Friday, February 28, 2014

987. How I Lost Lots of Weight Fast and You Can Too

The past few days I have been surrounded by admirers telling me how skinny I look and how my clothes seem like they are just hanging on me.  I love this sort of thing, especially since I have not actually lost and a single ounce.  People ask me my secret and then I ramble on and on about how it was a lot of dieting and hard work at the gym.
I am lying.    
My secret is that I went to Macy’s and bought clothes three sizes too big.  The clothes literally swallow me up.  I look like Kate Moss, but without the scowl. 
I walk around the house and my new jeans slide down my hips a little.  So I reach for the chocolate cake. 
I figure I earned it. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

986. If I Get Your Name Sorta Right, It Should Still Count

For some strange reason, I was not blessed with the DNA coding to remember people’s names correctly.  Fortunately, I can remember that I do know the person, and that we had a long chat about where their daughter is going to college or about how their cat might have to have surgery, but then the part about their actual name?  Not so much. 
Sharon?  I want to call her Karen. 
Winnie?  Let’s make that Wendy. 
Brad?  How about Bob. 
JoAnna?  I’ll change that to Jessica. 
I should get points though, right?  Partial credit?  It means I was paying a tiny bit of attention at some point, but maybe not all the way. 
The Husband (big surprise here) does not quite agree with me. 
“If you know you forgot their name, why don’t you avoid it all together?  Because if you get the name wrong, it’s not like in math class where you get some points for showing your work.  You lose points.  It is better to not say a name at all and then you stay at zero points instead of negative.”
Zero points?  Who wants to stay at zero points?!? I want the possibility to earn points!  
I call the kids in for their opinions. 
“Grande, Little, Mommy wants to ask you something.”
“It’s Tall and Short, Mom.” 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

985. Small Talk

I just got back from the hairdresser.  A new hairdresser. 
Let’s kill the suspense, shall we?  The hair results were successful.  I do not want to complain about my hair.        
What I want to focus on is the small talk.  You know how you are in a situation where you have to converse with someone for a long time about something completely benign?  A situation like meeting someone for the first time at a party or being stuck next to a Chatty Cathy on the airplane?  Here are some things my new hair lady and I discussed:    

  • Have you been watching the Olympics/ what’s your favorite sport
  • Can you believe this weather/ I am so ready for Spring
  • Have you seen any good movies lately/ do all theaters have reserved seating now
  • Are you planning a vacation any time soon/ where do you want to go
  • How long have you been working here/ do you like it
  • Did you always know you wanted to be a hairdresser
  • Are there any restaurants you recommend in this mall
  • Are you from this area originally

At the end of the three hours, my brain was fried.  Then I walked out into the fluorescence of mall lighting and ran right into a neighbor of mine.
After greeting me enthusiastically and getting my name right (wish I could say I got her name right, but I grappled with, “Is it Julianne or Juliet???” so I opted for the more neutral, “Hey … you!”), she launched into a round of “Have you been watching the Olympics?” and “Can you believe this weather?” 
I couldn’t do it.  My head bobbed up and down politely while I tried to force myself to make intelligent comments about teenagers riding snowboards and wiping out in Sochi.  Make small talk, I told myself, Say something smart!
There was nothing left in the gas tank.  Nothing.  Julianne/Juliet finally looked at me sympathetically and said, “You seem tired, is everything okay?” to which I simply responded, “Did you always know you wanted to be a hairdresser?”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

984. Floppy Beach Hat

I bought a floppy beach hat today.  It is 22 degrees out.
My purchase is partially wishful thinking that the weather will tropicate overnight. 
But even if it did—what then?  I am not a floppy beach hat girl.  I wish I was.  I so want to be her.  I imagine myself languorously drifting into the local market, embellished with the floppy beach hat. 
People I don’t know would whisper about me behind my back:  “She is wearing a floppy beach hat.  Therefore, her life must be perfect in that casual not-trying-too-hard kind of way.” 
I want people to think I am not trying too hard. 
But I am actually trying really hard. 
I own a black coat with a fake fur collar.  For floppy beach hat girl.  I also have a pair of 5-inch stilettos acquired on trip to New Zealand two decades ago. 
I have worn the shoes exactly once.    
Floppy beach hat girl would wear those shoes to go see the dentist. 
You know she would. 
Floppy beach hat girl is fearless.  She wears what she wants, when she wants.  She doesn’t agonize before leaving the house if she is dressed appropriately and then ultimately put on jeans and a Target t-shirt (again) just so she can look like a suburban soccer mom.  No.  Floppy beach hat girl will wear bracelets made of rubber bands (bestowed upon her by her 7-year-old) with an evening gown to go to her husband’s work party.  She dresses for herself, not caring what others think one way or another. 
I take a cue from floppy beach hat girl.  I put on black corduroy pants, a pink sweater, and a crazy wood necklace shaped like arrows that I bought at a second-hand store in LA.  I lace up chunky leather boots.  I look in the mirror and smile. 
As we are about to leave, my snarky 4th grader groans, “You’re not wearing that, are you, Mom?” 
I zip back to my closet and change.  Jeans and a sweatshirt.  No necklace.       
Floppy beach hat girl will have to wait another day. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

