How Many Lattes Should SuperWoman Have in a Week?

latte pic

What is it that calls SuperWoman to the cafe, over and over again? It’s a force of TEMPTATION, fiercer than many villains she’s known. Her love of caffeine. The mix of espresso and milk. Lately, she can’t hold back.

Here is something that really happened.

SuperWoman wanted a latte. It was a rainy Tuesday. She left work at lunch time and decided she’d get one and go back to her desk to finish some work.

She approached the cafe, eyeing it up. Was it safe to go in? And she decided, No, No, she would just drink Yerba Mate and save the money and be all clean and stuff internally. Shouldn’t a nice walk around the city suffice to make her day special? Why did she need to add a four-dollar (!!!) drink to feel good? No, no, she wasn’t doing it.

She walked. She let her arms feel the sun. She passed people on their lunch breaks and occasionally felt a warm breeze rustle her flowery skirt. Then she returned to her desk and listened to music (Sylvan Esso, if you must know) while she did a very mundane task.

In the afternoon, she was in a meeting. The rain came in like a Seattle summer storm— because Philadelphia, SuperWoman’s home city, has turned into Seattle—and the latte craving started again. Only this time, the craving whispered, Cappuccino. Cappa–cappa–cappa–ccino. Wouldn’t that be tasty, lovebug?


This is the voice of TEMPTATION, of INDULGENCE. SuperWoman must stand strong when this devil comes knocking.

The meeting ended. The rain petered to a low drizzle. (See? Seattle.) And then, as though driven by some unknown force, SuperWoman grabbed her measly umbrella and made a slow trek to the cafe.

She got just outside the door. She was going to touch her lips to that paper cup and put two Splenda in and mix it around and take it back and let it rest in front of her while she finished her afternoon tasks. It was going to be so good.

TEMPTATION was pulling her something fierce.

It wasn’t until she almost opened the cafe’s door that she stopped and fought back.

What am I doing? SuperWoman asked herself. No, SuperWoman said. No. I don’t have to do this. I can fight this TEMPTATION. I can find joy some other way. I do not need to buy a four-dollar hot drink that adds calories and caffeine to my delicate system. I am strong. 


TEMPTATION didn’t get her! See?

So what did she do when Wednesday came? She got off her morning train and went to the cafe and got a large latte and a scone.

Because SUPERWOMAN doesn’t need to fight temptation every day. Jeez. You think she’s perfect or something?


Last image: “urth caffe – mmm” by Tiarescott via Flickr

SuperWoman Does This Thing Called a “Cleanse”

Sometimes, SuperWoman learns, our bodies just get fed up with all those toxins we put in them everyday. If SuperWoman is going to defeat evil in its various forms, she has to be in tip-top shape. That’s why she gets up at dawn to exercise every morning.(Not.) That’s why she has spinach with every meal. (Okay, maybe just a little, in her salads, when she eats them.) But now? SuperWoman is getting ready to conquer her biggest enemy—SELF DOUBT—and so, she has decided, on the suggestion of a medicine woman, to do what’s called a “cleanse.”

No sugar.

No alcohol.

No caffeine.

No dairy.

Are you slumping over in your chair right about now in sympathy for SuperWoman? You should be. Because that’s not all. What else is SuperWoman not allowed to have?


Peanut butter.

Oh, the list goes on, but those are the highlights. And this cleanse—21 whole days of it—is frickin’ hard. Sugar is in everything. So is soy. So is chemical after chemical. So SuperWoman is eating like the ancients of Amaza, the land she hails from. Nuts and some kinds of fruit. Lettuce. Did she mention nuts? Seeds, too. And not even all fruit is on her menu. No bananas, for instance, no strawberries. Did she say nuts? But not peanuts. These cleanse people seem to have something against peanuts, which SuperWoman can just not figure out, because she loves peanut butter so much she would marry it. She’d probably, most definitely, pick it over chocolate, if both offered a ring and asked for her hand.

But she digresses.

Here is what you’re probably wondering. 11 days into her cleanse, did she cheat? Hell yeah.

But not so bad. Really. One day, she got a small coffee (half-caff!) and drank a little of it because her eyes were closing at work, and that can’t be good. And then another day, she ate peanut butter instead of almond butter on a rice cake.

