How to tell you’re making progress in a weight loss and exercise program?

Something happened the other day to make me realize I’d made significant progress in Zumba class. Except in steps, timing, musicality, balance, speed, grace, stamina, endurance, appearance, dance, or choreography of course. On my way to class, the drive though line at Starbucks was excruciatingly slow, and it took a half hour to get my coffee, getting me to class five minutes before it started. As I walked through the door, Dale said, “the women were asking where you were?”, which I interpreted to mean that the other two women who got there early, and Dale, had recognized my ability to get to Zumba Class early. Significant progress. Lala gets to Zumba class early on a regular basis.

Today I took a spot on the OTHER side of the room. You know, not in the spot where I stand EVERY week for the last forty-six. We are creatures of habit. We like the same pews in church, the same parking spaces at the grocery store, the same place for our yoga mat in yoga class. Don’t you get a little embarrassed when you go to yoga class to meditate, and get pissed because someone has their mat in your spot, or because someone has your parking spot or pew in church?

I Loved the comments I got this morning as I stood on the other side of the room. “You’re in a different spot”. “Yes”. “You”re switching sides?” “Just looking at the world from a different perspective.” “You”re on the wrong side.” “I’m bi-sided.” Sometimes it’s good to see room from a different point of view. Or people. Or things.

Went to a 3 day business convention last week. Went to one of the night business convention dinners with client and assorted vendors of client at Italian restaurant. One long table, and one short table with me and four others. The four others had driven. Over from the convention hotel. I knew one of the four a little better the. The others she sat next to me. The other two men and the other female sat opposing us. Me and my seat mate had fitbits so we were asked about our fitness trackers. I Confessed to calling mine “that fit bitch” due to her constant nagging” we explained how they worked, you input calories etc. We had a wonderful, typically Italian Roman 37 course meal of Antipasto. Bruschetta. Hot Italian Rolls and dipping sauce, soups, salad, etc, etc. The thin, 117 pound 25-year-old blond, kept up well with all this. As she finished off the last bite of her porterhouse with vodka cream sauce I asked, “do you run 40 miles a day?” She said. “I have a really good metabolism, I do exercise, and I’m only 25”. “Are you staying at the hotel?”, I asked. “Yes”, she said. “I’m going to come find you later and stab you. Beat you with a baseball bat and throw you in a dumpster”.

I always wanted to do that just once. I told her when I left I really wasn’t coming looking for her and I hoped her good metabolism and 25 heard old luck and exercise lasted her whole lifetime. My fitbit seat mate was still giggling on the inside however as I could see, she wanted to stab her too.

I input the entries from the dinner in my fitbit the next morning. A two thousand calorie dinner that was more than I eat in a day and half, normally. It started to beep like a cheap timer in those blocks of putty meant to look like C-4 In a bad action flick. I was speaking that morning, so I told them this story and apologized in Adana CE and told them that if my fitbit actually exploded. Severing my right hand and spraying them with arterial spray, it was the fault of fitbit and veal Parmigiano (which was excellent, by the way).

How to tell if you’re making progress in an exercise and weight program? Same way you do life- accentuate the positive, let the negative go, and maintain a sense of humor.

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Men: How Can You Tell The Women You Love Are Upset With You?

You read so many relationship articles about how men in relationships find communicating with women difficult. Or you hear these things from friends or may have said some of these things yourself. I’ve been guilty once or twice (dozen): “I’m not a mind reader”; “She won’t tell me what she’s upset about”: (or) “I’m not even sure she’s upset (or angry). This is promulgated by a variety of joking photos, circulated on Facebook, some like this:

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This stuff just isn’t true. I know we guys don’t talk about this stuff like the girls do, nor do we try to guide the younger generation of men like our sisters do their younger peers. This all occurred to me a couple of weeks ago when a female friend said to me “and if you blog about this, I’ll kill you.” There was a millisecond later when my male brain said, “I wonder if she has issues with my blog?”, and as I busted out laughing, I thought, “No, that was pretty damn clear.” However, since the event at the time had no humor in it, AND, since I have no interest in the witness protection program, I thought I’d write about this topic instead.

So, here’s MY guide to just SOME relationship statements or cues or clues women state, make or do which are relatively clear they are, in fact, upset with you.

