That Time I Lost My Sh*t On the Dance Floor

It’s Saturday at midnight in the bar and I’m out with the girls enjoying a 90’s cover band and some ice-cold beer.  The 90’s is my favorite decade, and every song brings back memories of high school and college, in such a good way.  I felt nineteen again, and although I wasn’t drunk on alcohol, I was definitely drunk on memories and music.

You know that feeling, when all your favorite tunes are being played and your body has an almost involuntary reaction.  It becomes this sort of instinct and rhythm combined.  My nineteen year-old self was really into rock music.  Imagine some air guitar, arms in the air, hair being thrown in every direction, and a complete and total disregard for the other bar patrons around me, other than my friends.  It was just me, the band, my girls and the music.

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I don’t do Zumba, but you get my point.

Now picture a middle-aged woman, married with two kids, who drives the weekly car pool and volunteers in the PTA, throwing her long hair and rocking out to Alice In Chains, Metallica and Nirvana.  The dance floor wasn’t overly full, so I stood out.   I think at one point I might have screamed, “I’m with the band!”  Except, I’m not with the band.

Good times.

It was so fun, and in the moment I had no regrets.  It was a great night.  I mean seriously, when anyone plays Enter Sandman by Metallica, you throw your hair to that shit.  It’s just how it’s done.  I think the point where I really peaked and just let my shit go all over the dance floor was when the band played Man in the Box, by Alice In Chains.  One of my favorite songs, and when I became aware of my environment toward the end of the song, there were a few dudes thrashing next to me, so I guess it was good.

Except, in the light of day, when I woke up with a very stiff neck and a screaming headache, I had a moment of thought that said, you-are-too-fucking-old-to-act-like-you-belong-in-a- White-Snake-video-and-oh-my-God-you-are-such-an-asshole!  I woke up embarrassed.  I know we all like to pretend that we don’t care what other people think, but the truth for most of us is that to a small degree, we do.

Image result for dance like nobody's watching memeI’m a person who typically embraces the immediacy of a good time and enjoys being in the moment with my friends.  We’ve been at weddings where Dan and I are the only ones on the dance floor, while the other couples are engaged in far more dignified conversation and interactions.  Not shaking their asses to Baby Got Back.  I always look back later and self-consciously think, damn, did we take that one too far?  Shouldn’t we be past this sort of behavior yet?  So Sunday morning, as I reviewed the events of the previous night, I thought to my self, are you honestly going to be the crazy lady that loses her shit every time someone plays some AC/DC?

Fast forward a few hours, and Dan and I are in attendance at a lovely baby shower/brunch for our dear friends who will soon welcome twin boys into the world.  After a brief cocktail hour, where a few mimosa’s were going a long way to soothe my misplaced embarrassment, the father-to-be takes up the microphone and begins to welcome his family and friends to this celebration of babies, and also discuss some important events of the past nine months.  He said shortly after they discovered they were pregnant, he received a call from his doctor and learned he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

He said he spoke with one doctor who gave him “good odds” with a 60% chance of survivability.  He decided that wasn’t good enough, so he fired that doctor and got another one who told him with 100% certainty that he would live through this cancer.  That he could beat it.  And he did.  Over the past nine months, he fought his cancer while his beautiful wife managed a complicated pregnancy with unbelievable grace and strength.  They kept the cancer diagnosis to themselves, for the most part, telling only a few people.  Dan and I found out about a week ago, after he finished his last chemo and was able to share the good news with everyone that he was cancer free.  We were all so grateful for his outcome, and we celebrated his health as much as we celebrated the babies!

Image result for dance like nobody's watching memeA short while later there was a moment during the party and the DJ was playing some great dance music.  There wasn’t a dance floor, just good music playing to keep the party lively.  Dan and I were sitting by the bar and the father-to-be, along with another friend began an impromptu dance-off in the space next to us.  Then the grand-father joined in, and these three grown men began taking it to town in front of everyone.  It was crazy and awesome and hilarious and I started to cry a little.  I was actually laughing first, and then found the emotion behind the laughter.