She’s so bad.

Also, SuperWoman felt tired. She called that medicine woman, and she said, ugh, what’s the deal? Why am I feeling sluggish? You told me I’d be feeling great!

Sugar withdrawal.

Apparently, at the end of all this, she’s going to feel amazing. Meanwhile, every piece of cake, bread, or cracker she sees she wants to scarf down. Chocolate-covered pretzels. Birthday cake. Pizza. French fries. She’d even settle for a honey-roasted chicken wing.

But not until 21 days is over. Thursday August 2 is the big day. SuperWoman will be so strong on that day. So powerful. So ready to show SELF DOUBT and any other demon that it can’t get the best of her, that she is the defeat-ER, that those creatures aren’t going to know what to do with themselves.

Her only hope is she doesn’t go to the store and buy a bag of Oreos and cover them with peanut butter and dunk them in milk and finish them in one sitting. That’s the problem with forbidden things. They hold so much more allure….


Image: Hot & Spicy Almonds via Flickr.

Can SuperWoman Make a Decision? Apparently Not.

Apparently not.

It was a hot Monday. SuperWoman had just traveled cross-country home from California on the putrid American Airlines (with no Biscoff cookies, no TVs on the seats, lame) with her three sidekicks. She arrived in Philadelphia at 11 pm. The children got to bed after 12. So when she went to work the next day, do you think she wanted to come home and cook?

Puh-lease. The obvious answer is no.

She was going to just get pizza. Pizza-rooni. Pizza-all-the-way. Pizza, everyone’s favorite meal. Forget about all that hullabaloo about eating out too much–this occasion was special. It was the first day back after vacation. They needed to ease into their regular lives a bit.

The question was, where to go? Their local spot, right around the corner from the apartment, or somewhere else? SuperWoman hated making these decisions. The thing that was hard about divorce–and subsequent singlehood–is having to make these choices all on one’s own. There’s no other person to bounce things off of. It requires a certain sort of decisive power that SuperWoman lacks. Until today.

SuperWoman is going to CONQUER INDECISIVENESS.

But before she does, she’s going to be very indecisive. Just watch.

When SuperWoman picked her sidekicks up from camp, she decided to ask them where they’d like to get pizza. Was the usual place usual okay, or did they have another idea?

“Oh yes,” they said. “Another idea, another idea! “A place called Brick-n-Brew.” SuperWoman hemmed and hawed only the littlest bit. Brick-n-Brew was a tiny place, often crowded, but they did have good pizza, and she could get a glass of wine. The key here, after the first day back to work and long plane ride the night before, was that glass of wine. “Okay,” SuperWoman finally said. “Done.”

Except they drove by and saw that Brick-n-Brew was closed on Mondays.


“Ooh, I have another good idea,” SuperWoman said. “There’s another place about 15 minutes away we can go. I’ve always wanted to take you there–it just never worked out.”

They called. That place was closed on Mondays too.

SuperWoman now had to make a decision and stick to it. But the evil villain, INDECISIVENESS, reared its head again.

So they began to drive, and SuperWoman suggested they just go home and eat, have bagels or eggs or chicken nuggets or something, easy stuff. Save the money.

Wondermess’s response: “Nooooo! You said we could get pizza. Now you’re going back on it!”

TalkMonster’s response: “Why do you always listen to her? Why do you let her always decide? Let’s just go home and keep it simple!”

And BeautyQueen? Her response was to agree with whoever asked her the question.

“We’re just going home,” SuperWoman said. “A quiet night at home. Who wants chicken nuggets? Who wants eggs?” TalkMonster had convinced her. He was so good at it.

I’m going to be better at making decisions in this family, she quietly muttered to herself.

They turned onto the road that led home. Ugh, the dishes, SuperWoman thought. And no wine. And having to make three different things for three different people , because she put the options out there already, and she wanted to stick to her word.

They got out of the car and SuperWoman changed her mind again. (Can you believe it?) “You know what, sidekicks?” SuperWoman said. “Let’s just get pizza. It’s just so much easier. We go there and eat it and I don’t have to do anything else. We can walk there.”

