Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Sunday Night Resolution

What is it about Sunday evenings that brings out my renewed strength and resolve to make this week a better one than the last? 2 words - guilt and frustration. I enjoyed 4 nights in a row of bad behavior. Wednesday night was a monthly girls' night out (GNO) with some lovely ladies. I didn't eat (bonus) but indulged in 2 vodka tonics (the tall ones) and was out until midnight. I've been reading that sleep is very important when it comes to weight loss, which is why I mention the time I got home. I never get more than 6 hours a night, which is probably sabotaging my efforts.
Thursday night's activities involved 2 glasses of red wine, the most tender sauteed calamari I've had in a while and quite possibly an entire loaf of Italian bread with oil and grated cheese. Friday started in the afternoon and went til the next morning with countless glasses of white wine, more calamari (the fried variety) some pizza, and a late night wedge (full of blue cheese and bacon) and a brownie sundae. I would have worked out Saturday morning while the girl was at gymnastics, if I wasn't so beat and bloated. Saturday night for my weekly date night was more of the same - this time apple martinis, some Japanese short rib and a mushroom risotto that I could have eaten over and over again. So that sums up the evenings - the days weren't much better. No alcohol, of course, but lots of bad things. Suffice it to say there were doughnuts, creamed chipped beef, mac and cheese, meatball subs, General Tso's even McDonald's. It wasn't pretty. Remember the five pounds I was bragging about losing a couple weeks ago - yeah whatever. I haven't really lost an ounce.

So I will try again tomorrow. Packing lots of good stuff to take to work. Oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, etc. We'll see. Oh did I mention I'm not a vegetarian anymore? That lasted maybe a week. My bean consumption was interfering with the air quality at work. It's embarrassing!

I can't forget the exercise. Maybe I'll train for the Broad Street Run with my better half. Read that last sentence again. Ha - like if I write it maybe it will happen. You see, I can run for about 45 minutes tops and that's at a pace of no more than 5 miles per hour. I have short legs - what can I say? I swear I can be on the treadmill at the gym running fast - matching the dude next to me stride for stride - my machine says 4.5 mph, and his says 6.5 mph. Not fair. Stay tuned for my 10 mile training regimen. Should be riveting!

Monday, January 19, 2009


I'm not perfect. The following is a list (not necesarily exhaustive) of my recent missteps as a mother, wife, employer, gym member, dieter, shopper. I'm thinking admission may lead to absolution. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

1. Failed to thoroughly wipe down the treadmill at the gym

2. Sent my daughter to school less than 24 after her first dose of antibiotic

3. Smoked a Marlboro Light during halftime of the NFC playoff game

4. Ate entire package of ELFudge cookies without sharing

5. Took the shortcut on my Kickboxing class run

6.Went to work without showering

7. Got a pedicure without shaving first

8. Blamed passed gas on the dog or a kid

9. Put the kids to bed without brushing their teeth

10. Sent the kids to school without brushing their teeth

11. Swept crumbs under a throw rug

12. Remembered the cat needed to be fed and didn't feed the cat

13. Skipped pages of a long bedtime story book

14. Told my kids there wasn't any ice cream left when there was

Monday, January 12, 2009

Finding a Cleaning Lady

Reflecting on the title I’ve selected it seems to be a little sexist. Cleaning “Lady”? I could have used a more PC term like housekeeper, but then people might think I was living high on the hog and in the market for some kind of live-in Alice-type help. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I’m simply looking for someone, or some pair of people, to show up once a week and scrub floors, clean bathrooms, vacuum and dust. Seems like a simple “to-do”. Seems easy enough. Never for me.

We get flyers in our front door every other month from one of those franchised services Happy Maids or Cheery Elves, some company with uniformed personnel (see, no sexism here) all smiles and whistles. Some of my neighbors have a lady, usually referenced over happy hours and get-togethers as “my girl”. Of those that use the same girl, the satisfaction level is split. Some love her, some don’t. I’m not sure this girl is consistent from house to house, so hiring their girl would certainly be somewhat of a gamble. And if you’ve followed my blog long enough, (right, it’s only been a week, I know) you already know that I have trouble admitting dissatisfaction with service – see last Wednesday’s entry re: Dudley Moore haircut. I’m afraid I would pay for lousy housework and never confront the girl and end up disappointed and bitter each week as I vacuumed or cleaned AFTER she was here. See how hard this is already?

