eaten escargot (butter flavored goo balls).
16.  I've blogged.
17.  I've been the first straight person 3 people have told when they've come out of the closet.
18.  When given the opportunity to throw a high school election by 2 "adults", I graciously said no thank you.
19.  I made my college interviewer drop his pencil and laugh out loud when I said I read "Cosmo" and "The Rolling Stone."
20.  I got a lot of scholarship money for #19.
21.  I then dropped out of college and went back.  I think that puts me in a very small minority.
22.  I had a booth next to a leather speciality shop at Gay Pride one year and learned more about chaps than I ever thought was possible.
23.  I called off a wedding 6 weeks before.
24.  I called off 3 other engagements as well.
25.  I had 17 jobs from ages 16-25 and am stunned that I finally found what I love to do.
26.  I've "lost" my shadow at noon at the equator (you don't have one).
27.  I flew over a rainbow.  I didn't see any bluebirds, though.
28.  I've been to Broadway shows. 
29.  I've been a better mother than I ever thought I had the capacity to be and equally as surprising, love it.
30.  I am a recently registered bone marrow donor.
31.  I once accidentally got stuck in a drunken lie regarding knowing sign language far better than I did- and got called out on in it in one of the most hilarious moments of my life.
32.  I drove down the Strip with 3 terrific friends, sunroof open at 3 am with "Ave Maria" cranked on the stereo (sung by a good friend).  Still gives me chills to think about it.
33.  I stayed out until 4 am when I was 40.  The next day was painful.
34.  I've had my heart broken twice and survived.  I realize this does not correlate with my engagements. 
35.  I've driven every mile of I-70- both ways.
36.  I was a Boy Scout.
37.  I've shot a pistol and a rifle.
38.  I washed dishes at a restaurant and loved it.  Great moisturizer and plenty of time to think and contemplate life.
39.  I've sung karaoke.  Drunk AND sober.
40.  I sat 10th row at a Wiggles concert.  It was not as bad as it sounds.
41. I married a great guy that I adore with whom I have the 2 silliest, funniest, smartest, nicest kids I could have ever imagined.  By far, this is the best item on the list. 

So that's a glimpse of my past 41 years.  I can't wait until I'm writing this again at 82 on my virtual mindscan utility tablet.  I wonder what color my flying car will be....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Trapped inside the Magical Forest

This past holiday season I was elated to finally be able to sponsor a tree in the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village. 

The Magical Forest is a live grove of trees that are decorated by local businesses, families, etc.  The money goes to support Opportunity Village, an amazing non-profit that provides work opportunities for the intellectually challenged.  In the Forest there is a carousel, a miniature golf course, a train, pictures with Santa-- it is a part of our family's holiday experience.  However, every stinking year the trees "sell out."

Well, thank goodness for the recession!

This year I was able to adopt my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree!  My son and I decorated it in blue and silver (company colors).  We took special care to make sure the ornaments were on tight with pipe cleaners since it's an outdoor event.

We had until January 14th to take down the tree.  I looked at my calendar and realized the only time I had was this past Friday, at 4 pm.  They close at 5.

I waited until my son, my co-decorator, was home from school.

We rushed to the Forest. There were quite a few volunteers helping take down the decorations.  We went to our little tree in the back.  Because we had tied on our ornaments tightly, it took us awhile to take down the tree.  About 4:45 I noticed the Forest had grown quiet.  We quickly packed up and headed towards the gates... no one was in sight.

When we got to the gates, just as I feared, they were locked.  The place was deserted.

At this point, I should take the time to explain that a few years ago the Magical Forest was vandalized.  The security in the Forest is top notch.  There is a gate around the Forest which is surrounded by a large, high, exterior fence.  And did I mention that no one was around?

My son and I joked that we would have to spend the night in the Gingerbread House.  It was one of those situations that was funny the first five minues, then as a mom, I started to get a little worried.  It was getting dark.  It was cold.   Finally, we saw a man on a cell phone across the parking lot.  So we started yelling. 

Loudly.

And shaking the gates.

Just then a young man came running up, with a panicked look.

I asked him if he had a key to unlock the gates.

He then pointed to the 2 foot high decorative fence.  He suggested we step over it.

Apparently the larger gates weren't locked afterall.  I told him I had thought they were and everyone had left (it WAS Friday after all...).

