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Archive for the ‘Life balance’ Category

Chicks Fly Coop, Hens Grab Hankies

 

automobile automotive blurred background car

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

This post is dedicated, in general, to all the parents who are getting ready to send off their child(ren) to college. In particular, this post is with thoughts of Tracy S. and Jennifer D., who are sending their third and last child off to school. Whether it’s your first born or your last, take comfort that you are not alone if you’re feeling the struggle.  

Mom always said, “As a mother, you are only as happy as your unhappiest child.” This means that you will soar with their successes and, yes, you will hurt for their failures. The hardest part is for those of you who will have children hours away. On the other hand, they will learn how to deal without your physical presence. (Nobody said you couldn’t coach them from afar, though).

Recently, I was sorting through cards and notes I’ve kept forever. I found a card that was written by me, not to me. I don’t remember if I ever gave this to Korey or wrote it and shoved it in my drawer or if she read it and shoved it in her drawer. I wrote it the day she left for Versailles, France, for her junior year. Here it is:

September 3, 2009

Dear Korey, 

Well, finally, here it is and here you go! Your careful preparation and consideration will give you a wonderful foundation for your adventure abroad. This is just too wonderful of an opportunity to put into words. We are so many things right now for you…excited, nervous and anxious (a little) for you to get there, settled and started. Remember that not everything will go smoothly and to just adapt, whether it’s the travel, the school, communication or housing. Just remember, positive or negative, the experiences will all go into your memory bank. The good things will be replayed and the negatives, deleted or laughed about later, but you will gain valued lessons from both. We hope to follow your adventure as best as we can and will give advice only when asked…or when Dad thinks you need some…which will be often. Ha! I gave Nick a buckeye for good luck when we got him to school and here’s one for you to travel with. I guess it has brought me/us good luck along the way, because you bring us a lot of joie de vivre.* 

We love you very much. Have fun, stay well, be safe – see you in December.             Mom & Dad

*Joie de vivre. My attempt to incorporate some French. It means joy of living. 

As I reread this note, it makes me kind of sad. In fact, sadder now than when we actually sent her off. Weird. Maybe it was adrenaline or maybe shock, but Korey asked me as we hugged around her gargantuan backpack, “Is it okay that we’re the only ones not crying?”  I replied, “Yep, it’s fine!” There may have been more than a few teardrops later, in the car, as we left Chicago’s O’hare. UGH. 

From my memory bank, the worst moments of the year were:

  1. The American Airlines ticket agent charge of $100 for overweight baggage, until she realized the bulk of weight was from shoes Korey needed for an entire year. She gave her a pass on those!
  2. housing situation was less than pleasant.
  3. Her good camera was pickpocketed in Athens.
  4. Her dad found out she traveled to his two forbidden countries, because they had extremely volatile economies: Greece and Spain. (Korey, this probably explains the bad camera karma in Athens…)

Parents with college-bound children could have a support group, except everyone’s too busy packing right now.  Stay busy, be kind to yourself and know that your struggle is real. 

On the other hand, you might have a different experience like I/we did. 

  1. After we moved Nick, our second and last child, into his dorm room, we asked, “Do you want to get a bite to eat before we drive home?” He answered, “No, I’m good!” Sometimes they make it easy on us, right?
  1. When leaving for Arizona State, 8/17/73, I road with Debbie, a returning sophomore. My parents didn’t take me. Nope, they waved me out of the driveway. WHAT? I’m going 1,500 miles away and they wave bye-bye? And I thought that was normal…

Parents, however you feel, just own it. You’re entitled.

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Lace ‘em Up Because Nobody’s Looking!

person tying lace of shoes

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How do we hold ourselves back in life. Let me count the ways. I’ve been noodling on why and here’s a big one: We hold ourselves back when we believe people are judging and watching us. Consider this: people are thinking waaaaaaay less about us than we imagine. I test this theory whenever I work out at the gym or take a class. Most members are high school or college age. There are a handful of mature athletes in the house. (I use both those terms loosely: mature, athlete.) Trust me people, they’re not watching us, critiquing us or caring one bit about our squats thrusts. If they give one second of thought to our presence, it might sound like this:

What you HOPE they’re thinking about you:                                                                  “Sure hope I can work out like that when I’m his/her age!”

