Monday, September 27, 2010


While I have absolutely LOVED writing this blog, I have decided to move up in the cyberworld and get my very own domain name! From now on, I will be blogging at This is exciting for me, but those of you who subscribe to my posts will have to follow me to the new site and resubsribe. Since that involves a few extra steps for some of you, I hope you will take the time to follow me at my new site. I think you will like it better, find it easier to navigate, and simpler to view without reading glasses. SEE YOU OVER THERE!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


When I was in my teens, I could come home from school, eat five brownies, and three hours later, do justice to my Mother’s home cooking. Before bed, I often had a handful of potato chips. I ate three squares a day. I was underweight.

In college, I was very busy, and found time to eat only breakfast, which consisted of multiple slices of toast, eggs or cereal, two big tumblers of juice, and a glass of milk. I filled in the rest of the day with snacks on the run. I had the body of a super model.

Then I became a young Mom myself. I raced around after two little girls, drove to school events and soccer games. There were horse shows and school plays. I made time to play racquetball and bake cookies. I was a rail.

My children grew up. When they left home, I substituted writing for all those frenzied mothering activities. I still found time for going to the gym regularly, walking the dog, and stooping to pick up nylabones and stray books and magazines off the floor. I felt good, and seemed to look lumpless in my clothing. I was smug.

Somewhere during the aging process, in between perimenopause and AARP membership, my metabolism left. It started with small things: those little under eye bags, and a slight mushiness in the abdominal area. These were so slight that I took no real notice of them. I continued with my exercise program, enrolled in a punishing yoga class, and started blogging. Dinners still featured dessert.

The evidence of the absent metabolism became harder to ignore. There was the tight waistband in the wide legged pants that had previously been so comfortable. I observed that in those three way mirrors in fitting rooms, I looked more like Paula Deen than I would have liked. Foods that had never been threatening started giving me “gas.” I invested heavily in “Spanx.”

Now I am just plain worried. When sitting in a chair, I can look down at a highly defined protrusion that is impossible to “suck in.” My derriere seems to be “following’ me. I no longer claim the bike in the front row in spinning class. I have started looking very suspiciously at things like brownies, ascribing to them a sinister ulterior motive. I worry that people have started referring to me as “portly."

This has got to stop! I need my metabolism back! I have issued pleas to various fitness experts to give me the secrets to resurrect my calorie burner. I now go to the gym every day, instead of three times a week. I use Splenda in EVERYTHING. I drink Slim Fast shakes for breakfast. The dog is starting to eye me suspiciously whenever I walk anywhere near her leash. But that midsection chubbiness remains. I continue to look for a solution to this horrible metabolism defection.

I am jogging in place as I type this.

Friday, September 17, 2010


We all need to eat. It’s built in. Calories are essential. Judging by the look of many Americans, we take this necessity a bit too seriously. However, since eating and preparing to eat are lynchpins to our existence, I have spent some considerable time thinking about food. It seems to me that food falls into certain categories, as do all of us who eat it.

SNACKS. By definition, snacks are portable small meals. People have snacks between meals to boost their energy. Snacks ought to be healthy and low calorie. However, the American food conglomerates have turned snacks into “fun sized” versions of meals. We have smaller Blizzards, for example. I have often wondered how any person can finish a normal sized Blizzard, which probably amounts to around ten thousand calories. But as a “tide me over,” the smaller Blizzard is more manageable at around two thousand calories. Other “snacks” in America that have become popular are granola bars covered in chocolate (perhaps six hundred calories), pudding cups that have no sugar, no fat, and therefore no nutritive value, little one hundred calorie bags of everything from pretzels to cookies. My mother used to hand me an apple when I needed a snack.

COMFORT FOOD. Speaking of Mothers, they are the originators of “comfort food.” Again, we all like to remember tucking in to piles of mashed potatoes and gravy, pot roast, macaroni and cheese, and things like apple pie and brownies from scratch. Apparently, we still do this. But today, the comfort food is produced by Sarah Lee, Colonel Sanders and Marie Callender, and we are so comfortable that few of us wear pants that don’t have elastic waistbands.

GOURMET FOOD. If you watch the Food Network, you see this type of food prepared daily. Ina Garten, Emeril, and Mario Batali show everyone how it’s done. Frankly, I get weary of all the mincing, sautéing, macerating and gardening that is necessary to produce this food. Any recipe with more than three steps and four ingredients is exhausting. I love to eat gourmet food in restaurants, but having it at home requires at least a Christmas tree and one daughter.

