Weight loss

I have OFFICIALLY lost ten pounds.

10.4 pounds, to be exact.

It may not seem like a lot but I’ve been struggling to lose weight for years and never broke the five pound mark so I’m THRILLED to have finally made some progress.

I’m going to reward myself with a day of pampering with my sister.

That’s right, I’m going to Reno to visit Lisa.

We’re scheduled to get facials and then enjoy a nice dinner out.

Once upon a time, my sister and I were not that close.

She was a hippie in high school and I was a nerd.

We didn’t understand each other.

Add to that the fact that we were ALWAYS together (in the same grade, drive to school together, share a bed on vacation together, etc.) and we sure fought A LOT.

Lisa liked to throw things at me and I liked to break her stuff.

It’s changed now, especially since she lives in Reno.

She’s far enough away that I don’t get to see her on a regular basis.

So I’m SUPER excited that I’ll get to see her in a week and just hang out.

How times change, no?

We’ll see if she can tell that I’ve lost weight.

I personally think I need to make it to twenty pounds before people start to notice but the other day a coworker stopped by my desk and asked, “Have you lost weight?”

I considered joking and saying, “I’m wearing black, which is a very slimming color” but instead I said, “Yes, I have.”

Yes, I have lost weight.

Yes, I’m feeling better about myself.

Yes, yes, yes!

It’s incredible how happy weight loss feels.

I could get used to this.

P.S. In case you’re wondering what I’m doing to lose weight I am walking and following a ketogenic diet.

Heaven

A small detail you may not know about me:

I live with my blind father.

He lost his eyesight maybe 10 years ago and requires a lot of help and assistance – for meals, activities, house chores, etc.

Needless to say, my mom bears the brunt of most of the work, but I help out where I can.

But it’s A LOT of work.

So last weekend, my sister and I flew my mom to Reno (where my sister lives) for a weekend away.

We were also celebrating my mom’s 75th birthday!

We slept in.  Helped with setting up some furniture for my son (who will be attending UNR in the fall and living with my sister), had an awesome meal at a lovely restaurant, and just generally relaxed.

It was heaven!

One thing we did, which we LOVE to do, was paint pottery.

I still have pottery I made in grade school during Mr. Fairman’s art class – a mug with a big bulbous nose which holds pens for me.

Here are the pieces we painted:

Honestly, I had a wonderful time.

And considering that I left Reno to host 10 events in 10 days at work, I needed the R&R.

I had a great time with my mom and my sister.

I think too often I take their presence in my life for granted and it was nice to slow down a bit and focus on them for a weekend.

And then I peed my pants

Elton JohnThe first thing you need to know about my trip to Tahoe to see Elton John is that I am in my early 40s. And although I didn’t realize it at the time I was buying the tickets, that makes me a little young for Elton’s demographic.

When I pointed this out to my sister, the man sitting in front of us said, “I heard that,” and gave us a scowl.

The second thing you need to know is that even BEFORE WE HAD DINNER at a nearby restaurant, my sister and I polished off a fifth of vodka. Yum yum! Thank you very much. We had a nice buzz going which is why we had two glasses of wine each with dinner.

Yeah, I know. You can see where this is headed already.

So we had dinner and drinks and then called a cab to take us to Harvey’s to see Elton John.

My sister had ordered two stadium seats for this event specifically and she told me, “Make sure we don’t forget them.”

Yes, I’m sure you can see where this is going.

While we each drank 4 Lagunitas Sumpin Sumpin beers, Elton John performed:

  • Bitch (which Lisa and I agreed was Gavin’s theme song)
  • Benny and the Jets
  • Goodbye Norman Jean
  • All the Young Girls
  • Levon
  • Tiny Dancer
  • Love
  • Daniel
  • Philadelphia Freedom
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • Rocket Man
  • I Guess That’s why They Call it the Blues

And then I got too drunk to actually write anything else down that makes an iota of sense to me now.

But THE BEST PART was how Lisa and I got home.

We actually were so drunk and turned around we couldn’t find our hotel a mere 4 blocks away so we HOPPED INTO A PRIVATE CAR WITH A COMPLETE STRANGER and my sister paid him $40 to drive us 4 blocks to our hotel.

BUT THERE’S MORE…. I had to go to the bathroom so bad, I peed a little in my pants when we were in his car.

Yup.

I peed my pants.

Nice, eh?

What a night!