What they’re PROBABLY thinking-if anything:                                                                                            a. “Hope I never get THAT old!                                                                                               b. “Don’t old people have their own gym and workout times?”                                        c. “What old lady/man? Where?” As they step over you. 

I realized a long time ago that my presence is of very little concern to others in most situations. I’m okay with that fact. And you should be too.

On the flip side, I enjoy observing them, when they don’t know it. No, not in a creepy way. Geesh. I’ve watched gangly, awkward boys come back more grownup after a summer or semester. I’ve seen young timid girls workout solo instead of having a twin-friend attached to the hip. Eventually, they become more comfortable in their own skin. I’m amused at the cajoling and berating they exchange and also receive from the trainers, who push them for more. Mostly, I attempt to absorb the raw energy that permeates the gym environment, when young people are present. Then again, maybe it’s the rap music that’s playing…

If and when the gym sets hours by age group I will abide by that schedule. Until then, I intend to show up as it fits into my schedule and be perfectly comfortable. A few of us have already coined our workout times, should we be segregated, such as, “Old Fart Friday!”

But and this is a BIG but…what if I’m all wrong and the gym rats don’t like mature men or women sharing their weights and space? First of all, there’s enough space for everyone. Secondly, the kettle bells I use are ones you cast off years ago. Finally, like it or not, one day, you’ll be us. Bratty looking emoji. 

Isn’t it refreshing to realize you’re NOT under anyone’s microscope but your own? Live your life in perspective. bw

#nobodyreallycaresanditsok

#liveyourlifewideopen

#imdoingthebesticananditsenough

This Match: beyond Wimbledon or the World Cup

Bobbe White

07/16/18

While many of you watched tennis, soccer or golf this past weekend, I found a fabulous match of my own. It was a busy Saturday, starting at 7:30 a.m. with Lily White’s annual shots and pedicure. Dr. Bridget checked her from teeth to tail. 

“Any changes since your last visit?” she asked.

“Not many, except the skin tag on her belly has developed into a penis!”

“Yes, well, those skin tags can become quite unsightly!” she said nonchalantly.

“I know! The neighbor’s two-year-old grandson spotted the skin tag and pointed. He couldn’t find words, but knew the anatomy wasn’t right!”

After the vet, we hit Starbuck’s (Puppacino), cleaners (dog biscuit) and home. From there, I flew to Poundfit, followed by a gas-up and oil change. I told you it was busy. At this point, my friend, Michele, invited me to go swimming. 

“Thanks! I’m four cars back for an oil change. I can’t escape. I’ll be a little late.”

Finally, I was finished and calculated the time it would take to go home to get a swimsuit and towel. It was quicker to go to K-Mart, right across from Quik-Lube. Besides, after July 4th all swimwear goes on sale. I grabbed a suit. It would suffice, even if I:

         A. didn’t like it or 

         B. it didn’t fit well.

I was sweaty and sick of running errands, but had accomplished much. I was pleasantly surprised by K-Mart’s selection for my desperation purchase. After check-out, I made a quick change. I was on my way to the pool!

I approached Michele and Tim’s lounge chairs.

“Hi! I’m here!”

Michele’s eyes popped wide open. She was nearly speechless.

“OMG!” She yelled.

She saw through my cover-up (Free with women’s swimwear purchase today! Ch-Ching!”) I looked at her. She looked at me. And then…laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. Now, THAT’s a match!

77CA0641-6B0C-4F37-BE77-C27819AEEE17

BEING BRAVE & BOLD: Dumping Self-Doubt

 

/Bobbe White/6.13.18/

woman girl fitness

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

Recently, Sam Horn, Intrigue Agency, wrote about being Bolder in Boulder. She was entered into a 10K walk and almost let self-doubt demolish her plans. She asked us readers if we were being bold on our own behalf. I replied and she suggested sharing my reply, as others might relate. The last twenty-four hours have been a cacophony of “Should I or shouldn’t I? Be bold or bashful?” Aha! I was practicing the exact self-doubt demolition to my idea. Would readers think I was a nutcase or normal? Asking for affirmations and compliments? My people will always think I am a bit of a nutcase, only because of my trudging through a number of human struggles. Oh, right, like everyone else. In that spirit, here is my attempt to be bold today. Read it, reap it or recycle it. It’s simply my offering.

