Monday, April 28, 2014

Ooohhhhh, So THAT'S What You Were Talking About...

I have a question: Does everyone strive for their own idea of perfection, or is it just me?  I mean, the idea of striving for perfection has got to be exhausting to some, so perhaps just striving for mediocrity is the top of the line for them.  I'd be envious of this, but it's probably just as draining a process.  

The great irony in my attempt at achieving perfection, is that I’m a colossal failure at it - an imperfect perfectionist, if you will.  In fact, I tend to think that I may be the best imperfect perfectionist out there. See?  Talk around something long enough, people, and you'll find where you excel, too. (just let me enjoy this - no need to point out the obvious...)

And let me be real honest here.  It's not even actual perfection I'm striving for.  It's the appearance of perfection that's most important to me.  I grew up in the house where words like bankruptcy and divorce were whispered.  “Oh, we don’t talk about those things, sweetie,” my mom would say.  It was as if we whispered the words quietly enough, we reduced their power so they'd never find their way into our lives.  Or better yet - didn’t exist at all.

This is where the strive for the brass ring of perfection was conceived.  It wasn't consciously taught to me by my parents, it was simply a learned practice.  Put on a pretty face, don't talk about the bad stuff, people don't need to know our business.  But if you must speak of it around the house, please, nothing above 20 decibels. 

Did I question this hush-toned practice?  Of course not, why would I?  I didn't want to invite bankruptcy and divorce into my life (oh, you tickle me)  I just went on with the understanding that when there was a word worthy of a whisper, we didn't discuss it.  With anyone.  Not our friends, not our family members.  To a therapist?  Bitch, please.  If you have a therapist, that's actually admitting you have a problem.  We handle problems by ourselves.  If you have a problem with something, stop doing that something.  It’s as easy as that.  Divorce yourself from the problem  (just not from a spouse - what would the neighbors say?)

Sidenote - My parents have been married for 55 years this year.  They have 3 children – all of us divorced. I’m sure they’re super proud of us. 
Keep in mind this appearance of perfection not only lies in the dismissal of dirty laundry, but also - and more frequently - in not admitting when I don't know something.  Heaven forbid I ask questions or simply say, "You know, I'm not familiar enough with that." Fear of embarrassment or appearing stupid...?  THIS is where my strive for perfection kicks into high gear and results in magnanimous anecdotes such as this:

You're welcome in advance.

A few years ago I went to dinner with some friends I hadn't seen since college.  They were bringing their spouses along and because I was **hushed tone** divorced, I was attending alone.  To make matters worse, we were going to a swanky Dallas restaurant.  Two things: First, alone and divorced.  Second, we were going to a swanky Dallas joint.  I don't do swanky.  I'm not swanky - I live in Denton.  We don't do swank in Denton.  Further, with all this swank and marital bliss in the air, would I be able to contribute anything meaningful to the table talk?  Don't be an idiot, don't say anything stupid.  I could tell by my mirror conversations that I was feeling migh-ty inferior before even leaving the house.

Me talking into the mirror (shut up, you do it, too) - "Oh, it's so good to see you!  Me? Well, I'm divorced and living it up.  It's so much fun to be single in your 40's.  Dating is a blast, you actually have money to spend on whatever you want and if you wake up one Saturday and want to take a trip to Bora Bora, you do.  As often as you want.  Without asking anyone's permission.  It's really everything I ever wanted and more."

Like most things in my life, the inferiority complex I was suffering from was for naught. I met up with the group and no one cast any aspersions upon my person reducing me to a swankless, pitiful divorcee.  They were absolutely lovely people.  We shared a great meal, great conversation, a lot of laughs and stories about our kiddos.  It was perfect.  
Nearing the end of the night several conversations were taking place around the table.  I was not included in one at the time and was feeling a little uncomfortable silencey.  It was about that time that I overheard someone say, "Cramer," from the other end of the table.  I knew "Cramer."  I could contribute to that conversation and make a meaningful connection with someone at the other end of the table through our shared knowledge of "Cramer."

Karen - I watch that show - I love it! 

Bill - You do?  Rob here (pointing to the guy next to him) hasn't even heard of it!  Some think he's too loud or over-the-top, but he's a genius!

