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Hi, Remember Me?

It’s been awhile. Yeah, sorry about that. I’ve been soooo busy working out and focusing on eating well and living a healthy lifestyle that by the end of the day, I’m just exhausted and haven’t found the time to blog.

hahahah ya right. You wanna know what I’ve really been doing for the last 2 weeks? Eating chocolate bars. True story.

Not to mention, totally avoiding exercise at all costs. Siiiiggghhhh. It was a good run while it lasted.

OK, let me redeem myself a little here, I’m not giving up!!!! But I do have to come clean and admit to myself and the general public that I have gotten somewhat complacent and dare I say lazy in the last couple of weeks. I could feel it slowly coming on, like you know when you’re starting to get the flu, and you feel that little yucky twinge in your gut? And you stop, raise one eyebrow, and think, “huh. that was strange.” And you carry on with your day. And then a couple of hours later you hear a gurgle down below and you have a seat and wonder if maybe you should go to the bathroom, just to be safe? Until later that night, when you’re doubled over the toilet while your 6 year old holds your hair back and you’re wearing the old black sweatpants “Just In Case” an accident happens and you think, “Yep. Definitely feelin’ pretty sick!” Well that’s what it’s like when your exercise regimen is beginning to lose steam. Maybe you are forced to skip a workout one day because of logistical impossibility. The next day, suddenly, it becomes a little easier to talk yourself into skipping again. Like, “Golly Gee I sure had a lot of extra time yesterday when I didn’t do my workout, I bet if I just let one more day go I could really get a lot done off my To-Do-List and then I will get right back at it tomorrow!” MMMMM-HHMMMMM. Then you get up the next morning feeling kind of guilty, until you look in the mirror and think to yourself, “Hey, I haven’t worked out for 2 days, and I still look pretty damn good!” Then not only does it seem somewhat pointless to keep busting your ass in those crazy workouts, but the trip through the kitchen also starts to take a bit of a turn. Bread starts looking really tasty again. Just one piece of toast for breakfast won’t hurt. Geez, people eat this stuff all the time! Yogurt is getting boring! A little break won’t hurt anyone! Well, that’s where it starts. And then eventually you end up like me, eating chocolate bars every day and baking Sticky Buns at 10 pm on a Monday night. And like the pathetic mess doubled over the toilet with the flu, you eventually find yourself wondering how things went to hell so quickly.

Today was supposed to be the day that I took my “After Insanity” photos. It would have been the first day after the entire 9 week program, and the plan all along was to track my progress and report my measurements. And I have to say, I did do really well! I lost 4 jeans sizes, and definitely toned up. I have an ass I am proud of!!! I still am not really weighing myself because I don’t own a working scale, but last time I got on the Wii I has down a couple pounds. So whatever, I did well! I accomplished what I set out to… I feel good in a bathing suit! HOWEVER…..I am not posting my measurements/photos for 2 reasons: 1. I looked better 2 weeks ago before I fell off the wagon and 2. I really don’t think anybody gives a shit how many inches my waist is or how my bum looks in a bikini.
Am I right? That’s what I thought. The reason you all read my blog, I am guessing, is because it’s nice to know that somebody out there struggles with the same annoying bullshit that you do, and that you’re not alone. So that is what I’m here to report to you. The results of my exercise program and quest for a better body……here goes.

Exercise is hard goddamm work. I said it. If you want to lose weight, you gotta REALLY want it because ladies, it is ALWAYS going to be easier to sit on the couch and watch Dr. Phil. Nobody ever got a beach body or fit into their skinny jeans by taking leisurely strolls around the block and doing “5 minute abs” once a week. It takes sweat. It takes persistence. It takes a dash of vanity and a shitload of motivation; because let’s be honest here, nobody ever launches a major weight loss program “just to be healthier”. I think everyone in some way wants to look better, to some degree. And it takes momentum. You are not going to want to work out and eat clean and drink 8 glasses of water every day and all that bullshit right out of the gate. It takes time, getting used to a new routine. The results of my experience in this area, were that it does get easier. It becomes a welcome habit. Eventually you start looking forward to it, not because of the pain and agony you may feel while you are exerting yourself but because of the incredible feeling of exhaustion and elation and pride when you finish. That is the hook right there. The payoff is the power you feel when you’ve defeated your pessimism. And, of course, results, which brings me to my next point.

If hope and pride are what bring you to your workouts every day, Results are what keep you going. Results are the reason, whether your desired result is measured with a scale, a tape measure, a heart rate monitor, or a blood pressure cuff, when you finally start to achieve what you’ve been working towards, it’s kinda like crack. Very addicting! It somehow makes it much easier to keep sweating your ass off in spandex, when the spandex is getting noticeably looser. When you begin to realize that you are capable of accomplishing a goal, whether it be big or small, you definitely feel a bit more empowered. Suddenly, it’s like you’re 5 years old again and your dad is telling you that you can be anything you want to be. The world feels full of possibility. You begin to believe that you could actually achieve something, just because you decided to. Why? Cause you’re awesome! But don’t get too comfortable with those results. If you’re like me, they can turn on you.

At some point, positive results begin to work against you. You used to look in the mirror and think, “Ugh, I gotta get back on the treadmill.” And now that you’re lookin good, you sometimes look in the mirror and think, “Damn I look good!” Which can go either way. It will either make you want to keep going, or if you get to the tipping point like I did 2 weeks ago, it makes you think maybe you don’t have to work so hard and you can relax a little! This is a slippery slope, my friends. What your mirror won’t tell you, is that the reason you look so damn good is because you work hard, but your eyes are focused on your tight bum and your flatter tummy and you’re all gaga in love with how your skinny jeans are fitting you and you decide to celebrate with a nice little Hershey’s with Almonds. And before you know it your treadmill collects a layer of dust and you’re bribing your kids to get in the car and take a late night run to 7-11 because mommy needs some chocolate. Nevermind that all they want is a slurpee and some gum…that lady at the checkout thinks the 4 family sized chocolate bars are actually for The Family and I’m not going to tell her otherwise. You see, life is like that. Up and down. Sometimes you’re winning the race, sometimes you trip on your laces and eat dust. But you just gotta get back up. Right?

