Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Recently, a friend talked me into taking a yoga class. I have a sister who goes to yoga every other day, and when we speak on the phone, at least once in the conversation, I get a sales pitch on how good yoga is for you. I get it-YOGA IS GOOD. So, my friend and I went. We put on our faded sweat suits and our grass stained sneakers and walked into the darkened room with soft melodic Indian music and chimes tinkling intermittently playing in the background. The walls were draped with brightly colored silk cloth and the incense that was burning on a small bamboo table at the back of the room reminded me of a smell reminiscent of college days.

“Okay, everybody, grab your mats and find a spot.”

Grab your mats. The confusion sets in. Luckily, there was a wonderfully helpful young woman who came to our rescue.

“If you don’t have a mat, they have some over in the corner for you to borrow.”

Great. We grab a couple, knowing full well that someone at sometime or other has probably sweat or drooled on said mat, and make our way to the back of the mirrored room. All the other participants are in these cute little t-back fitted tops with stretchy black yoga Capri’s. One woman is actually stretching by putting her foot behind her head.

Is this yoga or tryouts for the circus?

“You two in the back,” the instructor points in our direction. “Come up front. I like to keep my newbie’s where I can see them. It’ll help with getting the poses right.”

Poses? I’m perplexed, I’m not some model in a shoot for a magazine. I’m here to stretch and sweat.

So we move up front, not happy about the attention, and the slow rhythmic music begins to play. It’s obvious the members of this group have been at this for awhile and I can’t help but feel we are somehow holding them back as the instructor time and again makes his way over to pose us in the “correct” position.

“No, turn your foot out, like this. No, out.”

My friend, who has had knee surgery due to a skiing accident, informed the guy that her leg just doesn’t turn that way anymore. He sighs as he goes back to the front of the class.

“Okay, let’s try lying down on our backs and follow my direction.”

As I’m lying there my back starts to cramp up. I have always had back problems since I carried about a hundred extra pounds with my second child twenty-eight years ago. So, I’m lying there, on the ground and the cramp gets tighter and tighter. I roll to my side and sit up, stretching to reach the hard knot that’s forming in the lower part of my back threatening to make the journey north. I knead the knot while watching the others move through the rest of the floor exercises without hesitation. Even my friend is into this part of the workout. Finally the cool down. I can do this. Stretch, breath, stretch, breath. Yeah, finally I am one with the group. But then it’s over.

“You did really well for the first time,” the young woman that helped us out earlier with the mats says. I’m assuming she’s the plant in class to make the newbie’s feel welcome and keep them coming back.

“Thanks,” we offer. By now sweat is pouring down my strange shade of crimson face. My mascara has melted and formed a dark smudge that seems to have pooled under my eye. I notice that the other women in class appear as clean and fresh as they were before the session started, looking as if they are ready for a night on the town.

We’ve signed up for six sessions so we’ll be back. It did get easier, but it just wasn’t for me.

SO---- I decided to take a Pilates class. I loved it. It was all about core. Work your core. First, I had to find my core. The instructor also seemed to have problems finding my core. But we kept at it. I signed up for six weeks and it did make a difference. I had definition in my arms for the first time in like forever, but the cost was high. It ended up being almost sixty dollars per session and I just couldn’t get past the cost being more than I spent on groceries each week.

Aerobics. I took the class and when the twelve year old that was teaching it yelled, “Today, we’re working out to music from the eighties,” and no one in the class knew any of the songs, I moved on.

On to water aerobics. The club I belong to has water aerobics every day, nine to ten fifteen. The instructors are wonderful and I seem to be able to keep up with the over seventy crowd. Although there are two that kick my ass on the reverse run (where you run in one direction around the pool and then run back against the current, hey, it’s harder than it sounds). The instructors are wonderful, making me do twice as many reps as the older ladies so I get a little harder workout. They play songs I know and love. And, afterward, I can swim some extra laps for my core. That’s right, I found it. And you know what, its right where it’s supposed to be.

Monday, October 18, 2010

That’s Not My Luggage That's My Makeup Bag

Recently my husband and I went on a trip with another couple. We had the car packed and my husband was commenting on the amount of luggage I’d brought along. “Really, Wendy, is all this necessary?”

“Well,” I started, “I need clothes to stay in, clothes to go out, it’s a weird time of year so I need warm and cool clothes. I need workout clothes (that I really intend to use this time) and swimwear for the indoor pool. I need black shoes, brown shoes, tennis shoes, my black boots and brown boots (I live in Florida when else will I wear them?), water shoes for Kayaking and fuzzy slippers for inside the house at night. I need pj’s and since we are traveling with others a robe because I don’t get dressed until after my morning coffee (we’ll get to the strange way I do everything in order each day later). I need two jackets; one to go with brown and one to go with black outfits. I need my seven different color shawls because I get cold and need to wrap up but never know which color I’ll need.”

