Wednesday, December 31, 2008

...wAnnAbE buLLy...

Last Friday I was a wannabe bully at the gym. I went to 24 hr Fitness with my husband to workout. I don't have a membership there, but I have gone as his guest a few times when he is home for a holiday. I usually just go up to the gym I work at whenever I want...unlock the door with my key...and I usually have the entire place to myself. I can set up little stations. I can drop the weight if I need to because we have rubber bumper plates. I don't ever have to be around people that I don't like or know...because at my gym...we are like family...and I love my "family". There are not mirrors to admire oneself in...it is a completely alternate universe to 24 HR Fitness.

I get really frustrated and stressed in a "normal gym" situation...or a "globo gym" as Crossfitters call them. I always feel like everyone is staring at me...like I can't do anything without SOMEONE watching. I recognize that much of what I do is advanced and different. Not everyone does Olympic lifts or pull ups or technical Barbell lifts...stuff like Power Cleans etc. But I recognize that I am the weird one, so I understand.

My husband and I do not hardly ever workout together, but when we do he likes me to help him with movements or lifts that he is unsure of or needs coaching on. I had our workout written up and we got started. When we got done doing Deadlifts and Front Squats, we left to go do some other stuff. He told me to leave my towel and stuff over there since we would be "right back". I had no confidence in that plan...I knew someone would come along and "steal" our spot...that's life in a "globo gym". Sure enough...some skinny guy in his 30s came along and began changing the weight...oh well...sucks but what can you do. That's what I thought until I saw him pick up my workout notebook and throw it against the wall like a piece of garbage. I was starting to feel a little warm...I mean WTF? Dude?!? Why you gotta throw my crap around like that?!?!

I kept calm and continued. I told my husband that we would just front squat without the rack. We would use the bar we set up for deadlifting...change the weight...power clean it up and then front squat over to the side. We did. When I was done, I was standing there watching my husband...coaching him and I see this guy back squatting and in all honesty...I have NEVER seen a shittier back squat in my ENTIRE life! He was really upright (front squatting his back squat) and his knees would bow WAY in when he would come up out of the squat...and not just a little...I'm talkin way in...like his 2 knees were about to touch. His head was cranked back up to the ceiling. It was horrendous. I wanted to give him a few tips, but I could tell his ego couldn't take it...so I bit my lip and looked the other way. We continued working out.

I came back for our last round and I hear this goober turn to the guy next to him that was shoulder pressing and start talkin about everything that everyone else does incorrectly in the gym. I was so shocked and for some reason...it made me really mad. This jerk throws my book...can't back squat to save his life...and has the "juevos" to talk shit about other people?!?! I looked at my husband and said, "I'm about to tell this guy off! So you better just walk away and pretend not to know me if that's gonna make you uncomfortable." He looked nervous. I wanted so bad to be a bully. I wanted to be mean and tell him what I thought. I wanted to point out everything he was doing wrong. I wanted to tell him he had chicken legs and throw his book against the wall like he did mine. I decided that I couldn't feel good about that...so I controlled myself...eventhough it took A LOT of restraint.

Then a big, cute, buff guy...probably my same age...walked by to get a drink and saw me lifting and said, "Wow...you must be an athlete." I was taken aback and my husband said something...I just smiled and LOVED it (I know...pathetic). It was actually good because it diffused the way I was feeling and made me look at things from a different angle. I feel bad for what a wannabe bully I was. I didn't act on it...but the intention was there. I realized that instead of being aggravated and arrogant, I should feel so lucky that I have been taught how to lift correctly...that I have had the opportunity to learn from experts like Mark Rippetoe. It was a real eye opener for me. It made me LOVE what I do. It made me realize how important my job really is and it made me rethink the way I see other people at the gym.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

...BEHOLD!...tHe pOwEr oF bOObs!...

I've been thinkin about boobs a lot lately...about the power they hold over some men. The interesting thing is that big fake boobs used to be shocking...unusual. NOW...they are common place. In fact, I think that these days it seems like women are weird if they are SMALLER than a D cup. I mean, I have a C cup and I feel like I'm small some days! also find it AMAZING that a woman can have a...LESS than beautiful face...or even (sorry to be a catty girl) an UGLY face...but if she's got a nice, big set of boobs...a lot of men will think she's "HOT". It shocks me that women post pictures on MYSPACE in bikinis or less and well they DON'T have good figures. They have big bellies and flabby arms and legs...BUT..they also have big, round, fake looking D cup boobs...AND SOOO...many men think they are "BEAUTIFUL". WHAT?!?!

Okay girls, let me rewind and say this is NOT a post saying that we as women shouldn't put on a bikini unless we have tiny, perfect bodies. It is NOT a judgement against people that choose to have their breasts "augmented" or even women that choose LARGE implants. It is also NOT a post saying that women have to be perfect or flawless to be beautiful. It just seriously AMAZES me the POWER that boobs have over men. Boobs can be like "beer goggles". They make men think they are seeing something that they are NOT and they ENHANCE beauty that may or may not be there. And you know what else? Women KNOW it and USE it. I'm not tryin to be a hater...I KNOW how to use what I got. I may not have double Ds, but I've got enough to turn some heads in the right top. I also DON'T want people to love me or think I'm beautiful or special because of what's in my bra...which is the reason I have never posted anything like the pic above on myspace. (There's actually a funny story about my daughter thinking my shirt was funny when I got home from the gym and asking to take a picture of it. I said okay and pointed at my shirt. She's 9...and obviously shorter than me...I thought she was getting ALL of me...but she was focused in on my shirt...and in the end...when I pulled up the pic...THIS is what we got! ha!). Sorry to diverge but I had to ESS-SPLAIN this funny funny picture...anyways...I didn't wanna deal with the insincere people that I would get messages from if I ever posted anything like this. If someone wants to comment or think I look good...I want it to be because they really think that I am beautiful and not because they are blinded by body parts...the words wouldn't be for ME...they'd be for my boobs. I just wish I could help the men so easily affected by 2 balls of saline or silicone open their eyes and not be so blinded by the sight of cleavage. C'mon boys! Don't get yanked around...wake up! Take off the "boob goggles"!
I'm NOT condoning ANYTHING in this video! I just couldn't resist adding it because it reminded me of EXACTLY what I'm sayin! It's just too funny! (Sorry Dad! He is a big Bill O'Reilly fan and hates Ludacris. Luckily he doesn't read my blog or even know it exists. I don't even think he knows what a blog is...whew!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

...wHy i LoVe mEn...

