Tag Archives: colorado

Ode to An ’80s Tan

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It’s that time of year again, when families with an average of 1.86 children* and access to some type of motorized vehicle migrate south for a week of fun in the sun, or rather, hopefully not killing each other while suffocating under three layers of UVB protective clothing.

I can’t help but get a little nostalgic as I pack a dozen bottles of hand sanitizer, ear buds, and my candy cane shiv for the flight to Florida. Things were much simpler when I was a kid, and quite frankly, more tan.

I will cut you if you take the last Grey Goose orange vodka mini-bottle on the plane. Image via Flickr.com

Despite repeated warnings from the Surgeon General and my preternaturally aged hands, I love the sun. In my book? Tan is good, and every single white-bellied resident of Cleveland playing cornhole on the beach this spring proves my point (by the way, if you happen to be a Facebook Robber and are casing my house, good luck getting through the copious piles of laundry, Halloween candy wrappers, and discarded LIVESTRONG wristbands blocking all points of entry).

This is a cornhole tournament. On the beach. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. Image via pressofatlanticcity.com

When I was young, we didn’t have enough money to fly the friendly skies, so we drove to Florida for spring break in The Grey Ghost, our family’s unaffectionate nickname for my dad’s sometimes air-conditioned, often not, Thunderbird. With a piece of masking tape cutting the back seat in half and delineating sides that dare not be crossed for fear of losing a limb, my brother and I played the license plate game to pass time, which pretty much sucked after about fifteen minutes because every single car headed south was from Ohio.

Things changed once we crossed the Georgia-Florida border, though. With empty bags of pork rinds at our feet and the wind in our hair, we knew we’d arrived at a mystical place filled with lightning bugs, fudgesicles, and an unusually large amount of seedy lounges advertising Elvis impersonators.

Is that a camel toe you’re wearing or are you just happy to see me? Image via zonamilitar.com.

We all piled into one room at a value-brand version of a Holidome, and Mom doled out the quarters she’d saved all year long so we could have whatever we wanted from the vending machines. Eating Taco flavored Doritos in bed while watching Saturday Night Live was nothing short of awesome, and as soon as I could see sunlight filtering through the curtains the next morning, I was out the door with my tube of Bain de Soleil, a Teen Beat magazine, and a dream.

This was my dream when I was a kid. In many ways, it still is.

Back then, a tan meant you were going somewhere in life, like the mall, to get an Orange Julius and some sweet new parachute pants. Now, being tan can still take you places, but it’s pretty much limited to your dermatologist’s office, usually for some minor outpatient surgery to get a spot of precancerous basal cell carcinoma removed from your nasal septum.

This too could be you if you stay in the sun too long or inhale a lot of recreational drugs. Image via 4.bp.blogspot.com.

Today, my family boards a plane to go on vacation, which is great, except for the aforementioned need to carry a concealed weapon that looks like a piece of half-eaten Christmas candy. And the ear buds that plug into something that, while providing entertainment, makes us more co-travelers than anything else. And the lines.

In response to an overwhelming cry for change (mostly from parents), the airline industry will now allow you to kennel your children and buy a seat for your dog.

Hence the nostalgia.

But the only thing you can count on in life is change, so like every other pasty mother I know, I’ve packed the SPF 300 and a little something just for me that’s stashed away in the recesses of my luggage. No. It isn’t a baggie filled with the medicinal marijuana you can now buy on every street corner in Colorado to enjoy with your Caramel Macchiato before a great day at the beach.

It’s a bottle of  Hawaiian Tropic Diamond Strength Dark Tan Accelerator.

Apparently, my parents only had enough money to buy sunscreen for my little brother, Macho Man Randy Savage.

Apparently, my parents only had enough money to buy sunscreen for my little brother, Macho Man Randy Savage.

Old habits die hard, and if youth is wasted on the young, I’m pre-qualified to appreciate every fine line coming my way.

*According to the 2000 Census, the average number of children in families was 1.86. Apparently, a child isn’t considered whole until it threatens to run away unless you lift the ban on smart phones after 9:00 p.m.

If you liked this post, you may like Taking Your Kids to Vegas: A Lesson in International Culture, Etiquette, and Ethics

If you like Vegas, you may like An Open Letter to Steve Wynn: Why the Forty-Year Oldish Woman is Your Ideal Guest

Is That Your Daughter’s Bra Hanging From A Tree?

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Because it’s not my daughter’s bra. Or at least, not yet.

This is your daughter’s bra and there’s nothing you can do about it. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

I took my girls to the mountains last week for some didn’t-get-around-to-doing-all-the-cool-things-I-promised-you-this-summer-and-sort-of-need-to-fit-it-all-into-one-day family fun. Well, family – two + two, because my husband had to work, my son was already back at school, and each of my daughters decided that bringing a friend would be a much better option than hanging out with me.

