Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Great Swimsuit Debate

 The Great Swimsuit Debate.

The husband and I are headed out for the first extended (by extended I mean six days) vacation in years. We are going to Belize for a friend's wedding and I simply cannot wait. In discussing what I was packing, I informed my husband that I was bringing three swimsuits. Three one-piece swimsuits. His response was first Three? What do you need three for? I'm bringing one. Okay babe, clearly you do not understand the female species. Three swimsuits for five days on the beach is MODEST. Heck, if you watch the Real Housewives you would know that many women would be bringing ten plus! But I don't have Real Housewive cash, so I can't afford that many suits, thus I have three. 

His second reaction was of disappointment. All one-pieces? He asked, frowning. YES. I answered. All one-piece suits. Each one. Why? He asked. My answer? BECAUSE I HAVE HAD THREE C-SECTIONS and even though I have been working out like mad, my abs are not bikini worthy. He kindly disagreed, but I think that is because he is blinded by love. It doesn't matter, I am more comfortable in a one-piece which makes me much, much happier, and in my humble opinion a more attractive woman. I posted the conversation on Facebook, to mixed response.  Some women agreed with me, and others told me that one piece swimsuits are for old ladies, and I should at least consider a tankini. 

Sorry. No tankini. I think they are far frumpier than a good one piece. Kudos to all of you long lean women who can pull off the bikini. Hurray for you. There was a time in my life where I could too. But I'm 38 have had three children and look pretty damn good for all the wear and tear, just not bikini-good. And I'm fine with that. So gosh darn it, you should be fine with it too! 

Victoria's Secret
Tommy Bahama

I told my friend Katheryn that I would prove to her that the one piece can be "hot" so I am (shockingly) posting pictures of each of my suits to prove her WRONG.  What I have learned from this experience is that a) I do not have a future career as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and b) I am really, really white.

Victoria's Secret
And now....

Top ten reasons I can't wait to go on vacation

Rum at 2:00 in the afternoon, pool side.

A clean hotel room, with housekeeping everyday

Eating at restaurants that don't have a kid's menu, crayons or chocolate milk

Getting up at 10 am, lunch at 2pm , Nap at 4pm, dinner at 8pm, bed at 12am.

(Most likely) not having anyone tell me that they hate me for a good six days.

Giving my brain a rest from determining who should get the purple marker, the red hot-wheel or the yellow bowl.

No diapers.

Cold beer on the beach.

Being at the ocean without having to console someone over a crushed sandcastle, split juice or the DREADED sunscreen application.

SIX BLISSFUL DAYS of sleeping in the sun, pina coladas, proving that the one-piece swimming suit has made a sexy comeback , the husband and NO RESPONSIBILITY!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weekend Review: Friends, Running, Whining & Wine-ing

Weekend Review: Friends, Running, Whining & Wine-ing

Look at that tiny little beer! So cute!

Ahh, a three day weekend. At one time in my life that would have been something to look forward to, now a national holiday just means that I don't get to drop the rug-rats off at school. (I say that in the most loving way possible, really I do.) These days we are dealing with a lot of sibling drama, and finding activities that the whole family will enjoy is a struggle. I find us splitting up more and more as we try and meet the needs of three very different kiddos.

We did manage to have a bit of fun however.

No, that is not wine, it's fancy-pants beer!
There was some grown up time with friends. Saturday evening we went out with one of my favorite couples (you know who you are!) for drinks and dinner in the city. Gosh I love San Fran. (Gosh I should have lived there when I was 25 and could actually enjoy all that it had to offer!) The husband and I started our evening at a fancy-pants beer joint, where they have special glasses for special beers. The husband got a ridiculously high-alcohol concoction, whereas, I got a fruity pear cider served in a wine glass. I even had a itty-bitty beer sampler (see photo.) Dinner was at The Range and was lovely, but more than ever it was so good to be with friends, although I find it bittersweet since they will be moving away this summer. All the best people leave, darn it! Do I have friend repellent or something? 

