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my birthday flowers and (virgin) drink

June 25th, 2013

Birthday dinner

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Ran away to the beach for a few days with Steve and the kids. This being the Oregon coast, and not somewhere in the Caribbean… it was gray, freezing, storming. We built fires in the (indoor) fireplace not on the (outdoor, soggy) beach. Played games with the kids, read, wrote, ate, went to the Sea Lion Caves, where I haven’t visited since I was a tot. (Go look at the webcam!)

Best weekend ever. My family is too good to me.

Have a great week, everyone, and happy summer!

xo

wm

took back my yard today

June 17th, 2013

Purple cluster

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

oh, hallo, yard, how have you been?

you are very beautiful, yard, but I notice you’ve developed a weed problem. here, let me help. oh, hallo, asters. keep growing. hallo, snake, are you dead? no? just dehydrated, eh? here’s a saucer or 4 of water for you. you’re welcome.

Roses of Sharon! I was hoping to see you. clover, goodbye. transplanting Shasta daisies, deadheading the roses. pulling up more pop-ems and picking fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

hi, summer. i love you.

wm

and now, how about a little song?

so close, and yet so far away…

June 1st, 2013

Painted Lady

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

I “won” a gift certificate at a school auction, the masseuse won’t return calls to sked my appointment, and when she does? This is how the computer translates it. kinda funny… But I don’t think i’m going to get that massage any time soon.

– wm

“Hi this is Rosie. so(?) I hung up. We’re disconnected my phone disconnected us or something but I’m hey I was trying to come up with it the day that you could gimme a buzz but I don’t work Saturday. So I’m at work so we can been work Monday through Friday. And for this summer I’m trying to take two days off for the most part I might be able to bring something if I have day care but otherwise I have that deed designated as a mommy day. So just you know I guess I need you to call me back and let me know if you can do it anytime during the day or I have a couple evenings a week I work late. So I’m not to be ugly-to-her-thursday-than(?) Friday. So I do need a call back and we’ll schedule that. Okay thanks bye.”

exercise, weight, Carnie Wilson and me.

May 13th, 2012

Meanwhile, at the haunted rink

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

i kinda love that picture. Happy Mother’s Day, to you mothers out there ;)

I thought today I would write about a subject that’s near and dear to Americans: morbid obesity. Oh, wait… we like our french fries and beer in this country, so very, very, much. Along with our weight loss surgeries. So is weight truly an issue that can be described as “near and dear” to us? Discuss amongst yourselves — I have reality TV to move along to.

I’ve been working out pretty much every day for a long time now. Months? A year? Who knows. I walk on the treadmill and do yoga, mainly. Go for hikes and walks with Steve and the kids, and sometimes make it to the rec center for aqua aerobics. (Zumba! Shake those ta-ta’s, ladies…) I tivo a lot of stuff, but I still run out of crap to watch. Which is why I ended up watching the new TV Guide (?) reality show, “Wilson Phillips, Still Holding On.” Carnie Wilson (daughter of Beach Boy Brian) hates exercise, she sez. Carnie and her sister Wendy Wilson, and Chynna Phillips (daughter of Michelle and John, Mamas & the Papas) are always in a fight. They have their children to raise, their husbands to try to pressure into getting vasectomies, and also? They live in California. It is stressful there, apparently, with all the driving and birthday parties.

Plus they’re trying to make a comeback, and they’re all in their 40s now.

Girls, I feel ya. So Carnie decides to get another weight reduction surgery done, even tho she’s already gained back 2/3rds of the weight she lost with the last one. Girl, i don’t feel ya on this one, but que sera, sera. Just go for some long walks; it’s easier. I’m not into running — i blew out the ACL on my right knee, skiing, and it hurts when i run. It also hurts when i have extra weight on my bod. But unlike Carnie, i f*&@!ng hate surgeons, doctors, hospitals, and i think i would have to be unconscious and toted there before you’ll get me near one again.

it must be tough when weight is something you’ve struggled with your whole life. Chynna Phillips was being quite rude and giggling about going to visit Carnie at the “fat farm” when they were kids. With “sisters” like that, who needs enemies?

i was lucky enough to not experience being a heavy kid. also lucky to have two skinny parents, who ate right, exercised because they liked to move around, and weren’t weirdos about food. I’ve never been more than 30 pounds overweight, and by American standards, I’m svelte. Ha. American standards need to be revised. Thirty extra pounds is uncomfortable. Two extra pounds is uncomfortable. I’ve lost about 20, gained back 6, whatever. I love sugar, and if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know i love to bake, especially when i’m stressed out. Chocolate therapy.

i danced as a kid, always rode my bike, hiked, backpacked, swam, have done yoga since I was 17. i’m not a jock, but i like to move. Even so, it was hard for me to get enough exercise because i was having health problems and the kids were little. We lived in a cruddy neighborhood before, and i had all these visions of taking the kids and dog out for walks and oh! lovely exercise! Yeah. That worked until the dog kept getting attacked by shepherds, pit bulls, boxers and various other doggie fiends. I had a pit bull lunge at me once when i was alone and just about had a heart attack. The neighborhood was polluted (lots of industrial traffic) and my asthma sucked and it was a total hassle to get to the gym because 1) we didn’t have a lot of extra income to pay for a membership and 2) while everyone was pretty happy to dump their kids on me, no one seemed all that keen on babysitting my kids. Even though, hello, my kids are mellow and your kid just trashed my house are you f&@!#ng kidding me?

