Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Grown-Up Problems

Hello friends. I know, I know. It's been awhile. Miss me?

Insert sheepish grin and arms extended with a bounty of "I'm sorry" bottles of vodka.

Oh, don't give me that frowny face and huffy-puffy arms. I've been busy.

And I've got vodkaaaaaaa!

No, I haven't been "busy eating donuts". (Eyes shift with guilt from side to side as I display my best Cheshire grin.) And my air quotes aren't at all meant to be sarcastic.

Okay, they're meant to be a little sarcastic. A zebra doesn't change its stripes.

I haven't been eating donuts. I've been eating cupcakes. Shhh!! Quit yelling at me! And don't tell the donuts. They'll get all jealous and start reading my text messages and calling my work to make sure I'm there. But just so you know, cupcakes totally do it better. I've never been more satisfied. This one time, I licked the entire bit of icing off and didn't even eat the cake. It was so hot.

The past year has had its challenges. I just read through my very last post, which occurred almost a year ago to date, and felt a twinge of guilt. Almost the same feeling I get when I drive by the gym with a big box of A Taste of Whimsy cupcakes sitting in the passenger seat.

A Taste of Whimsy, you ask? What is that, you ask?

***WARNING! Shameless plug for my awesome friends who own the most amazing cupcake company.***

Want an insanely good cupcake? The kind that will leave you having naughty dreams about their buttercream? Perfect. Go. Go order gads and oodles of the maple bacon cupcake and every other flavor for that matter, then sit back and enjoy the impending cupcake-gasm. Then let me know how many hours you did on the treadmill to hide the guilt and shame of eating four of them in one sitting. I know I need at least an hour per cupcake. And in case you are too lazy to Google them, here is their website. They don't have a store yet, but a girl can dream. Go. Now. Hyperlink. Order.

So back to me and my guilt. I'm either secretly half Jewish or my mother is rubbing off on me.

The last entry I wrote talked about not shirking on my grown-up duties, taking responsibility for my life, and remembering to tend to my own side of the grass. Funny how a year has passed, and yet I am revisiting this theme. Being a grown-up really sucks.

This year, Princess and I went through some major growing pains and experienced some heavy duty scariness. Princess developed a very sudden case of Scoliosis and had to have reconstructive back surgery on almost her entire spine within a few months of the diagnosis. Our lives went into a tailspin. Questions over taking time off, recovery, and complications loomed. We became consumed and tending to our own grass became second to just mustering the strength to get out of bed. My little girl is quite the trooper, though, and made a full recovery within months!

But being a grown-up really has its down sides. I haven't been tending to my grass. I've let things go. And just like I said a year ago, it stops here. I'm going to devote more time to what is important, like my daughter, my apartment, my balcony, my responsibilities, and my faith.

Because I can tell you - the grass over on the other side isn't as pretty as I thought. It's full of heartache and unfulfilled needs. The grass over there is poisonous and full of weeds that tangle you up and suck you in, lying to you about how things could be and deceiving your heart into believing it is greener than what it really is. And after setting up camp on the other side for this long, it has been extremely difficult to move.

But I can say with certainty that my bags are packed and the strapping moving men are here to pick up the boxes.

What? Stop looking at me like that. The Single Girl doesn't lift boxes. She hires people to do that for her so that she can have more time to eat Taste of Whimsy cupcakes.

It's called priorities, my friends. And now I have mine back.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Well Manicured Lawn

My Zumbalicious friend recently reposted a quote on Facebook that read, "if the grass is greener on the other side, maybe you're not taking good care of yours." How amazing the power of this collection of words, and how amazingly appropriate it is, given our currently belief system regarding just about everything we consume - including love.

I read somewhere last week that Gen X babies are less apt to divorce because they remember with clarity what they went through during their parent's divorce. And yet, divorce is rampant in our society. We treat everything and everyone as dispensable property without concern because, where there's one of something, surely a better one is just around the corner.

This is how I approach donuts, after all.

