In the Beginning. (On second thought, that’s a bit much to live up to.)

In embarking on this exercise to explore the world’s religious practices from behind a keyboard, we’ll have to start with some disclaimers.  “All stock recommendations and comments are the opinion of the writer. Investors should be cautious about any and all stock recommendations and should consider the source of any advice…” Wait, that’s not quite the one we need here, except for the “consider the source” part. Maybe “Side effects are uncommon but may include headache, nausea, vomiting, death, sleepiness, dizziness…” No, that’s not exactly right either. The real disclaimer is that I am NOT an expert and you have been warned to consider the source. I have a measly little B.A. in Religious Studies and that was earned about 3,065,975 years ago from a mediocre university.  But, what I lack in credentials is maybe made up for in enthusiasm. I read books about religion for fun. (Party on, Wayne!) Five years of teaching high schoolers forced me to read, read, read and digest information and then regurgitate it (ew, gross) in a way that was relevant to their lives and occasionally amusing. Except for the quizzes. Those sucked. You won’t have any quizzes. You’re welcome. So, to recap, I WILL make mistakes. Please comment, react and correct me. Let’s not make this a one-way street, aight?

One more comment on the disclaimer… it is entirely possible that you, dear reader, will become sleepy. Sorry about that. The good news is I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t die from reading this stuff unless you are simultaneously driving your car and reading, and then all bets are off. It’s between you and God. Or Buddha. Or G-d. Or Allah. Krishna, perhaps. You choose. That is our most important ground rule here — I’m not going to tell you who is right, or who is wrong. Believe what you believe, comment as you please, and be respectful. The point here is not to convince, convert, coerce or cajole. Disagree with me on facts and show me where I am incorrect. But, please do not tell me that the so-and-so’s are wrong about this-or-that because the Book of Pooh to which you ascribe says so. Here, we are simply taking a trip together and talking about how folks around the world experience the divine — their books, their beliefs, their customs, their holidays and their own internal divisions. We are not here to judge because ultimately we answer to a higher authority (Hebrew National hot dogs commercial, anyone? Here it is, in case you forgot about it.)

Hebrew National Hot Dogs, circa 1975

Necessary legal paperwork now out of the way, let’s begin…

In the beginning, man decided he was not alone. He depended on the Earth, the Sky, the Water, the Air for his life. He thanked the unknown forces of the Universe, he thanked Mother Earth, he turned to all four directions in praise. Primitive religions are a fascinating topic. Indeed, ancient faiths like Hinduism and Judaism still very much feature and maintain close connections to the Earth and our dependence on the elements for survival. But, the major faiths in practice today (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) are the ones that are having great geo-political impact. Whether you favor Fake News, Fox News, CNN, NPR, BBC, or Twitter for your world perspective (and for the love of Pete, please don’t rely on Facebook for your news), you cannot avoid these religions. A grounding in where they came from can perhaps help us understand where we are all collectively going.

Where does one jump in to this, or make that leap of faith, so to speak? There are different approaches to classifying faiths. We can look at things from a monotheistic (one God/deity) vs polytheistic (many Gods/deities) perspective. Or we can try to compare and contrast Eastern vs Western religions. These breakdowns don’t really work so well. For example, it is tempting to label Hinduism as a polytheistic religion.  On the face of it, it certainly looks that way. But digging deeper we find an underlying philosophy of one-ness. So, yeah, that’s not really going to work.

elephanta
Hey guys! Check this out! Is it the Many Faced God from Game of Thrones? No, it’s the Trimurti Shiva from the Elephanta caves in Bombay harbor. These faces represent the creative, protective and destructive/recreative powers of the Hindu god Shiva. That’s some heady stuff. (Get it? Three heads? Okay, okay.)

East/West comparisons also kind of fail because religion travels across all borders. We fly all over the place at the drop of a hat — for personal pleasure, for better opportunities, to satisfy wanderlust, to escape persecution, to escape war. Look around and you’ll find that there are plenty of Christians in the East (over 67 million in China) and a boatload of Buddhists in America (about 3-4 million; it’s a big boat). Islam has spread across the globe and is the fastest growing religion worldwide. According to Pew Research Center, it could very well eclipse the number of Christians worldwide by the middle of the 21st Century. Religion and man really know no borders. Rudyard Kipling seemed to be hinting at this when he wrote,

“Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat; But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!”

