Category Archives: Humor

My Constantly Changing Hair

I have always envied those folks who have had the same haircut their whole lives.  They found something they liked, it worked for them, and they stuck with it.  Commitment!  Regardless of trends, or fashion, or even common sense, they stick with that style no matter what.  I tend to think those folks are fairly predictable in their clothing choices as well, but that’s another blog post.

That’s not really how my relationship with my hair works at all.  I have sported pretty much every hair style under the sun; I have had red hair, brown hair, blonde hair, long hair, short hair, straight hair, curly hair – I’ve had it all.

When I was a little kid, I had a shag haircut…for real.  In my kindergarten picture, the very first school picture a kid gets, a HUGE rite of passage, I am wearing a toothless smile, a pink, zip up pantsuit, and a blonde shag.  My mother, a normally puritan and conservative matriarch, gave me a haircut made popular by Jane Fonda’s performance in “Klute”  – you know, the movie where she plays a prostitute?  I had the hair of a whore at 5 years old.

My two older sisters were allowed to grow their hair out.  They had lovely, long tresses.  My eldest sister Mary had honey colored hair (always reminded me of Sleeping Beauty’s hair in the Disney classic) and my other sister Sarah had rich, chestnut colored hair.  While Mary usually wore her hair down (classic) Sarah would often wear braids, or carefully construct a bun that would flawlessly make it through the day.  As a young child, I envied my sisters’ long hair.  I used to wear towels and steal my mother’s wigs and pretend, for hours in front of the mirror, that I had long hair.  I begged her to let me grow it out, but it fell on deaf ears.

Apparently, according to my mother, I didn’t have the disposition it took to have long hair.  I made a fuss about most things in my youth, and combing, washing and taking care of hair would have been at the top of the list.  (Let me be clear, I can now say, as an adult and a mother, that I was a horrible child.  If I had to raise myself, I would be dead by now; certainly the child/Liz would drive the adult/Liz to some desperate act either against her adult-self or her child-self.  And yes, I understand how a therapist would get off reading that sentence, but hey, I’m a Gemini.)

The summer after the shag, my mother gave me a “pixie” made famous by Mia Farrow’s performance in “Rosemary’s Baby.”  (I am assuming that is not at all a subconscious reflection of my behavior as a child.)   That was also the summer I spent every day in the pool and never bothered with showering.  Why should I hop in the shower when I spent the whole day in water?  (Duh…)  Well, around July 28th, it became clear why perhaps rinsing chlorine out of my blonde hair might have been time well spent.  My hair started taking on a neon greenish hue, which was really fun for my older sisters and brother, because that was the color of my swimsuit that summer as well.  It was subtle at first, but around August 15th, it was pretty obvious.  I started blending in with the local flora.  People pointed at the grocery store and my sibling’s taunts increased.  Lesson learned.  Rinse off when you get out of the pool, Blondie!

Finally, when I was in high school, I had a modicum of control over my life and looks, and I grew my hair out.  I finally had long hair!  I wore it all different kinds of ways.  I would get up early to braid, or curl, or tease…it was fun.  It usually only lasted until 3rd period, but still, I looked great at 8:00!  As I got older, my hair got a little bit darker with each year.  I wasn’t a fan.  I preferred to be a sassy blonde, so in high school, I started adding highlights.  That was my first foray into color.  It was fun.  I also tried perming my hair.  That was not fun, but for some unknown and stupid reason, I continued to get them.  (This is when older, wiser Liz wishes she could have a heart to heart with younger, stupid Liz and tell her to avoid fashion trends.)

In college I had different hair styles.  Freshmen year I had a bob, because I joined a sorority, because, well, OK, it seemed like the thing to do.  Most of the gals in the sorority had a bob, so when in Rome.  (Clearly, I was more of a follower at this point in my life.)  I was surrounded by blondes with bobs.  (New band name, I call it!)  Sophomore year was another bad perm, and junior and senior, (heavy sigh) I sported a mullet.  Yup, like a bad Joan Jet wanabe.  Not only did I have a mullet my junior year, but my senior year, I permed that bad mullet.  That’s right, a permed mullet.  Looking back on it, I’m not sure what was worse, the hair or the Aqua-net hairspray addiction that went with it.  Gotta love the 80’s!