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I went out on the weekend and saw a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time. It was great for my ego (ha ha). People were telling me all night how great I looked, asking me what I was doing differently, etc. I was proud of my results and hard work. But I also felt like a real douchebag! I had a big chocolate bar for supper that night, and washed it down with a Diet Pepsi. And, some fries a little later. And a couple few whiskey cokes at the bar. So as I was divulging the details of my intense workout program, there was a little chocolate bar with devil horns on my shoulder whispering in my ear, “Hee Hee Heee!!!! Don’t forget about MEEEE!!!” I felt like a fraud, actually. Like at any moment, all those chocolate bars and pastrami and cheese sandwiches would gang up on me and my ass would expand like a busted can of biscuits, Nutty Professor style.

I woke up Sunday morning, still not worried about what I was going to eat that day or if I would get a workout in. I blame the ladies at the bar and all their effin compliments. It was Sunday, after all, the glorious day of Rest otherwise known as My Diet Starts Again Tomorrow. So I did what any hungover girl would do, I grabbed an extra large milkshake on the way outta town and slept the rest of the afternoon. Later that night, my man asked me if my head had shrunken back down to size. I thought he was referring to my hangover headache but what he really meant was had I gotten over all the ego stroking that went on the night before. I had to giggle.

When I woke up Monday morning, I vowed to get this train back on track. And I did! I had a great run, and felt exhilarated, powerful and alive when I was done. I ate a really healthy lunch, and did not buy a chocolate bar for the first day in a week and a half.

And then, at 7 p.m., I started a batch of homemade sticky buns. Ironically, a recipe I found on Pinterest while browsing for Fitness Motivation. Such is life. 🙂

So the moral of the story here kids is that in many ways, perfection is an illusion. Even those fitness models who have rock hard abs and an ass to die for probably had one to many cupcakes once or twice in their lives. Jillian Michaels was a fat teenager! Everybody falls. Everybody quits. Everybody fails. Humans, we ain’t a perfect breed. But for the most part we’re stubborn, or stupid, or both, and we just keep trying. It’s pathological. It’s a curse. It’s a blessing. It’s the reason I have jeans in my closet in every size from 28 to 33. So if you’re feeling a little discouraged, no matter what your challenge may be right now, cut yourself some slack and start again.

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Some eCards I'm 30

Ah, Girls Night Out. Who doesn’t love a good one of those? From the time we are little girls doing each others hair at slumber parties, we grow up truly appreciating the value of Girl Time.

The funny thing about Girls Nights is that they tend to change, the older you get. 20 was over a decade ago for me, but I still remember it, somewhat. Let’s dust the cobwebs off of those memories for a moment. When you’re 20, before marriage and kids and mortgage payments, life is like one big old carnival. You may have to pay to get in and stand in line for tickets, but chances are if you’re 20, you have nice boobs, a young face and a carefree attitude and that will probably get you a free sno cone and escorted to the front of the line. Being 20 is great. You can eat cotton candy, caramel apples AND mini donuts and your metabolism will burn that shit up like 10 year old kindling. Your bank account might be a little low but your spirits are high and a lack of funds isn’t going to stop you. You’re gonna get your ass on that Ring of Fire and scream until your lungs burn. And even if you barf afterwards, who cares? You’re young! By the time you get to the next ride, you’re ready to go again. You throw caution to the wind and buy the ride-all-day bracelet because you know you’re capable of riding all day. And all night. Who cares? You probably don’t have a job to go to the next day, but if you do, you’ll just call in sick. Or skip your 9:20 a.m. Music Appreciation class.

Youth. Gravity and Common Sense need not apply.

Well nothing bitch slaps you back into reality like going out to a dance club on a Saturday Night with the girls, shall we say….later in life. Now I’m not gonna say we’re old, because we’re not! But we are older than 92% of the women who were in the bar last Saturday night. I should start at the beginning.

Every once in a while, I need a break with the girls. We all do. It’s soooo fun and sooo necessary! There is no better way to Pause the world of Responsibility and Kids and Relationships and Stress like a good old fashioned Girls Night. Why? Because when girls go out together, we let it allllll hang out, ok? Girls are gross. Picture a bunch of guys in a locker room and multiply that by 10. Or 5 at least. Vulgarity, with pretty pink lip gloss. When you’re with the girls, not only do you not have to suck in your gut, but you also don’t have to worry that your swearing is a tad too manly or that a fart will kill the mood. You can talk freely about periods and IUD’s and one night stands and nobody gets offended. There is no imaginary line you can not cross. Or maybe that’s just my friends, but if that’s the case, I have the best damn friends you can get.

So I organized a little girls trip to the city. Just one night! Don’t wanna push our luck with the men at home doing all the babysitting oops I mean parenting. Hotel Room? Check. Wheels? Check. Better make that 2 hotel rooms. 6 girls trying to shower and poop in one room might be a bit much. OK! All set! So bright and early Saturday morning, we all pile in and get the hell outta town. WOOOHOOO!!!!! Let’s get this party started!?!?! Who wants to do a shot?

Just kidding. It’s 9 am. we’re not 20 anymore. We stop at Tim Hortons and get a coffee and a bagel. So far, nobody has said a swear word. I reach in my pocket for change and find a Ziploc bag of Cheerios. Oh, yeah. I’m Badass. Sigh. And because we’re old and we all have kids and we’ve just had a coffee, we need to stop 45 minutes later for a pee break. A couple swears and poop jokes surface. Someone mentions something about a penis. Buckle up ladies, things are getting crazy!

Finally, we make it to our destination. Time to hit the mall! Can’t wait to find a sexy new outfit to wear to the bar! It’s been awhile since I’ve been shopping for clothes! To my delight, I can suddenly buy shirts in size small or medium instead of large. This puts me on cloud 9 until I realize that it’s only because my boobs have shrunken to their former 8th Grade cup size. Double Sigh. Better go drown my sorrows in a TacoTime Beef Burrito Supreme. Supersized. Thanks. So much for the diet. Who cares? It’s Girls weekend! No calorie counting allowed!!!

