Saturday, September 27, 2008

The big day.

My matron-of-honor speech (more or less...):

It is very special for me to be speaking tonight in honor of not just the bride but also my (voice starts to crack) sister and my best friend (deep breath...compose yourself!). It is a unique and incredible experience to know someone your entire life (voice trembling); to watch someone grow from a pixie-haired tag along to an amazing woman I look up to and admire in so many ways (chin quivering, eyes welled with tears). Molly, I am so proud of the person you have become (look to audience and shrug like, 'I don't know why I can't stop crying?'). I'm so happy that you've found someone who loves and respects you as much as I do (tears running down cheeks, makeup ruined).

Erick, I don't know if Molly ever told you this but about 6 or 7 years ago we were out here with our mom having a girls' day when Molly and I decided to go for a run. We were running along the highway when Molly looked down at the resort and saw the exact site where you got married tonight (sniff) and said, "Maybe someday I'll meet a really special man and me and my special man will get married right there." I think we can all agree (voice cracking, chin quivering) that she has found her special man. Your love is proof that dreams really do come true (waaaahhhhh!!!).

I love you both and am so grateful to have you in my family (give up trying not to cry, hug the bride and groom, down the last of my wine and join Liam in chanting, 'cut that cake, cut that cake!').

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Picture of the day.

The only dance off my sister ever lost.
Let's hope she fares better at her bachelorette party tonight!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Reno or bust.

I told the girls in my hoop class that I wouldn't be in class next week. "I'm going out of town," I said, still panting from class. "My sister's getting married in Reno."

After I got in my car, I realized how that must have sounded. I felt compelled to roll down my window and shout across the parking lot to clarify, "It's not a quickie wedding or like a drive through thing. We're from Reno! That's where she lives!"

They looked at me like they had no idea what I was talking about.

I just need to finish packing our carry on bags and we're off. I am, for the first time ever, excited to fly with my son. He is like a real travel companion now instead of a squirmy sack of flour required to sit on my lap. And my genius husband downloaded several episodes of Blue's Clues and Wonder Pets to our iPod so I'm pretty much good to go. We could fly to Bangladesh if we wanted to. I am even considering packing a book without pictures to read on the flight.

I will not be bringing my laptop because Liam's seven favorite stuffed animals have pushed me over the limit of what is humanly possibly to haul through an airport. Only time will tell how often I am able to gain access to a computer. It's always an adventure trying to sneak into my in law's kitchen to get on the Internet before one of them hears me and wants to chat or hop on eBay "just for a second" to see if he won anything (I keep trying to tell him it's actually buying, not winning). Let the games begin!

Fortunately I have a little gas in my car because Bill is out and so are the gas stations around town. Doesn't that seem a little strange? It's not like one gas station ran out of gas. Many gas stations are out of gas. I hope the airport filled up before this apparent shortage struck. That would suck.

A small step for mankind; a big step for me.

I am the proud owner of my very own dot com!

Sure, it just directs you to the same old Blogger page but it sounds so much cleaner without all that dot-blogspot-dot-com nonsense. So, please, feel free to share my big news with all your friends. I won't mind one bit. *wink*

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fight for the right to tailor.

With my sister's wedding rapidly approaching, I decided it was finally time to get my bridesmaid dress altered. I have had it for at least six months now but, like any red-blooded woman, wanted to wait until the last possible second for alterations to ensure it would fit my six months from now figure.

Six months ago I couldn't even imagine what I would look like at her wedding, let alone what size dress I would wear. Six months always seems like a really long time when potential hotness is concerned. It seems like enough time to completely transform yourself. Six months ago I could totally picture myself with flat abs and big boobs, gliding down the aisle to murmurs of That's her OLDER sister? No way has that girl had a baby! Now the wedding is less than two weeks away and, surprisingly, my boobs have not grown one bit (one day I will give up on the possibility of this happening). As for the rest of me? I figured it was nothing a little magical tailoring couldn't fix.

What Not to Wear has me convinced that a good tailor can make up for any number of sins. Like that the reason clothes don't look good on me is not because I eat pizza twice a week but because they're not tailored properly. I like that. It makes me feel confident that the only thing standing between me and Rihanna-eque hotness is a skilled seamstress. Why pay someone to snip and sew and prove me wrong?