983. My Magical To-Do List

I have always been a list-maker.  I think it started when I could first hold a crayon (“To Do:  Build tower out of blocks.  Accomplish by COB today”).  When I got to high school, this list-making was my salvation, as my parents sent me to an extremely demanding prep school—I had to be organized to maintain a decent GPA.  Now that I am a wife and mom, I have noticed a strange thing happening to my lists:  items are appearing that I can’t cross off. 
Isn’t the whole point of a To-Do list to cross things off?  You know the way you feel when you find a surprise $20 bill in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn in over a year?  That is how I feel every time I cross an item off.  Buy milk?  Crossed off!  Go to dry cleaners?  Crossed off!  Make dentist appointment?  YES! 
However, this exhilarating feeling wears off quite quickly when I realize there are still 10 things on the list that I will not be getting to today.  Or ever.    
Things like, “Learn to play saxophone” and “Sign up for Physics for Beginners” or “Lose 20 pounds.” 
Frankly, I am not really sure how those things got on my list in the first place. 
Did aliens possess my brain and force me to write those evil things? 
Maybe it was that strange bit of power that takes over when I write a list:  I can write down anything, and I can get it done!  (I even have a quirky habit of writing in things I did after I did them if they were not part of the original list, just for the thrill of crossing off—Oops, I returned those library books sitting in the front seat of my car;  better write it on the list and cross it off!        
But saxophone lessons?  I do not own a saxophone.  Nor is it on the list to buy one. 
What about sky-diving?  Should that be on the list, too? 
I get out a blank piece of paper, full of promise and potential.  I scribble down a few words: 


Sunday, February 2, 2014

982. Dating Superman

It’s not like I didn’t know who he was when we met.  He had on the cape, the tights, the giant letter “S” across his chest.  He looked like a very handsome caricature of himself. 
“Hello, I’m Superman,” he said confidently, as he extended his hand. 
“MOV,” I replied.  I felt my cheeks turn red.  It’s not every day you meet a superhero. 
His grip was tight, but not too tight.  He could probably bend steel with those hands if he wanted to. 
Once we started talking, I confirmed that he was single.  I know what you’re thinking:  Lois Lane.  That’s what everyone says now when I tell the story.  But we actually met way before he and Lois were an item. 
Superman and I had a lot in common.  We both liked long walks on the beach, saving puppies, and listening to rain while enjoying a good book and a cup of hot cocoa.  Oh, didn’t I tell you?  We met through a dating service. 
This was back in the days before the Internet and Match Dot Com.  You had to fill out a questionnaire with, like, 50 questions, and poof!  They would set you up with your perfect guy. 
I don’t remember all the questions, but I do remember my answers:  Super!  As in, “If you unexpectedly found yourself with a day off, what would your first thought be?”  Or, “Tell us about your relationship with your next-door neighbor,” and, “What is the one word your best friend would use to describe you?” 
It just seemed natural that they would set me up with him.  I liked Super and he was Super.   
The beginning was great.  He called when he said he would, showed up with flowers, always paid for dinner—that kind of thing.  He was courteous and thoughtful.  I even started to think about introducing him to my family.   
But then something changed.  He was very show-offy.  Say a giant metal safe was falling out a window of a high-rise building just as we happened to be walking under it?  He would reach out and catch it and prevent us from being killed.  Okay, maybe that’s a bad example because I am glad that I didn’t get crushed by a safe.  Oh, here’s one:  if a baby was playing on railroad tracks FIVE STREETS OVER then he would woosh away and save the baby or stop the train or whatever. 
The whole saving people thing got to be annoying.  It interrupted a lot of romantic moments, if you know what I mean. 
He was always “on”—always paying attention to something else, somewhere else, some element of danger lurking that I had no idea about.  And everywhere we went, people had to come up and shake his hand and thank him. 
“Oh, Superman,” they would swoon, “you are the greatest!  Thank you so much for saving my dad from being eaten by that shark,” blah-blah-blah. 
Of course I would stand to the side, smiling and nodding politely (what else was I going to do?) and then the people would turn to me and say how lucky I was to be dating Superman. 
Lucky.  Yeah, right. 
Then, totally out of the blue, he proposed.  Literally out of the blue: he scooped me up, flew me in his arms to a mountain top, and pulled a diamond ring out of a secret pocket in his cape. 
I said yes.  Not because I wanted to say yes, but because I felt pressured.  And the fact that I was on a random mountain top and not sure how I’d get home if I said no. 
He wanted to elope, and I wanted to break up.  He told me to meet him down at City Hall but I was a no-show.  I felt bad, but I couldn’t go through with it.  It’s not like I have to be in the spotlight all the time, but with Superman I knew I would never be in the spotlight.  Ever. 
He knocked on my apartment door with a big bouquet of roses in his hand.    
“MOV, can we start over?” 
My roommate glanced up from watching TV and rolled her eyes. 
“Look, S,” I began, “I love the idea of you.  But the you in the flesh, well … it’s a little hard to take.”   
He set the flowers on the table and left.  I never heard from him again.  Well, until last week, that is.  He sent me a friend request on Facebook.  I immediately checked his relationship status:  Single. 
And according to his profile, he still likes saving puppies.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

