Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shopping with the Tween

I know that my approval of any piece of clothing is the kiss of death—so I try to show no expression when The Beast is making her choices in the dressing room. I try not to encourage her one way or another. I am like a character from the Body Snatcher after my body had has been snatched. I watch and hold my breath, my eyes glaze over—I have only veto power for clothes that look too sexy or that are too expensive.

Of course, I put my mother through the same torture. My only regret is that my mother is not here to witness my pain. She would take SUCH joy in hearing my mall stories. Of course she had several years of my parenting woes to enjoy before she died. She would call up and say like a child eager at story-time—“tell me! Tell me! What did The Beast do today?”

And I would tell her…so many stories I had to entertain my mother with “oh—today, when we were out in public, she would not talk—she would only beep—I am sure it is just a matter of time before special services shows up” Or “She told the whole pre-school how we lost her at IKEA...NOT because SHE wandered off—but because we did—it is so important to confirm with the spouse who is watching the child.” Or “The school had ANOTHER draw your family project and guess what we were happily guzzling in the picture—who could have known that a three year old could draw wine glasses so well.”

Well…I just picked up a bunch of clothes for The Beast from “Santa Claus”—clothes that I would not necessarily buy, but she would. Perhaps she will accept them from a mythical being.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Formula--Body Mass Index!

Okay…Ms. SP Scientist has come up with the formula. Whomever drops down the most in BMI number is the WINNER. There is even a website that you can go to and plug in your height and weight to get your exact BMI#--for those of us who are mathematically challenged…although I think I am the only one who is in this Mensa crowd.

Click Here

Just as an example--right now…my BMI # is 24.3….SO close to the “overweight” zone—but I swear—it is all muscle—plus I am “big boned” from the Swedish side of the family…. I am aiming for a BMI of 22.…so a 2.3 drop in my BMI number will be my goal for the end of January. And of course even a BMI of 23 would be wonderful.

So…no need to give away your actual weight--just send a discreet e-mail to with your present BMI #. I will not open the e-mails until the end of January when you send your new and improved BMI #.

And not to brag…but the Beast and I…Along with Ms. Churchlady, and Ms. Leatherpants all did the Turkey Trot this morning. Granted….Ms. Churchlady and Ms. Leatherpants ran—but hey…5 miles is 5 miles.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Church, Sex and Faith

“Ssssunday Ssssschool. Sssssalacious Sssssunday Morning Sssssex “ whispered the serpent in my ear…I mean, Ms. Churchlady.

Okay…perhaps she did not say those EXACT words…but something very close… like—“We can take The Beast with us to Sunday School so you two can have some together time on Sunday Morning” (wink, wink-nod, nod) I know Catholics and those Watch Tower people are good at “building” their flocks through fear and little booklets—but who would have THOUGHT the Episcopalians would stoop to using sex to increase congregation size. I mean, REALLY—these are people who believe they will go to hell if they use the wrong fork during dinner. I guess times are hard for religion.

Something shifted when we had The Beast...some friends who seemed perfectly normal started to act strange. (Not Ms. ChurchLady—she was not Ms. Churchlady then) There was a lot of talk of god and religion from people who seemed about as far away from spirituality as the strip mall down the street.

The husband was about as thrilled by this friendly religious advice as I was by the baby advice I was given while eight months pregnant...”oh really—thank you SO much for that insightful tip on breastfeeding—who would have known a homeless man who is sleeping on a traffic island in the middle of Broadway could be such a wealth information on lactation...I guess I will just throw away all those baby books I have been pouring over for the last 7 months.”

The husband explained to one of his old poker buddies that we were not interested in baptizing The Beast in his church because we did not believe in god. Yet the born-again man kept on trying to sell us his salvation—The church had community, youth groups, etc. I finally heard the husband say in frustration-- “Look man—I am SURE the Klan has great barbeques and ‘community activities’, but we aren’t joining them either. ”

You may think we don’t like god, but that is not true at all. And as far as religion—I LOVE religion. ...those ancient mystery cults, those crazy Zoroastrians, the Buddhists, the Taoists....I minored in religion as an undergraduate. I swear—when I saw Vatican City…it took every ounce of knowledge I had from years of philosophy and history classes to stop me from genuflecting to the pure beauty of it all.

For those who wonder about why we would choose not to toss our child blindly into a religion just as a safe-guard for the potential afterlife—remember Paul Tillich: “Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith. “
But…if anyone would like to take The Beast on a non-denominational Ssssunday morning trip or have her for a Sssssaturday into Ssssunday sssssleepover—feel free. The Husband and I will find Ssssssomething to do.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Competition is ON!

Although we are already beautiful—OF COURSE--We are all going to be trim and in shape in a few months!

The contestants are Proud Procrastinator, Ms. Seize the Moment, Ms. Smarty-Pants-Scientist, Ms. HR and…ME.