Me & the lovely Mindy. Don't move!!

Julian, before he insisted on walking

I also had an afternoon with one of my favorite bay-area buddies, Ms. Hannah. We had manis and pedis (Valentines Day gifts from our husbands) and then gabbed over a wine tasting at Solano Cellars. We had some serious girl talk, which I so desperately needed. I think I probably chatted her sweet little head off. Having so much "friend time" over the weekend reminded me just how important those people are in my life. I have always put the highest value on relationships, without my friends I start to feel very lonely. It hasn't been easy in the bay area. It took a great deal of initial effort  just to meet people, and San Francisco has a transient culture, so many of my new friends are now far away. People may marvel at the amount of time I spend on Facebook, but sadly that is the one constant in my social life. So dear friends, many of whom I have not seen in too many months or years, know that I remember you, that I think of you, that I am thankful for each and everyone of you.

Evan, before the whining
We also had some nice family moments. I took the boys to a Berkeley playground we used to frequent when we first moved to the area. It brought a flood of memories.  As I stood watching Zack and Evan zoom down the cement slide of death, I was overcome with nostalgia.Our first visits to this park were with a four year old who would only slide down wrapped in the safety of mommy or daddy's arms and a toddler who would busy himself in the sandbox and ask for pushes in the baby swing. Three years have brought such mind-blowing change.
My lovely family

On President's day we took a  hike in the Oakland hills. For the most part it was lovely, I do believe we are raising some solid hikers, well at least two...Evan is quiet the whiner. About 1.5 miles in he turns into a whiny little monster. "How much further?" "How much further now?" "Can't we get the car?" Oye.. Julian on the other hand insists on walking, which creates a bit of a problem, since at his pace we would complete a three mile stroll in just under a week.

And finally.... (drum roll please!) I accomplished my goal of NINE miles on Sunday! Seriously, that is a lot of running. It was hard, and it left me tired for the remainder of the day, but I was so darn proud of myself it was worth it. I can't imagine how good I will feel if I actually complete that half-marathon!

So a happy weekend. And ladies and gentleman I am one week away from VACATION to Belize! Sans Kids!

Life is good.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Stop and look at the roses, the grass, & the gum on the sidewalk..

The theme of today's post is slowing things down. Taking my time is something that I struggle with, just ask anyone who knows me (including my boss!) I like to move fast, work fast, drink fast and talk fast. That's just my natural tendency, but it isn't always a good thing, so I'm trying to take a minute and slow the heck down.

I am finding that my need to rush is negatively impacting the kids. We are always running so as not to be late. Rushing to school, rushing home, rushing from one activity to another, I simply try and do too much.

admiring the animals

Now that my sweet Julian has rejected his stroller, I am actually forced to adjust to a new slower pace. Turns out that 1.5 year olds just don't move that all. We walk Zachary to school every morning, it's a short pleasant walk, only a few blocks. In the past we have taken that journey at a break-neck pace as we ran to avoid a tardy slip. No longer. I am now leaving the house a good 15 minutes earlier so that Julian may walk, and we all can enjoy the stroll. Julian is pretty darn adorable. He takes so much pride in walking on his own. He squirms and struggles as I carry him across the busy streets, and smiles brightly once I put him down on his own two feet. He looks at everything, I mean everything. Flowers, trees, dirt, dogs, garbage,  bugs, cars and old gum stuck to the sidewalk. "What's this?" he asks each time he spots something new.  The older boys have been quiet supportive of their baby brother's new accomplishments and have even held his hands as he crossed the less traveled side streets in the neighborhood.
silly faces on the train

I'm also trying to carve out more time for just plain play and fun. Fridays I have off and I typically pack our mornings with errands and play dates, but today I decided to take Evan and Julian on a leisurely visit to the zoo. They loved it. I loved it. We spent our time at each animal, noticing their long necks, funny tails and big butts. We rode the train and had a picnic lunch. It was good old-fashioned QUALITY time.