Following an afternoon of shopping, we compare notes and realize that for the most part, we have failed to complete our new outfit scavenger hunt but have all managed to buy something for each of our kids whom we have left at home and came here to forget about for a day. And you can be damn sure each kid got an equal dollar amount of stuff, because we all know that it’s easier to calculate fairness by price and avoid the “She got more than me!!!” fight at home. By this time, it’s closing in on suppertime and we are getting thirsty. We make a stop at the liquor store. Swearing and laughing is getting louder and more frequent. We are getting excited! Someone turns the music up a little louder and we all sing along to Taylor Swift. hahahaha I’m not even kidding.

So back at the hotel, it’s time to order some supper, pour some drinks, and start getting primped for the evening. We are getting loud. Somebody is walking around bare boobed. I’m not going to say it was me but I can’t say it wasn’t. There is a lot of penis talk. More swearing. We are soooo coool. Our room is starting to smell like farts and a good time. If there are any guys out there with the idea that girls like to get together in hotel rooms and have naked pillow fights, I’m pretty sure I just ruined that fantasy. Sorry! Now it’s time for shots, for real. The hard stuff, bring it on!!!! heee heee my ears are red and my cheeks are burning from laughing so hard. I don’t know what is so damn funny but those brownies sure tasted good! How thoughtful of her to bring dessert!

ANYWAYS! Off to the bar. There was a brief and disappointing stint at a super lame Karaoke bar, and we knew it was time to leave when the 75 year old crowd started filing in. I’m not even kidding. We needed to get the eff outta there, but to where? This is the dilemma. No matter what city you are in, there is always a bar that is known for, shall we say, Cougars. Women of a certain age. Which, nowadays, means anyone over the age of 25. We did NOT want to go to that bar. We are not old! We are not Cougars! We are good lookin hot chicks in the prime of our lives!! Take us to the cool place! We are still young and we want to dance!!!

So, we show up at the cool place. Early enough to avoid the lines, because as my sister said “I’m 30, I don’t stand in lines.” She was right, we avoided the line and walked in. This is how we thought we looked before we went in:

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This is how we felt, when we went in and looked around:

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My mother warned me about this. She told me once that there comes a point in your life as a woman when you suddenly realize you are not part of the young and cool crowd anymore. You will always feel like you are, but that’s just an illusion God gives you to keep getting yourself out of bed in the morning. We’re at the teetering point, where you’re not quite sure if people are staring at you because they think you look good, or because they’re wondering what the hell you are doing there. You go to the bathroom for a pee break, and listen to conversations like “OhMyGod!!!! You look ssseeoooooo cute!!! I totally think Dylan is totally into you tonight!! Do you think I look cute? Is my hair totally cute or what?” Then you come out and wash your hands and make awkward eye contact with them in the mirror and you’re pretty sure if they had a thought bubble above their heads it would say, “Go Home, You’re Old.”

So what’s a girl to do in this situation. Loosen up with drinks, and dance. Dance like you’re 20. Dance like you’re cool. Dance like your boobs aren’t chafing your bellybutton. Dance like you don’t give a shit! You know why? Because when you’re 30, you pretty much don’t, anymore. You don’t care what the tight bodied 20 year old in the hoochie dress dancing on the speaker thinks of you. You came to have a good time, and you’re damn well gonna. And that’s just what we did. We danced until the sweat forced us outside to cool off. We may have danced with each other all night, but let’s be honest, we were the best dancers there anyway so it was a win-win. And we all went home happy. Drrunkety drunk drunk, but happy. When we get back to the hotel, we fill our faces full of food as we bitch about the 20 year old hoochies. We take a dose of Tylenol and guzzle water. This ain’t our first rodeo. We pass out and hope for the best.

The next morning, it’s a slow moving crew. The hangovers last a little longer when you’re 30. Like 3 days longer. We enjoyed a nice quiet lunch, making sure to pack in as many calories as possible because as usual, we all have a diet that starts again on Monday. We slept all the way home. It’s Tuesday and I’m still tired. And yet, oddly refreshed. Because that’s what girl time does. It recharges your batteries. It reminds you that it’s ok every once in a while to only be responsible for yourself, and not have to worry about your pets and your kids and your man. It reminds you that you can be fun and immature, even if it’s only once a year! And, most importantly, it reminds you that your pets and your kids and your man aren’t that bad after all, and you go home to them appreciative, and ready to take on tomorrow.

When you’re 30, the carnival isn’t as fun. You definitely are not buying the ride-all-day bracelet. If you escape to the carnival without your kids, you’re constantly scanning the crowd every time you hear someone yell “Mommy!”. You make sure to show up at a nice sensible time when you know the lineups are the shortest and you’ll be home at a reasonable time so that your babysitter doesn’t have to walk home in the dark. You probably pack your own lunch because everybody knows that carnival food prices are insanely inflated and totally loaded with trans fats and sodium. At 30, the carnival is all about being as efficient as possible. Get in, have as much fun as you can for the least amount of money as possible, and get the hell back to your cage where the lights aren’t so bright and the noises aren’t as loud. And start planning the next Girls Night Out.

AAA

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I wish I could figure out how to have music playing as this blog is opened to be read. You would most definitely be hearing Beyonce’s “Run The World!”. Did you know that today is International Women’s Day? Well, it is! So if you didn’t already have a reason to pour yourself a drink, consider this a good one. If you’re a man and you’re reading my blog, Thanks Dude! But today is not your day. Go pour your woman a drink. Make it a stiff whiskey, with lots of ice. Thanks, babe. Now, run along. 🙂

Women, can I just say, are fantastic. I love women. Think about all the fabulous females in your life. There are so many!!! The best part about being a woman is that it is like an instant pass into a club that really does control the world. After all, we do create all our new members from scratch! Men might have a little something to do with it I guess but let’s face it, women do all the work and deserve all the credit. No man ever gets a free pass into the women’s club. They have to hold our purses and sit out in the hallway during our meetings where we discuss how effing painful childbirth was and how annoying it is to get your period the day you fly out for your tropical vacation. Why? Because men, say it with me ladies, “Will Never Understand.”

