YOGI me YOGI you

So the next exercise class I try is Power Yoga.  Now, I must admit, I’m a hold-out!  I’ve heard for years about the benefits of Yoga.  We’ve all had them drilled into our psyche since Madonna subscribed in the early 90’s.  (It always astonishes me that I can talk in increments of multiple decades!)  You know … how cleansing breaths and gentle stretches can  clear your mind, ground you, and de-stress you, at the same time it increases your ability to enjoy sex – who WOULDN’T want to practice?  But, I have remained a skeptic because the whole idea of candles in a dark room with barefooted strangers in convoluted poses  makes me question how you can call this exercise.  I personally like to sweat and feel my muscles fight back when I’m exercising.  But … I finally gave in, due to my quest to find the right  routine for staying fit in my rearranged life.  And guess what?

I LOVED IT!

The instructor was almost ethereal in the dim lights – with that soothing voice and calming message about being in the place that was right for you – and listening to your body.  The candles actually worked – honest to God – you really do escape for that moment in time.  I discovered two things I’d like to share:

1)  The power of touch is amazing.  I bent and stretched and rested and  posed – and felt amazingly peaceful by the time we lay in repose to reflect and regroup before the lights went up and we rejoined the hustle and bustle outside.  My eyes were closed so I didn’t expect it when the instructor lay her hands on my shoulders from behind and pushed them gently to the floor.  Wow – it felt amazingly good.  And then she rubbed her hands together and around my “space” and spread the aura of this wonderful relaxing aroma.  I could have lay there for hours!

The idea that after that entire hour of pushing myself and my body to its limits – the yogi way – the thing that felt the best was when someone else put pressure on my muscles – and touched me.  It made me think of the power of touch.  We ALL have that power – and do we use it enough?  An old friend had visited me that morning, before class … because she was in need of an ear.  I remembered at that moment that I had cradled the back of her head in my hand as I hugged her good-bye – and was glad I did.  That tiny touch said so much more than just a hug.  Again … do we all realize the comfort or the power of touch?  It’s so easy to use – and free!

2)  The Yoga instructor in all her wisdom instructed us in those last calming moments of meditation to “go to the place where YOU find joy”.  Oh my!  Top my surprise … I actually had a hard time identifying that place.  My peaceful and relaxed mind suddenly became neurotic searching for a place I could label as such.   I hadn’t ever really thought of any place like that … did I have a joyous place to go to or not?  If not … why not?  Was there something wrong with my life?  Or was there something right – that I couldn’t identify ONE place that gave me joy.  I struggled to visualize a cherished vacation spot, or a comfortable corner of my home, or even the warmth of the solid relationship I have with my husband … but nothing worked.  I didn’t feel joyous!  

The word joy is  actually beautiful, but very intense.  An intense happiness that is clear and perfect.   Not much in life is perfect.  But most of life is there to enjoy!  I’m game for that … to enjoy life – in its entirety!  And often!  And maybe … if I go often enough – to this peaceful place called Yoga class, I’ll find a “joyful” place eventually I can escape to.

Maybe you can too.

1 comment February 5, 2011
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Step Up!

Haven’t taken a Step class in at least 5 years – so I tried one yesterday.  This being my next venture into exploring the exercise options I now have.  After my workout a couple things hit me -

Number 1.  I don’t like working out and using my brain at the same time.  I really do just want to “Do It!”  I like letting my body take over what it knows – without having to think about it.  I like the only thing on my mind is how my muscles feel and how many reps I’m on.  It’s a complete stress release, having that clear of a head and singular focus. 

In a step class, you  have to follow the insructor’s leads, think about what you’re doing and going to do next and know/learn the steps.  Of course, if you don’t do it right – then you have to figure out where to jump in again – and wonder if anybody saw how stupid and out of STEP you looked!  It was okay … but too much cerebral and not enough effort for me.

And Number 2.  Maybe at our age you no longer have to be “perfect” to look good.  My instructor was gorgeous – she really was – even though she had some nasty rolls around her middle.  I was delighted!  She actually had the same figure flaw I do … worse actually!  and she still looked damn good! It was liberating for me.  I thought, ‘hey – here’s a novel thought – maybe I can just be happy with what I’ve got!’  It appeared she was – and that made her even more attractive.  She offered no apologies about her body – she was proud of it – and even bared the rolls without a flinch or even a sucked-in breath. 

When you’re young – EVERYBODY looks good, so you have to try even harder to look better.  But at our age … well … not so much!  So, the standards you measure yourself against are a little kinder – and a signal you should be a little gentler with your assessment of yourself.  Maybe that’s what they mean by growing older with grace.  Being more accepting of yourself … perhaps that in itself is it’s own beauty!

