Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ready, Aim, Let Go

I had just finished a pathetic attempt at lap swimming in my local gym. Only managing to accomplish about 14 laps, I hoisted my wet self up on the side of the cement pool, slosh, I felt so heavy. Heavy with water, anger, and frustration with the world. I sat on my butt and swung my legs in the cool water while I contemplated my latest failure. Next to me was a hunched over old man who appeared to be perhaps 100 years old and Chinese.

I noticed he didn’t have his own lane so I politely inquired “Do you want my lane? I just finished.” He smiled wide and I saw that he was missing his front lower teeth. He looked like an old rockfish. He was wearing a rubber swim cap pulled down low onto his face. His folds and wrinkles acquiesced in multiple folds to enhance his smile.

He moved over to sit next to me on the side of the pool. He asked “How was your swim?” I replied with embarrassment “Not so good, it’s been a while.” He began talking but I couldn’t make out much of what he was saying because his accent was so strong, sort of like a Chinese character from an old movie. The indoor pool devoured all his words and spit them out like wads of wet toilet paper. At least that’s what my bad ears heard. I did a lot of smiling and nodding.

I had to lean far to my right and twist my head around to hear him better. “Do you work? Swimming will relieve your stress.” He stated. “No, I have kids at home but they’re a lot of work.” His wide football shaped head nodded knowingly with the silly grin stretched on his face. “Your children are like arrow. You aim and hold bow, but you don’t know where it will land. They have their own destiny that you cannot control. This is not your destiny, but theirs only. It will never be yours. You have your own destiny and it is not theirs.”

We sat quietly on the side of the pool for a moment, our feet dangling in the water. I knew that I was hearing a Wise One. “Thank you. You’ve been very helpful to me. Really. Thank you.” Then I put my hand on his bare back warmly as I stood to go. “Did I lighten your heart?” He asked. “Yes, you did.” And I was so grateful for his words of wisdom and this warmth that he exuded. I asked the Wise One “Just who are you?” He quietly answered, and most humbly said “I am nobody.”

I don’t know why I needed his information; but I trust that I will. I’m not sure what the universe has in store for my children or me. It is wise and comforting to remember that, no matter how hard I try (or don’t try), my children have their own path. I find myself worrying more about their own destruction than I do fantasizing about their successes. I try so hard to spare them from pain, sickness, poverty, violence, hatred, lust, disappointment, entitlement, expectation, self-pity, hunger, everything. Everything that life gave me to put me here. Here in my very good life.  I’m a consequence of all my actions and none of my intentions. I love my arrows.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"To Do" or "To Don't"



List making is a medley of procrastinating and high-efficiency.  I have ongoing categorical lists on my iPhone. I use the kids' binder paper for the temporary lists.  Then I have the lists in my head. They are shorter and have things like "eat" and "keegal" on them.

As important as the Holiday "To Do" list is, perhaps a "To Don't"  list is even better because it is a preventative against all that ruins your holiday season.


To Don't

  • Talk to people about their conspiracy theories
  • Cancel any personal appointments for the sake of the family (i.e., hair, exercise, girls night)
  • Start a candied yam fire in the oven. Again
  • Expect to receive great presents that reflect the inner you 
  • Take a break from your anxiety or depression medications to "see how it goes"
  • Try on a swimsuit
  • Break the Santa News to your kids
  • Tell your husband that you don't even want a present this year because you already have everything. Family. And that's what really matters most
  • Quit Weight Watchers because they changed their point system and it's too hard now
  • Invite tons of people over for a Holiday Extravaganza while you have PMS
  • Plan a sober caroling party
  • Make brownies for other people
  • Buy interior paint with naive optimism
 I think I've covered it all. I guess I can check that off my list.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Catering and Party Throwing for Poor People

For my surprise birthday party, I bought myself Amy Sedaris' Simple Times, Crafting for Poor People. It was an incredibly thoughtful present from me.

Her newest book is crammed with good ideas for us all. Here are some of my favorites:


Dropout Crab Claw Roach Clip, in the Nature's Way chapter
Rusty Nail Wind Chime, in the Bipolar Disorder section of the Handicraftable chapter
Glitter Halo, in the Crafting for Jesus chapter

I've been inspired to create a new sideline for myself:  Introducing ...

Catering and Party Throwing for Poor People

Here's a sample menu from the Trailer Park Memorial Service that I'm planning for Ain't Diane this December:

Ketchup Packet Tomato Soup

Backyard Greens Salad

Vegan Swiss Meatballs
(Wonderbread balls in vegetarian gravy)

Top Ramen Explosion
(Special blend of Pork, Chicken, and Shrimp flavor packets)

Dessert is up in the air.  That's not a creation name, I'm telling you that I haven't been inspired yet.  I'll have something to you soon. 

