The Last Shield

Almost 100% of my blog posts have been sarcastic, tongue in cheek, self-deprecating. It’s kind of my thing. 

This will not be one of those posts. 

My former hallway.

Like most of the nation I’m almost paralyzed watching the news unfold about the Uvalde shooting. Several friends are posting memes, starting threads in parent groups, texting each other, reaching out in anyway. We are all in shock, yet … not in shock. Because here we are again

I do two things when I start ‘feeling’ … I run or I write. I ran this morning but was so consumed with my thoughts about Uvalde that I had to write. It’s my own therapy – so read or don’t read. This is mainly for me.

As a former elementary teacher my mind can’t help but go back to the hallways and classrooms I shared with my students. This most recent horrific event has me focusing specifically on the 4th grade teachers at my last school, my second home. The ones that helped raise both my daughters. My mind pictures these very teachers, these wonderful women that looked across a desk from my girls…that hugged them…. that loved them … that treated them like they were their own. I envision each of these women in this exact situation. But I don’t have to wonder how they would handle it, I know how they would handle it. They would handle it just like the two heroic teachers in Uvalde handled it. 

They would be the last shield.

Honestly, this extends to all my daughters’ teachers. It’s just what teachers do. The lump in my throat is mammoth when my mind goes to the darkest of places where these teachers would have to give their lives to protect my entire world

So to my daughters’ former and current teachers … to ALL the other teachers and staff currently in classrooms today that should be protected and feel safe but have to be ready for the ‘awful’ …. you know … just in case, I shout –


A few years back when I was teaching first grade there was a potentially armed individual in the area that police were trying to apprehend. They felt he may have been hiding in our vicinity, so our school went into a soft lock down for about two or three days. When you are in a soft lock down you are primarily housed all day in your own classroom. All extra movement around the campus is avoided and there is no outside recess. All classroom windows are covered to the outside and classroom doors remain locked and closed. The classroom stays together at all times. I remember taking my entire class to the restroom because every time we took a break, I would purposely position myself between the outside door and my students. It seems silly, right? The doors were locked. But as I stood there I stared at that door. I envisioned an unstable and desperate person running up to that door looking for refuge. I pictured this person trying to open the locked doors. I visualized this person shooting the glass to gain entry. Be prepared, Amy. This was honestly my thought EVERY time we were in that hall. I know it sounds dramatic to those who haven’t been in that situation, but if we have learned ANYTHING from the countless school shootings…you just don’t know. You. Just. Don’t. Know. I felt I owed it to my students to be that prepared, no matter how extreme my mind made the imaginary scenario. And again, it’s just what teachers do. I wonder though, do other people in their jobs visualize this kind of thing and mentally prepare for it … just in case?! I will never forget those two, maybe three days but I can almost guarantee that my students that year had no idea what was happening. They were children. They deserved to feel safe even when we felt scared. We made being stuck in our room fun. “Mrs. Evans, can we have Flashlight Friday on Thursday?” Yep. “Can we play with your special floor puzzles (that I normally saved for a math unit)?” Yep. “Can we write on the Smartboard?” Yep. “Can we use your special markers and draw on your fancy paper?” Yep. 

To all the things ….Yep. 

Eventually this person was apprehended. Thankfully. 

But Uvalde. Those teachers. Those children. That room. I’m frozen.

With the updates unfolding, interviews with family members, pictures of smiling happy children that are no longer here, and stories of heroic teachers using their bodies as shields, I cry. I mourn.

And I feel sick. 

Speaking of feeling sick, Google ‘school shootings’. It’s nothing short of disgusting. Be warned though, it will take you quite a while to scroll through all the listings. What are we doing?!?!? Why is this STILL happening? 

I think it would be extremely difficult for me to get out of bed today if I were one of those families that had lost a child, a teacher, a mom to something that didn’t have to happen. 

It didn’t have to happen.

Y’all. Please. 

Don’t Sweat It!

Yep. We’re going there.

Image recreated and exaggerated for pure fun effect. Lol!

