Cats don’t need no stinkin’ garlic butter

Did I forget anything?

We don’t say “diet” around here, no, no, no.

The very word diet comes from an Old French word meaning “put the cookie down,” and therefore denotes deprivation and great sadness, not to mention multiple handfuls of Nestlé Toll House Morsels tossed back when nobody’s looking.

Nope. In our house we use the phrase, “eat clean,” which means, we eat better than you.

It means that after intense dietary research, after the expensive purchase of lots of “whole” and “unprocessed” and “organic” foods, and after the violent and heartless removal of my stash of Nestlé Toll House Morsels from deep within the freezer, I may now make fun of my neighbor’s block of Velveeta when she isn’t in hearing range.

Because I’m eating clean, I’ve also gotten religion. Where I once mistakenly attended the Our Lady of Low Fat, I have now seen the light and worship at the Holy Mysteries of the Low Carb, where we tsk tsk about those poor souls still attending the Gathering of Calorie Counters. They’re all going to swimsuit hell. They just don’t know it yet.

Didn’t need religion yesterday, though. Any desire to eat instantly evaporated when I moved my kitchen trash container to sweep and found… this… creature:

Picture of the kiwa Hirsuta, which is very kiwa, and very hirsuta, if I may say so'
Allow me to introduce the Kiwa Hirsuta, which after intense scientific study has been found to be not only very kiwa, but also extremely hirsuta.

Okay, so that’s the wrong creature. My creature was a land lizard of some sort, minus various body parts, whereas this is a sea crustacean of some sort, presumably found intact. But I’m certain the scientists who discovered this character also lost their appetites when they realized what garlic butter would do to all that blonde hair.

By the way, “kiwa hirsuta” means hairy garlic butter, in case you were wondering.

Nope, the lizard creature I found had crawled under my kitchen trash to hide from one of the cats, but sadly gave up and croaked after he realized the Lizard Swat Team also got eaten and at that moment was being regurgitated all over our living room couch.

Yes, “eating clean” in this house is much easier than you’d think it might be.

On dumbbells, bulldogs and saber tooth tigers

I’ve started working out again.

“Oh good lord,” you say. “Now we’re all gonna be subjected to ‘Woo hoo! My forearm muscles came in! Yay!'”

Come on, can it be that bad? I just don’t understand sentiments like Pat’s:

Blog Resolutions

*I will not start an exercise program and chronicle my progress on my blog. If God Almighty wanted me to run, he would’ve put me in the Stone Age and set a saber tooth tiger after me.

Pat Kirby, Ramblings from the desert

As much as I adore Pat, I’ve gathered two important facts about her from her blog that you should know, namely: 1) She sounds tiny, and 2) I’m pretty sure my bottom outweighs her.

She may be scrappy as all get out and she probably can beat me at arm-wrestling (those artists build biceps like bowling balls!) but I figure I can quiet her down some if I sit on her. There’s no way she’s going to protest if she can’t inhale.

I won’t go into great detail about my workouts, I swear. I’ll just give you a few nonspecifics here and there, like how God Almighty didn’t see fit to send me a saber tooth tiger to help me with my cardio.

He did send me Mojo the Bulldog, though, an offer I resisted until yesterday—when I barricaded Mojo out of my workout space and as a result he almost electrocuted himself. (Electrifying details to follow in the next Monday Morning Mojo.)

So from now on, it’s just Mojo and me, working out, battling those extra pounds together.


Moo-ove Over, Danielle

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she’s got to decide whether or not she’s going to keep the vow she made when she was young and naive, back in the days when her head was full of hearts and flowers and her love life seemed like a juicy romance novel.

That time had come for me. What I was doing wasn’t working any more. The only option left was to go back on everything I’d ever believed and enter a brave, new world of excitement, thrills and dangerous liaisons.

But would Hubby let me?

“Get real,” he said, without even looking up from the paper. “The last time I tried to help you with your workout program you attacked me with a dumbbell. Thank God Rita held you back.”

“I’ve changed,” I said, hoping the tone in my voice showed how much. “I’ve seen the light. Rita can’t work out anymore and I can’t do it by myself. I need you.”

He grunted.

“Really and truly. According to our friends and family, your stellar pectorals make you a highly sought-out personal trainer. And I need one.”

The blunt approach always works best. Besides, it was the truth. I mean, why buy a cow when you’re married to the milkman? And he looks like Arnie Schwarzenegger?

His eyebrows rose over the top of the newspaper. “You’ll do everything I tell you to do? No complaining? No more flying dumbbells?”

