Monday, September 26, 2016

Surviving Shopping

After going clothes shopping for myself for the first time in several years, I have come to the conclusion that fitting rooms and women’s clothing sizes are created to induce eating disorders.

I don’t typically use a scale—I find that no matter what number pops on that evil digital screen, it’s always greater than the number I’d like it to be in my head. As long as my clothes fit and I’m relatively happy with how I look, I don’t worry about it. Seriously, there are so many other things to think about, stress about and wonder about, this doesn’t come close to the top of my list. But several months ago, I realized my clothes weren’t fitting the way I wanted them to and I was unhappy with the way I was looking in photos. So I made some changes and I lost a few pounds. Then I got super stressed and I lost a few more. Not enough for anyone else to notice, but enough for me to have fewer choices in my closet, since I’m not a fan of the “baggy pants hanging with your rear end sticking out” look.

So I went shopping, the first time I went shopping for myself—other than a random top or a special occasion-dress—in years. There’s something about shopping with teenaged girls that drains all the shopping desire out of me. But they were occupied and I have a need to be covered as the cold weather arrives, so I snuck away. The sales lady had a field day with me. Essentially, she got to play dress up with me for two hours and I left with a new fall wardrobe. Bonus points to her for not rolling her eyes at me once.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Because while I know I’ve lost weight and eat healthier than I did several months ago (even though I still eat dessert and firmly believe that chocolate is an essential food group), trying clothes on brought out all of my known insecurities and even a few that I didn’t know I had (because THAT’S always fun). Here’s why:
  • Dressing room lighting makes me look like death warmed over—even “my” colors make me look pasty and sallow; put me in colors that might be the “it” colors and forget it. I realize zombies are popular, but eating brains is not my thing.
  • Dressing room mirrors are like carnival fun houses come to life—they magnify every single flaw, both real and imagined. I don’t need any more crazy.
  • Women’s sizes make no sense—how is it that men, who essentially have no shape, have neck sizes, sleeve sizes, waist sizes and inseam sizes, but women have one size for their entire body? What, was the math too complicated?
  • And who the heck came up with 0 as an actual size? Are they trying to erase our very existence or is it some hidden plot to suggest we wear nothing?
  • The sales lady successfully convinced me that I was a smaller size than I thought—but the time between telling me, showing me and convincing me was quite longer than it should have been. She earned her commission and probably should have been given a tip for counseling.
  • As the sales lady was trying to convince me to purchase items for my “girls’ nights out,” I realized it’s been so long since I’ve had one of those that they’ve created an entire wardrobe selection and I didn’t even know it. How did that happen, and are there matching shoes?

I made it home with my purchases and am still happy with them, and I think I’ve recovered from the iffy psychoses I almost got during the process. Now it’s a question of which will be a better deterrent to remaining healthy—throwing away the old clothes, or thinking about having to go clothes shopping again.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Sometimes you have to put yourself first. You have to know when to save your soul, even at the expense of other people. Sometimes things have to fall apart before you recognize how bad they are. And sometimes you have to make things worse in order to ultimately make things better.

Sometimes, others say it best:

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Org Chart

For the past five months, I’ve been helping to run my temple’s religious school, close out the last school year, revamp some organizational processes, and prepare for the new year. While I am woefully under-qualified to do this on a full-time basis, there was a need, it fell under my purview and I stepped in. End of story.

The experience taught me a lot, about myself, my temple, our fabulous teachers, how things run and a few life lessons.

From the time I joined our Temple board, on which I currently serve as one of the vice presidents, I’ve been asking for an org chart. I’ve needed something on paper to see who handles what, who reports to whom, etc.

Each time I’ve asked, I get one of two looks—the “you’re adorable” look or the “you’re crazy” look. Neither one is particularly satisfying. The chain of command exists in people’s minds, but I wanted something on paper that I could refer to on my own.

We’re a temple. When in doubt, ask your Rabbi. His idea of the perfect org chart?

Cute, but it still didn’t answer my question.

Over the summer, one of the things I did was clean out the Religious School. During this cleaning, guess what I found? You guessed it, an org chart! It was a thing of beauty—it listed clergy, the president, the executive board, the regular board, staff and even committees. I was so excited. Witnesses once again gave me the “you’re adorable” look or the “you’re crazy” look. Those looks still weren’t particularly satisfying, but I got what I wanted, so I didn’t care.

Until I examined the chart more closely and filled in names of people. I looked at it. I turned it sideways and upside down. I printed out another one and re-filled in the names, on the chance I messed up the first time. I walked away and came back later for a fresh perspective.

In fact, the org chart was starting to resemble a stereotypical hillbilly family tree.

My name was everywhere. In some cases, I was actually reporting to myself—which is awesome if you’re me, less awesome for the group as a whole. So I created my own, simplified version, which helps me keep things clear, and helps others know who to talk to.

But as I thought back to this quest for the perfect org chart, I realized it had taught me a few things:

  1. It’s not what you know, or don’t know; it’s how you approach the situation and learn (lack of an org chart).
  2. Keep things in perspective (God vs. Me).
  3. There’s a reason we like a diverse gene pool (hillbilly chart)! If you do too many things, you’re going to fall apart.
  4. Simplify (my version). It’s good for the soul.

I’m going to keep those four thoughts in mind as I give myself a break for a while and rejuvenate. And if someone, somewhere, asks for the org chart, I'll give them mine.

Monday, August 29, 2016

I’m THAT Woman

I’m the woman who will go to bat for her kids, no matter how crazy you think I am. I’ll go to bat for yours too if I think they need it, especially if they need it and you’re doing nothing.

