Friday, September 18, 2009

The end of the Road

Beware, this is a long post. I'm making up for lost time since I haven't kept up the blog for a while.

So. I finally came to the end of the road to 50, on Tuesday the 15th. Let me tell you about my day.

I got out of bed late, since I took the day off from work. (I'll be damned if I'll work on my 50th birthday.) I slogged out from under the covers, stood up, and immediately felt like my hip socket was a gearbox filled with sand. I picked my breasts up off the floor, tied them around my waist, and hobbled to the bathroom. Looking into the mirror, I located the irritating kernel of popcorn that was wedged into the inch-deep wrinkled groove on the side of my face that had kept me up half the night. I plucked it out with my handy industrial-sized tweezers and suddenly noticed a twenty-three inch hair growing out of my left ear. Took a shower, counted six new white pubic hairs, slathered on lotion to counteract my crocodile skin, and put two cans of iced tea on my under-eye-bags so that later I'd be able to see out of my swollen, bleary, rheumy eyes.

Okay, I exaggerate, but only slightly. Aging really fucks with your perspective.

A few days before D-day, I treated myself to a facial and a massage, which is one of the most fabulous gifts you can give your body. The massage got out all the kinks in my neck and shoulders, which was excellent preparation for the assault on my face. I've had facials many times, but this time I met my match in the form of a tall Russian woman who zoomed in on my clogged pores with the zeal of a cockroach exterminator. She cleansed, exfoliated, steamed, creamed, and zapped the skin of my face and finished up by saying "Ho-kay!! Now ve veel remove ze clogged poresss!!! I vill try not to hurt so much, but you have leetle bit clogging and must get reed of ogly poresss!!!" She stuck her finger UP MY NOSE to get the gunk out of my pores, and I tell you, if I hadn't been zonked from the massage I think I would have leaped off the table and pelted her with hot stones.

So I was ready for the weekend with a brand-new face full of skin and antioxidants. It's a good thing I had taken care of my body with yoga and healthy food, in addition to the facial, because I was about to be swept into the spotlight which normally makes me cower and run the other way.

Most of you know Diana from yoga class - she of the tiny perfect body and cheerful disposition. She is my dearest and most enduring friend, but let me warn you she is also one sneaky little devil. Diana and my girlfriends surprised me the Saturday before my birthday with dinner at Palomino and a loooonnngggg night out downtown. They had even booked a hotel room so none of us would be drinking and driving, spoiled me with dinner out, gifts, champagne and all sorts of other goodies, and what went on in that hotel room is a story for another venue but believe me, the pictures would be inappropriate for a family newspaper. We laughed so hard my teeth hurt the next day.

Of course my husband had been in on the surprise plan. He was extremely happy, because it meant he didn't have to take me to the ballet which was the original plan for the evening. Heh.

Anyway, the whole experience over the weekend totally kicked the shit out of my feeling sorry for myself for turning 50 and being eligible for AARP. I ask you - how could I curl up in a ball of despair with friends like these? I felt like George Bailey at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life" - like the richest man in town.

So I didn't get to go to Italy, or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, or snorkel off Fiji. I don't have a million dollars in the bank. But I have love, and health, and family, and friends, and good times and great shoes and music and yoga and everything that makes life worth living, and right now, at the age of 50, my soul is full.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Bliss with a sandy butt

Came back from vacation last Saturday, and even after a horrendously busy week at work I am coasting on the blissful feelings of relaxation after a week at the beach.

I carried the Project with me. I walked on the beach every day, no matter how hot it was. I went to the yoga studio with Chris's class on my iPod and did my yoga practice. I ate normally, picking all the fresh foods they had to offer - gorging on fruits and salads (anybody ever heard of pitaya? I tried it, not bad!) and indulging in the evenings with wine and grilled lobster.

Some of the things I experience on vacation are things I strive to maintain when I get back home. My husband and I talked about it and are committed to keeping the vacation sensibility alive as much as we can. Things like never turning on the TV, not listening to news or checking the computer every five minutes, and ignoring the endless assault on our senses by electronic devices. It's one of the things Chris talked about - a break from media - that does the most for us both to bring a sense of peace and calmness.

