Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who's Your Doppelganger?

Do you know how often I am mistaken for a celebrity?

Um... counting that one time at the mall... and that other time in the airport... that makes a total of ... NEVER.

Occasionally, people who are feeling kind and generous with their compliments have told me that I remind them of someone famous and fabulous. For instance, my husband thinks I resemble Heather Graham. Yes, it's true that he is most likely flattering me in an attempt to get me "socks optional" and horizontal, but I really don't mind. I once had someone else tell me that I look like Naomi Watts. Sure, they were slightly intoxicated and had, moments earlier, been dancing provocatively with a bar stool, yet I still took it as a valid compliment. The other day, a lovely woman INSISTED that I looked like Leslie Mann, particularly when I am speaking. She was so vehement about it that she convinced everyone around her to agree that I was indeed Leslie Mann's exact replica.

I liked it. A lot.

Giddy from the compliments and high from some off brand cold medicine, I excitedly plugged my picture into a "Doppelganger Generator" website and waited as the computer picked my look-a-like. My mind raced with the endless possibilities of fabulous stars that may be my celebrity twin. I sat in front of my screen, tapping my foot impatiently, and I wondered who was right. Would it be Brock? Do I really resemble the doe-eyed Heather Graham?  Could it be Naomi Watts? Wow, she is spectacular.  Maybe I WAS Leslie Mann. I totally relate to her brand of bitchy funny. As I waited for my personal Doppelganger to be magically "generated", I was anticipating a good, solid, ego stroking. After birthing two babies and for the last six years, spending weekends (and weekdays) submerged up to my jiggly thighs in laundry, I needed a lift. Even if it was shallow and from some vapid website.

Imagine my delight when the computer was done thinking and it spit out my answer!

Me, before I used the Doppelganger Generator.
Good GAWD!

My Doppelganger was Matthew Perry. 

Apparently, my asshole computer does not even think I look like a woman. It thinks I look like Matthew Freaking Perry. And while I love me some M.P., because he is one funny dude, let's be honest; the years have not been overly kind.
Matthew Perry
I think he is mocking me.

First I gasped. Then I laughed. Then I lit the computer on fire and heaved it into the pond.

Perry played the neurotic and physically animated Chandler Bing on Friends. In fact, I related to Bing more than any of the other characters on the show. Chandler Bing, the man of many facial expressions. I resemble that kind of facial range, as my own mug seems to be made of some sort of super stretchy rubber. Chandler Bing, whose job remained a sort of mystery to his friends throughout the entire show. That's not so weird. Hell, there are days when I don't even know what I do for a living. Chandler Bing, who met Tom Selleck, idolized him, then attempted to grow a Selleck-esq mustache. I once met Tom Selleck. It did kind of make me want a mustache.

Shit, maybe the computer is smarter than I think...

maybe I AM Chandler Bing.

TELL ME: Who's your Doppelganger? 

P.S. Stay tuned for the story of my real encounter with an incredible, hilarious and gorgeous celebrity at BlogHer!

Friday, July 19, 2013

TMI Fridays: Amy's Real Life

Amy is one of the sweetest bloggers I've never met. She is a writer, an educator, an avid hiker and a mother of a whole herd of kids. Seriously, I think she has four or fourteen or something.

Amy writes at two blogs, My Real Life and Bozza Writes. She also penned "The Poop Diaries" in the popular and hilarious anthology I Just Want to Pee Alone. She's precious and angelic and if you don't believe me you should read this story that she wrote. Seriously, this is the kind of person that you pray is your child's teacher. I am not this kind of person, which is why I write a humor blog instead of teaching. I would throw all your kids on ponies (quite possibly without helmets), tell the crying ones, "You're fine" and watch the clock until you came to pick them up. Then I would make myself a giant cocktail and cry into Brock's hairy man arm.

Maybe if Amy and I could hang out in person, she could change me. We do both love hiking. We could hike to the top of a mountain and look for some Zen for me there. That's settles it, Amy needs to come here for a visit. Colorado has good mountains. And if that fails, at least we have a crap ton of craft breweries to ease the sting.

Without further ado...May I present... the lovely, the talented, the patient, the kind.... AMY BOZZA!

Johi: When did you start writing?

Amy:  I've always written.  Even as a kid, I had journals and notebooks strewn about the house with poems and stories and things that popped into my head.  My favorite Christmas, when I was a kid, was the year my Grandparents gave me a typewriter.  My guess is it was probably my parents least favorite Christmas because it was an old, original typewriter with all the dings and clickety-clacks and awesome return carriage noises.  I've actually been looking for a typewriter at garage sales, because I feel like it's time to annoy a new generation with my typewriter noises.

Johi: Who/what inspires you and why?

