Hockey looks like the best exercise!


Posting from the Carolina Hurricanes game where I got to accept a big ass $50,000 check for the Food Bank.  They made a three year commitment to give us $50,000 each year.

Watching hockey is not enough exercise but they would not let me on the ice to play.

Sorry about the short post, but I’m gonna enjoy the rest of the game.

Thanks hurricanes.


Hero Worship



Today was one of my favorite days.  Not the whole day, since we had a second snow day, but the evening.  It was the Food Bank’s Hunt Morgridge Award and night of Appreciation.  Every year the Food Bank thanks our top donors and volunteers and honors one individual who has exemplary service over many years to the organization.


I got to be the master of ceremonies, a job I love to do and this year it meant even more to me because the Hunt Morgridge winner was Haywood Holderness, a person I hold dear in my heart.  See Haywood was my pastor for ten years until he retired and it was Haywood who first got me involved in the Food Bank.

I was not part of the committee who picked the award winner, but when I heard they had chosen Haywood it was one of those moments that made my heart happy.  Haywood not only was the board chair for three years, created the Breaking Bread capital campaign that raised $6 million dollars, opened both the Durham and Greenville branches, but he spread the feeling that we can and should do something to help people in need of the most basic thing in life, food.


It was thrilling to see so many wonderful people come out to the new Durham Branch to honor Haywood.  We had a standing room only crowd and as I looked out over the sea of faces listening to the stories we told about how Haywood would ask people to donate to help those in need I saw many nodding heads and smiling faces of those people he helped “see the light” that people could get much joy from giving generously.  Haywood is the one who taught me that and I try to work everyday to spread the message that hoarding brings heartache and giving euphoria.


Tomorrow I get another fun opportunity to accept a big check on the ice at half time of the Hurricanes game.  So if you are going to the hockey game Friday night look for me in the middle of the ice, no skates, just a big smile and a word of thanks for the generosity of the Kids and Community Foundation of the Carolina Hurricanes for the $150,000 they are giving us.


These kinds of events make my job as the chair of the Food Bank board exciting, but nothing like the feeling I get when a child who we feed writes a note on a paper plate thanking us for the “real pear.”  I know Haywood would agree that is what all the work is really all about.

Grown Up Snow Day



The best days ever are the ones were you are given a pass from all responsibilities and the bonus is being told the day before so you can sleep in. That was the gift given to us last night that the impending storm meant calling off school well before bed so I did not set my alarm and wake up only to find out that I could have slept in.


It has been a few years since we have had any real snow here in Durham.  I know this because this is the first time that Shay Shay has seen snow.  It was the nice fluffy kind, not covered by a layer of ice so she was able to run and bound in it, with the flakes sticking to her face.  When she realized she had to do her business in it I was happy not to have the tough coating layer so that the pee did not run downhill and possibly run into her other paws.


Carter got to sleep in too, which makes a teenager very happy.  All my real work was canceled and my favorite activity of the week, Mah Jongg was moved to my friend Christy’s house where mothers with kids were able to come and let their kids go sledding while we traded bams, crack and dots, shared a yummy lunch and whiled away our day of play.


I love a guilt free day off.  Hey it’s not my fault that it snowed and so sorry you had to cancel some important meetings, but what are we to do?  Although it was not much snow we just don’t have the equipment here in the south to handle even the thinnest layer of ice, which is what happens when the snow gets packed down and melts just a little bit.


Hooray for permission to play all day.  It is only really fin when everyone else is off too.  I don’t think I need everyday to be a free day, but I was ready for this one.  Luckily it was not so much snow that we are going to be stuck inside for days on end, so I will be ready for school to start back up tomorrow with maybe a delay so the icy roads can thaw a little.  Two days in a row will start to feel decadent and I am just too Presbyterian for that much lazing around.


All this sleeping in and full day of Mah Jongg has kept me from my treadmill desk.  Now it may be a snow day but I have no excuse not to get my steps in so I must walk away for the rest of the evening in the warmth of my cozy office.  Just because there is snow I don’t get a pass on getting my steps.  At least I did sleep in.

