Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Weighting Game

I am not a fan of scales.
In fact, I try to avoid stepping onto one whenever possible.
I can't get away with this at the doctor's office, so I turn my head as far as I possibly can to the right, to avoid seeing the number.
Inevitably, I leave the office with a prescription for muscle relaxers to treat an oddly recurring neck pain that occurs only when I turn my head to the right.
I loathe the thought of weighing myself so much that my own scale is hidden on the floor of my bathroom closet, behind the toilet paper.
In fact, some days it's the only thing that motivates me - to go out and buy more toilet paper.

But alas, it's a new year and I'm supposed to join the ranks of countless others, in an effort to create a new me.
Admittedly, the concept of a new me is intriguing.
If I could make her anything I wanted her to be, the new me would be that woman who makes her own soap, teaches yoga, looks great in any pair of jeans, and sports wash-n-wear hair.
She's a far stretch from the old me; the one who makes her own cupcakes, is chemically and emotionally dependent on hairspray, and has only mastered the downward facing portion of
downward facing dog.
And where jeans are concerned, the old me still buys jeans solely based on the size of the back pockets.
Nonetheless, I have (almost) agreed to join a weekly weight loss group now forming at my place of employment.
It promises to change my life, and I'm not permitted to call it a diet; it's a lifestyle change.
But wait...
If I'm the one advocating the lifestyle change, then don't I get credit for changing my own life?
And is the secret to my success really dependent on me seeking out a random woman who has a history of her own food issues, so I can pay her fifteen bucks a week to get me onto the scale, and
put the number in writing?

I'm not completely clear on the motivation behind all this deprivation either.
I'd like to think I'm a pretty straightforward eater; good food and tasty snacks motivate me.
Rewarding me with activity points for doing exercise is unnecessarily tedious. I loathe most exercises, save for walking and dancing, and would likely be too exhausted to eat after earning all of those points. An easier and more effective way would simply entail hiring a bakery truck driver to remain five yards ahead of me at all times - with the back door open; aromatherapy can be quite effective. When I've walked enough to cancel out the calories for one Napoleon, the truck stops, and everybody is happy.

I should also mention that I'm not new to any of this. I've dieted on and off for the better part of three decades and I'm as great a success as I am a failure.
Statistics and history support the fact that any weight I lose will likely be gained back within the next three years. Perhaps the money would be more effectively spent on hiring a psychic; one who can tell me how fat I'll get the next time around so I can start shopping sales and stock up on sweat pants.

If I sound cynical, it is because I am embarking on a task that makes me unhappy.
I can't pretend to prefer carrot sticks over carrot cake, or pretend that I can't tell the difference between light ice cream and its
full-fat counterpart (anyone who tells you they taste the same is pure evil).
I accept that having a small portion is better for me, but some days I just want the bigger portion. Without the guilt.
And so, I make no promises.
My goal is to avoid setting a goal, and to see what each day brings.
On the sage advice of a fellow-knitter and lifelong dieter, I will not look too far ahead. I will meet each mealtime as it comes and not allow myself to look back with regret when I slip up.
I will aim to eat less and move more.
If and when victory is mine, I will wear my skinny jeans with pride.

It's nice to know however, that on my fatter days, I can reach for my trusty can of hairspray; for nothing more effectively balances too-wide hips than a really big hairdo.

This is my truth;


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Club Scene

I am fortunate to have known my husband during the
"club-hopping" days of our youth.
Though we often traveled in different circles before dating, we both enjoyed (for a short time, at least) the electric atmosphere offered by a few Long Island hot spots in the eighties.
My favorite was a haunt called "Chevy's." It offered fifties music and memorabilia, oddly but successfully coupled with contemporary dance music. It housed several dance floors, and for those with more muscle than hustle, there were sports cages for pick-up games (pun intended) and televised major league events.
I left Chevy's at the same time as the closing crew on more occasions than I care to admit. Nonetheless, it remains a fond memory today, as well as a painful reminder that I have only myself to blame, for severing a once firm relationship between my bottom and a jeans size in the single digits.
I have always loved dancing and it remains one of the few physical exercises I don't despise.
If only there were dance clubs today, for forty-somethings who still respect big hair.
Sadly, Chevy's was leveled to make room for an expanding
auto mall.
Undoubtedly, amidst all that rubble and neon, went my waistline, hubby's rhythm, and my last can of Stiff Stuff hair spray.

