My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, please visit:

and update your bookmarks.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Starting Something Big - Preparing for my Oprah Moment

As some of you know, my husband and I have been working our fingers to the bone on a start-up company that will change the world.

Except, in real life, I wish my fingers were bonier, because then my wedding ring I got 16 years ago would fit better. Right now my fingers are chubby, like the rest of me.

Also, everyone thinks their start-up company will change the world, because Guy Kawasaki, the start-up guru, tells us, point blank, that if you aren't going to change the world, don't bother having a start up company in the first place. So, of course, everyone says "we're going to change the world!" Duh.

Actually, we're just hoping to change America. Our company will make it easier for help people figure out their 401k. Americans need some help with this stuff, please and thank you. Most of us are scared to open our 401k statement envelopes, and that's no good. We've got to start taking care of our own future, for our own selves here, people.

My husband and I got lucky. Yes, we really did. We found some amazing people to help us, and we're ready to launch this company soon, so you can start using these easy tools and open your envelopes.

We're moving fast, fast, fast, and it's a wild ride, I tell you.

So, anyway, we've been working over here at our dining room table, and I'm sorry that the Chubby Mommy Running Club has been neglected. But then, so has my running, so I guess I'm just being fair. I'm still chubby though, so don't worry. I see no immediate threats to my Chubby Mommy blog persona or my actual body image changing any time soon.

I'll be setting up a new blog, or two, and I hope you'll read those in your spare time. One will be a business blog that our employees and investors contribute to. It will focus on what the heck we're doing and why, and we'll share good links and news about finances with our readers.

The other business blog will be all about my personal little journey through start-up land, to share the story with typical funny @juliejulie stories, because the whole process is really something and I've learned so much in the past year that sometimes it seems like my head might explode from all this extra knowledge that's getting crammed in there.

It's a story with a soundtrack, by the way. We have an angel investor guy composing a song for us. I bet Guy Kawasaki doesn't have his own theme song. I'm just sayin'.

Don't hold your breath just yet, I'll let you know when these new blogs are up and running (just a figure of speech, of course.)

Indeed, I'm excited about the business, but for the record? I'm a tiny bit worried that we'll be so popular that Oprah will want to talk to us, and the next thing you know, I'll be sitting in a chair between Suze and Oprah, up there on the stage.

And, well, what am I supposed to wear on her show? I'll need to lose 20 pounds of fat and gain 30 pounds of muscle in like, 2 weeks maybe, and I'm not sure I can. Seems like I should start now, right? To give myself a head start?


Thank goodness Oprah's last magazine cover shot showed her with her before "super fit" self next to her after "Oops, I gained all my weight back" shot. So, she understands me and my delima, I bet. I'm positive she won't point at me and laugh a meanish laugh and say "OMG, you really ARE fat! I thought you were just making all that up for your blog!" She wouldn't.

But still, I should have something long-sleeved and drapery-ish standing by in my closet, just in case. Right?

I'm thinking if I just get some really, really good shoes and a few nice accessories, the camera will accentuate the positive and people will focus on my pluses, not my minuses. As in, the sparkly things I'll be wearing, not the "plus" part in the plus-sized outfit.

What do you think? Maybe I should just get a hot pink shirt and sit next to Suze.

And if I smile and laugh enough, and act all professional while I'm talking to Oprah, I'll be fine and my t.v. image will be...fine.


So, I'm practicing my Oprah speech in the car, when no one else is around, just in case I get the call. I'm imagining the whole thing as a casual conversation, and I'm getting pretty good at it.

Don't worry, I'll make it sound natural and un-rehearsed, like I just happened to think of some super clever, smarty-pants things to say while I'm sitting there in the chair next to Oprah. We'll just be chatting about the state of America's financial meltdown, and the future of our country. And I'll sound super knowledgeable.

"Oh yes, Oprah!" I'll say. "I do know a bit about financial...stuff. I'm super, super smart at math and compounding interest and...things of that nature and sort. No, I'm not really a programmer, I'm a Fine Arts major, but I do know how to make hyperlinks on my blog (!) (the exclamation point is a reminder for myself, it means add excitement to my voice to make it sound like I'm smart and confident!)