I'm SO NOT a man hater! I love men. I relate better to men usually than I do to women. In fact...sometimes...I think I AM a man trapped in a woman's body...except for the liking girls bit...ewwww...no thanks! Anyways...this is why most of my friends are men and this what I love about them...

When men are mad...I mean REALLY mad...they just punch a wall, or break something, or hit the guy makin em mad in the face...they just get it out...and then it's done...over. We women hang on and hold a grudge. We smile to each other's faces and grumble, "B****" under our breath when you walk away.

Men don't gossip. They don't care what Joe wore to the party last night. They could care less if Bob has put on 10 pounds. This is not because they are better people...they just don't give a crap! We women gossip and hate on each other and judge and compare ourselves to every other person we see. We see their success as OUR failure. We whisper and call each other and notice EVERYTHING.

Men are not ashamed...of everything. If they fart...or burp...they laugh. If they need to spit or blow their noses...they do it...right out in the open...in front of...whoever. We women would die of embarrassment if a fart slipped out in "mixed company". Now, I'm not saying I like that or that I want to go around farting and spitting...and I'm NOT saying I want the men in my life to fart and spit in front of me...I SO appreciate it when they refrain! I'm just saying that I admire a man's ability to be...ummm..."comfortable in their own skin".

Men can laugh at each other and still be friends...trash talk and not get hurt feelings. In fact, sometimes, I think these are bonding experiences for them. If we women laugh at each other...that's the end...and trash talkin?!?...them's fightin words!

Men never really grow up. They still play video games and they never outgrow throwing balls and telling gross jokes. They find joy in these "small pleasures". Men can have fun doing nothing...they need no time or dress code. We women try to be serious...we need plans to have fun...we want to know what our friends are wearing and we want to make sure we all show up at the same time.

I could go on and on...but the fact is men and women are so different...and while I will admit that some of these things CAN get annoying...I love the men in my life...my family...my husband...my son...my friends.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

...sPeAk uP!...

I'll admit that I feel a bit defeated when it comes to this election. I feel almost certain that the person I am NOT voting for will be elected. I began to say to myself..."WHY BOTHER VOTING? WHY SHOULD I WASTE MY TIME VOTING ONLY TO FEEL IT WAS FOR NOTHING?" Pretty crappy attitude huh? I agree.

Most parents wish to raise their children to be stronger, smarter, better than they themselves are. I know I do. So what kind of defeatist attitude am I passing along if I behave this way?!? And SO...I took advantage of the opportunity to teach my children something else. I voted...and I was lucky enough to be able to take my 7 yr old that was playing "hooky" with me today along and teach him some important lessons.

We were talking over dinner last night about the candidates because they had a "mock election" at school and so all 3 of my kids experienced choosing a candidate and voting. J was very quiet while my girls were very opinionated. Then, he said very quietly..."I wish I could change my vote." I said, "Why?" "Because I voted for the wrong person." I told him that it was a personal choice and that he did not have to vote for the same person that we did. He said, "I still would change my vote."

Today as he and I walked out of the building I voted in, we talked about how important it is to vote...even if the person you choose is not elected. We talked about the fact that voting is your "voice"...your way of taking part in the way our country is run. He asked me who I voted for and I told him. He asked why and I explained that a person should learn about the candidates...what they stand for...and choose the person that will run the country the way they think is best. I gave him a few examples and he listened intently. He's such a smart little boy with an old soul. Just before we got to the car, he smiled and said, "Mom, I change my mind. If I were a grown up...I would still vote for the same guy...eventhough he's not your favorite." I stopped and hugged him and said, "That's ok. It's YOUR choice...YOUR vote...and I would love you no matter who you vote for." He smiled at me and we left. No matter the result...I'm so glad that I voted today...that I set an example for my children...and that used my "voice".

Saturday, November 1, 2008

..mEe-Oww!...

The whole "cougar phenomenon" is so strange to me. I mean I understand how older women would find younger men attractive, but it blows my mind that a younger man would want an older woman. I mean I've read and been told by my friends that the attraction to older older women comes from the fact that we (older women) know what we want...we are less drama (supposedly)...and there are less long term expectations...yada yada yada...but really...CMON...seriously?

I am in great shape for my age (I HATE that term "for your age" by the way), but I CANNOT compete with the tight skin and firm body of a 20 year old. I don't know...maybe other women my age are better preserved. Last night, I was invited to my friends going away/Halloween party. The one stipulation was that I HAD to wear a costume. So I went to look at costumes. They were all either UGLY...or SLUTTY. I should say that most of my friends are guys from the gym that I work with or their friends...ages...23-29...much younger than my 39 years. My husband was staying home with our kids and wasn't thrilled that I was going, but he knew it was important to me and he knew I would be a "good girl". When he was airing his concerns...it hit me! I KNEW exactly what I could be for Halloween. It would be just enough of a costume to get by...not slutty lookin...cute...and funny...just what I wanted.

I put on tight jeans...a black shirt...fuzzy ears...and attached a tail to the back of my jeans. A cat you ask? No...a COUGAR! I personally thought it was a hilariously clever idea...a play on words...and I was going to a party with a bunch of young guys...and I was going to be the oldest person there..by at LEAST 10 years. It took my husband a while to warm up to the idea. I think it made him nervous...but he relented. All my friends and the other people LOVED it and thought it was so funny. The interesting part was that I had more clothes on...BY FAR...than ANY other girl there...but interestingly enough...I think I looked just as sexy or sexier than any other girl there.

Maybe that's where the "cougar appeal" comes in. As an older woman I recognize that being sexy...attractive to men...is about more than taking your clothes off...it's about using what you got...and being confident enough to do so. I'm married so the point is mute...but even if I weren't...I still don't think I could ever be a cougar...but it was fun to "play one" for the night. "Mee-owW!"

Friday, October 31, 2008

...hErE wE gO aGaiN...

I have a knack for losing things. I can NEVER find my keys. I misplace important papers. I have to call my cell phone on a daily basis so that I can figure out where I last left it. It's a little annoying, but I'm used to it...and I just deal with it. Unfortunately, I have a knack for losing more important things as well...my friends.