Here he is, grateful to be alive, lucky to have two beautiful babies on the way, and he wasn’t embarrassed by his super sweet dance moves.  He wasn’t concerned about what anyone thought of him, or whether or not he looked silly.  All three men were simply enjoying the moment, making the most of the mood and the occasion and the love.  It was quite simply the most amazing celebration of life I’ve seen in a long time.

Image result for dance like nobody's watching memeI found my perspective and some unnecessary but welcome validation in that moment.   The truth is that I AM the mom and friend who will dance in the bar, or in my living room with my kids.  I AM the person who sings at the top of my lungs when the song is good and the company is better.  I AM the person who isn’t afraid to live in the moment and  doesn’t care what strangers think because my life is not about them or what they may or may not think of my Saturday night amateur rock show performance.  I’m done feeling insecure about this, and as we all know, insecurity is an asshole, and we do not choose to be friends with assholes!

So when I ask myself  if I’m really going to be that middle-aged mom who loses my shit every time my jam comes on?

Well, this isn’t me, but you get the idea!

Getting Old is not for Sissies

At least that’s what my 95-year-old Nanny (grandmother) tells me, and after spending a little over a week with her in Illinois last week, I would whole-heartedly agree with her.

My daughter Bryn was going on vacation with her grandparents, so I flew her to St. Louis from LA, handed her off to her grandparents who were driving to Florida for a week of fun in the sun, and then drove the three hours north to my grandmother’s house in Bloomington, IL.

Upon my arrival, my grandmother burst into tears and announced how happy she was to see me.  I had just been to visit her the month before as part of our annual summer vacation, but sadly, at 95 years of age her memory is not what it used to be.  Although it had only been a month, she was unable to recall my previous visit.  This always breaks my heart.  She will say things like, “No one ever comes to visit me.”  I gently remind her that I see her every summer, and although she believes me, her reality is such that she cannot remember the visits, so for her it’s like it never happened.

10422269_10153164412434668_2062150226730818813_n[1]While my Nanny is very healthy physically, her memory loss and diminished capacity for independence grates on her self-esteem.  She hates that she can no longer stand at the stove and prepare full meals or bake the delicious cakes and desserts she always enjoyed having in the house.  Every time I came to visit she always had a cake, pie, or some amazing sugar creation waiting for whatever company happened to stop by.  She was always prepared for company.  Now, she is still able to care for her own physical needs, prepare light meals like sandwiches, and also do some very light housekeeping, but for the most part her recliner in the living room occupies most of her attention these days.

12019820_907152482686906_3905592130149668443_n[1]My Nanny is 95 and my grandfather turns 97 this week.  They don’t have computers, internet, Wi-Fi, or even a DVD player.  They have cable TV, but that’s about it for modern technology.  Their day consists of rolling out of bed around 9am, and sitting in their chairs in the living room all day long, watching baseball, Mass, Fox News, and AMC movie classics.  That’s it.  I imagine I will find that life pretty enjoyable if I make it to their advanced age, however, for a 41 year old active woman, it was enough to make me want to throw myself from a cliff.

I wanted to spend quality time with them, so that meant sitting with them in the living room.  For hours.  Every day.  For nine days.  Watching Fox News.  And Lawrence Welk.  For the love of God, Lawrence Welk.  Watching her sing along to songs she has known for fifty years was heartening, but it was also like nails on a chalkboard.  My grandmother sings beautifully, and it made me happy to see her happy, but an hour of Lawrence Welk is enough to make me want to grind my ears through a pencil sharpener.  Now imagine a week of that.  (If you are reading this and you don’t know who Lawrence Welk is, google it.  Right now.  Then drink a bottle of wine and thank your lucky stars you weren’t me last week.)  I used to watch it with her when I was in college, just because it made her happy.  I did the same thing this week, just to make her happy.  Damn, I’m a really good granddaughter.  One night I came upstairs to find them watching AMC Classics, and Animal House was on.  OMG!  Talk about awkward!  But I sat through the movie because it was two hours of something funny and relative to my age group.  At the end, my Nanny declared it to be “junk” and she stated that if people actually thought this movie was good, then she held little hope for the future of our country.  I informed her that Animal House is a cult classic and almost everyone loves this movie.  She was thoroughly disgusted with humanity and went to bed.