I have never had anything tailored in my life. Not even my own wedding dress. That seems really crazy now but at the time I was a 22 year old kid who had only been to a couple weddings ever and had no idea what I was doing. My mom is not the kind of mom who is into stuff like weddings or shopping or bonding over weddings and shopping so she wasn't a whole hell of a lot of help, and my 19 year old sister/maid-of-honor was so completely wrapped up in her own teenage world she was M.I.A. for most of the reception and couldn't even be found to sign the marriage certificate (I later found out my "witness" was on the golf course sneaking cigarettes with one of her friends).

Not my sister. (Do I have a farmer's tan?)

I should have had Bill's mom help me find a dress (she loves stuff like that) or accepted help from the lady at the dress shop (that's what she's there for) but I was uncomfortable reaching out or being seen in my underwear. So, instead, I just acted like I knew what I was doing, like, Who me? Oh, I buy wedding dresses ALL the time, and bought the very first dress I tried on.

It was a simple gown that had lots of layers of chiffon that floated perfectly to the floor and looked lovely when I spun around (I told you I was young when I got married - I chose my wedding dress based on a six year old girl's criteria: the spin test). The rest of the dress was chiffon, too, with a beaded empire waist and straps. It maybe wasn't exactly my style, but I liked it well enough. It was pretty and affordable and I was starting to feel way overwhelmed at the prospect of trying on dress after dress after dress so I just kinda shrugged my shoulders and pulled out my debit card. I figured I could always alter it later if I changed my mind.

I thought this nonchalantly as if I had any sort of skills to back up a claim like that. As if it was totally feasible for me to leave the store with one dress and walk down the aisle in another. As if I had the power to redesign a wedding gown or (gasp!) pick up the phone and ask someone to do it for me. I didn't and I knew it.

And yet.

I can't recall exactly how it happened but I know I started with sewing and ended with gluing. I didn't have a mannequin or sewing skills or any assistance whatsoever but still managed to create a satiny corset-like piece for the top of my dress. Once I had it made though, I had no idea how to attach it to my dress. With my lack of skills, there was no way I was going to feed my wedding dress through a sewing machine. I knew it would make that unmistakable sound of destruction and I'd have to cut through layers of knotted thread and chiffon to pull it free.

Not knowing what else to do, I hand stitched it on at the seams and, when it wasn't lying down quite the way I wanted it to, I squeezed fabric glue in between the chiffon and the satin and pressed the pieces together until they dried as close to the way I wanted them as I could manage (I had to do the gluing while wearing the dress). Then I stitched on a few beads, re-did the straps, whipped up a veil and hoped for the best.

I was also clueless about hiring a photographer.
This picture my dad took in the driveway is one of the only full
shots of me on my wedding day and the top of my head is cut off.

No one knew my dress was a craft project gone right and I was thrilled that I ended up, more or less, with what I wanted. Still, I often wondered what it would have been like to have a dress measured and tailored and sewn just for me. (And, looking back at the photos now, it's hard not to notice that my dress looks a little off.)

But, we live and we learn. Had I known everything back then, there would have been no room for growth. Who wants to peak at 22?

I feel fortunate to be in my sister's wedding now, at the wise old age of 30, so I can experience a proper wedding vicariously through her. It will be fun to go to a family event where the bride knows some things about some things. A wedding with a real DJ and wedding coordinator and photographer. With beautiful invitations and thoughtfully planned favors and a dashing, well tailored wedding party.

Getting my dress fitted professionally was the least I could do.

I found a tailor through one of my good looking friends and drove right over to get my dress taken care of. Or, at least, that's what I should have done. Instead I went on a mission to fix what the six months had not. It started simply enough with a thought: If my boobs were bigger, my waist would look smaller. Then it took a quick detour through Victoria's Secret and Macy's and Target and any other store that sells bras. Don't you have water bras with MORE water in them? And ended with me buying silicone breast enhancers (size Large) from a young, perfectly proportioned checker at the fabric store. I've just got to get these boobs and get out of here!

Fortunately I came home to try on the dress with the bra and the boobs before going to the tailor because the combination did not work at all. If I put the booby cutlet things under my real boobs, it looked like I had breasts growing out of my stomach. If I put them on top of my real boobs, they completely stuck out of my bra. I was feeling brave but not brave enough to expose that to a tailor. Plus, I kept picturing a fake boob bouncing out of my strapless dress and onto the parquet dance floor while I did the YMCA with one hand and held a child or a drink in the other.