TalkMonster very dramatically pulled at his hair and rubbed his head, waving his hand in frustration. “You always do this, you always side with them.”

“I’m not siding with them, I just don’t want to have to make a bunch of different stuff and do all the dishes.”

“Well we can do the dishes.”

Hmm. There was a point. Teach them something about work and chores and stuff.

“Okay, you’re right, let’s eat at home.”

“Noooo!” shouted WonderMess. As convincing as TalkMonster was with irrationality, WonderMess was as convincing with those quick, bulbous tears. “You said we could have pizza!”

Deep breath. This was getting ridiculous. A complete head-mess.

“TalkMonster, why don’t you just stay home and eat something, and I’ll take the girls to the pizza parlor.”

“Fine,” TalkMonster said.

But then SuperWoman changed her mind.

Yes, again.

“No, wait, we’re supposed to be having dinner as a family. I want you there. Let’s just go. We’ll all go together. Decision made. That’s it! That’s it! That’s it!”

On the walk, SuperWoman told her progeny: “Look, things are going to change around here. I’m going to start getting better at making clear decisions, not asking for everyone’s input all the time. I’m the head of this household.” (Okay, she didn’t say that last part.) “And we’re going to start eating healthier too. After tonight, of course.”

They got to the restaurant. They ordered fries, ordered pizza, watched the end of the Phillies game. The sidekicks colored pictures. It was much fun. Everyone felt better again. Things were decided. Firm.

And you know what SuperWoman realized? It would have been just fine if they went home, too.

Image: “Pizza” by Dale Cruse via Flickr

So SuperWoman Has Gained a Few Pounds. Shut up about it.


lipstick kisses

It’s not bothering her. Not in the least. At least her boots still fit.

SuperWoman doesn’t go by a mirror and say, “Shit.” Not at all.

She remembers those days after having children, when she had a little extra weight around her middle. It came off back then, right? So it should come back off again. If she tries. All she needs to do is try. Harder.

It’s not the daytime when it’s hard to try. Unlike other people who work in cubicles and office settings like SuperWoman (shh! She’s in disguise!), SuperWoman is not tempted by the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or brownies or veggie straws people put out in the kitchens to share with other people. (Hell, you can put out a half eaten bag of potato chips and someone, somewhere, will scarf it down behind their cubicle wall.) No, she’s very very good during the day. Which is why she’s so hungry when she gets home. So there’s a little hummus and carrots, there’s a little chips and salsa, and then there’s the dinner on top of that.

But most of all? Mostly what’s the problem?

SuperWoman eats out all the time. Way too much than is healthy. But she has a good excuse!

See, she read this book about a year and a half back, where the Sakyong from the Shambhala Buddhist lineage (stay with her now, these are some tough names) explained what his father Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche said was the key to enlightened society. The key, he told his son, the now-sakyong, was to sit down and eat with people. To break bread. (He did not necessarily say to drink with them, too, but isn’t that assumed? Everyone is more friendly and willing to talk about enlightenment when they have a little wine.)

So. This is what SuperWoman likes to do. It’s her favorite thing to do, in fact. Just last week, her best friend from the great land of Amazonia, where SuperWoman learned her mad warrior-skills and did some book-learning, came up to visit, and they went to breakfast. That best friend, Cat Eye, ordered this omelette that was so delicious, SuperWoman promptly pushed aside her pancakes and ordered a second breakfast so she could have some for herself. It had American cheese and onions and prosciutto in it…. Damn, was it good. The cheese all gooey and stuff.

But SuperWoman digresses.

Yes, she has more weight around her middle. She can blame lots of things. She used to get up at 5:30 to exercise or do yoga, but she hasn’t done that for months now. Let’s just say hard times came about, a crisis of faith, even, and she took a bit of a break.

But she’s going to get back to it. She works in Philadelphia, home of Rocky, of climbing up lots of steps and raising your arms to the sky in victory. And that is what she will do.

One day soon.

But first, she’s going to make a reservation at this great little Middle Eastern place that lets you bring your own bottles of red wine.

Image: “Lipstick Kisses” by Laura Lewis via Flickr Creative Commons