11870911_511767202313147_6626111183102035627_n[1]Oh, and did I mention that many people tend to lose their filter when they hit advanced ages?  Well, my Nanny is no different.  This is a Christian Catholic woman who took her responsibility as a Christian seriously, and my whole life she refrained from talking trash about others because she felt it was a horrible sin.  However, that is no longer the case.  She has become brutally honest and says whatever pops into her head.  For example, among other shocking statements, she told me one day that I was the fattest she had ever seen me, and what the hell did I think I was doing letting my body go to shit like that.  I’m totally serious, and this is a woman who never cussed.   I reminded her that I’m not 25 anymore, I’m almost 42 years old and I usually work out 3-4 days per week.  She said, “Well, whatever you’re doing, it’s not working for you.”  One day I came upstairs wearing fashionably distressed jeans.  She said, “Are those the best clothes your husband can afford to buy for you?”  So I said, “Yes Nanny, and can you believe I bought these jeans with the patches already sewed into them?”  She rolled her eyes in disgust.  I winked at her.  We both laughed.

Due to her memory loss, we also had many repeated conversations.  She would ask me the same questions every few minutes, and I would give her the same answer, every time she asked.  We did this every day.  Several hours per day.  I was kind to her.  I was gentle.  I tried to remind her that she was still pretty and valuable.  Whenever I told her she was beautiful, she would say, “Yeah, pretty ugly, and pretty apt to stay that way.”  I’m laughing as I type this because her sense of humor is awesome.

IMG_1163I had to leave the house for a little while each day to maintain my sanity.  I found myself falling asleep on the couch with them at 6:30pm.  I was sleeping until 9am in the morning.  I was becoming an old person.  One day I looked at my VivoFit and saw that in the entire day, I had only walked 892 steps.  In a whole day!  The next day I went for a four mile walk just to combat the sedentary inclination.  I also went to the local campus, Illinois State University, my alma mater, and walked the quad.  It felt good to see the buildings, the new renovations and the efforts made to beautify and modernize the campus.  I found myself thinking, “Damn, I went to a nice school.”  I relived a lot of great memories that day and refreshed my old lady soul.

One day, Nanny let me take her for a drive.  She was alive with excitement driving around this town where she had spent her entire life.  She was seeing old and new buildings, construction and modern architecture, as if she were a young child in a new and enchanting land.  She was filled with memories and emotion as we drove past homes where she lived as a young woman with my grandfather, and cried when she observed new buildings where her old favorites no longer existed.  She lamented the time when she also would no longer exist, torn down and forgotten like an old, worn out building.

The day I left we said a tearful good-bye.  We are both painfully aware that at the end of each visit there is a very real possibility that it will be our last.  Before I left she looked at me and said, “You know I may not remember you at all next year.”  I held back my tears and said, “Yes, but I will remember you.”  And I drove away watching her in my side mirror as she stood in the driveway, beautiful and proud, with her hand raised in the air.  As she always does when I leave her.

So yes, whether you are 41 or 95, getting old is most definitely not for sissies.

A Conversation with my Vivofit.

I’m forty-five minutes into an hour workout with my trainer, Carrie.

I’m dripping in sweat and about to go into another super-set of exercises.  I casually glance down at my Vivofit.  It’s the fitness band I wear that tracks my activity levels.  If there’s an extended red line across the top of the display screen then that indicates you’ve been inactive for to long and need to step it up.  As I look at the band, the red line is blazing across the display because it doesn’t count anything but a full stride of movement, walking or running.

So I say, “Look at this Carrie!  The red line is mocking me!  It says, move your ass fat girl, you’ve been stationary too long!”

Carrie is quietly laughing at my outrage.

So I look at the Vivofit on my wrist and say, “Fuck you Vivofit!  You don’t count the 100+ lunges I’ve done today, or the eighty squats I did with weights!  You don’t count the rowing machine, or the fact that I bench pressed 45 fucking pounds!  Screw you and your red line of ridicule and judgment!”

Carrie is still laughing.  And then she says, “That could make a good blog post.”

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You’re number one, Vivofit!

The Love-Hate Challenge

Hello, world!

Once again, life has been busy and I’m checking in to say hello and tackle the Love/Hate Challenge handed down to me by one of my favorite bloggers, Kimboxin.  In this challenge, I have to list ten things I love and ten things I hate, then nominate other bloggers for the challenge.