The rest of my adult life, my hair has been everything, although I do believe the last perm I ever got was in 1992. (Good riddance to bad rubbish.)   I also started recognizing a pattern with my hair.  Usually, after a tragedy, I made a drastic change to my appearance.  Some people get tattoos when there is a death of a loved one, I made an appointment at the salon.  There is something about cutting off many inches of hair, hair that took years to grow, that can be freeing when one is in pain.  Then, as one heals and mourns, there is something about growing it back again.  Seeing slow change over months, seeing and feeling familiar locks against the neck or shoulders can give comfort, knowing time has passed and we soldier on.

At the end of the day, what matters is how our hair makes us feel.  It’s OK to let go of new trends or styles or colors, and it’s OK to jump on board too.  You own it, you get to wear it how you want.  I know this sounds ridiculously simplistic and Pre-K, but honestly, it has taken me about 48 years to figure that shit out.  My hair is like me – constantly changing, growing, morphing, and as I go through life it’s kind of fun to look back at the different styles I rocked and some that I did not. I have recently decided that I am going to grow my hair out again, but who knows?  Maybe I’ll get bored along the way and do some damage before it reaches my shoulders.

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Filed under fashion, Feminism, Hair, Humor, retro

This Thing You Call “American Football”

As summer winds down to a slow, hot, steamy grind, I am reminded that the inevitable is around the corner.  No, I’m not talking about the start of school, even though I can feel it breathing it’s stinky, garlic breath down the back my neck, and I’m not talking about the cooler temperatures of autumn, which frankly, I love and welcome.  I’m talking about the start of the football season.

My first memories of football are good ones, although at times they were somewhat startling as well.  My very first memories of football are of my father watching the Green Bay Packers on the television set.  That’s what it was back in the 60’s and 70’s.  It was a television set.  And no, there weren’t two of them, just one.  One television would, in fact, be a set on its own, because they were that important.  Nowadays, people don’t have television sets; they don’t even have TVs.  They have flat screens.  “Honey, wanna rent a movie on the flat screen?”  “What on-demand show are you watching on the flat screen?”  (We are so spoiled it is horrid.)  And frankly, cool people don’t even have those flat screens.  Cool people watch television on their computers, because they have the technology and know-how.  I don’t have those.

My father would watch the Packers on “the set” on Sundays while he polished his shoes.  He would sit in his Lazyboy with a Miller High Life, the champagne of beers.  Newspapers would be placed on the floor, and tins of polish and brushes would surround him.  (Side note, the smell of shoe polish always brings me instantly and magically back to Sunday afternoons.  It’s too bad people don’t polish shoes anymore.  Now, if shoes get scuffed, we throw them away.  Our generation sucks.) During these afternoons, it would be inevitable that we Woodworth children would be startled out our game of Operation not from that freakishly annoying buzzer (the wishbone…always the wishbone!!!) but rather from my father either cheering/clapping, or stomping his feet/cursing.  This would happen throughout the game.  From, “Go!  Run!  Yeah!!!!” to, “Goddamn it!  Come on Ref!” his emotions would run the gamut.  I understand this is not necessarily that uncommon in most households of television sports fans, especially homes that followed the Packers during the past five decades.  (Lots of cheering in the 60’s, then swearing in the 70’s, then more swearing in the 80’s and more cheering in the 90’s etc.)

Currently my home is one of a television sports fan, so my daughter is used to her father cheering and/or cursing at the television.  (She has figured out to not play Operation during these times.  She’s smarter than I am.)  It is always fun to watch her friend’s reactions however.  Yesterday her buddy Meghan was over; the girls were painting fingernails on the deck and Kriner was watching the Brewers on the flat screen.  Meg was startled (and most likely had to redo that particular nail) when Kriner started clapping loudly and shouting “YA!  YA!  GO!”  and then, 8 minutes later “BOO!!!!!  BOO!!!!!  Why did you DO that?  WHAT were you THINKING?!!!”  It’s clear that Meghan doesn’t come from a sports television home.  Her face, full of astonishment and amusement, was adorable, as if she couldn’t believe that a grown-man could care that much about something on TV.

