We’re Lost In a MASK-uerade

If you told me this would one day be our reality, I would have believed you about as much as I believe there are martians. It still blows my mind every time I leave my house. It’s like an apocalyptical mask event (I don’t even know if that makes sense, but I feel like this year is a free-for-all for nonsense).

I think we all remember our very first mask. Mine was sent to me in a panic by a friend back on the 112th day of March. It is practical, pinches at the nose, fits perfectly, and alleviated some of my anxiety those first few weeks.

My second mask was made by a friend and features…what else? Photos of ladies drinking wine. I enjoy that when I’m eating at a restaurant al fresco with the hubs or meeting a friend for…umm, wine. Of course. Well, I don’t drink or eat with it actually on. My secret talent is coloring inside the lines, not figuring out how to eat sushi through cloth.

During these past ten months that really feels like ten years, I have collected nine masks. Of those nine masks, only the two above-mentioned fit. The others just flop around on my face like a mackeral that was washed ashore. If I were to rob a bank in any of them, my identity would quickly be revealed.

I actually did go into the bank recently and had to bite my tongue to keep from joking with the teller about how I felt like a bank robber. She probably would have done one of two things: pushed the panic button under her desk or told me to come up with something original.

Anyway, before I digress into places I can’t return let me continue.

I am amazed by how many people have really nice fitting masks. I usually come home from running errands with a touch of mask envy. “Mask Envy.” How is this even an emotion?

So, it has been determined by me that I have some ill fitting masks. That poses the next question, “how effective are they?” Do I need to have them tailored? I mean, that can’t sound any crazier than the whole of 2020, now can it?

Aside from the obvious, there are some advantages to this mask wearing thing. The obvious being it’s said to lessen the spread of disease. Or does it? I don’t think anyone really knows. But I’m not taking any chances.

Another thing I like about wearing a mask is I don’t have to smile at anyone if I don’t want to. I’m not saying I don’t like to smile at people, I’m just saying after being a smiler for over fifty-three years, it’s nice to get a break.

I’ve tried smiling with my eyes, but I usually just end up looking like a certain fictional novelist who loses his mind and terrorizes his family.

photo credit goes to slate.com

My resting bitch face is quite happy and that’s all that really matters. What else do I like about wearing a mask? Well, this is terrible and I probably shouldn’t say it out loud but seeing someone you might know out in public and pretending to not see them.

I know, I know. I realize I just bought myself a seat in Hell.

So, I have discovered during the writing of this pointless essay that I don’t really like smiling, may or may not have robbed a bank, could be deranged, and that I like hot places. Talk about discovering yourself.

Also, could there be martians? We’re matching our face masks to our pocketbooks, so anything is possible. This is the year 2020 after all.


Pause the Meno

It’s like a cruel joke on the human female body. Generally, I love being a woman. I think we’re smarter, more logical, better looking, we have better clothes, and can have babies, just to name a few. But this nonsense of menopause is just a bit over the top, don’t you think?

Not to get graphic or anything, but the majority of us start with the menses at an early age. I know the reason for it. I don’t need a theological or health education refresher. I get it. But why for the love of all things sacred does menopause have to last longer than an unwrapped Hostess Twinkie?

By my unscientific calculations and some early grammar school math I will have suffered, from beginning to end, for over forty years. That is if my menopause lasts for as long as a recent study determined it can last for — fourteen years. Fourteen years. The magic number when I became a woman. How ironic.

Since November, when a blood test confirmed my current state, and since the last time I complained about it, my “symptoms” have increased exponentially. How, you ask? Oh, please allow me to do the honors…