Anyway – I barely broke a sweat in Step … so kick,ball,change and the rocking horse will just have to step aside … I’m on to zumba!

Add a comment February 1, 2011
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Put on your Boots!

So, I say … routines and ruts have been given a bad rap!  My life may have been predictable, and borderline boring before … but the “change is good for the soul” and the “Just DO it” advice is for suckers! 

Only kidding!  But I have to say, the energy and adjustment that is required to restore the balance and rhythm after a major life change at this age is WAY underestimated.  EVERYTHING changes!  Even something as minor as your exercise routine.  That may seem like a small thing to some of you, but if it does …. you’re wrong.  If it does, you may not have one.  If not … you need to get one!  EVERYONE needs to exercise.  The older you get, the more you need to.

I used to exercise EVERY morning of my life – had a set routine at home – and had the results to show for it.  Then I took a new job, and completely changed my life.  I have no routine anymore, because my schedule is completely varied and I have to get up so early on the days I work early, there is no way in HELL I could add the time to work out in the morning.  So … I’m out of shape, cranky, and ready to try something new.   It’s mind-boggling how much NOT working out affects you, when you are used to working out.  And I seriously DON”T want to get used to NOT working out.  It’s amazing how fast Mid-lifers lose muscle tone and motivation when not working out regularly.  I’ve BEEN THERE – I KNOW!  So … the answer …

BOOT CAMP!

I think perhaps it’s a nod to self-punishment, but it also just may be the beginning of a new fitness routine for me.  I tried it today for the first time.  It was actually fun.  I made it through – smiled all the way home, felt awesome and only had to ice my shoulder for an hour and a half afterward.  Of course, my metabolism was so cranked up I ate for 3 hours straight upon returning home, but … I’m sure the calories were singed and won’t add bulk.  It made eating the sub sandwich, cookies and chips more enjoyable, actually.  ALWAYS look at the positive!

Anyway … now I’m into trying all the different kinds of classes and fitting them in whenever I can with my crazy schedule.  Spinning, yoga, pilates, kick-boxing, zumba … you name it!  I’m willing to try it.  Point is … what used to work, doesn’t anymore.  So, now I have to change it up (even though I didn’t want to) – it’s important to react to your own needs in life.  You need to listen to yourself and do what is necessary to maintain your balance, your well-being and your rhythm in life.  I CAN’T not exercise … so I have to find a way to fit it in.  So … GI Jane … Look out!!!

Add a comment January 29, 2011
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I Wanna Be Vanna!

Actually … not really.  I just want her job!  How much fun must she have on Wheel of Fortune?  All she has to do -(everyday!) is wear great dresses, get made-up professionally and turn over letters.  I CAN DO IT!  YES I CAN!  Oh … and clap!

Let’s think – who else has a great job?  How ’bout … ummmmm …

or ….

maybe …. WAIT A MINUTE!  Are there NO good jobs?  Ah, Except for Vanna’s of course! 

Maybe I’m just tired of working for a living.  When you get to be our age – you’ve spent more than HALF of your life reporting for work everyday and having to squeeze the rest of your living into the time that’s left over.  Which based on your job and your work ethic may not be much.  And for me lately – SURE isn’t enough!   I’m not condoning retiring at an early age (or even a late one)  I’m not slowing down at all … I’m just suggesting maybe it is important to do what you enjoy now – and if not – at least look forward to a time when you can!  And that time can be called retirement! 

Right now, for me, the ONLY job I would absolutely LOVE … would be to be a writer.  A writer … or a reader!  I can totally see/hear myself reading audio books.  I’ve just recently started to listen to them in the car during my new commute (hour each way), and I really get into them.  I’m a frustrated actress anyway … and got an A in oral interpretation in college.  Doesn’t that qualify me?  As a Sophomore, I read out loud to a standing ovation, my favorite T.S. Eliot …

I grow old … I grow old … I shall wear the bottoms of trousers rolled.  Do I dare to eat a peach … shall I part my hair behind … I shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach, and hear the mermaids singing each to each.  I do not think that they shall sing to me.

Or something like that. 

Anyway … I can totally see myself sitting on the porch of a shuttered old white clapboard house on a white sand duned beach with sea grass and sand pipers and very few people – through all the seasons.  Of course I’d have a G&T in a white wicker chair, my lap top balanced on my knee and my husband close by.  What about you?  What’s your dream?

