The Salty Wanderer

They should call me the wanderer. My brain roams like a cell phone outside of its home area. It roams around, around, around, around, around.

Case in point: A couple weeks ago I joined a few friends for a salt cave experience. If you haven’t heard of this trendy new spa-like therapy, let me explain.

It’s basically a cave — albeit a manmade cave, but a cave nonetheless — with Himalayan salt covering the floor and walls. When I Googled the benefits, I was told tiny particles of salt is released into the air. I’m not sure if they did that at the place we went to, but I will say my lips and mouth tasted like I drank a salted margarita. Which normally isn’t a bad thing, except there was no tequila.

The health benefits are aplenty from helping to ease inflammation to respiratory issues. As well as a slew of other ailments. Sounds good, right? Yes, it seems so.

When we arrived, we were told we had to be quiet. This is a difficult feat for me. I’m the person who checks off “I like quiet” while I’m getting a massage, but talks the massage therapist’s ear off anyway.

I’m the person who has been told by dear friends, more than once I might add, that I don’t “always have to talk.”

I’m the person who, if there is no-one else to talk to, will have a full-on blown-out conversation with herself. Or the dog. Whoever wants to listen.

Needless to say, this part worried me a bit.

When we were led with stockinged feet into the grotto, we were met with a quiet glow. The room was softly lit with carefully placed rock lamps all around, chaise lounge chairs with blankets draped over the backs were evenly spaced about, and fake stars twinkled across the ceiling.

A nice, professional picture I found on US News. This is very similar to the place we visited.


This is my amateur photograph. I’m not sure what it is, but you can see the salt on the floor.

The temperature was set at a cool 68-72 degrees. You would think that was cozy, but it’s not. It’s chilly, and I believe there is a reason for that. Hence, the blankets.

After we assumed our positions, a soft voice came over the loudspeaker. It basically told us to breathe deep, relax, and enjoy. And were warned that in approximately forty-five minutes we would be awoken and our session would end.

Forty-five minutes. How was I going to do this? That’s soooooo long. I repeatedly told myself to be still in my mind, to be present in the moment, and to try to stifle the giggle that was forming at the back of my throat. The kind of giggle that emits from a twelve-year-old every time he hears the word “fart” or “penis.”

But within seconds, I was peeking at my friends from the sides of half-opened eyelids, wondering where the speakers were that emitted the spa-like music, thinking about what I would want for lunch, and hoping the new boutique by me would be getting in their new spring line soon.

Then something happened. With the warm blanket draped over me, I fell asleep. And before long, that voice, the same voice that told us we were about to begin, came over the speakers telling us our session was over.

The voice that was so soothing to me just forty-five minutes before, was like a jackhammer to my eardrums and startled me from my slumber.

The twelve-year-old in me was suddenly four and I felt like I was being jolted awake during naptime at nursery school. I was not happy. I needed another two hours. I wasn’t ready. I was relaxed.

“But you’re hungry,” I reasoned with myself. And the stomach wants what the stomach wants. So, I put on my big girl pants and moved along. It was past my lunchtime, anyway. And margaritas were calling my name. With tequila.

The Big Clean Up

Is it just me? Or does everyone do it? I am talking about the opposite of purging. Not purging. Of accumulating. And collecting.

I don’t collect, per se. Not on purpose anyway. I don’t think my old cans of tomato paste will be worth much. Unless I just didn’t get the memo.

I have suddenly realized in the last few weeks that I really need to clean up. Every drawer, every closet, every cabinet, every everything.

And no, I am not KonMari’ing my life. Yea, I would love to choose joy, Marie. But I’d rather wallow in my joyless self-pity of collecting crap.

Also, I can’t really talk to my things.

Oh, that’s not true. I have been known to curse at the hangers in my closet when they’ve gotten tangled beyond recognition, among other conversations with inanimate objects I’m too embarrassed to admit to.

We don’t have clutter out and about. We don’t keep stuff on our countertops, or on the tables, or shoved into corners. No, we make sure the clutter is hidden. Away from everyone. Including myself.

Except now it’s starting to bother me. Like when I open any given drawer or closet in my house, I am suddenly filled with this irrational rage. Maybe it’s a mid-life thing seeing that pretty much everything pisses me off lately.

Maybe I’m “nesting” for the next phase of my life. I certainly don’t want to leave all this for The Kid to have to deal with if we, say, kick the bucket or decide to move without a forwarding address.

I just spent hours — on a Saturday, my precious Saturday — cleaning out the “kitchen” pantry. It’s not even in the kitchen. It’s really a mini “mud room” off my family room leading out to the garage. There is a door so we don’t see the mess and the reminder of what bad things lurk beyond.

God bless that door.

This is the “after.” I wasn’t swift enough to get the “before.” Don’t be jealous of my 1970’s wallpaper.

