Monday, July 30, 2007

The Sociology of Shopping

This weekend, I went shopping with my friend Candace at the mall. Sounds fairly mundane, right? Certainly, we weren't looking for anything exciting. She was looking for work pants, and I was on a mission to impose my fashionable style (or lack thereof) onto her by dressing her like a giant doll. It was the only way I could subdue the shopping adrenaline that was racing through my veins, particularly when I walked through the summer sale sections of stores (must buy sundress....must buy shirt....must buy sundress...must buy shirt).

After trying on a pink satin halter party dress at Dillard's for giggles, I was twirling around the dressing room waiting on Candace to finish trying on clothes. As I twirled and picked my nose hairs in the mirror, two little girls entered, about eight years old. One sat on the floor and blocked my twirling path while the other entered the dressing room. I continued to examine my nose hairs.

A few moments later, the second little girl pranced out of the dressing room in a halter top and short skirt. The first little girl cried, "Oh, that is so cute!" Alarmed, my head swiveled to look at her.

"I know," the second little girl cooed. "I really like this color on me. I think it brings out my skin tone. Plus, I think it gives me a lot of flair."

"Totally!" the first girl affirmed. The second little girl disappeared back into the dressing room to try on another outfit that I prayed was more age appropriate. I stared at the first little girl as she filed her nails and perfected her Paris-Hilton-bored look. When I was eight, I wore big t-shirts with funky graphics covered in rhinestones and matching shorts or skirts. I didn't wear halter top and pleated plaid school girl skirts that barely covered my butt. The only plaid skirt I had went mid-thigh and looked more like a kilt than something for a bar.

That wasn't even the most alarming part of the scene. The most terrifying part was in how the girls spoke to each other. Their voices sounded eerily adult and practiced, obviously expertly socialized in the ways of shopping. They already knew how to identify their correct colors and individual style, as well as provide affirmation no matter what clothing was put on. Just as I collected my jaw off the floor, the second girl came out again wearing a trendy top.

"So what do you think?" she asked coyly, posing with her hands on her hips.

"I'm not sure," the first girl frowned. "That might be last season."

"Do you think it's me?" the second little girl asked. "Like, do you think I can do this look?"

"I think you can do the look," the first little girl confirmed. "I just think this shirt's a little...old."

"Yea, like it's all the way up to the neckline," the second little girl agreed. "That's so third grade."

"Totally," the first girl agreed. "We're like fourth graders now."

I wanted to bang my head against the wall! These girls had mastered the art of not only affirmation, but style domination and the constant need to be accepted and beautiful! They were going to be mini-Paris Hiltons and Britney Spears before we knew it! Eight year old girls should be playing with dolls, not discussing the finer points of fashion and trying to wear sexy clothing. Fuming, I was glad when Candace exited and we could leave the dressing room.

It took all my willpower not to rush in there and drag them off to summer camp when I heard the second little girl ask, "Do I look fat in this?"

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sunshine Delirium

For the first time in what seemed like months, the rain not only stopped but the sun broke through the clouds and shone brightly to the marshy ground below. The flowers stopped cowering, the birds scoured the earth for worms and the butterflies were out in full. However, something still didn't feel right as I walked. Even as the sun warmed my back, something in my soul felt cold.

"It was not your fault, you know," the all knowing voice whispered as the tiny feet pranced across my ear. "Wallowing will get you no where."

"I could have saved him," I said hollowly, thinking of the tiny bat lying broken and shivering on the sidewalk. "If they hadn't made me put him back outside, I could have helped him."

"He was dying," the butterfly said in a matter-of-fact tone. "He was ill, and dying. Nothing could have saved him. At least he was cared for and warm in his last moments."

"That seems so cruel," I said, shaking my head at the injustice of it all. "It shouldn't have to be that way. He should have been saved."

"Nature isn't always nice," the butterfly said wisely, tiptoeing across the back of my neck and clinging to my ponytail. "Nor our humans. You also saw proof of that this week."

"But why?" I whined defensively, wishing I could shake the metal fence I walked by. Perhaps shaking it would shake free this sense of injustice and anger.

"People are born either good or bad," the butterfly said wisely. "For the most part, they will stay either good or bad. However, free will damages many of the good and turns them into bad. They are seduced by power or greed, or trapped by insecurity and fear. Being human, they act out in ways which spread the cruelty to others, continuing the cycle."

