First, a Superwoman hack. I have a longer-than-I’d-like commute to work. In the beginning, I would drag myself out of the house, often before the sun hit the horizon. As my tires carried me down the highway they know so well, I’d have my daily internal dialogue about focusing, as my mind grazed on the mental chewing gum that is morning Dj banter and the lackluster loop of Top 40 hits. Something had to change.
I began checking audiobooks out of the library. Not only am I finally getting to my long-neglected reading wish list, I’m also making use of 50 minutes of my day that I used to dread. I believe I could even be so bold as to move this hour into the “me time” column. I always felt like, as a writer, I should be reading. But, like all good intentions, it became a daunting to-do. Listening is a treat … a luxury even. On top of that, it’s free and keeps me more alert. I banged my hands on the steering wheel at the end of Gone Girl and sat up straight in anticipation as I concluded Born to Run. I’ve lived these amazing stories, all from my car, traveling the same 20 miles.
But I digress. I was on the waiting list for Amy Poehler’sYes, Please! for some time. I’d read similar memoirs from my comedic crushes, Mindy Kaling’sIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) likely being my favorite, but you never know if the humor you adore on screen will translate to the page. This is where I think the audiobook bridges a gap. Had I read Amy’s book, as opposed to having her read it to me, I might not have fallen so hard.
You guys, I am so in love with this book. I couldn’t believe how thoughtful it was, and as many times as I laughed – in particular at this story she tells about Ashton Kutcher’s SNL afterparty – I also gave a thoughtful smile and thought, “Oh my gosh, yes.” She talked about finding and owning your currency, which is essentially self-acceptance and empowerment. She had beautifully moving passages about her boys. Don’t get me wrong, there was some funny ass shit in there, but there were also some wise little nuggets that caught me off guard and shook me up a little. I picked them up and put them in my pocket.
There are very few “mommy shows” I can’t put off until my weekend Hulu session. I spend my Saturdays during naptime folding laundry with Olivia Pope and Mindy Lahiri. Of course Rayna James will stop by. But, the Bachelor is different. I must know, in real time, who’s crying, who’s sucking face and who has a red, red rose in their hot little hands.
I used to feel embarrassed or apologetic about my Monday-night obsession. No more. I think it was after the 54th time I saw Jake save his ship Bucky in Neverland that I decided to check my guilt at my bedroom door as I shut it, put on my sweatpants and settled in with a bunch of sassy, sinful singles and their weekly shenanigans.There’s such pageantry and ceremonial rhythm to the show. The trotting out of the fillies on the first night, where you pick your favorites and tally annoying traits. The roses. The two-on-ones. The roses. The hometowns, with the obligatory jump-up-and-wrap-your-legs-around-him reception. The roses. The Women Tell All (a cocktail that’s one part confrontation and equal parts awkward silence). And then, the final rose. We see them drink coffee in their room, stare out the window, stroke their dress, put on earrings and then ride in the limo (sometimes helicopter). It’s all tedious, torturous foreplay, really. Then the door opens and producers reveal just the bottom of their gown. But what does it mean that she arrived first? They’ve done it before; where he proposed to the first one, you tell yourself.
Whether I pick the right pony or not, one of my favorite things is After the Final Rose. I love watching these people who just went through a terribly abnormal thing try to act completely normal – No, I didn’t mind that he bumped uglies with her two weeks before proposing to me. All this leads up to the announcement of the next bachelor or bachelorette and the onset of the ceremony starting all over. (Sidenote: I will not spend 12 weeks with Britt’s winged eyeliner. Kaitlyn forever!)
Like any relationship, we’ve had highs and lows. There were seasons we just didn’t click. Juan Puablo’s comes to mind, although it did give us Clare, which led to her being on Bachelor in Paradise, which led to my all time favorite moment from the franchise.
But generally speaking, it is my soap opera drug of choice. It’s my dirty little not-so secret. The thing I watch between TED talks. I take a shot in my mind every time someone says, “connection” and I think about, at least once per episode, how Chris Harrison has, hands down, the sweetest job of anyone, ever. I have a soft spot in my heart for the drunk girls who, let’s face it, remind us of that one time, at that one party when we drank jungle juice …At the heart of the Bachelor is the idea that the heart wants what it wants, particularly when condensed into 6 secluded weeks of heart-stopping backdrops and princess dates.My Top 10 Bachelor(ette) Moments*
1. After Andi picked Josh, a heartbroken Nick told all of America how she hit it and quit it. And a universal jaw drop was heard. 2. When Ed couldn’t “perform” in the fantasy suite with Jillian. 3. Crazy Ashley and the zombie hunt. Much love, Mesa Verde!
