Usually I don’t bother making New Year’s resolutions, because I already know where I stand on any changes I need to make. I suppose if I made my resolutions more realistic, I wouldn’t fail miserably at them. For example: Drink more coffee; Exercise less; stress more. I would definitely feel a sense of accomplishment over achieving these.

But I’m feeling a little more optimistic this year, what with my first book having been published, thus proving that 2012 wasn’t a completely craptastic year for me, so I figured, why the hell not? I could stand some improvement.

I hate to be a cliché, but yes, I need to exercise more. Let me tell you why. A month ago something happened to my back that rivaled the pain of my 18 hours of back labor—one minute I was fine, the next I was in excruciating pain for days. It gave me a premonition of what it’ll probably be like when I’m old and decrepit, and it wasn’t fun. If I had been in better shape physically, I’m convinced my back would have never made me privy to what it feels like to be shot in the spine. The truth is I sit on my ass in front of a computer all day. This does not bode well for the body, as opposed to, say, farming or being a crossing guard, so I need to do SOMETHING more than I’m already doing (which is absolutely nothing).

I’ve also been trying for months to embrace my fatness, and I’m sorry to say it just ain’t gonna happen. I can try to admire this type of body:


I can even superimpose my head on her body and then stare at it every day with the hope of achieving a kinder, gentler body image. I can curse social media and the fashion industry for setting unrealistic standards for women. I can choose to actually believe the men who claim they don’t like stick women, but in the end, this is what I find sexy and attractive:


I’m sure it stems from my unhealthy obsession with wanting to be a model when I was young, my various eating “disorders,” and a general shitty sense of self-esteem, but I don’t like being heavier than a size 6-8. I feel gross, unsexy, and like I swallowed 2 of my 3 cats, so…

Resolution #1    Exercise more!

It’s also time to get another tattoo. I think long and hard about tattoos. I look at my body in the mirror, and all I see is skin…a blank canvas needing art. I studied art history in college. Look Dad, I’m finally using my major! People always say: Imagine how your tattoos will look when you’re old. I say: Imagine how ALL of me is gonna look when I’m old! Saggy, wrinkled skin vs. saggy wrinkled skin with tattoos…both look like crap, in my opinion, and besides, I won’t be prancing around in a bikini when I’m 70. I. Just. Won’t. At the rate I’m going, the only one who will see my pruny tattoos will be my cats…and the diva Chihuahua, who will, I’m convinced, outlive me. Replace the Yorkie with a Chihuahua, and this will be me in 10 years.


photo by stevegatto2

Resolution #2    Get another tattoo!

This leads me to matters of the heart…My heart is presently like this:


photo by CarbonNYC

I need to start working on forgiving my son-of-a-bitch ex-boyfriends for all the pain and torment they’ve caused me, so my heart can heal and become whole again, like this:


photo by woodleywonderworks

I need to visualize this lovely romantic scenario:


photo by delam

instead of envisioning taking that sword and plunging it into any one of my exes’ hearts. Ahem. Okay, so a lot of work needs to be done in the forgiveness department. I used to have this poster on my wall in my 20s:


photo by deflam

That was how I imagined love to be. Here’s the thing: I love men; I worship men; I appreciate men—I just hate my exes, who have soured me on men in general; not to mention every man I meet nowadays seems to be a prototype of one of my exes, just with different eye color. Still, I don’t want to die a bitter old woman, so it might be nice to live happily ever after with a mate, especially when I’m a senior, if only so he’ll be able to dial 911 when I fall and can’t get up.

Resolution #3    Heal bitter heart!

I’m always striving to become a better mother. Case in point: my son wants to go to church, so I force myself to go to church. It certainly can’t hurt. I’m the first to admit needing more of this in my life:


photo by Guillaume Paumier

God knows, I resemble this way too closely:


photo by DementdPrncess

So more of an effort needs to be made on my part for my own spiritual development. I also need to remember that going to church can be a bonding experience for my son and I, as can playing card games together. So instead of feeling this way when my son asks me to play the game, War, while I’m trying to write a sultry sex scene:


photo by Clearly Ambiguous

my mind needs to focus on the importance of nurturing our relationship, instead:


photo by linek

Resolution # 4   More quality time with son!