Diapers to drink

When I was in college at UCSB, we drank Keystone Light at parties.

It was our go-to beer for the college crowd – cheap, cheap, and cheap.

Fast forward 30 years, and I wouldn’t dare drink a Keystone Light.

I’d rather shave my head with a cheese grater while chewing on tinfoil.

I’m all about craft beer, as evidenced by my membership in the Southbay Beerhounds – an unpretentious haunted house of eccentrics who love beer, dogs, and other oddities.

Yes, sir.

Just like there are wine snobs, there are also beer snobs, and I’m one of them.

My oldest son has now joined the ranks of the college crowd and you know what their favorite drink is?

Coors.

It kills me that he drinks Coors and the other day my sister and I were chatting about my son’s wayward taste in beer.

She too scoffs at Coors.

According to her, it’s a waste of time and alcohol to drink Coors because you have to pee all the time.

The alcohol goes straight through you.

We’re not even sure you can get drunk of Coors.

One thing is for sure, if you’re going to drink Coors, you’ll need diapers to drink.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila FLOOR!

While my sister was visiting, we had the brilliant idea of making margaritas at home. I decided if we were having margaritas, we also needed to do shots and so I insisted we pick up a bottle of Patron to do shots with.

Now the thing you need to know about my sister and I growing up, is that she was the naughty one but I always got in trouble. Somehow she always managed to skate free. I claim that this is because I used to cover for her. She claims she didn’t get in trouble because she was not naughty.

LIAR!

In any case, Lisa and I were about one deep in margaritas and two deep into shots when my sister asked me for another shot.

Sure thing. Coming right up.

As I’m pouring it, my mom comes into the kitchen, looks at me and the tequila, and says, “Really Michelle? Another one?” and walks out.

I’m left standing there feeling reprimanded and indignant.

I follow her.

“Just so you know, it’s for Lisa,” I tell her.

Yes, I was a tattletale.

But I felt a whole lot better and my inner child rejoiced for not being labeled the naughty one.

Just the enabler.

Ha ha!

[What I did after 2 shots of tequila and 2 margaritas is a different post]

FIRE!

My birth family lives in the North Bay.

Specifically the Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor areas of the North Bay.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the North Bay is ON FIRE right now.

It has officially become the WORST FIRE in the history of California fires, surpassing the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.

I knew there was a fire when I left to go to work, some 90 miles away from the devastation.

I could smell it in the air.

I assumed there had been a fire locally until my friend Barbara texted me, “I hope your family is safe.”

What?!

I called her immediately for an explanation.

“Santa Rosa is on fire,” she told me.

I immediately hung up and began texting and calling my relatives.

It took a while but everyone was safe. . . except my birth mom, who I couldn’t reach.

Finally my sister got in touch with me.

It didn’t look promising that our mother’s house was still standing.

She texted me a photo later.

Charred remains of a building.

I immediately started crying.

Mom’s house!

Oh no! All the memories! All the gatherings! The golden nuggets of life that intersected at that home!

10 minutes later my sister told me it was a picture of her school and MOM’S HOUSE IS STIL STANDING.

I went from the depths of despair to the wings of angels in a moment, only tempered by the fact that so many people in the North Bay have lost their home and belongings.

I texted my mom that I loved her and she texted me back.

Coverage is spotty but for the time being, EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IS DOING FINE.

Hug your loved ones extra close today.

They are our biggest blessings.

Hands Off

I dunno.

Call me old fashioned but the minute my girlfriend pairs off with a guy and does some mattress dancing, he’s HANDS OFF to me in perpetuity.

Actually, the minute she tells me she’s INTERESTED IN HIM is when I start looking in other directions.

But, just to reiterate, once a guy has slept with a friend of mine, he’s OFF LIMITS to me FOREVER.

There has been one exception to this rule: Austin.

Austin dated my sister in high school and had a fling with her.

Years later, Austin and I met and wanted to go out so I ASKED MY SISTER’S PERMISSION to go out with him.

She laughed at me.

“It was fucking high school,” she told me. “Go ahead.”

So I jumped head first into that tall cool drink of water.

Nevertheless, I am STUNNED when friends of mine go after my lovers, ex or current.

It just seems like a very gauche thing to do.

Now.

I know they’re all BIG BOYS and can make up their own damn minds.

And I’ll leave them to it.

But it certainly says something about who some of my friends are that I can’t trust them not to hit on my lovers, past and present.

