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Boy, Bath and Beyond

11 Apr

blog image hygiene

I thought we’d reached a milestone when The Boy got into the car and immediately flipped down the visor.

“He cares about his appearance!” I thought.

“He’s going to check his hair and teeth and then wave at someone!”

I was beside myself.  I envisioned a future where:

I no longer yell about soap- its purpose, its required use, and where it can be found throughout the house.

Lengthy diatribes on shampoo, warm water and the importance of blotting oneself dry are abolished.

Gone are the days where The Boy can be located by smell.

We are closer to a “loofah, body wash and après shower” regimen than ever and, upon mastery, will surely be followed by “nail and hand grooming, beginning pumice and pore maintenance.”

From here he will empty his pockets before putting clothes in the laundry and take off his muddy shoes upon entering the house.

He’ll load the dishwasher without being told, empty the compost bucket because it’s the right thing to do and add windshield washer fluid to the car simply because he noticed that it was running low.

Hobbies will include: finishing homework, calling grandparents to thank them for sending birthday/Christmas/ Valentine/Easter/Halloween money and writing thoughtful notes to teachers who have meant so much.

Any remaining time is spent dreaming of apps designed to make a mother’s life easier (“Hall Monitor”- an alarm that stops kids from bringing sandwiches into the bathroom because they’re hungry yet they have to go), and searching for grant funding for bloggers.

I have seen the future and it is tidy and solicitous.  This Boy who I picked up was not the same Boy that I dropped off at school this morning.

That, or the sun was in his eyes.

And given that we have not had any solar exposure in months, he did what any 15-year-old would do: he took it personally.

“Why does the sun have to burn me right in the eyes?!” sighed The Boy as he flipped down the visor.

Milestones are so overrated.

January 2, 2013

2 Jan

blog image brazil butt lift

Dear Diary:

So far 2013 is not shaping up to be the year that I thought it would be.

Despite working out and dieting, I have not lost any weight.  I did pull a muscle while trying the Brazil Butt Lift though.

It’s hard to stay mad at Leandro, however- the guy is bubbly and his non-specific use of “eight more” is charming.  Plus his non sequiters make exercise fun.

I have always wanted a guy in my life who, for no apparent reason, yells “let’s leap!” and we do (maybe 5-9 times, maybe less).

Also Diary, my friend Lenny started a blog that may be funnier than mine  (

and my family has yet to notice that I stopped cleaning the microwave effective 1/1/13.

The bedroom ceiling is not going to paint itself and no one else thinks “Crystal Blue Persuasion” is a good idea anyway.

On the bright side Diary, I have had some success in the child-rearing department.  By telling The Boy that every time he leaves debris in his pants pockets a starving African child gets poked in the eye by Bono, my laundry time has become less about picking chewed gum out of sweaters and more about yelling that things need to be put away.

I have high hopes for 2014, though.  By then, even more of the Broadway shows I enjoyed as a kid will be revived for a new, previously-unborn audience, Cyndi Lauper will be featured on the “Golden Oldies” radio show and Ron Wood will marry a new 34 year old.

Until then- bottoms (Brazilian sculpted ones, please) up!

We’re Off To See The Doctor

19 Dec

blog image oscar the grouch

Everyone needs an easily distracted friend.

Tina is the reason for my recent 3 Day Detox Diet.

Apparently, what began as an online search for tickets to “Wicked” ended with Tina standing on my porch with a bag of “food” (pineapple, green apple, spinach, flax, coconut oil, avocado, kale, bananas, more kale, etc.) while visions of boundless energy and flat bellies danced in her head.  Thank you, Celebrity Doctor.

Anyway, as a firm believer (see, parts of me are already firm) in being able to withstand anything for three days, I signed on.

And all was fine until Day One lunch which, like breakfast, was made in a blender.  (Let me pause for one second here to mention the significant amount of blender washing that ensued.  On the other hand, I didn’t clean anything else (or chew) for three days.)

