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Monthly Archives: May 2014

…Look in the Mirror

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Memorial Day has come. And gone. You know what that means.

Summer, though still a few weeks away on the calendar, is back.  “Now is the winter of our discontent/Made glorious summer” by the rising mercury. (sometimes, a Shakespeare line needs a bit of tweaking, you know?)

Summer means grilling on endless repeat. Summer means watermelons, peaches, vine-ripened tomatoes, corn on the cob. Summer means driving with the top down, or, for those without jeeps and convertibles, with the windows open. Summer means birdsong, green, growing things and  bees. Summer means boating excursions. And you know what that means.

Yes, my friends. “Swimsuit season.” 

Back when I was young enough that we still took the kids on family vacations, a dear friend and I went swimsuit shopping. On the fun meter, such an event ranks right up there with enduring a root canal, getting a speeding ticket, and cleaning up vomit.

Face it, swimsuit shopping requires a good look in the mirror.

Here’s what we discover:

Swimsuit shopping forces a girl to acknowledge that her actual size and the tagged size never match, so she’s going to feel like a fatty no matter what.

Swimsuit shopping reminds us gals that our skin will suddenly be exposed, not only to the sun, but to other pairs of eyes besides our own.

Swimsuit shopping highlights the fact that I don’t look like swimsuit models, whose diets, I suspect, consist wholly of celery, a vegetable so vacuous that more calories are burned in chewing it than are contained in its ribbed stalks.

Swimsuit shopping convinces us that there is not enough celery in the world.


But in the midst of our miserable, I-eat-chocolate-instead-of-celery swimsuit shopping nightmare, my friend pulled a nautical, horizontally-striped one-piece suit from the rack. She held it up, laughing at the over-sized Tweety bird (of Looney Tunes fame) emblazoned across its tanked front, and said, “I really kind of like this one!”

And then she uttered the words I’ve lived by ever since:

“After all, when I’m on the beach, I don’t have to look at me!”


Swimsuit shopping. Like watermelon, fireworks, and a little time in the water, it comes with summertime. And you know what that means.

But at least friends don’t let friends put a mirror on the pontoon.


…Get Outta Shape

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Exercise. Working out. Staying ‘fit.’ Training. Conditioning. Toning. Running. Prancercize. (honestly. ‘prancing’??? Kills me. Every time.)

Yoga. Pilates. Zumba. Crossfit. Spin. TRX. Boxing. R.I.P.P.E.D. Body Pump.

Free weights. Plyometrics. Cardio. Kettlebells. Strengthening.


I could go on, but I decided to stop and have a donut.


Here’s the thing. Friends don’t let friends get outta shape. Why, you ask? Because it’s too damn hard to get back in shape once you’ve been out of it for as long as I have.

I have these friends. So-called. One of them has encouraged and nudged and cajoled and reminded and hinted and flat out scolded me for a couple of years to join her at the local fitness center. It’s hip. It’s cool. It’s a great place to ‘get in shape.’ I managed to put her off for quite a while. “My knees,” I’d complain. “I really need to go,” I’d agree, “but I can’t find the time!” I’d mention my decreasing flexibility, my struggles to climb stairs or even climb out of bed some mornings. Eventually, I was on the receiving end of a simple eye roll. She knew my yapping about ‘needing to get in shape’ covered up a total lack of interest or inclination. Donuts, on the other hand…  And then, another friend, who may or may not be the most competitive person on the planet, returned to the fitness place after a self-imposed hiatus. Of course she began in January. Of course I’d already decided to ‘give it a try’ myself, it being January and all, and looking like a sack of potatoes at son #3’s wedding as the final straw. 

So, for four months, I’ve been Zumba-ing and toning and occasionally yoga-ing my way to an early grave. Yesterday, for instance, I decided I could manage two classes in a row. HA. Zumba for cardio (never mind that my feet sometimes can’t do the footwork. It’s embarrassing, really), and a toning class for, you know — toning. Kettle bells. While I might be exaggerating a tad when I claim that these cute but deadly weights might just kill me, I do think that they will render me unable to speak (I’m a bit of a hand talker), because I think I may have torn, at some point in my 40s, one or both of my rotator cuffs. Seriously. So, one of these days I am going to be performing the ‘halo’ move with a kettle bell, and my arms are going to fall off. Or whatever it is they do when the rotator cuff completely ceases its design function. Not only will I no longer be able to ‘get fit’; I’ll also be mute. Egad.

Still, the misery is not without its reward. I think I may have noticed a bit less of me in the mirror the other morning. And my pants are a bit baggier. So, fewer spuds in the spud bag. But yesterday, after two hours of trying to get in shape, I sort of wished I could just climb ‘the stairway to heaven’ instead of lugging the laundry to the second floor. And where were my friends????? One of them left immediately after Zumba. (She’s no fool) The other? Some story about remodeling the bathroom…

Friends. They don’t let you get outta shape. Well, not my friends, at any rate. And I love mine dearly. I do. I would not want to do life without them. The thing is, they will soon be doing life without me. Wait a minute…