“Okay,” he says, “I get you need all the clothing, but what’s in this bag?” He holds up a rather large duffle. I take a deep breath and start. “That is my makeup bag.” “Nobody needs this much make up.” “Really? Let’s see.” I pull out the contents. “This is my blow dryer because my hair is so thick I need a 3500 watt. Most places only have 1500 so unless you want to wait an hour and a half for my hair to dry this stays. Next is my straightener. I have naturally curly hair and if I don’t straighten it I’ll resemble Bozo the clown on a good day. And don’t forget I need both my hair brushes, the big on for the top of my hair and the small one to curl the ends.” I continue to lay out the rest, “This is my shampoo, conditioner, hair glaze and hair smoother, all necessary to complete the illusion that I just run a comb through my hair and go.”

“Okay,” my loving husband sighs, now sorry that he brought up the subject. “This bag contains my actual makeup. Day make up and evening because the lighting is different and therefore the makeup is different.” I need to note that this is the smallest bag in the duffle as I really don’t use a lot of makeup. Somehow having it just makes me feel better, you know, in case of an emergency.

“And this bag,” I hold up a plastic zip lock bag, “is medication. My must haves, my daily regime, Lipitor, Calcium, Fish Oil, Multi Vitamins and Advil. Then there are the may needs Tums, pepcid, Benadryl, and the ever necessary item to cure that travel problem many of us get, a laxative. Then the necessaries: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash and last, baby powder and deodorant along with a few of my tanning towels.”

“I get it, okay...can we go?” “Not so fast, Mister. I also have my soap that I use because some soap dries out my skin and I need my moisturizer to put on each night to keep my tender facial skin hydrated.” “Are you done?” he asks, obviously tired of playing this game. I look in the bag, “Yep that’s it. Oh except the towel.” “Alright, put it all away. I get it. I won’t say anything again.” “Thanks, hon,” I say rubbing his face gently with my hand. “That’s why you’re such a good husband."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Change will do you good...or not.

My husband recently celebrated his twenty year anniversary at work. Before that he worked for a public accounting firm for thirteen years. I bring this up because our generation is known for staying put. Not me, but that’s because I went back to work at various times throughout the years to help financially when needed. My husband and I decided when we had a family that we’d do without in order for me to stay home. So, I took jobs while the kids were in school, selling unfinished furniture, managing a Wendy’s, working the desk at a health club and, well, the list is just too long. But it seems our children's generation is constantly moving from job to job.

Phone rings. “I’m thinking about taking my life in a different direction.” “Yeah,” I answer. I have to think, does the person want me to:
a. Really discuss this issue honestly and tell them my true feelings on the subject.
b. Sit and listen in silence as they bounce the ideas off me, adding only the occasional uh-huh, yeah, I see…or
c. Be the cheerleader… Agree to anything they say because they’re mind is already made up and they just called for confirmation that their decision is the right one. Sometimes it’s exhausting just trying to decipher what they need. “Yeah, I’m kind of tired of all the bullshit at work so I’m thinking about going back to school.” “Um sounds good.” Still unsure about which route to take I hang back to assure myself I’m following the right script.

“What do you think?”

“What do I really think?”

“Yeah, of course, why else do you think I called?”

I dive in head first, “Do you know what you want to do?” “Maybe education, I like teaching kids to do stuff.” “There’s a lot more to teaching. I mean you need to be committed to being with kid’s day in and day out. And it’s not like the old days. Now there’s so much paper work and don’t get me started on the whole teaching to the test stuff.” “So you think I shouldn’t be a teacher?” “That’s not what I said. Maybe you should talk to your cousin Frank. He’s a teacher. He might be able to help you out.” “But you sound like you don’t think it’s a good idea.” Time to change tactics…. “Um, I don’t know, what do you think?” “I think it might be fun, to make a difference.” “Yeah, I see your point.” “Good, well I’m going over to the college to see what I need to do to get my teaching credentials.” “Sounds good. You know honey; you can do anything you put your mind to.” “Yeah, thanks for the talk.”

Two weeks later after I’ve worried about the costs of the kid going back to school, if they would be happy in the teaching profession, discussing it with my husband, my friends and my mother, I carefully broach the subject. “So how did the meeting with the college go?” “What meeting?” A look of confusion crosses their face. “About going back to school to get your teaching certificate?” “What?” “You called,” I start. “Oh that. That was just an idea I had. I changed my mind. I’m still thinking about changing jobs, but I don’t want to do anything until I’m sure.” “Sure about what?” “About what to do.” B. uh huh… C. you can do anything… usually they really, and I mean really don’t want A