ORGANIC FOOD. I am into the whole organic movement. I am embarrassed by the size of my carbon footprint. So whenever I can, I purchase organics. We all need to remember that organic food does not look flawless, like the things we are accustomed to seeing in the produce section. The apples may be misshapen and have little holes in them. The beans may not be all the same size. But organics are much more healthful. However, and this is a BIG however, organic produce, while healthful, still must be washed. I have had the diarrhea that proves this tenet.

RAW FOOD. This is a food movement that I can’t really understand. These foodies feel that anything cooked will make you sick or even kill you. Meat is obviously out for these people. I have actually been to a “raw food” restaurant, where their approximation of pizza was, I will have to say, interesting. Beet slices may look pepperoni-ish, but the resemblance ends there. The good news for raw food lovers is that pineapple tastes great uncooked.

I applaud all those people out there who are appalled at the beer bellies and large rear ends of many Americans. I think that we should all consider joining gyms and taking the stairs. Let us all remember our New Year’s Resolutions and get ourselves in order! I plan to to do this immediately.

I have packed some snacks into the pockets of my sweat pants, and I am going out for a walk.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


The news is terrible. There are fires, floods, heat waves and all such manner of horrible things and events. What we all need is a breath of fresh air. We need soothing voices and gentle hands. We need sopranos and tiny waists. What we need is a bunch of sweet young things to charm and delight us. Here they are, fresh from the pages of a book. Not really, but they could be:

SOPHIE: She copies poems into her diary at night and loves looking at the stars. She is just a tiny thing, and her voice is angelic. Her father is a country squire, and her mother often gets the vapors, but then Sophie rises to the occasion and charms her mother with little songs, then goes to make delightful snacks for her father. She is loved by all the villagers. I would hate her on sight.

DAHLIA: She lives in Paris, and has been subjected to all manner of indignities due to her low station. She works as a busker, playing her little flute in the streets for the meager coins thrown her way. Her eyes aren’t clear any more, and she has a subtle cough. She is always hungry, but still tries to share what little she has with her two tiny siblings in the hovel they inhabit. I get tired just thinking about her.

ADA: She is a big, hearty gal. Her boots would be too big for her father. She is better than any hired man, and she can bale hay, kill and roast a chicken, and repair the roof if she has to. Her Ma depends on Ada, because there are no sons in the family to take up the slack. When Pa gets drunk, which happens regularly, Ada hefts him into the loft and dumps him into bed. The next morning, Ada does all the chores before riding into town for provisions. I think women like Ada probably have body odor.

CHLOE: She has just TONS of energy! She started playing the guitar when she was seven, and by the time she hit her teens, she had formed an all girl garage band, “The Teeth,” which now plays to sold out houses in the Midwest. Chloe charms everyone with her red hair, freckles, and flashing smile. I think Chloe needs to be taken down a couple of notches.

SHANA: Her hair is black and her blue eyes shine. She waits tables at the diner, but dreams of a career in country music. She lives with her grandparents in a double wide, and she drives an old pickup. Shana hums tunes as she drives down country roads, and her bright red nails make clacking sounds on the steering wheel. Shana is dyslexic, but manages to write lyrics to the music in her head. I would prefer it if Shana just served me my eggs and moved on.

MOM: She makes everyone’s lunch. She is the only one who knows when all the dental appointments are. She keeps things clean. There is no better nurse, and only Mom can make spaghetti that delicious. She has eyes in the back of her head. She may not wear the latest styles, but she looks very nice in her pedal pushers. The world would be a better place if Moms ran everything. If she could read this, my Mom would tell me to stand up straight and have a little more respect.

As long as there are sweetie pies, the world will keep on turning..

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


One of my favorite writer friends and I challenged each other to a duel! We provided each other with a person's name and one adjective. The mission? To write a short story (very short) using just those tools. My friend, Simon Larter, is one you will want to get to know. His blog, "Constant Revisions" has been on my blog roll for a long time. Simon is very funny and a wonderful writer. I gave him the name ALDRICH JONES, and the adjective FECKLESS. If you would like to see the name he gave to me and the story I wrote, click on Simon's blog listed at the left on my blog roll ( Here is Simon's story about a feckless young man named Aldrich Jones:

Aldrich Jones, for a very long time, thought that feckless meant something similar to reckless, and took it as a great compliment when his wife or coworkers used the adjective to describe him. It made him feel edgy, perhaps a little dangerous, although the context in which the word was used confused him. Still, it put a certain spring in his step whenever someone muttered it within his hearing.

