Hello Old Friend

I have a good friend I’ll call Joe who lives on the East Coast. I met him and his friend, who I’ll call Jack, in Ireland in the summer of 1986 while backpacking through Europe with my friend Simmah. Since he lives almost 3,000 miles away from me we’ve never seen each other much.

Odds were against us remaining friends. Not only because of the distance, but because the following summer I ended up falling madly in love with Jack. And for a very short while he loved me back. Then he broke my heart. But that’s another story.

Joe and I don’t talk on the phone very often. I’m not the best about keeping in touch and he’s even worse. (Way worse.) But I still count him as one of my dearest friends. You know those people that you don’t talk to for a couple of years and then you visit them or call them and –BOOM!– you pick up right where you left off – no awkwardness or resentment about phone calls not made, emails not sent? That’s how it is with my friend Joe.

He’s not on Facebook, so we can’t keep in touch that way and somehow over the last three or maybe even four years we’d completely lost touch. It doesn’t seem possible that we let it go so long without talking, but sometimes the minutiae of daily life gets in the way of things that are precious.

About a month ago I found an old picture of us – Joe, Jack, my friend May and me- taken in 1989 during a weekend spent at a beach house in New Jersey. (I had gotten over my broken heart and had started a cautious friendship with Jack again.) I snapped a photo of the picture with my phone and texted it to Jack and Joe. Remember these people? I asked.

The three of us started texting a bit and Joe told me he was going out to Oregon in July. Looking at colleges? I asked. Our boys are the same age. He told me yes and that also his son was running a race. I had no idea that his son was a runner.

What does he run? Chandler’s a runner too. He does XC, 800M, 1600M.

Joe texts back: XC, 800M, 1600M.

What are the odds?

What are his PR’s? I text. (That’s Personal Record for those of you outside the running world.) Chandler’s are 1:58 for 800M & 4:32 for 1600M.

But Joe is slow with the texting. And I don’t mean slow like me where my fat, old thumbs take a minute to type a ten word text. I mean slow as in he must be doing something else because sometimes it takes 10-20 minutes for him to reply. So I lose patience and Google his son.

Oh. My. God. His son is fast!

Nevermind just Googled him. Shit he’s fast. That’s awesome! Chandler only has to speed up his 1600 by 25 seconds to beat him!

His son’s 800M time is 1:52 and his 1600M is 4:07. And he’s high school state champion for the one mile. I watched the race where his son ran a 4:07 online. I show Chandler and Dave and we are all in awe of his speed. I’m so happy for my friend Joe.

We talked on the phone for an hour the next night. We couldn’t get over the coincidence that our sons ran the same races. Middle distance races – the races most runners hate. We texted during his son’s Oregon race and spoke again the week after.

We talked about running and college, reminisced about old times, and scolded ourselves for losing touch for so long.

“Talking to you makes me realize how much I miss you,” I told him.

He has always been one of my favorite people. He can make me laugh like few others and he’s truly just a good, good person.

We tell each other “I love you” when we hang up the phone. But not in the way that would make either of our spouses jealous. The way you say I love you to a cousin. Or a sibling. Or a true long-lost friend.

I’ll kick his ass if we lose touch again.

 

 

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.

Wine-how-classy-people-get-wasted
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.)

Bradley-Cooper-shirtless
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?

 

 

Running Sucks Series: This Time She Shall Be Named

The last time I wrote about her I was kind and did not name her. We ran together on a trail run and I stuck with her even though she was slow. On the streets she’s fast, but trails scare her and she begged me to stay by her side. So of course I did. I’m a good friend like that. (Such a good friend I ended up getting us lost.)

She’s the one that suckered talked me into running in the first place after our Just Lose It program ended. She claimed that she hates running too, but I don’t believe her. I think she’s a liar.

And after the terrible awful thing she did to me yesterday? She’s a liar who will be named.

Juliana.

Yesterday there were only three of us who were able to meet up for our Sunday run and Jennifer was walking because of an injury. We were doing a four mile run around the lake. Juliana said she really didn’t feel like running and would run with me at my pace. Yes, even though we started running at the same time she’s much faster than I am.

If I were the type that makes excuses, I’d say it’s because she weighs about 30 pounds less than I do. (Hey, she’s like four or five inches shorter so shut up!) It’s probably easier for her to run faster – you know, less girth to carry around.

