I am coming up on my one year, smoke free, anniversary and I thought this would be a wonderful time to reflect.

According to the stats online, since being smoke free for almost a year I’ve decreased my risk of suffering coronary heart disease in half. That, in itself, makes this all worthwhile. I’d like to add that I don’t walk around smelling like an ashtray, my friendships with smokers have survived and my sense of smell has returned to full strength.

I’m thankful the children don’t recall freezing during winter morning commutes because I had to smoke a square before we got to daycare. To bow to my wants, my friends let me sit shotgun in the smoking vehicles because I complained too much when the smoke would come back in through the windows. I was embarrassed the first few times my kids said aloud, “Eww! Do you smell that smoke?” when we’d pass strangers in a store who reeked like cigarettes, but now I wish they’d say it louder. I am happy I made this decision to take my health back. I hope my loved ones will follow suit one day.

The downfall is the weight I’ve put on since stopping smoking. I was doing great shortly after quitting. I was jogging after work, biking numerous miles a month and feeling like I was in the best shape of my life. Then I had a tragic loss in my life that threw me off my health routine. Sadly, the person I lost was the one who helped me the most when I was quitting smoking. Unfortunately she should’ve followed her own advice because she lost her fight to the mighty cigarette herself. After that, the dreary Wisconsin winter set in and I became my worst enemy. My new sense of smell introduced me back to the wonderful world of eating. Instead of running out to light up to relieve stress, I found myself running to the fridge. Even though refused to have soda and junk food in my home, somehow I managed to pack on at least 15 pounds with ‘almost’ healthy food.

Since I am still suffering from my drunken decision to indulge in Domino’s pizza last Friday, I’ve decided to take my health back. I’ve always used the good ole starve diet, but this time I want to do it the right way. While the right way is much slower, I know it will be the most beneficial to me in the future. I have read numerous diet books but have come to the conclusion that I need to make my own diet to fit my own lifestyle. I suffer with IBS and am lactose intolerant so many of these diets don’t work for me. Last night I ran my first mile and I felt like I was going to die but the shower afterwards made me want more. This week I’ve been putting a soluble fiber in my belly every morning (per the IBS Gods) and have found that warm water with lemon juice is pleasant to drink when I am hungry. I could save a ton of money on miso soup if I could find a local market that sold dashi granules and miso paste to make my own, but the fake ones are just as good. Right now I’m reading “The Hip Chick’s guide to Macrobiotics” with hopes of getting some overall health tips. I figure as long and there’s a will, there’s a way.

I think that line was finally crossed at work. This is the line that birthed ridiculous office policies around America and has since made coworkers weary of communicating with one another on a daily basis. I believe the line that was drawn to protect people in the workplace from being offended by colleagues. It was most likely made so that people would be able to work in an environment free from racism, gender discrimination and harassment. I suppose it was formed with hopes of ending insulting behavior and to protect feelings from being hurt.

I find it hard to cry foul because I’ve always flirted with this line and could have easily generated several hundred sexual harassment suits and flooded folders with various write-ups if I would’ve been punished, but I have never been. A handful of times I’ve been told to ‘watch it’, but nothing that would leave a paper trail. I am the first to admit that I have violated said policy on numerous occasions and took advantage of my seniority. I use vile profanity on an hourly basis, verbally discuss sexual situations like I’m being paid by the minute and have joked about the handicapped, poor and less fortunate of my community. I am not proud of this, but I will be the first to admit my faults.

Oddly, this is the first time I’ve been on the receiving end and am here to report that my feelings aren’t so much hurt but I am appalled as to what was heard. I suppose the comment wouldn’t have made such an impact if I worked in a different setting, but it really enraged me to the point of losing my cool. I’ve since calmed down and have effectively gathered my thoughts. I am one of those broads who believe that everything happens for a reason and now I believe that I needed to get a close up of this line. So in the spirit of Michael leaving The Office, I shall set forth to become a more desired employee. I needed to feel the impact of inappropriate office behavior because I’ve become far too unprofessional for far too long. There is no need for me to be the office Lisa Lampanelli anymore, no reason to discuss politics and my coworkers who are Packer fans shouldn’t be heckled every Monday morning during the winter months, (that’s what Twitter is for). Perhaps my lackadaisical approach to work needed an adjustment and this was my sign. That is the lesson I’m taking with the brief exchange at work. As much as I bitch about work, it is a job and those are hard to come by nowadays. I need to respect my paycheck and act appropriately.