Amy:  Since much of my writing centers around my family, obviously, they inspire me.  However, with regards to my writing as a passion, not just writing for the blog, great writers inspire me.  I love to read and re-read passages out of books that strike a chord with me and they always inspire me to write better.  However, let's be honest...bad writers inspire me, too.  I recently read a book and it was so bad that all I could think was, "Seriously?  Someone agreed to publish this book?  I could write something way better than this!" And then I sat right down to do it.

Johi: Are you an adventure hunter or a peace seeker?

Amy:  I'm a bit of both.  I think there is peace to be found at the end of a really good adventure.  Hiking to the top of a really tall mountain that you've never climbed before is the adventure.  Getting to the top and appreciating the view is the peace.  I love to try new things and completely embrace new adventures, but at the same time, I am a complete and utter homebody.  This can make me a terrible parent, at least with regards to social things because I forget to have friends over for the kids to play with, which winds up making them social outcasts.  That being said, on my bucket list, aside from traveling the world is: bungee jumping, skydiving, and learning to surf.

Johi: What was your most embarrassing moment?

Amy:  I was not a cool kid.  In 4th grade, I won a chorus award.  As I walked up to the stage, in front of the entire school, to receive my award, one of the cool kids, Joe Morelli, stuck his foot in the aisle and tripped me.  I fell flat on my face.  Really hard.  I. Was. Mortified.  I forgave and Joe and I actually became good friends in high school and beyond, but I never forgot.  As an adult, I've learned not to be easily embarrassed, and actually embrace potentially embarrassing situations, but that one moment in my life still makes me cringe.

Johi: I believe that each of us looks sort of like an animal. What animal do you think you most closely resemble?

Amy: Hmmm...well, when I was in middle school, the cool boys would throw pieces of bread at me in the cafeteria and quack because they said I look like a duck.  I'm not sure I wanna go with "duck" though.  My husband just said "A fox," but I'm going to guess there could be ulterior motives behind that answer.  I get told, frequently, that I look like Reese Witherspoon, but she's not an animal...well, at least she's not an animal unless her husband gets pulled over for drunk driving.  So, Grimace, from McDonald's, an animal?  No?  I really don't know.  My Dad and I used to have a thing where we would categorize people into those with pig faces and those with fox faces, and I fell into the pig face category.  I don't think I look any more like a pig that I do like a duck, so I guess it would have to be an animal with a round face.  A panda?  Maybe I look like a panda.  Sure.  A panda.

Johi: What animal would you like to see on the Extinction list?

Amy:  I have a few.  As a former science teacher, I get the whole "everything has its position in the circle of life" thing, but as a wife and mother, here is my list:  1.  Spiders - I think I spend a good 25% of my time at home dealing with enormous, scary (read so small I can barely even see them) spiders that my children find around the house.  Should spiders go extinct, think of all the time I'd have to myself!  2.  Groundhogs - We have a groundhog and his girlfriend living under our deck.  They've been there for a year and we can't seem to get rid of them.  Quite frankly, they aren't hurting anyone and they are kinda cute, but my husband is obsessed with this groundhog.  Sometimes, I feel like I'm living a few scenes out of Caddyshack.  (Am I the only person on the internet old enough to remember that movie?)  We'll be in the middle of a conversation, in the kitchen, and he'll suddenly stop talking and race out the sliding glass doors and start stomping around on the deck like a madman.  The kids and I just look at each other and say "Groundhog."  So, if it meant I could keep 100% of my husbands attention, I'd see the groundhogs added to the list.

Johi: What is your favorite food/beverage?

Amy:  It's a combo.  Peanut butter and chocolate.  Together.  Because why would you even bother to eat them separately.  This poses a bit of a problem for me, as I have Type II diabetes, but my motto is, everything in moderation.  Okay, my motto is really eat veggies all day in order to prepare for an evening of dipping Hershey bars into jars of peanut butter, but it's kinda the same thing.

Favorite beverage is Vanilla Coke.  Have you ever tasted anything so perfect?  However, once again, stupid diabetes puts a big dent in my Vanilla Coke consumption.  So, I drink a lot of green tea.  It's not as much fun.

Johi: What is the most annoying thing your husband does? What is the most annoying thing that you do?

Amy:  When he sleeps on his back, he makes these noises with his mouth that drive me insane.  It's a chomping, smacking sound and just thinking about it is giving me a bit of rage.  When it happens, I could literally scream out loud "Stop it! Stop making that noise!"  If it wouldn't wake up our four kids, I just might do it.  It drives me that crazy.

The most annoying thing that I do?  I don't know.  I think I'm pretty easy to live with, so I went to my husband with this one, and the thing that annoys him the most is that I record so many shows on our DVR, that there are times when he wants to watch something (ala the Stanley Cup Finals) but the DVR won't let him because you can't record two shows and watch a third.  It's not my fault that a lot of my favorite shows are on the same night at the same time.  For example, tonight I'm recording Royal Pains and Franklin and Bash at 9:00.  If that means that no one else in the house can watch anything at 9:00, so be it.  I'm kinda like the tv dictator.