But i digress.

i was scrawny for years — 5’10″ by the time I was 15. I remember walking home from school (theme in my life ;) I’ve always walked a lot) and having my hip pop right out of the socket. I took my hand and popped it smack back in and kept walking. Ouch. That happened more than once. I was growing so fast, everything was loose and limber. I’ve had thyroid problems (hypo and hyper, so alternating between being exhausted/unable to sleep, restless/listless and go-go-go). I didn’t realize my calcium and potassium were messed up because my doctors were quacks and no one bothered to refer me to a specialist. I didn’t even know what an endocrinologist was until years later. I had my throat cut the first time when i was 14. I had my throat cut for the 2nd (and hopefully, last) time when I was 27. i had my tonsils out when i was 6, c-sections when the babies were born (they were both 10-pounders) and had a long-needed hysterectomy a few years ago. Along the way i had to have a bunch of “procedures” and “bloodwork” and “tests for cancer” (i’m good, thanks) and all kinds of other invasive shit.

so let’s stop for a moment to ponder all that. I hate the health stuff.

But you know what hurt the most? My sister, screaming “You’re a fat f!@#$ng cow!” at me in my own kitchen. With my own kids right in the next room.

1) Am not fat f!@#$ng cow, thank you.
2) If someone is, you think they don’t already know that?
3) Not helpful, and kind of destroyed our relationship, along with some other crap.

So Chynna, that’s nice that you’re skinny and blonde and all, but sweetheart? Please don’t lord it over people. Work on the humility a little bit.

what has helped me (please talk to a doctor, though, i’m not a professional here):

1) drinking more water

2) getting enough sleep

3) the kids getting older, so I don’t have to arrange care for them in order to work out

4) having a treadmill in my office. I get up early sometimes, use it while i’m watching TV, or late at night, even, if i can’t sleep. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, a full hour, whatever. I go until I unwind.

5) working my yoga practice so it’s just mine. I can’t stand “competitive yoga” and haven’t done an inversion in years. I get dizzy, have extremely low blood pressure, and get embarrassed by how stiff I am. So i do a weigh-in on the scale in my bathroom and the Wii every day, do yoga and work-outs with the Wii and my favorite TV yoga teacher, Priscilla Patrick. I do it how much I want to, when I want to, and I customize it every day so it suits me.

6) I try to walk on the treadmill or out in the neighborhood for an hour a day, but if it’s less, who cares. If it’s more, that’s fine, too. All of this can be hard to start, but once i got into a routine i was okay. Now I know if i’m stressing out it’s cuz i need to stretch or go for a walk. Usually the endorphins kick in after 20 minutes or so, but damn. Sometimes it’s an hour! Then i think, That was a lot of stress to release, but it’s gone now.

7) eating right. my cousin taught me the “take 6″ trick. She fills up a platter with pea pods, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, asparagus, whatever she wants. Makes a dip out of BBQ sauce and Thousand Island dressing and puts it in the middle, then tells my little cousins to take 6 pieces. It works and is really pretty to look at, too. I like protein shakes, but i don’t drink them every day. I try to have one meal a day that’s just a protein shake (with yogurt, fruit and lots of ice), OR soup (if it’s cream soup, a lot of calories, with a handful of croutons, no i do not care. (and sometimes it is just a simple bowl of vegetable soup, which has, what 40 calories? ha, and that’s fine, too) OR cereal (i’m like a 6-year-old about cereal) (non-fat milk) OR a salad. I’m not into bacon or bleu cheese dressing, but I do like chicken, or taco salads (plain yogurt, usually, instead of sour cream).

That works, if you just sub out a few meals. Don’t torture yourself, life is too short.

8) I stopped drinking any and all booze. I’m hypoglycemic, on verge of diabetes. The mixers and the white wine (with its sugar) were doing a lot of damage. I didn’t drink very much, and have always been a lightweight, but even that small amount was doing damage. I also was having a hard time working out because even 10 or 15 minutes would make me dizzy as hell and sick. Duh, it was low blood sugar, along with the damn low blood pressure. So now i stop and have yogurt, a banana, a rice cake or an orange, and that helps. Sometimes I just say forget it, eat a real meal and then work out half an hour later.