4. When Emily Maynard said, “I want to go West Virginia hood rat backwoods on his ass.”
5. Three words to live in Bachelor infamy: Ashley. Kelsey. Badlands.
6. Clare and Juan Pablo feeling the motion of the ocean and then the shaming that followed. Reason No. 2,092 that dude was a douche bag. (Also when she lost her shit on him at the final rose ceremony. Clare is just a gem overall.)
7. Emily and Brad’s After the Final Rose where she basically told America he was a dick.
8. Remember when Melissa jumped, in her gown, into a pool with Jason and his son, and then like 5 minutes later he told his future baby mama he wanted her instead? Good times.
9. When Brooks left Des in some sort of paradise place. She did not see that coming.
10. The Carly and Chris sex guru date. Parts of my body I didn’t know I had were cringing.Honorable mention: Every time a black bar was used to censor something or someone fell down.*This list excludes Clare Bear and the coon because I already mentioned it above. Easily smashes the top five though.
Have you played Ellen Degeneres’ game, Heads Up? I’m telling ya, gather a handful of moms, a few bottles of wine and a basement for the older kids and it’s comparable to a trip to Vegas.
Some players are certainly sharper than others and, maybe it was the wine or the fact that … I don’t know … something else, but honestly, if I hadn’t been there to witness this* I wouldn’t believe it to be true. (You can stop watching at :31 unless you want to watch me shovel even more nuts into my mouth.):
So, today marks 30 days since I completed my second Whole30, and in the spirit of my honest pursuit of improved humanhood, it seemed appropriate to touch base here. It’s a day of reflection, realization and, OK, a tablespoon of shame. It goes fast; both the time and the downward diet spiral.
“Look, there’s not much useful to take away from this book – it’s largely stories of a woman who has spent her life peeing on herself. But there is one way I really believe I can help the world, and that is to encourage everyone, in all things, to ‘Make It a Treat’.‘Make It a Treat’ is similar in spirit to ‘everything in moderation,’ but still very distinct. ‘Moderation’ suggests a regular, low-level intake of something. MIAT asks for more austerity; it encourages you to keep the special things in life special.”
With the simple substitution of my “Thin Mints” or “Butterburgers” in place of Sarah’s “weed” (which she goes on to point out is among her favorite treats), it’s completely applicable advice. I am realizing that I am a woman incapable of making things a treat.
Prompted by a whiff of fryer oil or hint of chocolate glaze, I can generate a list on the spot of reasons I deserve it. It’s Monday, and Mondays suck. It’s Friday and Fridays are for fatty foods and cocktails. It’s 10:30 and I was born at 10:30. See?
Needless to say – reigning this conversation back to its Whole30 roots – I fell right off the wagon and got run over by all the tires, including the spare. It’s not a total loss. I am aware of what I need to eat to feel lighter and more energetic, and isn’t that half the battle? I once worked out a deal with a coworker where he promised to live at my house and slap food out of my hand in exchange for him getting to eat said food. (It’s not the worst idea I’ve ever had.)
But fly or fail, the great thing about the Whole30 community, particularly their killer Instagram feed, is you always have a voice deep down whispering, “There are too many ingredients in that.” “Sugar sucks the life out of you.” and, “Keep it simple, stupid.” And for that, I’m forever grateful.
On a weekday, I can hang in. Typically a version of this Tuna Salad for lunch, partnered with an apple and almond butter (Costco has sustainable tuna and a no-sugar almond butter option). But after a semi-sensible dinner, I go sniffing out chocolate like a shark tracking blood in the water. I once ate a chocolate Santa in April out of desperation. What … the …
It also seems like regularly working out makes me a garbage disposal. But boredom does the same thing, so that theory’s kind of shot to shit right out of the gate.
So, what can you do? Monday is 32 days past and as good a day as any to hit reset. The flu is finally being exorcised out of this house (I’ve been diffusing lemon oil like mad) and spring is like 13 days away so I should probably think about what people are going to see when these layers come off. Monday it is!
My stream of thought from entering the workout area to depositing my “soiled towel” on the way out.
OK … do I want to run? No, definitely not next to Usain Bolt over there. Elliptical? Ahhhhh … That girl’s rowing and she has a killer body. I’ll row. Yes, rowing sounds good. They always do it on The Biggest Loser.
Where are the towels? Last time the towels were over here and now there aren’t any towels!
“Excuse me, where are the towels?” “That big stack on the other side of the desk, ma’am.” “Oh, duh. Thanks.”
OK, no one else saw you ask, or say, ‘duh’. It’s cool, just grab one and put out the vibe that you planned on coming in and killing a sweet rowing sesh.
