My Work Day Inside the Fishbowl

At work I sit behind big glass windows near the elevator, stairs, and restrooms on the top floor of my two-story open-air office building. Everyone coming to work, leaving work, using the restroom, and getting their mail has to pass by my office doors. I know the lazy-asses who take the elevator up from the parking garage and the even lazier-asses who take it down. (Down? Really?) Most take the stairs.

A few people look in and smile as they walk by. Everyone else looks straight ahead, ignoring me, as if by not acknowledging me with a friendly smile will somehow render them invisible and I won’t know that their morning coffee has kicked in. One older gentleman, a CPA named George, always waves. Enthusiastically. Sometimes he comes in to chat. (He takes the elevator, but I would put him in his late 60’s and he often brings his dog to work, so I do not place him in the lazy-ass category. He’s earned the elevator.)

About two or three months ago new tenants moved in a couple doors down. I didn’t think much about it until I saw him. Tall. Handsome. Dreamy. He comes to work in rolled up jeans and flip flops. Sometimes he wears a hat. Not a baseball hat. A dapper looking hat with a brim. I call him my work boyfriend. Watching him saunter by my office doors is the high point of my day. (My work day, I mean. Because going home to Dave and the kids and making them all dinner, and then having the kids roll their eyes at me as I try to be an active and involved parent by asking them about their day and then cleaning up the kitchen as everyone scatters to do homework and walk the dog is the true high point of my day. Obviously.)

Hot Boyfriend
I stole this from my friend Jessica’s Two Funny Brains Facebook Page. You should like her page. She’s M-F-ing funny!

When the new tenant’s name was posted on the office directory I googled them. (Oh, like you wouldn’t!) Entertainment law. Apparently entertainment lawyers dress a lot more casually than other types of lawyers.

He wears a wedding ring which is good, because I really can’t have him falling in love with me. I mean, I am a married woman after all. (But I think some office fantasy eye candy is allowed.)

In real life he wouldn’t be for me. He’s a total hipster. (I mean what kind of forty year old wears rolled up jeans?) And I hate hipsters. Not because I think they think they are better or cooler than me (which I’m sure they do), but because I think they are better and cooler than me. Well, maybe not better. But definitely cooler. (But then, everyone is cooler than me.)

Once, when Marley was about nine she said, “Girls who hate Katy Perry want to be Katy Perry.” (That girl is wise beyond her years.) Or maybe it was Taylor Swift. It was someone hateable/I-wish-that-were-me-able.

What? You don’t want to be Taylor Swift? Really?! A rich, famous twenty-four year old girl who dates tons of cute boys and whose job it is write platinum selling songs about how they broke her fragile little-girl heart and tour the world singing them. Yeah, I don’t want to be her either.

Yeah, who’d want to be her?

I’d much rather be me. Sitting in my fishbowl day in and day out. I don’t get to tour the world singing about the latest boy who broke my heart, but sometimes when my work boyfriend passes by my office doors he looks in and smiles at me.

Photo credits: Boyfriend someecard “borrowed” from here and Taylor Swift Boyfriend collage “borrowed” from here.

Things That are Bad for You

Last week I had my writers’ group over to my house. I was speaking to my uncle before my friends came over and he said I had to wear the present that he and my aunt gave me for my birthday. They gave me an apron. And while that doesn’t really seem like something one would wear to a writers group, because I am a good niece, I did.

So nice to know I’m classy!

You may wonder what one does at a writers’ group, so I will tell you. We drink a lot of wine and talk too much about things that have nothing to do with writing. (So it turns out wearing the apron was a good fit after all.)

Actually we do have an agenda. We chit-chat for about 30 minutes as people are showing up, we have a writing prompt and spend 10 minutes writing whatever that prompt brings to mind, we all read our prompts aloud, then we each have ten minutes to discuss our goals for the next month. We can also send over a piece we’ve been working on before the meeting for feedback. If we were orderly this would all take about two hours. It usually takes four. (Mostly due to the drinking and talking too much about non-writerly things.)

I was in charge of the prompt (which can be a word or a phrase or even a question) and I chose “things that are bad for you.” The great thing about writing prompts is the varied responses from everyone. I love to hear my clever and creative friends read their prompts aloud.

Kim did not like my prompt. She started to write a story that was very similar the piece she’d emailed earlier in the day for feedback, but she felt that story had already been told, so she crossed it out and just made a list. I thought her list was fantastic as it wasn’t really a list of things that are bad for “you,” (as in everyone), but rather things that were bad for her.

And with 2014 officially half over, on this 19th day of my 49th year, the year I am trying to make productive, trying to make count, trying to make matter, it inspired me to make a list of my own. Because I want to stop doing things that are bad for me. And I have always found that things are so much easier to achieve when I have a list.