My best friend flew up with her family to celebrate Thanksgiving with me  and somehow we ended up talking about retiring.  I started to read her the riot act about NOT doing the predictable … when she said to me,  “I have no intention of bustin’ my but to pay off a small house so I can be mortgage free and sit around in it waiting to die.  I’m looking forward to not working so I can do something different!’  Then my imagination started to go wild.  The possibilities opened up a whole new world/life to look forward to.  Why not:

  •   Buy a trailer and drive around the US, sell your house, get a PO box and have no permanent address for a few years while you travel,
  • go abroad and roam,
  • volunteer out West or in a 3rd world country for a cause that makes your heart swell,
  •  take up a sport or hobby you never had time for and do it 110% …
  • write a book! 

The point is … just don’t wait to die after you retire by “making do.”  SHAKE IT UP!  Look forward to the days you don’t have to devote the majority of your waking hours to something other than enjoying yourself.  Look forward to the days when you can CHOOSE what you do with your time.  And then choose to make them full and fun.  And, no matter if they are 10 or 20 or 30 years more away … just remember – this life isn’t the last life. There’s one waiting for you AFTER your job – and it is your choice how meaningful and active you make it. 

Mine of course is going to be filled with great dresses, lots of make-up and if I’m lucky … a wheel of fortune!

Add a comment December 2, 2010
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10 fun facts!

There are some things in life that women our age JUST shouldn’t do.  Here’s a list to fly by:

1.  Never shower in HOT water.  It dries out your skin and takes the shine out of your hair.  This happens over time of course, but it is a fact!  So keep it warm – but NOT hot.

2.  DON’T use a cream foundation.  It totally coagulates in your wrinkles (and we all have them by middle age – at least to some degree).  Dust on a loose powder for a light cover and color.

3.  Try not to date yourself with your accessories.  A simple pair of earrings will do – and DON”T carry a sloppy handbag or wear run-over shoes.  If you pay attention to the details it will pull your look together.  They don’t have to be expensive, but they do require thought.

4.  Don’t “have your nails done.”  It’s soooooooo eighties!

5.   If you have a hairdo that requires spray … rethink it.   Or just go without and see how it looks/feels.  You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.  (and so will everyone else)  Of course, you HAVE to have a hairdo.  You can’t just “let it go.”  A good stylist is a MUST and a Godsend once you find one.  Do whatever you need to do to keep her!

6.  NEVER go to bed without removing all your makeup and moisteurizing your face.  This is a no-brainer from puberty on.

7.  Don’t assume it’s winter and you don’t have to shave your legs regularly.  You NEVER know when you might get lucky!  ;)

8.  Don’t run from the camera.  Trust me!  It’s better to stay put and smile.  Give it your best shot – EVERY time!  Otherwise, you’ll have many unflattering poses and candid shots that will circulate despite your horror and emphatic protestations.

9.  Putting off tomorrow what you can do today – is never a good idea when it comes to exercise!  unfortunately – the effect IS cumulative.  And when you miss a day or two, which leads to three (you know what I mean) – you end up losing muscle and gaining flab  … way too fast at our age!

10.  AND finally – DON’T miss an opportunity to flirt!  It makes you feel good AND doesn’t hurt anybody.

1 comment December 1, 2010
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No Ugly Americans

Have you ever willingly watched a foreign film?  I did … just this past weekend.  And I subjected my husband to it as well.  Interesting experience … however, I only did the subtitles for a short time before I gave in and toggled to English.  That’s not the point.  What I learned is.

The film was “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”  I have recently read Steig Larsson’s trilogy, and was anxious to see how the first volume was interpreted on-screen from within his own Swedish culture.   It was an eye-opener.  We (as Americans) already presume the Swedish have a progressive, if not provocative point of view when it comes to sex.  That came as no surprise, however I must admit, I was less engaged than I thought I’d be.  And the nod to S&M left me cold.  But the REAL surprise was the fact that all the actors and actresses in this film looked like NORMAL people!  I mean it!  They were actors and actresses minus the glamour, pomp and perfection we all expect and glorify from our own American actors.  These were everyday people reciting lines and bringing home a story outside their own, without having to look PERFECT!  The male protagonist (star) actually had pitted skin … and most of the female characters were genuinely middle-aged and LOOKED it!  It was refreshing, really.  Somehow, it gave the story credibility.  I found myself thinking about what was happening on the screen instead of being distracted by camera’s love affair with the mega-star lead.