Lunch was celery, pineapple, green apple, a cucumber, a lime, coconut oil and almond milk blended into one intensely beautiful green mass.  How it maintained its blender shape when plated was amazing.  And knowing that the color came from real foods versus a chemistry lab was inspiring.

Sadly, a Detoxer cannot eat only shapes and colors which is a bummer because Day One lunch did, if fact, have a Sesame Street aura about it and by that I mean it tasted like how I imagine Oscar the Grouch would taste (without salt).

He’s the one who lives in a garbage can right?  Sure, on the outside he’s all bright, happy, fibrous green.  But on the inside?  Trash and bitterness.   Enjoy.

By the end of Day Two, I had mastered the art of consuming lunch in four hideously large, icy-cold gulps.  Because nothing’s better than seventy-two hours of Upstate New York winter and a supply of icy-cold liquids (only) to keep you fueled.

Winter in Upstate New York is where melting cheese on things was invented for crying out loud.  Sometimes, when winter seems cruel and never-ending, we lift our spirits by melting two or more cheeses together and serving with pretzels and breadsticks.

We know that surviving winter means eating carbs (which are often served with tequila and lime).

Speaking of crying out loud, Day Three arrived.

By now I was emotionally attached to my blender.  Like when training a puppy, I was obligated to be near the blender every three hours or so.  Also like a puppy, the Detox Diet makes you pee a lot- just not while jumping up on people.  (Oh!  If ever oh ever a wiz there was!)

Still, my energy level was high and my skin glowed.   (Did I mention the required nightly lavender bath soaks?  They’re required.  As in: “leave Mommy alone!  She has to take a required nightly lavender bath soak.  Your mother is detoxing for crying out loud!”)

Speaking of crying out loud, I called Tina early on Day Three.  She was having coffee (with cream and sugar) having quit the Detox Diet after the mango/cayenne dinner shake on Day One.  Day One.

And yet somehow, by the time my final bath had been drawn, Tina, as the result of another internet search for “music theory-dyads,” had purchased the entire Insanity workout DVD series having convinced herself that she can withstand anything for sixty days.

We start Monday.

2012 Resolution Resolved

3 Jan

Sometime during the 1990’s (big) Oprah said that it was okay to begin a weight loss program with a fast.  Later, in the 00’s (little) Oprah changed her mind.

I know this because I have spent the past three days either in the bathroom vomiting, or on the couch watching old Oprah shows while waiting to vomit.  Well, not so much watching Oprah, more like trying to understand how (any size) Oprah became an industry.  But definitely vomiting.

To (all sizes) Ms. Winfrey I say: “fast…HA!!”

Food poisoning is FAST-er.

To all you other New Year’s Weight Loss/Lifestyle Changers: “you’re doing great!  Keep up the good work!  I hear ya, sister!”

As for me: I’m done.

My First Ma’am

2 Oct

My first ma’am was actually a “Hey Lady!” but deep inside, I knew it was a ma’am.  I just happened to be in the ocean at the time.

I was surfing.  Okay, perhaps “surfing” isn’t precisely what I was doing but I had a board and I was in the water and I was squinting.  Squinting is a big part of “surfing” as is looking off toward a distant horizon like you’re an oceanic Marlboro Man waiting to harness the waves.

A quick note: waves cannot be harnessed and waves do not wait.  Waves are what make surfing so hard.  If not for the waves, I would be an excellent surfer.

When the scrawny kid next to me yelled “Hey Lady!  Are you gonna take this one or what?” he couldn’t have meant me.  I was not “Hey Lady!” material.  I was Brian Wilson’s surfer girl, just another dude straddling my board, staying upright and contemplating what to have for lunch.

Mostly I was thinking about lunch: how the salt air would enhance the flavors of the Brie and pear baguette I packed and how milk chocolate eliminates any lingering taste of ocean.  And how an ice-cold Corona would hit the spot later, with dinner, and that maybe I would make a Mexican main course but shake things up a little by beginning with an Antipasto.

