Excuse me, but these pounds are not mine

scaleWhen the dude runs down the stairs yelling “Mom” while laughing, it’s generally not a good thing. Particularly if my husband is following close after, and he’s laughing as well.

“I wanted to see what I weighed, so I used your scale. Hahahahahaha!”


My husband got a scale that talks to the Fitbit. I’m starting to think the Fitbit is more trouble than it’s worth. Then again, it provides me with so much writing material, how could I give it up?

The Fitbit scale tracks weight and body fat and sends loving messages to my phone to let me know when I’ve done well.  It’s the kind of scrutiny that I’d divorce my spouse over–or at least withhold sex. The problem is that it’s insensitive in every sense of the word.  Rather than sensing that it’s me, because I have my Fitbit with me, it guesses who is standing on it based on weight.

My son is six inches taller and five pounds lighter than me. He has the body fat of a stinkbug. Does it occur to the scale that I couldn’t have lost five pounds in three hours and cut my body fat by 2/3? No, it can’t. So my phone starts buzzing as my Fitbit account begins to send me congratulations.

Congratulations Jeannine! You’ve lost another five pounds! You’ve earned another badge!

Congratulations Jeannine! You’ve lost ten pounds total! You’ve earned another badge!

Congratulations Jeannine! You’ve exceeded your weight loss goals! You’ve earned another badge!

Time to set new weight goals Jeannine!

My husband and my son find this hilarious, because they know how my mind works. I will feel guilty that I haven’t earned these accolades. I will bemoan the five pound gain next time I step on the scale, even though I weigh exactly the same as I did this morning. I’m so grateful that I don’t share data with anyone other than my husband (and the wisdom of that is debatable as well) because that would make my humiliation complete.

I skulk to my computer to delete the latest weight entry, and wonder how their program works. Will the Fitbit take the badges back?

We retract our congratulations, Jeannine.

How could you lie to me, Jeannine?

I’m disappointed in you, Jeannine.

It’s not my fault Fitbit. It’s yours. You’re the one who misidentified the daddy longlegs that is my son for a 48 year-old woman.  He is a head with limbs attached. I have boobs, okay? This is not that complicated.

Talk to the hand, Jeannine, the scale ain’t listening. Your Fitbit suggests that you get moving. Apparently, you still have weight to lose.

Luckily, my Fitbit dashboard says nothing, but the badges still sit there, making me feel guilty.  It’s like getting something I didn’t buy in my shopping bag. It’s happened before. I took the items back. The customer service at Whole Foods couldn’t figure out why I’d bothered. I’d probably burned more gas than the 3 bars of glycerine soap cost. My decision was not carbon neutral. Something new to feel guilty about.

I will never outgrow my Catholic guilt, any more than I will lose ten pounds. I don’t need to lose ten pounds, but dammit, I will see that unearned badge and feel guilty. My son keeps ribbing me about it, so I tell him that since he’s committed me to losing another five pounds, I won’t buy anything but kale and sparkling water until I get there.

Who’s laughing now sunshine? You want ice with that drink?

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by DavidD © 2012 Creative Commons

A Conversation with my Fitbit

fitbitCongratulations! You have taken 5426 steps today. That’s 54% of your goal!

Awesome, and it’s only my first day.

But it’s 5:00. Shouldn’t you be walking or something?

I forgot  to put you on this morning. Cut me some slack.

That’s what they all say. Get moving.

I went to the grocery store without you. Don’t you think I walked a few steps doing that?

Says you. Do you have any corroborating witnesses to attest to the number of steps you took?

Never mind.

That’s what I thought.

I also ran with my husband. Two miles, as I recall.

That’s already included, which, by the way, means you really need to get walking.

It was really cold out. Did I mention that, Fitbit? I went running when it was really cold out.

Cry me a river. But please walk while you’re doing it. I don’t want to have the same talk with you an hour from now.

What about housework? I climbed the stairs 22 times in the last three hours. That’s laundry, cleaning, and poor planning. Doesn’t that get some type of multiplier? I also spent an hour ironing my husband’s shirts.

Did you walk in place while ironing?

Blink. Blink.

You aren’t helping yourself here.


Listen here, Fitbit. I’m a writer, so I’m writing. That’s what writers do. It sort of a sedentary job.

Hemingway was a writer, and he got up from his desk for a shot of  something at least once every hour or so. He also ran with bulls.

Only once a year. The running with the bulls part, that is. I run three days a week. I also drink three days a week. It’s healthier that way.