I don’t claim to have a clue what it’s like to be a man, or how hard it is, but I gotta say, I don’t care. I’m sure they sit around smoking their cigars at their meetings whining about “pressure” and “expectations” and “body hair” but BOO HOO! Being a woman is hard! If you were born a woman in many parts of the world, you have it wayyy worse than we do here in the land of golden opportunities, let me tell ya, so a big shout out to all those ladies still struggling under the thumb of their male oppressors. I count my blessings. And I thank all the strong ones that came before me to make my life easier. Women’s Rights history is very interesting and I really do encourage you to take some time today to do a little internet researching just as a reminder of how strong and courageous our female predecessors have been in order to get us to this point, where I as a 32 year old divorced mother of 3 can sit in the livingroom of the home that I own and type out my own personal opinions freely to share with the world. Ain’t life grand?

But admittedly, when I started copying and pasting names and dates of famous women and important dates in history, it seemed a little boring (Sorry!). What I really want to talk about is the sisterhood. The sisterhood of the badass women in my life.

Let’s start with Mother. THIS was not my mother.
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My mother by all accounts was a firecracker (and still is). Like many moms, she was a teen mom, and got married at age 17. Quit highschool to raise her baby boy. Subsequently gave up on many of her hopes and dreams, I’m sure, and traded them in for the life of a farm wife and a stay at home mom, and a damn good one. Mom eventually got her G.E.D. and became one of the most active members of our community, coaching every sport we every participated in and playing many sports herself, often the president or organizer of every club in town. Mom was busy! She always had homecooked meals on the table, always looked pretty, and always had a good time. And, she raised me, so she did something right :). But even in spite of all these accomplishments and achievements, one of the strongest memories I have of my mother is of Saturday mornings, when some jerk neighbor would always stop in for coffee and wake us kids up with his loud booming voice. This guy had “Opinions”, and a lot of them were about women. This pissed my mom off. My mom hates to get up early but when this douchebag would show up, she would get her ass down to the kitchen table and put on the coffee for this guy, because mom was many things but Afraid of a Fight she was not. She used to dish it out to this guy and I would sit at the top of the stairs listening, and smiling to myself. I loved her for that, and I still do. I always kind of wondered why she cared so much about what men thought about women, but now that I’m a woman, I know. Somebody has to stand up for us, and guess what ladies, we got legs! Use ’em! She went on to become succesful in a career of her chosing and kicks ass on a daily basis. Thanks mom!

Now where did a little firecracker like that come from? Grandma. I wish I knew more about Grandma, she’s still kickin so I guess I will ask her one of these days. What I remember of Grandma from my childhood was the usual Grandma stuff…she taught me how to roll out piecrust and always let us roll our icecream cones in coconut, which I still do from time to time. But what I also remember is that Grandma listened to Grandpa. What he says, goes, as they say. If Grandpa wanted a sandwich, Grandma went to the kitchen and made him a sandwich. I used to really question why Grandma would let a man tell her what to do. But Grandma was from a different time, of course, and this is how she was raised. To be a caregiver. It always seemed like Grandma was dependant on Grandpa. Well let me tell you something about Grandma. That woman was stunningly beautiful. (Still is, aren’t you Granny?!) She managed to pick up a new job in every town that Grandpa moved her to, all around the world, and make friends, and build a life, and take care of her 3 girls, and teach them what it means to be a strong woman when all you want to do is go to bed and cry. And she might jump up and make Grandpa a sandwich when he wants one, because she loves him, and respects him, but you can bet your ass that Grandpa would be totally lost without that woman and he knows it. And Grandma knows it to. Grandma has all the power.

Now, who’s next? Have to give a shout out to my Aunts. I read somewhere that only an Aunt can give hugs like a mother, keep secrets like a sister, and share love like a friend. This is totally true. I have a gorgeous rainbow of aunts, and I am so thankful for all of them. As I grow older, they are becoming more and more like best friends. Your aunts are full of valuable information. They know what a bad girl your mom was when she was a teenager. They know what it’s like to be a sister. Most importantly, they know what it’s like to be a woman, and when you are 12 years old and entering puberty they can warn you about it without all the embarrassment that comes along with talking to your mother sometimes but with WAAAYYY more knowledge than your best friend. Aunts are in your corner. I thank God for my Aunties.

Which brings me to sisters. I have ONE, and if she’s reading this right now, she’s dying because she’s afraid I will reveal something about her get all mushy. Sisters are a curse when you are growing up. They’re annoying. They steal your stuff, they embarrass you around boys, they bug you when you have friends over. They kick you when you have to share a hotel bed. They steal your “Book of Red Hot Numbers” and bring it out at your 30th birthday party. But guess what? They know everything about you. They know why you are the way you are. They, more than ANYBODY else in the world, understand you. Sisters are the Presidents of the Sisterhood. When you get older, suddenly a strange thing happens. You begin to want her around. You call her to bitch about your mom (Sorry mom! 🙂 ) You call her to bitch about your man. You call her to bitch about your kids, and you listen as she bitches about hers. You both see the same ridiculous person and laugh hysterically through eye contact only. Sisters are life’s greatest blessing. My sister is one of the strongest bitches I know, and I fear her a little. In our relationship, she’s the boss, but that’s ok, it’s her turn.