You could also totally tell I had fake plastic boobs shoved into my dress. And, although I told myself it was no big deal that the package said my new boobs contained a material "known in the state of California to cause cancer", they still made me itch every time I touched them.

I was running out of time and didn't have the patience to run all over town looking for another solution so I just made peace with the situation and took my big dress and my little boobs to the alteration shop.

When I walked in, the woman behind the counter was on the phone. "This is Kim," she said into the receiver without looking up. Kim, as in THE Kim of Kim's Alterations? This must be my lucky day. She moved the phone away from her mouth and said, "You try on." I can be a little slow on the uptake so I lifted my Ann Taylor garment bag up over the counter and stammered in my best polite whisper, "What? No. I'm here to get a dress altered." She cupped her hand over the receiver, nodded her head toward a fitting room and repeated a little slower so I would understand, "You try on."


By the time I got my dress on and stepped out to the full length mirror, she was off the phone. I held my dress up while doing my very best to explain what I thought needed to be done while blabbing on and on about how it was too big here, here and here and how I thought it looked better with the waist a little higher and how I didn't know but it probably needed to be taken in all over the place since it was like a whole size too big and on and on and on.

She pulled the dress tight around my boobs, stuck it together with a couple pins and said, "OK."

"Oh, um. That's it?"

"Yes. You get changed now." She told me to come back in two days with cash. Two days? I was impressed already.

When I went back to get my dress, I felt like an old pro. Try on? Sure! You don't need to tell me twice! I went into the dressing room and zipped up my dress. It felt good. I walked out to the mirror and checked myself out. The dress no longer needed to be held up which was nice and it looked pretty good. But something about it wasn't quite right. "It's just the lining on the bodice," said my inner seamstress. "We'll cut that out as soon as we get home. Then it will be perfect!"

But when I got home and cut out the lining and tried the dress on again, it still wasn't right. It was like the waist of the dress and the waist of my body were in different places. So instead of being smooth and flattering, the dress was a little bumpy and unflattering. I felt like a dope for not saying anything when I was at the shop but I was new to this whole tailoring thing. Typically bumpiness is attributed to my body, not my dress.

When I got back to the shop, I explained to Kim that the part she fixed was perfect but there was more that needed to be done. I put on the dress to show her. "See how if I lift the skirt of the dress up about an inch it fits my waist a little better?"

"No. In my opinion it looks better like this." She pulled the dress back down.

"Hmmm. Well, I don't think it looks so good. It's too long in the body."

"But it's just for bridesmaid."

"Yeah, but it's my sister's wedding. Besides, I mean, it just doesn't look right. It's all bunchy on my waist and clingy on my hips."

"Oh, you mean these fatty parts right here?"

"Yes! Exactly. It's not flattering to those fatty parts. Right!" Finally we were getting somewhere.

"But it's a lot of work. I have to take off the whole skirt and replace the zipper."

"Perfect! Yes. Let's do that." I wasn't about to back down now. Not after the Craft Glue Fiasco of 2000.

"But, no, in my opinion the skirt is too high like that. It looks better here." She pulled it back down, nice and tight around my fatty parts.

"Yeah, NO. It really bothers me. I need you to fix it. Can you fix it?" She exhaled in defeat, stuck two straight pins in my dress and told me to come back on Tuesday with cash.

I don't know if it was because I had to strong-arm her into tailoring it or if I was just getting a case of Bridezilla by proxy, but the next two nights I had nightmares about my dress.

In one I unzipped my garment bag to find the whole front of my dress stained with bleach. When I tried it on, Kim pretended not to notice (perhaps in her opinion it looked good like that).

Then the next night I dreamed that she had somehow altered my dress so drastically it was no longer recognizable. Instead of a satin strapless a-line, it was an 80s monstrosity with big poof sleeves, a bubble skirt and lace detailing. How she got that from two straight pins, I would never know. I spent the whole dream trying to figure out if I could pull off the new style because I was the matron of honor and, technically, that was different than a bridesmaid.

I was nervous when I went to get my dress. Even more nervous than I had been before. Kim greeted me with a familiar smile and handed me my garment bag. My first sigh of relief came when I unzipped the bag and saw familiar brown satin (no lace or poof sleeves!); my second came when I stepped in front of the mirror and my eyes were no longer drawn to my fatty parts. I borrowed a line from Liam and told Kim, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

"I'm happy if you're happy," she said and smiled stiffly.

