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HOW KRAV MAGA IS MAKING A MAN OUT OF ME

Don’t Mess With Bubbie

Carolyn told you a bit about our foray into self-mutilation…whoops, I mean “defense.” She left out a few things.

Remember how in I Love Lucy, Lucy Ricardo would come up with some cockamamie plan and just assume Ethel Mertz would go along with her?  Every couple of episodes, Ethel, bless her heart, would try to grow a backbone and stand her ground.  But Lucy always won.

“Ohhh no, Lucy, count me out of this one.”

“But Ethel—“

“Nothing doing!”

And the next thing you knew, Ethel was standing on the ledge of their apartment building, dressed like a martian.  Well, that’s Carolyn and me.

“Hey,” I said one afternoon when I had obviously lost my mind, “have you heard of Krav Maga?”  (Never, ever EVER ask Carolyn if she’s heard of something.  EVER.  Ever.)

“No.  What is it?”

“Israeli street fighting.  It’s supposed to be a near deadly form of self-defense—  Whom are you calling?“

She had us registered for a trial class in under five minutes.  I am not exaggerating.

“We should at least think about this, Carolyn.  We don’t know these people.  What if they’re not licensed or insured or sane?  We should at least look at the studio first….”

The next day, our local Krav Maga studio –the one with the logo of the snarling bulldog—had three new students.  (Carolyn brought her 14-year-old, star-athlete son.)

The workout/torture room was dreckorated in black and gray, not a whisper of cheerful color.  The instructors and other students were dressed in black and gray, too, as the Krav Maga uniform is part of the registration fee.  Coincidentally, Carolyn had worn black yoga pants and  shirt for our trial class.  I had dressed in jeans and a pink and yellow v-neck “Peace” tee (so cute, really) with hot-pink, lace cami underneath.

Guess who got the look of admiration from Krav Maga Man, the verrrry serious owner of our new home away from home?  He spared me a glance.  “Did you bring water?”

“I don’t want to get hurt!” shot from my lips before I could stop myself.

Krav Maga Man scowled.  “Did you bring water?”

“No.”

Looking disgusted, he walked away.  “What is his problem?” I whispered to Carolyn.  “They didn’t tell us to bring water.  Did you bring water?”  She raised a quart-sized sports bottle.  It was black.

KMM returned with a tiny bottle of Kirkland H2O, which he handed to me.  “Get going, you three.  Class has started.”

I liked the warm up.  My confidence soared, in fact, as I lunged, squatted, tossed in a yoga asana, rolled my shoulders and shadow-boxed.  The nice teacher was smiling at me.  He was smaller, younger, far friendlier than Krav Maga Man.  Let’s call him Mini Krav.

Glancing at Carolyn, who looked sweaty and focused, I grinned.  Self-defense wasn’t so bad.

After teaching us a few lethal punches and kicks, Mini Krav paired us up—men with men and women with women.  Carolyn was partnered with a statuesque 20-something whose muscles appeared to be sculpted from Caesarstone.  After some deliberation, I was matched with a very quiet, much older woman whose loose tee shirt hung past her knees and whose stooped shoulders gave the impression that a trip around the block with her walker might put her into traction.

I’m not going to lie to you people:  My feelings were hurt.  I mean, I work out.  I own FOUR of The Firm DVD’s.   Okay, I haven’t played them much lately, but c’mon.  (That’s all I’ve got, just…c’mon.)

Looking on the bright side, at least I was unlikely to be injured and could help Carolyn get home after Ms. Olympia 2012 took out a kidney.

I smiled encouragingly at my frail partner and graciously held the provided padding, so she could hit me first.  “Don’t be afraid, I’m tougher than I look,” I crooned.  “You can—OWWWWW!”

The old broad didn’t even wait for me to stop speaking!  Just punched me so hard I thought I lost a lung, even with the padding.  Without waiting for me to catch my breath, she pivoted, letting me have it with the other fist while shouting, “MUH!”

“OW!  Sonova–  Hey, lady!”

“Historically, women have been afraid of their full power, so we don’t hold back in class. Do we?”  Her eyes bore into mine and her lips barely moved when she spoke, making her look less Someone’s Grannie and more CIA Assassin.