Finally, I'm slowing my running pace a bit. I have been hovering at 8 min/50 sec miles, and it's just too darn fast for long distance. Today I slowed my pace to just over 9 minutes, I can't say I had much choice, the afternoon sun was warm and I felt like I was going to vomit most of the time. I'm going to stick to morning runs from now on, and work on keeping my pace more moderate.

So there you have it folks. Stopping to smell the roses, and their smelling lovely.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In Soft Focus

Today on this eve of the most romantic holiday of the year I sit here contemplating what I would like my beloved to give me for a valentine's day gift.  Then it comes to me in an instant.

$550 for what my dermatologist called "filler." Apparently I only need one syringe, so this is a "bargain."


Yes, today I made a visit to the dermatologist because I wanted her to check out a spot on my cheek that appeared a few months ago. With much relief, I found out that this spot was a meaningless patch of burst blood vessels, and nothing that needed to be removed. Now I just have another spot on my face which requires concealer. Yay.

I had a total body check for suspicious moles, since I was so irresponsible with my tanning obsessions in my twenties. Lucky me, I had an audience. The doctor brought her assistant and two assistants-in-training to watch as she searched my naked body for any signs of skin cancer. It was not a sexy moment. The office was freezing and my feet turned blue. My skin, a day-glow-white under the bright lights  made me briefly contemplate  making a few trips to the tanning salon before my vacation to Belize, but then I remembered what brought me to the doctor's office in the first place.

To my relief the doctor pronounced that everything looked good.

As I was putting my robe on the doctor inquired if I had any additional questions.

I hesitated, but couldn't help myself. I blurted out "Do I need Botox?"

She did not hesitate in her response. "No! What you need is Juvederm! It's a filler that will put back the volume you have lost in your cheeks with age."

My heart skipped a beat. Am I really having this conversation? Is it so very obvious that I "need" filler?

I inquired about the cost.

I was informed that because I have a small face, I am young and don't have significant loss, one syringe should do. It would only be $550. With $550 my face could look young again over the next 9-12 months.

I actually started calculating how I could afford it. Perhaps if I asked for money instead of gifts for major holidays and birthdays I could afford youth again.

But then what? If I start now at 38.5, will I be getting more injections and tucks with each following year? How much do I want to spend chasing down a beauty that isn't mine to keep?

Perhaps it's better to keep the lights down low, and take photographs in soft focus? 

But maybe just once... just once?

Dearest Valentine? For $550 I am yours. 

Monday, February 11, 2013



My first real Valentine's day came in 1993. I was a freshman in college and I had been dating David for 3.5 months. I had cautious expectations. We had made a date to see each other on Valentines, but failed to talk specifics. At that time in our relationship, we didn't speak every single day.  I heard little from David during the days leading up until the famous "Hallmark Holiday." In fact on February 14, 1993, I  was certain that I was going to be stood up by my new boyfriend. I didn't hear from David until late afternoon, at which point I had already shed a few thousand tears. His voice was bright and cheerful and he had no idea that I had already written him off.

I met him in his dorm room that evening. He was waiting for me with a teddy bear and a rose. I melted, like any eighteen year old girl would. I kept that silly bear for years, until, a decade later he met a black puppy who would tear him to shreds. That first Valentine's day we had dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant (Piasan's) and kissed goodnight under a frosty February sky.

There have been so many Valentines Day's since then. There was our senior year in college. I borrowed a sparkly dress from my roommate and David and I shared cocktails at the swanky Barber's Closet, which burned down only a few days later. As we ended the evening we made out in the back of a cab, shivering from the cold and intoxicated with drink and young love.

Not all of our Valentines Days were sweet. There was the dinner in 1997 that ended in tears, after I received "Secret's of Fat-Free Italian Cooking" instead of a ring.  And the holiday of 2008 when my husband sat across the table from me at a fine Denver restaurant and told me that I looked like someone had died. I responded teary eyed, that the morning's ultrasound (which revealed our second son) was the death of a dream. I would never have a daughter.