Did I detect a hint of sarcasm? Oh, who cares. "I'm happy," I gushed. "Very, very happy."

I compensated for the boob situation with really great shoes.

Now the only question left is what to do with my hair. I wanted to curl it and leave it down but I'm afraid that will be way too much brown. An up-do is nice for a wedding but I'll have to be very careful. If I get anywhere near bouffant territory, I'll be in big trouble. I can already hear some relative (like my dad) cornering me at the bar with something like, "Your hair looks great, kid. Just like that Sarah Palin gal. Now isn't she a breath of fresh air!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In case you missed it...

...this was FUNNY!

(You have to wait about 30 seconds once you press play but it's totally worth it. Hulu rocks, by the way. Check it out if you haven't already.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Love is...

Waiting for your husband to finish his chalupa and hard taco before freaking out about the Curly Black Hair you found in your bean burrito.

Friday, September 12, 2008

When you're here, you're family.

I was still in a carbohydrate induced stupor when Bill woke me up this morning to make coffee. "Hey, babe," he whispered. "Do you mind getting up? I could use a little hospitaliano."

He was referring, of course, to our big night out at the The Olive Garden.

I know that type of night out might sound typical, like something that just happens to people when they have kids, but I can assure you, for us, it's not. We didn't just decide last minute to pile into the mini van and head to the nearest place with a kids menu (not that we have a mini van). Noooo. This was a completely pre-meditated, eagerly awaited culinary experience.

Two days ago, Bill's office had food brought in for a lunch meeting and I think you can guess where they ordered from. He called (several times) to brag about the amazing discovery that happened when he "accidentally" dripped alfredo sauce on his salad. It was enough to make me want to go back to work full time just for the possibility of a lunch meeting like that.

I know what you're thinking, "Olive Garden? Really?" Yes. Really! I don't care if it's like Italian fast food, it tastes damn good. Go ahead, dip a breadstick in that alfredo sauce and just try to tell me you don't like it.

I like it so much I actually worked there before. OK, it wasn't because I liked it. It was because I really wanted to wait tables and it was the only restaurant in town that would hire me without previous experience. As it turns out, previous experience may not have been such a bad thing to have had. If I had waited tables before I would have known that I had absolutely no business waiting tables.

I'm not exactly "friendly" or what you would call a "people person" so making small talk with strangers for money was not really a good fit. I regularly begged Bill or my sister to sit in my section for my entire shift so I had one less table to worry about.

I'm also a complete klutz so carrying around hot plates of food over my head was a joke (I never got the tray off my shoulder). I tripped up the stairs with a full tray of dinners not once, not twice but three times before they stopped seating me upstairs.

I only worked there a few months but, in that time, we ate like kings. We were in that gluttonous stage of dating at the very beginning where all you want to do is eat and drink and BE together. Let me tell you, that stage and alfredo sauce went really well together.

Nowadays, Olive Garden is as distant a memory as that first stage of dating. I can't even remember the last time we ate there. Maybe when I was pregnant? Yeah, that's it. I was having an unstoppable craving for chicken alredo pizza that could only be satisfied by Olive Garden and called Bill on his way home from work to beg him to go get it for me. When he got home an hour and a half later, the pizza was cold and my craving had passed. Cravings and travel time do not mix.

We love where we live but it's not exactly convenient for things like Italian fast food. To dine at a themed chain restaurant we must take a pilgrimage to the land of strip malls and amenities where you can eat dinner and go shopping without ever leaving the parking lot.

For Reno kids like us, it's almost like going home again.

Ours was a fantastic voyage. We got a cozy little table in a corner where Liam could play on the floor without disturbing anyone and we could eat breadsticks with abandon because, really, who knows when we'll be back again. By the time our actual meals arrived, we were full of bread and ready to go home. We packed up our dinner, ordered dessert to go and walked hand-in-hand to Toys R Us where Liam ran around in amazement and we waddled after him nibbling on complimentary chocolate mints.

Quarter tank of gas aside, it was a truly perfect evening. And tonight we get to experience it all over again from the comfort of our own home. Hospitaliano indeed!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My reputation has preceded me.

Last night in my new hoop class, one of my students said she heard my hoop aerobics classes are so hard, people have barfed before.