That used to be me on the left side of the picture, but my daughter’s friends know the lyrics to every Taylor Swift song ever written, are much more supportive of her attraction to anything dramatic, and never make her empty the dishwasher. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

As the trip drew closer, I watched my self-declared, starring role in their lives casually deflate with the slow hiss of a forgotten balloon, to the point that the character I’ve played for the past ten years and know by heart dwindled to nothing more than a cameo appearance. I was a ride up the mountain, someone to hold discarded clothing (not lingerie), and a human ATM.

The minute we hit the resort parking lot (well not really “we”, the kids paired off in twos as I struggled behind the weight of a broken cooler and enough outerwear to float Mariah Carey safely through the streets of Aspen), they were off without a second glance my way. Determined not to be ditched, I jog-limped behind, scrambling to keep up as they raced from the human maze to a zip line, then over the bungee tramps and up the lift so they could fly back down the alpine slide.

Mariah Carey sometimes gets scuba gear and snow gear confused. Image via telepix.com.

Thanks to my newly acquired, D-list status in their lives, I had a chairlift all to myself, and that’s when I drifted over a piece of material placed so far from its intended purpose that I was momentarily stunned. Feeling a little confused, it took my mind a few seconds to catch up with my eyes… “What’s a bra doing in a tree? How did it get there? Why would someone throw away something so….oh yeah, never mind.”

As I gazed down, the future reached back up and hit me with a stiff sucker punch to the gut. For me, that Victoria’s Secret 34C (give or take a cup) was a physical manifestation of one thing. Fear.

Gisele is not my daughter. Image via fashionlogie.com

As happy as I am that they’re now back in school (be honest, you’re happy your kids are gone too), it’s because I know that when they leave in the morning they’ll come home again. Today, I’m still allowed to enter their rooms unannounced, pack their lunch, braid hair, and read them their favorite bedtime stories. I’m close enough to be counted on as a mother, and not yet so far away that we can’t be friends.

Notice the veins popping out of my hand. Nothing says “You’ll Always Be My Daughter” like a death grip. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

But they’re growing up and moving beyond me in ways both insignificant and profound. I feel it as acutely as a shift in the wind or the distant smell of burning leaves that signals a change of season. I’m now chasing the girls who used to cling to my side. Our family trips to the mountains already look a little different than they used to due to a newly revolving cast of characters; like a funhouse mirror that looks back at you with a reflection that’s familiar and different at the same time. And forget about leading. Before I know it, I won’t even be able to follow them. They’ll be heading in their own direction without a map, hair flying in the wind, with besties and boyfriends by their sides.

I spawned something from the other side of the funhouse mirror. Image via The Church of Scientology.

And that’s how a bra ends up in a tree. I mean, that’s how your daughter’s bra ends up in a tree. Not mine. There’s no way I’m giving a jewel-encrusted key to some lifeguard from the beach who’s all “I love you and you’re so beautiful and you look just like Selena Gomez and I play guitar plus my dad has a boat, and I’m pretty sure he knows Justin Bieber and all that, and so yeah, like do you wanna take a ride up the mountain at night to check out the awesome view or something?”

It’s the “or something” that plasticizes my inner organs, rendering me completely unable to move.

Saving lives and deflowering your daughter, one bottle of baby oil at a time. Image via dontletyourdaughterwearabikini.com.

As long as they live in my house, my daughters’ lingerie will come from the sale rack at Sears. For now and maybe forever, I’m keeping my cash in my pocket and my eyes wide open. Call it a survival instinct, sixth sense, whatever you want. Any way you look at it, you’ll be surprised what you can see from so far behind.

That’s Essa, flying away from me on the alpine slide of life. Image via Stacie Chadwick

I Said I’d Never Write About Politics, But I Know Paul Ryan and I’ve Got Some Advice.

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Who am I to Paul Ryan? No one and everyone.

I’m a forty-two year old suburban mom who knew Paul in college. I’m also a registered Democrat who has voted for both parties over the last twenty-four years. I live in Colorado, a state that offers electoral votes crucial to the outcome of this year’s presidential race. I’m a bleeding heart who lives in a gated community. I’m self-sufficient, yet I feel a responsibility to help others who are in need. As a voter, I’m a pretty interesting mix, difficult to label and hard to define. In my experience, most women are, and from what I understand, our demographic will be a deciding factor in November.

Who is Paul Ryan to me? Someone to watch.

