Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm Bringing Bellies Back

I have always had a belly. Even when I was 19 and weighed all of 90 pounds. Of course I would give anything to have that belly back now. The belly I have now is much bigger. Sometimes it looks like a 6-month food baby. Sometimes it feels like a 6-month food baby.

Unfortunately I have inherited my mother's apple shape. I gain weight first in my stomach and then, when it's really bad, it moves to my back. Meanwhile, my arms and legs stay skinny. It's never evenly distributed. I have no proportion.

Sometimes it's okay. Like when I first wake up in the morning and it seems kinda flat. I think I might have actually lost weight. And then gravity takes over and reality comes crashing in. Or down. Or out, whatever it may be.

I bought a super cute dress the other day. I tried it on, noticed the belly bump and thought, "this will look cute when I get skinny!" So I bought it. Because that's what I do. I buy clothes based on what I want to look like, not what I actually look like. I end up with a closet-full of clothes that I can't wear. Yet.

Yesterday I put the dress on. I'd lost a whole pound and thought, "Why the hell not?" And then I examined myself in the mirror a few dozen times before leaving the house. I asked Mr. A., "Do I look fat? Should I change?" He said no. He said "You have a belly. It doesn't make you fat." And then he said something about how it's because of cheese and booze and pasta and all I heard after a while was "wah wah wah wahh..." So I wore the damn dress.

And then I started to wonder why flat stomachs are so awesome. Sure, they're all toned and tight and youthful-looking. Whatever. But there was a time when plumpness was attractive. Hell, there was a time when rolls of flesh were attractive because they were a sign of wealth. Well, my belly is a sign that I've lived. I've had delicious, decadent meals with my friends and my family. I gave birth to the bestest girl in the world. I've spent time snuggling on the couch with adorable puppies when we maybe should have been out on walks. I have earned this belly and it should be sexy because it's a part of me.

So this is what I propose. We make bellies sexy again. They're feminine because of what we do with them. We give life and we sustain life. We take care of our families. We provide pillows for our little dogs' heads. We're sexy because of all of that and we should recognize it. These little 20-year-olds with their flat stomachs. Pssh. What do they know about being a real woman? They haven't lived yet.

Now, this isn't permission to get carried away. Nobody needs to see a detailed outline of your mushroom top. This isn't permission to dress like a full-out skank. We are ladies. We are classy. The belly should be treated with respect. And love.

Isn't that what it's really all about anyway? Loving ourselves? Flaws, quirks, imperfections and all? Big bellies, big feet, small ears, freckles, curly hair, stretch marks, wrinkles. We've earned it. Let's embrace it. Let's be the sexy beasts that we know we can be. That we, in fact, are.

Eat the ice cream. Drink the martini. Laugh with friends. Make love with abandon. Maybe even with the light on.

And when you finally do get that flat stomach, those toned abs? Love them too. I know I will.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pet Wish List

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who really loved horses. She collected horse figurines and knew all about Palominos and Arabians and Appaloosas. She read Black Beauty and watched The Black Stallion over and over. She decorated her room with horse pictures until she hit puberty and exchanged them for posters of boys wearing makeup. Because it was the early 80's and she thought that Nick Rhodes was the cutest member of Duran Duran. I digress. The point is this little girl wanted a horse so badly that she begged regularly for one, only to be told that horses are too expensive and require too much time and space. And they're expensive, did her parents mention that? Her dream was crushed.

Then one day the little girl grew up and became me and realized that her parents were right. Not about everything, but certainly about horses. They are expensive and they eat a lot and when they're ponies they are assholes and bite your shin when you try to pet them and say hi and then you end up saying fuck-you-pony in front of small children. So I gave up on wanting a horse and replaced my desire for a fucking pony with a sincere desire for something unique and smaller and less likely to bite me. I have made a list.

1. I want a seahorse and I will name him Seamour. Or Shelldon, I haven't decided. You know what's cool about seahorses? They're like a tiny horse that lives in water with a curly little tail and no teeth! Or maybe they have teeth, but they'd have to get through the glass of a tank to get to my shin so I'm not really worried. But you know what else is cool? The males have the babies! A guy should be pregnant in my house. Then I can sit around, eating whatever I want, cocktail in hand, and say, "Dude. Are you worried about stretch marks?" And he'd get all moody and pissy and swim to the other side of his little tank away from me and pout in a corner. Then we'd have to have some kind of hippie water-birth because he's already in the water but I could feel all smug about it. Totally awesome.

