The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

A Mysterious Illness and a Neurotic Walk Into a Bar…

Monday night Jason was working on some stupid work project and didn’t have time to pay attention to me, so I fell asleep on the couch watching TV by myself. When I woke up to go to bed, my knees were broken. They didn’t hurt when I fell asleep, but somehow, an hour later (15+ hours after I’d done any kind of physical activity), they felt like someone had taken a mallet to my kneecaps. I hobbled to bed and hoped it was a weirdly realistic bad dream.

In the morning they still hurt. Because I hadn’t fallen or injured them during any kind of activity I could think of, I could only assume I had bursitis from loneliness and the fact that Jason didn’t want my help with his project. It seemed like this should pass fairly quickly if I pretended it didn’t exist. I proceeded to bend my knees as often as possible throughout the day and tell myself, That doesn’t hurt, you dopey girl. Those are your pretty muscles just telling you your knees are looking super great today.

Later, I went to a workout class that’s designed to make every part of your body cry tears made of bacon grease and wine (or at least that’s what my body’s tears are made of). My knees hurt during the class, but um, hello, working out is inherently painful. I just assumed that meant I was doing it really well. By the time I got home, my knees had stiffened and swelled and I could barely get up the stairs to go to bed. That night I had trouble sleeping because bending them at all woke me up.

The next morning, in addition to the swollen, miserable knees, I had what looked like red sharpie dots on my legs and around my eyes.

rash post 1

First I tried washing them off in case Jonas had gotten more creative with his graffiti. Then I decided we had bedbugs, which would require burning down the house, of course. After 10 minutes of standing next to our bed staring intently at the sheets and then Googling, Are bed bugs visible to the naked eye? (the answer is yes), I put away the lighter fluid and the novelty bass* lighter we keep handy for such situations.

You thought I was being hyperbolic, didn't you? Obviously you should take me more seriously.

You thought I was being hyperbolic, didn’t you? Obviously you should take me more seriously.

At this point, it seemed the only logical conclusion for the soreness and rash was that I’m approaching 36 but still acting like a 16 year old, so my body is decaying at an increased rate. Obviously I would, at any moment, fall into a decrepit pile of inflamed cartilage and leprosy on the bathroom tile.

When I broke this unfortunate news to Jason, he was understandably distraught, but assured me in the event of my impending putrefaction, he would go on living and find someone new and young to keep him happy in my absence, as he knew I would want him to. Then he told me I should probably make an appointment to see a doctor because rashes are weird.

I considered this approach, but eventually decided it would either get better on its own and I wouldn’t need to go or get like a whole bunch worse, and it’s really a lot more satisfying to walk into a doctor’s office with a super horrifyingly visible malady that makes the doctor flinch than one you have to point to and say, No, right here… do you see it? And there’s another one right here- oh wait, that was lint. So I decided to give it another day.

Wednesday night Jason went to his workout class (designed to make his body cry tears of steak sauce and gin) and I made chicken enchiladas for the kids and me. When I sat down to eat, I tapped my left ankle on my chair and winced in pain. I looked down to find it had joined the club of Elizabeth’s Joints Who Think It’s Funny To Freak Her Shit Out.

I think it's not supposed to look like that.

I think it’s not supposed to look like that.

Of course I immediately texted Jason pictures of my swollen ankle, because if there’s anything you can do while working out 25 miles from home, it’s make your wife’s swollen ankle better. When he got home we conferred and concluded a doctor visit was in order, despite the fact that the rash hadn’t really reached the shock factor I was holding out for. After that I spent the requisite 2 hours Googling rash images to see just how strong my stomach really was (turns out, not very) and rash + swollen joints so I could spend the rest of the night lying awake in bed, wondering how I had managed to pick up a rare form of Malaria only found in Yugoslavia, back when it was called Yugoslavia.

And that’s how I ended up at Urgent Care yesterday morning, being seen by a very nice nurse practitioner who took blood and advised me to make an appointment with a ‘normal doctor’ to review the results, but refused to speculate on what could possibly be causing this.

Nice NP: It could be a lot of things.

Me: OK… but like for instance what?

Nice NP: Well there’s just a really long list of possibilities. We need to do some tests.

Me: So, but what are just one or two of the possibilities? You don’t have to tell me all of them.

Nice NP: There are just so many. I wouldn’t want to guess.

Me: Not even like one tiny guess? Like any random guess at all? What if I guess and you blink twice when you think I’m getting warm. Are we talking infected hangnail or terminal Sarcoidosis? This is about all the wine and Diet Coke I drink, isn’t it? I mean my blood must be at least 70% composed of wine and Diet Coke at this point and you’re totally going to see that when you do your test, so I might as well admit it right now-

Nice NP: We’ll call you with the results. Probably Saturday. This is weird. I’m not saying it’s not weird.

Me: If you’re making an attempt to impress some kind of gravity of the situation on me here, you’re going to need to use different language. I hear that about my life choices every day.

Nice NP: I have to see some other patients now.

Me: OK.

He did, however, recommend I use heat on my sore joints. Obviously his intent was to write me a prescription for this:

rash post 4

I always follow doctor’s orders.