Let’s face it: when the little turd whizzed past me on his board and hollered “come on Lady!” I was not totally surprised.  How many waves had passed while I was building tacos in my mind?  (Sounds like some bad AM radio- “Tacos in my Mind?”  “Picante Woman?”)  A soul surfer would have caught that wave and ridden it all the way in.

Instead I got ma’amed.  On the ocean where “Hey Lady!” is the maritime equivalent of ma’am and real surfers eat PB&J mixed with sand for lunch and dinner is what happens between waves.

If imported cheese, cold beer and hot tamales makes me a Lady, so be it.  Most of my friends got their ma’ams while on line at the bank, or in the big box store, and not while hanging ten.

How to lose three pounds in one weekend*

26 Sep

Friday after work: two-hour Ashtanga class.  Achieve first ever unassisted head stand.

Saturday, 8:40 AM: still high from the head stand, I decide to run a 5K that starts in one hour, twenty minutes.

Saturday, 10:41:14 AM.  Finish race.  Not high enough to run at a decent pace, apparently.

Saturday, PM: dance the night away at the Hops Festival Dance.  (The Leftover Cuties– sweet band.)

Sunday, AM: hike Vroman’s Nose.  Elevation: 700 feet.  Time: 28 minutes (with a puppy who pulled me off trail and switched-back like a blindfolded cub scout.)

Sunday, PM: arugula tossed with fresh tomato vinegarette.  Champagne risotto.

Later, Sunday: a hot fudge sundae with chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry.

* originally titled “How to lose four pounds in one weekend.”

Size 8 revisited

11 Sep

I have spent a fair part of the summer reading back issues of women’s magazines and have concluded that in 2010, the issues of greatest concern to women who read magazines were:

Weight loss.  Losing those five pounds fast, losing those last ten pounds and losing that belly fat.  (My research also determined that in 2010 magazines of a certain genre tended to overuse restrictive clauses like: “those five pounds” and “that belly fat” when really, most women would be thrilled to lose pounds of any kind.)

Insomnia.  Three words: Ambien, melatonin, kava.

Pants.  Such an issue for the 2010 magazine-reading woman; I had no idea and I am pretty sure I wore pants then.  The sizes changed without notice: today’s size 8 is a former size 10.  Jeans that I bought three years ago (Old Navy), fit great and are a size 8.  When I recently tried on the same model, they were big and I know it’s not me.  Apparently losing weight by reading about losing weight has worked because I am now a size 6 and I have done nothing new except haul extra bundles of outdated magazines to the recycle center.  I now understand why finding a pair of quality black pants to fit any budget and flatter any figure, repel stains and fight crime was so difficult then.

Beauty.  And the perfect eyebrow.  Pardon me while I execute the perfect eye roll.

Fitness.  While the number of cover stories about losing weight without dieting, while you sleep, but keeping the foods you love outnumbered fitness articles 5:1, most magazines included at least one exercise circuit.  In early 2010, the calories burned were calculated using “a typical 135lb woman.”  By late 2010, those same calories were based on “an average 150lb woman.”  Are magazines allowed to just change the common definition of a word?  If all magazine reading women gained 15 pounds, wouldn’t a magazine write a cover story about that?  Is Miriam Webster a person and shouldn’t she have been consulted?

Dinner.  Made with five ingredients or less.  “Why five?” I asked myself.  “What was it about six ingredients that pushed women over the edge and into KFC?”  (Chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, coleslaw and gravy- that’s five.  If you don’t count the gravy, you can have a roll.)  As far as I can tell, it was Häagen Dazs and their introduction of Five– a creamy and delicious pint that offered a degree of minimalism and purity never before seen in the frozen aisle.  By eliminating some ingredients and creating lovely packaging, Häagen Dazs (which is owned by the Pillsbury Company) helped consumers achieve zen via their ice cream selection.  If you placed your pint on top of the shopping cart seat for all to see, congratulations, you’re a zen overachiever.