"Oh, Oprah, I could talk about algorithms all day, if I wanted to, but I will refer this particular technical question to our CEO, because he speaks with a lovely, Irish accent, and everything just sounds better when he says it. Oh, and did I tell you how smart my husband is? He's the one who thought of all the secret smart (patent pending) stuff. I'm serious, he is super smart. That's why I married him, actually. Would you like me to tell you about how we met?"

See, then I'd sort of lead her back to talking about me, and I'd tell her a funny story or two (maybe one sweet one about how my husband was wearing red socks and penny loafers the day I met him, or something about Pierre the Puppy, or about when the sun roof leaked during the car wash, or that time my tongue turned black on Christmas.)

And then Suze Orman would walk on stage and the crowd would go wild, and I'd say a bunch of smart-ish stuff again (and encourage my husband and the CEO talk to her) to prove to Suze that indeed, we really do know what we're talking about over here, and I think she's just fabulous by the way, and I especially love her orange jacket she's wearing (!) and does she go to lunch with Jim Cramer much, because if so, I'd sure like to join them because they are both such characters and it'd be such a hoot (!) and by the way if you could just introduce me to Erin Burnett, omg, I'd be so thrilled (!) because my main reason for getting into shape is to be able to wear one of those giraffe dresses like Erin wore in that video with Cramer, and I really think Erin and I might end up being BFF's, because she so smart and funny and I really like her (!)

Do you think Oprah would lend me Bob Green for just a week or two before I go on her show? I mean, I could write about him here on the blog, and pretend he's super mean and forces me to do 100 push ups a day so my arms will look good, draped in giraffe fabric or not, when I go on her show.

But then, in the end, I'd be all "Oh, just kidding! He's marvelous, can he stay another month, please?" I'm sure it'd help him get even more popular. He could write a book about me if he wanted, I swear I would not mind one bit. Do you think he'll make me Rollerblade?

So, if you don't hear from me for a while, forgive me. I have a lot of driving to this week, to practice for my Oprah Moment. I could get the call any day, you never know.

Man, I hope I don't run out of gas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Dog

Here's Pierre the Snow Adventure Dog preparing for his walk. Despite his small stature, he continues to ring the bell for his daily three mile constitutional, and he doesn't even have a sweater.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Seeing Janice: how I should never leave the house without looking in the mirror

(Look, even Julia Roberts has frumpy days)

I saw Janice yesterday. She looked great. I looked horrendous.

I usually don’t care that much about these things, but seriously, I looked like the worst version of myself possible. I hadn’t taken a shower in two days, and Emergency Christmas Shopping was nagging me:

"So, if it snows again, and you can't drive down the hill for 3 days, what do you tell your children on Christmas morning? Will you say sorry I didn't shop this year, I was too busy working? They didn't even ask for much, just simple things. Would it kill you to drive to the mall?"

Emergency Christmas Shopping is kind of mean. It doesn't put up with excuses. It knows you've had all year to shop. Christmas is right there on the Google calendar, after all.

There was a break in the weather and the children were at school so I threw on a hat and coat to run out before the roads got icy, and the snow started again. Just a quick little jaunt, no big deal; no need to waste time with the shower, shampoo and shine routine.

I was at TJ Maxx looking for bargains when I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. I almost fell over.

My hair was plastered straight down on my head, I was wearing the T-shirt I slept in, no bra, a fleece jacket with dog hair all over it, my lovely Pillsbury Dough Boy puffed coat, saggy jeans rolled up over my boots to keep out of the snow. I couldn't recall the last time I washed my face, let alone put on some makeup.

I swear I looked like I weighed 250 pounds and hadn’t seen a brush or a fashion magazine in 10 years. It was as if I put all the unflattering clothes I own in a big pile and rolled around in them until they stuck on me.

I swear to you I didn't recognize myself. I almost cried. How had I let myself go?

But of course, I dismissed the pity. In real life, with a little pre-planning, I was fine, I told myself. Not the hot-babe of my youth, but fine, in that middle aged mom way. Just a nice neighbor lady out shopping. The bus stop kids like me, so I'm not an ogre.