*I’ve been informed it’s actually a novelty trout lighter.

How To Have The Perfect Body

Yesterday I drove with a friend to circus class and we discussed eating healthy, working out and how the scale generally fucks with our heads. Like most people on this planet, I’ve spent an excessive amount of time wondering how to achieve The Perfect Body. I’ve tried diets, embraced various forms of exercise, considered plastic surgery. So far I have been unsuccessful (and too chicken to go under the knife). But, I did some serious thinking about all of this and I’m pretty sure I’ve got the whole thing figured out. I mean, really, it’s not that complicated to have The Perfect Body once you boil it down.

8 Steps to The Perfect Body –

  1. Hire someone to follow you around and hand you organic apple slices or cucumbers with lime juice and sea salt whenever you have a twinge of hunger. If this is prohibitively expensive, cancel your health insurance to pay for it. Having The Perfect Body is obviously an assurance of health. Same diff.
  2. Never clean your house. That shit takes time that could be spent perfecting your abs. You need to ask yourself if you’d rather look amazing in a swimsuit the 3 or 4 times a year you wear one, or walk down your hallway in the middle of the night without stepping on a Lego or in a damp spot of unknown origin. If the answer isn’t obvious, you’re not committed enough to the goal of The Perfect Body.
  3. Don’t engage with media depicting the human form. Don’t read fashion magazines, watch TV or visit The Chive. Having The Perfect Body is impossible to achieve or maintain, when you have access to pictures of other, Perfecter Bodies. Comparison is the enemy of the The Perfect Body. Live in a vacuum.
  4. Have your taste buds lasered off.  Don’t worry, it’s not weirder or more invasive than having silicone injected into your lips, and it won’t make you look like a duck. Late night ice cream is far easier to resist when it stops tasting like heaven, comfort and the feeling of being loved and starts tasting like snow.
  5. Only be friends and surround yourself with people who could accurately be described as ‘fluffy’. If any of them are smart and/or funny, you’re not going to have The Perfect Personality, but that’s not what we’re going for here.
  6. Be a vampire. Not having a reflection or appearing in photographs makes it nearly impossible to be aware of any impediments to The Perfect Body.
  7. Don’t have any kind of subjective pre-existing notions of beauty or physical perfection. How can you possibly have The Perfect Body if you grow up thinking it’s perfect to have flawlessly spherical kneecaps, when in fact yours are actually more oval? Duh, you can’t. You have to start with a clean slate. Ideally, be raised by wolves.
  8. Never (NEVER) look down when you’re at the beach in a bikini and you hunch over to eat a bite of an amazing beach chilidog with cheese. Just keep your eyes closed while enjoying your lunch. It’s literally impossible for your midsection to maintain perfection in a situation like this.

Or, failing all of that:

Eat real food. Veggies and lean meats, shit like that. Do your best to shop at the ends of the grocery store (where they keep the actual food) and stay mostly out of the middle. Sometimes (but only when it’s really worth it) eat delicious things that are horrible for you, like tater tots, hollandaise sauce and bacon blue cheese burgers.

Find a few things that involve movement and make your soul joyful. Hockey, rock climbing, long nature walks, strip teases – whatever they are, do them regularly. Train your body to do them better because it makes you feel awesome and strong.

Look in the mirror and be proud of your muscles, bones, blood and skin and what they can do. Be amazed they can lift you up and perform beautiful actions. Continue to feed your body things that will make it strong, happy and able to support you. Realize you do have The Perfect Body.


Ragnar 2014

I survived my third Ragnar! A week ago right now, I was trying not to drop my phone into the depths of a porta-potty while hovering for a final pee before my first run.

As of now, my aches and pains have mostly healed, although I do still have a fist-sized bruise on my right ass-cheek from when we were driving somewhere in North Phoenix in the middle of the night and went over a giant, unexpected dip in the road. My head hit the roof of the SUV and I came down on the seatbelt. That counts as a running injury, right? I’ll refrain from posting a picture here, but you can send me a message if you want to be added to my distribution list of people who I regularly text such things. You probably want to consider the commitment carefully, though. Just ask my sister, husband and girlfriends. There are things you can’t unsee.

Ragnar 2014 went as it tends to for me: I’m a little nervous the first run, by the second I’ve settled firmly into ‘Why the fuck am I doing this again?’, and by the third I hate everyone and every thing right until about halfway through when I LOVE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING. It’s always an abrupt and euphoric shift. This year my final run was right at sunrise, which (I cannot stress this enough) is the motherfucking best. I ran East, downhill and got to watch the sun peek up from behind Four Peaks:

Yes, I stopped to take this picture. I'm totally that girl.

Yes, I stopped to take this picture while I was running. I’m totally that girl.

I’m not sure life gets better than that. Like I think it goes:

3. Bottomless mimosas

2. Ryan Gosling in that scene from Crazy, Stupid, Love where he recreates the Dirty Dancing lift

1. This run

It was really nice to end on a positive note, because my second run was really brutal. Let’s recount the unpleasantness, shall we?