Eggs.  They’re good for us; they’re bad for us.  Eat only the whites; eat just the yolks.  Free range, hormone free, brown, white, happy-go-lucky, organic.  Have a damn omelet.  If it kills you, then you know.

Things!  This page has exciting punctuation, bright pictures and coy language like: “Guess What We Found?” or “We Like!” and perhaps an alliteration like: “Five Items Under $50!”  From $4 cupcakes(!) to pink colored hand tools(!), this page provides a respite from more serious issues and one time I even found a nice gift for, um, a tightly wound German mother in law.  Should you find yourself needing a gift for a tightly wound German mother in law, may I suggest Claus Porto Shea Butter bath soaps?  Thanks, Oprah.

Advice.  Women who read these magazines have time to write for help but little time to solve their dilemmas.  I, myself, have rarely encountered a marriage, parenting, financial, legal, orgasm, hair or wardrobe crisis that couldn’t be fixed with some yelling.  Old school, but effective.  Husband doesn’t earn enough?  Yell so much that he takes side jobs just to stay out of the house.  Kid slacking at school?   No loss of cell phone or computer; no nurturing “hey little buddy, Dad and I have noticed that you don’t seem as excited by school as you once were.”  Try hollering until your eyes bug out and see if that doesn’t scare him back on the honor roll.  Boss wears too much perfume?  Can you quickly get promoted and then leverage your new position to get her transferred?  No?  Yell.  It’s a cleansing breath in reverse.

Cleansing breaths.  Spirituality, yoga, journeys, destinations.  In 2010, women searched for depth, awareness, meaning.

And a well- organized pantry.

Jeans, jeans are good for your heart

23 Aug

Occasionally my husband does something wonderful.  Not always intentionally, but still…

this past Thursday he put my jeans in the Boy’s dresser.

The Boy is thirteen years old and has no discernible waist, hips, thighs or butt. (Like Dad- especially the butt.  The lack of butt.)

The Boy is a stick figure with nearly the same leg length as his mother who has a discernible waist, butt, hips and thighs.  Especially the thighs.

The Boy is built like Kate Moss but eats like Russell Crowe.  And while I’ve never seen Russell Crowe eat, he seems like a beefy fellow and he’s Australian.

Mercurial actor’s caloric intake aside, I was so enamored with spouse that I did not nag about how Stick Boy is supposed to put away his own laundry in addition to emptying the dishwasher, taking out the compost and cutting the grass.

I chose, instead, to revel in my husband’s out of date eyeglass prescription combined with his general fatigue and allowed myself to believe that I, too, am a size 12 slim.

You know the lovefest was negated later that evening when spouse noted that the Boy has filled out lately.

Oh! Thou art so fair.

11 Aug

If ever there was a place to suspend judgement- dietary, culinary or fiscal, the  fair is it.

It’s not just the abundance of fried foods- from Oreos to PB&J sandwiches, it’s the fact that grown ups will pay $12 to enter the fair for the opportunity to eat fried Oreos and PB&J.

Did I type “and?”  I meant “or.”  That grown ups will pay $12 to eat deep-fried Oreos OR a deep-fried PB&J.  Certainly not both.  That would be unhealthy.

The fair is probably the one place where if my kid asks for something to eat, I just let him get it.  No argument.  This is the one time where I cannot counter with “I can make that for you at home, only better, for less” because I will not make a deep fried Oreo at home, my pizza will never turn out as soggy as the fair’s and a big cookie is just hard to resist.

Side note: favorite ride now and forever, the big slide.  Old school, low tech, competitive.  And a lower body workout- you must CLIMB the stairs to ride.

Additional side note: climbing the stairs to ride the slide does not burn off the calories associated with a deep-fried anything.

How I console myself

19 Jul




There are days when all I have is the thought that because I am not old enough to be Derek Jeter’s mother I still have a chance.

If Derek Jeter digs upper arms that, in an unlikely event, can be used as floatation devices.

Then I still have a chance.

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