I must say that it's not like my friends and I get into a fight and go our separate ways. That might not be as bad I guess...because I would feel some sense of control then. Instead, I make friends with people that end up making major life changes and moving away. "Losing" is probably not the best word to use, because they remain my friends...it's just the we are not as close in proximity...so we "lose" the ability to see each other as we have. When I "lost" W...my heart was broken. I missed him more than I ever thought I would. I counted the days til he would be back...but plans changed and I realized he wouldn't be back at all. Again...sad...but I learned to deal with missing my friend because he was happy and that's what I wanted for him.

So, me and A (W's brother) became friends. We both worked at the same gym and sometimes we workout together. We've gone to lunch and we have a lot of fun together. He brings out a crazy side of me...I feel like a goofy 17 year old at times because I do the silliest, air-headed things when I'm around him. Sometimes, he makes me wanna strangle him...BUT overall...we have a great time together and he makes me laugh...hard.

A is moving out of the country in a few days. I won't be counting days this time, because I know he will not be back. A and I have not known each other or spent as much time together as me and W did. While we are good friends, we are not as close as W and I are. BUT I will really miss him. I'll miss working out. I'll miss laughing...loud and hard. I'll miss his cocky ways (that's a compliment in my book). I'll miss his helpful suggestions when lifting weight. I'll miss how he is always quick with a hug or a compliment.

I keep telling myself that this is good...that he will be happy...but then the selfish side of me emerges and I start to feel sad. I feel sorry for myself and wonder why...why can't I find a girlfriend that I have as much fun with as I do with my "boys"?...why do my friends go away?...why do I get so attached to people? I just feel like I'm having deja vu. Even though I don't spend as much time on a daily basis with A as I did with W...I'll still really miss his friendship.

Here we go again. Luv ya A...good luck my friend!

Monday, October 27, 2008

...mY nEw mAntRa???...

SO...in response to yesterday's post...my friend K says I need to adapt a new mantra that doesn't start with "I suck" or "I'm fat". If you haven't read it...stop, scroll down, and read it first...this will all make much more sense and I won't seem QUITE SO bi-polar!

Wow...this new self-love mantra business is gonna be harder than I thought. But here goes...
I am beautiful. My a** looks hot in my tight jeans and spandex workout pants. When I wear a shirt with words and people stare at my chest...they are not always reading...and they are smiling. When I wear heels...my legs look long and sexy. When I walk by, people stop and stare...not because I look ugly...because I look good. I am beautiful.

I am strong. When I compete in the gym, I do well...sometimes...I even "beat the boys". When I demonstrate movements in the gym, I can make them look easy...even when they are not. When I do a difficult movement or lift a heavy weight, others are impressed. I have a body that most women would want and I should be proud. I am strong.
There you have it. Today, I don't believe it. In fact, I'm embarrassed to post this...but I'm gonna say it everyday...and pray that one day...I believe.

Thanks K. Muah! :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

...sOmeTiMeS i fEeL LiKe i'M LiViN iN a fUn hOuSe fiLLeD wiTh miRRoRs...

Have you ever been to carnival and looked into the "funhouse mirrors"? Well, somedays I feel like every mirror I pass is a fun house mirror. My mind is warped and so what I see is warped as well. I grew up never feeling pretty. I even had a boy tell me I was "UGLY" in junior high school in front of the entire class...what I wouldn't give to see him today!!! I grew up feeling like my Mom didn't like me...and my dad bought me diet pills in junior high. My mom and dad love me...that's not the point of all this...to paint this sad pitiful story...I'm just trying to give some explanation as to why I just can't seem to EVER be happy with the reflection I see in the mirror.

The past week has been especially bad. I look in the mirror or I see a picture of myself...and I want to scream! I feel like I look so much bigger...fatter...but ALL my clothes fit me the same as they have. People tell me I look great, but that's not what I see in the mirror. I see wrinkles and a crooked nose. It could literally drive me crazy if I let it. I SO want to change the way I see myself. I SO want to see a beautiful reflection in the mirror.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

...yOu'Re a sOccEr mOm!...

My oldest daughter had a swim meet today and my middle child, also a girl had a soccer game. Since we haven't quite figured out how to be 2 places at one time...my husband and I did what we always do...divide and conquer. Swim meets are kinda HIS thing, so I took the soccer game.

I asked my 9yr old where she wanted to eat before her 1:30 game...she said "Schlotzsky"s"...and away we went...me, my daughter S and my son J (almost 7). Now, I had planned on working out BEFORE the game...it never happened....so I was wearing my short running shorts, a blue tank, and running shoes. I grabbed my t-shirt that has my daughter's team name and number on it...the one I have had for a year and never wanted to wear...and just threw it on over my tank.

We got to Schlotsky's and right when I walked to the counter, a young (early 20s...MAYBE) girl immediately said, "Oh...You're a soccer mom!". I was taken aback for a couple of reasons. First, I'm usually either perfectly put together...tight jeans, heels, and a cute top...or in a tight workout outfit...this was weird attire for me...I try NOT to look "mom-ish". Second, people don't usually associate me with soccer moms upon first seeing me. I paused, stumbled over my words, and said, "Uh, yeah (nervous smile)..." and placed my order.

As I drove towards the game, my kids were watching a movie with headphones and I had no one to talk to...so I was thinking how weird the whole "soccer mom interlude" had been. I was almost embarrassed when she asked me about it. Why? Because people associate soccer moms with being overweight...wearing tshirts with team names and numbers on them...having no life...and well just being boring...having nothing outside of driving kids to practices and being a mom. However, I came to the conclusion today, that it doesn't have to be that way.Yes, I'm a soccer mom...but I am so much more. I am a woman...a wife...a mother...a daughter...a friend...a personal trainer...a lover...a sister. I am also in shape...I'm strong...funny...silly...smart (sometimes)...I'm sexy (when I WANT to be). I am a great mom and I love my kids...I would lay down my life for them...but I have a life...interests outside of them as well. I decided that instead of being embarrassed...I need to show the world that not all "soccer moms" are boring, frumpy women and more importantly...I want to teach my daughters that they CAN be moms and still do other things as well.No more being embarrassed of who I am or what I do...no more apologizing for my age...from now on, I will be proud to say I'm a soccer mom...proud to show the world that not all soccer moms are alike!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

...oNe oF mY gReAteSt feArS...

THIS...is my greatest fear...getting old...saggy..."falling apart". Shallow? Yes. More important things to worry about? Yes. Will I stop? No.