"I just don't understand how people can be so cruel," I whispered, letting the butterfly dip it's tiny foot in the tear running down my cheek."I don't understand how people do these horrible things to each other. I mean, what possesses someone to be cruel to another person?"

"People are much like animals in that they do what is taught and instinctual," the tiny creature whispered. "If someone is mean to them, they will be mean to others. It takes a strong person to resist the pull of anger, cruelty and power. That's why the good things in life are so important."

"It just seems sometimes that you spend your whole life fighting," I said tiredly. "For once, I'd just like to get something done without fighting."

"To not fight is to not live," the butterfly paused on my hand. "You must fight for what you love and care for, what you want. It is part of nature."

"That doesn't mean it's fair," I scowled, thinking of the tiny sick bat.

"Not immediately," the butterfly agreed. "But those who are cruel to others will receive the same treatment in return. Karma is alive and well."

"It just seems very frustrating and exhausting," I said, letting the sun warm my back.

"You can get as frustrated as you want," the butterfly said. "The important thing is to dwell on the good in life. Think of the happiness you have with Ben, with your friends, your passion for writing. Think of all the dogs you want to help, all the people you aid. You write stories for fundraisers for horrible diseases, about teenage girls with cancer and about companies working on cures for cancer. While you may just be typing words on paper, you're giving someone a fighting chance. You're educating the public about the good in the world. And when people see good, they want to do good."

"That's the thing," the butterfly continued, pausing on my outstretched fingertip. "To be depressed and sad is to give into evil. By focusing on happiness and positivity, we can defeat it. Life is what you make of it, so you might as well make it a happy one."

The butterfly gently flew and landed on my nose. As faint as an eyelash falling, the butterfly gently kissed my nose.

"Kind souls will always be surrounded by good," the butterfly said so softly my ears strained to here. "You just may have to learn to ignore the shadows around it. Everyone told you to ignore the bat--and you still fought to save it. He knows that. And trust me, he appreciates it. Don't worry--your time of thanks will come."

With that, the butterfly flew away into the lush green field, disappearing. As I walked back to the office, I felt my face grow warm as the sun beat down on my black t-shirt. This time, however, my soul was not just warm. It was glowing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dear Mr. Cloudman

Mr. White Cloudman
Senior Vice President of Rainy Day Inc.
Somewhere up there
The Sky, Cloud 89768

Dear Mr. White Cloudman,

I admire your tenacity of watering my garden during this wet summer. Not only have you let me go without watering my yard for two months, but the flowers we planting are bursting in joy and health! I want to thank you for your diligent work and attention to the landscaping of the entire Pond.

However, I would like to request a change in schedules. Currently, you seem to have an erratic rain schedule. Sometimes it rains at 2 p.m., sometimes at 10 a.m. and sometimes at 3 a.m. in the morning. While I enjoy the blackouts the rain causes me at work (though I don't enjoy the false hope I might get to go home before the lights flick back on 3 minutes later), I don't enjoy your afternoon rainstorms. Your afternoon rainstorms are interfering with one of my daily walks during the day.

Now, I would not mind compromising and agreeing to a light sprinkle at 3 p.m. The problem is, you see, is that it POURS at 3 p.m. like an ocean has opened in the sky and is falling to the ground below. While I enjoy twirling and prancing in light rain, heavy rain does not make for an enjoyable walking experience. For one thing, I get wet. I don't like getting wet. Another issue is that my hair frizzes out and ramps up my already anxious and high strung personality.

The biggest issue, however, besides the risk of being struck by lighting or being splashed by a car, is that my shoes get wet. Now, I'm sure up there in Cloud that your shoes are always slightly damp with condensation so it's not a big deal to you. However, when you live in the Pond, which is hot and dry, and then work at a old factory that's surrounded by concrete and essentially a giant ceramic oven, I'm used to dry shoes.

Walking in wet, squishy shoes that make noises and stay damp for hours is not amusing. Therefore, I have a proposition. How about you continue all your pleasant rain during the hours of 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.? That way, I don't have to water the yard and it doesn't rain during my walking time. I can have the benefits of a pleasant sunny day with the joy of green grass and lush landscaping.

Please let me know if that's possible for you. I am agreeable to negotiation.


