Tag Archives: Girlfriends

Weekly Musings

I know it’s only Thursday, so the week’s not over yet, but I’ve been such a slacker wrt to posting  in August and September. Well, that’s what 4 weeks of vacation can do to you. Or that’s what it did to me. Luckily, I’ve been inspired by my friend Leah who posts on her blog very frequently (even on vacation!). Check out Leah’s blog about the fit life and hear her talk at the 2015 Listen To Your Mother Austin show. Leah is funny, smart, and fit. We should all be so blessed.

 

This week’s musings – A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

Mantras I spoke this week:

  • May peace begin with me, in my heart.
  • May I redeem myself and reclaim what is inherently good, those life values I want to make manifest.
  • May I be fully present in this moment, pausing to make sure I am giving my full attention to it.
  • May I greet each day as an opportunity to be my best self, a platform for beginning anew.

This week, I was focused on changing the things inside me that hold me back from being who I want to be. I know that all positive (or negative) change begins with me, and I need to use each moment of each day to remember that and act on it, to continually improve and grow myself.

 

Shindig on the Green in Asheville, these are some of my fab friends who visited.

Shindig on the Green in Asheville. These are some of my fab friends who visited. I LOVE girlfriend time!

 

Best podcasts I listened to this week:

  • On Being interview with Mike Rose, an education researcher at UCLA. He discusses school systems, vocational tracking, and meaningful work. Wow. I can’t say enough about how important it is to have school reform that helps every child reach his or her full potential, whatever that might be.
  • Ted Radio Hour show on Transformation. First of all, I just discovered that this was a podcast. I love it because it combines similar Ted Talks into 1 show and clips from the talks are interspersed with interviews with the speakers. Given all my mantras this week about using each moment to best your best, this show was particularly inspiring.

 

Best blog I just discovered:

Okay, I’m late to the game, but because I subscribe to Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits, I read about Scott Dinsmore (unfortunately what I read was that Scott died this week) and his blog Live Your Legend. So, I checked out the blog, and it’s awesome, all about discovering what you’re really passionate about turning that passion into your every day reality, in work and life.

 

From my hike to Skinny Dip Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Leaving Skinny Dip Falls, Pisgah National Forest. The Blue Ridge Mountains are purty.

 

Gratitude this week:

  • Vacation. I spent the past 4 weeks at my mom’s 2nd home in Asheville, North Carolina. I did lots of sleeping in, lots of eating out, and the perfect amount of laughing and shopping with girlfriends. I read a lot of books. I wrote (a little). I got to hear Old Time music (my mom plays fiddle and bass) and Honky Tonk music (my stepdad plays pedal steel guitar and banjo). I went on beautiful hikes, and I spent some quality time with my amazing mom. My heart is full. Truly.
  • Vacation is great, but being back home after 4 weeks of being gone is even better. Sometimes all you need to make everything okay in the world is to sleep in your own bed and snuggle with a child.
  • Work. My job is pretty great. I work from home, the hours are flexible, and the pay is good. I get to meet amazing scientists and read (and edit) lots of scientific papers that challenge me.
  • My husband. I got 9 days by myself in the States because my  husband came back to Germany with our daughter for the sole purpose of allowing me a much needed break from everything. I’m glad I get to share my life with him. He’s pretty awesome.

 

Me and my Amazing Mom.

Me and mom. Photo courtesy of my talented cousin Mario who now lives (and photographs) in Asheville.

 

Those are my musings. What about you?

  • What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path?
  • What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you?
  • What are you grateful for in your life?

 

 

Weekly Musings

A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

Mantras I spoke this week:

  • May I set up the conditions that will help me be successful in my intentions.
  • May I remember all the good things people have given me in my life (smiles that brightened my day, anecdotes that made me laugh, words that encouraged me, money that helped when I really needed it) and Pay It Forward.
  • May I do the work I need to do in order to live an intentional and purposeful life, rooted in my deepest values.
  • May I continue to awaken myself.

This week was a lot of reminders to bring forth my best self, who is always present but needs some prodding on (most) occasions to be manifested.

 

Best podcasts I listened to this week:

  • On Being interview with Mirabai Bush. I listened to this episode after I posted Road Tripping Through Life, but it’s kinda the same thing. Living a contemplative life – there are many different paths. There isn’t just one way to do it and to awaken your truest, best self. Find your path.
  • Good Life Project interview with Kara Yar Khan. This is a great interview to inspire you to be grateful for all the wondrous miracles of your life. It’s not just about having the fanciest car or the cutest shoes. It’s about being happy with what you have, loving your life, and living to the fullest.

