Anonymous Soccer Mom

Musings from the Mundane to the Marvelous


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The Liebster Award

liebster-blog-awardI am very flattered that MerrylandGirl nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you, Melissa! The Liebster Award is an award given by the blogging community to new and upcoming bloggers with less than 200 followers. (Well, I certainly fit into that category…hint, hint!)

The rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:

1) Tell 11 things about yourself.

2) Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.

3) Post 11 questions for those who will be nominated by you.

4) nominate 11 bloggers.

5) Get in contact with those bloggers to inform them that you nominated them.

Here are my 11 facts:

1) I drink coffee with half and half. Can’t do milk, unless we’re talking a LOT of milk. Oh, and sugar, too. In college, I tried to be cool and drink my coffee black, but YIKES! Nowadays, black coffee would burn a hole through my stomach!

2) I am a pathetic housekeeper (much to my husband’s dismay). I might be allergic to cleaning. Honest! A long time ago, in desperate times, I got a job at a cleaning service. On my first day, after using some of the cleaning products, my right eyeball swelled up to twice its normal size. I’m not actually sure if this was due to the cleaning chemicals, but it still makes for a great excuse!

3)  I have a birthmark that is a congregation of freckles on my left leg in the shape of Australia–which is probably why I have such a huge thing for Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.

4) I have never watched Jersey Shore, Honey Boo Boo, any of the Real Housewives Shows, the Bachelor/Bachelorette, or American Idol. I do, however, love any and all reality shows that deal with cooking.

5) I have the same birth date as Julia Child and Napolean Bonaparte. No comment necessary.

6) I secretly want to get a tattoo, but wouldn’t know how to hide it from my kids, husband, and, most especially, my father!

7) I can’t draw. At all. I can make a cake in the shape of pretty much anything, but I wouldn’t be able to sketch it first because my drawings look like a preschooler made them. 

8) I read PEOPLE Magazine in the bathroom. Nowhere else, just the bathroom. I feel that this location is appropriate.

9) A few years ago, I wrote a very steamy novella–we’re talking 50 Shades steamy–and submitted it to Harlequin. It was summarily rejected.

10) I would eat sushi 365 days a year. (However, I cannot afford to eat sushi 365 days a year.) But I don’t like cooked fish. Broiled Halibut? Shudder. Grilled salmon? No, thank you. I will occasionally eat fish and chips, but we all know that has nothing to do with the fish itself.

11) My favorite sound is my children’s laughter. No, wait, it’s a tie between my children’s laughter and the oven timer going off when I’m baking a Tollhouse Pie. 

Questions from Merrylandgirl:

1) What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be the 5th Beatle. Problem was, I didn’t really discover the Beatles until after John Lennon was shot.

2) What was the best thing that happened to you in 2012? My debut novel, SOMETHING NEW, came out on November 6 from Penguin USA. The next day, at my first-ever book signing, I sold out, and the Barnes and Nobles event coordinator told me it was the first time a debut novelist had ever sold out at that store. 

3) If you had to perform at a karaoke bar, what song would you sing? Funny that you ask this question–I’ve performed on stage and at music clubs, but I have never been to a karaoke bar and was thinking about trying it–you know, ‘something new’ and all. Ever since Madagascar 3 came out, my daughter and I have been belting Katy Perry’s Firework out around the house. Maybe I’d do that. Maybe something by Janis Joplin, although that really dates me, doesn’t it?

4) If you could live someplace else besides where you currently live, where would it be and why? I have a fantasy of living in the south of France, writing novels in between drinking wine, exploring the beautiful countryside, and eating croissants at the nearby boulangerie with the warm-hearted and welcoming locals (cue montage music, please). 

5) If you were to take me on a tour of the town where you live, what is a must-see? I could take you to the beach or downtown or to Irrasae Sushi (see Fun Fact #10), but if you were here in winter, I’d take you to a spot just up the hill from my house. If you look in one direction, you can see the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island, and if you look in the other direction, you can see snow-capped mountains in the distance. Very cool.

6) Given I’m a book addict, tell me your favorite book of all time. Wow. Really tough question. How can I pick just one? I love so many books. Recently, Water For Elephants, anything Jennifer Weiner, anything that makes me laugh out loud, even in public, A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth, which my mother made me read, and although I resisted for years, when I finally opened it, I couldn’t put it down. I can tell you that I’ve read The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub, three times. Something about the parallel universes and Jack’s plight really spoke to me. In fact, it’s about time for me to read it again…

7) What movie, in your opinion, should never, EVER, be remade? When Harry Met Sally and Jaws. You will never find two people with chemistry like Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, and no matter how advanced special effects become, the original Jaws cannot be topped.

8) Tell me the last thing you dreamed about (while sleeping), no matter how crazy it sounds. I wish you’d asked me this last week, when I could have reported a lascivious dream starring Hugh Jackman…but the last thing I dreamed about was being back at my old job in my old restaurant in New York. It was lovely, though, because I was hanging out with my boss who has since passed away. I didn’t want the dream to end and was a little sad when I woke up.

9) What is the nicest thing someone did for you recently? Nominating me for the Liebster Award, Merrylandgirl!

10) What is your favorite month and why? September, because I got married in September and both my kids were born that month.

