Category Archives: Life As A Boomer

I Get Mushy About My High School Reunion

I Get Mushy About My High School Reunion

The emails were flying fast and furious. My high school reunion was coming up.

“I’m going to my high school reunion,” I announced to several local friends.

More often than not, they rolled their eyes. “A high school reunion?” they shuddered. “Why would you want to do that?”

I get it.

High school can evoke bad memories, of cliques and hormone-infused drama, of memorizing World War I dates, of diagramming sentences and conjugating Latin verbs and struggling through Calculus. Of being plagued by self-doubt and wanting desperately to fit in.

High school could seem interminable and was something to endure with gritted teeth while we counted the days until graduation. Leaving Chaucer, term papers and a coterie of friends in the dust, many graduates were happy to just be done with it. Diplomas in hand, we marched in cap and gown away from our past and into adulthood.

So why return to the winter of our discontent by attending a reunion, some ask. The very thought holds about as much excitement as the Pythagorean theorem.

My experience was different.

I attended a racially and ethnically diverse urban high school, with almost 900 students in my graduating class. As with any group of that size, there were factions, of course. Conflicts. Alliances and cold shoulders.

But there were fierce loyalties, too.

Commencement was held in the city park, the only venue that could accommodate so many graduates and their families. Most of that day is a blur to me now. What I do remember, though, is the swirl of emotions coursing through me, the anticipation of new beginnings mixed with a sharp pang of regret, the awareness that I was losing something irreplaceable.

My classmates and I had promising futures unfolding. College, jobs, the military. We knew that we would make new friends, but at the same time, were resisting letting go of the ties that bound us.

Forty-five years later, those ties are still intact.

Forty-five years later, we know that the years fly by faster than you can imagine, and with each decade comes a little bit more wisdom. And a bit more sentimentality.

We have experienced life’s ups and downs. Marriages, divorces, illnesses relocations, lifestyle choices. Joys and tragedies aplenty. Aging parents. Bereavements. We’ve been through lifecycle events, we have children and grandchildren, and we’ve made friends and lost friends. But our standing as members of the class of 1971 endures and that is something we will always share.

Every five years, at our well-attended reunions, we hug each other and are reminded once again of two realities:

You are essentially the same person you were in high school.

High school friends know that and love you anyway.

It is reassuring that in this uncertain world, some things stay the same. Looks may change, but people don’t. We look at each other and see the person we knew so long ago, with a rush of memories that are so much fun to share, memories that become more precious the older we get.

We leave each other with promises to get together.

And if we don’t, there is always the 50th reunion to look forward to.

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The Democratic National Convention I Will Never Forget

The Democratic National Convention I Will Never Forget

This week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton is making history by shattering the glass ceiling. Along with millions of other Americans, I am watching the convention every night.

This week I am also remembering a DNC a long, long time ago.

The Democratic National Convention

The year was 1968. My days were languid and lazy, as self-indulgent as a 15 year-old’s summer can be. I would sleep until mid-morning, yawn through a bowl of cereal, and get into my bathing suit and flip flops in preparation for the day’s activity: meeting up with my friends at the community swimming pool.

Slathering baby oil on each other’s backs, we baked for hours with intermittent conversation and the crackle of transistor radios in our ears. Sooner or later we would amble over to the concession stand to buy a frozen Snicker’s bar or a bag of chips, flirting with the cute lifeguards as we flounced by.

One day I lay on my beach towel, unable to find a comfortable position. Every muscle ached and my throat was sore. “Walk on my back,” I implored the friend lying next to me. It felt good, like a deep tissue massage. But the relief was temporary.

By the next day I was headachy and running a fever and my mother took me to the doctor. The diagnosis was mononucleosis, and the doctor’s orders were to stay in bed.

Stay in bed? But, summer! Friends! My tan! The fun would go on without me! I cried tears of self-pity.

Every week the doctor made a house call – imagine that – to draw blood. If the blood count remained elevated, I was doomed to another week at home missing my friends. I held my breath each time the telephone call came with the results, but week after week there was no change.