Now, twenty-something years later, hubby and I will venture into a new club scene of sorts.
We will join the ranks of countless other Americans struggling to choose between Sam's, Costco, or BJ's Wholesale Club, where membership has its privileges.
We will utilize each of our one-day passes to carefully decide which membership best suits our needs, though "clubbing," as we called it, will require a few modifications;

Parachute pants and Capezio shoes will be left behind, in favor of lightweight fleece and comfortable sneakers.

Our focus will have shifted from available singles, to single snack packs at competitive volume pricing.

No longer amused by strobe lights or smoke machines, we will instead be dazed and confused as we venture past the high-def bigger/better/faster version of our (now seemingly insignificant) TV.

For a few hundred dollars, we might purchase all that is necessary to forego the communal appreciation (boom box style) of new tunes, and alternatively, purchase individual songs, imbed rubber buds into our ears, keeping our own playlists close to the vest for independent listening (and I'm guessing there won't be any dancing).

For those of us struggling to read microscopic playlists, preferring the larger formatted text of the jukebox, we might visit the Club Optical Center and drop a Ben Franklin or two for a BOGO sale
on bifocals.

And since it's unlikely that current club hopping will be followed by a pre-dawn diner visit, we might pick up a box or two of
Bubba Burgers (at 800 calories a pop, with no pre-burger workout on the dance floor) to throw on our new, pre-assembled,
self-igniting Weber grill, strategically placed near a ginormous display of Hanes Unisex Comfort Elastic Waist Sweat Pants.

After comparison shopping all of our staple items, we might head over to the Gourmet department to pick up a tube of Polenta and a box of Merlot.

If there's still room in the cart, we can pick up the newest self-help books from Dr. Oz and Bob Greene, taking care not to crush the Break-n-Bake Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies, or the
Cheesecake Factory Baby Cakes Assortment.

Thankfully, there should be extra room under the cart for the Roomba Robotic Vacuum and a case of Vitamin Water.

I might try to convince hubby to splurge on the Wii system complete with the Wii Fit Bundle; though our budget doesn't allow for much in the way of entertainment, and the 2 for $10 DVDs are so much more economical (plus, they come with free Movie Theater Extra Butter Popcorn).

Before we venture to checkout, I will grab my pen and notepad and do some comparison pricing for specific items as requested by my neighborhood friends.
These include, in no particular order;
Marlboro Cigarettes (carton), Crest White Strips, Hot Tools Ionic Hair Straightener, Sebastian Hair Repair Conditioner,
Jergen's Self-Tanning Lotion, Olay Anti-Wrinkle Serum, Slim-Fast Cappuccino Meal-Replacement Shakes, Immodium AD,
Red Bull 6-Pack, Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea,
DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza, Pepcid AC, Hefty Lawn & Leaf Bags, and Scott's All Purpose Mulch- 25lb. bag.

Perhaps our club shopping adventure won't offer as much excitement as our club hopping days of yesteryear. But alas,
age and wisdom allow us to appreciate small, momentary pleasures in lieu of more grandiose events.

Thankfully however, some things never change;
I will have my I.D. at the ready for the cashier
because they always seem to ask for it.

They must think I'm not old enough to buy that box of wine.

This is my truth;


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gettin' Our Merry On...

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
~ Frati Style~

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through our home
The only creature not stirring,
Was likely a gnome

The stockings were sitting
On top of a crate
'Cause the kids were too busy
To help decorate

The TV was on,
With X-Box engaged
Now bedtime far off,
A new war had been waged

Dear daughter was texting
While reading a play
Neither hubby nor I
Saw an end to this day

When out in the street
There arose such a clatter
I jumped from the sofa
To see what was the matter

Away to the window
I hustled with speed
While Yogi kept barking
And eventually peed

The moon on the breast
Of our lawn--with no snow
Gave lustre to the fact
That our son did not mow

Then what to my wondering
Eyes did appear
But our good neighbor, Chris
With some tools, and a beer

Beside him there stood
A chubby, old man
With a fluffy, red hat
And a plug in his hand

It appeared he had one
Of those new, hybrid sleighs
That stalled, it would seem
As he reached The Fairways

An emergency landing
Was his only choice
And I heard him exclaim
In his jolly, loud voice

"Good golly, dear sir
Christmas is ruined, I fear-
I knew I should have taken
Those trusty reindeer !"