Data compiled by geniuses tells us that we Gen X'ers approach divorce differently - yet we are still divorcing. Why is that? I happen to fancy that it's because when the going gets tough, it is easier to fly instead of fight. It gets too monotonous to work on the relationship. We've got jobs, kids, money issues, and all the other stresses that go on behind closed doors. And walking away sounds like the way out.

I'm right there with the rest of you. I'm not married, so I'm not talking about walking away from a marriage, but things are difficult in my personal life just the same.

Allow me to play pity party for a bit.

Don't worry, I've got extra party hats - and the occasional feather boa for good measure.

Oh, and I've got vodka. Lots of vodka!

Right now, my life feels like it has been in a tailspin, about to plummet into the earth. Dramatic, right? I've got the flair for it. But it's true. For the past month and a half, I haven't had much opportunity to be in my normal routine. Blog posts have been nil, I haven't written more of the book, I've barely cooked, Princess has been gone, I've been to the fruit stand just twice, and although I've been going to a trainer three times a week, I've barely seen any difference.

I've even taken to having crazy dreams about standing in front of a tornado without being afraid and elevators that reach the top floor but get stuck. (The elevator does reach the top floor in my head, just so you know. It's not a metaphor for my intelligence.) All this boils down to the fact that I, myself, haven't been taking very good care of my life lately, and it's starting to surface in my dreams.

When our life is out of whack, our subconscious makes every effort to grapple with the chaos by working through it in our dreams. Fear about forces that may destroy everything I've worked so hard to create, manifests itself in a tornado that I approach with fearless abandon. Worry about whether I'll finally break through and realize success both in work and personal realms creates an elevator that brings me to my destination but won't quite let me out.

How can I free myself from all this insanity?

Easy - take care of my own lawn instead of looking to just let it die out. I need to get my weed whacker out and start yanking out those dandelions, then mow, trim, water, and fertilize my heart out. How can I expect things in my life to start getting better unless I take the time to cultivate and develop? We Gen X parents need to set a similar precedence for our kids, only this time, it will be to fight, fight, fight.

It's natural to let your habits go when stress takes over, but I've come to the realization that I'm not going to let stress win. This weekend, I scrubbed the apartment from top to bottom. I went to the store and picked up fresh fruits and veggies. I made out a menu and a grocery list for the next two weeks so that I can cook dishes I haven't made in quite some time. I'm writing the first of many blog posts and I'm moving on to my book after this. My work schedule is in place for the next month and all projects are laid out with a timeline for completion. And as for working out, the Fitness Nazi will have a more focused client from now on.

This is where it starts - with me, making small changes. Changes that may be small on the surface, but big enough to impact how I approach life - and hopefully how my daughter reacts to stress in hers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Splish, Splash

Oops! I've done it again. (Britney Spears is playing in my head now...)

And I did it to myself, no less.

So before I get to my immensely important point that I know all of you are now waiting on pins and needles to hear, I have to tell you a joke.

Okay, ready? Here goes....

Every time I hear "done it again" I think of a small town in Northern CA named Dunnigan, and I always say, "oops, I Dunnigan".

I know....really bad joke. You can unfriend me on Facebook now if you want.


I'm in my third week of training with the Fitness Nazi. The first week was so bad that I contemplated quitting every time I attempted to do something ordinary like brush my hair...or sneeze. It got to the point that I secretly designed schematics to install a handle bar on the wall in front of the toilet to facilitate getting up and down. After all, I should not have to do Lamaze just to "take care of business"!

Day one was triceps and abs, which are currently my weakest muscle groups, or at least this is what Fitness Nazi believed because we spent a lot of "focused energy" on these groups. I'd like to "focus some energy" on a swift kick to a soft part of his body. (If only I could lift my leg to do so without sobbing.) I knew that I would be in pain for the remainder of the week simply because when I was driving home, I had to use both hands just to put on my seat belt and to turn the steering wheel. Trainers say that your muscles should reach failure, or that point at which it becomes difficult to lift even a paperclip.

I, however, reached epic failure. You like how I build suspense?

Day two was two days later. We worked chest and shoulders even though the day before I had just done Pilates.

Ahhhh....Pilates. Another word for "you'll discover ass muscles buried deeper than the tectonic plate".

