Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Earthquake

I feel the earth move under my feet. I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down. I feel my heart start to trembling. Whenever you're around
Carole King
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WARNING: if the thought of Josh and I having "grown up time" makes you skittish, then please don't read the first paragraph. I would hope the fact that we have two beautiful children proves the fact that at least two times in our ten or so  years of being together we have seen each other naked. I  normally am not a huge fan of talking about or thinking about sex between people I actually know. Lets save the love juice for porn and Johanna Lindsey books. Talking about sex is one of those things I like to turn my head away in embarrassment...but then take a little peek back..just to get another glimpse. Talking about it is like a car wreck..you don't want to imagine the gore..but you have to at least take a look. OK..enough with the sex metaphors. Well, one more. We had an earthquake today. It was a ground shaking day all around. Josh and I may have snuck in some quick "alone time" while the kids were lost in a trance of Little Big Planet. It was the kind of ground shaking love making that makes you wonder if you should buy a pregnancy test. For those of you that (a) have never been prego or (b) have a p-e-n-a-s then you will not get that joke. Anyone who has been pregnant knows that the sex during pregnancy is worth the nine months of weight gain and cankles. It is science ladies...I thank it has something to do with flow of blood to that area. It has been over seven years since I have had pregnant sex, but there are times when I will have those experiences that make me wonder if I need to run to Wal-greens and grab a First Response. If you have never been pregnant, and you are experiencing any of the following: increased intensity of orgasms, increased nausea, increased need to eat Twizzlers, overall confusion, unexplained ass growth, magnetic attraction to Big Macs, and immediate crying when that Johnson and Johnson commercial with the baby getting a bath (i never knew the love of my life would be short and bald...), then you may be pregnant. ***disclaimer: I am not a doctor.

We had a 4.0 earthquake today. I was sitting in the kitchen barking orders at Josh. "Get a cookie sheet." I told him. He knelt down to the cupboard where the pans are kept and they started to rattle. I looked at the kids and felt my chair shake. It was like a large truck was running right through our kitchen. I am no stranger to a shaking house. I can be sitting in the living room as Olivia runs by and shake my head in disbelief of how such a small body creates so much noise. Where her running is usually followed by falling and calling out "I'm OK", this rumbling was somehow more intense. I looked at Josh and we  both said the same thing...EARTHQUAKE. (and yes we yelled it like Bill and Ted). Unconvinced by our rationale alone we needed that instant validation that we weren't the only people in town that felt it...so I checked Facebook. Sure enough statuses around town immediately started to verify that an earthquake did actually happen. I couldn't help but to see the irony. It is after all New Years Eve..on the eve of the year the earth is supposed to end. Was this in fact nature's foreshadow of what would come to pass in the new year. When ever I talk prophecy it is only fitting to use Galadriel form the Lord of the Ring's voice. (nerd font). I am reading this book about the existence of other humans and coincidences with numbers...so my prophecy senses are extra tweaked. I can't imagine the world just ending in 2012...but it is hard to ignore the earth when it rumbles beneath me. Nonetheless, I am happy to say I know someone with a pilot's license. (disaster checklist number 1 in John Cusak's book). Whether or not this is the last year we are going to be here, I take the earthquake as a sign that we should make this year count. There is that saying to live each day as if it were your last, I want to apply this to 2012. We need to make this year count as if were our last. (aka Party like its 1999). For some of us that means we need to let go of fears or grudges. Other of us need to take that chance we keep putting off. When the earth shakes we need to listen. It is the universe grabbing us by our collar and yelling "what are you waiting for, stupid!".

This is my last post of 2011. I will be back next year! (extra dramatic font). I have big plans for 2012....I have to listen to the shaking earth and just go it. No more fear. Its time to put my Long and Lean jeans on (from the Gap) and stand up a little extra long and extra lean. I am not much of a New Year's eve person. I don't want to be anywhere near a mass crowd of strangers making out at midnight. I don't find any magic in any of that. It is the one night I am perfectly content to stay in and enjoy my family. I am headed to my sister's for another installment of a no-stress New Years Eve...complete with kids and games. Happy New Year to everyone..be safe and be happy. Don't let another year go by without doing something amazing.

