Give me fitness. Give me abs. Give me a Hawaii Chair.

workout woman

Experts say it takes three weeks to turn a new behavior into a habit.  So if my past experience is a predictor, at two weeks into my New Year’s fitness regime I’m going to be, well, bored.  Cardio intervals? Yawn. Core fitness? Zzzzzz.  Eat less, exercise more?  What-EVER.

Give me gimmicks.  Give me fads.  Give me a piece of exercise equipment I can hang wet laundry on when I’m tired of using it.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for lazy-woman fitness.

I’ve been enamored with useless home exercise equipment ever since I watched my grandmother unveil her newest apparatus.  “You wrap this band around your hips,” she told me. “Then you flip this switch.”  The machine began to agitate her body with such vigor, she looked like she was in California during The Big One.  “I-I-I-I a-m-m-m e-xxxx-er-cisingggg!” she squealed over the din of the motor sounding like a post-menopausal Elmer Fudd on an infomercial.  After being shaken by the machine for exactly three minutes, Grandma somehow managed to flip the switch off. The band around her hips went slack and fell behind her legs. “Whew, what a workout!” she said patting her forehead with a towel, although she hadn’t visibly broken a sweat.

If this was working out, then I could embrace fitness. [Read more…]

What To Do When The Snorchestra Begins

snoring man

I took off my glasses and turned off the light.  I pulled the covers up, rolled on my side and closed my eyes.

That’s when it started.

Snick. Snick. Snick.

It was like the sound my car made when the alternator died.  But unlike the noise that stopped once I realized turning the key with greater frequency would not revive the lifeless battery, this sound continued.


The cacophony, which I feared would rattle my glasses off the nightstand, jeopardized not only my martial bliss, but my pre-menopausal ability to catch some Zzzzs without sucking on an Ambien.

The Husband was asleep on his back, which meant – he was snoring.

He denies that his supine slumber treats me to the occasionally nasal symphony.  But that night, I stared Eyes Wide Open into the dark listening to his mournful Call of the Loud that sounded like the guttural musings of a small wounded rhino.  [Read more…]

Is A Baby Sister Really Too Much To Ask For?

2013-04-20 11.16.56My youth was idyllic.  My days were drama-free. It was so darned peaceful that Mr. Bluebird occasionally landed on my shoulder to whistle a cheerful tune.  I never heard those words so frequently uttered by Country Squire station wagon driving dads on family roads trips: “DON’T make me pull this car over!” But my childhood was agreeable, not because I was the spawn of Ward and June Cleaver.  It was not because I was the Perfect Child.  It was calm for a singular reason – I was an Only Child.

But I needed a sibling.  I wanted a Big Brother just like my two best friends.  I begged my parents for a brother.  Without spilling the beans on the birds and bees, they gently explained that this was never, ever going to happen.  My six-year-old brain understood the word “no,” but not the underlying mechanics that prevented my plan from becoming a reality.

As a more worldly seven-year-old, I decided a baby sister would do.

As a second grader, I launched a full-scale Jack Abramoff-style lobbying effort to secure a sister.  I created a grassroots campaign utilizing the alliances of friends with younger siblings to influence my parents.  In a stroke of perfect timing the teacher asked the class to write a story about our family: the perfect opportunity for a journalistic expose of My Life With The World’s Most Unreasonable Parents.  As I read my story out loud, I watched with joy as my teacher’s eyes widened in what I assumed was horror at the situation known as my family life.  When she told me to stay behind at recess, I thought she would say, “You poor dear!  I can’t fathom that you’re forced to live with such selfish parents who don’t understand your need for a baby sister.  I’m calling them right now.” [Read more…]

Jeans for Every Occasion. Seriously.


Ever since Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss invented them in 1873, workhorse blue jeans have been a part of the American landscape.  The advent of Lady Levis put them on the female fashion radar in 1934.  And we’ve had a love affair with all things denim ever since.

Although we adore our brands with a fierce loyalty, women have endured many incarnations of this iconic wardrobe staple.  We’ve paraded around with Gloria Vanderbilt, Calvin Klein and Jordache stamped on our derrieres. I’ve worn things that would warrant the Black Bar of Fashion Don’t Shame to hide my true identity when I donned trendy, less-than-flattering nightmares like jeggings (jean leggings), jorts (jean shorts) or that too-long denim skirt that made me bear an uncanny resemblance to Ma Ingalls.

In 1947, Wrangler introduced the “new jeans for cowboys.” But recently Wrangler made an inventive effort to reach out to the female consumer. And I bet their latest denim development has Jacob and Levi turning over in their graves – Wrangler Spa Denim Jeans – better known as moisturizing jeans. [Read more…]

Coming Clean

ratherroar than clean 001 copy

As my mother and I watched TV one night in the early 70s, I never suspected that the Flip Wilson Show would change my life. As we tuned in and adjusted the foil-covered rabbit ears, the fuzzy image on screen became clear. It was Helen Reddy belting out I Am Woman, the anthem that encouraged a newly empowered generation of females to roar. My mother watched, transfixed. When Helen stopped singing, my mother stood up and let out a barbaric yawp of her own. “I’m going to college,” she announced and left the room presumably to burn a bra before matriculating.