The Blonde Duck

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Duck-a-tron

I saw Transformers yesterday with my Mom and sister for a belated birthday celebration for my Mom. Going into the movie, I figured it'd be mildly amusing. After all, I am a My Little Ponies enthusiast. Why would I like robots? After all, I didn't like I, Robot and spent weeks fearing Steve Jobs or Bill Gates were going to create a robot for every home that would take over just like the ones in the movie and turn us into mindless drones, taking down society and ruling in a technological dictatorship.

I never said I wasn't imaginative.

Anyway, I loved the Transformers movies, particularly the Bumblebee transformer. He was so cute and devoted to the boy. While I still don't like the idea of robots taking over the Earth, I decided I needed my own Transformer: the Duck-a-tron.

The Duck-a-tron would be a giant (you guessed it) Duck robot. When not a robot, he would be an aquatic car--one of those cars that is also a boat. He would be painted a bright yellow with an orange face, and have webbed metal feet. When he quacked, the sound waves from his quack would shake the earth around him. If he ever got mad at another Transformer, he could kick them with his giant webbed feet or fly away.

If I had a Duck-a-tron, life would be glorious. I wouldn't have to sit through an hour and a half of traffic just to get home from work. My Duck-a-tron could take me home in ten short steps.

If I had a Duck-a-tron, he could fly Ben and I to my in-laws house and anywhere in the world we wanted to go. Cruise? What cruise? We'll just cruise in the Duck-a-tron.

If I had a Duck-a-tron, he could go on walks with me around the neighborhood or while I was jogging. Seriously, who's going to mess with me with several hundred feet of robot?

If I had a Duck-a-tron, I could go waterskiing behind him on the lake.

If I had a Duck-a-tron, I could go to the pond within the Pond and have him communicate with the ducks there. It would be hilarious.

And finally, if I had a Duck-a-tron, maybe he could build a pond for the ducks living in my bathtub.

I really want a Duck-a-tron.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Whenever I spot two animals, I often say they are friends. If we see two puppies while driving down the road, I exclaim, "Look, they're friends!" Solo dogs get the sad remark of "Oh, they don't have a friend." This has been my sole argument behind why I need two puppies instead of one.

Today on my walk, I saw two butterflies.

"You're friends!" I cried. "How sweet."

"Yes," one said as they brushed by my cheek. "Why does this surprise you so?"

"Well, because you don't normally see two butterflies flying together as you two are," I said.

"We disagree," said the other butterfly. "Two is the best number there is. Three leads to competition and unfairness, four is two many and five is the perfect amount for bands or superhero groups."

"Or sheep," the other one added.

"I suppose that's true," I said. "But normally when you see two, they are a couple."

"Why does that matter?" one butterfly asked as he settled on my shoulder. "Can a couple not be friends?"

"Yes they can," I said, "But then they're not just friends, they're a couple."

"But couples are the best of friends," the other butterfly volunteered as she perched on my hair. "They know everything about each other in ways that normal friends couldn't dream. They are the most intimate of friends. Couples can't survive if they're not friends."

"True," I said. "Very true indeed."

"Why is it so important to you we are friends?" the first butterfly asked. "Why is that better to you?"

"It just seems like you're happier than a butterfly on it's own," I said.

"Not necessarily," the second butterfly fluttered next to my ear. "Perhaps the first likes being alone. Maybe they get happiness from that. Happiness is different for different people."

"Well, you've got a point there," I said. "But you two seem happy."

"We are," the first butterfly whispered.

"We're friends," said the second butterfly, smiling. I smiled back as they fluttered through the lush green grass.

"Friends," I repeated softly to myself. "They're friends."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

Since I did a mushy post for Mom's birthday last year, I thought I would do a fun post for her birthday this year. I thought about giving you a fun story for year she was born, but then I figured she'd kill me for revealing her true age.

So dear Invisible Friends, here are the top ten fun stories for Mom's birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! I love you.