As a U.S. citizen, I’m troubled by the precarious spot our nation occupies on an international chessboard of pieces in constant flux. I don’t support finger-pointing and placing blame for an economy that was weakened by both parties as much as free will. I’m concerned about the future of my children. I dislike negative politics and am frustrated by the inability of our bipartisan House and Senate to find common ground. I’m an optimist who believes tomorrow will be a brighter day, but I see real storm clouds in my direct line of sight. I want our country to move forward, and I’m worried about falling behind.

I’m a daughter, a sister, a mother, and a friend. I vote with my head and I vote with my heart. I read. I listen. I debate. I decide. I’m a potential liability and asset to both campaigns.

Three generations of women who don’t always vote the same way. Image via Stacie Chadwick

And with Mitt Romney’s introduction of Paul Ryan as his running mate, I’m now engaged in this race in a way that I hadn’t been before. Maybe it’s the deepening differences I see in the platforms of the two opposing parties. Better yet, a curiosity around the potential impact of a clear, if not controversial voice. Perhaps it’s due simply to the fact that I know Paul. More likely, it’s my hope that he’ll take the time to reacquaint himself with me, and by that I mean millions of women like me who will vote in the upcoming election.

I also consider Paul to be a friend. Am I jumping on the bandwagon headed straight from Janesville, WI to a national stage? Probably. Although I’ve followed his career, I haven’t spoken with Paul in over twenty years. But something about his addition to the shape of our legislative landscape piques my interest. Regardless of political beliefs, I’m proud that we graduated in the same class at Miami, watched votes together in the Senate gallery when we interned in D.C., and hung out on campus. I’m betting on an accurate memory of the person he was when we were college kids masquerading as adults, and a time-honored belief that as individuals, we don’t really change. In the heat of battle, we often forget the people behind the politics. I knew him as a smart, ambitious, honest guy with Midwestern values and a focused vision. I’m sure he still is. And now? He’s running for Vice President of the United States of America. When I tell my children that they can be anyone they want to be, I can now point to someone I know who is.

Children masquerading as adults. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

So surrounded by a cacophony of shrieks and giggles sung by kids who are stealing the last ounce out of summer on their way back to school, enough dirty laundry to fill a semi, and a stack of bills, I’m doing what I said I never would. I’m flipping my position and writing about politics. I’m offering unsolicited advice to someone who pays people to advise him. I do this because I’m a woman and a friend. It’s my nature. Humor me.

***

Dear Paul,

Mitt Romney’s misspoken reference to you as “the next president of the United States” plays directly into what should be the underlying backbone of your political strategy. Run with a broader vision than the role of Vice President and set your own course.

Show us how you simultaneously lower government spending and make a real commitment to education and job creation. As mothers, we have children who are high school dropouts and can’t support themselves, and post-college boomerang kids who are underemployed. We understand that there’s a real chance their generation will reach a ceiling constructed at a lower height and of lesser materials than ours, buttressed by flawed trusses and support beams. Show us a concrete plan to correct a system that’s broken and produces students who continue to slide behind other countries in core curriculum, is rooted in the industrial age, and pays teachers much less than what they’re worth.

Addressing the economy is a given, so consider looking at it from our point of view. As mothers and wives, we’re often the emotional backbone as well as a financial anchor for our families. What we earn in a paycheck we give back in time spent away from our children. Dig deeper than budget cuts and tax reform in addressing our role in this issue, and show your sensitivity to our increasingly complex jobs.

The Wall Street Journal has championed your cause for years, but the majority of its readership is already part of your base. Embrace media outlets that will challenge your voice, but give you a long runway. With your intelligence and passion, a successful one-on-one with someone like Katie Couric could be a brilliant move, made more so by the failure of your predecessor’s endeavor.

Show us how you privatize Medicare without decimating it. We’re the daughters of aging parents and the mothers of children with disabilities, and often serve as emotional and physical lifelines to three generations of our family. We’re taxed and we’re tired, and yes, a little scared.

Disclose your tax statements. Immediately.

Follow your heart. The ugly side of bipartisanship is based on a world painted in black and white, when most of reality exists in various shades of gray.

Channel Alex Trebek and brush up on foreign affairs. You already know that Syria is further away from Wisconsin than Russia is from Alaska, so silence the naysayers.

Dial down the camo and the ammo. There’s a large group of undecided female voters who will roll their SUVs to save one of the thousands of overpopulated jackrabbits darting in front of their truck as they race off to the grocery store to figure out what’s for dinner.

Give us a small glimpse of the family behind the photo op. To the extent it’s not invasive, let us see the side of your life that we live every day…dropping the kids off at school after the tardy bell rings and staying up late to watch the Olympics as laughter turns to tired tears. We’ll relate to the emotions behind the smiles on your annual holiday card because we know how many tries it takes to get the perfect picture.