Look, I’m the Fitbit, not the Bentbit, and did I mention, you’ve taken 5426 steps today. That’s 54% of your goal! That’s an “F” by the way. The programmers make me put the exclamation point in.

Man, that’s harsh. You knew that would get to me, didn’t you.

Listen sunshine, if you can’t walk and talk at the same time, shut up.


Congratulations! You’ve climbed one set of stairs today! That’s the equivalent of the world’s tallest cornstalk.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Pete Markham © 2012 Creative Commons



Women Who Rock–The Palace of Weariness

Today is the start of my new interview series, Women Who Rock
Following a passion isn’t always easy.  What makes it easier is knowing we aren’t walking the path alone.

Living in the Palace of Weariness
Five element acupuncture describes the Palace of Weariness as the point on the palm of the hand, between the third and fourth metacarpal bones in the proximal transverse crease, otherwise called the headline.  Nina Brugel knows the palace well.  She lived there long enough to redecorate.

Nina was tired.  Not just sort of tired.  She was the kind of tired that aches.  She couldn’t stop thinking, worrying, even when the day was done. She couldn’t sleep, and when she did, even that felt like work.  Raising three children can be a challenge, even with great kids like Nina’s, but when one of them is ill, stress takes on a whole new dimension.  She had a child in pain, and like most mothers, her child’s pain had become her own.

Acupuncture wasn’t entirely new to Nina.  Her husband found relief in the ancient healing tradition after a double hip replacement.  Five element acupuncture balances the different types of energy within the body–wood, fire, earth, metal, and  water, releasing blockages that keep it from flowing freely. Nina hoped acupuncture would help her relax and sleep, but she found so much more than peace –she found direction.

You don’t find passion, it finds you
Nina’s passion didn’t announce itself, it snuck up on her.  “I hadn’t really thought about (studying acupuncture),” she admitted. “Shani (her acupuncturist, a woman who rocks in her own right) planted the seed.  I’d ask her all of these questions about what she was doing, the points she was working with and how they effected the body, and after a while she said ‘you really ought to study this’.”  There was a program about 45 minutes away.  It would take 3 years of full-time classwork, 250 hours of clinical work, and then she’d have to pass the board exam.  But after doing so, she could help people just the way she herself had been helped.

Nina had been searching for her passion for a while.  During college she was sure she was the only one who didn’t know what they wanted.  Even after working in the Capitol, getting married, and having her children, the question still dogged her as she looked for what might come next.  Nothing seemed obvious.  Frustrated, she’d curse out Oprah when told to  “Find Your Passion!”,  as if it was packed in an unlabeled box in the garage, or in that kitchen drawer with all of the other random junk.

Until Nina admitted telling Oprah to take a leap, I didn’t think I could adore her more.

That which creates fear, can also create energy
Which is not to say Nina jumped into studying acupuncture right away. “I had lots of reasons why I couldn’t do it.” Starting with the fact that she didn’t know where Laurel, Maryland was.  “My first excuse was a silly one. Shani just said ‘next’.”

But there were larger impediments–time, money, and her desire to spend time with her youngest child, just going into middle school.  “I’d spent so much time with my oldest when she was sick.  Shouldn’t I be here for my youngest too? He would want me home.”

“Have you asked him?” Shani replied.

Not only was her youngest fine with his mother being gone in the afternoons when he got home, he was proud of her, ready to tell anyone and everyone the cool thing his mother was getting ready to do.  Her entire family was behind her.  The support has been invaluable.

“It was hard going back.  I could literally hear the gears turning in my head, creaking away.” And the challenges continued. “There were times when I thought, why am I doing this?”  Her husband is right there next to her, working to boost her spirits.  “My husband gets to bring out all of his sports analogies.  He likes to coach, he’s in his element.  And you know, when you’re sobbing and ready to give up, they actually work surprisingly well.”

Nina will finish her program and pass her boards (because I know she will) early next year, and join her mentor, Shani, in practice. She hopes that in helping others she can find meaning in what she went through with her child.  Seeing people respond to treatment keeps her moving forward.  “I can be tired and stiff when I get to the clinic, and wonder how I’m going to get through the day.  And when I leave, I actually have more energy.”

That’s what passion looks like–something that adds energy, even while you expend it.

Have you found your passion?  What brings you energy?  Tell me! I’d love to hear.  Even better, if you are, or know, a woman who rocks, tell your story! email me at mobyjoecafe.gmail.com

Learn more about Five Element Acupuncture and the Tai Sophia Institute