Ready? OK! Confessions of a Texas transplant-turned-Rhode Island cheerleader

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I have a confession to make. Although I was born and raised in Texas, I didn’t try out for cheerleading.

Of course, I always wanted to be a Derek Doll. 

But I never tried out.

Why, you ask?

Let’s see: I guess I was sort of cute when I was little, but then the hormones kicked in and I grew into a pale and gawky tween. Combine this with the fact that I was only allowed to buy things off the sales rack and I was not exactly “cheerleading” material. I was a polite kid with a lot of friends. I was on the dance team, the Sharkettes (Pop Warner) and took gymnastics, ballet and jazz. But I didn’t come out of the womb doing mid-air splits.

So I never bothered to try out for cheerleading.

I waited until I moved to Rhode Island my junior year of high school. I remember thinking, “What the heck do I have to lose?” as I rolled my Forenza jeans into my cowboy boots and coated my permed bangs with another layer of Aqua Net.

During tryouts, I did a cheer. A few kicks. Then another yell or two with moves like… Jackie. I smiled. Then my nerves got the best of me. After a few high kicks, I said something that would change my life forever.

I turned and announced to one of the judges, “I’m so nervous, I think I might pee in my pants.”

(In my defense, it was true.)

The next second was excruciating.

I remember hearing nothing in the auditorium but the squeak of my tennis shoes. It was like something out of a John Hughes movie.

Then I heard a few giggles. Followed by lots of laughing. Even a few snorts.

All the other girls were laughing. They were apparently laughing WITH ME. (OR so I hoped.). For a second, I felt like Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink.

I guess the judge appreciated my honest style because I made it.

You read that right – I made cheerleading!

When I found out I made the squad, it was as if the painful zit on my chin had finally popped, dried and flaked off. I felt free and clear. The stress that came with moving to a small town hundreds of miles away from everything I had known was lifted.

It was a dream come true. In my 16-year-old mind, I felt like I was Susan Lucci. (The up-teenth time she landed an Emmy nomination. Gooooo, Erica!)

But after a few weeks, I realized that in a small New England town, cheerleading was a lot different than it is in Texas. People don’t make as much of a big deal about it. I discovered a lot of things about cheerleading that I didn’t know before.

A few ways cheerleading is different in Rhode Island:

  • In East Greenwich, Rhode Island, there was no mandatory rule that cheerleaders permeate their locks with AquaNet.
  • The outfits don’t have to sparkle or look anything like NFL cheerleader outfits.
  • You HAVE to wear thermals or sweats under your cheerleading outfit in Rhode Island to keep from freezing your buns off.
  • There are no mothers plotting the murder of other moms so their daughters can get on the squad.
  • You don’t have to look like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader to make the team.
  • Hair is much flatter in RI than in Texas, where they don’t condone “naked hair”. In Texas, “naked hair” is defined as hair that has not been permed, rolled, processed or curled and sprayed with enough hairspray to start a bonfire.
  • High school football stadiums in Rhode Island are like miniature Zoolander stadiums compared to the crowds that fill Texas Friday Night Lights’ games. The stadium we had in East Greenwich was a quarter of the size of the old stadium where I used to hang out with friends on fun Texas Friday nights.

Extra strength AquaNet or no AquaNet, I was still proud to be a cheerleader.

I spent some of the most memorable years of my life cheering, choreographing, and dancing with an awesome group of girls.

To this day, there are times when I will hear a Milli Vanilli song, lip synch and break into cheer, loud and clear for my kids to hear. The “beat” comes to me like the SNL Spartans squad led by Will Ferrell, as he and his female counterpart rooted on water polo matches with the “Perfect Cheer”. I can’t hold back. My hips start pumping. My head moves from side to side. Then I stop, look down, both arms to my side. “Ready? OK!” I yell out to my dog, who sits there, squinting back. (In shame.)

“Roll call boogie, check, check. Roll call boogie, check, check. So check. Us. Out.” I yell out to myself in the kitchen (the dog has walked away). “My name is Jackie, YEAH. I have a big grin. YEAH. I’ll tell you one thing, YEAH. This team is gonna win!”