2. A platypus. I totally want a platypus. Because nobody knows what it is! Is it a duck? Is it an otter? What the fuck does it eat? I supposedly learned all about them in first grade when we learned about Australia but all I remember is the "laugh kookaburra laugh, please save some for me" song that nobody else in the world seems to know and any time I sing it people look at me like I'm crazy. So I looked up the platypus and it's very cute. It's not even in an it's-so-ugly-it's-cute kind of way, because it's too weird. It's more like freak-of-nature cute and you have to love it because its own mother probably doesn't. But you know the best part? Platypus (platypi?) are venomous. True story. They have a little spur on a back foot that they stab you with and inject their venom. So my platypus would be a guard platypus because heaven knows my dogs don't guard me. Unless it's possible to be licked to death, because that's all they do. So I'd have a watch platypus and I would name him Quinn. Or Biff. It would depend on his personality.

3. My other favorite Aussie animal is the koala bear. When I was four, my parents gave me a stuffed koala bear that I thought had real fur because it was so soft. And it had these tiny little black paws with little fingers. It's possible that it was a real taxidermied koala because we did live in Texas, but I don't have it anymore so I'm not sure. When I was in elementary school, the hot toy was this little clip-on koala. You squeezed his shoulders to open his arms and clip him to your shirt or your book bag or whatever. I lost that along the way too. But I think these experiences have prepared me well for having a real koala. I would stroke its fur and carry it around like a baby on my hip and feed it leaves and name it Elvis.

Now, my birthday is just a very few weeks away so if you'd like to get me a present, I will accept any or all of the animals from this list. However, two of them probably have a long shipping time as they come from Australia and I don't know how long it takes to get a seahorse so you might want to order soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm With the Band

D's guitar teacher is pretty great. He's really good at getting the kids out to play and sing in public, and I mean all of his students, not just my beautiful, extremely talented child but she's the only one I care about and I'm only mentioning the others because they have parents who are probably also proud of them. Whatevs. Anyhoo, I have now seen her perform in public three times since she first started her classes a year ago. And you know what? She rocks. Totally. Let me tell you a little story about Tuesday night.

I found out just a few hours before that Joe invited D and K (her friend that she takes lessons and duets with) to play at Good Life Tuesday evening. I had a paper to write, but of course I blew it off to go listen to my kid sing. Duh. It wasn't even a choice. I gathered Mr. A. and The Wife and her mister (who needs a name, obviously. Suggestions accepted in the comments) and hoped that it wouldn't rain before she was done.

Since I'd taken my camera along to get some good performance pictures, I ran up to the front when she started and snapped away the entire time, which also served the dual purpose of keeping me from crying. Because she amazes me when she's up there. She looks confident and perfectly at home, even though she tells me afterward how much she was shaking. And she gets better every time. This night her voice was louder and clearer and so.... her. And yet not her. This is a side of her that we are getting to know. And I really, really, like it.

So does everyone else apparently. While I was standing there clicking away, a man approached me and asked where the tip jar was. Tip jar? Are you kidding me? But I totally acted casual about it. There's a beer glass, right there. How convenient! He popped a $5 bill in there (which D later complained smelled like beer) and asked if I was with the band. I beamed and said, "Yes! That is my daughter on the left!" He remarked how good she was and I had to agree. Except I wouldn't have said good or great, I would have said fantastic or incredible.

The girls sang their five songs and were getting up to turn it back over to Joe when several audience members cried out, "Encore!" "One more!" "Another song!" The girls obliged them like complete professionals and I wooooood the loudest. And beamed. And cheered some more. Yes, ladies and gents, I now have a rock star in my house. I'm not proud of that fact at all. Obviously.