I begged my mother to drive me to the pool where I could at least wave to my friends from behind the rolled up car window. She wasn’t crazy about that idea, and I didn’t push it. I was truly too exhausted to get out of bed. I had little patience for reading; even flipping through issues of Teen and Tiger Beat wore me out.

We had a small black and white TV that I was allowed to have in my room because I was sick. With the antennae adjusted just right, we were able to get three channels. Day after day I watched game shows and General Hospital.

The end of August arrived and the daytime shows were pre-empted for the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.The tension leading up to the convention had been palpable. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy just months before, the mounting anti-war fever, cities set afire and burning … there was an electricity coursing through the nation.

I watched the Democratic National Convention every day. Some of the images became indelibly imprinted on my brain. The shouting matches on the floor between delegates and party leaders. The violence that erupted outside, the police clubbing protesters, the tear gas canisters hurled into the crowd. It was terrifying.

The Yippies, the hippies. Dan Rather getting roughed up on the convention floor. Eugene McCarthy, the anti-war candidate, failing to garner enough support. A young Julian Bond who, upon being nominated, withdrawing his name from contention because he was not old enough to run.

Hubert Humphrey, the party’s nominee, would lose the election to Richard Nixon, who branded himself the law and order candidate.

Sound familiar?

Glued to the TV, I was both fascinated and repulsed. It was a history lesson in real time. The year 1968, proved to be one of the most tumultuous years in our history, and the Democratic National Convention unlike any before or since.

This week there have been protests, but no violence. I hope that this convention will be remembered for Hillary Clinton’s nomination, with shards of glass exploding only metaphorically.

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The Old TV Game Shows are Back This Summer

I am a longtime fan of game shows.

I was so excited to hear that some of my favorite game shows – to Tell the Truth, Match Game and 100,00 Dollar Pyramid – were back this summer, all new and updated.

The Old TV Game Shows Are Back This Summer

I couldn’t wait to see these new versions.

Well.

You know how the movie is rarely as good as the book? In this case, the new versions of these game shows just don’t have the fun and charm of the originals. Two out of three, anyway.

To Tell the Truth

Running on CBS from 1956-1968, this version starred Peggy Cass, Tom Poston, Kitty Carlisle, Orson Bean, Bill Cullen, Arlene Francis, and others. At the beginning of each show the curtain goes up revealing three contestants  in silhouette, with the announcer Johnny Olsen booming, “What is your name, please?’

My name is … the first one says.

My name is … the second one says.

My name is … the third one says.

Then the host, originally Budd Collyer and then Garry Moore, reads the “sworn affidavit.”

“I, so-and-so,” for example, “am the actual love child of x and y.”

The panelists are charged with correctly identifying this contestant with an unusual occupation or bizarre experience or skill.

In the original version, the panelists would try to squeeze in as many questions as they could in the allotted time. Inquisitive Peggy Cass was often frustrated when her time ran out. Tom Poston was befuddled. Kitty’s elegance was mesmerizing.

With the credits running at the end, the panelists and contestants mingled. It seemed incongruous to see glamorous Kitty Carlisle in her evening gown gamely chatting it up with a porn star.

I miss these iconic celebrities. In the new version, no one has the magnetism of Kitty or the sincerity of Peggy. No one draws funny figures on the answer card like Orson Bean did. This version is  lowbrow. Kitty would be appalled.

It was great to see Betty White on the new panel, but even she seemed embarrassed by the dumbing down of the show. The other panelists seemed clueless.

My rating: D

Match Game

The object of this game is for two contestants to match the answers given by a six-member celebrity panel. The host was Gene Rayburn from 1962-1982 and the announcer was again the incomparable Johnny Olsen. The panelists were Charles Nelson Reilly. Brett Somers, Richard Dawson, Fanny Flagg, Nipsey Russell, Elaine Joyce, Scoey Mitchell, Gary Burghoff, and many more.

