It broke my heart almost every morning that I didn’t run. I love to run, I love to not have a huge ass, too, so running and I have always gotten along. Until last May.
A year ago, my sweet ex and I reluctantly broke up for good, and although the change was good, it rocked every single part of my life. I found myself unable to go for an early morning run (who would watch the kids?), unable to get to the gym after work since I took a job an hour from home after our break-up. Every morning I woke up and instantly felt awful that I knew, before even getting out of bed, that I wouldn’t exercise that day. And hence, every day started with a failure.
Thank God for therapists.
One day this awesome therapist said to me, “You are not going to work out. This we know. What you haven’t done is give yourself the permission to take time off from exercise.”
Somehow that word, “permission” sucker-punched me. It was true: I needed to give myself permission to remove exercise from my life for awhile. I needed to take it off of my to-do list or the should list or whatever list. I needed to not worry about it. At all.
I was suddenly sure of myself in a way I hadn’t been in months. I went home, I collected all of my workout and running clothes and I put them up in the closet. And the most amazing thing happened: the next morning, and every morning since then, I have woken up without the dread of missing a workout. Friends would tell me about a race or a run or a hike or a bike and I was truly happy for their fitness; just as happy as I was about my mental fitness.
Today marks one year of giving myself permission to be exercise-free. I pulled down my running clothes and tried them on. They were tight, but they fit. A year without running and my clothes still fit! I didn’t turn into a massive hog or a slobby sloth. My 42-year-old ass looks like a 42-year-old jiggly ass that hasn’t worked out in a year, but I can live with that. Because my 42-year-old mind is fit as can be. I did it.
My kids are older now, and leaving for a bit in the morning is not scary anymore. My job in Pleasanton didn’t last past the winter and I get to work from my home office most days, so a workout is fully possible today in a way it couldn’t have been a year ago.
This morning I walked four miles with a friend, loving every minute of being back on the trail. Tomorrow I’ll go for a short run. I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow.Read More
You became a mother 40 years ago today on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. Your world at 20-something had moved into a new chapter, forever shifting your life’s focus to being a parent. I wonder how you felt that day. I wonder if you felt, as I did at the moment I became a parent, that you had just participated in a miracle, leaving you breathless and full of joy you’d never known — you had become a mother.
I gain my daily and my abstract inspiration from you, mom. Unlike me, you are Pollyanna, always finding the good in every situation. And as time passes, I have tried to learn a bit of that from you — call it a Pollyanna Placebo, if you will. Being a true woman comes naturally to you. I am reminded every day I see you, that being a woman means being as brilliant as your mind can take you, as kind as your heart can muster, and, as strong as your body will push you. Being a woman, I’ve learned from you, is never compromised by being a lady. Being a lady comes first. Mom, you are quite a lady.
Today, I am 40. Today, no different than yesterday or tomorrow, I will rely on you for guidance, and take only half of it. I will look for your nod of approval and then question it from every angle. Today like all days, I’ll not quite be complete without seeing you or speaking with you. Unless I don’t, and that’s okay by you too. Today you’ll make me beef stroganoff even though I doubt anyone in the free world eats beef stroganoff anymore, you’ll do it for me like you do every year on my birthday. And today, you’ll make me a lemon cake because I love lemon cake, even if you don’t. Because you’re a mom and I’m your kid and it’s my birthday.
I have a million birthday memories with you, mom. Most are happy, some hard, some just getting through the day. My first memory of my life is my birthday party in our backyard on Bundy. I was wearing yellow and you were wearing a white lacy shirt. You made my cake, of course, and brought it outside. It was a cold afternoon and my feet were tingling and wet from the cold bricks. There was a rectangular table and my friends and I wore party hats. I remember you bringing out my cake with candles on it. It had white frosting. I’ll never forget that first memory as long as I live: my beautiful mother and my beautiful life and my beautiful birthday cake in the backyard.
There are others too — I can remember a very rainy birthday party where you were sick, much like you are right now, and Aunt Maria was there. I remember feeling claustrophobic, playing Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey on the wall in grandma’s livingroom on Teakwood. On my Sweet 16, you took a chunky, friendless girl and made a magical day for me, despite my pathetic teenhood. I remember my 21st birthday in college with a massive box filled with 21 gifts from you, each with a clue written on it and hand-wrapped. The 21st gift was a string of pearls. I love my pearls, I’m wearing them today. On my 30th birthday you quietly told me to pick boys over girls, not for judgement sake, but because it would just be less messy. Pregnant on my 32nd birthday, you bought me a soft black dress for a small fortune in a maternity size extra large. You made me feel pretty — and surprised! — at that secret fete.
