Diet, Fitness, Menopause

The Scale: A Poem and a Giveaway

Scale

In honor of us menopausal types, my poem, “The Scale”:

Do you cringe

When you deliver

The bad news to me,

Or is smirking

More your style?

Someday, Scale,

I hope you’ll speak

Kindly, firmly, fondly

With words since 

Your numbers fail me.

Are you a scale girl?

A waistband girl?

So lucky you don’t need to measure your weight in any way at all?

Or so carefree, it’s not a concern?

Giveaway:  Speaking of weight and weight issues, Mika Brzezinski chronicles her eating troubles as well as her friend Diane’s and much of America’s in OBSESSED: America’s Food Addiction – And My Own.

Get the inside scoop on the eating habits of Gayle King, Charles Barkley, Jennifer Hudson, Padma Lakshmi, and others.  Best of all, read Kathleen Turner’s comments on appearing naked, at 46, as Mrs. Robinson in the stage version of  The Graduate.

For a chance to win a copy, simply enter a comment by May 25 saying you’d like to be the winner.

Obsessed

Aging, Fitness, Life, Menopause

Guest Post: That Damn Gravity

A guest post from artist Jennifer Miller:

I was walking the dogs and thinking about different ingredients to try in my won ton wrappers.

When I tripped I was looking at the sky, a light rain kissing my face, and pondering little bits of fresh cayenne pepper, minced garlic and chopped shrimp. The ground came up at me so hard that I still wonder whether some spirit gave me a mighty shove.

When I hit, I heard something snap. I began a chant of expletives that lasted till I was in x-ray and being advised that I had a long path ahead toward recovery.

I got to be 58 without breaking a bone. But I wonder if being 58 had something to do with falling. Did my younger toes have eyes? Have my senses dulled?

I know other women, my age or older, who have also broken bones recently. The first question is “have you had a bone density test?” Lucky for me and my friends, none of us have osteoporosis. As my orthopedic doctor said, “You have good bones but bad luck.”

Yet I feel lucky. Aging isn’t all bad.

Experience is helpful: I paint with less constriction and more creativity.

When I plant a bush, I make sure the hole is big enough and there is sufficient mulch, which makes the bush happy too.

I can plan a meal and prepare it with pleasure, without mishaps (unless I drop the main dish while serving).

I know how to slow down and enjoy Summer.

It is rare that I feel depressed.

But something else is going on in my brain: Fog. More than before. Not being an attorney or teacher, I’m fine being lost in thought. But how could I forget to watch for roots on a path which I had walked for 30 years?

I am becoming airier. In this journey toward the ether, my core is dispersing a little.

It’s fine, I’m okay with it, except: Gravity is not my friend.  If it weren’t for fear of falling, I would spend more time lost in thought.

Instead I trod carefully, and keep my eyes on the ground.

But whenever possible, I go swimming.

Jennifer Miller is a painter with a studio in downtown Hillsborough, NC.

Painting:  Golden Day. Oil on canvas, 20 x24. To see more of Jennifer’s work, go to her website, http://www.waveoverwave.com/

Photo:  The artist painting  on the shore of the lower Cape Fear River. Photo credit, Jennifer’s sister, who is also an artist, Leslie Deede Miller.

Fitness, Menopause

Brush Like a Flamingo

Balance. The not falling over kind of balance.

I took a nasty spill the other day. I don’t  know what, besides a sharp turn and stepping from road to grass, made me fall.  For a few days, my shoulder felt like Jane’s might after swinging from too many vines, and my hand was black and blue, but luckily, I’m okay.  I might not be next time though.

As we age, balance becomes oh so important.  Falls are the downfall of those up in years.

Have you taken the balance test?  Can you stand on one foot?

I sure need to work on balance. And compared to other things to work on, like cutting down on sugar or learning to “show don’t tell” in my writing, balance work is  fun.

In the April O Magazine, fitness writer Gretchen Reynolds, writes, “My regimen consists of a single exercise–brushing my teeth on one leg.”

So I’m trying to do this too: Stand on one foot while I work on my not-so-pearly whites.

For a picture for this post, I thought perhaps I could show you my bathroom,the very spot where I brush my teeth.  Hmm. Boring?  TMI?

I went in with my camera and found the lovely bird above. I am hoping she might be the Queen of  One Foot Standing, a flamingo (although her beak is too long.) She sits in a tiny gold frame on the wall above my sink.  My eyes meet hers as I brush and balance.

Any balance tips out there?  Anybody swear by yoga or Tai Chi?  Tightrope walking?

Photo: Cliff found the pink bird picture for me in Tijuana years ago.  The print is tiny, about two by two inches.  Below are two other prints, even tinier, that he bought at the same time. The signature on the bird print is hard to read, but I think it’s “Urrutia.”  I can’t decipher the signatures on the prints below.

My friend Lisa just sent me this picture. She was in the Bahamas, getting balancing lessons from an expert!

Diet, Fitness, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms

Thanks, Menopause: The Marshmallow Stomach

I’d read about it for years:  Weight gain around the middle is common in menopause.

And in recent years, I’ve read more and more:  Weight gain around the middle is dangerous, especially in menopausal women.

Dangerous not just for wearing a bathing suit when you finally get to visit Hawaii.

Dangerous for your health.

Rats.

I’ve never had a great stomach.

Well, let me clarify.

It’s great for eating cake with buttercream frosting and burritos lathered in sour cream.