There was no time for recharging
Santa's sleigh was quite stuck
And good children-- now sleeping
Were sugar-plum-out of luck

"Don't worry, dear Santa,"
Said Chris, with a smile,
"I'll build a new engine
In just a short while;

I just need to gather
Some additional parts,"
As he set off to find
His son's scooters, and karts

I pulled on my wellies,
Handed hubby his coat
And we set out to help them
(though our chances, remote)

Our kids, now quite curious
Ran out with bare feet
And trailing behind them-
Yogi peed in the street

A crowd soon did gather
And in all the commotion
No one noticed that Santa
Slipped Yogi some potion

As Chris tinkered with tools
Neighbors looked on in fear
Then our dear son exclaimed,
"I have an idea !"

He ran back to the house,
Though no one knew why
And seemed to return
In the blink of an eye

He gave Chris a carton
With his X-Box inside
Then said, with a smile
"Go ahead, pimp his ride."

Chris nodded and laughed,
While the neighbors all cheered
Some even shared cocoa,
And cookies, -- and beer

Their spirits were light
Like the down of a thistle
To know Santa's sleigh would
Have new bells and whistles

Chris spoke not a word
But went straight to his work
And added new features
Then turned with a jerk;

He exclaimed, "Santa's sleigh
Is really quite groovy,
He has lasers, and sound,
And can even watch movies !"

Dear hubby and daughter
Held spotlights for Chris
As he made last adjustments
So nothing was missed

He started the engine
And revved it quite loud,
Though louder still
Were cheers from the crowd

Santa cheered right along
With his hands on his belly,
That shook when he laughed
Like a bowl full of jelly

We all loaded his gifts
Back on to his sleigh-
In no time at all,
He'd be well on his way

Quite suddenly Chris
Slapped his hand to his head
And the look on his face
Was one full of dread

Said Santa, "What's wrong?
I can't even guess !"
Then Chris did reply,
"I'm afraid there's no GPS !"

"Good gracious !" Said Santa
"Tis a problem, I fear-
There was no need for maps
When I had my reindeer- "

"But for journeys worldwide
A course I must chart..."
Then dear daughter approached him
And spoke from the heart-

"No worries, Santa Baby,
I've got your back !"
Then she slipped her new cell phone
Into his red, velvet sack

"Just call my home phone
If you need help with the maps,
There's like a million-
Listed under Map Apps"

He hugged her, and thanked her
Then motioned to me-
I leaned in to listen
As he whispered his plea

I agreed to a favor
Though the pleasure- all mine
Then he looked at his watch
And said "Well folks, it's time !"

He sprang to his sleigh,
To our dog, gave a clap
And faster than fast
Yogi jumped onto his lap

He attached some fake antlers
To Yogi's small head
And we knew it was magic
When his nose glowed bright red!

Both daughter and son
Stared with wide eyes
And Santa assured them
"I'll have him back by sunrise."

To the neighbors, he waved
And with Chris, he shook hands
As he set off with toys
For far away lands;

And we heard him exclaim
As he drove out of sight-

"Merry Christmas to all,
And to all, a good night !"

This is my truth;


Wishing you a happy, healthy, holiday season
And many blessings in the new year-
Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Step Up To The Plate- But Skip The Humble Pie

I am a lover of the English language.
I try to make good use of it, but sometimes I fail miserably.
I seem to have difficulty with "H" words. For years I believed the definition of haste was the exact opposite of what it is. The word sounds slow to me. If I came across the expression "make haste,"
I assumed it meant to slow down. I was in my thirties before I discovered my error. The same is true for the word hale.
My husband has used the expression "hale and hearty," to refer to someone healthy and robust, which never made sense to me because hale sounds sickly to me, maybe because it
rhymes with pale.
Most people wouldn't lose any sleep over these mistakes,
but I'm not most people.
Words that get me flummoxed are the ones I try to use most often. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess.