My first real football game I ever went to was a Badger game, which kind of set me up for a lifetime of football disappointment because it was so incredibly awesome and fun!  No other football game can live up to a Badger game, especially if you aren’t a big fan of football.  Why?  Because it isn’t just a football game – it’s a spectacle.  Marching bands, student rituals, stadium chants, booze getting passed around, tubas walking through the stadium, there are sing-alongs for Pete’s sake!  Seriously, I could write a blog post just on Badger Football games, they are so fun, this coming from a gal who doesn’t really love football.  So yeah, for a 12 year old girl, sitting dangerously close to the student section, it was mind-blowing.  I don’t remember anything about the football game itself, but my big take away was that Section O sucks.  I know this because it was chanted throughout the game.  I won’t fill you in on what O had to say to section Q.  It would be too rude to type, but for a pre-pubescent girl trying desperately to be cool, it was heaven.

I went through a phase in the late 90’s when I too jumped on the Packer bandwagon and watched them religiously with my husband who was insane and cared WAY TOO MUCH about the Favre era.  He was known as a die-hard Packer fan.  In fact, after a particularly painful and heart-breaking loss, a reporter from the local newspaper called him to get a reaction.  Seriously.  He was quoted in the paper.  “’Well, that was a tough defeat, but you know what?  I’m already looking forward to a good draft pick.’ said Packer Fan Jeff Kriner.”  He was identified in the paper as a Packer Fan.  Seriously.

Kriner isn’t an insane Packer fan anymore.  Mike McCarthy ruined that.  He ruined it good.  See, the one thing about Kriner is that he is (to a fault) ridiculously loyal to those he loves.  If you make your way into his inner circle, it’s for life.  He doesn’t have a lot of people in his circle.  There are just a handful of us: me, Emily, Jeremy O., a few band mates and Brett Favre.  That’s it.  So you can imagine how Kriner felt when Favre wasn’t allowed back into the Packers.  Remember, Favre retired, then admitted he made a mistake, and wanted to come back.  He wasn’t allowed to.  Kriner was torn.  He loved the Packers, but Favre was in the circle.  It nearly broke him.  To make matters worse, the Packers organization hired Ari Fleischer (White house Press Secretary for George Bush) as a “PR consultant” (a.k.a. spin doctor) to make Favre look evil with a nasty smear campaign that unfortunately worked really well.  Kriner also loves an underdog, so this move just sealed the deal.   Don’t get me wrong, I adore Aaron Rogers, in fact I have a mighty crush on that young man, but Ari Fleischer?  Really?  Was that necessary?

Since then, Kriner has cared a bit less about football and the Packers.  It’s a bit sad to tell you the truth.  It’s as if Mike McCarthy spat in his beer.  If a game is blacked out, he’ll shrug.  He might go to Jeremy O’s to watch a game in the “Packershack” but he might not.  (And yes, Jeremy O. has a separate building on his property devoted to the Packers.  It’s decorated in yellow and green, full of Packer memorabilia and even has AstroTurf instead of carpet.)

Recently, the Packers announced they would be retiring Favre’s number.  At least that’s a bit of closure.  Who knows, maybe one day Kriner might buy a Rodger’s jersey.  But I can tell you one thing for sure, Mike McCarthy will never be invited over for dinner, and if, by some miracle he is and shows up, Kriner might spit in his beer.

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Filed under Fall, Family, Humor, Parenting, Wisconsin

Man Hands

I have man hands. More precisely, I have a particular man’s hands – my father’s hands. My father had big, broad, strong, meaty hands, which is fine if you are a guy, but I am not a guy. I am a gal. Gals usually don’t want big, meaty paws for hands. We want long, slender hands with lean, graceful fingers and at the end, long fabulous nails.  Those aren’t my hands. Those aren’t my fingers. My fingers are more akin to pork sausages. My hands are so big that I’ve never had a problem reaching an octave on the piano – even when I was 7. My hands are also fairly strong. I suppose that has advantages, and yet I still somehow struggle with pickle jars…

Sometimes I try to disguise my man hands by growing my nails and painting them feminine colors, but that never works. It’s like lipstick on a pig. There is something ridiculously inauthentic and artificial when I wear polish on my nails. They look like a bad drag queen’s hands, and yet I still continue to try it.  Undaunted in the face of a challenge, that’s me.

To make matters worse I am a hand talker. I erratically wave them about when I speak, especially when I get excited, which is frankly, all the time. I think it is safe to say I have body issues with my hands. I have issues with other parts of my body too – I mean, come on, I am female, but unlike other parts of my body, hands are tough to hide.  I might have done well living in the Victorian Age, where women wore gloves, but after consideration, I doubt they would have had them in my size. However, I live in the here and now, and while I might be able to hide or enhance other aspects of my body, big hands are tough to augment. It’s not like they make Spanx for fingers, or make-up to hide hand wrinkles.