 

My body image brain has two heads.  On one hand, I am the wellness program coordinator for our company. It pushes me to participate to the fullest as an example, if I’m leading the program.  I would probably workout with or without the program; always have.  I am proud of the fact that as one of the oldest employees at 62 and 11/12 , I’m in decent shape, energy-wise, fitness-wise. Last Thursday, I wore a pair of slacks to work, or rather, they wore me. I felt fat around the waist all day. I started doing that thing I do in my head.

 

“You don’t work out hard enough.”

 

“You don’t work out often enough.”

 

“You finally let yourself go. Great.”

 

“You’re getting the middle-aged spread.” I have felt that I delayed the onset (like it’s a disease) until 63.”

 

“Grrrrrrrrrr.”

 

And so it went for a few days. I was so angry and disappointed in myself, that no matter how much effort I would throw at my waist, it would never be enough. You see, I’m a recovering enoughaholic. Yes, I suffer from Enoughaholism.  I’m considering writing this idea for a book title, but would enough people want to read it? There I go again.

 

Saturday morning, I signed up for Pound Class with my daughter. I was forced to stand in front of the mirrored wall of truth. However, during the forty-five minute class, some switch flipped. I was actually able to look at myself objectively. This is not an easy thing for PLU (People like us) to do. Somehow the wellness demon decided to ease up. Perhaps she had seen me berate myself enough the last two days. I assessed myself from head to toe. I didn’t hate what I was seeing, as much as expected.  First, were my shoulders. One time a physical therapist described them to his co-worker as, “Well developed.” I liked hearing that. My upper body workouts were actually having a positive effect.  Who knew? Next, were arms. There was a little jiggle underneath them, but overall, the biceps actually had definition. Moving south, the waist and tummy were next. Ehhhhhhh, they’re not HORRIBLE. Passable, I suppose. “However,” I reminded myself, “Remember, Young Lady, you’re wearing LOTS of Lycra.” Oh, for heavens sake, who let in Bobbe, the Body Bubble Burster? The self-sabotager. Finally, I looked at my legs; they aren’t twigs by any means, but they’re strong and they still work. Good grief, listen to me!

 

After class, I glanced once more in the mirror as we walked out. I’m used to being the oldest in most classes. It’s obvious, I’m not as lithe and flowing as younger specimens, but, by golly, I’m there. I’m okay for turning 63 in six days. Yes, I could work out harder. And more often. Push, push, push. Does it ever end?  Or are we working ourselves out to death, literally and figuratively?

 

Choices I make are just that: choices. Live with them or make different choices. Ease up and give a little gratitude to the physical abilities I have and start bursting those bubbles that say, along with my rationale,

 

“Not strong enough,”

There will always be someone stronger.

 

“Not coordinated enough”,

There will always be someone more coordinated.

 

“Not thin enough”,

There will always be genetics that dictate body type.

 

“Not flexible enough”,

There are always ways to improve flexibility.

 

“Not smart enough”,

There will always be someone smarter. Hello genetics.

 

“Not pretty enough,”

There will always be someone prettier. By whose standards?

 

“Not rich enough,”

How much is enough?

“Not popular enough.”

There will always be the high school mentally.

 

”Not successful enough.”

There will always be someone with more drive, better timing, more bravery.

 

 

Sound familiar? Any of it? If yes, then let the mantra be,

 

“Enough OF enough.”