There is also a cabinet IN my kitchen. It’s one of those tall ones with the pull out shelves. I love those pull out shelves. I almost didn’t get them. When we were designing our kitchen, the consultant lady said, “oh, you’ll want to get the pull out shelves. Believe me, you’ll appreciate them.” And she was right. I can’t imagine my life without them. They are almost at the same level of fondness I feel for my daughter.

Those drawers give me joy. Also, another inanimate object I talk to.

Let me just tell you, I’m pretty sure the last time I cleaned out either one of these things, was back when Ross was on his third wife (Rachel, in case you’ve forgotten or just didn’t know).

So, here’s a glimpse into some of the things I tossed:

  • Four jars of pizza sauce that expired in 2013
  • Three opened boxes of crackers from New Year’s Eve 2012
  • Too many to count cans of tomato paste that really were probably empty from evaporation
  • Rice so old there may have been bugs crawling in there but I wouldn’t know because I was afraid to look
  • Much, much more

And the most surprising find?

That umbrella I thought we left behind on our last vacation.

In our food pantry.

On to the next project. I have written in my new planner what I am going to attempt to clean out. According to my plans, I should be done by the end of April. I’ll let you know how it goes. But if you go by my procrastinational ways of the past, you’ll need to add seven years. You know, like you do for a dog.

My Netflix show would be called “Cleaning Like a Dog.” I’m not sure I would talk about items that bring you joy, but I can promise it would be quite entertaining.

And next time you are looking for an umbrella, check the place where you keep your food. You just never know.

Amazon Is Amazing

How did we live without Amazon? This is a serious question.

How DID WE LIVE WITHOUT AMAZON?

Well, ok, so we actually DID live without Amazon. Just like we lived without cell phones, caller ID, WiFi, and Xbox.

We had no choice. And if we couldn’t find what we were looking for, we went without. Or we stayed home and didn’t go to the store because it was too much work or it was snowing, and we didn’t really need whatever we were looking for that badly anyway.

But with Amazon, whether we need something badly or not, we can get it with the touch of a button. And if you are a Prime member (which is totally cheap if you have a college student — another reason why college is so important), you can have all kinds of nifty things delivered to your door step for not only FREE, but in most cases THE NEXT DAY!

Just so you know, Amazon is not paying me to say this. They don’t even know I exist, except that I spend a really large portion of the money we make on stuff I can get on Amazon that I really don’t need.

Christmas this year came in an Amazon box. Actually, it came in several Amazon boxes. Gobs of Amazon boxes. If I weren’t in such a cleaning frenzying state of mind last Saturday, then I would show you a picture.

But alas, they are well on their way to the city dump, or incinerator.

This is not my exact pile, but a very good representation. Look how cute they are, though? Such happy little boxes.

Actually, I hope they are on their way to the recycling place because that’s where I want them to be, but who knows if we can trust THAT system.

CAN we trust that system? I guess that’s a discussion for another time.

Anyway, you’ll just have to take my word for it. I could have stacked the Amazon boxes beyond the roof of my house. Oh heck, I could have stacked them halfway to Venus!

I mean, come on, I have eight great nieces and nephews to buy for. I also have six direct (first generation?) nieces and nephews I still buy for who haven’t reached the age of “no longer buying gifts for unless it’s a really great occasion, like a marriage, or baby, or graduation” yet.

I also have parents, and a mother-in-law, and a husband, and a daughter. Not to mention the many children of my cousins (2nd cousin? Or would that be 2nd cousin once removed?) that I buy for because I want to.

Yes, it’s out of control. I realize this. But it’s not up for discussion. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating a fact.

I probably shouldn’t say this out loud because DH might see. But I just looked on our Amazon account and checked out 2018.

Collectively (when I say “collectively” I include DH and The Kid, which means that I am not the only culprit), we placed 69 orders.

In one year.

Before you judge me, please keep in mind that The Kid orders many of her college textbooks through Amazon. They are used, and although they are expensive, they are less expensive than buying them new.

She also rents them through Amazon. Not that that matters. I just wanted to put that out there for those of you who have college students and didn’t realize this little tidbit.

Some of the things, aside from textbooks, that were ordered from this household via Amazon this past year. In case you were wondering:

  • A Zoodle maker that I never used
  • Mouthwash
  • A comforter set
  • Coffee
  • Vitamins
  • Car crap, lots and lots of car crap
  • An under the desk portable heater because I get very cold at work but yet sweat at night like a monkey in heat
  • A Gregg shorthand book because I plan to reteach myself this skill just ’cause I can
  • Gift cards…lots and lots of gift cards, but much more fun than car crap
  • Toys
  • Books that are fun; aka NOT textbooks
  • Games
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Whiteboard magnets
  • Miso & chili flakes (I don’t know)
  • Mason jars
  • Baby Foot (the foot treatment not the real thing)
  • Flasks disguised as suntan lotion bottles (???)
  • Markers
  • Planner

And last week I was proudly the first person in my family to order an Amazon goodie in 2019. (The Kid DID rent some books for second semester, but does that really count?)