Y’all please. I have no words. Actually, I do. I have words. Lots of words.

Here’s what I KNOW about peri/post menopause from personal experience:

  1. Hot flashes
  2. Cold flashes immediately following hot flashes
  3. Not being able to go to sleep
  4. Not being able to sleep through the night
  5. What the hell is sleep anymore
  6. Saggy face skin that hangs like it’s melting
  7. Chin hair
  8. Rogue eyebrows
  9. An ass that disappeared yet is bigger than it used to be
  10. Ironic thinning of head hair despite the abundance of #7 and #8
  11. Insanely irregular periods that resemble crime scenes
  12. Fat hovering around my midsection like a child’s pool floaty
  13. Irritability (to be fair, I’ve always had this)
  14. Forgetting things
  15. And something else…what was it. Shit! I forgot. 

I thought I knew all the things. And I’ve been faithfully checking the menopause boxes. 


Truth be told, none of them surprised me. But THIS? Now I must deal with THIS shit?!
Because what? Why? The other indignities weren’t enough?

So welcome Amy to the latest delightful experience in female aging ….Crotch Sweat.
Google it. I did!!!! IT’S HORRIFIC! They also call it “Groin Sweat” which frankly doesn’t sound any better to me. 

In a nutshell, what happens is this. You’re sitting on a patio with some friends at the cutest coolest bar that just opened. You’re wearing the most adorable jeans that you have literally worked your ASS off to get back into (re: #9 and #12 of things I know). Despite the fact that it’s in the low 80s, the sun has set, and there’s a refreshing little breeze – you start to sweat. This is not new. The sweat streaming down your back makes your insanely gorgeous white sleeve-y Anthropologie blouse uncomfortably stick to you. Again … been there. Staying calm. But what happens next … what IS new … HORRIFYINGLY NEW is that when your pants feel odd and you look down at your crotch – it honest to God looks like you’ve wet your pants. Sadly, for a second, you actually question yourself!

Wait. No. Did I just? No. Please no. But could I have?.
Could I have just peed myself with zero awareness of it happening AT ALL?!?

The internal dialog is scathing and filled with self-doubt. Finally, mentally, you get to the point that surely you would know if you had a Toddler TeeTee situation or not.

Right? Surely. So what else could it be?!
You didn’t spill a drink. But…you ARE sweating .
Is this sweat?
Is my vagina area literally running a marathon that I don’t know about? 

And that’s when it hits you …
So here we are, menopause. Here we are.

I honestly don’t even know where to go from here. Later in the evening when I actually DID have to go to the restroom (which was oddly reassuring because it solidified the fact that I can at least tell when the urge arises) – my super sweet and thoughtful friend walked in front of me to the bathroom so nobody could see the tell-tale signs of menopause distress OR think that I have no problem strutting around in my own urine. And now that I’m thinking about it … is one better than the other? Is it better to have people think I wet myself or that my groin is flooding? I’m thinking there really isn’t a winning scenario here no matter where people’s conclusions jump. So y’all…what the hell is next?!? Seriously?! What delightful little shit show is going to appear that I should prepare myself for? Please tell me!

Ugh. Good God. I’m never leaving the house again. 

Please join me next week for Episode 247 of ‘Your 40s and 50s will F*ck with You’
to hear about those times when it actually IS pee. Sigh.

A Bad Ass, Not A Fat Ass

During my morning run today, as I effortlessly cruised up a shaded hill singing out loud to one of my favorite running songs (The White Stripes Seven Nation Army), I hit an unmistakeable smell that caused me to come to a crashing halt. This smell immediately brought back a flood of painful memories. This happens when I run every spring and it is single handedly, at least to me, the worst smell in the entire world.

Fresh cut grass.

I unapologetically LOATHE the smell of freshly cut grass. To be clearer, the scent alone makes me want to crawl into the fetal position and rock myself in a corner. Makes me get a searing knot in the pit of my stomach alluding to an ill-timed bowel movement. Makes me nervously sweat in all the awkward places. The fact that you can even buy sh*t scented as fresh cut grass?? I. DIE.
Not me.
I’d rather have a box of pears.