Let’s assume I’ve found the perfect person to clean my house and I can afford the service each week. Now you have to pick a day. If you’re lucky, you get your choice Monday thru Friday. Chances are if she’s any good at what she does, she has a large client base, and they have taken all the good time slots – Thursdays and/or Fridays so that when people spend the most time in their homes on the weekend, that’s when it’s the cleanest. Let’s assume my girl (there I go again, back to the stereotype – sorry) can only do Mondays or Wednesdays. Decisions, decisions, I’m sure there are benefits to having your home cleaned right after the weekend when perhaps it’s the messiest and dustiest. But that leaves you with pretty funky Fridays. Fine, Wednesdays it is. Semi-clean for the weekend, and it wouldn’t kill me to vacuum a little in between visits.

Now I need to figure out what to do with the dog. We have a 90 pound, exuberant, 3 year old Golden Retriever. I’m guessing he would be in the way of any stranger trying to scrub the kitchen floor. I can picture him following her around the house, getting a whiff of every product she pulled out of her arsenal. And if it would happen to be raining on any given Wednesday, the dog’s muddy paws would ruin her work before she was able to finish. So I could either banish the dog outside for the day – doesn’t seem fair to the neighbors he’d most likely bark at all day - or send him to Doggie Daycare for the day. He LOVES it there, but it’s about 8 miles out of my way and getting him there, my daughter to her school, my son on the bus and myself to work all by 9am is pretty much impossible. Plus that’s another $22 a day. That’s why the poor dog has only been there 3 times since September. Come to think of it, I recall one day at Daycare he started drinking the mop water and had to be “observed” for potential poison ingestion the rest of the day in a crate. Another dilemma. Surprise, surprise. I won’t even bore you with the whole my-husband-doesn’t-like-strangers-having-access-to-our-house argument. Exhausted yet? I am. This is precisely why I haven’t hired a cleaning lady – let the dog hair and dust linger on.

Where does the time go?

7 days/week x 24 hours/day = 168 hours/week

I spend about 50 hours each week on Job #1 – innovating and strategizing about creating life-long, engaged banking customers. 84 hours a week goes Job #2 – Chief Executive Officer of my family of 6 (4 humans and 2 animals.) I came up with 84 hours figuring from 8am to 8pm pretty much every day I'm consumed with DayCare, Kindergarten, strep throat, ear infections, breaking up fights over the DS, supervising TV viewing, grocery shopping, meal planning, gift shopping, invitation RSVP'ing, wardrobe selecting, school project designing, calendar/activity coordinating, camp registering, nose wiping, dog brushing and vacuuming. Thankfully, I sleep about 6 hours each night. Altogether that’s 176 hours, which goes OVER the amount of hours available in a single week by 8 hours. No wonder I have no time to exercise.

Post Script (added after my darling husband called and read this entry)
I had drafted some items about his Job #2 as CFO of the household, but took the post in another direction. Just in case anyone thought I was alone at the helm, not so. My partner in crime spends the same, if not more hours per week managing his 2 careers. Job #1 - not totally sure but I know he goes to an office every day, works on something related to accounting and finance, and gets a nice paycheck. Job #2 includes doing laundry, home improvements - and by home improvements I don't mean changing lightbulbs or fixing the vacuum when I've clogged it with dog hair or fixing the remote control when it doesn't do what I want it to (oh he does that, too), but what I really mean is major remodels and repair like basement finishing, knocking down walls, installing new doors and windows (not the replacement kind), bathroom gutting and reconstruction, etc. He cleans bathrooms and runs with the dog. He also chauffeurs the kids to swimming lessons and gymnastics classes and is in charge of Kindergarten homework completion and kidbaths. Love you, honey! What's even more amazing is he finds time to exercise! Not fair.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Jeans Friday R.I.P.