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Shirt: Forever21
Jeans: Gap
Necklace: vintage
Shoes: Nine West (garage sale)
Ring: Buckle

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Mimic


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Liv: I am shopping. I am looking at American Girl's stuff. 
Me: You are shopping? You didn't get enough stuff for your Christmas.
Liv: Well, I was looking for Sammie. Its her birthday next week ya know. 
Me: You want to buy Sammie an American Girl doll for her birthday?
(Sammie is my about to be three year old niece.) 
Liv: Well, I am just making a list of stuff I may want too. My birthday is coming up in July. 

When you are Olivia,  you are constantly trying to feed your shopping hunger. (oh wait,  is that me?). It is such a rush to get new things. You have this high and then when it is taken away, you can't help but to want it back. Your old supply of stuff has mixed in with the new stuff you have gotten and soon you begin to take stock of it all and yearn for a bit more. You see stuff in ads or on TV and think "I should have asked for that".  I was looking at my clothes today and thinking the same thing. New shoes are barely out of the boxes, and already I am planning my spring wardrobe. ...or trying to resist all the amazing sales going on around me. Olivia has barely gotten her new toys out of the box and she is already planning on what she is getting for her birthday. I watch her makes lists and plan for an event that is now seven months away and wonder if I a creating a little shopping monster. She confessed to me that she wanted to do everything I do. I was getting ready to go out and she put on a dress...and a mess of lip gloss. I asked her why she was putting a dress on and she said "because you are getting dressed up Mommy".  When I do the posts I like to sit on my couch with my legs stretched out and my ankles crossed on the ottoman. This is my hobby, and I like to be as relaxed as possible when I write. I looked over at Liv and she was sitting next to me with her ankles crossed dangling her big toe in the air.  She looked at me and smiled..."See,I even like to cross my legs like you." She says.

If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, what do you do when your child wants to be exactly like you? I am ,of course, elated that she thinks I am so amazing and notices every detail of what I do and copies it. I also get worried she will pick up on my bad habits. My mom has this habit of twirling her hair around her finger. She has very short hair, and when she thinks she tilts her head to the side to get a good chunk of hair to twirl between the thumb, index and middle finger. Like the way your jaw moves rapidly when you are chomping on bubble gum, that's how my mom's fingers move when she is twirling her hair. I notice when I am thinking or nervous. She always notices when we both do it at the same time and says.."we really need to quit that". The little habits are ok, but it is the big things I do that I fear Olivia will pick up on. (Don't even get me started on my potty mouth). As parents, we spend so much time trying to teach our kids good habits....brush your teeth, clean your room, eat your vegetables. We forget to look at our habits and make sure we are setting good examples. I yelled at Olivia once (or every day) because her room was a mess. She put her hand on her hip and with a little more sass than needed she said "Is yours clean?".

Today, I introduced her to Pinterest. For anyone who hasn't discovered Pinterest, it is basically Facebook for shopaholics and image junkies. You can organize your online shopping or web browsing, etc. (Angels chime font). I have started to get into it lately, and Olivia keeps looking at my Pintrest  with interest. (Dr. Seuss font). So I gave her her own page and told her she can pin the stuff she shops for into an album but she has to type a reason why she wants it. Somehow today, I found a good parenting balance. Some days, I would have freaked out that she wants to be exactly like me. I am really not perfect (or even close). My flaws are epic at times and I obsess over them. I want her to do as I say and not as I do. I guess we really don't get to choose what our children do..we have to just lead by good (and fashionable) example. Olivia's love of dresses comes from me...she dresses up because I love to dress up. She puts on make up so we can have that time together in the bathroom giggling over which eye shadow color looks the best. We paint our nails together and she usually picks the same color as me. She wants a pair of "nerd" glasses. Today, no pants Thursday, she looked at my outfit with overwhelming approval. If I want to know if an outfit looks good or what shoes I need, Liv is usually who I turn to. I owe it to my kids to dress the best I possibly can. Having girls, it will be detrimental to instill in their heads the right confidence. I have always gotten confidence from my style...which is a habit I am happy to pass on to my girls.