Johi: What moment of your life do you wish you could have on repeat?

Amy: There are four.  The moments when I held each of my four babies in my arms for the first time.  Most amazing four moments of my life. 

Johi: Marry, Kiss or Leave by the Side of the Road (You all know this is NOT the game I play- we are keeping this PG)- Here are your choices:

Michael Moore, Cliff Claven and Kid Rock. GO!

Amy:  Seriously, Johi?  I've read all of your TMI Fridays and THESE are my choices?  It's almost impossible to pick one of these three to marry because I would have to leave Cliff Claven by the side of the road because I doubt I could even spend five minutes with him without wanting to punch him.  Know it alls are not my cup of tea.  But, both Michael Moore and Kid Rock look messy and dirty and I wouldn't want to marry either of them.  So, which is the lesser of two evils?  I think I'd have to marry Kid Rock because I love music and it would allow me to be around music all the time and I'd make sure he let me sing with him and it would fulfill my lifelong dream of being a rockstar.  So, I guess I'd just give Michael Moore a quick kiss on the cheek and run away before he spun the kiss into some kind of conspiracy theory.

Johi: What is your guilty pleasure?

Amy: Television.  I know, I know...technically, television isn't a guilty pleasure because everyone watches it.  However, I don't think everyone watches television to the extent that I watch television.  My DVR is on overload on a constant basis because I love tv.  Dramas, doesn't matter.  To my credit, I watch most of my shows after the kids are asleep, but I watch it all.  I've recently discovered the BBC and now I'm in a really bad spot because I have British tv to add into my American tv lineup, and that's just not a good thing.  

Johi: Describe your perfect day.

Amy: Given my last answer, you'd think that I'd say to spend the day on the couch watching tv, but the truth is, it would start out with a quiet morning of tea and Facebook.  Once I'd scrolled my way through and caught up, I'd do some writing.  By the time that was finished, Real Man and the kids would be up and we'd have some breakfast and then head out for a good, long, strenuous hike.  When we were done, we'd probably go get some Dairy Queen ice cream, then head home where everyone would happily sit on the couch and read for a few hours.  We'd play a board game or a card game and then we'd have some dinner (prepared by someone else) and after dinner, we'd go to a movie, then come home, relax and go to bed.  

Now, that's a realistic perfect day.  If I was being unrealistic, it would involve waking up in Scotland and exploring the moors.  However, since Tiny is 2, the way I see it, I've got a good 16 years before that's a possibility.

Johi: What is your favorite essay in I Just Want to Pee Alone and why? 

Amy: I absolutely loved Meredith Spiedel's essay about how she and her family dealt with the death and subsequent burial of her mother.  I'm an only child of two only children and my father and I wound up hanging out like siblings at family funerals and making jokes and laughing in the corner, which was completely inappropriate, but it was how we dealt with it and were able to move on.  Seeing how her family was able to find some sort of humor in some of the situations that surrounded that sad time reminded me so much of my father and I, it made me both laugh, as I connected to the narrative, and cry, as I began to think about the mortality of my own parents.

Amy Bozza, author of the blog, My Real Life, lives in NJ with her husband and four children. Amy is a middle school administrator, piano teacher, writer, and blogger who was recently published as a contributor in the best-selling book I Just Want to Pee Alone. You can find Amy at and

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cages, Bubble Wands and Goo Be Gone

You know when you make one change and that change instigates another change and then all of a sudden you might be a completely different person than you were a week ago?

Okay, so maybe not COMPLETELY different because you still like fart jokes and bad TV, but you feel... I don't know... maybe a little better?

I think I made some change for the better.

Thing 1 and I turned into fish.

First and foremost, my husband is building me a cage. I'm really excited about it. It is a cage for escape. It is for solitude. It is for writing. And if I have to use it during my period I will call it my "Rage Cage". I've been confusing my instagram and facebook friends for awhile now with a slow progression of odd photos of said cage.

Stage 1. Stop drooling over the hotness of Brock.
Look at his pole. It's huge.

In all reality, it is going to be a screened in sleeping porch that I plan on calling "The Zen Den". I'll probably use it to escape all Brock's "seasonal allergy" *cough- BOOZE* induced snoring. And I plan to lock myself away from the Things when they are particularly feral. The lock will be on the inside and I will be storing some smutty books, wine and dark chocolate in there. Needless to say, I'm excited.

Stage 7. Yes, I'm using my child's head as an arm rest. Shhh. He likes it.

B.) This super beautiful, amazing, generous friend of mine sent me a Bubble Wand. "What, pray tell, is a Bubble Wand?" you ask. And I respond, "What EXACTLY does pray tell mean?"