Initially, it doesn’t seem too complicated.  How hard is it to list things you love and hate?  So, I spent a few minutes pondering the many nuances of what it means to love or hate something.  If you really think about it, love is not the opposite of hate.  Indifference is the opposite of love, but I have not been asked to write about things to which I feel indifferent.  So, for me, this is not an exercise of opposites, but rather a list of items that either make me feel extremely happy or extremely unhappy.  Oh, and I’m leaving out the obvious stuff, like loving my family or hating anchovies.  Seriously, who likes anchovies?

Hate, hate, hate….

These are instruments of torture.

These are instruments of torture.

1.  I hate high-heels.  Why, as women, do we choose to wear shoes that after about twenty minutes of wear feel like razor blades are imbedded on the inside?  I admit, high-heels make legs and ankles look more attractive.  They add that special something to a dress or an outfit that flats just can’t imitate.  They are incredibly feminine and just make you feel fancy.  I occasionally attempt to wear them.  But high-heels make me feel insecure.  Insecure in that I know the pain is inevitable, and I know that with one small misstep or slip,  I will fall ass over tea kettle in front of anyone watching.   Friday night Dan and I celebrated our anniversary.  We got dressed up and went to dinner at Beso, in Hollywood.  Then we walked to the theatre and saw Phantom of the Opera.  The theatre was less than two blocks from the restaurant, and in the seven minutes it took to walk there, I honestly felt as though my toes were being severed from my feet.  I then made the classic mistake of taking the shoes off while I was at my seat enjoying the performance, because my toes began to swell, which then made trying to put the shoes back on feel like a fresh new hell.  After the show, I put on a brave face, and hobbled out of the theatre, hanging on to Dan’s arm for dear life.  It was all I could do to maintain my dignity and not look like a drunk hooker falling down on the street.  About half way up the first block, I said fuck it.  I took off the shoes and walked down Hollywood Boulevard in my bar feet.  I figured, what the hell?  It’s the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and it’s probably one of the nicest sidewalks in the country.  I did enjoy a laughable moment though when we walked passed a strip club whose marquee read, “1000’s of Beautiful Girls and 3 Ugly Ones!”

2.  I hate being the center of attention, or having too many people looking at me at once.  It makes me feel very insecure and nervous.  Even at my own wedding, knowing that everyone was looking at me filled me with anxiety.  I prefer to blend in with the natives.  This anxiety does not exist for me in this medium, thankfully.  I want people to read my blog.  And it doesn’t feel like the same level of scrutiny for some reason.

3.  I also hate crowds.  Too many people.  Too much noise.  No parking.  And people tend to behave poorly in large crowds.  I prefer smaller, more low key environments.  Causal, laid back places.  Pubs, not clubs.

cockroach4.  I hate allergies.  I am allergic to everything.  If I was stranded on a desert island, I’d probably be dead within hours from touching a leaf or a plant, or being stung by an insect.   A handful of years ago I saw an allergist and she did that skin test on my back where they scratch your skin with a hundred different allergens and then see what you react too.  Within seconds of the nurse applying the allergens, it felt like fire ants were biting me everywhere.  The allergist sort of freaked out when she entered the room and it took several doses of antihistamine to calm the reaction and welts on my back.  When I looked at the chart she gave me, it said one of the items  I was allergic to was cockroaches.  WTF?  I want to know what part of a fucking cockroach they rubbed on my back to find out if I was allergic to it.  Gross.

5.  I hate most reality TV.  Mostly because it’s not reality and there is very little substance to these shows.  I don’t give a fuck about the Kardashians, the Desperate Housewives of any city, or who the Bachelor or Bachelorette is making out with this week.  And don’t even get me started on the Duggars.  There are a few reality shows my family enjoys, but we’re pretty selective.  My family loves MasterChef, American Ninja Warrior, the Amazing Race, and more recently, BattleBots.

6.  I hate hypocrisy.  If you talk the talk, you better be able to walk the walk.

7.  I hate it when people don’t take responsibility for their choices, or try to negate the choices of others.  In life, your choices, for good or bad, is truly what defines you.  Own them, and use your powers for good, not evil.