 

My Wrist of Intentions:

These bracelets are my daily notes to self. I bought the Love bracelet a while back and made the other two this week. These bracelets don’t come off (okay, they can, but I haven’t taken them off). They run with me, shower with me, sleep with me, do everything with me. And every time I look at my wrist, I’m reminded of some very important truths/life lessons.

My Wrist of Intentions

 

Gratitude this week:

  • Deepak/Oprah 21-Day Meditation Experience. The current meditation series is Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude. Love.
  • Relationship Harmony. My husband and I are working on our relationship dynamics (which were in a state of total suckiness) and I’m amazed how little effort it has taken on both our parts to be more loving, kind, and compassionate with each other.
  • Pay It Forward project. Over the past year, I sent gifts to 6 women friends/acquaintances of mine. Some big, some small, all were thought out and sent with love. What a phenomenal experience for me.
  • Running on Wood Mulch. I went for a run today and city workers had laid down wood mulch in part of the Englischer Garten. I have never run on mulch before, but it was so soft and springy. And it smelled so earthy. It was in a part of the park right by the surfers, with a green canopy of tree coverage. I seriously had a “Wow, happiness!” moment.
  • Girlfriend Love. I get to see several of my closest friends in August. One is coming to visit in 10 days. And then a few days after she and her family leave, I’ll fly to the States for a month (thank you, sweet baby Jesus!). I won’t go to Texas but to my mom’s other home in North Carolina, where a couple of my friends are flying from Texas to see me. It will be like grown up girl camp for a week, and I can’t wait!

 

That’s what I’m musing about this week. What about you?

  • What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path?
  • What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you?
  • What are you grateful for in your life?

 

 

Feeling (Dis)Connected

Core Value #2 – Community

I’m revisiting my core values. I wrote about mindful awareness a few weeks ago, and now I’m checking in with my value of community and social connection.

I thrive on relationships. My closest relationships nourish me, replenish me, and keep me sustained. I am happiest when I’m with others – my extended family at the holidays, my girlfriends for a good meal, my students when I was a teacher. I am a people person, and I need to be connected to others in order to be happy.

But I’m not alone in this need. Every one of us needs social interaction. According to scientist Julianne Holt-Lunstad, who authored a meta-analysis on social relationships and mortality risk, “ People who are both objectively isolated and subjectively lonely may be at the greatest risk of death.” Being lonely is as bad for your health as smoking or being obese. For someone who has almost no friends in the entire country she lives in, this is frightening. And depressing. And overwhelming.

The_Scream

The Scream by Edvard Munch (courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Furthermore, this research specifies that it’s not just the quality of the social relationships that matter but the quantity of them.

Social isolation hurts. Literally. UCLA researcher Matthew Lieberman has found that social connection is so important that “when we are rejected or experience other social ‘pain,’ our brains ‘hurt’ in the same way they do when we feel physical pain.” This pain is evident in MRI scans. Being lonely really hurts, just like having a broken leg does.

I have felt isolated and lonely for most of the time I’ve lived in Europe but even more so in the last year. Despite all my efforts – I’ve joined organizations, taken classes, tried to instigate social gatherings – I have almost no friends. As a result, I’ve mostly givien up trying. And now that I work from home, my daily social interactions have dwindled to an even smaller number. I could go the whole day only speaking to my 7-year old child. And as much as I love her, her level of discourse is not exactly stimulating.

On Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, feeling like you belong is one level above safety and basic human survival requirements. But I’d say that if lacking them can kill you, then social relationships are a survival requirement, along with food and water. Social relationships aren’t a luxury; they are a necessity. And just like with Harlow showed with his famous (bless their little hearts) monkeys, lacking real social interaction will result in failure to thrive and wreak havoc on the organism. We need attachment, physical contact, and human connection to survive.

Maslow's_Hierarchy_of_Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org)

I know this is to be true, because this move to Europe has resulted in the sacrifice of my own well being and happiness and, therefore, those of my husband and daughter. I am surviving here, but I am not thriving. Quite the opposite. With each day that passes, I feel like I lose a little bit more of myself. My happiness (try as I might and believe me, I am trying to be happy), my self esteem, my sense of self – it feels like they’re slipping away, because I’m lonely, because most of my close relationships are with people on another continent, separated by geography and time.