Nipsey Russell wrote funny poems that he recited at the end of the show.Brett and Charles Nelson were a hilarious comedy team.  Gene Rayburn often played straight man to their wise cracks. Risqué answers and double entendres were not only allowed, they were encouraged.

For example.

Weird Sylvester was thrown out of the department store when they caught him _____-ing the mannequins.

The zookeeper’s wife was getting worried that her husband was around wild animals too much. After he came home from work one day, she said hello and he _____-ed her.

The new version is more risqué but less funny. Back in the day, risqué was de rigeur, but now it just seems jaded. I love Alec Baldwin but why he chose to do this gig is baffling to me. His body language screams boredom. Rosie O’Donnell is an excellent replacement for Brett Somers but without a sparring partner she is left on her own.

My grade: C

The $100,000 Pyramid

When the show debuted in 1973  it was The $10,000 Pyramid, but with inflation, it had to raise its stakes. 🙂 The host was the fabulous and very missed Dick Clark.

The game features two contestants, each paired with a celebrity. Contestants attempt to guess a series of words or phrases based on descriptions given to them by their teammates.

The winner goes on to vie for the big prize by identifying the category as their partner feeds them clues, within 60 seconds.

This show is perhaps the least dated of the three. Competitors do require some skill with words and phrases. Throw in smart and savvy celebrities and contestants and it is still a fast-paced, fun show to watch. Michael Strahan is the host and does a creditable job. What can’t this man do?

My grade: A

What do you think of these shows?

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Why I’m Burning My Bra

Why I'm Burning My Bra

In 1968 a group of feminists known as the New York Radical Women gathered outside of the Atlantic City convention center to protest the Miss America contest. They felt that the contest  demeaned women and held them to an unreasonable and oppressive standard for beauty that was damaging to all women.

In those days, the Miss America contest attracted millions of TV viewers, and was a perfect platform for making a political statement and being heard.

With fervor, these women flung their bras onto a bonfire.

Or so the story goes.

Guess what? That never happened.

Bra burning is an urban legend.

Although draft card burning took place for realz, bras were only symbolically tossed into the flames that day in 1968. Since the Boardwalk was made of wood, police would not allow any fires to be set.

Instead, bras, girdles, cosmetics, high-heeled shoes, Playboy magazines – all derided as instruments of female torture — were thrown into a “freedom trash can” making a perfect photo opp for the swarming paparazzi on the Boardwalk.

But someone coined the phrase bra burners, referring to women perceived as militant in the struggle for women’s rights, and it stuck.

My personal act of women’s liberation comes not from a tirade against male oppression, but a thunderbolt of news that, at my advanced age, I’ve been wearing the wrong bra size all my life.

I was fitted for a bra when I was 12 and I still remember the humiliation of being naked in front of my mother plus a total stranger at Pomeroy’s Department Store who tried to show me how to position the girls into a Maidenform 30A.

I would not subject myself to that ever again, I vowed.

As I got older my body changed, of course, and my bra size along with it. Shopping for bras was such agony that I did it as infrequently as I could get away with. Quickly gathering a few different brands from the rack, I would scuttle into the dressing room and get it over with stat.

This week I happened to be in a department store, along with my best friend Elise, trying on a dress that was form fitting.  The saleswoman stood behind me, evaluating me in the three-way mirror. She cocked her head. She observed me from all angles, fiddled with the ruching on the bodice, and sighed. “I don’t think your bra is doing you any favors,” she said. “Is it OK if I bring our foundations person in?”

I was trapped. What could I say?

“Sure.”

Well. The foundations lady almost fainted when I confided my bra size.

Without giving out too much information, I will share that I was four sizes off in the band size and two in the cup size.

OMG.

She disappeared for a few minutes and came back with several bras in my size. When I slipped them on (and yes, she also showed me how to position the now much bigger girls) I instantly realized what a well-fitting bra can do for a figure. And your self-confidence.

Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

Women should be measured every couple of years, the foundations lady told me. Most women do not know their true size if they haven’t been fitted. Also, if you are wearing your bra on the tightest setting, it is not the right size for you.

While we were there, Elise figured she may as well get measured. And guess what? She had been wearing the wrong size, too.

So that smoke that’s coming from my backyard? It’s just the two of us tossing our old stretched-out, ill-fitting bras on the bonfire. And roasting marshmallows at the same time.

Care to join us?

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Sweating to the Oldies: My Boomer Playlist

Sweating to the Oldies: My Boomer PlaylistAfter thinking about it, stressing about it, complaining about it and certainly boring everyone who politely listened to me blather about it, I finally did it.

I rejoined the gym.

My membership had lapsed about a year two years three years a long time ago, so for me this was a major event. I will  never be a gym junkie, but I know it is good for helping my boomer body function as well as it can.

This boomer body finds the gym routine much more palatable with headphones tuned to the oldies station. Remember on American Bandstand the dancers would pronounce a song as having “a good beat?” The songs with good beats definitely help while the treadmill time away.

As my boomer heart rate races I distract myself from this torture by  thinking of how to adapt these songs from my youth to my present day age. Apparently my wandering mind enjoys this, because I blogged about my boomer mix tape before.

So, once again, here for your listening pleasure are 25 new songs from my boomer playlist. This is Casey Not Kasem, counting down …

Disclaimer: This is all in fun. No offense intended!

My Boomer Playlist

25. I Fell Down On the Corner, Creedence Clearwater Revival

24. Sister Golden Hair Thank You Clairol, America

23. Walking Slowly Jack Flash, Rolling Stones

22. I Think We’re Alone Now so Let’s Binge on Netflix, Tommy James and the Shondells

21. Spandex Helps You Tighten Up, Archie Bell and the Drells

20. Sugar Substitute, Sugar Substitute, The Archies

19. I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better After a Deep Tissue Massage, The Byrds

18. I Hear a Symphony But That’s My Ringtone, The Supremes

17. These Boots are Made for Walkin’ But Ow Ow Ow My Feet, Nancy Sinatra

16. (I Had an MRI of) A Piece of My Heart, Big Brother and the Holding Company

15. Silence is Golden So I Tossed My Hearing Aids, The Tremeloes

14. Tonight’s The Night I Take a Xanax, Rod Stewart

13. Ain’t Nothing But a House Party But Please Leave by 9, Showstoppers

12. Venus in Elastic Waistband Blue Jeans, Mark Wynter

11. Chances Are I’ve Forgotten Why I Walked into the Room, Johnny Mathis

10. Give Me Just a Little More Time to Get Out of Bed, Chairmen of the Board

9.  Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is? Me Neither, Chicago

8.  Afternoon Delight Means a Nap, Starland Vocal Band

7.  Come a Little Bit Closer My Hearing’s Not So Good, Jay and the Americans

6.  Black is Black Because It Makes You Look 10 Pounds Thinner, Los Bravos

5.  We’re Downsizing and Selling Our Brick House, The Commodores

4.  Cat’s in the Cradle and The Dog’s in our Bed, Harry Chapin

3.  I Believe In Miracles aka Botox, You Sexy Thing

2.  With My New Prescription I Can See Clearly Now, Johnny Nash

1.  She’s Not There, Did I Get My Dates Wrong, The Zombies

 

What are your suggestions? Would love to hear them!

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Brooding Over the Empty Nest

I awoke with a start in the wee hours last night, certain I heard one of my kids tiptoeing down the hallway outside our bedroom. In my sleepy confusion it took me a moment to remember that there are no kids in the house.

There were kids in the house, our three adult kids, but the kids are now gone.

The nest is again an empty nest.

The footsteps of my children echo in my dreams, but the pitter pattter of little feet in the night was not theirs. It was our dog and cat, Duncan and Lexie, moving restlessly through the darkness, perhaps searching for their human siblings whose constant attention they had relished the past week.

A week of intense joy. And lots of eating.