The Blonde Duck

Top Ten Birthday Stories
10) The most recent funny story occurred when I was getting married. We were trying on my wedding dress and my sister's bridesmaid dress when a putrid smell filled the room. While the small Mexican seamstress pinned my sister, wafts of sulfur infused methane wafted from my mother's direction. To make matters worse, my own bowels were protesting loudly and emitting squawks and exclamations from my bowels. Between the smell and the sounds, the poor seamstress lasted as long as she could before excusing herself from the room, where we burst into laughter. The funniest part? The room still smelled half an hour later when girls refused to go in there because they thought a baby had a dirty diaper.
9) My mother has a mole on her neck that is very soft and flexible. It's called the squishy mole. Our favorite thing to do was to reach around from the back of her car and squish her squishy mole and and watch her squirm. Her squeals and tortured expressions are the funniest thing in the world.
8) When we used to go swimming, Mom taught us how to fly. She'd squat down in the pool and we'd climb onto her leg. She'd place her hands under our armpits and send us flying through the air.
7) Apparently, Mom used to do Jane Fonda workouts when we were little. I tried to sabotage those workouts by clutching her legs and having her drag me around the living room. It gave new meaning to the term "weight lifting."
6) My mom used to make costumes for the plays in my pre-school and kindergarten. The principal, a nice elderly woman, told my mother that she "must have black in her" due to her love of sequins, rhinestones, feathers and bright colors. This would be like Laura Bush walking up to you and tell you that you're a pimp. It was that shocking.
5) Being a trekkie, nothing thrilled my mother more than lunch with a Ferangi. Well, until I got into a huge argument with a Klignon that ended in applause. It was her greatest joy.
4) Holidays were always wonderful. The entire house would be decorated elaborately from top to bottom, creating everything from a winter wonderland to a haunted mansion. Mom's greatest glee is hanging spiders that pop out from trees or tombstones that say, "I told you I was sick!"
3) During my birthday one year, I got a VCR. Ben pointed out that the price tag was still left on, and she gave him a look that could kill. Ever since--no gift has ever gotten open without her pointing out the price tag is not on it.
2) She taught us how to dance around the living room wildly and collapse into giggles on the floor.
1) Three words: Chicken Fried Steak. Oh my God.
Happy Birthday Mom! I love you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kids and Spas

Here's an editorial I wrote at work for the medical newspaper. It's about spas and spa services marketed directly towards children. The Blonde Duck is not amused.

Kids and Spas

For some kids, an M&M isn’t a candy—it’s a massage and manicure, silly! Forget Build a Bear and Chucky Cheese, the newest craze among the tween and pre-teen set is to join the spa set. While some set up manicures, pedicures, massages and facials for birthday parties or special events only, some children consider the spa a basic health necessity and go as much as once a month.

According to the International Spa Association, over 4 million teenagers in the United States have visited a spa. Southern California is booming with spas for children, offering everything to Mommy and Me spas to children-only spas. Depending on the spa, treatments range from the typical manicures, pedicures and facials to the more elaborate make-up applications and “up-do” stylings. Parents and business owners defend the kiddie spas, claiming they teach their kid about health and hygiene. They believe spas are simply fun outlets for their child and shouldn’t be taken seriously. And I do mean child, since many patrons are between 2 and 8 years old.

But don’t scoff it off as California nonsense. The Wildflower Hill Country Spa at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa off of 1604 offers a spa just for children so adults don’t have to worry about being disturbed. At SPAhhht, the special kid’s spa for those 17 and under, children are treated to manicures, pedicures, facials and massages. Don’t worry; the kids keep their clothes on during the massages.

Since the Hyatt opened the SPAhhht, “Time” reports that nearly 700 children have indulged in 25 minute facials at $40 a pop and henna tattoos that can cover their precious little faces for a mere $4 to $20.

Why does a 4-year-old child need a henna tattoo and facial? I’ve never gotten a facial. Well, parents believe that children are so stressed out from their overscheduled lifestyles that they need to relax like the rest of us. Plus, spas not only help their children relax, they give them the extra benefit about teaching them important things like health and make up application.

The entire idea of having a spa for children is ludicrous. The first time I hear a three-year-old child tell me they’re stressed out, I’m going to send them to work with a single parent with three children who is living paycheck to paycheck and struggling on their mortgage. That’s stress. SATs or a science fair project is stress, but it’s not adult stress. If kids get stressed, they should go outside and play. They should hang out with friends. They shouldn’t go to a spa and expect people to wait on them hand and foot (literally) while they drink “mocktails.”

All that is doing is creating another generation of self-absorbed narcissists who believe the world should be handed to them on a silver platter and that hard work and sacrifice are passé. We’ll just teach children to demand whatever they want whenever they want because “they deserve it” and because they’re the most important thing in the world. By God, Baby Jane studied all week for the big bad final! She needs a medi and pedi, stat! No one should have to use their brain!