Things that are bad for me

  • Staying up late
  • Time-sucking activities (Candy Crush I’m talking to you!)
  • Procrastinating
  • Being late
  • A third glass of wine. (Not that I ever have that!)
  • A second cup of coffee
  • Forgetting what the words “portion control” mean (What do they mean again?)
  • Not writing
  • Not working out
  • Not stretching
  • Not making lists
  • Chandler being gone for 5 1/2 weeks (though this is very good for Chandler)
  • Being forgetful
  • Being unorganized
  • Jealousy
  • Self-doubt
  • Lack of motivation
  • Being lazy (especially when my laziness becomes blazy, which is a term my writer’s group came up with that means being blasé about your laziness. We’d campaign to get the word into next year’s Merriam Webster, but that would take way too much effort, thus being the exact opposite of blazy.)
  • Excuses (see above)

I could probably go on and think of 20 things that are bad for me instead of only 19, but I’m blazy remember?. Besides, I feel myself bordering on negativity. And that’s not my style. Perhaps I will counteract this post with a post listing things that are good for me. (Like Bradley Cooper obviously.)

Yeah, I chose a picture of Bradley Cooper shirtless. You’re welcome.


Oh, and my kids, of course.

But as I said, another post.

I’d love to know… what are some things that are bad for you?



Sunday in the Suburbs

Today I went running at eight o’clock in morning and left the kids a list of chores – vacuuming, dusting, bathroom cleaning – the bare minimum to make our house presentable tolerable. I ran two and a half miles today and I’ll admit that it was easier than the two miles I ran last week, but that’s because we ran a much flatter course, not because I’m getting better. Everyone in run club is so nice and encouraging. They all say that they hated running when they started. A lot of them tell me that now they love it. I know I will never love it. I refuse to drink the running Kool-aid. But I think I will go back again next week. Maybe. After running I went to coffee with some friends from the gym. It’s nice to have gym friends. 20 years of gym memberships and this is the first time I’ve made actual friends there. At coffee we talk about kids’ sports, the scariness of paying for college, and what a treat and a luxury a Hawaiian family vacation would be. When I got home the house was clean. Not company-clean. Or mom-clean. But kid-clean. It’s not perfect, but I didn’t have to do it. It works for me.

I Think I’ll Write a Travel Blog

Flying Virgin Airlines
Away we go

I think I’ll write a travel blog. After all, last week I was traveling. Alone.

That’s right, just me and my (not so) little carry on. (You’re all jealous aren’t you?)

I didn’t go anywhere glamorous, but maybe if I started writing a travel blog, I could start going to glamorous places.

Maybe I could make the URL of my travel blog Suburban Mom Dumps Family to Travel to Glamorous Places dot com.


There is a travel blog called Adventurous Kate written by a fabulous 20-something (named Kate, duh) who travels the world solo and writes about it. She made it into her job! I hate her. I want to be her. Why wasn’t the internet invented when I was 20-something and adventurous?

Since I am not fabulous and young 20-something and adventurous – wait, that’s not true, I may not be 20-something, but I am fabulous and adventurous. Well, at heart anyway, just not currently in practice… let’s start over…

Since I am not 20-something, if I had a travel blog to write about my travel “adventures” I would probably write something like this…

Last Week I had an early flight to Virginia. I was excited because I was flying Virgin Airlines for the first time and didn’t have to worry about anyone but me. I had a cup of coffee on the way to the airport, but I got there early enough to buy another at Starbucks. (I figured since I got up at 4AM I earned it!)

As I was walking down the long hall to the plane I must have jerked my arm because the coffee came flying out of the cup and right onto my shirt. Crap! I was meeting someone at a restaurant right after I got off the plane. And I HATE having coffee stains (or any stains for that matter) on my shirt.


My luck turned around because the flight wasn’t very full and I had a whole row to myself. Score! I like to sit on the aisle because I have to get up at least two or three times on long fights to pee. (Everyone who knows me well is nodding their heads right now.) But I also like to sit at the window so I can see what we’re flying over and lean up against the wall. With the whole row to myself I could do both. Holla!

Inside Virgin Airlines plane
TV screens for every seat and a whole row to myself – sweet!

So as soon as that fasten-seat-belt sign turned itself off I hopped right up and hightailed it to the bathroom. I tried blotting the coffee stain with a wet paper towel and got nowhere. So, since the stain was near the bottom of my shirt, I stuck it under the running water and rubbed some soap on it and rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed (you would not believe how much you have to rinse to get a tiny bit of soap out) and now had a shirt that had a six inch by six inch sopping wet area. I took a bunch of paper towels and squeezed out the excess water as best I could, buttoned my sweater over the spectacle of it and returned to my seat row.