I hopped in the car and drove off to Michael's to look for "art supplies" that my art girl had put on her list. Nearly finished, I'll be back home in a jiffy, I thought. I'll take a shower, put on some lipstick, clean the house, maybe wear an apron.

Then, of course, I saw Janice. She is one of my art friends. It was kind of weird that I saw her, actually, because as I was standing in front of the art supplies trying to decide what to get my art girl, I thought “I should ask Janice which of these pencils are better for sketching…she’d know.”

It was a random thought, because I only see Janice randomly, once every couple of months or so, at art openings and such. I usually dress up a little for those things.

But, behold, there she was at the check out counter. She was happy to see me, of course, but I know she did a double take inside, because I'm sure she didn't recognize me at first glance.

Janice is 20 years older than me. She has good taste in clothes and accessories, and usually looks like she thinks about what she’s going to wear before she goes to town.

Janice isn't overly fancy, mind you. She was wearing jeans, a sweater and a fun scarf casually thrown around her neck, with some lovely little bobble earrings. And of course she was buying three nice paint brushes and a jar of acrylic matte medium, not panicking about what to get the children for Christmas at the last minute.

Janice doesn't even have children. She just borrows other people’s children and calls them godchildren, and they live far away. I’m sure she mailed them beautifully wrapped presents weeks ago.

We talked of Prisma colors, anatomy books and nude models (art friends are fun!)then she paid for her stuff and left.

I went straight home, then. I had planned more stops, but for heaven's sake, what if I ran into more people I knew?

Today I'm going to find my hair brush, I swear.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Twittering at the TweetUp!

Here's @cjgraphix, @juliejulie and @nosredna updating Twitter on our phones, telling everyone about the TweetUp last night. @nosredna won the paper airplane contest for Longest Flight. Of course.

I'll post more photos on the WoTech blog. Thanks so much to Abbott Schindler for sending along this shot of the 3 Musketeers!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Paper Airplane Contest

Check out for great paper airplane ideas!

We're having a Family Social! Bend TweetUp tomorrow night:

Join WoTech and friends for a FREE geeky-fun family event on Saturday December 13th, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. for Pizza and a Paper Airplane contest at the Marshall High School gym in Bend.

There will be prizes! We'll divide people by age, and come up with some good categories. Will your airplane fly the highest? The longest distance? What can you do with a single sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper? How about a few add-ons? Bring paper clips, and any other gadgets to add to your paper for the "enhanced" competition.

Bring your spouse, children, parents, friends and a dessert. Pizza and pop provided. Wondering where to wear your best tacky holiday sweaters? This is you chance! Tacky gift exchange optional, bring a white elephant gift if you want to play.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Uncle Billy Takes Off - Pink and Gold Memories

Here's a new work by my friend Patricia Freeman Martin, from her new book: "The Diary of Uncle Billy." This chapter is about the pink walls in the basement bedroom.

I love this painting. I don't have an uncle Billy, nor a bedroom basement with pink walls, but I love pink.

My first memory was pink. I was 3. It was late afternoon and I was waking up from a nap. The sunlight streamed through the curtains and hit the pink walls just right. The room was soft and glowing. I remember appreciating the color, and the moment. It was so pretty, and it was such a good nap. I wanted to remember the moment forever.

Twenty one years later, I saw another glowing room, in a land far away, that struck me as particularly beautiful. The color was gold, and the room was a church.

In 1989, when I was 24, I took myself and a backpack to Europe for a big, three month solo adventure. Everyone thought I was so brave, traveling alone. No cell phones back then meant an occasional call home every few weeks to my mom from distant, foreign phone booths confirmed I was alive and well. I had to save up exotic looking coins in different currencies just to call her.

I was certainly alive one rainy day in Italy, but I was exhausted and lonely when I happened upon an ancient Catholic church in the late afternoon. I was wet and a bit miserable. An obvious tourist, I was even wearing shorts.

I slipped into the back of the church, despite the glares of the stout women dressed in black, wearing sturdy shoes and holding big wooden rosary beads. There was no service going on, just a few old people scattered about praying. I wanted one of them to greet me, light a candle for me, and maybe take me home and feed me some spaghetti.