#1: It was at 10:30 p.m. and I fell asleep in the van for 20 minutes right before I had to run. So when my teammates woke me up to get out and head to the transition area, I wasn’t even sure where I was or who they were. They handed me a head lamp and I put it on backwards.

#2: I was so out of it, I didn’t realize I had to pee until we got to the transition area, within about 45 seconds of the runner before me coming in. I asked where the porta-potties were set up and the volunteer just pointed the exact opposite direction about a quarter mile down the road.

#3: Instead of sucking my pee back up into my body and using it as hydration like my sister suggested, I bailed into the porta-potty like a minute and a half into my run. My team probably would have won if I hadn’t done that.

#4: About a mile into the run I got passed. Normally I don’t care that much when people pass me because, whatever, I’m slower than some and faster than some and it is what it is. But the team I was on this year ended up being FAST. So… on our team I wasn’t slower than some and faster than some, I was just slower than all. And they kept talking about ‘kills’, which is apparently what you call it when you pass someone (I’m so slow no one even ever explained to me this was a thing before). So by that point all I could think about when I got passed was how much murdered I was being. And then there was the fact that this guy had one leg and was running with a blade. I got killed, by a guy with one leg.

#5: As I was finishing mile four, the course turned on to a desert trail. There was a big light and an old dude wearing a reflective vest who looked angry and exhausted. He just pointed up.

This is a daytime shot of the hill the old guy was pointing to.

This is a daytime shot of the hill the old guy was pointing to.

#6: By halfway up this hill I had caught back up to the guy with one leg and when we crested the top and started to run down, I was ready to pass him. But I had to have this internal debate with myself first:

Me: Ew, is it super dickish to pass a guy who is clearly having more trouble with the rocky, downhill terrain than I am because he’s wearing a blade and has one leg?

Also Me: It’s probably more dickish and condescending to not pass him because you feel bad for the fact that he has one leg.

Me: Ugh, that’s true. And I’m breathing down his neck right now.

Also Me: And there was that guy in the Olympics who had two blades! He’s way faster than you!

Me: And then he killed his girlfriend.

Also Me: I wonder if this guy feels like that guy gives amputee runners a bad name.

Me: Maybe I should ask him.

Also Me: Or just pass him already and get on with his miserable run. He’s probably going to pass you later again anyway. You can ask him then.

#7: After about a mile of running through the darkness on a rocky path in the middle of the desert, I passed a girl wearing a schoolgirl skirt and crying. She said, “We have less than two miles left! How will we get back to the road?” to me despondently as I passed.

#8: When the end of the run (and the lighted street) was finally in sight and I started to think I maybe wouldn’t die out in the desert alone and eaten by coyotes, the one-legged guy passed me again. I was too tired and depressed to ask him about his feelings on Oscar Pistorius.

I did make it to the end, though and I got to have that glorious final run. It was a fun Ragnar and a really fantastic team. Go Team Hair of the Jog:

I posted this picture on Facebook and one of my friends emailed me, "Did you really win Ragnar??" and I was like, "No... noo, no. That was an ironic 'we're #1!' we were doing there... get it?" and then I got really worried people actually thought we won Ragnar but I didn't want to comment, 'GUYS. WE TOTALLY DIDN'T WIN.' because that seemed kind of rude to my teammates.

I posted this picture on Facebook and one of my friends emailed me, “Did you really win Ragnar??” and I was like, “No… noo, no. That was an ironic We’re #1! we were doing there… get it?” and then I got really worried people actually thought we won Ragnar but I didn’t want to comment, ‘GUYS. WE TOTALLY DIDN’T WIN.’ because that seemed kind of rude to my teammates. We did get 19th in our division, though.

I’ll prolly do it again next year.


Bee Plan A and Spider Plan A

Jonas: Gray, can I have a piece of paper?

Gray: I guess. It’s up on my desk.

Jonas: Mom, can I use one of your pens?

Me: Sure, here you go.

jos plan 1

Me: What are you doing, Jo?

Jonas: Oh, I’m making a plan.

Me: What sort of plan?

Jonas: About the bees.

Me: Huh?

Jonas: Well, see, the red bug people-

Me: You mean Brian and Sarah next door?

Jonas: Yes. They had that bee hive in the crack under their patio.

jos plan 3

Me: Yes…

Jonas: Well I figured out that the bees were there because of the tree in our yard. It has a lot of pollen on it, see?

jos plan 2

Me: Maybe…

Jonas: Bees like pollen, so I’m sure of it.

Me: OK.

Jonas: So my plan is to cut the stuff with pollen down so the bees don’t go over there any more.

jos plan 5

Me: You’re going to cut down the tree?

Jonas: No, just the pieces with pollen. I’m going to use the scissors from the kitchen.

Me: You’re going to climb the tree and cut off the branches with pollen?

Jonas: No, I’m going to stand on the firepit. I can reach some of it from there.

Me: I’m not saying your logic is completely off, but I can’t let you take the kitchen scissors and cut off parts of the tree. First of all, the pest control people came and took care of the bee hive-

Jonas: There are still bees there! I can see them!