Monday, September 8, 2008

Hotliness is next to godliness.

We are constantly being told that we need to eat right and work out so we can be healthy and live a really long time. But, what if you don't like eating right and working out? What if you do it because you're supposed to do it but never enjoy it or feel good about it? Isn't that going to make you feel bitter and stressed out instead of healthy and happy? Who wants to live a long, stressed out life? I don't even know if it's possible to be healthy AND stressed out.

I am a big believer in the whole mind/body connection thing. My grandpa never made a healthy choice in his life yet still lived a very happy 86 years. He smoke and drank and ate lots of red meat and never exercised. And do you know what his only regret was on his deathbed? "I should have had more ice cream." That's literally what he said! I bet he got a real kick out of saying it to that poor nurse, too. She was probably shaking in her clogs when he looked deep into her eyes, one foot in the grave and said, "I have regrets..." I bet he couldn't even keep a straight face when he laid that ice cream bit on her.

I wanted to live like that: low stress, high enjoyment, no regrets. But I also wanted to look good in skinny jeans. I was on a search for the middle ground.

Imagine my surprise when I found it at the YMCA.

It's a Latin hip hop class called Zumba and it has completely changed my life. Not only is it really fun (I mentioned it's Latin hip hop, right?), it has also reminded me that I love working out. Not like working out working out with treadmills and weights and heart rate monitors, but group fitness class working out with step benches and stretchy bands and loud music. Here I've been dragging myself to the Y for years to sulk on a treadmill and complain about not getting results, and for what? I don't think I got any healthier or hotter and I didn't have any fun. Doing something just so I can cross it off my list and move on with my life is seriously missing the point.

As a recent Zumba convert, I felt it was my duty to spread the good word. I started asking people I barely knew, "Do you know where you'll be spending your Saturday morning? Perhaps it's time you accepted Zumba into your life." I had been called to save people from boring workouts and took my mission very seriously.

And that was before the epiphany.

Because Zumba is at the YMCA and it is a Christian organization, the instructor prays for us after class. As someone who wasn't raised going to church, I always get a kick out of people praying for me. It seems like such a personal thing to do for 40 sweaty people you barely know. But our instructor is sweet as can be and it seems very natural and genuine coming from her. (Picture a cuter Shawn Johnson with a killer bod and a Southern accent.)

God, I just want to thank you for everyone who came to class today. Thank you for giving us this time to work out and have fun together. I pray that everyone here will reach their fitness goals quickly so they will feel good about themselves and find it easier to choose joy each and every day. In Jesus' name, Amen!

I don't know if it was the exercise endorphins rushing through my body or the loud Reggaeton music or all of the books about spiritual growth I've been reading lately but all of a sudden I was standing in the back of the gymnasium sweating and panting and crying.

If I had been in an actual church, this would have been my come to Jesus moment.

It was like she said, "get fit, feel good, choose joy," and everything suddenly made sense. OK, not everything made sense. Some things made sense. Like The Girls Next Door. Hot Shawn Johnson said, "get in shape so you can feel good and find it easier to choose joy," and suddenly The Girls Next Door made absolute, perfect sense.

Kendra, Holly and Bridget...more than meets the eye.

I've been intrigued by The Girls Next Door for some time now. If you don't know, the girls are Hugh Hefner's girlfriends (yes, all three of them) and they have a reality show on E! called The Girls Next Door. It is like any reality TV show: somewhat pointless but absolutely impossible to stop watching.

I got sucked in when our computer was out of commission and Tivo no longer had anything interesting to offer me. Flipping through the channels one night I came across The Girls and COULD NOT change the channel. Three hot blonds are hard for anyone to resist but I was intrigued by more than their looks.

I wanted to figure them out. I wanted to know how they shared an 80 year old boyfriend. How they all lived together without getting jealous. How they ate Arby's and still looked smokin' hot. How they posed nude and had healthy relationships with their families. I didn't get it. Something did not add up.

So, I kept watching. But I couldn't figure them out. Were they dumb? Was that why they were happy all the time? They were too dumb to realize there were things to be unhappy about? I thought about that as I watched but the more I watched the more I realized, no, they were definitely not dumb. In fact, they seemed kind of smart.

So, beauty and brains. What's not to be happy about? Well, you tell me. There are plenty of smart, attractive people who are no where near as happy as the girls. There had to be more to it than that.

