Here I am.

March 2, 2014

I have finally came to the conclusion that my body is a pretty nice place to live. This after a troubling bout with a never ending chest cold, the onset of my fifties, and a life long wish that I was just a little taller.

All my life I’ve been plagued, not only by height envy, (and look at all of the woman lurching around in high heels, I’m not the only one,) but by the vague idea that I would look so much better if my lips were just a little plumper, my belly a little less so, my hair straighter, my feet daintier… The list goes on and on and on.

And then, while I was on the phone with my mom, listening to her tell me about the latest cruise she’s booked, a thousand pounds of envy crashed down on me. Not only did I want to be taller, with a voluptuous smile, a taut tummy, a sleek mane, held up by a delicate instep, I wanted to be all of that and lounging on a deck chair in the sun. On a boat. With a cocktail, a cabana boy, a slew of really good books and a crowd of fascinating people waiting to hear my latest bon mots.

I pulled in my driveway and looked out the window at the dirty snow, the basketball hoop, slightly crooked, perched at the end of the driveway, and the dog poop in the front yard.

My short legs carried me out of the car and into the house. My face was greeted by the most wonderful of dogs, the smiling Sophie. My daughter gave me a hug. My son smiled and asked if I’d remembered to pick up milk.

I didn’t know what we were going to do about dinner. Pizza three nights a week is a little much. And if I was ever going to do anything about this waistline, it probably wasn’t the best option.

It turns out Katy had made macaroni and cheese, and she explained to me she didn’t even use butter, just low fat milk. And Colin offered that we could round the meal off with the grapes in the fridge I’d bought them to bring to school for snacks, (since they never, ever brought them to school for snacks- “see mom, sometimes it works out we don’t listen to you).

And I decided right then, right there, that this body of mine wasn’t such a bad place to live. With a little help from my husband, it had delivered me these two amazing, surly, sweet, funny people. It has carried me thru a life of heartbreak and bliss.

I have not always been kind to this body of mine. Mostly I’ve actually been pretty cruel. Too much sleep, or sulking on sofas. A long love affair with cigarettes, and some serious time indulging in too much wine or dangerous trips to the ladies room. Bacon. Macaroons. Not enough fiber. Not enough water, too much water.

These days, I’m all about Greek yogurt, time at the YMCA and long walks in the woods with the dogs. I love spinach, I don’t eat red meat much. But that’s only been for a little while.

So all things considered, this body of mine has been pretty generous and forgiving. So I think the nicest thing I can do is stop fretting about the lounge chair that doesn’t have my name on it, and the fact that there isn’t a lip stick that is going to make me look like Ms Jolie.

I can still wear high heels, and dream a little. But at the end of the day, this day any way, this body of mine is right where I want to be.

Weighty Matters

September 22, 2013

In a world where everything is becoming open for discussion, there are still a few topics that make most people uncomfortable. The first three that come to mind are death, lice, and weight.

Of course, there are the brief conversations about who died when and how bad everyone feels. And whose kid came home with lice (and how glad we are it wasn’t ours.) And weight? I’m are always comparing notes on the latest diets, and what I ate or didn’t eat on any given day. But these tend to be brief forays that lead into the serious stuff- “adolescence, doesn’t it suck having teenagers”, “I wanted to kill my husband when…” and “what the hell should we do about Syria,” (I am not a total idiot, and neither are my friends. Between us, we have actually come up with a solution to most of the worlds problems. That’s another post.)

And when it comes to weight? I read the magazines. I watch the talk shows. Our weight is a subject that consumes a lot of us. I know that I can wear a smile for an hour after hopping on the scale and discovering I’ve lost a pound. I might kick a kitten if the reading is a few pounds heavier than the day before. Yet I don’t think I’ve ever had a real conversation with anyone about the actual number.(And doctors offices and health clubs don’t count. Though there is’t really a conversation. Just a statement.”You weigh —.” “oh.”)

I weigh 162 pounds. When I was pregnant I reached what I think was my all time high- but I don’t know because when I’m really heavy I don’t weigh myself- of 220 pounds. I would like to weigh 145 pounds, which according to those statistics in the fitness magazines, is kind of high. But I work out. And I like lunch.