He then started laughing.

He was with the Best Buddies program- a program that pairs the intellectually challenged with partners.  He thought he had left some buddies in the forest.  Yes, the people that we were there to "support." 

I said nope, the buddies had all managed to find their way out.  We, on the other hand, were trapped by the tiny 2 foot fence. 

The good news is, we were able to "escape" by cautiously walking over the fence.

And my husband has yet another reason to tease me.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cartwheels and other things

I was supposed to learn to do a cartwheel today.  Sadly, it has been delayed for one week due to a last minute location change (my daughter wanted to play at a different park with her best friend.  Since she was a bit tired, cranky, etc, I felt it was reasonable to delay my impending emergency room visit for one week).

In lieu of detailing my inadequacies in the gymnastics arena, I thought I would discuss the bigger question that has been posed to me a few times this week:

Why on earth would a 40 year old, overweight mommy want to learn to do a cartwheel?

Because I'm not done yet.

Quite simply, I feel that I have a good 50 years left on the planet.  I have spent the first 40 unable to do a cartwheel.  Granted, I have not attempted this feat since 1981 (after school, 5th grade, Laura, Nancy- you must surely remember...), nor do I have the expectation that I will be successful, BUT what if I was?  What if suddenly the magic switch that never clicked, clicks and I get the opportunity to spend the next 50 years doing cartwheels?  How cool would that be?

Last year, I decided to learn to swim.  Yes, partly it was for a safety concern regarding my children and pools (for the record, they both are better swimmers than I am).  Mainly it was because I was tired of hanging on to the side of the pool and watching.  I was very tired of it.  Now, I have 50 years of swimming to enjoy.

Two years ago I "ran" a 5k.  I absolutely sucked at it.  I could have walked it faster.  Seven kindergartners passed me.  At the end, my son came up to me and said "Wow, Mom, you did it."  Yes, I did. 

Some people call it a bucket list.  I don't.  I'm always adding to my list of things I want to learn.  It's never ending.  Next up, after the cartwheel, is skiing.  Who knows, maybe even surfing?  Scuba diving? Heck, I shot a gun for the first time last week and I'm good.  Darn good.

I don't want to be finished.  I don't want to look at life and say "That's enough.  I'm full." 

The library is full of books I haven't read.  There are more countries that I haven't visited than I have.  There are languages to learn or improve upon.  I still have 7 states left to visit.  It's all there, waiting. 

And I don't want to put things off because I don't think I have the time, or I'm too fat, or I'm too old, or I just need to finish this one more thing then I'll.... ick.  I may be fat forever.  I'm only getting older.  I will never have any more time than I do today.

When I took a year off before college to live in Ecuador, I was often asked if I was worried about starting college late.  Late for what?  My death?  When I didn't get married a few times that I was asked, people asked me- but what if you never met anyone again? Seriously?  In 75 years I would NEVER come across someone that I loved?!?  Doubtful.  When I decided to start taking tap dancing, I was asked if I would feel silly.  Of course.  It's tap dancing.  It IS silly.  Ecuador was an amazing experience.  My husband was well worth the wait.  Being silly for one hour a week keeps me sane.  Life is perpetual motion- there is no time line.

I do, however, know that while there is no specific time line, I do not have unlimited time.  Fifty years may be a pipe dream. I might only have 2.  No one lives forever.  I just don't want to stop living before I die.  That would be a tragedy.  And yet so many people do.

So next week, when I'm blogging from the ER about my slipped disk, broken wrist, or whatever will happen, I may be less enthusiastic.  But you know what, I will have tried something new. 

 Have you?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The bubble has burst....

My name is Lori.

I am a mom. 

I am a wife.

I have a small business.  (A real one.  With an office.  Not some at home, multi-level marketing crap.  When I start with mom, it often throws people off.  Like my idiot neighbor who is constantly asking me if I work from home.  Yes, every morning for the last 7 years when I wave to you in my suit as I get in the car, I am driving to my living room.  Dillweed.)

Funny things always seem to happen to me.  Always.

I used to keep most of my thoughts about this to myself, in a comic strip bubble cloud above my head.  Like the parenthetical above. 

With the encouragement of friends, I have elected to make these bubble-thoughts public information.

Stay tuned.