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Dress: Modcloth
Boots: Cole Haan (TJ Maxx)
Belt: Vintage 
Necklace: Charlotte Russe
Hat: Forever21



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nerd is the new Nerd

After almost a month of waiting, I finally got my new glasses. Worth the wait? Yes. I completely feel the need to reinvent something about myself..as I tend to do from time to time. I need a little something extra to add to my look. Personal style is this evolving creature and sometimes it needs fed with risk. My accounting standpoint? Risk= reward. I have seen countless celebrities pulling off the geek  eyeglasses trend. Something about these glasses paired with a simple outfit just makes a person look so sophisticated and worldly. Pretty girls are fun to look at, but smart girls are fun to talk to. In my glasses, I feel like I am putting my smarts on display. Last night, when I debuted my new look, I got hit on. We were at local bar with a wide selection of beers and wines. It was one of those bars where the odd and eclectic get together to compare craft beers and music. It is that crowd where a pretty girl walks in and half the place rolls their eyes. You have to prove yourself in more ways then looks to get a starving artist to buy you a five dollar pint of Flying Dog. As a tall bearded stranger struck up conversation with me, I felt quite validated by my glasses purchase.

Stranger: I love those glasses. What a great color
Me: Thanks! they are new. I just picked them up a few hours ago.  (P.S. I have no game)
Stranger: They look great with the red lips.
Me: Thanks. the glasses are green, my lips are red...Merry Christmas. (no game...and at this time I started to wonder if Stranger was gay.....what guy notices eyeglass frames and lipstick?)
Stranger: Are you single by chance?
Me: Nope..sorry. (I point to my wedding ring)
Stranger: Thats too bad.

As he smiled and walked away, I couldn't help but feel very flattered by my new found nerdy hotness. I guess when you are the mother of two and a wife of almost ten years, you forget that you may be appealing to the opposite sex. I love to get dressed up..and put so much time and effort into the small details..the red lips, the glasses, the watch. I feel smart, sexy and confident when I have the right outfit on. It has been a while since a total stranger approached me making a move. We are programed by everything around like TV and magazines to think that we need to look like Miranda Kerr to get the attention of any guy.  I am feeling a little extra confident in my new glasses today, like I had something that made me and individual. Glasses are a great way to update your style...and worth the fashion risk.

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Sweater/Pants/Necklace: The Limited
Blouse: New York & Co.
Boots: Madden Girl


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gravity

"Oh...Got to see, got to know right now. What's that riding on your everything? It isn't anything at all”
Modest Mouse
Do you notice that as you get older gravity plays a huge role in your daily life?  I was listening to one of my favorite Modest Mouse albums " the moon and Antarctica".  I always love to sing along with "Gravity Rides Everything". Now, more than ten years ago, when I first got the CD, the impact of gravity is taking its toll on me. The first thing that gravity stole was my perky twenty one year old boobies. Now It seems everything around me is a victim to this outlandish potency that pulls us all down. Gravity is perhaps the most significant force we face each day. I watch Olivia whirl herself up on the counter demanding I curl her hair and all I can do is panic that she willfall. "Mommy," she argues, " I won't fall." Seven year olds seem to know so much about gravity. But me (and my health savings account) thought way differently. As parents we spend time trying to protect our kids from gravity. We scold them from climbing and make then wear helmets when on a bike. We come off as the fun killers, but actually we are astutely aware of the effects of gravity. I look at Olivia and her endless climbing and falling and wonder how she always seems to stick her mini middle finger right in gravity's face. Last weekend, I fried to take on gravity and lost. It seems the farther away you are away from the ground, the more gravity stings. I clipped my heel right off of my kitchen step and before I knew it, I was falling, falling falling. I smacked my head against the wall on the way down and just sat there. Like a cartoon character, I picked up my head only to see stars orbiting around my ears like a taunting halo.