My life begins at 5:00PM.

“If you could change one thing about your physical appearance, what would you change?” This was a staple in all High School conversations, wasn’t it? My answer was always, always, always, “My hair!”.

I was born with a head full of natural curly locks. I credit these spirals to my great, great grandmother whom I have never met. From the little family information I have I believe she was born and raised in Trinidad and lived there her entire life. Apparently she was the “Jungle Grandma” because she had dark curly hair and brown skin. Per my hippy Uncle, my grandfather’s death certificate stated his race as Negro, he was her son (empathize the word hippy in that sentence). My father could have easily been mistaken for a Hispanic or an Arab male when he was in his prime. A head full of luscious jet black curls. His skin has always absorbed the sun at a high intensity rate. I was always so jealous of the insta-tan he would receive, even in overcast weather.

In high school I had no idea how to care for my curls. I grew up in northern town where Finlanders made up the majority of the population. My thick, frizzy mop couldn’t compete with their poker straight, naturally blonde hair. I hated High School and I hated my hair. I would cut it often, which I now understand is the absolute worse idea when you have natural curly hair. The planet Saturn best describes my senior photograph.

In college I got a little more comfortable with these pipe cleaners growing from my skull. Letting it grow past my shoulders was a hit and I discovered this ground breaking product called styling gel. Who would’ve known this was available in 1994? At that time I was still relishing in this product called Mouse. (I still am a little behind the game).

Figure A

After college is when I fully embraced this head of hair. I realized I could go three to four days without washing it. My morning routine began by spraying some water on it, comb out the tangles, put some gel in and I looked like I stepped out of the salon. Serious. My friends with straight hair fell at my feet, worshiped and praised my hair. Their limp, thin straight hair was no competition for the tons of body I brought. I could bend over at the waist, firmly rub my fingertips throughout my skull to lift the hair, whip my head by up, shake a few times and I was ready. I was usually on my third beer by the time they finished curling their hair in the bathroom. I loved it! After my morning shower I would use a pic to comb through it, throw some more gel in, scrunch it up with my fists, put it in a scrunchy and go. By the afternoon I was able to take the hair tie out and let the soft locks free. (Figure A shows the good ole days)

Since turning 35, that has all changed and I’m back to my High School mentality. Every time I go to the salon my stylist straightens my hair. She blows it out with a hot blow dyer then deep fries it with a flat iron. The first time I realized my curls were out of style was a few years back when I took the morning off to get my hair done. I arrived at work, fresh from the salon, with my hair poker straight and everyone was ohhing and ahhing at me. “You look so young, WOW!” “You look thinner, amazing!” “You did something new and fabulous to your hair hun, what did you do?”.

Since then, I have gone through phases of straight hair weeks and curly hair weeks. I figure since I look young and thin with the straight hair, I must look old and fat with the curly hair. Honestly, it is much easier to go au naturel than to break out the heat products and get down on the curls. (Figure B)

Figure B

So, I got up an hour early this morning and heated up the flat iron and made an effort to kill the curls with kindness. I styled my Schmirnoff induced bangs perfectly and stepped outside feeling skinny and young. I should have checked the weather because it was raining outside. By the time I arrived at work I was rocking a wavy look. Thanks great, great grandmother. I really do love my hair

Today is my lucky day and if you’re reading this, today is your lucky day too!

I haven’t logged on to my Vimeo account in several months, but after several failed attempts to upload a video to YouTube I signed on again.

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon the short film entitled, “SKATEISTAN: TO LIVE AND SKATE KABUL” but it is such a wonderful video that I felt the need to share and blog about it. I couldn’t post it to my Facebook page fast enough. I was hoping to expose a different view of the Afghan people to my narrow minded friends and family members whose international travel highlight include a trip to Sault Ste Marie, Canada…6 years ago. I wasn’t expecting any of those FOX NEWS junkies to watch all 9:16 of the film and I’m sure my vegan friends were turned off by the preview image (thumbnail) of the video, but time will tell and I really don’t care if I change their perception anyways. I figure everyone already has their view on the Middle East and I doubt anyone can change that.