I’m the woman who holds you to incredibly high standards, because I hold myself to the exact same ones. Manners, ethics, morals are important. If you think that makes me uptight, I don’t care. I think lowering your standards makes you weak.

I’m the woman who does the right thing, not because I want to, but because I have no choice. It was ingrained in me, in the same way knowledge of my own name was. I’ll balk and whine occasionally about having to do it, but ultimately I do the right thing, because that’s what keeps us human.

I’m the woman you tell your problems to, because deep down you know I’ll help you fix them, even when you really don’t want to. I’m the one who speaks up, speaks out when no one else will. I’ll never be a bystander and quite frankly, you count on me for that very thing.

I’m the woman who will stick up for my friends and family, who will call you out when I know you’re wrong, who will remain loyal to a fault. Because you deserve it. Until you don’t.

I’m the woman who messes up frequently, who unwittingly offends, and then feels guilty about it, long after I’ve been forgiven. 

I’m the woman you vent to, complain to, cry to, because my shoulders are wide even when my soul is weak.

I’m the woman who laughs when she’s ready to cry and whom you mistakenly believe is “fine.”

I’m the woman who fills in when everyone else falls away, because there is no other choice.

I’m the woman who worries about the stupid stuff, the crazy stuff, because it’s so much easier to distract myself with the little things, to prepare for the bad so I’ll be pleased with the good.

I don’t expect or want praise. I’m not bragging and I don’t think I’m better than you. We each inhabit our own spheres, and if they spin slightly differently, that’s okay. The world would be boring if we were all the same and I depend on our differences. Quite honestly, I tire of myself more often than you do of me. But I’ll never change.

And someday, if I’m lucky, I’ll be proud of myself for being THAT woman.

Monday, August 15, 2016

And They're Back!

Good to know that some things never change.
The girls are home from camp. Every year, I like to see how they’ve grown and developed, to see what independence has done for them, to see how their ideas and their opinions have matures.
Apparently they think I’m as stupid as ever.
Me: I need to use the bathroom.
Princess: Don’t use that sink because it overflows (pointing to the sink that’s FULL of standing water—Zika, anyone?).
Or maybe it’s them?
Me: You need to shower as soon as we get home.
Either one (you choose): We’re not dirty.
Banana Girl was phone-free this summer. She did not forget how to use it.
Text: I’m hungry. What’s for lunch? [sent from her bedroom]
The camp language has snuck in with the dirty laundry. I’ve been asked for a week’s reprieve. I’ll try. Too bad it can’t get cleaned up as fast as the gross laundry I’m washing.
One kid is hot and wants the air conditioning at a blue-lips-making temperature. The other one is cold and wants the heat on. Both are being forbidden from touching the thermostat. Considering they’ve been in hot cabins (with one air conditioning unit that didn’t seem to cool much, in my opinion), I’m not sure why this is even a thing.
One kid is sick, of course.
Both are working on about an hour of sleep.
Princess came home with a dry-clean-only dress. I'm not positive it's hers, but I was obviously tired when we packed. That's not happening again.
I lost track of how many water bottles we lost, although I do know they are the nice ones that were requested—can’t seem to get rid of the ones no one likes (you’d think one of them would have “lost” those by now).
But neither fussed when my husband wanted to take pictures of them at camp. And it’s nice to have them both in the same house at the same time. And now, when I want to see them, I just have to walk into their rooms, rather than searching through blurry, dark or super-tiny photos.

Let the insanity begin in

Monday, August 8, 2016

I'm Getting Old

I am getting old.
I notice this even more as I’m watching the Olympics and realize most of the athletes are young enough to be my children, which makes the eye-candy aspect a lot ickier.
Other ways I know I’m getting old?
  • There’s the grumpiness factor, which actually enables me to be snarkier than usual—fun for me and the bystanders, less fun for the recipient.
  • There’s the “ouch factor,” which I won’t go into because people who list their aches and pains need a hobby. Or a nurse.
  • There ‘s the lack of sight, which I refuse to acknowledge. As long as there are bigger font sizes, I’m set.
  • There’s the “Holy cow how do I have children that old?” College planning used to seem very far away. Now it’s…not.
But the one that’s bothering me most right now is how getting old affects fun. I can’t go on roller coasters anymore. Apparently, as I’ve aged, I’ve gotten smarter. This has made my brain bigger and my head heavier. My neck no longer supports it when I go up, down and around on tracks created using physics. I suppose that wouldn’t be so bad if it were the only thing I couldn’t do. Except it isn’t.
My husband and my friends and I went to the movies last weekend. Actually, the movies was our backup plan. Our original plan was to go see the balloon festival, but there was a chance of rain and since we are all getting old, the thought of getting wet didn’t appeal. So we made the last-minute decision to go to the movies. I suggested Jason Bourne. I’ve seen the other movies in the series and they were fun and mindless. Followed by dinner, it sounded like a great plan. And it was. The problem was that since it was opening weekend and we were ordering tickets at the last minute, our only options were seats in the first two rows of the theater. We all agreed anyway, bought the tickets, went to the theatre and reclined in our comfy seats.
Then the movie started. Now, if you’ve been to any of the Bourne movies, they’re basically one long car chase from beginning to end, with a little dialogue thrown in just so Matt Damon has a reason to get paid. About twenty minutes into the movie, I started feeling weird. About five minutes after that, I realized why. The camerawork was making me motion sick.
Seriously? Who decided this was a thing?
Even the scenes—few and far between—when a character was walking caused problems because the camera bounced. So I spent the rest of the movie with my eyes closed or playing with my phone in my purse (so I didn’t disturb anyone around me), rather than looking at the movie screen.
Stop laughing at me, it will be your turn soon enough, everything hurts, I can’t see worth anything and GET OFF MY LAWN!