Smiles

During this Thanksgiving season, out thoughts go to counting the many blessings of the past year.  Our family has been the recipient of many.  Yet there are so many families suffering this holiday season, losing their jobs and homes, it is difficult to enjoy.

So what I try to do is look for little things that make me smile.  It is hard to find here in the Chicago area.  People barely look at you in the grocery stores or malls.  Starbucks, which is a sure fire smile factory in the Pacific Northwest, is a real buzz kill here.  Seems no one has time to be civil, if they don’t know you.  My dog Waylon Jennings can get people to smile, because he looks like he is smiling all the time, so we go for a lot walks.

Thinking back it is easy for me to remember smiles.  Rocking out in the car with Max and Addie to the song “Dynamite”
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Put your hands in the air, put your hands in the air!  Addie commenting on my Chris Botti CD with “really, Grandma?!”  When Max was three years old, pulling out of our driveway giving me the thumbs up and saying “thumbs up Grandma!”  Two year old Addie wandering around our yard with Waylon in tow saying,”Come on Waylon, we’ve got work to do!”  Friends that pop back into our life after thirty odd years.  If we just take time to pay attention to the little things that make us smile, it helps us appreciate the richness in our lives.

I am truly rich in what really matters.

The Not So Incredible Shrinking Woman Joins The YMCA

Okay, it’s time to kick this exercise stuff into high gear.  The holidays are coming and I would like to get down another size by Christmas.  Sounds impressive and intentional doesn’t it?  As usual  with me that is not the case.  A couple of weeks ago my Husband was researching health clubs and decided to join the Y.  When he signed up, he got a family membership.  I told him that I probably would not use it as I run on the treadmill upstairs and didn’t want to spend the extra money.  Then I started reading the program guide and found an aerobics class that had dance, toning and stretching that was free to members.  So I called the Y and signed up for the M/W/F class at 9:10 a.m.- 10:10 a.m..  Sunday I ventured out to do a dry run on finding the place, (super easy), signed the waiver and got my photo I.D.  So I was now a card carrying member of the Buehler YMCA.  I ask for directions on where the class is and am told to zig zag around the hallways until just before I get to the basketball courts, on the right behind the glass door is the studio for the class.  Easy enough I say and go home feeling like I have covered all my bases so as not to look like a newbie when I get there on Monday.

Monday comes and I am a bit apprehensive, but I have covered all the bases and tell myself to relax, there will be other people starting the classes. I continue to be amazed at how many people take advantage of the facility.  The parking lot is packed at 9:00 in the morning.  I find a spot to park, take a deep breath and head for the building.  I check in, they ask me if I know where I am going and I say I think so, the gal at the desk goes over the directions one more time and I hurry off.

As I wend my way through the maze of hallways, the place is buzzing with activity.  How great, I think to myself.  I enter the studio where the class is held and notice that everyone has two mats on the floor criss-crossed with their shoes off.  Okay, I introduce myself to the instructor Terry and mention I am new to the class.  She welcomes me and I get a couple of mats and find a place in front to set up.  When class starts we start with a warm up (pretty standard), the music is very soothing, I don’t seem to have a problem.  But I notice she is mentioning  positions like the downward dog.  Oh oh me thinks something is amiss.  Oh God, could I be in the wrong class?  Shit.  Why does this always happen to me?  So…as nonchalantly as possible I approach Terry and matter-of-factly ask if this is the F.I.T. class and she responds that no, that is down at the very end of the hallway.  Okay, how to sneak out without drawing too much attention to my dumb ass? Well that’s not going to happen, so I roll up the mats and get the hell out of there, running down to my class that has already started.

My heart sinks as I approach the group and they are in full aerobic swing.  It strikes me as being very comedic.  I feel like Carol Burnett or Lucille Ball, trying to act like I know what I am doing and always being one or two steps behind.  Doing double taps, grapevines and shuffles to the loud music.  I should’ve stayed in the yoga class I think to myself, at least I could keep up with them.  All of a sudden I feel very old and awkward.  Not mention it brings back all sorts of  memories of the early 80’s and leg warmers and spandex.  Jesus, I’m tired already.  When we finish the aerobic portion of the class, everyone walks over to pick up their mats and weights, except for me because I didn’t have any.  A lovely lady, thankfully about my age, comes over to me and introduces herself as Judy, one of the instructors in the class, and she goes with me to pick up a mat and some weights.  I thank her and she mentions that she noticed I was doing pretty well on the routine, to  which I just about choked, mainly because I couldn’t breathe and my throat was parched.  No need for water now, I was just about dead.

We got through the crunches and the pli’es  with weights and I’m thinking if I can get through to December 18th I may not look too bad.  But as I am writing this my knees are beginning to ache. ( Nothing a couple of extra strength Tylenol won’t fix.)  It is going to be long six weeks.  But you can bet your sweet bippy that next class, I will have my mat, my weights, a water bottle, and show up at the right room just like I’d been doing this forever.