Why this irrational hatred?

Because the smell of freshly cut grass symbolizes everything I hated about being a fat kid in elementary school.

Here’s why.

When spring hit and our daily PE class opened the roll up gym doors allowing sunshine and smells of warmer weather like freshly cut grass in – most kids got excited. I got depressed. The dreaded opened door meant the first thing we had to do before we got to our daily scheduled activity (juggling colorful scarves…square dancing to the theme song of Dallas…blissfully bouncing the ball on top of the parachute) was to complete my worst nightmare. When we walked single file into the gym and those doors were open…I knew. The immediate lump in my throat gave way to my greatest fear.

We. Were. Running.

Keep in mind this was early 80s. School fashion was mandated by a strict dress code. I was either in a dress or jeans. Shorts weren’t allowed at the time. And y’all. Please. It was Texas, so it was hot as balls. The biggest kicker to all of this? I was a super sweet little girl who MAY have been a bit chunky. And by “may” I mean the only store that sold clothes I could fit into was the Sears in Grand Prairie under the label “Pretty Plus.” So not only was I running in blazing temps, but it was either in a dress where my thighs would painfully rub together and blister, or in jeans, where my thighs would painfully rub together and blister. Get it? Rubbing. Blistering.

So take that super fun activity and factor in two additional challenges:
1) The course
2) The pacer

Let’s start with the course so you can visualize the terror that lay ahead of me. Here it is – in all its menacing glory. My elementary (marked with the yellow X), sat atop an extremely large hill with a huge empty field behind it. The perimeter of that field was the running course. See friends, we weren’t just casually cantering around an evenly surfaced track. This course was an unbalanced bumpy trek that felt as if 75% of it was agonizingly uphill. And always against the wind. No matter what. This sh*t was legit.

Townley Elementary. Where all my running nightmares began.

Second challenge: The Pacer. As if the terrorizing terrain wasn’t enough to physically endure, enter the emotional terror of the pacer. Our PE teachers would always ask for a volunteer. This was where my internal dread shifted to utter panic. The pacer’s sole job, in my opinion, was to instill fear and self loathing. The teachers would start everyone but the pacer on the designated course. When the last person reached the bottom of the hill – the pacer (whom I referred to as Satan) was off like a flash. That kid’s main motivation was to catch up and pass as many people, nay, victims, as possible. And the teacher always ALWAYS chose the skinniest fastest little boy whose hand was jumping in the air with anticipation of being chosen. I’m looking at you Jason, Chris, Jared, Cameron, my twin brother Andy. Y’all couldn’t WAIT to tear your skinny little asses down that hill and start counting casualties. You passed gleefully with no remorse. You were fueled at the prospect of being the last one to go, first one to finish. So that left me, chubby little Amy, running for her life and the life of her thighs in her own version of American Horror Story.

You may be thinking “So what?” So what if the pacer passes you and you finish last? Other than slight embarrassment, no big deal, right? Oh no, my friend. Because here was the catch. If the pacer passed you, you had to complete ANOTHER LAP OF THIS F’ING TORTURE TRAIL. This was how it normally went down: ALL the skinny kids did NOT get passed. Therefore, at the point of pacer finish, one of two things would happen.
1) The finishers all sat on the curb while the three remaining fat kids (thank God I wasn’t the ONLY one) who were ALREADY completely exhausted to the point of vomiting and tears completed a second lap. This second lap was a degrading parade of ‘unfit’ to my bored spectators who yelled things like, “Come on! Hurry up!” or “What’s taking so long?!” or “Stop walking, start running!” OR my absolute favorite “Is she crying?!” Lol. It. Was. Humiliating. The other possible scenario…
2) If you finished your lap and were NOT passed by the pacer (which was every f’ing kid minus the three chubs), you could head straight back into the gym and start that day’s activity: plastic bowling, goofy races on wheeled carts or, as mentioned earlier, the beloved parachute. Everyone adored the parachute!!!! Friends joining around a spectrum of circled happiness with music playing! Peers bouncing multiple balls on top of the treasured rainbow mountain. Or, the BEST of all, everyone diving underneath the parachute into a darkly colorful dreamy state of being.