My cousins are Catholic, so I knew how to do that fake half-kneeling thing where you cross yourself before you enter the pew to sit down. I didn't want to offend the ladies, I knew the rules. I bowed my head and pretended to pray, but I was really looking around for a friendly face. I knew I needed some social time, but I wasn't going to get it that day.

I tried to let the spirit of the Lord enter into me, but he was busy elsewhere, concentrating on the old people, I think. They were dressed for him, and had props, after all. I just sat still and tried to think of all the Italian words I knew, in case God expected Italian prayers in that church. I tried not to think about how lonely I was.

Time passed.

I had a revelation: I'm an extrovert, traveling alone in foreign countries and I don't speak any foreign languages. The whole solo trip was kind of a dumb idea. I vowed that from that day forward, my big adventures would involve other people. Independence was fine, but overrated.

I bit my lip so I wouldn't cry. I was kind of afraid of those ladies. They might tsk tsk me. if I cried. I knew if I started, I wouldn't stop.

Suddenly, the rain stopped and the afternoon sun streamed through a high window and hit gold. There was gold stuff everywhere in that church, I swear.

The whole room got shimmery as the light moved around, bouncing off the golden wood trim, the gold in the stained glass windows, the gold cups on the alter, the gold incense burner...if I'd had a gold coin to pay an indulgence, the light would have found it too, I'm sure of it. Why had I spent my last coins on calling my mom?

I stopped trying to feel God and started appreciating the gold. I think I grew up a little in that moment. I realized that life wasn't just a series of skits I was writing, directing and staring in. I wasn't really the center of the universe after all, and it didn't really matter if there was a real God to hear my pretend prayers.

I realized that nothing I could do or make would ever be quite as brilliant as that color in that church that day. It took many people hundreds of years to build that impressive church and paint everything gold, over and over, century after century, so that when the light hit the window every afternoon and spread itself around the room, the color alone would make an impression on the future people who walked in, out of the rain.

That day, I knew I'd remember that gold color, just as I'd remembered the pink of my childhood. The gold was just as calm, and peaceful as the pink.

Good lord, now I want a nap.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What a Croc- 1938Media's Shoes and how I wish I could be Jewish

Loren Feldman is a mensch. He runs a media company in New York and he does puppet shows online where he says bad words and makes fun of people and sometimes he's mean, mean, mean. But I think he's nice inside, because somehow he convinced Michelle Oshen to marry him, and she's nice and shops at Kmart.

Be warned, fair readers, if you go to Loren's 1938Media website to watch a puppet show. I've never seen a puppet cuss so much in my whole life. Loren acts all tough and stuff (not to be confused with Puffnstuff who's not really a puppet or a Muppet, he's just freakin' weird...oh dang it, now I'm cussing, which I never do, ever, except when I burn my hand on the stove, or the dog poops in my closet or I drop something, or I feel anger welling up inside me for various, assorted reasons.)

But Loren is a softie, I can just tell. I saw Loren's mom once when she was the star of one of his videos, and she would not raise a bad boy, I'm sure of it. I can almost hear her Jewish, New York Mother accent telling him to watch his mouth, even as I type this. I bet he calls her every week. I bet she's so proud of him, despite his potty mouth. I bet she thinks he's a genius and the handsomest man in the whole world.

I have a boy. I know how it is to be a doting mother, even though I'm not Jewish.

I often wish I was a Jewish Mother and lived in New York. It seems like a glamorous job in a glamorous place. Instead I'm a lapsed Lutheran living in Central Oregon. We don't even have a Kmart. And I've never had a real bagel, apparently.

But I just can't give up the clean air and easy life in the high desert. And I can't quite kick Christmas. What would I do with all my great decorations? I bet Jewish people don't have lovely hand painted porcelain Nativity Scenes they bought at Costco.

If you convert to Judaism, you probably have to donate your Nativity Scene to Goodwill or leave it on the steps of churches in the dead of night. Or take it to a hospital emergency room maybe, no questions asked.

Poor baby Jesus, wrapped in a Kleenex, handed off to a random nurse...I just can't do it. It might hurt his feelings.

But anyway, back to Loren and Michelle: nice Crocs! Thanks for sending me your shoes, and Mazal tov.