Only Idiots Can’t Use Spanx Correctly




You know it is a slow news cycle when not one network, but three are reporting on SPANX.  If you are a man who has been living in a cave you might not know what SPANX are so let me be the first to tell you they are modern day “shape wear.”   Shape wear is the updated name for a girdle, which is an updated from the corset.


It seems like for as long as there have been women there have been people inventing things to make women into a shape that is considered superior to the one she has naturally.  Face it, if women were left to their own devices I doubt the long line bra ever would have been invented.


I digress, so the big “news” in Spanx is that the ultra stretchy and compressing spandex can cause harm to internal organs.  Well big news, so can an ace bandage if wrapped too tightly.  The story should not be that some dumb floozy squeezed her spleen too tight, it should be that Spanx is now required to have user instructions to protect the idiots of the world, like McDonalds had to put warning labels on coffee cups telling people it was hot.


Apparently some delusional women are wearing spanx that are multiple sizes too small or worse yet, wearing multiple spanx at the same time.  Really ladies.  No stretchy material is going to be able to hide all that you are and all that you have.  It may get a little smoothed out and hooray for Spanx I am all for that, but you can’t squeeze all your fat out of you.  You can push it in one place, but it is just going to have to roll back out someplace else.  Have you heard of back fat?


So please let’s not blame Spanx for causing your bodily injury if you are using the products incorrectly.  Hello New Directors, the story is women are not buying the right size shape wear.  No one can see the label if you are wearing clothes over your “Under garments” so please buy the right size.  I will never judge you be you a XL or XXXL.  But I will ridicule the hell out of you if you are taking up valuable emergency room space because you bruised an organ so you could look smaller.


Spanx is quite frankly a big improvement over the previously available shape wear so let’s not take the company down over a few non-compliant users.  This is in no way an advertisement for Spanx, but if you are a woman you wears them and loves them I am hoping to save the reputation of a wrongly maligned product!

Programmed to Eat



When we first got our dog Shay Shay as a nine-week old puppy we were told to give her a treat after every successful visit outdoors to potty.  This training obviously worked because she never once had an accident inside.  I am sure that at sometime we should have stopped giving her the tiny square of freeze dried liver she loves the most every time she comes in from the outside, but here we are more than two years later still treating her after every visit to the great big potty that is the outdoors.


I think sometimes she asks to go out just to be able to come back in and have a treat.

She is a fairly thin dog who does not eat a huge amount of dog food, so I guess keeping up the treating is not too terrible for her.


I got to thinking about the expectation for getting food and wondering if she is actually hungry or just in the habit of getting a nibble no matter what.  I am a human who is equally programmed to eat.  I can’t tell you the last time I missed a meal — Breakfast, lunch and dinner, everyday, no mater what.


I know that my parents did the right thing by feeding me regularly as a baby and young child.  Do I think that has programmed me to expect food at those three meals at the very least? Meals are not the only times I eat.  I wonder if I had not been so programmed to expect food at such regular times that I might have learned to eat only when I was hungry?


If left to my own devices I might actually eat more often than the three meals and one snack that is part of my regular routine.  What if I were given a favorite food every time I performed some mundane task like clean out the dishwasher.  I might never do anything else.


Not eating can be just as much of a problem as eating too much — both are unhealthy.  I am much too old to be deprogrammed from three meals a day now.  Perhaps five little snacks would be better for me, or just two good meals.  I will never know.


What I do know is that my dog is very happy getting a liver treat when she comes back inside the house.  I am not about to be the one who is going to stop her routine as long as she continues to be a good dog and always do her business outside.


As for myself since I am going to continue sitting down to eat at the same times everyday I am going to do my best to think about every bite and decide if I am done before my plate is clean.  Just another ingrained habit — damn those starving children in China.

Preemptive Worrying


Sometimes my child is nothing like me, like when she says she has spent too much time with people and needs a good long time alone.  As an off the scale extrovert I have a hard time fathoming what that feeling is like.  Clearly it is something she got from her father.