It is sad that we except the fact that the majority of the people living in war torn areas are numb to war and have no fear of bullets or bombs. Picture your children running through mounds of garbage and filth. Imagine the horror if a Boston suburb or the hills of Los Angeles had a landscape like Kabul. Hold your breath as you watch your child look emotionless as they witness, yet another, suicide bombing. It is hard for us, as Americans, to even fathom what many young adults witness everyday in countries like this. When I think of broken countries like this, I think “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

Overall, I find the video refreshing and far too late. Seeing as though the majority of Americans are inundated with negative press about the Middle East and Afghanistan in particular, I relish in positive images like these. Seeing people make something out of nothing is extremely inspirational, especially the younger generation. I applaud the young girl who states, “When I skate on the street I can feel people questioning my right to skate. Their opinions are meaningless to me” {standing ovation}

May the following 9 minutes bring you a break from the horrific images of the reality in the Middle East that we tend to block out.

For the first time in recent memory I am without my cell phone today.

I panic when my daycare provider distributes the summer calendar which notifies me of the days they will be closed for summer holidays. Daycare closing dates usually present a childcare challenge because my family lives states away, my friends are full-time employees and I detest using holiday time just to stay at home. Today is one those days. My regular babysitter was unavailable so my home girl lent me her daughter for the day. As of recent, said daughter happens to be cell-phone-less and since landline phones are so 80’s I had to take one for the team and leave my cell phone with the babysitter.

When I was making these babysitting arrangements I didn’t think of the consequences of being without my smart phone for this many hours. If my calculations are correct, my lavender Blackberry will only be absent for about 9 or 10 hours. I’ve gone without cigarettes for a number of weeks now, so this shouldn’t be hard, right?

So far it’s only been 2 hours and 16 minutes and I’m dying to know how many text messages I’ve already missed. I wonder which Facebook status updates have gone without my coveted approval and I hope I didn’t miss the email from Victoria Secrets advising me that, for today only, I have 5 minutes to run through their store and grab anything I’d like. Sure, I can pick up my work phone, call my babysitter and have her report what I’ve missed, but that would be preposterous…or would it? Updating my Facebook status to “I will not have my phone today” crossed my mind this morning but then I realized my cell phone addiction may be exposed.

Do you think my contacts will be concerned when I don’t reply to their Blackberry Instant Messages they send? Will my babysitter rummage through my phone and read my rough draft XXX letters intended for my loves eyes only? Will other people think I’m simply being rude and ignoring their messages? Am I going to have to use a desktop computer to review my email messages? Have I missed important calendar events such as a business meeting, a pedicure appointment or my mother’s birthday?

I know I can survive one stupid, lousy work day without my cell phone. I know that any BREAKING NEWS that the Associated Press reports isn’t life threatening. I can read the newspaper in the break room to check the weekend forecast and I don’t need to know the Word of the Day on Dictionary.com. My daily horoscope can wait until this evening, I can sneak online at work to check the Brazil vs. Netherlands World Cup score and I can walk on my breaks without Pandora’s music filling my ear drums. I will survive. *breathe in*

Twenty one days without a cigarette and the past few days have been atrocious.

I thought I was feeling like a stone cold bitch because I was riding the cotton pony but I can’t blame my Drowning Mona behavior on Aunt Flo any longer. I considered blaming Chantix for thinking everyone on earth is more irritating than Carrot Top but remembered I stopped taking the medication 6 days ago. I could easily blame dieting on my “About-To-Erupt-Behavior” but I don’t remember night sweats, eye squinting headaches and intense insomnia playing a role in dieting. Plus, I haven’t been binging and purging like I initially planned.

What the hell is going on? Well, in order of annoyance, this is what is going on:

– Headache(s) from hell.
– Insomnia that would keep a newborn awake.
– Night sweats last seen on the Golden Girls.
– Irritability, irritability and more irritability.

I kept forgetting to take Chantix so I stopped taking it on Thursday. I was looking forward to this weekend because the children would be out in the country with family. I had an out of town guest arrive and intended to mirror an inebriated Tara Reid all weekend with minimal rest. I was around drunken, ashtray reeking strangers all weekend and had no desire to smoke. In fact, their wasted money and vile breath was more of a reminder than a weakness. I was attacked by a migraine headache late Sunday evening but recovered after purging dinner. The weekend was wrapped up Monday morning by feeling completely out of my element due to my normal routine being cast aside. Now I wonder if I would’ve had a better time if I wasn’t in recovery. [I plan to use the word ‘recovery’ to describe my conduct from now so I have something to blame my standoffish character on. “Give her a break, she’s in recovery” sounds pretty good, eh?]