Until then, please note that I have joined Amazon Associates.  This is a special tool that is now included on Bloggerqueen so that I can become rich (and famous).  If you decide to buy any products from Amazon. Enter from here and I make a LITTLE cash.  Don't worry, I'll keep reminding you, as I have many suggestions to make you a little more wicked and a lot more sarcastic!

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to Throw A Party For Yourself


Giving someone a giftcard is like saying "Here. Buy your own fucking present." This year, I'm going a step further and I'm throwing my own fucking party too.

Every Friday night I get together with the Country Club Girls. We bring appetizers, desserts, drinks, laughter, concern, consoling, and all other things womanly. My husband calls it "Melanie's Birthday" each week. But his Friday we will be celebrating someone else's birthday, mine!

I'm turning 46 next week and I need a little party and some presents but I hate to be a burden to my friends during such dire times. That's the kind of thoughtfulness we're talking about here folks.

In order to appease my need for presents and be humble and unselfish, I have purchased the presents for myself, and a little chocolate cake filled with coconut, and the card. This is an anti-obligatory party. The best kind.

Last year they passed around a sad little birthday card and signed with the usual "Happy Birthday!!!" People: Extra exclamation marks are lazy and pointless!!! Perhaps they were shouting their standard birthday wish. The signatures were messy and unreadable. I rejected this pathetic attempt and passed around the card again and this time I told them what to say:

Lynn - Tell me that I'm a good person
Catherine - Tell me that you respect my mind
Robin - Tell me I'm your best friend ever
Cathy - Tell me how funny I am

and so on. Needless to say, it was the best birthday card I have ever received.

This year I've purchased a fitting birthday card and filled it out for them. All they have to do is sign their names on the wish they'd like to give me. Here are their choices:

Congratulations on finishing the Triathlon - You Go T.W.A.T.
I wish I was more like you
Are you getting skinnier and smarter?
Clear your calendar - I'm taking you out to lunch!
During my quiet moments, I sometimes think of your smile
It's too bad we're not lesbians, because I would totally be into you

I have also purchased three presents for them to give me. One is very thoughtful, one is predictable, and one is cheap and insulting. I am having them wrapped professionally by my nine-year old.

Happy Birthday To Me!

[In a non-passive/aggressive kind of way. To which no guilt should be sustained by the readers' forgetfulness of this event this year, or hence-forward.]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hot Weather Dinner - Salad Bar Tonight?


Too hot to cook. Almost too hot to eat. But since I'm the cook/nutritionist for my family, I'm not going to just throw in the towel. I'm planning on a salad bar tonight. I'll prep the ingredients and they can throw it all together. However, we always include The Big Three (Carbohydrate, Protein, Earth)


Tonight I'll be making BLT SALAD

Romaine Lettuce
Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes
Thick Cut Bacon, all torn-up
Sourdough Croutons
Dressing: Newmans Light Balsamic Vinaigrette

Here are some items you have laying around the kitchen. Pull some out and have a Salad Bar Night!

Carbohydrate
Leftover Cold Pasta
Crunchy Chow Mien Noodles
Cooked Quinoa
Crumbled Tortilla Chips
Croutons
Corn (the grain most likely to be mistaken for a vegetable)

Protein
Canned Kidney Beans
Bacon
Hard Boiled Egg (see my video!)
Garbanzo Beans
Black Beans
Cheese (grated, so we don't go crazy)
Sunflower Seeds
Nuts
Tofu (Extra Firm, diced)
Edamame (cooked and shelled)
Frozen Peas
White Chunk Tuna (canned, drained)

Earth
Lettuce (Exception: Iceberg has no nutritional value)
Baby Spinach Leaves
Sliced red peppers
cilantro
jalapenos
beets
celery
carrots
broccoli
mandarin orange slices
strawberries
Tomatoes
Onions

After dinner, head out to frozen yogurt, then they can really build a delicious creation!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Get Ready for the Next Potato Famine


"Saints be gloried, we haven't had such as a wee crumb in a month, Sharon. Tis a blessed ting that the good Lord provided us with your fat wings to sustain us through this wretched Potato Famine".

I'm a perfect amalgamation of German and Irish that equates into an amazing ability to store fat. I'm a little French too but I didn't get any of that lovely olive skin, delicate features, nor the tousled hair. Just some b.o.