It’s Friday. My favorite workday of the week. Why, you ask? It’s not because after 9 hours in the office I’m free to start the weekend. It’s because I get to wear JEANS to work. Something about not having to figure out which pants go with which sweater, blouse, vest, etc is quite exciting. I’ve recently noticed that Blue jeans are essentially the perfect neutral. They go with black or brown and every color in between (there probably aren’t many colors precisely in between black and brown, and my Mensa friends would remind me that black isn’t really a color, but the absence of color, but you get the idea). That must be why I love wearing them, and I never dread getting ready on Fridays because pretty much everything in the closet will go with jeans. On mornings Monday through Thursday, I start the process with facing the bottoms in my closet and picking a color either from the brown family or the black family. Unless I pick the pants my Mom gave to me. (Back when she dropped a few sizes and she had no use for her 10’s and 8’s – Thanks Mom. So uplifting when you get your Mom’s fat clothes as hand-me-downs) The orphaned pants are neither grey nor brown, and I have never figured out what group they belong to. That’s probably why I rarely pick them – I never know what to put on top. Once I’ve determined the base color, I can work out the rest from tops to shoes, earrings, etc. It’s never easy and most mornings it’s just annoying. I have far too many suede shoes that I’m afraid to wear out in the Seattle-like gross winter rain we’ve been getting. And although I have 2 pairs of short boots and 2 pairs of tall boots (1 brown, 1 black in each style) there is something about boots and dress slacks that aren’t working for me lately. I think it’s perhaps because my boots are so tall, that the pants end up looking like floods. My high heels are pretty tall too, yet heels and my pants don’t yield the same result. Of the heels I have that are season-appropriate, 2 of the 3 are suede and the non-suede pair is brown, so on rainy days with black as my base color, I’m pretty much screwed. See how complicated this dressing thing is? I think I need more shoes.

So, back to my love affair with Fridays. Since I can remember, my department at work has had a Jeans Friday policy. Pay $5 and you can wear jeans. Every month the money was pooled and given to a worthy charity. We raised some serious money for some really great causes. Apparently, there were lots of people that never paid, and someone high up said no more. I can’t tell you what that has done to my Friday morale.

So I’m officially mourning the loss of Jeans Friday and fidgeting in my tannish-gray, hand-me-down, fat pants, trying to have a nice day! Don’t ask about the shoes.

I'm Gonna Make It After All!

Turns out the hair is not a total disaster. I’m kind of figuring out how to deal with it. It’s always great when a friend at work reacts positively to it. One did, I’ll classify all others as a neutral reaction, which could go either way. As for the all-important family reaction, my kids were split. The boy hated it and wasn’t afraid to tell me as soon as he hopped off the bus. I was apologetic to him and reminded him it would grow back eventually and all would be right the world once again. He nodded and shuffled through his backpack to show me the new Bakugan ball he traded at school. I can’t blame him for not really caring much about his Mom’s haircut, he’s got way more important things on his mind. The girl, who would be excited and happy if I told her I was going to surgically remove her eyeballs with fishing hooks - as long as I said it in the right tone with the proper happy face on – loved it. She’s too easy sometimes. 3 is a great age.

I made the mistake (I'm calling it a mistake, but maybe it was no mistake at all - read on . . .) of calling my husband at work before he came home to warn him about my displeasure with the hair, therefore rendering his forthcoming reaction null and void. You see, while being my best friend for almost 10 years, he has pretty much figured me out and knows that he needs to be Switzerland on this one. If he’s too enthusiastic, I’ll just think he’s trying to make me feel better, and if he agrees with me not liking it – he’s knows I’d be out the door that very second to get it all shaved off. He didn’t disappoint. No reaction and he avoided being pinned down for a comment all night. Although I’m pretty sure he’s not crazy about it, he would NEVER tell me. He’s the BEST! I’m still thinking it’s quite possible I’ll spend another $50 for the Alyssa Milano before the end of the month.