Ms. PR , who is actually proud and happy with her current weight has offered give us some tips. So thoughtful of her…

Ms. Smarty-Pants Scientist wants to come up with a different formula than the percentage body weight thing… so I told her to send us the formula to plug in the numbers—because frankly, just figuring out my percentage body weight was a challenge. (I AM the mom who started looking for a math tutor for my daughter in 4th grade because the math homework was already too hard for me. )

Just about everyone is already on the fast track to losing weight. Ms. HR is on a VERY calorie restrictive diet and is walking A LOT. Ms. Smarty-Pants Scientist has been doing all sorts of training. I think Proud Procrastinator is jogging. Ms. Seize the Moment and I seem to be the only slackers/whiners.

Last chance to join. The first prize I am giving away on Friday…or maybe Saturday will be a copy of Get Your Body Back: Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Fit After Having Your Baby By Anita Weil Bell

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fitness Friday!

Okay—I was going to call it something else—something less positive, but I have been reading books about being more positive and being less sarcastic—so I have been basically mute the last few days in order to practice this new: if you have nothing NICE to say, say nothing at all.

The gantlet has been thrown down by the Proud Procrastinator and Ms. Seize the Moment, who is SO competitive I cannot take yoga classes with her any more, is up for the challenge. Who else wants to join?!

The Challenge: Who ever loses the largest percent of their body weight by the end of January WINS! What exactly is the prize…I am not sure…but something really, really fun. AND we will have weekly prizes too.
As an example:
I am hoping to lose 10% of my bodyweight—which if I did the math correctly would be 14 pounds—but frankly—I would be happy with 5%.
So…if you are up for the challenge—e-mail me at

I do have to warn you…Ms. Seize the Moment is very competitive. She has been known to “accidently” push skinny little vegan women from their perfect “downward squatting dog” poses in yoga class. So if you find there is a rash of mistake pizza deliveries to your house…you need look no further.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The Husband thinks I obsess…and it is SO true. One of my obsession is friends….The Beast’s friends.

I would not say I have a lot of friends…mainly because of this blog… and my personality in general. But I have TRUE friends. And I think there is nothing more important in life than true friends. Ideally friends who have known you for a long time.

My best friend in the whole wide world is Ms. Filmmaker. She has always been crazy, silly, creative, deep and endlessly interesting to me. I met Ms. Filmmaker when we were both on our way to our first day of kindergarten. We chatted a mile a minute and giggled then and we do the very same thing today.

When the Beast started Public School I was frightened…very frightened. As I may have mentioned before—we were zoned to the one elementary school that was NOT artsy-farty… Many of the mothers looked like aging Barbies and the kindergarten class looked like a box full of Kelly dolls.

Taking a deep breath, I dropped my Asian/Hispanic looking child in to the mix. She loved the Kellies. She loved the long ,blond hair, the pink clothes, the blue eyes of the Kelly doll students, but sometimes they were friends and sometimes not. This was not the warm fuzzy German Pre-school where everyone played nice. This was not the “movement class” where all the kids dressed kooky.

We were now in the land of the pink Hello Kitty outfits and the light-up sneakers. The Beast’s red Blundie boots, the wildly striped winter tights and the Basque beret were a dead giveaway that we did not live in the development down the street. My vintage Saab, my basically all black wardrobe and distinct lack of make-up set us apart from day one.

I did not have the time nor inclination to start expanding my wardrobe color palette since I worked “Outside the Home” and the child had no intentions of giving up her beloved Blundies. But this turned out to be a good thing, because being yourself (as my mother always told me) is in the only way to find true friends. Plus we were too lazy to work on actually fitting in.

The Beast navigated quietly through a social network of queen bee girls (which we called the “pill girls” because they were really quite unpleasant) and found the interesting girls. We tried Daisy’s and we BOTH discovered one true friend each and then through love of art the Beast found another good friend.

The Beast is now in Middle School and the friend issue still lingers heavy on my mind not because she is lacking friends, but because I believe it is your friends more than your parents who truly help you navigate and succeed in the world. They are your mirror. We have been lucky—The Beast is still close to girls she met when she was three and her new friends all are interesting and nice. Once she entered the Middle School, where all the schools come together, the artys-fartys types now outnumber the more socially conservative groups and dressing kooky and doing interesting stuff is prized.

The beast still sees some of the queen bee girls from her old school and there is even a joke among her friends about one girl who was notorious for befriending girls and then dropping them. The joke is that all the “dropped” friends are forming a club called: “The Former Friends of XXXXX XXXXXX” since there are so many of them.

If you can’t join them—at least make fun of them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Looky, Looky, Looky!!!

I have a guest post on Nyack Backyard. About CHICKENS! Take a look. Click Here

And if you want to give the gift of chickens to a poor family...go to Heifer International and give a flock of baby chicks for $20. Talk about a great warm fuzzy feeling and you don't even have to volunteer for the bake sale.

Click Here for Warm Fuzzy Feeling

Friday, November 13, 2009

Parent-Teacher Conferences

It is that time of year again—the Parent-Teacher Conference— so I asked my favorite teacher-friend. Ms. Seize the Moment, for some tips for a successful meeting.