Watching mom navigate being a full-time student while also being a full-time parent and wife, I learned a lot of things. I learned how to entertain myself when she dragged me to her classes because the babysitter bailed. I learned that in the name of time management you have to set priorities. Given all she had to do, it’s no surprise that teaching me how to clean was never very high on mom’s to-do list. Thus began my blissful oblivion to dirt. [Read more…]

Sign of the Times


In all my years, I have never, ever had any incident in a public restroom that prompted me to think that is SO weird; it must be captured on film. But on a recent trip, that’s exactly what happened. [Read more…]

Lost – The Home Game

man fridge

By the time I heard the refrigerator door open for the fifth time in less than a minute, I knew what was next.  Footsteps were heading in my direction, just like clockwork.

“Mom,” Older Boy asked, “Where’s the ketchup?”

There are only two possible answers to this question at our house – the fridge or the cabinet. Being in charge of condiment procurement and storage, I knew the correct answer was the fridge.

“Follow me,” I said. I opened the door and scooted the single gallon of milk a mere three inches to the right on the shelf.  This nearly imperceptible move immediately revealed a Costco-sized tankard of Heinz.

“Hmph,” he said grabbing the bright red plastic bottle filled with enough ketchup to liberally douse every French fry served on the 3-11 shift at any McDonalds.  “I didn’t see it.”

The reason, of course, is obvious; I spend my free time moving household items around to confuse him.

But I’m starting to wonder if we need to schedule a family visit at the eye doctor.  Because Younger Boy and The Husband also routinely experience this unique visual disturbance when looking for things.

Just last week, I heard what sounded like cabinet doors opening and closing in the other room.  A few minutes later, Younger Boy entered the room where I was sitting and asked, “Have you seen my tuba?”

Pause for a moment, if you will.

A tuba is not your typical household item.  Nor is it a diminutive and easily misplaced musical instrument like, say, a clarinet or kazoo.  When properly housed in its case, it bears an uncanny resemblance to a Volkswagen parked in a corner of my living room.  So, yes, not only have I seen the tuba, I’ve tripped over it in the middle of the night most notably when Younger Boy deposited it in the center of the room. At those moments in the dark of the night, I’m not usually referring to it as a tuba.

“Follow me,” I told Younger Boy, walking toward the living room.  He nearly tripped over it when we entered the room.

“So that’s where it is,” he said with relief. “I didn’t see it.”

So I wasn’t the least bit surprised the next morning when The Husband walked in the kitchen and asked, “Have you seen my wallet?”

Of course I’d seen it, when I was removing a couple of twenties.

“It’s on your desk.”

“I just looked,” he told me.  “It’s not there.”

“Follow me,” I said.  As we stood in front of his extremely tidy desk, I lifted a file folder to reveal his wallet.

“I didn’t see it,” he said grabbing his wallet and shoving it in his back pocket just before leaving the room.

I don’t know why they come in search of me when it’s time for Household Lost and Found.  Apparently, they believe I’m equipped with a homing device.  Sadly, boys, ovaries are not GPS enabled.

Then it dawned on me, eyesight isn’t the problem.  Their vision is just fine.  And it didn’t take a doctor visit to figure it out.  It’s obvious.

They can always find me.

So I have a plan.  I’m plastering a picture of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model, Kate Upton, on every object they might need to find. I guarantee I’ll never have to look for anything again.

I speak from personal experience; it worked for me.

Because I haven’t misplaced my car keys once, – since I got my Brad Pitt keychain.

Does Hallmark Make a Card?

When I go out of town for a few weeks – I always miss something, REALLY BIG.  Which means I didn’t buy any cards, I didn’t call anyone to send my heartfelt wishes.

To make amends for my error, dear readers, I’m sending my good cheer -a few days late – to you here at A Real Mother.

So without further delay, Happy Colonoscopy Day Everyone!!

That’s right, June 24 is Colonoscopy Day.  And wouldn’t you know it, that was the EXACT topic of my last column in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.  So it only seemed appropriate to reprint it here.  After you read it, make all those appointments you’ve been putting off.

You know who you are.  Go do it.  Now.

Put That Colonoscopy Behind You

I bet some of you have uttered:  I’m healthy. I have no family history of [insert malady of your choice]. I’ll do that next year, I don’t have time. I’m afraid.   

Well you should be afraid – of what happens if you DON’T have your screening tests.

Now I’m going to do what I’m told I do best: Nag. I prefer to think of it as Motivational Speaking.

So listen up. [Read more…]

Let’s Hear It For The Moms

Today is that special day to honor women who are livin’ in the ‘hood.  Motherhood, that is.  And for those of you who plan to pay tribute to a special mother you should know this: if you haven’t been shopping yet all the good Mother’s Day cards are gone.  But if the founder of this holiday, Anna Jarvis, had her way, we’d all be sitting down with a quill, ink and parchment to pen our ode to mother because a pre-printed ditty means you’re just too lazy to show the love.

