You know how they say “travel is broadening?” Well, when it comes to the size of my ass, I’d definitely have to agree. Seriously, I’ve taken to referring to my hips as “croissant” and “pain au chocolat.” Whatever. I don’t regret eating a single slab of pâté or hunk of Camembert. It was vacation.
Now that I’m home, though, I’m actually feeling the need to downsize a bit. And I’m not just talking about the size of my hips. You see, one of the things that struck me during my travels was the simplicity of how Europeans live. Both apartments where we stayed, one modern and one in a more aged building, were built on a much small-scale than their American counterparts. Honestly, it made our American tendency to accumulate seem downright vulgar.
Let me give you a couple of examples…
The bedroom closets are really compact to accommodate much smaller wardrobes than those of the typical American. I’m talking maybe 2 ½ feet of hanging rod space and a handful of drawers. Coming home to my
walk-in step-in closet and double-sided rolling clothing rack embarrassed me. Why do I have so much frigging clothing?
Both flats had lovely, updated kitchens. If these kitchens are any indication, Ikea seems to dominate the market and I am definitely going to consider going that route myself when I address my tired kitchen cabinets. Both kitchens were well laid out and contained more than adequate storage for the limited number of necessary items. That being said, neither kitchen had extraneous space, merely enough cupboards for cookware, dishes, glassware and some pantry items. Why do American kitchens require so much space?
One of the apartments we rented had 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a combined kitchen, dining and living room. The other had 2 bedrooms, a large loft sleeping area, kitchen and combined living/dining room. There was one bathroom. I don’t think either of these apartments exceeded 800 or 900 square feet. Why do new American homes need to be nearly three times that size? Who convinced us that we should aspire to maintain, heat and clean such large residences?
Time for me to minimize.
On our 15th wedding anniversary, my husband and I had a special dinner at a restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard. The meal was a bit of a disappointment, but the company was good.
After we had finished our meals and were somewhere between entrée and dessert, our wedding song came on over the restaurant’s speakers. I was touched and felt my eyes well with emotion. I thought to myself “we should dance.” There wasn’t a dance floor (it was a restaurant), but we could have managed a twirl or two. It was our 15th wedding anniversary.
I’ve thought back to that night a few times and wonder what might have been different if I had forced the words “we should dance” out of my mouth or if he had said “I arranged for this song to play.” If either of us had done something to demonstrate our love for the other. Would it have been enough to have prompted us to steer our ships once again to be side by side and in the same direction? I’ll never know.
By our next anniversary dinner, we were, in retrospect, clearly sailing in different directions. It was a fancy meal, perfectly executed and filled with laughter. We met the chef-owner and there were many bottles of wine uncorked. My feet hurt in their new shoes. It was good to feel something.
It’s almost 5 years later now and I never dreamed this life that I’m living. I write and run and work and eat and take pictures and I love, love, love. I feel more alive than I’ve ever felt and am equally inspired by today and the thought of tomorrow. Things may not have gone the way I imagined they would, but as an inherently grounded person, my imagination is sometimes too timid.
I never imagined I’d quote Hugh Hefner but he said it perfectly:
“In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined a sweeter life.”
Eleanor Roosevelt once said that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Do you think we can apply this logic in a broader sense to situations in which we feel advantage has been taken of us? Do we somehow give permission to people to take advantage of us?
There are particular incidents in my life that continue to bother me despite the passage of time, usually because I failed to assert myself. I essentially gave someone an opportunity to make me feel inferior because I failed to stop them. When I think about those occasions I find myself replaying the scenarios, inserting a response that I only wish I had conjured up during the original altercation. You know, the perfect retort just too late. I want a do over.
The older I get, though, the less frequently I feel the need for a do over. I’ve learned that the discomfort of directly dealing with a person who is threatening my sense of what is fair or reasonable, is less damaging than perpetually looping the incident mentally afterwards. Ultimately, it’s better to give someone a piece of my mind than to allow them to just take it.
