We’ve all been there: Somewhere between Nov. 30 and Dec. 25, you realize your clothes dryer must be shrinking your pants because they’ve been getting increasingly tight.

Then you glance down at the eggnog and sugar cookies in each hand. You hearken back to the wine, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie from Christmas dinner. You think of the box of giant candy canes that were reserved for the visiting nieces and nephews but disappeared, one by one, long before little Madison and Connor showed up.

So — it’s possibly not the dryer’s fault.

Usually, Shopping Siren’s answer is to buy new pants (and have another sugar cookie). But that gets expensive. And unhealthy. And … wow, these sugar cookies are good.

The solution? Exercise and cookies.

Enter the new Sports Authority store in Auburn.


Alas, the store has no sweets. But what SA lacks in desserts it makes up for in very cool sporting goods. Think archery sets, high-tech body monitors and sleds. Things to get you — and the family — moving in a fun way.

Plus, you know what’s great after an afternoon of sledding and ice skating?

Cookies and milk.

* SKLZ 15-foot flat-rung Agility Quick Ladder, $29.99

Looks like a ladder but, well, flat. Place on the ground and hop, skip and jump over the rungs to improve your balance, speed, rhythm and control. Add a couple of Lady Gaga songs and voila! New workout routine.

* Ice skates, $44.99 to $319.99


For men, women and children, in various sizes, by various makers. Winter’s here! Keep calm and skate on.

* Lil Banshee target archery set, $49.99

Includes a bow, two arrows and a target. This kit was built for children and young teens, but no law says the weak-armed among us (read: me) can’t use this to build up some bow strength. Just don’t point it at birds. Or pets. Or the annoying neighbor who keeps blowing his snow into your yard. No matter how much you might like to go all “Hunger Games” on him.

* BodyFit speed rope, $7.99

It’s basically a plastic jump rope, but “speed rope” sounds much more impressive and grown up. Until someone catches you playing double Dutch with it — in which case, all bets are off. 

* Gaiam extra-thick yoga mat, $29.99


Fact: Yoga burns one to two cookies per hour.

* Polar Loop activity tracker, $99.95

This high-tech, waterproof bracelet tracks your activity, calories burned and sleep patterns, then provides guidance on reaching your fitness goals. A little Big Brother, yes — but if it starts to creep you out, you can always just take it off. Um, I assume.

Best find: Pelican plastic disc sled, $8.99

Blue plastic disc with exactly zero traction and almost zero wind resistance — perfect for flying down a snowy hill. When it comes to winter fun in Maine, it’s hard to beat the basics.

Think twice: Trumark slingshot, $16.99


Wicked-looking, high-tech slingshot with fiber-optic sights. Add 70 rounds of steel ammo for $3.99. Honestly, it looks cool, but I struggle to think of anything you could shoot with this and not get sued. Windows, cars, animals, people … no good can come from flinging a little steel ball at them. So skip the slingshot. There are always cookies to bake.  

New Year’s resolutions

Every year, Bag Lady and Shopping Siren make New Year’s resolutions.

This year, SS succeeded in giving more, getting together with friends more and buying (a little) better — a New Year’s hat trick the likes of which she’s never seen. Yay, 2013!

For 2014, she’d like more of the same, please. It’s been a lovely year.

Bag Lady tamed the closet, formally gave up on organizing the basement (for now), worried a wee bit less and was a kinder, gentler BL. (Though Mr. Bag Lady would be the best judge of the latter. Too bad he’s, um, unavailable for confirmation. Probably down there adding more *!$!^@! paint cans to the the basement as we speak …)


For 2014, she’s had a sort of resolution epiphany.

This coming year will be wild! Or not wild.

We’ll just have to see.

Instead of reaching for any forced, far-from-assured achievements, this year will happen with zero expectations. In its place will be only hopes — for happiness, health, sleep, exhilaration and devastating obstacles that prove surmountable upon closer inspection.

We’re both looking forward to it already.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who do not like bows, arrows, slingshots or ice) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].

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