"As fruit drops and flesh it sags, everything it will fall. Fall right into place."

 Gravity is inevitable. Physically, we all know what goes up must come down.  We had a pair of soccer socks on the roof for a while to test that theory. It reminded me of a time when I challenged gravity as a kid. I started throwing my Rainbow Brite star horse (my favorite stuffed animal in 1986) up in the air and absentmindedly catching him. He nipped the corner of the gutter and at first I was relieved he didn't end up on the roof. Then curiosity got the best of me, and I kept tossing him. He got higher and closer to the roof every time I threw him. I knew my dad would be annoyed if he had to climb the roof to save my horse, but I couldn't stop my arms from throwing. When I questioned Olivia about the pink soccer socks on the roof, she repeated the exact same answer I had given when my dad asked how the horse had gotten up on the roof. "I dunno, I accidentally threw it up there."
Just like I fall a physical victim to gravity, mentally it also takes a toll. Do you ever feel life is an anchor sometimes pulling you down? Winter is a force of gravity and can quickly drop your mood. Today I was feeling the extra gravitational pull in my atmosphere. It causes us to take it all too seriously and dwell on the negative. It is what pulls us into depression, especially the winter ones. Gravity is that force that makes too become bears and hibernate from now until may. Before I completely fell into a winter sink hole, I put on a dress and a bright red sweater and stood up to gravity. (Push up bra and all). I started the beginning of a winter long battle between being positive and giving into the winter blues. One day, one dress at a time, I am trying not to let it get the best of me. I am sure I will get a good laugh at this come March.
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Dress: Forever21
Tights: Target
Boots: Piperlime
Coat: Modcloth
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx












Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Reader

My bedroom from forth grade to high school, aka the awkward years, was covered in rainbows. One wall was a splatter of rainbow paper and the others were painted grape Easter egg purple. I had twin beds with rainbow comforters and a large corner desk and bookshelf. If my room was a reflection on my personality at the time, it shows perhaps I was reading too much Sweet Valley High. Or perhaps it was what any normal teenager in 1990 would love to have..a room where you can have friends over or escape to when you had a particularly bad day. Somewhere in my collection of Baby Sitters Club books and my Christian Slater posters, I would spend my best worst years longing to escape in my rainbow surrounded hideout. I spent the years from ten to thirteen with my face firmly planted in a book. I was vastly unpopular...somehow in a class of thirteen girls I was one of the only four who just didn't fit in...go figure. I would escape to books about normal middle school life and fantasize that I was one of those normal girls. It was my addiction to reading that would get me through the toughest days of not being cool when being cool was all that mattered. It was pretending to be a member of the Babysitter's club or predicting who was the murderous villain on Fear St. (I was a member of the R.L. Stine fan club long before Goosebumps...). Since we didn't have texting or three hundred channels of reality TV when I was in my formative adolescent years, I resorted to getting lost in book after book. The best part about my rainbow room was a window seat. I loved to curl up on my rainbow cushion with a fresh load of library books. Here I would read and dream of something every sixth grader wants: endless popularity. Unfortunately for me, dressing weird and reading for fun was not the key to popularity.

For Christmas, Layla got mostly books. She wanted every possible book in a Cat Warrior series. Maybe this was her Sweet Valley High (but way cooler), her escape from the stress that is third grade. I wonder if she looks around at her yellow walls decorated with butterflies and her own art and feels safe. Not safe from danger, but safe from life....like you are untouchable in the confines of your own room. Here you are cool..here you are the main character in a series of books that everyone wants to read. In sixth grade, I became so obsessed with The Babysitters Club that I changed my name to Claudia and begged my mom for my own private phone line. (which was pretty wasteful given the lack of calls I got on our main line). Layla has become a member of her Cat clan. She has started to refer to our family as our clan. She calls me Josh's mate and not his wife. Her and Liv are our pups or cubs and no longer our children. Fiona (our cat) doesn't like to go outside because she was not clan raised. (aka she didn't grow up with a liter of other cubs in the wild). When I listen to her imagination tell these tales of cats and warriors...I am taken back to that rainbow room where I knew that having a good book in my hand was the only way I was going to get through another day at the nerd table at school. Whether or not Layla is popular doesn't seem to matter to her..as long as she has the next book in the Cat warrior series. I am happy my reading addiction has worn off on her. Lucky for Layla, she is growing up in a time where nerdiness is an acceptable personality trait and not a disease.

