One brave thing, part 2

I went to the Aqua Yoga class on Monday morning, despite my trepidation. I got my big girl pants on (read: found a bathing suit that fit) and I went. I pulled up to the door at 8:59am. This is significant because usually I am at least a half an hour early for everything. Because it was so late, though, I didn’t have time to hesitate. I just got out of my car and went right in.

As soon as I entered the pool area, I knew I had done the right thing by finally going. The instructor was playing music for the class and the song that was on was this: “Happy” by Pharrell. People that know me know that this is my new favorite song!  Because I heard the Happy song, I was immediately put at ease. I took it as a sign that I was in the right place.

Two other positive signs:

  1. The instructor, Jennifer, reminded me of one of my best friends, Karyn.
  2. One of the other women in the class reminded me of my one of my grandmothers.

So how did it go? It was hard! It was fun! Everyone was so nice! I wish I had started going (like the other women had) six months ago!

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An old dog, a new (cheap) trick (part two)

robinThen Cheap Trick (did I mention that’s my husband’s favorite band?) came to town.

Sure, they had come to town before, but he never brought it up and I never did either. It was the elephant in the room until the show date came and went. There were usually plenty of good reasons (child care issues, work schedule conflicts, just a little too far away) why we both couldn’t have gone together to the show anyway. Oh, and also, I didn’t like Cheap Trick. I was perhaps the only person who didn’t think Robin Zander was hot.

Once, years ago, I casually mentioned to my husband that if I spent enough time around someone (read: a guy), I could find something about him to like.  After I got over the shock of realizing that he actually pays attention to what I say, I realized that he also used this to his advantage. Well, to our advantage. He started playing Cheap Trick music in the car when I with him-a cheap attempt to get me to ‘spend some time’ with Cheap Trick.

He also took me to the venue where they were playing a few weeks in advance to get familiar with the area. We spent several hours exploring and learning our way around, thereby exponentially increasing my comfort level.  The end result was this: a week before the show, I was singing along to Cheap Trick songs and looking forward to the show.

Me.

I know, right?

It was awesome. I had a great time. Oh, and now I am perhaps the only person who does think that Robin Zander is hot.

Just sayin’.

An old dog, a new (cheap) trick (part one)

Cheap TrickYou know how they say that your tastes change as you get older? I have found this to be true in my own life.

  1. I never liked cheese on my pizza. When I was little, maybe 4 or 5 years old, my parents used to scrape it off (and onto their own slices, I imagine) and tell me that they got some cheese-less pizza, “special” for me.  That changed by the time I got to high school, when I ordered my pizza with ‘extra cheese’, just like everyone else.
  2. I never liked seafood. With the exception of canned tuna (white, tuna, in water), and the odd clam strip filched from Dad’s plate once a year when we ate out at HoJo’s, nary a fish crossed my plate…for years. I didn’t start eating (fried only) seafood until I moved to Maine because, you know, it’s the law.
  3. Melted American cheese. No, wait, I still hate that.

To approach this from the standpoint of musical tastes, I also have undergone a transformation. Back in the day, I liked The Cars. The Motels. Face to Face. Fleetwood Mac. Still do.

I didn’t like Kiss. Def Leppard. Guns N’ Roses.  Headbanger music is what I called it.  Poison. Motley Crew…and Cheap Trick. As my grandmother would say, I ‘had no use for them’.

Then I met my husband. The first time I got in his jeep and heard what he was listening to on the radio, I knew that we had, um, widely different tastes in music. I was a Kiss 108 kind of girl. He was an FNX (listen to it? I’d never even heard of it) kind of guy.

We met in the middle with John Mellencamp and Bon Jovi and made the best of it. I didn’t make him listen to my music and he didn’t make me listen to his.

Then Cheap Trick (did I mention that’s my husband’s favorite band?) came to town.

(to be continued…)

Lost at sea

Busy beachI love to go to the ocean. I go every day that I possibly can, rain or shine, summer or winter. Even if I only have 1 hour…hell, even if I only 5 minutes, I go.

One thing that I don’t often do, however, is swim in it. It’s not that I don’t want to (I do!), or that I am a wimp about how cold the Maine ocean water is (I am! But I go in any way!).  It’s because I’m nearsighted.

Stupid reason not to go in? Maybe. If I am with others, it’s not so bad. I can take off my glasses and fear not: there are people other than me nearby with a stake in my well-being. I can be reasonably certain that I will make it back from the ocean, back to my glasses and thereby restoring my vision, within a reasonable time frame. When I am by myself, well, let’s just say that there are no guarantees.