Feet in, adjust straps. Um, where do I put my phone so I have some jams? There is seriously no logical place on this damn machine to set my phone and not have it go flying when I pull back. I’m blowing my cover, looking super amateur. Don’t panic, woman! Think, think … sports bra, boom! Just tuck this in there, put my headphones in like so and start rowing this mug like a boss. Is she wearing special shoes? Are there special rowing shoes?
Can she hear that I’m listening to Miley Cyrus? This is like the only Miley song I like, and I don’t even know why. It doesn’t speak to my character. She is absolutely tearin’ it up. Are we rowing at the same pace? Is she racing me? Should I be racing her? No, just row casually so she doesn’t think you’re cocky. Her outfit is legit. That guy on the fancy high-stepping elliptical is Sir Sweats-a-Lot. Sheesh!
OK, I am Sir Sweats-a-Lot. Like a sick, makeup-dripping hoss. I have to stop rowing to get the towel. Ew, I set the towel on the floor. I think that might be really gross. Why do headphones not stay in my ears? Maybe I have a weird ear shape. How long is this girl going to row?
15 more minutes till Child Care closes … dang. I’ll have to stop my workout. Oh, who am I kidding? My hammies are crampin and my toes are numb. I wonder if this chick has kids? Probably, and she has the best arms. She has yoga arms. Damn her and her defined yoga arms. I want to be her friend so we can talk about how she got her yoga arms and joined the secret society of moms who wear rowing shoes.
Quit now or go 5 more minutes? She quit, so you could quit. But she was already on when you got here. Don’t quit … go 5 more minutes. You’re already so sweaty the handle is like a fish fresh out of the pond in your hands. What if it just goes flying out of my grip? Who is watching?
Power down, sister. Nice work. I burned … 390 calories?! What? That’s only like 2 chocolate chip cookies. Whoa … remember to disinfect your cell phone. Sick. Maybe the sports bra wasn’t the classiest, or most sanitary, choice. Be slow to stand up.
Why is that dude just sitting on that weight machine watching everyone? Move, son!
My water gulp is so loud. Am I putting my sweatshirt back on? I’m so hot. When did it stop being cool to wear sweatshirts to the gym anyway? Are those pants or tights she’s wearing? Where is her underwear line?
I’m not afraid to own it. I’ll come clean right here, right now that every drop of estrogen inside me dances and delights at the mere thought of any of the both weird and wonderful things in this baker’s dozen of babyisms. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’m guessing it indicates that I am totally obsessed with babies and all the magic they contain in their ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. (Awww, especially when they wrap them around your finger as they’re falling asleep … the best.)
13 Reasons Babies are Awesome
1. their breath. This one I seriously can’t figure out. It’s a perfume custom designed with postpartum hormones; an olfactory dog whistle for new mothers. Their mouths release a mix of warm formula and slobber, and yet, it’s also the name of a flower. I’m thinking there’s a connection there.
2. the cute crunch and crinkle of a diaper. – There’s a particular sound that a diaper makes when a baby, sans pants, rolls or scoots or startles, and I find it joyful.
3. the way they startle. – It has never been beneath me to scrunch a chip bag or prompt the dog to bark to see those endearing wide-eye jolts.
4. they bite your nose. – They just have no social decency at all, those babies.
5. laugh spurts. – Only a baby can lose their shit for 3 seconds and then go stone-faced, only to repeat the process when prompted by the exact same stimulus seconds later.
6. that moment they recognize you. It’s always on a delay, but once they zero in and realize it’s someone they love, and they get the biggest smile and bounce and hit. That is gold.
7. crib babble. – There’s this magical 10 minutes between when they first wake up and when they believe an unacceptable amount of time has passed, when they just coo and laugh at their fingernails and such.
8. their tongues. – They’re out all. the. time.
9. playing big kid. – Sometimes you snap a picture of them making an adult gesture purely by accident and it’s funny … and cute. Cute and funny.
10. bubbly. – Babies in bathtubs are a favorite because they’re nakey, which is so cute, but also, they splash and then startle themselves on the regular. The startle leads to another splash and the fun just goes round and round.
11. sleep smiles. – What do babies dream of, when they take a little baby snooze?
12. a short list of body parts, in no particular order: cheeks, slope of their nose, butt (specifically fanny crinkles), thighs, belly, feet and neck (trapped rancid milk and all).
13. the smell. – If the population is ever dwindling, they can distribute the bottles of baby smell they have locked in an underground bunker somewhere and boom! We’ll be back to crowded Playdomes faster than you can say “ovary ache”.