As soon as parents start being self-absorbed nitwits, their children won’t be self absorbed nitwits either. Stress is part of life, and relaxation is necessary. However, relaxation doesn’t have to cost money—breathing and taking a walk around the block are free activities. By teaching children that you can buy relaxation, you’re teaching them to buy happiness. Last time I checked, happiness was free. Manicures weren’t.

The GLUG has an announcement

Hear ye, hear ye. The GLUG of the Pond (the Ginormous Lime Green Unusual Gnat) would like to announce that the literary world has finally caught up to his brillance.

That's right--Merriam and Webster announced that "ginourmous" would be an offical word in the dictionary.

The GLUG is pleased that all his years of campaigning have finally been successful.

"EXCUSE ME!" the GLUG bellowed in a statement. "Is this thing ON? Oh, HELLO! I am absolutely delighted that my first name has been officially inducted into the dictionary. After campaigning for 50 years (3 days in human time), I am pleased one of my life's goals has been accomplished. It's about time!"

The GLUG then turned to a reporter and asked if she had anything tasty. When denied some tasty leaves, the GLUG pouted until a second reporter asked what his future plans were.

"I'm going to Disneyland!" the GLUG bellowed. "And then to Hawaii! And then..."

The GlUG paused dramatically.

"I'm making WAFFLES!"

All further information and questions can be directed to the GLUG's representative, the Blonde Duck, at

To see the orginal article, please go here:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Excuse Me!

While walking through the parking lot, I heard a commotion of squawking coming from the trees. Curiously, I wondered over and stood outside the branches. Apparently, there were several testy bird ladies inside.

"Excuse me!" one cried. "I was here first!"

"How dare you come into my room!" another bellowed.

"Wait your turn!" a third snapped.

"Someone's in here," a fourth voice snapped.

"Mom, where are you?" a shrill voice called.

"Second branch on the right. No, on the right. There you go."

What is going on? I wondered to myself. Are there tiny bird apartments or a bird dormitory housed in this tree? As I continued to listen, the truth was revealed.

"How many items do you have?" a perky voice chirped. "Ok, try the third one on the left. It should be open. Let me know if you need help with anything!"

"I'm not taking these," the bellowing voice from before informed Perky Bird. "Thanks."

"No problem," chirped Perky Bird. I heard rustling and knocking. "Can I help you with anything?"


"Doing ok in there?"


"Need a different size?"

"Actually, yes. If you could get me a 7 instead of a 10 that'd be great, thanks."

As I stood beside the tree, stunned at what I was hearing, a plump grey bird emerged. She looked at me and placed her tiny wing on my hand. In a serious voice, she advised, "Honey, there ain't nothing but crap in there. Try the oak tree three feet down. That's where I'm headed--big sale, you know." She fluttered to the oak tree and disappeared in the branches.

"Sale at the Oak Tree? For how long?" another voice gasped excitedly.


"Where's a sale? I heard there's a sale."

"These pants make my butt look soooo good."

"Hurry up and ring up! There's a sale at the oak tree!"

In one frenzied blast, several birds burst out of the tree and immediately disappeared within the branches of the oak tree. Scratching my head, I grinned and walked away as I heard an indignant bird squeal, "Excuse me! That's my room you're fluttering in!"

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Blonde Duck enjoys posing more than sparklers.

4th of July Fun

For some reason, Blogger is not letting me put a title. Fine, I didn't want to put a title anyway. Jerks. Anyway, I know it's a bit late, but here are the pictures and tales from the 4th of July.

The 4th of July began with cloudy skies, humid air and lots of rain. Early in the morning, I went jogging underneth omnious dark clouds that foreshadowed the early afternoon to come. Later in the morning, the skies opened and rain poured from the sky, making the Pond actually look nice and green in July rather than brown and dehydrated.

My parents came over later with my sister, bearing gifts of ground beef, hamburger buns, tea, chips and three different pies. That's right--three different pies for 5 people. Ok, ok. To be fair, one of the pies was half gone. But still--it was a diabetic's nightmare and a sugar addict's dream. I was in heaven.

I made potato and fruit salad and we spent the afternoon lounging and watching T.V. My dad and Ben immediately retreated to the garage where they participated in important tasks like scratching their butts, belching, passing gas and changing my battery.

Then, a crisis fell throughout the Pond. We had no fireworks. Fireworks? We hadn't ever had fireworks at any 4th of July I'd ever been at with my parents. We used to go downtown to see the fireworks at my dad's building, where we would stand on the 33rd story and my mom would hyperventilate. But fireworks in the yard? We'd never done that before. What was the big deal?