I do not consider myself exceptionally beautiful, but I look pretty good. I spend A LOT of time and money to look my best. I can not imagine how hard it will be to wake up one day and KNOW that I can't run from my age anymore. The thought of going to the beach and having people stare...NOT because I look sexy...but because I look wrinkled and ridiculous in a bikini...PAINS ME!I can not remember a time in my life when I did not fear growing old. I was depressed ALL DAY on my 30th birthday. Next year...I turn 40. I can't even imagine how I will feel then! I wonder why this is so scary to me. When did this happen?

The interesting part is that I feel sexier and I think I am more beautiful at almost 39 than I was at 20! I'm an improved womanly version of a girl that was a work in progress. But I still dread the day that heads no longer turn. Call me shallow, but at least I'm honest.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

...mY LeTTeR tO a "sTraNgeR"...

Dear person marrying one of my favorite people in the world,

I know that we are strangers, but there must be some part of you in me and me in you. I say this because we see the same thing with different sets of eyes...a genuine friend...a brilliant mind...a kind and giving heart...an amazing man. I hope that you know just how lucky you are, and what an amazing step you are about to take. I hope that as you travel down the path of your life together...and as things change...and you each age...that one thing will remain constant...your love for each other. I hope that you will never become so busy with the everyday details of life...work...and someday kids...that you lose sight of what it is that drew you together.

He is my dearest friend...my teacher...my sounding board. At times I was the only woman there for him...there when others walked away. I was there to comfort...to laugh...to give advice. Letting go was not easy, but it needed to be done. Sometimes it is hard to know that I am no longer needed...hard for selfish reasons. But most of the time...I am so grateful that he finally met a person that sees what I have always seen...so happy that he loves you and you love him. Please treat him well...take care of him...love him no matter what.

I wish you both all the love an happiness in the world.
Love,
MC

Sunday, September 28, 2008

...bALLeR!...

I shopped with my sis, S yesterday. We haven't done that in FOREVER and we had so much fun! I love to shop...and I don't need ANY encouragement to buy things...but TODAY she encouraged me...and so the story unfolds...

I met my sis, S for lunch and shopping. We started in Nordstrom as I had already looked at Dillard's and Macy's and found NOTHING I liked for my friend, W's wedding. First we looked around the shoe dept at all the FABULOUS shoes. We milled around holding up shoes to show each other. Now the funny part about this is you could not find 2 more different people when it comes to shoes than me and my sis, S. She goes for classic, flat shoes...Uggs... She likes shoes, but she doesn't LOVE them...not like I do. Me...I find the highest, most over the top shoes I can and I form an emotional attachment to them...I fall in LOVE with them. Suddenly...it happened...I looked up and saw them...the most BEAUTIFUL pair of red heels...and the most AMAZING boots I have EVER seen on one table!ME: "OMG! S! Those shoes are amazing! They have to be by my favorite shoe designer EVER! I KNOW those are Donald Pliner shoes and boots!

S: pause...blank look like...is she for real?!?

ME: rushing over to snatch them up..."I KNEW IT!!! They ARE Donald Pliner! I bet they are ridiculously expensive!"
turning the boot over..."695 DOLLARS!!! But they are the most fabulous boots ever! Gosh, I wish I was rich!" I put them down...carefully..."Well, we better do what we came here to do! Let's go upstairs and look at dresses!"

S: "OK..."

Somehow...we ended up in the designer jeans dept. It was like a magnetic force field sucked us right in! Now...I LOVE jeans...they are practically all I wear...but I've NEVER been one to spend a lot of money on them...not because I can't afford it...but because it seemed like a waste. We looked at all the jeans and seemed to spend most of our time where they had the 7 For All Mankind jeans. I figured...What the heck! I'll try some on for fun! That's a bad strategy girls! It's like saying I'll do crack just this once for fun...next thing you know you've got a "habit" that costs you thousands of dollars. So I tried on the first pair...pretty cute...I could probably live without em. I tried on the next pair...Oh, no. Those didn't work because they had no stretch and I have to have stretch or jeans won't go over my legs because they are too big in relation to the size of my waist. Then...I did it...I tried a pair on...it was love. But I was like, I can't spend $200.00 on ONE PAIR OF JEANS!!!

I took them off and tried on the dresses I had to choose from. That was weird. Nothing was fitting well. Finally I tried on a dress that my sis and I agreed was "THE ONE". But there they were...still hanging up...the jeans. "I'll just try them one ONE MORE time.", I told my sis. I tried to talk myself out of them...but they has the cutest silver "7"s on the pockets...and they felt SO good...

ME: "I can't buy these because then ANY time I wear a cheaper pair of jeans...."

S: "Those will be in your closet...crying?!?"

ME: "NO...well, YES...well, NO...it's just that I'll always be wanting to wear these...everyday!"

S: "I would too."

ME: "Crap! I have the money from working, but...I'm scared...200 DOLLARS?!?!..."

S; "You deserve it! GO FOR IT Missy! (My 2 sisters and I call each other "Missy"...I don't know why...it's not any of our names!) BUY EM!"

ME: "Are you sure they look okay? What about my butt? Do they look like they are squeezing my legs?..."

S: "I hate you." (said in the most loving way of course)

ME: "Okay!"...(pause)..."I'm gonna do it!"

We gathered up my stuff and hurried out to see what the crazy sorority girl looked like that we kept hearing make stupid comments and went to the register. I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach...was I really about to do this?!?! "Okay..." I told myself..."Pull it together! You want these! You have the money! RELAX!" I nonchalantly laid 2 pairs of jeans and a dress on the counter. "That will be 461 dollars." I heard the clerk say. HOLY S***!!! I remained unfazed on the outside and went to get my card out.

ME: "Oh CRAP! I left my AMEX at home and my Mastercard is in the car from when I got Sonic for the kids last night!"

(For a split second, I thought I had a way out...but then I realized that I DIDN'T want "out". I get up early...I stress over doing the best job I can for my clients...I clean up after everyone...I WORK HARD, DANG IT!!! I'M GETTIN THESE JEANS!!!")

ME: "Excuse me, Can I just write you a check since I don't have my cards on me? Will that be a problem to write a check for that much?"

CLERK: "Uhhh. Sure . No problem at all.