Here’s the big news to report. I’m still eating well and I’ve even started exercising! Yes, I was in full workout regalia on the treadmill in the basement – the underarmour shorts, the towel, the ipod, the new serious runner running shoes, and the $15 socks that are supposed to make you run longer or some crap. I lasted a whopping 30 minutes, but hey, it’s better than nothing. I even spent another 5 minutes throwing some dumbbells around for a few sets. I topped it off with a tour on Guiter Hero (every time I want to smoke, remember, I either eat, watch mindless TV or now, play the Wii. I guess you can add blogging to the list of alternate addiction activities as well.)
Weighed 144 this am. That’s 5 pounds in 3 days. I know when I weighed myself Sunday night it was about 30 seconds after downing the entire carton of gelato, and this a.m. I weighed before brushing my teeth, so I get it. But whatever – I LOST 5 POUNDS!!! Size 4 here I come. I bet if I were a size 4, my hair would look better . . .

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I said Demi Moore not Dudley Moore!

So needless to say the haricut did not turn out as well as I would have liked it too. I had such high hopes. Scoured magazines and websites, printed out about 15 images of adorable shaggy chin-length bobs - Jessica Albe, Tiffany Amber Theissen, Jenny Garth, Faith Hill. I obviously do not have the same kind of hair as these ladies because my new do looks nothing like ANY of the pictures I so proudly produced to my stylist at the beginning of the chopping session. OH and I don't have the same stylist either, or the army of folks doing my make up, working on the hair, doing the make-up, etc. I get it. But dear God, at least get me to some semblance of the hair shape and length in the picture. And why am I such a wuss that at the end, all I said was, "thank you - it's exactly what I wanted!! I love it - it looks great." It actually looks like a bad toupee. Now normally when this happens, (this is not the first time I've been disappointed at the salon) I can usually run a hand or two through it, sweep it off my face, and by the time I get in the car and pull down the mirror, I can breathe. But this time, it actually looked worse after I screwed with it. All of my hair is no longer than the middle of my cheek and it's a million different lengths all swept forward, sides and bangs like a cheek blanket. When I got home - right to the powder room where I try to do damage control. After closer inspection it appears that one side is visibly shorter than the other. I certainly didn't ask for a new age asymmetrical cut - WTF?

I have 3 critical missions today - 1. wash the hair and try to diffuse it - perhaps the curly version of this awful cut will work. 2. Wash hair and try to straighten it with my flat iron (I'm not holding out much hope on this solution since it's pretty much what my girl did in the salon, but you never know 3. Find an alternate stylist to give me a shorter cut - probably back to the old pixie - all before I return to the office tomorrow - 9am. I have work to do. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Funk Continues and I love TV