But for the first time this year, I gave it a shot.  I took off my glasses and put them in the case. I put the case into the bright pink beach bag that I brought with  me. I positioned my chair so that it was right next to the stairs I took to get down to the beach. I took note of landmarks near my chair (2 large hotel/motel buildings). I walked a bee-line straight into the water.  I continually checked my landmarks as best as I could while I was swimming.

When I was finished swimming and attempted to retrace my bee-line, I felt my confidence slipping as I neared where I thought I had left my things, but no bright pink bag was in sight. I was getting nervous…what would I do? I mentally rehearsed my opening line: “Excuse me-I know this is going to sound odd, but I’m lost…”

It was unnecessary after all. I suddenly saw my pink bag…2 people had put up their umbrella and placed their chairs directly in front of my spot.

Really? Really?

The next day I ordered some prescription swim goggles.

Looking for clues

Now that I’ve started walking regularly again (well, this week at least), I’m finding that it reminds me of other regular walking routes I’ve had in the past.

I had a regular loop that I walked when I lived in a different city. I was twelve or thirteen years younger (and about twenty pounds heavier…but I digress). I walked with my son, who was little then, around 7 or 8 years old, and later on, my infant daughter Isabelle accompanied us. We took turns pushing her along in her stroller.

We walked, but we didn’t call it walking, because that’s no fun. For some reason,  Anthony started calling it ‘looking for clues’ (nod to Robert Palmer).

So, we would leave our driveway and start our trek up Lake Street. We would search for anything interesting on the ground as we went. Truthfully, the most interesting part of our walk was the midpoint, Pizzi’s (the farm store) where we sometimes (okay, often) made a pit stop on the way for ice cream or soda or candy.

Once, one of the clues we found was Izzy’s baby sock (that we had lost on a previous trip), but usually we found rocks and such. Nothing of value, really.

Except my memories of that time that we spent together.

Pig aggression

I was walking my route other morning when I heard an animal noise from behind me. I was passing the pig sty (literal, not figurative) that is on the street adjacent to mine right at the side of the road, so of course I knew it was a pig. These pigs also routinely jump the fence so I shouldn’t have been surprised when I saw him in the road, staring at me, grunting.
Note: a pig’s grunt sounds ominously like a mountain lion. I don’t know why. It just does.

For several seconds I just stood there, unsure if I should try to pass it or go back the other way.  Should I call my husband to come and pick me up (which he would have done, after he finished laughing)?  What if it charged me? It looked like it was almost as big as I am, and may even have outweighed me. I decided to close my eyes and walk very fast past the pen while chanting to myself, “I am very safe; I am very safe.”

I told my husband about this when I got back and we had a good laugh.

The next day I went to the beach instead (in order to avoid another pig incident) to do my usual walk to the jetty. I was almost all the way back when I became aware of footsteps running up behind me, then retreating, then catching up again. I didn’t look at first, because there were so many unleashed dogs on the beach that I thought it must be that. The third time it approached, though, I did turn and look…and it was a male wearing a rubber pig face mask, which was about an inch from my face.

Need I say that I was scared to death?

This time, my husband was there. Within about a second he was running full tilt toward me to see if I was okay, then he went to, um, discuss the event with the perp. This time, I didn’t have to convince myself I was safe. This time, my husband made sure that I was safe.

One question remains: What the heck is the universe trying to tell me with these pigs?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Another first

When I turned 50 this year, I decided to try to do things for the first time, since this is my first year in a new decade. Today, I went swimming at the beach all by myself.

This is no small undertaking, to which anyone who wears glasses and is severely myopic will attest. The problem is this: what to do with the glasses? Leave them on, and risk losing them to the ocean, or leave them in a bag with your stuff on your chair, and risk losing yourself?

If I go swimming at the beach with others (who, you know, can see), they can guide me back to our place in the sand, no problem. When faced with the prospect of trying to find my way back without guidance, I have always balked, then caved. In other words, I’ve never done it.

Until today. I brought my red canvas bag, hoping that I would be able to detect the bright color, if nothing else, when it was time to leave the water and find my stuff. I put my chair right at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the parking lot. I walked in a straight line to the ocean, which was at medium-low (not low-low) tide, so I didn’t have to go too far to get back to square one. I hoped for the best.