(with a crazy, stunned look on her face)

"WE ARE NORDSTROM'S! (said proudly as if she were repeating the pledge of allegiance) We take EVERYTHING!

The funniest things was that when I asked about writing a check and the girl looked a little shocked...I got out pen and my checkbook and looked over at my sister who said in the funniest, loud way..."BALLA! (baller)". Jeez, I felt like a "baller"...if an almost 40 yr old Mom can even call herself that! I wrote out the check...feeling sick...and exhilarated...and happy all at the same time...probably much the same feeling as a person gets the first time they try drugs. At first it's uncomfortable...scary even...and then...it just feels GOOD. And when I roll outta town this week...with my new jeans on my butt...that's what I'm gonna think..."Balla!"

...Now I gotta figure out a way to get those boots! ;)

Friday, September 26, 2008

..."tHeSe aRe a fEw oF mY fAvoRiTe tHiNgS"...







...A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS (in NO particular order)...




----------------------------------------------------------------------
~SHOES!!!
specifically:
-my tall "croc embossed" boots (I can't wait till it's cold enough to wear em again"
price = $120.00
-my black Donald Pliner boots (He makes AMAZING shoes...that I can't afford)
price = $300.00 (the most expensive shoes I own)
-any super high, cute wedges (like the new ones that I just got on sale at Dillard's last week...they are COMPLETELY impractical being that they are pink and yellow and green plaid with a 4 inch wedge...but OH SO CUTE!)
price= normally $79.00...on clearance for $19.00!!!
-pointy toed, high heels that make me look super tall
PRICE = $20.00 and up~going out feeling HOT in my heels
$PRICELESS
----------------------------------------------------------------------

~JEANS (I can NEVER have too many!!! I am thinking about splurging on some Seven For All Mankind for the fall...but it's hard to drop that kinda cash on jeans.)
PRICE=anywhere from $30.00 to $300.00 depending on the brand~Knowing my butt looks GREAT in my jeans
$PRICELESS
----------------------------------------------------------------------

~my MAC (17 inch widescreen MacBook Pro)
PRICE=$2,799...(worth every penny)~Reconnecting with friends and family...BLOGGING...watching GYM JONES or CROSSFIT videos on my MAC
$PRICELESS
----------------------------------------------------------------------

~ACCESSORIES! (purses...jewelry...belts...THESE THINGS can make the difference in looking good, and looking GREAT! I have hooks ALL OVER my closet to hang belts and purses on, which is why my brother called me a "HOOKER" the day he came to hang them up. Gotta a love big brothers!)
PRICE = from $10.00 on up
~Feeling PERECTLY PUT TOGETHER...
$PRICELESS
----------------------------------------------------------------------

~FOOD from my favorite Mexican Restaurant MARIANO'S
PRICE = approx $20.00~LUNCH with a friend...good conversation...laughter
$PRICELESS
----------------------------------------------------------------------

~Good running shoes
PRICE = approx $100.00~a PERFECT run (one with my friend W or one where the temperature is just right and I feel like I could run without stopping forever!)
$PRICELESS
----------------------------------------------------------------------

~Playing DOMINOES (esp "Mexican Train")
PRICE = $10.00~Spending time with my FAMILY
$PRICELESS
----------------------------------------------------------------------

~Going to the GYM
PRICE = $20.00 - $60.00 a month depending on the gym~Feeling STRONG and UNSTOPPABLE when I'm faster than than "the boys" at the gym (which doesn't happen too often)
$PRICELESS
----------------------------------------------------------------------

~My CHILDREN
PRICE = 9 months of pregnancy...excrutiating pain and $5,000 dollars for delivery...lots of hard work, tears, and laughter...$35.00 a month for school lunch...$70.00 a month for swim team...$150.00 for soccer (uniform/cost to play/etc)...back to school clothes $500.00...PTA membership $6.00 a yr...birthday parties $$$$$...Nanny approx $20,000 a yr...college $$$thousands...weddings $$$ thousands...etc etc etc~all of the notes taped to my mirror that say "I love you, Mom!"...endless kisses and hugs...pride when they score a goal, finish a race, or do something kind...
$PRICELESS
----------------------------------------------------------------------

*I had the week from HELL...I can't point to one particular thing that made it so...but I've felt down...ALOT. After compiling this list, I realize how lucky I am...and how "rich" my life is. So to the VERY few people that read this...I recommend that you do the same...it's amazing how much better you'll feel! I'm goin to shop and eat lunch!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

...yOu kNoW yOu aRe geTTiNg oLd wHeN...

Today, I'm a mess. I look like what I call "the ass end of hard times" (excuse my french). My hair is stringy. My face looks dull and my belly is "poochy" from too many pancakes at IHOP. I'm sleepy and cranky and I can't seem to take a joke. My 12 year old daughter once called me a "FUN-SUCKER", because she said I "suck the fun out of everything". I was highly offended and I would normally disagree...but I think the title is fitting today. It makes me feel old. Actually, with my 39th birthday fast approaching...I feel like I AM getting old...and if any of these things that I am about to describe apply to you...chances are...you are getting old too!

YOU KNOW YOU ARE GETTING OLD WHEN...

*You hear the song "1985" by Bowling for Soup and you think..."WOW! Is that song about ME?"

*You can't tell how old people are...all you know is they ALL look younger than you.


*You lie on a bed...head practically hanging upside down...and look into a mirror to see if you look better with gravity pulling your face back.

*You say words like "grody".

*You can say the lines of movies like Sixteen Candles" ("Whats a happenin, Hot Stuff!")..."St. Elmo's Fire" (KIRBY! You'll freeze to death!")..."Say Anything" ("I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.") or "Breakfast Club" ("You mess with the bull, you'll get the horns!") right along with the characters...AND you still laugh...every time.

*You complain of knee and hip pain...and your joints sound like Rice Krispies...snap! crackle! pop!...when you move too quickly or you bend down to pick something up off the floor.

*You are asked if you're eligible for the "SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNT" at Ross on a Tuesday by a moron behind the counter with a double digit I.Q....I mean seriously! I don't look a day over 40! (j/k...I'm 38 and that IS a TRUE story...one that nearly caused me to commit an assault!)

*You can't watch a movie on DVD past 9 pm without falling asleep.

*You are too TIRED to go to the mall (that's just sad!).