So how do we start to tackle all of this? We start with Abraham. In my ever so humble opinion, Father Abraham (🎵 …had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham! Enjoy the flashback to camp.) is one of the most important figures in human history. This guy changed it all. Approximately 55% of the current world’s population (give or take a percent; numbers ain’t my thang) sees Abraham as their spiritual father. That is one heck of a family tree. We’re going to begin with his story and see where he takes us. Next time, I’ll meet you in the desert.

Fifth time is the charm

kolkata-preset5

My history with India goes back to 1988. A 19-going-on-20 year-old college student, I stepped off the plane, took my first sniff of that unmistakeable smell of India, and I was hooked. The smell is a hazy mixture of cooking fires, heat and humanity. It is not unpleasant, and every time I encounter it, I am overwhelmed with memories and filled with anticipation of what will happen next, because anything can happen. That first trip was four months of travel and discovery that taught me more about myself than I learned in researching my paper that was obnoxiously titled, “The Symbolic Manifestations of Shiva in India in Three Different Cities” or some such nonsense. Needless to say, it was not a groundbreaking work and Joseph Campbell had nothing to worry about. Since then, I have been back several times, and each trip has been a significant moment in my life.

On my first encounter with the subcontinent, I learned mostly about self-sufficiency. I could take care of myself, and that was a revelation. There was the lure of “the East” and that certainly had me in its grips. I did it all. As the British used to say, I “went native”. I wore anklets, bindis (the jeweled “dot” on the forehead), draped myself in shawls, participated in religious celebrations, gazed at the Taj, and had a few marriage proposals because I bear a striking resemblance to a green card. It was life changing for me but seems pretty standard stuff for kids of today. They all seem to study abroad now. But in 1988, this was heady (no drugs were involved, by the way. Midnight Run and all that.). Of course I picked up a bit of Hindi, discovered Indian food, and learned about cultures and religions.  There was some dysentery on a third class train. Now that’ll teach you something about how human kindness and a roll of toilet paper transcend all language barriers. Each challenging moment I met was outweighed a thousandfold by a magical one. There was the night of a million stars. One evening, while walking home from a $2 dinner in the town of Khajuraho, my fellow travelers and I stopped and looked up. Without light and sound pollution, on a clear night, the stars shone the way they have every night since the Big Bang. A bright multitude of pinpoints making us feel insignificant and essential, momentary and eternal. India has a way of making you feel that way if you get past the heat, the poverty, the dirt, the smell, the bureaucracy. Beyond the chaos, underlying the temporal, is the harmony. Khajuraho is known for ancient temples adorned with erotic carvings, symbolizing this harmony and the joining of opposites to create a whole. Those stars taught the same lesson that those ancient carvers and artisans tried to impart.

Trip #2 was life altering in another way. I got married. To a Hindu. In Kolkata. In a sari. What? This is not what the quintessential New England girl from a blue collar background planned to do, but life is quite a ride if you don’t fight it with good sense and practicality. There are more stories than I can recount (or anyone really wants to hear) about our wedding, so let’s leave it at this. For three days, I smiled, sweated, was adorned and bejeweled, cried a few times, was forced to eat bananas before sunup (gross), smeared with turmeric, bowed my forehead to the ground and touched the feet of countless elders, giggled at due to my size (funny now, humiliating when I was 26), threw rice on a fire, had my clothes tied to the man I would spend the rest of my life with (how’s that for some literal symbolism?), and did what I was told. It was the greatest privilege of my life. I couldn’t make sense of much of it then; it was a blur. But, I was welcomed and that was enough. Aside from the wedding, there was another moment from that trip that always makes us laugh. (No, not that. Get your minds out of the gutter, for heaven’s sake.) Kumar and I went to Darjeeling (of tea fame) for our really super long and relaxing two day honeymoon. The Himalayas were spectacular, my new husband spent a lot of time drinking tea while eating toast and watching cricket on TV (ah, married life), and there was a Tibetan Buddhist temple that still haunts my memories. It was a little unsettling in that temple, but not in a bad way. The moment that always jumps to the forefront was our Jeep ride. We were of extremely limited financial means and trying to save a few rupees, so instead of taking the hotel car down to the train station, we hopped into a Jeep that was a leftover from 1958 and held together with chicken wire and gum, with a couple of Tibetans. Seems like a sound decision. We flew down the steep hillside, holding on to the roll bars lest we fall out, tea plantations rolling down the mountain below us and monkeys gamboling above us, while the ancient Tibetan woman in the front seat worked her prayer beads (I credit her for preserving our lives). As we careened down, stopping occasionally for passing goats, I wondered, “When did my life became an episode of National Geographic Explorer?” I was grinning like a fool then and still am as I write this.