I did cardio for an hour after my session and then took my very sore self home for a soak in the tub. By that day, my whole upper body was barely able to move. Funny thing about sore, half-working muscles, soppy wet clothes, and a nearby bathtub full of water - it's all bound to be the fodder for a great lesson in Murphy's Law.

Anyone else out there have a stubborn sports bra that is extra-tight when you're done working out? I have one that becomes like shrink-wrap once I sweat in it. Add in a heaping teaspoonful of triceps, biceps, chest, shoulders, and abs that really aren't functioning at full capacity, and pretty soon, you're standing in your bathroom, sports bra halfway off, arms flailing about, boobs hanging halfway out, bouncing up and down and crying like an over-tired three year old because you can't get the darn thing off.

And then I slipped and fell in the bathtub.

Face first.

Legs up.

Sports bra still halfway on.

Okay, I'm kidding about that. But it would've made this story so great, right?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Home, Home On The Range

I will finally be home on Friday after being out of town for the last two weeks. Hotels are good for a few days at a time. I don't have to make my bed, leaving the towels on the bathroom floor is perfectly acceptable, and I can run the A/C nonstop. (We all know I don't leave the towels on the floor or my bed unmade, but I totally could if I wanted to.)

Two weeks of hotel life straight? That's torture. I can't run into the kitchen and pop a bowl of instant oatmeal in the microwave for breakfast. No, I have to actually get dressed to grab breakfast. And when I'm hungry or thirsty any other time of the day, I have to go purchase my food. And don't get me started about the unfortunate housekeeping call during a bathroom moment experience. Unfortunate is the only word for it.

What is waiting for me at home is no better.

While I was away, my area had a mini heat wave. This normally isn't such a problem, but given that I've been gone and had a friend watching my place, the heat was problematic - especially problematic for my Honeysuckle, my Cape Plumbago, and most everything else on my balcony. Apparently I needed to spell out that the plants must be watered. Foolish me, right? Good thing Nurse Betty went over to just take a look at everything for me. She single-handedly salvaged my Star Jasmine and possibly by Bougainvillea. My dearly coveted Gardenia tree? Toast. Literally.

So, part of the weekend will involve a trek to my other mecca - Lowe's. I will most likely have to spend a mint just to get my balcony back to it's pre-trip status. I was sick to my stomach when I heard that the plants had all died. On the other hand, if the Honeysuckle died, no more bees! Yay!

Also on tap for me when I get home - a verbose boy cat who tends to yell at me for leaving him for two weeks the moment I walk through the door. His whiny meows that go on for hours and expelled for 30 second durations are annoying. I just love getting bitched out for being a bad person. And I wonder why I want to get married? His meows are so long and disturbing, it's almost as if he's trying to have a conversation with me.

In my mind, this is how it goes:

"Why did you leave me?!?", he yells up at me. "My litter box is sub-standard. You are going to change it out right now, aren't you? And the fat one made a mess of my bathroom. Please clean it posthaste, lest I have to endure it another minute. Have you seen the bird? She's pulled out all her feathers. You left her, and it's killing her. Well, I'm going to lounge on the couch and watch you clean up this house. Oh, and don't forget the hairball I left you next to your bed. Merry Christmas." His Pepe Le Peu tail stands upright with the tip rocking back and forth as he saunters away to his perch on the couch. It's like the shark fin in Jaws - the scariest thing because it's all you can see, and you know it's coming to steal your happiness.

Yes, I know I've reached a whole new level of cat lady by giving my cats voices, but in this case, his punishing screams and look of distress up at me seem to say all of the above. He's such a prissy boy. I imagine he has a stately English accent and if he were human, he'd be wearing a smoking jacket and carrying a glass of brandy. His name is Izzy, which fits his fuzzy, long, silvery fur, but when he acts like such a priss, we call him Sir Izzeford the Third. (Say it with a proper English accent, and it makes the whole situation just pop!)

Once I finish getting the house back in order, I'll have the grand task of grocery shopping. My cupboards and fridge are bare because in preparation for my travel, we ate up all perishables. I love being able to go and stock up on all the fruits and veggies and dairy products and neatly arrange them in the fridge. Yes, this is where my bowl-stacker traits come out, but once I'm done and satisfied with the results, I can finally relax.