TEN Tips (plus one) from a Real Elementary School Teacher

1. Don’t make excuses for your child—you know if your kid is a lazy little loafer and the teacher knows too. Admit it and ask for help. The teacher has dealt with lazy little loafers for years and she can help you.

2. Don’t threaten the teacher if she calls to let you know your child is not doing his/her homework—this is her way of showing you that she is paying attention to your child—unlike you.

3. The Parent-Teacher conference is actually about THE CHILD, not you. Although “Child” is not included in the title of the meeting, it is implied. Please stop talking about YOUR busy life because you are just enlightening the teacher as to why your child is having such a problem with social skills.

4. Do not send love notes to male teachers—it is just wrong…wrong and creepy—plus he shows the notes to the female teachers and you know how heartless those women can be.

5. The same goes for partially nude photos of yourself…. (Yes—these tips are here for a reason—not everyone seems to know these little social graces)

6. Do not fight, insult or in any manner disrespect your spouse during a Parent-Teacher conference—this is NOT a reality show, this is your life and the teacher does not really care what you think about one another because she has already formulated the opinion you are both selfish jerks for not even being able to hold it together at their kid’s school.

7. Please do not defend your child’s BAD, BAD MANNERS—if the teacher is bringing it up—it is not just to make polite conversation—again—do not make excuses such as boys-will-be-boys or she is too young to understand. The teacher works with children the exact same age as your child everyday and probably has done so for years—she knows better than you do what is age and gender appropriate for your child. Obviously your kid is missing the mark and it time for you to step-up to the plate as a parent. Have you heard of words “consequences” and “following through?”

8. When the teacher asks you to read more with your child—this is not your queue to go out and buy the child “educational video games” or any other game…she really means—open a book with your kid and read.

9. The teacher knows that TV is often a parents lifeline, but for god sakes turn the damn thing off once and while and take your kid to the library, a museum, a hike in the woods. When parents engage their child in outside activities it shows.

10. Do not talk bad about other parents or kids unless there is something dangerous that the teacher REALLY needs to know—like Billy’s father has a problem with the zipper on his pants when he is around little girls or little Katlyn has formed a S & M club in the girls bathroom—then and only then is the teacher interested in hearing your story. All other opinions—please keep to yourself.

11. Being on the PTA or School Board does not entitle your child to Prince or Princess status—just keep that in mind and please stop mentioning your associations during the Parent-Teacher meeting. The teacher is more than aware of who is on the PTA/School Board.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Walking in the City

I don't blame my weight gain on The Beast, but on The Husband. He is the one who is the country boy and needs to have a backyard--like a large dog.

I am such a city girl that walking was really my only exercise. I tried to walk in the suburbs, but people would stop and offer me rides as though my car MUST have broken down. And although our town is very pretty--not all parts are made for walking and often you must negotiate a major highway to get where you want to go.

I still walk in the city. I drive in early in the morning before work to walk around the Upper Westside--Riverside Drive, Broadway, Westend Avenue. Ahhh--the city. Take a look at this video interview of someone who walks about 90 miles a week in the city. It is really beautiful.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Don't Put This On Your Blog!!!

“Don’t put this in your blog!” were the first words I heard when I picked up my phone messages. Of course, I have been trying to think of a blog title ever since. The breathy message went on....”the doctor said I have to lose 30 pounds!!!! 30 POUNDS!!! I mean it—don’t put this in your blog! If you do--I will KILL you...”

I don’t know about you, but I had always been rather thin, as was Ms 30-Extra-Pounds. Not rail thin, but within the 2-4 jean size thin. I almost had a melt down when I hit 130 when I was pregnant. Now I would be happy to ever see 130 again. 130 is like ancient history now and for some reason this history seems not to be repeating itself.

It happened slowly, people warned me it would, but I did not listen to those old fat people. In my youth I could eat two slices of pizza and wash it down with a pitcher of beer and have no ill effects except perhaps a new boyfriend. Occasionally, if I were going to the beach—the week before I would do some sit-ups to get my stomach flatter, but never did I think to jump on a Stairmaster or diet....pleassseee.

Even now the idea of going to the gym with all those big sweaty women on the Elliptical machines horrifies me. Obviously THAT machine is not working. Or dieting—have you seen the people who are at the “salad bars?” The people lumbering into those Weight Watchers meetings? What could be worse than listening to other fat people talk about their failures. But I NEED help so true to form—I choose my local library to assist me with my weight problem.

My friend with her extra 30 pounds, who will soon be knocking down my door in a Mafioso style hit, decided to go the same route with Skinny Bitch/ a no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous! by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin for her inspiration. I felt the title was way too long and it didn’t sound fun enough for me—especially the giving up meat and coffee part.

Instead I looked to the French for inspiration....they are thin, they are sexy and they drink red wine and coffee—two of my don’t see French women sweating or talking about “baked” potato chips. So yesterday when I took The Beast for her weekly library fix. I checked out Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat.

I just love it and if I manage to get rid of my back fat—I will let everyone know…it is 3 month ”recalibration of your eating habits”—so check back at the end of January and I will let you know if it works.

Off to get red wine!