We were all together to celebrate the recent marriage of our son and daughter-in-law with parties and dinners and also downtime with old family and new (we already love our son’s new in-laws). It was a whirlwind week that was so much fun but over way too soon.

The chickens have left, I reminded myself, turning over with a sigh as I tried to go back to sleep.

I still refer to our kids as chickens, although they are grown and out of the house, with jobs and lives and responsibilities that do not involve me, their mother hen.

Remarkably, they all seem to be doing just fine without my constant clucking.

The chickens today ... and when they were chickadees.

The chickens today … and when they were chickadees.

They do not live in our house or even in our city. The older two are each a day of travel away and the youngest is in another state.

The distance translates into infrequent opportunities to be together – the three kids, my husband and me.

This is our reality which I have come to accept (grudgingly) and if nothing else, it makes our reunions even more precious. Carpe diem is the modus operandi. Seize the day. Our time together will be spent relaxing, laughing, reminiscing, hugging. These are the memories I cherish long after the final goodbyes have been said.

My son and daughter-in-law are perfect together. I think of their smiling faces and my heart is full knowing how happy they are.

Another wedding coming up

Our wedding adventures will continue in 2016 when my older daughter — child #2 — and her fiance will be married. Our family will expand, joyfully, again.

My daughter and her fiance are also perfect together. So in love, so right for each other.

In my now quiet house I will clean up the vestiges of the parties. I will do several loads of laundry. I will clean out the refrigerator and straighten up the bedrooms and throw out the wilted flowers.

I will go through the photos and the videos many times, reliving the week that will stand out as one of the best my husband and I have ever had with our children.

My chickens. Now there are four, soon to be five.

Brooding Over the Empty Nest

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Many Paws and Menopause

I am of the mindset that change is a good thing. I welcome change. Most of the time.

But when it comes to The Change, i.e. the change of life, i.e. menopause?

Not so much.

The change? Hoo boy. Is it ever.

It’s a Hot Mess

Menopause, oh menopause. You antagonize us midlife women with your heartless cruelty.

Let me count the ways.

Hot flashes and night sweats.

photo credit: janwillemsen via photopin cc

photo credit: janwillemsen via photopin cc

Mood swings and hair thinning.

Simultaneous disappearance of waistline and sex drive.

Sleepless nights.

Cellulite dimpling random body parts.

Reading glasses, often misplaced.

Many Paws

Chins multiplying like rabbits.

Sturdy black hairs sprouting under the chin, making tweezing difficult because who can see that close without reading glasses.?

Loss of memory and bladder control.

photo credit: Beige Alert via photopin <a

photo credit: Beige Alert via photopin

Are we having fun yet?

I’m Kidding. Kind of.

So maybe I’m painting a worst case scenario. Surely, there must be benefits of menopause.

When I figure that out I’ll let you know.

But what can you do? Menopause is merely part of life. Railing at it is useless. As with most things in life, you can wallow in self-pity. Or you can laugh.

I endorse the laughing.

Many Paws

Which is what I did when I read author Susan DeGarmo’s humorous take on what every woman will face someday: “Many Paws: The Years of Change.”

Despite its title, “Many Paws” is not about cute baby animals. But it is cute. Small enough to fit in your pocketbook, it is a pop-up book with a colorful, whimsical design, and funny pearls of wisdom throughout. How adorable is this??

Many Paws

“Many Paws” is not heavy reading, nor is it a self-help book. It’s a little collection of humor about the nuisances  that all women endure in one way or another.

Like DeGarmo, I will not embrace menopause. Menopause is not my friend. But I will laugh about it with my friends who totally understand.

Because that is the best way we sistahs will get through it.

I can’t think of a better gift for a friend, mom or sister whose hot flashes and mood swings have turned her into Meno-monster. She needs a laugh? This will give her just that.

I have a copy of “Many Paws to give away to a reader. Tell me the worst or best thing about menopause and I will randomly select a winner.

I received a copy of “Many Paws: The Years of Change” for an honest review. No compensation was received.