I was housebound for a while, sidelined with an unexpected case of shingles. During one incredibly boring Friday, I did what any logophile would do; I cracked open my dictionary to a long list of "H" words and began reading them. By the end of the "H" section, I began to lose interest and my mind wandered off to other, more interesting subjects, like Christmas shopping.
Before I closed the big book however, a small group of words knitted closely together on the page prompted me to think about the holidays (another "h" word, interestingly enough).
The words humble, humble pie, humbug, and humility appear relatively close together in Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
In my mind, humbug and pie are as common to Christmas as turkey is to Thanksgiving.
Most of us have a general knowledge of these words and I'm guessing most of us try to be humble and avoid, when possible, behaving like humbugs. But it was the definition of humbug, so soon after the one for humble, that got me thinking.
A humbug is described as "a person who passes himself off as something he is not; an attitude or spirit of pretense and deception." After careful consideration of these two words, I realized that though humility is necessary in many circumstances, it is ill-applied during the holiday season. In certain circumstances regarding ones Christianity, by being humble, we essentially become humbugs.
Allow me to explain.
I call myself a Christian.
And each year, just before the official holiday season kicks in, and before the Black Friday sales flyers arrive, I remind myself that Christmas is much more than overspending, overextending, and overeating. I make a mental list of all the things I should be doing to honor the birthday of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These include making charitable donations, volunteering my time for a worthy cause, attending mass, encouraging my family (and myself) to remain mindful of the true meaning of Christmas, and taking a more zen approach to a season that has the potential to turn from merriment to mayhem in seconds.
Thus far, I have a few Christmases under my belt, and I'm pretty sure I've left more than a few footprints on that road to hell.
And though I blame no one but myself, the clarity of my intentions becomes quite clouded as I comply with a culture of shoppers who demand little from the giants of retail, and fall prey to the urgency of consumerism.
We Christians tend to believe that God is everywhere, and yet on one of the holiest occasions of our faith, for which we drop billions (collectively), the Holy Family seems to be M.I.A.
Most of us don't need a wake-up call from the ghosts of Christmases past. I'm guessing that the majority of shoppers, Christians and non-Christians alike, are well aware that retail has a no-room-at-the-inn policy for worship-worthy sentiment.
And let's face it, commercialized-Santa is a sleigh-load more fun than St. Nicholas, isn't he?
Modern day Santa has no strings attached; he's a jolly guy who gives great gifts, and he's temporary. A true Christian however, recognizes that he's about as satisfying as a fat-free dessert; enjoyable with no guilt, but inevitably leaves you wanting more.
We Christians may score points for such awareness, but this is exactly where humility gets us into trouble.
My dictionary defines humility as "the quality or state of being humble; not arrogant or assertive; expressing or offered in a spirit of deference or submission; apology; insignificant, unpretentious."
Admittedly, this is one ugly shoe that fits me pretty well.
At a time when trend says that God should be uninvited to our schools, meals, and general conversation, I am unwilling to accept that He and His Family be removed from our holiday celebrations. But let's face it, defending religion can be uncomfortable. No one wants to be a killjoy at the holiday party, and those cute cards with generic sentiments save us a few bucks because they apply to all of our friends without offense.
And so, I suppose that puts me among the ranks of humbugs;
I have tasted that humble pie, and resisted the urge to speak up in defense of Christ-mas. Shamefully, I have patronized retailers who dress their stores to the nines with nary a Creche in sight. I have even been drawn to seasonal commercials filled with merriment, humming along to tunes that make no reference to any holiday, taking political correctness to a whole new level of shamelessness.
And while we're on the subject of shame, let me assure you, though it's clever marketing, there is nothing holy about the angels in the holiday advertisements of one lingerie retailer.
I'm pretty sure there are no socioeconomic boundaries to this seasonal apathy either. Our town suffered a string of robberies during the holiday season last year; thieves primarily stole
blow-up holiday ornaments from well-decorated homes. Not surprisingly, the few that remained unharmed were inflatable Nativity scenes. Officers suggested it was more an act of indifference than respect, not to mention that religious decorations offer little opportunity for resale.