11) With the Oscars coming up, I’d like to ask this question: What movie (of any year) should have won an Oscar but didn’t? Or which movie won but shouldn’t have? Well, for some reason, I have a thing against Chariots of Fire. I mean, seriously, guys running in slow motion on a beach vs. Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, fighting Nazis, snakes, and creepy, face-peeling ghouls? No contest. 

11 Questions for my Nominees:

1) What is the last ‘something new’ you tried?

2) What is something you’ve always wanted to try but never have? (and why haven’t you?)

3) Who is the last new author you fell in love with and the last new book you read?

4) What cartoon character do you identify the most with and why?

5) What dessert do you crave more than any other?

6) Who is your biggest celebrity crush of all time?

7) If you were trapped in an elevator for hours, what (besides your cell phone) would you want to have with you?

8) Which person in your life do you rely on most?

9) Describe your proudest moment.

10) If you could be any kind of pet, which would you be and why?

11) What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited or lived?

My Nominees (some of whom don’t fit the number requirement, but I love their blogs):

Hong Kong Spinster

Chick Lit Chit Chat

Imperfect Mommy

A Novel Review

Qi Ancient Medicine, Modern Health

That Girl Reads

Mama J Hearts

Angry Julie Monday

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Resolve THIS!

BeerAnother year has passed, another year begun. The Christmas lights have come down. The tree is gone. All the holiday decorations have been stowed away, except for that Santa Claus soap dispenser in the bathroom that still has some Soft Soap left in it. The time has come again. The time to keep the resolutions we made a week ago, written on that scrap of paper we wish we’d misplaced, but which keeps turning up whenever we’re searching for something else.

I made a few resolutions for 2013. Not that I wanted to, or anything. I hate setting myself up for failure. But it seemed like a good idea at the time (“the time” being when I was drunk on holiday eggnog). I resolved to spend more quality time with my children, who seem to be growing up far too fast. I resolved to finish my third novel, which has been giving me agita, and which I happily set aside whilst making merry and baking myself into a coma. I resolved to be more organized with my paperwork and possessions (read: crap). And finally, I resolved to take better care of my body, this organism that has been a friend and nemesis to me, for better and for worse, for the past forty-five years.

Okay, so resolutions one through three seem pretty simple and straightforward, fairly easy to achieve if I put my mind to it. But the last—the body thing—is a different story. I am an average person in the health department. I take vitamins sporadically…you know, when I remember to. I work out regularly—logging several hours a week on the treadmill. I make sure to have plenty of veggies and lean proteins. But I also like my sweets. And my carbs. And my beer.

Over the course of my life, I have probably lost and gained hundreds of pounds. It used to be so easy. I’d say, “Okay, Janis. Get with the program.” And I’d starve and work out until I was fitting into a single digit size, smirking smugly at myself in the mirror. But now that I’m in my mid-forties, my body has changed. That thing about menopause making barrel-bellied women—that’s happening to me. And no amount of starvation or jogging or sit-ups is having any effect on my midsection. I trained and ran a half marathon last year, for God’s sake. But the photo of me crossing the finish line reveals not a fit, toned middle-aged chick, but an estrogen-challenged porker who also happens to have enough stamina to run 13.1 miles without stopping (not even to pee, mind you).

Sometimes, I think it might be nice to embrace my inner fattie, let myself go, and start amiably packing on the pounds with all my favorite foods. There are many women who make plus-sizes look great. They have confidence up the yin-yang! They say, “Yeah, I’m fat. And I’m FABULOUS.” Unfortunately, I have never been one of those women. I’m more the kind of woman who pretends to be pregnant, rather than overweight. Lots of forty-somethings are having babies nowadays, so, for the time being, no one questions it. Although this ruse might not work so well when I hit my fifties and sixties…

But what I realize now, aside from the fact that Mother Nature is a cruel bitch, it’s not so much about size for me anymore as it is about feeling good in middle age. I’m a mom, first and foremost. Yes, I want to be attractive. But I’m happily married to a great guy who has seen me carrying around a ten pound baby in my belly and still managed to have sex with me, so he can handle a few generous curves. But I want to be a healthy mom. The kind of mom who plays tag on the front lawn with her kids. Who jumps in the ocean and climbs on a surfboard right alongside them. Who does the three-legged race at the 4th of July picnic without having a coronary. Not the mom sitting on the sidelines stuffing her face with a corn dog and continually pulling her over-sized shirt down to hide her tremendous gut.

So, hell, I just have to keep this resolution. As much as it pains me, I’ll forgo the dessert most of the time—not all the time, because endless days without chocolate are not worth living. I’ll cut out the beer, except on hot summer days. I’ll do my treadmill religiously, so that I can actually tag my kids instead of huffing around the front lawn ineffectually, causing my son to dial 9-1-1. As a mom, this resolution is my duty, my cross to bear, my honor. Okay, maybe not that last one so much.

And if all else fails, if cutting out the sweets and hops doesn’t work, I’ll bribe my husband into paying for a little lipo and a tummy tuck.

Wait a minute! Just hold on a sec. That’s a much better idea! Lipo and a tummy tuck! Much better than starvation and deprivation! Just shove a little vacuum into my navel, set the suction to high, staple up the excess skin. Boom. Done.

Wow. I’m so glad I thought of that! I mean, it’s not like I’m blowing off my resolution. There are many ways to take care of your body, right? Eating healthfully. Exercising regularly. Going to the spa. Doing yoga (gag). Drinking wheat grass juice. Getting lipo and a tummy tuck…Awesome.

Now, where did I put my beer?