What special breed of lunatic sets her alarm clock for 4 o’clock, on a Sunday, so she can do laundry, blog and scan / read The New York Times while her husband (Hubby), daughter (Wee Lass) and extremely overweight Maine Coon cats (Thunder + Lightning) are fast asleep in their beddy-byes upstairs?
This special breed of lunatic (Momover Lady), who is about to head out on a whopper of a press trip to Costa Rica.
I’ve never been anywhere near Costa Rica, but I hear that it’s pretty schizophrenic, vibe-wise.
Apparently there’s a wild and woolly side, and a schmancy side.
Happily – oh so very happily – I’m headed to the schmancy side. Not that I can’t totally do wild and woolly; I’m a super-proud Oklahoman, after all. As an idiot child, I even used to ride horses bareback after school with my fellow idiot-child pals.
And on the subject of concussions, I will now segue, clumsily, to a movie Hubby and I saw yesterday on our weekly date: Out of the Furnace.
My, my, what a grim little piece of cinematic history. As I sat there literally covering my eyes for a big chunk of it, Hubby chuckled and whispered, “This was your pick, remember?”
Of course it was my pick; Christian Bale is my all-time fave actor on the planet. And I’m also mildly obsessed with Casey Affleck, especially after reading that recent profile in the NYT mag. According to that piece, Casey, itty bitty, skinny-mini baby brother of Ben, has a tendency to throw monkey wrenches in his upward career trajectory. Having done that several times myself, I can relate…
But because this blog traffics mainly in Mindless Superficiality and not Deep Issues like throwing monkey wrenches into upward career trajectories, I will now, finally, get to the topic du jour:
In Out of the Furnace, Christian and Casey play brothers named, respectively, Russell and Rodney. Big bro Russell is a welder, itty bitty skinny-mini baby bro Rodney is a U.S. soldier who bounces back and forth between tours in Iraq. And when isn’t deployed, he tries to earn extra dough by engaging in truly gruesome bare-knuckle for-hire fighting with hill-billy tweakers from the remote mountains of New Jersey.
Sidebar: New Jersey has mountains? Who knew.
I won’t spoil the plot except to say this: Christian Bale is bee-yoo-ti-ful in this movie. He’s emotionally beautiful, which is awesome. But he’s physically beautiful, which is even more awesome.
While Hubby and I both thought Casey Affleck’s blinding white, perfectly straight, rich-boy-from-Boston teeth undercut his credibility as a deeply troubled bad-ass, we thought Christian Bale nailed it, looks-wise.
“He’s still pretty skinny, though not like he was in The Fighter,” Hubby noted.
“Hmmm,” I said, faux-casually, “I think he looked pretty brawny. And his skin is amazing.”
(FYI, I believe in treading carefully when discussing the physicality of the Christian Bales and Brad Pitts of this world. And luckily, Hubby returns that favor. Almost never do I have to suffer through his waxing philosophical on Angelina Jolie’s pillowy lips…)
Where am I going with all this? Nowhere, really, except to Costa Rica at 9 am.
But I will say this, which I’ve said before on this very blog: Boy movie stars make me want to do pushups.
Brad Pitt puffing a ciggy, ripped to smithereens, in the movie poster for Fight Club? I’ve never been more motivated to hit the gym by a single image in my life.
Raw, craggy, dangerous – with zero bodyfat Brad Pitt = inspiring.
Emotionally and physically beautiful – with flawless skin Christian Bale = even more inspiring.
As of Friday morning, I’ve had seven two-hour driving lessons, and even driven our SUV around Liberty State Park and back home, crawling through the streets of Jersey City to our abode.
That last bit – the crawl home – was slightly unnerving. Having the Wee Lass chattering away in the backseat at first made me anxious – she’s wicked-precious cargo, after all – but then it had a calming effect. I’m not really loving having Hubby sitting next to me in the passenger’s seat (he just doesn’t get why I’m not Danica Patrick already), but I’ll take the Wee Lass along for the ride any day.
Cheerful, chatty little ‘ting…god bless her.