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Now on to the best part of being a woman…..GIRLFRIENDS! These bags are my reason for living some days. As life changes, your girlfriends change, it’s inevitable, but I’ve always chosen ladies to be in my “wolfpack” who are funny, crazy, and like to drink and swear. Women who like to have a good time! Women who can tell you the truth!
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A good girlfriend is one who lets you bitch and complain and cry about your shitty situation, and then pours you a shot and tells you to get over it. Women need girlfriends. Women need an escape from their kids, their husbands, their bosses, their responsibilities, and who better to escape to than another cranky woman who is also tired of everyone’s bullshit and totally understands? The older I get, the more I appreciate the importance of besties. I can say anything to my girls. I can be honest. I can go shopping for hours with them and not have to worry about how long they have been waiting for me on the bench outside the store! If you are my age or older, you remember these ladies….
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And I bet you’ve probably assigned a Golden Girl personality to each one of your friends at some point or another. For the record, I’m Blanche. ha ha ha. Every group needs one, and let’s face it, she’s the most fun! The reason this show was so popular was because it’s true…women love each other and also love to hate each other, which can lead do all kinds of comical drama that makes for perfect sitcom fodder. But the moral of every episode was the same…no matter what kind of crazy shit goes down, your girlfriends are always going to be there for you. With cheesecake. And you know what they say, your girlfriends are probably going to outlive your husband, so you better pick good ones!
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When my daughter was born, my mother, my sister, and my best friend were all there. They helped me welcome my baby girl into the wonderful sisterhood of women in my life. She, like the long line of sparklers that came before her, is a firecracker as well. She is so lucky to be a girl.

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Who run the world? Girls!
Who run this motha? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Boy you know you love it
How we’re smart enough to make these millions
Strong enough to bare the children
Then get back to business
Girls, we run this motha (yeah!)
GIRLS!
Who run the world? Girls!

Happy International Women’s Day! Give thanks for all the firecrackers in your life.

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What kind of mother am I? I spent some time pondering this today. While folding 256 loads of laundry this afternoon I happened to be watching Anderson Live, which featured moms who claim that taking anxiety medications make them better mothers. And, like any good talk show, Anderson included both sides of the conversation. Translation: Moms who are RIGHT and Moms who are WRONG.

Have you ever noticed that in general, moms (because we are women and it seems to come naturally) tend to judge each other? Sometimes its passive aggressive, vague and sneaky judgement, like, “She is definitely a more “Laid Back” mom…(using those annoying finger quotes and raised eyebrows). Substituting euphemisms like “Laid Back” and “Relaxed Parenting Style” for words they really mean such as “Lazy” and “Neglectful”. And then sometimes it is just blatantly mean, like “She lets her brats do whatever they want, whenever they want, and they have no respect for anybody!”. Well hello, Judgey McJudgerton, please tell me where I can sign up for your clinic on Perfect Parenting 101. Now I don’t want to sound bitter, but this is usually the mom whose Facebook statuses paint a rosy picture of after school baking sessions with the kids and Pinterest boards full of wonderful kids craft ideas, but who hisses “Get your Ass in the Car, you Little Shits!!!” at her misbehaving kids when she thinks nobody is listening. And don’t even get me started on women who criticize other mothers, and they don’t even have any kids yet! Get real! You have no effin idea, lady!!! Keep it to yourself. Better yet, write down all your judgemental and condescending thoughts, and then once you have kids, bring that list out and marvel at what an idiot you were back before you had a clue. MMMKAY???? I have hollered at my kids! Lots! Because sometimes, getting down to eye level with a 5 year old and trying to calmly explain why their behavior is upsetting you is just plain ineffective. And for the record, so is hollering, most of the time, but I do it anyway, because it feels good. And sometimes, it makes them fear me. If I’m lucky.
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So anyway, back to Anderson. There was a mom on the panel who says that she has dealt with anxiety/depression disorders on and off for many years, and since she has had children, she finds that being on a steady prescription of anti-anxiety medication definitely helps her to be a better mother. She says that she does not abuse them, and they don’t make her “high”, they just help her to feel normal and to cope with the many demands that parenting and providing for a family presents in this day and age. She is open, and honest, and articulate. On the other side of the fence is a woman who “strongly disagrees” with this philosophy. When asked on what grounds she opposes mothers taking anti-anxiety meds, she only presents “What If” scenarios. “What if your kids are having a bad day, and based on your example, they think that the answer is just to pop a pill to make everything better? What if you get addicted to them? What if you take too many and you can’t drive your kids to school?” For the record, this looks like a very unhappy woman, but in the interest of not being judgemental I will assume she was just nervous. She did use the word “I” a lot. Long story short, what she was there to say, was “I don’t need meds to be a good mom.”

Well this may or may not be a shocker to some of you who know me, but I DO need meds to be a good mom! I also have struggled with anxiety and depression, and let me tell you, adding 3 kids to the mix who are 90% of the time on my watch and under my care, doesn’t exactly leave a lot of time to mentally decompress, de-stress, and relax.

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I love my kids!!! So much, I decided to stop the insane rollercoaster cycle of being on meds, and then trying to wean off, and then having to go back on them, over and over and over again. For someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, a normal day is never a normal day. Sunshine made me crabby. My kid spilling his milk would make ME cry. Most of the time, I wished I could just lay in bed and sometimes, hoped I would not wake up for a long, long time. This was not my kids’ fault, this was not my fault. This is a LEGITIMATE illness, people! And if I was not on medication, everyone around me was suffering, including my kids. I may not be a better mother than you are, but I am not a worse mom because I take a little medication. I am just a mom, and I suspect that I am just one of many with the same fears, troubles and insecurities about how I may be failing my children. Now all that being said, I did a little self discovery about what kind of mom I actually am. I know that I am on the “Laid Back” end of things, and I like it that way.But what does that mean? Here are some examples.

