Thursday, July 31, 2008


I can see clearly now that this Triathlon was a bad idea. I cannot believe I sunk my teeth into this! I should be smarter and more discriminating by this phase of my life. I have worked out consistently everyday for a week. Each day I’m biking, swimming, running, or lifting weights. And do you know what I noticed today? When I rest my arms, just let them hang there, they don’t hang straight down. Instead they are at an angle so that they can rest comfortably against the fat wings I’m apparently growing under my arms. I’m horrified. I just hope to God they help me with my swimming in the triathlon.

Its times like these that I wish I had cancer so I could take off a few pounds. I know that’s wrong. Perhaps I just want the chemo, without the cancer on the side. In any event, I’m in this Triathlon with my Bitches no matter what. That’s what a commitment is: Doing what you say you’re going to do. Its also being who you say you are.

I did a 10 mile bike ride today with my teammate Nelly. She had the nerve to wake me up at 8:36am to ask if I’d like to ride. I told her that my mind thought it was a good idea, but my body dislikes her intensely. After six cups of coffee and some kind of energy bar that seemed like a candy bar to me, I put on my bike pants and my helmet. That’s when my first triathlon injury occurred: I snapped some of my loose skin from my turkey neck right into the buckle. SNAP “Shit!” I yelled. My daughter looked at me like my hair was on fire. “I snapped my neck skin in the buckle” I pleaded pathetically whilst hoping for a little understanding. She looks at me like its no big deal and says “oh yah, that happens to me sometimes.” Little lying 10-year old girls do not have enough turkey skin under their soft little chins to be victimized by such a catastrophe. She’s always trying to be like me.

Nelly and I rode around for about an hour. She was patient and fun to be with. She laughed at all of my jokes and didn’t laugh at me when I had to walk my bike on narrow pathways and walk up the big hills. When we got back home she WD40’d my chain and told me we’d have to do this twice a week.

Nelly’s a good person to know. She always follows through on her commitments to family and friends. She just gets up a little too early, that’s all.

Warning: Do not look at yourself in the mirror to see if you have fat wings

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Triathlon Bitches

I’m 43 years old and I hate cardio exercise. I have bad feet and have to wear hippy shoes like my mom. If you were to ask me one month ago if I’d like to do a triathlon, I would say “You are being ridiculous. Go away.”

Then my friend G sent pictures of her recent/first triathlon. Everyone looked so Athletic and happy. My favorite picture was of G crossing the finish line. She looked totally spent. One of her eyes is pointed toward her nose, her head is tilted back, and she’s looking straight at the camera with a pissed off look. I can clearly read her lips making the “sh” sound. One would only assume she was about so say “Shit!”

She sent these pictures along with an invitation to do a triathlon with her and the others in September. I have to admit, its not exactly the Thrill of Defeat that is attractive. Nor is it the hope of getting in better shape. No, nothing that predictable would ever make me run 3 miles, bike 11 miles and swim 400 yards. What’s propelling me is G’s picture at the finish line.

It’s the picture that says “Hey bitch, I did it so why the hell can’t you?” Here’s something you must know about my friend G. She’s freakishly strong. I know this because our little gang of 40-something ladies have had arm wrestling contests at our dinner parties. I’m not talking about a friendly little bit of fun either. I’m talking about teeth grinding, shoulder splitting, panty peeing arm wrestling, and she kicked everyone’s ass every time. What makes it more painful is that I was so God damned sure of myself and I think I even said something like “I’m always the strongest of all my girlfriends.” And then she kicked my ass … like I was a little girl.

So I’ve accepted the triathlon challenge and I’ll be on a team with G and some other women of varying background: school teacher, college student, nurse (thank God), investment manager, and whatever else we get to sign-up. G and I have been thinking about names for our team and I’ve suggested a bunch that will end up in the trash, because they’re trashy names I guess.

The Tammy Faye’s -- we would all wear a bunch of eye make-up and let it run down our faces.