1. They say: “You are a(n) ‘blank’-hole!!!” The ‘blank’. Will be an orifice of the body and will normally be, in my experience, one which is below the belt. If you’re still insure, when you hear it, it should Normally be something which should be bleeped on network TV, not appropriate in church, or coming out of your Mother’s mouth. Unless, of course, your mother is telling you this, in which case, you have bigger problems then I can help you with here.

2. They say, ” You are a ‘blank’-bag”!!!” I understand this is somewhat regional, cultural, ethnic and possibly racial. Some favorites I’m familiar with are dirt and douche. Please add your own. Again, if you get confused and are wondering if a particular version could be a term of endearment, as in, “oh, honey, you’re a Louis Vuitton bag”, see number 1 above.

3. They say, “I’m going to KILL you””. This is never said in jest or exaggeration by a woman. Not like “I’m going on a diet tomorrow”, or “I have too many shoes and am swearing off shoe shopping”. No, not like THAT kind of exaggeration. When they threaten to kill you, they are definitely PEEVED.

4. They say, “I HATE you!!!” This is especially clear, I think, if their eyes are blood red, the veins are popping out on their neck and white foam is coming out of the corners of their mouth. Bonus point suggestion: this is not a good time to say, “what did I do?”

5. This is a picture of a woman cutting vegetables:

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These are two pictures of hand holds for someone holding a knife who is going to STAB YOU: know the difference.

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6. She cuts off your penis. Any of you young men under the age of 25 weren’t even born when Lorena, claiming to be reacting to an abusive husband, grabbed an 8 in kitchen knife and sliced off his penis. My only point to make here is that her communication was very clear and unequivocal. In case anyone older was wondering how she was doing, here’s and update on dear Lorena. (Someone actually married her after).

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2616197/Lorena-Bobbitt-speaks-21-years-sliced-husbands-penis-reveals-incident-didnt-hurt-dating-life.html

May favorite quote from her in this article: “She says the night was ‘a blur’.” I’m sorry, going out with your friends, having too many tequila shots and peeing in the yard is a “blur”, slicing off your husbands penis with an 8 inch kitchen knife is a “Washington-D.C.-Fourth-of-July-fireworks-anger -management -issue psychotic break.

7. You come home and all your clothes are on the front steps/lawn/driveway/street. On fire. Under a large pile of dog excrement. And you don’t have any pets.

Any who, these are just a few that immediately jumped to mind.. I’m sure, with this little nudge, many from your own and your friends personal experiences will jump to mind also. I just think it’s time to give women credit for being the clear communicators they are.

Yoga Class Update: “Recruit Your Belly”

I’m in yoga class Thursday night, minding my own business, because 1, that’s kind of the mindful Zen point and 2, because due to work interfering with my regular life, this is my first yoga class in 11 days and my body feels like I’m completely starting over and I’m sweating out every toxin I didn’t even think I took into my body in 11 days, secretly trying not to wish for death in the first 30 minutes when Maria, the Yoga instructor, in walking us thru a pose says, “recruit your belly”. As anyone who has ever been in, around or heard of a yoga class knows, the mantra is “listen to your body” so this is what I heard.

Lower Belly: “toke, toke; shhh! Who is that!?!?!

Upper Belly: ” it’s the yoga instructor dude, put that out!! Shit!!! Hide the stuff.

Lower Belly: What does SHE want!!!

Upper Belly: I don’t know, man.

Maria: …..and recruit your lower belly……then….

Lower Belly: Recruit for what? Do we have any Doritos?

Upper Belly: No, dammit, we don’t have any Doritos. I haven’t seen a Doritos down here in 2 years. How would I know what she’s recruiting for, I try put my little belly mind somewhere else while we’re here. It’s too traumatic. It’s too early in class for boat pose.

Lower Belly: Do I get anything for signing up?

Brain: Hey, you fat ass slab of bacon down there! She wants you to constrict for as long as possible, until the point of exhaustion, preferably so that some of your fibers break down, and at least until you send me a sufficient amount of chemicals from the process that I register such a sufficient pain response so he gives up and so that when you heal over the next couple of days, you’ll be stronger, leaner and harder than ever.

Lower Belly: F*ck that. light that thing back up. And turn up that Jason Darulo, “Talk Dirty to Me”, You Tube Video, will you?

Maria: “And if your mind starts to wander, return to your breath and the intention you set at the beginning of class.” Really? Ohhhhh… Ok.

Om…… namaste ya’ll.