Today, Mom, I’m excited to be 40. I can’t wait to celebrate with you. It is February 24. It’s the day you became a mother.
I love you.
I sat staring at the TV in complete shock last week as Deleware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell made a wicked, sad fool of herself. I wanted to leap through the television and shut her up — not for her clear lack of knowledge of law and current events or even for her politics — but moreover, for her gross embarrassment to me as a woman. For that dishonor alone, I’m sure my high school Women’s Studies professor is cringing with distain.
I am a woman with a bias. I vote for women if I can. It’s just the way I roll. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s my history attending an extraordinarily feminist school; maybe it is me in the footsteps of my entrepreneur mother; maybe for my love of the underdog or the passion I have to raise my daughter with an equal balance of femininity and balls-out strength. My first inclination during election season is to seek out the female candidates and support them if I can. It might not be right, but it’s what I do. The only problem is, it’s hard to stand behind female candidates that are neither feminine nor brilliant. Christine, Meg, Carly, even you, Barbara: you are letting me down.
Somehow I expect that women will conduct themselves better in business and politics than men. I expect to see issues discussed cleanly, clearly and honestly. I expect a strong debate, filled with valid inflammatory topics and solid political banter. I want a good battle, an honest fight and die-hard representation of the things that make each candidate passionate about their role in the political theater. With the exception of being pro choice, I am willing to accept almost every political view, but I am not willing to accept unladylike conduct.
Meg Whitman, one of our local female CEOs has a wildly different position on politics than I do, but that’s not why I’m disappointed. It’s the wretched thievery of content, the nasty, dirty advertising smears, the red-faced head-shaking fury of a woman on the brink of leadership. A leader doesn’t mistreat employees, whether they are execs at eBay or illegal house keepers. Leadership for women is the opposite of that — using the cortisol in our brains to our distinct advantage, not disadvantage to others. I don’t want PollyAnna for a politician, but at the same I’ve known insiders who say Whitman is a true witch — and not the good corporate kind that all of us female entrepreneurs secretly want to be. Oh Meg, you leave me no choice but to vote for the liberal, bald-headed Jerry Garcia wanna be. You let me down.
The national political stage for women has been set for this year’s election and it’s ugly. Our women in leadership seem to have lost their ability to woo an audience as women. Even Sarah Palin has lost her ladylike manner, replacing it with texting lingo “Pls” for “please”, making up words like ‘refudiate’ and finishing everything with an exclamation point or two!! Fading to the background are ladies in politics including the formidable Condoleezza Rice whose grace never, ever tarnished, despite the trepidatious environment of international unrest, war and the endless hinting at being gay. I am not a fan of Rice’s politics, but female politicians can take note: Dress appropriately, behave like a lady, speak intelligently or do not speak, fight like hell for what you believe in.
What is a woman wanting to support women in politics to do? I will not spend my vote or even so much as slow down my Tivo fastforward on women who play dirty politics. I expect more from women. I expect civility, respect and, most of all, I expect you to represent me as both a woman, an executive and a voter with dignity.Read More
Somehow I’ve always believed that the more you give, the more you get. Of course, it’s not true, but I like the idea of it being true. It’s sort of like karma and justice mixed together — give and you’ll receive. Maybe I give so I can receive? I know that when I receive I think it must be in response to something I must have given and if I can’t think of how I’ve given, I try to make it up and give right away to make sure the scales are balanced. When we’re waiting for payday, I try to take leftover food with me in the car and find a homeless woman to give it to. Somtimes that backfires (one woman screamed at me that she didn’t want my sloppy seconds). Sometimes when I feel particularly fortunate, I make sure I give, however small, as a bargaining chip for my own desire to stay in the good graces of karma.
It seems that no matter where I turn, I hear of charities in desperate need since in economic times like we’re in now, people give less. Actually, correction, well-off people give less percentage to charity. Believe it or not, poorer people give more of their income during hard economic times.
Today is a good day to take a moment to give. No matter how small. Tip the karma scale today.
Some of my favorites:
The George Mark Children’s House — Hospice for Young, Dying Children here in the Bay Area is in deep jeopardy.
Sacred Heart Community Center – Offering clothes, food and shelter to families in need in Silicon Valley
and my personal, most dear charity: Pro Mujer — Microloans (as low as $5) to women in Latin American countries to benefit their health and families
What’s charity is close to your heart? How about giving just a few bucks today?Read More
I feel like I need to get this on “paper” for my daughter: Thank you Hillary Clinton for your work tonight. You represented me, my mother and my daughter so well. You made history tonight; feminine, a pro, direct, American, a class act. I can’t imagine what it was like tonight for you. But I’ll tell you what it did in this family:Read More