Perfect example of menopause brain. I don’t know anyone who can drink from their eyeball, do you?
  • I trust my menopause brain about as much as I trust gas station sushi.
  • My thermostat works as well as the 1980 Fiat Strada I had when I was seventeen.
  • I not only feel like an old jalopy, I’m starting to look like one, so to speak. Just take a look at my unmaintained hair. I have more grey’s than a cloudy day.
  • I am sleeping almost as much as a bullfrog, which is zero in case you didn’t know. File this under “random things you find on the internet when you can’t sleep.”
  • God help you if my mood changes and you’re standing directly in my path. You would be safer outside during an electrical storm. On your roof. Holding a metal rod.
  • Random itching during the most inopportune times. It’s like the tooth fairy except instead of money, she’s leaving little droppings of itch dust directly on my skin. I wonder if that is the bullfrog’s problem?
  • I went from not needing to wash my hair for four days to my roots looking like they took a dip in a McDonald’s fryer after two.
  • As a typically extroverted person, I am amazed at how introverted I have become. Oh wait. That’s because we’re in a pandemic. Never mind. Phew. That was a close call.
  • I am alarmed at the amount of hair that falls out and into the drain during a shower. The good news is the one lone chin hair that has been sprouting for years has magically disappeared.
  • During a flush, my face could be used as a steam iron. Black & Decker has nothing on me.

I feel like I have been spending the last few months complaining about this, but I believe I have earned the right. So, buckle up. It’s going to be a long ride. Ten months down. Only 158 more to go.

Spanx Me

Image source: NatalieDee.com

Remember back in the day when we could go do fancy things and wear fancy clothes? Like, for a wedding or formal dinner? Ho hum, me too. I sure do miss you, any year before 2020.

Although I have to say I have grown quite accustomed to wearing yoga pants and not wearing a bra or makeup — with my hair up in what I call a messy bun, but may look more like the home of a black-billed magpie to you — I sometimes long for somewhere decent to go besides the McDonald’s drive-thru and ShopRite.

Somewhere to go where I can actually take the time to put on makeup and look presentable enough to see the Queen. Or at least her housemaid.

Unfortunately for me, the little black dress requires some extra help these days. And it comes in the form of the household name called “Spanx.”

The Spanx I do not miss. Although it does lie in wait for me — sharing a drawer with my most private undergarments — I do not look forward to shoehorning myself into those items again anytime soon.

One of the last weddings I attended was that of a nephew. This was before I lost weight (and gained it back again, as I do). I took the time to curl my hair with the same hot roller set my mother used in the ’70s, and applied my makeup with such precision anyone could have confused me with Michelangelo during the painting of the Sistine Chapel, I’m sure of it.

Everything looked good from the head up. In my opinion, anyway. Now to do something with the below-the-neck portion of myself. I couldn’t very well go to this event bodiless now, could I? No, that most likely would have stolen the bride’s thunder.

I couldn’t help myself. Photo courtesy of sites.psu.edu

My little black dress fit like a glove — you know, of the O.J. variety. If it didn’t fit, then why didn’t I quit? Because, like I said, I had something in my arsenal that I hoped would help.

Enter The Spanx, stage left.

Now, of course, like most women in my situation I have more than one to choose from. I have the high waisted brief, the bodysuit, the shaping cami, the thigh slimmer…just to name a few.

Now, to make the excruciating decision of which garment to wear, umm, under my garment. I tried on several and quickly discovered that just one pair of Spanx wasn’t going to cut it.

It was made abundantly clear there was only one way to tame the beast. And that was to double up.

In the end I decided on the bodysuit and the high waisted brief (yes, it’s as sexy as it sounds). The bodysuit OVER the high waisted brief to prevent the brief from rolling down my body like a roller shade.

Brilliant.

Except it wasn’t. You know, brilliant.

Have you ever worn armor? The kind that is made of steel? Me neither. But I imagine it must be pretty darn close to what I created for myself that day. It was total torture.

Don’t let the smile fool you. I was crying on the inside..

Once I got everything pulled on and pulled in, I thought I looked pretty good. But what I didn’t factor in was sitting down, bathroom breaks, the damage I was potentially doing to my internal organs, and umm, living.

I’m not really sure how the ladies of the 18th and 19th centuries survived this nonsense. It’s a wonder the corset survived more than a day let alone several hundreds of years.

Also, I don’t know who came up with the cliche, “beauty is pain,” but she should have her tongue cut out.

Fun fact: Can you believe a woman invented the first corset? She probably died of internal bleeding.

Not a mere few hours prior I was channeling Michelangelo. Now I was channeling a pregnant women overdue with a literal village. Bending at the waist was a near impossibility. It was not going well.