Driving Tips For New Immigrants Moving South

Complaints of bad driving abound everywhere you turn. Google “which states have the most accidents/fatalities” and depending on the source/data chosen, competition for this honor is stiff but you will quickly see that the southern states, like the competition for high rates of beauty queens, and venereal disease, competes very well statistically. I think this is partially because immigrants (those from north of the Mason-Dixon Line and west of the Mississippi river- although you Maryland people are NOT southerners) are just not familiar with some cultural peculiarities of southern driving.

As an immigrant myself, but one who has lived here for almost 50 years, and who learned to drive here, but was taught by a native born New Yorker who did not move here until his 40’s, I feel uniquely qualified to assist you in this transition, (not really, but that’s all I got). In addition, I come to you only as an average driver, who has learned an above average number of ways to mime “I’m sorry” with both facial expressions and hand gestures so I write this as one of the great unwashed, not as as some “better than anyone else driver”. (See my prior blog, for example about BACKING into someone in the Starbucks Drivethru). In this humble mode, I provide you with some simple rules, which may help you avoid an accident your first year or so living here in the beautiful south.

1. Do not be deceived by our driver’s handbook. It looks deceptively like the Handbook from your state, with similar rules. HOWEVER, with general principles of state’s rights, individual freedoms, the first, second, fifth and tenth amendments, these are just guidelines, and do not impinge on an individuals rights to drive as they damn please. (Don’t ask). If you really wanna know, watch 30 minutes of Fox News, then come back.

2. Blinky or Christmas lights- you may be accustomed to referring to these quaintly as “turn” or “directional” signals and may think they are used to indicate that the driver is wishing to change lanes in the same direction or side on which the light is blinking or turn in that direction soon. This is NOT THE CASE. Let’s say the driver ahead of you has their left turn signal on. This may mean they are turn left in the next 25 miles (be prepared!). It may mean they want to change lanes. It may mean they want to turn right. It may mean they like Christmas. It may mean nothing at all. Safety tip- extend the courtesy that the driver ahead of considers this a turn signal, but do not rely on it.

3. Alternate Merge- in the South, we do not eat at our Altars, this is considered sacrilege. In regards to situations where two lanes are forced to converge to one because of construction, accident or other obstruction, rules of efficiency, logic or traffic law are irrelevant. In the south, the practice is twofold – the sanctimonious get in the “open lane” just as quickly as possible, backing up traffic for miles and miles, including by the necessity of changing from the “closed” lane to the open lane, just as quickly as possible, even at the expense of stopping traffic in the soon to closed lane miles and miles from the merge point. Generally speaking, the point is to slow down traffic and make the merge just as Inefficient and slow as possible. The misguided (you immigrants) quietly proceed In the closed lane to the merge point where you expect to alternatively merge, but instead, await punishment. I have no help for you here, but some states have adopted better signs:

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4. Left on red. Corollary- right on red, no look no stop. Most states have “right on red after stop” laws. In the south, we believe a little of a good idea should be expanded, so you will see “left on red”. Again, don’t ask. Just beware. Likewise, expect right on red without that driver stopping. Or looking. Again, you’ve been warned.

5. Shopping Malls/ Commercial Property. Have you noticed that all shopping malls/centers are designed to get you in as quickly and easily as possible, with nary a traffic sign or signal anywhere, but when it comes to leaving, you are subject to a maze of turns, one way directionals, stop signs, yields, and a longer time extricating yourself then you spent shopping? That’s because once they have your money, they don’t care about you. This system was invented by a southerner, and is now used by shopping center developers nationwide. Likewise, something in DNA proscribed that because one is on private property, traffic signs and traffic rules no longer apply. Therefore expect people to stop unexpectedly at intersections in shopping centers with no stop signs and to ignore the one with stop signs. I call this bumper car rules. Again, you’ve been warned.

6. The straighter the road, the worse the wrecks. We all know about “dead mans curve”. Near my home, is 26 ish miles of 4 lanes of relatively new interstate, almost no curves, basically a straight road. More wrecks on a daily basis than a dog has fleas.

7. Texting and driving- do not be surprised when the lad from your office, after giving the lecture about. To texting and driving, gets in her car to go to happy hour and while pulling out of the parking lot, turns on her radio, reaches for a Mountain Dew, pulls out her mascara, lipstick, and blush, starts touching up her makeup, reaches in the back seat to get her “goin out” shoes; Changes shoes; changes bras, spritzes her perfume, and checks her block in the glove compartment all before she gets to the happy hour spot. But she didn’t text.

8. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and a Passing lane: I know, elsewhere only TWO of these are fictional things. In the south, all THREE of these things are fictional. There are several reasons for this. For some it’s a matter of faith, they just don’t believe in a passing lane. For others, they believe in it, but believe they are the left lane “police”- you can pass in the left lane, but you can’t drive any faster than they are driving. And then there’s a subclass, which thinks its fine to drive slowly in the left lane, but objects to you passing on the right. Some states have started ticketing slow. drivers in the left lane. You can’t make this stuff up.

These are my favorites. I’ll save the rest for a future blog. I’m sure you have some of you’re own. Ya’ll come back now, heah?

Look Up, Look Down, Be Distracted, Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

Ok, I’ve had it. I’m here to argue in favor of distraction. In favor of tuning people out. In favor of disassociation. Of taking your mind somewhere else. Got your back up? Good. Let’s start there. This occurred to me last week when I actually made it through my first Zumba class without paying any attention to Zumba at all. I actually was able to get through the entire class without paying any attention to the music, the routines, the class, the exercise, or what I was doing. OMG, what a relief. I have no idea what I looked like for that hour, but that’s another blog.

Unless you have no smart phone, and have managed for the last week to avoid all social media AND the nightly news and all the morning shows and all cable TV, then you have seen this “Look UP’ video as contained in this blog.

First, let me say, I am a BIG fan of Eckart Tolle’s the Power of Now. One of my favorite books. As a firm believer in the concept that the only time we really have is now, and that the only concept we can really conceive which is like infinity is “now”, I love his writing. I believe everyone should practice, at appropriate times, living in the present. Second, let me say, before anyone gets out the hangman’s noose for a lynching, that driving is one of those times. Ok, no distracted driving. No texting, talking, makeup applicating, reading, eating, sexting, sexing, drinking, drugging, bugging, blogging, frisbeeing, carpentry, plumbing, bra extricating, gymnastics, or other activities while driving. But be honest, there are SOOOOO many times you just don’t want to be in the present, and we’ve been trained since little babies to execute this glorious exercise called distraction.

First there were the awesome children’s books, exhorting us to develop, exercise, and use our wildest imaginations. “Where the Wild Things Are”; Walt Disney Movies – Air Bud, Annie, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, The AristoCats, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderalla, (I printed a list, and I’m only on the C’s, do I really need to go on with my “we have a hard time with reality argument?), comics, movies; toys; dolls, the list is endless. Anything to allow our minds to be ANYWHERE but where they actually where. Then school. OMG. Is it any wonder that any of us with any sense learned how to daydream/ disassociate, while still looking like we were paying attention. And who said it better than Timothy Leary?

And thank you MOTHER!!! Wow, she didn’t just lecture – she could drone, rage go on for hours! With her, I perfected that ability to hear, but not listen. That “is it real, or is it Memorex ability”. You know, that “What did I just say” test, when they suspect you have completely tuned them out. That ability to completely and accurately repeat the last sentence or two as evidence that you are actually listening, when in fact, you have just learned to dedicate the smallest portion of your brain to their drivel, while you think about something you really care or are interested in.

Most people have perfected this art, as it works for teachers, boy/girlfriends, spouses, and children. My daughter was a little too smart for that. Once she said, “Daddy, do I talk too much?”. I had to be honest and say, “No, sweetheart, I just can’t listen enough”. She was gracious enough, when subjected to a child of her own, to mention to me that she used that comment herself a year or so ago. I never would have survived 20 years of marriage if I had actually LISTENED to any of that. Hearing any of it was bad enough. I only wish I had had a smartphone screen I could have sunk my face in. You millenials are so lucky. You actually get to SHOW the world you’re bored, disconnected and distracted.

So, STFU about the smartphones already. I bet Angeline Jolie doesn’t have to tell guys to put their smart phones away. Ok, I admit, there are such things as bad habits, and I appreciate the few times my GF has pointed out I’ve used my phone too much or in such a way as to be hurtful to her. Duly noted and appreciated. But otherwise, smartphones have just allowed people to make obvious what they have been doing for millennia – tuning out their kids, spouses, family, friends, bosses, relatives, and on and on and on and on.

And you know why? Because if you actually had to LISTEN to all that BS 24/7 you would kill somebody/yourself. So, when you want to be present – be present. When you want to be distracted be distracted. Turn on, tune in, drop out. All the rest of you, mind your own business.