It’s just not so great for looking svelte in knit dresses or bathing suits of the one or two piece variety.

The Menopause Goddess (who we all know is Ms. Qurikypants Do As She Pleases) has not been gracious to me in this area: the area of my marshmallow stomach.

Or is this not menopause at all?  Is this just me eating too much and paying oh so NO attention to that distasteful word:  MY CORE.

Not the core of my being.  I like working on that.

The core of my body.

Menopause or sloppiness or a bit of both, I’m going to try to have some of  my marshmallow melt away by summer.  My friend for this ride is going to be My Fitness Pal.com.  Since this program means I get to spend more time online, I’m having fun with it so far.

May I have a few volunteers to promise to question me about my success (0r failure) come the First of July?

Photo: In lieu of a photo of my menopausal stomach, I offer this old Campfire Marshmallow tin.  It’s a good thing the tin isn’t filled with marshmallows anymore.  A few weeks on My Fitness Pal, and I might  be ready to woof down five pounds of marshmallows in nothing flat.

P.S . For those of you who remember my Naked Church post at the start of the new year, the visualizing, bad as it was, wasn’t scary enough.  Hence, the new plan.

P.P.S:  The winner of the tube of Valera has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered the giveaway.

Children, Fashion, Fitness

Listen to Your Children and You Shall Hear

One of the best lessons I have learned as a mother is to listen to my children.

AND…

Because I’m the mother, I get to decide which advice to take.

I have said no to totally gutting the inside of our old house and starting over.

I’m not sure what else I’ve said no to, but I bet my girls could make you a list.

I have two daughters, so I get double advice.

Daughter Number Two, Laura, is pictured above.  When Laura and I go shopping, she helps me pick out clothes.  She doesn’t like frump or bag.  In fact, she HATES  frump or bag.  I always get compliments on what she chooses for me, probably because I look less frumpy and baggy.

Laura insisted a few years ago that I get an IPod, and I did.  That sent me on many happy miles of walking with my favorite music.

Laura’s latest project is my fitness program.  She (and the rest of the family) kindly refrained from any sniping comments when I was the last one up the mountain on our Thanksgiving hike.   Actually, I felt they were lucky I made it up the mountain at all.

But a few weeks after, Laura said, “Mom, I think you need to work on your fitness level.”  I guess I haven’t been walking fast enough with my IPod.  ( It’s also probably not a great idea to circumvent all hills I encounter in our town of Hillsborough.)

And so I get it.  I’m not just lucky to make it up the mountain.  I need to be fit enough, especially for the sake of my heart, to make it up the mountain without taking in most of the mountain’s air.

Resolved.  (And this works with my plan for Naked Church in July.)  We’ll see how I do.

But this post isn’t really about fitness or fashion.  It’s about listening to kids, be they our own children or nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, or young people who aren’t even related to us.  We can decide to take their advice or not.  It’s the listening that’s important.

Advice from kids feels different.  It’s given with great love and  usually, flat out honesty.  The young ones don’t tiptoe around.  We react, I think, with honesty and openness too.  I’ve found, in talking with my girls, that I’m less defensive than I am with spouse, friends, colleagues, or parents.  Not always, but often.

After all, deep down, don’t we want that remarkable child to be right?

Photo:  Laura and I on the top of Humpack Rock Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway.   BTW, she’s also working on her dad.  She wants him to color his gray hair.  Guess what sort of luck she’s having with that suggestion?  Zilch, thus far.

Fitness

Nude Beach in 2012? Nope. Naked Church!

Every year, when resolution time comes around, I have to decide if I want mine to be about my body.  My body needs some resolving.

But resolutions don’t work that well for me.  They’re too easy to ignore.  I realized this week that I needed a more clever plan.

Especially now that The Great Pause is playing its ha ha body tricks, I wondered if I could fool my body into kicking ass (excuse the language) and stomach and arms and thighs and all the rest.

Bam!  Brilliance.

A NUDE BEACH!

This summer!  Six months from now.  July.  Me, buck naked on the beach towel.  Skipping in and out of the surf in my birthday bathing suit.  Maybe taking a turn on a surf board.  Would that be enough to scare the fat and jiggle out of me?

Sure!  Who wants to be the frumpiest fifty-something  nude on one of those exotic beaches?

But my friends don’t frequent nude beaches.  Only strangers would see me.  To really get my body in tip top shape, I needed even more pressure.

So another plan.  An even more brilliant one.

NAKED CHURCH!

This summer.

What if I knew that in six months, I was going to have to go to church naked?

I don’t mean this disrespectfully–I figure God liked nudity before Adam and Eve went and messed things up.

What if I had to face the entire congregation?  Naked.  And if they were naked too, that would make the pressure even greater.

Do I want to have the plainest outfit in the pews on Easter Sunday?  Nope.  And I don’t want to be the frumpiest nude in July either.

I’m starting the fitness program right now!  I’ll wait until late April to approach the  Worship Committee to see if they will back up my idea.

That will give me a four month running start.

Opinions?  Want to join me in the challenge?  Should we take the plan nationwide?  Those of you who aren’t church or other place of worship-goers could consider Naked Theater Group, Naked Rotary, or Naked Book Club.

Photo:  This picture hangs on a beach house on Bald Head Island.  The beaches aren’t really nude on Bald Head.  That’s a good thing, because after I go to church in the buff, I’m going to have to get the heck out of Hillsborough.  I’ll need an island where I can hide, and I have a hunch I will never go naked again.