Ok, it’s 168.

When I look in the mirror I see a pretty woman. I like my face. I have a waist line. My breasts are small, so there isn’t much gravity can do with them. I’ve got field hockey player thighs, but they could be defensive line football player thighs. And my belly is just a tiny heart shaped curve, it actually looks kind of cute.

And then, I’m walking in the mall. I catch a glimpse in a mirror. Staring back at me, is a chunky, middle aged women who really should hire a personal shopper to help her buy blue jeans because the ones I’m wearing make my rear end look the size of the Kardashian’s garage.

Maybe the mirrors in the mall are trick mirrors designed to make shoppers head screeching into the local department stores in search of Spanx.

Weight matters, but not nearly as much as we think it does. My life isn’t going to magically improve when I weigh 142 pounds. Shopping will be nicer. But I don’t think my friends are going to like me more, my kids aren’t going to start cleaning their rooms without 97 gentle reminders when I weigh a little less.

Lice doesn’t really matter at all, and death matters a lot. I use it as a cattle prod when I am tempted to spend the day at home eating chocolate instead taking my dogs out for a long walk. Not because I’m afraid of the damn calories. Because life is short, and I’d like to spend as much of it as I can walking in the woods with Sophie the Magnificent Wonderpup.

At the end of the day, I guess it’s not what we talk about or don’t talk about with the people we love. It’s how we live our lives when we aren’t busy comparing notes with our neighbors.

Fishing

February 12, 2013

I’s been about a week since my last post on WordPress. I wrote about my fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease; my father died from complications of early onset Alzheimer’s when I was in my 20’s. It was dark, intensely personal, (too much so, according to my mom) and lacking in  humor, attempted or other wise.

About three days ago,  I realized it was getting to be that time. I try to update my blog about once a week; .(I really hate the word blog, and “blogging” sounds like something dirty people do in the back rooms of convenience marts or shoe stores). I really wanted to write something light, to balance out the melancholy reflections last time out.

So I started looking for something to write about. First up, and the obvious choice, was the blizzard, “Nemo”, “Snowmaggedon”, “The Storm that was Badder than the one in 1978″… I live just outside of Boston, about two feet of white powdery stuff fell on Milton. I considered devoting a few paragraphs to shoveling. This is all I got- Shoveling is hard work, and no matter what is on your feet, your socks get wet. I was going to write about the joy of having a few days home with the kids. They spent a lot of time complaining about not being able to go sledding, and asking for more hot chocolate. When I made them hot chocolate- the homemade kind, fancy dark chocolate mixed with brown sugar, honey, a pinch of salt and vanilla- they’d fish out the marshmallows and leave the half drank cocoa on any available surface. Where, more than once, they knocked the mug over. It’s fun to mop up cocoa in wet socks. Definitely couldn’t fill a few paragraphs of the joy of being stranded at home with two clumsy, culinary challenged, ungrateful children. Even if my favorite bliss is being wedged in the middle of their solid, sweet little bodies while we argue about who gets the remote.

So I crossed the blizzard of my list of suitable subjects for this time out I started  scrutinizing  everything I did for potential material. Looking for a pair of sweat pants… A piece about cleaning the closet! Rubbing Sophie the Most Wondrous of the Canines? A rambling ode to the joy of loving a dog. Making sloppy joes? What about a stab at the comedy that the sauce is called Manwich? Girls like sloppy joes too. This girl likes sloppy joes a little too much. As a matter a fact, how about something about what happens when I’ve been stuck at home to long and it’s hard to zipper up my favorite pair of jeans. Everybody wants to read about somebody else getting not able to squeeze into pants.. Except I don’t want to write about that. It’s not too personal, it’s just embarrassing.

So instead of publishing an essay about snowstorms, or puppies or the need to not eat too many sandwiches, I just wrote about what I am choosing not to write about. At this time.

If I don’t think of something by next week, I might revisit the singular joys and pitfalls of  cleaning the closet.