So why haven’t I been regaling you with a blow-by-blow of the last several lessons? Here’s why: Driving Instructor Danny was getting a little handsy a while back – I’m not flattering myself btw, he totally was – and also, he’s kind of a scary racist. Now that I’m getting good enough so that he doesn’t need to focus, focus, focus on me not running us smack into a telephone pole, he can sit there, spewing his race venom.
“Dude,” I’m itching to say in an Oklahoma twang, “shut yer pie-hole.”
While he’s a really good teacher and I’ve learned tons from him, I’ve decided to max-out on 10 lessons with Driving Instructor Danny. That will give me 20 hours of hands-on training, which, theoretically, should be enough. I do already have my license, after all.
Then it’s up to me to practice, practice, practice. I’ve already volunteered to share the driving duties with Hubby on our upcoming Xmas trip to Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos. He’s agreed to this plan, but we’ll see if, when push comes to shove, he doesn’t insist on keeping the wheel to himself.
You’d think he’d be psyched to share, right? Remember the Road Trip of 2011? When I re-taught myself to knit while Hubby had to play family chauffeur for 16 straight days? That’s like the Poconos times a billion…
Okay, enough backstory. Let me now share a few crucial advice-nuggets for my fellow Driving-Fear Mommies:
1. Assess your weaknesses and prioritize your practicing: For instance, despite the “parabola” trick I blogged about, I’m still inconsistent with my parallel parking. But I also get a little panicky at intersections. Guess which weakness is about a thousand times more dangerous? Bingo, intersection panic. That’s my core challenge right now, and I need to work on that.
2. Tune-out all the rude honkers and road-ragers around you: As a driving newbie, positive Self Talk is crucial. Do I want you to drive 20 mph on the highway? Absolutely not; that’s an Rx for a 10-car pile-up. But I also don’t want you to freak out if someone behind you (or, ahem, next to you in the passenger’s seat) is having a cow because you’re taking a few extra seconds to negotiate a turn or lane change. Careful = Awesome.
3. Celebrate your strengths: I’m a more confident highway driver than I ever imagined I could be. On my weekly outings with Driving Instructor Danny, we go all over the place, zipping up and down the Garden State Parkway like nobody’s business. Yes, the true test will come when I do it all by lonesome, without my little racist buddy and his trusty passenger’s-side brake sitting to my right. But for now, I’m allowing myself a mental “Yay!” for just getting out there, and trying, and slaying my driving dragons, one by one.
On Friday, my sister and brother and I were e-chatting about whether we should call a family member out over her excessive – and excessively gaggy – Facebook posts.
“I’ll do it!” I cheerfully volunteered. “I can fly around on a broomstick with the best of ‘em.”
Then, over the weekend, I was miffed TO. THE. EXTREME. about the seating chart at a big party Hubby and the Wee Lass and I attended. The hostess thought it would be “fun” to seat the Wee Lass with girls who are 10 years older than she, I guess because they have soooooo much in common? Like the chasm that exists between second graders and seniors isn’t the size of roughly 25 Grand Canyons?
I spent the entire first hour of the party basically flipping out, my eyes glued to the Wee Lass’s table to see if anyone was chatting with her or even acknowledging her existence.
They weren’t. Shocker.
“A blistering - blistering! – email is on its way first thing Monday morning,” I hissed to Hubby, who was mortified on my behalf.
“Please don’t do that,” he said. “I’m begging you not to do that.”
Then, to cap off my Angry Weekend, I proceeded to almost trash my lovely birthday dinner out with Hubby and the Wee Lass. We were discussing the fact that my brother now lives in Seattle. And since he’s come to us for several holidays, I mentioned that I thought we should head his way soon. You know: Return the favor, and see a part of the country I’ve been dying to check out.
“Mommy, I really don’t want to fly eight hours,” said the Wee Lass.
“I know,” I replied. “That is a really long flight. Maybe we should make a fun road trip out it.”
Since I’m just now re-learning how to drive, you can imagine how Hubby – the family chauffeur – cottoned to that suggestion. Because as the crow flies, Seattle is…what? About 10 gazillion miles from New Jersey???
“No way,” he said. “You’re kidding, right?”
Bear in mind that the entire convo was theoretical; we have no immediate plans to go to Seattle, and haven’t even been talking about it lately.
