Thursday, November 29, 2012

Look hard. You might see my biceps

Can you see my excitement before the workout?
So I didn't become a half marathon runner in 2012. It wasn't meant to be. As much as I have always looked at running as my go-to exercise, I don't think I am really a true "runner." My body just wasn't made for it. After all of the ankle injuries and tendinitis this spring and summer, I have come to terms with the fact that long-distance may never be my thing. But I am still working out. Oh yes I am. I have tried things I never thought I would. Yoga, which I do not care for. The new age music. The people moaning. And when the instructor starts talking about "energy" and "namaste" I find myself rolling my eyes and wishing I had just hit the treadmill. I've tried Zumba, and with two left feet, felt foolish and frustrated. I have had better luck with "Body Sculpt", 50 minutes of lifting weights and doing squats in front of a mirror while listening to hip-hop and  watching Tracy, the Goddess of Fitness.

Oh Tracy. I'll be honest she has a banging body. She has nice biceps, firm triceps, a tight middle and a perky tush. She wears stylish form fitting spandex outfits and a fake flower in her hair. She pounds out "one more" "come on right arm"  and "higher" into the microphone and still manages to sing along to the music. She lifts 15 lb weights when I am doing five. She teaches multiple classes a day. She is inspiring.Or perhaps maddening.

I actually don't like her very much. Many of the "old-timers" of the class seem to love her. They bring her gifts from their travels and joke with her. Not me. I have asked her for advise on a couple of occassions, but I am usually greeted with annoyance and a terse answer. "You can't fix your belly. C-sections do major damage, people shouldn't get them." "Your triceps are flabby because you don't use them enough. You have to keep coming to the Y."

Okay, so I didn't expect to become Tracy overnight, in fact, I don't even want to be Tracy. But I want results and I'm working for it. I am at Body Sculpt three times a week, and running at least twice. As a mama of three, I can't do much more than that. So even if Miss. Tracy thinks I should do more, I am putting in what I can, and I think I can almost see a bicep muscle.... just maybe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What I Am Thankful For: The Alternate List

Where on earth have I been? Poor neglected blog! I bet you all have missed me. Sadly I have time for only a brief update.

Where have I been?

Busy being thankful in the woods with my family of course! We packed up the Kargas boys and headed to Yosemite to celebrate the turkey holiday. We rented a condo with my parents and had a lovely time. We took hikes, we saw a bear, we ate stuffing, we drank wine and we played ping-pong. What more could one ask for? It very well may have been the very best Thanksgiving holiday I have had in my 38 years. This year I felt truly blessed. But rather than bore you with the typical I'm thankful for my kids, family, home and health post I'll give you the alternate list.

I Am Thankful For:

Bravo Television. Real Housewives, Top Chefs, Millionaire Realtors and Matchmakers, I thank God for you. You are there for me when I need to shut off the noise and melt into sticky sweet smut. Thank you.
Concealer: I turn to you daily to cover the natural redness of my nose and the circles under my eyes. Without you, I would constantly need to respond to inquires regarding the status of my health.
Yahoo! News: The source of the most critical news. With their hard-hitting journalism I am able to keep up to date on what all of the most important people in the world are up to. Justin & Selena, Brad & Angelina, Pippa. I am so well informed.  
Trader Joes: The prepared meal mecca. I am enjoying one their Reduced-Fat Asian Chicken Salads as I type.
Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Zinfandel, etc: This should require no additional explanation
My GPS: Without our all- knowing, friendly GPS system, who kindly recalculates each time I make a wrong turn, I would never get anywhere. No. I have zero sense of direction.
Coffee: Like Pinot Noir above, this should be self-explanatory. 
Target: Oh, beautiful Target. I can get lost in your lovely isles for hours. You keep me on top of the seasons. Two months into July and you stop selling swimsuits- your on to Halloween candy, but I forgive you. You have it all. Hello Kitty alarm clocks, $3 mittens, lacy underwear, bejeweled flip-flops, hot wheels and a snack bar to keep the kids happy while I wonder endlessly in your house of consumerism. I love you.

Hope you all had a fantastic holiday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney & .....Rachel Kargas? Sundance 2013

My husband's sexy job marketing cat litter and water filters is finally paying off for me. Yes me. You may not believe it but my spouse has had some pretty remarkable experiences with his gig. Somehow filtered water has lead him backstage with Dave Matthews and Jason Mraz. He is wined and dined by PR agencies and vendors and given prime seats at sporting events, all while I hold down the fort. But not this time. Nope.This time I'm tagging along for the ride. Sundance baby. That's right. Don't ask me what my husband will be doing at Sundance, let's talk about what I will be doing.