Trying to use the facilities was a whole other story. Although unintentional, I was suddenly a physical comedian. Lucille Ball had nothing on me. Unfortunately, the show was wasted on the inside of a 2’x2′ bathroom stall.

Anyway, I survived the night. Mostly because I gave up and pulled the darn things off altogether. I could hear the collective deep sigh of relief from my ovaries to my liver.

These Spanx may not have fit nicely under my little black dress, but they sure did fit nicely in my little black bag.

Generational Language

I have come to the conclusion that Generation Z can, by all accounts, bamboozle the hell out of my generation just with their own special language.

Let me give you an example:

I wrote on my private Facebook page a couple weeks ago that my daughter’s university had shut down for the remainder of the year due to the coronavirus. There was a response from her boyfriend that went like this, and I quote, “rt if u cri erytm.”

At first, I was concerned that maybe he had a stroke and thought I should call 911. But then other kids from his generation started answering, “oh you’re so funny” and “don’t encourage it.”  There were “likes” and “LOLs” in response to his comment. Clearly he was speaking their language. None of it was lost on any of them…except me.

So, I asked a simple question, “why are you speaking Latin?” To which he replied with one of those ROFL faces (“rolling on floor laughing” for those of you who don’t know — please don’t think me a traitor). I’m not sure what he thought was so funny. Personally, I thought it was a “wicked” good question.

In my day we had phrases like, “gag me with a spoon, “you hoser,” “wicked” (see above), and my personal all-time favorite, “no duh” which I still use from time to time.

What can I say? Old habits die hard.

The generation before me used lingo like, “daddio” and “far out.” Although I’m certain their parents thought it was ludicrous, they could at least somewhat decifer it. As I’m sure my parents could.

But these kids today? I feel like they have their own village. This language is so foreign to me I need a passport, in addition to a translator.

“Bae” still puzzles me even though my dear child has tried to explain it to me time and time again. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even really know herself.

And what the hell is “yeet?” Say it loud and fast, and it could be mistaken for the mating call of a wild bird from Madagascar. Upon looking up the meaning though, it appears it’s some kind of battle cry. A battle cry to go along with their village.

The one that baffles me the most is this “VSCO girl” business. At first I thought I was hearing “disco” girl and got super excited because although two thirds of The Bee Gees are long gone, I sure would love for them to make a comeback somehow. I’m not embarrassed to admit disco is one of my favorite music genres. How deep is my love? Pretty deep.

Alas, “VSCO girl” is not disco. It has something to do with the Hydro Flask. Unless there is wine in that Hyrdo Flask, I’m not interested.

Then they have acronyms like:

ilysm — Could they mean “I’ll leave you smoking, ma’am?” No, too violent.

brb — “Bring real beer?” Nah, kinda been done already.

smh — “Send my homey?” Hmm, I may be onto something.

I give up. Go ask a teenager or young adult. My brain hurts and I’m frustrated. If you need me I’ll be crying into my wine-filled hydro flask reading the latest version of “Tiger Beat.” If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Yolo.

COVID-19 Random Thoughts – Self-Quarantine Day 7

I thought I was done talking about this, but I’m not. I’m never done talking about anything. Just ask my family and friends. I bet it takes all the energy they have to not throw tomatoes at me during a movie. I feel the need to give commentary even when not wanted. Or needed. Is that the same thing?

Today my day started with making a smoothie and putting a wooden spoon into the running blender. A friend suggested I strain the wood-splintered smoothie, which I proceeded to do…right into the sink. How was your day?

So, here goes my Coronavirus Random Brain Dump:

  • Most restaurants and bars are shutting down across the entire country. Think about the enormity of that. People aren’t gathering anywhere (except Florida beaches but I don’t want to talk about it). It probably hasn’t been this quiet since Columbus didn’t discover America.
  • Less cars on the road equals better air quality. Less pollution. Less gas being used. Less mileage. Longer car life. Has anyone seen the pictures from Venice? Soon enough the Hudson River will be safe enough to drink from. I mean, I know Venice doesn’t have cars. Potato Potawto.
  • Toilet paper is something I will never again take for granted as long as I live. At least until September, anyway. If I run out of it, I don’t know what I’ll do. Wiping my backside with moss really doesn’t do it for me. Growing mushrooms out of there isn’t a trend I would be too keen on participating in. Mushrooms may be hard to find right now, but I’ll take my chances.
  • This event is an extrovert’s worst nightmare. I have been feeling squirrelly since day two. Please send help. Just send it in a hazmat suit.
  • I’m getting so conditioned at practicing social distancing that when I see characters on television hugging or standing close in a group, I scream at the screen, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SIX FEET, PEOPLE! SIX FEET!!!”
  • I haven’t seen this many kids outside playing and riding their bikes since I was twelve.
  • I think I have tennis elbow by repetitively looking at Coronavirus memes on my smartphone.
  • I really hope the virus outbreaks shrink as much as my pores have from not having an opportunity to wear makeup.
  • If I don’t start shaving my legs soon, there WILL be mushrooms growing. Moss not needed.

That’s about it for today. Stay safe out there, and please don’t do what they are doing on TV. Or in Fort Lauderdale. For the love of God, practice social distancing. Thank you and have a nice day.

A Year With Not Your Average Fitness

One year ago today, I wasn’t exercising at all, I was lazy, and a major couch potato. I was the textbook definition of that word that I hate most: Sedentary.

My flexibility was so bad I would wonder how I was going to do something as simple as push myself up from a sitting position. Time and time again I put off going to the gym in favor of going home and relaxing because I had a bad day and “deserved” it.

I drank something alcoholic every single night of my life and woke up every single morning groggy and with a bad attitude. I basically didn’t care about anything. I wasn’t depressed, but I wasn’t happy either.

I ate all kinds of bad crap. I hardly ever ate a vegetable. I suffered from high cholesterol and terrific heartburn, but I didn’t seem to care. I liked to eat and dammit I ate what I wanted with the reckless abandon of a teenage boy. My weight was the highest it had ever been and was climbing.

I fought with my closet every morning over what to wear, which inevitably made me late for work. I never packed a lunch, prepped a dinner ahead of time, and more often than not I’d go to the grocery store with a list in my head and not on paper. That never ended well and often required me to hit the store again because I forgot something.

I had no good habits. I never wrote which is something I adore. I was addicted to my phone and social media and would choose that over doing something else that I adored: Reading.

I never planned a thing in my life. I flew by the seat of my pants because that’s the kind of person I said I was. The problem is, it didn’t work for me.

A year later I exercise and stretch consistently. I wake up early to do yoga most mornings. I eat right and track my food. I have developed so many habits that not only work for me but have helped to improve the quality of my life that include simple things like packing a gym and lunch bag and picking out my clothes the night before.

I plan out my exercise and meals. I even plan out when I’m going to write and read. I go to bed early to be sure to get a good sleep and wake up before the sun comes up with no problem.

When I think back to that girl I was a year ago, I feel bad for her. I no longer think of exercise as a chore but something I actually look forward to. It’s something I do to improve my life, my flexibility, my mind, and my body. My mindset has changed from being irritated that I need to exercise to wondering how I could ever not do it.

In the past year I’ve lost weight, lowered my cholesterol, and have controlled the terrific heartburn. I have learned about self care and how important it is. Today, I almost want to say, “I don’t even know who this person is.” But I know who this person is. It’s ME. It’s who I always was. I was just bogged down with negative thinking, laziness, self doubt, and no self control.

Is it perfect all the time? No. I’m human. But the difference is now I just pick up and continue on. Instead of throwing it out the window and starting again “on Monday.” Or worse yet, “next month.”

But I did not do this alone. I joined a fitness group online. This group of amazing women, run by a badass instructor, helped me to achieve what I thought was unattainable.

You should join me in the war to combat unhealthy living. It’s really pretty awesome. I would not be here saying this if I didn’t see with my own eyes what it did for me.

You don’t have to be a mom or even have young kids still at home. It turns out, that was really just an excuse for me to not take care of myself. Being an empty nester for 3+ years didn’t change my attitude.

Until now.

I’m sharing because we all deserve to take better care of ourselves. Also, the deal is amazing. And no one loves a good deal more than I do. Also, I’m cheap as they come, just ask DH.