But I got so, so, so upset that my dinner-mates didn’t automatically say, “Yay, Seattle!” that I seriously considered walking out of the restaurant before the entrées arrived.
“Mommy, are you mad?” the Wee Lass asked.
“No,” I lied. And then I gave myself a stern (silent, bien sur) talking-to. Because everything I was getting my knickers in a twist about all weekend was nothing. None of it mattered. And guess what? After those 17-year-olds at the party ignored the Wee Lass for the first hour, they ended up falling deeply in love with her for the rest of the party and she had a GREAT time.
The moral of this story: I don’t want to be Bitch Mommy, or Fly Off The Handle Mommy, or Blistering E-Mail Mommy.
I had one of those. It wasn’t good.
When we moved this past July, I’m ashamed to admit that two important Momover Lady health habits bit the dust and have, thus far, stayed bitten: Keeping my little fitness log and meditating.
Of the two lapses, the not-meditating bidness is huge, MASSIVE. I’m not remotely psyched about losing the thread on that, because at a certain point, before we moved, I was on such a good roll. So I need to get back to it, stat. Yesterday I took part in a guided meditation, which was so, so, so, so great. But it’s imperative that I maintain a regular practice, for so many reasons.
Project of all projects.
Dropping my fitness log hasn’t been such a big deal, for this simple fact: After so many years, I just don’t need it for motivation anymore. I work out CONSTANTLY. I have to, or my brain would crack open from stress. (I’m a just a leetle high-strung.) In fact, as soon as I hit “publish” on this here itty bitty blog post, I’m heading right to the gym. And the current time is…5:47. I’ve slurped my java, gulped down my SeroVital, and now I wanna squeeze in a quick blast of fitness before the Wee Lass pries open her big blue eyes and starts demanding toast with Nutella.
I have to say, tho, that I miss my tattered, scribbled-on little buddy. Over the years it’s been incredibly useful. Faithful Momoverettes might remember my 2010 goal to exercise 200 times. OMG, that was NOT easy. And, sadly, I only made it to 195 sessions. But if I didn’t have my little log, how would I possibly have kept track? I have the attention span of fruit fly.
And don’t say: “With an app. Duh.”
Have you met me? I’m super-duper techno-phobic.
I gotta jet to the weight room, but before I scoot off, I just have to do a mini infomercial for fitness logs, which I heartily endorse – ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE A NEW MOM:
If you start keeping a fitness log as soon as your OB / GYN gives you the green light to start exercising again, you’ll be sending a WILDLY IMPORTANT message to yourself that “Mommy Matters” – that taking excellent care of yourself is the starting point for taking excellent care of your baby. Think of your log your “you” space – and consider weaving in all the other healthy stuff you’re doing to recover from delivery. That could mean water intake, supplements you’re taking, meals and anything spiritual / meditation-y that you’re managing to squeeze into your day to stay sane and rested. Start flexing this Mommy Matters muscle early, and it will stick.
Okay, I have some Nutella to slather. Speak soon.
Bear with me, s’il vous plait, while I fill the gaping holes in Saturday’s blog post, which I didn’t get to finish because I was rush, rush, Russian out the door for my weekly movie date with Hubby.
(Sidebar: We saw Captain Phillips. Meh. Tom Hanks was great. Tom Hanks is always great. But the tension was relentless for 2+ hours. And it just left me pondering Big Issues, like how the people of Somalia are reduced to piracy on the high seas because they are utterly poverty-stricken, and what would my life be like if I had zero – not an ounce – of hope for the future? Grrrr.)
Okay, mentally shifting from Big Issues back to Mindless Superficiality…
So I blogged about taking SeroVital-hgh despite the fact that I had concerns, as I always do, about gobbling up the hot supplement du jour.
Yes, I’ve been feeling great lately. But what exactly is SeroVital? Is it safe? And how does it interact with my thyroid medication and the OTC supplements I take on a regular basis, namely vitamin D and a complex called Brain Calm that reduces my off-and-on insomnia?
I think my Scorpio sleuthing skills can help on the first two fronts, i.e., decoding what SeroVital is and whether it’s considered safe or not. Note that I said “considered” – IN NO WAY AM I VOUCHING FOR THE SAFETY OF THIS PRODUCT. I apologize for the annoying caps, but it’s über important that I not lead anyone down the garden path.