Day 2 of Post-Holiday Reality (to be referenced hereunto as PHR) yields little solace, despite decent diet and no cigarettes. I'm actually surprised by the lack of craving for cigarettes, and chocolate. I guess the well balanced meals and even-keeled blood sugars really do make a difference. What I really don't understand is why I must watch The View every blessed night. Sorry for jumping subjects so quickly, but my television watching habits are really quite troublesome. Monday nights my DVR normally delivers some true TV magic. The lineup includes The View (which I record every day - waiting for Elizabeth to punch Joy, or Barbara Walters to act a little more senile that she already does) By the way does anyone think that Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Julie Clark (creator of Baby Einstein) were separated at birth? I've been trying to tip off Perez Hilton on his blog but can't figure out how to post a comment - you need to sign in, get a password, have it authenticated - really too much work. Anyway back to the TV shows - The View, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, Chuck, Intervention and The City (used to be the Hills, but same story different coast - I'm totally addicted and think Jay is a DORK and even though Olivia is snotty - she really is beautiful!) Used to include Jon and Kate plus Eight, but really the way she berates poor Jon and how he takes it on national television is too much for me to take - even though I'll watch heroine addicts suck on crack and Whoopie pontificate on all the wrongs of conservatism, I have to draw the line somewhere. I used to record Worst Life - but it was so much like Meet the Focker's that I just couldn't get into it and yet it the highest rated new comedy on CBS - I'm thinking it must be the ONLY new comedy on CBS to garner that title. So once the kids are nestled in their beds by around 8:30 and my husband goes up to bed an hour later (he works 6:30-3:30 so he gets up before 6 and needs his 8 hours to function) I park it on the couch and begin the ritual. I have all the commercials timed to perfection so I can lithely fast forward through them all without missing a second of my shows. Before the holidays, the ritual would have included a diet coke and a snack - maybe ice cream (who am I kidding, definitely ice cream). And 3-4 weeks before that it would have included 1 or 2 cigs during the commercial breaks out on the patio. I could still see the TV through the slider and know exactly when to extinguish the butt so not to miss any entertainment on the tube. But now that I'm a super-duper, non-smoking (for 6 weeks) healthy eater (for 1 day), I have no choice but to completely dive into the show. I watched the City and got some ideas for new outfits - why is it that Whitney can put together 2 random pieces like a bright red skirt and a beige vest and look completely put together? I decided to save Intervention for tonight - Tuesday is a light night for the DVR, if we're lucky, hubby and I can catch Big Bang, H.I.M.Y.M and 2 1/2 Men together but no worries this week - they were reruns last night, so they didn't record. I can dive into the misery of addicts and their co-dependent family members drawing vague links to my own family (probably won't explain this further but suffice it to say there's [at least} one in every family).
I will also be dealing with the joy of trying to cure my laptop from the 34 Trojan horse viruses it's contracted - thanks facebook. Of course I can't find the original OS software that came with the laptop. That's thanks to another idiosyncrasy of mine - the I can't keep or save ANYTHING that doesn't have an actual "place" in my home. And I go on bimonthly clean sweeps where things that haven't been used or referenced lately usually get tossed because they don't belong in the junk drawer, the kitchen table, or worse the kitchen counter where they have taken up residence for the last few days driving me bonkers. As a result of this neurosis, I don't keep original packaging for anything. This is obviously why I can't find the software - I'm sure it's been tossed. I did oddly enough find the laptop manual miraculously in our filing cabinet with other manuals I sometimes remember to catalog, but no disk. I may have to resort to Geek Squad to get me out of this mess, but I can't help but think my genius husband will find a way to fix it, hopefully sooner than later. I always have the good old desktop in the kitchen with the God-awful wireless keyboard that doesn't type as fast as I do and I fnd myslf constntly msspllng wrds wth it. VRY FRSTRTNG!!

By now I've forgotten the point of this post. I've eaten well today - substituted the usual caramel (full fat milk) macchiato with a skim version that uses sugar free vanilla flavoring. Had more yogurt, kidney beans, beets (sorry Dad - they're actually pretty good), another mozz/tom sandwich. So I'm still a vegetarian (not sure what the prize is for that, but so far no headaches and I don't feel too tired) At least not too tired to complete the next tour on Guitar Hero, tuck the kids in, check facebook and settle in for The View, Intervention and some cursing at my laptop.