I decided my heels need to be smoothed out, and since I abhor pedicures (I never said I was normal), I had the inclination to, at 10pm, search Amazon for a resolution. And within about a minute and a half, I ordered myself an Amope Pedi Perfect foot file thing that I was the new owner of in less than 48 hours (it’s amazing by the way – the Pedi thing in addition to Amazon).

I may have a problem.

Do you think Amazon sells books on how to cure an addiction to Amazon? Let me go look. I’ll get back to you.

The Widening of the Hips and Other Ailments

I am an administrative assistant by trade. My “trade” was referred to as a secretary once upon a time. That is no longer acceptable. I don’t know if it’s politically incorrect or demeaning, or what. But don’t call an administrative assistant a “secretary.” Or you might get punched in the eyebrow.

I have a secretarial “degree” (aka “certificate”). I went to a secretarial school. Now they are as extinct as the pterodactyl. It seems these days you need a degree to be a secretary.

Ahem…an administrative assistant.

Some companies will only hire you if you have a two- or four-year degree. While others will hire you based on experience. You know, as long as you started working around the time Eisenhower was in office.

But then you’re too old.

Vicious circle.

I got lucky. I found a wonderful company to work for. I have no four- or two-year degree. And I’m kinda old. Ok, so maybe not dinosaur old, but I’m no spring chicken either. My twenty plus year secretarial/admin experience is acceptable.

Anyway, my profession has its perils, believe it or not. And I’m finding out quickly what those perils are.

Back in the day, people would complain and warn me about the dreaded “Secretarial Spread.” It sounds obscene (don’t google it, because what popped up would have made even Hugh Hefner blush). But it’s not what you might think.

The official definition according to Urban Dictionary:

“Secretarial spread means sitting down for a long period of time while the hind-end spreads outward in order to accommodate the chair. “

Sounds awful, right?

Well, it is.

Back in the day, I didn’t worry about it too much. I was young, I exercised and moved a lot. I wore high heels and ran in them.

No, seriously. I did.

Now if I so much as put on a pair of heels that measure higher than half an inch, I run the risk of being hospitalized.

Fast forward 30+ years and there are all kinds of reports and studies on what can happen if you sit all day. In a nutshell, it reduces your lifespan. The instructor at the gym referred to sitting as “the new smoking.”

The only time I touched a cigarette was back in 1982. And I didn’t even inhale.

I swear. 

No, I wasn’t hanging out with Clinton.

Since working back in the profession for which I was trained after a very long respite, I’m comprehending what they meant by the “Secretarial Spread.”

I’m comprehending big (no pun intended).

When I wrote the first draft of this post months ago, I was sedentary.

“Sedentary.” A word I never thought in a million years I would use to describe myself.

But yet, that’s what I was.

I got up to go to the bathroom or the water cooler during the day.  When I got home, I took off the bra, put on my “non-yoga” yoga pants, and moved my ass to the couch.

That was it.

Ok, so I still get home, take off the bra, and move my ass to the couch. Because I’m tired. I’m just TIRED.

But during the day, I’ve been exercising. I go to the gym at work, I do stretching exercises, planks, push-ups, what have you, in the morning before I leave for work.

And it feels great.

But the sitting has caused me to develop hip flexor problems. Oh.my.god. Does that hurt! Had I not been “sedentary” for so long, I don’t think that would have happened.

This hip flexor situation has since given me lower back pain. You know, because my back is compensating for the job my hip flexors aren’t doing.

I think. I mean, I’m no doctor, but this makes sense. Right?

My abdominal wall is also weak. Which is not helping my cause. But I’m working on that.

I’m working on getting myself to a good place health-wise. It’s time. I decided a wheel chair, or even a cane, would not be a good accessory for me.

I mean, I don’t really accessorize anyway, so why start now?

One more thing…

The second part of that definition, according to Urban Dictionary:

“It can be changed with exercise, and activity away from sitting down on one’s spread for too many hours a day.”

I had this thing called a “Veridesk” installed on my desktop at work. It has levers and allows you to lift the thing up so you can stand while you work. It’s a pain in the ass to pull up, but the way I see it, I’m also getting some upper body strength training in.

Getting into shape at work. That brings the expression “multi-tasking” to a whole new level.

If I save one person from the dreaded “Secretarial Spread” then I have done my job.

You’re welcome.

Resolutions Schmesolutions

As I sit here on this second to last day of 2018, I reflect on all the year has brought. I will not hash it out, because that’s what my Christmas letter is for (if you missed it, it’s not too late to catch up by clicking here).

I will say 2018 was pretty uneventful, which is good. But bad in the way that I did nothing to better myself in any way. It was another lazy year that I wish to not talk about.

But as I sit here reflecting, I also think about 2019, and the endless possibilities the coming year may bring.

Speaking of 2019, I saw something, a meme or whatever they are called, that reminded me that 2019 will be the last “teen” years for most of us. That totally freaked me out. I don’t know why. I wasn’t a large fan of my own teens, so I’m not sure why I care so much.