Karen - He really is - he's so animated and hilarious! (Bill was smiling and nodding emphatically)

So many exclamation marks, so much excitement in our voices.  He was truly excited I watched a show he watched, and even better, his buddy Rob didn't even know what it was.  This was so great, I was going to go out on a high note!  I was so excited, I moved closer to the boys so we could continue our electric dialogue.

Bill - And the way he got started - leaving stock picks on his answering machine and earning Peretz $150,000 in 2 years!?  You gotta respect that.

Karen - **a very delayed and totally unsure**  Uh-huh (with a glazed look I would liken to a Kindergartener in an advanced physics class)

You see, friends, when I heard "Cramer" I mistakenly thought he was referring to Kramer from Seinfeld.  Hilarious, check.  Genius, check.  Animated, check.  Leaving stock picks on his answering machine in college - I must've missed that episode...  Bill was talking about Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's Mad Money.  A touch more highbrow and thoughty than Seinfeld, apparently.

But did I stop there? No, I sure didn't. In my frantic attempt at perfection, I mumbled something about how I thought it was someone else who he invested for initially. But then Bill had the nerve to ask a follow-up question, everyone looked confused, I got feverish, and then I just ended the whole thing by making a fart noise with my mouth.

Truly, the look of....disorientation on Bill's face was unprecedented.

After overcoming the urge to throw up, I picked up my toys and slowly walked back to my chair, tail between my very lowbrow legs.  Why couldn't I just say, "Oh, how funny, I thought you were talking about the very relevant - and current - Seinfeld show.  I'm not familiar with Jim Cramer, he sounds great!"

Oh, the horror I experience when I feel stupid.  HORROR, I tell you!  So what if I'm not as smart as some of my friends?  Who cares if I'm a divorced, single mother?  Who cares if I don't watch boring shows about stocks and investing that give me tired-head.  But for some reason, it's just really hard to stand naked for fear of what others might think of me.  Being judged. 

What judgment would be cast upon me by my "perfect" friends if they found out that I was…well, just as jacked up as they are?  How about the judgment that I'm just just as jacked up as they are.  That we all share struggles.  That we're all scarred, scared, hurt and damaged and just trying to put our best foot forward.

My life has been an exhausting attempt at projecting just the right image so others would accept me.  A fake, impossible-to-live-up-to fa├žade that I finally - recently - decided was bleeding me dry; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Those are some big “-allys” people.  I was am spent.

I've recently joined a group with some incredible women on a journey to live authentically and wholeheartedly.  I know that may sound gooey to some of you, and that's okay.  It feels pretty good on this end.  Through my readings and meetings with this wonderful group, the need to hide and bury my imperfections is lessening.  More accurately, my want to share my imperfections is growing.  And since I'm kind of a white hot mess, this could work out really well for you all ;)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

And I'm Still Alive To Tell the Story

I have a really bad habit of assuming what's important to me is important to others.  Especially those close to me. (i.e., my boyfriend, Fabian.)  So when he tells me that his level of enthusiasm isn't quite to the level mine is about something, I'm genuinely shocked.  And then I proceed to tell him how wrong he is.

For instance, two years ago, Fabian and I adopted our pit bull, Clifford.  Alright, alright...  One day I went out for a sandwich and came home with a pit bull named Clifford.

**Karen's thinking - I fell in love with a sweet dog, I took him home.**

**Everyone else's thinking - You're gonna die!  You're gonna DIE!**

And, because I couldn't care less what other people think or say about me, I became totally immersed in turning Clifford into the best-behaved pit bull this side of Cesar Millan's dog, Daddy.  (For those of you who don't know, Cesar Millan is the champion of the pit bull breed; his mission is to eradicate the fear associated with the pit bull.)  I bought every book Cesar had written, turning every waking hour into the Reading with Karen show.  I recorded and watched every. single. episode. of the Dog Whisperer, forcing Fabian to take part and engage in spirited canine conversation.  I started every sentence with, "Well Cesar says...," we even went to see him live. (of course we did)  It got so bad that I was sneaking reruns of the Dog Whisperer alone and when Fabian would come through the front door a surge of shame adrenaline would shoot through my body and I would blindly shout, "Nothing! I can stop whenever I want to!"