If you would like to experience the magnificent talent of my offspring, she will be performing July 29th at Broken Top Bottle Shop between 7 and 9 p.m. Tips and encore requests are optional.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Making an Entrance

This morning, like every morning, I walked into the office, over to my desk, set down my purse and my little bag of water and coffee, and turned around to turn on my computer. Only this morning, I somehow set the bag down lopsided and my coffee thermos fell over and, THUNK!!! Everyone in my area jumped and there was the standard joke, "Hey, we're sleeping over here!, har har." But I am often clumsy and have learned to laugh at myself so I said, "Hey. If you don't make an entrance, don't bother showing up."

I thought I was pretty clever.
And then I thought that may be the most profound thing I've ever said.
Because it totally explains life.

Seriously. It's like this. If you don't intend to put in 100%, don't do it. How can anyone take you seriously if you don't make an effort? Don't bother. Life is too short to waste on half-assed efforts and empty promises. Don't waste my time. Or yours.

And also, if you make an entrance, you're more likely to be remembered. This works for job interviews. First dates. Running for office. Taking a class. You want to show up looking like Plain Jane or Bland Bobby? Don't bother. Just stay home. Nobody cares to be bored.

Yep. This is my new motto.
If you don't make an entrance, don't bother showing up.

And if you're not wearing really fabulous shoes, don't bother getting out of bed.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Pug Snuggle 2012

Yesterday the wife and I took a little trip to Portlandia to snuggle some rescue pugs because Wifey is going through the adoption process and wanted to meet her potential adoptee. As always, it was an adventure for us and I learned some stuff. Stuff like this.

1. Rescues are pretty great organizations
. Some people are happy going to their local shelter for a pound puppy. These are wonderful people offering a home to animals that really need it. But some people, like me, really like a specific breed and this is where rescues come in. You get the breed you want while still doing a good thing for an animal that wasn't wanted. It's a win-win, no-guilt solution! Now, who wouldn't want a pug? I don't know. Stupid people. Because pugs are awesome. And Pacific Pug Rescue is really awesome. They let us snuggle pugs to our hearts' content. We got kisses. We got hugs. We fell in love. Seriously, if the adoption process was really easy, I would have brought home a new family member last night. The foster moms were all really sweet, caring ladies. I want to take them all brownies.

We went to meet Berkley. Poor Berkley was so hot he didn't have any energy to show us his personality. He just sat there and panted and looked miserable. Maybe that's his talent. Looking as miserable as dogly possible. He did live up to his ad in one respect. He had the most sumptuous fur I have ever felt. MmmmmHmmm.....

So this is who was left. Daisy greeted us when we first got there. She greeted everyone; it was as if she wanted everyone to feel welcome and included. Love her. Pretty sure she wants to come live in Bend. Pepper does too. Pepper looks older than he is, has back and hip problems, and is mostly blind and deaf. But he's so cute! He's all black (hence the name Pepper) and has the cutest, sweetest, little stuffed-animal face. Pick him up and he just lets go in your arms (not of his bladder, he just relaxes). He would look so striking in a green sweater. Georgie was bred and then kicked to the curb. She's small and sad, but learning to love again. Dogs are so much better at this than people. Barkley was pretty studly, but wasn't showing much of his personality either. Maybe he's used to getting by on his good looks, it would totally work for him. Cassie was tiny and peppy but we didn't have a real connection. Chunk was on medical hold so I didn't spend much time with him, but he sure was a cutie.

Can you tell who my two favorites are? I can't wait to be an aunt to Daisy and Pepper!!

2. Ikea is dangerous and should require armor. A large picture fell and smashed my poor little bare toe. The wife had her foot run over by a cart (incidentally, all of their carts like to turn sideways). A table fell into her forehead when we were loading it in the car, and I banged my shin against the lower cart. I'm sure all of this had nothing to do with the fact that we lost three hours of our lives in there and were delirious with hunger. Stupid Ikea took away from our shoe-shopping time.

3. GPS can be a bitch. Seriously. She kept telling us the wrong way to go and sent us on a wild goose chase looking for the Pug Party. I think she just figured it out as she went along. The one time we decided to ignore her directions, she was right. Whatever. Stupid whore.