My family had to climb a fourteener, build a guard rail, and go without water for three days to get this pic. OK, not really, but it felt like it. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

You’re a well-versed, physical, engaging public speaker: use your open hand gesture and tone down the finger pointing. The first makes us feel included and the second one doesn’t.

You’re an athlete, you vacation in Colorado, and you love the outdoors. It might be a good idea to take a well-documented run through our great state. There are a lot of thirty to fifty year-old female voters who are athletes, live in Colorado, and love the outdoors.

Act like both a CEO and a salesman. Use your gut to champion causes and finesse to drive them home. Women follow people we trust and hire people we like.

Translate the budget deficit into a language we understand: a realistic picture of how the current trajectory will impact our children and our grandchildren’s lives is much more meaningful than rhetoric.

You’re at the heart of our demographic, and your youthful enthusiasm is appealing. Don’t run away from your age.

As women and constituents, we’re straight, gay, wealthy, and poor. We’re married, divorced, widowed, and single. We’re CFOs of corporations and Treasurers of the family budget. We’ve started businesses that have flourished and others that have failed. We’ve decimated our savings accounts and we’ve cut our discretionary spending to build them back up. We’ve sacrificed for our families and feel a twinge of guilt whenever we take time for ourselves. We’re smart, dedicated, and we care about the future of our country. We’re uneasy about the prospect of war but are passionately committed to taking care of our soldiers. We’re healers who want to leave the world a better place for our children than the one we gave them, and we’re not sure that we can.

We vote with our heads, and we vote with our hearts. Understanding the significance of that phrase is the key to your success in our demographic. Your introduction to this race has attracted our attention. My best unsolicited advice? Find a way to keep it.

Regards,

Stacie Whitten Chadwick

No matter where you go, your friends will always have your back. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment. My only request is that you refrain from personal attacks and inflammatory statements. Due to the polarizing nature of the subject matter, this is my first and last foray into politics. I think.

Colorado Is Burning, But Not in a Way Anyone Could Predict

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Colorado is still burning, but not in a way anyone would have dared to predict a couple of weeks ago. An eye-watering panorama of flames that recently scorched the earth and destroyed hundreds of homes has morphed into a massive wall of tears as everyone in our state, and the nation for that matter, feels the bitter sting of pain associated with innocent lives taken.

Like many others, I spent days after the Aurora shootings trying to figure out why. How could a person become so disenfranchised and detached from all the beauty in life that he would commit such an unspeakable crime? For me, the answer is both too difficult to fully define and too simple to ignore.

First the hard part. The complexities in this horrific situation are daunting, and involve a multitude of issues including gun control, mental illness, technology, and the misapplication of free will; turning the protective cloak of rights our country was founded under inside-out. Every entity is a sum of its parts, yet solving the mathematical equation that led to the death of twelve innocent people and injury of fifty-eight more is almost impossible. There’s no way to recreate and dissect the combination of variables, representative pieces, and tipping point that led to such an unimaginable outcome unless James Holmes decides to throw light into the cellar of his damaged mind and let us in. Right now he’s not talking.

But with precarious factors resting on an active fault line and an outcome that doesn’t make any sense, there’s another option to consider. The simple answer to such a difficult problem would be to say that James Holmes is crazy. Issue identified, problem solved, and all in just enough time to move forward with life and get back to your regularly scheduled programming.

The paradox within this solution, however, is that crazy doesn’t happen overnight. Even though it’s a slow-growing virus that squares itself and multiplies in seclusion, it isn’t nocturnal. Crazy shines in the light, and like gazing at the sun, instinct tells you to look away because too much exposure could be harmful to your heath.

As much as James Holmes has failed humanity, we, as a society, must have somehow failed him. Nobody seems to know who he is, so in trying to connect the dots of a cratered mind that has collapsed and fallen in on itself, is it possible to figure out who he once was? Could he have been that 5th grade boy bullied in the back of the bus while the other kids around him looked away in fear and shame? Was he the awkward new kid at school, a volatile teenager trying to fit in, who somehow said the wrong thing at the worst possible time while his peers shrugged their shoulders and kept their distance? Was he that grad student who lived down the hall, the one you ran into occasionally doing laundry but avoided making eye contact with because he never really had anything to say? Is he that guy who operated on some type of spectrum no one else tried to understand? Quiet? Thoughtful? Brilliant? Nuts?

James Holmes is the latest poster child for everything wrong with our society. There were others before him, and if we continue, as a human race, to ignore what we don’t want to see, there will be more who follow. Somehow, he slipped through the conscience of our collective societal cracks, and fell so far down that, armed with a critically damaged psyche and a bunker’s worth of ammunition, he actually thought it was O.K. to walk into a movie theater, play out his demented version of natural selection, and commit one of the most atrocious mass murders in the history of our nation.