My Plan B was this: to depend on the kindness of strangers. “Excuse me, but I’m lost…” wouldn’t sound very convincing coming from the mouth of a 50-year-old, so I fervently hoped I wouldn’t have to go this route.

I am happy to report that I didn’t! I swam in the ocean for 20 minutes, came out (just to prove to myself that I could find my stuff–and to get away from the teenage boy who wouldn’t stop taunting his sister with talk about the sharks getting us), then went back in for another 20 minutes.

Life was good today.

Volunteering

My daughter and I signed up to volunteer for two hours this morning to help with tasks involved in getting ready for the annual library book sale. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Even though I looked forward to and attended the book sale almost every year, I had never been involved in any of the activities that preceded it.

We arrived a little early to find a smattering of other early birds there at the crack of 9:00AM, ready to help. We jumped right in.After a few “thank you’s” from Susan, the lovely woman in charge, I said, “Actually, I’m having fun!”

And you know what? I was having fun. More than that, I was having a great time.  Even though it was very muggy and I was sweating and thirsty, I was enjoying what I was doing and the time was passing quickly. As I thought about why, I realized that volunteering to help set up for the library book sale combined two of my favorite things:

  1. Being with the books
  2. Bringing order to chaos

I was especially pleased because I was able to identify, almost without thinking about it, exactly what it was that made me enjoy the work so much. It was a physical job: hauling books from one end of the gym to the other. Usually I don’t love exercise, but then it occurred to me that I was getting my ‘workout’ this morning doing purposeful activity with something to show for it at the end besides sore muscles: the dozens of cartons of books that were arranged on tables, spines, up, ready for the customers tomorrow–another bonus.

Our two hours of volunteering turned into four and a half. We stayed until the job was done.

As it turned out, the day included another one of my favorite things: PIZZA!  Susan unexpectedly treated us to pizza for lunch.  Because in the end, it’s always all about the food…and today, it was also all about the books!

Shopping at the Ocean State Job Lot

I was at the Ocean State Job Lot today, shopping for a bug zapper (bottom left page of flyer) with my husband. Of course, once I was in there I had to look around at everything (sorry, Bill).  Did you know that you can get audio books (on CD) here for only $3.99? Many of which you may have even heard of and be interested in listening to in the car on your way back to Wells from Sanford when you are sitting in traffic on Route 109 from now until eternity, watching the workers stand around waving “Stop” and “Slow” signs at you, taunting you ad nauseam.

I bought two.

Next, I wandered over to the bathing suits. I know; I know. What was I thinking? Well, they were on sale for only $10. Some of them were even kind of cute.

After rifling through the racks for a few minutes, I found a red one-piece that was my size that was kind of interesting looking. I held it up to show my husband, who thought it was okay (I need the reality check of asking another person how something looks on me because I apparently have Body Dysmorphic Disorder–in other words, I have no freakin’ clue how I really look).
I found a clerk to ask where the fitting rooms are and surprise! Ocean State Job Lot has no fitting rooms. I decided to take a chance and buy it, thinking I could always return it tomorrow if it didn’t fit. As I was giving it a final once-over, I thought that the back of the bathing suit didn’t look quite right. Now, I’m no fashionista, but the back was very…plunging, and the butt was very…insubstantial in a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on…until suddenly, it hit me. How had I not noticed how thin the strip of material at the butt was?

This bathing suit was a thong in the back! I can’t wear that to the beach!

I’m not even a little bit French!

Brave the movie

Brave in a nutshell: Best hair in a movie–ever. Lots of slap stick humor. Butts abound. There is one anomaly: a mother.

This is a Disney film, after all, but it includes a mother. Any of you who grew up with Bambi, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Cinderella…evil stepmothers notwithstanding, there are no living birth mothers in this crowd.

In Brave, however, Merida has one. Does she get to keep her? Well, yes. And no. And yes.

I took my daughter and her friend to see this movie, but it was really more like they took me. I am the one that really wanted to see it. They were sort of humoring me, I think. In the end, though, they both said they liked it as much as I did. They especially liked Merida’s trio of terrible brothers. Okay, fine. So did I.

The central conflict in the movie is this: it’s ‘time’ for Merida to step up and be the princess that her mother has been grooming her to be since birth, and Merida is not the least bit interested in doing this. For (not) the first time in the history of the world, what a mother desires for her daughter and what a daughter desires for herself are two very different things.
From there, a metaphorical battle ensues between mother and daughter as they each try to make the other come around to their own point of view.

Go; see if the twain shall meet.

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