I love it when my kids want to try new foods, but this does not happen very often, and I am not the mom who is going to force my kid to eat something that makes him gag. Have you ever tried to force down food you hate? It sucks. Kids are people too. Pick your battles.
I love to bake with my kids, but I also really like it when they get bored after 10 minutes and let me do the rest in peace and quiet.
I can’t wait until bedtime each night, when I get to tuck the kids in and kiss their tiny little faces, and see them sleeping like little angels…..and then I get to park my ass on the couch and watch my shows…in peace and quiet.
I make my kids beds for them most of the time, because quite frankly, I think it looks nicer and bugs me when I walk by their room and their blankets are on crooked.
I pin a lot of cool kids activities on Pinterest, knowing full well that I will never get around to doing them with my kids but I still hold out hope that one day I will have time to be “That Mom.”
When I make homemade playdough for the kids, usually once a year, I feel like I should get a mother of the year award. Then I swear under my breath every day for the next 3 weeks every time I have to sweep up massive amounts of dried playdough crumbs off the floor.
Sometimes when my kids are whining and crying about something ridiculous and I am so frustrated I could scream, I just whine and cry right back at them until they look at me like I’m crazy and eventually stop and leave the room.
I take advantage of the fact that my kids aren’t old enough to read a clock yet and I lie to them about what time it is so they will go to bed early. This is very easy in the winter time, and I love it! I feel like an evil genius.
I occasionally let my kids eat cereal for supper. And by occasionally, I mean at least twice a week.
I think farts and butts and poop is just as funny as my 5 year old son thinks it is.
I have daily dance parties with the kids, and I like to turn the music up really loud and pretend I can’t hear them when they repeat, “Mommy Look at Me!!!!” 500 times.
I encourage my kids to dress themselves, and wear whatever they feel like wearing, as long as it is weather appropriate. My kids may not always match but they are definitely creative and proud of their self-image.
Sometimes I just really want to strangle my kids. I love them, and I would never actually do it, but when one of my kids is bawling at a ridiculous octave in my face, and I have 101 other things I need to be doing, I sometimes tune out the sound and daydream about wrapping my hands around them and squeezing really really hard. I totally understand how Shaken Baby Syndrome happens. Being a parent takes Restraint!!!
When it’s 4 a.m. and my baby is crying for the 8th time that night, and I am totally exhausted, sometimes I lay in bed with my pillow over my head thinking “Shut up, Shut up, pleaaase just shut up and go back to sleep”, hoping that when I remove the pillow, there will be silence.
I am a stay at home mom and my world, for the most part, pretty much revolves around caring for my kids and their environment. I love being able to do this, and I know that for myself, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I also need to get out of the cage every once in a while too. I take short vacations, and love girl time and date nights and in general just time away from the kids. And I do miss them, but I don’t miss them every single second that I am gone. I was an individual before I had kids, and I still am, sometimes.

What does this all mean? I don’t know. I think it means I’m a normal mom. I’m not perfect. I make lots of mistakes. If there is a parenting manual on how to DO IT RIGHT out there somewhere, please send it my way. But for now, I’m just like you. I’m just guessing. Moms, like kids, are all so different. That’s the great part about raising kids to be individuals…we don’t all have to be the same. The world would be a pretty boring place. What works for you and yours may not work for me and mine but who cares?! Do your thing. As long as your kids are still alive and happy, you are passing the parenting test with flying colors. Moms, please stop judging each other. Be supportive, and practice acceptance! Mothers need encouragement, even the ones who seem the most confident. If you have a natural childbirth or a C-Section, if you breastfeed or bottle feed, if you choose to stay at home or go to work, just do your own thing! Who cares if your best friend feeds her baby nothing but organic fruit and you have been feeding yours Kraft Dinner? Does your baby smile at you when you pick her up? You’re doing your job. And if you feel like it’s time to up the dosage, by all means, bring on the happy! Because we all know, if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. AMEN!

I may be a mediocre mom, but my kids seem to like me. And that’s Good enough, I guess.

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So lately, I have been staring in the mirror a lot, and wondering, “What the Hell?”. I mean, I feel stronger! I feel leaner! I feel sexier! And then I open the blinds and the natural sunlight hits me, that evil beam of truth, and it’s like, “WHOOOAAAA, wait…what…the…hell….is THAT?!” I looked pretty good in the dim dark corner, but now, as I bask in God’s spotlight 12 inches away from my mirror, I can see all of my flaws. Stretch marks. Cellulite. Saggy boobs. Bruises. Wrinkles. Moles. Grey Hair. Hairy Legs!!! Moustache!!!! hee hee. Zits. Jiggle. Oh, and the newest member of the team, half-in, half-out belly button, thanks to baby #3. I’m a freakshow in white Hanes Her Way’s. I begin to question why exactly I am busting my ass every day working out and eating right and all that other health bullshit. If this is as good as it gets, I’m screwed.

But why? What is wrong with this package? Well, nothing. Nothing is wrong with my package. I am beginning to realize that. Maybe its age, maybe it’s exhaustion, but for one reason or another, I am really starting to not give two shits about how Women’s Magazines tell me I should look. Why?

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Photoshop. That’s Why. Take this picture of Faith Hill (and shove it!!! haha just kidding). No really. Faith Hill is a stunning woman. Beautiful. And yet, strangely enough, Redbook Magazine feels that she is not quite beautiful enough to sell this “WOMEN’S” magazine to other women!!! So, like every other magazine, they perform a few minor tweaks. Soften the chin. Soften the eyes. Rub out the wrinkles around said eyes. Make her skinnier! Skim the back fat. Look, even her arm is half the size! Airbrush out all that shiny skin….we want soft, smooth baby skin on our 40 something Country singers. Oh, and might as well make her neck a little longer, just for shits and giggles. DONE! perfection.

Bet you don’t feel as bad about yourself now that you’ve seen that, right? Faith Hill has wrinkles, too! And Back Fat! She’s NORMAL. Well, not so fast. Still kind of leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, doesn’t it? After all, commoners like you and I don’t have the luxury of walking around with an entourage of lighting, hair and makeup professionals with the benefits of Photoshop. The world gets to see our ugly. Especially in sweatpants at 7-11 on a 10 pm run for chips & dip. Faith Hill has ‘people’ for that kind of stuff. And she’s over 40! Of course she has wrinkles! The young buck spring chicken celebrities obviously don’t need that much digital “detox”, right? Those ladies are the ones who really have one over on us.

Well….maybe not.
Feast your eyes on Britney Spears in all her posterior glory.

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Now don’t misunderstand me, here. I am definitely not trying to be a “mean girl” and make fun of Britney Spears’ bum!!! She has a spectacular bum!!! But more importantly, girls, she has a NORMAL bum. It is not a flawless, honey-golden perfectly plump ass like the music videos would lead you to believe. She has a bit of cellulite, too! She has been smoothed, slimmed and lifted to perfection. Whose idea of perfection? Your guess is as good as mine. But I have a rotten, sneaky suspicion that we can’t pin all the blame on the MEDIA all the time. The beauty and entertainment industry is, after all, a consumer-driven business. And who are the majority of those consumers? Women.