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8.  I hate Jalapenos.  Does this need further clarification?  I think not.

9.  I hate technology when it doesn’t work.  My last cell phone sucked.  It was an older model Samsung that had the drop down keypad for typing.  I preferred that to the touch screen because my fingers always hit the wrong key and it took me forever to do anything on the phone.  So, one evening my friend was over for our regular Friday night wine o’clock, and I was bitching about my phone and how long it took to connect a call.  And she said, “Can you just give it a second to let the signal come back from space?”  LOL!

10.  I hate skinny jeans on men.  I can’t think of many things more emasculating than seeing men wear skinny jeans.  Biggest fashion mistake, ever.

For the love of….

1.   I love fresh, clean paper.  There’s something about a new notebook or journal that fills me with excitement.  It’s a clean slate.  You can write or create anything.  I would hoard them if I was crazy.  But I’m not crazy.  As far as you know.

2.  I love office supplies.  I have no idea why.  I have always loved stores like Staples and Office Max.  I love buying stuff that makes me feel organized.  Shopping for school supplies as a kid felt like Christmas to me.

3.  On this same note, I love making lists.  I write lists for everything.  Again, it helps me feel organized, and my brain needs this in order to feel peace.

4.  I love getting flowers, for no special reason.  Or for a special reason.  That’s fine too.

5.  I love giving and receiving compliments, especially when they are unexpected.  Admit it.  Getting a compliment at an unexpected moment can make you feel on top of the world.  Especially because we rarely see ourselves the way others see us.  And when you give a compliment, even casually, and you see that person’s face light up, it’s an amazing feeling.

6.  I love it when I’m on the treadmill at the gym and one of my favorite Kid Rock songs hits the playlist.  When Bawitdaba starts playing, it takes all I have to not start singing out load and head banging in front of everyone.  That song, among others, just pumps me up and makes me feel like I could run a hundred miles.  I can’t, of course, and about a minute into the song I have to slow down and remind myself that I’m forty and my knees can’t take that shit.

7.  I love my husband’s photography.  He enjoys photography as a hobby, and I love his pictures.

My kids, walking down the street, holding hands.

My kids, walking down the street, holding hands.

8.  I love candles that make my house smell good.  I specifically love Gold Canyon Candles.  They are the best.

9.  I love reading.  I love being absorbed and transported by a story, and the devastation you feel when the book ends.

10.  I love my husband.  I know I said I would leave out the obvious stuff, but we just celebrated our anniversary, so it feels important to include him in this list.  I love the life we have together, and the balance we share in our relationship.  I’m proud of the man he is and I’m proud to be his wife.

Happy Anniversary, Dan!

Happy Anniversary, Dan!

I nominate the following blogs to participate in this challenge, if they so choose.

1.  https://myspokenheart.wordpress.com/

2.  https://nosajnawk.wordpress.com/

3.  https://lindsaysmiles.wordpress.com/

4.  https://brandedexplorer.wordpress.com/

5.  https://sweetykannoth.wordpress.com/

6.  https://hysterectomy4dysmenorrhea.wordpress.com/

7.   http://catsatthebar.org/   (I would love to see the cat’s perspective on this!)

Wanda Says…I can do anything for a count of ten!

I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is that in my attempt to increase my levels of physical fitness, I walked over 12,000 steps yesterday.  The bad news is that I’m pretty sure my knees and ankles are now plotting to murder me in my sleep.

I’ve been plugging along with my diet and exercise routine with somewhat slow but still fairly decent results.  The first week with my trainer I gained two pounds which she assured me was normal.  Then I lost the two pounds and gained them back when my bestie came into town for the weekend.  Apparently drinking gallons of wine and eating out two meals a day is not exactly healthy or good for my diet.  Whatever.

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Even though I’m not shedding pounds quickly, and I accept the fact that this is my fault and directly related to my weekend activities, I am getting stronger.   I can feel it in my arms and legs.  And I notice the difference in what I can do in my workouts.

