Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summertime Blues Book Review

What does this baby boomer blog about when this baby boomer does nothing but goes to work, goes to two work-out classes from Hell, eats at Al’s Hamburgers on Friday nights, and has breakfast at the Neighborhood CafĂ© on Saturdays? Think I’m a rut? Lol. Hey, the exercise classes are a new addition and I order a grilled cheese sandwich at Al’s Hamburgers!

Getting back to my subject of nothingness, based on this past Saturday morning at breakfast with dear friends, we baby boomers sometimes find conversation challenging. Mr. D was being a bit peckish because his wife and I were discussing our health issues. He said we were talking “old folks’ talk”. Okay, so he's younger than we are--his day will come. It didn’t seem help either when I, trying to polite and include him in the conversation, asked about his next colonoscopy. I mean, doesn’t he watch the tv show, Men of a Certain Age? If you don’t either, you got to! Great insight to guys’ minds, gals. Talking about work was off limits at the breakfast table, and frankly, we were too bummed out over Oslo’s tragedy and the big boys in Washington playing “Blind Man’s Bluff”. And then there’s the heat! I think we are all really tired of hearing the weatherman tells how many days it’s been hot. We know that already! Even if we never ventured out into the front or back yard, our electric bill would tell us.

So as in real life, when it gets too intense for comfort, I turn to books. I just finished Lisa Scottoline’s latest novel, Save Me and I loved it. I’m surprised, too. Not because I don’t like this author, I love her, but because this particular novel starts off with a raging school fire. I escaped from a fire many years ago and once you’ve been through something like that, the senses never forget. But Ms. Scottoline had captured this reader and carried me through the flames into the main story – a woman who had to choose between saving her daughter or someone else’s. Rose does what we like to think we would do—manage to save them both.

Perfect ending? No, only the beginning of a powerful, compelling story of a woman who did the right thing and it backfired. She finds herself being sued and criminal charges filed against her for abandoning the child she carried to safety before going back for her own daughter, Melly. She can lose her home, her husband and perhaps even her freedom. As she struggles to find out what went wrong, why Amanda, the other little girl, went back into the burning school cafeteria, she also has to face her past and the secret she’s kept from everyone, even her husband.

Lisa Scottoline, a prestigious trial lawyer is unique author, one who can write women’s fiction that holds you capture until the very end and nonfiction that will make you split your sides from laughing. I didn’t discover Lisa until I saw her first nonfiction book, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog sitting on a shelf at Barnes & Noble. I normally don’t pick books just because of their title but come on, this was so different and I’m such a dog lover, no way was I going to pass it up. Her next nonfiction book, My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space is just as warm and funny and fast-pace as her first. Lisa also writes a delightfully humorous weekly column that you can read on her website:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Camp HRC - False Advertisement!

Okay, I am making this my official charge of misrepresentation and false advertising by a local rec center. This summer I had decided it was time for me to get physically fit. Please note that I did not end that sentence with “again”. Not with my history of being one of the few to have flunked gym class in the 60’s thanks to President Kennedy’s national fitness program. No way could I do twenty-five pushups, five chin-ups and scurry up some darn rope back then! I’d lost most of my baby fat by the time I was in high school but my idea of exercising was turning pages in whatever novel I had my nose in or riding shotgun in a speed boat while everyone else water-skied.

When I studied the rec center’s catalogue of activities, I immediately vetoed the Energize Exercise class that promised that I’d like to exercise in the morning and feel energized all day because I knew I didn’t and wouldn’t. I passed on the Spin & Sweat class because I already have a problem with dizziness and no way do I like to sweat. It just feels yucky. The class for Active Independents sounded good but it was all daytime classes. Apparently the rec center hasn’t gotten the message most of us baby boomers can’t afford to retire so we need evening classes.

I finally settled on signing up for Camp HRC. The title sounded scary until I read the class description, “Do you have low back pain, feel sluggish, and just physically unconditioned? Exercise can prevent, treat and cure diseases associated with poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.” Hum…. I met all of the qualifications, so it must be the class for me.

Here’s where I got in trouble. I take things literally. Therefore, I assumed that if someone was leading a sedentary lifestyle, their exercise class should be fairly sedentary to start off with. Like musical chairs or a slow hokey pokey perhaps. So when I walked in and saw folks dragging out mats, huge rubber balls and weights, I figured I had the wrong class. “Oh no, you have the right class,” I was reassured by a group of very friendly folks about my age. “You better start with the light weights, one pounders.” So far so good. I knew some yoga and I figured I could handle the hand weights so I picked up the 3 and 5 pound ones as well.