When I go to the beach, the things I love most are the sound and the smell of the ocean. My husband laughs because almost every time we go to the beach I wind up sitting in the sand, letting the water lap my feet, and telling him that I am becoming "one" with nature. Once I became merged with nature to the point that when I stood up, my bikini bottoms were so full of sand that I looked like a toddler with a loaded diaper. I had to stand out in the ocean to dump all the sand out of my suit -- very undignified.

Anyway, after a week of relaxation, pampering (I got a massage!), and communing with nature, I'm rested and happy. I have missed the Saturday class so much and look forward to being there again in August. Love to all!

P.S. And the BEST part of all - I didn't gain back a SINGLE POUND!!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009


I leave for vacation tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. and am almost spastic with anticipation. This summer has been so busy, at work and at home and otherwise that I feel like a hamster running constantly on the wheel of life (stupid metaphor, I know, but my synapses are shot). Mental and physical exhaustion - let me show you it.

I have loaded Chris's yoga class on my iPod and plan to take advantage of the resort's lovely yoga studio to do my practice. I will walk on the beach. I don't plan to lift weights, although they do have an exercise facility -- but it's against my general principles to exercise in a sterile workout room on a treadmill or weight machine when there is a beautiful mile-long beach available and all the time I need to enjoy it. The ocean will clear my mind.

Hopefully I will be coherent enough when I come back that I can blog again and actually make sense. Adios, amigos, vaya con Dios!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bum knee

Ugh, I am crabby.

I hurt my right knee about ten days ago, and it has caused me to severely cut back my workouts. It's been a busy summer, and one Saturday I chose to do the CD version of Chris's yoga class rather than come downtown. I was coming out of bakasana (crane) pose awkwardly (what a surprise) and I felt a sharp pain in my right knee. I thought I'd torn something - I could barely straighten out my leg. I sat there for a good five minutes unable to move. I thought maybe they'd find my body on the floor of my bedroom, twisted into something like a broken pigeon pose, and I could see the headline: "Woman Dies in Bizarre Yoga Accident; Frozen in Pose and Suffocated by Dust Bunnies."

Eventually I got my leg straightened out, and was able to finish my practice, but damn. I've been gingerly walking on that leg ever since, and have only really managed a couple of low-level workouts since then. And it's made me really cranky. Even though I despise getting up at 5:30, I miss the feeling I had after getting my workout completed. It made me feel strong and improved my mood, and really helped my metabolism.

Now I am walking around like my knee's made of glass, and every so often I'll stand up and my knee will feel like someone stuck a knife in it. This is ridiculous! I was not supposed to get injured! My knees have always sounded like gravel mixers, but they didn't hurt too bad. I have visions of myself a year from now, hobbling along, like a hunchbacked crone in a babushka. What next, bits of teeth breaking off? Boils? Leprosy?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cleansing your colon, one gram at a time

Another of the unutterable joys of aging is talking about your colon with your best friend. She doesn't really know my colon or its habits, but she cares about me and she reads my blog and worries about my health (thank you dahling), so she and I were discussing the benefits of getting your RDA of fiber. Which is 25 grams per DAY, if you want your colon to be happy and clean.

(Insert a cute cartoony graphic of a happy pink colon with a smiley face - "Hi! Mr. Colon here to talk to you about bran!")

Now, 25 grams of fiber is a shitload (literally) to eat in one day. A banana has 3 grams of fiber; so does a small apple. Veggies are a good source, but the most high-fiber vegetables are lentils (6 grams) lima beans (11 grams) and brussels sprouts (6 grams) -- ALL OF WHICH I refuse to eat. Life is too short to eat horrible legumes and stinky mini-cabbages, and my personal feeling is that I can't do it unless they are smothered in butter or cheese or bacon or a combination of all of the above, which pretty much cancels out any of the benefits from the fiber. Besides, even if I had a cup of lima beans (shudder) I would have only hit the halfway mark for my daily requirements, and I guarantee I would be off my feed if I ate a cup of lima beans, even with a martini.

I guess I could always eat a bowl of bran flakes, but I am afraid of them. I have a bran phobia. Not only because of the taste (something like a cross between burnt styrofoam and recycled wood pulp, with a smidgen of old yeast) but just the simple act of buying a box of bran flakes in the grocery store is like holding up a five-foot sign to your fellow shoppers stating "HI, I AM OLD AND CONSTIPATED, NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR COLONOSCOPY," and how it felt like someone took a wire brush to your formerly happy lower intestines.