Hanging out with celebrities. Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney, A-listers. I have it all planned out.While my husband is out slaving away on the job, and my children are at home in the care of Nana & Grandpa David, I'll be hanging out at an upscale coffee shop drinking a $25 low-fat, no-whip mocha. Miss. Aniston will walk in, trip and spill the contents of her Prada handbag and I will casually reach down to help her collect her things. She will grumble to her bodyguard that she is going to loose it if the paparazzi take one more photo of her. I'll chuckle and tell her that my kids think I am the paparazzi with all of the pictures I take of them. She will tell me how she wants kids too. We will start a conversation about fertility and prenatal vitamins. She will grab the seat next to me and her bodyguard will buy us two more coffees. Gradually she will confide to me that Brad was a terrible lover and that she thinks Angie has spider arms. I'll agree about the arms.We will talk for hours, while the photographers of Us Weekly and People snap pictures, which will later be seen splashed in the tabloids. "Jen & Her New BFF! Inseparable at Sundance!" Jenny, as I will by then be calling her will remember that she has hair and make up to get to, since she needs to be at a VIP screening of some art-house flick. She will invite me along, then take me shopping to buy me something appropriate to wear on the red carpet.

Later that evening after I have texted my husband that I'll be jetting off to Jenny's beach house in Bali on Tuesday, I'll be introduced to George Clooney while at the VIP party with my  new bestie. George will forget all about the 6 foot tall Brazilian barbie doll on his arm as soon as he sees me and will breathlessly tell me that it is so refreshing to see a real woman without any work done. He will take me to a five star dinner where he will tell me he thinks I would be perfect for Ocean's 15 or whatever the hell number they are on. We will exchange numbers as he assures me that he will be putting me in touch with his agent. That evening we will share one passionate kiss under the stars before we part ways, but only after he informs his stylist to hook me up with whatever I want.

Mid January. Me. Jenny. George.  Sundance. I'll be giving autographs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

No Wonder Woman Here

"I don't know how you do it." I get that frequently, usually after I inform someone that I am a mom to three young boys.  It is said with awe and  wonder as if I might hold some super-power which enables me to meet the demands of my three offspring. Trust me no, super powers here. If only.

Truth is, I "do it" because I have no other choice. I don't claim to do it with grace or wisdom, no, like the old Nike ad, I just do it. I have to. My greatest strength is not my IQ, my patience or my maternal instinct, but rather tenacity. I have never been the smartest, the most talented, or the best at anything, but I have the drive to stick with it, to get things done, and I suppose that applies to child rearing as well. I simply can't give up, as much as I would (sometimes)like to.

Wonder Woman or Super Mom I am not. If I did have a cape or a magic wand, trust me, my house would not look as it does, chaos swept into closets and drawers, all smoke and mirrors. If I had super powers my kids would watch no more than one hour of television a week, eat three wholesome home-cooked meals per day, follow my directions, write thank-you notes, have matching socks, eat homemade birthday cake, plant carrots in our backyard garden, and be genuinely shocked upon hearing a four letter word. But alas, I am cape-less and have misplaced my wand.

No Wonder Woman here. Just me. A mom who relies on far too many prepared meals and babysitter SpongeBob. A regular-Joe who is embarrassed to host a dinner party, since my table is now nicked, the chair cushions soiled and my flatware dull and water-stained. A selfish lady who would rather spend the little free time I have at the gym or at drinks with a friend rather than at a PTA meeting.

How do I do it? By pushing myself to accept that it doesn't have to be perfect, that sometimes good enough, is...enough. I do it by believing that my tenacity has value. The art projects I do with my kids may pale (dreadfully) in comparison to the crafts I see in Parenting Magazine, but at least I'm showing my kids the effort. I do it by prioritizing and setting my own limits. So the living room is a disaster, but at least I cleaned up the cat puke, so it's sanitary.

It would be fabulous to be a super-hero, and I do believe the pretty costume suits me well, but alas, I'm only human. I'm just a mom trying as hard as I can and praying it's good enough.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Late fall 2008. I pushed my four month old baby in a stroller while holding the hand of my four year old son. We walked, kicking leaves of orange and red down the sidewalks of our neighborhood as the sun set. In my hand I held a roster of names and addresses. Obamana! Zack yelled, pumping his tiny fist, we had trained him well (although he had some difficulty with pronunciation.) We knocked on doors of registered Democrats reminding them to get out and vote. It was only one night. It wasn't much, but I felt proud to be part of a movement.

Flash forward, January 2009, inauguration day! I gathered with a group of other Denver moms and babies in a living room. We drank mimosas and shed tears as we watched the first African American president come into office. I was in awe. It wasn't just that we had elected a minority. We elected a leader. Hearing Obama speak, I felt that we finally had a person in charge who cared and who was a good, decent person.

Has his presidency been perfect? Of course not. But look what the poor man walked into. No human on earth could have cleaned up such a mess in a mere four years. But I trust him. We share values. Marriage equality and access to healthcare, women's rights, integrity. I like this man. I am proud of this man.

I am happy tonight. We have re-elected a good person. Our country is in good hands. I'm proud of my country.