Fast forward to the year 2000 and we returned to India with our three-year-old daughter and dear friends, Daniel and Nadine. Now I was a bit of an expert (in my own mind) since this was my third foray to the East. Our daughter danced in the markets, we explored the Taj (trip #2 for me, so yeah, I knew it all), we shopped and ate (boy did we eat!), we grew ever closer to our friends because of the shared adventure, and India began to feel familiar. I saw her absurdity, which made me laugh more than it frustrated me. The predominant memory was being in a taxi with Dan and Nadine. The traffic was not moving at all. Have you been to Chinatown in NY during rush hour? The Kolkata traffic makes that seems like a minor nuisance and just a few cars. Our driver turned around and said three words with the biggest shit-eating grin on his face. (Sorry for the colorful expression, but there is no other way to convey it. Thanks to my Dad for teaching me so many useful phrases.) He exclaimed, “Jam. Total jam!” His joy at having foreigners in his cab, the increased fare that this delay would result in, and showing off his English skills, coupled with the absolute pointlessness of getting angry about that which you can do nothing, made it one of the more ridiculous car rides of my life. We still quote his “Total jam!” and it never ceases to amuse us because to embrace India is to embrace the absurd, and just go with it. Now there is a life lesson.

Like many of life’s significant moments, love, light and understanding come with pain and frustration. After years of infertility, ensuing treatments, heartbreak and acceptance, we travelled to India for my fourth time to take guardianship of our newly adopted son. (As an aside, go see Lion. Bring tissues.)  This was a make or break your marriage kind of trip. This was a make or break your body and spirit kind of trip. A broken arm, bureaucracy of epic proportions, the echo of the words of St. Mother Theresa who we met days after we married, malnutrition, chicken pox, heat and more heat, McDonald’s chicken sandwiches, and Rm 304 all figured prominently this time. But, surpassing all of those things, there was our son. And that’s all I have to say about that because it is getting hard to see the computer screen right now.

About thirteen years passed before we were ready to go back to India. Life happened, school and kids’ sports, jobs, procrastination, identity issues and plain old fear kept getting in our way. Kumar finally pushed me to commit, and we went to India, family of four, intrepid travelers, Kolkata or bust. If you saw the pictures on Facebook, you know it was a great trip. What you don’t know is that it was the greatest trip. Our kids are fantastic travelers. They are fearless, they are open, they eat and drink and travel about without complaint, they embrace unknown family, they question injustice, they appreciate their good fortune, they are empathetic and they are good. They are good. I have never wanted them to be anything else. Other kids can be the smartest, other kids can be the captain of the team, other kids can be “popular”, other kids can be victors. My kids are good and that is more than enough. We saw sights (back to the Taj again!) and enjoyed some spectacular hotels. We laughed, listened to Bollywood classics, slipped into the rhythm at my father-in-law’s home, drank tea by the gallons, and were mesmerized by the sights seen from the car window. India is never, ever boring. What I gained on this trip, other than admiration for my husband and kids, was a newfound love for Kolkata. The “Golden Triangle” is remarkable and riding an elephant is pretty crazy. But timeless Kolkata has my heart. Shopping in Hathi Bagan (Elephant Market) for clothing far surpassed the climate controlled comfort of the new Western style malls. Buying vegetables and fish daily at the market, watching the chicken you picked out being slaughtered and dressed, knowing where your food comes from, is something that the kids needed to see and we all needed to appreciate. Stopping off at the sweetshop to pick out a treat that you eat while walking home, sticky fingers and smiles, making sure to buy some flowers for the family prayer room and being greeted at the door with the jangle of keys and a warm smile from one of the household servants. It is the daily ebb and flow, eternal like those stars from my first trip to India, something you can count on, a feeling of belonging and somehow this foreigner is fitting in, that draws me back again and again. Book stalls on College Street, tea wallahs and clay cups, heat and dust, the call of hawkers and the glorious noise. Stray dogs wandering around and a cow passing by. Cacophonous, disastrous, beautiful and terrible Kolkata. The fifth time was the charm and my imagination runs wild with what the sixth time has in store. I’ll see you again in November, Mother India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixty-three Pounds Down, 8,376 Miles to Go

(Look closely. That’s me leading the elephant.)