I said she didn’t have to slow herself down to stay with me, but she said she wanted to because she was really tired and really didn’t want to run and had to force herself to come.

She did slow her pace down, but not to my pace, so I had to run faster to keep up. Remember what I said about her being a liar?

I’ve backed off on my running since my race because it takes up so much time. I was running five days a week and now I’m running three. So this run was really killing me. As we got to the light to make the turn back to the coffee house that was 3/4 of a mile away I kept chanting to myself,”Less than eight minutes left, less than eight minutes left.” I was dying, but I could run for eight more minutes.

Maybe.

And then she turned to me, and said, “Let’s go straight and do the five mile loop. We can even walk if you want.”

What?! NO!

I had less than eight minutes left and now she wanted me to run for something closer to eighteen. She told me she didn’t even feel like running. She told me she had to force herself to come and now we were almost done. Juliana is a big fat lying liar who lies! She kept going straight, turned her head and told me she loved me. I told her I hated her. And at that moment I meant it. But I followed her anyway.

And then I was pissed. Like, stomp your feet like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum pissed. I did not want to run an extra mile. I ran for about two minutes this way – hating Juliana and being grumpy and mad and miserable. And then I gasped for air took a deep breath and told myself to calm down. I’ve run five miles before. Hell, I’ve run six. I could do this. I turned up my music, stopped hating Juliana (mostly), and ran.

Juliana started to run faster and then would slow down to a walk until I caught up. I’d take two walking steps and then she’d run ahead again. You know that trick you play on people when they’re getting in your car and as soon as they touch the handle you pull forward a little? She was doing the running equivalent of that. (And I stopped hating her why?)

During that last push I focused on Adam Levine singing that he wanted to make sweet, sweet love to me (he might have used another word) and then I focused on Enrique Iglesias singing that he’d like to make sweet, sweet love to me as well (he definitely used another word). I wonder if Bradley Cooper can sing. If he was singing about all the dirty ways he could make sweet, sweet love to me I think I could run all day.

Or at least for five miles.

I’d like to say that I’m still mad at Juliana for tricking me into that extra mile. For pushing me harder than I wanted to go.

But if I said that, then I might (or might not) be the one who’s a liar.

Girlfriends = Happiness (The End)

Friday night I went out with three of my closest girlfriends. We are coming up on knowing each other for 30 years (not sure how that’s possible) and being with them always makes me happy.

We’re all different and at different stages of our lives.

Trixie will be celebrating her 5th wedding anniversary this year. She has two step-children in their twenties, but no children of her own by design. She lives in a fabulous designer home, has a very successful entertainment lawyer husband, and a fast-paced, interesting career working for a concert promoter. She receives “thank you” gifts from people like Halle Berry and goes to parties at places like Norman Lear’s house. As you can imagine she always has the best stories.

SkinnyBitch (so named because she has always been my skinniest friend – and I live in LA, so that’s saying something!) became an empty-nester last fall when her only child (her daughter and very best friend) went off to college in New York. She is a therapist and always gives us useful, welcome (and free) advice.

Simmah is single and has no kids. She’s never married (though she could have – she’s been asked), but she’s had a couple long-term, live-in relationships. She went through a tough break up recently and is making peace with being alone right now. She spends her free time going to the gym, hiking, playing tennis, being with friends. She might envy my family life (or she might not), but I’ll tell you, there are times when I envy her solitude. Her freedom. Her incredibly clean house. Her space.

Our group wasn’t quite complete. Trixie’s sister lives an hour away (in no traffic) – too far to come out on a Friday night. And Heidi was unable to make it due to some wifely/motherly duties at home. She’s never been as good at ditching her family as I am.

What do my very different friends have in common? You know besides their awesomeness, and good taste in suburban-mom friends? They’re all smart. They’re all beautiful. And they’re all funny as shit! My husband makes me laugh every day, but no one makes me laugh harder or louder or longer than these ladies. No one.

We had dinner at a French restaurant. Blue crab cakes and muscles with pommes frites, two bottles of wine, stories, advice, a little bit of celebrity gossip, and a whole lot of laughter made for the one of the best evenings I’ve had in a while.

I drank too much wine and slept over at Simmah’s. She completely gutted and remodeled her house a couple years ago. It’s gorgeous. I want to live there. We used to be roommates. Maybe I could leave Dave and the kids and shack up with her again. She does have a guest room.