 

“Enough IS enough!“

 

I’d love you to PM me if you struggle with Enoughaholism too. Or am I the only one? Be bold. Be brave. I just was and it wasn’t that bad. The first step is recognizing what we’re doing to ourselves. bw

 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Monica Rivera

My Tee-Tee Tsunami

/6.6.18/Bobbe White/

When learning the speaking and writing business, we were taught, “Avoid speaking about bodily functions, seeing as everyone’s “ick” tolerance and privacy levels differ.” I’ve adhered to this advice for seventeen years in the business. No breastfeeding, colonoscopy or incontinence discussions found here. The only thing I might discuss would be: January 13th is my annual mammogram appointment, because it’s the same day as my annual vacuum maintenance

white toilet paper

Photo by hermaion on Pexels.com

at Sears. And, yep, they both suck. That’s about as far as I go.

 

Anyway, as I finished eight loads at the Wash Tub Laundromat Saturday, I reflected on the prior weekend. The wash consisted of 14 bath towels, 7 beach towels, 11 hand towels, 2 dishrags and 6 pairs of socks. I’m breaking my rule today to write about how humor in the home place is sometimes, well, hard.

 

It started at work, Memorial Day Saturday, at 8:37 a.m. BAM! I got the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) from hell. Just. Like. That. It’s always perplexed me how the elderly can contract UTI’s, but have no clue until they land in E.R. for observation, antibiotics and fluids. Dad’s symptoms would mirror a stroke or brain tumor. The prognosis was typically “UTI”. In contrast, before drop #1 ever hits the toilet water, some of us KNOW we’ve got a UTI. Or is it “an” UTI? Whichever, I’m not kidding. Vengeful symptoms escalate hourly. These delightful symptoms include, burning from your wa-hoo to your tonsils, urgency and frequency, oh my! I helped customers between bathroom visits, alternating between the east end and west end of the building’s restrooms, so the staff wouldn’t think my frequency odd. Why I even cared is beyond me. I couldn’t leave work for staffing reasons.

 

My co-worker recommended an over-the-counter remedy. I flew to Wal-Mart out the back door. $50 later I owned every AZO product on the market. After work, I sped to Ambulatory Care for labs and antibiotics. The nurse said, “Doctor is in the procedure room, so you’ll need to wait.” Translated: a woman was getting stitches in her hand. I nearly laughed out loud. WHAT? WAIT? Seriously? So I sat near the restroom.

 

The frequency lasted all day and night, leaving me exhausted.

 

Sunday, my “tee-tee tsunami” calmed. I resumed normal activities through Memorial Day. Jeff returned from a fishing trip. By 8:45 p.m. we were ready for bed. I ran down to the laundry room to grab sheets out of the dryer when I stepped into half-inch deep water.

 

I hated to break the news, but had no choice, “JEFF…WATER IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM!!!” Jeff’s frustration resembled fire and fury, putting it mildly. Since I’d been the only one home, he started quizzing me on what I’d done in excess to tax our sewer system. Let me clarify, the standing water was crystal clear, thankfully.

 

“Why’s it always my fault?”

 

“I’M NOT GUILTING YOU, I’M SIMPLY DOING THE MATH!”

 

No wonder I hate math. (He speaks very loudly when he’s trying to learn me something!)

 

As he vacuumed water, I fetched towels and more towels. Not exactly our idea of fun at 8:45pm on a “school night.” His questioning continued. It was logical and necessary, I must admit.

 

“DID YOU TAKE LONG SHOWERS?”

“Nope.” Mine are fast. You know that.

 

“DID YOU DO LOTS OF LAUNDRY?”

 

“Two, maybe three loads tops.”

 

“DID YOU FLUSH THE TOILET A LOT?”

 

CRAP. Well, NOT crap, exactly… “I had a bladder infection, O.K.?”

 

“DID YOU USE TOILET PAPER EACH TIME?

 

“Uhhhhh, yeah.” (There’s another option?)

 

“ABOUT HOW MANY ROLLS DID YOU GO THROUGH?”

 

Seriously?

 

“I don’t know… 3? 17? 2? Yes, maybe 2.” Typically, I don’t keep a running toilet paper inventory, except when it’s the last roll, right?

 

“WELL, TWO ROLLS OF NON-BIODEGRADABLE TOILET PAPER WADDED UP IN THE PIPE WILL DO THIS.”