One Thursday afternoon, following a rather uncomfortable performance review in which the lone bright spot was a feckless, Aldrich decided to soothe the pain of the tongue-lashing by taking a coffee break at the local Starbucks. The late spring air was crisp with sunshine, with that lovely undercurrent of coolness that only happens on certain days in April, and Aldrich, breathing deeply, made a solid effort to ignore the uncomplimentary comments of his boss and embrace his inner bad boy.

He called the girl at the register “sweetheart” when he ordered. She offered a slight smile before turning to assist the next customer.

Buoyed by the results of his flirtation, he decided to repeat the performance with the barista. “Good afternoon, sweetheart,” he said, brightly. She glanced up from the sputtering espresso machine and blinked at him. “Afternoon?” she said.

Kids these days, Aldrich thought. Everything seemed to turn into a question.
The girl brushed a strand of blonde hair behind her ear and turned back to her work. Aldrich decided to try again. “Lovely day, isn’t it?”


Another question. Aldrich sighed and soldiered on. “I really shouldn’t have left the office, you know. We’re only supposed to take 15 minutes for coffee in the morning and a half hour at lunch.”

With an air of great concentration, the blonde poured milk into a stainless steel container and let steam bubble in the bottom of it. Aldrich had foregone his usual skim milk in favor of full-fat. He was, after all, feeling somewhat wild.

“Yes,” he continued, “I’m not supposed to leave until 5:30, but”—he leaned forward and winked—“I’m feeling feckless today.”

The girl did look at him, then. “Excuse me?”

“You know, a bit daring.” Aldrich gave her his best grin, the one that made his mustache hairs curl over his upper lip.

“You said feckless.”

“I did, didn’t I?” He allowed his grin to widen. His mustache hairs curled more aggressively over his upper lip.

“You don’t know what that means, do you?”

The grin faltered. “Of course I do!”

“Incompetent? Ineffectual? Inept?”

His grin disappeared altogether. He scratched at his lip where his mustache hairs had tickled him. “Pardon me?”

“That’s what it means. Feckless.”

She set his drink on the counter. She appeared to be biting her tongue.“Er . . . thank you.”

Aldrich retrieved his full-fat, double-shot latte from the counter and turned to go. A hastily-stifled giggle wafted over the counter toward him from the barista’s general direction.

The seats by the window were vacant. Aldrich sank into one like a deflated balloon. So . . . feckless was an insult after all?

Suddenly he was no longer confused by the context in which he’d been called that in the past. Hot resentment began to glow in his chest. Inept? Me? They’ve been calling me incompetent all these years?

He took a large gulp of his latte and promptly sputtered as the too-hot liquid scalded his throat. “Gosh…darnit!” For some reason, cursing made him feel better. “Crap!” he said. He hazarded a small “Damn?” That felt good too. Aldrich stood and strode for the door. Feckless. We’ll see about that, he thought. He would march right back into his boss’s office and give him a piece of his mind, that’s what he’d do.

The door careened open under his forceful hand. Another small giggle escaped from behind the counter. Aldrich stopped, turned to glare back at the barista, and promptly caught the return swing of the door on his elbow. Hot, full-fat, double shot latte spurted from the cup as his fist clenched around the cardboard.

A full-blown gale of laughter followed Aldrich out the door and down the street as he danced a small jig of pain. He glared at the offensive tan smear on his white dress shirt.

“Shucks!” he exclaimed vehemently. “Shoot!" How could he confront his boss now, burned tongue, coffee stain and all? No, better to take it up with him tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep on the couch. Because he certainly wasn’t going to share the bed with a woman who would call him feckless to his face. No, sir.

Sitting back at his desk, disgruntlement fizzing in his stomach, Aldrich thought that maybe he would do something reckless on the way home. He’d show them.

After all, there was that motorcycle dealership just a mile from his house.

Friday, September 3, 2010


My husband barely knows what Facebook is. Most of my friends think that only the birds tweet. I feel that it is my obligation to educate those people who are ignorant about social media. Yes, social media is what is going to take over what is left of the “old world.” Social media is going to wipe out the few remaining newspapers, the book publishing industry, and thus libraries, bookstores, and probably person to person interaction. Since, according to experts, this is going to happen very soon, it is essential to know what social media is.

Everybody has heard of Facebook. Invented by a Harvard kid to make “hooking up” easier, Facebook quickly outstripped “My Space” and all other interactive sites. I think people even run their businesses on it. It has allowed millions of people worldwide to locate their high school boyfriends/girlfriends only to discover that they are now old and boring. It also allows many of us with eventless lives to post pictures of our children to share with others.