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My trainer, Carrie, is amazing.  I actually look forward to working out with her.  Can you believe that?  I look forward to an hour of physical punishment twice a week.  I describe it as punishment because after the workout I feel like I need to crawl into bed and sleep for the rest of the day.  The other day I came home from the gym and went into my son’s room to play with him.  I laid down on his bed and passed out for over an hour.  I slept in his bed in the middle of the day while he played around me.  That one hour with Carrie is so exhausting, and my whole body has been continuously sore for weeks.  My armpits are even sore.  I actually feel like someone punched me in the armpit, repeatedly.  Who knew that was possible?  But during the workout I don’t feel exhausted.  I just feel strong and curious to see what I can do.  I never watch the clock, either.  When I workout with her I never feel like I have to check and see how much time is left before I can be done.

exercise-would-be-so-much-more-rewarding-if-calories-screamed-in-agony-as-you-burned-them-f568c[1]Prior to our workout, I do a quick warm up on the treadmill in a small, woman’s only section of the gym.  This room has mirrors on every wall, so while I’m on the treadmill I can see my body from every angle.  This has proved to be very motivating for me.  By the time I’m done with that warm up and join Carrie in the larger section of the gym I am mentally prepared for her to put me through my paces.  Seeing my body from every angle while I walk on that treadmill reinforces why I’m there.  I told Carrie about this and then said to her, “I don’t care what you ask me to do as long as you help me get rid of my second ass.  I only need one, and this bitch has been free-loading on my backside for long enough.”

She also pushes me in ways that I would never think to push myself.  I’ve learned to not even look at the amount of weight she hands me.  My first workout I thought she was crazy when she handed me ten pound dumbbells.  Now, I just trust that she knows what she’s doing and she wouldn’t give it to me if she thought I couldn’t really do it.  It is hard.  I have to fight through the exercises and I’ve learned what people mean when they talk about the mental aspect of pushing through physical barriers.  I mentally chant to myself during difficult exercises, which is almost every exercise she asks me to do.  I quietly tell myself, over and over, “I can do anything for a count of ten.”  Of course, it’s actually three sets of ten, but in that moment I just need to get through ten.   I focus on that and it helps me to wrap my head around what I am pushing my body to do.

My first week I could only plank for twenty seconds.  My whole body vibrates with the effort necessary to hold the position.  At week four I can do fifty seconds.  I hate that fifty seconds.  Carries says, “Close your eyes, breathe and go to your happy place.”  Instead, I close my eyes and repeatedly think, “I can do anything for fifty seconds.”

And I can.

Wanda Says…Blogging Awards, number 3!

 

neatblog

 

It happened again!

A Girl Named Wanda has been nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by Ray over at The UnsimpleLife.  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Ray through his blog and you should head over and check him out.  He has a fun, wicked sense of humor combined with the madness that is raising children, and that makes reading his posts a real good time.  Thanks, Ray!

I love blog awards, and let me tell you why…there is validation in being recognized by your peers.  To receive that recognition is to know that other people ‘get you.’  They pick up what you’re putting down, and they enjoy it.  I love knowing that when I write a post and throw it out there for the world to read or discard, that even if only one person hits the like button, or only a handful of people read it or leave a comment, that someone understood what I wanted to say and maybe felt the same way too.  Or maybe I made someone laugh with my stupid sense of humor and not-so-artfully placed F-bombs, which is even better.  So again, thank you for the recognition, and thanks for reading my Wanda!

Let’s get to the award!

Real Neat Blog Award Rules:

1. Put the Award Logo in your post

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Here are Seven Questions for me to answer, provided by Ray at The UnsimpleLife….

imagesCIAWB5U7If you could be a sound, what would it be?

Have you ever been at an airshow, and an F-18 fighter jet flew overhead?  Have you heard the earth-quaking sound and sonic boom as the jet breaks the sound barrier?  Felt the way your bones compressed with the energy and noise?  If I could be any sound that’s what I would be.  It’s strong and creates an intense physical reaction.  It forces your heart to beat a little faster and chills to sweep up and down your body .  You can actually feel that sound moving through you and the ground vibrates beneath your feet from the enormity of it.  Yeah, I would be a totally fucking badass sonic boom.  (My friends who read this are probably like, “You’re more like a sparkler, or a weak firecracker, Wanda.”  And I would say, “Oh yeah, screw you guys!  I’m a sonic boom and you know it!”).

What is the most wonderful thing that ever happened to you?