The fact is...most people say I look younger than my age...and I work hard to maintain ANY semblance of my youth. Somedays, I feel young...vibrant...strong. Others...like today...I feel old. I'm gonna go watch "Weird Science" or somethin.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

...gO oR gEt oFF tHe pOt!...

Do you ever have days where you can't seem to decide what to do...what you like...who you want to do what with...etc etc etc? Do you have people like this in your life? You never know what to expect. They are hot and cold...but never in between. This is where certain expressions like...COOK OR GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN!...JUST DO IT!...GO OR GET OFF THE POT!...come to mind.I really like consistency. I like to KNOW what will happen. I like to KNOW what I can expect out of my friends and family. This is NOT to say I like to always do the SAME THING or that I don't want to shake things up from time to time...it just means that I don't like to be left wondering. I don't like expecting a person to react or behave a certain way and then have them do the complete opposite. It's like living in The Twilight Zone where nothing is as it should be...and as you can probably guess...The Twilight Zone ALWAYS scared me.So, if you are in my life and you love me or even care about me in the least...PROVE IT!...SHOW IT!...BE THERE!...or LEAVE.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

...gUiTaR hErO wiDoW...

I have been married for 17 years to a great guy. He loves me (not the easiest feat most of the time) and I love him. In some ways, we are similar...but in others...we are complete opposites. Just like every couple that has been together for a long time...we've gone through times of ease and happiness and love...and we have stuck it out through some tough times and differing opinions. As much as I'd like to tell you that we are as passionate as we were in college...when we started dating...I have to admit that 3 kids...a demanding work schedule (his)...and many years together have changed a few things...like the way we spend our nights and weekends.Some men go out with their friends. They drink...they play poker...they camp and hunt with their buddies. My husband has never been one to do those things. If he isn't at work...he's at home with me or with the kids...not because I demand or require that...because he chooses to. In fact, I have encouraged him many times to go do things HE wants to do. Some women probably worry about what their husbands are doing when they are gone...they may wonder where their husbands are at 2 AM on a Friday night. I NEVER wonder. I know. He's standing in the family room with a tiny plastic guitar across his chest rockin out to GUITAR HERO. At times in the past...I have thought that it looks a little ridiculous...this uber smart, serious, 6 ft 5in man...concentrating on hitting the right notes on primary colored plastic buttons...trying to beat Slash in a face off with guitar notes.Sometimes I refer to myself as a "GUITAR HERO widow". Sometimes I wonder..."Aren't I sexy enough to compete with a plastic guitar and some cheesy graphics?" I remind myself that he loves me...and that really it is just a refreshing break from his highly stressful, ultra serious job as a partner at an investment firm. I’m happy that he has a way to release the stress and I know that he enjoys it, so I am okay with him playing GUITAR HERO...even if it does mean I'm sleeping alone most Fridays...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

..."tHiS iS wHy i'M hOt"...

I SO want to be "HOT"!!!...I always have...sadly I never really felt truly "HOT"...especially when I was in high school and college. This will come as a shock to those that know me and put up with my self loathing on a daily basis...HOWEVER...I feel the hottest at almost 39 than I have in my life. You ask why...

Maybe it's because I'm in the best physical shape of my life. Is my body all I wish it could be??? No, but it's close. I'm not embarrassed to be naked...pretty good for a middle aged Mom. Maybe it's because I am financially able to take good care of myself...nails...pedicures...tanning...teeth whitening...cute clothes. Maybe it's all a matter of comparison...A LOT of Moms my age...well, they wear sweats or ill fitting clothing...they give everything to their kids at the expense of their health and happiness...they get lazy and figure there's no need for makeup or high heels when you stay home. Not me! I am a good Mom and a loving wife, but I take care of myself. I have found that when I do this, I am happier and in turn MY FAMILY IS HAPPIER TOO! I don't care if my only outings are to Target or Chick Fil A or the soccer fields. I dress like I'll be seen by all...makeup...tight jeans...heels. So what if I get a little mud on my heels as they sink into thew soccer field...I feel good when I look good. I freshen my makeup and I avoid pony tails. Does this mean that I think I'm perfect...or more beautiful than other women? No, not at all...I have no specials skills or qualities...ANYONE can do what I do.
The older I get...the more I realize that being HOT is NOT about perfection or a beautiful face. It's not about being a perfect size 2. It's not about a face without wrinkles. Being HOT is being the best possible version of yourself. It's about finding jeans that make your butt look good...size 2 and perky...or size 20 and..not so perky. Being HOT is about confidence...it's a state of mind. Remember the "hot cheerleader" in high school?...the one that was not really pretty...or skinny...or nice...still EVERYONE thought she was HOT. I see an ex cheerleader from my high school around town and she's nothing special...yet she still prances around...nose in the air...thinkin she's "hot s*** on a shingle". It's not because she looks better that people put her on a pedestal...then and now...it's because she carries herself as such and people buy it.

It was and is all about how we see ourselves. I personally get embarrassed when a strange man compliments me in a store. It happens from time to time and I just want to crawl under a rock when it happens. WHY?!? I feel guilty when other women's husbands look my way. I'm ashamed when other women...ones in sweats and pony tails...glare at me like I'm somehow doing something to THEM when I walk past...tight jeans...cute top...high heels...and hair styled. I need to be done with that. From now on, I need to hold my head high and when I face these "HATERS"...I will sing a little song in my head..."THIS IS WHY I'M HOT. THIS IS WHY I'M HOT. THIS IS WHY...THIS IS WHY...THIS IS WHY I'M HOT. I'M HOT CUZ I'M FLY! YOU AIN'T CUZ YOU NOT! THIS IS WHY...THIS IS WHY...THIS IS WHY I'M HOT!"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

...wHaT dO YOU beLieVe???...

.........What do YOU believe?...think?...love?.........

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

...iNviSibLe...

Do you ever feel invisible? Sometimes I do. At times, I can be physically surrounded by people and feel all alone. Those days are not fun. They envelope me...and the feelings that accompany them seem to seep into aspects of my life that are unrelated. Today I was alone most of the day. It really got to me during lunch. I sat and watched groups and couples eat...and I... was all alone. Then I went to a high end furniture store. I walked in expecting the whole, "Hi Maam. Is there anything I can help you find?" pitch. I was dressed nice...having a good hair day...glossy lips...everything just so. I heard the sales associates ask other shoppers that...but not me. I was in there and passed 4 different workers. Not ONE said a word to me. I caught myself spiraling into a depression. Suddenly, I felt like I have no friends...like nobody loves me...like a failure. I let every insecurity...every fear overtake me. I wandered around...miserable...and then I looked at my watch. I realized that school was out, so I went home to be with my kids. In their eyes, I am important ...special ...beautiful. I had a hard day, but as soon as I felt my daughter's arms around my waist...hugging me...looking up at me with love...suddenly I did not feel invisible anymore.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

...LiVe LiFe aNd LaUgH tHe sTrEss aWaY...

