Sweating With the Oldies


Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

I’m one of those weird people who like to exercise. For someone who is Type A, exercise has been a constant companion to me. She cures many of my ailments; such as big mouth syndrome, come down off the ledge illness, and a current favorite; mid-life hormonal combustion.

When my friend, Ella, asked me to join her at a Zumba class, I jumped at the chance. I used to take Zumba all the time, and loved it. I mean, who doesn’t love to dance, destress, and burn a gazillion calories?

The class was filled with everyone from seven to ninety-seven. Okay, maybe not that old, but close. Trust me. I think it’s fantastic to find older people getting up and shaking their groove thing. I plan on being in my nineties, wearing my yoga pants, and doing the hustle across the dance floor. (I also plan on completely turning off my filter, and saying every single non-politically correct thing that comes to my mind! People will think what I say is cute because I’ll be old. That’s what everyone says about my grandmother and her miniskirts.)

There’s a down side to Zumba, though. I can’t work out with my nose pinched closed. I do need to breathe, but with breathing comes inhaling the smell of a skunk in the summer sun. I discreetly checked to see if the skunk was coming off of me, but thank everything that is holy, I remembered to wear deodorant and I had showered earlier that day. I was sweating pretty good, and by the end I was a tad ripe, but the skunk stink was on someone else. And not Ella! Maybe I could do what the ladies did back before showers existed. I can spray a handkerchief with perfume and keep it over my face.

If you’re a single male, and into women, a Zumba class might be a great hook-up place. There had to be forty people in that class and only one of them was a man. Those are some pretty good odds. I thought our guy had to be smart swinging his hips around for the ladies until I found out he stalks women from one gym to another. Then he was just plain creepy. Maybe the skunk was him?

I can’t begin to describe how ridiculous I must look in a Zumba class trying to follow the fancy footwork, but I can tell you this: My lack of skill doesn’t stop me. And when I go to Zumba class I’m Jennifer Lopez. At least in my delusional mind.

About an hour in I felt ten years younger. I thought, look at me, keeping up, recapturing the exercise high I miss because I don’t run anymore, and not an ache or a pain anywhere. Ninety minutes in, I thought, when the hell is this class going to end? The muscles in my back twisted into a tightly woven braid, and my knees ached like a bad tooth. I went from feeling ten years younger to feeling ancient. The ninety year-olds were holding up better than I was.

The class had several instructors. They were all lovely, warm, and friendly. These kooky women wanted to take a picture of everyone together after class. Stinky, sweaty people standing in a huddle was a bad idea. Let’s not forget the skunk! Not to mention, my hair wasn’t exactly picture ready after ninety minutes of sweating with the oldies. I found a clever way to hide, and not touch or get too close to anyone. You know how I sceeve people. Again, not Ella!

All in all, it was a great time. Maybe I’ll get asked to go again. Hopefully, there won’t be anymore pictures. And my handkerchief is ready.




25 Ways To Relieve Stress

I’m not a drinker. Never was. You can ask the people who’ve known me for years. They’ll tell you. It’s a control thing. Since we all know I’m a control freak, alcohol can get the upper hand and I don’t like that. Plus I hate the way alcohol tastes. Yup, I said it. It’s bitter and gross. Not for me. Not to mention wine gives me a migraine and beer, even one, can make me sick. I must be allergic to an ingredient. It’s never been worth it to me to drink. Why waste the calories?

But I understand why people do drink. If you’re having a bad day, week, month, year and you need a quick way to untie the knots in your shoulders a glass of wine will do it. There have been many times recently I wish I did drink. I’d like something to take the stress away without me breaking a sweat to do it. I’m having one of those moments right now. (And I already worked out today) So instead of drinking I’m going to blow my calories and maybe ease my stress with the one thing I do like.

cookieI’m sure I’ll hate myself later.

As I write this, I don’t know if I should vent out my stress here for all of you to read (honestly, I’m not a good sharer like that) or educate us on ways to relieve stress, but we know them, don’t we?

  1. Pray
  2. Meditate
  3. Exercise
  4. Sit with nature
  5. Listen to calming music
  6. Take a drive
  7. Scream at the top of your lungs
  8. Take a bath
  9. Call a friend who makes you laugh
  10. Read (big one for me)
  11. Play an instrument
  12. Write
  13. Paint
  14. Get a massage, a pedicure
  15. Shop
  16. Cry
  17. Walk on the beach
  18. Help someone else
  19. Jump on a trampoline
  20. Roll down a hill
  21. Watch a baby discover his toes
  22. Smell freshly cut grass (unless you’re allergic)
  23. Roast marshmallows over an open fire
  24. Eat chocolate
  25. Chase rainbows

I have my Healing Music playing. I’m sitting outside watching the trees push the breeze around. The sky is clear, deep blue marked by fluffy, clouds of cotton. The cookie is half-way gone. I barely remember eating it. What’s next?

Another moment. Another chance to catch my breath. A quiet place to read a book. Tomorrow, hopefully.

If I was smart, I wouldn’t get stressed out. In the grand scheme of things, nothing is that bad. Challenging at times, but manageable. I have what’s important. The rest I should surrender. When do you think I’ll learn that lesson?

Not before the cookie is gone, I’ll tell you that.

So, how do you relieve stress? I’d love to hear from you.

Something’s Gotta Give

Something’s Gotta Give kitchen  6
Here’s Jack in an early scene in the movie. I think what gave here were his pants. 😉

Did you ever see that movie, “Something’s Gotta Give” with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton? It’s a fun movie. If you haven’t seen it, rent it. I think of that movie often when I’m trying to figure out how to juggle life. In the movie, Diane Keaton’s character has a very structured, predictable, boring life until Jack Nicholson comes along and turns that predictable life on its head.

My life is pretty predictable too. I have the Noodges, a dog, a husband, a home, a career. I exercise to stay nice and healthy. (Two separate things.) It’s important to me to do all my jobs well. There is a lot at stake if I screw up being a parent or a wife. Not to mention, I like having a clean house. And if I don’t devote the time necessary to my writing career my books will only be read by my friends and family. In order to do everything well, something’s gotta give.

My kids are around because it’s summer vacation, but I still have a book I’m trying to publish. I pushed out the release date of Welcome To Skull Mountain because quite frankly, the story needed trashing. Believe me, trashing a 200-plus novel is a huge decision. Writing while the Noodges are around is hard even now while they’re teenagers. If one of them comes to me and says, “Mom, guess what?” or “Mom, listen to this,” or “Mom, you want to go to the movies?” I drop everything and run. I won’t turn my kids away when I have so little time with them left. Noodge 1 goes to college in three years! Three! He was two like a blink ago and now he’s almost a man ready to fly the nest and I want to hold onto him with both hands and say, “Just a little longer.” But spending time with them means no writing or less writing which in essence is no writing.

Writing is hard and takes a lot of time if you’re going to do it right. When I write I don’t always have time to do the marketing of my work I need to do so I can have the number of readers I want. It’s frustrating not to have the hours I need. Time with the kids, time writing, time marketing, time exercising.

Something’s gotta give.

I’ve got an ugly word for you: Compromise. If you’re a type A like me, you just cringed. People like us don’t want to compromise. We want to do it all. Yeah, well, take it from me, you can’t. Everything is a compromise. Everything. 

“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” Suzyn Waldman said that. She’s the female sports announcer for the New York Yankees. I believe what Suzyn said and hearing her say it made me feel better. I’m just not sure I like it, but at least I can take a deep breath and know all the things I want in life, time with my kids, tons of readers, tons of books, and toned muscles will come.

What about you? What are the compromises you’ve had to make? What gives in your life?