Finally, my wish did come true. I still love to dress to my own rules. Now, with the help of my new Kindle Fire, reading for fun is now amplified with technology. The things that made me unpopular and uncool have become my defining features. When we are in middle school, we just want so badly to fit in....we want to look like everyone else. My love for reading has made me a better writer and my unique style has given my things to write about. Throwing on a denim tulip skirt and brown ankle boots has now turned into a blog worthy event. I love integrating my weirdness with my writing. Looking at Layla's pile of books for Christmas, I am hoping she will follow in my boot steps.


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Shirt/Belt: The Limited
Sweater: J.Crew
Skirt/Tights: Target
Boots: Madden Girl 



Friday, December 23, 2011

Preparation

"What are you preparing...you're always preparing. Just Go!" 
Dark Helmet

If the waiting is the hardest part, where does actually getting there stack up? We spend so much time preparing for something. "Prepare this document for approval." "Prepare my skin for the sun." We always seem to be preparing for something. Is there such thing as successful preparation? Everything is here...preparation = success. We prepare our minds for what we think the future is going to hold. I have spend eight years preparing to practice law. I have a Master's degree...which means I spent a lot of time (and money) preparing for my job. Some people have no degrees..does that mean they spent no time preparing for their job? We have been told that preparation for the future is the responsible thing to do.

Am I the only person whose time is spent preparing and waiting. I prepare to wait...then I wait to prepare. I am preparing my wallet to spend money or waiting for the money to spend on preparing.  It is down right confusing and exhausting. I have to ask myself, what am I waiting for? I spent today watching a clock. I was waiting for someone to tell me to go home so I can prepare my house for Christmas. There is nothing more exhausting than waiting when you don't know how long you are going to wait for. Have you ever seen a happy person in a hospital. Honey, I just asked how long it would be until we saw a doctor. The nurse said she doesn't know. I am glad because I just wanted to sit here and wait longer. I am pretty sure all the people waiting in traffic at the mall today were happy for some extra time to just sit in their car pressing and releasing the gas.

If life becomes a series of preparing and waiting, then when does the actual living take place? We have to distract ourselves from the act of waiting in order to live. Are we there yet? No. Then let's play a game. I guess today, I just got a little impatient with the waiting process and forgot to figure out ways to have fun while doing so. What game can I play to make it feel like a game? I have been doing this blog to prepare for a future as a writer...but waiting for something to happen. I have no idea what that something is. There are posts that I have done that are really fun...my games while I wait. There are post that have are more like space fillers or things that I have done to keep my brain sharp and my fingers clicking. (or preparing for arthritis). As I look upon another cycle of the calendar, I look back on what I have been preparing for and what I am waiting for in the coming year. (perhaps I should prepare for the end of days....). The future can be exciting and scary. I want to be prepared to enjoy what I have been working toward...but I want to stop waiting and put it in motion. What do you feel like you are waiting for? Are you waiting to have children or waiting to get a new job? Are you preparing to start your own business or preparing to get married? Are you waiting to loose weight before you buy yourself nicer clothes? It is time to break the cycle of waiting and preparing and just live.

For the first year ever, I didn't prepare an outfit for our work Christmas party. In the past, I have dressed up. There is something to be said of the formality of Christmas. I love to get dressed up as much as possible this time of year. Perhaps it comes from years of having my face in a magazine, where I would picture myself in those glossy photos of holiday cheer...in a great dress. If life is a series of still life shots, then I need to be dressed appropriately. I have this great green and black lace skirt I have hardly worn. I just can't find the right shirt for it. Somewhere in my sleep..or while I laid in bed preparing to get up. (I prepare through at least four snooze buttons), my magenta called out. Just try it on...I think you will like the combination. I loved the outfit. Sometimes, you need to stop preparing and just trust your instincts...you just may find something to match your emerald skirt.