Me: I know, but they got rid of the hive. And secondly, bees are good. They pollenate the plants and flowers and we like that.

Jonas: Well, I was going to leave the pollen branches on the ground so the bees could still have them.

Me: You can’t take the scissors outside.

Jonas: Fine. Can I have another piece of paper?

Me: Sure.

jos plan 6

Jonas: Mom. I have a new plan. This is Plan A.

Me: You mean Plan B, because the other one was Plan A.

Jonas: No, this is the Spider Plan A. That was the Bee Plan A.

Me: Got it. What is your new plan?

Jonas: Well, see right here, there are a lot of spider webs. I drew them by the house.

Me: It’s kind of hard to see anything because you used a black marker on a black piece of paper.

Jonas: That’s because it’s night in this plan.

Me: Makes sense.

Jonas: See, I have this sharp, pointy stick.

jos plan 7

Jonas: I’m going to use it to take off all the spiderwebs in the backyard.

Me: I think that’s an excellent plan.

Jonas: Great! I’m on it! And then I’m going to make Plan B!


Everything and Nothing.

I’m pretty sure ain’t nobody got time for cohesive narratives this week (meaning: me. I don’t). So let’s commence with the nonsensical rambling, shall we?

One of my best-friend‘s dad died this week. He’s been in kind of roller-coastery health the last few years, so it wasn’t completely unexpected, but it was fast and kind of shocking. I spent a good chunk of yesterday at her house going through her father’s boxes of photos, getting rid of stuff and helping find pictures for the slideshow she’s putting together for his funeral.

I know she feels like I was being a ‘good friend’ by taking time out of my schedule to come and support her during this, but honestly, it was a lovely day I was lucky I got to experience with her. To begin with, she cooked this amazing breakfast of sausage, spinach and potatoes in a skillet topped with eggs and grape tomatoes and finished in the oven. Those are all of my favorite things that no one in my family will eat! Plus, I didn’t even work or check my email the entire time I was there because hello: Um someone died. It would be rude. 

Beyond those luxuries, we spent a few hours just flipping through the hundreds of photos her dad had taken and collected over his 71 years. Amanda’s dad wasn’t a perfect man (not that any of us are), but it was really interesting and beautiful to see him throughout his life. And, of course, I got to see tons of adorable and hilarious pictures of Amanda and her brother I hadn’t seen before. It felt cathartic and important to sort of relive his life yesterday. The good, the beautiful and the weird.

Speaking of The Weird, among his things, Amanda found a box of really old family photos and memorabilia. There were ancient photos printed on tin and portraits on thick paper that had begun to deteriorate. In a stack of this sort, she found these two small, original black and white prints:

I added the censor bars to allow me to post them to Facebook and Instagram yesterday. I thought about posting them unedited here, because hey, most office servers already flag me as a porn site, but then I remembered I'm a Real Estate Business Website. Sometimes I forget.

I added the censor bars to allow me to post them to Facebook and Instagram yesterday. I thought about posting them unedited here, because hey, most office servers already flag me as a porn site anyway, but then I remembered I’m a Real Estate Business Website. Sometimes I forget.

She has no idea who the woman is, but judging from some of the other photos it was with, we think it must be from the 1940s.

Can we just talk, for a second about all the noteworthy things?

1. I love how modestly tawdry she is. Like, she’s clearly naked and it’s meant to be provocative, but she’s posing in house slippers. Because being outside in bare feet is uncivilized!

2. OK, so what, really, is the thing she’s holding over her lady-parts in the first picture? Amanda thinks it’s a large replica of a cherry (like made out of wood or something?). And I can definitely see that. A couple of people have suggested that it looks like a real eggplant. I think it’s awfully round for an eggplant, but the size makes more sense and the leafy part on top is sort of reminiscent of the top of an eggplant. Also, it’s way more hilarious if it’s an eggplant. Ooo! You caught me gardening in the nude! I’ll just cover my vagina with a vegetable! 

3. Why is she blindfolded? I am not following this narrative at all.

4. The second picture is possibly the weirder one, even though it doesn’t have any unidentifiable produce. Is that a makeshift dishtowel diaper? And a chamberpot she’s holding? Is this some kind of super kinky bathroom sexy thing? Huh. People were super pervy even back then.

5. I wonder if this is the original ‘lampshade as hat’ photo. Like the very first time that joke was used. Maybe she was making history and she didn’t even know it.

I could go on, but they’re great, right? I sort of want to recreate them. Maybe when I write a book I will and use them as my cover art.

Moving on, because I haven’t rambled quite long enough… I’m running Ragnar Del Sol again this weekend. I have my outfits all picked out and packed and I ran 8 miles less than two weeks ago, which is a mile+ more than my longest run, but I’ve had a chest cold and my training has been pretty lackadaisical since. I feel nervous that I’m going to be slow and it will be painful.

Plus, I have a hideous burn on my back from the silks in circus class last Sunday:

silks burn

We learned this trick called ‘The Hammock’ where you lean against one of the silks and feed slack until you’re laying parallel to the ground.

This is my instructor, Rachel, doing it.

This is my instructor, Rachel.

