Thursday, April 07, 2016

Get with the gravy, Davy, everybody eats when they come to my house

Since getting home from work yesterday, and with slight detours to make the kids dinner, put them to bed, and then get them up and off to school this morning, I have spent approximately eleventy billion hours organizing and cleaning and putting things away in the new kitchen, and also reassembling the dining room.  And sweeping and vacuuming and dusting and sweeping some more and vacuuming again and wiping away dust and dust and more dust.

Good lord, the dust.  That fine, silky grey construction dust that feels like it regenerates itself the minute you pass a cloth over a surface.

A part of me wouldn't have been at all surprised if Dorothea Lange had shown up with her camera to capture it all for posterity.

But it's mostly put together.  I'm still thinking about where I might move this thing or that category of stuff to make everything more functional, but for the most part, it's done.

And even though living through the construction was kind of a drag, I have absolutely no complaints about my contractor or the guys who did the installation.  Every morning they showed up at 8 and worked all day and every evening I came home from work and progress had been made.  They said it would take three weeks, and it took three weeks. It cost what they quoted me.  They were meticulous about making sure everything was the way I wanted it and they cleaned up their messes and they were polite and friendly.

I love it so much.  The old kitchen was dingy and felt dark and cramped and cluttered and ugly.  The new kitchen is so bright and spacious and functional.

Out with the old and fug:

Northwest corner/north wall

West wall

Southwest corner

South wall
East wall
In with the new and beautiful:

Northwest corner/north wall
West wall
Southwest corner/south wall

Southeast corner/ East wall

North wall, view into the living room

View of the breakfast bar from the living room (I'm getting bar stools this weekend)
Those of you who spent time in my house in Atlanta will recognize the orange on the walls.  The color is called Colorado Dawn - I couldn't resist using it again.

The new space makes me want to read through cookbooks and come up with interesting menus and plan parties. I have visions of bustling around, drinking wine and chatting with friends while I make saffron chicken & rice or a Passover brisket or cherry-apple pie.  Or of making pancakes for the kids' breakfast while dancing around listening to music.

So when's everyone coming to dinner?

Monday, April 04, 2016

I see London, I see France...

Here's something I never thought I would do:  today I posted, on a Facebook page, mirror selfies of myself in my underwear.

The page is a private fitness motivation and accountability group that I've been running for a few years, originally about 10 members strong, but now comprised of about 40 people - 39 women and 1 man (the husband of one of my good friends from high school in India). It grew out of my Beachbody coaching business, which I tried to build as a business until two things happened:
1) I finally accepted the fact that I fucking hate network marketing.  Not overall as a concept, but I hate it for myself.  I never enjoyed the business building part of it at all. God knows I wish I did - I know a number of people who are great at it and are now making in the high six-figures (or more) after a few years of focusing on building a coaching business.  But I suck at it and never enjoyed it and it never felt like me.
2) The shitty events of the last couple of years sucked any motivation to build that kind of business right out of me, even assuming I could have been any good at it.  
But I always liked and was good at the actual coaching part - the part where I get to help people get in shape.  That part of it is really fun and rewarding.  

So I put together a private online group for people who were trying to lose weight and get fit, and who wanted some support from others who were in the same boat.  My rules are pretty simple - nobody has to buy anything from me (though they can if they want to), no negativity, just kindness and support.  A totally safe space where we can all cheer each other on, celebrate each others' successes, vent when we need to, ask questions, seek motivation, and basically treat each other the way human beings should treat each other.  

Much of it is about fitness, posting about our daily workouts, lamenting the number of Reese's cups and Cadbury creme eggs inhaled over easter, wondering why it's so hard to increase weight beyond a certain point when doing biceps curls, celebrating the fact that someone can do push-ups on their toes rather than their knees.  If you ask for help, you get it.

And as we all interact on a daily basis and are truly good friends, much of it is about life.  A number of us have been dealing with the untimely deaths of friends and family.  Others are faced with the "sandwich generation" task of raising children while also caring for ailing parents.  There are difficult relationships with parents and siblings (which make me realize, for the billionth time, that I hit the fucking jackpot when I was born into my family).  We talk about coming to terms with aging, both for ourselves and for our significant others, and the struggles with getting some of our loved ones to get off their asses and lose some weight.

It's deep, personal stuff, and yet we don't hesitate to bare our souls and be vulnerable, and in return, we are rewarded with unwavering acceptance and support.  Causing Jessica to share this post today:

A photo posted by Amy Poehler's Smart Girls (@amypoehlersmartgirls) on

Other discussions are far more prosaic, like the frustrations associated with assembling IKEA furniture:  
F&$*%ng IKEA where's a f&$*%ng Allen wrench when you need one gaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhggggg.
Prompting this response:
And the instructions inexplicably require two fat men with no pants.  
And of course, because my close friends and I talk about everything and have no filter, nothing is off limits.  We discuss, in great detail, boobs (both the pregnancy and non-pregnancy variety), menstruation (including the term "shark week" to describe it, which is beyond awesome), the relative merits of pole dancing, sex and relationships, and poop.

Have you ever taken such a huge poop that you were dying to show it to someone?

This question has consumed us today for HOURS.  In the process, I have learned the following:
  • one time a guy who Nicole had just met showed her a picture of his poop, which blows my mind;
  • there is a Dutch word for a particular type of cinnamon bun that literally translates as "Hague Turd";
  • Bas went to school with a guy who did "figure pooping" as opposed to "figure skating," i.e., he made shapes...;
  • a girl who lived on Karen's hall during her first year at UVA got so drunk one night that she took an epic shit in the middle of the hallway;
  • the term "poop shy" is a thing; and
  • Koreans are somewhat obsessed with analyzing their poop, and there's even a poop-themed cafe in South Korea where they serve lattes in toilet mugs.
Plus, we're all now addicted to Bitmoji, so of course I couldn't resist posting this:

We're a close and uninhibited group, is what I'm saying. 

So I posted pictures of myself in my underwear.  My 25 year college reunion is in 10 weeks, and while I'm generally happy with how I look, I've put on a few pounds of winter fluff that I'd like to get rid of before I see all of my old classmates (and hookups) again, so I'm starting a 10 week program that will get me there.  And there had been an earlier discussion among the group about the benefits of tracking your fitness progress and staying motivated by taking before and after pictures.  I thought it would help me stay focused, and putting on a bikini when I woke up this morning seemed like an unnecessary pain in the ass, so I just took the pictures in my undies because that's what I was wearing.

Mind you, fully half of the people in the group are people I have never met in real life (including my classmate's husband).  But I posted the pictures without any hesitation or self-consciousness.  I knew that sharing the pictures would add a level of accountability and incentive to my efforts over the next 10 weeks, and that I would receive no judgment, only support.  It was a no-brainer.

I mean, once you've talked about that feeling of intense lightness that comes after an enormous poop, there are really no more barriers to intimacy.

Or maybe we're all just crazy.