But not for those that got passed.

I vividly remember jogging by the open gym door and seeing all my friends plunging under the parachute whilst I started my second lap.


That’s what the smell of fresh cut grass takes me back to and it’s an immediate agonizing jump. I picture that not so little but younger girl struggling and embarrassed. The girl who hated running because it made her feel worthless and shamed. The girl that cried on the second lap hoping that nobody would notice. But the beauty of getting older is that (hopefully) you’ve had time and experience to work through all your sh*t. You find moments that make you proud of yourself and you realize that’s the good stuff. You really do learn what is important. Don’t get me wrong – I will forever be a little cookadoodle crazy train when it comes to weight issues. That smell will always be a trigger. But y’all don’t need to worry about that little chubby girl. She’s okay. That little one evolved. I know this because now, I run. By choice. I actually started in my late twenties. To date I’ve completed three half marathons and two marathons. I typically run about 4 miles a day, 6 days a week. Fun fact: my favorite venue is outdoors [cue Alanis Morissette song]. So anything, and I mean anything, is possible. It’s taken years, y’all. Years. But now, instead of a fat ass, I kinda feel like a bad ass.
The best part? I go at my own pace.

Weight a Freaking Minute! Not AGAIN!?!?!

All about making changes!

Well, here the hell I go again! I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers for over 30 years. I went in to update my ‘starting weight’ for 2020….because after all: “New Year, New You.” Right? That phrase makes me want to vomit. Let’s be REAL clear…..I don’t just start a diet on January 1st. I start diets ALL the time. Other than the obligatory diet start date of a January 1st – my only other rule when beginning one throughout the year – it has to be on a Monday. Nobody is going to start on a Friday or Saturday. That’s absurd. Those days are for margaritas and queso. Or any other day of the week if you are in my current state of wheels off. Sunday feels like the last day of the weekend – so I’m not going to put down the Fritos and bean dip then. Who starts ANYTHING on a random Tuesday. You see where I’m going with this? Is it throwing me off a tad to start over [AGAIN] on a Wednesday? A little bit, sure. But I’ll give it a go because I’m not a quitter! As mentioned – member of WW for 30+ years and haven’t quit yet. 🙌 I will say, however, when I did type my weight in this morning and this message popped up “Are you sure you mean to track this weight?” it stung a little. You too, Weight Watchers? Just cash your $16.88 for the month and table the judgement.

Assholes. My mother didn’t believe me. Sadly, here is the proof.

It feels as if I’ve been watching my weight since birth. This endless seesaw of being fat versus being thin hasn’t always been pretty or healthy. The obsession over my appearance started about 46 years ago when I noticed that I was constantly being compared to my brother Andy. Why? Because we are twins. Before I go any farther – let’s start with a visual…

At this point, all is basically equal as we were just mere ounces apart. Wanna guess who had more ounces? 🙋‍♀️

My dad used to (lovingly) joke that Andy came out before me only because he was hungry since I hogged all the food in utero. Then, around two years old I started to sprout out. Not up. Out. Andy, stayed disgustingly thin. Let’s be clear, when I use the word ‘disgustingly’ it is laced with nothing but sincere jealousy and admiration. Accompany my growth with twin comparison comments about how I was SO much bigger than he was. To my face. Really? THAT’S the biggest difference between us? The weight? Not the hair color? The personality differences? The genitalia? Nope – always the weight. Y’all, please! Twins, especially fraternal, can look exceptionally different. (You got the part about me telling you he was a dude, right?) Interestingly, when strangers found out that my parents had a set of twins, they often assumed that my older brother Scott and I were the twins. Awesome. What little girl doesn’t want people to assume that she is 4 years older than she really is based solely on her size? Fantastic. Being a twin though, meant I couldn’t escape the ping ponging of people’s eyes between us.