Maybe it was because their lifestyle afforded them the freedom to have fun all the time? But to think that the girls were this happy just because of money was ridiculous. How many rich people do you know? Very few seem very happy.

The more I watched, the more intrigued I became. Not only were the girls hot and happy, they were completely inspiring. They all have good relationships with Hef, their families, their friends and each other. They aren't judgmental or jealous or snide or resentful. They're full of compliments and support for those around them. They're grateful and appreciative and don't take anything for granted. They love sharing meals and experiences with friends and family and are constantly celebrating something. They're unimaginably
kind to their animals. They never seem irritated or pissed off and are seriously nice to everyone. They work hard and always try their best. And, above all else, they are undeniably, unapologetically themselves. Totally, 100% genuine. (At least that's how it looks on TV...)

Forget Playboy Bunnies, these girls are freaking Zen masters!

What hit me in Zumba class was this: Kendra, Holly and Bridget are like my role models for joy. No matter what the circumstances, they choose joy each and every day. If there is music on, they dance. If there is a swimming pool, they get naked and dive in. Is it because they are in great shape? Maybe. But if they looked like they look and didn't feel good, it wouldn't matter what size bras they wore.

Looking good is really about feeling good. It's like when Bridget said (and I'm totally paraphrasing), "I had a great time because I loved my outfit. I always have fun when I like what I'm wearing!" Is that not exactly what looking good is all about? I'm telling you, brains and beauty.

Looking good can also help you get out of your own way. The more physically fit you are, the more joy this world has to offer. If you get winded riding a bike or playing with your kids, your body is standing between you and joy. If you see a swimming pool and cannot possibly imagine skinny dipping in it, you're probably missing out on joy (I wouldn't know - I have never skinny dipped in my life. Well, not yet...)

This is probably why we should eat right and avoid toxins, too. If you eat a burger and fries for lunch and it zaps your energy for the rest of the day, it will be more difficult to choose joy. If you drink too much and have to spend the entire next day sick with a hang over, the chances are pretty slim that you will find joy (trust me...).

But if you can eat poorly and drink too much and not work out and still feel great, go on with your bad self! Have more ice cream! The point is not what we do or what we don't do, but how we feel. Each of us will take different steps in life but as long as we're stepping toward joy (or Latin hip hop dancing with joy), we are on the right path.

Who knew you could learn so much from the E! channel?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I put the ass in classy.

When Liam woke up crying at 5:30 this morning, Bill got out of bed immediately and went to check on him. I lay in bed, half awake, half asleep, thinking, "Wow, I must have done something really good last night..." But then I wondered, "If I was so good, why does it taste like something died in my mouth? And who stuffed my head with cotton?" I got up to go to the bathroom and as my insides sloshed around wickedly and I tripped over the garbage can placed strategically next to the bed, it all came rushing back to me. I wasn't good at all last night.

Perhaps it had something to do with this:

My friend Robin hosted a wine and clothing exchange party that was really just the most fun idea in the whole wide world. Twenty to thirty women came to her house with a bag of clothing they no longer wanted and a bottle of wine. While we "tasted" the different wines and chatted amongst ourselves, groups of four (we drew numbers) went into a room full of clothing and accessories for 10 minutes to sort through the piles and choose five pieces to take home. Brilliant, right?

It was like one part thrift store shopping, one part wacky game show. Girls were trying on things you know they would never have picked out in a store but that looked absolutely adorable on them.

You'd see someone with something you had discarded and realize it was actually kinda cute...just not on you. In the first round I scored three fun tops and two pairs of earrings. I was completely satisfied with my new digs and didn't even think about returning to the pile.

But then, it got a little later and most of the girls left the party (it was only supposed to be from 6-8 but, you know, the wine…). I was standing around chatting with a couple girls when we realized there was still a huge pile of clothes just sitting there and maybe, just maybe, there were still some goodies to be found. So, we (reluctantly) put down our glasses of wine and dove into the pile.

It only took me a matter of seconds to come to the realization that, Hey! You know what? I’m wearing a one piece underwear garment that is practically like a swimsuit and wouldn’t it just be easier to try on clothes if I stripped down to my skivvies right here in your living room? Don’t worry, I’ll leave on the gladiator sandals. So off came my dress and there I stood, half nekkid, trying on anything and everything I could get my drunken little hands on.