Dear faithful followers, cheerleaders and naysayers alike, it is nearly time for takeoff. We begin our 738139495 hour journey in nine short days. Our personal Passage to India (minus the beautiful 1924 clothing and British oppression) is finally upon us. Typhoid vaccines are being ingested and my left arm still hurts from a tetanus shot. Reservations are reserved as are some of my opinions since we are going to be visiting with my in-laws. Just kidding! They are lovely people and I’m looking forward to seeing all 150 of them at a party on Christmas Eve. Yes, 150. You won’t be able to miss me in the crowd. For once, I shall truly be “the fairest of them all”. #whitegirlproblems #sarinotsorry

“So, Memsahib, how goes the battle of the belt?”,  you may ask. There are inches to spare and I am no longer insisting that Raj sit next to me so I can encroach on his leftover seating. Phew. I know, I know. You are thinking, “But this is for your health!” Okay, butt (which is much smaller, BTW) my mental health in a metal tube hurtling through the sky is just as critical as my cardiac condition right now, and both are much improved, thank you very much. I am bound and determined to resist the rice, say no to the naan, swear off the sweets and tango with the tandoori.

Lest you think this trip is all about the chai and samosas, it is actually so much more than that. We are visiting relatives, there will be the obligatory photo at the Taj, we are probably hopping on a camel or elephant, wandering through the bazaars and the bizarre. The real journey here is not my weight loss or the miles to be traversed. It has been fun to find the humor in my every day battle but our kids’ exploration of the other half of who they are is the real trip we are about to embark upon. They are both awakening to the side of their heritage that is thousands of years old, completely different from the instant gratification of America, and they will be seeing true poverty up close and uncomfortably personal. The colors, the smells, the sights and the sounds of India are cliches of every Fodor or Lonely Planet guide but there is truth in the maxim that it is “a study in contrasts”. Full immersion in India, when you experience it as a family member and not from the comfort of a five star hotel, overwhelms the senses. Some of this trip may be difficult for them physically and psychologically, and like all true learning there is bound to be pain with their growth. How very thankful I am to share these moments with them. I can’t wait to see their faces, hear their thoughts, and see India for the first time again through their eyes. I “found myself” there in 1988 and am so looking forward to walking beside them as they discover new parts of themselves. Oh, and then there is the ilish maach. Kolkata has some amazing fish dishes. We’ll be exploring those, too. Namaste, my friends. 

Today’s Challenge Is…

to write a blog post that does not contain the following words: Trump, Hillary, Liberal, Progressive, Racist, Fascist or diet. Leggo. (As in “let’s go”. This is not about waffles. Sorry, I’m still low carbing.) 

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and I, for one, am making lists and perusing recipes. There may be a change up in this year’s green bean iteration. I am ditching the cream of something soup for a whole food, natural, organic, fancy dancy version from Bon Appetit that no one will probably like. But they will be thankful for it, or else. And that’s what this is really about; being thankful. 

It is common and a bit trite to post, blog, or tweet about gratitude for the entire month of November, and that is why I like it. You see, I am decidedly common and not above trite. These are a few of my gratefulist things (my apologies, Rodgers and Hammerstein)…                

                   (Did you ever notice how much Julie and I look alike when singing to our adorable children? It’s striking, right?)