Twitter is much better than Facebook. Twitter is like the old “instant messaging” that our kids all did instead of their homework. Twitter is just much more encompassing. After just a few weeks on Twitter, one can talk in real time with people from Ireland, Africa, Ecuador, and Hackensack. Twitter messages are very efficient, allowing a person only 140 characters to get a message across. Thus it is very fast. One’s Twitter friends are called “tweeps.” A “tweet” is a twitter message. A “twit” is apparently anybody who isn’t on Twitter.

There are many other social media outlets such as “Discus,” “LinkedIn,” “StumbleUpon,” and “Digg,” just to name a few others. They must not be any good, because I am not on any of them. I have found over three thousand soul mates on Twitter, and therefore spend huge amounts of time sharing things with these dear friends, such as what I had for dinner, why I hate white kitchen floors, and how frustrating it is to be married to an accordion player.

I began my stints on Facebook and Twitter as a writer looking for an audience. I remain on both sites as a writer, yes, but also as a person who craves constant input from hundreds of people I will most likely never set eyes upon. I feel that these folks are my real friends. This is a bit absurd, since I know only small bytes of information about any of them. But it is comforting to be able to “shout out” to these hordes of people and get immediate conversation! Apparently, there is a little bit of loneliness in all of us that Facebook and Twitter seem to fill very nicely.

There are dire prognostications and bestselling books being published (probably mostly on Kindles) that we are headed for a time when each of us will remain isolated in our own little cell, interacting with others only on our keyboards. Yes, this sounds a bit dire, I must admit. HOWEVER, there is a sunny side to all of this, in my view. To me, interacting with people in Africa, while I wear pajamas and scratch myself, is perfect! Really, who doesn’t want to pontificate on the state of healthcare, Hurricane Earl, or string theory while belching? It is the best scenario for those of us with unsightly skin conditions, unbearable shyness, or bowed legs. Believe me when I tell you that I have friends out there of all colors, all religions, all ages, and even a few assorted tweeting dogs and cats. The Twitterworld is a wonderful place. Facebook isn’t bad, either. Social Media may replace books, and face to face conversations, but I seriously doubt it.

What Social Media IS doing is letting old ladies like me become popular again. People all over the world care about 140 characters worth of what I am thinking. All of my friends from grade school appreciate my input!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


The leaves are turning. There is that nip in the air. Yes, fall would be a wonderful season if it weren’t for sports. Good grief, the amount of time my family spends on putting together fake football teams amounts to hundreds of man hours that could be devoted to much more worthwhile pursuits like reducing our carbon footprints.

A lot of time is spent deciding who will be in the Fantasy “League.” The league has to have a “commissioner.” I think this year, my husband received illegal campaign funds for his election, but despite it, he lost his bid. After that, there is much discussion about all the players--Carson, Peyton, Terrell, and all those other huge guys. I get to listen in on the arguments about who is in top form, who is most likely to get in trouble, and who is a thug. Then there is the “Draft.” Apparently, drafting a fantasy team requires a day long party with lots of beer and snacks. These parties get very loud, and I have no idea what anyone in the room is talking about.

Once everyone has his/her “team,” then there is a lot of worrying. Will Brett get hurt? Will the Manning brothers have funny commercials this year? Will there be some sort of social commitment that will cause anyone to miss a game on TV? Will we run out of guacamole?

As the season wears on, and Sunday nights (or is it Mondays? I am not really sure) fill up with endless games and constant texting back and forth, teeth gnashing, and shouting, I become a little more hostile to the whole thing. I try to watch the games, and I do know a first down from a field goal, but all this brouhaha about throwing around a pigskin just escapes me. And why anyone would want to sit in a cold stadium with face paint on, waving towels or cardboard signs is beyond my imagination.

At our house, the game comes on, and my husband grabs a beer, his cell phone, and the remote. He spends the first fifteen minutes of the game trying to get the “multiscreen” option on our TV to work, so that he can watch more than one game at once. When that ultimately fails, he sits intently, staring at the screen and changing channels. He moves from game to game and back again, grunting, texting his fellow “fantasizers,” and standing up once in awhile to shout something rude at the referee.

Thank God I have a Kindle. I think it will get me through football season and beyond. I have downloaded a large list of books, along with some word games and the New York Times. It even has a “search”option, in which I can Google things like “calling an audible,” “Hail Mary,” and “onside kick.”

This year, my husband bought us all tickets to go to see the Bengals. On December 26!

Look for me, my lawn chair, and my Kindle in the ladies room…

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