Thursday, March 26, 2015

This Is What a Warrior Looks Like

The young woman in front of me was about 25 years younger than me and I was about 20 years younger than everyone else. 

So I thought oh this 9:00 a.m. yoga class is going to be a snap.
Especially after the teacher said in her best kindergarten voice, "Class is starting.  Class is starting," and everyone kept on gossiping and catching up on all the health problems they all were having.

Things started slow and easy enough.  And I was feeling all smug until suddenly like an army rising out of invisibility, thirty-odd women became a fierceness that only comes with the decades they earned. 

The Warrior Pose

These were warriors who fought battles never seen in Hollywood blockbusters or comic books.

At the end of class, the teacher, in her best kindergarten voice, asked, "Is there any pose you'd like to do?"

"Side plank," someone called out.

Are you fucking kidding me I quietly thought to myself? Side plank was what I watched skinny healthy 18-year-old girls straight out of athletic wear catalogs do on yoga DVDs.

A woman near me said, "oh I can't do that." 

"Me neither" I told her. 

"Knee operation," she said. 

"Me too!" (yeah so what if it was a year ago.)

The teacher, in her best kindergarten voice, began instructing.

And once again, an army, including that woman who had just had a knee operation, emerged from my disbelief.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bad Girls of the Gym

I knew they were trouble the minute I saw them in the back.

The entire basketball court was packed with 60-odd ladies and a few gents of all ages - or at least the ages that remembered the lyrics of songs younger people call 'oldies'.

There was no room anywhere but by them, so I joined them.

We were all marching in place and stepping and toeing and heeling when "Peggy Sue" came on and these back-of-the-room ladies started singing and dancing their own steps.

They had that sparkle in their eyes and I swear if we were all in high school together, I'd do anything to go smoke with them in the girls bathroom.

Then the teacher said, "O.K. I'm changing the music, so NO CHIT-CHATTING!  O.K? NO CHIT-CHATTING."

The minute she said that, all three were off to visit with other friends in the far-flung corners of the huge basketball court.

Aretha came on and well, what the hell why not... while everyone was doing triceps and bicep and shoulder presses, the four of us started dancing and singing "Rescue me! Take me in your arms! Rescue me..."

Just as good as the girls' bathroom and well, much healthier than smoking.

However, getting them to stand still for a picture?

Like herding cats.  

You want me to use your names, I asked them, or should I just call you the Bad Girls of the Gym?

"BAD GIRLS OF THE GYM!" they shouted and went off laughing and joking with all their friends.

Related Posts:

Sometimes You Can Go Home Again

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Memories: Look Back in Love
At a Dream

The honeymoon trip over and the elopement still an unplanned surprise, cliches rattle about in the haze of jetlag.

"It was the trip of a lifetime."

"It was like a dream."

"It went by in a flash."

"It felt like ages ago."

"It felt like just yesterday...."

What better time then to look back and remember the delight of falling in love with a new world.

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Look Back in Love at Home

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Look Back in Love at Home

Under the category, "Eat Dessert First!" the Mariner and I have come to the end of our pre-elopement honeymoon. What better time than to look back in love at home.

A friend told me about a new documentary on homelessness.  The film revealed that homelessness became profoundly difficult to change when community and relationships were severed or lost.

That stayed with me for a long time.

Home was many things.

It was where Florence began to fade. 

It was the city that still trumpeted her spirit.

It was a meal with good friends, regardless of where we were or how old we had gotten.

It was the intimacy of familiar things and normal moments.

It was what we left and what we sought.

In recent days spent wandering from one place to another,  the Mariner and I had each other and because of that home was always there, be it the walls of an apartment in Spain or the stern of a houseboat in Amsterdam. 

Now familiar walls beckon.  It is time to go home.  But in many ways, we had never left.

Related Posts:

Look Back in Love at 200 Miles an Hour

Look Back in Love at Sunday Memories of Old Friends

An Attempt to Do It Before They Do

Home is Where the Heart is and the Heart is Always Home

The Exhaustion of Diaspora: Part Six - Home, Where My Love Lies Waiting

Sunday Memories of the Future of Love

Rare Friendships: Coming Home

Blog with a View

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Look Back In Love: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and a Couple of Other Places Too

 This used to be the sea.

Now it's farmland, built slowly over decades. 

The Dutch reclaimed it from the waters that surrounded them.  They needed to transform and reshape their world so they could eat food and not drown.

If they could reclaim land from sea, then what could possibly stop any of us?

Related Posts:

Look Back in Love at Sunday Memories of Old Friends

Look Back in Love 200 Miles an Hour

Look Back in Love with Some Really Good Food

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Look Back in Love
at Sunday Memories of Old Friends

Us in Paris

photo: Ted Krever

I would have never left my apartment to go visit a foreign city, which in my book also included New Jersey.   But accidentally meeting Dutchie when I thought I was really old but only just a kid, I found myself crossing the Atlantic for the first time to see how she lived.  For someone who didn't visit Brooklyn at that time, I am not sure how that came about, but go I did. 

And then it was as if we could not stop traveling.  In cars to farms or trains to parades and on several planes to parties or really good food, and once to a pig race.

Maybe when you are traveling so much you finally get to where you are going.   Who knew in all our adventures we were also going home.

Years ago I wrote: In the whirl of time, we hold each others' footsteps, the ones we took towards love, through loss and then back into unexpected life again, and we bear witness for one another of how amazing and surprising life turned out to be. 

Not seen in the picture are the two  patient, good humor partners who somehow, in their own journeys to an amazing and surprising life, built a doorstep to a beautiful home that always welcomed us in, no matter where we were, no matter what. 


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Sunday Memories: The Domino Effect

Sunday Memories: Another  Small Small Small World After All

Sunday Memories: Girlfriends

Sunday Memories of the Future of Love

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Look Back in Love, 200 Miles an Hour

the high-speed train between Barcelona and Paris

After her marriage and familial responsibilities ended and she stepped into her own life, late 50's maybe 60, Florence kept saying "I was asleep all my life.  I was asleep."  The fury and regret that fueled those words were palpable.

Who the hell wanted to grow old like that?  I did everything I could to stay awake to what was actually happening.  Coffee helped.

The thing is when you are really and truly awake, the horrible stuff becomes something wonderful and the wonderful stuff flies by.  I wasn't waiting for things to begin.  I wasn't dreaming of something that would never happen.  I wasn't holding my breath.

From the beginning, it felt like the Mariner had always been here.  From the beginning it felt like we just met.

Every once in a while I'd glanced back just before the horrible and the wonderful became a memory but unless I was reminded or reread my diary I was sure to forget.  Like being on the high speed train, attempting a picture of things so beautiful became almost impossible because they were gone before I could snap a photo.

There was nothing left to do except sit back, enjoy the beauty and stay awake.

Related Posts:

Look Back In Love: My Mama Done Told Me

Sunday Memories of the Future of Love