Good lord, it’s been a busy week. I’ve been at work, home with the kids, then back to work again; I’ve been dragging children to pediatrician appointments and changing diapers and writing website copy and answering email and trying to meet freelance obligations and staring at the enormous amounts of housework that needs to be tackled with a stifling sense of despair and throwing together half-assed meals and playing with LEGOs and there has hardly been any time for bad television.

(Oh my god were Cat Deeley’s nipples on half-dollar-sized, oh-so-prominent display in that black dress during last night’s SYTYCD or was it just ME?)

I forced myself to go running tonight and I am pleased to report I am getting marginally better at it. Instead of stopping every three minutes in order to walk, wheeze, and fight back the urge to projectile vomit, I only have to slow down a couple times during my outing. I have no idea how far I’m going, but it takes me about 40 minutes to complete the loop, including warmup. I am moving at a very slow pace as evidenced by my experimental trotting on a treadmill at the gym recently (I had it in my head that a 10-minute mile is practically standing still, and hell, maybe it is, but running with the machine at that setting was PLENTY BRISK), and I am surely not prepared to take on anything with the letter K at the end of it, but incremental improvements are being made.

I need to find some better running gear, though, because things that work just fine for regular gym activities or DVD workouts or whatever seem fraught with challenges once I’m engaged in the violently jiggly act of running. My shorts somehow fall down my hips and cram themselves up my ass at the same time, my underwear creeps around to all sorts of problematic areas, my iPod cord works itself loose from my shirt and flies around my face, my sports bra rides up, and individual hairs (ah, from my head) lay themselves firmly across the surfaces of my eyeballs. Annoyances, all of them, and it makes the act of deliberately torturing yourself for the sake of physical fitness all the more, well, tortuous.

While I was puffing along, batting wildly at my shorts/underwear/bra/iPod/hair/etc, a seedy-looking guy drove past me and peered out the open window of his truck to take a careful look, and I actually saw him completely dismiss me as unworthy of one solitary leer. It made me realize — and this is kind of goofy to admit and is going to sound like I am fishing for compliments and you will just have to believe me when I say I’m not — but it made me realize that it’s been, um, FOREVER since I’ve seen a guy Check Me Out. Like, hey there’s a marginally hot chick over there, I think I’ll rudely stare her down for a second as I go by. Okay, I’m not saying I MISS it, exactly, but it does make a person wonder just how matronly and frumpy they have become, you know what I mean?

(JB is going to read this and be all, what do you care about other guys checking you out when I have SO MUCH BEEF JERKY FOR YOU, and listen, it’s not about that, it’s about feeling a little like any mojo I had left got sealed up in a wet, smelly diaper bag and tossed to the curb.)

Anyway, I need to get back to my Regularly Scheduled Craziness (blogs to write! Laundry to ignore! SYTYCD results to watch!), but I’ll leave you with a little Thursday joyousness:



He looks like somebody’s grandfather but he’s definitely not exuding a kindly manner at the moment: a whiny toddler has been stationed nearby and is engaged in the act of kicking his seat. He shifts restlessly and issues forth a series of irritated sighs, and with each consecutive squeal and shriek coming from the child in the row behind him he gropes for his music player and adjusts the volume. Later, after we have descended and the plane is taxiing along the runway, he seems giddy with the relief of the flight drawing to an end and we strike up a brief conversation. I learn he is flying to Arizona to compete in a national senior’s softball tournament, and I can picture the devastatingly handsome young man he must have been back in his day: he is lean, athletic, his eyes are a startling shade of blue. I start to ask what position he plays and suddenly I can’t think of the right term—what, uh, you know, what do you do? In your games? What guy are you? Uh? He is patient, though. Outfield, he says.


I ask him if he lives in San Francisco and he says he does, he was traveling to Seattle for business but now he’s on his way home. I ask what sorts of sights he’d recommend seeing in the area and something in his face says he loves answering that sort of question, he dismisses the touristy destinations with a pinched look of disgust and starts speaking to me out of the corner of his mouth, like spies might be listening. As a result I can barely hear him over the noise of the plane and his murmured, secretive instructions are largely lost on me: something about the other side of the bridge, a park? Rent a car? I nod gratefully and he sits back, satisfied, then sits back up in a rush in order to give me one last piece of advice—don’t bother with Fisherman’s Wharf. Sea lions, he says, and rolls his eyes.


He’s talking on his cell phone and even though I’m sitting a few rows of seats away from him I can hear every word, his voice isn’t as loud as it is carrying, he’s got a specific sort of pitch to his tone that seems designed to physically push the words into nearby ears. He’s craggy and large-eared and wearing a rumpled dress shirt and slacks, he reminds me a bit of the actor who plays Monk. I hear him say, “Why are you saying HELLO? I’m RIGHT HERE,” and I feel sorry for whatever business associate is on the other line. He talks on for a while, then announces that he’s got to go, the flight is boarding soon. “Talk to you later, Mom,” he says, and I can’t help it: I grin at nothing. Surprise.


She sits next to me in a rustle of bags and long hair and I am immediately assaulted by a thick floral perfume which is competing with the garlicky aroma wafting up from a plate of stir-fry she balances on her lap. She squeaks open the top of a tiny bottle of wine, takes a healthy swig, and now there’s a trifecta of scents battling for top position: cheap zinfandel, teriyaki, something she’s spritzed body-wide. Her fingernails are long and fuschia with tiny white flowers carefully painted on the tips, I glance down and see she’s got a matching pedicure. She pulls out a clunky Dell laptop and asks me about finding a network connection, when I’m unable to help she clicks around randomly for a while on her cached AOL home page then closes it again. Eventually she gathers her things and moves off, balanced on teetering heels, her gait as unsteady as a newborn fawn’s.


The empty seats on either side of me are occupied with a sudden influx of noise and shifting body parts: two pre-teen brothers have descended. Their mother stands nearby and nags them gently about not digging into the carryon bag yet and don’t eat those they’re for the flight and listen kids I want you to listen to me. The younger one starts whining about how it sucks that Jason gets the laptop and his mother tells him he can sit next to him and watch a movie on it too and so he whines that yeah but then I have to watch whatever Jason watches and Jason sits on my other side smugly clutching a white iBook and their mother sighs and says, jeez, with you the glass is always half full, isn’t it? And Jason says, you mean half empty, Mom, and she says whatever and the two brothers snicker together.


He’s taking over the armrest and I try not to be resentful about this but why is it always me that concedes the armrest, why? The plane has concluded its business of beetling around the tarmac getting ready for liftoff and now we’re poised at the end of a runway, engines roaring to life. It’s the part of a flight that still makes me nervous and I glance over to the window to make sure nothing is bursting into flames or oscillating wildly and I notice that he’s pulling out some kind of small grey bag and hunching over it. Oh god, I think, he’s going to barf, but instead he starts breathing in rhythmic little puffs into the baglike thing and the plane gathers itself like a cat and starts rolling forward, faster and faster, the air fills with noise and everyone seems to stop talking in order to show respect for the supernatural concept of such an enormous container of metal and humans just magically lifting into the air and next to me he’s puffing away, hiss hiss hiss hiss, and I’m wondering what the hell is going on, is he controlling a panic attack or inhaling medication or what, and like that the ground drops away, I feel the sensation of invisible weight pulling me into the seat, and the man next to me gives one last hiss of air into what I now see is an inflatable pillow. He settles it behind his head, closes his eyes, and we hurtle forward through air and sunshine and clouds, all the way home.

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