That’s another thing. My hands are much older looking than I would like them to be. Not only do I have man hands, I have old man hands. They are so wrinkly they look like crepe paper; I could wrap fancy presents with the skin on the back of my hands. Give me a ribbon and it’s Christmas!  This condition is not because I never use lotion. I use lotion all the time. I use so much lotion in the winter that I can never leave the house, because I can’t get the door open. I could be stuck in my living room for hours, alone, with my moisturized hands up in the air like a surgeon.

You could say I wasn’t a fan of my man hands, however all that changed with a photograph. I experienced a moment, or rather an image which led me to absolutely love my man hands. My friend Don Albrecht (an absolutely amazing photographer – you can buy his book here http://www.blurb.com/b/391238-bayfield-lake-superior) took a photo of my daughter Em at Applefest. (If you don’t know, Applefest is the big festival in town, and can, over the course of a weekend, transform this little town of 400 to a mass of anywhere from 40,000 to 70,000 people.) It can be overwhelming and scary for a 4-year-old. Em was hiding behind my leg when Don took the photo. My hand was placed on top of her head. I was talking to someone at the time, and didn’t even know Don was taking our picture.

The next day, Don emailed me the photo and as soon as I saw the image, I started to love my hands, because they are my father’s hands. I knew exactly what Em was feeling, because my father used to cover my head with his large hands when I was her age. It made me feel safe.  His warm, strong hands made me feel a little bit taller and a little bit more secure in a big and sometimes scary world. So now, I love my big, strong hands, because they are full of a parent’s big, strong love.

 

applefest hands

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Filed under Fall, Family, Feminism, Humor, Parenting

The Actor’s Studio

I’m a fan of the BRAVO channel; one of my favorite shows is Inside the Actor’s Studio with James Lipton. I think he is a gifted interviewer; it is clear he loves actors and the process and all that great stuff. It makes me happy. He asks good questions, and it is the perfect mix of interview, gush, and insight. I like to see who squirms and who basks in the glow of attention. There are some awesome interviews with amazing actors: Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Robert Deniro, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Kate Blanchet, and the list goes on and on. There have been some wonderfully talented people on that show, really incredibly talented actors. I would love to be an acting student in the room when one of the greats is being interviewed.

However, there are some interviews of some folks that I have a hard time taking seriously as “actors.” For example: Brooke Shields, Mickey Rourke, Sharon Stone, Jay Leno, the band Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, the cast of The Simpsons, and Kanye West. These people have actually, legitimately been on the show as guests. Sure, Mickey Rourke made that one good film, you know the one I mean, right? Yeah, I can’t remember the name either, but sure, he made one. Then he turned into a freaky looking dude and made fairly odd choices in his life, but who am I to judge? Kanye West? As an actor?

It also bugs me when Lipton asks these famous people, “If not acting, then what?” they wistfully look up and take a deep breath and nine times out of ten, they say, “I would have liked to have been a teacher….” Really? Put them in a classroom for a month, on a teacher’s salary and then see what they say. I can just imagine a downtrodden, tired, not-so-good-looking-without-that-facial-every-week Tom Cruise (pre-Hollywood smile) addressing his class. “Why aren’t you listening to me? Listen to me! And put that desk down…”

Sure, teaching seems noble, fun and perhaps even a bit fabulous to the casual observer, and sometimes it really is noble, fun and fabulous, but it’s also hard work, both intellectually and emotionally, and frankly, after eating school lunch for over 24 years, losing a BIG chunk of my salary due to Act 10, getting chastised by a few parents, as well as their children and watching my profession be brought to its knees due to standardized testing and budget cuts, well, that kind of nonsense can get under my skin. There are days (more than a few) where I would absolutely change places with Meryl Streep or Julie Roberts in a fraction of a heartbeat. I totally understand the likelihood of that ever happening is about as good as Kanye West winning an Oscar for his acting, but it is fun to daydream about.

Here’s a fun-fact. Lipton’s famous questions at the end of every interview were first made popular by Bernard Pivot on a show called Apostrophes. They are great questions.  If I ever make it on “The Actor’s Studio” these would be my super spontaneous, authentic answers.  (Feel free to answer them too in comments.)

1. What is your favorite word?

-F*ck. By a long shot.