“Fine, but from here on I’d like to invoke the Marquess of Queensberry rules, so–  Owww-owwww.”  She got me again.  “I was still talking! What is wrong with you?”

“Attackers don’t play by rules, do we women don’t hold back. Do we?”

“Stop asking me that.”

“Practice your kicks!” Mini Krav called above the shouts and groans.

Instantly, I dropped the pads and used the same signal my daughter makes when she’s playing tag, hoping it would translate.  “Time out.  No puppy guarding.”

I looked around for Carolyn and saw her with the owner of the studio.  He had his first-aid kit open as blood was streaming down her hand….

Part Two on Wednesday.

 –Wendy

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Filed under aging, Exercise, Fitness, friendship, Health, Humor, Krav Maga

Middle-aged Foreplay…Sweet Nuthin’

Maybe this should be menopause symptom number 40 or something: The end of foreplay as we once knew it.

A couple of days ago, Carolyn wrote a tad (forgive me, dear friend), but she wrote a tad too realistically about romance for my taste.  And that’s fine.  She doesn’t pen romance novels for a living anymore.  I do.  So I still BELIEVE, Carolyn (and George Clooney, if you’re listening). I believe in Romance.  Please do not louse it up for me.  If Carolyn is correct, and my husband picks his nose in his truck, I do not want to know it, and I do not want to see it.  I don’t care how long two people have been married; there are things that should be picked only in private.  (The same goes for you in your Beamer, George.  Both hands on the wheel.)

And yet, Carolyn’s blog did get me thinking.  Things have changed around here; I have noticed it.  An example:

When I was forty-one, I was chatting with a group of women who mentioned—several times—how old we were all getting.  I went home and told my husband, who placed his hands, those strong and tender, big latte-toned hands with the sprinkle of caramel hair on his manly-man knuckles, on either side of my face.  He gave me the soul-mate gaze, and he said:

“Just tell them you’re my wine.”

Did he get lucky that night?  Oh my, reader, yes he did.

But that was almost nine years ago.  For eight of those years, I have been a mother and for five I have been in menopause.  Probably so has he.

Skip ahead to last week when I donned a hot pink sleeveless tee shirt to show off the upper arms I have been diligently sculpting all summer.  (It’s hard to sculpt mashed potato, but I’ve made some serious headway.)

“Hi, sweetie,” I said to my beloved, flexing and giving him a seductive wink as I pretended to reach for something on a high shelf (still the only way I can get my delts to pop, and, okay, we weren’t near a shelf, but I think I pulled it off).

He gave me a long, considering look.

Grrrrr. I love that look.  You, sir, are about to get lucky for the second time in nine years.

 “Honey,” he said in his velvet, Elvis baritone, the voice that still makes me shiver, “you could use a new bra.   I don’t think that one is doing what it’s supposed to.”

That is NOT foreplay!

Now he’s going to have to wait another nine years.

And I may need a new career.

Carolyn, you up for a trip to Victoria’s Secret?

Sign me,

Wendy– sadder and, uh, apparently lower than I used to be.

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Exercise, Geroge Clooney, Humor, manners, Marriage, Menopause, politeness, Writing

Dem Bones

You know the movie An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr?  My mother showed it to me when I was a wee romantic thing, but if you’re not old enough to recall it, perhaps you’ve seen the remake with Annette Bening and Warren Beatty –titled Love Affair. And if you’re not old enough to remember that, then please Google PBS Kids while I take this moment to address my peers.

So, in An Affair to Remember/Love Affair, Deborah Kerr/Annette Bening falls in love with Cary Grant/Warren Beatty.   Alas, Deborah/Annette is already in a relationship, and Cary/Warren has never had a long-term relationship with anyone.  So they get it into their heads that if a suitable period of time goes by and they are still in love, they will meet at the top of the Empire State Building.  But when poor Deborah/Annette leaps from the cab to see if her lover is waiting for her, she runs smack in front of another car and BAM!  She’s paralyzed.  When her true love finds her and realizes she is injured for life, he asks, “What happened?”   She replies, “I was looking up.” (At the Empire State Building.)

Yeah, don’t do that.