A Bubble Wand is a majestic hair utensil that turns fugly, lifeless hair into full, curly fabulousnous. Seriously. It's a curling iron that looks sorta like anal beads but it get SUPER hot so I'm not suggesting anything to you twisted freaks out there. IT IS THE BEST HAIR THINGY EVER! It gives you imperfect beach waves. It made me feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but without all that hookery business. It kind of resembles a black unicorn horn that has been sanded down for safety, because everyone knows that unicorn horns are supposed to be white so a black one probably means that the unicorn belongs to a dark Lord. Like SATAN.

Anyhoo, the Bubble Wand is made by Verge by One and they even have a nifty YouTube video that shows you how to use it like a non-moron. I totally had to watch the video. Then I put on some rockin' 80's music and my Ghostbusters shirt that I found for $2.99 at Target and made THIS happen:

Who you gonna call?
Please don't call the psychiatric ward. I'm fine, really. I am.
This would have been way more impressive had I taken a before picture of my limp hair.

But WAIT! I'm not done yet! I spent two days doing crazy things like exercising in 90+ degree heat, sleeping, and wearing hats. After TWO DAYS of sweating profusely glowing like an angel, my hair looked like THIS:

First of all, I wear ridiculous clothes- these are pj's though, so that makes it better, right?
Secondly, notice how I'm too tired to smile or open my eyes? No?

Lastly, my first week with LeanMoms went well. I'm working out like a mofo and have (mostly) cut processed food and sugar out of my diet (see sedated picture of me above). I love the fact that the menu and workout plan is all laid out for you, which saves me on all that pesky research and decision making. 

I've decided to go balls out and log in my daily food, water and exercise. I'm using an app called MyFitnessPal and strangely enough, I really like it. Logging in every bite that I shove in my cramhole is making me feel all accountable and responsible and shit.

I have not lost any weight (I don't really expect to lose much), but I am gaining muscle and losing inches. I've lost an inch around my under boob waist. (I believe that we all have multiple waist lines. As mine go down, they get fluffier and more angry.) My friend even told me that I looked like I was "shedding some goo." GOO BE GONE! But seriously, the goo needs to leave my BOTTOM half.

Presenting... my man arms:

Day 1
Day 8

I am nine days into LeanMoms and I would honestly recommend this program to you. The fact that LeanMoms has everything laid out for you, complete with how-to videos on their site, makes the fee worthwhile. Plus, my back is feeling stable and I'm pretty sure that I will soon be able to totally Ninja kick my husband's ass into making progress on my cage. And that makes me happy.

Peace Out Girl (and Boy) Scouts!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

TMI Fridays: Insane in the Mom-Brain

You know when you see a celebrity on a talk show or read an article about them and you think to yourself, "We would so totally be friends in real life"? Well, Patti Ford of the hilarious "Insane in the Mom-Brain" is one of those celebrities. You guys, I'm not afraid to say it. I love me some Patti. If you are unfamiliar with her blog, get thyself there immediately and read. And for the love of all things guud and holey, follow this woman on facebook. Her rambling train of thought status updates consistently provide me with laughter, some snorting and lots of warm fuzzies.

My friend (a self proclaimed celebrity) pronounces 'celebrity' like 'celebriTIE". Please reread that first paragraph and use the latter pronunciation.

Me with a celebri-TIE

Patti doesn't know it yet, but I am going to make her sign my cleavage bone when we meet in Chicago in two weeks. Then together we will prancercise around Chi-town, only stopping for tandem bike rides, small children with balloons and hot dog vendors. I'm going to forgo the camel toe though, because... reasons.

Patti and I interviewed at first by phone, where she said all kinds of funny and brilliant things but I'm not using them because she yelled at me for making writers talk because writers are GOOD AT WRITING, NOT TALKING. Then we talked for two hours and probably solved all of the world's problems but unfortunately, both Patti and I are people that say things and immediately forget them so neither of us will ever know. Because she scolded me, I then emailed her the questions and below are her written answers. I'll be typing up Patti's original verbal answers and selling the unabridged version of this interview to the highest bidder on Ebay as soon as I cross all of that other shit to do off of my get'er done list. All of the proceeds will go to Patti's dream of having a miniature donkey farm. Or I'll buy some shoes and a new laptop because mine kicked the bucket. TomAto, tomAHto.

J: What is the appeal of writing? Tell us about your writing journey from literacy to current day.