Of course, becoming a mother is the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me.  If you’re a parent, you get it.  If you’re not, then let me describe it as the moment in your life when you truly and irrevocably become part of something bigger than yourself.  And I think it’s the most amazing thing in the world.  Everyday I look at my kids and think, “I can’t believe I made you.”  (And please, God, help me not to screw this up!).

loch nessIf you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

I would go to Scotland.  I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland.  It’s so beautiful in pictures and I want to explore old, ruined castles and spend hours imagining the lives of the people who lived there.  And I want to go to Loch Ness and look for Nessie.  I totally believe in Nessie, and I don’t care what anyone says.  And just so you know, Mermaids are real, too.

If you could invite any three people (living or dead) to dinner, who and why?

First and second would be both of my grandfathers.  Each, in their own way were larger than life and two of the greatest men I’ve ever known.  I would introduce them to their great-grandchildren and my husband.  To be able to spend an evening with them, just one more time, would be one of the greatest gifts I could ever receive.

imagesJJGJ5OSEAnd third, I would invite Linda Carter, but only if she shows up as Wonder Woman, parks the invisible jet in my driveway and demonstrates the Lasso of Truth to my kids.  Wonder Woman was my childhood hero and I still idolize her today.

 

What is your ideal sandwich, and why?

The Rueben is my favorite sandwich.  I love it because it’s sweet, salty, and a little bit sour, just like me.  😉

What is true about you today that would make 10 year old you cry?

As a child I was painfully shy and insecure.  I grew up in a dysfunctional household (who didn’t?), which didn’t help with my low self-esteem.  It wasn’t until I became a young woman that I began to embrace my own inner-strength and to speak up for myself, as well as others.  As an adult, I would tell my ten year old self to be patient, because life gets better.   I would tell her that she has to learn that she can survive the hard things in life, because that is part of becoming who she is meant to be.  I would tell her….you are good enough, and one day you will feel the unconditional love and acceptance that you so desperately wanted as a child.  One day, you will feel whole instead of fractured.  One day, you will be confident and happy.  And it will have been worth the wait because you will be made stronger and smarter for the more difficult things you experienced in life.

What do you get out of blogging, and why do you continue to blog?

Blogging helps me to feel more connected to others.  Since giving up my career and becoming a stay home parent, I’ve struggled with my sense of self and my sense of purpose.  I like being a stay home mom, but it’s hard to feel connected to the world when your life seems to be centered behind the walls of your house.  Being a part of the blogging community takes me to different corners of the world.  I can read and share in the lives of others, both near and far.  And I can contribute my own little piece to the ever-expanding puzzle.  Plus, I feel valued differently when I write something that another person enjoys, finds interesting or funny.  It makes me feel good to know that another person appreciates what I have to say, and also appreciates my participation in their blog, or their little piece of the universe.   I also enjoy reading and gaining the insights of others on topics that I may not have much experience with.  People are fascinating, even if you don’t always agree with them.

Now, onto my nominations….to the nominees listed below, if blog awards aren’t your thing, no big deal.  But hopefully you’ll enjoy some new traffic based on the super awesome things I’m about to say about you.

1.  I Refuse to Follow Your Blog  (This blog is very funny and the mastermind behind the catchy title enjoys making fun of all things in life that he considers to be pathetic, which is pretty much everything, including himself.  It’s a great read so check him out!).

2.  inspired4business (I’m new to this blog, but I love it.  Steve’s posts are always positive, upbeat and inspirational.  Just the pick me up many of us need to regain some perspective and insight on life and how we interact with others.  Check him out and I dare you not to be moved by his amazing attitude and outlook on life).

3.  Ben’s Bitter Blog  (Now, Ben’s blog has been around for a little while, and he’s been nominated for multiple blogging awards.  But not this one, because I checked!  Ben is very bitter, about everything.  And I really enjoy reading his bitter ramblings, and if you like to laugh, you will too!).

Now, I could list seven new questions here, but I found the questions provided by Ray to be thought provoking and entertaining.  So I’m going to mooch off his genius and save myself some time.

Thanks again for the nomination, and happy blogging!

Wanda Says…Drop and give me twenty!

workout with trainerToday, I had my very first session with a personal trainer.

