The Yoga Reveal

Menopause has brought me more in touch with my body (if my husband is reading this, I know where your mind is going. . . stop. . . this is about yoga).  

For years my body kept changing.  Every week was a new mix of sleep or no sleep, lose weight or can’t, hot flashes or none.  I tell my friends who are in menopause that if they hate how things are going now, hang on, it will all change in a few weeks. I had become very attuned to all these changes, so my yoga disaster caught me off guard this morning.  

I had no idea how tense I was.  My muscles had coiled into tight balls while I was sitting in this chair, learning to blog.  Frustration pooled in my shoulders and stomach and back.  And I probably wouldn’t have really noticed had I not gone to yoga this morning.  I walk around sometimes, lost in my head, out of touch with my body, wondering why I can’t sleep or why my stomach feels off.  

When I tried down dog today, my legs trembled, my back pinched, my shoulders bunched.  Then I remembered to breathe, slowly, and to use my mind to relax each muscle group.  It took the entire hour, but I could feel the tension leaving, bit by bit.  By the end I was able to control my muscles as opposed to being controlled.  I was breathing deep, into my belly, feeling relaxed.  I started to drift into sleep during Savasna (corpse pose).  

I’m back in my chair, blogging, but with a new awareness of how to keep myself in tune;  less time in my head, more time in my body. Breathe.  

The Curvy Girl Revolution

I worked in a fancy restaurant at Disney World one summer when I was 25.  Around 10 p.m. every night huge families visiting from South America would arrive for dinner.  I remember them for two reasons.  One, since the restaurant was mostly empty this late they would request one table for the adults and another for the kids, on the other side of the restaurant.  

The second thing I remember is the women.  The mothers of these children (and possibly the grandmothers too) would dress in very sexy, revealing clothes for their evening out.  And these were not small women; there was skin spilling over hem lines, waist bands, low-cut tops.  But the thing that made my jaw drop was their attitude.  They strutted in with a walk and a look that said, “yeah, I’m sexy, I know it, you know it.  Ain’t it great?!”  (only in Portuguese)  Even at a stick-thin 122 lbs. I was jealous of them.  They ate (real food!  Not the diet plate!) they drank, they laughed, they flirted.  (OK, so they also left their kids to be baby sat by the wait staff, but hey, they were great tippers too.)

I grew up with super athletic women being the ideal.  Stunning tan goddesses who could spike a volleyball, run a 10k, and keep up with the guys.  I was a day-glo white Irish girl with long nails that prohibited volleyball, double D’s that prohibited running, and no desire to out bench press anyone I was dating.  I never associated curvy and girly girl with beauty. . . till Christina.  

In 2010 Christina Hendricks was voted the sexiest woman by the mostly male readers of Esquire magazine.  It made headlines.  This woman had CURVES, and, it turns out that many (many, many) men like them.  Who knew?  Since then I’ve discovered Kim Kardashian (weird show, but she rocks her curves), Sophia Vergara, Beyonce, and Salma Hayek, just to name a few.  Burlesque artist, Dita Von Teese, is not only curvy and sexy, but also super pale (my skin idol!).  I figure if she can rock it, so can I.  I’ve stopped apologizing for my lack of a tan (or burn, in my case).  

I hope this new love of curvy girls will let more women see that size negative 0, model-thin women are not everyone’s ideal.  You can feel sexy without six-pack abs and cut triceps.  The women having the most fun and the ones eating and drinking and laughing and flirting.  They enter a room with a walk and a look that says, “ain’t it great?!” 

Small joys and little adventures

When it’s summer and your work from home and set your own schedule, TGIF really shouldn’t apply, but somehow it does.  The bubble of flex time my sons and I live in during July still touches on the 9-5, M-F world.  I like to wrap things up on Friday, get ready for more time with my husband and less time with my computer.  Hopefully this will be the first of many Friday posts of small joys and little adventures from the week past.

I splurged on a Vogue runway report magazine.  The magazine is pricey as hell (like the clothes inside) but its my inexpensive way of getting a front row seat at fashion week all over the world. 

Watching the sun rise on my peaceful road trip bears repeating.

As if the road trip wasn’t enough, I came home to find these beauties.  My husband missed me when I was gone. 

I ended up cutting them shorter to make typing easier, but for a week I had 10 perfect nails (yes, those are my own).  My short fingers were feeling so elegant this past week. (photo credit: my youngest, who we will call Wee Monkey)

And I can’t close out my week without noting the biggest adventure of all, this blog.  I tell my sons often that sometimes you have to do something that just scares the pee out of you to keep moving forward.  This adventure has proven less scary and more tech frustrating, but I am doing that, moving forward. . . on to next week.  Thank you for joining me in this one. 

The Lost Posts

Uggghhhh!  The learning curve, that ugly, frustrating process that checks any thoughts of grandeur.  