I value human connection, and I need it. To be happy and healthy I need community. I need it desperately.

 

Sources for more reading on the topic:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4410382/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2910600/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3510434/

http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/relationships/why-personal-relationships-are-important

 

 

 

Spring Break 2015

Recently, I flew home to Austin for 12 days of sunshine and family/friend time. The trip did not involve going to a beach, getting a tattoo, or, frankly, anything you might see on an episode of Cops, but I’m still sharing the highlights with you.

Before I start, let me say that I LOVE the U. S. A. (that’s me below wearing a flag dress in support of a friend who became a US citizen a few years ago). Yes, it has its problems (which, frankly, are too many to name here), but it’s my home and there is nothing like 4 years in Germany to make me want to get back to Texas as often (or as fast) as I can and re-embrace American culture to it’s fullest.

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Proud to be an American!

First stop, Target, where I prefer to go on a Sunday at 8am to avoid the masses and shop with ease. I can pick up my decaf-coconut milk latte from the Starbucks inside and sip it while I browse the endless aisles for a new summer skirt, batteries, mascara, and a bottle of wine. Oh, scratch that. Despite that I can bring my concealed and loaded handgun into a Target in Texas, I can’t buy a bottle of wine before noon on Sunday. That law’s been on the books way too long in my opinion.

After shopping for the essentials, I headed out for lunch. Being on vacation means eating out and eating to excess. So, it was off to Chuy’s with the family, where the overindulgence began with the endless basket of chips and ended with the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo. In between – don’t mind if I do – I treated myself to a Mexican martini, maybe two, because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Even though I can’t buy alcohol from a store on a Sunday morning, I can still buy it from a restaurant. Bottoms up, y’all!

Once I’d consumed more calories in one meal than I typically consume over several days at home, I waddled to my car. (This is the only thing non-American about my trip. My mom, born and raised in Texas, does not drive an SUV. She drives a Toyota. Oh, Mother!) This is a driver’s paradise – highways, toll roads, and long commutes. There’s no walking or cycling or taking a bus in my hometown. Don’t make me laugh! These modes of transportation are a lost cause unless you live downtown and want to grocery shop exclusively at Whole Foods, which you probably can afford to do if you live downtown. Even in your immediate neighborhood, you drive. Going down the block to pick up your prescription at Walgreens? Get in your car. Want to take the kids to the neighborhood park three streets over? Get in your car. My mother-in-law told me she drives her car to pick up her mail. From her mailbox. On her property.

No trip home is complete without going to the mall. In my defense, I’m perfectly happy to do all my shopping at Target, but my 6-year old daughter demanded a trip to the mall, and who am I to deny her the occasional shopping spree.  I figure it’s never too early to start promoting consumer debt and acquiring more stuff, so let’s go shopping! The beauty of the mall is that I can uphold these American ways of life (acquisition and debt) while munching on a giant pretzel and contemplating whether or not to get my teeth whitened at a kiosk that is conveniently located next to the pretzel stand. I love the U.S.A!

At some point, I’m finally able to drop off my daughter with my mom and have some ‘me’ time. This is one of the greatest perks of visiting home – free babysitting 24/7. Normally, my daughter would use this opportunity to park herself in front of a TV, something we try to curtail at home. This is apparently a concept that’s lost on grandparents. Luckily for me, however,my sister-in-law had her first daughter a few months ago. So on this trip, Emmy preferred to play with her adorable 6 month-old cousin instead of being glued to a screen. As a result of this, whenever I returned from whatever it was that I was doing, Emmy would beg me to have another child or let her get a dog (bless her little heart, she’s really not picky) so that she could have a playmate. In hindsight, maybe it would have been better to let her watch TV.

Childless, I headed out to see my girlfriends. Four of us went to get Botox from my friend Kristin, who works for a plastic surgeon. If you’ll recall from my post a few weeks ago, I’ve entered a new stage in life, which mostly sucks. But, it sucks slightly less since I got neurotoxin injected into my face. And, what an awesome experience to do it with my tribe. Going with my girlfriends ensured not only a temporary face-lift from the Botox but also a flab workout from the laughter.