Then we get to Monday. I've been looking forward to this day for two weeks, and yet dreading it at the same time, much the same way one dreads an enema. As of 6:45 am on Monday, I will be on the treadmill warming up for my first day of physical training. Yes, I'm starting with a trainer to help me get myself back to where I was.

But, I'm scared. This trainer is eeeeevil. I know this, because Nurse Betty used to go to him. But, I figure this is a perfect setup. He can kick my ass three days a week, and I get to call him every name in the book. He has to stand there and take it, because I'm paying him to kick my ass and take my verbal rants like a good little boy.See? I'm a freakin' genius.

Better stock up on Ben Gay and Motrin now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Check This!

Is it just me, or is the self-checkout line at the local grocery store an overwhelming experience?

I tried using the service a couple of months ago to purchase just a few items, and in the middle of scanning, it barks at me, "did you scan your club card?" No, biotch, I didn't. I was too busy scanning my merchandise like a good little consumer instead of waiting in your long-ass lines. Whatever happened to "three's a crowd"?

Princess is submersed in all things BOP Magazine related, and is oblivious to me talking back to the machine like she's a real person. I move on to scanning another item, and it barks at me again to scan my club card. Oh. My. Gosh. Would you just shut up about the effing card? I'll get to it! I scan another item and she says it again. In my head, I've now climbed atop the machine and am jumping up and down on it while ruefully giggling.

Back to reality...

Okay, let me quickly scan my club card, lest Little Miss Hypersensitive throw a widget because I was too busy passing my Wheaties over the scanner. How come I always get the surly self-checkout machines?

It makes me feel as if I need to be one step ahead of it or that I need to keep up with it. I begin to fumble while my anxiousness grows, and a line of people waiting to use the machine is growing behind me.

I move on to a jug of tea and place it right back in the basket without bagging it. You'd think I'd just murdered someone. "Please bag your item," she says.

"Please kiss my ass," is what I say.

If I wanted to, don't you think I would have bagged the item? I mean, I know what a bag is. It's that little plastic thing over to the side that I used to encapsulate the rest of my groceries. So, I place the jug next to the rest of the bags. I'm surprised she didn't break out a country-twanging "Oh no you di'in't!" on me. One of her three metaphorical heads is now swiveling around on her neck as she says this, too.

The gentle, but oh so off her hormone meds female voice says to me, "unexpected item in bagging area." In other words, "get your shit off that silver section there next to the rest of your bags, lady."

Only, I do nothing, and the voice keeps saying it...over, and over, and over... And intermittently, she tells me to bag my item. Oh my gosh, she's going to self-destruct if I don't do something!

But I don't know what to do, so I look around at all the angry faces behind me that are waiting to use the machine. One of the angry faced women yells out from the back of the line, "you have to hit the button on the screen that says you want to skip bagging!" And under her breath, I hear her say, "dumb ass".

I hit the button on the screen, but the voice keeps repeating "unexpected item in bagging area". Princess breaks away from Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez long enough to sense the danger, and then reaches over to the tea jug and removes it from the bagging area. Suddenly the voice stops. I say thank you to Princess and then look over at Angry Face with a smug expression and continue on with the scanning.

Okay, so I might've given her the middle-finger temple scratch, too. But I totally did it with the left hand so that Princess wouldn't see.

When I was finished, I select the pay button, only I can't figure out where to swipe my card. There's so many buttons and swipey areas that I'm overwhelmed. I feel like my grandma trying to use a computer or an ATM machine. The only thing is, I should know how to do this. I grew up with computers.

Princess, again sensing that her mom has forgotten how to use technology, takes my debit card, swipes it, enters my PIN, and presses the OK button. She takes the receipt, hands me the card and loads the cart up. In less than 30 seconds, she has us ready to go. As we walk out of the store, she looks up at me and says, "Mommy, you aren't allowed to use that machine anymore. From now on, I'll press the buttons."