I was nervous about it.  My stomach was in knots all morning imagining the horrific exercises she would make me do.  I imagined her yelling at me and telling me to get my fat ass on the ground and give her twenty.  Twenty of what, I wasn’t sure, just twenty of something hard, and grueling, and painful.

And of course my insecurities about working out in a gym had me worked up about many different, ridiculous scenarios.  I imagined being the only out of shape, non-muscular woman in the room, among sweaty, adrenaline high gym rats who look down on us lesser mortals for being out of shape and having imperfect bodies.  I realize this is ridiculous.  But that’s how insecurities get the best of us, by mind-fucking you into believe that sort of nonsense.

I arrived a half hour early for my appointment.  I have a thing about being late.  I couldn’t help but notice how busy the gym was at 10am on a Tuesday morning.  Like, so busy, there were almost no parking spaces in the HUGE parking lot.  Doesn’t anyone go to work anymore?   After putting my gym bag in my locker (it only had my purse in it but I brought it anyway because carrying a gym bag might make me look like I belong there.  GI JaneYou know, I was trying to blend in with the natives!) I found a seat in the waiting area where I was told to meet her.  I had only spoken with her once on the phone and although she seemed nice I was still bracing myself for GI Jane to come charging at me in the lobby.  I killed the next twenty minutes by trying to look busy reading emails on my phone.  (I’d already read all my emails, but I was pretending to read them again.  I know, insecurity makes me do stupid shit).

And then, there she was….and she was….pretty normal.  She was nice and friendly and made me feel very comfortable.  I’m guessing she’s in her early 50’s, but I could only surmise that based on the natural lines in her face.  Her body was rock solid and there were no typical tell-tale signs of physical aging outside of her face that I could see that would allow me to say for sure how old she was.  Except when she was writing down my information, she asked for my age and when I told her I was forty, she said, “Oh, you’re just a baby!”  LOL!  If she thinks I’m a baby at forty, she’s got to be at least ten years older than me, right?  Oh, and I want to look that good at fifty!

Anyway, she put me through a fitness assessment and after talking for awhile about my metabolism and my multiple failed diet and workout routines, she determined that weight lifting was what we should focus on.  She felt that was the best way to amp up my metabolism and get everything firing on all cylinders again.  She said I could focus on cardio on my own, but she would work with me specifically on weight training.

So we began to work out, and she warned me that she would challenge me a bit because she wanted to see what I could really do.  And I was like, “Sure, let’s take this girl out for a test drive and see what I can do!”

In times like these, I really need to remember that I’m not as much of a badass as I’d like to think I am, but she had me feeling comfortable and confident and like I could do anything.

And then she handed me ten and twelve pound sets of weights.

WTF????!!!!!!!

woman with weightsWhen I work out at home, I never use more than five pound weights, and after a few reps, I can really feel my muscles working.  She wants me to use ten and twelve pounds?  Is she out of her mind?  Oh, okay.  Here’s where the crazy kicks in.  Here’s where she turns into a sadist and starts screaming, “No pain, no gain!”

Except, she didn’t, and I could do it.  I could and did lift that much weight over various exercises and sets.  Who knew?  Who knew I could successfully lift that much weight with the right guidance and form?  I certainly didn’t!  There was only one exercise she had to modify for me and that was toward the end of our workout.  She wanted me to lunge up on a platform box, but my legs were jelly at that point and crumpled under me on my first attempt.  And I didn’t have time to be insecure about myself while working out among real athletes because she had me so focused on what we were doing, I was barely aware of anyone else in the gym.

It was great.  She was great, and I have to admit, I’m a little bit excited about going back.  I’m excited for the possibilities.  I’m excited for the realization that I am stronger than my fears.  You would think that at the age of forty I would be past that sort of thing.  Past being a victim to the ‘what ifs’ and doubts that complicate something as simple as going to a gym to workout.  But insecurity is an asshole, and I just have to keep reminding myself not to listen it.

Of course, even after my great workout with a great trainer, and after realizing my own potential in this foreign land of exercise machines and athletes, reality decided I need a quick slap to the face.  As I was walking out, a woman stepped into my path to walk in front of me.  And it was impossible not to notice her bouncy butt-cheeks hanging out of her skin tight panty shorts.

(Insert gusty sigh and eye roll here).