P: I write much better than I talk. I have this special little path that sends stuff from my brain to my fingers before I even realize what it was that I thought. It's like a blue slip and slide from brain to keyboard. A slip and slide that has vegetable oil on it for extra speediness. Remember those FedEx commercials in the 80's where that guy with the awesome mustache talked so fast your brain nearly exploded? That's how fast my thoughts get to the keyboard. Sometimes when I read something that I wrote I am surprised because I didn't even know what I wrote until I read it. But the path that goes from my brain to my mouth is all potholey and forky and roadblocky and there is road construction and police checkpoints and unlawful search and seizures. I have to make sounds and pronounce things correctly and talk at a normal speed so that people understand me. I have to feed off of their social cues and facial expressions and process it which sometimes changes what I'm planning to say or do. When I write I am in a bubble and I say what I want when I want and it's organic and honest and natural and it's me. Writing is good. 

As for the "journey" portion of this question: Really? Is this Oprah? It sounds very serious and grown-up and I can't answer it.

J: If you needed to supplement your income through stripping, what would your stripper name be and what would be your signature move?

P: I've always been partial to the name Boom Boom McGillicutty. I think it's from Happy Days or something. I've always liked it. But I also think the name Princess PrettyKnockers would work out well too. The "Princess" part lends it a certain je ne sais quoi. Plus, it means I get to wear a crown and have a gown with so many layers of fluffy skirt stuff underneath it that everyone goes to sleep by the time I get it all off, which is awesome, because I don't want strange creepers seeing me naked. My signature move would be a spork to the taint of anyone who tries to touch me. 

J: What/who is your spirit animal?

P: Those tiny little goats on youtube that keep running in circles and climbing all over each other. 

J: Describe your perfect day.

P: A good poop, a beach, a make-out session with Norman Reedus, and endless Modelo brought to me by tiny monkeys wearing Hawaiian shirts.

J: Who is your writing inspiration and why?

P: Rick Bragg. He's. My. Idol.  It's hard to believe that he uses the same words that I do. Seriously. We speak the same freaking language, but he knows how to piece the words together and make something beautiful. I will read each paragraph 10 times before I move on to the next. There is a quote from him that says something like "To tell a story right you have to lean the words against each other so they don't fall down." His words never fall down and I never get tired of reading them. I want to meet him so bad I could spit on a kitten.
J: What is Patti's Secret to Life?

P: Laughter. Duh. I laugh at everything. You have to laugh at everything. Even stuff that you are ashamed to admit to anyone that you laugh at. The stuff that seems too awful to be funny? That's the stuff you need to laugh about the most. No matter how terrible something is, I think that if you can't get through the muck of it and find a little piece of humor in it, that thing is going to haunt you forever. 

J: GAME TIME~ Would you rather:

Climb a stair machine or climb a mountain? 

P: Stair machine. I will hurt myself on both, but there isn't as far to fall when I fall off of the stair machine. I've been to mountains. That's a long ass way to tumble. And there are mean goats and stuff on some of those. And snow. And you can get stranded up there and then have to eat each other. That won't happen if you fall off of a machine. You just yell "Help!" or dial 911 or maybe stop being such a pussy and just get up and go watch some tv.
J: 5 STAR restaurant or backyard BBQ?

P: Backyard BBQ. No contest. I hate dressing up and fancy food is usually weird.

J: Country or city?

P: Depends on my mood. I like both. I like the city because I can see all of the things and do all of the things and eat all of the things and talk to all of the people. But I feel very peaceful and calm in the country. Until I see snakes or scary shit like that. 

J: Road trip or jet plane?

P: Road trip. I love a good road trip. BUT I have to have a fun, chatty, singy, partner who likes to stop and look at stuff. If I'm with a bore, just fly me there fast.
J: Road Runner or Wile E. Coyote? 

P: Road Runner. Unless I'm PMS-y in which case I would find him to be too annoying. 

J: Unipone (a unicorn mating with a pony) or mini-donkecorn (A miniature donkey crossed with a unicorn)?

P: Duh.

J: Top or bottom?

P: Bunk? Top. I don't want anyone farting on me. But I need one of those rails so I don't roll out in my sleep.

J: What is your superpower? What superpower do you desire?

P: I am a good vibe-getter. I can feel people out pretty quickly. Tell a good egg from a bad egg. Sense a bullshitter. I usually know if I like someone in the first 5 minutes. 97.321% of the time I am right about people. I just totally pulled that number outta my ass but it' sounds pretty right. I WISH I was able to make Modelo come out of my fingers and also be invisible so that I can spy on people. 

J: How are you preparing for the zombie apocalypse?

P: Every time I go into a building I scan it and plan what I will do if the apocalypse happens while I am in there. I scan the area for things I could use as weapons, or people that look badass that I can hook up with. I decide who will die first and who will just slow my team down. For example, in an airport restaurant one night, The Hub and i assigned some classic horror movie character types to every person in the dining room with us. We knew who would do what and how it would all go down. That is what i do. I also watch lots of zombie flicks. I feel totally prepared and quite sure that in reality I would die within the first 5 seconds.
J: What is your strongest survival skill?