  • When the dog bites. Sometimes life really bites. It gets you in the heart, in the leg and sometimes right in the ass. Illness, loss, financial woes, and uncertainty touch us all at one time or another. And when it does, I am grateful for the unwavering support and love of my family. From my parents and sisters, my nuclear family (that does occasionally go NUCLEAR, but that makes it all the better when we are in a state of fusion rather than fission), to the extended clan, I am always stunned by the generosity and support of these people. Long ago I compared family to a rubber band. We are bound together loosely sometimes, tightly others, with a bond that stretches but never breaks. Though one of my sisters lives far away, she is still bound to us. Our cousins, aunts and uncles are flung about Connecticut and the rest of the country, but they are really never far. Sometimes, they are no further than an inebriated FaceTime session (I’m looking at you, Pete and Dee. And Zak and Briana. And Chris and Mauro.) And when things are truly bad, they seem to be right there in our arms. And my kids. Oh, my. My kids. They make me laugh (a lot), they make me hopeful, they bring out the best in my heart and I can’t believe how lucky we got to be entrusted with these two glorious human beings. I am grateful for the gift of family.
  • When the bee stings. Ouch. Stinging comments, zingers, jealousy and insecurity sometimes rule my day. But my friends, both those long held dear and the ones who have newly taken up residence in my heart, always put me back together. Out of the blue texts from my St. Mary’s girls ensure that I never feel alone. Spending time with our college friends, who have shared our bad times and rejoiced in our good times, is the sweetest reward for years invested in mutual support and unconditional friendship. Who else can you say three words to, and you are all reveling in the same shared memory and laughter? There are the folks with whom we have raised our kids and shared adventures. Experiencing a second generation of friendship with their kids is an unexpected joy that makes us feel young, until we collapse at 10PM and are reminded that we are not. And the Queen City has brought new women into my life who have made me laugh, challenged me, helped me to grow, and extended their kindness and generosity. I am grateful for the gift of friendship.
  • When I’m feeling sad. There is one person who is always able to detect the tears that go along with the smile. None of what I have, who I am, or what I do is possible without my husband. He is the only one who really knows what is in my heart, and he usually knows it before I do. Every day since March of 1989, this man has put me and my needs first. He has defied cultural expectations, embraced my family, loved me through thick and thin (I am not just referring to the dreaded “d word” here, but that, too), taught me to be kinder and more generous (I tell him almost daily that he is a lot nicer than I), and has supported me in every way. When I wanted to stay home with the kids, he found a way to pay the bills and never made me feel guilty. He is a mathematical wizard because we never went without, but I suspect he went without some sleep over the years. When I wanted to teach, he helped with the laundry and groceries on the weekend and bore up under my stressed out unreasonableness. He has never, not once, complained about a meal that I have made him, not even the sandy spinach incident of 2016. Through more surgeries than you can count (I was on a real streak of seven in seven years a while back), he has held my hand and held down the fort. I am grateful for the gift of a good marriage, but especially for him. Really, the guy deserves a medal. 

So aside from green beans and turkey, what else will be on my plate? A heaping helping of thanks. I hope your dish tastes as good as mine. (There will also be butternut squash rolls with so much butter and a little bit of a piece of pie (maybe a lot of a bit) because there are no carbohydrates on Thanksgiving because the pilgrims said so. Look it up. It’s a fact.)

The Diet Diaries. Entry #9. 

I have a good friend here in the Queen City who kindly plays the role of Joan Rivers for me. She is my fashion police with a wicked sense of humor, except she is kind and her face is original. “Events” and “Functions” and “Galas” have become a part of our Charlotte life, and they are still a new thing for me. I love them because I like nothing better than chit chat and meeting new people. I know, I’m weird. But as a newbie on the charity circuit, I really don’t want to commit a fashion faux pas that would detract from all of the witty repartee to be had at a table for ten in a ballroom. I often run an outfit or a dress by her to make sure it is appropriate and she responds with her always supportive thoughts and advice. It’s a good system. Today, she innocently sent me an email ad from Ann Taylor and suggested that I might like some of the styles shown. Ann Taylor. Not Lane Bryant, not Dress Barn Woman, not Moamar’s Caftan Bazaar. Ann Taylor. Ya feel me, fam? Ann Freaking Taylor.

My immediate reaction was, “Wow. These are such pretty clothes but they’ll never fit me and good heavens I can’t imagine going into that store with all of those pretty women and paying that price for a dress that I’ll be afraid to wear because it costs more than the rent on our first apartment and I would totally feel like Fudgy the Whale standing next to a kale salad if I even stepped foot in Ann Taylor so NO. Just NO.” And then I clicked the link. Many of those beautiful garments would fit me now. Gulp. And they are not really that expensive. Intriguing. I’ve spent as much from one of the online retailers that I favor (my bedroom is a far more comfortable dressing room than any store cubicle). And then it hit me. I’m “normal”.WTF.