Being the 48-year-old mother of a very energetic seven-year-old, I like to attempt to keep up.  I see the mothers of her classmates setting off on their morning bike rides after drop-off (they ride to the athletic club across the river where they work out for an hour or two before riding back home).  So when DD said, “Let’s chase fairies” after school one day, I set off on a jog after the fairies.   Over pavement, over lawns, over tree roots we ran, leaped and frolicked, pointing at the fairies flying over our heads until…BAM!  I fell.

I was looking up.

I broke my wrist and–long story short–it turns out I have osteoporosis.  Apparently, I’ve had it since I was 40, but missed the memo.  (I swear I thought the doctor said osteopoenia 8 years ago.)  Here comes the irony:  I spent most of my adult life trying to fit into a size 6.  For a dozen years (during my thirties and early forties), I was successful.  Apparently that was not such a good thing for my body.  The technician who did my DEXA scan 8 years ago told me, “If you weighed more, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Well, I’ve been through menopause since then.  I weigh more now.  I’m a size ten again, the size I was always trying to whittle down.  I’m getting another DEXA scan in a couple of weeks and if the bone density in my hip has not improved or is worse, I will get to wear hip protectors–AKA, PADDING ON THE HIP–when I do something physical.  That’s right:  All that dieting back in my thirties has brought me back to size ten hips plus EXTRA PADDING.  Oh, the irony!

Please engage in regular weight-bearing exercise, dear readers.  Eliminate sodas and reduce sugar consumption (without dieting).  Eat plenty of greens and whatever else you do, DON’T LOOK UP.

Wendy

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Filed under Exercise, Fitness, Health, Menopause, Motherhood, osteoporosis, Weight gain, Weight Loss, Writing

Calendar Girls

The Locker Room: "Care for a healthy snack post workout?"

What’s up with women who like to clean out their purse/apply makeup/blow-dry/socialize in the locker room without a stitch of clothing on? Are you one of those? If so, please, explain yourself. Don’t get me wrong. A quick, naked dash from the locker to the shower, standing in your area, dressing, undressing, whatever. But naked chit-chat? Naked stretching? Naked application of nail polish? Don’t get it. 

Yesterday, after a traumatizing workout, I drag myself into the locker room only to be further traumatized by the nudist loitering in front of my locker. Awkward. She is bent over, doing something to her feet. Or her breasts. Don’t know which, since they were both in that…area. Couldn’t look. Too freaked out. She seemed to have no intention of dressing. No clothing anywhere in sight and a laissez faire attitude that screamed, “Hey, I grew up in the 60’s so deal with my carefree abandon”. I felt like a perv, trying to reach around her and retrieve my purse. 

How does one arrange one’s face when speaking to a nude stranger? How does one make small talk? “Hey, I love your… your…uh… your…” Where does one train one’s gaze? 

I’ve never been that uninhibited. Unless you count the times I was in labor with daughter number one and three. (Daughter two’s labor was kindly handled by another brave woman). When I was being stitched up by the doctor, everyone from the labor nurses to the computer maintenance guy seemed to pass through my room while my legs were strapped into stirrups and flung as far as east is from west. “Hey, what’d we have?” the custodian asked, leaning on his mop. “It’s a girl!” I crowed, not caring a fig about my nakedness, but then, remember, I was swacked out of my mind on drugs. 

What is the excuse for the locker room nudist? Are we too hot from all that exercise? Killed the ‘inhibition’ brain cells back at the commune? Fighting a vicious laundry soap allergy? Or is it just me? Am I simply a big party-pooper who has yet to find the joi de vivre in flaunting my flab? The ecstasy of blow-drying sans brassiere? The rapture of panty-less eye-shadow application? 

Yeah. Well. I can see I’m gonna have to loosen up. 

Carolyn

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Filed under Exercise, Fitness, Health, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight gain, Weight Loss

THE GYM: Day One

Whoa, Dude. Exercise? Me?

Got to the club. Was assigned a Personal Trainer. He carried a little note card around, said he was gonna make notes for exercises that would help make my ‘Menopause Journey’ a ‘healthier’ prospect for me and get my daughter into an ‘active’ life-style. He’s a total hottie. I wink at the daughter. She winks back.