 

“Could it be the tree roots (again)?

 

“IT COULD, BUT STILL, HOW IS A WAD OF CHARMIN THAT BIG (holding his hands the size of a giant watermelon) GOING TO PASS BY THE ROOTS? IT’S NOT. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS.”

 

Any and all humor had gone done the drain with the toilet paper.

 

As hot, tired and sweaty as we were following clean up, showers and flushing were forbidden for now. In the morning, the basement was dry, so I took a 10-second shower before work. I didn’t even wait for it to warm up. I couldn’t have used more than one gallon of water. No way.

 

When entering work on Tuesday, my co-workers asked, “How was your weekend?” So, I told them…about my infection…about the water and how it came down to T.P inventory. And how tonight, Jeff and Donnie would rent the sewer snake to break through El Waddo, (and roots). It got funnier. I called for my lab results and the nurse said, “You DEMAND to see every tissue square of those two rolls that you used to clog the system, do you hear me?”

 

I demanded. The guys laughed at me, because the wad was heading downstream somewhere. Seeing the two of them sitting on the basement floor rolling the snake out and then in, was like watching two little boys play in a puddle. They were in heaven.

 

Epilogue.

And they lived happily ever after, Bobbe learning her lesson, of course. And Jeff might get a sewer snake for Father’s Day. And the next time when a UTI attacks my system, I’m heading to the Holiday Inn Express. I belong to their rewards program. Huh? You see, I’ll get “points (for toilet) paper! And I’m pretty sure each room has at least two rolls and industrial sized pipes…

 

bw

Pedaling My Tush Off

/bobbe white/5.22.18/

 

 

sport bike bicycle cyclist

Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

While in St. Louis, my daughter-in-law, Jenna, treated me to Cycle Bar for spin class. I spin occasionally and do other cardio workouts, so I was certain I could hold up for 45 minutes. Walking Lily used to be cardio, but, seriously, how many 77 year olds do you know who can clip off a four-minute mile? But, I digress.

 

We received emails and texts, welcoming and preparing us for class. I was fitted with shoes and given a welcome water bottle. It was even personalized. I loved this place!

 

Our bikes #25-26, were located on the second tier. It felt like we were sitting in the piccolo section of an orchestra room. Our instructor, Michelle, adjusted my bike. I think LeBron James had ridden this bike in the previous class. The seat reached my armpits. Michelle lowered the seat and locked my shoes into the pedals. However would I escape in the event of fire? I’d be the last man out dragging the damn bike with me, because I wouldn’t be able to unhook my shoes. In previous classes, I’d worn my own shoes. I must admit, I felt smugly professional in the clamp-ons.

 

Two towels hung on each bike. One was for sweat; the other to cover the dashboard. Michelle explained that in classic spin classes, the dashboard was utilized to motivate us to reach “push” levels. The stats revealed velocity, degree of difficulty, caloric burn and minutes remaining until my legs might fall off. Or my tush, whichever came first. I’d forgotten how unforgiving the hard saddle was. Fortunately, the class was taught mostly from a standing stride.

 

Rather than being dashboard directed, Michelle helped us attain limits from desire and inspirational encouragement. She motivated us by getting into our heads. I do adore psychobabble! Did I mention I loved this place? Michelle’s mantra unfurled in a smooth, but convincing voice, fit for a DJ. Her monologue was punctuated by dancing lights and playlist that could rev up Rumpelstiltskin. It went like this. (My internal reply is in parentheses.)

 

“What do you want for yourself today?” (“I don’t know, but let’s get it, Gurl!”)

 

“Come to the edge, farther than before!” (YES! Show me the razor’s edge!”)

 

“Leave behind all that which does not enhance your existence.” (Bobs is leavin’ it in the smoke, Baby. Raaahhrrrrr!)

 

It occurred to me that pacing myself, regardless of my stoked inner power, might be wise. I backed off a teensy bit. Jenna dialed up her resistance and velocity. She meant business. I merely hoped to leave Cycle Bar on something besides a gurney and oxygen. Like my legs.