One day, Fabian told me he was done reading and hearing about Cesar Millan.  I told him that wasn't something we joke about in this house and to go get ready for Cesar Bingo.

Turns out, he was serious.

Okay, so I can be a little - how you say - passionate about things...which is why I shouldn't have been surprised at how this last weekend panned out.

I'm a huge Dave Ramsey fan.  To put it into perspective, I'm a bigger Dave fan than I am a Cesar fan.  You'll probably hear WWDD more often in my home than you would WWJD.  So when I heard Dave was bringing his SMART Conference to Big D, I didn't think twice about ordering 2 tickets - one for me and one for Fabian.  No need to check schedules, no need to ask if he would even be interested in joining me - because, of course he would.  This conference was going to touch on financial planning, how to relate to one another in our relationship, how teach my 13 year old about being smart with money, setting boundaries and jump-starting our careers.  Who wouldn't be pumped about 9 1/2 hours of learning on a Saturday?

By 8am Fabian was already regretting his *cough* decision to join me as I couldn't make the decision to wait in line and get a snack, (this was his vote because I'm super pleasant when I'm hungry) or hop in the admission line to ensure a better seat to see Dave.

Karen:   **ravenous, but eyeing the ever-growing seating line**   Let's just go get in line for seating  - I don't need to eat.

Fabian:   Let's just get you something to eat now - that will keep us both out of prison - and then we can hop in line to get seated.  Plenty of time, plenty of seats.

Karen:   No, I want a good seat for Dave!  Look at all of the people already in line.  All the good seats will be taken if we stay in this line!

Fabian:  Okay, let's go get in line, then.

Karen:   But I'm hungry.

I know, I know. I wanna punch me, too.

Famously, Fabian suggested we go ahead and jump in line to get seated, then he would return to get some food for me.  We got through the door in no time and easily found 2 seats.  These seats were in a single row against the railing on the upper level, with the upper deck theater seating about 15 feet behind them. Because it was a single row, we just hopped over the back of the seat and plopped right down.  While Fabian was gone ensuring my blood sugar didn't dip to a dangerous break-up-with-you-and-never-look-back level, I looked around and decided perhaps I could see Dave better from a different seat.  The venue hadn't filled in quite as quickly as I'd anticipated (weird), so I wanted to change seats. (of course I did)

Fun fact - While moving from our shoddy, original seats to our new and improved seats, I threw one leg over the back of my chair and, while steadying myself to throw the other leg over, my supporting foot slammed through the back of the folding arena chair, not quite touching the floor below, causing me to teeter on my crotch for a good 3 seconds.   This was to the great enjoyment of the hundreds of people surrounding me - Fabian among them.

As I walked gingerly to our new seats with my bruised ego (and crotch), my embarrassment quickly dissipated as the lights dimmed signaling the conference was about to begin.
Karen:   I'm SO excited!  Are you SO excited!?  This is going to be LIFE CHANGING!  I'm SO excited!  Are you, SO, SO excited!?

Fabian:  Stop it - YOU'RE "so" excited, I'm just excited.  Isn't that enough?

I just don't think this relationship is going to work out.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ma'am, Could You Grab My Breast? It's Floating Behind You...

In the 7th grade, I wanted to look just like Phoebe Cates.  Don't worry about the fact that she has olive skin and I'm a light off-white.  Never mind her dark, flowing locks, for I took the road less traveled with an irresponsible, flat-feathered style.  Look away from her flawless physique and rather focus on my rugged, block shape, supported (defying all laws of physics) by my long, twiggy legs.

Those paltry differences aside, we were twins.  TWINS, I tell you.

Like most 7th graders, I was an insecure ball of hormones desperate for people to like me.  Now, when I say "people," I really mean boys.  I was a hot little number with Buster Brown shoes, oily skin, and a double chin.  It was a far stretch to think that anyone the likes of Chris Collins - the cutest boy in school - would ever look my way...

...until one day, he and his crew were walking right toward me.

They'd been making the rounds in school that day, looking at girls and assigning them a number.  Some of the numbers I overheard were 7, 10, 12 & 6.  I had no idea what the numbers signified, but the higher numbers seemed to garner more excitement from the group than the lower numbers did.  As they approached me, I was nervous and excited all at the same time.  What was my number going to be?