Machine number one:
Personal Trainer: Let’s start out by warming up. Hop on the treadmill and give me 10, trotting.

Daughter: Trotting on machine next to mine. Zen-esque. Beaming at the hottie. Show off.

Me: I wonder if he meant 10 seconds? I’ve been trotting for well over a lifetime and the clock on the machine says I’m only up to one minute. Holy crap. I’m ready for a nap. Hope this is all he expects today. Is it normal to fall off the machine?

Machine number two:
Personal Trainer: Now that we’re warmed up, let’s try some resistance exercises.

Me: Good Grief! Should I tell him I just herniated my heart? Lacerated my liver? Exploded my spleen? Several people on other machines are staring at my beet red face with concern and murmuring amongst themselves.

Daughter: Drops into the chair, adds 10 lbs to her recommended weight and powers through the first set. I don’t like the smirk on her face.

Machine number three:
Personal Trainer: This is my favorite for Buns of Steele.

Me: Call 911. I’m sure I just heard something pop. I think it was my spine. I swear I can’t feel my legs. Woman on machine next to me asks if I need defibrillator paddles.

Daughter: Don’t know where she is, as she has already completed three sets. I hear her singing somewhere in the distance. She’s grounded.

Machine number four:
Personal Trainer: This one is guaranteed to give you a six-pack.

Me: Someone get me a six-pack. Stat. With a Ringer’s lactate chase. I’m hearing the Hallelujah chorus and am heading toward the light. I’ve decided I LIKE the way my thighs sag. And what’s wrong with wearing a bra sized 38-Long? Are we done yet?

Daughter: High-fiving the Pilates instructor. I hate her.

Machine number five:
Personal Trainer: Feel the burn.

Me: My head is spinning. I can’t focus. I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Have I given birth to my lower intestine? Should hemorrhoids fill your pants out that way? My shrieks of pain are drawing looks of annoyance from the other members. Up theirs. And the barbell they rode in on.

Daughter: Joined several peers for a quick game of racquet ball. She’s so outta the Will.

Machine number six:
Personal Trainer: This one’s for the Gipper!

Me: Shoot me. I don’t care. I stopped breathing 10 minutes ago anyway. Someone call the morgue. I think I’ve had a series of mini-strokes because I’m drooling now and have lost the ability to communicate in anything other than Klingon.

Daughter: She’s fifteen. Close enough. She’s driving us home. Now.

Looking forward to tomorrow.
Carolyn

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Filed under Exercise, Fitness, Health, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight gain, Weight Loss

Swimsuit season already? Ack!

Spring is here.

I hate the tabloids. They like to take pictures of celebrities with fabulous figures and zoom in on their rear ends and critique bums that, in my opinion anyway, look great.

Far, far better than mine.

I always wonder, who writes this mean stuff? And, what does their bum look like under the telescopic lens?

Anywhoo, it’s that horrible time of year again. Everyone’s a critic. My oldest son–who by virtue of a lucky African gene pool was born tan–tells me I need a little color. The daughters agree that I could wear my bathing suit top backwards and it would still fit perfectly. The hubby is generous enough to say, “We’re both needing a little exercise.”

The scale confirmed their candid consensus. Bummer. (no pun). So, it’s off to the gym. Today is Day One. April 26th, 2010. As good a day as any to start, I guess. I’ve put off the New Years resolution as long as possible. In order to have some accountability, however, I’ll call today Ground Zero and admit that I need to head toward ground -25. I’ll report back here, every so often and let you all know how I’m doing. Dragging the teenage daughter with me, as she needs to head to ground -10 for optimum health.

We are both excited. Have the Gym Bag packed with water, towels, shampoo, sleazy-bum-mocking-tabliods, all the required accoutrements for a day at the spa. Gonna tackle a split routine. Legs today. Tomorrow, upper bod. I’m thinking we’ll both have our Jillian Michaels goin’ by July. All lean and tan and stunning. People are gonna look at us and say, “Hey, now THEY oughta be on the cover of the tabloid with their rock-hard bums!”

Jealousy? Yeah, it’ll be tough to live with people hating us because we’re beautiful. But we’re up for it.

I’ll report back tomorrow and let you all know how Day One at the gym goes.
Carolyn

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Filed under Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight gain