As for the last bit – how well the SeroVital plays with my other meds and supplements – only an MD can sort that out. Thus, I intend to ask one of my most trusted health resources – holistic guru Susan Blum – to advise. Once I get her feedback, I’ll loop you in.
In the meantime, here’s what I came up with:
In a nutshell, SeroVital is an amino acid complex that allegedly boosts the production of human growth hormone (hGH). A regulator of fun stuff like energy, sex drive and the ability to ward off wrinkles and sagging, hGH naturally declines with age. (Just like virtually every other awesome hormone; getting older isn’t for sissies.)
Not surprisingly, a black market exists to replace this youthifying wonder hormone. In fact. there was a fascinating piece about hGH in Vanity Fair last year about all the Tinsel Town types who routinely inject themselves in the belly or ass with hGH – to the tune of roughly $10 k per year. Although hGH is legal if prescribed by a physician, you need to have a medically documented need for it. And sadly, merely wanting to look like a piping-hot 20-year-old doesn’t fall under the header of medically documented need.
But that’s bonafide hGH we’re talking about, not an OTC amino acid complex like SeroVital that simply purports to rev it back up. I’m not taking hGH, nor do I ever intend to. I’m a huge wuss when it comes to biology-tampering, which is why, when the time comes, I won’t even entertain the notion of Hormone Replacement Therapy.
On the topic of safety, allow me to quote from the SeroVital press materials:
“All of the ingredients contained in SeroVital have a long history of safe use in conventional food and / or dietary supplements and comply with all FDA requirements. There is no evidence that long-term use of any of the ingredients is harmful. Moreover, there were no adverse events or side effects noted in the clinical study. All ingredients are either amino acids, which are on the FDA’s approved food additives list – meaning safe for general consumption – or are not typically associated with any adverse events or negative reactions in the amounts contained in the formula.”
Of course there’s a ton of anecdotal feedback on the World Wide Interweb about SeroVital. And if you’re considering plunking down your hard-earned bucks for it, I urge you to read some of it, as I have. While it’s virtually impossible to know what – of a ‘Net-ish nature – is credible and legit, you might start here.
I’ll let you know how I fare. Knowing me, I’ll probably get increasingly paranoid about potential long-term adverse effects and go off it. When it really comes down to it, I like to let Mama Nature just do her thing.
I’m already questioning my sanity for doing so, but I’ve signed up for the NaBloPoMo challenge with BlogHer and committed myself to blogging every day for the month of November.
And since it takes me FOR.EVER. to crank out a single post, I need to have a fall-back strategy – something to write when I don’t feel like writing.
Enter extremely bad attempts at poetry.
Here’s the first one – a little ode to a trek with Hubby and the Wee Lass to the swoon-worthy American Museum of Natural History. I’m officially going to stop taking that place for granted. It’s soooo beautiful, and peaceful. After decades of Met snobbery, I’m completely smitten.
Anyway, stop reading right now if you’re not down with Amateur Poetry Hour.
It’s not too late for me
How did I not know
The silent, staggering beauty
Stuffies of every stripe, life-size
Preserved better than a Botox-pickled Park Avenue Princess
All in their natural crash pads
Before we got to ‘em
And blew it all up
The fake / faked people reel me in too
Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia
Thank you Teddy Roosevelt
Getting lost in wonder and other lifetimes
Is such a very cool thing
The other day, a fitness-fanatic pal of mine (who, btw, looks wicked-amazing for her age) texted me:
Fitness Fanatic: “Beauty ques…do u think SeroVital works?”
Momover Lady: “OMG, so weird you’re asking me about this! I was dabbling with it before, but now I’m really taking it every day and I totally love it. I have a lot more energy and I’m sleeping like a rock. It isn’t cheap, tho. $100 per month. But I think it might be worth it.”
Fitness Fanatic: “So happy u like it! Will pick some up this wk.”
We can glean a few things from this iPhone convo: 1) I obvi don’t text like a normal person, hence the long, full sentences and precise punctuation and 2) since making more of a commitment to this buzzy-but-controversial OTC supplement, I’m having good results.