I deleted my own posts.  If you were one of the wonderful (few) who found this blog earlier in the week, you saw that I posted everyday.  Now there are only two posts.  In a housekeeping fit I deleted posts from the compose area, not realizing they would also disappear from the blog. . . lesson learned. 

Maybe it’s for the best. I could try to recreate them, but frankly, they were good, but not great.  Maybe I’m not exciting enough or literate enough to produce a quality post everyday.  I’ll take quality of quantity any day. 

There will be more posts to come because I’m just having too much fun, but be patient with me, I’m on the learning curve.  

Last Road trip of Summer

There is something soft and quiet and peaceful about the day just before dawn.  The air is cool and heavy with humidity.  It muffles the sound of car doors and traffic.  My voice is whispery because I’m not quite awake.  The sunrise colors are soft pink, lavender and peach, muted by the heavy, wet air.  

I want to take note of all these things, I record them for you, but also for me because midlife has definitely sharpened my sense of time.  I want to capture this perfect morning for a roadtrip because I’m driving to pick my kids up from summer camp.  And being half way through your life makes you accutely aware that there are only so many summers left for family roadtrips and summer camps and a house full of noisy neighborhood kids.  Chances are I have decades of quiet mornings ahead of me, but that’s just it, they will all be quiet.  This peace and quiet is special because it is the calm before the storm.  In three hours the car will be full or camp gear and wet, smelly sneakers and two boys talking over each other to tell me about all the adventures they had during their week away from home.  

Quiet time alone is precious to me now, but only because it is rare.  I know I have maybe four or five summers left of alone time being golden, then it will be come the norm.  Then I’ll wax poetic and get excited about each time one of my son’s comes to visit on a college break.  So instead of grousing about having to get up so early I’m celebrating it.  I packed grapes and french bread and iced coffee for breakfast.  

I loaded my iphone with music and podcasts and driving directions.  And I stopped along the way to take a few pictures, note my thoughts, capture the moment of being a mom on the last road trip of summer 2013. 

I’m Not Supposed to be Having This Much Fun

I always thought turning 50 was going to suck.  Menopause (mental pause) was going to suck away my sex drive, my figure and part of my brain.  All that would be left behind would be a saggy-skinned shell with a thick middle who wears comfy clothes and aimlessly mutters about lost keys.  Yes, part of that nightmare is true; it is harder to lose weight and there are days when I fear I will lose my way home.  (I think the loss of grey matter comes more from raising kids than losing estrogen).  

My 48th birthday did suck.  Without reliving the details, I’ll just say that I started the day alone, pissed off and fearing that this was the beginning of 40 or 50 more sucky birthdays to follow.  Then I got my wake up call.  It was a neon green bus with the back half of the roof cut off and it was full of grown men wearing what looked like girl scout uniforms with plaster anteater heads.  It was 10 a.m. and they were all drinking beer.  The fun girl I used to be woke up.  I wanted on that bus.  Screw whining about the people who forgot my birthday, I found some people who looked like they might want to celebrate my birthday (or any day, really).  I tailed them till I caught up with them at a light.  I rolled down my window to invite myself on board just as the the light changed and they turned left.

OK, so the bus got away that day (I’ve since tracked it down. . . adventures to follow), but the lesson didn’t get away.  I used to be silly and daring and FUN, three things that just didn’t mesh well with motherhood.  But now my kids are getting older, they need me less and less so I can be the old me more and more.  That was the start of my really fun midlife crisis.  

I test drove a sexy convertible Camero.  But because I would have to fold my tall sons into thirds to get them in the back seat, I had to get the unsexy Suburban instead.  But I’m rockin it.  My motto is:  I’ve got a V8 and 10,000 airbags, get out of my way.  (Not to mention 10 cup holders and a great stereo).

Piece by piece I’ve donated anything fugly or frumpy to my local Goodwill.  I don’t dress like I’m 20, but my new look hardly says over-the-hill either.  I’m aiming for a look that says, “I like myself the way I am.”  The two bikinis I’ve been wearing this summer show off my curves that I’ve just recently started to love.  

I’ve decreased the amount of time I spend with angry or petty people.  I read smutty romance novels and have lost the fear that my academic credentials will be stripped away if anyone finds out.  I discovered the beautiful sport (beautiful men, that is) soccer.  Google and you’ll see why I am a dedicated Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal Football club fan.  

And I’ve got great plans for my 50th birthday.  No black balloon party for me.  I’m getting my first tattoo and jumping out of a perfectly good airplane — attached to the best looking tandem jump buddy I can find. 

So whether you are close to 50, 60 or 20 I’d love to share my adventures with you.  And I’d love to hear from you too.  I’ll be posting about my passion for fashion, obsession with food, crazy love of beautiful and efficient design, and struggles as the lone girly-girl in a family of super smart, geeky guys.  

Welcome to my world.