The next course begins on January 13, but the cart is open now.

So, who’s in? (Click the link below for more information)

https://susie-johnson.mykajabi.com/a/20946/boTVei32

The Brain Thief and Other Stories for the Middle Aged Woman

Warning: Spoiler alert ahead.

What in the love of God is this? Things have changed. Overnight. Out of nowhere. And uninvited. You know, on my body, in my body, all over my body. There was no warning either. Why wasn’t there a warning?

For starters, I feel like I’m losing my mind. If you lifted the top of my head off you will find little blips of memory from when I was twelve, thoughts of food, a squirrel, and the proverbial cobweb or two.

Then there is the loss of words. Simple words. Words I know. You see that word “proverbial” in the paragraph above? It took me exactly seven minutes to recall it. Usually I would turn to my trusty online thesaurus, but I couldn’t think of the word “thesaurus.”

I think and say really dumb things. Remember that riddle, “what color is George Washington’s white horse?” If I hadn’t already heard it a million times, I’m not confident I would answer correctly.

Then we have the hot flashes. They come unexpectedly and often. It’s like someone installed a furnace inside me and there is a tiny man shoveling coal into the thing like his life depends on it. I wish the guy would drop dead of a heart attack or something. No offense, tiny man.

My evenings are filled with three changes of pajamas, covers that end up on the floor until I start freezing again. And sweat. Pools of it. If only I could bottle and sell it. I’d make millions. You know, if sweat was trending.

And let me introduce to you the Mood Swing. It can turn on a dime. Like a Lamborghini. Maybe not as sexy, but most definitely as fast.

I don’t care who you are — except 1973 Robert Redford — if you do or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, you are crucified.

Like, get me some nails and a hammer and you are done for. You know, metaphorically speaking, of course.

I am predictably unpredictable. My family walks on egg shells. They know I’m gonna blow. They just aren’t sure when.

My mom has an uncanny ability to actually smell my hormonal shift and she lives 600 miles away. My husband usually wishes he was dead. My daughter tries to get another family to adopt her. And my co-workers look around wondering if they made a wrong turn and wound up at the circus freak show instead of the office.

Also, I have weird dreams. Case in point: This past week I dreamt William Baldwin was released from house arrest and I couldn’t wait to write a blog post about it. Imagine my disappointment when I woke up and realized I made the whole thing up.

Randomly waking up in the middle of the night and then not being able to fall back to sleep is a real thrill. Staring at the ceiling waiting for the Sand Man to pay me a visit is about as entertaining as listening to Taylor Swift stuck on repeat.

The facial and neck hair that seems to sprout like wildfire during the Santa Ana winds is super fun. Because I can’t see close up without my readers, I don’t always see it. Until someone else does.

And my all-time personal favorite? Muscle atrophy. I exercise almost every single day. If I did that when I was in my twenties, thirties — hell, even my forties — my body would look like Jane Fonda from her 1970s workout videos. Instead I look more like Gumby with boobs.

That just about covers it. I wish I could end this post on a witty note, but I can’t find the words for it.


Is that a Monkey On Your Back? Or Just Facebook?

The first thing you open in the morning after your eyes is Facebook. Because let’s be honest with each other, unless you are elderly or below the age of ten, it’s an addiction we can’t seem to kick. It doesn’t matter how many promises you make to yourself.

“I’m going to put down my phone and start reading an actual book,” is something I’ve been saying to myself for, well, who’s counting? Let’s just say I’ve broken that promise and said, “I’ll start next Monday,” so many times I’m fairly certain enough Mondays have passed that I could make a decade out of them.

Or how about this: “I’ll just scroll through for five more minutes.” But 7AM comes and goes and you’re stuck there like if you put down the phone you will combust into thin air. You know you need to get in the shower or else you’ll be late for work. But you lie there in that position for another quarter of an hour without a care in the world, bleary-eyed as if you just got off the red eye to China.

I don’t really know what all the hullaballoo is about anyway. It’s not like Facebook is giving away a free trip to Fuji. Or even a free timeshare in my own town which I would gladly take because I’m cheap and love anything with the word FREE attached to it. It could be a pet rock, or an entire set of new teeth. If it’s free, I want it.