(Postscript: I’m just slightly bitter that Diana, below, didn’t need any Botox. You bitch, you’re older than me. Look like it already! Just kidding. You’re beautiful, and I love you.)

 Diana

The beautiful Diana (who has no wrinkles and needs no Botox)

The girlfest continued. Thank you, Laura, for hosting a Girls Night In. This was a Saturday event that started early and involved about 10 of my good friends. We drank aperitifs and ate appetizers. We sat outside under a barbed wire chandelier that Laura made (she’s an amazingly talented artist). The chandelier hung from a mountain laurel tree, which was in full bloom and smelled heavenly. We ate a fabulous dinner paired with great wine and the conversation was full of love and laughter. After dinner, and more wine, we played an obnoxious round of Cards Against Humanity (that game cannot be anything but obnoxious), and then headed back inside to finish the night with drunken karaoke. Juanita killed it. Oh my goddess, it was such fun.

Around 2am, I crawled into bed at Laura’s house. Her guest room, my room for the night, is what we lovingly refer to as the Dead Animal room, a moniker acquired when my daughter and I stayed there this summer. Lying in bed staring up at the ceiling and walls, my daughter asked me, “Mommy, why are there so many dead animals in here? It’s kind of scary.” Laura’s husband is a hunter, and the walls of this room are covered with deer skulls and antlers and pelts and taxidermied ducks. So when my daughter, who watches the sidewalk to ensure she doesn’t step on pill bugs, asked this, I felt a little badly because honestly, I hadn’t even noticed the carcasses in my field of vision. Taxidermy is Texas decorating de rigueur, so I just chalked it up to being back home. But, Emmy’s home is Germany, so she’s less oblivious to these decorating choices than I am.

IMG_7989 Laura, the hostess with the mostest, among her taxidermy IMG_7988

Laura, the hostess with the mostest, between some of her taxidermy decor

The rest of the week in Austin continued much like this. Twelve days of Texas. Twelve days of shopping, overeating, drinking, visiting friends, and staying up late. By the time it ended, I needed to get back home and detox.

Austin, it was fun, and I love you, but I’m not sure I can sustain my spring break lifestyle anymore. Tattoos and a Cops episode might be easier on me.

Inhabiting (and Embracing) the Body I Have

For me it happened sometime in the last few years. I looked in the mirror and thought, ‘When did I start looking like this? Where did these wrinkles come from? And what is up with this back (arm, hip, back, [insert random body part]) fat? What the hell happened to me?’

I can’t speak for men, but I know from many conversations with my girlfriends that becoming a woman of a certain age sucks is a challenge. On the one hand, as you age, you typically become more financially secure. You gain some life wisdom. Yet, while you are achieving this, life marches on, literally across your body – stretch marks, wrinkles, hair in strange places, the belly that simply will not be lost no matter the number of calories you restrict or the number of crunches you do. Who is that stranger looking back at you in the mirror?

A recent scientific study surveyed over 1500 American women over the age of 50 to assess their body image. The data reinforce what we know about how American females feel about their bodies in general – overwhelming dissatisfaction. Only 12% percent of the women in the study reported being satisfied with their body size. Most women in the study declared that maintaining thinness was as an active endeavor in their lives. Not maintaining health. Not maintaining sanity. Maintaining thinness.

We compare ourselves to women in magazines who are Photoshopped to perfection. We compare ourselves with women on TV and film who have makeup artists, good lighting, and probably plastic surgery to highlight their best features or just give them new ones. We compare ourselves with women at our offices, gyms, grocery stores, and neighborhoods. And, for some odd reason, we compare ourselves to ourselves…20 years ago, as if we are going to magically recapture the energy, collagen, and body fat distribution that we used to have.

Now you’re mid to late 40s or older and starting to feel body conscious. Maybe a little low on the self-esteem scale. And just when you think it can’t get much worse, shit perimenopause happens. Night sweats, memory lapses, anxiety attacks, and crazy ass mood swings. The copious volumes of coffee and wine you drink to help you deal with this serve only to intensify the symptoms. Life simply is not fair.

Friends, you know I suffer from depression as it is, but, now, thanks to perimenopause, I have 2-4 days of the month during which a full-blown nervous breakdown is guaranteed. I’m not kidding. For no reason whatsoever, I’ll start screaming at my husband and the next minute I’m sobbing uncontrollably. Thank you, hormones! This is just what I need to make me feel better about myself. Said no woman ever.