Clearly my slack-feeding needs work.

The burn is in a weird place where it’s not healing fast and every time I bend my head forward I crack it open. And it rubs on my shirts and I’m afraid it’s just going to be a disgusting open wound by the time I’m done running 18 miles this weekend. BLEH.

Speaking of circus class, I figured out last week, after nearly six months of class, that I have been climbing the silks in an incredibly inefficient way this entire time. I feel like an idiot who will never be allowed to join the circus. I have been climbing like an inch-worm, straight up the silks:

I couldn’t understand why, after all this time, and all this muscle I’ve built up, it was still so exhausting and difficult for me to climb the silks, even though it seems easy and beautiful when other people do it. I had an epiphany on Sunday that they are actually straightening their legs at an angle more parallel to the ground than perpendicular and then using the leverage to stand up:

Go watch this video of a woman climbing correctly really quick on YouTube. It wasn’t embed-able.

I mentioned this to one of the other women who’s been taking aerial for a few years and she was like, Oh yeah, it uses way less energy to do it the other way. That’s why we do it like that. At which point I was like, WHY IN THE FUCKITY FUCK DIDN’T ANYONE EVER POINT THIS OUT TO ME?! I COULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, YOU ASSHOLES. 

I just felt like that needed to be documented in case anyone out there in Internet Land is Googling, ‘Why do I suck at climbing the silks?’ This website is about educating.

I guess that’s about it. Have a great weekend, my dears. If you’re running Ragnar Del Sol, have a great race and be sure to wave when you see me! I’ll be the one with the blue hair in the cute outfits who’s gasping and has blood running down her back.

Love, Unedited.

valentines day 2014

I really wanted to prove with this picture I don’t have to have girls to have super cute Valentines outfits and family photos, but I’m pretty sure all I proved was that no one enjoys having his picture taken before 7am. Also that I really don’t know how to use Photoshop. Like I don’t even understand the tool that’s called ‘Red Eye Tool’, which seems like it should be pretty self-explanatory and user-friendly. And I sincerely don’t know how to fix greasy bangs or a red nose from excessive nose-blowing.

So… Happy Valentines Day from The Newlins.

(Additionally, in an unrelated manner:

Dear Dude Who Keeps Contacting Me About My BFF’s Mom,

I feel really bad that I can’t help you, but she is not the lady you’re looking for. She is from Illinois, but she’s about 10 years older than the person you’re looking for. Additionally, the name of your long lost love is her married name, not her maiden name, like the chick you were dating back then. Also, like I mentioned above, she’s not my mom, she’s my friend’s mom, so any resemblance you see in me of this person is inaccurate.

I can’t decide if it’s sweet or kind of creepy that you’re still harboring feelings for this woman after so many years, but you seem to just genuinely regret ditching her to sow your wild oats when you were 16, so we’ll go with sweet (unless you don’t take this hint and quit emailing). Don’t beat yourself up. None of us was really who we are at 16. Your lady-friend could potentially be the adorable and wonderful 60 year old version of the girl you remember, but she’s just as likely to be a 300 pound bingo addict who hoards precious moments figurines and beanie babies and works at the DMV.

Several years ago we were stuck in Illinois overnight due to a missed flight connection snafu and I decided to take the opportunity to drive past the horse farm my family lived on when I was between the ages 3 and 5. My earliest memories are of this house. I learned to ride a bike on the gravel road (and obliterated my knees when I fell). We picked raspberries on a neighboring property. On Halloween we only trick or treated to the one house on the other side of the woods because there was no one else even close who had kids or would have purchased candy. My Papa let us ride in the bucket of the tractor they used to shovel horse manure (I’m not sure why this was a treat). 

The point is, when I tracked down this house, in a tiny (TINY) suburb (Wikipedia is actually calling it a ‘village’) called Big Rock and dragged my husband and children to the house, *SPOILER ALERT*, it wasn’t how I remembered. Everything was smaller and closer together. Some neighboring dude had an epic collection of hubcaps out front of his house. The lady who lived there thought I was a fucking weirdo when I rang the doorbell and asked if I could go look at the horse barn. It was a bummer.

The worst part is that now when I remember those years living in that house in Big Rock, the actual version seen by my adult eyes is there too, marring my memories. I’m pretty sorry I went.

I’m just saying, maybe it’s better your Jackie Disbrow lives in your head, lovely, flawless, 16 forever.

That said, if I haven’t convinced you, have you tried Facebook? Seems like that would be the way to go.


Your unromantic blogger friend with greasy bangs and a cold)




Modern Feminism. Or something… It’s confusing.

Me: So, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things…

You: Oh yeah, like what?

feminist lego 3

Me: Well, like the objectification of women and gender roles in our society.

You: Have you, now?

Me: Yes. And I’m just really confused and a little upset.

You: OK…

Me: This girl I went to high school with posted a story on Facebook early this morning about an incident she had at work. She’s apparently a waitress in a bar in Hollywood where the uniform is short-shorts and fishnets.

You: Hot.