“I promise.”

“And you’ll let me weigh you?”

I swallowed. Hard.


“Okay, OKAY!'”

He tossed the paper aside and jumped up, rubbing his hands together.

“Do you realize,” he said gleefully, “that in all these years of marriage I’ve never known how much you weighed?”

Like I was supposed to tell him? Where do men get these weird ideas?

“Onto the scale!” he ordered.

“I can’t weigh myself now!” I cried, appalled. “Why, it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon!”

He looked at me like I had asked him to read a few lines from the latest bodice-ripper. Like he really didn’t know that there is only one Right Way to Weigh Yourself, a universally-accepted procedure consisting of the following steps:

  1. Wake up, go to the bathroom.
  2. Brush the crud off your teeth. Be careful not to swallow any water. (Every ounce counts.)
  3. Take off all your clothes, including any underwear. (Again, every ounce counts!)
  4. Calibrate the scale. If it is even one hair’s breadth above the zero, the overage will be increased exponentially with every pound. (If the needle rests slightly below the zero it just cancels out ounces added by variables like wind direction and humidity.)
  5. Place one foot on the scale and slowly transfer your weight from the floor in a calm but deliberate movement.
  6. When the first foot is in place, lift the other foot and place it gently on the scale, too. (If you need support during the transition, hold onto the towel bar.)
  7. Let go of the towel bar very, very slowly.
  8. Exhale.
  9. Look down at the dial and note the weight.

Unfortunately, my man adheres to The Wrong Way to Weigh Yourself, an imprudent process practiced at health clubs and medical offices and consisting of the following steps:

  1. Get on the scale.
  2. Note the weight.

This wildly risky method has been known to startle a scale into reckoning you weigh 5 or 10 pounds more than you really do.

Like Hubby cares.

“I’m waiting!” he said impatiently.

I was pretty much forced to leap fully-clothed onto a poor, unsuspecting scale with breakfast and lunch under my belt. Naturally, the scale spooked. Big time.

In fact, it would’ve stampeded out of the bathroom if I hadn’t pinned it down to the floor.

“Holy cow!” exclaimed Hubby. I reached for the dumbbell rack.

“I was kidding!” he added hurriedly. “Really. It was a joke.”


I guess all this means we are really and truly married now. And perhaps it also signifies a whole new chapter in our relationship–heck, maybe even a whole new romance novel!

I could call it… The Holy Cow and the Milkman.

Danielle Steele, eat your heart out.

Mr. Beefcakes Goes for the Burn

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  And sometimes a fancy workout machine is really just an oversized clothes hanger.  At least, that’s what I insisted as an employee from Scratch and Dent Fitness installed one slightly used Hoist 200 into our kitchen/family room.

I’m a fitness videotape kind of gal.  So was Hubby, until a few Hoist brochures revealed this gender blunder to him.

“Come on,” I said. “One reason we bought this house was because it had a walk-in closet. How much more clothes space do you need?”

“I’m gonna WORK OUT with it. End of discussion,” he said.

Two months later and he still hadn’t draped a pair of pants over it. When Didi came over to borrow some butter she caught him pulling down on the lat bar.

“Whoo-eee!” she squealed.

My head popped out of our refrigerator. “What?”

“Look at him! He’s working out!”

Hubby perked up when he heard this. He flexed coyly, a religious experience for Didi.

“OH MY GAWD!” she cried. “Look at those MUSCLES!”

I looked. He did seem kind of brawny in his sleeveless tee and shorts, and if he made one more pose I was going to have to throw a bucket of water over Didi.

Word travels fast in our little cul-de-sac. It wasn’t too long before my workout buddy Rita was itching to get some pointers from my newly buff husband. In a moment of temporary insanity I mentioned this to him.

“Great!” he said enthusiastically. “I’ll have both of you in peak form in no time.”

That night Rita and I stretched on beach towels in the kitchen/family room while he gave us a Navy Seals pep talk. He used sound bites like “terrify your muscles into submission,” and “forced to the end of your limits.”

I rolled my eyes like a punk in detention and glanced at Rita.  She was practically eating out of the palm of his leather weight-lifting glove.

I reconsidered. Hubby did have some incredible muscles. Should I dismiss this fitness visionary merely because I was married to him?

“Okay,” I said. “What do I have to do?”

He handed me a 40-pound dumbbell for some lat row exercises. Until then I’d managed to do lat rows with 15-pounders… and thought I was hot stuff doing it.