Before I’m done dancing and pretending to remember the cheer, I realize my 10-year-old daughter is not only ignoring me, she is running from me, screaming, “Mom, please stop! My eyes are burning!”

You know you’ve reached Mid-life Mommyhood when…

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  • As soon as you spot a public Ladies Room, you go…just in case.
  • 9 p.m. used to be the time you’d go out with friends. Now it’s the time you head to bed.
  • When a friend has to cancel plans because her child is sick, you secretly look forward to putting on your PJ pants and watching Netflix.
  • You no longer work out so you can eat more, you work out so you will not feel like cow dung the next day.
  • When you don’t eat right, you pay for it. All. Week. Long.
  • You used to walk into a room of strangers and care what they thought of you, and now you wonder to yourself, “Do I really care about any of these people?”.
  • When you don’t get enough sleep, you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a frying pan, your eyes turn into slits and you secretly wish you could stay in bed. All. Day. Long.
  • About the time you finally get used to Facebook, you realize “kids these days” are using Twitter more often than FB.
  • You use the term “kids these days” without even realizing it.
  • Nursing a hangover takes more than a nap and a cheeseburger.
  • Your new mid-life hangover remedy: Multiply the number of drinks you have by .5 to find out how many days you need to feel normal again. (If tequila is involved, count on doubling that formula.)
  • You wake up in a pool of sweat almost every day.
  • Five hours of continuous sleep is like a God-send.
  • Your neck is sore not because you went hang-gliding but because you “slept on it wrong”.
  • Random injuries keep getting lamer and lamer, and more frequent than you care to admit.
  • You have come to terms with the fact that you can never do jumping jacks again without peeing a little.
  • You wear a panty liner just in case you sneeze.
  • And last but not least: You sneeze loudly just in case you pass gas simultaneously.

 

But, Dad…

Do you ever look back on your younger years and wonder, “Was I a good kid?”? Did my Dad think I was a good daughter?

I seem to do a lot of “looking back” since embracing my 40’s. I think I was a good daughter. OK, so my attitude as a teen left something to be desired. Especially after moving from Texas to Rhode Island. I mean, I was a good kid, almost too goody-goody before we moved.

But those daddy-daughter trips to the hardware store followed by a milkshake?Image

Or lunching at Chili’s after going to Target on Saturdays? (Oh, yes, they had Target in Texas way back when, and it was glorious.)

It wasn’t long before they turned into, “But, Dad, I can’t today.”

“But, Dad…I’m going to my friend’s house.”

“But, Dad, I can’t.”

“Dad, can I borrow the car?”

I was the only girl. The baby. My Dad and I always got along. We could walk outside, play catch and talk about…everything. Or nothing in particular. We’d run errands together and he let me bring a friend along while my mom cleaned and my brother was out doing whatever the cool kids did in the 80’s.

I’ve always adored my father, with his groomed beard and glasses. I’ve always admired his corny jokes, his math wizard-ness and everything he contributed to the Space Program. I remember skiing together in Colorado, flying down moguls, giggling. And crying into his chest after we lost dear friends on The Challenger. And after he lost his job.

But something happened after we moved away.

I turned into a 16-year-old.

I’d race through dinner so I could be with my boyfriend (my now husband! ;)). My friends.

I didn’t mean to say that.

Or have that party.

Or put off doing the leaves.

It just happened.

I turned into a teenager.

But this Father’s Day, as I look back (like the hormonal mid-life mother I am), I realize I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m so grateful that my Dad is still around. I have a lot of people in my life, my husband included, who have lost their fathers. That alone breaks my heart and makes me want every visit, every phone call, and every email with my dad to count from now on.

I recently visited my parents in Florida and it was one of the most memorable trips we’ve had together.

Did we go on a cruise?

No.

Did we go to Disney?

No.

Did we lay out at the beach?

No.

Did we tour his old stomping grounds at Kennedy Space Center?

Not this time. Although i would have loved that.

Actually, I just flew out there to support my parents while my mom had surgery.

We did a lot of…NOTHING. And my mom’s surgery went really well.

I have to say it was the most special time I’ve spent with my parents in a long time.

During that trip to a little town just outside of Cape Canaveral, Florida, to see my folks, I was happy to do nothing special.