Enough already! I’ve had a period every month for over 30 years. I’ve been pregnant a total of 27 months of my life. People, I’ve done my share of hormone flux already. I certainly don’t need more of it at this point in my life. I don’t even want to know what menopause will be like if this is the entry point.

I told my husband that from now on, about 2 days out from my period, he should just leave the house. Leave me for a few days while I lock myself in our bedroom with junk food and 48h of romantic comedies on Netflix. I demand quarantine while I’m experiencing my hormone-induced-temporary-insanity. It’s just better for everyone. Trust me on that.

 

Oy, this gets me so worked up that I need to go to my happy place for a minute.

Calm, blue water. Calm, blue water. Deep breath.

Okay, all better.

 

Let’s get honest now. You know that Tim McGraw song Live Like You Were Dying? If you found out you were dying, would you really care about your tummy rolls or your laugh lines or that new chin hair you’re sporting? Hell no! You would not spend the last year of your life, not the last 3 months, not even 3 weeks, obsessing over how saggy your boobs are or how to get an inner thigh gap.

Newsflash. You are dying. I am dying. We are all dying. That’s the one thing you can count on happening. Do you want to spend the time you have left being critical of yourself? Would you be as critical of your spouse or your child about their bodies as you are with yourself about your own body? This life journey is already difficult enough. Let’s not add anymore to that difficulty.

We are human. We are human with all the flaws that accompany humanness. And our bodies are the road maps of our lives. Our bodies manifest the choices we’ve made and the experiences we’ve had. The journey is never easy, and we don’t always do what’s best (eat more leafy, green vegetables and less refined carbs, get enough sleep, drink more water and less wine, exercise more). I admit that I ate entire pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I admit that I spent many years sitting by a pool with nothing between the ultraviolet waves and me but a liberal application of Crisco. But I also made many good choices. I ran many road races, 5Ks and marathons. I hiked the Grand Canyon with my husband. I danced with my girlfriends. I lived life, bearing 3 children, laughing so hard that my flabs ached, smiling with joy. I made it through my difficult depressive episodes with a few scars, both mental and physical, but here I am. Here I am with my wrinkles, and sags, and spots. I inhabit this body and I embrace it.

Helen Reddy sang, “I am woman. Hear me roar!” Well, here’s my roar.

This is my body, and I choose to wear it proudly. This is my body, and I accept it for what is is. This is my body, and I embrace it. I challenge you to do the same with yours.

MYWRINKLES

MYSTRETCHMARKS

Reference

Runfola CD1, Von Holle A, Peat CM, Gagne DA, Brownley KA, Hofmeier SM, Bulik CM. Characteristics of women with body size satisfaction at midlife: results of the Gender and Body Image (GABI) Study (2013) J Women Aging. 25(4):287-304.

 

Flab Workouts, Mechanical Bulls, and a Trip to the Gyno

I have the best girlfriends on the planet. The Best. These gals are my rock, the women I text at any time of the day or night when I think I might go over the edge, the women who came to the hospital when I was pushing my babies out of my girl parts. They have seen me from all angles, literally, and they still love me.

When we hang out, it is a win-win for everyone. Our time together often results in a serious flab workout, because when we laugh so much that our abs ache. Like the time Laura and I had a sleep over at Diana’s house. She kicked out her husband and son for the night so we had the house to ourselves. We drank lots of champagne. We stood on the couches, dancing and singing into wooden spoons. I broke her stereo speakers blasting Billy Joel (me and my hair brush anthems). When I woke up fuzzy headed and hurting the next morning, I left a note for Diana. Unfortunately, Diana’s husband found it first, when he came home from his enforced exile. Diana told me that she pinned the note to her inspiration board. I guess so she can be inspired to laugh every day, thanks to me.

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Years before this, I took my then 2 year old son to my friend Juanita’s house. We love Juanita and her husband. They are incredibly funny, incredibly bright people. And Juanita is a great storyteller, who, like me, loves to embellish. Let’s be honest here. Embellishing just makes the story better. It’s like Photoshop. The basic idea is still there, but all the good parts are highlighted a bit more than they were last time the story was told.