I lied when I said I put down my wine.

At some point, I got an even better idea: Why don’t we put on a fashion show for the girls out on the back porch? Yeah, the cool girls who are like musicians and seriously way cooler than I will ever be because, you know, I’m running around a party in my postpartum girdle thing. Yeah, let’s go show them our outfits! And let’s pose a lot so they really get a feel for how awesome we are.


Once I paraded outside in nothing but my “swimsuit” and a leather jacket, I knew it was time to call it a night. Not in a reasonable, “Wow! There’s no way I could possibly top that,” kind of way. More in a, “I forgot to eat dinner and am suddenly so drunk I can’t believe it,” kind of way.

I returned home to my husband, who had been expecting me several hours earlier, with a green face, a mismatched outfit and a pile of new-to-me clothes. Then I promptly ran to the bathroom to end my 4-1/2 year vomit-free streak and spend the remainder of the evening hugging the toilet in nothing but my swimsuit and sandals.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The greatest victory of my life.

It all happened so fast. One minute I was scooping up the baby like, "Weeeee!" and flying her like a bird down the hall to Liam's room. The next minute her short life flashed before my eyes as I slammed my foot into the random step in the hallway and flew forward at high speeds, legs windmilling beneath us, her head careening dangerously close to the wall, then the door jamb, then the floor. If I had the use of my arms, they would have been flailing like mad, trying to help me gain some semblance of balance. But, alas, they were holding a terrified one year old and of no use to me at the time. I didn't think there was any way around it: we were going to crash and her sweet baby head was going to take the brunt of the fall. But then, by some miracle of physics and all that is good, we ran in to Liam's room and were vertical again. I couldn't believe it! It was the trip run-off of a lifetime. I was gasping, "We did it! Oh my gosh. Liam, we're OK!" He was looking at us like, "What in the hell was all that noise?" Sweet baby was in shock. She cried for just a moment and then seemed truly grateful for having been given a second chance. My foot and leg were throbbing and I was pretty sure I had broken my big toe or injured something of equal importance in the general vicinity but I didn't care; I had never felt more victorious in my life.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Surely we're not as dumb as we look.

What is the deal with John McCain choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate? Has he completely lost his mind? Watching her speak at the Republican National Convention last night I kept thinking, "Is this some kind of joke?" I know it's a big deal to have a woman in the White House but surely that isn't the best they could come up with. Here are a few of the things she brought to mind:

Even he looks confused as to why she's there.
Oh, wait - he always looks confused.

A hilarious parody is great, just not in the White House.

The tackily clad audience guffawed at her every clip.
C'mon people, you're smarter than that!

"I'm a hockey mom! And that there's my son Racetrack and my
daughter Pinetree and my husband Jo Bob. He's a fisherman.
Did I mention I love hockey?
Yep, hockey and unborn babies. I'm just like you!"

I'm sure she's a very nice woman but, hello?!, I'm nice as hell and I wouldn't vote for myself to be the potential ruler of the free world. That's just crazy talk.

She's just not very...presidential. If a woman is going to represent our country, I want her to look like this:

"If you bungle raising your children,
I don't think whatever else you do matters very much."
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Not this:

Huh? What children?

I mean, she has a 4 month old special needs child. Shouldn't she still be breastfeeding and bonding with her baby? Her special needs baby? I can't begin to imagine how challenging that would be but it seems like it would take precedence over most everything else. (And that's not her only child. Ahem...) I know, I one would ever mention her family obligations if she was a man. But, come on. If you're a mother, you know it's not the same. And, for what it's worth, I know for a fact that if we had a special needs baby, my husband would not be off campaigning for the vice presidency. He would know his priority was with his family. Isn't that what family values is all about?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

You can't get THIS in the north.*

Alternate title: Best girls' night EVER!

That's right. We partook in the awesomeness that can be defined but never described by two small words: ADULT SKATE.

Adult skate was a foreign concept to me until last year when I experienced it for the first time. I had been skating before, of course, but never like this. Girl Scout outings and school field trips could never prepare me for something of this magnitude.

All year I thought about that night. The music, the moves, the culture, the fashion. It felt less like a memory than a dream. Had it really happened at all? Surely something so dynamic, so indescribably awesome, didn't just happen every Sunday night from 8-11.