P: Talking my way out of things. I am pretty sure that if someone ever kidnapped me I could get them to let me go or at least just keep me around as a funny sidekick and not for murdering or body part eating.

J: Which essay in I Just Want to Pee Alone resonated the most with you and why?

P: I told you that I LOATHE these kind of questions. I do not like to pick people out over other people. It makes my insides hurt. It's like Sophie's Choice to me, except I don't think you are going to murder the ones that I don't pick. ARE YOU PLANNING TO MURDER THE ONES I DON'T PICK? Is that what you do? Do you murder people and use their bodies to fertilize your corn fields? Is that why you're so obsessed with eating corn? Is it people corn? ARE YOU A SICKO??? You know I don't wanna do this. At all. But just to make you happy I will tell you that I love the way Julianna writes. She knows how to lean words against each other so they don't fall down. And she's funny as poop.


Peruse Patti's blog, Insane in the Mom-Brain, follow her on facebook and read her fabulous essay in I Just Want to Pee Alone. You can also meet her (and me) in person at the I Just Want to Pee Alone book signing in Chicago on Friday July 26th at Bongiorno's. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ABSolutely Flabulous

So many factors deter many mom's from their fitness goals. Our excuses are plentiful.

I have no extra MONEY for a gym membership.

I have no TIME to work out.

I'm WORRIED about a life insurance policy, a college fund and raising a functional human being. I'm worried that I'm getting old and fat but I'm too worried about everything else to make myself a priority. I'm worried about how much I worry.

I've fallen prey to all of this thinking. We probably all have. And I have the bulky waist and jiggly ass to prove it. So here's my plan:

I'm not spending time or money on a gym membership, instead I'm investing in my health and wellness through what I am calling "My Rocky Routine". As in the Sylvester Stallone movie, not the tiny animated squirrel.

That's right. Brock is shipping me off to a tiny cabin in the mountains where I will be performing a variety of homeowner / lumberjack tasks in a parka and Sorels.

Nah. That's not necessary! We LIVE in a tiny cabin in the west that is chock full of manual labor! Yay us! I regularly spend half of my day dragging hoses, yanking weeds, lifting 30 lbs over my head, cleaning manure and raking/sweeping/ scrubbing/ moving moving moving.

In reality, I'm already doing a crap ton of manual labor here (see my man arms), but I'm still not prepared for the inevitable return of the crop top. Also, walking the dog 3-6 days a week for 3-4 miles is apparently no longer cutting the mustard. And then there is the impending Zombie Apocolyse. No one ever out-power-walks a zombie during an attack. No. To better prepare myself in all ways I've decided to implement a little change.

That's why I started jogging three weeks ago.

Or maybe "yogging", with a soft "j".

Also, I joined the 12 week LeanMoms program and started it on Monday.

Don't throw a boot at me, but I'm not trying to lose weight. With my gluten-free lifestyle (you know, because a body full of hives sucks hairy donkey balls), I'm comfortable with my weight. What I am not comfortable with is my chronic back pain, lack of core muscle, sloppy waistline, strong cravings for sugar, poor sleep habits and the occasional need for spanx.

I hate spanx.


Ultimately, I want to spend my life feeling great and being naked as much as possible.

Brock's excited about that prospect as well.

I also have a strong genetic tendency towards cancer and heart disease and all I have to say about that is "Fuck that shit!". This mama needs to stick around. I have three boys to keep in line. Yes, I'm including Brock in that headcount. I can't imagine how many dirty socks would be on the living room rug if I wasn't here to yell "PICK UP YOUR NASTY ASS SOCKS!"

It's one of the many services that I provide here. For the greater good of society.

So, I will be chronicling my adventures with health and wellness for your entertainment, information and hopefully inspiration. I encourage you to join in with me. We can text about our sore muscles and inches lost! Together, we can lament the removal of sugar and processed food! We can help each other be better, more energetic moms and hotter women. Scorching, baby. HAWT.
Oh yeah, I've already lost half an inch from my tiny, pathetic bust line. Go me.

Are you ready for my "Before" pictures?

Here ya go:
If you think I'm showing you a picture of me in a bikini, you're on crack.
Note the strategically placed sweatshirt...
This was taken Memorial Day Weekend, for the record.

Check out and start on your own path to better health, wellness and physique today!

Peace, Love and Fitness,

Friday, July 5, 2013

TMI Fridays- Mom's New Stage

Keesha is a dancer, a teacher, a writer, a wife and a mother. She's the brilliant, poignant and hilarious voice behind the blog Mom's New Stage. She also penned the funny and sassy "So She Thought She Could Cut Off My Stroller" in the best-selling anthology I Just Want to Pee Alone. Keesha wrote my favorite quote of THE ENTIRE book. I'll share it with you, because I'm a giver.