Last night was hell. I think I had about 10 hours of sleep the entire weekend, Monday included. Yesterday at work, I looked forward to going home and grilling up some dead animals, sweeping up the cottonwood waste and hitting the bed. I belly flopped into bed after I flushed the cotton from my eyes and tucked my full bellied children into their beds. Just as I was falling asleep to National Geographic’s comforting “Inside Sadaam’s Reign of Terror” show, I saw a very large spider crawling on my wall. I could not rest because something told me this spider would attack me as soon as I drifted off to sleep. Shortly after 1AM it came down low enough on the wall so I could shower it with a lethal mix of Clorox Clean-Up Bleach and the ever trusting WD-40. The toxic mixture did not kill the spider but the liquids dropped it to the ground and I crushed it by pushing my bookcase on it. I thought I was ready to sleep so off went the TV and on came the water works. I woke up every 15 minutes sweating like Chris Farley on a coke binge. It was repulsive. I believe the longest sleeping period I had was maybe 27ish minutes and I was woken up to the stupidest alarm clock ring tone and the aggravating headache that’s been shadowing me for the past few weeks.

Due to the hostile scowl I’ve worn since I arrived at work, my coworkers have treated me like Medusa. I’d rather knee strangers in the groin than fake a compliment and I am still perspiring like a pig. Four generic pain-aid tablets later and I can’t shake this nuisance in my melon. Today would be a wonderful day to join a Fight Club.

“Women have a wonderful instinct about things. They can discover everything except the obvious.” – Oscar Wilde

I am a female, woman, mother, girl, doll, part time bitch and I have two X chromosomes. I enjoy wearing dresses, skirts and heels. I sport a minimum amount of make up, shave a larger percentage of my body hair than most males, my favorite color is pink and I am flattered when the door is held open for me. I also over analyze the smallest detail, gossip more than I’d like, cry when I get angry and worry more than I care too. (I blame that on the set of ovaries that came with this package deal.)

Being a female isn’t all cupcakes, comfortable pumps, butterflies and lip gloss. I wish I could shamelessly walk around without a shirt on and have my beer gut hanging over my Fruit of the Loom elastic. I wish I could pass gas in a room full of people and laugh and I wish I could grab my genitalia when I have to pee or get aroused.

Thankfully I am a lady and ladies don’t do such vulgar things. Who am I kidding? Females, in my opinion, are their own worst enemy.

This ‘women-acting-juvenile’ conduct isn’t a new pandemic, it’s been happening since I was in middle school. Back when I was in school young girls would pull hair, curse you out and spread rumors that you like to pick your nose and eat it. Now a days, middle school aged females are quite possibly the Queens of Poor Behavior (aka: little bitches). Cases of school bullying/harassment in schools are skyrocketing across the country and it all stems from this cesspool called middle school. Only few strong willed girls survive and break free from their cliques, sadly most fall prey.

High school appears to be graduate school for haughty behavior. This is where females master the habits of back stabbing, lying and being the fakest two-faced girl in the locker room. By this time, most girls are stuck in specific categories and carry on until they’re set free, aka: graduation.

The fork in the road is obviously high school graduation. At this stage in the game there are two crucial choices: 1. Stay around the nest or 2. Get the hell out of dodge. Option 1. typically means being pressured to continue to play the role she’s had since middle school, but option 2. means she has a chance to start over and reinvent herself.

After college my female playoff bracket goes to hell. I have no explanation for some of the behavior I’ve witnessed from grown ass women; some are 10 years my senior. I don’t have to go into detail about the appalling actions exhibited by the media whores we’re force fed now (aka: Reality TV). Many of them act more childish than some teenagers I am in contact with.
For all the women we work with Monday – Friday: Here is when you’ve blown your cover: Your conversation goes from whispering volume to regular volume when I enter a secluded portion of the office that you and your cronies have been huddled in. If you truly think I believe y’all were whispering about the Gulf Oil Spill, you’re sadly mistaken.

Poor adult female behavior can be traced down my bloodline as well. I have a rich family history of ridiculous feuds and years of silent treatments. Instead of accepting this unlikely inherited quality I plan to break this unhealthy cycle.

I guess I thought that we’d eventually grow up and start worrying about ourselves and our families more than other people.

I had tossed around some curriculum ideas for a workshop which attempts to turn females into women but then remembered you can kick the woman out of high school, but you can’t take the high school out of the woman.

I know you are but what am I?