Anyway, a few couple of years ago, I realized New Year’s Resolutions are a complete waste of time. Statistically speaking, 80% of all resolutions fail by February. Thanks again, Google.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I got through high school without Google. It sure is much better than those grocery store Funk & Wagnall Encyclopedias our moms would get when they purchased enough olive loaf, Twinkies, and cherry Kool-Aid to earn a single volume. It took a year to get the entire series, and by then they would be outdated.

ANYWAY, I’m not making resolutions this year. What I AM going to do is make better decisions and conscious efforts to be a better person. To live the life I should be living, that I want to live. And because I am a cliche…be authentic.

These may sound like resolutions, and look suspiciously like resolutions, but they are what I would like to refer to as “Getting My Shit Together and Stop Being a Sloth Once and For All.” Or simply “Life Adjustments.”

All of this has been a long time coming, and honestly, would be happening if it was January 1st or May 19th. It’s time and the new year really has nothing to do with it. I joined an online fitness course a couple of months ago and it really has opened my eyes to what I wasn’t doing. Sometimes, we need a little push and a serious punch in the face.

I am fifty-one years old. I will be fifty-two in less than four months.

FIFTY-TWO.

I realize that fifty is the new thirty.

Or is it forty?

My point is people are living longer and living better, more productive lives. Lives that are filled with quality.

Quality. My life needs to be “quality.” I’m not saying I don’t have a good quality of life. Because I do. I am married to a wonderful man, was blessed with the best daughter anyone could possibly ask for, and pretty much want for nothing. And my health, although I could feel and look better, is pretty good for the most part.

But in this case, when I talk about “quality” I don’t mean what you think. My life has become chaotic. If that’s possible. I never know where anything is. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m disorganized, disheveled, and not always doing what I truly want to do.

I feel like crap because I eat crap. And I look like crap because of the crap I eat. I’m not writing as often as I like, I’m not reading as much as I should, and I’m not exercising like a person who wants to live a better, longer life.

I bought a planner for the first time in my life, and some stickers, and a nice set of pens. For the first time in my life I intend to plan out what I want and need to do. I will plan out my meals, my exercise, my writing sessions, and anything else deemed worthy to be added. Which in my case, is pretty much everything.

I need to start making myself accountable for myself. I need to stop being lazy. Laziness just fosters more laziness. It’s a spiral that I don’t want to be on. And besides, it’s making me dizzy.

Excuse me sir, do you have anything for the Dengue Fever?

Note: This post has been in the making for nine months, kinda like a baby except it wasn’t baking to perfection. I am just a Self-Proclaimed Procrastinator of the Universe.

As many of you may or may not know, I turned fifty last April. DH is and always has been Numero Uno in the birthday department. He makes it his job to be sure I have the perfect birthday every year.

For my fortieth, he gathered fifty of my closest friends and family and a big boat and we cruised around NY harbor to gaze at Lady Liberty under the stars. How can you outdo that one?

By taking your wife on a much needed vacation. When he asked what I wanted for my fiftieth I didn’t hesitate to ask for a tropical getaway. I was in dire need of a real, live vacation with palm trees, blue waters, and sand. Oh, and margaritas and rum punch. Lots and lots of margaritas and rum punch.

A drink boy would have been nice too, but I do have DH and he is totally nice to look at. Also, he likes to bring me drinks, so he would fit the bill.

Ahhh
THIS is what I was talking about

My DH does not like traveling so I knew he would be less than thrilled, but it was my birthday wish. And birthday wishes must be fulfilled. It’s a rule. You know, in my rulebook.

After much research and reading every travel site known to man, I chose Providenciales. One of the islands of Turks & Caicos. Also, it was highly recommended by some friends and from my research it is known to have some of the best beaches in the world.

Who am I to turn away from the best beaches in the world? I would keep my toes in the sand my entire life if I could, so going to the best of them was right up my alley.

Also, this body of mine was depleted of Vitamin D (true story). Too much sun is bad for you. Too little sun is bad for you. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

The Kid wanted to be a part of the festivities, so I chose a week in May after school got out and before she started summer activities. Three weeks before the rainy season begins there.

We rented a private cottage on a private stretch of beach. We could have gone to the other, more commercial side of the island, but in addition to needing a vacation I really needed peace and quiet.

Sadly, this is the only sun we would see for six days
Our private stretch of beach and cabana. This is the only sun we would see for six days

When we disembarked, the heat from the sun was enough to make your skin melt off and the sweat factor was set at 165%. We all arrived in jeans because when we left New York it was chilly. I almost had to resort to scissors to get them off.

Sadly, that was the last of the sun for a week. Just to give you an idea of what we were dealing with, it is said to rain six days a year in Turks & Caicos. We saw four of them.

This is why I don’t play the lottery. My luck is so bad, I would probably owe the lottery people money.

Did I mention the vegetation?
Did I mention the vegetation?