(Insert graphic of formerly happy Mr. Colon, only this time beet-red with a frowny face.)

Of course there are bigger guns - like trying one of the many 'Colon Cleanse' products. Those scare me too, even worse than the thought of being caught red-handed with a box of bran flakes. I would never survive the trip to the health-food store -- I would be paralyzed by the variety and too self-conscious to ask which one is best. (There's a conversation you don't want to have in the middle of Whole Foods.) Plus, the idea of the 'cleanse' itself is frightening. No way do I want to spend a weekend strapped to my commode with a seat belt to keep myself from being shot upwards like a rocket by an unhappy Mr. Colon being forced to work overtime.

I know this stuff is supposed to 'flush out the toxins' and get rid of years of accumulated sludge, but I don't really want to know that. I don't want to know what sort of sludge I am carrying around, and I want even less to see it after it comes out, unless I thought I'd swallowed the Hope Diamond but in my case would probably be a rhinestone pinky ring that I'd swallowed when I was five after eating straight out of the cereal box. See, I KNEW there was a reason for my fear of bran!

Anyway, as far as I know my colon is happy with its daily salad and assorted fruits. And if it isn't, I hope it has better manners than to announce its displeasure in the middle of yoga class.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back in the groove

So, I guess my scale got the message - drop the number or die. I was on the edge of veering off the path, ready to shrug my shoulders and dive into a bucket of ice cream, but then I did my weekly weigh-in and actually lost another pound.

Of course, this does not mean that my insanity is cured.

But it's definitely better. At least I know that I'm crazy - old habits die hard, and that fixation I had about how much I weigh or what size I am is still popping up occasionally. But then I remind myself to breathe, and slow down, and focus on my wellness and strength. Going to yoga on Saturday is also a huge positive - I come out of there completely drained and almost euphoric.

I am also starting to relax about my diet and exercise patterns. Not counting calories so much any more, because I have got the healthy eating and portion control so fully ingrained that I don't really even need to worry. It's so freeing to be able to go out to eat and enjoy a meal and my beloved glass (or two) of wine without worrying that I am setting myself back. I've pretty much determined what my calorie intake is to maintain my weight, which is an entirely new concept for me. I used to lose ten pounds in four weeks eating about 1,000 calories a day but of course as soon as I went back to my old habits I'd gain it right back. Now I can eat normally, exercise normally, and feel healthy. What a concept! I feel positively French.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hitting the wall

This past week I have hit a massive brick wall. It's the same wall I have hit a hundred times before -- the wall of the dreaded PLATEAU. I have lost sixteen pounds since the beginning of the Project but a big fat ZERO in the last two weeks and I am pissed.

Let me first say that I am intellectually aware that this is normal. I understand that plateaus are a normal metabolic response to an extended period of time with restricted calories; that eventually it will break if I adjust my workout and my eating patterns; and that it is not a reason to go off the deep end. Intellectually, I get it. Emotionally, though, I am - how can I put this? - ready to knock the shit out of anything that moves. My scale, especially - that dispassionate machine that blinks its little digital screen at me and then beep-snorts in disgust after I step off. I want to pick that thing up and smash its little heart out with a hammer and spill its little light-emitting diodes all over the floor like blood and hear it gasp for mercy, like HAL in 2001. And I will laugh at its whimpering and go buy a new scale, one that is kinder and gentler and that understands that all I really want is for its numbers to go lower EVERY TIME I step on it, or I will gut it ruthlessly.

Did I mention that I put a on bathing suit this past weekend?

Probably that had nothing at all to do with my little tantrum towards the scale. Nope, not at all. After all, I am a Project Graduate and I have moved past those "thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to," haven't I? Shocks like the flesh of my thighs, which were blindingly white when I stepped out into the sun in my swimsuit. So white that from a distance, if you had seen my lower half, you would have thought my thighs were two loaves of frozen white bread dough sticking out of a Hefty bag.

But I'm over all that. Yes. So, I just wanted to pop into my blog and say Hi to all my fellow Grads, it was great to see you at class on Saturday, and now excuse me because I need to go buy a burqa, a vat of self-tanner and a new scale.