Everyone feels the effects of stress at times. I know I do. I haven't worked...at a job I get paid for that is...in 11 years. I quit to be a full time Mom when my oldest daughter was 1 and a half. That's what I've done...I've been a Mom...and since my kids are all in school now...I've been a "lady of leisure" at times. I got up, got kids off to school, went to workout...for however long I chose (usually a couple of hours), came home and blogged while I ate a post workout snack, took a shower, and then lunched with my Mom or sister and shopped...or got my nails done...or my hair...or whatever I wanted to do until later in the afternoon when it was time to get back to being...Mom.

My brain was turning to mush. I NEEDED to do something. The thing is...I don't NEED to work...and I don't NEED the money...what I NEED is something of my own...somewhere that I need to be. I NEEDED to get out of my easy, lazy, comfort zone and stretch myself...explore the possibilities. So, at the suggestion of some friends...I headed down the path to becoming a personal trainer. Working out is what I love. There have been days in my life where it was the only thing I looked forward to...the only thing that made me happy. It's been a tough transition for me to go from trainEE to trainER. Not because I don't know form or exercises...because I struggle with confidence. I come off like I'm secure...but it's a mask to cover the way I REALLY feel most of the time. I went to school...I took a test...I spent a lot of time watching and learning...I went to a specialized certification...and now I'm working. I don't have many clients so I don't work many hours...just a few hours...a few days a week. Still at times I feel stress. I wonder if I'm doing a good job. I worry that my kids will need me when I'm gone. Sometimes...when I have to be at the gym at 6 A.M to cover a class....I feel exhausted. I wonder if I should go back to the days of long walks through the mall with shopping bags in both hands and pedicures...the days when I had nowhere to be...and all day to get there. I'd feel less stress, but I know I wouldn't be happy.

If I could create a perfect little world...one that ran by MY rules...I make sure that I never have to feel stressed...but I don't live in a perfect world. I know that I cannot escape worry...or fatigue...or stress. There is no magic pill. And although, stress will creep into my life many more times before my life is over...there is something that can help. I saw this commercial the other night and it made me think. It's really a retirement commercial, but the sound of that baby laughing helped me realize that there is a cure of sorts. It may not be permanent, but it will almost always help take the stress or sadness or frustration away. It's laughter.

It has been said that "People don't stop laughing and having fun because they get old...they get old because they stop laughing and having fun!" Who knows if that is true...but what do I have to lose by trying. So the next time my day sucks...the next time I trip...or lose my keys...or embarrass myself...or just screw up in general...maybe I'll try laughing. It may not fix the problem, but it sure can't make things worse either. Just think how amazing life could be if something as simple as tearing paper made us laugh like that baby...

Friday, August 15, 2008

...aM i stRoNg eNoUgH?...

If you stood outside a mall and asked 100 people to say the first word that comes to mind when you say the word “strong”, I bet you would hear the word muscle and bodybuilder more than a few times. Most of us equate strength with big biceps…with moving something heavy from one place to another. There are hundreds of supplements, pills, and shakes on the market to help people that are searching for strength. Some people go to great lengths to become stronger…even if it destroys their body or even takes their life in the process.

I know it is a great source of frustration for me at times in the gym. I want to press more…to squat more…lift more weight than I do. It’s easy to feel weak when you spend so much time working out…with mostly men. I know at times, I get really down on myself when I don’t do as well as I hope to do in the gym. It’s hard to keep it all in perspective. It’s hard to not let my failure there…creep into the rest of my life. I’m always comparing…wondering…”Am I strong enough?”

I recently read an article that helped me remember that strength is more than bulging biceps and 6 pack abs. In an article called “The Iron”, Henry Rollins talks about how lifting weights changed his life…taught him…made him stronger...in more ways than just the obvious. I loved every word he had to say, but one paragraph in particular forever changed the way I think about strength.He said, “Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.”

Sure, I still want to increase the amount I can lift. I will always be striving for more…but I realized that I am not as weak as I once thought. In fact, I am much stronger than some of the very people that I compare myself to. I’m far from perfect. I get mad and I say things I don’t mean. I do not always build others up as I should…but I AM a kind person. I DO care. I am very sensitive about the way other people feel. I feel terrible if I think that I have hurt another person. I protect others…even to my own detriment at times.

So forget the fact that my legs did not cooperate with my heart today in the gym. Forget the fact that my one rep max on a dead lift is a warm up for some men. Beauty fades…bodies age…and muscles shrink…but kindness and sensitivity are lasting. So am I strong enough? IN THE WAYS THAT COUNT I AM!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

..."iS cHiVaLrY dEaD?!?"...

It's happened ever since I can remember...every time a man has been rude or does not hold the door for us or another woman and I'm with my mom...she always says, "Well, I guess chivalry is dead!" I've always thought it was so funny when she says that...not funny ha ha...funny as in odd...funny in that it never seems like such a big deal...until YOU are the one with a door in your face. One minute you are carefree...smiling...the next thing you know...your nose is pressed against the glass and you are left asking yourself..."Did that REALLY just happen?"

Last week my daughter and I were out furniture shopping for her room that we are redecorating. It was hot. We were tired. It's hard work shopping...especially on a budget! So we had already had lunch a few hours earlier and we were feeling quite parched. Being the divas that we are (at times)...we decided that it was crucial that we stop for a drink at the nearest 7-11. I paid NO attention to the neighborhood, pulled off the highway, and made my way into the parking lot. Right away I'm thinking..."Not the best location"...there was an auto parts store next to it with lots of strange men fixing their cars right there in their parking space. I looked around. Hmmmm...not the best clientele...but we'll just bop in, grab a drink, and "blow this popsicle stand"! So I parked as close to the door as I could and we made our way into the 7-11...ALL eyes on US! We got to the door and I swung it open with confidence. I figured it's like being in the wild...you don't want to let the creatures "smell your fear". I held the door for my sweet girl to walk through. As I opened it, I even said, "Cmon sweetie! Let's get you something to drink." Before I coud finish the sentence...BAM!...some strange man on a cell phone pushes past my daughter to come out before she can go in! Did I mention that he literally PUSHED her aside?!? OH NO YOU DIDN"T!!!