 I have been here once before and it didn’t end well. I did not handle “normal” very well.  Dropping weight is easy, but dropping my armor is not. As long as I am defined by my weight, I don’t really have to worry about being noticed, being pretty, being judged by other women (surprising fun fact: some of us ladies are pretty bitchy), or even being spoken to sometimes. I can be the funny fat lady who has a great personality if you just get to know her, but otherwise you can skip on past her. If someone gets to know me, and likes me, I know it is genuine. Fat women don’t have to sift through potential friends because only genuine people take the time to get to know us. Really, it makes things easier. But, now, as I have achieved the typical American woman size 14, I am “normal”. How I look matters. People who meet me for the first time don’t just see an obese woman and then move their gaze on to someone else that does not make them feel pity or discomfort. They see me. 

Being as big as I recently was, have been before and may be again (I live in daily fear of gaining weight) is an eating disorder. No one wants to be obese and the reasons for obesity are as varied as the number of people who struggle. (What I can guarantee you is that being obese does not necessarily mean that someone is of lesser intelligence, slovenly, lazy or that he or she consumes mountains of food at each meal. That’s just not how it is. “My 600 lb Life” ranks right up there with “The Biggest Loser” as some of my most despised television shows. Reality, my ass. My Big Fat Ass.) I really can’t tell you why anyone else struggles with his or her weight. But, I know why I do. My fat is my chainmail. My food is my weapon and security. I am accustomed to navigating the world with a protective suit on and now that it is falling away, my nerves are exposed. It is freeing, but it is frightening. Now the real work begins. How do I live in this body? Can I cope with being “normal”? I have no answer for you, but I think it is good that I am asking the question this time. And I just may pop in to one of those stores for “normal” women and try something on. Imagine a thing like that. 

 

The Diet Diaries. Entry #8. 


September 7, 2016

This is starting to get tedious. Both the dieting and the blogging. Yes, yes, yes, it is a “lifestyle change”, I am “doing it for my health” and “salads taste good”. But, still, five months into this “lifestyle change”, it is not yet a habit but remains a horror. Science says it takes between 18 and 254 days to embed a new habit. Always the overachiever, I seem to require the full 254 days because I am 142 days into this living nightmare and the ghost of chocolates past (the bag of M&M’s from Easter 2015 that are still in my pantry) is calling my name. Another setback is my faded hope of Turkey Trotting (bye, bye stuffing dreams!). A torn meniscus and arthritic knees have me off the treadmill. Maybe I’ll walk it, and maybe I’ll just drink cinnamon apple sangria. We all know how this is gonna go down….I’m going to wash the punch bowl next week. 

But before we get too down in the mouth, or heaven forbid stuff it with Reese’s peanut butter cups, there is good news to share. First of all, I have a chin! Secondly, remember that airline seat that caused me to get my shit together and has haunted me like those clowns in South Carolina? It’s got inches to spare. And finally, you know how I’m not going to focus on pounds but rather “how I feel” (Hahahahaha! Oh boy, I crack myself up!)? There are fifty-one fewer of them. So, take that stale M&M’s! Your sweet siren song will not tempt me. Okay, it will. But, I can do this for ten more seconds.

The Diet Diaries. Entry #7. 


July 29, 2016

A few days ago, one of my dear Charlotte friends casually mentioned that her pectoral muscles hurt from weight lifting. The only weight I have lifted as of late is my bat wing arms while reaching for my iPhone. The only sore muscles I have are around my thumbs from texting and scrolling. 

Yowza, did her comment ever shine bright white lightning on my thunderous thighs. I am the perfect storm of middle aged spread and jiggle. As my husband likes to quote, “That must be jelly, cause jam don’t shake like that!” So, this jellya$$ (I think I just coined a new term) is kicking it up a notch. You know that gym membership we all pay for and look at guiltily when the money is debited every month? Well, I’m going to actually go. In about 10 minutes. No, for real. I’m gonna “Just do it!” (Thanks, Nike, goddess of the fleet footed!) And since public accountability is what holds my feet to the fire and treadmill (and I just bought some Nike shorts that will expose all of that aforementioned jiggle), I hereby pledge to run/walk/crawl/gasp the Charlotte Turkey Trot. WHO’S IN? Join me on race day (in Charlotte or your own hometown) and help me earn some stuffing and a piece or three of pie. #40down25togo #imsohungry #couchto5Kredux