It doesn't matter how much I exercise and diet I will always have some tummy fat and, of course, my lovable fat wings. The Italians have the ass fat and, as much as they'd like to complain about it, it's way better than tummy fat. Nobody's writing rap about lovin' the big bellies.

Getting in shape for the next triathlon requires me to exert myself. I must run, ride, and swim. And I do. I have been changing my eating patterns thanks to Weight Watchers - I love it - but I started to gain weight. I had lost over 17 pounds since October and then it started to come back again, like an ex-boyfriend that just won't go away, no matter how many times you don't return his calls because he has the sex appeal of your Uncle George who doesn't clip his toenails and when he walks on the wood floor it sounds like castanets.

I complained to Thomas, he's my pit crew for the upcoming triathlon, and he asked me if I've been tired lately. "Oh my God, how did you know?" I had been sleeping 9-11 hours a night and practically falling asleep in the afternoon. Then he said something that made me happy and afraid all at once: "You are [suffering*] from overtraining. You need to increase your calories and decrease your exercise."

This assignment is not as easy as it sounds. After all the hard work I've done, it's a big risk to start eating more and decrease exercise. It's downright counter-intuitive. But I had tried everything else and I just kept gaining weight, feeling sleepy, and wanting to give up the whole Weight Watchers thing. Fuck it.

I read this article and decided to give it a try. Since then, I lost 1.2 pounds the first week and 1.6 the second week. The weight is still coming off, I feel great, look pretty good, and have a ton of energy for exercising. Now, if I could just do something about my cheap Irish skin.

* I think he should have said "suffering" so I added it here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Marathon 5k ... is that an oxymoron?


I ran in the Windsor Green Half Marathon last weekend but I didn't qualify for the hat or shirt because I didn't register for the race until the day before. It's important to have a hat or shirt because when you wear it you feel better than other people. Which you are, because you were in a marathon. So what if you only ran the 5K (3.1 miles for all the Americans unable to grasp metrics). It sounds like a really big deal anyway, doesn't it? Try it out:

"Ya, I ran the 5K this weekend. What did you do? What's that? Oh, you went to the Outlet Mall? Well good for you."
See, doesn't that sound superior?

On the up-side of registering late, I got a reduced entrance fee of only $35 plus a pancake breakfast served by the Windsor Fire Department. Naturally it was important for the Fire Department to pose in a picture with me. They are trying to improve their public image. After much begging, I acquiesced. "Just one picture, fella."

I was running with my friend Kelly who pushed her infant in a stroller while her kindergartner held on to a strap attached to the handle. "Walkers on the right!" I'd yell at the crowd of wanderers spread out like lost cats on the course. The ones that heard me moved over and looked at me with a sort of terror and some said "Oh, thank you. I'm sorry." I have quite an air of authority, but that all comes from being tall and bossy.

About halfway through the 5k, Kelly's son was running serpentine and I had my head turned for just a second when whafamm! I tripped up the little guy and he went down like a flying squirrel on a low branch, all spread out and trying to grasp at nothing. Schlice! went his little kindergarten knees on the concrete. So I quickly picked him up by the armpits and screamed "You almost made me fall!" No, just kidding. We scooped him up and, to his credit, he didn't even cry. I almost did though. We kept cheering him on and telling him how awesome he was. "Next year I'm running the 10k!" he proclaimed.

Meanwhile, we passed an angry mom and her son. She was whining in her best awful mom voice "Come on! I Want to Finish This Race!" and I thought she was the worst motivational speaker ever.

When you run to the finish line, no matter what, you feel like a winner because, if for no other reason, you finished something today. I can't say the same for the breakfast. I couldn't finish it because Kelly's husband Roy held up the sausage and said "You could run the whole course and burn off this one sausage." True. I ate the eggs.

Thanks in part to Thomas and his Body Mechanical know-how I finished 10th in my age group! Outstanding result considering I spent a good amount of time tripping little children, handling traffic control issues, and contemplating the vast superiority of Kelly's mothering skills compared to the rest of these chicks.

I took some pictures for Blogger Queen that I thought you'd enjoy. This one is my favorite. Here's an innocent woman trying to get off the grass and I'm such a big asshole that I thought it would be a pretty funny picture. I'm the shadow standing there unapologetically.

The Best Part of the Race: Kelly picked a hat up off the ground and said "looks like someone lost their hat." I grabbed it and happily put it on my head. "This one fits just right" said Goldilocks. I only felt a tiny drip of guilt. It wasn't until I wrote this post and looked at this poor lady's picture that I realized exactly where that hat came from. See it? It's laying there on the ground, right next to the shadow of my head. It seems that the destiny of this hat was to be on my head. If she ever sees this post, I'm in trouble.