Don’t even approach my body unless you’ve first been between my ears. I’m 48, not 18.
True love isn’t roses and chocolate. It’s starting my car on a winter’s morning or bringing home pizza on a Friday night.
Love is buying me the Sunday paper on Saturday so I don’t have to go outside on a cold morning.
Love means being able to continue to believe.
I’ve seen a number of movies in the past month or so, three of which have been based upon books. American Sniper is the only one in which I felt the movie didn’t accurately portray the author’s experiences with real accuracy.
I admire Chris Kyle’s patriotism and willingness to sacrifice his life for his country, but the violence he exhibited away from the battlefield made me uncomfortable. It also left me wondering if such an innate streak of violence is what makes a soldier so successful.
The scenes depicting the gun battles were horrifying. I struggle to believe that after all of the supposed evolution of our species we have no other way to resolve conflict.
I have no problem whatsoever with Chris’ description of his enemy as being “savage.” Anybody who is willing to sacrifice a child’s life to harm another can only be described as such.
I am incapable of doing anything other than closing eyes when I am confronted with images of torture and physical aggression. It isn’t that I don’t want to know about it, I simply can’t watch it without feeling physically ill.
The fact that there are (were) people like Chris Kyle who have such a powerful patriotism that it causes them to feel drawn to helping to eliminate threats to our country and citizens is remarkable to me. Undoubtedly, he was a hero.
The choice between country, God and family, for some, isn’t easy. I admire the commitment Chris Kyle and other members of our armed forces made to our country and wish it had been rewarded with appropriate post-active duty attention and care.
It doesn’t matter how many “kills” he had in battle. His life was really more about taking care of people (his brother, his family, other soldiers) than it ever was about taking people out. RIP, Chris Kyle.
My run Sunday came at a price – more specifically, the knee of my oldest running tights and a little skin on both my palm and my knee. Jeter and I had gotten a later start at the golf course than I had hoped, and by the time we completed the back nine and were midway through the front nine, it was fairly dark. Or maybe unfairly dark when it came to that patch of ice which did not reveal itself until my foot landed on it. Oops.
As my foot led, my body went up in the air, ultimately smacking to the ground on hip, hand and knee. Ouch. It hurt. I like to think that overall, I didn’t go down as terribly as I might have. I mean, I was a gymnast years ago and there’s muscle memory when it comes to falling, isn’t there? On the cold ground I did a quick inventory and, comfortable with my self-assessment, I got back up. Because that is what you do, isn’t it?
Once I regained my feet, I continued on the path with my thoughts shifting from where they had been previously. Before my slip, I had been reflecting about how much I loved exercising outdoors, year round. Even when I lose my footing and completely wipe out, fresh air still trumps the stale air and static view of a gym.
Now I thought back to when my children were toddlers and young boys and the frequency with which they seemed to fall down. It was remarkable. The slightest discrepancy in flooring, the tiniest drops of moisture, a tree root or dip in the earth would end with the same result – child on the ground. It was almost predictable in its capriciousness.
As we age, we don’t expect to end up on the ground, do we? Indulgence and illness aside, we remain consistently on our feet. Falling down is a part of life, though. Maybe the occasional reminder of that truth is something we all need.
Take 1 – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are fearless. The collective gasp when they ran their Bill Cosby bit was definitely an indication that they caused some discomfort in the audience. Unlike the rest of Hollywood, Tina and Amy weren’t letting Cosby get away with anything.
Take 2 – Nothing worked harder during last night’s broadcast than the yards of double-stick tape employed by so many of the women to prevent nip slip. Many of last night’s gowns gave new meaning to the phrase Golden Globes…
Take 3 – Amy Adams in her incredibly awkward and inarticulate acceptance speech did nothing to endear herself to me – until she stopped speaking, that is. I don’t know what it is about her, but I just can’t stand her.