Now don’t get me wrong. Our vacation was very nice. Our little cottage was sweet. Private and quiet just like I wanted with lots of vegetation right outside our back door.

But along with vegetation comes bugs that were on an apocalyptic level. It felt more like we were in a scene out of “Them!” than paradise, so any dreams of sitting on our beach were quickly swept away with the first bite from a sand flea.

But I couldn’t really complain. I mean, we were in Turks & Caicos. Turks & Caicos, people.

Our beach umbrella turned rain umbrella
Our beach umbrella-turned-rain umbrella

Besides the fact that our beach umbrella was used to keep out the rain instead of the sun, we had a lovely time. We were together and healthy so that’s all that mattered.

Until the “healthy” no longer applied.

Let’s just say I used my fair share of toilet paper and my stomach was cramped up in a vice grip from Day Two until well after our vacation was over.

When something disguised as Typhoid or Dengue Fever or parasites hits you like a fast ball at a Yankees game, it could be a vacation wrecker. But who was I to let a little diarrhea keep me from enjoying my vacation?

18527747_1533950103306137_5883110691456930816_nI powered through. I put on my snorkeling gear and spent the better part of our week with the fishies. When you are in the sea, you can’t really feel the rain falling on you. Also, something about the lightness of the water eased my cramping.

Sucking it up, putting on a brave face, and drinking a margarita dammit!
Sucking it up, putting on a brave face, and drinking a margarita for the sake of humanity

Remember I wanted lots of margaritas and rum punch? I may not have had lots of either, but I insisted on ordering a cocktail with my dinner every night whether I was in the mood or not. I swore that is what I wanted to do on vacation and that is what did do dammit.

The obligatory vacation photo with feet
The obligatory vacation photo with feet

And I sat on my cabana and watched the sunless sunset and drank a glass of wine from the $30 bottle of swill we bought at the local grocer, because the cost of all things there is astronomical.

All whilst being bitten to death by mammoth sized tropical bugs. But hello? Private cabana on private beach. Bugs or no bugs. It had to be done. If even for ten minutes.

So, I must know. Does something happen to our stomachs when we age? I’m not talking about how it heads south.

That is more obvious than knowing mimosas go with breakfast.

But this same thing happened to me in Ireland a couple years ago. Hmm.

After having testing done of my stool (yes, that was as fun as it sounds) when we hit American soil, all things alarming were dismissed. It looks like it was just a good old fashioned case of Montezuma’s Revenge.

Yup, traveler’s diarrhea.

Swell.

In closing, when life gives you lemons, you add tequila. And Imodium. So, bring it on Monte. I’m ready for our next adventure.

Boujee is As Boujee Does…Or Not

“Boujee” according to Urban Dictionary:

“An abbreviation of the French “bourgeois.” A critical term used to describe people, things, and places that are definitively high-class. Something that is affected, inauthentic, gentrified, exclusive, and/or otherwise sheltered from the dirt and grime of the real world.”

The Kid and I recently visited a dear friend of mine (DFOM) and her step-daughter (Say-Say) who have a vacation home in Palm Beach, Florida.

We almost didn’t make it as there was a major snow storm (affectionately known as the “Bomb Cyclone”) heading our way the day of our departure. By the hair of our chinny-chin-chins, we were able to get on the last plane out of dodge a day earlier.

I still have anxiety over it.

I can’t say that Florida was much better in the temperature department. I mean, Iguanas falling out of trees because of the cold can’t be a good thing, right?IMG_9372

I’m just glad I’m not an iguana. I’m also glad I didn’t get hit by one.

My DFOM owns a beautiful home amongst the mucky-mucks. Something I am not quite accustomed to. The mucky mucks, I mean.

Well, the beautiful home, too.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a simple girl with a big mouth and a loud sense of humor who can belch with the best of them, and laughs when someone passes gas.

fullsizeoutput_2
Told you so.

I mean, come on! My favorite Christmas gift this year was the Potty Squatty. Need I say more?

In other words, I am not refined. I’m basically a twelve year old boy stuck in a middle aged body.

Irregardless, I took my fake Louise Vuitton bag and Dress Barn clothes and faked it for all it was worth.

And I stood out like a sore thumb.

Nothing against sore thumbs, but somehow these people can spot one a mile away. My Dress Barn special and unrefined attitude just don’t make the cut.

Go figure.

Anyway, enough about me and my uncultured ways. Let’s get on with the fun stuff. So, what did we do for six luxurious days?

IMG_9405
It looks like I ate a sour lemon, which was the look really. Remember Mrs. Howell?

Read it and weep because I made more offenses than if I farted to the tune of “Homage for Satan” in church.

Wednesday: Got into the airport after midnight. Saw DFOM and Say-Say and ran to their car while it was still moving. Was told I didn’t have any common sense by the nice police officer. Offense #1 by internal 12 year old boy even though external middle-aged body knew better.