It wasn’t O.K. The victims aren’t O.K. Their families aren’t O.K. Their friends aren’t O.K. If you know someone, like James Holmes, who isn’t O.K.? Help him.

Why You Can’t Pimp My Ride

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Most people view the car they drive as a direct portal to their super-shiny souls.

O.K. that’s not true.

They actually see their wheels as a reflection of the bulging, glossy, shark skin wallet poached off an endangered Great White on some spendy dive trip to Belize.

Why drive when you can fly? Image via blogcdn.com.

Not me though. I consider my car, or rather, my kick ass 2004 GMC Yukon XL truck, as a means to an end. It’s not pretty, but it gets the ankle-biters from Point A to Point B if not in style, then in one piece. Any first responder will tell you that in the case of oh, let’s say a mom of three who takes her eyes off the road while she’s trying to find the 2Pac station on Pandora and is so real she can’t figure out her smart phone? Big car wins. Period. And I like to win. Period.

2Pac forgot to order bullet-proof windows. Oops. Image via mainlinemusic.com

So while my neighbors half-wave at me from the confines of their ergonomically correct, 8,000,000,000 miles to the gallon, time traveling, put fifteen kids from Africa through college or drive this Batmobilesque, star-stalker, status symbol? I’m letting the kids egg my truck. Since an appearance in the Summer Olympics is their best chance at higher education, practice makes perfect, and throwing an oval-shaped animal embryo at a stationary target is a lot like the shot put.

Rio de Janeiro 2012 here we come! Image via Stacie Chadwick.

We only use 100% organic, farm raised, extra omega three fatty acid embryos when egging my Yukon. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

Plus I like to keep it real, and nothing says, “My girl is so down with that!” like a bullet hole. Well, a fake bullet hole that’s really a dent my babysitter put in the passenger side door bringing my girls back from hip-hop camp while I was getting my face blasted off during a chemical peel.

GANGSTA! Image via Stacie Chadwick.

Fake bullet holes look cool as long as they aren’t on your body. Like veneers. Or a dirty wife beater. Or pulling out a huge wad of small bills wrapped in a fifty at the corner lemonade stand and pretending to donate a lot of money to the neighborhood kid’s two-week old dream to go to computer camp at Stanford when you’re really just dropping a George Washington.

When I’m trying to set a good example being down with it, sometimes I get bored. When I get bored I do stupid stuff, like blindfolding myself with the zebra print bandana my daughter won at hip-hop camp for being so fly during the lyrical portion of her routine.

Word. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

When I’m blindfolded I feel super-chill, so I try to back into the garage using only four senses instead of all five. Like taste. Or smell. But mostly feel and sometimes sound. Occasionally I miss and actually hit the garage, because it didn’t smell like I thought it would, and not because I was trying to find 2Pac on Pandora and I couldn’t figure out my smart phone, or putting on a super-fun shade of Bonnie Bell lip gloss in the rearview mirror, or yelling at my kids.

That’s my garage. Holla if you hit that shit! Image via Stacie Chadwick.

Plus, to train for the Olympics or not get kicked out of the state of Colorado, my kids need to be fit. To cut corners and burn calories, I throw them in the Yukon, stream some 2Pac through my subwoofers, and blast the air. A lot of times it comes out hot instead of cold, especially when it’s like, 1,000,000,000 degrees outside, and we can get through Sting’s entire “Ashtanga Yoga for Homies” DVD while I’m chasing people on the highway in their Batmobilesque, star-stalker, status symbol rides who text while driving. I don’t care if parts fall off in-flight, so the truck’s especially awesome for harassing strangers, plus my state-required front license plate was ripped off at the car wash a long time ago, so it’s hard for the cops to catch me as I flee the scene with California Love blaring through my eight-speaker (well, three now), surround-sound system and a zebra print bandana hanging out the window.

No license plate means I don’t even exist, so that blur of obscenities you experienced when you were updating your Facebook status while driving? Wasn’t me. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

So while you’re at the dealer parting with about $2K to repair an electrical short in the auto lift component of your rear door, I’ll be kickin’ it old school style, training my shorties for fame, and keepin’ it real for the moms of greater suburbia. Ahite?

Seven Ways To Get Me On My Back

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Having just returned from my annual pilgrimage to Labialand, where the scale sits five pounds too high and peeing in a cup is a full contact sport, I’ve come to an obvious conclusion.

Visiting your OB/GYN for any reason other than having a baby seriously blows.

Even though my childbearing days are long gone, I force myself up on the pleather-covered table once a year because experts swear that a smiling vagina makes the world a better place. Since we could all use a little more peace, love and understanding, following are some ideas that the Board of Obstetrics and Gynaecology might want to consider discussing with its clamp-carrying members to make the ride a little less rough.