In my ten, thirty, oh heck, sixty minutes of scrolling I’ve discovered that half of my “friends” had a high school aged kid graduate yesterday. That another fifty people have posted something political that I don’t care to engage in. And another god knows how many have shared an article or meme that I mostly just go right on by unless I think it may actually illicit some real emotions out of me or change my life. You know, something compelling.

And then there’s the one who has yet ONCE again posted a pic of herself with the “friend du jour” at another gosh-damned restaurant or bar. Or whatever. For the eighteenth time that week.

Look, I like to see my friend’s stuff. But when it turns into your own show, then it’s annoying. I don’t care to know your every move. And anyway,

Who.

Cares.

The Facebook content really needs to step up its game. But yet. There I am. Scrolling like I drank the damn Kool-Aid.

The cherry kind.

And then there’s that little two-headed icon that shows a red number when you have a friend request. You get all excited wondering who it could be.

Was it that kid I befriended during eighth grade Outdoor Ed in 1981? I believe she was the one who took the picture of that raccoon eating uneaten Cheese Puffs on my back while I was passed out asleep on my cot in our tent.

Or maybe it’s an old friend that I haven’t heard from in years. Or an ex-coworker. Or maybe even a long lost cousin.

But no. Most likely it’s a friend of a friend of a friend and I typically decline those requests. If we didn’t have some kind of connection somewhere in life, then I don’t really need you knowing about me or my family. Especially when you are an Amway representative and clearly just want to make a sale.

But sometimes I do accept the friend request from perhaps someone I went to high school with. Not because I remember them but because a little quick stalking tells me we both graduated from the same class.

Except it turns out this person tries to get you to join a singles group. If you took one look at my profile pic you would see I am clearly married. No, he’s not my brother, uncle, or that long lost cousin. I don’t usually hold hands with family members in that manner.

He’s my HUSBAND and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t appreciate your invitation. We aren’t swingers last time I checked.

Delete.

And let’s talk about stalking since I brought it up. I do it. You do it. We all do it. We’re all curious about that gorgeous woman at work who wears the best clothes and oozes confidence from her earlobes. Her husband must be HOT. Stalk.

Or the Anna Black of our lives. She was a childhood friend from my Army brat days who actually performed a hazing on potential friends in order to become her friend. Stalk.

Unfortunately, that search produced way too many “Anna Blacks” so there is no way of telling if she turned out to be a cult leader or, well, an Amway rep.

And you KNOW you have stalked an ex-boyfiend or girlfriend. Let’s not deny that you aren’t just a little bit giddy that said ex is fat or bald or is just now entering the toddler phase when you are an empty nester.

So, yeah. Facebook is an addiction that I need to quit. Or at the very least do much less of. So, how about I start next Monday?

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday. I’m not shy about telling my age. I was never one of those people who felt the need to lie about it. I don’t judge you if you do, it’s just not my thing.

At the writing of this post, I turned fifty-two precisely seven days, one hour, and twenty-seven minutes ago (my mother makes sure to remind me of the exact moment I entered this world, giving me as many gory details as she possibly can short of an actual reenactment).

I’m also not gonna lie and say I embrace my age. I think I’ve gotten better over the last few years about it, but I’m not quite there. I’m not sure I ever will be. I mean, how do you embrace something that keeps going up, instead of down? Unless we’re talking about the stock market?

The last time I checked, going up in this case means we are just closer to death. I know that sounds morbid, and it is. I have been worried about it since I was a kid. My obsession with time and it’s uncanny ability to move forward like a pig with its tail on fire is probably as healthy as telling Mike Tyson his tattoo is stupid.

I know it’s “just a number,” “you are as old as you feel,” and “it’s better than the alternative.” And for the most part I agree with all of it. Except the part where I’m fifty-two. And, well, getting older.

Heck, I should appreciate the fact I wasn’t a woman living in the 19th century. I’d be at the end of my life by now. If that doesn’t scare me, then nothing will.

Except my age.

Might I remind you Luke Perry died last month from a massive stroke. He was fifty-two like me. He didn’t get run over by a bus, or was in a plane crash. He didn’t suffer for months or years from cancer. He had a stroke. At fifty-two years old. And it’s freaking me out.