4. Fondue is delicious. Okay, I already knew this. But it is.

5. Something about the wife and me makes people seat us in back corners. Actually, I already knew this too, but I don't know why. We're the fun ones. We are more than happy to entertain people with the things that fly out of our mouths. Ask the guy in the Halloween costume store. Whatever. Sheesh.

6. VooDoo Doughnuts is that good.
I don't even like maple bars, but how can you not love a doughnut that comes with bacon on it? You have to love it. I might advise against eating the Oreo-covered one in the car. I didn't find some of the pieces that went down my shirt until I got home.

7. The wife and I are dating the same guy. Not the same person, obviously. We're not that close. Or gross. But the guys we're dating are eerily similar.

"I told him ..."
"Yes! I said the same thing!"
"And he said ....."
"Yeah, M/K said the same thing"
"That's what M/K says. That's what M/K does."
"It drives me crazy when he says/does that."
"Ohmygod!! Me too!!!"

Apparently we are having simultaneous, duplicate conversations at all times without knowing it. There are many ways in which we're alike so I suppose this was bound to happen at some point. Some things are just inevitable.

8. The wife is afraid of fog. Or maybe it's a combination of fog, a scary ghost-looking cloud peeking over the mountain staring at us, lightning, and me talking about scary movies with people standing in the middle of the road waiting to be hit. What? I was just trying to set the mood. I think it's the first time she ever told me to shut up and meant it.

9. Your life does not flash before your eyes if you think you're about to die and you don't pee your pants when you're really scared. Even if you have to pee really, really badly. Laughing your ass off after you survive a near collision with a dividing ramp wall on the part of the freeway that is a bridge spanning the river might make you nearly, almost pee your pants.

P.S. Is it really so hard to flush a urinal? For Pete's sake, you're standing there facing it. It is mere inches from your fingertips. Filthy, disgusting pigs.

10. It is possible to laugh and talk so much in one day that I lose my voice.
Yeah, I knew this one too. But I don't think it happens with just anyone. That's why we're wives.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Quotes From Lunchtime Fun

Me: "Your stomach? Look at mine! I look like I just gave birth to your kid!"
M: "You look like you just breastfed my kid."

Ladies on rafts (LOR): "Where do we go after this?"
Me: "You'll want to go to the left and get out. You don't want to go down the spillway."
LOR: "What happens if we go down the spillway?"
Me: "You get hurt. Possibly badly."
LOR" "Then we won't go down the spillway."

Me: "We're on our lunch break."

Me:"I can work any day of the year. I can't float any old day of the year."

M: "I just cut my martini with an olive. It's a vegetable."
Me: "I just watered my sake down with some sushi."

M: "Katherine, you've been through birth, death, divorce, half-finished with grad school. You're so green - why don't you grow up already?"

M: "Yeah, that guy looked like Vin Diesel."

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Heavy Petting

Yesterday Mr. A, the wife, D and I went to the pet parade. Of course. Duh, where else would I be on the 4th of July? The pet parade is only second to Halloween in terms of holiday events that I love. It's also behind my birthday. And opening Christmas presents. Which I don't get many of anymore, so the pet parade is really high on the list. It's dogs. How can that be wrong? It just can't. Dogs, people! DOGS!!

We squealed and squeed and giggled over all the cuteness in fur and on four legs. Puppies, seniors, huge, tiny, hairy, not-so-hairy, dressed-up, painted, blinged-out, they were all adorable. In the park afterward we molested anything we could get our hands on, although my favorites were of the scrunchy-faced variety - English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, dachsunds, chihuahuas, even a Great Dane. I got drool on my hands, my arm, my leg and I didn't care. Dog drool can be so awesome.

For the most part, people were more than happy to share their dogs' drool with us. Except for one very grumpy, unhappy, not-nice, Grinchy old lady. She was sitting on the curb with her two dogs to watch the parade. Two of my very favorite kinds of dogs. An adorable Frenchie and a delightfully wrinkly English Bulldog. They combined to make the perfect storm of cuteness. They practically begged to be pet. Heavily. I squealed out, "A Frenchie! A wrinkly face!!!!!" And the woman turned and glared at me. She glared like I've seen nobody glare before. It was like her nasty old eyes were saying, "Go ahead. Touch my dog and I will bite your face off." And I thought, "Seriously? You're going to bring that much Puppy Cuteness out in public and not expect a reaction? Seriously?" Since I was with the teenager and supposed to be setting some kind of example of appropriate adult behavior, I didn't say anything to Old Hagface. But I'm going to now.