Just visit.

Just chat.

Just shoot the “hey” on the patio with the two people who brought me into this world.

So, we giggled.

We cooked.

We hung out. We piled whipped cream on top of hot cocoa when the rain started pouring down.

We took pictures of birds hanging out in the backyard.

I jogged to the tennis court to watch my Dad play a few matches with his buddies.

The day my mom had her surgery, my Dad took me out to lunch at a diner right around the corner. It’s his favorite hole in the wall, with pleather booths and a big banner that hangs from the ceiling that shouts, “Best Pie in Florida”. Because it was Tuesday, we got a free slice of pie. It was honestly the best $12 meal I’ve had in my life. Because it was just me and my Dad again.

Did we do anything special?

No.

We sat there in that booth, sharing a slice of key lime pie, talking about everything…and nothing in particular.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Doll Heaven?

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There are some things I find necessary for little girls.

Things like bicycles, barrettes and summer dresses.

But bicycles, barrettes and summer dresses…for dolls?

Yes, I’m talking about A. Girl Dolls. I don’t know what it is. Part of me wants to hide in my room and play with these adorable dolls and their very cute and tiny accessories, while the other part of me can’t possible fathom paying for a miniature sofa with coordinating throw pillows so a doll can relax and unwind after a full day of pretend. (Yes, I know many of these dolls represent historical figures and teach great lessons, but when a play bedroom set costs as much as a designer hand bag, I can’t help but vent about it. And yes, in case you’re thinking I’m a total Scrooge…Santa has come through with some very cool American Girl Doll gifts that I sometimes find myself playing with on a rainy day.)

So, when I took my daughter and mother-in-law to the American Girl Doll flagship store in New York City, three full floors of what I can only describe as a doll-museum-meets-Macy’s-on-meds, I thought I’d died and went to doll heaven. Or doll purgatory, given some of the crazy females that surrounded us with spray-on tans, luggage-size European handbags and diamond rings that could give you a black eye if you stood too close. I didn’t know what to think, but I have to say, my daughter was excited. So we were too. 2013-11-30 10.34.46

We thought we’d simply play our part as good tourists, browse around, shop a bit and take some pictures. But as soon as we stepped off the escalator, we caught a glimpse of the second floor main attraction. Walking past aisles of fashionable outfits on mini hangers, we saw a pink sign that read, “Doll Hair Salon”. Walking closer, all I could say was “Oh my…GOODNESS” “Oh my GOODNESS”. There was a long row of stylists working at a mock spa, each standing behind mini salon chairs. And a crowd of little women (and their moms) waiting in line.

I felt like clicking my heels together because I KNEW we weren’t in reality Kansas anymore.

Within minutes, we were sucked into an American Girl Doll-in-Wonderland brain2013-11-30 10.34.40 wash.

A 20-something stylist approached us and asked, “Would you like to make an appointment?”

She wasn’t talking about an appointment for my daughter. Or me. Although,  I could have used a blow-out.

She was talking about my daughter’s doll. Or my daughter’s doll’s hair to be exact.

I never thought I’d live to see the day. My daughter was all smiles, and I was practically choking on my own vomit excitement. If you took one look at her doll, Isabella, from the dirty bare plastic feet on up to its tangly ‘do, you’d know it needed some TLC, Stacey and Clinton style.

After 10 excruciating minutes, the doll’s appointment finally came. Isabella was seated in a mini pleather parlor chair as a stylist brushed out her long dark brown hair. After struggling through a few snarls, the stylist looked directly at me and said, “You see this mini-braid, mom?”

“Yes.” I said, forcing a straight face, still staring at everything around me in disbelief.

“You have to watch out for this.”

“OK,” I said, admiring her combing technique.

“You can’t do mini braids like this anymore.”

“OK….. sorry,” (How could I be so irresponsible!?)

“It causes major damage.”

“OK. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.”

Months ago, one of my daughter’s friends made a small braid on one part of Isabella’s hair during a play date.   I was feeling that icky, guilty feeling you get at the dentist’s office when he cleans your teeth after you’ve devoured half a bag of mini-Reese’s peanut butter cups.