Tri-Twats – “Rode Hard and Put Away Wet”

North Bay BFDs – We’d lie to the judges and tell them it meant Beautiful Friendly Divas instead of Big Fucking Deal, which of course is what we really are.

I’ve been running, swimming, and biking everyday since I accepted the challenge and I have to admit that when I want to give up, I just think about my two goals:

1. To finish
2. To beat G

I know we’re on the same team and I want her to win, too. But there’s something about getting my ass kicked that makes me work that much harder. And that, my dears, is how my life has always worked.

Oh yes, I’ve had my ass kicked both metaphorically and physically and I just get more determined to try harder next time. So, its “boot strap” time again. Thank you G, you’re my reason! You and that picture that says “Bitch, get off your ass and try and tri!”

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dippity-Do and Aqua Net Dreams


I was six in 1970 and my sisters were teenagers. I worshiped their flip hairdos, mini skirts, and thick black eyeliner. I extracted attention from them in positive, but mostly annoying, ways. My redheaded, Amazonian, hipster sisters would spend hours in our bathroom, unrolling their hair from the giant soup can size rollers and teasing their hair like a schoolyard bully. After their transformation and departure from the AquaNet fogged bathroom, I’d dig through the little pink plastic trash can that sat next to the toilet with the canister of Jean Nate After Bath Powder on it.

I’d recycle their castaway products on my dolls and me. Eureka! Dried-up mascara in the pink and green Max Factor container, a couple of globs of Dippity-Do left in the bottom of a giant plastic jar, all encased by their birds nest of tangled red hair twisted around all my treasures. I’d sometimes sneak into my mother’s bathroom and dig my little fingers into her messy make-up drawer. I’d experiment with her blue or green eye shadow on different parts of my body. Those were the only two colors available in the ‘70s. I still remember the sweetly tart flavor of her little pink birth control pills neatly arrayed in a swirly carousel of fun.

These women were my icons. They filled the house with aerosol and love. So much femaleness and so much strength. I was a lucky and well-decorated little girl.

Hormones don't last forever

Katia was sweaty today and she was testing the smell with her nose tucked tight in her pit. “what are you doing” I asked. She told me that she wanted to know what her sweat smelled like. I told her that when turns about 12 she’ll start having hormones. “what are hormones mommy”.? That’s when you get little boobies, your period, sad moods, happy moods, and you’ll start liking boys more. “I don’t want hormones, mommy” she laughed. “Do you have them?” asked Giselle. “Yes. Oh God yes.” Someday I’ won’t have them anymore.

When I’m old and I loose my hormones, I’ll no longer have to suck in my gut in the gym locker room, standing naturally and discussing politics with other swim aerobic classmates. I’ll be able to discuss the density of my left breast with my friend as we towel off in the shower. I’ll have the support of other women and the jealously and competitiveness will diminish.

I want to grow old like my friend Teresa. When she died at age 94, she was still as young as anyone she was around. She was only about 4’2” and she was a little round. Her hair was waivy and white but always neat and she never smelled like an old closet full of perfume and pantyhose. She always made me feel special and I suspect she had this effect on everyone. Every year we’d go to her house for trick or treat and she kept m&ms because that’s what people expected her to have. She was wise and new that she had high expectations to live up to. Namely, always having salami in the frig and a bowl of m&ms on the coffee table in a pretty bowl.
She told me about her game nights with her friends. How they’d take turns each week and travel to each other’s homes. They all had card tables in the closets I guess. What is it about the last few generations and their card tables. Why don’t we have them? Probably because people don’t visit anymore. Anyway, she explained to me how the card games worked: “Each week someone sets up the tables and makes a cake. Everyone would have tea and play for a while. Then we’d bring out some hard alcohol.”

M&M’s salami and hard alcohol. She lived a life full of people who loved her in a small town. It wasn’t about her diet. It was about her love. She made everyone feel special. I told my husband that when I was 93, I wanted to be just like her. He advised me that I should have started earlier. In other words, its impossible for me. I’m never going to be that genuine and that real. I’m just not. Thank God there are people out there like Teresa who can love me anyway.