Month: July 2018

Inspirational Women, Physical Fitness, Mental Health and Growing Older

The Women of Zone Fitness; Meet Cindy

Cindy

Pulling 120 pounds…that’s all!

Dear Reader:

Imagine that you are a seventy-five year old woman who is regularly complimented on your obvious physical fitness and alluring shape by women decades younger than you! Imagine that you are a grandmother who can beat her fourteen year old grandson in a plank off…planks require great strength…planks are painfully difficult! Imagine that you inspire other women of all ages who walk through the door of Zone Fitness!

No imagination required…meet my friend Cindy. By a happy scheduling accident, one of my training days coincides with one of her training days. She was there on my first day of training and I was immediately in awe of her. I watched her push and pull and lift and press. I saw a mature woman in fantastic shape and I was inspired. I want to look like that, move like that, feel like that…I thought.

“I wouldn’t want to tangle with you!” I said after training alongside Cindy for a couple of  weeks. “You are magnificently strong! I’d love to hear about your fitness journey.”

Cindy was happy to share her story with me. She remembers the moment, when at the age of 60, she realized that she was afraid to run. She was walking along one day when the thought came to her …it felt so good to run when I was young. That was her light-bulb moment and it yielded a thirty pound weight loss and a commitment to fitness that has endured for years. If you do the math, hate math, that’s about 1,500 training sessions. That happens when you focus and fall in love with fitness.

As she likes to say, “I never regret a training session!”

I must say that I agree with Cindy. We also believe that our old-out-of-shape selves would be completely shocked  if someone told us that someday we’d look forward to spending time in the gym.

Cindy is one of several incredible women who train with Jonathan Hoskins. I’ll be sharing their stories with you in the weeks to come. I’m sure they will impress and, more importantly, motivate you as they do me.

Here’s to strength!

Michele

Family, Friends and Neighbors, Inspirational Women

Thigh Love…It’s a Thing!

37802812_10156332534981063_204719749307826176_n

Dear Reader:

Meet my little friend Sayler Joy. As you can see, she is only nine months old and yet she is already an inspiration. (And a complete joy, her name suits her!) I saw this picture first thing this morning and I felt such a surge of emotion that I had to write to you.

Recently I lamented the fact that the site of my thighs did not please me. I have the feeling many women share that sentiment. Sayler has a very wise mother and so I wonder: did they team up to send a message to womankind or were they just trying to brighten our day?

In either case, you succeeded and I thank you!

Thank you for reminding us how silly vanity is, how amazing the human body is and how remarkable the miracle of childbirth is. Thank you for bringing a happy tear to my eye. I can’t wait to visit my friend and gently pinch those amazingly wonderful thighs.

It’s so nice to have friends with babies!

Michele

Physical Fitness, Mental Health and Growing Older, Quotations

Why Were You Born?

Unknown-2

Dear Reader:

Retirement brings with it the opportunity and desire to clarify one’s purpose…again. I thought a lot about my purpose in my 20s. I loved to read and write and I was inspired by Gloria Steinem and Barbara Walters. It was incredibly fulfilling to focus on my education. Some of the most enjoyable days of my life were spent pounding away at typewriters while earning my B.A. in Journalism.

In my 30s and 40s, I was busy, as most people are. I didn’t spend a lot of time pondering anything beyond purchasing a home, advancing in my career and then mothering my daughter.

Natalie is now an adult and I have the luxury of time to ponder my existence once again. But, it’s not merely an intellectual pursuit. A person’s “why” should serve to order her days. Our values should match our activities and so the exercise has value.

At 58 years of age, I’m struck by how little my perception of my purpose has changed. And, I’m encouraged to discover that I seem to be living in alignment with my core values.

I have always been compelled to create, decorate, celebrate, communicate, question, advocate and challenge myself. And, my voice has always been high-pitched and feminine and aligned with that of other women who believe in the cause of equality.

I know “why.” Do you?

Michele

Grief and Loss

The Shape of Grief

IMG_8669

the shape of grief

when you lose someone who means the world to you
your world changes
never returning to its former shape

it appears to others unchanged
so you keep the secret

until you can’t
an anniversary
a place, a flower or a song
suddenly it spills out

you must tell the world
you are not the same
you have not been the same
you will never be the same

the illusion is just that
the pretense grows heavy
it requires too much energy to maintain
so you shed it

and discover others who know your secret
keep it themselves
believing they will not be understood
believing they too are alone
knowing time does not heal
time changes
what was already changed

all will be touched
eventually
shaped by love
altered by grief

Dear Reader:

The poem was inspired by thoughts of my brother and by my friends, in and out of the blogging world, who have shared their secrets with me: Franziska, Tamara, Sleepless Dave, Jon, Esmeralda, Jen, Gallivanta and Pam. 

Michele

Politics

Class Meets Crass

cheers
Cheers!

Dear Reader:

I’m watching CNN’s coverage from one of my favorite places: England, or more precisely, Windsor Castle. Everything about our mother country makes me happy: the tea, cream, museums, gardens, china, architecture…language. But, I digress. You know I’m an unapologetic Anglophile.