Oh, duh. Ben and I live outside the city limits. Whoops.

On a mission, my father, sister and Ben set off in search of gas and firework stands. My mother grilled hamburgers while I spastically danced around the living room. I had important things to do, after all. Dancing is much more fun than doing cooking. Isn't that what moms are for?

The troops returned victorious with several bags of fireworks bursting with sparklers, black cats, roman candles and the Cone. The Cone was my favorite.

After stuffing ourselves with burgers, potato salad, fruit salad, chips and salsa, Ben pleaded for mercy and asked that we let our stomachs settle before we attacked the pies. He suggested we shoot off the fireworks.

Before I knew it, someone stuck flaming stick in my hand sprewing red sparks. My automatic reaction was to hold it as far away from me as possible while sticking my body as far as I could in the opposite direction. It looked as if I was trying to feed an alligator. I was then informed it was a sparkler.

"What do you do with them?" I yelled unelegantly. I was not sophisticated in the use of firecrackers and resented that everyone seemed to think I was supposed to know what to do with them. After all, my sister didn't know any better than I did and she was waving that sparkler around like she was a fairy godmother with a magic wand.

"Wave them around, draw pictures, write your name," my parents suggested helpfully. Gingerlly, I waved the sparkler around. It roared and only sparked more. I decided I would stick to holding it as far away from my body as possible and getting ready to drop it and run like hell if the flame came within inches of my fingers. "You're supposed to have fun with them," Ben said dryly. Whatever. Flaming things aren't fun to me.

Ben, and Danielle, however, were not having this problem.

My sister, the Rat, seemed to think we were training for Iraq. She was delighted to set off black cats and take off running in the opposite direction, screaming, "It's going to blow!" and hurling herself behind the car. The first time I heard that I nearly dove into my car. I thought a damn gernade was going off. Oh no, just an overdramatization of something that sounded like a hyperactive cap gun. Sparklers didn't faze her either--she swirled those suckers around like it was a baton and she was in an orchestra. She wasn't the worst however.

Then, there was Ben. You see that mischevious grin? That's right. This little twerp, my dear husband, harbored a secret love of fireworks I never knew about. I thought he was bad with the candle lighter? I hadn't seen nothing yet.

The boy used roman candles as cannons, aiming at coffee cans and various debri in the driveway to make it move, threw black cats in the trashcan to see it go "Boom" and held his own mythbusters experiment to see how many fireworks he could put in the trashcan before it exploded. He set off the cone, set off various sparklers and ran around with a "punk" seeing if he could capture the smoke on film. When he wasn't doing any of those activities, he was twirling the candle lighter on his finger like a gun, looking for the next thing he could set on fire.

So as the fireworks raged throughout the night, we fell asleep stuffed with pie, burgers and every kind of salad imaginable. And on top of everything, we had fireworks! Only 6 more months until New Years....who knows what other toys we can drag home?!?!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Work Out Routine

In my utter brilliance and insanity, I've discovered a new work out routine. For you ladies who prefer Pilates but still need some cardio, this routine is wonderful. Plus, you get to enjoy all of nature's wonderful gifts! There's three different sections: Rain Walking, Umbrella Arms and Stair Hiking.

Rain Walking

Wait until it begins pouring outside and becomes as windy as possible. Slide your feet into patent leather mules and set out into the rain with an umbrella. Keep your knees high and march through the puddles, splashing muddy water all over your shins and soaking your shoes. With your shoes retaining more water than a 3 weeks overdue pregnant woman, continue to walk for ten or fifteen minutes. As you attempt to walk in your soaked shows, your leg muscles will tense as they try for dear life to hold onto the slippery leather and prevent you from falling on your butt. The effort of keeping your feet in your shoes and on the sidewalk is great for both toning legs and raising your heart rate. Alternate between sliding or crawling on the sidewalk and marching through deep puddles.

Umbrella Arms

When the rain eases up a bit, wait until the wind starts. It should be windy enough to power a wooden ark the size of the Titanic across the Pacific Ocean. Again, go outside with your umbrella. As you propel yourself through the wind, force your umbrella through the air from side to side in front of you. The umbrella should be opened and held straight in front of you as you move it from the left to your right side of your waist and repeat. This works your abs and arms. Next, raise your arm from a downward position towards your feet in an arch up to your head. Repeat several times, then move to the other side. If the umbrella flies out of your hands, run after it in a dramatic fashion shrieking, "Don't leave me!" That counts as cardio.