In addition to the constant bewildered barrage of “Y’ALL are twins?!?!” I also had this fantastic loving grandmother in Mississippi who would literally not allow you to just have one serving of food. The minute more than 50% of your plate was visible she immediately started doling out seconds of big boy peas (it’s a thing and the irony of the name is not lost on me), another slice of cornbread dripping with real butter, green beans soaked in lard with bits of ham hock, creamed corn with gravy – yes gravy, and/or ambrosia salad. If you turned her helpings away she took it as a personal slight to her cooking. She left you with the impression that you callously broke her heart on purpose with no regret. What monsters break their MeMe’s heart?!? So I ate until I was almost sick – and then, of course, had dessert(s). My Meme also appreciated a ‘healthy’ look. Maybe it was from growing up during the Depression? In her mind, large people were healthy, thin people were sick. So if you ever looked too thin for her taste, she would accuse you of being near death. I witnessed her constantly telling the lanky women in our family “You need to go see a doctor. It’s not right to be that thin.” Or “You look sick. Probably cancer.” Now we all knew nobody was sick. But y’all…that was the ULTIMATE compliment. I strived my entire life to hear just once my grandmother question my health based on the circumference of my waist. And here’s the REAL kicker!!!! SHE WAS THIN!

This may be the heaviest my Meme ever was – clocking in around 117 pounds, maybe? What a fat ass!

In my infinite search for the Holy Grail of Thinness, I believe I may have tried almost every diet ever created. In no particular order, other than the simple act of remembering, here is what I’ve attempted in my 40+ years:

Weight Watchers (obviously)
Quick Weight Loss
Jenny Craig
Intermittent Fasting
Grapefruit Diet
Cabbage Soup Diet
Scarsdale Diet
Beverly Hills Diet
South Beach Diet
The Zone Diet
Formula One
Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
Baby Food Diet
Cereal Diet
Whole 30
Bouillon Cubes
Ayds Diet Candy
Tab Cola and Prayer
Mystery pill from my trainer years ago 😳

Now please save the comments with the irritatingly positive “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.” That’s not any better. It’s just more of that politically correct bullshit that takes a word with a negative connotation (diet) and makes it sound not so horrible (lifestyle change). A lifestyle change sucks too because it means I can’t spread Nutella on a rice krispy treat whenever I want. Call it what you will, but I don’t like the idea of either.

Have I been heavier? Sure. Have I been smaller? 100%. Do people tell me I look fine the way I am? Irritatingly – yes. I appreciate that-ish. First off, people lie all the time. Second, your line of “you look great” cannot erase decades of self doubt. Thanks for trying to make me feel better though. Bottom line – I have a closet full of fabulous clothes that I’d like to get back in to – it’s just finding that balance with my body’s aging system versus aging. At 47, my body doesn’t respond to dieting the same way it used to. It’s SO. MUCH. HARDER. And it is in direct conflict with the mindset of an aging person who thinks – “I’m more than halfway through with my life. If I want to dip a double stuffed Oreo into whipped cream cheese and jelly – by God, I will.” I’m a grown ass woman. If you told me I could never have a warm loaf of fresh bread with creamy butter again I’d punch you in the throat. But….”are you sure you mean to track this weight?”

So yeah, fortieth verse, same as the first. Here the hell we go again.
With that said….

Seems legit to me?

I have not tried Dolly’s diet yet. Fried chicken and mashed potatoes? How this could go wrong!!! Pass them taters!!!!

Happy 2020 y’all! See ya in the New Year!

I’ll probably be hangry.

Dreaming of a White Christmas

One of my favorite movies to watch during the holidays is Christmas Vacation. It’s one of those movies that is so entertaining to me, I am immediately sucked in no matter the scene. Yet one particular scene that resonates in my head these days is when Clark (Chevy Chase) finds himself stuck in his attic. He stumbles upon some old home movies and since he is trapped and has nothing else to do, ends up watching them. The heartfelt nostalgia of happy memories brings him to the point of bittersweet tears.

This is where I am right now – but not because of what you might be thinking. It’s because of my white jeans. They have temporarily been removed from my outfit rotation. When I see old pictures of me sporting them blissfully happy yet oblivious to the impending separation…the tears start to well.  