I feel bad for my physician. I’m a handful as it is already. I know she must not look very forward to my annual visit, which is in two weeks. My list is as long as Santa’s naughty list of things that bother me, and what I think they may be. Self-diagnoses is what I do best, even though I’m always wrong.

These days I do feel pretty good though. I’ve recently tried reversing the aging process as best I can without actual surgery or costly procedures. I’ve started using toner on my face, drinking less wine, and exercising.

Actual exercising. Like, going to the gym, putting on one of the only pairs of Lululemon leggings I own, and building up a sweat. Because everything is better in a pair of Lululemon leggings. My daughter said so.

I do worry about having a heart attack while exercising, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take for better health and a longer life. Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t even push my baby out of my body too hard for fear of having a brain aneurism. See how I’m growing?

So, Happy Birthday to me. Maybe next year I’ll look forty-five, feel thirty-five, and act fifteen.

I have the fifteen part down pretty pat. But I’m hoping that toner takes effect pretty soon so I’ll at least be able to say, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

I’ll let you know in eleven months, twenty-two days, and sixteen hours.

If Clothes Maketh the Man, Then Why Did He Invent the Bra?

I find it funny how I plan my life around my bra. This is true. And I know I’m not alone.

From the moment I put it on in the morning I dream of removing it. By mid-afternoon, it’s all I can do to not pull it through the armholes of my top and fling it across the office space right into the trash receptacle so it can live as one with yesterday’s lunch and the extra printer copies of last month’s budget.

But alas, I hold it together. No pun intended.

I mean, come on, what is so appealing? The shoulder straps don’t stay up, and if they do, they dig into your skin like a bad habit. There is the feeling of a vice tightening up around your ribcage with every breath. And the underwire feels as if a moat is being dug around the underbelly of your bosoms.

It’s safe to say my commute home is filled with images of me being braless. And as soon I get in the door, that’s what I do. Go braless. I really have grown quite a distaste for the — dare I say — “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder.” If you haven’t quite guessed.

Although my younger self would beg to differ and, quite honestly, would have mouth agape in disbelief at my proclamation. Back in the day I would spend tons of money and hours looking for the perfect bras to match each pair of underwear. The pride I took in my undergarments was a bit ridiculous.

I also took the “make sure you have clean underwear because you never know if you’ll be in an accident” advice my mother repeated to me ad nauseam to a whole new level.

In defense of my younger self, the ta-ta’s were cute and perky and just, cute. Thirty some-odd years later they have been poked and prodded (thank you mammograms, ultrasounds, and self exams), been the food source for my newborn, and gained a few pounds, to say the very least.

These days, I’m lucky to put on a pair of underwear that don’t have a hole in them or that are so stretched out it’s a miracle they stay up at all. Forget about matching my bra. That ideal went out the window with the dawn of the new century.

So, getting back to my point. Once the bra comes off, I’m done for the day and/or night.

A friend could call me to go on a crazy adventure where a meeting with Channing Tatum (or is that Tatum Channing?) would be promised, and I wouldn’t do it. I’d rather endure a trip to Hell than put that medieval torture device back on.

DH could want to surprise me with a quick rendezvous to Tahiti for a romantic dinner for two…oh, well, Tahiti probably wouldn’t mind if I went braless so that’s a bad example. But you know what I’m saying.

If The Kid is home from college and she wants to invite her boyfriend over, I either banish myself to my room like a hermit for the evening, or will not allow the visit.

Yes, I am embarrassed to say that I have said, “Can’t you go over there? My bra is already off,” more times than I care to admit. And if he comes over anyway? Well, that’s HIS problem. Everyone has been forewarned.

Remind me why we wear bras again?

Yes, I know. People could get hurt, including our very own chins when we run. And they “girls” could be mistaken for extra belly fat, if you know what I mean.

I guess the bra is here to stay. Unless we can bring “bra burning” back into fashion. I know how to light a match. I learned that when I…ahem, never mind.

Note: I love my breasts. They are one of my favorite parts of my body, and I’m so fortunate to have them. But damn, that bra. It’s the bane of my existence. Wait. Have I said that already?