In the morning we sleep in until about 7:30 or so – late for both of us, she’s an early riser too. She made breakfast. Eggs and chorizo with tortillas, hash browns and bacon. Oh my god, she makes the best bacon.

We talked and laughed and talked and laughed some more. One of the things we talked about is how grateful we are for our long friendship. We both realize how quickly time is passing and that time spent with girlfriends laughing and talking and even crying is not only precious, but necessary for a happy life.

I lingered until 11:00 or so before getting back to the chores and errands and family at home waiting for me.

I wish for so much for my children when they are adults. I wish them success whatever that may be for them. I wish them health. I wish them happiness. And I wish and I hope and I pray that they are as lucky as me when it comes to finding lifelong friends.

My Best Friend Wears Granny Panties

Throwback Thursday: Originally posted on the now-defunct skirt.com on February 7, 2011

If I were a smart blogger who wrote about topical issues in hopes of getting a lot of hits I would probably write about the Super Bowl or Super Bowl commercials.  But sadly I am not.  I did go to a Super Bowl party, but spent most of it drinking too much, eating even more, ignoring my children, and gossiping with my girlfriends.  I didn’t see much of the game or many of the commercials.  I even missed the commercial for the new Bradley Cooper movie because I was in the bathroom.  I know…

So instead I will be writing about my friend Heidi* and her granny panties…

Last Tuesday I had one of those days.  Actually, that’s not entirely true, but I did have an hour where everything seemed to crash down on me at once like the Mexican train dominoes my kids set up on the entry tile and then take down with a flick of their fingers.

Well it sure seemed like someone was flicking their finger at me.

I was driving to pick up my son from school to take him to the orthodontist when my cell phone rang.  I saw that it was my friend Heidi.

“Hey,” I said, completely agitated.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Argh, nothing.  Sorry.  I’m just bleh.”

“What?”

I told her that the reason for my extreme crankiness was that because literally in the last half hour:

-I got a rejection email for an essay I had submitted for publication.

-Realized I was late posting an article that I had yet to write.

-Tried printing Chandler’s bus pass application that was due the week before and jammed the printer.

-By the time I had the printer un-jammed and the application printed I was late picking up Marley from school.

-Being late also made me get stuck in the daily high school traffic jam I do my best to avoid at all costs.

-This made me so late in picking up Chandler that not only was he sure to be late to his appointment, but there was no possible way for me to turn in the stupid buss pass application and I would have to go back to the school again the next day.

Sigh…I do not know why I continue to invite Procrastination and Un-organization over to hang out with me when they have proven time and time again to be crappy ass friends.

“And to top it off I forgot my Bluetooth so I’ll probably get a ticket the way the last half hour is going.”

“Well put me on speaker because I can make you laugh,” she said.

So I put her on speaker and held the phone near the top of the steering wheel in the way that Californians without Bluetooths do as if this will prevent us from getting a ticket.

“Remember I told you that I tripped last week and my knee has been bothering me since then.  Well I went to the doctor today and figured I would wear a skirt so it would be easier for him to look at my knee.  I sat on his bench and he said, ‘Okay I need you to lie back and raise your leg up and bend it.’”

“Uh oh.  Were you wearing a pencil skirt?” I asked.

“No, I was wearing this long flowing skirt, so the doctor kind of lifted it up and tried to arrange it so I wasn’t flashing him, which I probably wouldn’t have been if I had just been wearing a thong, but I was wearing Spanx.  My doctor lifts my leg and the skirt slides against the slickness of the Spanx and there I am completely exposed wearing flaw-fixing underwear.  And of course my doctor is really young and cute and hello there I am wearing total granny panties.  I could tell that even though he’s a doctor and has probably seen it all he really wasn’t expecting to see that.  There he is, moving my leg this way and that way and at one point I even had my leg over his shoulder so he could feel what was going on with my knee when I pushed down and the whole time he’s trying to arrange my skirt so the Spanx aren’t showing, but my skirt keeps sliding up my leg and my granny panties keep popping out.”

I picture my friend lying back with her leg in the air trying to flirt with her cute doctor and just pretend that the granny panties aren’t there.  Hysterical!

She really did make me laugh.  My bad mood was immediately lifted.  And I didn’t get a ticket.

Other than the rejection letter I guess it wasn’t such a bad day after all.