Look "Lady", you have two of the cutest dogs I have ever seen. It is a sin not to share those furry wrinkles with others. You cannot hoard it just for yourself. Yours is almost singly the most selfish act I have ever witnessed. How dare I want to pet your dogs? How dare you expose them to me and then deny me of their drooly kisses! Honestly, you don't deserve to be in the presence of that much Dogness. Keeping it to yourself has only turned you into a Bad Person. You can't handle the magnetism. Don't you know Puppy Love is meant to be shared with the world?

Since I was supposed to be an adult and didn't want to get arrested, I walked away. After glaring back. But you bet I was sorely tempted to run at her, knock her down, and roll around in the street with those sweet puppies. But apparently there is enough insanity in my life and that sort of behavior is frowned upon.

Honey Badger wouldn't have given a shit.

Adopting Strays

There's a big reason that I never go to the Humane Society. I hate seeing animals in cages and I want to bring them all home. Every single one. I don't have the space or the finances to do so, no matter what my heart tells me, so I avoid that place like the plague. And now it seems I've found a new kind of stray. Teenage girls.

I know, right? Weird. Crazy. Wtf is wrong with me? As much as my own teenager bugs me, I love her more and there are lots of things I like about her being around. And then I meet her friends and, since they're not mine, I can appreciate those things about them all the more. And I don't know what's going on, because I don't remember these problems when I was younger, but girls these days seem to be having such a hard time. Of course we all had problems with our parents. We were all trying to grow up and figure out our lives and how to find our way in the world. We had opinions. We had frustrations. But we dealt with them. My friend T was the exception. Her dad was some kind of drug lord and abused all of his kids and locked them in closets and other really awful things. T took it upon herself to go to the police and get the phones tapped so that she could get her younger siblings out of there and away from him. She was so strong; we admired her so much. But again, she was the exception.

Every time I turn around these days, some girl is exposed to horrible behavior or tragically depressed or completely lost, my own included. And they're not really strays, they have families, but I want to bring them home all the same because their own families don't seem to care.

Take C. I've known her for a couple of years and just adore her. C is beautiful and kind and honest and one of D's best friends. She's sassy (which of course I love!) and agrees with me when D is being ridiculous and unrealistic. She is so easy to get along with. I don't know what her mom's problem is. Her parents are divorced and her mom seems to think of her only when she wants to use her to get back at her dad. First, C was told to go live with her dad because mom just didn't want her around. Then suddenly, she wants to see her all the time and retain custody of her. For the money? That's the only thing I could think of, because when she didn't get it, because poor C had to testify against her, she stopped wanting her around again.

And how has all of this bouncing around affected her? As beautiful and healthy-looking as she is, she doesn't see herself that way. She doesn't eat. D is constantly worried about this. I pack extra tasty snacks in D's lunch to try to tempt C into eating. I make sure she knows that she is always welcome at our house. She needs a mommy and I try to substitute for that as much as I can. I'd take her in in a heartbeat.

I met H at D's birthday party. Yeah, she's a little chunky. It's especially noticeable around the other girls who all weigh an average of about 90 pounds. But she's adorable. Cute. Funny. Friendly. Sweet. D found out yesterday that she tried to kill herself for the second time in three weeks and for the third time in total. It's absolutely heart-breaking. More so because it appears (from the outside) that her mom isn't paying attention.

Why are these girls so unhappy? They are wonderful, beautiful people and they don't see it. From where I sit, their moms don't see it either. We all know I'm not perfect, but it breaks my heart when D is struggling. And these girls are breaking my heart. I want to bring them home and feed them and mommy them and tell them how much they mean to the world.

There's only so much I can actually do. I don't see these girls every day. And maybe I'm wrong. Maybe their parents are struggling just as much as I am to understand their daughters. But maybe if they know that just one more person cares about them and sees them for the lovely young women they are becoming, they'll see it too. And maybe there will be one or two less heartbreaks in the world.

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