9) i feel good. mainly because anybody in my head, screaming at me? I imagine that I’m putting them, their words, their put-downs and all the rest, into a big manila envelope. I seal it shut, and in my head, walk it out to the trash and put it in there. Then I shut the lid. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Because you wouldn’t want to take something out of the trash and keep it, would you now? So the next time it starts to run through my head, I remind myself, Naw, that’s trashed, remember? It works, try it sometime.

Carnie, I love you.

– nancy

My Y, Curvy Girl, and books by dead white guys

April 28th, 2011

Here she is. All of us are a little possessive of Y, it’s funny. She is my Y, mine, nooooo mine! She takes amazing photos, go see if you can talk her into selling you one. I love the blogs because many talented women are now… visible. Who needs a book deal? A photo exhibit? We’re going renegade around here, and have been for awhile.

Speaking of books… Mine is going well. I’m at 305 pages now and 88,008 words (nice!). If you’re not impressed with that, then I’m asking you, What the hell is wrong with you? Cuz that’s a lot of words and pages and commas, all put together by moi. You’ll buy an e-copy when it’s done, yes? Yes! (I hope so, anyway.)

And speaking of books, part deux… Classics book group was last night — we read Aristophanes’s play, “The Frogs.” It is from 404 B.C. or something like that, which is apparently a verrrrrrrrrrrry long time ago. Ribbit. I liked it, it was hilarious. Just the fact that the text (different versions of it, who knows which one is the closest to “real”) has survived all these centuries is pretty cool.

Next we’re reading Graham Greene’s “The Quiet American.” I’m already in on the joke — Americans aren’t quiet. The only quiet American is a dead American.

Hmm. We’ll see if I can get through it, here’s hoping. After that we’re reading “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass,” “Robinson Crusoe,” “Heart of Darkness” (which Steve already finished and I have almost finished — Norton’s edition is best, I’ve heard — I’m reading the Penguin Classics version. I’m finding the notes helpful and yes, I do understand where one of my favorite writers of all time, Chinua Achebe, is coming from, in regards to Conrad).

As Beth would say, That sentence is too long, I’ll start over.

We’re reading Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Sharer,” too. We reading only books by dead white guys. (Typo that I refuse to correct. “We are reading…” make that, for you copy editors out there.) This fractures me, as I managed to avoid most of them in college. Dead white guys, not copy editors. I wrote for the student newspaper and edited the college literary magazine. You couldn’t move two feet without elbowing a copy editor or two, drinking all the coffee and bitching that they would have to return cans if they wanted some beer money.

But now I’m reading the dead white guys for fun — irony, see?

I was an English major. You learn all about irony and how to avoid work as an English major. OK, let’s just ponder that one for a moment and then have a good laugh. Seriously! Here is who I studied in college: Tillie Olsen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ntozake Shange, SHAKESPEARE!! (didn’t avoid all of ‘em, see?), Chinua Achebe, Zora Neale Hurston… and a bunch of dead white guys. Dreiser, James, Fitzgerald… all good. So when I saw “Moby Dick” on our list… (“Mopey dick!” — Leon on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) heehee I am looking forward to reading Mopey Dick for our September book. Cuz I would read Raymond Carver all day long, but keep Updike, Cheever, and Mopey Dick the hell away from me. I did enjoy Milton, and Wordsworth and… Donald Barthelme, of all people.

(“OK, now you’re just name-droppin’!” — anon. critic in my head)

No, I’m not! I would start reading Kerouac aloud at 11 at night with a friend and keep reading until we’d finished the book.

(“College is hard, but it ain’t work” — my friend Jim, who I read Kerouac with)

If you asked me, which writers have most influenced your writing, I would have to pick Toni Morrison, Stephen King and Donald Barthelme. And Raymond Carver. OK, that’s a little scary, eh?

I somehow ducked and wove and arranged my own deal, all through college, man my professors were something, y’know? They sized me up and said, It’s gonna take some work, with this one. And they let me go for it.

Thank you, English Department at Portland State University. I love them so much for what they gave me, I might just send them a check. Or maybe just copies of “The Bluest Eye,” “Song of Solomon” and “Beloved” to hand out to some deserving students.

Let’s. All. Read!

Except for me, I have to write for awhile, then clean the house. But tonight? I read. Right after we get the results from “American Idol,” make that. hahaha.

The Neat Sheet, Courtesy of the Fashionable and Elegant Karen Vitt

September 5th, 2009

My girl Karen V. started herself a fancy little blog, what do you know? It’s all about fashion and beauty, coming to you live from Portland, Ore.

It’s called the Neat Sheet and is rilly, rilly super-neat. Lots of tips and contests and insider info. Go stop by and tell her I said, “Hello.”

(PS, Karen here’s a tip — Debi Mazar is coming out with her own line of Italian olive oil beauty products next spring. Nice! Looking forward to those.)