But then I reminded myself: This is a doll. You can’t possibly feel guilty for damaging DOLL HAIR.

After all, I didn’t braid it, her friend did.

Right?

And I digress.

I tried to stifle it, but when the stylist started massaging and polishing the doll’s face with a tiny wet spa towel, I couldn’t take it anymore. I started to giggle. Out loud. As I laughed out loud with my mother-in-law and other mothers watching their daughter’s dolls get a full beauty treatment, some cackled along with me, while others were as stone-faced as their five-year-old mini-me’s. Think of a PG version of Real Housewives of New Jersey. With dolls. The RHWONJ-look-alikes  were surrounding us. And none of them were laughing.

I was beginning to feel like Alice. Almost everyone was under 4 10, including my very sweet Italian mother-in-law.

And every display, every piece of furniture was made for a doll.

Everything about our visit was surreal. But fun at the same time. The look on my daughter’s face, as if we had entered a magical kingdom filled with unicorns, made it all worth it.

My daughter was disappointed that our visit didn’t last forever. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit in an appointment at the faux café upstairs because we had to run to a Broadway show. It was too bad, because I really could have used a shot cup of pretend tea.

Do You Suffer from Mommy Brain?

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Have you ever suffered from mommy brain? My definition of Mommy Brain: A temporary lapse of memory and/or intelligence caused by motherhood. I hope my latest AskMom OnlineRI.com column helps reassure you that you’re not the only one who experiences this mommy condition from time to time. It happens to all of us! This post was initially inspired by brain pharts experienced by my friend Jane of MomGenerations.com while pregnant. Thanks again, Jane, and congratulations on baby B! ;) Enjoy! https://onlineri.com/articles/ask_mom/mommy-brain

Check out Jackie's thoughts on Mommy Brain in her latest AskMom OnlineRI.com post: https://onlineri.com/articles/ask_mom/mommy-brain

Check out Jackie’s thoughts on Mommy Brain in her latest AskMom OnlineRI.com post: https://onlineri.com/articles/ask_mom/mommy-brain

MomoPause

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I may occasionally break down when I see baby pictures of my kids.

I may have a “moment” when I remember that my son recently became a teenager. Gulp.

I may sometimes obsess over my kids like the “Smother” in TV’s The Goldbergs (minus the 1980’s AquaNet-hair).
But I have a little secret to share with you.
It has taken me a dozen years, 1,000 sleepless nights, 300-some-odd tantrums, hundreds of cups of green tea, a dozen birthday parties, a dumpster-worth of diapers, 457 trips to Target, and thousands of vats of dark chocolate, but I’ve made it through the poop storm of motherhood.
I’ve finally reached MomoPause.

MOMOPAUSE

Not menopause, but MomoPause.
That Sweet Spot in a mother’s life. The calmer years between toddlerhood and true teenagery. (And yes, I made up that word.) That time when you can actually travel with your kids and, oh I’m writing it out loud, ENJOY the trip. When you can go to the bathroom by yourself for five minutes…in peace. That pause where no one pees or poops on you or in front of you.
And….your kids still like you.
I know it may not last long.  It may disappear in the morning. But I’m enjoying every second, let me tell you.
The sweet spot isn’t just a myth.
Oh, it’s real. So fantabulous, I think I may be dreaming.
You know you’ve reached MomoPause when:
-        You can actually carry on a phone conversation without hitting the mute button every five seconds.
-        You don’t have kids hanging off of you, yelling “Mommy, mommy, mommy” every time you go shopping.
-        You no longer get wicked looks from other passengers when you sit your kids next to them on a plane.
-        You can take your kids out to a restaurant and actually finish dinner…together.
-        You have time to wash AND condition your hair.
-        You don’t show up to business meetings with spit up on your sleeve.
-        You wake up to an alarm clock.
-        Your youngest can take a shower by herself (and it doesn’t make you nervous).
-        You can enjoy a family movie that’s not animated.
-        You remember what “quiet” sounds like.
-        Your kids no longer cling to you, but they’re not appalled by you either.
-        You look back on even the most insane mommy moments with a great big smile because you know they were special,  and you treasure all of them, but you’re also relieved that some of the tough years are behind you. Although you realize some very tough years are in front of you, deep inside, you know that because of what you’ve been through, you can get through anything…and it’s not a crime to pause and smell the roses right now. 