Now if only I weren’t so afraid that it’s eventually gonna kill me…
Admittedly, despite what I do for a living (or maybe because of what I do for a living) I am verrrrrrry wary of the hot supplement du jour. All of ‘em. I’m just not, by nature, a pill-gobbler. And for years, I use to say: “The sickest people I know are the ones who are always swallowing a handful of supplements.”
Of course, that sentiment doesn’t make me super-popular with my supplement-expert brother Tony, who is a total evangelist for the herbal med company he works for. (Sidebar: I need to ask him what he thinks of SeroVital. After I do, I’ll update this post.)
So if I’m such a skeptic, why am I hopping on this particular bandwagon? Two reasons: One, it was sent to me at work for review, which means I didn’t have to plunk down that initial 100 smackers. And two, I’m perpetually on the hunt for anything that will make me feel crazy-peppy.
For the most part, my hypothyroidism is under control, so I don’t have crushing fatigue. But extra-perky is good, no?
Here’s just a short rundown of what I’ve been able to accomplish with my jacked-up, SeroVital-induced energy and sense of well-being:
1. Hitting the gym a lot harder. I blogged yesterday about my new tush-toning routine, but I’ve also been lifting weights to increase my arm strength, so I can smack tennis balls to smithereens in my weekly matches with Hubby. PLUS doing push-ups and cardio in the same session. That’s maje by Momover Lady standards; I don’t usually have the git up ‘n go to lift weights and do cardio.
2. Clicking through massive To Do lists. I think I’ve told you about my all-time fave productivity book – Eat That Frog! – which disciplines you to tackle the chore you least want to do (aka your “frog”) before you do anything else. Lately, I’ve been a virtual frog slayer, even getting stuff done that I’ve been putting off for months.
3. Sleeping straight through the night. Given all my insomnia issues, this is huge for me. But since I’ve been taking the SeroVital, even on the nights I do wake up circa 2 a.m., I’m not as edgy as I usually am. I can force myself to lay there – and resist the urge to go down to the living room and crack open my iPad – until I gradually get back to sleep. FYI, iPadding in the middle of the night is brutal on your sleep. Those blue lights are a killer.
Grrr…running out for my Saturday date with Hubby…need to write a Part II about this human-growth-hormone jazz in a follow-up post…xo
Je deteste shopping for clothes. And while that factoid is super-great for my credit rating, it’s a disaster for my thighs and ass.
If you don’t shop, you’re never confronted with the unique female horror that is the three-way mirror.
Yes, I know there are mama-babes living in McMansions with tricked-out mega closets; I myself was, until recently, the owner of an incredible walk-in. (I’m not now. My current closet, although still big-ish, pales in comparison.)
Still, even in my previous closet-slash-meditation chamber, my top-to-bottom viewing was confined to a full-length mirror. And that, my lovelies, doesn’t quite cut it on the freak-out front.
IMHO, to really move the needle on your commitment to eating right and working out like a mofo, you need to subject yourself – regularly – to the harsh lighting and jiggle-from-every-angle jazz of a fitting room mirror.
My come-to-Jesus moment happened last week, when I popped into J. Crew for a quick look-see.
But back to the thighs and ass bit…
OMG, I loooove running and tennis. And obvi, they’re both really great for keeping my heart in good shape and my weight down to dull roar.
I just don’t know that they’re doing anything maje for the lower half of my body. (And if I asked Tracy Anderson, she would tell me that running is basically ruining my bod.)
Anderson really isn’t down with weights, either. Which means she’d probably tsk tsk what I did immediately after my J. Crew fitting room freak-out: I hit the weight machines at the gym. I also put myself on High Squat Alert. The goal: To target my glutes, which desperately need some tough love.
Here’s my beginner firm-the-fanny plan:
1. Leg Press Machine: 3 sets of 15 reps, 40 pounds
2. Leg Extension Machine: 3 sets of 15 reps, 30 pounds
3. Old-School Squats: 3 sets of 10 reps
4. Wall Squats: 3 sets of as-long-as-I-can-take-it, usually to a count of 50
More on these later…I just looked at the time and realized I gotta scoot off to the dentist. TGIF, my lovelies!!!
Clap your hands if you watch The Good Wife, and are blown away each week at what a snappy dresser that ol’ Diane Lockhart is.
