Monthly Archives: January 2011

Fat Lady on a Treadmill – Moved to Tears

I was moved to tears today on the elliptical. No, it had nothing to do with that cursed machine, though I’ve been close to tears on it many times. Today, instead of daydreaming about my next novel, I tuned in to the newscast on the nearest television. This is the day Representative Gabrielle Giffords left the University Medical Center in Tucson. Thirteen days after a failed assassination attempt, she left the hospital. She’s far from recovered, but, and this is where the romance author in me comes out—she was moved to a hospital closer to her husband’s home.
I can relate to her long distance marriage. I have one of those too, but hers reads like the cheesiest (my favorite kind) of romance novel. The Congresswoman and the Astronaut. Even network news couldn’t resist that title. Congresswoman Giffords lives in Arizona and Washington D.C. Her astronaut husband and her step-daughters live in Houston. There isn’t a romance writer on the planet who isn’t kicking themselves for not coming up with that scenario sooner! No doubt, several manuscripts are in the works right now with a similar hero and heroine.
But this is more than a romance novel. It’s a real life drama that involves the entire nation. Thirteen days ago we were shocked when a man turned a gun on a gathering of citizens exercising their right to speak to their Congressional Representative. That representative was doing what was she was elected to do—listen to her constituents. By all accounts, Congresswoman Giffords did this on a regular basis, and with an open mind to hear what they had to say. No matter what side of the political fence you sit on, you have to admire that kind of dedication to the job.
It’s been almost two weeks since the tragedy, and the memorials continue to grow for the other victims, many of whom died on that fateful day. I’ve been touched by the memorials, but they grew out of the community’s grief. I understand that. It’s natural to mourn the loss of life, especially when it ends so abruptly and in a manner we can’t fathom.
What moved me to tears today was a different kind of emotional outpouring. Today, a cavalcade of vehicles escorted Congresswoman Giffords from the hospital to the plane waiting to take her to Houston. A group of motorcyclists from the local VFW led the way, along with a police and fire escort. The ambulance proceeded slowly, respectfully, taking tender care of the precious cargo. From a helicopter vantage point, I witnessed something that made me proud to be an American. People lined the route, some held signs or waved American flags. Others cheered, waved or applauded. Some stood in solemn respect as Congresswoman Giffords took a figurative giant step in her recovery. They were there because they wanted Congresswoman Giffords to know they respect her dedication to public service. They were there because they believe in miracles, and because they needed to celebrate triumph over tragedy. They were there to celebrate the invincible American Spirit.
I couldn’t see what was going on inside the ambulance, but I can imagine her husband by her side, holding her hand as he has for countless hours, witness to this demonstration of American Spirit. Perhaps he was describing it to her, or tucking it away to tell her about when she’s ready to hear it. It’s a love story between two extraordinary Americans, and a love story between Americans and America.
Today I’m grateful for American heroes. They come in all shapes, sizes, genders and ethnic backgrounds. They serve our country in many ways. Some serve in uniform, others in local, state or national office. Some pursue scientific knowledge. Some wear a badge or a stethoscope; wield a gavel, a scalpel or a textbook. What they all have in common is a love of the American people and the American ideal. Congresswoman Giffords is an American hero.
All romance novels end with a HEA—Happily Ever After. For many involved in this tragedy, there will be no HEA, but for this extraordinary couple, I hope today was one more step toward the larger than life happy ending they deserve.

Fat Lady on a Treadmill – Man Sweat vs. Butt Sweat

For those of you who have been following the Fat Lady series for a while, I apologize for taking so long between posts. I post when I feel compelled to, and it’s been quite some time since I felt there was something I just had to relate to you. For those of you who are joining me for the first time, welcome! This is a new location for the Fat Lady series. If you want to catch up, the older posts are available on my alter ego’s blog
In review…women do not sweat. Women might perspire, but that manifests as a dew on the skin and is not mentioned in polite society. If you are surprised by this, then you did not grow up in the southern United States. It is a well known fact there.
Men sweat. But let’s be real. There are different kinds of man sweat.
First, there is what I like to call Construction Worker Sweat. This is the kind generated by good ‘ole honest hard labor. Whether it’s your hubby building that new patio cover you asked for, or a guy in an orange vest with a jackhammer, or the guy with the chain saw removing that downed tree, it’s attractive. Women like to see a guy flexing his muscles and working up a sweat in the process. It makes us think of other ways our guy could work up a sweat.
Next, there’s Athlete Sweat. What’s not to like about a sweaty athlete? Picture the well toned body of a tennis player, the lean muscles of a runner, the brawn of a weight lifter. Now picture those lovely muscles covered in sweat. Uh huh. You get the idea. It’s hot. Women like to see a guy pit his body against nature. We’ll pretend interest in just about any game to see a hot guy wipe sweat out of his eyes with the hem of his shirt, or better yet, rip that shirt off and use it as a towel.
That brings me to Sex Sweat, which we all know is the best kind of all. If you’re lucky, it combines the best of Construction Worker Sweat and Athlete Sweat. Your guy employs the raw, macho strength of a construction worker with the endurance and dedication of an athlete to work up a nice sweat in pursuit of your pleasure before his. This type of sweat enables body parts to slide easily against each other, and in so doing, increases pleasure for all concerned. This is a good thing.
Last on my list is Butt Sweat. There is nothing worse. Let me give you an example. Today, I waited patiently for a guy to finish on the ab cruncher machine so I could have a turn at it too. We won’t discuss why I need to use this particular type of machine, or the fact that this guy needed to use a treadmill more than he needed the ab machine. Trust me – no one is going to see that guys abs for a while yet. Okay, I’ll get back to the story. The guy finally heaved himself off the seat and waddled off. I made my move before someone else could beat me to the machine. And then I nearly gagged. The seat was covered in butt sweat.
It was a dilemma. I wasn’t about to sit in someone else’s butt sweat, and I wasn’t going to use my personal towel to wipe it up. A vision of then removing dew from my forehead with a towel damp with gross guy’s butt sweat was enough to make me sick. I looked around for a paper towel dispenser, but there wasn’t one anywhere near, and if there was, I’d need rubber gloves to use them. No way would I risk soak through getting on my hands. The pit across town that charges four times what I pay, but has someone walking around handing out clean towels, was looking pretty good. I could reduce my grocery budget to make up for the price difference. It wouldn’t hurt me to eat less. I probably wouldn’t need the pit or the ab cruncher if I’d do that anyway.
Needless to say, I skipped the ab cruncher. Over the next hour, several people approached, scrunched up their noses, and moved on. The guy might as well have put a sign on the thing that said, warning, seat is coated with creepy skin eating bacteria, for all the use it got.
I’m not sure I’ll be using that particular machine anytime in the near future. As a matter of fact, I’m considering carrying a spray bottle of disinfectant, paper towels, and rubber gloves from now on. Maybe I’ll even get one of those surgical masks and a hazmat suit. I might look a bit strange, but at least I’d be keeping my dew to myself.
So, I leave you with a word I have mentioned before in another context. Towels.
Happy workout to you, and take a towel or two next time you go to the pit.