Me: Right, and she’s totally a hottie. So I guess she was waiting on this table of guys who were hitting on her all night…

feminist lego 1

Me: …and when the bar was closing and they turned on the overhead florescent lighting, the guys made some loud, obnoxious remarks about how she didn’t look as good with the lights on.

feminist lego 2

You: Ooo, what dicks.

feminist lego 4

Me: Totally. She was kind of horrified and embarrassed, but tried to just keep her cool and let it roll off her back.

You: As I suppose you would, as a mature human being in the presence of drunk imbeciles.

Me: Agreed. But then she was in the car on the way home and got to thinking that she should have stood up for herself to those guys and let them know she was strong and beautiful, inside and out. To sort of let them know it’s not ok to do that to any woman.

You: Or any person, for that matter.

Me: Yes. So this story led me down two roads -

1. Holy shit. She’s super hot! And like exactly my age. Plus she hasn’t even had kids or anything. So if she’s getting heckled for being old under the bright lights of reality, why should I even bother attempting to look presentable? I’m clearly so far past my prime I should just give up and let myself dry out and blow away into the wind like dust. I’m going to go put on sweatpants and eat the rest of the mint chocolate chip ice cream.

You: Of course you went there. I should have known this wasn’t a Gloria Steinem think-piece.

Me: And 2. Those douche-canoes treated her like a thing. At first she was a ‘pretty thing’, a thing they wanted to have, and then, when they couldn’t have her, they discussed her ‘flaws’ in front of her and discarded her, like a thing. She was just an object to them. I think I finally understand this whole ‘objectification’ concept.

You: …welcome to the latter half of the twentieth century?

Me: No, but really, I think I always just thought it was a kind of meaningless feminist term thrown around to make men feel like assholes for checking out T&A. I sort of felt like, So what if they (we) look at pretty things and enjoy them for being pretty? Women wear hot outfits to look hot. Men do the same thing. Objectify me, please, if it just means you think I’m cute!


feminist lego 5

Me: I see now, that it becomes problematic because the objectifier only sees the object for its beauty. You stop being a human being who means anything besides how tight your top is. This makes you expendable. You can just be discarded when a shinier (newer) model comes out. You’re just a thing.

You: Mmhmm…

Me: I don’t want to be a thing! I want to be loved for who I am, whether I look fantastic, or like roadkill. And I bet my Facebook high school friend does too!

You: I’m sure.

Me: So then I got to wondering, maybe these establishments that have their waitresses wear shit like that are really contributing to the objectification of women everywhere. It seems like they’re kind of saying to men-

You: People…

Me: People, it’s ok to look at women-

You: People…

Me: People like nothing but sexy pieces of sculpture that will bring you drinks and potentially satisfy you sexually, but if they don’t look how you want them to or perform correctly, you can just get rid of them.

You: Well, I mean, yes, that’s the theory behind the entire 1970s wave of feminist logic, but-

Me: And maybe all those articles I thought were ridiculous that I’ve read lately about how grooming your pubic hair means you’re not a feminist are actually right! Although I still don’t see how it’s radically different from shaving my legs, so maybe I should stop doing that, too…

You: OK, now, wait, we’ve made quite a leap in logic here-

Me: And I watched this French short film the other day that portrayed a world of gender role reversal where this poor guy is sexually harassed and assaulted and his wife is totally a dick, and it made me wonder if that’s really what life is like for a lot of women. Which is such bullshit and it makes me want to burn a goddamn bra right now. Additionally, it made me wonder if women would actually want to go running topless, because I think, in general, it would be uncomfortable.

You: No, seriously, that’s fairly unrealistic. Don’t burn your running bra.

Me: I also read another article about a study attempting to show gender equality in a marriage means a less satisfying (or at least less frequent) sex life. And while that neither seems true, nor makes any sense to me, I’m not sure I would trade inequality for sad, infrequent sex. Does that make me a bad feminist, too? This is all so confusing.

You: Oh… my god. First of all, the dickheads at your friend’s bar were just dickheads. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing, where she’s working, or even what gender she or they are, people who treat other people with that lack of consideration and respect for his or her feelings are piles of shit. That’s really all there is to it. Objectification isn’t a condition unique to women. Humans need to work harder at treating each other like humans.

It sounds, however, like she has a fairly decent handle on her own self-worth and who she is as a person, so she’ll live to tend bar another day, hopefully without a thought to them.

Secondly, do whatever you want with your pubic hair and please stop discussing it on the internet. No one cares and it means nothing about any of your beliefs. Unless, I guess, you wax it into the shape of an O to show your support for Obama. Even then, the people you show it to are going to mistake it for your support of the other Big O.

Lastly, you really, really, need to stop getting all of your news from Jezebel. You’re getting a little brainwashed and obsessed.

Me: Ok, I can see that. It’s probably a valid point.

feminist lego 6

Things That Make Me Irrationally Angry

If we’re going to be friends, it seems only fair to warn you about my buttons, so you know what not to push. I’m not talking about stuff like genocide, bullies and when Shannen Doherty left 90210. These are things that legitimately make everyone with a soul rage-filled. No, I’m talking about my own personal anger issues. If you and I are going to maintain a symbiotic relationship, I think it’s important for you be aware of this stuff so I don’t accidentally run you over with my car on purpose.