Saved by Ferris

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of my favorite John Hughes’ movies and I was tickled pretty in pink when my kids wanted to watch it on a recent family movie night. We had one of those weekends packed with so many activities (including celebrating my first born’s 13th birthday), we actually needed a touch of “Bueller, Bueller” to help balance things out. And yes, I did break down when I looked through my son’s baby pictures and turned to see a man-child of 13 years standing before me. Oh boy, it’s starting. Thankfully, he’s a good kid. Very sweet. But the fact that he didn’t want to blow out 13 candles in front of his friends made me feel like he’s already 16! My baby! It’s going fast. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll be shopping for college dorm supplies. And I digress. (I’m still in shock that I’m officially a mother of a teen, so thank you for allowing me to keep rambling so I can stay in this state of perpetual mommy denial a little longer.) So anyhoo, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that my kids “get” Ferris. The “righteous dude” is a witty, playful, grab-high-school-by-the-car-horns genius. We fear him and adore him simultaneously. That unsung hero that none of us, even in our totally-on-sale Forenza jeans and 1980’s bi-level hair-cut, were brave enough to even try to be.

Granted, there are some bad words in the movie. So, being the Mrs. Goldberg momma-bear that I am, I simply pretended to cough or sneeze every time I heard a swear word in the movie. There were a few “Ahh sh**t –COUGH COUGH, and a$$– A-aaaa-chews” moments coming from my side of the couch. At least it’s not a show where zombies rip people’s heads off. (Something my soon-to-be-10-year-old will not be allowed to watch until she’s in college!) There’s nothing horrible. Just a few bad words that seem to automatically come with any 1980’s-something PG 13-rated movie. Aside from that, it was perfect. My kids giggled along to Ferris’s computer-generated “sick” stereo, his hilarious antics, his sister, Mr. Rooney, and Cameron. And they actually learned a few things from Ferris too.

When my daughter woke up the next morning, all I could hear was a faint noise down the hall.

“Mommy. Moooooooooooommmmmmmmmy.”

Her voice started to get a little louder. I was very concerned, so I ran as fast as I could. I found her, face down, lying in bed, wimpering. “Mom, I feel queasy. My stomach hurts.”

“Oh no, honey, are you OK?”

“I don’t feel so good. I feel really faint.”

“Oh no, honey. Do you feel like you’re going to be sick?”

My daughter then lifts her head, turns to me, and with a shhhhhugar-eating grin, says, “Gotcha, mom!”

Son of a!!!!!!

 

 

Giddy by Association

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My cheeks hurt. And I’m grinning from ear to ear. Not just from seeing chocolate bunnies everywhere, or the fact that my grandmother celebrated her 87th birthday or the fact that we have another five birthdays to celebrate in the week ahead. (Oh, Lordy, all I ask is that I can get through the next 12 days in good health and NO frosting-induced migraine.) I’m honored and thrilled to be the featured author interviewed by Mike Squatrito of the Association of Rhode Island Authors today. Check it out here!

43 Candles: On Samantha Baker, Farmer Ted and truths on turning 40-something

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You’ve probably seen it circulating on Facebook already. A friend recently sent me the time-wasting-but-I-so-have-to-see-what-this-is survey, “Which John Hughes classic are you?”. Like any curious 40-something raised on John Hughes (R.I.P.) classics, I knew I HAD to open the link and take the survey. I got 16 Candles, one of my favorite movies. I remember seeing Samantha Baker hash it out with her big sister (and Farmer Ted played by the always hilarious Anthony Michael Hall) on the big screen when I was 13. Wow, to think I was as old as my son is now when I celebrated Molly Ringwald’s entire wardrobe and began reciting “Dong, where is my automobile?” “Jake, he’s my boy,” and “I can’t believe my parents forgot my &*^^ birthday,” on a daily basis. Scenes from John Hughes’ classics, from The Breakfast Club to Planes, Trains and Automobiles, became permanently locked in my brain, helping me become the person I am now. (Minus the laugh lines and back fat.)