But the oddest part is, I felt like I was watching something real at times, that I wasn’t part of.  Like it was someone’s story that I shouldn’t know about.  Yet at other times, I missed the glamour and circumstance of the American brouhaha surrounding movies and “movie-stars”.  My point is … the revelation that we are sooooooooo f____ing caught up in the superficial in this country, it’s embarrassing.  How NONE of us want to get old, will admit we’re getting old and/or God forbid, ever want to LOOK old … or UGLY, for that matter!

We Americans exalt many superficial values as a society, and think nothing of it.  We are born and bred that way.  We revere beauty, in any form and/or at any price – especially when it comes to the human form.  We equate it with sexuality and sexuality is equated with desirability.  As we all want to have a mate … we must all at some point be desired/sexy/beautiful.  Hence, the billion dollar cosmetic industry that out-paces the yearly Gross annual product.  God help us … there shall be NO UGLY AMERICANS!

I remember I was in Spain a while back on a business trip and I met a Norwegian colleague who I developed a minor crush on.  I couldn’t figure it out … he WASN’T attractive!  Of course nothing happened, as I am happily married; but I was still intrigued that I would be attracted to someone who didn’t fit the sterotypical image I possessed of a potential male suitor.  He really was, well, average looking at best.   WTH, I thought … perhaps it was being in a culture that doesn’t require perfection.  It put everybody on the same playing field, and evened the odds.  It felt sexy. 

Being American, and being superficial also goes hand in hand with being materialistic.  We as a capitalist society are widely know througout the world as major energy wasters,  insatiable product consumers, and an exaggerated, shallow, rude and self-absorbed people who aren’t very smart.  But we’re NOT ugly!  LOL  Afterall … have the Europeans even HEARD of orthodontia?

Seriously, the message I got from the movie (which was certainly NOT the one they were going for) was a wake-up call to the basic overall standards we have as a society.  Go figure!  Maybe I need a tattoo.

Add a comment November 19, 2010
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Bugs Bunny 1st Base!

So … now I’m in a supervisory role.  And I’ve had some issues where my current employees are not showing up … or quitting or … well, you get the picture.  So, my husband says to me tonight at dinner -

“What? …  Are the troops rebelling now that there’s an evil Emperor in town?” 

I tell him, “yes”, I don’t mess around.   I was raised in the generation where there was a STRONG work ethic.  I don’t get the “me” generation thing where we need to “stroke” them, and “reinforce” them and “coach” them … be politically correct or be careful we don’t get “sued” so we have to go through H.R.!   All, just to get them to do what they were hired to do … WORK! 

Now I know we are partly to blame for this younger generation feeling “entitled”, being lazy and not understanding “what it takes”  after all – WE are the generation that raised them.  But it wasn’t our fault we all bought into the “positive reinforcement – self-esteem” baloney talk that was all touted while we were parenting!   For example – how many times did YOU exclaim enthusiastically “GOOD JOB” to your toddler/preschooler/child/adolescent when they performed a marginal task?  Guess what?  NOW they expect their employer to pick up where their parent left off.   They now NEED to hear that kind of reinforcement all the time – and expect it.  They now don’t really understand what it takes to perform well, because they performed average or marginally and were told it was “good” for so long, their standards are lower than ours and the rest of the worlds … and their frame of reference is different!

I’m hoping I’m teaching my son the right values … in that a hard days work gives you self-satisfaction.  And that’s something that only YOU can give yourself!  So, the only way to feel it, is to work hard … and feel good about it.  Even if no one acknowledges what you’ve done or what it took to accomplish it.  YOU know it!   That should be ENOUGH! 

When I look around at today’s generation, it makes me feel good about the generation I grew up in … and almost wish things hadn’t changed so drastically, so my child could have felt and experienced some of the same old-fashioned values as I did.  For instance, I know exactly where I stand, how I got here and what to do if I don’t want to be here.  AND that I’m entirely responsible for where I am and where I’ve been and where I’m going!  BINGO – key word!  Responsible!

How is it this entirely irresponsible generation was spawned by an entirely responsible one?  I know not EVERY child today is irresponsible, lazy or unmotivated … but I’m pretty much safe in assuming the majority of them are.  At least the majority that I’ve seen and experienced first hand in my current supervisory position.  I’m managing them right now!  TRUST ME!  From the “sick” call-outs to the bad-attitudes to the low-productivity, to the manipulation of the system to the expectation of being looked out for … they clearly have no work ethic!  WHAT THE HELL?  Who died and left them entitled? 

I really HONESTLY don’t care about their personal problems!  I’m trying to run a business!  What didn’t we teach them?  Why isn’t a hard days work worth what it used to be?  Why doesn’t it feel good (enough) for them?   Do they even know HOW to work hard?  I’m not sure!!! And I work with them everyday!  I think I’m so busy working circles around them … I don’t even notice.   Now I think that’s MY problem!