We haven't been to a restaurant on Valentine's Day for years. These days we opt to spend the holiday at home, away from the crowds and fixed price menus. The last few years have been low-key, our love is quieter and more established. I'm no longer excited by a silly plush toy, or expecting a sparkly ring. Now I serve up "Shirley Temples" to my sons and watch them devour Russel Stover's chocolates until it's time for bed. After the boys are tucked in, we will play cards, drink wine and make a nice meal. We will fold laundry and wash dishes as we chat about work, the boys and our day-to-day lives. At some point in the evening I will look at the man I married and see the boy I fell in love with. I'll feel the warmth of years past, and the excitement of the future with my sweet Valentine.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Killing It

Feeling pleased after 8
I ran another eight miles today. EIGHT FREAKING MILES! I was feeling super proud of myself, until I checked out my Facebook news-feed and saw my friend's posts of far greater accomplishments. I have some pretty athletic friends, and their seventeen & TWENTY mile runs put me to shame!

But all the same, eight miles is a good run for me, I finished flushed, proud and, exhausted. The problem?  I'm running too damn fast.  Who on earth would have expected that? My pace averages around 8 minutes 50 seconds. I'm really pleased with it, but if I am going to finish thirteen, I am going to have to slow down, because I am just too worn out. My eighth mile was exhausting. My legs started to feel tight and all I could think about was quitting. I wanted to stop. The idea of pushing for another five miles felt no less than.... insane!

It's hard for me to slow down. I have discovered that (surprise!) I am very competitive and goal oriented.  I run with a Nike app. on my phone which constantly barks my pace at me, and I hate to hear it slipping. But I have to let this go, right?

So this weeks plan, at least two shorter runs during the week, and then 9 miles on Sunday. A slower nine miles. Because my goal? My goal is a half marathon in March. And I am going to kill it.

Running friends, any tips and advice you have for me on training would be greatly appreciated!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Foolish Love. RIP Flanders

Why does it seem so foolish to cry over a dead cat? I bawled like a baby, sobbed like it was a real tragedy.

I have never had to put a cat "down" before today. It was an experience I won't likely forget. Flanders was never a great cat, I'll be honest about that. He was the skinny runt of a litter of feral cats. I picked him out from a kitty foster home just outside of Minneapolis. It was 1997. He was never very affectionate, but he was always adorable. He hated most people, but he trusted me, and me alone.

Over the years he ruined countless bedspreads, carpets and even pieces of clothing, and yet as I held him in my arms while the vet injected the deadly dose of "sleep" medicine, I sobbed and sobbed.

I used to joke about how he just wouldn't die, this skeletal cat who vomited all over my house. There is nothing like stepping barefooted, into a pile of fresh cat puke at 6am. But when it was time to let him go, I didn't want to.

Perhaps it was because we bonded over the past two years in this house on MacArthur. For a full year of his life Flanders was locked in my office after he destroyed the attic of our former rental with his urine. During that year I was his only companion. He would sit on my desk and stare at me as I responded to emails and interviewed unsuspecting candidates over the phone. Nobody had to know that my only office mate was a sickly little orange tabby.  He would hop on my lap occasionally and push his head into my thigh, looking for a soft pat on the head, or a scratch under his chin. He kept me company, and seemed to be happier than ever.  Eventually we let him out of the office to explore the rest of our home. For a while, he did alright. Until he wasn't anymore.

Today I found pools of red across the basement floor. My little cat was vomiting blood. I couldn't let it go on.

I put Flanders in the cat carrier and loaded my 4.5 pound feline into the van. As I drove to the pet hospital, I had a feeling that I was transporting my innocent friend to his death.

I opted to stay as they put him to sleep. They injected a sedative into his body, and for the first time in years I was actually able to hold him. Flanders never liked to be held. Almost immediately he was out. His eyes vacant, his body motionless. I kissed his furry neck. I whispered that I loved him. That I would miss him. That my office would be empty without him. The vet then gave him his final injection and the life slipped out of him. He was gone.

