Why, Thank You?

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On a recent trip to the gym, my friend dragged me along with her to get our BMI checked. Although not unhappy with my body, I’m not exactly where I want to be on a fitness level. I didn’t want to do it. It didn’t help that one of the trainers would be involved in this circus.

This device that one holds in their hands with both arms extended literally undresses you and reads your fitness soul.

But… seeing as my last BMI check was years ago in college– after the freshman 10 and over a year of no workouts– in which my Phys Ed teacher soured his face at my question, “Is that number good or bad?” yeah, I was admittedly more than a little curious as to what my current number would be. I mean, why fear? I work my butt off. Not literally. My butt’s still there and it’s a good thing. But I digress.

After a minute or so of this machine shooting some signal through my body that I’m certain will cause cancer, the answer is in…

It’s definitely better than the past. Much better. But it ain’t where I want it. The trainer looks at some chart (I never trust those) and tells me, “You’re in the good to excellent range for your age.” Oh, for my age. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

In my brain, I was no lady. I spit in the face of that chart and gadget and walked away with my nose in the air. For your age. That backhanded compliment goes right up there with you look great for having kids. But that’s another post, another day.

I Wanna Be a Lady… But So Many Books!

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  I wanna be a lady… but there are so many good books in the world.

          There’s my dryer full of now cement-hardened wrinkled clothes.

          There’s the shaving of my legs that must be done.

          There’s the dresser I’m supposed to paint into something fresh and new.

          There’s my new artwork I’m supposed to upload to my Etsy store.

          And always, there’s my damned eyebrows…

But, lo and behold, I picked up a classic novel that I’ve never read before– I had a strong feeling this was the right time– and hours later (I’ve lost track of how many) I was curled up in bed telling myself “Just one more chapter” of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

I do declare that a Saturday with a great book (even a good one for that matter) and a cup of tea or glass of wine is one of life’s top pleasures.

My extensive to do list of be a:

responsible, sensible, focused, hard-working, put-together lady

crashed and burned once I decided to take a break and read.

My only regret, however, is that since I’ve been hitting up so many library books lately, I was well into chapter 9 before I remembered that this was my own book and I could have been underlining my favorite passages the whole time. There have been so many good ones. Blast! Guess I’ll have to go back and review it again some time. Hehe.

Let’s give a hip hip hurrah for when the perfect reading comes to you at the right time in your life. Serendipity. Or who knows, maybe it was always the right time and I didn’t know it. It’s a classic, after all, for a reason.

Has you read any books lately or in the past that made you want to shirk the world for half a day and just keep reading? Please share!

 

May I Ask You A Question?

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So the other weekend, I was hanging out with a good friend of mine, and I had a question that I wanted to ask her about a new relationship of hers. But, I thought it might be a sensitive subject since relationships– particularly new ones– are wont to be. So. I prefaced my query with the statement: “May I ask you something?”

Immediately I looked at her face and thought twice about it. I thought, well gosh, if I get her to think about something that she hasn’t already considered and it ends up with a negative result, or a negativity in her relationship, then I’m gonna be the one going down for that. And that’s a big burden to bear!

And yet, immediately after that thought I said aloud, “Well, I have to ask now because I’ve already put it out there.” I had to commit. I knew I was bound to the statement. And it got me to thinking…

I wonder if prefacing touchy subjects with “May I ask you something?” or “Can I say something?” is really our subconscious binding us to the spoken word. Because once we’ve said it, we’ve chained ourselves. We’ve chained ourselves to the spoken word and we cannot go back.

Unless you’re one of those jerk people. And you don’t want to be that jerk person because everyone has had that time in their life when that person just refused to proceed. They just… they didn’t feel the chain of society. The chain of morality. The chain of humanity! They didn’t feel the compulsion.

Those are the sociopaths of the world. And we don’t want to be those people.

And so I wondered, is it our subconscious that makes us say it without saying it?

A bit of a trailer, a dropped hint, yes, but it’s something more than that. It’s a cry for commitment. “I am afraid to commit but, by George! I want to commit. And this needs to come out of me. It needs to be in the world; it’s eating me up on the inside!”

And so, I don’t think any of us actually ever 100% regret the “May I ask you something?” or “Can I say something?” I don’t think any of us fully regrets it because deep down our mouths, our brains, our psyches, our emotional centers knew that it had to exist in the spoken word. And not just the words written on the heart.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/from-the-top/

The Coffee Made Me Fat

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It has come to my attention that my morning cup of joe is the cause of all my problems. ALL OF THEM. I know you think this is some slick hyperbolic statement formulated to grab your attention but hear me out….