As I face my 43rd birthday in April, I wish I could wipe the day from the calendar and just carry on as Samantha Baker did on that infamous day. I’m glad I’m alive and I’m thankful for my family and friends and all, but 43? It’s not exactly the most thrilling number. To quote Jake Ryan’s friend, “It’s…void.”

Things to keep in mind when you face 43:

• Teenagers will be calling you “Ma’am” until you’re 93.
• If your family forgets your birthday (like Samantha Baker’s), but remembers to pack carrot sticks, it’ll be a good thing.
• You may have reached total happiness and self-acceptance by age 43, but you will forever be immune to the fact that you’re viewed as an old dorky person in the eyes of every middle schooler in America.

With each passing year, you’ll look more and more like Elaine from Seinfeld when you dance in front of your kids

.
• In your mind, you’re still a teenager, which means you’ll mentally be 40-something when you’re in your 80s.
• You are as old as your parents were when you were a tween.
• Wearing floral pants is a big no-no at 43 because no matter how cute they look on the mannequin, you know the minute you try them on, you’ll end up looking like Mrs. Roper.
• Your 40th birthday is just as memorable as your 21st birthday, but your 40th is probably the last birthday you will care to celebrate by partying after midnight.
• Going to bed by 10:30 p.m. is no longer a social embarrassment but a celebrated accomplishment.
• They don’t make candles, balloons or cards with the number 43.
• During your annual doctor’s visit, remember to remove all jewelry, shoes and socks before stepping on the scale. Then blame the **&&%$# glass of water you drank before the appointment on the shocking number.
• When you turn 43, your metabolism will slow to a screeching halt unless you exercise every day.
• After skipping a day or two of exercise, you’ll feel like your mind and body are turning to mush.
• Just Googling “heart health at 43” is enough to scare you back into jogging.
• For every sprinkle of salt you add to your plate, you can count on an inch of bloat that lasts for days.

Farch Madness

2014-02-18 11.05.37Are you “done” with the cold weather? I know I am. I’ve had it with Farch. (Farch: When March feels more like eff-ing February). This morning, my daughter walked outside wearing more layers than Ralphie’s little brother in the movie Christmas Story. She got to the end of the driveway, turned around and said, “Mom, it’s freezing! Can I please have a ride to school?” Who can blame her? I drove four freezing cold nine-year-olds to school today.

This morning it was 25, but felt like 11. Yes, 11 degrees. In March! IT MAKES NO SENSE. I grew up in Texas and was wearing short sleeves this time of year. (White sandals? Not until after Easter, but short sleeves, oh yes.)

I realize there’s nothing we can do (aside from slowly go insane) to change the fact that yet another snowstorm is heading to Rhode Island. So I thought why not try to look on the bright side.

Before you start throwing snowballs at me, following are some good things about Farch that I have to share with you:

1)      In Farch, no one knows how desperately you need a pedicure.

2)      You don’t need to expose your un-pedicured toes until June.

3)      If your roots are showing, you can just put on a hat.

4)      You can get away with wearing practically the same outfit every day in Farch by simply changing out your hat and scarf.

5)      The piles of dog poop you forgot to scoop have turned into hard, odorless poopsicles.

6)      There’s no yard work to do (except eventually picking up poopsicles).

7)      If you’ve gained weight over the winter, you have more time to get in shape before swimsuit season.

8)      Because there’s no yard work to do on the weekends, you can justify binge-watching shows on Netflix while folding laundry.

9)      Exercising in the cold helps you burn more calories (along with some feeling in your face).

10)   If you’re not in the mood to go for a run, you can easily blame it on the weather.

11)   If you forget to shave, no one will know (or care) until July!

You know you’re over the hill on St. Patrick’s Day when….