Image via laserlabs.com.

If Happy Wife = Happy Life, then Healthy Lips = Less Hormonal Dips. You can quote me on that, but not in public or in front of my dad. He gets super-embarrassed when you shout VAGINA! during thought-provoking dinner conversation with the new neighbors and prefers to use the word bohunky instead.

Anyway, if you happen to be my OB, here are seven ways to increase your chances of getting me on my back (sorry Simon, it’s another hook, but if you’re still here, you’ve earned major props for reading this far since you’re a dude).

1. Replace this:

Yep, that’s me. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

With this:

Beam me up! This couple laughed all the way through menopause. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

2. Don’t pull the surprise “Time to prick your finger and check those iron levels!” gig right after shoving a three-foot long Q-tip halfway up my small intestines through a hole I didn’t want to explore in the first place. You’re a doctor after all, and should already know that my sweet summer tan and glow-in-the-dark teeth are proof positive of my excellent health.

This is how I feel about getting my finger pricked. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

3. Replace this wall art:

Birth Control is so mid-twenties. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

With this wall art:

Image via fanpop.com.

4. Please stop asking if I remembered to do my kegels after each pregnancy. I’m sorry if I’m leaking all over your bifocals, but I haven’t been pregnant for nine years. The answer is no. It’s always been no. It will always be no, and while we’re at it no, I don’t want an inpatient, hook and needle craft kit suture to tighten up the opening to my woman-cave. When it comes to peeing all over yourself on a regular basis you have to think positively. Adult diapers are a lot more form-fitting than the package leads you to believe, and paired with a new set of Spanx, take playing on the slip-and-slide with the kids to a whole new level.

That’s not me. Image via geekinheels.squarespace.com

5. Replace this:

Country-chic tampon holder. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

With this:

Cristy Carrington knows how to choose an OB. Image via myopera.com

6. Consider exchanging those flimsy paper gowns that barely cover my cheeks and catch the draft of every open door in the building for Snuggies. If you’re interested, Walgreens has an entire landfill’s worth of the 2011 Tim Tebow Broncos version that you can pick up for next to nothing.

A three-month pregnant Le Clown could use a Snuggie to protect his Tori Spellingesque silhouette. Image via clownonfire.wordpress.com

7. Replace this:

Image via Stacie Chadwick.

With this:

I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey, but 100,000,000,000,000,000 women can’t be wrong. Image via Wikipedia.

And there you have it. If you, Dr. Feelgood, can find a way for me to kick back with a cocktail in a barcalounger wrapped in the cocoon-like warmth of a Tim Tebow blanket while I gaze up at Johnny Depp and read porn, I’ll come visit once a week instead of once a year. Promise.

Colorado is Burning

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I’ve always been a big non-believer in luck, at least the kind that bleeds bank accounts dry because it’s tied to an arbitrary sequence of numbers that careen down a treacherous path to nowhere. The definition of luck I subscribe to isn’t random. It can’t be bought or sold. It’s more of that mathematical equation based on the concept of preparation plus opportunity yielding positive results…a fortunate position that’s actually earned through hard work, dedication, and skill.

With devastating fires consuming large chunks of my state, I’ve thought a lot about luck lately, and how my perception of its significance is changing as quickly as the landscape morphs outside, both products of a caustic natural catastrophe fueled by a flame that flickers and fades only to catch the wind and ignite under a hazy cloak of dark sky.

Image via notmytribe.com

Colorado is one of those rare places that captures the attention of anyone with vision. If you’re fortunate enough to get here, you never want to leave, because the perspective inspires artists and poets, athletes and day-trippers, and you and me to harness a small piece of the beauty surrounding us and do more. Become better. Grow stronger. Rise to the occasion of a 360-degree view.

But Colorado is burning, and I want to know why.

Image via canoncitydailyrecord.com

Someone who’s deeply religious might say that the fires are simply God’s Will. I’m not that person, because many of the things I want to see stretch beyond the grasp of my mind’s reach and are firmly rooted in the beauty of the landscape that is now being destroyed. Any higher power I might believe in doesn’t cherry pick victims.

Image via foxnews.com

A scientist could point to Global Warming, one of the probable causes of the lingering beetle infestation that’s killed so many of our trees and created forests full of kindling. While that’s arguably a factor, trees don’t spontaneously combust.

Image via handcraftedsites.com

An ecologist may speculate that the fires are simply a means of deforestation, and thus, a necessary part of life’s natural cycle, but this point of view doesn’t take into account the loss of hundreds of homes and displacement of tens of thousands of evacuees who sit in a daze on second-hand sleeping bags with the pins and needles of loss stinging their spines.