The shirt felt cold on my skin so I put a paper towel between my stomach and my shirt. (That paints a pretty picture doesn’t it?) Then I ate half the sandwich that I brought for breakfast. And blopped avocado on my shirt. Huhhhh (That is the sound of me taking a deep breath and trying not to scream the word SHIT! on a quiet plane.)

I got back up, went to the bathroom and repeated the whole stick-the-bottom-of-my-shirt-under-the-running-water-process. When I got back to my seat I put my Pashmina under my shirt and wrapped it around my shoulders so I would stay warm, but didn’t cover my shirt so it could dry. Thank god I had the whole row to myself and the plane was dark. If I had a seatmate, they’d probably think I was mental.

(Travel tip: always travel with a Pashmina type scarf – so much better than the nasty travel blankets they always run out of have on the plane.)

This is what I look like in my Pashmina when I travel! (Hey… sexy lady!)

A couple hours later I went to the bathroom again (look, I drink a lot of water) and noticed a third stain on my shirt. WTF?!  When did I become incapable of wearing a shirt without getting it dirty? I was like a toddler in desperate need of a bib. This time I just took the shirt off and put it in the sink. A bit more soap, a bit more scrubbing, a lot more rinsing, and a lot of paper towels to squeeze it (semi) dry. (I wonder if Adventurous Kate ever used an airline bathroom as her own personal washing machine.)

I know what you’re all thinking – I had a carry on. Why didn’t I just change when I got to the airport? Because I wanted to wear the shirt I was wearing, that’s why. (She says with a foot stomp. See acting like a toddle above!)

I returned to my seat and resumed my classy position of shoving my scarf under (but not on top of) my shirt and around my shoulders. I arrived to my destination with my shirt clean(ish?) and dry. But I don’t think I’ll be ditching my family to write a travel blog any time soon. (Unless you think there might be a market for How To Use An Airline Bathroom As A Washing Machine dot com.)

*Pashmina photo “borrowed” from

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Today (and everyday) I am thankful for so many things… good friends, laughter, music, books, wine, coffee, my blog readers (all 10  of you – thank you so much!), living only 20 minutes from the beach, waking up to watch the sunrise every morning, beautiful sunsets, and our wonderful Southern California weather.

But above all, I am most thankful for this…

The loves of my life

What are you most thankful for?


Cabbage Soup Diet: The Day After

It’s the day after the Cabbage Soup Diet and you know exactly what I did, don’t you? I did this:

Morning coffee
Hello precious!

That’s right! Coffee! (Can you hear the angels singing? Trust me – the did!) But I only had one cup instead of my usual two, so you’d better believe I savored every sip.

I re-lost that pound and a half that jumped back on me after my one cheat, making my total weight loss six pounds. Six pounds in seven days? I’ll take it! And I know, I know, now the trick is to keep it off.

I really do think I can do that. Like I said on Day Five of the Cabbage Soup Diet, I really noticed all the little things I was eating throughout the day that add up. Today I only had one cup of coffee instead of two. I never really enjoy that second cup of coffee as much as the first, so instead of having a second I switched to green tea.

At lunch I usually have half a sandwich and tortilla chips. (Followed by a second serving of tortilla chips.) Today I had half a sandwich and a cup of tomato and roasted red pepper soup from Trader Joe’s. (YUM!)

We had pasta for dinner, but I only had half a cup and put it in a bowl with a heaping serving of broccoli and marinara sauce. (And just a teaspoon of olive oil on the broccoli – it was delicious.) I didn’t put blue cheese crumbles in my salad and ate my salad with lemon instead of salad dressing. (I think I will usually eat salad dressing instead of lemon on my salad, but since I am going to not one, but two Thanksgiving dinners this week, I figure I’ll save my calories where I can.) Also, I had water with dinner instead of wine. Shockingly enough, after a week on the Cabbage Soup Diet, I got used to having water for dinner and kind of lost my craving for wine. Again, I’m not giving up wine with dinner forever, but don’t think I’ll have it this week until my Thanksgiving food orgies on Thursday and Saturday.

I won’t lie, last week wasn’t fun. Sometimes it was even rather hellish. But I do feel lighter. My stomach is flatter. My pants fit better. I’m happy with the results. But would I do the Cabbage Soup Diet again? I hope I never have to.

Today my Yogi Green Tea fortune said this:

Yogi Green Tea Fortune
You’re beautiful!

But I’m not sure if it was talking to me or that glorious cup of coffee.

By the way, in case you missed it, here is the complete diary: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, Day Seven

Cabbage Soup Diet Diary: Day Seven

Hazzah! Day Seven of the Cabbage Soup Diet! Do you know what that means? It means tomorrow I get coffee!

First the bad news. I gained back a pound and a half from my dinner-with-friends-cheat so now my net weight loss is 5 pounds. I know that’s still really good for six days, but I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t bummed. However, I believe in living life to the fullest, and I’ll take a pound and a half hit in exchange for a fun evening with good friends any day. I just know that today I have to be really careful.