I didn't have to wait long - "K," shouted one of the boys.  After a brief pause - as if to compute what "K" meant - the group erupted with laughter.  Hands over mouths, the slapping of knees, one kid fell to the floor in a fit of hysterics, and high fives all around.

Now, I was having a pretty good hair day that day - my Dorothy Hamill was helmet-perfect - so I decided to hold my head high and confidently make my way to Home-Ec.  But I was dying to know what was so funny.  What did "K" mean?

In Home-Ec, an 8th grader took mercy on me and explained that the numbers they were shouting assigned a school grade to my chest size.  For instance, a 10 meant you had boobs the size of a 10th grader, an 8 meant you had the boobs of an 8th grader, and so on.  "Oh, I get it," I said, "so, 'K' means -"


K!?  Kindergarten!?  Friends, not even Judy Blume could have prepared me for this...

Who knew that an adorable childhood game like Grade The Rack would spark a 3 year obsession with my non-existent boobage.  How many cars would I have to wash before I could afford a boob job?  How can I make them bigger? When is this elusive puberty going to grace me with unsightly pit hair, body odor and, above all else, breasts? 

I prayed every night for boobs, but God either didn't hear me or was on vacation, because my boobs weren't growing.  It was time to take matters into my own hands.
Once the lady at Sears dried her tears and stopped laughing, she was actually quite helpful in finding a AAA padded bra to fit my not-yet blossoming bosom. I couldn't wait to wear my new boobs to school the next day.  That is until Jason Smith questioned my overnight sproutage and poked at my right boob to confirm his suspicions.  Sadly, the bra cup, supported by nothing but air, collapsed against the tremendous pressure of Jason's test poke and remained in the concave position.

Again, I decided to hold my head high - stick out my one, good boob - and proudly make my way down the hall.        

Summers were the worst, though.  At least the winter offered the protection of layers.  Light fabrics that hugged the skin were not forgiving to the underdeveloped.  And the pool?  Well the pool presented challenges of a different kind.

Now that I think about it, I had some mad engineering skills back then.  I just didn't think things through to the end.  I mean, who wouldn't head to the pool after taking the time to strategically place carefully folded (and cut) Kleenex into the triangle lining of their bikini top?  Soft, supple, fool proof, right?  The moment I jumped into the water, the delicate tissue violently ejected from my bikini lining, leaving me shrouded in shredded Kleenex pieces.  I exited the pool looking like an underdeveloped spit ball.   

Humiliating as that was, it didn't stop me from moving forward on my instantaneous puberty project.  That very night I had an ingenious idea - shoulder pads!  I decided shoulder pads would be a better, more structurally sound, choice.  Again, I carefully cut and placed the modified shoulder pads in my bikini top and waited for them to do their magic.

I gotta tell ya, this was working.  They were shapely, they were resilient, they were perky and they were turning heads.  What I hadn't counted on, however, was their tremendous buoyancy.  As my squat body plummeted to the bottom of the pool, those suckers shot to the surface faster than two tiny heat-seeking missiles.  So there I was, flat-chested at the bottom of the pool, just praying for the ability to breathe underwater.  But alas, I had to collect my breasts floating on the surface above.

Boobs...sometimes they just get away from you.


Just going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing Phoebe Cates never had to collect her boobs...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Not Even a Tan Would've Helped

Don't you hate it when you're reading a text or checking Facebook on your phone and just as the back light dims you catch a glimpse of your neck waddle?  That's right, you're looking down, oblivious to the detrimental effect gravity is having on your face and neck, and just when you least expect it, you're staring at an image closely resembling Droopy Dog.

Like this, sans the cute

I'm telling you, I must have supernatural lighting in my bathroom, because most days I feel like I leave the house looking pretty okay.  But then, as I bound to the car with a (fraudulently) youthful spring in my step...I see my reflection in the car window and think, "Who brought the old chick?"

Friends, lately I just haven't been feeling very foxy.

So what do you do when you start to feel all hausfrau-y?  In my experience, you can go in one of two directions. Option I (which happens to be my favorite) is to simply say, "eff it!"  Throw your hands in the air, tell yourself you had a good run and pass the baton to the younger and hotter 30's crowd.  This scorched earth attitude comes with a license to eat carbs in excess and drink to your heart's content.  It also comes with a ponytail holder, a pair of sweat pants and a holey oversized t-shirt.