Faithful readers already know of my girl crush on Christine Baranski. Lordy, I love her. And here’s the thing: On the frock front, I think Diane and Christine are one and the same. Meaning: I firmly believe Christine has maje input in her TV alter ego’s wardrobe.
Why am I so convinced? Because I’ve seen Christine “in real life” and she was as equally tailored and impeccable. Granted, I spotted her at a daytime professional event, one in which she was pressed into service as an emcee of sorts. So for all I know, she could be tricked-out in Juicy tracksuits all weekend, or – gasp – boyfriend jeans.
But somehow I doubt it. I bet she always looks like a million bucks.
On Planet Momover, I can assure you that I do not always look like a million bucks. Especially on the weekends. I don’t have a weekend-wardrobe game plan and I desperately need one.
During the week, though, I step it up. I get a blowout to kick off the return to work, and I routinely sport dresses or skirts and uncomfortably high heels. Even if I don’t have a single press event to go, or anyone coming up to the office to tell me about their latest wrinkle creme or “intuitive” blush (maquillage that reads your mind is all the rage), I still make an effort to look polished.
And mostly it works. Today’s outfit – a pale nude jumper paired with a taupe short-sleeved cardie and one of my fave pairs of pleather spikes from Payless (thank you, Payless, for making such sharp cruelty-free shoes) – was a hit, garnering several compliments.
What drove me up one wall and down the other, however, were the fishnetty tights I decided to partner with my little ensemble. What sadist conjured these instruments of torture? I should have remembered how irritating they are, and thought twice. But I think I just got tricked by the fact that they weren’t classic fishnets, and were more akin to the lacey numbers in the photo above.
But I’m home now, and I’m out of them. And both Hubby and the Wee Lass just popped into my office to say howdy. All is well.
And in a few minutes, I’ll be parked in front of the telly watching Sunday night’s episode of The Good Wife on demand. And if Diane Lockhart / Christine Baranski is wearing super-uncomfy faux fishnets, I will totally light-beam her my girl-power support. Because that, ladies and gentleman, is the way I roll.
Never in my wildest nightmares did I think that high-school geometry would figure into my weekly lessons with Driving Instructor Danny.
But on Friday, during my third 2-hour stint in as many weeks (I completely mean business with this relearning how to drive stuff ) he was all “45-degree angle” this and “parabola” that.
And guess what? Within minutes, I was grasping the basic concepts of parallel-parking. Granted, we were in his itty-bitty set of wheels, and not the massive SUV Momover Lady’s family owns.
But still, I learned three great tips, which I’d love to share with my fellow driving newbies:
1. After you’re nose-to-nose parallel with the car you intend to park behind, reverse just enough that your side-view mirror aligns with the outer edge of the driver’s door.
2. For parallel-parking on a two-way street, after putting your car back into Park for a hot second before reversing again, if you have trouble remembering which way to turn the wheel, think “R” for “Reverse.”
(NOTE: That second tip comes from me, and not Driving Instructor Danny. It’s too basic and Barbie Mommy to have come from Driving Instructor Danny. I’m a complete spazz who didn’t learn left from right until age 17, so I struggle with this. Sometimes I even think I have a touch of dyslexia. But can one even have a touch of dyslexia? Plus, what “L” word will I use if I ever parallel-park in the opposite direction on a one-way street? Sorry, getting off-topic…)
3. Next, slowly reverse until your car is at a 45-degree angle with the car you intend to park behind.
4. How will you know if your car is at a 45-degree angle with the car you intend to park behind? You’ll be able to see the rough outlines of a flattened-out parabola between your side-view mirror and the rear tail-light of the car you intend park behind.
Honestly, when Driving Instructor Danny started yapping about parabolas, I was stumped. And then he showed me a picture. And it’s pretty much like the beauteous Gothic arches in the pic above. But with driving, and parallel-parking, your own personal parabola will be considerably more flattened out. If you’d like to learn more about parabolas, go here.
Now I have to scoot off to play tennis with Hubby, and then take the Wee Lass into the city for a Bonnie Young kids fashion show. Holla. Bonnie Young makes the most beautiful kids’ clothes ON. THE. PLANET. Swoon times a million.