Things that make me irrationally angry:

1. Loud, unexpected sounds – You want to see me lose my shit? Open that can of pre-made biscuits without warning me first. Or run that coffee bean grinder first thing on Saturday morning when I’m still half asleep. That is why Jason has a scar on his forehead right above his left eye. I missed.

2. Gnats – What purpose do they have on Earth but to commit ritual suicide by flying into my facial orifices? Fuck you, gnats. Just fuck you.

3. Audible swallowing – When my kids get home from school at the exact moment I am in the middle of something that requires my full attention and I ask them to please (please) be quiet and leave me be for 10 more minutes so I can just finish this thing, and they go to the fridge, pour themselves a large glass of milk and spend the next 45 seconds audibly gulping it down? This is the definition of rage. White, hot, blinding rage.

4. Pseudo-science – I know I should just feel sorry for the people who believe in pretend science, but I don’t. I feel angry with them for being stupid. [Examples that will do nothing but heartily offend at least 7 people I'm close friends with and/or related to redacted.] I realize it’s intolerant of me.

5. Nude pantyhose – First of all, the word ‘pantyhose’ is disgusting and offensive for 45 reasons. Secondly: You there, you person wearing them… are you 8? Is it 1985? Are you going to church? No? Then there is something wrong with you. And it makes me angry, so stop it.

6. People who drive the speed limit when there’s no traffic blocking them or police cars in the vicinity – I’m pretty sure this needs no explanation (fuckyoufuckyoufuckyousomuch).


8. People who pronounce it ‘real-i-tor’ – So let’s say you look like Ryan Reynolds, Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. or Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. Or even Olivia Munn. And you and I are the last people on Earth. And it’s cold and we’re lonely and we each need human comfort. And you say to me, “What did you do before the apocalypse that destroyed all other life on Earth and left us alone, clinging to each other, here in this beautiful seaside wasteland that can only inspire passion and romance?” And I reply, “I sold residential homes in Arizona, once upon a time…” And then you say, “Oh? You were a real-i-tor?” I would not have sex with you. I would walk you to the edge of the ocean and hold your head under water until I was alone in this world.

9. Zippers that refuse to line up correctly so I can zip up a jacket – Dear Zippers, do you know what’s going to happen now? Now, I’m going to take scissors and cut you up so you can never join your mate again. You think you’ll have the last laugh because I’ll be cold? The fabric won’t come together and I’ll get a chill? Nope. Because: duct tape. Also? This is Arizona. FUCK YOU as much as gnats and ‘careful’ drivers.

10. The question, “What are we having for dinner?” – When my children ask me this question, generally between 3 and 8 times a day, I know their reaction to whatever I reply will be “Oh…” *sad face*, because I’m not going to answer, Candy and bacon! I’m not sure where the possibility I might respond in this manner came from as I have literally never answered that we are having candy and bacon for dinner, but they seem to have an unending well of hope within them that this will someday be my response. Which means multiple times a day I have to dash this hope with my answers of chicken and green bean stir fry or butternut squash risotto (the latter reliably soliciting both a *sad face* and a *holding back vomit grimace*). Over the years I’ve developed a pavlovian response to the question that causes my blood to boil even before it is finished being asked. I’ve decided the only appropriate answers are, Something you will hate, and Why did I have children?

I think that’s mostly it. Now you go.

The Five Stages of Sick

Stage 1 – Denial:

Hrm… my throat hurts a little bit. It’s probably just from the dry air, though. Or maybe I was snoring extra aggressively last night. Also I’m feeling kind of achey, but I’m sure that’s from working out. It’s definitely not because I’m getting sick. I haven’t been sick in forever. I exercise and eat sort of healthy and shit. And my kids aren’t tiny germ factories who go around relating to the world by tasting it anymore. Plus I definitely drink enough wine to kill all the germs that could have potentially gotten near my body. I don’t fit the profile for a person who gets sick. I’m absolutely, without a doubt, unsick. 

Stage 2 – Anger:

OK, now… WHAT IS THIS BULLSHIT? Now I have chills? Chills, body aches, sore throat, fever… FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCK!! I bet this is Jason’s fault, he was sort of sick last week. Goddamn it. Why is he so selfish with his getting sick and bringing it home?! Or maybe it was that stupid, hippie Acro-yoga class I took! That was totally it. There was all that touching of strangers and I didn’t even use any hand sanitizer before I got home! One of those weirdos totally gave me the plague. How sharing of them. Motherfucker.

Stage 3 – Bargaining:

I really do not have time for this sickness. It just won’t fit into my life right now. How about if I’m not sick right now and we talk about it in a couple of weeks? I could maybe schedule it in early March? No? OK, but if I have to be sick, I’m gonna need the kids not to get it. Universe, are you listening to me? I’ll take one for the team this time, but having them home from school and miserable too, is just going to kill my productivity for the entire month. Please??

At the very least can I lose three pounds? I just need to get something out of this.

