Rawrrrr …

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March has come in like a lion … will it scamper away like a lamb?  Spring is out there somewhere, babies, long experience says so.  

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Come on in, the water’s fine!

They say — and just who the hell ARE they? — that we learn something new every day if we keep our eyes and ears open.  This week I learned that it’s possible to sweat underwater.

I’ve fallen in love with the pool.  Not the great pee-filled paradise of my youth, but a glittering expanse of cuddly clear blue water, marked off in lanes.  I am distinctly not an exercise lover but the pool has captured my heart.  I love the muted sounds and the clean saltwater smell; the silky feel of the water as I slip in for laps; the sunlight shining through the ceiling panels making fog hang in the air; the way I feel wrapped in cotton, alone in my head, nothing in front of me except the lane and the goal — to stay afloat.  And when class starts, I love the adorable instructors who crank the music and urge us to jump and kick and stretch and wriggle our cellulite, which they do not possess.

I love the women I meet there.  Many are likely older than I am, although who knows.  Some are far younger — new moms.  It’s a delightful bunch because they’re honest and irreverent and hilarious.  There’s a crankypants or two in class but I have to assume they’ve cultivated that for a while and aren’t likely to switch attitudes, so I leave them to their grumbling and their mad-faces and hang out with Jo and Barb and Andrea and Roxy and Pat and Sandy and assorted others who are just there to have a good time and keep moving.  All of us by now have sustained losses that have shaped us.  We don’t talk about it, we just know.  And of course we don’t discuss body shape, because we all have parts that are surrendering to gravity, legs that are melting into our ankles, wear and tear that dictates what we can and cannot do.

We’re a motley crew — we roll out of bed and show up at the gym, grab a shower, suit up and start swimming.  A lot of these gals have not only never invested in a Brazilian, they haven’t shaved their underarms since the Cold War — a very genuine and healthy practice, in my humble opinion.  We wear our baby-bellies like a freakin’ badge of honor, although to be honest mine’s become a too-many-carbs belly, which is what brought me to the pool.  We give it our best shot to keep up with the zero-body-fat instructor who’s winning a dance contest poolside or in the water with us every morning, and we grin and laugh and hoot when we finally find our rhythm.

In the water … nothing hurts much.  There’s no temperamental low back, no rickety shoulder, and the 7 Purple Minions of Fibromyalgia are in time out.  There are enough sore muscles later to let me know I used them, but that’s a good hurt and I welcome it.  It’s highly motivating that women in their 70s and 80s show up for personal torture day after day, and do it with a smile.  Surely I can manage at least that.  I do hope it will be a longterm relationship, the pool and I.  And I really hope carbs melt in saltwater.

The view from here …

Watching this year’s Winter Olympics has been a unique experience for me. It fully dawned this time that rather than a contest among nations, it’s hundreds of contests between worthy opponents who have spent most of their lives preparing for the moments in which we see them. Geographically speaking, the point is not which country won which medals, but which athletes earned the title of Best. I find that I see so much more if my eyes aren’t trained solely on the American athlete in the race. It’s very moving to see how each entrant has trained his or her body — every muscle, joint, and cell — to do the chosen feat. It’s poetry. And when the color and design of a flag take a back seat to individual effort, the games emerge as what they are: an incredible sampling of humanity, a dazzling parade of young faces, bodies, and spirits — people who will never again be quite this young and beautiful and perfect, but are just wise and reckless enough to squeeze the life out of Life as they streak past. God bless the world.

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Love and Risk

“The shattering of a heart when being broken is the loudest quiet ever.”

Carroll Bryant

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Greetings, February …

The year moves on.  I hope it’s filled with love for you …

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No compromise …

Come at me, life …

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Mama said there’d be days like this …

Fun morning here.  For starters, I answered the doorbell in my PJs, only to come face to face with the head of our Homeowners Association.  I had my FIRST delightful encounter with her the day we moved in.  Something about the rule book and timing and blah-blah-blah.  Couldn’t say exactly, as she was standing, uninvited, in my space, whacking me over the head with rules she hadn’t bothered to notify us about, so I tuned her out.  No biggie.  This morning’s surprise visit was about something equally inconsequential which she could have taken care of by looking with her eyes, so it was a non-moment.  But you know how things like that set a tone.

No connection with the Homeowner Person, but there are days when all you do is cry.  It doesn’t change anything, but it gets that stuff out there where you can look at it and try to figure out if it’s as scary as it seems, as hurtful as it feels, as huge as it looks.  And no matter what, if it feels like your heart is shattering it’s huge.   It’s been a long time since I’ve cried for myself, my own hurt feelings, my disappointments.  It’s the people I care desperately about who can break me down into little pieces and bring my day to a halt.  Family.  Friends.  The things that rock their world in a bad way shut mine down.  When somebody I love is hurting I want to either hole up and not see another human being, or dig my Superman cape out of the laundry and confront the world.  If I couldn’t vent on a daily basis to a lucky group of Facebook friends I’d probably be in jail.  They help fill up my “give a damn” bucket when it’s empty, and they can’t possibly know how vital a service that is.  Most of them I’ve never (yet) met in person, but just by getting it they heal me.  What a gift not to have to explain things.

So my husband, who really IS Superman, took me to lunch and we tried a new place and I ended up crying at the table while I was trying to tell him what was going on in my stupid heart.  Our waitress looked concerned, but I smiled at her later — “See?  I’m fine!” — and she won’t remember me next time we go there so who cares.  And Kim gets it, bless him.  I try not to tell him ALL the things — he has his own stuff to wrestle with — but he always knows when I’m getting out of sorts so it’s only fair to let him know he didn’t do anything to make that happen.  He makes the GOOD things happen and he saves my life all over again every day.

It’s starting to sound like the world will keep on turning, so I might get some music happening and work on the closet for a while.  And maybe tomorrow the sun will shine.

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