I workout on a regular basis and I look pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I can hit the gym no problem. But what I can also hit (more fervently, zealously, passionately, lovingly) is a plate of good food. I stand by my declaration that food is one of greatest of life’s delights. It is a hard battle not to stuff my face relentlessly, regularly.

But I go through two seasons:

Season One consists of consistent hardcore working out and eating well. I wake up early and run. I weight train in the afternoons. I drink tea and limit my carbs and sugar. I feel good. I feel my muscles when I walk. I bounce with energy when I walk. I tell myself I’d be a complete moron to not be sure to always stay this healthy and feel this good. “I will never go back,” I say. I say this with absolute determination.

Season two. One day I look at my tea and say, “Hmmm I’m kind of feeling like coffee this morning. I’ll get back to tea tomorrow.” From there it’s all shot to shit.

Day two: That coffee was good yesterday. I want some more.

Day Three: You know what’ll go well with this coffee? Some thick    fluffy bread with peanut butter.

Day Four: You know what was really good yesterday? That freaking bread was so good. I want some more.

Day Ten: Everything I’ve worked for is slipping like…. a hoochie’s slip. (Wait. Do hoochie’s even wear slips? Does anyone where slips anymore? My simile sucks.)

Day Twenty-Five: You know, why can’t we just live our lives and enjoy it? Why does society have to hold me to these rigid standards? Who dictates beauty anyway?

Day Thirty-Five: I feel like shit. The stairclimber at the gym looks like Mt. Kilamanjaro. The thought of waking up early to go running sets my brain a panic. A dish without rice seems incomplete and I’m ready for bed by 9pm. I’m too lethargic to motivate myself to do what I used to do. I’m mad at myself for creating problems and and cranky at everyone else for not somehow fixing them for me!

And when I’m feeling this way, you know what makes me feel so much better about life? A hot cup of coffee with sugar and some french vanilla creamer. Yeeeeah.

What I have learned folks is that that cup of coffee you think is so innocent and lovely, warm and comforting, is a sinister brew waiting to fire your goals, roast your efforts, and brew up a steaming pot of I feel like crap and my life is going nowhere.

Hopefully, one day you’ll step away from the pot (the coffee pot) and steep some tea. You’ll see. Your whole life will fall back into place.

As for me, I’ve recently begun punishing myself with black coffee. Well… with a little creamer. Come on, I’m a human being after all.

This Fan Sucks on the Ground

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Today’s Daily Writing Challenge was to write about the creation or invention of something. One of the suggestions was the ceiling fan.

It was Florida. It was summer. It was humid. The rain had just ended and the moist air clung to the furniture, wrapped itself around the throats of everyone. The thought of human touch, so pleasing in the winter (whatever two weeks of it there were) was a sickening one. Any touch fired the nerves, burned with insidious intent. Anyone doing the touching was peered at with suspicion. Maybe he’s not such a good person after all, one thought. Who would touch me now in this, my heated torment?

Mothers rolled their eyes at children; their cuteness floating away like steam. Wives, husbands fought like dogs for elbow room on the couch. This was not cuddle season. Everyone knew it. The dog lay neglected in the corner. The children eyed him mournfully but had not the will to take him out to play. The dog eyed the children through his drowsy eye praying that they might forget him there. He’d be willing to bite if it came to it. He would not go outside. It was hot.

At the Yeats house someone kicks on the fan and the children go fighting to suck up the air. The game is Stand Right In Front, Open Wide and Say Something Funny With Your Vibrating Voice. Th adults call bullshit but what can they do? Kids gotta be kids.

At the Tolstoy house someone kicks on the fan and dad pulls the I Pay the Bills Around Here So the Fan Stays on Me card. Children call bull but what can they do? They wither behind him trying to catch some strings of coolness that may get past.

At the Austen house someone kicks on the fan. It’s mom and she’s cooking. She pulls the It’s Hot in This Kitchen and I’m Cooking For All Of You So the Fan Is Mine card. Dad calls bullshit but what can he do? He groans in his chair.

At the Dostoevsky house someone kicks on the fan and each person is in heaven one moment and hell the next as the Rotation of Fairness greets and dismisses again and again. It’s coming, it’s coming. Damn that air feels good… and it’s gone. Everyone calls bullshit.

At the Twain house someone goes to the shed and gets the duck tape, rips the plug out of the wall and tapes the fan to the ceiling. Everyone sits on the couch, with elbow room, touching is forbidden. They lean back allowing the cooler air to wash over their sweaty bodies. Eyes closed, mouths open like gapping fish, they swallow the air.

This. This will change everything.