Stage 4 – Depression: 

Everything hurts. It hurts to stand up, it hurts to sit down. It hurts to open the can of refried beans I’m going to make my kids eat for dinner directly from the can with a spoon. It hurts to shiver, which I am, even though I have on long-sleeves, pants, socks and 3 blankets. It hurts to have to pee. It hurts to look in the mirror when I eventually get up to go pee, although this is more of the existential pain that greasy hair, disheveled clothing and a make-up-free face brings on. I’m probably going to die like this. Miserable, hideous, pathetic. Oh sweet blackness of death, I welcome your warm embrace. 

Stage 5 – Acceptance: 

Me: Jason, I need you to get me some of that Aleve 12-hour cold and flu stuff.

Jason: Really? That bad?

Me: Yep. I give up. I’d rather be moderately stoned for 12-hours straight than feel like this any longer.

Jason: That is some good shit.

Goals (TL;DR)

I woke up this morning (late, reluctantly) and had a long internal dialog with myself about whether or not I should go for the 3 mile run I had planned. My sister talked me into joining another Ragnar team last minute and I’ve been increasing my milage the last few weeks so I’m prepared. Yesterday I did my long run of the week (6 miles) in the morning and then went to circus class like usual in the afternoon. Consequently, I fell into bed exhausted last night and woke up this morning with a full body of complaints.

My quads and my hip-flexors ached from the run, my back, abs and biceps groaned from the pull-ups on the trapeze and the backs of my knees and my shins were bruised from the tricks we learned. It’s too much, I told myself. I can’t run this morning and I definitely can’t do a yoga workout at noon. I need a day off. My body needs to heal. 

But taking today off would throw off my entire schedule for the week. If I want to keep up with the running AND the ballet AND the circus and continue to build all of the muscles I need to be good at all of these things I need to keep training. Plus, the entire point of Ragnar is running when you haven’t fully rested or let your body heal from the last run. I know it can be done and I will survive because I’ve done it before. I’ve done lots of things that push me past what feels like are my physical boundaries. It turns out these ‘limits’ are really just imaginary self-imposed restrictions. I haven’t yet reached the ones that aren’t only in my head. I’m sure they exist, but it turns out they’re far beyond what I often try to tell myself is the end of my ability.

So I got up and headed out on my 3 mile run. Quickly my legs loosened up and I started to feel better. I took my normal 4 mile route but with a couple of abbreviations to cut it down for a shorter ‘recovery’ run. As I was running I got lost in my own head and the music on Pandora and I forgot to take the shortcuts I planned. It’s just habit to turn left instead of going straight and I was already another quarter mile down before I realized my mistake. But it was fine. I ran faster than I have recently and I felt good. I could have kept going.

One of my lifelong goals has been to write long-form fiction. It’s probably my ultimate goal. I love writing this blog and I feel proud of my work on it and what it has both brought me and taught me, but it’s definitely not the end-goal. The end-goal is books, maybe a screenplay. Something bigger, longer, a greater work.

But I haven’t started it yet. I haven’t even taken the first step down the path of writing something longer. I’m intimidated for 600 reasons. Writing anything long will take a considerable amount of time. If I pick the wrong topic I’m stuck with it for months, maybe years, and if it turns out shitty, all that time is wasted. Plus I don’t have any extra time. I have to write my blog and take care of the kids and sell real estate. There’s just not the time. I don’t know how to construct a long narrative. I don’t know what voice to use. It needs to be perfect. It has to be the best. I’m not ready.

I’ve decided this is the year I’m really going to do it. I know it can be done. I completed NaNoWriMo a few years ago. I can string together 50,000 words on one topic. I can do this. It is possible. I know I need to stop thinking about it as if it will be THE story; my life’s work, in one novel, my greatest accomplishment. Nothing works like that. I’ve written hundreds of posts for this blog (this is the 714th, to be exact). Some are stupid and pointless. Some are funny. Some I love. Some I hate. Some got thousands of reads and some I’m pretty sure only my dad read. If I want to write long-form fiction, it needs to be the same. No one writes one fantastic book, nothing before, nothing after. No one steps onto the board the first time and perfectly surfs an amazing wave. No one wins the first marathon they run.

So I’ve pep-talked myself this far. I’m ready to take up the metaphorical pen.

But maybe it’s too much writing? Maybe I can’t both think about what to write on this blog a few times a week and daily writing on the book? Possibly I should set aside the blog for awhile and force myself to focus on the book?

Ah, but what did I learn this morning?

It’s not too much. It’s only too much if it kills me. It’s actually just more training to build those muscles I need to reach my goal.

Habits take my brain out of the equation. If I don’t have to fight that Me who is convinced it’s all too hard and I can’t do it I have more energy to devote to actually accomplishing my goals.

So here I go. Running runs that both are slow and suck and are swift and feel good. Taking ballet classes where I’m the worst and ones that make me feel beautiful. Going to circus when I’m already drained and when I’m strong and can do amazing things. Writing blog posts that are too long and not funny and not particularly interesting and ones that get shared and liked 1200 times. Writing a story that’s long; not THE story, just A story. Because then I’ll write another. And another after that.