You may have noticed, I happen to be kind of an “ass” girl. I appreciate a nice round bum, and I have become slightly obsessed with achieving one. But when I look in the mirror, I can’t help but feel defeated and hopeless. That is, of course, until I saw this pic:

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See those slight “saddlebags”, that mild cellulite, and almost-touching inner thighs? I HAVE THAT!!! Do you know what this means? I, too, can look like the cover of MAXIM magazine. And I don’t need to work out for one more day! All I need is Photoshop! Thank GAWD….somebody get me a spoon, I’m gonna celebrate… all the way down to the bottom of the peanut butter jar!

It’s not all about the body shape either, girls. You may not have realized this, because it is a HUGE secret, but PSSSTTT……celebrities get zits too! Check it out….

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Have you ever been driving along on a nice sunny day, minding your own business, thinking about rainbows and butterflies, when you glance into the rear-view mirror and *SMACK*! A huge and angry looking red zit reaches down and bitch slaps you into reality? You could swear it wasn’t there when you left the comfortable soft lighting of your cave, but out here in the harsh light of day, your skin seems like it suddenly contracted some kind of foreign parasite and you find yourself wishing it was socially acceptable to wear a balaclava in the middle of July. Well, you’re not alone!!! Contrary to popular belief, zits don’t disappear when you turn 18, either. They’re in it for the long haul, just like Herpes! Zits are like your annoying third cousins…they’re irritating, they’re ugly, and you may not see them often but when you do, you remember why you hate them. Oh, and they like to pop in at the most inconvenient times. With friends. Just like zits. Only you can’t Photoshop your cousins out of your life…..See? Zits are better!

What I’m getting at here is that we as women have this idea in our heads about what we “should” look like….We could blame it on Hollywood, we could blame it on Magazines, we could blame it on men! But the truth is, we are doing this to ourselves. Women’s magazines Photoshop their ads because women will easily believe the lie that we are not quite good enough, but if we buy their stuff, or follow their advice, or wear their clothes, maybe we could be. And to be a nerd and quote Carrie from Sex and the City…”Why are we ‘Shoulding’ all over ourselves?”. Not to mention, we judge each other. Don’t pretend we don’t. Maybe it’s jealousy, or insecurity, or maybe we’re just plain mean sometimes, but women are guilty of the highest level of betrayal…turning on our own kind. The result of that is Photoshop! We are afraid, for fear of judgement, to present our natural selves to the world, and it’s a sad, sad shame.

I flipped on the tube last night, and while perusing the guide I found: “Dana: The 8 year old anorexic“. I have a soon to be 8 year old daughter. My pulse quickens with anxiety at the thought of her ever feeling like her perfect little body somehow doesn’t measure up, and yet I know that at some point, she will. How can I prevent this from happening? I wish I knew. I can only hope that I can instill in her enough self-confidence to know that she is not perfect, as nobody is, but she is Just Right. I would want her to become an adult who knows that her flaws do not define her, and that worrying about all the ways she isn’t perfect is just a huge waste of time that would be better spent enjoying life. Any mother would want that for her daughter.

I am somebody’s daughter. Maybe it’s time I took my own advice? I think so.

Strong Women

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Let’s do a brief Recap of today, shall we?

Today, I repeated the phrase, “Holy Shit” in my head approximately 39 times in 60 minutes.
Today, I laid on my livingroom floor gasping for breath while my 5 year old asked me if I was o.k.
Today, I started Phase 2 of Insanity.

Now, I have to admit that despite my “RAH RAH!” Go-Fitness!!! attitude lately, I was really kind of dreading today. On January 2, I made a promise to myself to get my ass in shape come hell or high water, and I’ve been doing a pretty good job. I got on the treadmill consistently. I counted my calories and kept a food journal, as annoying and crazy as it sounds, because I know that it’s the only thing that keeps me on track and accountable for what is going down the hatch. 5 weeks ago, I made a deal with devil, otherwise known as Shaun T, to take the “Insanity Challenge”. It was hard, but hell I was loving the results so I kept going. After 4 weeks, there is a one week “Recovery Period” where you basically do a slow, stretch/tone/yoga dvd every day instead of the crazy freak show workouts you’ve been doing for 6 days a week for the past month.

I did not do said Recovery dvd’s.

My plan was actually to use this week to get back to the treadmill and enjoy some jogging, as I have been missing it and too tired to do it in addition to the Insanity workouts. And then I went and got all crazy and disfigured my foot or something in a freak stiletto accident and I decided I better just use the recovery week to “take ‘er easy”. Which apparently also meant “eat whatever I want and worry about it later.” I still like healthy food, don’t get me wrong!!! But I was definitely affected by that strange phenomenon that occurs when you skip a workout (or 5) and suddenly don’t feel as motivated to put the cupcake down. At first, it was like, “Hhmmm…maybe I’ll have an extra scoop of peanut butter today”, and by the end of the week it was more like, “WWHHHEEEEEEEE! This is FUN! Cookies and Cupcakes and Butter Tarts, OH MY!!! What else can I eat?!?!?!”

Cut to today. Monday Morning. Day 1 of Insanity, Phase 2. This is no joke. Remember when i told you about laying in a puddle of my own sweat and maybe a little urine on Day 1 of Insanity Phase 1? Well today, I laid on the floor twitching, wondering if I was actually going to barf like the contestants on Biggest Loser. I had a brief vision of Jillian Michaels looming over me hurling Loser insults like rapid-fire. Sorry Jillian, you’re gonna have to take your condescending negative reinforcement tactics elsewhere, I’m way too exhausted to give a shit. According to the Fit Test, my fitness level has actually increased significantly since day one, but according to the look on my kid’s face as I panted and swore and wheezed, I clearly needed medical attention.

