Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Affair-Proof Your Marriage – Lessons from Cheating Politicians

Oh great, another politician caught cheating on his wife. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s longtime affair was exposed last week after he returned home from an ambiguous holiday. Although aides claimed the gov had been hiking the Appalachian Trail, it turned out he had flown to South America to meet his Argentine mistress instead.

Sanford is just one in a long line of high-powered public servants caught with his pants down. John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, and Bill Clinton also had extramarital relations, even though their wives were brilliant, supportive women and their marriages appeared rock solid. But for these educated public servants to risk so much for a piece of tail, their marriages must have really stunk, right?

Not necessarily. In a recent article, The New York Times reported that one of the strongest risk factors for infidelity “exists not inside the marriage but outside: opportunity.”

Male politicians certainly have opportunity. They travel, they meet a lot of people, they have power, they’re charismatic - women are attracted to them. According to Elizabeth Edwards, her husband’s relationship with Rielle Hunter began when the videographer told John Edwards, “You are so hot.” Not the most original line, but apparently it worked.

If even strong marriages are vulnerable to cheating, what’s a spouse to do? According to infidelity researcher and author Peggy Vaughan, the key to preventing affairs is for partners to honestly talk about their feelings of attraction to other people. According to Vaughan, discussing these attractions actually decreases the likelihood of acting on them, and “shedding the cold light of day on secret desires goes a long way toward diminishing their power.”

For the sake of my marriage, I’ll open up about my attractions to other guys. I confess, I did think the guy who hung our bathroom wallpaper was kind of cute. And as soon as my husband returns from his week-long business trip to Mexico, we’ll have a nice, honest discussion about it.

For more on cheating pols, check out my blog post from last year about Silda Spitzer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Need a Vacation from Summer Vacation

My kids couldn't be happier that summer is here - but for me, not so much. They're reveling in their newfound freedom; I'm lamenting the loss of mine.

I like a schedule, okay? I write from home, I need a couple quiet hours everyday. When the kids were younger, I could create a little space for myself with a good daycamp. But now that Nick is 15 and Emma is 12, they have other plans. Unfortunately, their ideal day creates a lot more work for me. Here's how I've been spending my summer.

1. In the Kitchen
With the looser schedule, there's always a meal in progress. I'll put away the orange juice from Nick's 11am breakfast and Emma will wander in looking for a tuna sandwich. By the time I've sliced up strawberries for an afternoon snack, it's time for dinner. Even when my kids make the meals, the kitchen is never clean, the floor is sticky, we're out of milk. Let me outta here!

2. In the Car
Kids need to be driven places, I know that. But in summer, the driving is erratic and impromptu. "Mom, can you drive me to the beach?" "Mom, can you pick us up from the mall?" I can't plan, I can't focus - I'm constantly on edge, car keys in hand. And now that Nick has his driving permit, the stress level of ordinary carpool trips is through the roof. Being in the passenger seat with a 15 year-old boy at the wheel is a singular experience - I've never felt so helpless.

3. On Guard
Summer ushers in a whole set of new worries. I let Emma ride her bike to the beach for the first time; she didn't call me or check her cell phone for my frantic texts for three hours. Nick had a friend sleep over and they rented Saw 5 ("extreme violence") for 23 minutes before I even noticed. There's an incessant checklist going on in my mind - are they sunscreened, helmeted, hydrated, saying no to drugs? It's exhausting.

Oh, how I long for September and the school bus, hot lunches, and six hour stretch where the rules are enforced by someone else! But for the present, I'll put another load of beach towels in the washer and mix up a batch of frozen lemonade. I may not get much work done, but my kids will have a great summer. And I take comfort from knowing I'm not alone in my plight. As one of my dear Facebook mom friends said about her summer:
"I'm freaking out. I can barely get through a long weekend, for cryin' out loud!"
When things get really bad, there's always Chardonnay.

For another take on summer, check out my post from last year: Backyard with Benefits

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Success! It took a little while, but I lost 4 pounds with Sharon's 4 Fs

I've been focused. I cut out the junk food and am eating lots of fruits and veggies. I'm working on my fitness with short but effective cardio and strength training workouts.

After almost 3 weeks, I reached my goal. Success is nothing but fun.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Make My Day - Honk, Hoot & Holler

Saturday, I was in the city running an errand when something unexpected happened - a truck honked at me. I was confused. I was heading back to my car on the sidewalk, I certainly wasn't in the truck's way. So I looked up to the driver questioningly and he and his scruffy-faced buddy in the passenger seat grinned and waved.

Oh, I realized, flushing with embarrassment and a little pleasure, they were honking at me. It had been a while.

The first time I elicited a honk was over 30 years ago. I was 13 and it was summertime in Milford, Michigan. I was wearing cut-off shorts, walking home from a friend's house on the gravel shoulder of a rural two-lane highway. Over the course of a half mile, five or six cars honked or at me that day and by the time I turned off to my neighborhood street, I felt forever changed. Strange men were noticing me; I wasn't just a girl anymore. I felt unsettled, a little ashamed, and unfamiliarly powerful.

That initiation was followed by years of whistles, beeps and "woo-woos" - I pretty much came to take them for granted. Young women get attention, that's the way it is. Sometimes it's a compliment; more often it's a form of harassment. But we learn to deal with it. We cross to the other side of the street when passing a construction site, we don't make eye contact in intersections. And eventually, as we push strollers and hold the hands of our toddlers, the guys stop paying so much attention. Which is a relief.

And a bit of a disappointment too.

I don't want to be insulted or humiliated, but I also don't want to be considered entirely out of the game. Now that I'm in my 40s, it's sort of fun to be the recipient of the occasional beep of the horn or wolf whistle. So I say go ahead - honk, hoot, and holler at me. It'll make my day.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Following the 4 Fs to Losing 4 Pounds- Update #3

After two weeks on Sharon's program, I've lost three pounds. The goal is four pounds and I'm staying Focused. While I'm working on that last pound, here's a quick tip from Sharon about how anyone can look thinner - right now!

You can reach Sharon Davis at: sharon.8765@gmail.com

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Four Fs to Losing Four Fast Pounds - Update #2

I'm a week into my program with personal trainer Sharon Davis and I feel great! Although I didn't lose any weight in the last three days, I've officially lost 2.5 pounds this week. The main change I've made to my diet is to cut back on the junk food and make sure I'm eating enough of the healthy stuff. I'm actually eating a lot of food. Sharon isn't a proponent of counting calories, but I've been in the 1700-1800 range each day.

Also, I've been exercising, both with Sharon and on my own. I really believe interval training has helped me rev up my metabolism. I've been run/walking - I alternate running and jogging for a total of 25-30 minutes. It goes by fast.

Check out this one minute video, where Sharon demonstrates some excellent exercises that combine cardio and strength training. I'll weigh in next week when hopefully I'll be close to my goal of losing four pounds!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hot off the Press - Bombarded by Botox

It seems like I've been writing about Botox a lot! Here's my article that appears in today's North Shore TribLocal insert to the Chicago Tribune.

For more on what I've learned about these non-invasive cosmetic procedure, click here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Four Fs to Losing Four Fast Pounds- Update

How am I doing following Sharon's program in my quest to lose four pounds in two weeks? Check out my Day 5 progress on this 1 minute video.