I am also in awe of the Queen. Now, here’s a woman who took the hand she was dealt and played it beautifully. Sure, there are perks to being a royal, but she’s 92 years old and still on the job! How many of us can say we could muster that amount of energy year after year to perform a job that we did not choose?

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Windsor Castle twice and, on one of those visits, I was lucky enough to see the Queen as she left for Royal Ascot. Today she is hosting POTUS there.  I can not help but feel sorry for her. I’ve read about her diet that includes four alcoholic beverages per day. I’d just like to say that I hope she’s being served a couple extra glasses today. I’d need a proper fortification to endure a meeting with POTUS!

Cheers to Her Majesty the Queen! Long live the Queen!

Michele

Creativity, Politics

My First Troll

 

Unknown-13

Dear Reader:

I’ve been trolled! After 16 months of blogging, I received my first hateful comment. The writer thought my guest post A Gloomy Fourth was “treasonous” and as such I should be “put down by an American patriot.”

Whoa…it felt a bit like a kick to the gut.

I immediately sent a text to my friend and technical consultant, Kristin. I needed her to talk me through this.

Me: First troll; see my site!

K: So funny. I’m watching Trolls 2 with the girls right now…how random!

Me: Should I be afraid?

K: No, trolls are everywhere. I’ve deleted it.

Now I know how it feels to be trolled…just another first for me at the tender age of 58. You won’t see any changes to my site as a result of this experience. I’ll continue to devote most of my posts to the things that I love: family, friends, doxies, flowers and fitness. But I won’t shy away from expressing my opinions about politics when I feel compelled to do so. That’s what true American patriots do.

Fellow bloggers, have you had a visit from a troll?

Michele

Physical Fitness, Mental Health and Growing Older

Remembering My Why; A Bump on My Journey to Strong

On the arc trainer at Zone Fitness
Back at it!

Dear Reader:

Perhaps I’ve been a bit irritating up to this point?! Here she goes again you may be thinking : fitness is fun; fitness is empowering; fitness is a must! That’s been the truth of my experience, though, and I believe in keeping it real. So let me just say that I had my first WTF (please don’t make me spell these things out) moment this weekend. It was bound to happen.

Remember that happy photo of me at the pool wrapped in the towel? My lovely mood lasted until I got home and looked at the picture my husband had snapped of me in my bikini. My thighs are dimply…that’s the truth. And, it’s clear there’s another five pounds that needs to come off my midriff. It’s not fair, I thought, I’ve worked so hard for the past eight months!  But, the simple truth is: I FEEL BETTER THAN I LOOK!

It didn’t take me long to accept that realization, though. I reflected on my first day at Zone Fitness when Jonathan asked me about my goals. “Firm thighs” were nowhere on the list. I’d taken a fall that had scared me straight. I came to get strong so that I wouldn’t stumble through old age! I didn’t even have a numeric weight loss goal. I just signed on the dotted line and fully committed myself to the journey.

I’ve seen amazing results in only eight months, but Jonathan was honest from the beginning.

“It’s going to take a year and a half to get there,” he told me.

“Nope, only a year,” I countered.

We’ll see. My weight seems to have plateaued, but my strength continues to grow. It’s really such a crazy thing to imagine that I could get up off the ground, hobble into Zone Fitness and eight months later, at 58 years old, have a bikini body. But, something seems to happen when you spend four days a week in a gym working out in an intense fashion. The thinking goes something like this: I feel like an athlete, so I should look like one!

I’ll continue to train for all the right reasons. Working out …

  • boosts my mood
  • improves the quality of my sleep
  • lowers my dementia and cancer risk
  • strengthens my bones
  • gives me energy and confidence
  • makes me feel proud and accomplished
  • And, I have NOT fallen since I started

On Monday morning, I happily returned to my routine following the holiday break. I’d adjusted my attitude and it felt good to be back at it! I’ll let you know (hell, I’ll probably shout it from the rooftop) if I ever get lean, toned thighs. But, I’m not focusing on that. I’m keeping my original “why” first and foremost in my mind. Here’s my mantra: Get strong, stay strong, enjoy the journey! 

What motivates you to exercise?

Michele

Creativity, Flowers, The Color Pink

Flowers Speak to My Friend

 

 

‘The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with her* through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards her.”

–Auguste Rodin

Dear Reader:

Tamara Jare, at My Botanical Garden, speaks fluent “flower.” You may remember that her bouquet graces the desk in my pink shed. It’s such a lovely reminder of the beauty found in nature, art and friendship.

Some days, especially when you’re blue, you just need a bit of pink. Today is one of those days and I’m grateful for the escape and comfort Tamara’s art brings to me. You can visit her at Saatchi Art.com. Enjoy!

Michele

*I took the liberty of replacing “him” with “her” in the above quote.