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You know you’re over the hill on St. Patrick’s Day when:

  • You have two drinks over the weekend and still feel “hung over” on Monday.
  • Rather than make green cocktails, you make green pancakes for your kids.
  • You end up wearing the same faded and stained green t-shirt (or scarf or sweater) every St. Patrick’s Day because it’s the only ^%^%*& green item you own.
  • You could give two green poops if the *&&^% green item makes you look like a kindergartener.
  • You try to remember to buy something that’s more updated and green for your wardrobe, but you manage to forget, every year.
  • Your version of “tying one on” is going for a jog after Pilates class.
  • You used to bar hop with friends on St. Patrick’s Day, but these days, you’re too exhausted after taxiing the kids around, cleaning the house and doing five loads of laundry.
  • Just watching the cast members of Jersey Shore stay out until 3 a.m. makes you tired.
  • You delete all the Groupons you receive from local pubs because you’d rather stay in and make green cookies with your kids.
  • You consider a soy green tea latte your green drink of choice for the day.
  • You juice green vegetables and pour the mixture in a wine glass to make you feel like you’re partying.
  • You’d like to go see a band and drink green beer, but when you find out the band doesn’t go on until 9:30 p.m., you put on your PJ pants because you know it’s so not going to happen.
  • When you do (miraculously) decide to make plans to go out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you get a text from the sitter that one of your kids is sick… five minutes after you leave the house.

I hope you have a fun St. Patrick’s Day…. no matter what you do!

You know you’re struggling to get back into running when…

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I see many moms and dads running around my neighborhood. It’s very inspiring as I begin, very gradually, to train for a 5K in April with some great gals. It’s a 5K race that’s close to my heart, in support of a dear friend who works for an amazing organization called Day One. I’m thrilled to participate in the 5K. But I hope, for the love of Sarah Jessica Parker’s new stationary collection (yes, she has a new line of cute cards and notepads at Hallmark and Paper Store and it’s adorable), that I can get in shape by race day! Getting back into running is so bizarre for me. I used to run a lot, participated in a couple triathlons a few years ago and even worked as the PR and Communications Manager for Brooks Sports (running company) when I lived in Seattle. I loved that job so much – I could run nearby trails during my lunch hour. The good news is I’ve been trying to maintain a girlie figure by walking and doing Pilates. But I have taken a long break from running. As I try to get back into it to support my friend and her cause, I’ve been pondering a few things. (Some things you might relate to.)

2014-03-08 09.05.17

This is me after a training session at the track with the girls recently.

You know you’re struggling to get back into running when:

1)      You realize your body is not the same as it was when you were in your 20s. (When you could go for a six-mile run in 95-degree Texas weather and not pass out from heat exhaustion);

2)      It takes you more time to squeeze into your old sports bra than it does to go for the actual run;

3)      Your sports bra is older than your daughter;

4)      Your running socks are older than your son;

5)      You jog with your dog and as soon as you start to feel that runner’s high, he decides to stop, sniff around, and relieve himself. (When this happens, which is often, I have to run in place until he’s done and then pick up his mess (which I’m happy to do in the privacy of my own yard, but not in front of sleep-deprived high school students waiting at the bus stop who shoot you looks that could frighten a hawk into hibernation);

6)      You enjoy jogging when it’s pitch black outside so you don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing. This is a great thing, until the sun starts piercing through the darkness, showing off my Fartlek-meets-Flashdance ensemble and pillow hair. Then I know I have to pick up the pace!

7)      You contemplate running in your ski parka when it’s 23 degrees, and end up tying it around your waist, adding to your Meet the Goldbergs 1980’s look;

8)      You pee a little every time you jog;

9)      You run hills when cars pass by but take a 60-second sanity walk-jog when there are no cars around. (Stop denying it, you know you’ve done it);

10)   You can’t pig out when you come back from a run like you did in your 20s, when you could eat all the chips, salsa, guacamole and fajitas you wanted and burn everything off before going out for margaritas with the girls;

11)   You purposely juice after a run to feel better because you’re still paying for that *&&^^&^$ donut you inhaled five days ago.

You know you’re procrastinating (taxes) when….

Spring is definitely NOT in the air. (It was 13 degrees this morning in Rhode Island, and it felt like 7.) (I can barely feel my face as I type this.) But it’s March, which means…. it’s tax season. My birthday is on tax day. Yes, my birthday is April 15. (I share it with a friend, and my husband’s birthday is the day after.) So I tend to get a little stressed about taxes…. and excited about spring fashion trends this time of year. I run my own consulting business, so I have to do both personal and business taxes. So. Not. Fun. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’d rather get a mole and my molars removed on the same day, without any pain killers, than do my taxes.