2. What is your least favorite word?

-Moist.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

-Winning praise of people I admire and respect.

4. What turns you off?

-People who drop the ball. And slavery. And misogynists.

5. What is your favorite curse word?

-F*ck. By a long shot.

6. What sound or noise do you love?

-Little girls giggling, particularly my own.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

-Instruments that are out of tune. And angry men shouting at children, women or animals.

8. If not acting, then what?

-(Wistfully looks up) Teaching…

9. What profession would you not like to do?

-Cleaning out porta-potties.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

-“Nice job kiddo; you did good. Now, get back in there.”

I’m now less than a decade away from retirement, and on occasion, my mind drifts toward daydreams of that time when I no longer teach. Will I stay busy? Will I miss it? Will my brain turn to mush? If not teaching, then what? Directing? Writing? Learning a new language? Distilling my own vodka? Regardless of how that plays out, I plan on making a really great retiree; I bet I still do all kinds of noble, fun and fabulous things.  However, I bet I still spend some time of the couch watching old reruns of “The Actor’s Studio.”

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Filed under Humor, Theater, Uncategorized

Liz’s Oprah’s Favorite Things List

Sadly, one of my bucket items will never be accomplished; I will never receive amazing, free stuff from Oprah’s “Favorite Things” show. I loved that show. It was so fun. It was an afternoon I always looked forward to as I would race home from school. It was joyful and awesome. I always imagined myself in the audience, freaking out and screaming when she announced that we would all go home with t-shirt sheets or a new line of facial cleanser, “You get cleanser, and you get cleanser, and you get cleanser!”   I loved the fact she gave away so much stuff. It got me thinking what stuff I would give away to an audience if I could. I started my own list of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” – items that I have used and loved for a long time. So here they are. Here is my own “Liz’s Oprah’s Favorite Things” list. They are all “Liz tested, Liz approved” and they are all under $50.00, most under $20.00. For what it’s worth, I really do love the following items.

-Talenti Pistachio Gelato. It is seriously amazing. I could easily put a pint away in one sitting, no problem. (Locals, you can get it at the Washburn IGA) blog 1

-Boru Vodka. A few years ago, the trio entered a “Best Bar Band” contest that Boru sponsored, and we ended up in the top ten. Because of this, we were sent some amazing swag including a case of Boru vodka. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Named after the first king of Ireland, it can be tricky to find. (Luckily for locals, you can order it at The Snug in Washburn.)

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-Blackwing 602 pencils. The best. Google it. They make me want to write things by hand.  The eraser comes out, so you can extend the life of your pencil, and the flat end keeps it from rolling.  Also, the graphite is amazing! Pencils.com June 2011

-Neutragena Healthy Skin Enhancer. Don’t let the name fool you – it’s totally make-up, but it also contains sun screen, moisturizer and retinol. I’ve used it for years, but after a few months, I noticed fewer lines on my face. It comes in a pump and lots of shades.

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-Clinique Kohl Shaper for Eyes. My favorite shade is black coffee. These are so cool, because the liner goes on like butter BUT the coolest thing is that there is a sharpener in the cap so you can always have a nice, focused tip. My friend Marcie turned me onto these a few years ago and I have never looked back. The best.

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– Any and all jewelry by Poca Adams. Poca is a silversmith in the Washburn/Bayfield area, and she uses basalt from Lake Superior in most of her designs. My favorite are my sweet pair of earrings, hand hammered hoops with basalt. She finds the stones herself on the beach. Added bonus? Her earrings are lighter than you would think. Check her out on facebook.

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-Sock It To Me socks. They are the best socks around (unless you are skiing, and then I would go with SmartWool) They are fun, funky, and fabulous. They have a great fit; they stay up under your knee without cutting off any circulation, and they breath while keeping your feet warm. They are a little costly (about 10 bucks a pair) but totally worth it. I like to keep them for days when I need a little boost of fun.

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-OPI nail polish, specifically, “I Am Not Really a Waitress” If you are a woman who has ever painted her nails, or gotten her hair done in a salon, you are most likely familiar with OPI. Super fun colors, and even better, super creative and quirky names for the colors. It doesn’t chip or crack and you can even get by without a top coat. I don’t wear nail polish that often, but when I do, it is always OPI.