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Only in New York

I know that New York City isn’t for everybody. You either love it or hate it. I fall deeply into the “love it” camp. My adoration of this place brings me here often. The clear advantage, in addition to all my accrued American Airline miles, is that it feels like my second home – especially since I’m past the point of all the touristy stuff. I literally can’t do the Statue of Liberty again, no offense to her at all. She is delightful, beautiful, iconic … but I’m so done.
Although we’ve respectively broken up, I wish her well. So with this seasoned status as non-tourist tourist, I get to just exist when here and pretend I’m a local… like sitting at the adult table when you aren’t really an adult. I feel pretty well versed in the day to day decisions of where to go, what to do, what line to take, what cab is gypsy, what puddle isn’t water, what avenue to avoid, what street purse is real… (FYI – None. You will never find a real Gucci in the back of someone’s van off Canal Street. And no, that’s not Chanel. Look closely, it’s ‘Channel’. Keep walking.)

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Red Ribbon Week: AKA – Some Sort of Fresh Hell

Red Ribbon Week, for those of you not in ‘the know’, is a week in October designed and dedicated to encourage kids not to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. During this event every day of this week has a cutesy little catch phrase partnered with a dress-up challenge. For example, one day might be “Say Peace Out to Drugs!” and students would be encouraged to dress in peace symbols and tie dye. It’s a creative way to highlight a serious topic. When my kids were in elementary school – they participated because, Hello! When you’re a kid, you like to dress up. So I was that mom – I got the crazy socks, the camo shirt, the neon hair dye, the mismatched outfits, the detective costume, the team jersey, the Hawaiian lei. It was nothing short of an endless errand running madness sandwiched between all my other mom duties – but I did it because you do this sh*t for your kids! This has been going on for SEVEN YEARS.

Even though my kids are now in Intermediate and Middle school, I felt like I still had to at least ask them if they wanted to participate. Secretly, the idea of putting together outfits AGAIN made me want to lay down on a Kindermat and suck my thumb. I pretty much knew how my 8th grader would respond when I threw it out to her. I received the classic eye roll at the mere suggestion of doing something ‘participate-y’ coupled with the exact phrase “Are you freaking kidding me?”

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Sorry. Not My Kind of Bar!

There are many teaching milestones that we hit as parents. Potty training. Brushing teeth. Riding a bike. Fixing mommy a martini. You teach your littles how to do basic things so that when they leave your nest they can fly. Right?

This past weekend I realized that I had failed one of my baby birds in the oddest, unknowing way possible.

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Don’t Even Get Me Started

This is a ‘common house spider.’ It’s COMMON. In HOUSES! Kill me. Kill me now.

There are few things in life that truly terrify me. An empty wine fridge? Totally. Trying on bathing suits? 100%. My reflection when someone FaceTimes me? For sure. But nothing puts me in a rocking fetal position with thumb in mouth faster than spiders. With Halloween season upon us, I see them everywhere. Jewelry. Friends’ front porches. Pottery Barn. EVERYWHERE. I understand they aren’t real spiders – just decorations. Y’all, please. My brain knows that – but it can’t process it effectively enough. My own husband even participates in this mean spirited celebration of what haunts my deepest nightmares by putting a giant spider on our banister (as seen below). I KNOW it’s there and every morning on my way to get coffee it startles me…and makes me question the meaning of unconditional love.

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F’ing Parent Fails

I’ve been watching my precious 2-year-old niece on and off for a few weeks. This experience has taught me that my language has gotten a little salty over the years. Thankfully, I’ve caught myself from saying anything TOO horrible, but I can’t actually promise that I’m not sending her home with a strong use of the word “Crap.” At least it’s not “Dammit!” So there’s that?

The whole concept of little kids with potty mouths – the direct result of hearing their parents spew obscenities – reminded me of my own children when they were young. A few classics significantly stand out – although let’s be real clear, there are probably way more. I have either just forgotten them, or more likely, blocked them out. 

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