981. My Rebound Fling With Santa

Did I ever tell you about this?  It was years ago.  I had just gotten through a bad break-up, and that’s when we started dating. 

What first attracted me to him was his positive attitude—he was always in a good mood.  He just had this way about him, he could light up a room, so to speak.

Kids loved him.  My mom has always said you can tell a lot about a guy’s character by how children and pets react to him.  I didn’t have a child or a pet, but I could see other people’s kids adored him.
And he was thoughtful.  I’d mention I had a tough day at work, and he’d give me a little felt penguin to cheer me up.  My room-mate and I had a fight, and Santa would show up with a tiny plush snowman.  One time I called him when my car died to ask if he could pick me up.  Of course he said yes.  I smiled to see he brought a fuzzy moose with faux suede antlers.   

The longer Santa and I were together, the more shelf space I needed for my stuffed animal collection. 
But it wasn’t the materialism that drove us apart, nor the binge eating. 

Oh, I didn’t tell you about Santa’s weight issues?  He had a sweet tooth.  In fact, he liked to joke that he had his dentist on speed dial.  (This was way in the days before cell phones and iPads, I guess everyone’s on speed dial now.)  He’d have cake for breakfast, cookies for lunch, ice-cream for dinner.  It was the Sugar Channel, 24/7.  At first, that was great.  I crave sweets, too.  But aren’t you supposed to be with someone who makes you a better person, not an obese one? 
The thing that came between us, though, was Santa’s insatiable appetite for attention.  People recognized him everywhere we went, and it got to be a bit much for me.  But S.C. (that was my pet name for him) thrived on attention.  He needed it, like I needed a trip to Hawaii. 

There you have it.  Another of our fundamental differences.  When things started to get serious, we would talk about where we should live, as the long-distance thing was killing me, and he loved the cold and snow.  He’d say, “How about Montana?  Or Alaska?  Do you like Northern Canada?  Have you ever been to Russia?” 
I’d suggest Miami or San Diego and he’d cringe.  He’d say (in that upbeat way of his), “Wow!  Miami is fantastic!  But you know what’s even better?  Greenland!”  There was just no arguing with him. 

He bought me a new coat, or I should say he had a friend make it for me.  He had a lot of “friends” that worked for him, he never told me his exact line of work except that is was “seasonal” and involved “import/ export.”  Frankly, the way he hid the details of his life, I thought he was involved in dealing drugs or embezzling funds or something shady like that. 
Turns out he was married. 

He had been upfront about things when we met, saying that he was separated.  His wife was a bit of a control freak, and the other thing was that they couldn’t have kids.  I don’t know if I mentioned this, but Santa was really crazy about kids.  It broke his heart to think he might not be able to have kids of his own.  He brought up kids a lot.
Santa:  MOV, how many kids would you like to have someday? 

Me:  Oh, I don’t know.  I never really thought about it.  One.  Maybe one, or I guess I could have two.  Definitely no more than two. 
Santa:  I want 15. 

Me:  Did you say 15!?  Are you out of your mind?  How would you pay for 15 kids? 
Santa:  Oh, I’m pretty financially secure.  Money is not a problem. 

See?  There was that secrecy thing again. 
He showed up on my doorstep one morning with a giant toy polar bear.  That’s when I knew something was wrong. 

“MOV, I don’t know how to tell you this, but Carol and I are getting back together.  I’ve really enjoyed our time together.  You’ve made me feel young and merry, but I miss Carol and I need to give our relationship a chance.  You are a wonderful person, MOV, and you deserve someone better than me.” 
That was it.  That was his whole explanation.  But instead of feeling like I’d been kicked and dragged by reindeer, I actually felt good.  That was part of S.C.’s charm, allure, and charisma:  he would take his idea and make you think it was your idea.  How could you be mad at someone like that?    

I haven’t thought about Santa in years, but the other day I found an old picture of us.  I was sitting on his lap, and we looked happy.