Lighten up Annie, it’s the thought that counts.

I found it odd that the first official Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1914.  This is true despite the fact that women have been having babies since, well, the beginning of time.  It took that long for someone to say “I really should do something to acknowledge the woman who carried me around for nine months, endured twenty-seven hours of labor, changed my stinky diapers, chauffeured me to soccer practice and raffled off a kidney to pay for my dream wedding. What can I possibly do to express my profound love to the woman who has given everything to me? I know, I’ll give her a three dollar card from Hallmark.”

Yeah, that sounds about right.

If you look at what a mom is really worth, you might reconsider that meager token of love.  According to, a stay-at-home mom would receive $122,732 a year for all the duties she performs which includes being the Domestic CEO, housekeeper, chef, van driver, and psychologist.  I don’t know about you, but in fourteen years I’ve never seen a dime.  Clearly we’re not in it for the money.  Because I’ve got a collection of hand prints with glitter, macaroni glued in the shape of hearts and crayon declarations of love that are worth more to me than any paycheck.  And that’s just fine because glued and glittered love tokens are priceless.

Until I became a mom, I had no idea what my mother went through.  The waiting started when she was pregnant and I was three weeks late. The waiting, as I’ve learned, never stops except you add worrying to the equation. She waited and worried when I got the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.  She waited (and waited) while I took piano lessons and went to softball practice. Once I started driving, she waited up (and worried) when I was out too late at a Fleetwood Mac concert.  She waited (and waited,  but did not worry) when I had to try on every Gunne Sax dress in the store.  Twice.  She did not sell her spleen to finance my nuptials.  But I pretty sure if I’d wanted a Cinderella-style gown, a horse drawn carriage and a pair of size nine glass slippers, she would have.  Because that’s just what mothers do.

Mom, I get it now.

So to all women in the sorority of motherhood, whether you had natural child birth, an epidural, a c-section or boarded a long-haul flight to bring your baby home, you totally rock.  You give it up unselfishly for those young ‘uns every day (don’t worry daddies, you do too, but your day’s in June).  Today is your day, moms.  Enjoy it.

And I’m not worried if all the good cards are gone when I go shopping for my mom. Because I’m pretty sure a Thank You card really says it all.

A Slippery Slope

It’s that time of year again, where I perform my little dance for the gods of winter in hopes that the white stuff will fall from the sky in copious amounts.  When a fluffy layer covers the ground sufficiently, I dress like a colorful Michelin Man and strap the equivalent of 2 x 4s to my Transformer boots so I can slide down the mountain over and over again.  And I love it.

I wish I’d learn to ski when I was a tiny tot. Watching those fearless tikes bomb down the hill effortlessly makes me just a little jealous.  But I didn’t learn to ski when I was two – more like twenty-two. Although I was a late ski bloomer, I made up for it by learning the sport at the spot that is internationally known for sweet powder – Southern Indiana.

With a 900 foot elevation and 300 vertical feet, this ski hill was the local mecca for the downhill enthusiast. Actually, it was the only place to get your snow on within a four hour radius of my home.  The 18 inches of annual snowfall combined with February daytime highs that often permitted lawn mowing effectively transformed the entire hillside into a slightly vertical ice rink.  This, of course, necessitated night skiing because that’s about the only time the whole place would transform states of matter from a liquid to a solid. The only place I imagine skiing could possibly be worse is in Alabama.  But the regulars used to brag, “If you can ski here, you can ski anywhere.”

I beg to differ.

Truth be told, the seven runs of this Indiana ski bump were more like a naturally iced luge course in St. Moritz and even more dangerous.  The longest run, which took all of seventeen seconds to navigate, required skiers to make a single turn to get to the lift.  And it was always a heart stopping ride careening down this frosty slope. Because on a busy night, not only did you have to steer around the curve, you had to maneuver around the piles of bodies who didn’t make the turn not to mention the massive yard sale the accumulated higher than the snow.    While this black diamond run had some quaint name, like Elmer’s Revenge, it really should have been called The Tonya Harding because most nights somebody lost a knee.

Many skiers performed moves on the ice that even the French judges would have deemed worthy of an Olympic ten.  Lutzes, loops and axels, all executed involuntarily on skis, were inevitably part of the exciting evening line-up.  In one of my first ski outings, an untimely encounter with an icy patch enabled me to clothesline myself on the rope tow just before wiping out an entire lift line like a frost covered bowling ball.

Today, I’m much better thanks to real snow, great teachers and the demise of long, skinny skis.  And I’m learning wherever I can.  Since my boys have been skiing, they’ve given me some good lessons on how to shred some powder and how to know when it’s just too gnarly for my limited abilities.  I know that getting big air is never the result of a voluntary act on my part.  And I’ve learned I’m not the kind of girl who likes to amp it up, dude.

And there’s one other thing I’ve learned, the right equipment makes all the difference.  Because if I ever head back to that Southern Indiana ski hill, I’m bringing the only gear I ever really needed there: ice skates.


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