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– Goslings Ginger Beer. This is amazing stuff. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t alcoholic, but that’s not to say it doesn’t work really well with vodka. It isn’t too sweet, but the ginger isn’t too bitey either, which means a perfect Moscow Mule is on the way! (Goslings, vodka, fresh mint, and simple syrup if you like, but it doesn’t need it.) Serve it in a mug if you want to be traditional. Also, enjoy it alone out of the can, on a hot day or after a workout. It is delicious!

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Filed under Fabulous luxury, Humor, Oprah

Man Sitting

A few days ago, a friend’s Facebook status was about some guy next to her who was doing something called “man-sitting.”  I needed to google it, but once I did, I knew exactly what she was complaining about and why she was complaining.  I would have complained too. If you don’t already know, man-sitting is when men (and I am sure some women, but really, who’s kidding who, mostly men) spread their knees apart and take up more than their own space.  Let me be clear, most men do not do this.  My husband doesn’t do this, my male friends don’t do this and my nephews don’t do this.  However, it still happens to me; it is most visible on planes, in meetings, at movie theaters, and on the bus.  It is beyond rude.  If you are female, I bet it has happened to you in the past few months.   Plainly put, it blows.

What interested me, however, were the responses to her dilemma.  There were 27 comments to her post.  Most of them were from men, who had hilarious and funny responses (“He’s airing out.”  “Is he wearing a kilt?” etc.) and a lot of the responses from women were either commiserate in tone (“I had the same thing happen to me on a plane.”  “That sucks.” etc.) to even a little passive aggressive (“Cross your arms and hold your pen out.”  “Spill your coffee on him…”)

There was one comment however, that for me stuck out.  It was from a mutual friend, Julie, and it made stop and think.  “Give him a bump and say ‘excuse me, you’re in my space.’”  That response was concise, powerful, obvious and personally very, very frightening.  I pride myself in being a strong, independent woman, but chances are, unless I had a few drinks in me, I wouldn’t have said a word.  I would have suffered silently, and after about ten minutes, when I was good and angry, I probably would have done something passive aggressive – like cross my legs quickly, knowing I would “inadvertently” kick him in the shin, and then apologize for it.

Knowing Julie the way I do, I know she would have absolutely followed through with her suggestion without pause.  I mean, it is rather obvious, isn’t it?  Just let him know he is in your space.  It isn’t that hard…so why is it that hard?  Why is it so hard for me to speak up for myself in those types of situations?  Righting a problem should be easier in the moment, than bitching about it afterwards.  Right?  Well, not for me. Julie was always a master of standing up for herself, even to handsome, intimidating, athletic co-eds at frat parties, and she was able to do so in a cheery, smiling manner.  “Hey!  Watch the dancing.  You almost made me spill my drink!” or “You need to stop backing into us.”  I envied that in college and I still do today.  (BTW, there are a lot of female friends in my life who would have responded in the way Julie suggested. I am drawn to these straight-forward, honest, strong women and added bonus, they make great friends.)

Sadly, if I would have had the “balls” to confront a man-sitter verbally, I bet my response would have started with “I’m sorry…” two words I say far too often in my life. I started thinking about women’s role, or more specifically, my role, in this whole “man-sitting” phenomenon.  I started seeing it as a metaphor.  Clearly, there are two roles at play.  There is the rude guy who thinks he is better than the person next to him, ergo he deserves more space, but there is also the gal next to him (me) who allows it.  Why do I allow my space to be taken up by a stranger’s ego?

I don’t think I’m alone, either. We all know it doesn’t just happen on the bus; it happens in boardrooms, in bedrooms, in kitchens, in schools, and on pretty much the rest of the planet.  Just look at the backlash from the “Lean In” movement.  Can you imagine if she would have called it, “Speak Up for Yourself.”  Am I that afraid of being called a bitch?  Or worse yet, being thought of one?

All too often, most men have no problem with being upfront and clear communicators, especially during conflict.   (And yeah, I know how incredibly sexist this blog post is sounding, but honestly, I am speaking from my own life experience.  I am a feminist, married to a feminist, and trying to raise a feminist, and still, I make room in my life for other men’s knees.  I’m not proud of it, and half the time, I don’t even know I am doing it.)  So why can’t I use my voice for my own good?  I use it for other’s good – why not my own?  Why do I feel a surge of fear and anxiety when I need to confront a male about his rude behavior?   Clearly, I have some work to do.