Thursday: Turned on the news. Laughed at all the northerners who had hell freezing over on them. Made a drink in an adult sippy cup, bundled up in a long sleeved t-shirt, put on head gear so as not to receive brain trauma from falling iguanas, and hung out at the beach. Forgot to “slough” my heels which was Offense #2. Let’s just say, it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “well-heeled.”

You can get "dry" lemonade, but no wine, at High Tea
You can get “dry” lemonade, but no wine, at High Tea

Friday: Flagler Museum and High Tea. Offense #3: they don’t have wine at High Teas, so don’t ask. Especially when it is clear there is no bar.

Drove down the East coast version of Rodeo Drive called Worth Avenue. Laughed and laughed at all the ladies who spend way too much on face lifts and nail polish.

Oh, went to the Breakers, too. One of The Kid’s bucket list items was visiting the original Lilly Pulitzer store there. She’s boujee. Not sure where she came from.

IMG_9451
There goes my Mrs. Howell face again. I need to work on that. Notice the palm trees in the reflection of my glasses…nice, right? Yes, it was.

Saturday: Took a ride along the coastline in the convertible Bentley with the top down. Drove past all the richy-rich houses with Zillow turned on so we could faint with every price tag. 911 really should have been called.

Sat by the pool/beach (pool to the left of me, beach to the right) at one of the many country clubs DFOM belongs to. Got served by a really cute cabana boy who did pretty much anything we asked.

Tried to get Say-Say to ask him out, but she wouldn’t. Youth is wasted on the young. Offense # 4: Snorting while laughing is not looked upon kindly even though it’s a gift of mine.

Sunday: Spent the day on DFOM’s boat. IMG_9493Got driven around by a captain. Offense #5: saying “OMG YOU HAVE A CAPTAIN???!!!” out loud is not proper.

Monday: We slummed it by shopping at the little outlet center near DFOM’s home. Offense #6: there were no offenses made this day. I was in my element. “Slumming” it is what I do best. That, and snorting while I laugh.

Tuesday (day of departure): DFOM and Say-Say took us for brunch at one of their other country clubs, even though we didn’t bring a fancy hat. Offense #7, but really #6: Do not pile plates on top of each other when you are done eating. Also, do not push your plate to the side. Apparently, the rules here are different than at The Red Lobster.

Random photo of how The Kid's shoes match the comforter at the outlet center.
Random photo of how The Kid’s shoes match the comforter at the outlet center.

It seems I have much to learn.

Although, you know the old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” In dog years, I am 350 years old. I should be dead, so I get a pass.

To sum things up, we basically spent six days on a Hollywood set, except this was real. Honestly, I kept looking for Alan Funt to tell me to look into the camera.

All in all, it was a great get-away with good friends and a much needed respite. This life may not be for me, but it is fun to visit. I’m not gonna lie.

If we receive an invitation to return next year, I’ll be sure to be more prepared. TJMaxx sells Ralph Lauren.

Is Ralph acceptable in Palm Beach? Asking for a friend.

 

No Hold Barres Ever Again

A few weeks ago I took a Barre class with a good friend of mine. This Barre class really was of no interest to me.

Why not?

Because I’m embarrassed to say that the most exercise I’ve had in the last couple years has been random walks around the block with the dog, and twenty (really fifteen) minutes on the elliptical at the gym during my “I’m going to get healthy” phase that lasted all of two weeks.

So, how did I get roped into this Barre class thing, you ask?

The Kid and I were spending the weekend with a friend and her step-daughter. Every Saturday morning they take a Barre class. Who were we to stand between these ladies and their routine?

Besides, I soon found out that pretty much death is the only thing that could come between my friend and her Barre class.

So we scheduled a class for the next morning. Bright and early.

On a weekend. When I was supposed to be sleeping late, drinking cocktails, catching up with my friend and doing nothing. Let me repeat…doing NOTHING (all caps, bolded and italicized in case you didn’t quite get the gist).

Anyway, when the two young’uns woke up with liquid coming out of both ends due to eating a bowl of bad Acai berries, I thought we would be off the hook. In fact, I was pretty sure we were. You know, off the hook.

Remember I said only death would come between my friend and her Barre class?

It wasn’t a lie.

I supposed if two food poisoned-stricken young ladies could muster up the energy to sit (sit really isn’t the correct word here) through a fifty minute Barre class, then so could I.

I was wrong.

Upon our arrival, I warned the cute little class instructor that I was going to look like a complete jackass to which she replied, “oh, you’ll be fine.”

She soon discovered the joke was on her.

If you have never been to a Barre class (Is this even a proper noun? Is it really deserving of capitalization?), the room looks like a long and narrow torture chamber. With mirrors lining one entire wall so that you can watch yourself looking like the complete jackass you claimed you are (I certainly didn’t want to disappoint anyone).

Oh, and there are bars. Or Barres. Running up and down two walls. The kind of bars you would find in a ballet studio.

Except this was no ballet class. Not that I’m saying ballet is any easier. But I was in a room with ballet bars. I mean, why?