Other times my child is so much like me that I feel like I am having an out of body experience watching my younger self all over again.  This afternoon was one of those times.  After a jam packed weekend of go-go-go where I had hardly seen Carter for more than ten minutes we had some time coming home from horseback riding.  Knowing that I was going to have a salad for dinner that would not suit her I told her we would stop at the Fresh Market and she could go in and get anything she wanted for dinner.  I handed her a $20 bill and withheld my normal lecture on trying to find a healthy choice.


While I was waiting in the car she texted me to ask if we had any asparagus at home.  At first I thought that someone else’s texts were coming into my phone.  I said, “No, go ahead and get as much asparagus as you want.”  A few moments later she jumped in the car with her bag of groceries.


“What did you get?” I asked, thinking it would be a sandwich or something equally readymade.


“I got some chicken sausage, asparagus and chips.”  Shock and surprise.  An actual meal, made up of a healthy protein, green veg and a starch.  I was not about to complain about the chips, baby steps when it comes to letting a teenager pick out her own food.


“Yeah, I found the chips first and really wanted those so I ruled out sushi or sandwiches or wraps.  I looked around the store and saw the sausage and I thought I could cook those.”


Even better I thought.  Not only did she buy real food she is planning on cooking it herself.


“The only bad thing is I was standing in the beer section looking at the different choices that I might cook the sausages in and all of a sudden I remembered I am fifteen and am not allowed to buy beer.  An old guy was looking at me while I was standing there probably thinking the same thing.”


I had a big laugh.  Carter has been watching me cook her whole life and has learned that the right alcohol makes food taste better when you cook with it.


“I just realized something horrible,” Carter said.  “I am going to have to go half way through college without beer or wine to cook with.”


Oh the things you worry about when you are Dana Lange’s child.

Happy Birthday Mom



When I was little one of my favorite things to do was to go through my mother’s scrapbooks from her childhood.  She had tiny black and white photos of her family and friends at her house in Knoxville, Tennessee and at their lodge in the great Smokey Mountains.  I loved to look at the clothes they wore and the hairstyles they had back in the forties and fifties, so different from the style or non-style of the late sixties and seventies.


There were also many newspaper clippings of my mother from a picture of her at five years old receiving a “Call from Santa” to her engagement photo at the young age of twenty-one.  My favorite pages were the pictures of my mother and her dates taken at dances with the dance cards, and invitations attached to the pages.  One memorable invitation was a soda glass my mother had drawn with fluffy cotton coming out of the top to represent the bubbles and a real straw.  I used to tell her she was the best artist I had ever seen based on her scrapbook entries and she just shied away from that, not having started painting at that time.


I was always secretly glad that she did not end up marrying Woody Wood, who in an eighth grade cotillion photo was a good four or five inches shorter than my not very tall mother.  When I would point this out to her she would always say that he went on to be a successful dentist so I should think more highly of him.  I was just considering how short I might have ended up if he had been my father.


My mother was also a “College Girl” at Riches, the local department store.  That meant that she modeled clothes and appeared in advertisements.  I thought it was an incredibly glamorous thing to do and so grown up.  We had nothing like that in our small town of Wilton, Connecticut, not that I ever could have been a model.


Those images of my mother as a little girl all the way through college are burned into my brain and even though I was not alive during those times I still can see my mother’s beautiful face from then.  It is easy because she has hardly aged at all.  The only big change is her naturally straight hair now compared to her tight home permanent back then, now is so much better.


Today is her birthday and some decades later she still very much resembles that young girl climbing on the rocks of the river that ran by her parents lodge.  When I think of my mother I see her face in the pictures I have of her and the pictures she creates in her art.  Sometimes in her thirties she started painting and all that talent that was evident in her scrapbooks came pouring out.  She still paints almost everyday when she is home near her art barn.  I love that now I have not only pictures of her, but also pictures by her.  Happy Birthday Mom, thanks for all the scrapbooks that helped me know you better.