"She saw me and waved me off like a dog fart."

Dude. I know that dismissal well. So very well. 

I'll be meeting Keesha in Chicago before the month is over. Don't spoil the surprise, but I'll be coercing her into teaching me some dance moves. It will probably happen in a public place and will be one of those experiences that, in hindsight, I should not attempt because you know some sneaky SOB will have a video camera and I will look like I'm having a seizure, but DAMMIT, it's happening anyway! I want to look like THIS:

Except for the pregnant part. My uterus is tired.

She looks like this when she is pregnant, people. She's jumping... gracefully. When I was pregnant, I grew 6 chins and looked like Jabba the Hut. I certainly did not do anything that required both feet to be off the ground simultaneously. The only semi-graceful thing I did was to mutter "Sorry about that" after I let go of some pesky gas.

Anyhoo, Keesha is awesome and I asked her a crap ton of questions so that you all could see the amount of sheer awesome. 

Johi: First of all, I am so envious that you are a dancer! In my mind, I am a dancer. In reality, I'm closer to Elaine from Seinfeld. What is your dance experience?

Keesha: Like many girls, I started dancing super early – at the age of 3.  It was all I ever wanted to do.  I studied ballet, jazz, tap and eventually modern.  I always studied ballet, although I knew I wouldn’t be a ballet dancer – I didn’t have the body or feet.  And when tap got tough, with all those crazy syncopations – I was more than happy to leave those loud-ass shoes behind!

I always loved jazz, and eventually in college I fell in love with modern.  I danced professionally in a German rock opera after I graduated from college, and then decided I was more interested in concert modern dance.  I began teaching at several NYC private schools to enable me to dance with Steeledance and the Amy Marshall Dance Company.  I continued to teach and perform until about seven years ago when I had a mortgage and was thinking about starting a family.  I had less time to dance for little or no money.

Now I teach – I am dedicated to fostering the next generation of dancers. 

Johi: Are you watching So You Think You Can Dance? If so, who is your early pick to win?

Keesha: No me gusta SYTYCD.  I don’t like watching dance reality shows, except maybe
Dancing with the Stars which is about ballroom -- not my area of expertise.  As a teacher, and an older dancer, those shows bring up too many issues for me.  I either start critiquing their technique and artistry,  or the choreography, or I start thinking, “Holy shit ball change, was I half that good when I was 19?”  Then I just want to go off and eat my weight in sorbet and Twizzlers. 

Johi: (I have a hard time watching people ride horses in movies so I get it. Also, I pick Amy.)

Johi: What has been your biggest challenge between dancer/mother/writer? How have you turned that challenge into a benefit?

Keesha: I think the biggest challenge of being all three is time management.  And you might not know it from looking at the preschooler’s-frat-house I live in, but I am a perfectionist.  If I can’t give 127% to something, it doesn’t seem worth doing.

When I change that challenge into a benefit I will let you know! 

Seriously, I know that the secret is finding more joy and less judgment in all three.  To realize that while I may not be perfect , I am doing a good job.  To celebrate the small victories instead of beating myself up for not winning those big awards.  To validate myself instead of looking for stamps of approval from others.  Most of these you would think I would have learned from dancing, but each medium requires that these lessons be learned anew…

 I am thrilled to be able to share these lessons with readers.  Now if only I could take my own advice.

Johi: What was your most humbling experience?

Keesha: I am a dancer and a writer. If you want to see how often I have been humbled you can look at a city bus schedule. 

Motherhood, however, has provided my most humbling moments.

I don’t remember what we were talking about, but recently, my insightful then two-year-old daughter said, “You have to love yourself.  I love myself.  Do you love yourself, Mommy?”

It was a time where psychologically, I wasn’t treating myself very well.  I almost broke down in tears.  As I nearly did when she said, “I don’t like those jeans,” in reference to a pair of 2003 Blue Cults I was elated to be able to fit into again. 

Johi: Tell us about your family. Did you always want to be a mother?

Keesha: I have two children who are 18 months apart to the day.  Mr. R is 4.5 and Lady A is 3.  At any given moment I both love them so much my heart could explode, and feel so crazed by them I could put them in puppy crates.  I am married to a wonderful man who should be sainted for tolerating my Florence Brady meets Joan Collins mood swings.    

I did always want to be a mother, but I wanted to dance first.  I put motherhood off until that ripe old age of 35, and then dealt with heartbreaking infertility.  Luckily my story had a beautiful ending.  But yes, I always wanted to be a mother, and I would have had major regrets had that not come to pass.

Johi: Which social media forum do you find most addictive and why?

Keesha: Pinterest is a runner up, but hands down, Facebook.  I would crawl into my laptop if I could to get more involved with the beautiful reconnecting, the mundane minutiae and the soul-killing bullshit people post on that site.  And even though, as a blogger, Facebook now nets me as much traffic as printing up my posts and taping them to selected overpasses on the Interstate, I feel compelled to spend hours a day on it.  Sigh.