Stair hiking

Put your slippery rain soaked shoes back on. Climb a flight of stairs as rapidly as you can, keeping your hand near the banister for safety. On your way back down, try to go down as quickly as you can without falling or losing your shoes. Repeat half a dozen times until shoes either fly off or you see a mountain goat.

So for those of you stuck in the house this rainy Fourth of July, never fear! Just try these new work out routines and before you know it, you'll be wet, muddy and best of all, fit!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Women are Rude

Before some feminist decides to blast me with this post, let me remind you--I am female. Therefore, if I say women are rude, I'm not being sexist. Duh.

With that out of the way, I can continue on with my story.

I go to a special little HEB hidden away from the large roads in the Pond. I like it because it's less crowded and usually filled with old people on Saturday and Sunday mornings, rather than the larger store on the Road. The Road store is filled with all sorts of issues I'd like to avoid. The first group to avoid is the twenty something roommates and couples filling up their carts with beer, snacks and all the proper ingredients for grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. They tend to stand in the aisle forever, dial their cell phones and ask their mom if jalapenos count as vegetables.

The second group to avoid is the hyperactive mothers dragging their children and husbands behind them with two carts per family screaming, "Get a move on! We've got soccer in 2 hours!" If you see these women coming, duck behind the nearest display quickly. They'd sooner roll over your foot than stop for 6 seconds for you to walk to the next aisle. And avoid the children--they bite. The husbands are harmless--they just oogle.

After dealing with those horrors, I was delighted to find my small HEB. For six months I have enjoyed leisurely steering my cart through elderly couples bickering over the bananas, mothers with well behaved children that don't make me fear the need for a rabies shot when I pass and the occasional bumbling husband and father who is bewilderingly roaming the aisles looking for maxi pads and has gone through the baby section seven times.

That was, until I went to the store Saturday. I had a pleasant experience shopping until I hit the cereal aisle, where the crowds started. There, some overzealous mothers were steering their carts through the aisle like an ocean cruiser on a canal. Still, their lack of etiquette wasn't enough to bother me.

I ignored the woman who shoved me aside in the cheese aisle, and the woman who stared at me until I moved over five inches so she could get the Triskets. In the lotion aisle, however, I had an altercation.

The right side of the aisle was blocked by an older man trying to decide on the proper shaving equipment. Not wanting to make him move, I turned and walked the opposite way down the aisle. Just as I reached the end, a mother and her son pulled their cart in front of a display and blocked the entrance. She began to look at products while the son stood staring in boredom.

I stood waiting patiently. The son saw me and jerked the cart left as far as he could. I moved forward, but still couldn't get through. He looked up at his mother and gestured for her to move. Sighing heavily, she snapped, "God!" and jerked her cart left dramatically.

An isolated incident, I thought as I trotted down the soap aisle. Just a cranky woman. As I reached to get some milk, another woman huffed and slammed the freezer door next to me. I looked into her angry eyes and tried to figure out what I did wrong.

It wasn't over yet. In the checkout aisle, I was placing my items on the conveyor belt when a woman pushed her cart behind me. As I continued to load my stuff on the belt, she began to load her stuff on the end. I raised my eyebrows, but kept loading up. She placed the separator stick between our items, placing it right behind mine. I looked at her in confusion, then moved the stick back and bent down to pick up the gigantic jug of detergent. I stood back up and hoisted the container on the edge as she defiantly shoved the stick towards my items and dared me to contradict her with her stare. That's right--she shoved the stick behind my stuff, piled the rest of her crap behind her, and left me holding a 15 gallon container of detergent.

Fuming, I checked out and loaded my stuff into the car. As I drove through the parking lot, I tried to figure out why she was so rude. Why would all those women have acted that way? Being rude wasn't going to get them out of the store any faster. Seriously--how can people be so pushy and arrogant to think that they are the most important thing in the universe? There were plenty of men in the store, who were all polite as they fought their way through the aisles. Many of them even made a few jokes or smiled as I passed by. Why was the fairer sex being so catty and mean?

Pulling into traffic, I jumped as a horn blared on my right. I turned to look at a woman in a mini-van swerving in front of me, flicking me off as she skidded into the parking lot. It was then I came to the conclusion--women are rude.