I’m going to try to consciously take a cue from my happy, friendly feminist friend Julie.  The next time I am next to a man-sitter, I am going to smile, tap him on the shoulder, try my hardest not to apologize, and point out he is in my space, even though it will most likely scare the hell out of me to do it.

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Working Out

I was supposed to get up this morning and workout. The alarm didn’t go off. Here’s a newsflash. I wasn’t that upset about it.  I smiled because my “not working out” was completely guilt free.  It wasn’t my fault I got to see the sunshine from my bed rather than stumble around in the dark looking for running shoes. Ha!

I have noticed, in my sort-of-late-40’s, that I have developed something I haven’t had since my sophomore year in college – a gut.  Yeah, I have a gut.  It is no longer a muffin top. It is a loaf of bread – not even like healthy, wheat bread, but more like a big loaf of Wonderbread.  Squishy, doughy Wonderbread.  I had forgotten what that was like, having a gut.  I forgot what it felt like to wear tight pants.  It’s so not cool, especially after a large lunch full of carbs and sauces.

I don’t like having a gut. Seriously, it is starting to bum me out.  Apparently, “couch sitting” doesn’t burn a whole lot of fat.  Neither does trolling on Facebook.  And you know what?  Vodka actually has calories!  More than I was hoping it would.  Turns out pistachio gelato has calories too.  Harrumph.

In college, I drank a lot of beer. Like, a lot of beer –  hence, the gut.  I didn’t like the gut, but apparently, I liked beer more.  After I developed an unwanted allergy to beer (red nose, sneezing, congestion) I lost said gut.  It stayed away for quite a while.  However, now it’s back and I’m not even drinking any beer. So not fair…

When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I was able to lose weight just by thinking about it. “I need to lose 5 pounds” and a week or two later, I would have lost that weight.  It was as simple as that.  Avoid Dairy Queen or fast food for a week or two and the weight would come off.  I have been trying that method for about a year now, and it hasn’t worked.  Jigs up.

A number of years ago, I worked out religiously. (I know, it was so out of character.)  It was the only time in my life that I was really, truly fit. I was actually sort-of-maybe seeing a 6-pack, or at least the start of one.  This is because I set a goal of doing a Triathlon Sprint. (Don’t let that impress you. It isn’t a “real” triathlon – the sprint part makes it sound peppy and über athletic, but it is kind of the opposite.  It is the training wheels of triathlon.  You swim a ½ a mile, bike 18 and run 2 miles.)

triathalon

But for me, at the time, it was a big deal.  Training for it was really, really hard, and after I met my goal of completing my sprint in less than 2 hours, I never, ever, ever wanted to do it again. (I can’t believe people do them for fun.  Seriously.)  The only reason I got through it was because I had set the goal.  That was it.  Getting fit was a great by-product, but it wasn’t my main motivator.  The abs were cool, but honestly, I just had to cross the finish line.

triathalon 2

Clearly, I’m kind of a goal gal.  I need big goals in my life, otherwise nothing gets accomplished.  Little goals don’t work for me.  I don’t direct cute, little comedies, I tend to go for Shakespeare.  I don’t write a sketch, I write a one-woman show.  I don’t write a song, I write and record an album.  I’m a “go big or go home” kind of gal.  Unfortunately, recently, I have done more of the “go home” part than the “go big” part.

However, this loaf of Wonderbread of mine is getting out of hand.  As insane as it sounds (especially when I say it in my head) I am considering doing another Triathlon sprint, because my gut seems to be suffering from unrequited love.  It loves me, but I don’t love it.  It isn’t taking the hint.  It seems to be sticking around.  It is annoying me. It vexes me.  I know it’s getting bad, when my always polite and awesome daughter says, “Mom, when was the last time you worked out? You need to work out.”

It doesn’t help at all that some women in their 40’s and 50’s write it off as normal aging. That belly fat is somehow part of normal life for a woman 45 and older… I don’t want to buy into that kind of thinking at all, because I would then have to admit that I am actually aging.  Also, I have a group of friends who are my age and in amazing shape, because they manage to get their asses out of bed in the morning; they do this thing called “Kick Butt Boot Camp” which doesn’t sound fun at all.  It sounds really, really hard and sweaty.  Regardless of how sadist it sounds, they blow that “female age” argument out of the water.  They work hard, their bodies look great.  They have this thing called “energy” and “a positive outlook” and “a clearly defined line where the ass ends and the leg begin.”  I really want that too, I just don’t want to sweat.

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