I had mentally prepared myself for this. I knew it was going to be a notch tougher than the last round. Shaun T does warn that you will have to “Dig Deeper!!”, after all. I also knew that after taking a luxurious and lazy week off, my body would probably go into shock. I was looking forward to getting back into a routine, but I was afraid. I spent the morning doing what I do best; procrastinating. I know I normally would be working out by 9:30, but I think I better make my bed first. Hmmm, the baby doesn’t quite look ready for a nap, I better just wait. Don’t want to have to quit halfway through! I think I’ll just have a quick snack out of the fridge first….. MY, oh my! Looks like the fridge could use a good cleaning! This could be awhile….

Finally I bit the bullet and just did it. It sucked. It was horrible, and hard, and I thought I was going to die. I counted down every second on the timer…ok just 30 more minutes….just 25 more minutes….dear jeesers please let me just make it to the 4 minute cool down. I was sucking air like my lungs had holes in them. The “actors” doing the workout behind Shaun T were dropping like flies. I began to silently question my motives. Did I really want to be in shape this bad? What the hell for?? Why am I doing this to myself?

Because I can. And I did. And I will again, tomorrow.

And because I have lost 12 inches off my hips, thighs and waist in 55 days, Bitches!!! BOOYAH!
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….. Oh, and 3 off my chest….BOOO!

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motivation

I’m coming off of a looong weekend of doing absolutely nothing and eating absolutely everything. This was a nice welcomed break from what could be described as a “strict” but enjoyed workout regimen. I welcomed the lapse, thinking that it was the perfect time to shake things up a little….I had just finished the first month of my 2 month Insanity workout program, I had a fun weekend planned, and let’s face it I was getting a little bit bored with what I was (or Wasn’t) eating. I really have learned to love working out and eating clean, but I was starting to hear that little nagging nagger in my brain, suggesting that maybe I should just take a little break? What could it hurt? I’ve been doing so well! I can afford a little down-time!

This is exactly where the wheels typically fall off of the Motivation Train. Despite my best intentions, a day or two break ends up turning into the better part of a week, and pretty soon I end up back where I started, using my treadmill as a drying rack for wet bath towels and digging my fat jeans out of the bottom of the closet. (You know damn well no sane woman ever gets rid of her fat jeans…just in case! That shit is expensive!!) I live in fear of that sinking feeling of disappointment you get the first time you realize it’s time for the fat jeans again. It doesn’t happen overnight, so there’s always a little bit of denial involved, but the end result is devastation every time. Another failed attempt. I guess this wasn’t the time “I really meant it” after all. Most of us have been there, and it sucks. New Years Resolutions, you can go to hell!

So, I am very aware this time, and vigilant. I have learned my lesson. I do not want to give up. I am seeing results! I am on a roll! Alicia Keys is the soundtrack in my head every morning as I open my eyes… “THIS…GIRL IS ON FIIIIYAAAAARRRRRR!” Yep, Feelin’ good. And still, because I am human, my motivation is waning. I feel like I am white knuckling, hanging off the side of the “workout” cliff with one finger, clinging to my last little chunk of motivation for dear life. It’s hot. Fear of failure is beating on my head like a giant laser beam, and the salty sweat of defeat drips down my face. My kids start circling overhead like vultures, just waiting to get a taste of mommy when she finally gives up and tumbles to her demise in the deep, dark chasm of hotdogs and grilled cheese. There is a mirage in the distance.

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Yes. Now, I have been eating Peanut Butter all along. I had finally decided I had enough with the ridiculous attempts at trying to give it up, and decided to allow myself as much as I wanted, as long as I was working out and watching everything else in my diet. Presto Change-o! Suddenly I didn’t have an obsession! I still loved Peanut Butter, I just didn’t “love it” 10 times a day. My evil plan worked! What a genius! Reverse Psychology is alive and well! But wait, what is this happening now? I miss a couple of workouts, and suddenly, the Peanut Butter is calling my name? Bastard. I can’t pass through the kitchen without being pulled toward the pantry by Peanut Butter’s evil peanuty force.
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Damn you, Peanut Butter.

I better get on the treadmill and work some of it off. I like to run! This shouldn’t be hard! Ugh. Was it always this annoying to move all the furniture and roll out the treadmill? What a pain in the ass! Who does this? Oh well, ok there. It’s out. I’m ready. Now where the hell are my shoes. There is a knot tied in the laces! WTF! The shit I gotta deal with, I tell ya. I am starting to smell the funk of a bad attitude, and I think it’s coming from me. oK So I finally get on and turn it up…got the baby in the swing, the music is loud, just like I like it. This feels good! I knew it would be ok if I could just make myself get on this…OWW! What in GoodGagnam’sGonads was that?! My foot feels like it has been crushed! When did this happen?

oH, YEAH. Probably on the weekend, when I was wearing those really hot 9 inch stiletto heels out dancing all night. And my feet were so swollen, I couldn’t get the shoes on the next day. Remember that? Uh-huh, it’s all coming back to me…..I’ve heard that beauty is painful but this is ridiculous! OK I’m just gonna have to push past it. Pain is gain! It’s not that bad! I….can…..

Screw it. this hurts. game over.

I shut off the machine and limped to safety. Sitting on the floor, I slowly peeled off my running shoes and wondered if this was the end. Did I hit the wall? Would this be like every other time I finally gave up?

I didn’t get back on the treadmill. I also didn’t let it beat me. I had vowed at the beginning of my “mission” that in order for something to change, I would have to change something. And that is what I did. I changed my attitude. I didn’t let my mind drift to thoughts of peanut butter, fat pants and defeat. I was kind to myself, and forgiving. I put away all my gear for the day, knowing I would try again tomorrow. I made myself a healthy lunch. I stretched. I didn’t give up.

Sometimes, motivation just ain’t there. Sometimes it is, but the body isn’t willing. Sometimes, you just want to sit on your ass and eat cheesecake. Life is unpredictable, and success shouldn’t be measured by checkmarks on your calendar. Success is a state of mind. If it didn’t come today, there’s hope for tomorrow. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Find your inner Alicia Keys.

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“THIS….GIRL IS ON FIIIIYYYYAAAAAAAAR!”