Fortunately, most of my friends are married.

The few single friends I have aren’t into lumberjacks.

One likes chocolate. One likes mocha. And the other likes nerds.

So I’m golden.

Speedboats and oblivious teenagers

Duncan

The thing is you can be on vacation with your 15 and 17 year old sons in Reno, Nevada visiting your sister.

And maybe you decide to go to Donner Lake for a little R & R.

So you get set up on the beach – towels, sunblock, food, 48 oz can of PBR. . .

And everyone rushes into the water to play while you sun yourself on the beach.

And lo and behold, an hour passes and everyone is still out in the water.

So you look, and your sister is waving her hands frantically.

BECAUSE YOUR 17 YEAR OLD SON IS SNORKELING OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SPEEDBOATS.

And the current is too strong for her to reach him.

INSTANT ANXIETY ATTACK!

But there’s no time to freak out.

So you get yourself up and swim out to your sister, who is floating in an inflatable inner tube with another empty inner tube attached to it.

EVEN THOUGH YOU HAD NO INTENTION OF GETTING WET!

And you slip into the empty inner tube and DRAG your sister, who is tired from swimming for the last hour, out INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE SPEED BOATS WHERE YOUR SON IS OBLIVIOUSLY LOOKING FOR GO PRO CAMERAS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE WITH A SNORKEL AND MASK.

Maybe you asked him to come in with you.

Maybe you begged.

Maybe you even BRIBED HIM BY OFFERING TO BUY HIM HIS OWN GO PRO.

Then you started yelling.

After all, you’re floating IN THE MIDDLE OF SPEEDBOATS trying to convince your son what he’s doing is dangerous – head down in the water, no flotation device, a tiny body in a sea of water and waves. Practically invisible to drunk, vacationing boaters.

And that’s when he says it.

“When I’m 18 I can do whatever I want and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

And that’s when you realize that he’s still very young for his age. Physically 17, mentally 6.

This just goes to show. . . you NEVER stop parenting your kids, no matter how old they get.Duncan

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One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR

photo-5While my sister was visiting, we had the brilliant idea of making margaritas at home.  I decided if we were having margaritas, we also needed to do shots and so I insisted we pick up a bottle of Patron to do shots with.

Now the thing you need to know about my sister and I growing up, is that she was the naughty one but I always got in trouble.  Somehow she always managed to skate free.  I claim that this is because I used to cover for her.  She claims she didn’t get in trouble because she was not naughty.  LIAR!

In any case, Lisa and I were about one deep in margaritas and two deep into shots when my sister asked me for another shot.

Sure thing.  Coming right up.

As I’m pouring it, my mom comes into the kitchen, looks at me and the tequila, and says, “Really Michelle?  Another one?” and walks out.

I’m left standing there feeling reprimanded and indignant.

I follow her.

“Just so you know, it’s for Lisa,” I tell her.

Yes, I was a tattletale.

But I felt a whole lot better and my inner child rejoiced for not being labeled the naughty one.

Just the enabler.

Ha ha!

[What I did after 2 shots of tequila and 2 margaritas is a different post]

Burning Man The “Easy” Way

I’m going to Burning Man for the third time this year.

And I’m really looking forward to exploring the playa with Yvonne, Tejas’ former lady love (did I mention they split?).

We’re all piling into his RV, the Motorbeast, and camping together at Burning Man.

But this year there’s a twist.

I am flying in and out of Reno and taking the Burner Express to and from the playa.

Best of all, I get to see my sister who lives in Reno the Saturday before the burn and the Monday after the burn.

Did I mention that she has a waterfall shower and a hot tub?

It will feel SO AWESOME after the burn to take a luxurious shower and soak in her hot tub.

I feel like each time I go to Burning Man, I capture a little more of it’s flavor.

My first year, I struggled.

My second year, I started to have fun.

This year hopefully the trend continues and I spend more time exploring and less time in camp.

I wish I could pack up The Swede and take him with me to Burning Man.

I think he’d have a great time checking out the art and interactivity.

But I don’t think that will happen this year, so I’m resigned to finding ways to really enjoy myself with Tejas and Yvonne.

As much as it’s possible to have a great experience at Burning Man going as a solitary person and making your own fun I find that for me, the most fun I can have is sharing my experiences with others.

Someday perhaps I will share Burning Man with The Swede.

For now, my partners in crime are Tejas and Yvonne.

And that’s a lot!