Monday, February 22, 2010

Quite The Hottie

This post is rated Blogoshpere Mature Audiences

Having a smokin’ hot body takes on new meaning at my age! *fanning* We’ve all heard of hot flashes, right? Right. And some of us have heard the old saying, “Horses sweat, men perspire, women glow.” – referring to when they’re hot. Well if that’s the case, then sometimes my glow may be blinding! I’m not complaining (who’d listen?) Just sayin’…

As a young at heart type of person, my tendency is to gravitate toward the lighter side of life… and finesse charmed outcomes when confronted with onerous situations (I’ve had a few!) It’s fun to flip a topic over in my mind, from tragic to at least tolerable. When something is hard for me to deal with, I break it down into passable bits that I can handle on all levels (you know – mind/body connection) so I can then “get a grip!” *grins* Now this change of life occurrence has presented a riveting force of nature.

Just a couple months after our fourth and final teenager left for college (thus emptying the nest -- hello naked Fridays!) the proverbial biological clock of womanhood struck menopause in my world, and hormones began to erupt every hour (I’m picturing hot lava!) *whoa* That was 15 months ago. Hubby and I are happy, healthy productive members of society, with good careers and fun hobbies. My debut children’s book came out that same month… the momentum of our well-balanced life smoothly streams along… everything’s cool (except for my body!) *sizzle* I’m grateful for a cold winter, so I can step outside for an instant remedy! Nudist camps are starting to appeal to me. *kidding* Meditation helps.

Distance running is a form of meditation for me, and has served me well for 25 years. That’s right, for one quarter of a century I ran an average of 30 miles per week… outdoors… in northern Illinois… season after season (consecutively!) No, I’m not a marathoner – no desire or sense of competitiveness, just hooked on the daily dose of endorphins (love the analgesic effects!) And it provides lots of time to ponder. Thought bubbles float across the horizon of my mind… ways to cope with current conditions. But the thing is, having a hot flash – I call them power surges (because I feel like ripping my clothes off in true Super Hero spirit!) every hour, around the clock (for over a year, thank you very much!) uses up a lot of energy… it’s like I morph into a 5’3” personal steam room. *whew* My nights consist of a series of naps between days… oh yes, interrupted sleep… like when the kids were babies. I’m so glad to be self-employed (no super early appointments in my scheduler!) and glad that my massage clients feel extra comfort whenever my hands are particularly toasty! *ahhh* So alas, I’ve rounded out my workouts with less running and more other cardio/weights as daily energy levels permit… it feels good. And have taken to carrying a tissue or folded up paper towel (super absorbent brand!) for blotting the “condensation” (remember women glow, men perspire!) *giggles* I can totally make it over this speed bump of life – it’s a natural process, after all… and I’m a bona fide natural woman, albeit smokin’ hot.

So if you’re feeling cold… cozy up here for a hug during one of my hourly power surges… just bring a tissue or something to blot with… and I’ll try not to doze off on your shoulder!

Have a fabulous week... I’ll be back here next Monday ☺


Monday, February 15, 2010

Mardi Gras Spirit

Talk about preconceived notions…

I used to think that visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras would be spooky and creepy (I pictured dark streets being taken over by packs of drunken miscreants!) *buzzer* Wrong impression.

I had become stuck on one particular cruise line (far superior than all the others – in my mind!) *buzzer* Wrong assumption.

I felt uncomfortable with the idea of combining business with pleasure – as in taking hubby’s two clinical assistants with us on a seminar cruise – even though we all had either continuing education or management classes to take while on board the ship (wanted to keep clear interpersonal boundaries, you know!) *buzzer* Wrong again!

Well, that’s three strikes for me! I’m out. No, wait a minute. *grins* Let me explain…

Last week on Sunday (as in Super Bowl XLIV, thank you very much!) we set sail for a 7-night business cruise on the Norwegian Spirit from New Orleans to Costa Maya, Guatemala, Belize, and Cozumel. Everything down to the smallest detail went off without a hitch *happy dance* and there were good vibes everywhere we went… all week long (better than I could imagine!) To begin with, since we and our luggage, arrived on the ship promptly, there was plenty of time to take a walk around town before “sail away” and as it turned out, we literally moseyed up to three Mardi Gras parades in three hours flat!

The people of New Orleans are super friendly! As soon as we walked up to the curb along the first parade route, a man in front of us turned around and began explaining everything a savvy New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade Spectator needs to know about tossing and catching beads, plastic coins, stuffed animals, and mini moon pies (they’re a yummy tradition there!) At first I thought he was exaggerating when he said you end up with so many beads around your neck that it’s hard to stand up straight… until it happened to me! *giggles*

It was so cool on board the Norwegian Spirit, especially that night, because every single TV screen in each and every public area was tuned in to the game – a huge Super Bowl party atmosphere that really coalesced all of us passengers and crew who were watching it together. We all sailed away down the Mississippi River in great spirits. *ahhh* Congratulations New Orleans Saints – Who Dat Super Bowl XLIV Champions!

Going to seminar lectures on board a moving ship can be nauseating at times (would rather kick back in a reclining poolside Barca Lounger!) but paying attention to 12 hours of Dental Office Management presentations is an effective distraction from mild seasickness. *whew* And having two office mates with us on the cruise made it even more enjoyable and interesting (“who did what” conversations are fun!)

Speaking of fun… nothing beats the spirit of live bands… so we danced whenever and wherever we could on the ship (it may look like a grand foyer to you – we see a dance floor!)

