What if our butts and minds remembered? Aging with (multi) purpose.

elephant-748288_1920I am one of the lucky ones that age slower than your average human being (Thanks, Mom – and your genes). Despite this, as I’ve entered my 40s, I’ve noticed that certain body parts aren’t well, as firm.

I’m vain, but not so much so I’d go under the knife to alter what’s happening. I may be more accepting about the aging process if the gritty details of aging – sagging muscles, age lines actually served a purpose.

Some of you may argue – well, it has a purpose; it’s the slow decomposition of our bodies.

Duh! I’m alive and feeling vibrant. I’d like those decomposing details to DO something. Am I asking too much of human evolution?

Probably.

What do I mean by DO something?

  • Well, what if our smile lines and crows feet acted as new additional receptors for our memories, or better yet, increased our intuitive knowing?
  • What if our gluteus maximus remembered to support us – literally! This is an issue that is REAL – our butt loses muscle memory as we age. But what if it did actually do one better than remember to support us structurally – and actually sent us encouraging voice-messages to our brain when we stuck to a work out schedule, or showed support to others?
  • What if our ‘chicken wing’ arm flab could be voice-activated to ‘turbo slap’ an approaching assailant?

I think that commercial media as usual, simplifies our wants. Yes, looking youthful is aesthetically appealing, but maybe we just don’t want aesthetics, maybe we want more purpose, too. So, yes, the points above ask for too much, but remind me that while looking lovely is nice, living with more purpose, multi-purposes is most important to me.

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Parenting Adventures: No Sleep Till Burping and Other Challenges.

Recently, I had the joy of caring for a newborn loved one, my niece. This was also a short adventure in parenting in which I gained a new appreciation for parents, babies and how families survive the parenting process. It’s all a miracle how any of the family unit stays together without committing crimes of insanity or stupidity from lack of sleep.GP_cryinginheadphones

A newborn baby will not easily fall asleep if it hasn’t burped, because you know, gas happens. We adults know to take a Tums and or, get some peppermint tea and we’re good. My newborn niece doesn’t have these options. Parents, and or yours truly,  must burp her for R-E-L-I-E-F. Not just her relief, but for everyone in earshot and desiring sleep. A gassy infant is a cute, but pained and noisy tiny human.

 

Parents are sleep deprived and they are lying if they say otherwise.  Despite earplugs, I would wake to my beautiful niece crying loudly to tell us she was hungry, or wet, or both.  Sometimes, she may be just whining. I’d wait a few minutes to make sure it wasn’t the former. She would typically go back to sleep after such noises.  But really, I couldn’t stand much longer than five minutes of either because I’d think  – “What if it’s really serious and what if her parents were too exhausted to hear her?!”

So, I’d go check on her and for at least half the nights visiting my family. I’d either begin/finish a changing or a feeding. I had some nights where I didn’t wake up. I felt so bad. What if no one heard her at her feeding time that night? Such guilt – and I’m  not her mother! Madness, I tell you. Parental instincts seem to wake moms and dads.

There are other ways nature/God intervenes so sleep deprived parents don’t accidentally kill or misplace their child. Here’s some examples for why I believe this:

  • I am a conversationalist. After a few nights of sleep deprivation I had no desire to talk. This was in part, because my ability to put a sentence together was declining rapidly. How do parents communicate over the longterm successfully?
  • My memory was going to crap because of no sleep. How do parents remember if they picked their other child up at school,  and if they really did commit to $1000s in organic baby formula?
  • There MUST be something naturally induced in the human body that prevents feelings of going to a 24-hour party where you don’t recall having fun,  you woke hungover and then you survive getting run over. My body and mind felt like this after three days of little sleep.
  • I now know parents may be soothed by their baby’s scent. It ironically disappears before the child is potty-trained, so my sister  says. My niece smells like a mix of baked goods and candy. I get why my sister or her husband don’t get angry or frustrated from 3 hours of sleep after a whiff from the top of her head. I also get why you hear parents say, “I could just eat you up!” It’s not a desire to pursue cannibalism. Their kid just smells like a bakery and and candy store.This fragrance creates some happy or relaxing feelings. Nice. A baby high.  Side note – this smell DOES NOT cancel out/reduce a full-poopy-diaper smell. God/Mother Nature  – you need to work on this.

To parents everywhere whose kids have made it to age five and are happy and healthy – you amaze me. Keep up the good work.

 

Because Surprise Periods, Tampons are Mythical in Some Corners of the World. Demand Businesses and Lawmakers Get with the Flow.

Recently, I’ve had the kind of  fun that comes with having an unexpected  period at a gym during a workout. Thankfully, I wore black that day and a friend was with me to offer support when I learned there were no tampons in the women’s bathroom. What?! This is a customer service, health and sanitation issue.