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The Music on My Boomer Mix Tape

As a proud member of the baby boomer generation, I confess that I sometimes like to live in the past.

Ah, the 60s. What a time it was.

Music on My Boomer Mix Tape

I can get all mushy reminiscing about the 60s.

Especially the music.

And that is why it made me, my husband and our two friends deliriously happy to attend The British Invasion 50th Anniversary Tour.

The tour commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival here in February 1964. That was just the beginning of the British Invasion, because following the Beatles came more British rock groups — The Dave Clark Five, The Kinks, the Rollings Stones, The Who and many more.

Surrounded by a sea of equally enthusiastic boomers, we sang along with 60s performers Billy J. Kramer, The Searchers, Denny Laine and best of all, Chad & Jeremy, who performed the lovely Summer Song, one of my all-time favorites:

So they didn’t have the voices they had 50 years ago. So what? It didn’t matter. Hearing them sing these familiar tunes was enough to put us in a nostalgic reverie.

Chad & Jeremy. The Temps, Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Diana Ross. Dusty Springfield. I still love hearing their songs and singing along. Funny how you can remember lyrics from 50 years ago but not what you had for dinner last night.

Music on My Boomer Mix Tape

Obviously, we’ve aged grown along with these amazing performers. Now in midlife or older, if they were to rewrite these classics today, what might these songs be?

Here are some possibilities.

Counting down the Top 25 list we have ….

25. It’s Not Unusual to Walk Into a Room and Forget Why, Tom Jones

24. Bend Me, Shape Me, Give Me a Tummy Tuck, American Breed

23. Tell Me Why I Can’t Find Jeans that Fit Right, Beatles

22. Lonely Too Long Maybe Time to Go on Match.com, Young Rascals

21. Heatwave No Just a Hot Flash, Martha and the Vandellas

20. Ooh Grandbaby Grandbaby, Miracles

19 I Had Too Much to Eat Last Night and My Stomach is Acting Up, Electric Prunes

18. Twist and Shout in Agony, Beatles

17. White Hospital Room, Cream

16. Reach Out I’ll Be There on Facebook, Four Tops

15. You and Zoloft Are All I Need to Get By, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

14. I Can See For Miles As Long As I Have My Glasses With Me, Cream

13. In the Midnight Hour I’ve Already Been Asleep for Three Hours, Wilson Pickett

12. Let’s Spend The Night Together in our Flannels, Rolling Stones

11. Wouldn’t it Be Nice to Have a Waistline, Beach Boys

10. You Can’t Hurry Love Except with Viagra, Supremes

9. She’s Not There (Now Where Did I Leave Her), Zombies

8. When a Woman Loves a Woman, Percy Sledge

7. Under The Boardwalk and I Can’t Get Up, Drifters

6. Yesterday I Don’t Remember What I Did, Beatles

5. My 60 Year-Old Girl, Temptations

4. Stand By Me or I’ll Get a Chair for You, Ben E. King

3.  Ain’t Too Proud to Beg for Hormone Replacement Therapy, Temptations

2. Bad Moon Rising Which Means I’ll Be Up Again All Night, Creedence Clearwater Revival

1. Walk on By Because I Don’t Remember Where I Parked My Car, Dionne Warwick

 

Do you have any songs  to add?

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10 Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working

It seems I continually fight The Battle of the Bulge and the winner is the Bulge.

Why, oh why, am I cursed with a slow metabolism,  willpower that fails at the least temptation, and mood swings that are dependent on the bathroom scale?

scale used on a dietDiet is an Annoying Guest Whom I Can’t Kick Out

Everyone knows that the older we get, the harder it is to shed those unwanted pounds. What they don’t tell you is it’s not hard, it’s freaking impossible. My funny friend Tammy from Witty Woman Writing posted this on Facebook and we all groaned with recognition. Does it resonate with you?

fat on a diet

Ah yes, was it 30 pounds ago I thought I was fat? What did I know about aging and weight gain. I assumed that my surefire weight loss tricks — like skipping dessert for a couple of days, or eating cabbage soup — would work forever.