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Shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: Modcloth
Tights: Target
Necklace: Dillards
Shoes: Seychelles (DSW)








Monday, December 19, 2011

The Workout

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I am back at exercise square one. Meaning, I have no plan. My diet plan has always been pretty simple: when the pants are too tight, it is time to work. When the front seam of my loose dress pants goes up the front of me like a too tight backwards thong, then it is time for some action. I only have one real go to method this time of year...pilates. Seven years ago, I was looking at a chubbier version of my self. This thick version of my usually smaller frame (minus the chest) had just given birth to baby number two and found the Winsor Pilates three disk beginner set of DVDs in a player that my parents had donated to us. Both my dad and sister have a slight obsession with buying things from TV. They have always believed in the notion that there is a miracle solution to life's impossible tasks..like loosing inches in weeks. I am hopeful of these products....but too cheap to actually give it a shot. I usually don't try a new product unless it gets five stars on Amazon...from at least twenty different people. Call it match made in exercise heaven..the day I needed the solution to the flabby post baby belly was the day I discovered Mari Winsor. The DVD was obviously bought by someone else..and found its way to me. I became obsessed with how easy and effective the twenty minute workout was. By Olivia's first birthday I had dropped that extra twenty pounds of baby weight I was carrying around and my stomach shrunk back to an acceptable, bikini worthy size.

Around Olivia's first birthday, I was using these twenty minute workouts as my time. Twenty minutes was about how long I could get away with alone time because that is how long Olivia usually slept (if I was lucky). I considered a day to be successful if I got to hear Mari tell me to pat my touchie and feel my abs burn. I started to associate that burn along with the breathing and tight muscles with relaxation. I am not one to keep an exercise routine because of the benefits like weight loss and overall health. I like to say I do that but who am I kidding. When I found myself home alone with a baby and a toddler, that twenty minutes became my window to sanity. I would talk back to Mari as at times, she was the only adult interaction I had. Somehow, Olivia found a way to infiltrate that. Somewhere between her first and second birthday, I would set up toys or a movie in the living room for the girls to quietly play for my twenty minutes of grown up time. At first I was flexing my ab muscles and telling the girls "no no" to this or "put that down" to that. I would usually get through the first fifteen when one of the girls (usually Olivia) would do something that would abruptly end my workout. Olivia started to become interest in what I was doing during "mommy time". She She started to plop her butt on the mat next to me and mimic my movements. As my leg would swing in the air, her chubby little one would...like a small jagged stick. Sometimes she would cuddle with me. She would plop her little butt firmly against my stomach in the perfect spoon position while I did the leg lift series. While it wasn't a perfect storm of relaxation, I began to accept our workout time as the longest she would stay entertained by something other than Dora the Explorer.



At seven years old, Olivia is still interested in what I do during exercise time. I have since then invested in an exercise bike and included walks or runs (weather permitting) into my workout routine. Now that I am a working mom, I don't have the time to go to the gym like I used too. The one thing I have stayed true too is the Winsor Pilates DVDs. I love the Buns and Thighs video as well as all the advanced ab sculpting ones. It is just enough to tighten me up enough for my pants to fit perfectly over my muffin top instead of under it. This week, I promised myself I would get back into my daily routine. I hope to eventually (gasp) get up early enough to do my workout before work. (I am not..I repeat ..not a morning person). Last night and tonight, I did my routine after work. Olivia was quick to join. I threw on my black shorts and black top (slimming effect). Liv put on her black shorts and black top (matching effect). We rolled out our mats and did our routine. I will have to admit, having Olivia as part of my work out has now made it more than relaxing. Ironically the same routine I used to do as an effort to get twenty minutes away from Olivia is the same routine I use to spend twenty minutes with Olivia. We giggle about putting our legs up in funny ways. Olivia asks me about various muscle groups they refer to. "What are your abs?" She asks. "They are our stomach muscles." I say. "What is the buttocks?" she says smirking. "it is your butt!" I say giving her belly a tickle so she topples over on the mat. "Layla-I am working out my buttocks!" she yells. Her face starts to look perplexed. "Are you OK?" I ask. "Yeah, this is kind tough." She starts, "And I have to F-A-R-T." We laugh again. She runs out of the room and I hear her fart into the hallway. "All better!" She exclaims