And I will also confess that I’m a bit scared – today is brown rice and vegetables. The dreaded carbs! I’ve done this Cabbage Soup Diet before and gained back weight from Day Seven. But I think that perhaps I was a little lax on Day Seven in the past and also probably dipped a little too much into the rice. Cabbage Soup Diet Tip #7: Don’t stick your face into that bowl of rice. Try to eat more vegetables than rice. Also, ignore Diet Tip #3 – stop being lazy!

Yes, if you haven’t started working out again, today is a great day to start. Today I took my dog on a two mile walk first thing in the morning, came home and had some brown rice, butternut squash and spinach for breakfast, went to the gym and worked out on the treadmill for 40 minutes, came home and had lunch (the same thing I had for breakfast) and then before dinner I took my dog for another walk. (Only a little over a mile this time.) That may be a little extreme, but I wanted to be sure to walk off that cheat dinner and make sure the brown rice didn’t stick.

Cabbage Soup Diet Brown Rice and Vegetables
Breakfast (and lunch) of (Diet) Champions

For dinner I made Mandarin Orange Chicken from Trader Joe’s (a staple in our household) with broccoli and brown rice. Of course I didn’t eat the chicken. I also realized that I hadn’t had any soup today and ate the last of the soup. (Thank god!)

Today I felt really great. Working out made me hungry, but not famished. I had all of my energy back – which admittedly at my age is marginal at best. But I was able to tidy up the house, clean both bathrooms and do three loads of laundry and I didn’t need a nap. (You are jealous of my rock star life aren’t you?)

Be sure to check in tomorrow when I give a Cabbage Soup Diet recap and let you know my total weight loss. (And thanks so much for reading about my crazy crash diet ride!)

Cabbage Soup Diary: Day Three

Stupid Cabbage Soup Diet! Yesterday I woke up to a yummy buttery baked potato. Today I get butternut squash and pomegranate seeds. I like butternut squash and pomegranate seeds, but I’d rather have a buttery baked potato. I’m already dreaming of the banana milkshake I’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow.

Also, I miss coffee. Yogi Green Tea is fine. In fact I really like it and it gives me (some of) the caffeine boost I need, but it’s just not the same as my decadent hell-of-a-lotta-cream-and-sugar coffee. I know the cream and sugar isn’t great if you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight, but I only drink 2 cups a day and it makes me happy. I’m 47-years-old. I like things in life that make me happy. I’m not giving up my damn coffee. Well, except for this week.

Yogi Green tea fortune
The only thing multiplying is the hunger in my stomach

I lost another pound and a half, so that’s three pounds in two days. That might be worth giving up coffee for a week. Maybe. (Oh and if any of you are wondering if I’m ever going to disclose how much I weigh – forget it. I’ve already told you how old I am. That’s all you get to know!)

It was a little harder to sleep last night. I forgot the Melatonin because I was so tired (probably from depriving my body of calories) I just sort of fell into bed. I woke up in the middle of the night with that achy muscle deterioration/body detoxing whatever it is pain, but it wasn’t too bad.

I’m not going to lie. I thought this would be a little easier today because of the variety of fruits and vegetables, but it’s not. I’m never tempted to cheat, but I’m conscious almost all day long that I really don’t have enough food in me. At least not the right kind of food.

The morning wasn’t too bad. I had my pomegranate and squash for breakfast, then about an hour later I had some mango, avocado and grapes. That held me over until my delicious (notice the italics to emphasize my sarcasm) cabbage soup diet soup for lunch. Okay, so lunch was at 11:30. But still. That’s not too bad. I snacked all afternoon on snap peas and mini peppers.

Gas-X continues to be my friend. (For the most part.)

Cabbage Soup Diet Tip #3: Do not work out. Be lazy! One of the biggest bummers for me about this diet (you know other than the extreme hunger) is that I can’t work out. Well, it doesn’t say that you can’t work out, but I just don’t have the energy. Or the strength. I know that some of you will look at this as an advantage, but I actually like going to the gym and it kind of seems ironic that to lose weight quickly I have to give up working out for a week.

For dinner I roasted some vegetables and okay, okay, I cheated! I put on the tiniest bit of olive oil on my vegetables. I couldn’t help it. I wanted my roasted asparagus to taste good. (And it did – it really, really did!) But I didn’t slather it on like I usually do. I just sprayed some on with one of those little Misto Olive Oil Sprayers, so even though it is oil, it comes out more like Pam and it’s really just a tiny bit.

Tonight I made my family breakfast for dinner – scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, bacon, hash brown patties and toast and I did not lick my bacony fingers or sneak one bite. So that has to count for something right?

Again, off to bed early. I think I’m going to dream of the bananas smoothie I’ll be having tomorrow!