Option II would be to embrace your age and start a day-forward approach by taking preventative measures and making healthier choices: Staying out of the sun, drinking more water, working out more, wearing SPF, eating better and cutting out alcohol.  This option comes with a looser fitting and more extensive wardrobe, (you know, the stuff in the back of the closet) but does require an additional hour of primp time each morning.  The bonus, however, is that this option comes with a new, sassy attitude and THAT is something I've been missing.

Now I know I said that I preferred the June Shannon Starter Kit option, wherein I get to eat and drink myself into oblivion.  But I actually ended up doing the responsible thing and going with the health-conscious - albeit joy-deprived - route.  I began applying SPF each and every day, I started drinking more water, I incorporated the Insanity program to my workout regimen and I made better food choices.

I know, I know, I know!  So I didn't cut out the alcohol.  Unless you count the time I used scissors to get the beer out of the case box...

After a week, I started to feel better.  And when you feel better, you look at yourself differently.  So there I was - feelin' a little foxier than the week before, and just in time to attend a friend's birthday celebration.

Because I'm the procrastinator's procrastinator, I decided to get my friend's gift on my way to her birthday dinner.  This particular friend loves her some vodka, which makes gift-giving a cinch and it just so happens there was a liquor store on the way to this birthday shindig.  I pulled up to the liquor store, gave myself one last look in the mirror and entered the store feeling confident.

I scarcely got past the lime display before a smokin' hot guy working the Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey sample table caught my attentionNow I don't do whiskey, but I would've for this guy.  He was cute with a capital H.O.T.  Sadly, as I got closer and did some quick figuring in my head, I determined that he could've been my son had I started in my 20's.

What's this?  Hotty McHot-Hot doesn't seem to care that I'm the December to his May?

Mr. McHot-Hot stared at me as I made my way to the vodka aisle - and I mean stared.  Hey, the heart wants what the heart wants, people.  I might be 43, but I clearly still got it goin' on...  After selecting a bottle of vodka and a gift bag with HAPPY BIRTHDAY plastered on every side, I proceeded to the checkout closest to my whiskey-peddling admirer.

Here was our exchange: 

Hotty McHot-Hot: (Motioning to the birthday gift bag with a chuckle) "Hey, it's my birthday tomorrow." 

Oh, Hotty McHot-Hot, you're embarrassing yourself.  So young, so naive...don't be so obvious.

Me - (in my coolest tone)  Well, then I'll have to come up here tomorrow and get you a bottle of vodka, too.

And with that award-winning line I sauntered out of the store with a confidence no amount of water, exercise or SPF could ever give me.  My foxy was back!  I felt good.

As I bound to my car with a youthful spring back in my step, I caught of glimpse of myself in the reflection of my car window and discovered why Hotty McHot-Hot couldn't take his eyes off of me.  But this time I wasn't so focused on the wrinkles.  No, no.  That day, my wrinkles were taking a backseat to the 3 middle shirt buttons that had come undone, proudly displaying portions of my bra, my boobs and my stomach in all their 43-year-old glory.

Those unbottoned buttons did no one any favors that day.

Hell, it's not even like my bra was clean.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

And It Makes Me Proud

In the wake of tragedy, I inevitably hear about those directly affected with the presence of mind – or selflessness - to take their loss and turn it into a positive: A law that prevents “x” from happening again, the creation of an organization or movement to raise awareness for “x,” or simply the idea that being happy and moving on with their lives is what he or she would’ve wanted.  I’m not sure I’d be able to be that person.  I’m fear I’m too selfish.  I can see myself finding a blanket to crawl under and rocking myself into a catatonic state. 
Yet, time after time I hear about people who’ve endured unthinkable circumstances, rising above their own grief, and doing something positive with the hand they’ve been dealt.  I’m sure it helps to pour yourself into something other than grief.  I know it’s necessary.  I know it’s cathartic.  I pray I never have to “know.”
In the hours following the Boston Marathon bombing I, like most everyone else, was glued to Twitter reading countless tweets under #bostonmarathon, flipping between news stations, checking,, CNN – you name it.  Every once in a while, someone would mention how “this could have been so much worse.”  It was never said with malicious intent or meant to be disrespectful – it was simply stated as fact in an effort to make the viewer feel better.  When I’d read or hear a statement with this underlying message, I would cringe and get angry.  I was angry for those who'd lost their 8 year old son, their 29 year old daughter, their leg, their arm, their ability to walk down the street without fear.  This tragic event is as bad as it gets for these people.  To say "this could have been so much worse" seems like a total dismissal to those who were affected.