I was so enamored by the greatness of it, all I could do was stay away. What was I so afraid of? That I had built it up too much and would be disappointed? That I might get reminded (once again) that slow skaters have to stay on the inside? That someone might suggest (again) that I show up early next time to learn some moves before it gets crowded? Whatever it was couldn't keep me away forever. It was time to face the (incredibly awesome) music.

For me, the whole night really started about a month before we arrived at the rink. E-mails were sent, promises were made, challenges were thrown down. Since I couldn't compete with pocket combs or Roller Disco Skate Team experience, I went with all I had. I don't have any moves but plan to make up for it with really short shorts.

I should have picked out my outfit before I opened my mouth.

Have you been to American Apparel lately? I haven't laughed that hard in a dressing room since my sister tried on high waisted riding pants in a size two just for fun. Don't be fooled - when they say short shorts, they mean short shorts. I honestly have underwear bigger than some of the shorts I tried on (that's probably way more information about my underwear drawer than I ever need to share). No, the closest I was going to get to baring all like that was walking to the store when I stepped on a grate and did a full Marilyn Monroe skirt over the head move in downtown Nashville. (I don't know how she made that look hot...)

Fortunately, I found a skort which is surprisingly forgiving and wedgie free. Brilliant! Oh, and leg warmers. Cause I'm cool like that.

Just me and the glow stick vending machine.

When we pulled up to the club roller rink, it was packed. The parking lot was full, the adjacent parking lots were full, and the streets were lined with cars. People had even parked on the grass. Adult skate is 21 and over. You must show ID to get in. This is not a silly little wouldn't it be fun if we had a skate night just for grown ups? sort of thing. No, this is a full on cultural sub-sect of society. An entire community of incredibly talented skaters committed to their craft. It is prime documentary material.


It is probably the closest I will ever come to a truly legit dance club.

I know that is not a great video. Trust me, it doesn't even come close to capturing the essence of the experience. But, it does show you that this is not your mama's skating. These people are dancing. The fact that they have skates strapped to their feet is almost beside the point. They skate slow. Like, really slow. Or fast. It totally depends on the song. The skating is all about the music.

But there's more to it than that. There's couple skating, group skating and team skating. A man and woman will slow dance past you or step backwards arm-in-arm to the beat. Two or more men will make a train and with their bodies pressed close together navigate the rink with graceful precision (Erin saw a train like this jump over a girl who fell). Skaters dance and twirl and step in the center of the rink while entire groups abandon skating altogether to step in unison around and around the outside of rink.


Now I will be the first to tell you I can't skate like that. I have never gone backwards, have no idea how to step, and can't even come close to moving my body like that (skates or no skates). But cruising around the rink I still felt like, I don't know, like I had rhythm or something. There were no mirrors to convince me otherwise so I skated all night long feeling like a complete natural. I felt awesome actually.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw the following pictures on my camera. The first is me, the second is my friend Erin (we're the ones in black knee socks and short skirts).

We look exactly the same! And neither of us looks particularly rhythmic. Standing straight up with one bent arm, looking to the side and not smiling? That's not awesome. And definitely not what it felt like I was doing. At least we're wearing matching outfits, though.

At first we thought that was a bad thing but as it turns out, we fit right in. Lots of people were matching. There were a few different teams with team shirts (like the Nashville Steppers on Wheels and the Tennessee Free Stylers), the group of girls with one leg of their jeans cut off and the women dressed in 80s getups whose kids go to Liam's school (yes, I ran into people I know at adult skate!). But my favorite outfit of the night was this:

It's hard to tell in this picture but her shirt has Obama's face in gold and reads, "Barack Obama is my Homeboy." She got it at the flea market and then her son cut it all up and tied it back together to make it look seriously cool. It was the perfect skating ensemble and the girl had the moves to match.

After skating non-stop for nearly three hours (aside from the quick cherry coke break at the concession stand), we hobbled to the car high on the thrill of our shared experience. Adult skate was even greater than I remembered. Yes, I got told that slow skaters have to stay on the inside. Sure, someone mentioned I should come earlier to practice next time. Whatever. The point is, I did not overly glamorize it in my head. Adult skate really is as awesome as I remembered. And Gatorade and vodka in the parking lot is even better than I remembered! (It had to be done.)

*The title of this post was taken from a t-shirt spotted at the roller rink. For the record, you can't get it in the west either.