Johi: If you could step into another life/time, what/who's/when would it be and why?

Keesha: I have always been fascinated by Josephine Baker.  Her story is extraordinary -- from the Jim-Crow South to a Harlem vaudeville star, then rising to becoming a diva of the stage and screen in Paris (not to mention being admired by figures like Picasso, Hemingway, and Langston Hughes), working for the French Resistance during WW II, and becoming a staunch activist for Civil Rights back the US. 

I have always wanted to live in Paris, where I have visited several times, but never lived.  I am in awe of how “La Baker” took that city by storm, but also stood up for what she believed in as a fearless and political and social activist.  Also, I am fascinated by how, like many female stars, Baker was both in control of and manipulated as a result of her sexuality, not to mention racial identity.  Her story has it all, and I’d love to step into the shoes of this iconic figure – at least for a little while. 

Johi: What is your greatest fear?

Keesha: My greatest fear is searching desperately all the way to the end, and realizing I had it all along.

Johi: That's brilliant. Someone should write that down.

Johi: If you had to share a bus seat with a clown, a spider or a mouse, which would you pick?

Keesha: Spiders and mice freak my shit out.  So reluctantly, I choose clown.  Clowns love to laugh and make people happy, so I’d like to know what their secret is – or if they are really crying on the inside.

Johi: GAME TIME! Marry, f*ck or kill! 
George Costanza, Andrew Dice Clay or Carrot Top?

Keesha: Ok.

Carrot Top I would just plain kill.  Gross. He makes my eyes bleed.

Andrew Dice Clay I would, you know, the “f” one.  By the way, I am a bipolar curser.  Sometimes I curse like a gang member, and sometimes I get all schoolmarm-y.  Anyhoo, the thought of doing that with him makes me want a chastity belt.  That foul mouth in bed, however, would make me laugh ‘til I peed, which would be hysterical in so many ways…

And George Costanza, I would marry.  Don’t tell my husband, but GC is my soul mate.  I am a short, chubby, neurotic, balding, Queens (I am from Queens too!) man trapped in the athletic body of an African-American woman.  I shit you not.  So we’d be married, though a sexless one, because there would always be some kind of “hahribble” problem to kvetch about instead of getting busy.  And we’d probably wind up killing each other, so that’s a twofer. 

Johi: What is your all time favorite:
Keesha: You are killing me here.  I don’t have all time favorites – I love too many of everything.  But I will try…
Song: “As”  by Stevie Wonder
Book: anything by Jhumpa Lahiri
Movie:  A tie between Thelma and Louise and Gladiator
Food:  Sushi
Cartoon Character:  Stewie on “Family Guy”
Heroine:  Miss Celie (The Color Purple)
Actor:  Denzel Washington
Drink:  Gin and Tonic

Johi: What part of life do you think is the best and why?

Keesha: The part of life that was the most even was my early thirties.  I was comfortable with myself; I was beyond drama.  I was married.  I worked and danced and partied and went on trips… I went shopping and had a great wardrobe.  I was a grown up kid.  A phase in life everyone should have.

But here, right now -- this is the phase where I have everything I want.  A great husband. Beautiful, smart, curious, loving children -- children that at one point I didn’t think I’d have.  A home.  I am doing well in the field I love.  This is the best time.  And the most challenging.

Johi: Who's essay in I Just Want to Pee Alone was your favorite and why?

Keesha: There were so many awesomesauce pieces in that book.  I am so honored to have been a part of it.  I wish I had my face recorded while I read Meredith Spidel’s essay.  It knocked me for a loop – without giving anything away, she leads the reader on a roller coaster ride from extreme sadness to roll-off-the-bed hysterical laughter.  I adore Meredith, she’s a sweetheart, and I’m so happy that she hit it so far out of the park.  

I also loved Susan Bristow’s “A Tale of Two Vaginas,” which is just as shockingly funny as the title, and “Why I Belong in Coach” by Julianna Miner of Rants in Mommyland.

Before her two children re-choreographed her life, Keesha was a professional dancer who performed in the U.S. and in Europe. Today she teaches modern and jazz dance in the Chicago area. She is also the human cyclone behind the popular blog Mom’s New Stage. A multitasker at heart, she shows fierce skills at simultaneously writing, choreographing, checking Facebook and Pinterest updates, playing the role of a mother named Joan “Kumbaya” Crawford, and overcooking food. Her writing has been featured on Mampedia, The Huffington Post, and in the bestselling anthology I Just Want to Pee Alone.

Meet Keesha, myself and 13 other rad writers from I Just Want to Pee Alone on Friday July 26th in Chicago! We hope to see you there!