*Heidi is not my friend’s real name.  I would kill for her figure. I don’t know what the hell she was doing wearing Spanx.

My tweets are even lamer than my blog posts (but at least they’re short.) If lameness is your thing follow me on Twitter @Rossgirl08

And if you’re really feeling generous like me on Facebook!

Just Lose It: The Results

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, my Biggest-Loser-Style Just Lose It Fitness Challenge at Stevenson Fitness is complete. And now what everyone has been waiting for – the results.

(May I have a drum roll please…)

What I Lost

My six-week weight loss total was 12 pounds! I also lost 4.2% body fat and a whopping 13.5 inches of flab. (Almost 4 inches were from my waist!)

Before-and-After-Front-side
Hello flat stomach. (And goodbye boobs! WAAAH!)
Before-and-After-Back-side
Buh-bye muffin tops. (And I do think my butt is a bit higher!)

I may not look like an informercial model, but not bad, right?

(A note about these pictures – I know the lighting and the quality is terrible. My photographer (Marley) was very reluctant and semi-uncooperative. Hopefully even though the pictures are crap and I’m “bigger” in the after shots because she was standing closer, you can see a difference.)

The rest of my team did fantastic as well. (One of my teammates lost 14 pounds and over 5% body fat – whoo hoo! You GO girl!)

Here we are with our certificates of completion (and getting ready to get our drink on) after the results…

Weigh-loss-results
The Pink Bitches Post-weigh-in, Pre-party

Yeah, go ahead and say it – we are one group of hot suburban moms!

No, I did not win the competition. Some dude named Mark did. (Of course, dudes always lose the most.) Actually, the winner really should be commended. He lost over 20 pounds and 5% body fat. Congratulations Mark!

And our team came in third (yes, out of three teams), but in our defense we were the fittest team to start with and had the least amount to lose. (And please know I speak for my skinny teammates when I say that, I still have at least another five pounds to go.)

What I Gained

Even more important than what I lost is what I gained.

Friendship: I was blessed to be on a team with three other amazing women. The camaraderie we shared and our mutual hatred of Phil (I’m just kidding, Phil – we LOVE you!) is what got me through our grueling workouts. My team helped push me to do things I wouldn’t have done on my own. Leslie, Jennifer, and Juliana – you ladies rock and there’s nobody else I would have rather had on my team. And Phil, I mean this from my heart, hating you was awesome. There is no other trainer I would have rather worked with.

Fitness-challenge-team
The Pink Bitches and the infamous Phil just before weigh-in

Confidence: I feel really good about the way I look and I haven’t felt like that in a really long time. I’ve been getting a lot of compliments lately from people at the gym and even people I’ve run into around town who don’t even know I’ve been doing this competition and I have to admit, it feels great.

In fact, when we went out to celebrate afterwards I wore this:

body-confidence
What you can’t see are my 4-inch heels. (I was working it that night!)

And sure I’m a 48-year-old suburban mom, but I think I kinda rocked it. In fact when we were at the bar I even got hit on. Twice. Sadly it was by a couple of different drunk old dudes who were completely unworthy of my new found fabulousness, and not by a 25-year-old who looked like my wine bar boyfriend, Austin. But still. It was flattering. As someone who admittedly likes attention, I will say that it was nice to be noticed.

cute-wine-bar-guy
Oh Austin, why couldn’t you have been the one hitting on me?

A New Wardrobe: Well, an old wardrobe really. It’s awesome to be able to fit into (almost) everything in my closet again. Though I probably won’t be wearing those turn-of-the-century mom jeans anytime soon it’s nice to know they fit. And I do have a ton of skirts and dresses that I’m pretty sure are still stylish and am happy to put back in my wardrobe rotation.

I’m Not Done Yet

I’ll definitely be sticking to the four meal a day plan that Holly taught us (though I do plan on using wine as my carb a few nights a week). And my teammates and I will continue working out together for a long time to come. I still have five pounds to lose and quite a bit of toning to go (bat wing triceps, I will make you disappear, I will!). With the knowledge from this program and help from my awesome new friends, I know I can do it.

suburban-moms
After 6 weeks of hard work we earned these drinks!

My husband asked me if it was worth it – the hard-ass workouts, the soreness, the time it took, the meal planning, the not drinking. 

Would I do the Just Lose It program again? Absolutely!