The instructor had us do some stretches. I think. I’ve blocked some of it out. I’m sure my brain went into protection mode.

You may think I’m being a tad dramatic, but I’m not. It was bad. And it hurt. It hurt in places that I didn’t even know existed.

During the first three minutes, I discovered that I could no longer touch my toes. The last time I couldn’t touch my toes, I was nine months pregnant. That should tell you something.

Apparently, the purpose of Barre class (there goes that capitalization again) is, and I quote, “to perform multi-directional dynamic movements to target different muscle groups simultaneously.”

Well, let me assure you that there were muscle groups in my body that were in a deep hibernating state since 2014 and they were none too happy with me.

It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “…a long winter’s nap,” don’t ‘cha think?

After correcting me seventeen times in the first twenty minutes, the instructor shrugged her shoulders and gave up.

There was not one move I could accomplish. I stood/sat/died there for most of the class, with my eyes averted. Looking on the ground pretending an earring dropped out of my ear.

And I don’t wear earrings.

I kept peeking around the room to see if I had a partner in crime. Someone I could be in cahoots with. Someone who was struggling like I was because, as the saying goes, “misery loves company,” and that expression could not have been more true during this fifty minutes of hell.

But nope, I was the only jackass in class. Everyone looked like they knew what they were doing and doing it well.

Even the food-poisoned young ladies.

IMG_8375After sweating through class, with my heart pounding so hard I was concerned the paramedics were going to be called, I realized one thing:

I am out of shape.

And not just out of shape. My body is completely deplete of any shape at all.

I am a fifty-year old woman whose body is that of a seventy-year old (I apologize to all you seventy-year old women right now, because you probably still look and feel better than I do but if I put the number any higher, I will most likely drop dead of a stroke from the thought of it).

When I get out of bed in the morning, it takes a good five minutes to warm up. My back hurts, every bone pops, and forget about my knees. Those babies are shot and are in dire need of a repair.

I can no longer sit on the floor. If I do, I resemble one of those baby elephants trying to get a feel for standing except the baby elephant has a higher success rate.

After I prayed hard for the class to end, it finally did. I glared at my friend and pretty much threatened her life. “NEVER AGAIN,” I proclaimed for the entire class to hear.

The instructor actually breathed a big sigh of relief.

There was one benefit to this class. And that is I realized how badly I need to make some changes.

If I don’t start moving my ass, I am not going to be in good shape by the end of the decade. I mean, even worse than I am now. And that scares the hell out of me.

Four years ago...FOUR lousy years ago! It took me over a year to lose 30 pounds, and mere months to put them back on. WHY????
Four years ago…FOUR lousy years ago! It took me over a year to lose 30 pounds, and mere months to put them back on. WHY????

How in the world did I let myself go? Four years ago I was running five miles three to four times a week. I could run circles around most of the young people I knew. I was thirty pounds lighter, fit, tone, and best of all I felt amazing.

Now?

I’m just a fifty-year old woman stuck in a seventy-year old body who can’t do Barre class without looking like a walrus trying to scratch his own back.

I don’t really know what that means, but believe me it can’t be pretty.

Cheers to healthier days. Maybe next time you see me, I will look less like zoo animals, and more like a woman in the prime of her life.

The Making of a Blanket. Or How Knit To.

When I was a young girl, my mother taught me how to knit. Or she tried to. There’s only so much you can do when your daughter is a lefty and can’t do so much as wipe her own face with her right hand.

We got as far as the knit stitch. My mom had to cast on and off for every project I did. That is, if you want to call my fifteen 7″ x 1″ Barbie scarves a “project.”

I will say this though: My Barbies had the warmest necks this side of the Hudson.

But as quickly as my new hobby started, it stopped. That was it. Done by the tender age of ten.

Until I saw something on the inter-webs last October and decided it was time to revisit that old forty-year dead hobby of mine. Except I didn’t remember how. And even if I did, I would only be able to do the knit stitch.

I had a friend who I knew would be able to get me started. Also, I know you can learn how to do anything from building a car engine to how to clean your toilet with Coca-Cola on YouTube.

Long Live YouTube.

I called my mom who immediately packed up all her knitting accoutrements, from needles to patterns, and put them in the mail to me. I could almost hear her say, “Sucker!” Because what I was really doing was helping her clean out her junk room.

I’m on to you, mom.

Anyway, I was going to be THE knitting phenom. I was going to have this untapped talent. I would be able to make everything from blankets to sweaters with those little sheep patterns on them.

I’m not quite sure what gave me this impression. Maybe because I’m really good at coloring inside the lines. Or it could be because art class was one of the classes I didn’t cut in high school.

Who knows? But I was pretty sure I was going to be good. Even though I hadn’t held a pair of knitting needles in my hands since 1977.

It turns out I wasn’t a knitting phenom. It wasn’t a God-given talent. If that’s even a thing. But more on that in a minute.