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/in-the-beginning/

I haven’t done many of these daily challenges although I love reading what others come up with. But being a Floridian and growing up with parents who most often refused to spend money to run our central air, I automatically knew I wanted to write about the trials of floor fans. Everyone wants a piece of it and there just ain’t enough to go around. It’s a little different from my usual writing, but it’s my contribution. Hope you liked it. Stay cool.

 

I’m An Embarrassment to My Mother and Women Everywhere

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This, of course, is according to my mother. As most of you know, it is World Cup season. And as many of you also know, I have a problem with ladylike quiet. I am also a huge sports fan, an adrenaline junkie and a nut for competition. Combine all of these with my inner ear problem and a mother who is my exact opposite and I’ve got myself a perfect recipe.

A recipe for what? For making my mother think I must have been born of another woman. A recipe for making her mumble under her breath. Numerous times. Until she was certain I had heard her. Until I finally acknowledged her. What was she mumbling?

“Oh my goodness. How embarrassing. A girl being so loud.” (Insert sour face and head wagging).

Hey listen, there are few occasions when loudness is appropriate and acceptable. For people like me who are always sticking out like… those pointy 1950s boobs, it’s nice to be able to relax and blend in. Spread out you know?

Watching sports is my time to let myself be me without the judgment of the tranquil quiet set. I had every reason in the world to jump up and scream when the U.S. finally put a point on the board. When our goalie shifted directions mid flight and stopped the ball with the tips of his damn fingers, I mean come on! That was beautiful stuff. And a second goal? Who saw that coming?! How can a person not get a little loud? Okay, maybe a lot loud. But still.

Thank goodness my father, whom I watch the games with, is maybe just as loud as me. Together we turn to each other and roll our eyes and shake our heads in disapproval at her utter lack of passion for anything competitive. She doesn’t even flinch during American Ninja Warrior people. We don’t get it. She doesn’t get it.

There’s this commercial that comes on during the games; it shows women jumping up and cheering for their teams, going full throttle, no restraint. Absolute joy. They look like me. They are my evidence to my mother that it is okay. Women don’t have to be quiet to be ladies. It is my proof.

My mother has never once been in the room when this commercial has come on. Story of my life.

How Are My Tonsils Looking?

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I know you probably haven’t met me in person, but if you had, I could probably ask you that question and you’d probably have an answer for me. The reason for this? I’m pretty damn sure I have an inner ear problem because I apparently can’t not talk loudly.

According to various sources– some near and some far away– I am always the loudest person in the room. I’m 2-3 decibels above any and everyone. The crying baby in the corner? What baby? I hear no baby, just this loud woman. The tantrum-throwing toddler? The music-blasting teenager? The freight train? Nope. Nothing. All I can hear is this loud lady.

That loud lady, my friends, is me. You know how when you’re in a loud room and you’re speaking at max volume so that your friend can hear you and then the stars align and all noise stops at once and you’re left screaming mid-sentence something like, “So yeah, my vagina hairs now look like…. Oh hell.”

That situation happens to be me on a regular basis. Except of course that there’s no loud room full of people and all noise doesn’t stop at once. The revelation that I’m talking way too loudly tends to hit me when a friend jerks his head back as if he’s just been smacked in the face and asks me “Why are you talking so loud?!” As he is saying this, I am usually ignorantly mid-sentence. Suddenly my ears come into focus and I realize that I have, in fact,  been talking like he was across the room. I’m blaming this all on an inner ear problem.

A few years ago a friend of mine, knowing my love of books (and old ones especially) found and gifted me an etiquette book from the 1950s. Because I wanted to be a lady I thought here is an answer. I will study this book and walk about this earth with such an air of grace and sophistication that people will say:

“I admire her quiet dignity.”

“She is so gentle, yet somehow powerful…”

“Boy, she sure has grace and sophistication.”

One particular chapter about a woman’s demeanor and comportment stated that a lady should never speak above a whisper. Her voice should never be raised, but only just high enough to be comfortably heard. Well damn, I pretty much raise my voice with the introduction of any emotion. Excitement; I get loud. Surprise; loud. Tears or laughter; loud.

But I was determined to be a new kind of woman. To scrub the old Eliza Doolittle off. It actually lasted a few days. The whole world seemed more calm because I was a restful sea and conversations were boats gently rocking on my surface. I was a lullaby and words the substance of that lullaby. I was a warm slice of toast and sounds were the room-temperature butter spread over my body. (Okay, that last one sounds creeper-y). Frankly, I was so calm I practically put myself to sleep. But overall, it was a lovely and worthwhile experience.

I’m going to try it out again. Starting today. I’ll update you on my progress in a few weeks. No wait, I call exemption on all World Cup matches. I cannot be held responsible for myself during those times. Just ask anyone who was near me during last night’s Game 5.