Olivia is a great workout partner. I am a firm believer in the exercise buddy system. You need that other person to create motivation. I love having a walking partner or a familiar face in and exercise class. As a kid, I remember watching my mom work out. For those of you who don't know my mom, she is about five feet one, one hundred pounds and has a six pack. She is pretty bad ass doing sit ups with twelve pound weights. She had an exercise mat (the "let's get physical" version of a yoga mat)and a stair climber when I was a kid. I had my set of "Get in Shape Girl" weights, jump rope and matching arm bands. (for style, of course). I used to want to work out with my mom because I knew sometimes it was the only time we could have alone. We still take regular walks...and I hope to reach her fitness level of twelve pound weights. (I am currently at three....). Olivia is my workout buddy for now. I told her to wake me up tomorrow at six thirty when she gets up so we an have a morning workout together. Hopefully when she is older and has a daughter who likes to spoon her while she is doing her workout, she will think back at this time and smile.



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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Tip

"So many times, it happens too fast. You trade your passion for glory. Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past. You must fight just to keep them alive" 
Survivor

I dream of being awesome. In every sense of the word..sleeping me does things that normal me would never have the nerve to do. I tell people what I think and I stand up to strangers. Sleeping me has been know to get in a few fights. My "sleeper" usually involves hair pulling and scratching. (me-ow!). I am fearless. This is nothing like the real me. Awake me is awkward and a push over. I cringe at the word confrontation and get easily frustrated with what I should have said. I am a bully's dream because I comply and try my best to play nice. I don't have an aggressive bone in my body. Except in my sleep. Then I am the Chuck Norris of dream world. No one messes with me. The other night I was dreaming I was at some dive bar. I often have dreams where I am having a fun time drinking and hanging out with friends. Sometimes they have faces some times I just remember odd conversations.

Dream world drunk me was going to order another beer. I am not going to lie, dream me doesn't have good taste in beer because I was getting a MGD. (maybe this was 1997 dream world drunk me...). There was a girl next to me getting her tab. She had one of those sour scowls that bar tenders hate. If you have ever worked as a server or bartender, you know the look. It is the look like this patron will never be happy no matter how fast their appetizers come out or how great the happy hour prices are. There is no fix for unhappy at a bar...we just sell things to help you forget you are unhappy. (mind eraser anyone?). The former server in me, both in dream and real world, glanced over as ms. sourface got her credit card slip. I saw her bill had come to approximately ten dollars. I watched as she filled in the amount for the tip....twenty five cents. Even though this was a dream..and the numbers never lie..every part of my waking body cringed at that waste of a tip. I tensed up the way I always do when I witness a crime of tipping. No matter how long you have been out of the game, waiting tables is something that will never leave you..or your psyche.  I still have serving nightmares seven years later. Serving nightmares are when you dream you are waiting tables but something is never right. There is this table you just can't seem to get to. You walk toward them to refill their drinks or bring their appetizers and the table moves farther away from you or something distracts your attention. You heart is pumping with anxiety and doom.  These dreams are a leftover reaction to the feeling of getting your apron knocked right off your body..or you ass handed to you by a crowded night. Then you run around like a crazy person filling drinks, bringing food, making quick small talk and relying heavily on the patience and generosity of strangers to make the night worth the stress. 