I was left in the room to say my final goodbye. I looked at his body, then tearfully walked away.

It's a cat. An old cat. A cat that was truly a pain in the ass. But he was my cat. He depended on me. He trusted me, and it was my decision to let him go. He was alive and breathing, but with my signature on a consent form, I ended his life.

The vet said it was the right thing to do. I'm sure it was. But my heart still hurts, and the the tears keep coming, foolish as it may be.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

People I Want To Punch In The Face & Wine

It has been a while (far too long in fact) since I have written a People I Want To Punch In The Face post, so here we go.

The Walgreen's employee who suggested that I get my 14 year old cat acupuncture. I don't even think I need to elaborate, however I will add that she also tried to suggest lip gloss colors for me. If you had seen her taste in action you would understand why I did not take her advice.

The woman who was working out next to me in "Body Sculpt" the other day. She moaned and grunted while lifting three pound weights. Three pounds. Lady, if doing a few chest presses with three pound weights is causing that much exertion, I suggest a trip to the ER immediately. Our drama queen "weight lifter" also decided that it was appropriate for her to sing along to Katy Perry in between sets. No, she was not on key.

My Words With Friends genius pals. You know who you are. MOM. SAM.  I cannot beat you for the life of me. I have to assume that you have been studying some sort of Scrabble dictionary for years. No, it isn't really fun when you are beating me by 200 points. Each and every time.

The spambot who is littering one  blog post with multiple "comments" everyday. You are driving me nuts. GO AWAY. 

People with cute cuddly babies, because you make make me wish that I still had a cute cuddly baby. Okay. I don't really want to punch you in the face, but I am a wee-bit jealous.  (No not jealous enough to actually have another one!)

But why end on a sour note? I'll finish up with People I Want To Raise My Glass & Toast: 

My husband for getting me tickets and backstage passes to this week's FUN concert. I get to see my boyfriend Nate again, and this time I am sure he is going to whisk me away to a life of fame and fortune!

Myself, for running eight miles last Saturday. Eight miles! That matches my longest run ever. It wasn't even that hard. Onward to the half marathon! More on that later.

Anyone ! Because I just want another glass of wine. Duh.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Yes. I Drive A Minivan

Don't stare at me. I know it is taking me a ridiculously long time to parallel park this minivan. I would like to see you try it. This vehicle is like a damn boat. Big. Clunky. They do say that it drives like a car. It just doesn't park like one.

Your penetrating eyes are not making this any easier. I will not hit your sleek hybrid Prius. Promise. Even if I did, it would barely be a tap so please, just relax.

Don't wave me in. I didn't ask for your help. You are only making me more nervous. Say, do you want to try it? Keep in mind, I'll make you keep the three screaming kids in the car while you do it. A little distracting, no? A wee bit stressful.

Oh. You're judging me for my gas-guzzling van? This wasn't my idea of a dream car either buddy. But it's awfully hard to fit three car seats, groceries for five, diaper bag, emergency snacks, and a year's worth of preschool art projects in an Acura, okay?  Believe me, I wish I could. I was quiet happy zipping around in my cute white Corolla. My philosophy: small person, small car.

I feel awkward driving around in this giant behemoth of a motor vehicle. And yes, I feel a tad bit guilty that I am contributing to the demise of our environment. But seriously. I can't pull around three kids in a bike trailer all day can I? A bus is a nice option, sure, until one kid has to be at soccer in the park at 10, the other has a birthday party across town at 10:15, and you have to buy 2 gallons of milk, 2 loaves of bread, a case of diapers, 2 pounds of  chicken and 5 bottles of wine to make it through the week. *Yes. The wine is an absolute necessity. Have you met my children??

So please, please, PLEASE, can you just move along? There is nothing to see here, but a little mama, desperately attempting to park a big van, overflowing with hot wheels, orange peels and baby wipes, hoping against hope she will avoid a nervous breakdown.

Yes, I drive a minivan. Deal with it.