And speaking of spirituality, I really need to strive to be more like this in terms of my writing and my career:


photo by HaPe_Gera

After The Accidental Cougar was released, I experienced post-partum publication blues.


photo by rocketjim54

Instead of feeling proud of myself for all I had accomplished, I only looked at how far I still had to go, and how much further others were ahead of me. It’s tough to look at an author you admire—an author who already has an established career, having published 9, 15, 20 or more novels—and not compare yourself to them and feel like a failure. It’s also tough not to fall into a deep spiraling depression over this and consider chucking everything to move to Tahiti to make puka shell necklaces to sell on the beach. No doubt the life of a writer is tough, with many ups and downs. But if it’s the life I choose, then I need to suck it up and deal…in the most zen-like way possible, or risk having to write my next book from within the walls of an institution.


photo by llya Boyandin

Resolution # 5   It’s okay not to be Nora Roberts.



I’ll never forget my grandmother’s friend telling me years
ago, “It’s the darndest thing. I still feel twenty-five-years-old inside, and
then I look in the mirror and remember I’m old.”

I decided to be Catwoman this Halloween. Michelle Pfeiffer’s
Catwoman. I ordered a rubber mask online. It even had pretend white stitches
all over it. When I tried it on, I felt like I was being suffocated. This baby
was so tight that not only was it cutting off all the circulation in my face,
it was literally pushing up my cheek fat and accentuating any and all wrinkles
around my eyes. These were no sexy, sultry cat’s eyes; these were wrinkly sixtyish-looking
grandma eyes.

Purrfect, I thought. I’ve become Catgrandma. Instead of a
vinyl jumpsuit with stiletto heels, I’ll wear a black velour track suit with
orthopedic shoes. I’ll keep a supply of tissues up my sleeve, and add a smudge
of red lipstick on my two front teeth. Maybe I’ll even have a piece of toilet
paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe to complete the look.

Really, it was a rude awakening. I realized all the other
ways I had gotten old.

If I bend a certain way, my once- beautiful rose tattoo now
looks like a flabby, sagging, cellulite-ridden red ass.

The fact that I am still wearing a belly ring makes me a
member of the embarrassing belly-ring club, filled with twelve-year-olds,
strippers, and forty-something cougars who make sex tapes with their cubs.

My PMS lasts the entire month. There is no reprieve. I imagine this is
a premonition of what’s to come when I hit the big M, and it isn’t going to be
pretty. A friend told me recently, “Wow, your ex was right. You can be a
bitch.” I said, “Honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

When my son calls out, “Mom,” people look to my twenty-four-year-old
sister standing next to me.

My fantasies are no longer about some sexy policeman
frisking me or a hot neighbor needing to borrow a cup of sugar. Now they
involve Dr. Oz performing an exam, or Tyler Florence, the chef from the Food
Network coming to my house to cook for me.

I don’t have plugs in my earlobes, but if I had gotten them
at a younger age, I’m betting the gaping holes in my lobes would be starting to
resemble another hole in my body if I had given birth to four kids the natural

And yet, I still call my son and his friends, “Dude;” I play
Wii Sports, not Wii Fit; I wear a
2-piece without a muumuu over it; I’ll admit I drink straight out of the juice

I don’t act my age. I still feel like I’m in my twenties, just like the friend of my
grandmother. Until I start embarrassing my son to the point where he doesn’t
want to be seen in public with me, I imagine I’ll always act younger than my
age. Right now though, he thinks I’m the coolest mom on the planet. I’ll roll
with that, because I know the day will come when he will tell his friends, “No,
that freaky lady’s not my mom. She’s just the babysitter.”