Oh, and let’s not forget the shore excursions: My very first horseback ride happened last week in Belize. *pat on the back* It still counts even though we (horse #4 and I) merely sauntered along the trail – while hubby, quite the horseman, cantered away (he did circle back to the rear of the line to check on me periodically!) *sweet*

The hidden waterfalls and colorful butterflies of Guatemala are breathtaking, but my favorite memories revolve around how the local people made me feel. Quite a bona fide spirit of human kindness prevails among the Guatemalans who interact with cruise ship visitors to their country. Ya know something? I’ve been on eight cruises already (three different cruise lines) and have gone on dozens of shore excursions in conjunction with those cruises, but I have to say, Guatemalans are not shy about expressing their love of the tourists (Love you back!) When our ship was sailing away, a local band and two groups of dancers in traditional costumes serenaded us from the pier… the last sounds I heard from Guatemala were the performers on the dock shouting, “We love you!” as they waved goodbye.

Then back to our U.S. neighbor of the south – Mexico *amigos* where we went on a bike ride, kayaking, and an extreme dune buggy ride to jade caverns and bat caves (socks got so filthy, we trashed ‘em!) All in all, it was a fabulous business cruise, which culminated on Valentine’s Day! *warm fuzzies*

Yes, I do love cruising… now please excuse me while I “cruise” on down to the laundry room and embark on what looks to be a long cleansing journey… if you know what I mean. *giggles*

Have a fabulous week! I’ll be back here next Monday.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Life Goes On

Can you believe it’s been an entire month since we were ringing in the New Year? Where did January go—and why didn’t hot flashes go there too? It’s like the older I get, the faster time goes by! *sheesh*

Speaking of New Year’s Eve… We had a blast, in spite of a "wardrobe malfunction" (thank you Janet Jackson!) I had on the dance floor while jiving to an especially rowdy swing dance. My strapless silver sequined cocktail dress surrendered to gravity (it's relentless, you know)... couple that with my buxom-ness and... flash!... a peep show!

Let's not get carried away here... actually, it was early in the evening, and I was still wearing a shrug... so not much was visible for public consumption (interesting word choice!)... AND the venue is only five minutes from our house... during the band's first break I went home and changed into a dress that had already been "swing dance tested"!

The energetic beat of the jive song we were swing dancing to got us extra peppy... hubby didn't even realize that one of "the girls" popped out for a look-see... but I felt the slippage going on during our Throw Out & Kicks Step (boppin' n hoppin' galore!) so I looked down for a quick inspection ASAP—and made the necessary recovery adjustment as fast as greased lightning—but by the size of his grin and the twinkle in his eyes, I think the guy who was dancing a few couples away from us happened to get a free show! *giggles* Hubby is cool about it... as long as I start charging for subsequent shows *kidding* ...don't plan to add strip-tease to my online profile!

We were dancing on and off for at least three hours, which is usually our limit, even though I changed shoes (from heels to flats!) after midnight. Dancing is not only fun, it’s good exercise too!

By the way, a shrug in women's fashion is like a shawl—only with sleeves (and sometimes buttons)—a bolero-style sweater. The one I was wearing on New Year's Eve is sans buttons, so until I went home to change, I kept it cleverly pinned closed with my jewelry of the evening—white gold Swarovski crystal broach/necklace *whew* it turned out to be a lifesaver, too! You can see the heroic accessory du jour in my Facebook photos, if you want to take a look. *grins*

Now here we are on day one of February… it was weird driving over the railroad crossing in town today (monthly hair appointment!) because everything is back to normal already, even though it’s only been ten days since a man died right there after driving his car around the gate in front of an oncoming train (what was he thinking?) I can only imagine the anguish of the train engineer… it’s not his fault… we all know what happens whenever train vs. car in a collision… choo-choo wins every time!

And it’s totally devastating for all the surviving family members and friends. I know from personal experience how the sudden death of a loved one feels… and being overcome with grief… like your guts get ripped out (graphic, but true!) It seems that grief is the hardest emotion to process completely—with all the stages we go through—but eventually even the most profound loss is just a memory (albeit unpleasant!)

So memories of dearly departed people and pets I’ve loved and lost are popping up across the horizon of my mind as I enter the grocery store (may as well run errands while sporting a freshly styled ‘do!) when I lock eyes with a girlfriend from the old neighborhood, who immediately blurts out that she recently had to have her dog, Buddy, euthanized… at the vet’s office… Buddy was old and terminally ill… he was suffering… no more spark in his eyes anyway… She really misses her buddy. *sigh* Then she adds that her father passed away right before Thanksgiving… had emphysema for a long time.

Okay. Good thing I learned in Massage School how to be an objective listener and hold space for someone. It’s an appropriate and easy method to use whenever you want to hear what’s coming from a person’s heart, without letting your own emotions get involved. Easier said than done, I know, especially when you have close ties with the other person, but it is doable (and therapeutic!)

In the aptly designated frozen foods aisle, I hold space for my friend… and hear her bona fide grief as she verbalizes it. So sad; but in a brief moment her train of thought loops back to her beginning remark… and that’s how I know she is ready to move on. And besides, neither of us wants our dark chocolate-coated chocolate ice cream bars to melt in the shopping cart! *giggles*

We’re going on a cruise next week, so I’ll be back here in two weeks on Monday!

Have a fabulous two weeks ☺