 

At the end, everyone applauded Michelle. She was an amazing instructor. I felt like I’d attended Tony Robbins’ seminar. Shortly, our compiled stats were emailed to us. This was new. I’d no idea I was being assessed. How cool is that? Jenna read hers first. She’d nearly ruled the class, being ranked for effort and workload, ranking her #2 out of 23 participants. Impressive, but not surprising. She is a fitness machine, that one!

 

“Check yours!” Jenna encouraged. “It’s in your email.”

 

“Oh, I hope I didn’t perform really badly…” I envisioned being #10-11…middle of the pack.I was pumped. I’d pedaled hard. I felt gooooooood! I LOVED THIS STUFF!

 

My recap showed that I’d burned 263 calories, my average speeds and workloads. Then in all its glory, we read my ranking…. #23. That’s out of 23.

WHAT? I WAS THE WORST? I HATE THAT PLACE!

 

Devastation flooded my head, for, like, one 23rd of a nanosecond. Then we started laughing. It got funnier. Take two bikes, side by side. Jenna was nearly the best in class; I must’ve had a flat tire.

 

Yet, here was the method in the madness: numbers don’t always justify results. I felt great and had a great experience. Nobody could take that away from me, #23. The laughter was pretty great too. Pedal on, my friends. bw

STRESS NO EVIL- 2018 experiment

Bobbe White-4/26/18/

fourth monkey

RECAP: the three wise monkeys. Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil and See No Evil. Yes, I know you read about this months ago, but stress is one of those concepts everyone understands differently. We know stress is the devil incarnate to our bodies, our relationships, our work and our brains. So why can’t we get a grip on it? Great question. We all need applicable tools.

What I know is this:

Stress feels different to each of us. If you hadn’t read this previously, I arrived at a cockamamie (I’ve never used that word, but I kind of like it.) acronym, to pull together about ten (okay, twelve) ideas that I have employed this year. To give you a visual, there is now the fourth monkey. “Stress No Evil” is the name. Busting stress is the game. Imagine the three monkeys, doing what they do and then Stress No evil is doing yoga. Make sense?

 

Here’s a rundown, if you’re still battling stress now and then.

 

S ilence. Yesterday I drove to work, lunch errands and home in quiet. Nice.

T oxic people. Surrounding myself with others who bring me up.

R est. Stayed up late last weekend. Next day was awful. Can’t do it anymore.

E xercise. Do what I can. It could always be more. It’s good for what ails me.

S ocial. Hung at a bar with Friday AND Saturday. (I know!) Great friends/music.

S olo. I’ve attended 3 Broadway shows this year. Alone. I’m over feeling weird.

N o. This week I had an opportunity to lie, but I went with honest and said, “No.”

O utdoors. How is it out there? BIG! And springy. And calming. Get some sky!

 

E xplore. Okay, I took this one to the limit, read below*.

V ulnerable. Toughest one: put yourself out there and being open to wounds**.

I nhale. As in, b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Meditate-ommmmmm-whatever, just stand still.

L evity. Well, you know how I feel about fun and funny…

 

**Being vulnerable can be physical or emotional wounding. Physically, it can be an attack. This read leans more to the emotional, (i.e. Being open to criticism and hurt feelings.) Even bad-ass personas have vulnerability. Example: I used to think Jeff didn’t have feelings, so when I’d get frustrated with him, (which was more than once!) I’d spout things that wouldn’t phase him. I found out 41 YEARS later, my words hurt. Even him. Everyone’s vulnerable. Don’t think otherwise. Bad on me. And I’m sorry, kind of late.

 

EXPLORE:

On a brighter note, here’s my 2018 exploration experiment:

 

January: sensory session. Gong, drums and scents, oh my!

 

February: drum circle at a nursing home. Where everyone felt like Ringo!

 

 

March: Chicago cooking class with Jeff. Call me the “Crepe Queen”. Oh yeah.

 

April: Soul drawing session: five hours of meditation and paint. What appeared abstract was amazingly, correctly interpreted about my picture, by ten others. Incredible.

 

May: TBD!

 

Shout out if you’ve tried any of the above tools lately!

Happy weekending! Bw.