But I know what they meant.

On Monday, my heart was broken both for the city of Boston and for our country.  Like every parent, I fear this troubled world my son is forced to grow up in.  Between school shootings, bullying, attacks on our freedom – both foreign and domestic – there’s not much recourse short of finding that blanket to crawl under.  But over the last 2 days, the outpouring of kind acts and stories of heroism have flooded the news and social media.  Typically, acts of kindness don’t make headlines.  But I believe we’re so deficient at this point, it’s what we crave.  Humanity has an exceptional gift for restoring balance. 

These acts of benevolence and goodwill are doing exactly what they’re intended to do; they’re making us stronger, more unified.  Each act is a thread of love, inspiration, heart and courage weaving this...blanket of sorts.  Not one to crawl under, but one to envelope and protect us. 
One of my favorite “threads” occurred the night following the bombings.  The New York Yankees displayed the Yankees and Red Sox logos flanking the words, “United We Stand” on their video board.  Further, the Yankees played (and most sang along with) the Red Sox mainstay, “Sweet Caroline,” during that game against Arizona.

People, this just doesn't happen.  That's like asking Jillian Michaels to cozy up to a package of pork rinds – and smile about it. And this isn't merely a sports metaphor - this act is symbolic of what is taking place all over our country right now.

While I hate that it takes an act of terror to pull us together and remind us to become the people we should’ve been all along – without losing sight of the pain and grief of those who lost loved ones and were directly affected on that fateful day – I am grateful that our country grows stronger (and kinder) as a result.

This is us - rising above our own grief and doing something positive with the hand we've been dealt. 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Know Me - And I Wouldn'tve Listened Anyway...

Dear 16 year old me:

Hey youngin’!  What’re you up to?  Let me guess – you’ve got a little Duran Duran blaring on the ghetto blaster and you’re dancing in front of your mirror in white high-top Reeboks, leg warmers and frosted pink lipstick, right?  Yeah, not to alarm you, but you’ll still be doing that in 2013.  You see, I'm writing to you from the future.  I'm you, only 27 years older.  And, no, I'm not living in a retirement community.  (note to self, you might want to start thinking of 43 as'll serve you well in the years to come - maybe) 

Look, I have no idea if this is actually going to get to you or not, but if there’s even the slightest chance that it might, please read what I have to say.  Don’t just read it, read it.  Heed my words of advice.  I really do speak from experience and you know I have your best interest at heart.  After all, I’m you.
  1. Stop wearing frosted blue eye shadow.  No, not even then.  Just stop.
  2. In a few days, you’ll learn to make funnel cakes in Home-Ec.  When you attempt to make them at home that evening, read and then re-read Rule #1 – otherwise you will set the house a’blaze and be sentenced to hear about it at every Thanksgiving and Christmas until you’re at least 43. 
  3. Tell mom no more home perms!  The white-girl-fro is not your friend.
  4. Your parents are not only hilarious and fun, they’re GREAT parents.  Appreciate them more.
  5. For the love of all that’s holy, take a tweezer to those brows.
  6. I know you think you’re fat right now.  That makes me want to punch you.
  7. Everyone in high school is just as insecure as you are.  Just like you, they’re all just trying to find their way.  Be kind; to others and yourself.
  8. You will desperately attempt to become Kelly McGillis after seeing the movie Top Gun.  Save the ink on that deal with the devil - she doesn’t age well.
  9. I can’t tell you how rich we’d be today if you’d just save all the money you're going to spend on Dippity-do.  Seriously, a little goes a long way – tap the brakes, sister.
  10. These really are some of the best years of your life.  Stop trying to grow up quite so fast.
  11. Stop - just stop wasting your time praying for boobs.  They’re never going to come in.  Ever. 
  12. Mom’s job right now is to watch you walk straight into the line of fire while attempting to steer you out of harm’s way.  This is the hardest job in the world as a mother, in that what’s best for you ultimately makes you push away from her.  The love she has for you almost suffocates her.  You will understand this one day.  Go easy on her.
  13. In about two months, you'll be getting ready for your first date with the quarterback of the varsity football team.  You've got a choice to make here - either wear a panty liner or don't wear the yellow pants.  (my God, if you hear nothing else, hear this one!)