So, the following list is for every one of you, in honor of all the bean counting that needs to be done in the next few weeks. God bless America, let’s all try to get through this. With all the procrastinating I’ve been doing, if anything, this should make you feel better about your progress.

You know you’re procrastinating (during tax season) when:

-        You vacuum UNDER the couch;

-        You dust even when guests are not coming over;

-        You unload the dishwasher at 6:30 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. and put away that random piece of Tupperware that somehow gets stuck in the bottom rack and never gets put away;

-        You fold and put away your laundry as soon as they come out of the dryer;

-        You make the kids homemade pancakes for breakfast (even during the week);

-        You clean every toilet in the house (with a toothbrush);

-        You bake cookies the same day your Girl Scout cookies arrive;

-        You voluntarily do the grocery shopping every day (even just to pick up two apples);

-        You make excuses to go to CVS so you can flip through gossip magazines;

-        You remove the dog fur from every surface of your house and car (with a lint brush);

-        You clean the kitchen floor with a sponge;

-        You “like” every post on Facebook;

-        You comment on your own posts;

-        You make a dentist appointment without rescheduling it;

-        You go to the eye doctor;

-        You brave the cold and actually exercise in 13 degree weather;

And last, but not least….

-        You write articles about avoiding doing your taxes.

The Joys (and Peace) of Grocery Shopping (without your kids)

Do you LIKE grocery shopping? I never used to enjoy going grocery shopping. (I’ve vented about the Horrors of Shopping with Kids before.) It was never something I looked forward to.

Not until my youngest started school.

Oh, I said it. You see, that was when I knew I could actually shop… in peace.

Shopping without kids for me is like spending an hour in a charming European village with cobblestone streets. It’s pathetic, but true.

The fact that I can wander the feminine aisle without someone asking, “Can I have some? What is that, mommy?” is exhilarating.

That I can put a brick-sized bar of dark chocolate in the cart and hide it in the back of the pantry? Zen.

That I can smile (that knowing mom-to-mom smile) to another mother as she whisper-yells to her kids to be quiet in the cookie aisle?

Like falling into child’s pose.

Knowing that I have to take a trip to the grocery store at least twice a week, I’ve started to make a game of it. The fun part is actually at the end of my list and the beginning of the check-out line.

The few times I don’t have to race back for a meeting or appointment, after I cross off all the items on my list, I search for the longest check-out line.

Yes, the LONGEST line.

Why, you ask?

So I can stop and smell the roses?

Not exactly. Unless Sarah Jessica Parker has one pinned to her adorable sweater jacket.

It’s actually so I can see who wore what best.

And find out why so and so left so and so. What she said. What he thinks.

What’s on trend for Spring. The newest hairstyles.

How I can find happiness in six easy steps. How I can stay fit in five minutes a day.

And so I can read all about Lena Dunham, and see how cute she looks in her photo shoot in Vogue.

Yes, I am one of those women who shamelessly flips through magazines while waiting in the check-out line. I’m a marketer’s dream…in the market.

And I enjoy every minute of it.

I think of it as junk food for the brain.

I try to suck in as much information as I can in a matter of minutes. And as soon as I notice that the lady in front of me has enough items to feed a soccer team, I head straight for something like O, Marie Claire, In Style, Vogue, Real Simple, People or US Weekly. I rarely read OK magazine, because, and mark my words, they feature mostly lies. But People and US Weekly? Now these guys are the bomb. They’re practically the kings of truth (especially when it comes to useless information).

I am a maniac. A maniac..for magazines.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still like to hold the glossy pages in my hands rather than digest it all online.

Just as the check-out line thins out, and the white-haired woman has finished counting her manila envelope of coupons, I realize it’s almost time. Just as I’m desperately trying to find out Oprah’s secret to feeling and looking good, I know it’s time. Time to say goodbye to the pages that make my brain smile and hello to the teen behind the cash register. It’s time to start lining up my groceries on the conveyer belt. So I buy one magazine. Just one.

And as soon as I get home, I hide the magazine away. And then, when everyone else is reading or drawing or watching TV, I open it up and happily consume every last page…along with my secret stash of dark chocolate.

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