Sloth Be Gone

I've returned to work after having enjoyed close to 2 weeks of gluttony and sloth over the Holiday break. All the red wine I could drink and plenty of ice cream - mostly Ben & Jerry's Imagine Whirled Piece (until my 5 year old son discovered he liked the chocolate peace signs and as I ate from the pint, would request I dig him out another. I never got to enjoy the creamy ice cream and the contrast of the sweet crunch from the frozen chocolatey sphere again). I read an entire book (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - I highly recommend it and even though it's over 500 pages long, it's a surpsrisingly quick read, especially if your into dogs, which I happen to be), launched my career as a Guitar Hero in the land of Wii (completed several gigs internationally on the easy level - 3 buttons is about all I can manage) and moved around VERY LITTLE. As I wrapped up my evening last night, boiling chicken breasts and vowing to start my new life of eating well, becoming a faithful exerciser and perhaps even a vegetarian, (hadn't tried it yet - perhaps it will work on me), I carefully inspected the pantry, fridge and freezer and realized that the half gallon of gelato must be consumed or thrown away before daybreak, or my plans would be ruined, and I would fall victim to the confection taunting me from the freezer the following night. So I did what any self-resepcting yo-yo dieter would do - I ate it. All of it. It was GOOD.
Climbed the staircase to turn in for the night. My dog faithfully followed me up once all the lights were out. My husband had been asleep for about an hour, so I quietly made my way into our bathroom to see what the scale would tell me. I had spent the better part of the past 2 weeks in yogapants or jeans that I wore again and again without washing (so they would be all stretched out). I gazed in the mirror I my once flat tummy, (really and truly, I had a six pack - it was by far my BEST feature, my claim to fame, the reason I had any reason to think I was the shit WAY back then) now bulbous and prickly from 2 C-sections, an extra 10-15 pounds of college weight, 10 more from my babies, and probably a few more thanks to my Holiday antics. I step on the scale - 149 - whatever. I am numb to the number now. I dream of 130 and even maybe 120 - Christ, I'm barely 5'2" I could get down to 110 an no one would think I was too thin! Now I'm thinking, shit, a solid 140 that I could sustain for more than 5 minutes would be great!
Next I gaze in the mirror at my face. Fresh botox working on the forehead. I had tried it for the first time a little less than a week ago - the small bruise on my forehead was starting to wan, but my eyebrows looked unusually droopy - more than normal. I guess I got too much - probably won't do it again - not worth $300 that's for sure. Although I do like the absence of the 2 horizontal lines running from temple to temple, that fact that I can't make a surprised face is a little disturbing. And of course the droopy eyelids certainly don't make me look any youger. Next comes the hair that I've been growing out for about 2 years now. Used to have a very cute pixie cut. Very short, and actually not bad looking, my husband even prefers my hair short. I'm not sure if it's because he likes the way I look with short hair, or if the pixie style doesn't require 20-30 minutes locked in the bathroom with the window open (gets hot in there with the blowdryer on) lots of round brushing and flat ironing and so on. Makes showering such a chore - then I know I have to devote another 30 minutes of my life to the drying process. I guess I now realize the genius of a shower cap, yet I've never tried that - most times I just opt to skip the shower. You see I'm blessed with this semi curly hair which is so much worse than anything else. Left to air dry it just doesn't know what to do. I either need to flatten it or diffuse it - can't just leave it. Abandoning the pixie do of years past, I've convinced myself that that haristyle really only works on thin people and I needed 1 more stint of long hair, before I get to the point that my hair gets all crumbly and frizzy and unable to grow. I knew only a handful of women over 40 that have long hair where it actually looks healthy and attractive. So I come back to my reflection and realize that despite the external tug of war, (OK, now I'm just being dramatic - my husband truly likes my hair any way as long as I don't obsess and complain about it - I'm pretty sure what I'm doing now qualifies) yes, it's great that my hair is long now, but is it really flattering to my face, my overall size and shape? Not really. I think back to some old pictures of me and recall the ones I like the best. My girlfriend and I at her bachelorette party back in 1998 - I had a short-to-medium layered bob that was super cute. But I also was much thinner and didn't have all these wrinkles and sunspots on my face. So was it the haircut or something else? Who knows - probably a combination of all 3, but at this point I am so overcome by the notion that my hair is not right - I get out the scissors and start making some layers. Slight improvement. I decide to find a hairdresser tomorrow, start looking at pics online and plan the perfect haircut. That will make me look better - maybe even feel better.
I've decided there was something therapeutic about spilling my guts here. So I'm having at it. Not to mention the progress I've made on finding the perfect haircut - printed out 3 cute layered bobs (haven't booked the appt yet - most salons are closed on Mondays - very annoying) and I spent $78 online for some skincare products, one to reduce wrinkles and one to diminish sun spots. And about $25 on QVC for some super duper concealer.
No plans to exercise today, but I have eaten quite well, yogurt, some kashi cereal, water and a salad for lunch. (Would have had chicken in it if I hadn't forgetten to put the cooked chicken in the fridge last night before I went to bed) but nevermind, I'm a vegetarian now! I'll let you know how that goes!