But once again I’m riding the weight loss train, headed for Old Clothesville so that I can get into my favorite pair of jeans by summer.

Dieting is hard. And I admit, I’m not very good at it. Maybe I need to come clean and confess why I’m not seeing results … again.

Like mine, your diet may be doomed if you…

1.     Cook and taste. Meaning, I’ve got a pot of chili on the stove. Does it need a little cayenne? Stir, taste.  Maybe a touch more chili powder. Stir, taste.

2.     Break a cookie in half, and think you’re only eating half the calories. You know you’re going back for that other half. And you’ll probably break a second cookie in half and repeat. Am I right?

3.     Stand at the fridge. In the dark. Fork out some leftover lasagna while no one’s looking.

4.     Liven up that salad with croutons, bacon bits and edamame until the mixed greens are undetectable.

5.     Wear stretchy pants. Yes, I love them, too, but they don’t give you the foghorn warning signal of overindulgence that tight jeans do.

6.      Go with the six small meals a day theory but still have your regular-size breakfast, lunch and dinner.

7.     Count yoga as your cardio activity.

8.     Spice up your fruit intake with a little flour, sugar and eggs, as in banana bread.

9.     Vow that you’ll work off that slice of pie with a workout. Forget that thought later.

10. Watch workout DVDs without actually participating.  

 Tell me I’m not alone. Do any of these sound familiar?

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Out of the Closet

While most of the East Coast dug out from a boatload of snow and children enjoyed another day off from school, I spent yesterday digging through the detritus of my clothes closet, perhaps not as strenuous as snowball throwing but a strain on the arm muscles nonetheless.

I do miss snow days with my children: dressing them up snugly to play in the snow, pouring hot chocolate when they came in all rosy-cheeked from making snowmen, throwing wet mittens in the dryer so they’d be ready for the next venture into the cold.

chocolate chip cookiesI miss baking chocolate chip cookies (and shooing the little devils away when they snitched pieces of dough) and playing a board game or watching a movie together.  Snow days were special, unexpected treats (as long as there weren’t too many of them. This winter must be testing the patience of moms in my area.).

Now, without little ones in the house, a snow day should be like any other day. Yet it felt sort of different, like a day off feels. So that’s why I stepped away from my work and trudged upstairs to the closet of doom for a long-overdue deep cleansing.

You know how you hang onto things, thinking they just might come back into style? And they never really do?

I took a good, hard look at the clothes hanging lank and undisturbed, and resigned myself to the fact that maybe 75% of them should no longer be there. Forget the fashion faux pas I would be committing by wearing them in public; I simply would not be able to fit into them.

Was I being paranoid, or did I sense an air of hostility in the dimly lit closet?

“You’ll never wear us again, nyah nyah nyah,” my size 4 jeans seemed to taunt me. Likewise, “Try getting us over your head now,” jeered the stomach-baring sweaters, a gloating size small.

I hastily tossed these fair weather friends in garbage bags and filled three in no time flat.

So now that I had gotten through the clothes, I turned to the accessories – shoes, purses, belts, etc., — which had been languishing in messy piles for years. I pulled over a step stool so I could reach the top shelves of my closet where many of these relics had been stashed and forgotten.

I told myself to be decisive. Either I was going to use them from now on … or it was curtains.

See this purse? The one coated with a shimmer of dust?

red purse in my closet

Well, guess what I found in it?

This unused coupon.

coupon in my closetCan you read the date? It’s 1992. The last time I used this purse was 1992.

Tossed.

And this white bag with the ornamental buttons? Another unused coupon was inside. The year: 2004.

white purse in my closet

How about this cute belt?

belt in my closet

I do remember the year I bought it. It was 1991 when my youngest was two years old and I had finally gotten my waist back.

But since I no longer have a waist?

Tossed.

I filled two more garbage bags and called Goodwill.

And then I took a nap.

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