Well, that’s it – that’s all I got.  I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t tell you to avoid "that guy," give you the answers to Mr. Overeem's English final, or give you the Lottery numbers for some huge jackpot drawing.  Oh, that’s right.  You don’t even know what the Lottery is yet.  Regardless, I wouldn’t give you that kind of information.  There are lessons you need to learn.  I don’t want to alter your path in life for fear that I might end up someplace other than right where I am.

Your (our) life is full of all of the beautiful things that make a life complete: Love, heartache, life, death, success, failure (lots of failure), embarrassment, laughter, frustration, peace, anxiety, calm… We're one of the lucky ones.


Pssst - Invest in “Orange” (think fruit, not color) when you get your first job.

Eh, don’t worry, I wasn't bright enough to pick up on the not-so subtleties of even that hint at the age of 16.  Ya can't blame me for trying.

Wanna join in the Theme Thursday mayhem or read some more Letters to 16 Year Old Selves?  Head on over to Something Clever 2.0 and check it out.  Just click the picture below.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Think I Could Get An Endorsement Deal?

Kids, nothing good happens after midnight.  In fact, most of the stupidest decisions I’ve made in life happened between 1 and 3 am.  One such decision was the purchase of a little workout program called Insanity from a 2am infomercial.  Today is Day 45 of this ridiculous death sentence.  Forty five days of hearing Shaun T yell at me to “Dig deeper!”  Forty five days of screaming “JEZEBEL” and “HOOKER” at the hard-bodied females performing effortless full body drills on the screen in front of me. (Hey, you do what motivates you, I’ll do what motivates me.)  I’m also fairly certain one girl in the back has a kickin’ case of sour cream and chive breath, but I don’t yell at her. 
Last we spoke about Insanity, I was on Day 5.  Ah, Day 5.  I was so innocent and naive back then.  Remember?  The DVD’s were unscratched, Shaun T’s jokes were still funny and I was ready to take on the Insanity world one globe-jump at a time.  But about the time Day 12 rolled around, I was pretty bored with the monotony of the program and finding the time was becoming a challenge.  Mornings are out because I have to walk the dogs.  Nights are busy with dinner, homework, drums and soccer practice, so unless I do it right when I walk the door at night, I run out of time.  And let me tell you, the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is hammer out 40 minutes of scream-inducing calisthenics in my bedroom. 
uncomfortable silence...
Let alone the fact that I’ve actually GAINED 2 pounds since I started this program.  Do you know how hard it is to lose 2 pounds?  Hell, do you know how hard it is to GAIN 2 pounds when you're doing 40 minutes of high interval training each night?  And some of you - my sweet, sweet friends -  are actually kind enough to offer, “It’s muscle weight.”  God love ya…  No it’s not.

But you know what?  I kept lacing up my shoes.  I kept pressing play.  I “X”’d off each day and I clawed my way through the completion of Month 1!!  I felt like a bad ass, proud, accomplished - chest thumpy, even.  The accomplishment of completing Month 1 renewed my motivation.  Plus, I got to start a rotation of 3 new workout DVD's with Month 2.   I was back, I was stronger than ever, I felt great, I. was. ready.

**innocently presses play on the DVD player**

putMonth2back, PutMonth2Back, PUTMONTH2BACK! 


How the hell the people at Beach Body thought Month 2 was a logical successor to Month 1 is beyond me.  The differences in the physical exertion between the two is can I put this so that you'll understand?

How about this: 
Month 1 is like a stroll through a flowery meadow on a warm spring day with the sun shining warmly upon your face. 
Month 2 is like an anaconda wrapped around a chupacabra dipped in gasoline and lit on fire death.  Month 2 is death.


In case you're wondering, I'm still doing the program - but I'm not at all happy about it.