Anyway, while Juanita and I sat and chatted inside, my son had been sitting in Juanita’s convertible with Juanita’s husband. The boys spent 30 minutes opening and closing the top of the convertible and pretending to drive. You can imagine what a buzz kill I was when I came outside and told my son it was time to leave. Little britches got completely bent out of shape. “Stay with Day!” he screamed. (“Day” is how he pronounced Juanita’s husband’s name.) “I want to stay with Day! Stay with Day!” Then, crying hysterically, he ran inside the house. Either in an act of defiance or just a toddler antic (at times they are one in the same), Little Britches pulled down his pants and pooped in the middle of the hall. I would have been mortified, but Juanita comes from a family that values poop (and farting) as much as I do, so she thought it was great. We still talk about that story and it happened over 20 years ago.

The last really good laughing-induced flab workout I had happened right before I left Texas to move to Germany. I was hanging out with my gal Csonga. Her real name is Chris, but we’ve called her Csonga since forever, because one time she was playing Yahtzee with the boys and me and they couldn’t read her dyslexic-crap handwriting. The Littlest Britches asked, “Who’s Csonga?” We’ve called her that ever since.

About a month before I was set to move away, Csonga and I were went out on the town. I should mention it was the middle of the week. And not much past 6pm. We’re moms and I would have been asleep if we waited until 10pm to go out. Plus, we wouldn’t be able to get inside any club if it was a busy night, and we were competing with the 20 year olds. Yep. Tuesday, 6:12. We’re about to get crazy up in here, y’all!

We were walking down Congress Avenue, stopping to go down a side street if something looked interesting. We sat at some tropical themed rooftop bar for a drink then moved on. A doorman, trying to get customers inside of another club on an obviously slow evening, called out to us, “Ladies, bull riding is free until 8. Come on in and try the mechanical bull.”

Csonga and I looked at each other and had the exact same thought, “Oh hell yeah!”

Now, neither of us had ever been on a mechanical bull before. We’d never even seen one, and we certainly weren’t dressed for bull riding. Csonga was wearing jeans, but I was in a ridiculously too short (for my age) dress, and we both had on flip-flops. I’ve seen Don Gay’s Best Rides and Worst Wrecks. I’ve been to the rodeo. Cowboys don’t wear flip-flops. But we were inside that bar in seconds and had our game on. Bring on the bull!

Csonga went first, climbing a little step stool to get on the bull. She wrapped the rope around one hand and the other stayed free. The bull started to rock slowly, up and down while moving in a circle. As the bull picked up speed, Csonga managed to stay on until being violently thrown off into the padding around the bull.

“That was hard,” she said after she stopped laughing at herself. Naturally, I was laughing with her, not at her, because I am a good friend.

It was my turn. I climbed up the little ladder and daintily crawled atop the bull. I wrapped the rope around my right hand, and used my left hand to tuck my too short dress under my butt. I decided to treat this ride like driving a car on ice, just steer into the direction of movement, don’t fight it. I clamped my thighs against that bull like my life depended on it, and altogether, my strategy seemed to work, because I lasted just as long as Csonga. Actually I think I lasted 8 seconds and she did not, but she says that’s not true. And, since I’m older with 1 more kid than her, my memory is subject to creative recall.

We celebrated our success with 2 dollar beers and agreed, ‘Well, there’s one for the storybooks.

Of course, the real story was a few days later, when I showed up at the girl doctor for my annual private parts check up. I lay on the exam table, feet in the stirrups and legs spread open for God and all to see when my doctor says, “Muse, I don’t mean to imply anything, but I have to ask. Is everything alright between you and your husband?”

“Um, yeah,” I said, thinking this is a weird question for her to ask me since he’s been in Germany for most of the last year while we prepare to move. “Why?”

“It’s just that…the inside of your thighs, it looks like someone’s beaten you.”

Well, I had been a bit sore since my outing with Csonga, but naturally I attributed that to a serious muscular workout riding the bull. And, not normally in this position, splayed open with a lamp illuminating my hoo-hah like I’m about to be in a porno, I hadn’t exactly studied my body post-rodeo romp. Until now. And what I saw wasn’t pretty – huge green and purple welts covering the insides of my thighs.

My face turned red. “Ha ha, oh that,” I stammered. “Right. Would you believe I rode a mechanical bull the other night?”

Mechanical bull induced injuries lead to suspicion of domestic violence at the gynecologist’s office. Now that little tale is one for the storybooks. And it’s always good for a serious flab workout with my girlfriends.