This is an upscale gym that I infrequently patron. The interior is sleek and modern. The women’s bathroom and locker area are big, have large mirrors and cushy cream-colored seating in the dressing area  – you could host a party in there.

shutterstock_391747558-1024x683The vanity area is stocked with hand soap, Q-tips, mouthwash and cups with which to swish and rinse. However, there are NO tampons/sanitary napkins. Really?! You go through so much effort to make sure one end of our bodies is fragrantly fresh, clean and hygienic, but ignore the other end?

I can see it now –

Regular upper-class gym members, heatedly pointing out that blood isn’t part of the gym’s décor. They demand a refund, or at least a discount on the membership that month.

I asked the young, tall, polite, cheekily smiling, gentleman at the front desk if they have any feminine napkins/tampons  in the emergency supply kit.  Because, when it’s unexpected like this, it may be an emergency – right?

Our exchange after my request:

Gym Concierge – “ I’m sorry we don’t have any in supply. You’re the first person who has asked me about it.”

Me – “Wow!” I say (my eyes widening in disbelief). “NONE of your other female patrons have asked you about it? Sign me up for whatever magical exercise program they’re taking that stops their periods in its tracks.”

Gym Concierge – While laughing, and maybe a bit embarrassed, he says again, “I’m sorry.”

Me – “Yes, it’s a sorry situation, but not your fault though. Please tell your management that providing these items are a health and sanitation service for your customers. Thanks.” (I plan to send this blog to their corporate office, too.)

It IS sorry. It’s sorry that tampons can be more expensive than the other goods offered at this gym. My friend pointed out that there is an old tax applied to them as a “luxury item.” What?! This is no luxury, it’s a necessity! Last I checked luxuries are nice-to-have items –  liquor, or a designer watch.  Feminine napkins/tampons, like toilet paper are basic essentials.

I think it would be more work and expense to deal with unclean facilities, stains on cream-colored furniture AND keep the gym goers calm about it; instead of having have a small supply of feminine products in the women’s bathroom. Schools in other parts of the U.S. are offering them for free, so why can’t retail and service businesses see the necessity, too?

Here is a petition to make sure the tampon tax is removed and to make it easier for companies/institutions to go with the flow – stock feminine products for their patrons/customers. Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Those Rarer Times when Awkward Discomfort Leads to Creativity. (Cabin) Pressure Creates a Little Gem.

creativityCreativity – what conditions are best for it? In a recent conversation with a dear friend, we agreed that most of our good creative ideas come when we are doing one of the following – washing our hair, staring out the window, driving, or meditating. We are typically, physically at ease and relaxed. Even when I worked in busy, noisy office spaces, I was able to shut my door or put headphones and be productive. However, about three months ago, a strange thing happened to me. I was able to be creative under very different and unusual circumstances.

I was on a plane trip where I was pretty uncomfortable. The woman next to me had space in her seat to leave me one arm rest for at least part of the flight. She overtook the arm rest between us and randomly leaned a bit into my seat space. Additionally, she was coughing and sniffling into crumpled tissue. There was another seat on the other side of her, in which she could’ve sat. I asked her why she didn’t want the window seat. She told me that in case nature calls, she’d like to be closer to the aisle, so she was fine with the middle seat. I told her I understood and for the same reason, prefer my aisle seat. I added to this with a hopeful smile– “I’m sure we’re both good at sharing an arm rest.” She proved me wrong.

About 4o minutes into the flight, I asked a crew member if there were other empty seats on the plane, and of course, there was not. Not that it seemed to matter much, the majority of passengers sounded sick. So, besides feeling physically cramped, I was having a mild to moderate case of germ-phobia. I decided to make the best of it. I asked the flight attendant for some orange juice. I applied hand sanitizer generously. For a moment, I considered lathering up with up it – smearing it on my face, neck and arms to see if it would disturb my seat neighbor enough to move over. But, I didn’t have much left and wanted it to last the flight. So, I put on my ear buds and started reading a book I got for Christmas – Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, her funny, inspiring, and down-to-earth, nearly mid-life memoir. In it, she described her challenge in writing it –

“ Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or hard it was . . . writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room with leather novels and chai tea . . . what a load of shit. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver.”

Creativity and inspiration soon spark. A poem started forming in reply to her writing challenges. I wrote about my struggle with writing a fiction book:

Scribing Story or Sticky Sludge?

The pen is my balancing cane,
as I sludge
through molasses in
purple goulashes.
Hoping I don’t land on
my ass or in a pile of ashes –
the ashes of books burned
which never saw their finish.
Should I stick not to the molasses,
but the telling of a story to the end?
But what end? Who decides the end?
Is it I, they, or it – the molasses of gray
matter that is my mind of late?
Is it the moles, the curious on-looker of critics,
do-gooding book-readers who poke out their heads
and opinions? Or is it the asses,
the naysayers, and whybothers?
I continue on.
My pen is my support and ally as
I slip and slide down the street of molasses that seems to not end, 
doing my best to shake distracting moles and asses along the way.

 So, feeling the pressure of being confined to a small, uncomfortable space seemed to force me to intensely focus on other thoughts and ideas – and get some results. Have you had similar moments of creativity? Share your physically, awkwardly, uncomfortable, but creative moments with me in the comments below.