“No way,” I protested.

“Just do it,” he said.

I tried to pull the weight up but it wouldn’t budge. I peeked at Rita. Grimacing, she pulled hard on hers. It rested on the carpet, undisturbed.

Hubby winced.

Shaking his head, he brought us down to 35, and then 30 pounds. Finally, he said if we went any lower than 25 pounds we’d shame all of womankind. I pulled with all my strength but my elbow couldn’t make it past my back.

“Rita,” I grunted, “I’m seriously hating your guts right now.”

Hearing this, Rita hauled elbow on her dumbbell and managed to lift it. Not to be outdone, I doubled my efforts. The dumbbell inched upward. Soon we were sweating and snorting like pigs.

I suddenly remembered how much I disliked Hubby as my labor and delivery coach. Halfway through, he had dumped the Lamaze script to quote instead from Diatribes by Pat Riley.

“Work through the pain!” he had urged. “Rise above it! Use it! Stomp it! Mangle it!”

Somehow I made it through childbirth. But this Workout from Hell was going to kill me. How could I escape?  Probably I’d have to knock Hubby out–with one of the dumbbells I could lift over my head, a 12-pounder, maybe. It would be hard, though, unless Rita helped.

A cigar may be just a cigar, I thought while plotting my retreat, but the fitness visionary in my kitchen/family room was really just a frustrated Lakers coach with good muscle definition.

Use the Force, Ellie Mae

Every summer I take a Weight Watchers cookbook and beat myself over the head with it.

Why, I groan, didn’t I exercise all year? Then at least I could be half as buff as my cousin, a former track star. When that gal drops her towel at the beach, nobody ever runs off screaming.

But this summer the cookbook stays shelved, because last New Year’s Day I told my neighbor Rita about my resolution to get in shape.

“Great!” said Rita. “We’ll work out together.”

I failed to tell Rita I make this resolution every year. I always work out for a few weeks… and then quit before January does. Working out with Rita meant I probably couldn’t quit until Valentine’s.

But Rita was resolved and so was I. (How was I to know that when some people make New Year’s Resolutions, they actually keep them?)

In the name of said resolutions, Rita has dragged me through horrific torture sessions (otherwise known as video workouts) in which we do god-awful things like hold weights on our shoulders while we climb up and down on 14-inch steps.

Yeah, it’s tough. But my jeans are loose and I’ve raised a few muscles. Heck, slather a little self-tanner on me and maybe I could drop my towel at the beach without scaring anybody. Then again, maybe not.

Either way, I have to admit that my Body by Rita came in handy the day before our last camping trip.

My husband usually loads our van roof rack. But he had to work late and I thought I’d help him out. So I put a chair next to the van and picked up a box of camp gear. Placing my foot on the chair, I hoisted the box to my shoulder… and stopped dead, because that dang thing was heavy.

I was about to give up and wait for Hubby when I noticed I was in the start position of the killer stepping exercise. So I stepped.

The box SAILED over the Caravan.

Now let me just say that blasting the Death Star couldn’t have given Luke any more pleasure than I got using the Force for the first time.

Two hours later Hubby found me in front of our van. “Hi,” I said brightly. “We’re all packed!”

Eyes wide, he surveyed my work. All three cargo boxes of camping gear were on the roof rack.

So was our tent, four folding chairs, two chaise lounges, a camp table and sun umbrella, an awning, the badminton and bocce ball sets, three boxes of food, four duffel bags, four sleeping bags and four bikes.

The bikes had been a bit of a challenge but I pretended they were wobbly barbells.

“Look at all the room inside the van!” I gushed, waving my hand like they do on game shows.

“We look like the Beverly Hillbillies,” he protested.

“Hee, hee! I’ll be Ellie Mae and you be Jethro.”

Hubby gestured at the loaded van. “YOU can be Jethro.”

The next morning the Caravan barely slowed to a park before I hopped out and raced over to my cousin’s campsite. I felt my budding muscles gave us something new in common to discuss.

“Hey!” I greeted her. “I’ve been working out.”


“Yep,” I sniffed modestly, flexing my biceps. “Loaded that Caravan all by myself.”

Cal Poly’s Star Athlete of 1984 looked me over like I was a javelin the size of a walrus.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Yeah,” I said, deflating quickly. “I’m kidding.”

Feeling the Force leave me as fast as its little Yoda legs could carry it, I scurried back to help Hubby unload the Caravan.

Should’ve packed that Weight Watchers cookbook on the roof rack, too.