I went into full fledged Mama Bear...Man Hater mode! I stopped and asked him in a loud, authoritative voice, "What is wrong with you?" He "woke up" from whatever world he was occupying and dribbled some lame apology...funny how forceful a "man" he was before...now he's been reduced to a stammering boy with one question! Before he could fully "spit it out"...I continued with..."YOU should be holding the door for US! At the very LEAST...you should stand back and let us come in or use the other door!" I couldn't stop. I said, "...And how dare you physically push my daughter aside so that you can go out first!?!" I finished with the line EVERY Mom uses at some point in her life..."You should be ashamed of yourself!" He was still mumbling apologies as he walked...quickly...to his car. SIGH. I straightened my blouse and walked into that convenience store...teetering on my high heels...Jackie O glasses still in place...and asked...no one in particular..."Is chivalry dead?". Funny...NO ONE was brave enough to answer...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

...hOw cAn i bE sUrE?...


How do I know that a person really cares? How can I be sure? This is how I KNOW I have a friend that cares. These things make me sure...

My friend brings out the best in me. I am a klutz. I am always late. My friend taught me balance...both physical balance and balance in my personal life. My friend embraces all the qualities that make me who I am...and lets me know that even still...I AM okay...and that there will be someone waiting for me when I arrive...late...as usual...that will still be glad to see me and greet me with a smile. I do everything in the most awkward fashion and I lose my temper...a lot. My friend trained me to be "less awkward" (in the gym at least) and even made me good at some of my endeavors there. My friend is my "outlet" when I am mad...or sad for that matter...a safe haven where I can vent and share my disappointments without harsh judgement. Most of the time, I say the wrong thing...most of the time and I doubt myself and my abilities. My friend treats me like I am good...and therefore I am. My friend tells me that I am capable...and so I go and do. My friend tells me that I am strong...and through him I became so. My friend knows a lot, but still asks my advice...this tells me that I have something to give...that I am smarter than I thought. My friend tells me that I can...and this gives me courage. These things tell me that I have a true friend...someone that cares.

I know that my friend has to go. It makes me sad, but I know that our paths crossed for a purpose. I know it was meant to be. Anyone can find a person to spend time with...to laugh with...to have fun with...but finding a person that touches your life...that leaves you better than they found you...is a gift from God. In this, I find joy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

...wHy iS iT sO hArD tO LeT gO?...

"WHY CAN'T WE GET ALL THE PEOPLE TOGETHER IN THE WORLD THAT WE REALLY LIKE AND THEN JUST STAY TOGETHER? I GUESS THAT WOULDN'T WORK. SOMEONE WOULD LEAVE. SOMEONE ALWAYS LEAVES. THEN WE WOULD HAVE TO SAY GOOD BYE. I HATE GOOD BYES. I KNOW WHAT I NEED. I NEED MORE HELLOS." ~Charles M. Schulz



These are the thoughts in my mind that cause the pain in my heart...

Why can't I say goodbye without a second thought? Why is it that I tell myself that I'm okay...and I AM...for a LONG time...and then suddenly...one day...I'm NOT anymore? Why do I try so hard to hold on when I know letting go is necessary...inevitable? I knew this was coming. I thought I was okay. I was not sad. What happened?

I'll tell you what happened...

We laughed. We talked. We ran. He gave me advice and I returned the favor. We were serious and we joked. We raced. I told him my fears and he shared his worries. What happened was friendship in the truest form. And THAT...is what makes it hard to anticipate a good bye...again.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

...LiFe LeSSoNs fRoM sAnD DoLLaRs...

My last post was about my wonderful morning on the beach with my son...and how much he taught me with his search for sea shells. It seems that the lessons were not over. I talked about finding sand dollars and how surprised I was by their "natural" appearance. The night before we left the beach, my husband and I were packing...not just our clothes...but beach chairs and sand toys and gathering all the miscellaneous items strewn around the villa. As I picked up the bag of broken shells, I saw the sand dollars that my son and I found that morning on the beach. They looked so gross. I had done some research online and gathered instructions on how to take the ugly, hairy, brown sand dollars and make them perfect and white, but I wondered if it was worth all the effort. I also knew that I would have to put them in a ziploc bag to bring them home and dreaded the smell that would accumulate inside. Still, I promised my son that we would make them beautiful when we got home. I could not look into those brown eyes and tell him that I had left them...so I dropped them in the bag and sealed the top. When we arrived home from vacation, I took them out of the plastic bag and choked down the urge to gag as the aroma of dead fish followed. I held my nose and started the process of beautifying our sand dollars. I put a mixture of water and bleach in a bowl and dropped them in. The change was amazing to watch. Immediately...the hairy sand dollars were smooth and the brown and green began to fade. I repeated the process...knowing that if I dipped them in bleach too many times...they would become weak and break apart. Two of them disintegrated immediately. One that was especially small and gross was beautiful...perfect. The other two...one small and one large...were still slightly discolored, but mostly white. I was amazed by the beauty that was underneath all that dirt and hair. I immediately thought about how glad I was that I took the time to bring them home and clean them...glad that I endured the smell...glad that I have a little boy that still sees the good...the beauty...the potential in everything and everyone around him and that holds me to the same standard.

My amazement turned into the thought that many times, people are a lot like those sand dollars. Some people are easy to like. They are desirable...strong...beautiful...like the clean smooth sand dollars that made it through the process. There are other people that we are not naturally drawn to. They have limitations and are weak...like the sand dollars that broke when I placed them in the bleach. And still others may repulse us...they are ugly and have a rough exterior. We wonder...much like I wondered about those dirty sand dollars the night before we left...if they are worth the discomfort and time it will take to see who they REALLY are underneath all that.

I learned that people and things are not always what them seem at first glance. If we don't take the time or we are repulsed by appearances, we may never experience the joy and beauty waiting to be found. I also learned that most of my joy came from working to improve the appearance of those sand dollars. Those sand dollars mean something to me because I took the time to go through the process of cleaning them MYSELF...and through that process...and the miraculous end result...I learned some important life lessons.