Like my husband said at dinner tonight … if I continue my trend … I won’t have anyone working for me anymore!  I’ll be running the ship all by myself … like in the Bugs Bunny cartoon … Bugs Bunny on 1st base, Bugs Bunny on 2nd base … Bugs Bunny pitching … Bugs Bunny catching!  I have to tell you, most of the time I feel like that anyway.   For those of you  who can even remember Bugs Bunny (LOL) you know what I’m talking about … but for those of you who don’t … you probably also don’t know what a hard’s day work feels like either!

Add a comment October 26, 2010
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No Space in Time

When did EVERYBODY ELSE get old????  My God!  I just watched GMA and WHAT THE HELL?  Leon Russell must be somebody’s great-grandfather – he looks like freakin’ Methuselah!  I remember thinkin’ he was a sexy rebel in the 70’s with a crazy craggy voice to kill for!  What the hell happened?  And then they showed Rob Stewart in a commercial for Atlantic City – singing Show tunes!  SHOW TUNES I say – and he’s not even gay.  He’s just OLD!  I went to a concert of his in Madison Square Garden back then and he glittered and gyrated around grabbin’ his crotch way before Michael Jackson even thought of it!  He rocked!  Now he sings about “that ole’ black magic” WHAT THE HELL?

You know how when things stay the same day after day after year … you’re busy with life  and adjust gradually so you don’t notice change.  Then all of a sudden something startles you and you say – wait a minute!  When did that happen?  Hold on!  I have to run to the bathroom and look in the mirror!  … I don’t THINK I look old!  Maybe it’s because I don’t have my glasses on when I look! LOL

WHEN did all the movie stars and rock stars I grew up with suddenly get old?  LOTS of them are already dead!  I remember thinking Christopher Reeve was too young to play Superman … and now he’s dead.  I remember thinking Paul Newman was the sexiest older man alive – then he became an old man – and now he’s dead.  And what about Robert Redford?  He’s so old he’s scary looking – he used to be the epitome of  healthy, youthful, heterosexual appeal when I was growing up (and he was already growed of course)  How ’bout the upstarts the Beatles … half of them … dead!  And the “cute” one is almost 70!  WHAT?  Michael Jackson turned 50 … now dead.  I remember him performing at 5!  And I’m NOT OLD?  …. am i?  WHAT THE HELL? 

Wait a minute … you know what I just realized … all the people I just named are men!  MAYBE it’s just men!  I did it off the top of my head (which is always the way I blog) and they were all men.  Now I’m going down an impromptu list of women from another generation.  Remember Patty Duke?  Now that’s reaching WAY back – to Gidget or her Nun days – when she was a kid (and so was I watching reruns) – but nowadays in her commercial for old lady drugs (something to do with bone health I think) she looks pretty damn good!  She also stars in Brothers and Sisters – as somebody’s mother of course.  I’m trying to think of women in my PRE-teen days.  Tina Turner still looks good and can sing up a storm!  What about Barbra Streisand … nah!  she always looked bad.  LOL. 

Gotta love how my crazy brain processes!  From Leon Russel to Patty Duke … I’m all over the place!

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say … maybe that life is full of surprises – or maybe that people who are bigger than life … are really not.  They’re just people in the public eye.  I remember when I was a freshman in college and I dated for a short time a very ambitious Senior who was involved with organizing concerts.  He took me backstage to meet Tod Rundgren who was bot hot and cool and the first person to have red and green hair at the same time!  But he was nervous and sweaty and high and really rather unattractive.  People are just … people.  And we all have our faults and insecurities and strengths and gifts.  And as time goes on … we all age differently.  Some of us allow degeneration to happen … and some of us age well.  Some of us are sloppy and lazy about the aging process and some of us meet it head on and deal with it belligerently, gracefully or with a sense of humour or commitment to health. 

But any way you look at it – aging  is a completely individual and personal process.  And some of us do a way better job of it than others!  Old is a state of mind, anyway.  Maybe I should call Leon up and give him a couple of tips!  I’d start with the long white hair and beard!!!! WHAT THE HELL?

Leon Russell

Add a comment October 19, 2010
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Contract for Change!

CHANGE is good for the soul … or is it?

Continue Reading 1 comment October 15, 2010
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Sit up and take notice!

Taking notice of women at a “certain” age is not only stylish – it’s smart. AND the women are sexy!

Continue Reading Add a comment September 23, 2010
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