So, what exactly gave me the inspiration, after nearly forty years, to pick up my (mom’s) knitting needles again?

It would be this:

My Inspiration
Evil, horrible liar.

It all started with an accidental peek at a chunky blanket I spied on Pinterest. Or Etsy. Okay, I’m not sure where I saw it. It just saw it. Somewhere. And “they” said it would only take 4-5 hours to make.

A piece of cake.

Like I said, I had an epiphany and was 110% sure I could do this and do this well.

Me. The girl who uses the side view mirror of her car to pick off random mailboxes. The girl who has more squirrels running around in her brain than all of the Connecticut backwoods combined.

Anyway, I just HAD to knit one for my daughter for Christmas, who happens to be away at college.

I thought she could snuggle and think of her dear mommy every time she used it.

Because that is precisely what eighteen year olds do. Right? Right?

That friend of mine cast on for me and taught me how to do the purl stitch. We started with thirty-two stitches. After three days, I managed to increase it to forty-one.

I don’t know so don’t ask.

After approximately seven rows in, I decided to rip it all out. Because chances are I would have increased in stitches even more and my blanket would resemble a trapezoid something or other (thank you, Google) then, well, a blanket.

Holier than thou
Hole-ier than thou

Also, I kept forgetting if I was supposed to be purling or knitting. So in addition to it being asymmetrical, it would be bumpy too. You know, kind of like my middle aged body.

Two words: not pretty.

Now of course I could only rip it out to the cast-on row, that first row, because I didn’t know how to cast on (yeah, I know..YouTube. Well, I forgot to look. Squirrel).

Then I decided to completely change the pattern. By accident, of course. The actual only decision-making was the act of choosing to take this project on. The rest just had a mind of its own.

My attempt to be organized. Those red splotches is spilled wine. Wine and knitting. Maybe that's where I went wrong.
My attempt to be organized. Those red splotches is spilled wine. Wine and knitting. Maybe that’s where I went wrong.

Somewhere in there, I realized I didn’t like the knitting needles I was using so I hit Amazon and got myself new ones. And then didn’t like them, so I went back to the originals.

So far I have increased stitches, ripped, changed the pattern by accident, and switched needles. Twice.

A blanket pattern that claimed it would only take a half day of daylight hours to knit was now my life’s job. And it took almost my whole life to make the thing. Okay, so two months.

Christmas was fast approaching and my anxiety level was increasing. Not to mention the tension in my shoulders and back. Where is it said knitting is therapeutic? Sure. If you like to be tortured. I know a bed made of nails that is more relaxing.

Anyway,  after hours and many weeks, this is the finished product. I, at least owe you a good laugh:

finished blanket
Not really sure what that line is, but this blanket is one of a kind. I like to call it Couture.

So, have I hung up my knitting needles? No. Because practice makes perfect, right?

We’ll see because I’m making all my nieces and nephews who are having babies, a baby blanket. Whether they like it or not. I apologize in advance, but you know, I’m an expert.

A Pointless Post About Dust

unknown-1“Where does dust come from?” This is a question that was rhetorically asked in a writing course I recently participated in. And because I am who I am, I remembered that I have always wondered that same thing myself.

I have a fairly large, dark wood coffee table in my living room. I love this table. Of course. I would not have chosen it to grace my living room and look at it every day if I didn’t. It has a big shiny surface. Which happens to be its only flaw.

Why is it a flaw? Because I can spend 5 minutes dusting the balls out of that thing and a mere few hours later? Dust. All over it.

And when the sun is coming through the windows just so (I love the sun coming through my windows, but only when no one is here, including myself), you can see it float down and land right on the surface of that newly dusted table and every single, ever-loving item in my house.

So, where does dust come from exactly? I wasn’t sure, so I looked it up. For all those who are like me and wander into strange places while thinking, or if you missed that day in fifth grade science class, here is where dust comes from. You’re welcome.

As taken from wiseGEEK (www.wisegeek.org):

“…it is largely made up of dead skin cells, fibers from clothing and other materials, pollen and dander, and tiny particles of dirt. Dust comes from objects in the environment, and from the people and animals that live in it.”

Upon further research, I found out that the average person loses about 40 dead skin cells every second. Most of that thin layer of white stuff you see building up on your furniture? It’s dead skin of you and whoever else lives in or visits your home.

So, basically you have little pieces of pretty much everyone you know in the air that you are breathing. Through your nostrils and into your lungs. That thought makes me want to go out and purchase one of those Walter White type masks. No offense.

maskwhite

I guess no one has has actually died from breathing in other people’s dead skin cells, so I suppose I’ll just have to suck it up (pardon the pun). I mean, I’ve survived the first forty-nine years of my life living this way. I think I can survive the next uh…forty-nine (it’s possible).

In the meantime, I believe I’ll be investing in some more Pledge. Oh, and can you do me a favor before coming over next time? Slather up with some body lotion, would you? Like, maybe bathe in it? I just really hate dusting.