When I looked over at that twenty-five cent tip, my sleepy mind was jolted. Even thought I was asleep, I had the crystal clear thought feeling of disgust for this girl and pity for the bartenders. I did something I had always wanted to do...I confronted her. "Really?" I said with a new found confidence.."You are only going to leave a quarter...You do know these people only make three dollars an hour?". My eyes stared her up and down and I could see the admiration from the bar tender twisting the top off of my cold MGD. (Wow...even in a dream my beer choice really bothers me..). There was a silence as the whole bar stopped to look at our confrontation. I could feel my hands clench and the blood in my chest stop running to my heart as I looked at her and wondered what the silent patrons around me tough...how was she going to react? She looked down at her bad tip and looked at the bartenders with and embarrassing smile. I had called her out..she was hoping she could slip out the door before anyone noticed how bad that tip was. She quickly added a 3 in front of the .25 and rushed away. The bartender bought my drink and added a bleu cheese stuffed olive on the side. (yet again really weird dream drinks). I felt amazing..I had finally confronted someone over a cause that was so personal to me. From all the ten percent tips to the prayer cards in lieu of tip (yes that really happens) to the eat and skip patrons and the people who camp out long after dinner is finished and don't compensate accordingly. I stood up for the underdog! I felt like my arms go up like Rocky...the eye of the tiger..I stood up. 

I woke up feeling great. What I got was even better than sleep, it was an accomplishment. I believe a persons character should be judged on how well they tip. Have you ever been out with a ten percent tipper and you had do go back and sneak a five under the sugar caddie out of sheer embarrassment? Let me give you a few of my personal insights: servers make a couple dollars an hour. A server is not responsible for the food prices, food times or food quality. A server will usually never get a raise. Servers usually don't have benefits and if they get sick or hurt, they won't get paid. A server works long hours on their feet for days at a time. Servers are human and make mistakes and sometimes are affected by things in the personal lives which they bring to work. We live in a country where a restaurant is not responsible for paying the servers much. From a financial point of view, this keeps food cost and operating cost down as well as keeps many smaller restaurants from going out of business. If the server's wages were to be part of the restaurant's expenses..then your dinner would cost twice as much then if you were to leave a twenty percent tip. (my idea of what a good tip should be). By telling off that one girl (in my dream)..I couldn't help but to reflect on the years I spent relying on the generosity of strangers. I have been given bad service before...and believe me I have given bad service. Unfortunately we servers are humans and not robots, and are subject to the same ability to make mistakes or just have a bad day as the rest of us. What can I say, my dream struck a nerve that I forgot I had. Here is a tip: twenty percent is really easy to mentally compute. Take the total bill and double it..then move the decimal place over one and you have your tip. (eg..your bill is $40. Double it = $80. then move the decimal over one = $8.00..no fancy tip calculator there!).  

I rubbed my confident tiger's eye when I woke up. There is nothing that I couldn't accomplish today. Except, I couldn't get my pants on. My ass has now reached critical mass...no pants can cover it. (none that don't have an elastic waist that is). It is time put my tip ranting energy into some real exercises. As strange as it sounds, when you are feeling large all around try not to wear loose clothing. It just adds more volume. When my butt is looking like it needs a separate bedroom, I try to find an area on my body that looks small. Mine is my chicken legs. I put on stretchy leggings and a flowy top to hide the problem areas. If you have a tiny waist, use a belt to cinch a loose top and create shape. Most women look their smallest in that area between boobs and muffin top. It is that area at the bottom of your rib cage...if you can find a top that cinches that for you with out creating the look of pregnancy, then buy it in every color. I felt overall large. My tip rant confidence had drifted back off to my dream as I stared at my closet with dread. I sighed and became grateful for one thing this season: ponchos are in style. I paired on over a pair of jeggings (elastic waist..score!) and some low boots for a Sunday feast that would surely put my weight loss efforts off another day. It is time. This is the time where I dust off my tennis shoes and my pilates mat..I get angry that I am not and natural size 2..and blast some Eye of the Tiger! 

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Poncho: Lauren Conrad for Kohls
Shirt: Free People 
Jeggings: New York & Co
Boots: Rocket Dog
Bracelet: Target
Necklace: Charlotte Russe