I'm so awesome. I've skipped turning into my mother and went straight to turning into my grandma.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fun With Irony

My all-time favorite scent is honeysuckle. I buy any and every honeysuckle-scented candle, lotion, wallflower and body spray that crosses my path. So when, last year, I stumbled upon a honeysuckle vine at OSH, I had to buy it! I mean, an entire vine devoted to making my balcony smell like heaven on earth? I'm so there.

By the by, while we're on that kick of listing my all time favorites, might I also mention that running away from bees and wasps is also my favorite?

Don't get ahead of me now.

This year has been its first opportunity to develop a solid amount of blooms. They are beautiful blooms, too. I've never seen anything so delicate and ornate. Look...

Exquisite, yes?

I think so, too. And I figured that with my new bistro set right next to it, I would be able to breathe in the heady aroma.

Did I mention that bees love honeysuckle blooms?

And that there's a ferocious, giant bumblebee who now lives to torture me?

Irony and I are no longer friends.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Is it just me, or does it seem like there's been a constant full moon out? People have been straight up cookoo for cocoa puffs crazy, and I can't figure out why. Everything is breaking, dying, or deciding that it is suddenly a rebellious teenager.

Yes, I realize I just called my daughter "it". You would, too, if you've been experiencing all the drama I've been through. Lucky for me, I'm told by a great many people that Princess' behavior is all completely normal.

You know, that doesn't help much? But thanks just the same. (Never mind the eye roll I do behind their backs as I pour another vodka cranberry.)

I'm feeling like the train is coming off the tracks in my life again. Just when things calm down, one minor shift can turn everything completely upside down. The thing is, that I'm not just upside down. I'm on Space Mountain, zooming by, twisting and turning in the dark at 55 mph with only the ghost of a light to show me my path, hoping to hell that someone above is controlling the movement of the car and that we don't go flying off the tracks. Slow down, for Pete's sake! Things are going so fast that I might need to invest in some Depends...and some Clorox wipes.

My life has become derailed.

The Big Fat Baby Cat is even running around this apartment like her tail's on fire, which is some feat given her rotund belly and fat face. Don't worry...just because I'm bringing the cat into the discussion does not mean that I'm suddenly going to become the next editor of Cat Fancy. I may own three cats, but I lack in enough chin hair to be considered The Cat Lady. Her behavior is just relevant to this discussion.

By the by, that little cat can run pretty fast for her size. (Which goes to show that I have no excuse for not getting my own butt on the treadmill. I'll get there - the gym is opening back up in a few days and I'll get back on it. Besides, if I don't? Mamma Bestie has a taser, handcuffs, and a nightstick, and she's not afraid to use any of them. Plus, they need some dusting off and apparently, I'm lucky contestant #6 who gets to be the honored recipient. Jeepers! That's what I get for mentioning a 5K.)

Tangent, anyone?

So anyhow, this month I finally verbalized my decision to move forward with writing a book. And when you verbalize the dreams of your heart, and actually put it out into the great universe, somehow God has a way of making things happen...and quickly. Connections are falling into place and pushing me far out of my comfort zone. (Like that time I tried a Crueller instead of going with my old standby - a rainbow sprinkled donut. Never again, people! The Single Girl is a creature of habit.)

Mamma Bestie always told me that if God brings you to it, He'll pull you through it. He's gonna need a heavy rope for this adventure, because He's sent this Single Girl off on a zip line over a 3000 ft ravine. Did I mention I'm afraid of heights?

Three cheers for irony! Pass me a donut...

Before I run off to start this new adventure, I'd like to take a moment to thank each of you for your support. This next chapter in my life is going to be a doozy, but I won't be able to do any of it without you. I'll still be here along the way, giving you lots of tales about how I'm messing up and learning the ropes, hopefully having some success. You, my friends, are my biggest fans. You are the reason I put myself out there, because you can relate to these stories of absolute idiocy personified. (And yes, I can be a complete moron sometimes. But a moron in supercute stilettos, which somehow cancels out the moronic behavior.)

So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My train may be derailed, but it's flying high in the skies of hope. This calls for a celebration! Off to the donut shop we go! Oh, and if you see Mamma Bestie, tell her I'm at the gym, mkay?