Image via tampabay.com

As I watch the smoke plume into the sky, surrounding and swallowing the mountain views I’ve always taken for granted, there’s one thing that’s clear. Short of the sickening thought of an arsonist lighting a match and letting it fly, there isn’t a single spot to place blame. These fires belong to everyone and no one, because as much as any other factor, they are the result of luck. Horrible, catastrophic, painful, defective, damaged luck.

Image via bloomberg.com

Colorado is burning, and similar to the view out my window, the way I see the role that luck plays in life is different today than it was last week. There’s the luck tied to opportunity…a cooler day, a subtle shift in the wind patterns, or a sudden storm over the foothills that sneaks up unannounced. We need that.

Image via forbes.com

Then there’s the luck associated with preparation that will impact the trajectory of this fire…the complex matrix of organizers, first responders to the scene, and thousands of volunteers working 24/7 to help those in need. Without them, this fire would be a raging incumbent, unchallenged and out of control.

Image via coloradodaily.com

Finally, there’s the luck I didn’t quite believe in before this catastrophe…call it serendipity, kismet, karma, or a fluke. It’s that point in time when everything right or something deeply wrong happens for no apparent reason, and life simply looks up. Or down.

My state has been on the wrong side of luck for too many days in a row now, and we’re all trying to do whatever we can to force change. Thanks to the generous residents of this amazing place I’m fortunate enough to call home, a group of us will take a truckload of supplies down to Colorado Springs today in an attempt to help those who are fighting future loss, and others mourning the things that are gone.

Image via 2amazonaws.com

But in an attempt to somehow brush up against that serendipity, kismet, karma, or fluke from above, I’m also crossing my fingers, doing a rain dance, and wishing on a star with the hope that the skies will clear, the fires will retreat, tomorrow will be better, and the kind of luck we need so badly will come back around to the right side.

If you would like to contribute to the fire relief efforts, place considering making a donation to the American Red Cross http://www.coloradoredcross.org.

The Other Side of David Versus Goliath or Why I Actually Feel Bad for Duke Fans and Will Cut You for My Team

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Everyone loves a Cinderella story unless you’re the older, more experienced stepsister who, even though you’ve been around the block one too many times, are a little passive-aggressive and decidedly OCD, is used to getting your way.

Like you, I prefer to take the underdog’s side in just about everything in life. Except college basketball. That’s where I draw a really clear line.

I grew up in Louisville, KY, better known as ground zero for NCAA hoops. You won’t find any native of the state who says, “I really don’t care who wins when Louisville and Kentucky play each other every year. I’m just out here for the five-way chili cheese dogs, a mint julep, and a little bit of fun.”

Wrong.

Basketball in Kentucky is a blood sport, right up there with cockfights and whatever Michael Vick was doing in his backyard with innocent dogs. Veins course in either a bright shade of red or electric blue, and there’s no chance of a transfusion between the two. You’d rather die on the table than risk being infected with vital fluids of a fan from the other team. The Great Wall of China might as well be running along the rolling, bluegrass-covered hills of our sidewise state, because loyalty is embedded so deeply below the earth that not even Sarah Palin in a bikini with a machine gun could loosen it up.

This is not a real picture. But oh, how I wish it was. Image via politicalhumor.about.com

As I watched in disbelief when Lehigh University took it to Duke in the final minutes of the game last Friday night, I couldn’t help but flash back to a David and Goliath moment of my own, when Louisville played no-name Morehead State in the NCAA tournament last year. The game was in Denver, and having convinced my husband, Scot, that we should blow the money we’d set aside for a new washer and dryer on box seats, I was actually there. Front and center.

The first sign of trouble reared its head before the game actually began. As I settled in with a five-way chili cheese dog and ginormous Coors Light, I searched my section for a friendly, painted face, and noticed that nobody but me was wearing the requisite red and black. Since I was clearly gonna be responsible for leading section 148 in the U of L fight song, ushering the arena toward the cheers my mom sang to me when I was a baby, and starting the wave, I shotgunned the entire $20.00 beer I was holding and went back for another before the players even hit the court. I was literally buzzing in anticipation of the action, and in hindsight, blowing my t-shirt money on alcohol before it all started was a big mistake. Leadership can be stressful though, especially when you’re drunk.

Was Sarah Palin drunk or sober during the Vice Presidential debates? You be the judge. Image via http://www.americantimes.org.

The second problem that day was the fans, and not just the annoying guy with the big bobble head sitting right in front of me in a Vandy hat. More on him in a minute. I’m talking about an arena full of thirty-something generation X whities in their khaki Dockers/Steinmart golf shirts/receding hairlines who’d kicked off work for the day because their buddy scored a free set of tickets. They didn’t even know who was on the court.