Physical Fitness, Mental Health and Growing Older

Shopping for…Cannabis

Dear Reader:

I’m smelling a bit earthy this evening, but feeling quite wonderful. Both conditions are due to the purchase I made at Big Sur Canna Botanicals, Carmel’s first cannabis dispensary. I never thought I’d write those words!

There’s a pot dispensary 2.5 miles from my home in the Carmel Rancho Shopping Center. My hair salon, a French bakery, my husband’s favorite sandwich shop and the SPCA Benefit Shop are all located in the same shopping center. And, I’m a happy customer.

But, I don’t want to mislead you, dear reader. I count two puffs from a joint when I was in my late teens as my total prior experience with pot. Just wasn’t my drug of choice. As you know, I’m an eat, drink and be merry kind of gal; I’ve got a whole category with this title here on my blog. This, of course, could be resolved as the dispensary offers cannabis infused chocolates. Maybe next time…I’ll let you know!

I visited the store with butterflies in my stomach (is marijuana really still taboo?) seeking to buy a topical to relieve the arthritic pain in my fingers. Whoa…I am so not cool! I’d been talking about going shopping for three weeks before I made it into the store. I just needed a little encouragement to get there. It came from my hairdresser.

“You okay,” she asked in her concerned voice. I think she’s a psychic.

“Oh, ya…I’m great…working out, feeling strong…sure, of course,” I answered. Followed by, “other than this (expletive deleted) pain in my fingers that’s starting to turn me into a crab!”

She pointed out that the dispensary was just a quick walk across the parking lot and made me promise to go shopping as soon as she’d made me beautiful. What would I do without my hairdresser? I should pay her extra for the counseling.

A  first visit to Canna Botanicals is unlike any other shopping trip. It’s an experience. Large rectangles of contemporary art fill the exterior windows giving the illusion that it’s  just another Carmel art gallery. The visual delight continues when you open the door to find an image of Bixby Bridge nearly filling one side of the room and leading you to a concierge style counter. The greeter was a young man dressed in black jeans stylishly paired with a t-shirt and blazer.

I don’t know what I expected him to say or ask, but it was a simple exchange. Was this my first visit? Yes. May I see your driver’s license? Sure. May I take your name? Please take a seat and we’ll call you when a sales representative is available.

I cozied up into a large leather chair and waited with a dozen other people for about ten minutes. I reached for a copy of High Times magazine so I could glance above its pages to assess the group of people in the room. The 30ish woman sitting across from me was dressed in chic casual wear. I wanted to enthusiastically compliment her entire outfit  and ask where she acquired her purse, but I didn’t. It didn’t seem right. I felt the proper etiquette in a dispensary waiting room should be like that in the waiting room of my doctor.

I eavesdropped to hear a bit of hushed conversation between two people. One was successfully treating the side effects of chemotherapy. I wanted to hear more but the quiet of the room was shattered when a man and woman entered greeting the employees like old friends. They were about my age, I’d guess, but they were …well, weathered…very tanned and wrinkled. They wore sloppy cut-offs, t-shirts and fanny packs. They were the stereo-type, but there were only two of them. There were several tourists, too. There are tourists everywhere at this time of the year. But, overall, the group of people in that room was fairly unremarkable…just a slice of life.

When my name was called I was led to a large rectangular room with a bright clean counter that resembled the cosmetic area of a department store. There was a long line of diverse products inside including pre-rolled joints, cannabis-infused ginger bites, tinctures, salves, candies, drinks and even new chewing-tobacco-like Cannadips. Glass jars of boutique buds lined the shelves behind the counter. It was an artful presentation.

There was a certain energy in the room. The counter allowed space for about 15 people to shop with the personal assistance of a knowledgable sales representative. Cat, presumably short for something, asked what had brought me into the store.

“Well, in addition to curiosity,” I answered, “my hands hurt.”

“Ah, you need Papa and Barkley; people swear by it,” she said.

It turned out that I bought the last container of the balm. She warned me that if it worked for me, I shouldn’t let my supply get low. Seems it’s a very popular product for mature Central Coast residents. I felt like I wanted her to give me a tour through the full product assortment, but it was busy and I’d only come for one thing. I pulled two twenties out of my wallet (cash only in dispensaries) and thanked her.

Well that was quick, easy and relatively inexpensive, I thought as I left the building. I drove home, poured myself a glass of vino, it was 5 o’clockish, and applied the cream. That was two weeks ago and I’m happy to tell you: IT WORKS! So, now if I’m crabby, I’ll have to find something else to blame it on!

Michele

This is what I purchased:

Papa & Barkley: 1:3 Releaf Balm 15ML $36

Our Releaf™ Balm is tougher than pain, bringing a breakthrough new approach and formula. This formula delivers hours of pain relief in an all-natural, botanical pain balm, infused through a coconut oil soak process unmatched for potency and terpene content. With more than 400 mg of cannabinoids per 15ml jar. Available in a CBD Rich 1:3 THC/CBD formulation.

In case you didn’t know:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Appetite loss
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia
  • Glaucoma
  • Mental health conditions like schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Pain