“So what do you do with the ball?” I asked. “Sit on it while you do your hand weights?” “Yes.” Cool, I could handle that. “While you lay back on the ball facing the ceiling.” Huh? The darn ball was a size of a small planet. “So how do I get back up?” “We’ll help you.” At that point, I turned to run away, but they quickly locked the gym door on me. Class started and I immediately realized while the class was titled Camp HRC. Our instructor had to be an escaped drill sergeant from some military boot camp and HRC had to stand for Help me, Rescue me, and Crisis, I’m crashing!

After a ten minute warm-up from hell that caused me to sweat profusely and pant, we then proceeded to do pushups, crunches, planks, free weights, lifts, toe balances and squats. I was back in high school again, only this time with a 50-year older body. After class, these very nice classmates came over to me (probably to see if they needed to call 911) and reassured me that when they’d first started this class two years ago, they’d had the same problems! “After a year or two, you’ll get the hang of it,” they said. We’ll see.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another Betty

I ran into an old friend yesterday while shopping. My hair was a sweaty mess, I had no makeup on, and I was wearing a sleeveless top that exposed my old lady arms and a pair of baggy jeans that drooped along with my rear. Isn’t it that way it always happens? Except—this was the way I looked, minus the sweaty hair, earlier in the day when I met two friends for breakfast. Ah, the joys of growing up.

I apologized with the customary, “Doesn’t it always happen this way – running into someone you know when looking a mess,” as I greeted Diane. We exchanged the typical “How have you been” and “how’s the kids” and “Gee, I’ve been thinking of you,” before she asked, “Are you still living alone?” When I said yes, she looked at me and smiled, “You like it, don’t you? Living alone?” Without any hesitation, I said, “yes, I actually do.” She nodded and said, “I thought so.”

Sitting this morning at the computer, still in my pj’s, my hair uncombed, wondering what to blog about and procrastinating the best I could, I played computer scrabble, then decided to check on what my favorite blogger, Dominique Browning, had written to see if I could get some blog inspiration. As always her blog was entertaining and thought-provoking. She sometimes has great links and I followed one this morning to where I discovered my future.

A blog entry in written by Roz Warren titled The Library Witch starts off with “Betty wanders through the library muttering… In her 70’s with scraggly gray hair and a hard, troubled gaze, she resembles a witch, but in baggy sweats and faded T-shirt…..”

By now I am lol when I should be wondering why I am laughing. The red cardinal who only visits me when I’m blogging or should be blogging raps on the still-clean window and Petie, my one-eye sweet pup, is pawing my leg to be picked up.

I continued reading. “..Bob, the man who brings Betty in (the library) isn’t her husband. We don’t know what he is. All we know is that he sits down at a computer and ignores her, leaving her to wander the library unsupervised…..What will become of Betty? She’ll probably continue to haunt our library until she manages to spark a conflict with one of crazy patrons…Betty will glance at Old Baldy the wrong way and the next thing you know, we’ll have a good old cat fight on our hands.”

This, of course, isn’t my future. It’s about another Betty, much older than me. All we have in common is our name and our love of libraries. So far. But as I enjoy living my life as I choose, dressing up or down as I like, reading and laughing out loud at something someone else might not find funny, while shouting and waving away a demented cardinal, I think I might consider making a few changes—starting with showering, doing my hair and makeup, and dressing up for going out for an afternoon adventure today with a girlfriend who is not named Bob. Yours truly, Elizabeth.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day Everyone!

In the spirit of Independence Day and the typical Texas summer heat, I am celebrating the freedom that our forefathers fought for us in the comfort of my air-conditioned house with a good book and my sweet pups. I will still be enjoying the summer sunshine beauty (and the red Cardinal who is determined to keep knocking at my window) thanks to my freshly hand-cleaned and cobweb-free windows and screens. And no, I certainly did not do them myself. I am thankful that I live in a country that gives me the opportunity to work so that I can pay it forward by hiring someone to do my windows for me. It was always a Midwestern tradition to welcome summer in by taking down the storm windows, cleaning the window panes and hanging freshly brushed window screens. Come Fall, the tradition was reversed to welcome Winter. I have missed these coming-of-seasons rites since I moved to Texas many, many years ago.

And on this Independence Day, I have also decided it’s okay to celebrate our independence by accepting that maybe we can have too much independence, hence hiring someone to clean my windows. I’m starting to realize that it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help or allow assistance or even take shortcuts when necessary or desired. I didn’t do my blog yesterday for several reasons. One, it’s been brought to my attention that sometimes they are downers. Two, I didn’t think it would be missed. Three, I had a fun day planned with a friend and really didn’t have the time. Two proved to wrong! Hurray and thank you Soul Sister for letting me know that you missed it!

Today I am going enjoy my freedom in blogging by paying it forward again and directing you to two of my most favorite blogs (if I can get the links to work!) If not, the website addresses for both are as follows: (Look for her June 30th blog. I really got a kick out of it.) (This one is a total hoot for all of us single gals at any age.)

Happy 4th everyone!