So where does that leave us?
You will glean what you will from my discourse and
make your own judgements.
On a personal note, I intend to take backward strides on that road to hell by correcting the error of my ways, if only in baby steps.
Perhaps I will start by becoming more aware of those establishments to whom I surrender my hard-earned pay.
I will be more conscious of those who acknowledge and return a "Merry Christmas" over a "Happy Holidays."
I will make Christmas Day the focus of our celebration instead of the end result of harrowing holiday chaos.
And I will skip the humble pie when the opportunity arises
for me to speak up in defense of a holiday none of us would enjoy,
were it not for the hospitality of an innkeeper, and the strength of
one Woman who believed.

Merry CHRISTmas!

This is my truth;


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shingles Hell

A Rash I Did Not Know
To My Forehead Made Its Way
Erupted Into Blisters, Then
On My Eyelid It Did Stay

The Doctors Gave Me Meds
Said It Soon Would Go Away
But The Pain Got Worse
So I Have To Curse
'Cause It Just Won't Go Away


Shingles Hell

Shingles Hell

Intense Pain For Three Days
It Should Have Stopped
When The Blisters Popped
Now I Fear It's Here To Stay

Shingles Hell

Shingles Hell

Shingles, Go Away-
When I Scratch The Itch
It Hurts Like A Bitch
And That's All I Have To Say!

(Now re-read and sing to the tune of "Jingle Bells")

This is my truth;


P.S. And yes, I'm on pain medication :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Haiku for You

Humility wanes
In autumn you brag to me
Japanese Maple

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thankful For A Free Country

Veterans Day

Quite honestly, I have no business writing anything about
Veterans Day.
Folks who live under rocks, like me, are best kept silent in matters relating to patriotism and politics.
It's not that we don't have appreciation and respect for the men and women who so nobly and selflessly protected our country,
but simply that we don't pay close enough attention to
why they were called to serve.
Having said that, I feel compelled to expound on the subject.

Admittedly, I am apathetic.
I pay little attention to current political trends and I know little about our elected officials.
It is a fact of which I am not proud, but I am unmotivated at present to correct the error of my ways.
In matters of war, I can offer only that I am completely opposed.
My narrow minded view stems not from my response to recent reports that our nation is further from world peace today than it was a decade ago, but instead from an innate sense that there is always a better way.
It is a rare occasion that finds me entangled in a discussion about such matters, for I avoid extrapolating and risking the exposure of my naivete. But when pressed to do so, I share my unaffected belief that if castration were a real and present consequence of instigating armed conflict, fewer men would hasten
to pick up a rifle.

But I digress. My purpose here is to acknowledge those who relinquished the frivolities of civilian life for the austerity of military life, so that we may be afforded those freedoms we
so often take for granted.

I am proud to be an American, and I know that life would be far different were it not for our ancestors who fought so valiantly to protect our rights and freedoms.
I am honored to be the grandchild of one who served. I know little of his sacrifice however, because his stories unfolded at a time when I was too young to understand.
By the time my interest was piqued, his flag was folded and presented to my grandmother, and his stories buried with him.

Today, my limited knowledge affords me the opportunity to
know what it means to be the aunt of a grown child, a son of
U.S. Airforce personnel. He is a young man, dear to my heart who has spent time in our home while his mother served in remote places on less friendly soil. In spite of a demanding military career, she has raised a fine son.
The sacrifice however, has not been hers alone.
Intermittently, I have watched him grow from boy to man and I have witnessed his struggle to find a single definition of home.
Denied the "normalcy" a childhood in civilian life affords, he demonstrates a maturity and stoicism uncommon to his peers.
These days, he enjoys campus life, far removed from base housing and the rigors of military life, but no less affected by, or
concerned for his mother's safety in a new locale on foreign soil.

Where sacrifice is concerned, I am humbled by the dedication of our men and women in uniform, but no less grateful to the families of those who serve. For theirs is a sacrifice made without the freedom of choice, at the mercy of a government who affords such valiance a day of honor and recognition, but little else.

Perhaps it is time for me to reread the history lessons I committed only to short term memory through the course of my education.
By understanding the annals of our nation, I might be better able to digest the current state of our affairs.
Or, I could just go back under my rock.

This is my truth;


"In free countries, every man is entitled to
express his opinions and every other man
is entitled not to listen."

~ G. Norman Collie

From "Famous Quotes About Democracy"
The U.S. Constitution And Fascinating Facts About It
~ Terry Jordan