Morehead State? Is that, like, right next to Russia? Image via backseatcuddler.com

If I was drinking a beer every ten minutes? Everyone else was doubling down as they high-fived each other and screamed with the wild abandon of 5th graders off their ADHD meds, “MORE HEAD MORE HEAD MORE HEAD!” Get it? More head? As in “Morehead State” chanted in a dirty way and nothing like the cheers my mom sang to me as a child. I mean, how do you compete with that? Nobody, and not even the ushers, were spelling C-A-R-D-S with me in my upper body, pseudo-Village People dance moves, and my team was handicapped right out of the gate.

So I got louder. I had the monumental task of carrying the entire arena, and probably city of Louisville for that matter, as the other guys scored basket after basket and that dude who now plays for the Nuggets started the painful process of taking us down. Destroying a team with multiple NCAA titles, a rock star coach who can get away with wearing white pimp clown suits on occasion, and an almost unpayable mortgage on a state-of-the-art arena isn’t easy. Being the only person under the glaring lights at an away game who’s cheering for the anointed ones (who everyone in the state of Colorado apparently now hates) isn’t easy either, and that’s where the bobble head guy comes in.

Image via nbcuniversalstore.com

Vandy dude, with his invisalign braces and baseball-cap turned backwards in an “I’m not as old as I look” pathetic play on youth, was in the fortunate position of occupying the seat right in front of me and my big mouth during the game. As I ratcheted up the volume for my hometown team, he turned it on for that other school in Kentucky where you go when your grades aren’t good enough to get into WKU. Even though he was there for the next game being played and had no real skin exposed, by halftime he was turning around and nodding at me in an exaggerated white man’s overbite, can’t find the beat to the song expression of glee whenever the back-and-forth on the court went in the direction of Morehead State.

So I did what any self-respecting, organic produce buying, kettlebell throwing, member of the local library coalition, forty year-old, mother of three would do in the same situation.

I got in a fight.

Sarah Palin uses any words she can find, in random and non-sequential order, in a fight. Image via http://www.palingates.blogspot.com

Before the Louisville-Morehead State game, the last fight I started was at a bar in Chicago. I was about thirty and my husband and I were there with friends to see a Neil Diamond/Abba impersonator band: Thunder and Lightning. Thunder was this ancient dude with Grecian Formulaish hair and awesome, sparkly shirts, and Lightning was the girl/grandma, wearing machine gun jubblies and some kind of Renaissance Festival hat and gown. Anyway, you had to knock down about 34 drinks or so to really get into it. So I did.

Before I knew it I was dumping a full beer over some guy’s head who told me I looked like Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs. I have no idea why that bothered me at the time because I think she pretty much rocks. But whatever. Somehow aware in the shaky neuron misfiring of my brain that I was once slated to go to law school and naturally possessed the rabid mind of an attorney, I didn’t actually crack the glass bottle onto his head. Instead, I poured it over him with an exaggerated motion: like I was slugging a clogged bottle of ketchup. I had pretty much emptied the whole thing and was going back for round two when the bouncer threw me over his shoulder and dumped me out the door and into a cold, dark alley. But at least I wasn’t in the back of a cop car. I didn’t even get to hear the Cracklin’ Rose/SOS duet.

It felt like déjà vu as the clock ticked down at the Pepsi Center, the six true Morehead State fans in the house plus 20,000 drunk pharmaceutical salesmen erupted into deafening applause, and the Vandy dude turned around and pointed his finger in my face. Yes. He was in my face in the same way that you would nail a dodgeball at your lab partner’s head in 4th grade and yell, “In your face!

I turned to look Scot in the eye, he shook his head back and forth in a “please do not embarrass me again” appeal toward any shred of rational thought left in my body as he rolled up his sleeves to defend me, I shrugged my shoulders, bared my teeth, and attacked.

Sarah Palin uses a lot of whitening products. Image via the immoralminority.blogspot.com

Luckily my husband was sober, grabbed me by the hair as I flew, no, tumbled into the air in an Angelina Joliesque cat move intended to crush the dude with the big head, and took me down. My dream of connecting my heel to Vandy dude’s face was destroyed by Scot’s quick reflexes, and instead I ended up flat on my back as he commandeered the keys to the SUV. I had to be in carpool line within the hour to get the kids and nobody really wants to deal with a drunk, crying basketball mom crashing onto the sidewalk and taking the kindies down one-by-one.

So what am I trying to say? I’m not really sure, except it sucks a lot more to go down as Goliath than David.  Lehigh University and Morehead State were just happy to be at the dance. Teams like Duke, Kentucky, and Louisville are supposed to be the prom queens, and when you lose to that girl who stole your boyfriend? It hurts.